Membership Sites: Creating the Alternative Online You

There are a lot of people, maybe even you, that have worked hard building their speaking, training, consulting, coaching business.  You’re at a point where you’re making good money.  Better yet, you start your day off energized looking forward to all you have to do.

After years establishing the business, you are the recognized expert.  You are satisfied that you have transformed your expertise into what is now a REAL business.

What is your problem now?

It’s that you’ve done too good a job filling your role as the highly-valued face of the business.  Removing you from the business is like removing someone’s liver.  Your business dies.  You’re the one people request.  You’re the one people see.  You’re the brand people want.

You have to plan a way to detach yourself from this critical role.  Otherwise, your business, which is doing fine now, leads to a dead end.  You can’t ever take paid time off.  You can’t sell the business.  It’s worthless.  Paid retirement is not an option.

You’ve considered the obvious option which is to recruit, hire, train and groom a successor.  You know it’s more than just finding someone who’s qualified.  It’s the time-consuming training.  It’s the re-branding work so everyone looks to them instead of you.  It’s introducing them as the new front person of your business. I’m sure you can see how risky an option this becomes.

Here’s an option to consider.  What if instead of looking for someone to replace you, you replace yourself with an Online You.  What if you deliver your in-person presentations, your training, and your coaching via an online e-learning, coaching, consulting platform.

  • You continue in your role as face of the business.
  • Your business offers the same expert service you offer now.
  • You extend your business with online offerings that eventually replace you.

A HUGE benefit of this approach is you do NOT change how you attract customers and sell.  You are selling them the same thing that makes you valuable today.  What changes is the medium

That medium is a membership website.  It’s a website, but it can only be accessed by members with login credentials.  You control who’s allowed or not allowed in.

Let’s go over what this Online You site contains.  Let’s cover what content you can publish so you consider the possibilities.

#1 – Online Courses

If what you do is educate, train and coach, your membership site publishes your programs as an e-learning course.  You make learning materials available there.

It can be a course covering any of your current speaking, coaching or training topics.  There are best practices for converting in-person presentations into an online course.  It’s too long to cover here, but I do cover it in my www.ThePerfectOnlineYou.com e-course if you’re interested. The point is, this Online You is another way for your audience to get to the information you deliver in person.

#2 – Publishing Timely Industry Updates

Many people make a living sharing information updates with their audience.  They are the expert and their clients pay them for these updates on a specific topic.  Think of someone that updates stock traders on trends in a specific area of the market.

Before membership sites, you might have sent these out as email updates or email newsletters. A membership site is a better option.  Not only is it harder for members to share your content with others, but it enables you to easily update content and quickly correct mistakes.

#3 – Offering Office Hours

Courses and updates like I just describe work well.  You can enhance those by packaging “Office Hours” along with them.  Remember when your college professors made themselves available set times of the week.  You do the same.

You publish the times and use a private conference line that only members can get access.  You show up at the announced times and allow members to ask you questions. It requires very little prep time and all your members see you as accessible.

I highly recommend recording these calls. Then you publish them on the membership site in an archive.  That makes them available for those that could not attend live and provide them as searchable content for all your members.

#4 – Building an Online Community

Building an online community provides members with lots of benefits.  A big one people over look offers benefits that complement office hours.  If a member has issues, they can certainly wait for your next office hours’ session.  Alternatively, they can pose the question to you via a community forum.   You can of course answer the question, but what often happens is others chime in and answer for you.  The Entrepreneurial You Facebook Group provides a great example.

Many membership site owners that provide forums have members stick around longer (paying monthly membership fees longer) because they want to stay connected with their peers in the group. They see the relationships with other members as a benefit you provided to them.

#5 –  Providing a Connector Service

If members are coming to you as the expert, they will likely come to you for guidance in the general area where you practice.  Why not provide a resource section with recommendations and assets your members want?

For example, my team and I build membership sites.  Many people ask us to recommend copywriters, search engine experts, etc.   Providing these resources for your members on the site can be a real benefit.

There are so many other things you can add to your membership site.  It’s all a matter of making what you offer today available to your followers and replace what you do today in-person with an alternative – the Online You.

Hope this helps!

Jorge Lazaro Diaz is a speaker, blogger, content marketer, Infusionsoft consultant, and e-learning membership site builder. He and his team at Larry Jacob Internet Marketing (www.LarryJacob.com) specialize in e-learning membership sites and work with business owners to showcase their expertise and grow sales. Visit www.TheProfitableOnlineYou.com and take his FREE e-course on transforming your expertise into profitable an online programs.