Membership Sites

625: Recurring Passive Income from Membership Sites: Get Out Of Idea Mode, Let Your Customers Vote Using Their Wallets, and Milestone Your Way to Internet Marketing Success

January 17, 2019

If you've ever thought about making money from a membership site, you'll want to listen in as Robert discusses what you need to do to keep things simple, hit real goals, and get out of idea mode so you can start making money. (Thanks for write-in questions from Howard Hopgood, Julie Robitaille, Vernon Jeter and Joe Donnalley).

  • Burnout -> better goals
  • Follow through -> accountability
  • Progress -> take a focused 20 minutes to knock out the first step
  • Motivation -> people, milestones, results
  • Clarity -> journaling

Join Membership Cube to Create Your Passive Income Site Today

528: Turn Your Passion Into Profit, Launch, and Repeat with Course Creator Jacques Hopkins

April 11, 2018

Jacques Hopkins is the creator of where he sells an online piano course that helps people learn piano in a fast and fun way. Piano In 21 Days is now a fully automated business so He's also The Online Course Guy where he helps others turn their hobby into an online course like he did. He tells us about how he got started with online courses and now consults others who want to create and launch an online course.


457: Why Most Membership Sites Fail, and How to Create the Passive Income Money Site of Your Dreams

December 11, 2017

449: Create Passive Income Membership Sites for Your Online Business

November 28, 2017

Listen in to our episode to discover what you need to know about creating your membership site, keeping it simple and profitable. While you're listing, please check out this post on LinkedIn to leave a quick comment.

Leave a Like and Comment on LinkedIn

304: Don’t Be Forgotten or Passed Over Online, Create a Membership Site Instead

May 5, 2017

Do you fear being "forgotten" online? What if you put in all this time, money, and energy, and it doesn't lead to making money?

What if, 1.5 years from now, you look back and realize that all the work you've done building an internet presence, putting in the work day-in and day-out, pursuing your dream, all amounted to nothing? (scary)

I'll be completely honest. You SHOULD be afraid of time running out, and going out of business, but (possibly) not for the reason you think...

Worried About Online Competition? You SHOULD Be!

  • YouTube users watch over 1 billion hours of video content per day, and according to the Wall Street Journal, that's set to eclipse TV viewership in 2017.
  • Over 6,000 books are published PER DAY according to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), (1200 in China and 800 from the U.S. alone -- every single day)
  • As of late 2016, 60 million business are actively marketing on Facebook (4 million of them using paid ads)

Are You Worried About Giving Up, Burning Out, or Quitting?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 28.8 million small businesses in the United States, and only one-third survive ten years. 82% of businesses fail because of cashflow problems, either not being cashflow-positive or from mis-management.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that: 400,000 new businesses appear every year, but in that same year, 470,000 close up shop!

The good news is: being a lean startup or "one person business" is easier that ever. According to a study performed just a few years ago, 8.6% of the U.S. workforce consists of solopreneurs and is expected to grow to 24 million people by 2018. Compare that to a McDonald's franchise that costs $750,000 in LIQUID assets to start-up, in addition to about $1 million in startup costs and now you're forced to pay up to 12% in gross sales back to that corporate office... no thank you.

And, I'm sure you've experienced those moments of doubt, uncertainty, and panic about what you're doing with this "Internet" stuff.

Are You Worried That Your Internet Business Will Eventually Fail, Leaving You With Nothing To Show But A Lot Of Wasted Effort?

  1. I'm sure that you have way more ideas in your head than you have time to implement in just 24 hours every day
  2. Chances are, you've started more projects, websites, and membership sites, than you've finished
  3. I imagine that, like me, you've seen one or two sites out there and been JEALOUS that they beat you to the market -- and -- probably set something up better than you had imagined
  4. It is my hope that you've skipped right past the low-baller stuff like affiliate marketing, CPA, solo ads and banner ads and instead looked to the low-hanging fruit of making money online: membership sites

Now, have you thought about this?

What If, Without A Guide, You Sort Of "Fudge It" And Crank Away From Membership Content?

Again, without anyone to guide you, what if you created a "sales letter" and added some stuff to get people to buy?

