This is going to be quite a bold and adventures article but very informative and thought provoking I think. Well I intend it to be anyway. In this article I want to discuss how you can swap your monthly wage with a membership site that costs as little as £5 a month to the user.
You can charge more if you want but in reality to charge more you really need to give a lot of content and then it needs to be possibly groundbreaking and life changing. When you look at other subscription models such as Netflix and Spotify you will see that people get access to a lot of content for a small amount and this is going to be the benchmark which people will compare you with.
The spending habits of people would suggest that it is very possible to run a membership based website that will generate enough money for you to leave your job. When you look at how much people waste each month on trips to the coffee shop, buying papers and magazines then why wouldn’t some spend that money accessing what you have to offer?
People will spend a fortune on food and drink which most of the time they do not need but will only make them fat… and they then spend a lot of time and money trying to lose weight. Mankind is really illogical most of the time but hey that is another story for another day. What is important to remember is that there are a lot of people who will happily spend money on the things they enjoy.
When you look at papers and magazines you will see that most people spend at least £5 on them a month, now they do pack a lot of stuff into magazines and papers and much of it is junk to be honest but they still have people spending money on them. Huge publishing empires have been built by people buying magazines and papers of all kinds. Why can’t you do something similar with a website?
I see this as very doable, even today when there are so many websites giving a lot of stuff away for free. I think anything is possible these days and not everyone wants things for free because ‘free’ usually comes with the headaches and annoyances of having adverts plastered all over the website and videos and can often mean you having to wait for the adverts to finish before you get to see or hear the things you want.
This is why Google have just launched the new YouTube Red subscription model. Only in the Us for now but users can pay a monthly fee and get access to YouTube without any advertising causing interruptions and annoyances. YouTube has a lot of content and they also have mobile/ tablet friendly versions of their site which I think is going to be very important to running an online subscription service.
The Monthly Income Replacement Plan
So looking at the average monthly wage of people in the UK research suggests it was £2250 in 2014, now that is what they say but I know a lot of people are not making those kind of wages. Bar staff are said to only have a monthly wage of around £1200 and even actors which you would think lived a wealthy glamorous life really only roughly earn the same as bar staff each month.
There are millions of people who are doing unskilled work which certainly do not get paid more than £1200 so I am going to use that figure as the example for this article.
If you wanted to replace or generate a further £1200 a month then you would need to have 240 people paying you £5 a month. 240 sounds a lot but compared to the traffic most sites get in a month it is nothing, it is like a handful of rice from a paddy field harvest.
Remember that there are over 500 million people living in the five main English speaking nations and that does not include South Africa or the countless millions of others around the world who speak English as a second language.
How many of those people are online and might want to learn something new or be a member of an online club associated to something they love?
Getting 240 people to join and sign up is not going to be the easiest thing to do nor the fastest but it is possible especially if you deliver quality content to the right market and you give them plenty of it for the money.
In the book The Science Of Getting Rich Wallace D. Wattles said this about becoming rich and successful…
“You cannot give every man more in cash market value than you take from him, but you can give him more in use value than the cash value of the thing you take from him. The paper; ink, and other material in this book may not be worth the money you paid for it; but if the ideas suggested by it bring you thousands of dollars, you have not been wronged by those who sold it to you, they have given you a great use value for a small cash value.”
Basically what he is saying is that you need to give more value than what your customer is giving you in money for example, If I tried to sell one 30 minute DVD of me doing Yoga for £1000 I would not get any sales but if I sold a similar DVD that was over an hour long for £5.99 then I would sell more.
Not only am I giving them more to watch and do but the effects of Yoga could benefit their health for many years to come. But those benefits no matter how great they are would not justify the £1000 price tag for the first DVD especially when there are many other Yoga DVDs and books around.
Giving value to your client is the best way to go when building a profitable business and you should never forget that. If you offer something that is new, completely life changing or has a completely new unique twist then yes you probably can charge more.
In this article ‘Why A Home Run Adult Membership Site Should Inspire You To Start Your Own (non adult) Membership’ site I wrote how a couple in Canada were charging people around $30 to access a monthly membership where they were producing very little new content each month but their clients wanted to see this one ‘specific’ action performed by this one ‘certain young woman’ and so they were willing to pay more.
If you were able to build yourself up to become a popular band or person then people might happily pay to be a member for nothing more than getting access to you, news about you and your opinions.
Remember the ‘pop star’ fan clubs that youngsters used to join back in the 1970s and 1980s? They had a small joining/membership fee to be a member and for that you would get a newsletter and maybe some signed (printed signature) posters and that was generally it but youngsters still joined and stayed joined as long as their favourite pop star was their favourite and/or making music.
