ℹ️ Updated July 2023
I've been thinking about lifetime memberships for communities recently. In my indie world it's a topic I keep seeing coming up.
Initial reactions to lifetime membership are often full of scepticism. That it's not financially sustainable. That you can't sustain member activity longer term, to the extent that you will resent it and even be forced to shut it down. With a bit of future planning, I think these things are nothing to worry about.
To be clear, I don't think lifetime membership will necessarily work for everyone, but it's worth considering as an option for some communities, or for community-driven products.
Here are some of the key thoughts flying around in my head.
Subscriptions are a 10x harder sell
We're subscription fatigued.
When I first wrote this in 2021 I felt the subscription fatigue creeping in, now in 2023 it's even more apparent. The economy continued to has continued tightened. Subscriptions adds to the mental load and makes it harder to make decisions.
We can shrug this off as not important, but I feel it's a real challenge. Subscriptions take up people's mental and organisational capacity. Monthly payments are a pain in the butt to expense back to companies or your own business. And often we just lose track of what we've subscribed to.
Our lives are complex as it is, we should always be thinking how we can simplify our lives for ourselves and our members.
This leads on to...