What if you only "guessed" about price points, where to get traffic, how to setup drip content, weren't sure about membership software or where to host your site, your design (website theme)? Doesn't that seem like only 1 possible way to go right and about 200 ways to go wrong?

(In the same way you might embark on a cross-country road trip with GPS vs. no map and no direction... how likely is it, with random trial-and-error, that you'll arrive at your destination?)

Can I Make It Simple For You?

First, decide who you are and what you do. What solutions you have to offer. How can you help "me" to get what I want? (With stock trading, real estate, WordPress, etc.)?

Seriously, don't skip this. What will I HAVE at the end of your course and your training? For example, if you teach me how to sell on eBay, I shouldn't end your course with "some ideas" on how to sell on eBay. I should end with actual SOLD ITEMS on eBay! An important distinction.

Setup WordPress (I want to show you that) and install a simple membership plugin (I'll give you Wishlist Member for free too), and take payments with something like PayPal (also free, they just take a very small percentage).

Create something called a sales letter that convinces people to join, and a button where they can join and pay you money.

They pay that money, and create an account in a membership site of yours (even if they made ONE single payment with nothing recurring) to get access to some downloads.

Now, this is important.

Please Avoid "tricks!"

Don't drip content or try to pad stuff, just deliver a simple solution to a simple problem that people have.

Membership sites, including creating content, making a sales letter, getting sales, preventing refunds, and producing evergreen income, is within your grasp, as long as you give yourself permission to finish what you start.

Look, I realize that these days, you have a ton of things distracting you. But! Here is what you should NOT do if you fear having a failing online business:

  • do NOT ignore everyone around you jumping on the membership site, online course, WordPress, passive income bandwagon. You will NOT wait it out! Membership sites and online courses are not fads, anymore than the Internet was a fad, or Facebook was a fad, or PayPal was a fad
  • do not run into panic mode and give your content away for free, or run to low-ticket offers, or delete your list and try to sell to a "handful of $5000 clients"... without name recognition, traffic, a huge list, affiliates and JV partners, and other offers, that simply won't work
  • do not continue on the path you're going now, hoping that things will stay the same. Imagine if you marketed online in 2017 with only a 2007 knowledge of how things are done? What about a 1997 mindset? You must keep up to date, and membership sites are the answer

Here's What You MUST Do Now:

  1. Decide that you'll create a membership site (more specifically, a course) instead of "playing" with blogging (which takes years to pick up), coaching (best way to get a coaching client, hand-holding based on your course), or thinking about it without taking any action
  2. Solidify what SOLUTION you could deliver to your people in four simple milestones of 60-90 minutes per milestone

These are just two of the actions you should take if you care about your future, your financial well-being, your legacy, and your family.

It's time for you to stop fearing success, stop fearing membership sites and create passive income (leverage) for yourself in 2017.

Hop on this path to get started:

Membership Cube: Create Your Membership Site Today

303: Ten Closely Guarded Membership Site Insights (Breakthroughs) to 10X Your Online Income

May 4, 2017

Here's what Lance Tamashiro and I have to say about membership sites:

This is perfect for you if you've been CONFUSED with all the overwhelm/choices when it comes to creating a COMPLETE and PROFITABLE membership site...

Ever heard anyone say: "just use one of these 10 plugins, one of these 10 themes?" And been left more confused when you started? Yeah, me too...

Membership Site Solution

What helps instead: is, first, have a clear plan of action. Use WordPress to host it on YOUR OWN website. We'll give you the theme (design) and plugins to take payments and do everything else.

We include a special tool inside our Membership Cube course that sets it all up in 1-click:
Your theme, plugins, and "framework" for content so you can edit to make it your own...

Worry about the "fancy" stuff later. It's easier to edit crap than air. Don't let yourself get bogged down with unnecessary choices.

Second, keep things simple. Don't get in your own way creating 2 months or 6 months of content out of the gate. What's the point if no one will see it?

Focus on completing that membership site and creating the BARE MINIMUM so that someone could join TODAY. If that means you only have time for a single web page (sales letter) with a one-time payment button for $50, that's something you'll put in place TODAY (a must-have) and improve on a rainy day if and when you feel like it (a nice-to-have).

Create a way for people to buy access first,
because you don't want to wait until the last minute to do that AND you don't know if you'll feel like it later...

