Untold Truths of Running a Membership Site
Welcome to episode 322 of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris.
It’s once again that time, real talk time. I want to talk about membership sites today because we passed our year anniversary of Hit the Mic Backstage a few months ago and I have spent probably almost the entirety of the second half and for sure the bulk so far of the fourth quarter this year all in on making my community better in every way I can, upgrading things, like the sales page, like the checkout system, the onboarding sequence, all of that stuff because of these lessons that I have learned.
The three things I want to talk about today, the three lessons that I want to talk about today are the things that I feel I don’t get enough conversation, enough highlighting. I think we talk a lot about tech and plugins and content even, but I don’t know that we talk enough about these things, certainly before you launch. These are things that I don’t think I really digested before I started and so I want to talk about them with you today and I would love to hear your thoughts. Of course if you’re a member already, good for you. Don’t tell the others, but you’re my favorite. You can come over to the private community and talk to me about this there.
If you’re not a member yet, dude what’s your deal? Head over to the Facebook page or even better, join the membership and come talk to us in the private community. That’s going to be the best way to do it. All right? Let’s jump in.
Lesson number one, and this is just a good business lesson in general, even if you don’t have a membership site or want to have a membership site. It’s not for everyone. Nothing that you do in your business will be something that’s a fit for every single person. If you launched a membership site and you’re just not feeling it, that’s okay. Just because this is the thing that a ton of people really love right now, I know that I launched in August of 2015 and by October I think I knew of like 9 billion people who were launching membership sites. It’s been the thing of 2016 because everybody wants the ever-so-mythical recurring passive revenue, which by the way a membership site is not passive.
It is recurring if you can keep members. It’s not entirely passive. It is certainly more passive than a one-on-one is, but it’s not as passive as say me selling on online program like I did with the Rock Star Guides. It’s not for everyone. I happen to really love delivering value this way. I happen to really love connecting with my members. I really like being of service to the people I get to be of service with through Hit the Mic Backstage, but it’s not for every business model. It doesn’t make sense for everyone. It doesn’t feel right for everyone, and guess what, guys? That’s totally okay. If this is not for you, and you’re like, “Well, everyone is doing it, and should I do it? Recurring revenue, rah, rah, rah. That would be great,” but it just doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it, because you will never build the kick-ass program which you want to build if it’s not aligned with you and how you best serve your audience. Don’t force yourself into doing this. Okay? Promise? Look, I’m just going to assume you said promise, okay? Thank you.
Number two, sort of in that same vein, it is impossible to make everyone happy. The upside to that is through knowing who your ideal members are or your ideal clients, you don’t have to make everybody happy. You just have to make them happy. Caveat to that though, you’ll still not make all of them happy all of the time. You’ll book calls the wrong time, you’ll have the wrong kind of community aspect. They’ll want a Facebook group and you’ll have a private forum. You’ll have a Facebook group and they’ll want a private forum. You’ll do trainings twice a month and they want trainings once a week. There’s always going to be something that somebody wants that’s not there and that either you’re not going to do or you haven’t done yet. That’s okay. This is your membership site. You get to decide. Sometimes you’ll make decisions that are not overly popular. That’s okay, too.
Personally, I’ve been going through this with moving from the Facebook group to the private forum. There have been a couple of people who really wanted me to keep the Facebook group, but here’s the deal. I know stuff. I know what I want my community to look and feel like, I know the experience I want my members to have, and I also know that I can’t control that in Facebook. Facebook is already testing rollings ads to groups, meaning I could be having a fantastic conversation in my membership community about how I can best serve them with something and they could be seeing ads for some other membership site exactly like mine at the same time. Not exactly the experience we want to have.
On the flip side, Facebook has also stopped delivering the group stuff just willy nilly. It’s going through the same algorithm that paid stuff is going through now, so again, it’s not necessarily getting into the news feed any better. I know that that’s happening and I know that that’s not what I want for a premium environment, meaning people pay to be a part of this membership site.
