The 3 Step System For Turning Your Passion into Profit in 2018

​Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do you love to do?
  2. What are your friends always asking you about?
  3. What area would you consider yourself an expert in?

Maybe you’ve been working as a financial advisor for eight years, or maybe you’ve coached tennis for ten summers in a row… Either way, there’s probably something that you are exceptionally good at.

From investment training to fitness instruction, if you have an expertise, you can create, sell, and profit by creating an membership site.

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The market for education, training, self-help, and self-improvement is huge:

  • Companies spend $70 billion a year on corporate training programs in the U.S. and $130 billion a year worldwide.
  • Higher education in the U.S. is a $450 billion industry.
  • The self-help industry brings in $10 billion annually.

At the same time, the internet has given everyone the opportunity to create and sell training products online—including you!

What is a Membership Site and How do They Work?

A membership site is a gated part of your online business where members can access exclusive content. This exclusive content usually takes the form of digital information products such as eBooks, webinars, courses, etc.

Online education through gated content can connect like-minded people, using guidance and support to push them towards a common goal. Plus, creating a membership site of your own comes with little overhead expenses and the ability to scale no matter where you are at in the world.

So how does a membership site earn you money? Customers will pay you for access to exclusive, and high-value content. Your reach doesn’t just go to members in your local area, with an online membership site you can reach customers all over the globe.

Even though it will take more work up front, a self-hosted membership site built on WordPress is your best option. With this model, you own the content and you are in full control of your business.

That means you’re in control of the pricing, you own your leads, and you won’t be competing with the rest of the world.

Marketing Your Membership Site in 3 Simple Steps:

  1. You will generate leads by paying for advertisements to attract your target audience to your site.
  2. You’ll offer free content that gets those people to know, like, and trust you.
  3. Then, you will offer more, higher value content for sale.

Starting a membership site of your own is hard work. But with the right guidance and support, it is much easier than you realize to profit from your passion. 

​Benefits and Downsides of Building a Membership Site

Why should you consider starting a membership website?

  • Build a loyal community and help more people
  • No physical products to sell
  • More revenue than selling a book
  • Make money without trading dollars for hours
  • Low overhead costs
  • Become an authority in your niche
  • Location independence

​But there are some negative aspects in building a successful site...

  • Personality required so people connect with you.
  • Consistency is required because people need to know you’re available.
But there are some negative aspects in building a successful site...

​Common Membership Site Mistakes to Avoid

Never Sell Your Content on Sites Like Udemy

Main problem, Udemy sells cheap courses and you only receive a fraction of that as your commission. The profits are not there.

Never Copy Your Competition

Look at your competition’s marketing strategies to see if they’re successful, but do not copy their story, or their membership site’s unique selling proposition. This will be unique to you and your site.

Never Disrespect Your Customers

Make sure you deliver on your promises and are there to support your members if they get stuck. Never disrespect your customers by needlessly upselling them just to get more money (this is something we will cover later).

​Don’t Try to Get Rich Overnight

Don’t try to squeeze money out of people as quickly as you can when you first get started. First, create a business that builds riches over decades, not overnight.

How Much Money Can You Expect to Make?

Memberships to your membership site are not the only way you will make money, The other products that will bring you sales include:

  • Lead Generators
  • Liquidators
  • Primary Offers (Usually membership)
  • Profit Boosters

Lead Generators are products that you giveaway for in exchange for an email address. This type of content is a simple product that gives your targeted audience a simple answer to one of their big problems. Lead generators won’t bring you in any money right away, but instead they will help you build a list of emails to send more offers to. Some examples include:

  • eBooks
  • Case studies or reports
  • Mini-course
Free eBook Download - NeoMam Studios

​Liquidators, also know as tripwires, are content “upgrades” that allow you to break even on your ad spend. So you spend $3 for each lead, and you’ve created a case study to attract people to give you their name and email in exchange for the report. Then once you have that lead, you try to sell them your liquidator right away.  

A liquidator isn’t a full-blown video course or a massive eBook, but instead a low price (normally $7-$100) upgrade to help them with the lead generator they just received. These sales won’t make you money, but they will help you with the money you’ve spent on leads.

Break-Even Calculator:

100 leads that cost $3 (CPL = cost per lead) = $300

10% should convert and buy your liquidator that is selling for $50

10 sales of your liquidator product = $500

Now you’ve made $500 in sales from your liquidator, and after the cost to cover your ad spend ($300), you’re left with $200 net profit!

The next step is where the real money is made. Your primary offer should provide end-to-end solutions to real problems your customers face. In this case, your membership site will be your primary offer. Many memberships are sold at prices that range from $497 to $3,497 depending on the value they offer.

Profit boosters will be your products that you offer customers that have bought your primary product. Profit boosters are not shady upsells, they’re products that will benefit your top tier customers.

High-ticket masterminds or “Done-For-You” services are some of the most effective profit boosters to create for your membership site business. Typically, these products have big price tags that can range from costs $2,000 to $100,000. But to some of your customers, they will be worth every penny.

Step One: Creating Information Products to Sell

People buy access to membership sites because they are looking for solutions to their problems. Structuring your own unique solution to their problems is crucial. You will want to do so in a way that will get members to buy.

