Monetize a Community

How to Monetize a Community – 16 Ideas to Earn your First Sale

If you’ve built an online community of any size, congratulations! You’ve done the hardest part already, which is fostering a loyal fan base. But now what? How can you turn that fan base into a steady stream of income?  

Whether you want to write an ebook for your community, host a podcast, or something else, you can experience financial freedom and tons of other benefits from building a business around your community, such as:

  • Adding a sustainable income stream
  • The ability to work on your passion full-time
  • Enjoying the flexibility and freedom that comes with being your own boss and setting your own schedule
  • Establishing yourself as a thought leader or expert in your niche or industry, gaining recognition and credibility
  • Fostering a sense of belonging and community among members, providing a space for them to connect, share experience, and find support
  •  Making a positive impact on the lives of your community members.

Now, let’s take a look at some smart ways to monetize your community and start making money doing what you love!

Monetize your community!

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Table of Contents

1. Create a membership site for your community

How to monetize an online community

One of the most effective ways to monetize your online community is through memberships!  Maybe you have a book club, running club or something else you want to sell membership access to. By selling access to your community, members will pay a monthly fee to be able to do things like:

  • Chat with other community members
  • Access exclusive content
  • Attend live events
Hello, recurring revenue!

The easiest way to start monetizing your community is with MemberSpace. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for a free MemberSpace account.
  2. Connect MemberSpace to an existing or new Stripe account and get paid as soon as a community member signs up.
  3. Restrict access to specific content, pages, or entire sections of your website and grant access when members join your community, and we’ll automatically unlock access to your community.

2. Launch a community forum

If your community is large and active enough, consider setting up a forum where members can interact and discuss topics related to your niche. You can charge a membership fee to access the forum, or offer it for free but limit access to certain areas for paying members. You can also monetize the forum by displaying ads or selling ad space to relevant businesses.

If you use MemberSpace as your community platform, you can integrate with Circle to provide a place for threaded community discussions (like a Facebook Group or forum) , as well as private messaging. 

Monetizing a community with Circle and MemberSpace

3. Host a paid podcast

A members-only podcast sets you apart from other content creators and shows that you deliver high-quality and valuable content. 

One way to monetize your podcast is to offer early access and exclusive content to your community, similar to the paid newsletters. You can also offer premium content, such as ad-free episodes, shoutouts, or special interviews.

4. Write an ebook

Ebooks offer a unique opportunity for content creators to dive deeper into a particular topic, expand upon their lessons, and offer insider tips and tricks that can’t be found elsewhere. Consider selling your ebook in installments (like serial fiction), or sell as individual products for customers that don’t want to sign up for your community membership.

5. Sell a newsletter subscription

paid newsletter is another great way to monetize your community while providing them with valuable, exclusive content. An easy way to do this is to simply restrict access to the blog content on your website. Here’s a quick video of how to do this with MemberSpace.

6. Create a content library

You also might consider creating a content library for your community to access and use whenever they’d like. This could include things like videos, blog posts, templates, or guides. 

Take a peak this content library from Ladies of Real Estate, a  MemberSpace customer and real estate community, that offers tons of ready-to-use content like stock photos, social media graphics,  videos, tips, property descriptions, listing printables, and more. 

7. Create an online courses

 Nowadays, online courses are more in-demand than ever before, and you can take advantage of this trend by creating your own courses and including them in your membership (or selling them on their own!). The key is to create engaging and valuable content and break it down into easily digestible modules.

8. Host a virtual workshop

If you’re an expert in a particular field, then consider hosting a virtual workshop for your community members. These workshops can be hosted on platforms like Zoom or Google Meet. You can charge a fee for the workshop or even offer it for free to community members who have signed up for your premium membership plan. Workshops can be on any topic that aligns with the interests of your community members, ranging from entrepreneurship to healthy living. 

9. Host a webinar

Hosting a webinar is another excellent way to sell digital products to your community. You can invite guest speakers, experts, and authors to speak on relevant topics. This enables you to not only offer valuable content to your members but also gives you an opportunity to promote your products to your community. You can either charge a fee for the webinar or offer it for free and build your email list.

10. Develop a community directory

If your community is built around a specific industry or niche, consider creating a directory of businesses or individuals within that community. Charge a small fee for businesses or individuals to be listed on your directory and offer additional features for premium listings, such as a highlighted profile or a listing at the top of the page.

Biz birthday bash directory

This is the strategy Biz Birthday Bash uses with their A-Z Directory, a list of more than 300 vendors and suppliers for small business owners to use. Anyone who purchases the directory also gets access to a private Facebook group to ask questions, learn new business strategies, and connect with others. 

