If I were trying to accomplish what I’m doing with the new site ten years ago, it probably would have cost me in the upwards of 4 figures to set this all up.
Before WordPress and other CMSs, you had to hire programmers to setup complex databases. Today, you can just choose a plugin that does what you want.
Now that I’m learning how it all works, I’m really sorry I didn’t jump into this sooner.
When you’re faced with so many options, it can be paralyzing. And no matter what option you choose there are always going to be pros and cons.
So it’s really about choosing the option that has the most features you want, and go with it.
Now that the fear and analysis paralysis is gone, I’m looking forward to the freedom, control, flexibility and helping YOU have the same.
Why I Chose MemberMouse
I’m only an affiliate for Member Mouse as I have not used the other plugins listed. However, these are some of the most popular membership plugins WordPress users use today.
You can opt for…
- a simple, one-time fee product setup
- a full-blown membership site
- a combo of both
I chose MemberMouse (MM) because it seemed to have the most features I wanted without having to install additional plugins, and they have a solid support record.
Are there cheaper options? Yes, of course. There are even FREE options.
MM is $20/month for up to 50,000 customers/members. So it pays for itself very early on.
But I don’t mind going with a monthly payment plugin because I like how they constantly reinvest into their product by adding new features.
It’s something that will grow with me, and they have several customers with over 100,000 members on their WordPress sites.
But it definitely has a learning curve and takes some getting used to. I could create a course on this product alone.
I probably will! 🙂
They do have basic videos, but I have learned a lot on my own in order to apply the plugin features to MY individual situation.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being easiest to use, I’d give them a 7.
It took me some time to learn the ropes. Those 3 missing points just give me room to make a course in the future. Ha! 🙂
Taking Baby Steps
I’ve learned (thanks to your feedback) to take my time and work in stages.
Many of you have given me such solid advice and suggestions based on your experiences, and I’m definitely taking notes! So thank you.
It was also cool to see how many of you are in transition with your business as well, so we can learn and share together. I really enjoy reading about your journeys so please keep those emails coming.
I’m glad I decided to share this process publicly. Plus, by sharing what you are struggling with is giving me content ideas for this blog and the new site.
If you are thinking of creating a full-blown membership site, you should realize that you don’t just set them up without much thought just because you are excited about residual income. No way!
You need to plan what you will offer and how you will offer it for the long-run.
That’s why I’m starting out by offering an introductory, one-time-fee course for anyone interested in selling their videos and/or courses online.
I’m keeping it simple.
But when I’m ready to branch out and make it more like a membership site, I can do that too.
MM is compatible with BuddyPress (WordPress’ free forum software). So I can even offer a customer-only forum if I want down the line.
Why So Long?
I waited a long time to sell from WordPress because of indecision about the plugin choice, video hosting, etc.
It’s hella intimidating when you’ve never done this before, but not so bad once you just make the decision to jump in and learn.
Another reason I chose MM is they are involved in the backend during the purchasing process. (Every order hits their server before hitting PayPal, Stripe, etc.)
So I always have another party involved and I need that.
I wanted the comfort of solid support, and I have already put them to the test several times! So far they’ve responded within an hour or so.
I even spoke to the founder, Eric, on the phone because my plugin didn’t install with all the tables for some some odd reason. Eric logged in with a temp account I setup and fixed me right up.
You know how some companies are very responsive before you become a customer, but get lax with support once you sign up?
Yeah, well… I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. Let’s hope support stays top notch.
I’m Testing Like Craaaazy!
MM has a convenient testing platform with pre-populated test data that lets me run through the entire order process without using test/sandbox payment info from PayPal, Stripe, etc.
So I can quickly speed through (view confirmation page, test coupon codes, welcome emails, etc.) from start to finish.
I can even login as the customer with one click to see what pages/courses they can access (or can’t).
Being able to test all this with such great detail before going live gives me tremendous comfort. I’ve probably run close to 100 tests in the last month.
You Have Options!
