Starting a membership site online can be an exciting thought. There are tons of blog posts mentioning how lucrative these types of sites are. Successful membership sites such as Netflix rake in billions.
On a smaller scale, ‘software as a service’ (SAAS) memberships such as autoresponder companies, graphics design software, etc. make six to 7 figures sums every month.
They have thousands of members who willingly pay for the benefits of the service. The sheer promise of having a stable, recurring and wildly profitable income can warm the cockles of most marketers’ hearts.
The good news is that building a membership site is within the reach of any determined marketer – but you must be aware of what will be required from you. Do not go in blindly just based on your dreams of quick and easy money.
There is no quick and easy money with this business model. Let’s see why…
There is a learning curve
Generally, running a membership site is not nearly as complex as some other online business models such as ecommerce and so on. However, there is a learning curve, especially if you’re new to online marketing.
You’ll need to learn product creation. After all, there has to be a deliverable for your paying customers each month.
Next, you’ll need to know how to install WordPress and set up the membership software. Most membership software come with video tutorials to guide you, but you’ll still need to follow along step-by-step.
The learning curve is where most beginners throw in the towel. They lack the fortitude and patience to learn whatever they need to.
So, be ready to spend time in the trenches mastering the tech stuff. It’s not difficult, and you’ll only need to learn it once.
Some investment is required
You’ll need to pay for a domain, hosting, an autoresponder, membership software, etc. This is not a business you can start with no money down. Ideally, you should have about $250 to $500 when starting off.
You can either earn this money by doing some freelancing work online, or save some money from your day job. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to do freelance work on sites like Fiverr or Upwork until you have an initial sum to bootstrap your membership site.
What to expect
Once you’ve set up your membership site, it would be good to upload 2 to 3 months’ worth of content so that you’re ahead of the curve. Once you have enough content to deliver for 2 consecutive months, then you can start marketing your site while you work on the upcoming months’ content.
The 2 months serves as a buffer for you just in case unexpected hiccups occur in your content creation. As you get more and more members in your site, you may wish to outsource content creation.
You’ll need to find reliable and proficient freelancers so that your deliverables are of high quality. You must satisfy your subscribers’ expectations. This will ensure you have a high subscriber retention rate.
It’s only hands off to some extent
Many beginners dream of earning passive income. A membership site does provide that, but only to some extent. Automation in your site will take care of a ton of tasks for you.
Customers will be onboarded smoothly. The payments will be taken care of… and the content delivered like clockwork.
However, you will always need to be actively involved in marketing your site and figuring out ways to improve it. This is a never-ending process, and it’s a fun one, if you enjoy what you’re doing.
You’ll need to test out paid advertising. Or experiment with different content formats and so on.
The crux of the matter is this – success in this business is an ongoing process. You’re either progressing or regressing because no matter how good your membership site is, there will always be some attrition.
If you observed Netflix, you’d notice that they’re constantly adding new content and testing things out. That’s how they stay at the top of their game – and that’s what you’ll need to do to stay at the top of yours.
- Are you willing to take on the challenge of learning new concepts and tools?
- Will you go through the learning curve and do what you need to even on days when you feel like giving up?
- Are you ok with taking 4 to 6 months to grow your membership site even when results seem slow to come?
If the answer is yes to all the questions above, then you definitely have what it takes to start your own profitable membership site.
6 months from now, you’ll have a business that generates a stable monthly income for you, and with time, your membership will go from strength to strength… and you’ll realize that all the effort was worth it.