One thing I should mention because I’m big on terms and conditions and you guys knowing, you cannot just sell a Facebook group. You can have a training library and a bonus as a Facebook group, but you cannot be making money on just having a Facebook group. It’s against the terms and conditions so pay attention to that. Another reason not to worry about Facebook groups. I’m not saying Facebook groups are bad; I’m not saying they’re not a fit, I’m just saying that there’s a reason I made that change and I know that reason, so even through there is some pushback to having moved to a private community, I know it’s long term what’s best for my membership as a whole.
I have, full transparency guys, I have lost members over moving. Only one or two, but I can’t be everything to everyone. I have to do what’s best for the whole and I have to do what’s best for my business, so I made the move and I wish them the best, and I hope they come back, that’d be great, but if they find what they need someplace else that serves them in the way that way that they want to be served, then fantastic for them. Remember, you cannot make everyone happy all of the time. There will be times when you get pushback and there will be times when you have to trust your instincts. You have to trust your training and you have to trust that you’re doing what’s best for your business and for the membership as a whole. That’s just the way it is. All right?
The number three thing I want to wrap this episode up with, is that, and I kind of alluded to this earlier, this is not passive income. Yes, it’s more passive in a sense that I’m working one to many and not one-to-one, I’m not trading hours for dollars, so my income is not capped in that way, but it’s not passive. I don’t just sit back and enjoy those PayPal ca-chings. I do enjoy the PayPal ca-chings, but I’m not sitting back usually. Usually I’m spending time making the community better whether it’s upgrading the sales page or changing the checkout system or rewriting the onboard sequence or running ads or working on the marketing funnel that gets more members in or hell, even creating this podcast because it’s a part of what grows the membership is people who listen to the show and want to upgrade the experience they have with the show to an even more direct line to me.
Also, answering questions in the private community. Building trainings for the private community. Testing things so that I can teach it to the private community. One example is I have laid out in Q1 of 2017 what we’re going to be learning in the community, and guess what, guys? All of that stuff, I’m testing those theories now on my stuff with some client stuff so that I can present that information to members during those trainings in January, February, and March of 2017. Yeah, that takes time. That’s all I do anymore is work on this membership site. We do have a couple of one-on-one clients, we do have a couple of management clients, but that’s not where I spend the bulk of my time. One-on-one is with me, but management is happening through some me, but mostly Charles and the team. I just oversee strategy now. Really, really, really, really paying attention to what it’s going to take to keep it running. I think one of the biggest mistakes I see other membership people running memberships making is that they didn’t realize how much work it was going to be all of the time.
To be honest it’s not a ton of work, it’s leveraged work from the perspective of I’m not capping my income. I can work one to 100,000 if I wanted to, but it is a project that doesn’t end. It’s not “I built the course and now it’s out there,” so pay attention to that. Be ready for that.
Just to recap, real quick, the three things I want you to know: It’s not for everyone and that’s okay. You can’t make everyone happy all of the time and that’s okay too. Real talk though, it is an ongoing project. It is never ending for as long as you have members to serve, you will be making improvements and changes and tweaks and making content and all of that for them, and that’s cool, but know that because that might really feed into the first one. It might not be for you, and that’s okay. All right?
That’s it. I would love to see you come join us at Hit the Mic Backstage. If you have more questions about running membership sites, I get really, really transparent in there. We talk about all of the tools I use. I answer questions all the time, so if you want to get some support in building your membership site, that’s a great resource to get started with. More importantly, though, it will help you market you membership site. Getting clear on your social media so that you can actually sell people into it. That’s going to be important.
One other thing, if you really, really want to go all in on building a membership site, I actually would suggest another membership site as well, it’s called Member Site Academy. I am a member; I am affiliate. I will include a link in the show notes page for this episode, but the membership guys are fantastic. If nothing else check out their podcast, but the Member Site Academy, their premium membership is killer. It’s absolutely amazing, so check it out if you are all in.
It actually pairs very well with Hit the Mic Backstage because you can learn all the membership site stuff there and then we, of course, dive deep on the social media side of things and backstage so you’re really building your audience and marketing to them and getting members in the door.
Check out those resources and I will see you guys on Friday.
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