7 Membership Site Business Success Stories [2024]

Updated: November 19th, 2023
Start A Membership Site Business

A membership site business involves creating a platform where individuals with shared interests or needs can access premium content and engage in a community of like-minded individuals.

As a founder of a membership site business, you are responsible for developing high-quality blogs, videos, discussion forums, and resource libraries exclusive to paying members.

These members subscribe on a monthly or annual basis, providing predictable recurring revenue for your business.

With the ability to target specific demographics and cater to niche audiences, membership sites offer a lucrative business model that is fueled by digital community demand and infinite content possibilities.

This makes it an accessible startup option for creators seeking low-cost entry into the online business world.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a membership site business:

1. Let's Reach Success ($60K/year)

Lidiya started her blog as a hobby in 2013, combining her passion for personal development and writing. Over the years, she gained traffic, learned about SEO and monetization, and turned her blog into a 5-figure online business. Inspired by other bloggers, she created her signature course, "Financial Freedom Through Blogging," to help others achieve the same success.

How much they make: $60K/year
How much did it cost to start: $100
Current team size: 0

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How I Created A $5K/Month Online Course About Blogging

How a full-time blogger created a 5-figure online business from a hobby, and now helps people start a side hustle and earn passive income with a signature program that teaches how to start and grow a blog, reach 100K page views and $5,000/month, and live life on their own terms.

About
Lidiya started Let's Reach Success about 11 years ago
Revenue
Lidiya grew the business to $5K/month
Costs
It cost Lidiya $100 to start the business
Read by 13,042 founders

2. Paid Memberships Pro ($1.2M/year)

After building various websites for clients, Jason and Kimberly Coleman realized the value of focusing on a niche and creating repeatable work. In 2010, they identified a need for a membership platform specifically for WordPress sites and developed Paid Memberships Pro. They launched the plugin in 2011, offering it for free with paid support plans, and eventually shifted to annual pricing to provide ongoing value to customers. The business steadily grew, reaching $100k per month in revenue by 2020.

How much they make: $1.2M/year
How much did it cost to start: $30K
Current team size: 15

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How We Developed A $100K/Month Paid Memberships Plugin For WordPress

Learn how two entrepreneurs developed a successful open-source membership plugin for WordPress that brought in an average of $100k per month in revenue and grew to over 100,000 sites while offering premium add-ons and support services.

About
Jason started Paid Memberships Pro over 13 years ago
Revenue
Jason grew the business to $100K/month
Costs
It cost Jason $30000 to start the business
Read by 9,581 founders

So... can you actually make money with a membership site business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

3. MiloTreeCart ($72K/year)

Jillian Leslie, co-founder of MiloTree Easy Payments, came up with the idea while running her first online company, Catch My Party. She needed to grow her Pinterest followers for traffic and monetization and built the MiloTree pop-up app to solve that problem. Based on the success and feedback from their own experience, they expanded MiloTree to help other bloggers and creators grow their real followers on multiple platforms.

How much they make: $72K/year
How much did it cost to start: $1.5K
Current team size: 2

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We Solved Our Own Problem And Built An App That Helps Grow Your Social Media Following [$72K/Year]

Jillian Leslie launched two businesses, Catch My Party and MiloTree, to grow her social media followers and monetize her content, and recently launched MiloTree Easy Payments, a platform to help creators monetize their expertise, which is projected to generate $40k ARR by year's end.

About
Jillian started MiloTreeCart almost 3 years ago
Revenue
Jillian grew the business to $6K/month
Costs
It cost Jillian $1500 to start the business
Read by 4,184 founders

So... can you actually make money with a membership site business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

4. Sober Powered Media ($60K/year)

Gill, the founder of Sober Powered Media, came up with the idea for her business after growing her own podcast to become a top mental health podcast in just two years. She saw an opportunity to bring together other top mental health podcasts to monetize their shows with sponsorships and share their expertise in a mastermind group. With her background in biochemistry and a passion for helping others, Gill launched Sober Powered Media to support and connect mental health podcasters.

How much they make: $60K/year
How much did it cost to start: $1K
Current team size: 0

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Leaving A 6-Figures Career In Biotech To Start A Mental Health Podcast Network

With a successful podcast already under her belt, Gill founded Sober Powered Media to monetize mental health podcasts through sponsorships, cross-promotion, and a mastermind group, with income streams from podcast and Instagram coaching, writing, and a membership for her listeners.

About
Gillian started Sober Powered Media over 1 year ago
Revenue
Gillian grew the business to $5K/month
Costs
It cost Gillian $1000 to start the business
Read by 2,205 founders