Membership Geeks

9 Signs That You Shouldn’t Start a Membership Website

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Is starting a membership the right move for you? 

This is probably not a question you'd expect me to ask…

We're here to guide you on how to plan, build and grow a membership after all…

But we're also realistic…

A lot of people out there will tell you that every single person can start a membership…

And that's simply not true… 

Running a membership isn't for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong, they can thrive in every market and for every business…

But that doesn't mean that everyone should launch one.

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration that might mean a membership is the wrong move for you.

So if you're still on the fence on whether or not to launch a membership website…

Or are currently asking yourself “Is this what I should be doing?”

Then we're going to give you some clarity to help you make that decision.

Here are 9 signs that you shouldn’t start a membership…

1. You love working with clients one-on-one

For some people, the thought of working closely with their clients is what drives them…

If that about sums you up, you probably won’t get much out of a membership website…

As they're structured as a one-to-many business model rather than a one-to-one.

So, as the site expands, you’ll find yourself drifting further away from that personalized interaction you love so much.

But that’s generally what’s so great about membership websites…

Since you’re not spending time providing a single service for one client at a time, you get to affect more change. 

That being said, it's perfectly OK to stick to the one-on-one stuff, especially when that’s where your passion lies.

2. You hate creating content

It’s worth remembering that the quantity and regularity of your content won't make or break your website…

The value lies in the change you affect and the results you get from the consumption of that content…

It's the vehicle you use to help your members get from A to B.

If this is the face you make creating content, then a membership might not be right for you…

In almost all cases, it's an essential requirement to deliver content to members to help them progress towards achieving their goal.

So, if the content creation process gives you that sinking feeling at the bottom of your stomach…

You may need to rethink adopting the membership business model.

3. Interacting with an online community is your pet peeve

For some people, the thought of that back and forth with an online community and dealing with customer support sounds like a nightmare. 

However, it’s a way of life when running a membership website.

So if this doesn't appeal to you then now is the time to walk away.

In those early stages, before you hire your first employee or outsource this task, you’ll have to do this yourself on a daily basis.

And even when you do get some help, you'll still need to be present inside your community. 

It’s even harder to escape day-to-day interaction when your membership revolves around you as the go-to expert in your industry.

The promise of some form of access to you is probably why your members join in the first place.

So, if you’re not part of the package, you’ll end up bleeding members.

4. You have nothing to offer

Do you need to be an expert to start a membership website?

In short, no. 

But, you do need to bring something to the table in the form of skills, knowledge, or expertise…

You can't just set up a membership that offers nothing to your members…

There are ways around this though if you're not the expert..

But the fact remains that without a solid value proposition, it’ll be an uphill battle from the moment you attempt to sign up members.

If this is the case, maybe a membership site isn't the path to go down for you.

5. You’re in it for an easy ride to fame and riches

Contrary to what you’ll hear from charismatic salespeople and dream peddlers, memberships require a lot of hard work.

Sure, there’s the advantage and freedom to control your overall input…

But the best memberships still need hard work.

It's worth remembering that memberships are a marathon and not a sprint…

So, you’re not going to wake up to a healthier bank account overnight…

Embracing the slow burn is the one true way to make it to the top. 

In summary, you shouldn’t start a membership website if you’re looking for something that yields speed-of-light results.

6. You’re not in it for yourself

Perhaps your mentor advised you to start a membership…

Or it simply seems like a cool trend to hop on right now.

These reasons are not strong enough to get you through what lies ahead.

The amount of time, effort, knowledge, and attention required is enough to discourage anyone without the right motivation.

This may not be a “no” on the membership front, but more of a “not now.”

So if you don't really know why you should start a membership, then it might not be the business model for you.

My advice in this case would be to invest time in learning about what running a membership website entails, then figure out if that's what you want.

7. You aren’t interested in the topic

When picking a subject area to build your membership on, it’s not enough to rummage around in your knowledge vault for something you can present in your sleep… 

You have to commit to the long-term development of this topic while maintaining a high level of enthusiasm from day one to the last. 

If it’s not a topic you’re genuinely interested in, it’ll be evident in your content, work ethic, and all-around commitment.

One of the best ways of best ways of building and and marketing a successful membership site is by having a truly kick-ass product…

And you're not going to have that if you have no passion…

Because if there's no passion there's no point. 

Your members…

Altogether, it’s unrealistic for your members to think you’ve got something great to offer if you don't believe it yourself.

8. You have no audience or following

If there’s no audience, then there’s no membership…

The ‘build it and they will come' ethos simply doesn't work. 

Audience building is a crucial part of at least the initial stages of building any membership website… 

Because if you have no audience, who will join your site? 

If you're completely stuck and don't know how to grow an audience, that doesn't bode well for  the success of your membership…

Because, if you can't compel someone to subscribe to your email list, you're really going to struggle to compel them to join your membership. 

But, while you shouldn’t wait until you have a gazillion potential members, there should be a feasible plan in place to acquire some over time. 

So, if you can’t make any leeway at this stage, I'd suggests one of two things:

  1. The time isn't quite right for you to start your membership
  2. You need to spend time researching what makes your audience tick, engaging with them and building your following organically 

9. You’re in it for the short run

Deciding to have a membership is, more or less, like starting a garden…

It's not quite right to plant the seeds, then a few days later, decide to stop weeding or watering them.

It's one of those commitments you have to see through to the end for the best results…

With memberships, you should be willing to spend at least 10 years building and pushing for the results you promise… 

It’s not a churn and burn business model.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck in one line of business for a minimum of 10 years though…

There’s always the option for adding multiple revenue streams to your membership or selling a course alongside it…

Or even offering services that branch out from it.

Now it's time to mull things over…

Not to cast a dark cloud over your exciting new plans but starting a membership website is no joke…

The commitment is not one-sided, as you’ll have to consider your members every step of the way.

Hopefully, this post has either proven you have what it takes to start a membership…

Or steered you in the direction of a business model that better suits your needs.

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