Unpacking The Subscription Economy (Series) — 6. The Membership Website Subscription Model

A subscription offering which involves publishing your know-how behind a pay wall where subscribers get access to unique content

Chris Baisch
4 min readJul 15, 2020


This series of articles follows on from an article I published recently, titled “Unpacking The Subscription Economy”, where I mentioned that subscription businesses are more valuable and appealing to investors than traditional businesses, because they are more predictable to operate and they extend the lifetime value of a customer. This article looks at The Membership Website Subscription Model.

The Membership Website Subscription Model

If you have a specific expertise or passion, no matter how obscure, people may be willing to pay for access to what you know. The Membership Website Subscription Model involves publishing your know-how behind a pay wall where subscribers get access to unique content including articles, videos, webinars and forum discussions.

For example, for $129 a year, you can subscribe to The Wood Whisper Guild, a Membership Website set up by Marc Spagnuoloto, who shares his knowledge of wood working with thousands of hobby cabinet makers and enthusiasts.

Another popular site, Dream of Italy, is for people who want inside information about travelling the beaten path in Italy. American owner Kathy McCabe grew up traveling back to her Italian homeland every year. She cultivated friendships with local farmers, restaurateurs and boutique hotel operators, and today she leverages this network of contacts to create a steady ow of inside information about emerging travel experiences in Italy. If a new pensione opens in Tuscany, Kathy is likely to know about it, and she passes this information on to her loyal subscribers.

What Do You Know that Nobody Else Does?

If you have developed a unique approach to running your business or have been able to achieve above-average profitability in a competitive industry, other companies in your industry will want to know how you did it. The most financially successful Membership Websites tend to focus on helping business owners master a specific industry or skill.

RestaurantOwner.com, for example, helps aspiring chefs create profitable restaurants. ContractorSelling.com helps plumbers and electricians build their companies.

Who This Model Works Best For

Consider The Membership Website Subscription Model if you have:

  • A tightly de fined niche market like ‘ambitious dance studio owners’ or ‘woodworking enthusiasts’.
  • Ongoing insider information.
  • Related products or services you can sell to your subscribers.

What The Insiders Say

  • The most profitable Membership Websites are business-to-business companies that solve a real problem, offering ‘must have’ information and maintaining forums that are constantly evolving.
  • Most successful operators produce content in multiple formats (video interview, podcast, written transcript) to account for subscriber preferences and to increase the chances the site will be found by search engines.
  • Create ways to monetize your subscribers through adjacent products and services, e.g. conferences, coaching, courses.

Recurring Revenue is one of the “8 Key Drivers Of Company Value” from the Value Builder System™️, which I use to help small business owners increase the overall value of their businesses.

Being able to cash out the maximum when the time is right, is every business owners dream. It’s the dream of having a long and happy retirement, without financial worries, and being rewarded for all the hard work they put in over the years. But so many fail to get this right, because they never formally worked towards that goal, they thought it would just happen.

So if you’re a business owner who’s planning ahead and considering ways to exit your business on your terms, I hope the information I provide in the coming weeks will help you reach those goals. If you would like to chat to me about this in person, feel free to book a slot in my calendar and we can discuss it further.

FREE Assessment:

If you want to see how you score in each of the “8 Key Drivers” right now, take 15-minutes to complete this survey and you’ll get a comprehensive 25+ page report benchmarking your business against its peers, plus 49 tips on how to improve those 8 key areas.



Chris Baisch

Business Growth Advisor who helps leaders of small to mid-sized businesses overcome their growth challenges. www.valueight.com