11. Teach a mastermind class

Mastermind classes are small-group sessions, usually held on a monthly or quarterly basis. These classes offer an opportunity for members to come together to discuss their businesses’ challenges and successes. As the community owner, you can charge a fee for these classes, which could be in the form of a one-time payment or recurring subscription. Members will appreciate the chance to network and learn from one another.

12. Offer coaching services

If you’re an expert in a particular field, you can offer coaching services to members of your community. This could be in the form of one-on-one coaching or group coaching sessions. You can charge a fee for these services and offer discounts to premium members. This not only allows you to monetize your community but also gives you an opportunity to help members achieve their goals.

13. Sell stock images

If your community is built around a particular niche, such as food or home decor, consider selling stock images related to that theme. Sell them as a bundle or individually, and make sure to offer a discount to your community members.

14. Share social media templates

One way to add value to your community is by sharing social media templates they can use to boost their own brand. Offer templates for Instagram posts, Facebook ads, and Pinterest graphics, among others. You can use free design tools like Canva or Adobe Spark to create these templates, or hire a graphic designer to make them more professional-looking.

Another way to monetize your community is to sell your social media services to followers, where you charge them a monthly fee to create and schedule content for them. This is the approach the Social Broker takes for her business. She has a membership community that includes social media coaching and strategy, a private Facebook group, and workshops, as well as a monthly social media management package for customers interested in hiring her. The Social Broker Community

15. Offer video tutorials

If you’re an expert in your field or industry, consider creating video tutorials related to your niche. Offer them as a paid course or sell them individually. You can sell them directly through your website. Make sure to promote your video tutorials through your community and social media channels to reach a wider audience.

16. Design website themes or templates

If you’re proficient in web design, consider creating website themes or templates that your community can use. Offer them for sale on platforms like Etsy or Creative Market, or sell them through your website. Make sure to provide detailed instructions on how to use them, or even offer customization services for an additional fee.

Bonus: Launching a new community? Start here.

If you’re planning to launch a new community and aren’t quite ready to start selling a membership or digital products yet, I’ve added a few bonus steps to get you started below! 

Step 1: Pick an Online Community Platform

Regardless of where your community lives online, having a dedicated platform to manage and grow your community is going to make your life infinitely easier. This platform will be your central spot for everything from managing payments and access to content to sending email campaigns and more. 

And yes, platforms like this do exist!

But before you commit to anything, let’s walk through some of the most important things to look for when considering a tool to help you manage your community.

Does it manage access to your community?

Monetizing online community membership

There are countless ways creators can monetize their communities (more on that in a minute!), but offering exclusive access to their content is the most common. Whether that’s access to a membership, a podcast episode, or a newsletter, the tool you use will need to be able to manage access to all of your resources, as well as things like community forums, events, etc.

With MemberSpace, this process is straight forward. Simply restrict access to certain pages on your website, and only members of your community with an official login will be able to visit those pages. 

Other ways you can manage access to your community include:

  • Tiered access –  Free or paid member plan tiers by choosing which plans grant access to specific content and member pages.
  • Access expiration – Choose when (or if) your member plans expire to cut off community access.
  • Member approval – You can choose to manually approve every community member that signs up before they can access any content or member pages.

Does the platform manage payments?

Setting up a payment gateway and adding it to your website can be a time-consuming process, so be sure the community platform you choose has a direct integration with a tool like Stripe or PayPal. 

With MemberSpace, you can easily accept payments on your website with our built-in Stripe integration and instant payouts. 

Does the platform integrate with other products?

Your community platform should be the central hub for managing everything, so it’s important to review what integrations are available. Syncing with other community-based tools can help make your community as valuable as possible to members.

Can you white-label your community? 

The community platform that you end up using should give you the option to use your own branding, including your domain, fonts, colors, buttons, etc. so anything your members see flows with the look and feel of your business. 

Note: With our “Pro” plan, you can remove MemberSpace branding from everything on your site!

Monetize your community!

The easiest way to accept membership payments or one-time charges for digital products like communities, online courses, content libraries, and more — all from your own website!

Get started for free! 5 minutes to set up.

Step 2: Find out what your community needs

Your goal should be to provide resources that meet the needs of your audience, which means it’s essential to truly understand their preferences, interests, and challenges. For example, are they a yoga community looking to learn about advanced yoga principles? Or, are they a interested in real estate in a certain market?

Don’t know what your community members need? Ask them! 

