Having a successful membership is the dream for a lot of people. There’s a lot to be said for it in business terms. First and foremost, the recurring income. (Notice that I do NOT say passive income, more later on this). My membership, The Confident ELT Freelancer Collective, currently brings me in about £1800 a month, in a pretty reliable way. My ‘churn’ to use the industry term, or the number of people who leave each month, is actually very low, and more than half my membership have been in there since the beginning two years ago.

It’s also a great way of serving those people who are not planning to do my group programme, Designed to Flourish, either because they are so early on in their business that it feels too big a step to take just yet, or because they actually already have things set up pretty well, or have a different kind of freelance business, like writers and editors who do freelance work for publishers. And the relatively low price point of £175 for life-time access to my self-study foundational course, the Roadmap, plus six months membership included, makes it accessible for almost everyone (there’s even a payment plan).

A few key reasons for deciding to close my membership

So, why did I recently take the decision to close the membership, two years in? (It won’t actually close until the end of October, but I won’t be accepting new members after this month)

It wasn’t because I got fed up with it. There are amazing people in my membership, and those who are active in there constantly delight me with the progress they’re making.

Take one member who joined in November, starting her new business from scratch after a move back to Europe, and who seems to be posting about a new client almost every week! (I told her she probably needed to put her prices up ;))

Or another, who has taken a while to warm up to the idea of being active on social media, and who was shocked to announce last week that even being a little more active on LinkedIn had netted her two new clients- her first ever through social media.

But, while neither of these members has done my group programme, and is still getting results, the fact is the the biggest, most consistent results are generally coming from those in the membership who HAVE done the group programme. Because, at the end of the day, there are an awful lot of moving parts that you need to get right in order to:

– Identify the right niche for you (which is a LOT more than just picking something like, IELTS or IT professionals)

– Design an offer which will get that specific group of people the results they’re looking for while reducing the amount of work you need to do to help them get there (something I can directly help you with on the group programme)

– Work out the key messages those ideal clients need to hear and where and how to put those messages across

– Develop a clear launch and marketing strategy, and now exactly what steps you personally need to take for your specific business (something a DIY self-study course just can’t provide)

There’s also the fact that when people pay a relatively low cost price for something, they tend to then not prioritise it, and so they don’t get the results that they do when they’re going all in.

So, although there are some exceptions, generally I was feeling more and more that I actually wasn’t serving people within the membership as well as I could, and as well as they actually needed.

But what about those who simply can’t afford my group programme? This was one of the reasons I started the membership in the first place, so I do feel a bit bad about this….

However, if that’s you, you still have until the end of March to grab your place in the membership, which then gives you seven months to work through everything in the Membership Library (which is an INCREDIBLE resource), and life-time access to the Roadmap course.

The Facebook group will also be continuing after the membership closes, and will be open to any clients and ex-clients of mine (and that includes those buying a low cost mini course, such as The Non Sleazy Sales Kit.

Plus since I started the membership, I have also started a YouTube channel, which does provide an increasing amount of helpful content, totally free.

The other main reason for my decision

And, that brings me to the second main reason for my decision. I need to know when to draw the line, and stop spreading myself way too thin. I constantly teach this stuff to my clients, and then allow my own people-pleasing ways to stop me following my own advice…

I love running the membership AND it takes up so much of my time that ever since I started it, my work-life balance has more or less gone out of the window. Passive income it is not. With around 150 people in the membership, there are any numbers of small but urgent queries to deal with each day, plus responding to everyone in the lively Facebook group, finding guest speakers, planning and delivering training and coaching sessions, and mini challenges…..I do enjoy it all, but it’s a lot, so, I need to pull back, and close my membership so I can focus on those areas where I can make the biggest difference.

And that’s my group programme, Designed to Flourish, my regular events, such as the Festival of Freelancing, my YouTube channel, and some new courses I’m planning to offer, starting with a course aimed at freelance publishing professionals, Pricing, Negotiating and Getting Paid (launching soon).

Why I wrote this blog post

I believe in transparency and I wrote this blog post because I think being open about how businesses aren’t about going from A-Z so much as going from A to E to back to C, can help others to make the decisions they need to make along the way.

And also to say, if you do want to get life-time access to the Confident Freelancers Roadmap and membership of the Collective until the end of October 24, now is your last chance. If you actually watch and implement what’s in there (and some people do), it will take you a looong way.

Here’s a walkthrough video, showing you exactly what’s in the Roadmap and the Collective, in case you’re tempted to jump in while you still can (last ever deadline is 31st March)