How to Know If Starting a Membership Site Is Right for You

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Hae Park
Jul 3, 2021 · 4 min read

More than ever, memberships are becoming bigger assets to business owners who want to position themselves as industry leaders. And as someone who’s built multiple membership sites for our clients, I have personal insight on the types of people who go on and succeed in their memberships and those who end up closing them.

Now it’s important for me to say here that there is nothing wrong with closing a membership. However, many of our clients invest in building custom membership platforms and even automated funnels for their memberships. And it’s as saddening for me to see those memberships close down, so I want to help you make sure that you’re starting with the right ideas.

You’re in this 100%

If anyone told you that memberships are great for passive income, they’re 80% wrong. Yes, it’s passive in the sense that you don’t have to pursue your next customer to get paid actively. As long as you have a great funnel and membership platform set up, that part should be good to go.

However, running your membership is a completely different story.

When you run a membership, expect you & your team’s schedule to look something like this:

  1. Approve members joining the community (usually a Facebook group)
  2. Schedule events for membership calls
  3. Show up regularly for the scheduled calls
  4. Upload call replays to the membership site (or edit & categorize them into the library if we built yours)
  5. Post in membership community & engage with members
  6. Communicate with guest experts for workshops (if you offer them)
  7. Answer customer support emails about billing, account access, etc.

And more/less, depending on what type of membership you run! You can definitely optimize most of these tasks by building processes for your team, but it’s definitely not a set and forget system, unlike what many expect when they start.

You’re ready to set the right systems

That leads me to our second point.

Anything from launching and funnels to cancellation requests and removing members from your community, you need to make sure that you’re set up with the correct systems to run your membership.

For example, if you have a monthly Q&A call inside your membership, there are quite a few things you need to think about.

  • Where are you going to gather the questions from?
  • How are you going to track the questions you gathered?
  • How are you going to promote the Q&A call?
  • How are you going to notify that the question has been answered?
  • How will you record and upload the Q&A call?

And so much more.

So when you run a membership, get ready to handle these operational tasks. If you don’t have systems set up to streamline, you’ll be running your membership feeling like you’re being chased on a day-to-day basis.

You have one, strong core topic

I’ve never been a fan of generic memberships. Because the moment you expand your core topics, it’s hard to retrieve them. So the key to a successful membership program is to have one specific topic and narrow it down. Have a tunnel-vision into that one topic, and don’t add things like the cherry-on-top.

Why? It’s because if you start expanding your topics, the more there are, the less relevant they are to every single member. If you focus on one topic or problem, everyone inside your membership is there because they have some relevance to the topic. This makes your membership the go-to place for them to ask questions, get information, etc.

But when you start becoming more general, your members don’t view your membership as the one place to go, but one of many.

When you search a specific term on Google, you expect Google to show you results that are most relevant to your keyword, right? But what if they started putting other things inside that hat with no relevance?

Google would lose its specialty of keyword-specific searching and become this disorganized system that you can no longer trust for the best information about a specific keyword or topic.

Professionally, I love building memberships. Because we specifically work with building membership platforms that skyrocket success results, there are always hundreds of ways we strategize and brainstorm how to structure memberships.

Personally, as a massive introvert, I would never start a membership. But just as much as I like to support founders, coaches, and content creators, I know those who are an absolute fit for running a membership program, and I hope that this article has helped your decision.

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    Haeun Park
    — Founder of Made at Dawn

    Meet the Founder & Director of Made at Dawn.

    Haeun Park —

    As a professionally certified website design & developer, Haeun has worked with brands worldwide to deliver websites that turn ideas into thoughtfully planned-out digital experiences.

    Haeun spends most of her time behind her desk, with a 35" monitor she proudly boasts to her family, who doesn't understand why it's crucial to a designer.

    A moment of silence for her monitor.

    Her life motto is "ignorance is a form of bravery," which motivates her to try new, bold things in life that most people are afraid to do.

    Haeun's eye for design, detail in development, and experience in architecting websites enables her to combine creativity and technology to provide an all-encompassing solution that is not just well-designed, but practical and well-planned.