Do It Before Your Time Runs Out

Third (and in keeping with having a clear plan and keeping things simple), do it FAST. Chances are you're the most excited about your membership site NOW and, six months from now, if a "membership site" is a burden that you never setup, you'll never finish. Do it NOW while it's still fresh on your mind...

Fourth, only focus on the things that matter (this is called "80/20"). Drip content, how "pretty" your site looks, are NOT things that could double or triple your income, so focus on the low-hanging fruit instead...

Fifth, sell something that solves a real problem, as opposed to what seems "interesting" to you. This alone is HUGE and most of your competition (most) doesn't get this...

  • what if you sold access to a membership site about how to knit your own cable knit sweaters? Is that an actually a DESPERATE problem people are willing to pay money for? (I doubt it)
  • how about a course on how to flip real estate or lose weight (Yes! People are asking for that, looking for that, and buying that, so you just have to add your own unique spin on it)
  • a course about how to get better grades, how to learn to play the tuba, how to save money couponing, how to quit your day job in 9 years... are people really asking for that AND looking to pay money for it?(Probably not)
  • on the other hand... drone racing, dating, weight loss (some very specific solution or method), stock market trading... people want those things

Have a Purpose (Don't Just Run Out the Clock)

What's great about having a real purpose, keeping it simple, doing it fast, focusing on what matters, and solving a problem: you can get to the money FASTER because you're not letting a bunch of things get in your way... you have course-correction. It's good to make mistakes in this case, because every mistake leads to more money...

Listen, I started with info-products and membership sites by teaching something super nerdy... computer programming... and was it a super sexy topic? Heck no, it wasn't...

I quickly realized that my buyers were made of up two groups: other nerdy programmers like me who wanted to pick up some new skills (who refunded often and didn't pay all that much)... and...

Actual business owners who had websites and wanted to use my plug-ins and templates to make more money with their online business. People who wanted some simple instructions on how to write copy for web pages, create podcasts, and so on...

The point is: put some stuff out there, see how people use it and adjust your business based on what those HIGH DOLLAR buyers use, and want. Not just what you "guess" will sell...

Do people care about how many years you've been in business, how many hours you put into creating videos or even how many hours of videos total? Not really... they care about the RESULTS that you will give them.

Technical Challenges Shouldn't Stop You

Six, and getting into technical terms here but not too much, membership sites are just "on" or "off." If someone buys, they have access. If they refund, they don't have access. If they pay you money on a payment plan (which you can add later), they get access. If they cancel that payment plan, it sends a signal to your membership site to cut off access. On or off. Simple.

(Also not getting technical, but membership sites allow you to have "levels" which means you can sell multiple products from just one site.)

Seven, everything is un-doable on the internet, and even moreso with membership sites. I know someone who has been "thinking" about creating a membership site for the last 6 years, and still doesn't have one, and I know the exact reason!

The reason: he thinks "the cost of members downloading content" will cost too much. He hasn't made progress on his membership site in 6 years because a problem that does not currently exist (no content AND no members). Don't become another statistic. Stop thinking about it, because most things that you think are problems, are NOT problems. (Your web host does not charge you when people download or watch content).

Eight, bring your students (buyers) from point A to point B (this is an "online course" that you'll sell for $100-$500 per person).

How much does a book cost? 99 cents on Kindle? How about an audio book? 9 dollars on Audible? What about a uDemy course? 20 bucks? Why?

Because, a regular "book" only contains chapters. Lists. Tips. That's "cheap"...

Instead, figure out where your course will END, and what people will HAVE at the end. Not what they'll learn or know, but what they'll have setup...

Then, break it down into four milestones. Example:

END GOAL: podcast is setup with episodes, traffic, and guests
Module 1: create and publish your first podcast episode
Module 2: add music, graphics, and more content
Module 3: rank your podcast
Module 4: promote your podcast with pre-selling, sponsors, and affiliate products

Each "module" is 60-90 minutes with an assignment (we call it a challenge) to make sure your people don't get overloaded with tips and possibilities. Instead, they take action.

