The Rise of Micro-Subscriptions: Small Payments, Big Impact

Making $5 each month from one customer doesn’t sound that appealing, but what if you had 1,000 customers all paying you $5 each month.

Does that sound a lot more appealing?

Would you say no to 1,000 people paying you $5 each month?

$5,000 each month coming in would be welcomed by a lot of people.

Imagine that you had 1,000 customers paying you $10 each month, I’m sure you wouldn’t say no to that.

I imagine there are some people who are thinking ‘yeah, sounds great, Andi, but it’ll never happen’.

Well, the truth is, 1,000 customers is not really a lot.

$5 and $10 is not a lot of money for people to spend either. People spend that kind of money each week on treats.

A trip to my favourite coffee shop here in Portugal can see me walking out $15 – $20 lighter after having a couple of coffees and a croissant or two. It doesn’t take much to spend $5 or $10.

Most people spend small amounts like that daily.

I often call those small $5 and $10 spends as ‘acceptable losses’. People are generally happy to lose those amounts of money without too much concern.

No one likes to lose money, but losing $5 or $10 is better than losing $5,000. A person who spends $5,000 on a coaching program has a lot to lose if they don’t put the work in. 

If they do not do the work and they lose that money, they will feel very ‘pissed off’ with themselves, whereas buying coaching via a newsletter each month at $5 or $10 is less painful if they don’t do the work.

$10 per month is $120 for a whole year which is still not a lot to lose in comparison. A person would have to spend $10 each month for 41 years to spend $5,000. 

The other thing to consider is that most people can afford $5 and $10 easier than $5,000.

People feel more in control when spending small amounts. It gives them the opportunity to breathe.

So, individually, people are less stressed when spending small amounts of money. People need to sit down with a bank statement and a calculator and add up all of the small ‘acceptable losses’ to realise how much they are actually spending. Only then will the amount be seen as an ‘unacceptable loss’.

Until they sit down and go through their finances they will not see these ‘acceptable losses’ as anything other than individual small regular payments.

This means that regardless of how many $5 or $10 purchases people make regularly, they will happily spend more on the things they want.

This is good for the micro-subscription owner because it means that you can publish content and still earn a decent amount of money because a lot of people are happy to spend on inexpensive monthly subscriptions.

The good news is that for $5 or $10 per month, you do not need to deliver a lot of content. 

Obviously, you should deliver a decent amount of quality content, the subscription business motto is:

Under Promise And Over Deliver

You should always insist on giving more to the customer than what they are paying to receive, however… for the low price of $5 or $10 the customer cannot and should not be expecting you to deliver the world.

It’s easy to over deliver on such a small price. A four page PDF or one 20 minute video is more than enough for $5 or $10 a month, it really is.

I believe in over delivering. I say that you don’t need to deliver too much for a $5 or $10 monthly subscription, but when you deliver more than what is expected people will stay subscribed for longer. It makes good business sense.

Here’s the thing to think about… we know that the customers you need are out there, the internet is a global system that is being accessed daily by billions of people from all over the world.

I’m not going to say that you will find 1,000 customers right away or that it is particularly easy, although it is pretty easy compared to how many businesses find customers, but they are there with a desire to learn or to be entertained with money burning holes in their pockets.

The fantastic thing about a micro-subscription business is that you don’t need to put on a hard sell. As long as you list what people can expect, and show them that they are getting more than what they are paying out for, they can make an unpressured buying decision.

For me, the idea that people can potentially have thousands of customers paying them just $5 or $10 per month, possibly more, for the same few pieces of content is incredibly exciting and sexy.

I’m not talking about just publishing content in the ‘make money online’ niche either. There are more than enough niches that people want to pay to access content.

You only have to look at magazine and newspaper stands to see how diverse publications can be.

The printed magazine and newspaper industry has seen a huge decline in sales over the last decade but that doesn’t mean that people are not paying for information or entertainment anymore.

Far from it, the reason for the drop in sales of printed magazines and newspapers is that a lot of it has moved online.

People are subscribing to online newspapers, magazines, podcasts, streaming services, and newsletters.

The online digital world has allowed people to take control over their own work and publish what they want, when they want, and without restrictions. 

They can charge what they want and they can also, if they wish, choose who they have as a paying customer.

Micro-subscription businesses give people complete control over their own work. 

My favourite example of this is bestselling fantasy author, Seanan McGuire, who currently has 5,142 subscribers (some are free subscribers) paying between $1 and $100 to access her short stories. Those who pay more get more exclusive and bonus content.

As you can see, she is currently earning $12,270 per short story. I don’t know if this is per month, I believe it was when I subscribed to her a couple of years ago. 

If this is per short story as it says, she could publish several short stories per month which could mean that she is generating a hell of a lot more than the $12,270 shown.

I don’t know what she is doing these days, I am only going on what it says on her Patreon profile.

Kameron Hurley may not have yet hit the same figures as Seanan McGuire, but she is earning around $2,286 per short story from just 1,343 subscribers. 

Again, if this is payment taken per short story published, and if she publishes two or three short stories per month, she may be earning more than the $2,286 as shown on her Patreon profile.

Either or… she is earning at least $2,286 (minus fees) per month from her subscribers.

I share these two examples to prove to you that:

  1. There are people who are running micro-subscriptions with over 1,000 subscribers.

  2. There are people who are making at least $2,000 per month with their micro-subscription business.

These two examples are in the fiction entertainment niche, but there are people who are making thousands of dollars each and every month running micro-subscription businesses in all different niches.

Both Seanan and Kameron are charging as little as $1 for the lowest subscription fee, yet they are making thousands of dollars each month.

As the title states: these micro-subscription businesses receive small payments, but the owners enjoy a big impact on their income.

Wouldn’t you want some of that?

Until next time.

Have a great day.


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