Is it REALLY possible to build (or grow) a wildly-successful online membership business when the economy is unstable?
The answer is, ABSOLUTELY.
And THOUSANDS of entrepreneurs have done it, even during the past year, when many other businesses were slowing or even shutting their doors.
Listen, maybe you’re looking for a fresh start…
…you’re a business owner looking for a way to weather the economic ups and downs…
…or you’re an author, speaker, or coach who wants to stop the endless hustle, and quit trading ALL of your time in order to get paid.
A membership site can be an absolute game-changer for you and how you do business in the new digital economy.
Here are my TOP 7 reasons YOU should consider a membership site as a new business OR as an addition to a current business!
(But wait-- before you read on, make sure you sign up for the FREE workshop beginning April 22 hosted by THE Membership Site expert-- Stu McLaren-- right here!)
Alright, let's get into it, shall we?
This one is the no-brainer benefit to membership sites, but it's still worth mentioning!
Membership businesses remove the need for you to constantly find NEW clients or customers to generate revenue. Sounds nice, doesn't it? It is possible, when you create the right offer at the right price.
Now I will give you an example of back in 2016-2017 when I was just getting my feet wet creating and launching courses. The revenue was nice and it was increasing every launch, but I constantly felt the need to be in “launch” mode; I felt pressure to constantly be doing webinars and challenges, and getting more NEW customers.
And that might not seem so bad to someone who has never done a full scale launch before-- but holy cow-- it is so exhausting to constantly be in launch mode, and it took so much of my mental and physical energy that I had nothing left in me to create necessary improvements to my program, create new paid products, have an organic content strategy-- or anything like that.
In short, I was not building a sustainable business-- instead, I was heading straight for burnout.
So instead of continuing this cycle that would have certainly caused me to quit, I instead looked at what else my CURRENT customers needed. If there was anything else I could create for them or any other way I could serve them.
Because if you have been in the sales or business world for any length of time, you will likely know that it is much tougher and more costly to get a brand NEW customer, than it is to create something new or offer something new for your customers that ALREADY know and trust you.
Your customers who have already bought your programs, tried your products, or worked with you before. Because if you are true and authentic in your promises, they no doubt had an amazing experience with their purchase.
Now once I spoke with many students who had purchased my signature course, I realized that though there was a free Facebook group available exclusively for my course members, they wanted MORE. The community was great, but they needed more support. More training. More Q&A. More coaching.
So what I decided to do solved both issues here-- the issue of having my revenue stream dry up between launches AND giving my customers what they were asking for...
So all of this brings me to the second benefit of creating a membership site...
After I got the feedback that my current customers wanted more from me and additional ways to learn from me even AFTER they purchased my signature course, I created what is called a back-end membership site, meaning it is a membership ONLY available to those who have gone through my course first.
I am going to talk more about front-end v. back-end v. standalone memberships in my 8-part free membership site series on my podcast, but essentially I used Stu McLaren’s founding member launch strategy and instead of having a free FB group for my course students, I turned the group into a more hands-on approach for me to provide additional training and support for my members.
Since then, our community has evolved into an extremely productive place where we are all actively involved in bettering our businesses, where as before it was really just a more passive gathering place.
This recurring revenue allowed me to focus more on my systems, bettering my courses, creating new paid offers, and providing a higher level of service to my customers, INSTEAD of constantly trying to get NEW sales.
Yes, I still launched a few times a year and then eventually put my course on evergreen, meaning it can be purchased anytime even between launches, but I did not feel that same extreme pressure.
That allowed me to put better content out there, even my free stuff, and sales of both my course and membership began to flow in much more frequently and more naturally, because I was really being my best self and doing my best work, I was no longer in panic or burnout.
My followers that had not yet purchased got more of my best stuff and my current customers REALLY felt heard, valued, and supported… and a year later as I said the community is absolutely thriving and larger and more active than ever, welcoming a few new, eager customers weekly!
Now this one is not necessarily true of my Play Maker Society membership, since that community is only available to those who have gone through my signature program, but it IS true of my marketing membership which I am relaunching next month, the Marketing Junkie Society.
Now I still work with a very small handful of clients 1-on-1 when it comes to marketing assistance, and because I only work with very few clients, I charge premium pricing.
And that means 2 things.
But I don’t let the latter point discourage me nor do I let it stop me from helping small business owners who are more in the DIY stage of their marketing strategy.
That is in fact WHY I created Marketing Junkie Society-- as a former brick and mortar business owner i know firsthand how overwhelming establishing marketing systems can be -- especially when you have a MILLION other things to do as a busy business owner.
It’s perfect for people who want the DIY route INSTEAD of the done-for-you one on one work. Or , in some cases, members have a goal of working with me 1-on-1 someday-- but they aren’t quite there yet.
Either way, my membership gives me a chance to impact MORE small business owners with super simple marketing strategies-- more so than I ever could with 1-on-1 work.
If you are a coach, consultant, or even a nutritionist, sleep coach, or other wellness provider and you charge a more premium price-- consider an online membership to open the door for you to impact MORE people with your skills, knowledge, or expertise.
Or if you are an artist or creator, consider teaching others to do what YOU do, and serve your peers instead of normal customers, which is what I did with Play Maker Society.
So if you are a photographer and have a successful business, consider a membership giving newbies tips and tricks that you wish you had when you got started.
Or if you paint watercolors, consider teaching others your craft.
