Should I join more than one membership organisation?

I recently talked to a business owner who was thinking seriously about joining CMA, but she was already part of several other membership organisations.

She was working through the pros and cons of whether she should join another membership organisation and took the time out to ask me my thoughts.

Having talked for a while, I could understand her concerns. She was worried she would be taking on too much. Would she have time to implement and action all the advice and support from all the membership organisations as well as running a full time business? She was also concerned that each of the organisations might be too similar.

This got me thinking…perhaps you are having the same debate with yourself?

Perhaps you haven’t joined CMA yet because you’re concerned about being a member of more than one membership organisation?

I get it, I’m a member of several membership organisations too, and I’ve got some pointers that can help you come to a decision about what you want to do.

In this article I cover the key points to consider if you are debating whether to join more than one membership organisation.

Contents:

  • What memberships you have access to
  • The main reasons for joining a membership
  • Considerations for joining more than one membership

Ready? Let’s get stuck in…

What memberships organisations can I join?

There’s quite a lot of popular membership organisations out there. From really big organisations down to some more local ones in the UK that you might know. Many of these, while based in the UK, do have global members.

These include Youpreneur, Member Site Academy, AtomicSoulful PR, SuperFastBusiness with James Schramko, Dan Norris’s Mastermind, Female Entrepreneur Association and Entrepreneurs’ Circle.  Oh and of course there is us, the Content Marketing Academy (CMA) too!

Even more locally than that, you can join your local chamber, a networking club or a professional membership organisation, which are also membership organisations. You might join your local bowling club, or it could be WeightWatchers, BNI, a charity, they’re all technically membership organisations.

But the reality is that while there is now a massive choice of memberships organisations to join, there are only so many places you can spend your time. So how do you decide where that should be and if you should join more than one?

We first of all have to establish the WHY…

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Do you know WHY you are joining a membership organisation?

When you have clarity on why you are joining each membership organisation it is much easier to make a decision whether you should join more than one. Once you are clear, you can work out exactly how much time you plan to spend in each membership organisation against your own commitments (and how much it will cost too!).

Simply put, you don’t always need to buy-in to a membership and utilise 100% of the benefits that are advertised. You may only choose to use just one of those benefits.

Here are 4 benefits and reason to consider a membership organisation.

#1  Access to a specific individuals

Take a recent example where I joined Dan Norris’ Mastermind group. The number one reason I joined Dan’s mastermind was that I wanted to get him on my podcast show. I needed to get on his radar, I needed access to him, and I wanted to also have that affinity with him and his community.

So while I knew I wouldn’t benefit from everything the membership had to offer due to my own time constraints, I was quite happy to pay 200 dollars (and in fact I would have paid 200 dollars just to have him on my podcast). Plus I love what he does. I’ve read all his books, and the CMA Squad love what he does as well, he’s a great guy. It just made sense!

I remember Dan made a really good point on Snapchat round about the same time when I decided I was going to do that. He said something like “look, if you want to get on someone’s radar, if you want to get access to someone, or someone to at least take notice of you that you’re there, just join their membership organisation. For a few hundred dollars, it’s not a lot of money to say, look, I’m in, let’s talk, to get access to someone.

#2  Access to specific expertise to help with a current problem

James Schramko’s SuperFastBusiness is one of the more recent membership organisations that I’ve joined. In this particular case, I needed help with three questions. Just three questions that I knew would make a huge difference to my own business and I knew that James would be the person to help me.

I got a solution to the specific challenges I was having, and I was able to move forward really, really quickly. On a call with James, all I needed to say was “This is where I am with this specific challenge, what should I do next?”.  And he said “You should do this, this and this…and this is what will happen as a result.”.

I paid $600 for that access to James. A lot of people won’t spend $600 to join James’s mastermind because they see it as $600. What I saw was $600 was cheap as chips versus an the alternative of a coaching service that would have been way more. You might have expected that to be into five figures, $15k to $20k, to access someone at that level, but I paid $600.

I could obviously have chosen to do nothing instead. Move really slowly, struggle to figure it out, make no progress, don’t make any money, no profit, no business. Or pay $600 to access a membership where you know you are doing so just to ask for solutions to a problem that you have right now.

