Note from Marsha Stopa: There was a ripple in the blogging world last week when we learned that John Yeoman had passed. John ran several acclaimed fiction writing programs at his membership site Writers’ Village and was a fixture since we launched this blog. We counted on him popping into our inboxes with a wry observation, slightly cynical question or a witty comment on posts. John was a charter member of Serious Bloggers Only, fond of long, analytical and challenging debates in the forum. His clever posts were winners in every SBO blogging competition. Ever the delightful gentleman, he was widely respected for his experience, insight and willingness to help.
John sent this post to me on June 10, shortly after he became aware of his medical issues, to consider publishing within SBO. We can’t be sure, but it may be one of the last pieces he wrote. So publishing it where everyone can benefit is more fitting with the kind and generous soul that he was. He is deeply missed.
Membership sites are potentially the most profitable kind of online business.
Your product is digital, so you have no inventory or shipping costs. You can operate wherever you have computer access, even from your home (as I do). If you create your own product and do most of the techie stuff yourself, your overheads are negligible.
So your pre-tax profits might be as high as 80% of turnover.
What other kind of business can claim that?
Above all, you have to make a subscription sale only once. Subscribers on an automated payment profile will then pay you regularly, maybe across several years — provided your program is good.
Your cash flow can be excellent. And you can usually predict your income stream a year or more ahead.