So to generate £1200 a month at £5 you would need 240 paying members. £5 is not a huge amount of money, as mentioned earlier, people regularly and happily pay £5 or more on coffee, cakes, cans of pop, chocolate bars and crisps which they probably do not need.
I recently spoke to my daughter who works in a popular high street coffee shop and she told me that they had a lot of regulars who would call at least once a day every day of the week and spend on average £2.80 for a medium sized drink and then many of them would also buy a biscuit, sandwich or cake.
They were spending roughly £14 – £20 a week on coffee and food…. in that one store. That is a staggering £56 – £80 a month and she also went on to say that they got a lot of young mothers, students and benefit claimants so it seems that there are many different types of people in our society with disposable income. I wouldn’t be surprised if during the month they bought food and drink from other stores too.
£5 isn’t a lot, but when money is spent on food like coffee and cake it does seem to be more justified and acceptable by most of society but it is still shows that people will spend small amounts on the things they ‘want’ and not necessarily need.
Over the course of the year £5 a month is only £60 which is nothing much at all, only two days ago I spent £20 on one takeaway meal for two of us. That one meal cost the equivalent of a third of a £60 a year membership fee. So in reality it is not a lot and there are people who will happily pay that.
The reason I decided that £5 is a good monthly price it that many people do not feel like they are losing much money if they do not visit your site often or that it is a lot to spend. It also means that if you do not deliver a ton of new content each month people do not feel cheated or under valued… after all, it is just a fiver… it is a price which I believe people think is enough to warrant a fair amount of content but if they don’t it is not a big issue or loss. It is a balanced amount.
What Can Your Online Membership Club Be About?
So now the hardest part is to find a niche or topic that you can build a site around which you can charge a membership fee for that has not been done to death already on the internet. The biggest problem I think you have to the membership model is that you can be competing against the big giants like YouTube as there are millions of videos online covering all kinds of niches for free and if music is your passion then there are loads of free music sites and again YouTube is a big player here as countless thousands of copyrighted mixes and songs get uploaded daily.
But all is not lost as sites like YouTube can be a real pain to search through as there is so much rubbish on there and people cannot always find reliable stuff so you could be the one to create an environment where people can come to your site and just find the stuff that they want to see, learn or read and that is the stuff that you provide. Also you can remove the annoying adverts and pop ups that you get with these free sites which just annoy people.
Is there something that you can teach? Is there something you know that others would pay to learn? Is there something that you can do that is entertaining and that people would love to watch/read or see and pay to see more of?
The success of a membership site is solely based on supplying something that people want to see or learn, it is as simple as that. Fail to deliver that and people will cancel and stop paying. This model is very popular in the adult niches but there are many niches and subjects that people love which they are willing to spend money to be part of an exclusive club.
The reason I chose £5 as the monthly fee is that there are a lot of big sites offering a lot of value for that price. Maybe you could charge more, for example Spotify charge £9.99 a month to access thousands of songs, you would have to go a long way to be able to offer that kind of value for entertainment unless you really niched down and focused on a specific music genre.
Netflix has a basic package at £5.99 going up to the premium at £8.99. They offer a lot of entertainment in the way of TV shows and films as well as now making their own shows so again you have to go a long way to offer value worth more but this is where being niche specific helps.
If you chose a niche like ‘off grid living’ or ‘prepping for a disaster’ then you are focusing only on one set of people who are willing to learn more and pay to learn that information too. As long as you are giving great information that is either very entertaining (think adult entertainment) or very educational then you should be able build a profitable membership that could replace your wage.
When I say educational it really does need to be educational because the web is awash with information and you need to give your paying members a little more.
When it comes to deciding what you could build the membership website around it is a good idea to write down all of the things that you love to do and the things that you can do well or know a lot about. It is possible that you can create a membership site around one or more of the things on your list.
The other thing you can do is pop to the local newsagents or supermarket and see what magazines are on the shelves, there is a huge selection of magazine which are in print because people have done the market research to see if there is indeed a potential paying market out there. If it is in print then people are buying and if people are buying then there is a market.
Setting up a membership site is relatively easy, I recommend using WordPress to build your site. A nice looking WordPress theme will give your site a great look and then to create the paid membership lock I would recommend using the plugin s2Member.
The free version allows you to take payment via PayPal and is enough for managing one membership site but there is a premium version called S2 Member Pro that allows you to use other payment gateways which for a single site license is a one of payment of $89 roughly £60.
I shall be doing more posts and videos on how to set up and run a membership site so keep your eyes open for them