Ellen Yin’s Secrets To Building An Online Membership Site

In our technology-driven world, entrepreneurs have more tools than ever before. And one of the best uses of those tools is to build online communities and membership sites to build your brand, connect with customers, and sell products.

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Ellen Yin, founder and podcast host of Cubicle to CEO, built one of the fastest-growing online communities and continues to teach entrepreneurs how to build their own businesses. She says building an online course or community of any kind starts by looking at what will create the best results for your students or customers. Instead of focusing on creating a certain number of modules or including a certain type of content, Ellen says it all comes down to what will create the best results for your students and customers. That requires doing market research to really understand your customers and what they want and need.

Ellen says many online entrepreneurs also fall into the trap of thinking they have to create tons of new content each month for their community. But as Ellen says, information and content is free on the internet. People are paying for access to a system for you to be the filter of the information that’s out there. Create core curriculum or content and then act as a filter for other information. That could mean reusing content, tailoring it to meet the needs of customers, or providing one-on-one coaching and answers.

Ellen says your unique system or the way you process and teach information is what sets you apart from other entrepreneurs. She highly recommends that every online entrepreneur has a signature method for the program they’re creating that can be applied to numerous types of customers. The system or program should work for more than just one niche type of person or situation.

We frequently get asked things like: What do we use for courses and email marketing? What platform do we use to find people to join our team? What tools do we use for project and task management? Where do we host and publish podcasts and how do we transcribe them? And More. Well, we just put together the Entrepreneurs’ Online Business Toolkit PDF which will give you a complete breakdown of the tools we use to run our 7-figure businesses and how we use them. Click here to grab a copy, it will be an invaluable resource in your entrepreneurial journey!


With a unique system in place, it’s time to pre-sell the product. Ellen recommends always pre-selling your product, which involves launching with a founding group of students and then getting paid to create content in real time. Pre-selling with a beta or founding group of customers allows you to get feedback and test your offer in the marketplace before pouring all your resources into creating a program and content that may not connect with customers.

When launching a community, course, or any kind of online platform, Ellen recommends giving customers the first action item to create the first win. It could be anything from creating accountability groups to having customers introduce themselves or giving them a quick assignment — anything to help them feel excited about the system and where it is going so they stay engaged.

Building an online community, course, or membership site of any kind can be an incredible growth opportunity for entrepreneurs. Ellen’s tips of focusing on what makes your system unique and connecting with customers can set your program up for success.


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