#3  General ongoing support and advice

In stark comparison to my reasons for joining James’s membership, I was a member of Entrepreneur’s Circle for quite a number of years. I joined because of a general rather than specific problem. It was more about joining an organisation where I felt I could be around people that were just like me.

The membership costs approximately £100 per month and I bought a number of high value tickets to events with Nigel Botterill.

The cost to join was significantly higher than both memberships above but I was joining with the aim of spending more time in the organisation and implementing the advice and support received.

In this instance, I was clear why I was there. I was there for affinity, community, access, peer to peer feedback and advice.

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#4  Subject specific expertise

Recently, I spent a significant amount of time working on the CMA membership platform. I had taken some time out to look at how we actually on-board new members, how we deliver membership content, etc.  I knew where I wanted to get to with the membership site but I had now had a list of ‘needs’. I needed resources, training and potentially some specific direction from an expert or access to a forum where I knew others had gone through the same thing.

In a general business and support group it may be difficult to find others using exactly the same tech or platforms that your business. So in this case, I chose to join the Members Site Academy, or the Membership Guys, Mike and Callie. They’re really, really great at what they do, and they’ve got a great niche.

While there were a number of other reasons that supported my main reason for joining, it really came down to one thing. If you’re building a membership site or a membership organisation, then you absolutely needed to be part of the Membership Guys, because it’s very specific.

If you’ve now identified that you do need to join more than one membership organisation to meet your needs, what else should you consider?

Things to consider when joining more than one membership organisation

#1  Time to implement

Wind the clock back a year, I wasn’t a member of any memberships. Wind the clock back further than that and there was maybe four, five, six or seven, loads! I was trying out loads of different things at one point. Too many, probably, but my point here is that you can join for many different reasons, and you can have multiples at the same time, depending on the type of access you need to get an answer to a question or a specific problem.

It really just depends on where you are, how prepared you are to ask the right questions and how fast you want to take action. It’s the action that will come down to you at the end of the day.

I could have joined James Schramko’s SuperFastBusiness, asked him the questions and then done nothing.

How would I have felt about my $600 afterwards? That wouldn’t have been down to the quality of the membership organisation, it would have been down to me.

You get the point.

#2 Time to contribute

If you’re joining a membership with an active community, like CMA for example, then you want to make sure that you have got time to commit to that community.

These communities are built around engagement and interaction and it’s a two way street. You can’t just go in and take all the time, you need to also contribute in different ways to get value from them.

#3  Avoid duplication

Make sure you’re not doubling up your efforts by joining more than one similar organisation.

For me, I feel that the biggest benefits is access to the coach/expert and also access to the resources that they’ve put together. If you are joining more than one, make sure they aren’t around the same people and publishing similar content or working with the same guests.

Are you confident you won’t be around the same people, learning the same thing but with a different name tag on it?

For example: if you want to grow your business with content marketing, then the CMA is ideal for you.

In summary

We live in an increasing world of online courses, training and membership organisations. The number of memberships organisations is unlikely to decline and if you are invested in growing your business, you are likely to come into contact with more and more of them.

But deciding whether to join more than one organisation is a difficult question to answer. No one answer is right for everyone. You can join memberships for different reasons at different times, for different types of support. With a little clarity on why you are joining you will find it much easier to make a decision that is right for you.

That’s exactly what I’ve ended up doing – picking the specific organisations I want to join for specific reasons.

Whether you decide to join one or more, if you’re going to spend money and spend time with an organisation, spend that time and that money with one that’s going to give you that focus on business growth.

For example, your local business chamber of commerce is not focused on business growth, they aren’t going to give you trainings and teachings on how to grow your business, it’s just a networking organisation.

Make sure you are going to get help and advice to get you more customers and grow your business faster than what you would have been doing had you not been part of that membership organisation.

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Your turn

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic too.

  1. Have you considered joining more than one membership organisation? If so, how did you make your final decision?
  2. If you’ve joined more than one membership organisation, what were they and why those organisations?

Please share your experiences below and feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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About Chris Marr

Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.