Badass Is The New Black (Season 3) Episode #33 Digital Course VS Membership Site: Which One Is Best For Your BusinessAug 24, 2021
One of the great things about having your business online is how it allows you to create a community by means of education. That is why many often find themselves torn between creating a digital course and a membership site. It is time to figure out which one is best for your business! In this episode, Krissy Chin breaks down the pros and cons of each, helping you determine which will best generate the income you want and have the lifestyle you dream about. She shares her own strategies and experiences in doing both, laying out examples of working with clients from varying backgrounds and fields in helping them identify theirs. Once you have chosen, Krissy then shows a few ways on how you can move forward through marketing. If you're trying to reach more people and make them stay, then don't miss out on this valuable discussion.
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Digital Course VS Membership Site: Which One Is Best For Your Business
Courses versus memberships, which one is best for you and your business? Let's talk about the difference between a course and a membership, the pros and cons to help you determine which one will be the best for you and your business to generate the income that you want and have the lifestyle you dream about. I'll also share the strategy that I've used to generate a multimillion-dollar course and membership site.
I don't tell you that to brag that I've made a lot of money with this course and membership. I'm telling you that because you might have found me on YouTube and be wondering, “Who the heck this girl is? Can I trust her? Does she know what she's talking about?” I want to share with you that I have done this before. I have generated success before. I'm here to teach you what I have learned and hope that I can help you get there faster. Take it or leave it. I'm here to serve you in any way that I can. This was a topic that was brought to me by a student. Thank you for bringing this question so that I can share it with the rest of you.
Let's talk about the difference between digital courses and membership, the pros and the cons. Which one's going to be best for you for your business and for your lifestyle? Let's not waste any time. Let's dive right in. A digital course is typically you taking a process or training that you do, and putting it into a digital format. That could include a few modules. Within those modules are lessons. It could be a variety of things, but it's bundled up in one package and offered at one payment. You could have a payment plan but the idea is to bundle it up, sell it, one payment and you're done. You create the content for the course. You put it on your hosting site something like Kajabi, which is what I use. There are lots of other options. You pitch your course. Someone purchases it and that's it.
The overall idea in concept is that it's a standalone offer that generates a one-time payment for you. Your students will get access to the content either all at once or maybe you decide to drip the content out and they get it over a period of time. We're not going to dive into those details about course creation. We're here to talk about the overall concept of a course and if it is the best thing for you. I've seen courses range from $7 to $3,000. There is a wide range of pricing. If you want to talk about pricing, I have another episode on that called Three Things to Consider When Pricing Your Course. I also have one for memberships. You can go read that episode.
Many people that come to me want to create a course. There are people that are doing some type of training or a service one-on-one, and they've maxed out their schedule. They aren't able to scale their business unless they drastically increase their prices, which they know either they can't do or they don't want to do. They want more time back to invest either in other passion projects, spend more time in their business in another capacity or they want to be able to spend more time with family. Pick and choose your reason why you want more time. Tell me and I've heard it before.
They also want to be able to scale their business and generate more profit. A perfect example of this is one of my students. She's a New York Times best-selling ghostwriter. She's done ten New York Times best-selling ghostwriter books, Amelia. I've talked about her before on the show. I've had her on the show. She is amazing. She was maxed out working one-on-one with clients to help them get the outline of their book started.
The benefit to offering a course is that you can create the course. You can sell it and forget about it with an evergreen funnel.
She came to me and she said, “Krissy, I maxed out on my time. I want to be able to increase my revenue for my business. I want to be able to serve more people, at the same time, get back more time to spend with my family. I want to do what you're doing. Tell me how to do it.” I said, “Can you take what you do one-on-one with your clients and put it into a standalone training that you could walk them through this process using guided videos, maybe PDFs or worksheets along with that and get them the same results through that process as if they were meeting with you one-on-one?” She said, “Yes, 100%.”
She created with my guidance the Nail Your Outline Course that allows someone to go through her phase one of writing a book, which is nailing their outline, getting their outline down so they have a clear guide of the rest of the part, which is writing the book. Take care of that phase one, that hard part first, the outline. We found out that her course does get the same results as working with her one-on-one.