Bonus: by having a membership site that has a clear end-goal (light at the end of the tunnel) -- and not useless monthly tips that last forever --

Nine, and speaking of taking action, DON'T create the content first. Don't launch with all the bellsand whistles like extra bonuses and training calls, software, and coaching.

Save that for the next time you promote your offer. That's a bonus you can add in. And, you can wait until you get some initial customers and ask a few of them (1-on-1 and privately) if XYZ bonus that you were thinking of adding would be welcomed. That way you're giving your best buyers what they want, again, instead of guessing... so...

  1. Have a clear plan of action (so you know when you've arrived at your goal)
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Do it fast
  4. Focus on what matters (don't spend too much time on upsells or video #20 if no one has joined and watched video #1)
  5. Solve a real problem
  6. Membership sites are just "on" or "off" (they're a member in good standing or they aren't)
  7. Everything is un-doable with membership sites (don't stress out about future technical problems that may or may not happen)
  8. Get your buyers from Point A to Point B (milestones)
  9. Don't create the content first -- make the membership site first, including the buy button

And... the BEST thing I can tell you today to get up and running with your membership sites:

Ten, don't start with a "monthly forever" site right out of the gate.

It makes a lot more sense (to me) to create one solution that solves one problem. Charge one single payment. They pay, they get access. If they stop paying, they lose access.

That's the best bang for your buck right now. You can add payment plans, upsells, and monthly stuff later. What's important right now is that you create a membership site tonight, so you can get it in place, get that first paying member, make money --

Finally get rewarded for your online efforts (as opposed to continually starting new projects, not finishing, and not seeing any real results)...

Create a membership site. Keep it simple. Our Membership Cube course will get you to do that:

Join Membership Cube Now to Get Everything You Need for Your Membership Site
(in One Place)

Too Many Ideas? Drain the Website Swamp and Don’t Make Your Site Fancy Until Tomorrow

November 10, 2016

Can you relate to having "too many ideas" and you're not sure if any are any good?

Maybe you've done the legwork for this website or that website... registered some domain names, setup an empty WordPress blog that will "one day" hold your membership site... maybe you've bought some resale rights content...

Maybe you've recorded some interviews, videos, audios, or written some sort of report down that you one day want to put into a membership site... a site where someone pays you to get access.

And then what happened? Life got in the way, right?

Something came across that was more urgent and you had to switch gears to make money now...

Or you came across something more exciting and you said... I'll put my current hopes and dreams on the "back burner" to try something else...

I'm not sure about your current situation, but many people that are currently struggling with making money and creating a profitable membership site have this problem:

-- not enough time, too distracted, too overwhelmed, too stressed out
-- confusion about what to do next or what to "click" and generally getting FRUSTRATED with websites in general

And even worse, the "sting" every time you check your internet marketing business on your phone or your computer. I'm sure you know what the sting is:

  1. there's a little of bit of that sting or that anxiety when you check your email, stats and sales and the number is either at zero or you wish it was way higher
  2. another bill for that web host, a quick charge for those handful of domain names you didn't use... should I continue renewing those domain names every year or cut some of them loose? And then what was I paying that yearly domain fee for?
  3. thinking about or browsing through the massive clutter of half finished projects, ideas, websites, and files... just a huge mess... sting
  4. wondering if this will all be worth it and feeling the "lifetime cost" of all the little e-books and things continues to pile up and sting...

Can I tell you what my personal opinion is (which you can say is either right or wrong) about you, your upcoming membership site, and the future of you and your online business?

You may have heard that you should narrow your focus down to just one website at a time, dedicate X days or X hours to getting it done...

Maybe you've also heard that you should make the simplest, ugliest, most no-frills site as possible that DOES have a buy button, so you can get just one member and go from there...

And... what is/was very reassuring to me is that after you FINISH that first money making site (FINISH meaning you get one single paying member) then not only does it become a lot easier to make your next site (because you've done it before), it's actually more fun because you now know this money making thing "works" and isn't just a hobby...

So can I tell you what I "think" you should do today?

Unsolicited Piece of Advice #1: Drain the Website Swamp

Your previous websites, business expenses, half finished sites, etc. don't matter. If you have a mess of a folder, a mess of 10 half finished sites and you aren't making progress on any of them, isn't it time to clean up the mess and drain that huge "swamp" of stuff? Get some simplicity, clarity, focus?

