Monday, July 26th, 2021

The Membership Option – Make $$ Sharing Your Knowledge

By Karen Dodd on Jan 10 2011 • Filed under New Clients by Design

Make Money through memberships.

In my last article, ("Catapult Your Biz with More Clients and More Cash"), I shared with you some of the benefits of being open to adding a "membership" or "continuity" component to your business model. This is what I call a "hybrid" between the traditional one-to-one business and a fully leveraged "association" model. The second and more leveraged model is to change your present solo-entrepreneurial business into an association, alliance or institute.

Some of the reasons I gave for doing either, were:

  1. It keeps clients (and even non-clients) working with you longer.
  2. You can grow your following much faster and with greater credibility than in your one-to-one business.
  3. It gives you more time freedom while making more income.

For those unfamiliar with the membership or association business model, the obvious questions are WHY would you want to adopt it and second, to WHOM is it best suited?

The answers are simple: any entrepreneur who is frustrated with the time it takes to build a one-to-one business and who wants to get their message out to more people more quickly, are well served by the association business model. Second, it is equally advantageous to brand-new start-ups as it is to long-time business owners who can't take on any more one-to-one clients. I particularly like this model for busy Mompreneurs, as well as boomer women who may feel they have neither the time or energy to take 3, 5, or even 10 years to build a highly profitable business.

In short, you become a "leveraged woman."

Just as we're all familiar with the concept of leveraging the bank's money to buy a home and hopefully make a profit on reselling it, in an association/membership model, you leverage time, energy and money; both your own and other people's. I love that this is a perfect model to take full advantage of Joint Ventures (JV's) with other entrepreneurs. It becomes a win/win/win: for you, your JV partner, and most of all, your members.

About now, you might be thinking that sounds good but I don't have anything to leverage. I guarantee that you do! Even if you presently do business one-to-one or even in retail, you have unique skills and knowledge that others will pay for. In working with my private clients I rarely find a businesswoman who does not have the ability to leverage what she knows. However, you might be interested to know that even a hobby or strong interest outside of your present business can be made into an extremely profitable and highly leveraged business.

Two examples of hobby or interest-related membership sites are the International Association of Professional Quilters (who knew?) and the International Association of Women Runners, both with memberships in the thousands. You'll see by visiting their websites that they are set up in a certain way to attract members easily and inexpensively.

Both these sites happen to charge a nominal membership fee $137 per year. In my experience, the average is about $197. Do the math; with just 1000 members that equates to $137,000-$197,000 annual revenues before you even start to sell your programs and packages (additional passive and leveraged income). How long would it take you to build that basic revenue stream in your one-to-one business?

The last and possibly most attractive benefit of building an association-type business that I'll discuss is the fact that it is highly "equitable," meaning that you build equity in your business that makes it very easy to sell. Often, in the types of one-to-one businesses that many of you are building, you are your business and once you're taken out of the equation there isn't much equity available to a new owner.

In contrast, an association is valued very simply: it is the number of members, times the membership dues that determines what your business is worth. I am aware of more than one association with 30,000 members. At the low end of the annual membership fee ($137) that would put their business at the $4.1 million mark! Having said that, most for-profit association owners build their businesses for the sheer joy of serving more of their ideal clients with their unique skills and talents. For doing that, they are handsomely rewarded with income and time-freedom. It's the ultimate in LEVERAGE.

Your Assignment If You Choose To Accept It:

In my last article I asked you to determine what unique skill, interest or knowledge you possess – either inside or outside of your present business.

If you are interested in a full-out leveraged association (alliance, institute) model OR you'd simply like to add a membership component to your website, answer these questions:

  • Ideally, whom would you like to serve? What community or following would you like to build that will benefit from your skills, talents, and unique message?
  • What "freebie" (a short, irresistible special offer) could you extend to potential members? Perhaps it's a Special Report, a CD or mp3, an interview you've done, or an article. It needs to be valuable enough to entice your web visitors to part with their name and email address so that you can build a relationship with them over time.
  • What benefits would you want to offer your members that would give them a strong reason to want to be part of your "community?" This would include everything from the "tangible" membership kit that gets sent to them in the mail, to teleclasses, interviews with experts, Q&A calls and discounts. Tip: If you're stuck here, what would YOU want to have access to if you were your own member?

You might be asking, "What in the heck does this all have to do with client attraction?"

If you knew that you had something uniquely valuable to offer and could deliver that product or service to hundreds or thousands of people who are hungry for that knowledge, do you think that might just be the ultimate client-attraction tool?


  1. Thanks for the comment on my blog and i thought i’d have a read of yours :). I’m all for business models that take away effort from you and give you a steady/passive form of income. From what i understand though there is a lot of work that need to be done before hand to make this kind of model work. Also just a point of interest did you coin the term ‘mompreneur’ or did you read it elsewhere? gave me a smile 🙂

    • Great hearing from you John. I WISH I had coined the term “mompreneur:! But unfortunately can’t take credit. Perhaps you’re not seeing it used in the UK (?)

      As to your comment that there is a lot of work to be done to make the association or membership model work: for sure there’s some but you do it once and then it ‘s fairly automated. The key is that it’s much faster to build than for many of the one-to-one small businesses. I’m really enjoying integrating the teaching of this with clients who are following my client attraction system.

      Just going back to your website to read your great blog on back links. Thanks for that. Will leave you a comment:>)


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