There’s a top secret, foolproof strategy for membership site owners that is pretty much guaranteed to:
- Make your members happier and more successful.
- Make you happier and more successful.
- Make your membership more sustainable.
Want to know what it is? It’s a bit of a complex process, but I can explain for you…
- Step 1: Take time off.
- Step 2: That’s it.
In some circles, working every hour under the sun and being so busy that you're eating your Christmas lunch with your laptop on your knee, is seen almost as a badge of honour.
Evidence that you're “hustling” harder than anyone else and as a result your business will be more successful.
It doesn't work like that.
Working hard is not the same as working smart; and neither you nor your paying members benefit from you being so tethered to your business that you can't take a little time out.
Taking time away from your membership is one of the best things you can do for your business. Let me explain why…
The world keeps turning
Several years ago, before Callie and I started working together to form The Membership Guys, I was at a point where I hadn’t taken a proper holiday in 8 years (or, since I first went self-employed).
I was working crazy hours and completely burning myself out, driven by a fear that everything would fall apart if I wasn’t available at all hours.
Callie convinced me that we needed to take a holiday and I agreed… after a lot of persuading.
In the months building up to our break, I was running myself ragged and going crazy with worry.
I was working harder than ever trying to make sure things stayed afloat whilst I was away, arranging a team of people to respond just in case a client needed support in the three weeks I was away.
I’d never spent more than 2 or 3 days away from my business before this!
Then, when the day came and Callie dragged me away from my desk…
Not a single thing happened.
No panicked phone calls.
The world didn’t end.
Turns out, the world carries on spinning even though you’ve decided to take time away from your membership.
I often see membership site owners fall into the trap that I did, thinking that if they take a little bit of time out then everything is going to implode and that their membership cannot possibly survive without them for a few days or weeks.
Chris Ducker calls this “Superhero Syndrome”.
Stop Superhero Syndrome and get more from your membership
There’s nothing wrong with making yourself accessible, but it is important to set boundaries between you and your members – and between you and your membership site.
The truth is, if your membership relies on you being personally available 24/7, then you’re not getting the most from the membership model.
The membership model is one of the most highly leveraged online business models, meaning that the time you put in generates a far greater outcome in terms of the value it creates.
Work you do one day, benefits you and your members weeks, months, and years in the future.
As a result, your membership can deliver value without you being there. You not being around and instantly available doesn’t mean that your courses and community aren’t valuable.
And, honestly, nobody expects you to be around all the time!
I highly recommend you take a look at our article and podcast episode explaining How to Set Boundaries with your Members if you want to learn more about setting healthy boundaries.
Why a break will benefit you
It’s not in your members’ interests if you burn yourself out and end up resenting your membership.
Nobody is denying that great membership sites take hard work, but it’s hard work on your terms.
In some circles, it’s seen as a badge of honor to never take time off, or to be working on Christmas Day, almost as if doing so makes you better or more likely to be successful than somebody who isn’t.
But that’s not how it works.
Hard work is necessary – to a point.
But eventually, you don’t need to be focusing on working harder, you need to work smarter.
Working smarter means running a business that doesn’t rely on you showing up 24/7.
Working on your membership, not in your membership, is the key to true long-term success as a membership site owner.
The membership site owner who breaks up periods of hard work with healthy breaks is the membership site owner who will be creating great content, feeling motivated and inspired, and showing up in ways their members really need.
Allow me a moment of geekiness here, but J.R.R. Tolkien summarized this beautifully in The Fellowship of the Ring, when Bilbo says:
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
Unless you want to feel like poor Bilbo, you need to make sure you are regularly taking a complete break from your membership.
Look after yourself!
If you feel like any of this applies to you, if you find it difficult to take time away from your membership, you are certainly not alone.
Make sure you take the time to work on some of the things discussed here. It’ll do everyone good:
- Work on, not in, your business
- Manage expectations of your members and yourself
- Set boundaries for your membership
- Take a complete break on a regular basis
I truly hope this inspires you to take a break from your membership if you need one.