Like most creative entrepreneurs, I started my business by freelancing / offering one-to-one services. But over time I realized that my time – and more importantly, my income – was limited. I wanted to leverage my time by creating something once and then selling it over and over again. Back in 2016, it seemed like “everyone” was creating online courses, so I did too. And from a revenue standpoint, it was great! I put a ton of work into creating and launching courses, marketed the hell out of them, and had huge-for-me five figure launches. And I did it over and over again earning more $$$ each time. I learned a lot of things from 4 back-to-back launches in 3 months, but the most important thing I learned was probably that I didn't really want to run online courses (more on that below). What I really wanted was recurring revenue. And while courses could have been the way to achieve that, I realized creating a subscription-based offer would probably be easier, and thus, the Styled Stock Society was born. Creating a subscription-based offer was literally the thing that changed my business and enabled me to work fewer hours while earning a more consistent recurring revenue so if that's something you're craving in YOUR business, here are 5 reasons you should create a subscription-based offer.
5 Reasons You Should Create A Subscription-Based Offer
You want recurring revenue
This is literally the reason I started my subscription-based business. In 2016 I was consulting, working with individual clients, and also launching online courses. I liked the idea of courses because my revenue wasn't tied to the hours I worked (unlike when I was working with clients), but I hated that I felt like constantly launching courses was exhausting – I was spending a TON of time creating all of the content for my courses and even though all my work paid off, I hated the extreme highs (launching = $$$) and lows (that time in between launches when I thought OMG I need to create something else so I can launch again). Part of my issue was that, at the time, I hadn't figured out evergreen sales funnels yet – but a bigger part was just knowing that there had to be some EASIER way to earn leveraged income on a recurring basis.
Creating a subscription-based offer has been the easiest thing I've done to create recurring revenue in my business. Essentially you just need to be able to solve a problem for a group of people on a consistent, recurring basis. I subscribe to a number of different tools like Tailwind, SmarterQueue, and Planoly that help me run my business more efficiently. I subscribe to Netflix because it enables me to binge watch tv and movies (and that basically describes my Friday nights). And one of the best presents I've ever received was a weekly flower subscription (because getting fresh flowers delivered every week was literally the gift that kept on giving)! There are a ton of different types of subscription-based businesses out there who are probably taking YOUR money every month, but have you ever thought of creating your own??
You want to help more people
There will (hopefully) come a time in your business when you're booked out with one-to-one clients. (Yay! This is a great thing!) But you'll also start to think about what to do when people continue to want to hire you for your services – should you start a waiting list? Should you raise your prices? Should you hire subcontractors? Maybe any or all of the above…
Or maybe, it's time to think about creating a subscription-based offer. Creating an offer where you provide a simplified version of your services on a 1-to-many basis can be a great way to create leveraged income (meaning you do the work once and get paid repeatedly for it). Just because your time is maxed out, that doesn't mean your income has to be!
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You love creating content
#realtalk – If you don't love creating content – creating a subscription-based offer is probably not for you. If you want to continue to provide value to your subscribers, that means you're going to need to be creating “stuff” for them on a regular basis. Whether that's templates, videos, courses, workshops, photos, etc. – remember that recurring revenue also comes with a recurring obligation to create content.
Personally, I LOVE creating content. I didn't love creating courses (mainly because creating videos drained me), but I do love planning and creating other types of content. Back when I was consulting full time, I knew I wanted to pivot my business because I missed creating content (and I hated talking to people all day long). If you're the type of person who always has new ideas and wants to create new things while helping more people – a subscription-based offer is perfect for you! But if you want to be able to just create something once and try to sell it over and over again via an evergreen funnel, you might want to create a single digital product instead of a subscription-based offer.
You want more creative freedom
When you're working with clients one-on-one, your #1 job is to make your clients happy. Sometimes that means designing / writing / photographing / creating / etc. things that aren't exactly your favorite thing. Sometimes the things your clients love aren't the things that YOU love… but you have to do them anyway. But when it comes to creating a subscription based offer, you shouldn't be trying to make everyone happy.
There's creative freedom that comes with running a one-to-many type business. When I create collections for my Styled Stock Society members, I get to do whatever I want. Of course, I'm always trying to take into consideration what my members request (I ask for feedback and run member surveys twice a year) – but ultimately, I have the creative freedom to create the images that I want to create.
You want to streamline your business
Last but not least, you might want to create a subscription-based offer – specifically, a membership site – if you want to streamline your business. If you have lots of ideas and want to create different courses / trainings / etc. then it may be confusing for your audience. By housing all of your training under a single membership site, you can streamline your marketing by promoting a single offer (your membership) while still offering a variety of resources.
12 Subscription Ideas for Online Business Owners
If you're thinking “I totally want to create a subscription-based offer for MY business now!” but aren't sure what to create, here are a few ideas for ya:
If you're a consultant / coach / strategist / educator, you could create a subscription around…
- Pre-recorded video / audio trainings
- Monthly group calls
- Live webinars / workshops
- Workbooks with helpful prompts to achieve specific results
- Set “office hours” where you provide personalized advice
- A membership community
If you're a graphic designer, you could create a subscription around…
- Templates for ebooks, content upgrade pdfs, or other opt-ins
- Printables like daily / weekly / monthly planning sheets, to-do lists, check lists, etc.
- Pre-made social media graphics
If you're a photographer, you could create a subscription around…
- Stock photos
- Photography lessons / tutorials
Create Your Subscription-Based Offer
First step? The first and most important step is validating your idea. Most subscription businesses fail because people don't take time to really understand their market and validate their idea! Don't waste your time creating something before you KNOW it's something that your audience wants.