I totally understand why. These methods are certainly easier to setup, and the options we have online continue to grow.
That’s a good thing and a testament to how the e-learning space is growing. But at the same time, choosing a platform is becoming more overwhelming for newbies.
What’s great about selling courses or videos online is you can choose a setup that costs you virtually nothing at all (Udemy, GumRoad, for example) or spend hundreds per year on a more advanced setup (Ruzuku).
It really depends on what you want to invest in and how simple/complex you want to go.
For my setup, it’s costing about $33/month.
- Hosting video files with Vimeo (I can protect videos so they can only be viewed/embedded on my site. YouTube video files cannot be protected at this level.)
- WP CourseWare plugin (A course plugin is optional and I’m configuring my site so I can remove it without much hassle if I choose.)
- MemberMouse subscription (It provides customer access to the course content after purchase.)
At the same time, I could have chosen a setup that cost me almost nothing, other than small transaction fees.
Again, you have options and that’s what’s great about all the various plugins, 3rd party sites etc.
A 101 Intro Course for Newbies
My first course on the new site is going to break all the course hosting options down (WordPress, 3rd party, low-cost, high-end and even the almost-free options).
I’m basically creating a product I wish I had access to when I first started selling courses.
I will strive to generate the same kind of reactions seen in the reviews of my Photoshop course.
I really enjoy the challenge of finding ways to break seemingly complex things down into laymen’s terms.
The new course is going to be perfect if you are…
- Looking to move away from Udemy or another 3rd party and use WordPress
- Wanting to sell videos or courses online (WordPress or 3rd party), but are overwhelmed with what you need and how to start
- Hoping to learn more about the pros and cons of all the options (self hosted or remotely hosted)
- Looking for less expensive options with minimal setup
- Fed up with low YouTube partner earnings and looking to better monetize your video content
The selection process can be intimidating if you’ve never done this before, and I am going to break everything down to provide tremendous clarity.
Change can be paralyzing, and as a result, you end up doing nothing.
Yep! Been there.
My mission is to pull you out of that phase by breaking down the info into delicious, bite-size chunks of info. 🙂
You may not want a setup as advanced as mine, and thankfully there are many other options. The course will cover those too.
That’s why I’m taking my time with this and really learning about all options, so I can offer a very thorough course for newbies.
I’m Being More Strategic
Another strategy I’m using that I didn’t use here is to start with a 101/intro course to upsell future courses — as opposed to offering random courses on various topics that aren’t necessarily related.
And to pique interest in the course, I’m putting together a free, color-coded PDF that summarizes the key features of popular options for selling videos and courses online.
This will be my lead magnet to help grow my email list.
I will be using Convert Kit (not an affiliate because I haven’t used it). This is going to pull anyone interested on this site over to the new list.
Then the magic happens… 🙂
From there, I can segment the list how I want. For example…
I might even include an option that says…
I’m not interested in selling courses at all. I just signed up to be nosy. Ha! 🙂
That way I can delete people from the list who are just signing up out of curiosity.
I’m so incredibly serious about the purity of my new email list.I don't JUST care about growing a big email list. I care more about the quality of the list.Click To Tweet
I’d rather have 100 people on my list who want the same things than 30,000 with only a small percentage interested in what I’m selling.
This is the kind of information I’m looking forward to sharing more here on this blog once I get going with the new site.
I’ve noticed email marketing is a strong pain point with a lot of you. Well, we can learn and grow together.
Regarding The Launch…
When the introductory course launches, you will get an email with your launch discount.
And let me just say, act on the generous launch discount because the courses on the new site are not just going to be given away dirt cheap.
I’m so excited about all this; especially now that testing is going well and I can see it in action.
Notice how everything is going to be so much more strategic and focused than anything I’ve ever done.
But I can’t lie…
This new venture is scary for many reasons, but how will you ever learn and grow if you don’t step out and do something new and uncomfortable, right?
I’ll keep you posted, and would love to hear more about your experiences selling video/courses online.