Typically, you will need to draw a road map with five to ten steps that will help your members reach this end goal. These steps can then be turned into a course that includes videos, slideshows, and notes.

Step 1: Create an End Goal

This is the most important step. You need to create an “end goal” for your future customers. You need to think about what result you want to help people achieve. If you’re a fitness coach, perhaps you want to help people lose 10 pounds. If you’re a language teacher, you may want to help people have a conversation in their target language.

Step 2: Create a Mind Map

Once you decide on the goal for your own future members, it’s time to map out the process. To do this, you’ll need to take some time and brainstorm every step along the way.

Step 3: Expand on Mind Map

Since you’ve done it before, you may not realize how many steps are involved. You may have learned it so long ago that you forgot about many of the hurdles along the way that may trip other people out, so the more specifics you can include, the better.

Step 4: Create Video Content

Once you have your road map that leads people to the end goal, it’s time to create the content that takes them there. This can be overwhelming for a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be. When you create the content, don’t think of it like you are creating a course for hundreds or thousands of people. Just act like you are creating it for one person. Make sure your instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Step Two: Building Your Website

There are many options to create your membership site, and where to host your content, but our recommendation is a self-hosted site created on WordPress. Hands down, WordPress is the best option even over sites like Udemy.

WordPress has so many benefits; it’s free, there are thousands of designs and plugins to help with functionality, plenty of help around the web if you have no idea what to do.

​When you build your own membership site on WordPress:
  • You will not be competing solely on price.
  • You have additional sources of traffic to capitalize on.
  • You own the customer and their data.
  • You control retargeting and remarketing efforts.
  • You can implement changes your market wants.
  • You can target your specific buyers.
wordpress membership site plugin

A small selection of WordPress.org's 600+ plugins available for membership sites.

​​To start selling access to your membership site, you will first need a few key elements on your website. Those include:

1. Content Pages

These are the pages, information products, videos, etc. people will need to pay to access.

2. Content Locker

This locks all the content from step one that is only accessible after payment.

3. Merchant Account

Allows you to accept credit card payments and transfer payment to your bank account.

4. Order Form 

For customers to submit their information and place their order.

You also need to add your sales page and all other content for your site. This typically includes a sales page, about us page, FAQ, and any additional information. Remember to make sure you are providing value. Include some free content so people can get a sample of your material before they buy. Without providing value upfront, it is going to be difficult to gain trust.

Step Three: Getting Your Membership Site Noticed

After you’ve put in all this effort and time creating a membership site, it’s natural to wonder, “How will people find me? And why will they want to buy from me?”

People buy from those who they know, like, and trust, so first, you need to build goodwill. One of the most important parts to remember is you don’t need all the traffic in the world, you just need “buyer” traffic.  You need ‘your people’ to find you and then to get them to know, like, and trust your brand and personality. These are the people who will build your business with you

There are four major traffic sources that tend to work across all niches and industries:

Facebook Ads

This is the only source of traffic on this list that cost money. You will want to send highly-targeted Facebook Ads to a target audience, the more targeted the better. At this point you will want to send your traffic to a lead generator so these leads can get to know you and your brand better.

YouTube

You can create videos and distribute them for free on YouTube, but there are some key components to doing it well. In your videos, deliver value while being entertaining! In these videos, you aren’t asking for a sale or promoting new products, you will be talking about relevant topics to gain new subscribers and more views.

membership website

Create videos to establish yourself as an authority on YouTube.

Guest Blogging

Basically, this is a fun way to introduce yourself to new audiences in hopes of ‘stealing’ traffic from a blog in your industry. It is nothing new, and has been around a really long time. It can work great if you do it right. That means, create something unique with a counter viewpoint so you can start a dialogue and not get lost in the noise.

Forum Posting

Posting in forums is a highly effective way to create massive goodwill before you ever ask for something in return. Answer people’s questions, deliver value, and be a part of these communities. You will be doing this for awhile in order to build yourself a reputation in this community before it is ok to start talking about your membership site and/or products.

Next Steps: Maximizing Your Profits

Once you have your systems in place, it’s time to scale. Along the way of building your membership site, you’ll notice that you will occasionally have to go back and update something. Maybe one of your videos is outdated and you need to redo it. Perhaps you write a new blog post that goes viral and you need to make a video about it for your members.

As your course gets better and your community goes stronger, you’ll notice that your membership site is more valuable than it used to be. That will mean it is time to raise your prices… but you can only raise your prices so much.

Here are some surefire ways to ​continue maximizing profits:

  • Referral programs for existing members
  • Offer value added upsells
  • Promote products on the same or similar topics

Now, ​Time to Start Profiting From Your Passion!

This distinct step-by-step method will help you create a membership site that’s not only well-structured and jam-packed full of juicy information, but one that’s geared specifically towards your passion.

Once you go through this process, you can build a business from scratch. Not just any business, but a membership business that stems from something you are passionate about. You’ll be able to watch people achieve success, which is more fulfilling than any paycheck you will receive!

Caitlin
 

Caitlin is an Austin-based digital marketer and writer with a passion for content. She is the newest member of the Performance Marketer team and brings years of marketing experience, as well as the best recommendations for where to go for lunch.

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