Membership Geeks

How To Avoid Your Membership Becoming a Burden

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Creating a membership is an exciting time… 

The creative juices are flowing…

The sense of accomplishment from launching something new is exhilarating…

And there's an undeniable buzz you get with every new member who joins!

But how do you feel months or years down the line?… 

Does your membership still motivate you?

Or is it starting to feel like a chore?

Let’s face it, sometimes things don’t work out as nice and rosy as you imagine them to be!

But, when you’ve got a membership site to run, you have an obligation to keep it going, especially if people have paid for yearly access!

So, what can you do to prevent your membership from feeling like a burden?…

Let’s find out…

Make sure you're doing it for the right reasons

From day one, you need to be sure that you’re starting a membership for the RIGHT reasons. 

If you create a membership for the wrong reasons – like making a quick buck – you could be heading for trouble!

Make sure you’re doing it because you love the idea of serving your community… 

Or you want to help people reach their goals

you to your members

Obviously, there are good reasons from a business point of view too, such as increased flexibility and the stability of recurring income…

But, if you’re ONLY doing it because someone has told you this is the key to becoming rich with little effort, you’re going to be in for disappointment!

So, what can you do if you’ve created a membership for the right reasons, but you’re now starting to feel like it’s becoming a burden?

Anytime you’re feeling low, follow these steps:

  • Identify your reasons for creating a membership
  • Write these down on a piece of paper or post-it note
  • Stick this to your monitor, on the wall in your office, or anywhere you can easily see it
  • Anytime you feel like things are slipping, revisit these reasons to remind yourself of why you started in the first place…it can give you that boost you really need!

Have realistic expectations

Make sure your expectations of running a membership are rooted in reality. 

Typically, memberships are a slow burn, meaning your expectations need to be realistic! 

If you don’t have realistic goals, you’re going to start thinking negatively about your membership when you don’t meet them…

This then has a domino effect…

A negative mindset affects the content you create, the way in which you engage with your members, and so on…

This creates a poorer experience for your members, leading to more people leaving, and making you feel even worse!

To prevent this vicious cycle, keep your initial membership goals as realistic as possible. 

Don't confuse value with content

Something we always say is that if you expect people to pay on an ongoing basis, you need to deliver value on an ongoing basis. 

Many people assume that delivering value means constantly creating new content…

Value and content are not the same thing.

It’s about helping people to achieve their goals and get the results they were looking for when they joined your membership…

That doesn’t equate to constantly being on a content treadmill. 

Don’t get in the trap of creating content for the sake of creating content. 

If you’re starting to feel down about your content, re-evaluate how you approach content versus value. 

There are SO many ways other than content that you can deliver value to your members:

  • Q&A calls
  • Answering questions on your forum
  • Connecting members to each other
  • Helping people to find accountability partners

Remember, you’re the one in control…

You don’t need to be creating hours of material if you don’t want to!

You don’t even have to create content at all…

Your membership could be community based, or the value could be delivered through Q&A calls, or discounts that you get for your members. 

Set boundaries for how available you are to your members

When it comes to how accessible you are, it’s important to be clear about people’s expectations and how you manage them. 

Now, if you have a community-based membership, you need to be showing up often…

But, outside of that community, you get to set boundaries as to when and where people can communicate with you.

For example, if someone sends an email to your personal email address, and you haven’t made that communication channel available to your members, then you can choose not to engage with people there…

Or if you have a customer support system which deals with payment issues, but you’re receiving general questions, then you need to ensure that people are using the correct communication channels to maintain those boundaries

The same thing applies to the time of day in which you’re available to respond. 

Don’t be afraid to say something like “we reply to emails between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. If you email outside of those times, please allow up to 48 hours for a response.”

This can help you to not feel like your membership is taking over your life!

Develop robust systems and processes in your business

When things stop running smoothly, you start to get stressed out…

That’s why we’re HUGE advocates for developing robust systems and processes in your business…

Systems and processes are the backbone of successful memberships. 

So, any task that you can complete more than once, such as recording a podcast or sending out a newsletter, should be developed into a process where you break down that activity, step-by-step…

Use a system like Trello or Asana to systemize it to turn it into a template which you can reuse.

when you get your systems in place

Having these sorts of systems in place ensures that the things you’re doing are more efficient and effective…

You become more organized so it’s easier to outsource tasks…

This frees up your time, making your membership easier to run!

Keep a positive mindset

Like any business, there are ups and downs when running a membership site…

There are days when you’re making sales, your community is getting along well, and everything feels fantastic…

But there are also days with zero sales – when there’s cancellations and complaints from people you thought were happy…

The down days will happen but it’s how you choose to process them that counts!

It’s important to focus on the positives, and not the negatives.

If one member leaves, that doesn’t mean your membership is failing..

One bad day for sales doesn’t mean your membership is going to end…

It’s human nature to think about the negative things – and you shouldn’t completely ignore constructive feedback as you can use it as a learning experience – but keeping a positive mindset can prevent your membership from becoming a burden. 

Avoid becoming complacent

Running a membership means you’ve got to continue putting the effort in and serving your members. 

It’s easy to take things for granted, but becoming complacent can make you lazy…

When you get complacent, you end up becoming bored…

Feeling bored by your membership can feel worse than simply feeling negative…

Because when you feel down, you still have passion – there’s still something firing you and you can turn it around!

But, if you’re bored, it’s often hard to come back from that!

In this case, you need to try something new to get the passion back.

You can try exploring new developments in your area, testing a new content format, or bringing in new people to inject a bit of life back into your membership!

Experiment with different things to see what works for you and your community. 

Keep things simple!

Finally, avoid overcomplicating things, especially in the early days of your membership. 

Some of the best memberships are the simplest. 

Trying to do everything – like testing sales funnels, conversion rates, and pricing tiers – can lead you to a negative place because it’s tiring and stressful. 

You don’t need a million different features or technical tricks

The more overcomplicated something is, the more risk of it going wrong… 

You can simply have one button for people to join your membership immediately, or a straightforward website layout without any fuss…

Trust us! Keeping things simple (until you’re ready to scale) will make your site much easier to manage!

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