Membership sites are STILL one of the hottest internet business models today.
I have several clients that totally agree with that statement and have hired me to create their own membership web sites which continue to be very profitable for them. So right now is a great time to think about creating your own membership site or offering it as a lucrative service for your clients.
Before we get started, I want to give you a little background information…
If we haven’t met yet, I’m Leslie and I’ve been a Virtual Assistant since 2008. I haven’t always worked in the business world. I’ve been a teacher and a flight attendant. I tell you this because I want you to know that it IS possible to have little or no business/technology experience and still be successful on the internet.
There are several benefits to having a membership site. However, there are also some misconceptions and half-truths that I’d like to clear up here. Really quick, these are the top 5 myths about membership sites:
Have you heard some of these statements when it comes to membership sites? And if so, have you been afraid or reluctant to get involved with membership sites because of these comments?
Well, let’s discuss these in greater detail to see if they’re true or not.
Myth #1 – You have to be an expert to create a profitable membership site.
Obviously, you need to have some knowledge on your chosen niche or topic for your site. However, this is mostly a mindset thing – you need to have confidence in your abilities to share valuable information to your target audience.
You Know More Than You Realize
You probably don’t even realize just how much you actually do know. We are often our harshest critics. I remember when I returned to working at the airline after I had been working online for a while. My co-workers were amazed at what all I could do. I just assumed everybody knew how to create websites, send out ezines, use autoresponders, etc. because I had surrounded myself with like-minded individuals and didn’t realize just how specialized these skills were.
There Are People Who Know Less Than You
There will always be newbies and people who know less than you. Some people are just now getting online and they are seeking out information on a variety of topics. With the recent state of the economy, many people are searching for new jobs and want training on certain skills that you already possess.
There’s a Wealth of Info Online to Help You Out
While I don’t believe in “fake it till you make it”, you can gather a wealth of information and training on line to help you out in areas you may be weak in. Google, YouTube and Pinterest (yes, it’s a search engine) are your best friends!
You Can Have Guests Available in Your Area of Expertise
You can fill any voids or supplement your site with guests who are knowledgeable in your area of expertise. I have found that most internet entrepreneurs are very generous and love to share their knowledge especially in areas that they are passionate about. You can have guest bloggers on your site, interview other experts, etc.
So remember YOU are an expert!
Myth #2 – You can get rich quickly and make a ton of money with little effort.
So do you really think that you can get very wealthy in a short amount of time without working hard? Of course not, it’s just not true!
There’s No Such Thing As Getting Rich Quickly
Wouldn’t it be nice if there really was such a thing as a get rich quick scheme? But nope, there’s not (at least not legally, morally or without risk).
You Can Get Paid Well and Regularly
However, that’s not to say that you can’t make a decent amount of money with a membership site if you know what you’re doing. I think the fact that a membership site has the potential for bringing in recurring revenue is why they are so popular today. Just to clarify, by recurring revenue I mean that you don’t just get a one-time payment, you receive monthly/annual payments on a continuous basis as long as you have active members. Nice, huh?
With an Affiliate Program in Place, You Have Potential for Extra Earned Income
You can also earn extra money by offering an affiliate program or promoting someone else’s products to your site. When I was first starting out, I had no clue what an affiliate program was. It wasn’t until I watched one of my clients’ videos, that it really clicked for me. So if you too aren’t familiar with what an affiliate is, feel free to check out this product from my clients, Lon and Michelle at Learn Camtasia:
This workshop not only explains affiliate marketing in plain English, but also teaches you how to create your own affiliate product review videos. Great stuff!
There’s a ton of information online about affiliate marketing, so a simple search could also bring up numerous tutorials to help you out.
You Can Still Keep Your Day Job, If You Choose
If you’re really worried about money, you can still keep your current job (if applicable). That’s the beauty of the internet and membership sites – it doesn’t have to be a full time job. You can run your site and do other things as well – hopefully even partake in some fun activities that you really enjoy. My clients with membership sites are always going on great vacations and doing fun things with their friends and family in their free time. Their membership sites make this possible for them!
Myth #3 – Creating a membership site requires a lot of technical knowledge.
Do you believe that you have to be a techno-nerd to start a membership site?
If so, you would be incorrect. It IS possible to run a membership site without having to be an internet geek.
Most Software Available is Very User-Friendly
We are so fortunate that creating websites in general has become a lot easier than it was in the past. WordPress becomes more and more user friendly with each upgrade. I remember when I first started working online that using WordPress was a bit complicated. You couldn’t just add a plug-in or theme with a click of a button and it was possible to totally break an entire website. Not a fun thing! (Don’t ask me how I know.)
Other possibilities like SquareSpace make website creation very simple. Membership software has also progressed and has made it easier for people to implement their tools.
There Are Tutorials Available Online
If you don’t understand something, it can often be easily explained in an ebook, video or training program. I can usually find my solution to many problems just by searching for YouTube videos on the topic.
And then of course, there are still those old fashioned buildings called libraries and book stores. 😉
Seek and you shall find!
Choose Software With Technical Support
Most reputable software comes with Technical Support. Take advantage of it.
You Can Outsource This to a Virtual Assistant
When all else fails, outsource it! I say hire a virtual assistant because I’m biased, but it could be outsourced to anybody with the necessary skills.