I know this because I was a test example for her. I did the course and I worked one-on-one with her. She asked me the questions. I gave her the answers. We both went away and we created outlines for my book that I will be writing forever if ever it comes out but then we came back together. We compared our outlines and they were scarily the same. It was crazy. There were a million directions we could have taken with that outline. Following the guide and listening to what she said in those videos, we came up with the same outline.
That was validation proof that she could take her one-on-one service. She could turn it into a course and she could help her students get the same results working with her one-on-one. That helped her free up more space in her business. She can take people who want to put their outline together with her guidance, her expertise. She can direct them to the course and the course can take care of that work on its own. She can focus more of her time on the ghostwriting for people, that next phase in their journey. She can scale her business more, generate more income, get more time back, spent more time with her family, all the things that she wanted. That's super exciting.
I have another client who's a teacher. She's in the teaching field. She goes to schools and teaches teachers how to use a specific literary assessment tool. She gets paid to physically come into the school and teach those teachers how to use that tool. She came to me and said, “I'm only one person with only so much time. There's only so far I can travel. I have to raise my family, but every school and every college needs this training for their teachers. I want to turn this into a virtual offer so that I can offer it to people all across the United States or maybe even beyond.” That's what her course is going to be doing. Taking what she would do in person and turning it into a course so she can offer it to so many other districts for their teachers.
I have an actor who has created a course to help other actors get more auditions and book more gigs, a dietician with a course on nutrition, a friend who has a course on intermittent fasting, a friend who has a course to teach someone the skills to be a virtual assistant, to entrepreneurs like me. I dare you to challenge me if you don't think that you could create a course with what you do, what you sell or what you know. If you're on YouTube, I'm going to have you hold me to this. If you are unsure what you could create your own course on, I want you to tell me what you do, what you sell, who your ideal customer is, what they want and then I will help you come up with a course based on what you do. Challenge accepted. Hold me to it. Use those comments on YouTube. You can hop over to YouTube and leave that there.
I also have another episode that you might find valuable. It's called How to Decide What Your Course Should Be About. You'll find that helpful if you're feeling a little bit stumped even after this but hopefully, reading the rest of this episode, you're going to get some ideas on, “I can do this. That would work perfectly.” My network marketers that come to me, they want to create a course. There are two scenarios. The network marketers that are drawn to me have another business outside of their network marketing affiliate promoting those products. They want to get that business online and create a course around that business so they have more time to do both of the things. The other type of network marketers that come to me wants to create a course that promotes the products that they are selling through their affiliate program. This would work for any type of affiliate, not even just network marketing.
For example, a get fit or home gym course could draw people in that would also want the health products that they sell or a healthy living course could promote oils and other wellness products. A yoga course could promote yoga pants or yoga clothes that you might be an affiliate for. This is also not just limited to one-on-one services turning into courses or affiliate programs turning into courses. If you have a physical product that you make and sell maybe on Etsy, you could 100% have a course as well.
Here are a couple of examples. If you create affordable jewelry and you love talking about style, your audience follows your stories and your reels because you talk about style in affordable ways, you could create a course on styling, a course that teaches people how to create 30 outfits without leaving your closet or a course that would teach them how to create new styles within their closet. Along the way, you are also promoting your jewelry or they're being introduced to you through this styling course. You know that they're budget conscious and then you have affordable jewelry that accentuates styling. It's the perfect marriage. If you sell wall art, you could do a course on styling your home. People could come to you and learn about styling, decorating and then you have this beautiful art that you also sell to style.
I've seen someone who sells products to organize their home. They've got a course on organizing their pantry and then they promote the organizational product. I dare you to challenge me with what you do, what you sell, who your audience is, what they want and I will help you come up with a course. Will these people purchase courses that are $500 to learn how to make 30 outfits out of the clothes that they have in their closet? Probably not, but you could make a little extra money on your course and you could use it as a lead magnet to draw in new customers for your product-based business. See how taking someone's knowledge or skills, their service and creating it into a digital course around that works. Hopefully, that's giving you a little bit of clarity on what you could do for you in your business to create something and then sell it over and over again.
