In 1995, Lynda Weinman launched a website.
Nothing big. It cost her $35 for a domain name. She just wanted to help people learn web design, and at the time, she did it free of cost.
Fast forward a few years and Lynda put up a paywall on her website, charging $25 a month for access to her lessons. And, truthfully, the business struggled with only 1000 members. But Lynda was patient and built up her membership base. Within 5 years, they had over 100,000 members (that’s $2.5 MILLION in monthly revenue just from the site).
In 2015, LinkedIn bought out her website for 1.5 billion dollars.
Take a second to process that.
Now, Lynda’s success is not typical. There aren’t billion-dollar website sales happening every other month. But the industry Lynda helped create — E-Learning and Paid Online Memberships — IS growing, and is projected to be worth $325 billion by 2025.
But here’s the little secret no one is really telling you about this industry…
It has an insanely low barrier to entry.
You need a domain name, and a tool to launch a membership site. And of course, the conviction and time to put a course together. But that’s really it.
You don’t need coders or programmers or venture capital.
But, despite that, you’re likely thinking:
“I don’t have decades of experience or fancy credentials under my belt…who will want to buy this from me?”
And sure, we’re not gonna tell you being an award-winning movie producer won’t help your cause, but if you know your stuff and can solve a problem for your customers, they won’t even notice the lack of awards hanging on your wall.
In fact, think about your teachers at school. It’s unlikely that your math teacher worked for NASA writing spaceship formulas. But, they were likely a better teacher than the person that DOES work for NASA because of a little something known as the expert blind spot — when someone is too good at something, they struggle to understand the learning styles and challenges of the average student.
But you, dear friend, can SEE these blind-spots and help create a course that addresses what most overlook.
Are membership sites sounding intriguing by now? We hope so. But, once someone finally decides to make the leap into e-learning, we typically see them free up as they ask themselves a few questions.
1) What do I make a course about?
Online courses don’t have to be academic. Sure, if your expertise is in writing English, go ahead and create a course.
But, if you know how to meditate, create a class in that. Or, if you’re a personal trainer, create an online program filled with at-home workouts. Or, maybe you’re a hairdresser for a living. Create an online membership course that teaches how to do super cool hairstyles.
The options really extend as far as your imagination and your passions.
2) What if I put all this work in and it doesn’t sell?
We’re not gonna lie; it’s possible to create a product that is too niche. So we recommend a super awesome strategy that can only really be used with membership sites. And that’s to create a mini-course — only a few lessons or modules and sell that (just be honest with your customers about what they’re getting).
If you make 0 sales, only a little bit of time is lost.
If you start making dozens of sales very rapidly, you can get feedback from your customers and start to add modules based on that. Once you’re on a roll, you can continue to add content until you feel your course is complete, selling access to the existing content in the meantime.
Very few membership sites launch with all the content they end up with. After all, Lynda only started out with 20 online video courses. That has since grown to over 6,300 courses and more than 267,000 video tutorials.
3) Won’t this be a big time-suck?
The answer to this question is, only if you want it to be.
If you choose to constantly add more videos and lessons to your membership course indefinitely, then yes, you may spend a lot of time on your business.
But, if after a few months you decide your course is complete, it really just becomes a side-stream of income. Your only real time-investment now is getting new leads. Once you get people to buy your membership, they pay a recurring fee every month for as many months as your course lasts, and you sit back and relax on your way to the bank.
4) What should I look for in a membership site tool?
Well, unless you’re a tech genius, you want something that is easy to use (we’re talking drag and drop and no coding). You want to make sure your tool charges a flat fee and doesn’t take a cut from your sales (or that can cost you big time as you grow).
But most importantly, you want your membership builder to require minimal integrations so you can easily sell the course on your website and send out emails without everything breaking.
Basically your tool should not only include a membership builder (with multiple tiers and drip capabilities), but a webpage builder, a checkout selling tool, a coupon system (so you can offer discounts), an email autoresponder, the ability to upsell, and as a bonus, an affiliate management tool, so your best customers can be rewarded for sending more people your way.
Fortunately, Kartra does all of this (and more).
And it only takes a minute or two to get started with Kartra today.