Congrats! You’ve reached the magical milestone of building a million-dollar online course and coaching business. And if you’re like any of the other entrepreneurs we work with, we know that you’re already thinking about the next milestone, hitting $2M in revenue.
The path to $1M in revenue from your online course business was a long one. To get to $1M, you experimented, launched a ton of things that didn’t work, explored channels that were dead-ends, and finally unlocked tactics that worked.
To get to $2M in yearly online course revenue, you now need to shift from the mindset of experimentation to optimization. You need to take what’s worked for you and launch bigger and more ambitious versions of those tactics.
In our experience working with course creators, the easiest and most impactful lift from your revenue is combining what you’re already doing into some type of monthly or yearly paid membership. Your membership should offer a deeper level of access to you, plus, packages up a few flagship courses, a dedicated community, and weekly or monthly virtual events.
In this article, we’ll share three different ways of offering memberships that you can adapt based on real examples from course creators and influencers we’ve worked with.
#1 - Using a two-tiered membership to add $1M in revenue
A personal development community we recently worked with added nearly a million dollars in additional revenue by adding monthly and yearly memberships to their existing offering of online courses and programs.
They already had a large social media presence, best-selling programs, and popular online courses. Adding a membership was an obvious and awesome way to grow their existing sales.
The way they structured their membership was in two tiers. First, they offered a free membership, designed to help them gain exposure and create an entry point into their online courses. Second, they designed their paid membership for people who wanted to keep learning after taking their flagship courses. Members can purchase a monthly or yearly subscription, priced at around $100 per month or $900 for the year.
If you’re not ready to offer a paid membership, you can start by creating a free membership helping you to drive enrollment for your programs and sell more online courses.
One personal productivity expert we worked with recently had millions of social media followers, training programs that he sold to Fortune 100s, a best-selling book, a top-ranked podcast, and four popular online courses. His team used Mighty Pro to create a free membership community, moving from Facebook Groups and Kajabi.
Nearly 50,000 members have joined since their launch. And 2,000 members recently participated in a 7-day program they offered as part of a conference they hosted within their branded apps.
As they’ve created their free membership within their own apps, members can join mini-challenges, book clubs, purchase online courses, and unlock exclusive video content. With the success they’ve had, the creator is now looking to launch a premium subscription as an optional add-on to their membership, opening up a new source of revenue.
Finally, we’ve also seen course creators generate easy additional revenue by offering secondary memberships for their most passionate students.
One Mighty Pro Host, for example, runs a one-year paid program for their global spiritual community. It’s priced at $2,000 for the year. They also added a new program—priced at $3,000—for members who wish to continue their spiritual journey. This follow-up course is offered to every member, offering a seamless upsell and logical way to earn more revenue from existing customers.
Another organization we worked with created a new membership for their vast network of coaches they had trained over the years. This organization has been running courses and training coaches for over 20 years, so they knew that the fastest path to new revenue was by selling to customers who had purchased and attended their events. They had trained over 20,000 coaches over the years—so when they launched their high-ticket membership program, it was an instant hit with 140 paying members joining right away.
#2 - Launch a new elite program with unmatched 1:1 access
Many course creators started with things that did not scale—such as offering 1:1 coaching services or teaching small in-person classes. While your time is still the most valuable resource, we often see successful experts hit the next level in revenue by delivering extremely premium membership packages to a smaller number of people.
We recently worked with an influencer in the healthcare industry. He had already scaled his business, offering online courses, vast educational resources, popular virtual events with thousands of attendees, and a trained team to deliver services under his brand.
With Mighty Pro, he launched a new high-ticket program that combines a new community, an exclusive course, and the most direct access to him than he ever offered before.
As a popular speaker and podcaster, getting direct access to him within the membership was a huge draw. The program is priced for serious students with a basic tier at $997 and a premium level at $1,797. Nearly 500 paying members joined right away with a sold-out program launch.
Another model we’ve seen work well is going even more premium. One of our Mighty Pro Hosts offers a premium membership limited to 10-20 people. The membership is designed for experienced entrepreneurs, so combining direct access to their team, training content, and community discussions make the membership rare and valuable. This requires even more of your time—but with specialized topics, you can charge upwards of $10,000 for 12-week programs.
#3 - Skip the freemium and go straight to paid
A common journey we see with our Mighty Pro Hosts is learning the limitations of offering a free community membership. While free memberships can act as powerful lead generators for your paid programs, it’s good to experiment with communities that serve a smaller number of paying members.
That’s exactly what one of our Mighty Pro Hosts learned when they moved from a freemium model. This Host runs an online university, focusing on specialized mystical topics with a rich library of paid courses and top-ranked YouTube videos.
Their initial plan was to start with a freemium model, offering a large free community that would funnel interest to their paid courses. What they discovered was that they actually had two distinctive audiences.
The first audience was a large group of YouTube followers. These people were curious and enthusiastic about their content. But they were unlikely to purchase paid memberships. The second group was a smaller audience interested in higher-level mastery.
While their freemium model quickly grew their community to over 10,000 members, they decided to discontinue it. And instead, narrowed their focus to members who were willing to pay for monthly subscriptions. This dramatically changed the vibe of the community and was the much more profitable audience.
Whatever membership model you start with, if you already have success, a sizable audience on social media, and demonstrated demand for your online courses, pulling everything you offer into one place is the fastest way to change the course of your business. It’s particularly powerful when you make an online community a part of your offering. This transforms static content into an energetic place where your best students come to learn, creating accountability for your members and lifting your retention and course completion rates.