Pros And Cons Of A Digital Course
The benefit to offering a course is that you can create the course. You can sell it and forget about it with an evergreen funnel. Your main ongoing focus then moving forward is marketing that course, making sure that new eyes are on it and people are purchasing the course. That's a benefit. Here's a con. It takes a little bit more time to set up on the frontend, but the pro is that once the content is all created, there isn't much to continue to create unless you need to update that course for some reason. Also a huge pro could be setting it up to be an evergreen system, which means you can create an opt-in pitch funnel that leads your prospects to the sale all through automation.
Another con is that because it's a one-and-done fee, you will need to continuously find new students for your course to continue generating income every day, every week, every month. You'll be focusing your time on driving traffic to that funnel so that people go through that funnel and purchase your course. That's where your energy is focused or you will have to create new products that they can purchase because once they purchase the course, the income is done with that. You need new products to sell to generate more income. A pro is that it is a super valuable asset to your business. Not only for lifestyle. Remember, we're saving time by creating a course but also for generating more income in your business and serving more people. I love that part.
Just because you create a course doesn't mean you have to stop doing your one-on-one service.
If you'll watch on YouTube and you got into your business to help people to change their lives and others only for the better, tell me in the comments. Say, "Service." I love to see who leads with service. That's my driving force for this business and why I created this show. It's free for you. I love getting the messages thanking me and telling me how my show helped them launch their business when they lost their business in COVID. That happened. I had Crystal on the show to talk about her journey. That stuff lights me up and it keeps me moving through the tough days. If I've helped you in any way, I always love hearing about it.
Taking your one-on-one service, turning it into a course is a great way to save time because you won't be trading that time for money long-term. It's a great way to get more time back once the courses are created. Amelia was a great example of that. You have the ability to scale easier when you can serve more people even if it is at a much lower price point. Let's imagine that you are doing one-on-one services. You can only take five private clients a month and they're paying you $1,000 each. That's $5,000 a month for this private coaching. You take your one-on-one service, you turn it into a course and you charge $300 for the course. Instead of $1,000 per person, it's $300.
You would need seventeen people to make up that $5,000. Seventeen is more than five, but you could take as many people as you wanted because it's a course. You've created it. You've done the work and you can sell it to as many people as you want. If you’ve got 34 people to purchase that course, then you've made $10,000. Because the course was already created, you didn't have to spend any extra time coaching and creating between 17 people and 34 people. That's the magic of course creation.
Let me be straight. Just because you create a course doesn't mean you have to stop doing your one-on-one service. In fact, it's a great compliment. If you love doing one-on-one, you could take a few clients or whatever your schedule allows and then you can use the course as maybe the down-sell to your private coaching or when you're maxed out, you could direct people to, “I have this course, which will help you do the same thing.” You can do that. You can take your five private clients and make that $5,000 because they're paying you each $1,000. You could also have ten people doing the course. You were maxed out. They wanted to get started. You could make an extra $3,000 on top of that. See how those could even work together if you didn't want to necessarily give up the one-on-one.
My wait list for private coaching started getting longer, and I wasn't able to serve as many people as I wanted to help them get their business off the ground running. That was what helped me decide what I was going to start building next to offer in my product suite. That's how my product suite has evolved over time. Finding that need, solving my problem, solving your problems and the next thing is released.
Is a course right for you and your business? That's the question. If you have a service you provide, you can turn that into a standalone course and still get people the results, then you can consider it. If you want to do the work upfront, do all the creation upfront and have it to offer again and again, then maybe a course is right for you. If you are willing to spend the energy finding new clients over and over again to buy your course, then it could be a great option. Think about those. Let that sink in for a second. We're going to move on to talk about memberships and then you're going to be able to decide which one is going to be best for you.
A membership is where you present an offering and then someone pays you every single month for that offering, same thing as subscription-based pricing, service, product. This is not a new concept. We've been doing subscriptions since way back when I was a child for newspaper subscriptions where they'd throw that newspaper on your front door, magazine subscriptions. Subscriptions are super popular. They're everywhere. Everyone is doing a subscription. Everyone has a subscription-based model but it's okay. Netflix, Spotify, your apps, Canva, we're all paying subscriptions for those. It's nothing new. A subscription usually allows you to access a library of content and if you cancel, then you lose that access or it's a membership where you put out new content every month, and that's why people are sticking around and paying every month because they need that next thing that you're offering and releasing.