I'm no neat-freak, but if I sit down on the couch to relax and there's papers or "stuff" on the counter, I get huge amounts of anxiety... enough where I can't calm down and I can't think... not a good mental place to be. I'm the same way with any clutter on my desk OR if I have a ton of files on my desktop OR a ton of dangling unfinished projects...

Put it all away. You can bring "the mess" back to the forefront after completing just one membership site... so how do you do that?

Unsolicited Piece of Advice #2: Make it Pretty and Perfect "Tomorrow"

Priorities. What do you need in order to take payments online?

  • a domain name (.com name such as that people can type in to find your site)
  • a website and landing page (a simple sales letter, we include Paper Template in our Membership Cube course)
  • a way to take payments (we use PayPal and if you want something fanicer, switch out that piece later)
  • a membership site to take payments, control access and provide content (PDFs, videos) -- we provide this in Membership Cube as well

What about... 1-click upsells? Downsells and OTO Fancy graphics? Professional videos? An affiliate contest on social media? Those are nice to haves and not must-haves...

Here's what I think... setup your membership site today with Membership Cube (we provide the 1-click template so it's done in seconds) and don't worry about that fancy stuff until "tomorrow"... just get that functioning membership site completed today.

Your membership site is done today in one click and by the time tomorrow rolls around, it will be "today" again and time to focus on the important stuff... filling up the membership site with content in a day (module two) -- and you can save the fancy graphics and everything until "tomorrow" (which is still a day away at that point)...

Day three... you could jump into module three of Membership Cube which is the one to beef up your sales letter and make it easy for others to join your site -- but guess what? Fancy graphics and procrastination land is still "tomorrow" at that point...

Unsolicited Piece of Advice #3: Don't Plan, Course Correct

Finally, many people think they need a master plan of some kind. They can't make membership site #1 because they want to know what membership site #10 is going to be...

If that has been your way of thinking up until now, how has that been working out for you?
Sure seems like a recipe for stress and being spread too thin, if you ask me.

The problem with mapping out your entire life is that the sales and feedback you get from the mini-launch of your next membership site will completely change the trajectory of your internet business moving forward.

For example, you might setup that quick golfing membership site and it leads to a couple high ticket coaching clients that wouldn't have paid you unless they find you through that single-payment training course they bought from you (membership site) first...

Or maybe you whip up a single-payment quick weight loss membership site and it leads to you setting up some sort of monthly auto-ship service where you mail your members a bottle of pills or a some sort of algae liquid through the mail. You wouldn't have scaled your business to that point unless you had that validation -- sales of the weight loss course to prove that your idea works. Stepping stones.

Perhaps you create a training course about drone flying and you realize that there is a huge demand for an additional membership course about drone racing. Your "first wave" of members actually ask you to create something for round two, and they buy it.

What Your (Attainable) Goal Needs to Be

It's good to have a goal, but if you don't have cashflow in your business, your goal is very simple: to just make one sale of ANYTHING, even something that's 10 or 100 bucks. Once you see how easy that is (and maybe you've been making it too complicated without even realizing it) you might say:

  • that was fun, I want to do it again
  • I want to scale my business so the next site makes even more money
  • this small success gives me an idea for the next thing that I wouldn't have thought of otherwise
  • I finally see the value in focusing and finishing what I start as opposed to being spread too thin or spinning my wheels

There definitely is value to trying out a couple of things (think of it as "career day" or that "starter income") and then look back and think... did I enjoy that? Did I make enough money and if not, what small steps will I take so that not only make more money, but I generate that doing the things I enjoy doing?

To make sure you're on the right track,
look BACK at your past mistakes
in addition to looking FORWARD
so that you don't continue making the same mistakes.

Setup a membership site quickly so that your thinking doesn't have time to get in the way of you taking action. Making money is more important than being 100% perfect and planned out, and this is the path you can jump on right now to flesh out your idea, click a button and set it up using our template, and have a site ready to take orders... not in three months from now, not in three weeks from now, TODAY:

Claim Your Access to "Membership Cube"
and Get All The Training, Tools and Templates
to Create a Membership Site All in One Place

084: How to Take Action: Create a New Information Product or Promote an Old One?

