I’m not a big fan of the set-and-forget way of doing things. Or of auto-pilot business models on the long term, even if they might have a compelling initial burst.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be profitable with auto-pilot businesses, just not on the long run. They might generate great commissions, or drive tons of traffic to your own business or other products you promote.
But, if no interaction is required from the membership, if owner or admin doesn’t really talk with people that joined their business, if no real value is added over time, the business will slowly die or be swallowed by the next catchy thing.
On the other hand, if your business continues to develop over time, and you have a great relationship with your members, there’s still a risk. If you stop doing what your members have been used to (add value, talk to them), or suddenly change the niche, your business is also in danger. So, that’s a long-term commitment you assume.
The business model you want to embrace is your own choice.
Let’s take Adrian’s Hub for example, because I know it best since I’m building it. By many accounts, this is a very small online business. But it has some particularities that make it work and grow.
It’s designed with sustainability in mind, there are pinpoint features that you’ll have trouble finding elsewhere, I talk with my subscribers and have added many new functionalities since its launch. Less than a month and a half ago, I added the affiliate program to our site, alongside the referral contest. An affiliate program for a site built on a blog platform is kinda cool, isn’t it?
Soon after, I added the social media buttons to facilitate the relationship building for our active members. And a blog button for our members who are also blog owners, after all Adrian’s Hub is a blog.
And finally, a few days ago I finished the new add-on called “Your Picks”, which allows active members to promote up to 3 sites at their choice, as small banners displayed when someone hovers over their picture anywhere on our site. Small things apparently, but they can be really helpful in today’s social world.
If your members see you care and add value for them, they’ll be more active and interested in your business and more likely to buy from you too, and that’s simply a win-win solution.