Podcasting Passive Income: Making Money Through Membership Sites

Podcasting Passive Income: Making Money Through Membership Sites

After five months of podcasting, David Stein realized podcasting has the potential to generate passive income. However, he still has to figure out how to go about it.

As former chief investment strategist for a multi-billion dollar asset management company, David understood that the only way he was going to do this was if the returns he will get will be higher than his investment.

He took a risk and launched a paid membership website called the Money for the Rest of Us Hub. One of the benefits that members get when they sign up is unlimited access to 80 episodes (and counting) found in the Money for the Rest of Us Plus podcast.

With over 25,000 listeners tuning to his podcast per episode, it has now become the primary platform for people who want to learn about the US economy and where they should invest their money. Many of these listeners are those that subscribed to his premium podcast, which requires them to pay a membership fee to download all the episodes and subscribe to get access to new ones as they are uploaded.

At the recent 2016 FinCon, David shared his secrets on how he used a membership site as a way for him to make money through his podcast.

A unexpected truth about making money through podcasting

David’s first idea to turn podcasting into a source of passive income came after reading a five-part report published about podcasting. In the report, it was mentioned that profits coming from podcast advertisements have been on the rise that they anticipate it would increase at a rate of 25% per year until 2020.

The numbers looked very promising. That was until he took a closer look and did some more research about it.

He discovered that while the figures were enticing, it failed to mention that these numbers are before advertising agencies commissions and other fees are deducted. When he crunched the numbers, the actual earnings weren’t as big as he thought.

A podcasting stat report published by Libsyn supported his calculations. As he explained during the 2016 FinCon, half of podcasters running ads earn only about $6.80 per episode.

David looked at another option: selling a training course on Udemy. He launched his course back in March 2015. But apparently, that also didn’t give him the passive income he was hoping to generate. At the time that he gave his talk at the 2016 FinCon, he only earned a surprising total of $290.

Going back to something familiar

Immediately after quitting his job, David decided to put up a membership site where he can share his skills as an investment strategist to help other people. But he took it down almost as soon as it launched because it was the same thing that he was doing when he was still employed. The only difference is that he wasn’t getting paid this time.

After the first two options failed, he decided to launch a membership site. Only this time, he decided he was going to be charging people who want to sign up and become a member.

David used his podcast as a tool to invite his listeners to head over to his membership site and sign up. Not long after, his membership website has grown to over 600 members, many of whom were listeners of his podcast.

Money for the Rest of Us Hub now generates an average passive income of $9,000 for David each month. Considering that his podcast caters to a very narrow niche, this not bad at all.

Secret #1: Build your site one member at a time

Even if he already had a substantial number of members, David took time out to reach out to each and everyone. He also made sure to answer all the emails he got from the members.

David learned that one reason only a small percentage of his audience reached out to him was because they assumed he was too busy to write back. When he did, he not only proved that he was a real person, it also made them trust him all the more.

Secret #2: Survey your audience

Aside from finding out the age range and income bracket of his audience, David suggests to also probe and ask about the biggest challenge they are currently facing.

Understandably, people are always looking for solutions to their most pressing problems. If you can give them a simple solution that they can immediately implement, they will be more willing to stay and renew their memberships each and every time.

This is crucial if you’re running a membership site. “The death of a membership site is when there are more customers leaving than signing up,”

Secret #3: Listen to your audience

Most of the things that you can now see on David’s membership site came about from him listening and paying attention to his target audience.

For instance, when he launched his membership site, he offered three different membership levels at various prices. He immediately noticed that nearly everyone signing up chose the highest membership level. This prompted him to get rid of the other options and offer only one choice when it comes to price.

Three months later, he began receiving suggestions and questions from those who are interested to sign up. One of the suggestions was to offer an annual plan instead of the usual monthly plan he offers. Today, if you will visit his site, you will see that potential members can now choose between a monthly or annual membership.

Secret #4: Keep things simple

Because David was a podcaster, it was only natural that he would create accompanying podcast episodes for his members to listen to. At the same time, he also knew that his members don’t want to go through all the hassle of typing in their passwords just to hear the podcasts.

The discovery prompted him to set up a premium version of his podcast. While anyone can find this when they search for it, they can only subscribe and listen to all the episodes if they are a paying member. Many people signed up for his membership site just so that they can have access to the episodes..

Watch the Full Video here:

It’s your turn to make money through your podcast

How do you intend to monetize your podcast? Is setting up a membership program one of them? Let us know in the comments below.

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