The Membership Community Business Model

This biz model focuses on crafting delightful experiences for members.

While you do have a library of relevant and valuable content (remember the last article?), it’s not the main way you give members exclusive value.

You also design a rich user experience based on relationships and real-time connections, not just content for them to use on their own.

Feel free to offer a series of pillar resources (guides, tutorials, courses, downloads, etc.), but your library doesn’t have to overflow with rivers of content to impress your members.

Instead, the greatest value comes from them interacting and connecting with you and  other members inside the exclusive area set up as a private forum on your membership site or in a closed Facebook group.

The vibe for this tribe must be rich, pure, and laser-sharp.


Because you’re gathering a very specific type of person so you can meet her highly specific need.

You can’t be general, baby. Niche down and serve in a way that no one else can. Your personality is your secret sauce, so dig deep for the unique solutions within you that’ll thrill your members.

Do this and you’ll have a group of like-minded souls united around similar problems, needs, desires, or goals.

And what do people do when they’re united?

They form a beautiful community.

They discuss possible solutions, best practices, and brainstorming options. They attend community events and develop shared rituals and habits that connect them within the same space.

Give your members a place to belong and they’ll happily rock with you.

You don’t even have to charge them for it. You can make it free for members and earn income through sponsors and advertisers. Collaborate with the brands that complement you and add value to your membership community.



Fitbit Premium

Peaceful Academy

This biz model takes a lot of attention, care, and ongoing activities. Unlike a content-rich library where members can login on their own and get enough value, a community needs admin attention all the time.

You can’t just launch it and forget about it, so please consider if you can go the distance or not. You must be ready and willing to create and run regular events and activities.

Your membership community succeeds when the members unite around a cause, goal, burning desire, or an unfulfilled need that connects them. Ideally, they have other reasons to resonate and bond with each other. All this helps you create a fabulous community culture that keeps them coming back for more.

A fabulous community culture is truly fulfilling for the founder and the members. The challenge is usually growing it big enough to be profitable and vivacious, and keeping it small enough to feel cozy and personal.

Yearning for closer connection with the people you serve?

This might be your dream come true.

Highly introverted?

This might be your biggest nightmare.

Which is it for you?

If I hadn’t designed Peaceful Academy for fellow introverts, I’d have had a truly tough time running it. I had to be sure I could deliver everything I promised so I wouldn’t get a bad rep for overpromising and under-delivering.

In my other membership community, my partner handles most of the community work and activities. I do the other admin work like creating resources and courses, arranging partnerships with other teachers and affiliate partners, and so on.

As an introvert, I can’t be immersed in community all the time so I’m not drained and unable to create. I’m hawk-eyed about my energy levels so I can give my best to members, not bits and pieces of the exhausted, cranky mess I’d be if I tried to force myself into something I’m not.

If you’re like me, you can create a community together with a partner you click with and trust. There’re pros and cons, but it’s a great solution when you have the right fit.

You can also carve out your boundaries and stick to them. For instance, choose a specific day of the week you’ll be present in the community to answer questions. Don’t burn out trying to be there all the time.

Talk to your clients, customers, students, peers, and subscribers.

Will they invest in a goal-oriented membership community?

If yes, then map out how your fabulous community will be different and why it’ll be worth joining. Have fun and splash your secret sauce all over it!

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