You can do this by sharing polls, surveys, and questions with your community and studying the feedback you get. You can also look for related communities and social media groups to understand the needs of your target audience.

Community poll example

Use this list of questions to discover what kind of content and resources you should be creating for your community that will keep them engaged (and paying!) for months to come: 

  • What do they need?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What type of content do they prefer?
  • What motivates your community to participate?
  • How do they prefer to receive information?
  • What would make them recommend you to others?

Step 3: Create exclusive content

Exclusive content is the backbone of any successful paid community. You need to create valuable content that your audience can’t find anywhere else. Offer your community members access to exclusive courses, webinars, e-books, blog posts, and any other content that aligns with your community’s goals. You can create content yourself, outsource it, or assign topics to expert contributors.

 If you need some ideas, circle back up to the top of this post to check out simple ways to monetize your new community. 

Step 4: Promote your community

Finally, after launching your community, you need to promote it actively. Start by spreading the word to your email subscribers, social media followers, and anyone you know will be interested. You can also run campaigns like referral, affiliate programs, or sponsorships. But, the most effective way to promote your community is by delivering value to your members. If your community members are pleased, they will spread the word for you!

Here’s a quick checklist of marketing ideas:

  • Announce the launch of your community on all your social media channels, email lists, and website. Offer an exclusive discount or perk for early members who sign up in the first month.
  • Run paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn targeting your ideal audience. Use videos and images to showcase the valuable experience inside your community.
  • Partner with influencers in your niche to cross-promote each other’s offerings. Offer affiliates a commission for each new member they refer to your community.
  • Add a widget or banner ad for your community to your blog posts and other content. Make it easy for readers to click and join.
  • Send direct email campaigns to your current audience highlighting the benefits of your paid community and encouraging them to upgrade from your free newsletter, group, etc.
  • Share member success stories and testimonials on social media and in your marketing content. This builds credibility and buzz.
  • Write guest posts for niche blogs that allow you to mention and link back to your community in the author bio.
  • Run free trials, contests, or giveaways to get new people sampling your community and hopefully converting to paid members.

Communities Built with MemberSpace

If you need some inspiration for your community website, check out these businesses that built their community with MemberSpace.

Design Institute of Australia

The Design Institute of Australia is a community that provides support and resources for professional designers, such as reports, networking, exclusive discounts, and events. 


FemCity is a community of working women. The membership provides coaching opportunities, online and in-person events, and networking. 


CaveDay is a unique community that helps professionals stay focused at work. The membership includes access to a community forum, a 24/7 Focus Lounge, an Accountability group, and more. 

How to monetize an online community – FAQS


How can I monetize my online community?

There are several effective strategies you can use to generate revenue from your engaged community:

  • Offer paid membership with exclusive access to premium content, tools, courses, or other benefits
  • Sell digital products like ebooks, online courses, or video tutorials
  • Partner with relevant brands to promote their products/services to your audience
  • Enable donations, tips, or voluntary subscriptions
  • Host live events, retreats, or workshops
  • Provide 1-on-1 consulting, coaching, or advising services
  • Sell merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, or other branded swag

What benefits should I offer paid members?

Some popular membership perks include access to a members-only forum, discounts on products/events, special badges/rankings, behind-the-scenes content, early access to new materials, chances to interact directly with you, and more. Get creative with high-value experiences!

How much should I charge for access to my community?

Pricing will depend on your industry, audience, and offering. Start low to attract early adopters, then raise prices as you gain members and content. Monthly fees between $5-$50 are common for robust online communities. Offer premium tiers too.

What digital products could I create for my community?

Consider ebooks, online courses, masterclasses, video tutorials, templates/worksheets, webinars, virtual conferences, newsletters, or coaching programs. Identify their biggest challenges and create products that help them overcome those.

How can I get members to promote my community?

Satisfied members are your best marketing asset. Encourage referrals with incentives like free months. Enable easy social sharing. Highlight member success stories. Word-of-mouth will grow your community organically.

How can I provide ongoing value to retain members?

Refresh content and community features regularly, facilitate meaningful interactions, listen to feedback, reward loyal members, and focus on transforming their lives for the better.recurring revenue while making a positive impact!

Final Thoughts

Earning revenue from your community will require some hard work, but with the right platform and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to making your first sale. To start creating memberships and selling digital content to your community with MemberSpace, sign up for free today

For additional resources on marketing and selling digital products and memberships with MemberSpace, check out MemberSpace University, your one-stop resource hub full of step-by-step guides, educational videos, helpful tips and tricks, and more.

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