Note: You don’t just need to delegate tasks to someone else, because it’s too complicated for you. Take advantage of assistance because it’s something you don’t necessarily want to do or have the time to do. Use your time to do the things you are truly passionate about and that are the real money makers for your business.
Myth #4 – It’s difficult to create enough content to sustain a membership site.
Have you put off starting a membership site because you think you need to have a treasure trove of materials and products before you even get started?
Create Content as Needed, Not All at Once
First of all, you don’t have to have ALL your content ready before you start. Shocking, I know!
You just have to be sure that you are one step ahead of your oldest member. (I’m not talking age here.) There’s no point in creating materials way ahead of time, because you don’t really need it until you have active members.
If the people who have been in your site the longest are on Week 1, you can be finishing up Week 2’s content. If members are on Module 3 but Module 4 doesn’t come out until the next month, you have time to work on it during the current month.
Use Videos, Blog Posts, Etc.
When people think of content, they usually think of written materials. Your site can have a variety of materials available. You can use videos, blog posts, podcasts of experts you interview, guest writers, webinars, teleseminars… the list goes on. And a lot of it you may have already created, you just need to repurpose it.
Use Private Label Rights Content
Private Label Rights (PLR) can also make your job of filling your site with resources a lot easier. You just have to be careful because there is some really great PLR available and then there’s some stuff out there that is just plain junk! When I need PLR, my favorite sources that I go to are Coach Glue and All Private Label Content. I can always count on them to provide high quality content.
If you just absolutely hate to write (or think you can’t write), once again you have the possibility of sourcing out this task. A good copy writer, ghost writer or VA can help you out. It’s usually not cheap, but definitely worth it if this is something that your struggle with. Do you know any excellent copywriters you can recommend? If so, please pop them in the comments below.
Myth #5 – You can use free software to create a SUCCESSFUL membership site.
Of course, you CAN use free software and plug-ins… but I don’t recommend it. The keyword here is successful. You are probably not going to get too far if all you use is free stuff to create your site.
Choose a Reputable Company with Positive Reviews
Whether you choose free or paid, be sure to choose a reputable company with positive reviews. Do your research and due diligence. Ask other people what membership software they are using and what they think the pros and cons of it are. Just out of curiosity… if you currently have a membership site, please share in the comments what tool you are using.
Free Will NOT Include All Features You Want and Need
The downside of using free tools is that they most likely will not include all the features you want and need. You need to add other plug-ins or software to make them useful. It’s possible to just use WordPress alone and password protect your posts or pages, but that’s not the best way to do it. Membership site platforms that charge a licensing fee usually include additional items like affiliate programs, shopping carts, email service, etc. These are the things that are going to enhance your site and your members’ experiences.
Avoid Bugs and Viruses Often Found in Freeware
Many freeware programs have problems with bugs and viruses. You definitely don’t want that! The technical side of things, in particular, should be rock-solid to avoid hacking and unauthorized access.
Be Sure Your Software Includes Dedicated Support
Probably one of the most important things you are going to want included is dedicated technical and customer support from whatever platform you decide upon. When you need troubleshooting, you want to know you can turn to the creator of the site for prompt, knowledgeable and courteous assistance.
Remember, you get what you pay for! You need to think of this as a worthwhile expense that you are investing into your business.
What Membership Site Software Should You Choose?
Okay, so there is an overwhelming selection of tools for creating a membership site. How do you decide? Like I said earlier, you need to research and decide what features are the most important to you.
There are some really high end products like Infusionsoft or Kajabi, but unless you’re Dan Kennedy or Ali Brown – I don’t think you need all the features included and definitely not the cost of using such programs.
The majority of my clients use Digital Access Pass (DAP) and they have been very pleased with the results and customer service. I also personally use DAP on my website. It is a popular platforms and I highly recommend using them. When I researched membership site comparisons, they most often came up the winner because they are reasonably priced and offer several beneficial features.
One of the things I really like is that DAP offers free installation. From my own personal experiences, it isn’t too hard to install it yourself, but hey if they’re willing to do it… I say let them. After all, it’s their product and they know it better than I do. I think one of the most noteworthy things about DAP is that they have really great Support. They have always gotten back to me really quickly and I don’t usually label my tickets as Urgent, so that’s impressive.
If you think you would like to purchase a Digital Access Pass license, you can visit ilikedap.com. That is my affiliate link, but if you don’t want to use it – you can go directly to digitalaccesspass.com.
Another popular membership site choice is Wishlist. They have a lot of happy customers and I know several people who use it. I personally was not fond of it when I did work for other clients using it. However, I must admit that was a long time ago and there have been several improvements since then.
Wrapping Things Up…
You will definitely want to consider creating your own membership site if:
- You want to create a source of recurring revenue
- You would like to be able to maintain relationships with your clients and reward their loyalty
- You would like to be known as the “Go-To Person” for your field
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
If you’re too busy, too nervous, etc. to DIY, then feel free to check out my membership site services here:
If you’re a virtual assistant and you aren’t interested in creating your own membership site, then you could offer this “in-demand” service to your clients. You could charge more because it’s considered a specialized skill. 🙂