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Create Recurring Income With a Paid Membership Site

March 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 151

Paid membership sites have become hot Internet properties recently, but most people who start them don't succeed with them. A profitable membership site can add new income streams, reach new markets, and create greater profits in your business.

If you're a thought leader or business professional, think carefully before you launch into building a membership site - it isn't for everybody. It works best if you have:

  • an established business delivering value to your clients through your face-to-face services
  • resources that deliver on-going value (such as e-books, audio programs and worksheets) or the time to give members access to you (through webinars, group coaching, short consulting sessions, and so on)
  • a network of clients, peers who can deliver value to your members, and a database of potential members

Benefits of a Membership Site

A membership site has a number of potential benefits for you:

  • Recurring Income: The most obvious benefit is that you create a new income stream.
  • Market Once: You only need to convince people once to sign up, and then charge them every month.
  • Vehicle for Value: The membership site is a way for you to deliver, share and archive your resources.
  • Build Loyalty: You keep delivering value to your members in all your communication.
  • Reward Loyalty: Members get access to things that non-members don't.
  • Maintain Relationships: You can offer free membership to selected people, as a way to keep and build relationships.

It also has benefits for your members:

  • Manage Cash Flow: They know exactly how much they will spend each month.
  • Join a Community: Some people join a membership site primarily so they can be part of a community of like-minded people.
  • Make One Decision: They don't have to keep making decisions about whether to buy individual products and services.
  • Get Increasing Value: The longer somebody is a member, the more value they get, because the network expands and you keep adding resources. So each month their membership dollar goes further.
  • On-Demand Learning: Members can dip into the archive whenever they want, rather than waiting until you deliver what they need.
  • Save Money: Finally, of course they save money, because you give them discounts, special prices and members-only offers.

Are You Ready?

Broadly, as an expert, you have four potential types of income:

  1. Active: You get paid for delivering value to your clients - speaking, coaching, consulting, professional services, etc.
  2. Bundled: You get paid more for your activity, because you bundle in other products and services.
  3. Recurring: You get paid over and over again for your activity, because clients buy a subscription.
  4. Passive: You get paid even without any activity.

Each level of income relies on one thing:

  1. To generate active income, you need to demonstrate value (otherwise, clients won't pay!)
  2. To generate bundled income, you need products (physical, electronic or even additional services)
  3. To generate recurring income, you need a network (potential members, joint venture partners, affiliates and staff)
  4. To generate passive income, you need marketing skills - especially marketing that stands alone without you being there to sell

The fourth level - passive income - can be achieved by itself, but the other three build on each other. A membership site is an example of recurring income.

The Proven Path

Because a membership site is recurring income, you need value, products and a network. It's difficult to succeed unless you have all three.

This is the most common path to success.

Unfortunately, some business owners launch into a membership site too soon, and discover that they don't have expertise that members value, they don't have enough products and resources to keep the site going, or they don't have a network to promote, support and buy membership.

So make sure you have value, products and a network - and a commitment to making your membership site work!

Gihan Perera is an Internet coach for speakers, trainers, consultants and other business professionals. He's the author of "Fast, Flat and Free: How the Internet Has Changed Your Business". Visit http://GihanPerera.com and get free e-books, webinars and more.

Source: EzineArticles
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