Anyone who has felt the sting of instability that comes from selling “one and done” products or services will appreciate the enormous value of having a stable, steady baseline of income, month after month.
When it comes to online business models, one of the best ways to establish a recurring revenue stream is by creating a paid membership website. In this article, I’m going to take you through the many benefits of running an online membership site and a step-by-step path you can follow to create, launch, and grow one of your own.
Why start a membership website?
While the lure of recurring revenue is certainly appealing, there are definite pros and cons to starting your own membership site.
Pro: They’re highly leveraged products
Spend an hour with a client, you get paid once and that time is gone. Spend that hour creating material for your membership, and you’ve added permanent value to an asset that you’ll continue getting paid for over and over again.
Pro: Memberships are scalable
By adopting the one-to-many approach of a membership website, you can sell to thousands of customers without worrying about inventory and without needing to change your product. No matter how many users, they all experience your site in the same way.
Pro: You get to make a difference
As an entrepreneur, few things are more gratifying than serving a valuable purpose and bringing together a community of other people. There’s a great deal of fulfillment that comes from affecting change in hundreds or even thousands of your members.
Choosing Your Idea for a Membership Site
All of us entrepreneurs, no matter what business we’re in, are essentially problem solvers. This thinking needs to be at the root of your membership idea. You need to understand the problems and challenges that your members face even better than they do, and provide them with a helpful solution. You may already have something in mind for what this solution will be, but if not, start by brainstorming all the possible subjects you could cover.
The more focused you are with your idea, the easier it will be to attract your target audience. Ideally you want to be filling a particular gap or solving a specific problem for them. If you can’t decide between ideas, see if there is any way you can merge or combine them. But in the end, the idea you settle on should be something you are passionate about yourself. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with it, and with other people who care about it.
Research how your audience currently solves their problem
If there are other products or services on the market that cater to the specific needs and challenges you’ve identified within your market then that’s a good sign your idea is one worth pursuing.
Are your potential members buying books, software, courses or even joining other membership communities to help them achieve their goals and solve their issues? Get a good idea of what is and isn’t working within the market and where the opportunities for innovation lie.
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