Membership Sites

What is a ‘Membership Model’ and is it right for your business?

I'm Paige

The founder of Lightspace, the place to elevate your conscious business. I'm so grateful to have you here. 

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From more financial stability, more time + freedom, to expanding your offerings and better serve your customers (and much more!), there are countless benefits to integrating a membership model into your business.

So, what is a Membership Model, anyways? And who is it for?

Well, are you a content creator, influencer, or purpose coach striving to change peoples’ lives through your work? 

Have you figured out how to share your gifts with the world (after-all, your clients and customers can’t stop raving about you) but are struggling to make ends meet financially? You know that your product or service is helping people but that isn’t being reflected in your bank account..

Well, perhaps it’s time to re-think your business model. 

Not sure how much you already know about membership models but there is a reason so many companies and people just like you are moving towards them. Think about all of the subscriptions you’re part of: Spotify, Canva, your Yoga studio, etc.

And why are they so popular right now?  

They work. That’s right, keep reading to figure out how you can earn recurring revenue — and literally multiply your income from the immense value you’re bringing into the world. 

First things first…

What is a membership model? 

Membership are the (not so) new way of doing business — and it’s big business. Think of all the subscriptions you belong to. 

There are many benefits of integrating a membership model into your business, such as more financial stability, more time + freedom, it positions you as an expert in your niche, allows you to expand your offerings and better serve your customers (and much more!). 

Membership Model planning
A membership model can transform your business

Is a membership model right for your business? 

Subscription-based models are perfectly suited to three types of business:

1) If you offer access to content: 

If you create content that educates, informs, engages, or entertains then it definitely applies to you. We’re talking about online courses, articles, episodes, e-books, digital downloads , etc. If you haven’t already incorporated a membership model, then you should re-think how your customers or audience access your content library. 

Subscription models offer a new way to monetize your most valuable content. Sure, you are probably already giving out tons of free advice on your website and social channels but why not monetize your expertise a little by offering curated content only to those that pay for a subscription. You can create a whole library of paid content, which you can continuously add to, adding value for those that are subscribed. Don’t feel bad about the extra revenue that you earn as it will allow you more time and flexibility to both create more FREE content for everyone and more curated content, ensuring that you customers get a better bang for their buck. Ultimately, everybody wins. 

2) If you sell a repeat product — or if you bundle multiple products together.

Do you have a product that your customers keep coming back to each month? This could be anything from essential oils to books to courses or masterclasses to licences through facilitator training programs. With membership subscription models, you can turn your product offerings into a service. 

Forget the price battle, stop worrying about maintaining customers, and quit racing to the bottom. Save time and worry by offering your customers  a subscription model so that they can continue enjoying your product or service at a price that everyone is happy with. 

3) If you’re bringing together a community 

This is one of my all-time favorites. Bringing people together around a common passion, interest, or simply creating a space for people to be vulnerable and interact with like-minded people. In my experience, community building is the way to your customers’ hearts.

types of membership models

What are the types of membership models?

What’s that? Not only does this apply to your company but it feels as though we’re speaking directly to you? 

We thought that may be the case.

Well then, let’s figure out which type of membership model best fits your business. Let’s see some of the most common models here:

Community-based

In a Community-based membership, members get a ton of value out of interacting with like-minded people coming together around a specific purpose or goal. What makes these unique is their ‘social network or forum’. Facebook groups are a popular option for this, but there are way better options out there if you really want to make it your own. 

I’m a member of Sahara Rose’s Rose Gold Goddesses community, which does this really well and she uses MightyNetworks as her membership platform. 

To make this type of membership successful, you must put a lot of time into facilitation to ensure member engagement, so it’s not for you if you’re looking to be more hands-off or if you don’t have several hours per week to put into community engagement.

Professional Service

This is essentially pre-purchased services on a recurring basis.

This is a good model if you offer 1:1 services like Reiki, Personalized Moon Reports, Healing Sessions, Coaching or any other exchange of money for your time.

How it could work is: your clients or students buy a monthly or annual membership that includes a set number of hours / sessions each month. This works well for both you and your client, as it created predictable recurring revenue for you as well as guaranteed availability for your client or student. 

Tip: plug in a scheduling tool and you’ve nearly automated the logistical back-and-forth of booking your clients. 

Content Updates

In this model, members pay you for access to content that you publish on an ongoing basis.

This is great for new creators who don’t have a content library built up yet, or if you want a more hands-off model that warms your members up to buying your other digital products or services. 

One of my clients set up a subscription for her breathwork teacher training students. After they earned their licenses, they were given access to a content library of playlists and other material for their classes, along with monthly content updates: new playlists, new spiritual themes each month and more.

Group Coaching

Similar to an evergreen online course in terms of content, but with added focus on coaching sessions and/or peer-to-peer support built in. It’s structured to always run on the same recurring schedule, which allows members to get started at any time.

