$500k Revenue from a $9 Membership

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liz wilcoxLiz Wilcox found herself at a crossroads.

With a growing email list of beginners wanting to learn about email marketing, she knew she wanted to find a way to step away from client work within a couple of years.

She had just signed a huge copywriting contract worth $20,000… her biggest one yet. But instead of excitement, all she felt was dread about the massive project she now had to take on.

And as a single mom, she knew the importance of creating a business that would support her lifestyle and allow her to be present for her family.

This is where the idea of “low cost = low responsibility” appealed to her, as it would allow her to serve her audience at LizWilcox.com while maintaining a manageable workload.

So Liz had the idea to create her flagship offer The Email Marketing Membership — a set of done-for-you email newsletter templates that members could access for just $9 per month.

Tune in to Episode 600 of the Side Hustle Show to learn:

  • How to come up with ideas for your own recurring revenue membership
  • How Liz built her own email list and audience
  • How to improve retention and continue delivering value to members


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Selling Her “Sawdust”

That $20,000 contract made her realize a key truth: trading time for money wasn’t going to lead to the freedom she wanted.

It doesn’t matter how big her projects got or how high she raised her rates because her future remains constrained by working for others and producing results for them.

And then an idea hit her: by selling her “sawdust”—those newsletter templates she made—she could solve a recurring problem for her audience in a recurring way. All while minimizing her time investment.

As she reflected, a few things stood out:

  • Beginners often find it difficult to send regular emails
  • No one was offering ready-made newsletter templates at an affordable price
  • She had tons of email templates for clients that she could adapt and re-purpose

She got the idea from helping clients one-on-one and seeing the problems they usually have with email marketing.

Growth and Traction Out the Gate

Email Marketing Membership

To get started, Liz asked her email subscribers for their thoughts on the membership idea.

Since she already had an email list of 800 people, she had a ready-made audience to promote her membership to.

So she sent them an email with the subject line, “Can I have $9?” and shared her goal of reaching 100 members in 30 days

“I’m gonna send you a newsletter template every single week. It’s $9. If you’ve been on my email list for a while, you know my stuff is awesome. So why not join?”

This strategy of public accountability created a sense of urgency and excitement around the launch, and within 28 days, Liz hit her first 100 members!

The hype around reaching that benchmark also created natural word-of-mouth publicity on social media.

As the community started to take shape, she decided to create an affiliate program to incentivize sharing. Offering 50% recurring commissions on every $9 membership was lucrative enough to drive strong promotion.

After only 3 months, she grew to 700 members with the help of these affiliate partnerships.

Pricing Strategy: Annual Plan

Black Friday Training + Email Templates

When Liz’s membership hit the 9-month mark, things were going incredibly well. Almost too well.

She started to wonder — what would happen when all the initial excitement died off? How could she lock in results and guarantee growth?

Drawing on inspiration from SaaS companies with annual subscription plans, she decided to test prepaid annual access on Black Friday.

This limited-time offer included:

  • One year of the newsletter template membership
  • Instant access to ALL her other digital products
  • Free lifetime access to any new products she created

To build scarcity and demand, she capped it at 100 spots for the first 2-hour launch window, and they sold out immediately.

She reopened it shortly after to supply more demand, ultimately bringing in 225 annual members and $37K in just a few weeks.

This gave her the security and support she needed to step away from client work for good and focus exclusively on her membership.

Inside the Membership: Delivering Value to Members

Email Marketing Membership

At the core of Liz’s membership are the weekly newsletter templates.

She actually started giving these templates via a simple Google Doc link. As her membership grew, Liz added more value by opening up a community for her members once she reached 1,000 subscribers.

Three key aspects to keep her members engaged and satisfied:

  • Invested Support:  She regularly talks to her members and helps them use the tools and tips in the membership.
  • Personal Connection: She shares her own stories to connect with her members, making them feel like they belong and want to stick around.
  • Consistent Value: She provides helpful content like workshops and short courses, along with weekly newsletters.

Liz has created a strong community that supports each other because she always provides valuable content and builds good relationships with them.

Driving Traffic and Sales: Affiliate Marketing and Podcast Guesting


To keep growing her membership, Liz relies on two main methods:

  • Affiliate Marketing: She gives affiliates a big 50% commission to promote her membership. She started with SamCart for managing affiliates but switched to ThriveCart for its lower cost and similar features.
  • Podcast Guesting: She keeps going on podcasts to get new leads and send them to her membership site.

These two methods work together to bring in a steady flow of new members for Liz’s membership.

Serving a Diverse Audience

As her platform expanded, she ended up attracting members from all sorts of backgrounds beyond just bloggers and online course creators. They now include:

  • Bloggers
  • Content creators
  • SaaS companies
  • Real estate professionals
  • Even nuns!

Why does it appeal to such a wide spectrum? Because EVERYONE needs to master communicating with their customers and nurturing leads.

This diversity also makes the membership community more interesting and lively. Members can share their experiences and views, which leads to useful sharing of ideas and strategies between them.

Tackling Churn: Providing Undeniable Value

One of the problems Liz deals with is member churn, which is currently around 8-10%.

Although this rate is higher than she wants, Liz believes that her membership becomes an obvious choice for those who use it well because of the great value it provides.

The return on investment for members who use the strategies and templates she offers far exceeds the $9 monthly fee.

To tackle churn, Liz is always working on making the member experience better and offering more value.

This includes:

  • regularly updating the content library
  • hosting live Q&A sessions
  • giving personalized support and feedback

A Day in Her Life

As a single parent, Liz has organized her workday to maintain a good balance between work and family life. 

“I tend to only work about five hours a day,” She shares. This includes taking her daughter to school and handling all parenting responsibilities solo.

By prioritizing her work and delegating when she can, she makes the most of her work hours and enjoys quality time with her family.

Liz’s story is inspiring for other entrepreneurs who are juggling family responsibilities and building a business.

What’s Next?

Currently Liz’s membership sits at around 4,500 active members.

As the community grew exponentially, it became harder to provide the same level of care and personalization.

Many newcomers joined just because they knew Liz’s name, but without understanding what the community was really about.

To combat this, Liz is restructuring the membership experience to deliver more value and relevance:

  • Upgraded courses and materials
  • New interface to easily find relevant templates
  • Live workshops for the most critical email topics
  • Focusing on high-level masterminds and annual members

Liz’s stretch goal is to hit 10,000 members by the end of 2024. That would make the Email Marketing Membership a $1M business, all on its own.

But more importantly, Liz wants to regain that feeling of real relationships and impact that sparked her passion for this business in the first place.

It’s all about keeping things fresh and focused on serving Liz’s true ideal members. That emotional connection and transformation is ultimately what business success is all about!

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

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