Top 6 tools and resources for creating and selling courses and recurring memberships

I’m not the first person to tell you about the power and importance of creating recurring revenue in your business, or about the importance of having multiple streams of income. You know the saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

It’s something we’ve taken very seriously here at EOFire because at the end of the day, if your business isn’t generating revenue — or at least on a solid path to generating revenue — it’s not going to be sustainable for long.

One of the very first products we created here at EOFire was a membership mastermind called Fire Nation Elite. At the time, I didn’t fully understand the impact this membership mastermind would have on us, or the members within — let alone how to actually create and run it.

Since, we’ve created three different recurring membership communities, and we’ve netted over $4 million as a result of these communities.

That’s why today I’m excited to share some of the top tools and resources we’ve used to create — and sell — our recurring memberships here at EOFire.

But first, a shout out to Matt D’Angelo for requesting more info on this topic. I received an email from Matt a few weeks ago asking about different options for course platforms, which gave me the idea to make this episode around recurring memberships.

Teachable for hosting your online course

How I use Teachable

Well, to be honest, we just started using Teachable, and we’re checking it out to help us host our most recent course, SkillsOnFire. You check out what we put together in literally a couple of hours over at SkillsOnFire.com (Teachable is an incredibly easy platform to use!)

Why I love Teachable

It might be a little too soon for the L word, but we’re definitely digging Teachable thus far. What’s awesome is it connects to both Stripe and PayPal, and if you join at the $99 / month level, you pay NO transaction fee to Teachable.

While we’re not currently leveraging a ton of the features, you can manage your affiliates on Teachable and even have them pay out your affiliates for you (for a 2% fee). They also offer video and web hosting right on the platform, so it truly is an “all inclusive” platform for hosting and selling your courses.

Compare this tool

Course Cats: From David Siteman Garland comes a platform that makes it super easy for you to create a beautiful course website right on WordPress.

Teachery.co: Try it free for 14-days, or choose a lifetime, annual or monthly plan. Teachery has no transaction fees and appears to be a stellar option if you’re looking to get your course up quickly and easily!

Customerhub for your membership site

How I use Customerhub

Both Podcasters’ Paradise and WebinarOnFire are hosted on Customerhub. When we first launched Fire Nation Elite, that was also hosted on Customerhub.

Customerhub houses all of our membership site content, plus keeps it behind a wall so that only members have access to it.

Why I love Customerhub

I’m not sure that I love Customerhub all the way, but I do really, really appreciate that it integrates flawlessly with Infusionsoft, making the backend process (from the time a customer hits our order form to the time they’re logging into the site) totally seamless. I literally do not lift a finger.

That said, Customerhub was pretty much one of the only platforms available when we launched Fire Nation Elite and Podcasters’ Paradise back in 2013. Because we’re so established on the platform, it’s been a tough sell to get us to consider moving (although we are making moves towards bringing Paradise onto a new platform for functionality reasons).

Customerhub is $79 / month.

Compare this tool

The number of options available for hosting a membership site is pretty unreal, so it’s definitely something you want to fully research and take your time vetting as it relates to exactly what you’re looking for the platform to offer you / allow you to do.

  • Wishlist Member: We’ve also used Wishlist Member (we moved Fire Nation Elite from Customerhub to Wishlist in 2014). Wishlist is fairly easy to use and it’s definitely super affordable: just a 1-time fee of $197 (or $297 for a multi-license).
  • Rainmaker Platform: Your all-in-one solution for online marketing and sales. Rainmaker truly does so much more than just help you sell your courses, but I haven’t personally used this platform, so I can’t speak to ease-of-use or integrations. If you’re already established with your site and CRM, then it may not be as powerful as it could be if you’re just starting out.
  • Memberium: Now where the heck was this back in 2013? It’s basically an upgraded Customerhub as far as I can tell, and it integrates with both Infusionsoft and WordPress. This means that most of the plugins you can use on WordPress, you can integrate into your membership site as well.
  • iMember360: Another Infusionsoft + WordPress solution that appears to be a really great option.

Stripe for payment processing

How I use Stripe

Stripe integrates with several platforms, making it an easy solution for payment processing. We use Stripe with Shopify for The Freedom Journal.

Why I love Stripe

It’s super simple and their fees are reasonable, plus, you can accept mobile and online payments quickly and easily. You can get started with Stripe for just 2.9% + 0.30 for each successful transaction.

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PayPal: PayPal may be the simplest solution for linking a buy now button on your site or sales page. Anywhere you can put HTML, you can put a buy button, and PayPal even lets you create links you can email to customers.

Gumroad: Sell your work, grow your audience.

Braintree Payments: Braintree Payments is a sponsor of EOFire and they allow you to accept payments no matter where you are in several different currencies and forms.

Keynote for content

How I use Keynote

I use Keynote to create the slides — or content — that will show up in the video tutorials in our courses and on our membership site.

Why I love Keynote

Keynote is for Mac users and gives you several template options and tons of flexibility when it comes to customizing your slides or presentation to look exactly how you want it.

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PowerPoint: PowerPoint is the Microsoft office equivalent of Keynote, and while I used (and loved) PowerPoint for some time, it doesn’t even begin to compare to Keynote.

Prezi: Animated and creative presentations.

Slidebot: A software that will create your slides for you?! Sound too good to be true, right? I haven’t had the chance to check this out yet, but I definitely will be soon!

Screenflow for video recording and editing

How I use Screenflow

I use Screenflow to record and edit the video tutorials we put in our courses and on our membership sites.

Why I love Screenflow

It allows you to do SO MUCH! There’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you know it, you won’t know how you lived without it.

Compare this tool

I’m dive into details on Screenflow and other video recording and editing options in Season 3, Episode 5!

Vimeo for hosting videos

How I use Vimeo

We host all of our videos on Vimeo. Depending on which course platform you choose, you may not even need an independent host for your videos.

Why I love Vimeo

Vimeo’s Pro plan makes it easy to control who has access to your videos — and where they show up.

Compare this tool

I’m dive into details on Vimeo and other video hosting options in Season 3, Episode 5!

Recommended resources

The Tribe Course: Stu McLaren is the master when it comes to creating recurring revenue in your business, and he just launched a brand new course on how to transfer your knowledge and influence into recurring revenue.

So, if you’re thinking — “I don’t need the tools, I just want someone to walk me through how to do it!“, then Stu and The Tribe Course are for you.

Create Awesome Online Courses: David Siteman Garland is a one-of-a-kind guy — not just because he oozes energy and has an amazing personality and sense of humor, but also because he knows his stuff when it comes to creating online courses that sell.

So, if you just want a guide on how to create — well, an awesome online course — then DSG and CAOC are for you. You don’t even have to dive straight into the course; at the very least, you should snag his free download, a Cheat Sheet: 7 proven steps to creating, promoting, and profiting from online courses. (See, I told you he’s awesome!)

Plus, DSG created his very own course platform called Course Cats, which I’ve mentioned above.

Up next

Sharing and reviewing all these tools and resources with you in Season 3 reminds me of how lucky we are to live in a world where we have access to so many helpful things.

Are the tools and resources we use always perfect? Not even close. But the fact that we have any option at all is something to be really grateful for.

Up next is our Season 3 finale, where we’ll take a look back at the top tools and resources shared this season!


Originally published at www.eofire.com on September 1, 2016.