How To Build A 7 Figure Online Membership Business with Stu McLaren

Are you looking to start a business that makes money in your sleep? A business that doesn’t start each month at $0.00? The you need to start an online membership business.

In today’s episode, I interview Stu Mclaren who is the leading expert on membership based business models.

About This Episode’s Guest

Stu is the Founder of Wishlist Member a software that turns WordPress blogs into memberships sites. Not only has Stu sold over 58,000 licenses of his software to entrepreneurs around the globe, but he also leads up multiple 7 figure online membership businesses.


In my interview, Stu and I discuss everything from entrepreneurial theory and family to the specific tactics in building a strong reoccurring revenue business online.

Here are some questions I ask Stu:

  1. What’s so great about membership models and why are so many people jumping into the space?
  2. If you had to break down the 4 pillars of a thriving membership model what would they be?
  3. Conversion Funnels have been the talk of the industry for a few years. Can you share what you’re finding to be an effective conversion funnel for your businesses?
  4. Who’s doing membership sites or course sites well? Who should we be following?
  5. What books would you recommend for an online entrepreneur to read?
  6. What is your favorite quote of all time.

Here are some key takeaways from the episode:

  • Content isn’t king, usefulness is.
  • When is the best time to start a business? 20 years ago. When’s the next best time? Today.
  • If you’re wise and generous, don’t ever feel bad about making money.
  • Great membership sites are made up of a dedication to: Customers, Content, Communication, and Consistency.
  • Start small and stay consistent.
  • The less you do, the more successful you’ll become.
  • Use what you do for a greater good.

Important Links From The Show:

Do you want to start a membership based business? Do you have any questions? If so, let me know in the comments below.

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  1. So glad I found this podcast! So many great insights and a terrific interview. I am just now working on what my membership site is going to become and everything in this podcast helps me get it right! Thank you, Dale and Stu!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I know I want a have a membership/subscription website but the problem is I don’t really know what…I hear over and over again do what you are passionate about, but not sure how that would make money or help others…

    • Joe Kabes says:

      Hello Emily,
      Thank you for your inquiry. You are correct in the fact that passion comes up quite a bit when looking to start up your own business. That’s because we are often more motivated and knowledgeable about the things we are passionate about. It’s not common to see people going into business in areas they don’t care for or aren’t experts in. That doesn’t usually add up to a successful equation. I would bet that if you took some time to really examine what you love and what your strengths are, you would be able to find the angle you need. People are always looking for experts in fields and are willing to pay for that expertise, no matter what the area. Good luck and I’d be interested to hear what you come up with.

  3. Veenu says:

    Great article. I am trying to choose the best e-commerce platform to start off my online membership business. Many people have suggested me to choose Yo!Memberz, but i will be glad if you can recommend me any more online membership platforms using which i can launch my website quickly and conveniently at an affordable price. I want to choose the best one for my membership website.

  4. I am in the research phase to create a membership site. Should I create a completely separate site with different url to do this or keep it tied to my personal brand?

    • That depends on quite a few factors, Rachel! You’ll want to determine if this is a product or service you’ll want to sell eventually. If so, keep it detached from the personal brand so that more can grow out of it.

  5. Pam says:

    This has been really helpful. Thank you both for sharing!

  6. This was one of my favorite podcasts. So much great information and applicable to a wide range of startups! Thanks!!!

  7. Hi Dale, I’m starting my own freelance web development agency and wanted to know if you had any advice on gaining clients, Outreach, Etc?

    • Great question. I have lots but this isn’t the place to share those. A consulting session or StartupCall Q&A might be better.

  8. Jorge Vigoreaux says:

    Ahhh ma!!! The end was the best!!! Thanks Dale and Stu!! It’s just soooo awesome!!

  9. Nisha Garg says:

    WoW Dale. I mean the video has been BREATHLESS. It is so inspiring, so motivational and brings in so much excitement to get going. I have been into internet marketing since 10 years doing full-time job (I confess, I am very much happy with my job and responsibilities) and keep experimenting different strategies whenever I get some time. Starting my own business has been my dream and every year I set a revolution to register my own company. Ah, but I never. I think I am not so serious about it. The more I Google, the more information I grasp but it leads me to nowhere. I do make extra income through email lists, review based websites, social media but it is just near ROI. I never, I mean NEVER try to take it to a unique line. Everyone (the 39% self-employed group you mentioned in the video) is running over the strategies to make money online, start online business and so on. BUT, a question I ask myself is what am I doing different from them. Why I can’t get to the top Google ranks and why doesn’t my email list generate me sales. I have no answers and I still keep looking for stuff to improve.

    • Thanks for the support Nisha! You’re awesome. Hope to have you at Camp!

  10. Shena stubbs says:

    This was a great interview. I learned a well. Stu McLaren is so knowledgeable about business. He really inspired me. Gret interview Dale.

  11. Nicole Requena says:

    I really enjoy listening to the podcasts while on my drive home. This one in particular has been my favorite, it hit home for me. Thank you!

  12. Dale + Stu,
    This is my first time listening in on the podcast and I must say it was awesome. Definitely lots of nuggets of wisdom and I see the value in creating a membership site. I did have a few questions though.

    First, both of you guys mentioned mentors numerous times throughout the episode and how they were invaluable to learning and growth. How did you guys find these mentors and how do you establish the mentor and mentee relationship? Is it a paid service? How does a normal Joe gain a mentor like Dale Partridge or Stu McLaren whom obviously are of high-caliber and demand?

    Second, for someone who doesn’t have an audience, how do you get your initial customers? I figure it is a snowball effect but how do you get that ball rolling?

    Thanks again for this podcast and all the value you guys are providing!


    • Thanks Michael. It all begins with telling a contagious, consistent message over and over again. If you do that, people will follow you.

  13. Annette says:

    This was such an inspiring podcast. Learned a lot and loved how many additional doors just opened to me, that I hadn’t realized existed. Dale, thank you for inviting such passionate people!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Annette! Glad you’re here.

      • Stefan says:

        Hey Dale!

        What font do you use for your articles ? This font I like very much…

        Thx from Germany,

  14. Stefan says:

    Hey dale !
    You makes your job well . I like it a lot.

    The interview has a lot of valuable content . I love the idea of conversion strategy .

    I have a question to your blog :

    What font do you use for your articles ? This font I like very much .

    Best regards from Germany .


  15. Mariza Andrade says:

    We are wanting to start our business to serve the autism community. Our oldest son has autism.

    • Love it. You would do VERY well with a monthly course in that community.

  16. What is the cheapest but most effective way to have a membership site with 3 levels of membership access?

    • NewRainmaker.com

      • Srijon Sarker says:

        Try Optimizepress 2.0

        They Have A Membership Plugin Called Optimizemember With there Optimizepress Theme. Which is my known Only Themes in WordPress for membership type Pages. However There are Bunch of Free options available as-well call Paid Membership Pro,S2member, In WordPress. but They are Limited In Functionality. Have a Look On DAP they are not cheapest but they worth.They have most Robust System i believe.


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