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Why Membership Sites Work to Make you Money – Part 4: Your Presence Becomes Elevated

August 1, 2013

Become elevated with a membership siteYou might think that if you start a membership site, you will become just an anonymous person who provides regular content.

What happened to me is just the opposite!

As a coach doing individual and group coaching for academics, I found that it was difficult to get known.

Once I started my membership site, all of that changed. Every month brought more members. Over the years, 1000’s of people have belonged to my membership site, the Academic Writing Club.

I don’t have a picture of myself on the membership site, I don’t give classes, and I don’t do any of the online coaching. The site is not named after me.

And yet, I’ve become surprisingly elevated in the eyes of many academics.

Gina Teaching

This is me after a presentation to the UCLA Postdoctoral Society, another invited address. And yes, my hair is inexplicably brown in this picture.

Here are some examples of what has happened because I run this membership site.

1. Here’s the most recent result of running my membership site: A professor in charge of one of the PhD programs at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, contacted me about bringing our membership site to their students. I had a Skype call with the professor just this morning. What a thrill!

2. The Assistant Provost of Academic Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley wrote and asked me to give a series of talks to the professors and graduate students.

Two different faculty members had told her that Berkeley should bring me to the campus. These professors had never met me, heard me speak, or experienced coaching with me. But as members of the Academic Writing Club, they felt they knew me and just knew I would be a good speaker. I ended up giving 4 talks and we collaborated on bringing special programs to the professors. Since then, one of my associate coaches has also given a talk at UC Berkeley.

3. My trip to Northern California was made even more worth it when a graduate student at Stanford applied for a grant to have me speak to the engineering graduate students. Again, I had never met her. But she WAS a participant in my membership site.

Note that, during these years, I did very little PR or outreach. I was going through a difficult period involving back problems, spinal surgery and divorce. The only way I brought new people into my list was through a small pay-per-click ad. I even stopped writing my newsletter for a year.

Despite all this, my membership site grew and grew and so did my “renown.”

Having this online presence and being elevated in the eyes of my followers was due to the excellent results they were getting.

And you can bet that it results in continuing new word of mouth referrals.

Now that I’m busy running Finish Agent, so that I can bring the same membership site software to you, I still put little time into “selling” the Academic Writing Club. Yet it grows despite this, and brings me regular, predictable, leveraged income.

You may have never thought of a membership site as a way to get an elevated presence in the eyes of your followers. Well, think again!

7 thoughts on “Why Membership Sites Work to Make you Money – Part 4: Your Presence Becomes Elevated

  1. I am so happy for all the success that has come to you from this membership site! I think that it really says a lot about you and the quality of support, encouragement, and results that you help bring about that people are inviting you to speak all over the country! I honor you for contributing so much to their lives through your work.
    Meghan Kerner recently posted..Pain Is a GiftMy Profile

  2. @stephcalahan, I couldn’t help but notice that your blog post relates to exactly what you’re planning — taking another step forward even though you don’t know if you’re ready. That’s what we always taught our writers in (http://academicwritingclub.com) the Academic Writing Club, which is “write before you’re ready.” Thank you for framing what I’ve done as serving the world with technology. I would add “serving the world with technology and coaching.”
    Gina Hiatt recently posted..What’s your burning question about coaching groups? (Win a prize!)My Profile

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