How to Test the Waters Before Starting A Membership Site

Membership sites are a fantastic way to generate income, grant schedule flexibility, and allow you to assist others in gaining new skills and knowledge.

But they also are hard work. They require effort, time, research, and money. So how can you know if it is the right move for you? And how do you know if your idea for a membership site is a good one?

It’s always a good idea to test the waters before moving forward with any business idea, and that includes creating a membership site. 

Is it for you?

Here are a few ways to find out if a membership site is right for you.

Interview People Who Have Membership Sites

One of the best ways to find out if you want to start a membership site is to talk to people who already have a membership site. Ask them what they like and don’t like about running a site. Find out how they found success. Ask them about their failures. People are often more than happy to assist if you approach them in a positive manner. Be sure to thank them for sharing their insights with you, and look for ways to help them in the future.

Try Out a Few Workshops on How to Build a Membership Site

There are workshops on virtually everything, and that includes workshops on how to build successful membership sites. Go to a few free workshops and take notes. Learn what you can about what will be required of you to make a membership site successful. If it sparks your interest, it may be just the thing to take your business to the next level.

Spend Time Helping Someone with a Membership Site

One of the best ways to test the waters is to try something out. Find someone who owns a membership site and see if they will let you sit down and work on an aspect or two of their site for a few hours, days, or even a week. While volunteering may seem like giving away free labor, it’s a great way to learn about building sites and if building a site is right for you. Make sure theirs is a topic you’re interested in (or how will you know if it’s the topic or site creation that just doesn’t float your boat?). 

Consider Your Goals/Interests

Spend some time in self-reflection. What is it you want in a career and in life? Membership sites allow for flexible schedules but can require a lot of effort up front. After talking with someone who has a site, consider if the things they’ve told you match up with what you envision for yourself in the long run. Study it out, meditate or pray, seek the opinions of others who know you, and think about whether you have what it takes for the job. 

Is the Membership Site for a Specific Target Audience? 

If you have concerns about how effective your site might be, here are a few ways to test the waters to see if your site might have success.

Join Facebook Groups and Forums

Join Facebook groups and online forums related to the topic you are interested in. Listen to people’s complaints and concerns regarding that topic, then figure out ways to address these pain points through your membership site. Ask members of these groups and forums if your site idea is something they’d be interested in. Create a survey and find out what they’d want from a membership site. 

Run a Prelaunch Offer

In a previous article, we suggested running a prelaunch offer as a way to validate your membership-site plan. Prelaunch content includes blog posts, podcasts, videos, infographics, etc.  Offering content at a discount price before your site launches can be a great way to convince people to get involved with your site; it also allows you to see if people are interested in what you have to offer. But be sure to put forth the effort to market and gather emails beforehand. No matter how good the idea is, it’s bound to flop if you don’t market it! Consider reaching out to those who’ll try out the content early to see what they like and don’t like, then make adjustments to better suit your audience before launching.

Just Do It! 

While it is good to do some thinking and research before trying out your website, sometimes you just need to give it a go. In fact, MemberPress offers a two-week refund if things don’t work out, which takes the stress regarding money out of the picture. After researching and testing your idea, try it out. Do everything you can to build your site for a few weeks. Dedicate all your time to it and see what happens. 

Membership sites aren’t the easiest thing to run, and you don’t want to waste your time because you didn’t do your research. Test the waters before you leap in. 

But when you do, you may discover something fantastic. Membership sites can generate income, grant schedule flexibility, and allow you to assist others in gaining new skills and knowledge.

How have you tested the waters before starting a membership site?  Have you run across any ideas for effective ways to check if your idea will work? How did you know a membership site was the right decision for you? Please let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please follow us on Facebook for more great content. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Categories: How To Marketing
About Michelle Carpenter

Amy Michelle Carpenter co-owns a 3D printing business called STEM Garage. She is a national blogger, YA editor, and professional marketer. She also teaches children in China at 4 in the morning because she thinks its fun.