April 16, 2016

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future." -- Steve Jobs
"A real decision is meausred by the fact that you've taken a new action. If there's no action, you haven't truly decided." -- Tony Robbins

Criteria for updating a course you're selling:

  • Has it be at least 1 year since I launched this?
  • Is it still selling, or have sales dropped off slightly? (as I'm promoting it heavily?)
  • Is there something new I'd change in each module of this course?
  • Is there a new sexy hook I can add to justify this new course? (examples: transcripts for videos, tools/templates, coaching calls using TimeTrade)

Tune in to today's Robert Plank Show where we talk about taking action and how to decide between the "product launch frenzy" versus income streams that make you money for years to come...

076: Gamification: Make Your Membership Sites Sticky Using WP Notepad and WP Kunaki

February 20, 2016

Let's talk about "The Grid" you'll have in your membership site:

What if you taught weight loss? Give me a 5x5 table (or dashboard) where I can choose the meal plan I want to lose weight.

Hypnosis membership site? Let me jump to the exact recording I want to listen to in order to feel good, fall asleep, get focused, etc. Let me choose the exact real estate form in your real estate membership site.

  • Catchphrase of the Week: When you copy the airplane for the first time, duplicate the dents, too.
  • Question of the Week: What's the One Word That You Own? Drip, clone. Template.
  • Quote of the Week: "No focus = overwhelm." -- Dan Blank
  • Marketer of the Week: Joe Lavery (put the pressure on your website visitors using scarcity)

Our Membership Cube course shows you how to setup WordPress, a domain name, sales letter, and use Wishlist Member as the "gatekeeper" to manage all your members: let them in once they pay, or kick them out if they cancel/refund.

WP Notepad to provide note-taking areas

  • allow members to take private notes under each of your videos each of your modules
  • add "completed" checkboxes in every page/post so they can mark off their progress
  • add "fill in the blank" forms so they can grab your templates and customize them right in their browser
  • add multiple "checkboxes" anywhere in your site so people can complete the tasks you provide to them
  • also, spy on those members to see how they're using your site

WP Kunaki to collect addresses

  • collect mailing adresses (to dump into DoubleAgentCards, Kunaki, send a book or podcast)
  • verify those addresses against a verifying service
  • create public or private member directories

TablePress to create the dashboard (free plugin)

  • figure out what size of table you want (rows and columns)
  • add links to the modules of your site
  • rearrange later: add/remove rows or columns, add icons from

This is all possible due to Membership Cube, which includes your own copy of Wishlist Member, WP Notepad, WP Kunaki, and more.

074: The Penny Test, The Login Test, and the Opt-In Test (Does Your Internet Business Get a Passing Score?)

February 5, 2016

Can a single penny really make or break your entire online business? Listen on to find out...

Marketer of the week: Teresa King. She Taught me how to keep it simple. One of the first people I knew with a membership site (1999) -- BoxedScripts with me. Redirect Pro.

Feature Presentation: The Penny Test

Does your business pass these three tests?

  1. Penny Test (what happens if you set your product's price to 0.01, actually purchase for real, then change the price back to normal later? Can you completely pay, check out, and create an account in your system? What about logging back in?)
  2. Login Test (upsell, test user, MG user masquerading, dashboard page, login-logout)
  3. Opt-in Test (single-double-triple optin, re-optin with existing address) fill in contact form)

Ten Bonus Tests

1. Is your mailing address on your website?
2. What about a contact form?
3. What do I see when I google your name?
4. Search your name on Amazon?
5. Search on YouTube?
6. Search on iTunes?
7. Do you own the .com?
8. Where can I optin on your site?
9. What can I buy?
10. If I only buy one thing from you, what should I buy?

Bonus test: where's the one place that I can find your "best stuff"? (best of page on your blog, blog post listing all your products, etc.)

Wise Words: John C. Maxwell's 7 Steps to Success

John C. Maxwell, author of 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, says you need to take these seven actions:

  1. Make a commitment to grow daily
  2. Value the process more than events
  3. Don't wait for inspiration
  4. Be willing to sacrifice please for opportunity
  5. Dream big
  6. Plan your priorities
  7. Give up to go up

Back to Top