Should I Create a Course or a Membership Program?

The world of online business is brimming with opportunities, and often, entrepreneurs find themselves at a crossroads: should you create a course, launch a membership program, or perhaps neither? This is a question I get asked frequently, and today, I want to share my candid thoughts on this critical decision. 

The Reality of Creating Online Courses 

Courses are not a shortcut to passive income. They require a significant investment of time, energy, and money. Before diving into this endeavor, consider if you have a substantial audience. Without a large platform, the return on investment might be underwhelming. 

What You Need to Know: 

  1. Cost and Effort: Developing quality content, workbooks, and videos demands resources. 
  1. Technical Requirements: Choosing and managing platforms like Thinkific or Kajabi isn’t cheap or simple. 
  1. The Volume Game: Most courses are priced under $1000, meaning you need a large audience to make substantial sales. 
  1. Audience Engagement: It’s not just about selling; it’s about creating content that your audience will actually use and benefit from. 

The Importance of Audience in Course Creation 

Your existing audience, particularly your email list, is more critical than your social media following. Email marketing is a powerful tool, and relying solely on social media for course promotion is unlikely to yield significant results. 

Key Considerations: 

  • Why Are You Building a Course?: Understand your motivation. Is it for passive income, or is there something more? 
  • Do You Have the Right Audience?: Ensure you have an engaged audience that’s interested in your content. 
  • Existing Content and Platform: Leverage your current content and audience base to make your course successful. 

Rethinking Your Current Business Model 

If the motivation behind creating a course is fatigue from your current business, it’s worth revisiting and tweaking your existing model. Focus on making your current business life-giving rather than starting from scratch with a new venture. 

The Decision to Start a Membership Program 

Similar to courses, membership programs require a thorough understanding of your audience’s desires and the logistical capacity to manage the program. Before leaping into memberships, ask these questions: 

  1. Does Your Audience Want This?: Understand if a membership program aligns with your audience’s needs. 
  1. Feasibility and Structure: Consider the practical aspects, including technology, content type, and the balance between virtual and in-person interactions. 

The Power of Knowing Your Audience 

Before deciding on a course or membership, or any other offering, focus on understanding your audience deeply. 

  • Who is Your Audience?: Identify and understand your ideal client and their needs. 
  • What Does Your Audience Want and Need?: Adapt your offerings based on your audience’s desires and requirements. 

Conclusion: It’s Not Just About the ‘What,’ But the ‘Who’ 

Instead of jumping straight into creating a course or membership program, take a step back. Understand your audience and their needs. If you’re unsure, consider running a free beta or pilot program. Your audience will guide you in creating something that resonates with them. 

Remember, it’s not just about what you want to create; it’s about what your audience needs. Maybe the answer isn’t a course or a membership program, but something entirely different that adds value to your audience’s life. 

If you’re pondering these questions about your brand and how to grow it effectively, I invite you to schedule a Free Brand Call with Brand Builders Group. We can help you navigate these decisions and build a strategy that aligns with your vision and your audience’s needs. 

Hey there!

I'm AJ Vaden

I am an entrepreneur, lover of all things creative and very proud boy mom. I am into personal development, spreadsheets and have a weird fascination with taxes. I write and talk on personal branding, entrepreneurship, business and life.  

P.S. I love Jesus, and I talk about my faith a lot. Just know that going in.

request a free personal brand strategy call

Get Clear On How to Build & Monetize Your Personal Brand

free resource

The Trends in Personal Branding National Research Study

This ground-breaking study was the first ever multi-generational and empirically-verified study of personal branding in the U.S. and its data markers prove that personal branding is no longer optional – it’s a MUST.

free training

How to DOUBLE Your Coaching Business in the Next 12 Months

Learn hidden revenue opportunities that most coaches and consultants overlook, plus an actionable plan for tapping into that $$$ right now. Attend my free revenue growth webinar!