The opportunities are really endless and even if you have a unique skill or area of knowledge in your personal life-- like cross stitching, there is still an opportunity for you here in the world of online memberships. You do NOT need to have an existing business to get started.
Now not every membership will have a community aspect-- think Netflix for example-- but most do. And even in the case of Netflix, there is still a sense of community among members.
This is a great feature of membership sites as opposed to making one-off sales because you become more ingrained in someones day to day. In their routine.
And when it comes down to it, being a successful business owner is all about creating real genuine relationships with your customers, because that drives loyalty to your products or services.
It also helps in terms of getting NEW members or customers.
If you keep your members happy and you have a great retention strategy, you can bet they will begin telling their friends, family, and peers about your program-- and become a built-in lead generation strategy!
Plus, when you work with someone on an ongoing basis, they are more likely to share their wins and provide you with their stories of transformation-- another super powerful way you can get new members into your program all the time-- without having to do much selling or ANY chasing.
This is one super powerful tactic I learned in Stu McLaren’s tribe program-- stories SELL! If you have a great process to empower your members to provide you with their success stories, you will have no problem growing your membership.
My friend & THE Membership EXPERT- Stu McLaren.
This is another benefit of a membership site that I rarely hear mentioned, but it has been so crucial to me in growing my business.
When I am considering a new paid offer, or if I need inspiration about free content, or if I need some ideas of what my community needs from me next-- I never have to look further than my members for really solid answers.
Because I have built true relationships with them, they not only provide more thoughtful feedback, and I also know I can rely on their opinions more.
My paying members are a really accurate representation of the kinds of business owners I hope to continue finding and serving in the future so I tend to lean on my member community for advice more-so than my email list or social media followers.
And listening to their feedback and making a habit of asking for it continually. Also makes my members feel more heard and valued, so it is really just a WIN WIN WIN overall-- because I am able to validate my offers or content before creating them, my potential customers get exactly what they want or need because it's already been validated, AND my members feel good.
To me, this is likely the most IMPORTANT and crucial reason to create a new membership site business or adding a membership offer to your current business.
When you are providing products or services for individual customers or clients, let’s say a coach, consultant, or even a photographer, artist, or other service provider-- you are trading your time for money.
Right? I am sure you have heard that saying a million times.
Your ability to generate revenue will ALWAYS be tied to the amount of hours you work. To the number of clients you can handle at once. To the amount of orders you can fulfill.
That, my friend, is NOT a scalable business. Could it be profitable and sustainable, while still NOT being scalable? Sure. And unfortunately, this is where a lot of freelancers and service providers get stuck.
They are making a decent living, maybe replacing what they would be making a 9-5, but they are working CRAZY hours.
They are facing that burnout that I was mentioning earlier. They are always wondering where that next client will come from, always HUSTLING.
This type of business can honestly feel MORE taxing and MORE restricting than a 9-5. Trust me, I have certainly been there.
By creating a membership site, and which you will see if you download my FREE membership guide where I breakdown exactly what I provide weekly and monthly to my members as a membership site owner, your revenue will NO LONGER be tied to your time.
In most cases, your workload will be the SAME whether you have 5 members of 5,000.
And if you go back and listen to episode 33 of my podcast, I talk about this conundrum. It’s really common for membership sites to give up early on BECAUSE OF this.
They think, “why am I putting all this together every month for only 5 members? For only 10 members?” And this always makes me think of that meme of a man digging for gold, who has clearly been working hard and digging for a while, to GIVE UP on his search for the gold JUST before he breaks through and discovers it.
That is what happens to most membership site owners.
But if you can just put a solid foundation in place, get a great offer together, and stay focused and stay consistent, you WILL find that breakthrough.
There WILL be a point where instead of saying “why am I doing all this for only X number of members” to, “HOLY CRAP, I cannot believe I can impact the lives of this many people by only putting together these few things monthly.
That is what a scalable business is. And if you grab my membership guide and if you sign up for Stu McLaren’s FREE membership site workshop-- YOU WILL have that strong foundation.
You will have the tools and the crystal clear strategies to come up with a topic. To name your program. To come up with a delivery plan. To PRICE for profit. To get all the tech stuff done like your website and taking payments. To retain your members.
This program will fast track your success that you will likely never even have to live that first scenario of putting your deliverables together for an amount of money that seems “not worth it”. And that is one reason I cannot recommend Tribe enough-- so don’t forget to sign up for his FREE workshop series coming up. Even if you do NOT sign up for Tribe at the end-- you will learn SO much.
The value of your membership depending on the style you choose (and if you are unclear of what the 6 different types of membership sites are-- go back and listen to episode 63 of my podcast) will likely INCREASE over time. This means you may be able to charge more, AND your membership will become more of a no-brainer for your potential customers.
Here’s an example.
In my Play Maker Society membership-- I do a (recorded!) Q&A call and also deliver an advanced training session every single month.
This means that when someone joins TODAY, the new member will get access to the ENTIRE vault of Q&A calls over the past several YEARS, all the advanced trainings, all the posts inside the community-- all that.
It’s for this reason that I no longer even have to really sell or launch anymore-- it’s a NO brainer for anyone who goes through my program to take the logical next step and become a member.
And that is SUCH a beautiful thing.
Don’t forget to download my FREE guide to starting a Membership Site HERE!
And don’t forget to sign up for Stu McLaren’s FREE Membership workshop this month HERE!