Product Bundle 

This is where two or more digital products are offered together. If you already have digital products such as courses, workshops, eBooks, templates, worksheets, or any other downloads, bundling them together will help them get into more of your audience’s hands, which will increase your sales. 

For example, you might have a few courses + workshops, plus guided meditations and journaling worksheets. You’d simply bundle these together and offer monthly access to it all. 

The success of this model lies in truly knowing your dream customer and offering them the content and products that appeal to them. 

Content Library

This one is similar to the Content Updates Model, but the emphasis here lies in the access to a pre-existing library of content.  This is a great membership model if you have an existing library of content built up. It works well with the Content updates model, allowing you to give your members access to past and previous content. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already provided your content elsewhere on the internet: people are willing to pay more for the convenience of accessing it in one place.

Path-to-Result

The Path-to-Result model is where you help your members achieve a specific goal or outcome at the end of a predetermined period. This model is similar to an online course or program, but it often adds in elements from the models above. 

The ‘Subscribers Only’ Model

There’s a lot to be said for running your business for free. Whether you’re a content creator, or software provider, giving people access for free is a labor of love and an excellent way to attract people to your service or advice.

However, as many of the world’s leading newspapers have recently realized, you eventually need to find a way to generate income. Especially if advertising or promoting affiliate products isn’t proving to be effective. 

This has led to a surge in people offering the “subscribers only” model. Basically, you offer the majority of your content for free in the way you’ve always done it. But, you keep your best work behind a paywall for your loyal paying subscribers. If you offer content and you’ve built enough of an audience that you think you’re ready to monetize, this is a brilliant way to do it without feeling like you’re creating a product just for the sake of the money.

If you’re an artist or creator and people take enjoyment from your work, you shouldn’t feel bad about asking for a little something in return. Subscribers-only content works well to generate income, as well as treating your most loyal fans to the content they deserve.

How can a membership model’ benefit your business?

What are the benefits of a membership model?

Stable Cash Flow: Say goodbye to what I call “Revenue Reset”: where your revenue starts at $0 each month. Instead, you make the sale once and the revenue continues to come in each month. And because of that, it’s fairly simple to calculate and forecast cash flow and finally achieve financial stability. Recurring revenue is a serious game-changer!

Lower Marketing Costs: Once you gain a new member, you don’t have to spend more money marketing to them again. This is the opposite of a one-off transaction business model, where you must keep advertising your products or services to the same market in order to sell them.

Lower Costs of Business: This is the beauty of scaling. Think about it: you create content for your membership — a workshop for example. You’re able to sell it over and over again, gaining new members month over month. You continue adding content at your own pace, updating the material every now and then. Since the value you create can be scaled for all members , your costs of producing products/services are lower than other types of business models.

Fast, Direct Feedback from Members: If your membership model services are off, it’s easy to tell. Members will stop engaging, stop visiting your website, and stop reading your emails. Plus members are more likely to share feedback with you, because it’s in their interest to keep the organization providing high value, especially for professional associations, since networking opportunities, certification, and education may be tied to their career.

The Ability to Impact a Community: I’ve worked directly with clients that provide high-value resources (workshops, online courses, certifications, etc.) that affect thousands of people. With a membership model, you actually bring communities closer together, by creating incredible networking opportunities for members. Furthermore, by giving yourself more financial flexibility, you can focus more on what you are here for, which is bringing about positive change and elevating the collective consciousness.

Additional Revenue Opportunities: On top of member fees, members can also be up-sold and cross-sold your other offerings (I have an entire framework around this called the Conscious Product Pyramid!). If you have enough members, you can also gain sponsorship from companies wishing to share even more value with your members.

Direct relationship with customers: What better way to establish a strong connection with your customers and clients than through a private container? Engaging with them on a monthly basis not only builds loyalty, but also bypasses retailers, distributors and other partners. The less middlemen, the better. Deal directly with your clients and customers and see the benefits yourself!.

Higher valuations from investors in both public and private markets: It’s simple, if you’ve proven that you can generate recurring revenue, then your business model is more attractive to investors. 

What is the difference between a membership-based and subscription-based business?

Membership-based Businesses: Membership involves the process of “paying money to become a member of a club or an activity or a service place to get some sort of services or privileges for a particular time period. The membership businesses mainly work on providing offline experiences. In contrast: A person can physically become a member of a gym as well as a golf club after purchasing a membership plan as per their requirements. For example: Gold’s Gym Membership Plans 

Subscription-based Businesses on the other hand are based on providing digital experiences through incorporating technologically advanced software. Almost every subscription plan works digitally. For Example: Netflix Subscriptions

Want to chat membership model ideas for your conscious business? 

Let’s chat over a virtual coffee! I’d love to offer you a free 30 minute consultation where we’ll discuss how a membership could look in your business and 3 concrete steps you can take to get started. Book a time on my calendar here. Otherwise, check out some free resources, here

Paige is a business mentor & strategy coach for the visionary soulpreneur who is clear on their mission, ready to amplify their message, scale their impact & multiply their income into the 6-figure range.

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