Think about what you have to offer. Does this type of model make sense? Do you have the ability to continuously create content ongoing? Netflix allows you to access their old content and they put out new content to keep you on their membership. My other business, GROworkspace, we have a similar model. You can sign up for our membership and get three years plus worth of marketing material, almost four now. We create new content every single month with relevant top-of-market material to keep people coming back every single month paying their membership.
For example, monthly newsletters, we create for them. We modify the newsletter every month. It correlates to the season, to the company events that they're promoting so someone who wants the newsletter template will pay every single month to get that new updated relevant template. When we started the membership, we didn't have a huge library of content like we do now. Our price started much lower. It rose over time and as the content library grows. Don't think that you need to have a ton of content to get your membership started. In fact, that's one of the perks. You can get it started pretty quickly.
Also people offer and join memberships for ongoing support. What you provide is something that would be beneficial for ongoing support for your community like continuous coaching. Unlike a course where you're just teaching one thing that's useful at maybe one stage in their business or on a very specific topic, a membership could offer more ongoing support to your community. That's exactly what my membership is for this coaching brand. It's to provide ongoing training and support for people who've launched a course or a membership and want to scale.
Pros And Cons Of Memberships
The benefits of membership is oftentimes, you don't need to spend a lot of time upfront generating content because it will be an ongoing process so that you can create content each month versus heavy loading content creation upfront. I do recommend as a little side tip that you think twelve months out and come up with things that you're going to create over the next twelve months. You don't have to spend the time creating them but you'll at least have an idea of where you're going to take your people over the next year.
Another pro is reoccurring revenue. This is why many people want to do memberships. As long as they're subscribed, they're paying for it every month. Unlike a course where you take that one payment and then they're done, or maybe it's a payment plan over two payments and then they're done. With a subscription model, you're generating income every single month. It will start compounding if you're also putting in the effort to find new members, which I recommend that you do because there's always a little bit of turn at least. A con to membership, the downside is that you have to keep coming up with new content to keep them around or you have to make yourself available. You have to be doing something consistently to keep people paying.
Some people have memberships where it just gives closer access to you. Kajabi with their podcast feature allows you to sell a private show for a subscription. There are even things with Apple Podcasts that they're doing also where you can have people paying to listen to your show without ads or something. That was a total random side note but you have that information. With those subscription memberships, you get paid every single month but you have to create that new content every month, whether it's content in your membership site or a new show episode because they're subscribing, paying to your show, whatever it is.
Don't think you need to have a ton of content to get your membership started. In fact, you can get it started pretty quickly.
Con, some people hate subscriptions, customers that is. They do not want to have to pay every single month so they will be drawn more to a one-time course option. Also a hint, it's great to have an annual payment option for membership so people can take care of one payment at one time and think about it once a year. Another little side tip for you. Another con is that because everyone is on one million subscriptions, Netflix, Spotify, my list is very long with things I pay for every month, people keep track of those. When the budget gets tight, they go through their list of subscriptions first and they say, “Which ones can I cut? That will save me every single month.”
You have to make sure that you are doing what you need to do to keep your members getting the results that you promised, keep engaging them and giving them the great content that they want so that they will stay. Otherwise, you don't have the reoccurring income of a membership. Knowing what you know, which do you think would be best for your business and your lifestyle? Think about what type of work you do.
Is it better suited in a course where the content is bundled up in one thing, they pay you a one-time fee, they get that content, they do that training and they're done or is it better suited with maybe ongoing support or new content every month in the subscription model? Think about your customer. Do they prefer a course one and done or do they prefer membership, something that they look forward to every month, something where they can get ongoing support? Think about your lifestyle. Would it be better for you to crank out the work that it takes to put a course together, set up that evergreen funnel or would you rather do little each month but be consistent and support a community ongoing?
You're faced with the decision to make what is better for you, course or membership? You can also get creative and combine the two. When I started GROworkspace, we started with a course. I had built this business course to help people learn how to build their network marketing business but I never wanted just a one-time payment. My network marketing business taught me about reoccurring revenue, bringing someone on and having them pay every single month. I was like, “That's what I want. If I sell this course, I'm not going to have the reoccurring payment. I'm going to have to find new people all the time.”
What I did was I married the two together. I launched a membership site platform but what they got initially was the course teaching them about building a business. Then the ongoing content was marketing material and ongoing business training to help them save them time so that they could market their products easier and teach them how to do that. I put them together and launched them into membership. I went outside the box. I did what felt good for me and my business. It worked well. We've been super successful. The community is amazing. I am so grateful for all of those people and some of you are probably reading. I love you.
Creating A Course And Membership
Here's my advice to you. Why not create a course and a membership for your business? Either go the route that I did with GROworkspace and bundle the two together. You have a course to get them started in a membership style and you charge that membership fee or use this episode to decide which one makes sense for you to do first but plan to have both. You don't have to do a course before membership. I am doing membership before course. I have people that have already created courses, already created memberships. They want the ongoing support from me, so I'll launch the membership.
The course that helps someone create a course or a membership can come after to where I can then help people before my membership stage. They could take the course and they could be led into the membership. It could be membership before course or course before membership, whatever makes sense to you. Create the course that will help bring the right ideal customer in and then provide support with the membership or launch the membership first for support, for a subset of your community and then create the course to lead the other people into your membership.
Here's an example of business-to-consumer. We call that B2C, the example of a course plus a membership idea. Course is yoga for beginners. This is a yoga teacher who's doing her own business online. She has a mini-course to teach you the top ten most commonly used poses in yoga. It's super beginner. The course also includes three 20-minute yoga classes. Course, one-time fee, they learn those ten poses through guided videos and then they have three 20-minute yoga classes. It's a membership for those who have gone through that step or are past that beginner stage. They pay monthly for the membership. They get access to a monthly workshop to learn a new advanced pose and then four classes in that month that will incorporate the new pose or poses and a flow that will build the strength to be able to do that new pose. I'm a yogi, so that sounds like a super cool course and membership idea for me.
The course will get brand new people and will prep them for the membership. After the course, they will go on to the membership, send them that way and they'll be generating recurring revenue from that. If you start drawing in people that are not super beginners, they can skip the course and they can go right to membership where you're teaching them new poses, giving classes every month. That's one idea. I mentioned before my little product suite. That's a perfect example of a B2B model, a business-to-business model, having a course on how to create an evergreen course and then a membership to support a course creator as they're scaling to six-figures or a course on creating a million-dollar membership and then the membership to support someone who has a membership site moving forward to scale that membership business.
See how I'm teaching some specific things in the course, getting people ready for that membership and then the membership is for ongoing support. I leverage the two together. I can either support someone in the very beginning, move them through or I can grab them where they're at later in the stage and support them with a membership. First, decide if you want to start with a course or a membership-based on how you want to offer your content and services. What makes sense for you, for the customer, your lifestyle and then decide if it makes sense to leverage them both to build a more powerful product suite. If you want to learn more about a product suite, I do have another episode, season 3, episode 26. That's with Amanda Kolbye. We talked about products and signature offers in there. That's a good episode after this one to also read to.
That's it for the topic, courses versus membership sites. This topic was brought by an amazing student of mine, which asks the question, “What should I do?” I thought that'd be a great episode. If you're asking, someone else is wondering. Please, if you have other topics that you want me to talk about, let me know in the comments. If you're on YouTube, throw out that idea. I'll create an episode on it. Maybe I'll even give you a shout out. Send me an email, [email protected] and let me know you have an idea for an episode because you're dying to learn about that topic.
If you found this insightful, please leave me a comment on YouTube telling me what you learned about, what sparked that light bulb, and challenge me. I'll help you figure out an idea for a course or membership. As always, thank you so much for reading. Don't forget to hit that subscribe button on YouTube or on podcast, so you're notified when new episodes and training come out. Until next time. Take that imperfect action. Apply it to your business and go. Done is better than perfect. You'll get it done. I'll see you next time. It's been fun hanging. We'll talk later.