I’m not talking about paying for the luxury of golf and resort clubs.
It took me a while to realize that membership in a select club or access to any exclusive circle of people is not just some status symbol.
Being a part of these groups is an investment in yourself.
At first, paying just to be beside specific people might seem like something superficial and reserved for the upper-class elite.
Yes, you’re paying for many high-end services and perks that come with the territory. You’re also paying for access to people who can boost your career opportunities and not just your social life.
It may be a bit cliche and overused, but who you know is still as important as what you know.
In fact, sometimes it’s what matters the most.
What a private members club really is
In the past, these member clubs were stereotypically perceived as being elitist, often reserved only for people who went to the same schools and universities. Playing on exclusivity and being able to attract the ‘magic people’ worked for stuffy gentlemen’s clubs of days old.
Today, these places are less restrictive, more diverse, and far more tailored for entrepreneurs and self-made people, even families.
For me, a private members club is an umbrella term that signifies a VIP lounge in your respective industry or segment.
It’s any type of association dedicated to a specific interest or activity you can leverage. Some clubs are large, well established, own real estate, and come with strict rules. Others are smaller, more informal groups of like-minded people who have come together in pursuit of a shared passion.
I consider the Real Life Superpowers podcast I co-host as a private members club of sorts. I am privileged to be a part of it and meet people out of context – people I want to hear and learn from.
At the latest recording with my co-host Noa Eshed interviewing Mr. Tech himself Hillel Fuld
There lies one of the biggest reasons why you should join such a club: synergy with your interests.
No matter where you are in your life right now, it’s synergetic.
I’ll be 40 in a few weeks and the things I like today are not quite the same ones I liked when I was an up-and-coming entrepreneur. Business is not the foremost thought on my mind, and as you get older, it’s less and less “bugging” you in that sense. Nowadays, I like deeper conversations about stuff that interests me and devoting time to my hobbies.
A lot of people who have the discretionary income to spend on a private members club really do enjoy it. In fact, they see it as a way to reward themselves for their hard work.
If you’re a young entrepreneur, you’re yet to put in that work. You want to be surrounded by successful people so they rub off on you, in a sense. This brings me to:
Why you should pay for access
Let’s start with the obvious: the easy way to create professional connections.
If you’re sitting in the same room with the power players, they’ll have more time for you than via email, LinkedIn, or even a phone call.
It’s a different vibe. A more discreet environment allows you to socialize closely and immerse yourself in a group of like-minded people, especially since all of you are members and as such, on the same level.
Because people pay to be there, it’s a small and intimate circle that is available for a chat over coffee, lunch, or some activity. If you leave an impression, they often give away their contact information freely, which makes it incredibly easy to follow up later and forge a connection. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
On top of that, being a private club member is a passive investment because you’re investing in yourself. That’s always a safe bet because you already have a proof of concept, and there is virtually no risk. At worst, you’ll end up with a few business cards and a couple of sunset DJ pool parties under your belt.
By investing in yourself this way, you’re also investing in your personal branding. That’s the often shallow but necessary part of doing business. If you want to reach and maintain a certain status level within your social circle, being among successful people helps tremendously. Think of it as an extension of driving a flashy car and sending your kids to fancy private school.
On top of everything, this new breed of clubs has practical functions such as offering young entrepreneurs a place to work. Some clubs have working spaces, offer their own conference rooms for meetings, and other perks. These amenities might contribute to a bit pricier membership fee but in many cases, it’s still a cheaper option than shelling out money for your own office space.
Plus, it can be a whole lot of fun.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a laidback place where you can network but also try things you typically wouldn’t do by yourself like wine tasting or some creative class. It can also be a refuge where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday entrepreneurial life.
To sum it up, this is something you should, at least, think about. Sure, it’s a big financial decision and you might be strapped for cash. On the other hand, if you’re burning through your funds or failing to grow because you can’t get in touch with the right people, maybe what you really can’t afford is not to pay.
You can always build your own club
Meeting the right people isn’t always a matter of how loaded your credit card is. Not everyone has enough $$$ to drop for a club with high-powered executives, celebrities, and whatnot.
As an entrepreneur, having someone invest in you is a lot more in your control than theirs.
You don’t need investors to make an advisory board. You don’t need the “right people” to get funding. When you do due diligence on who you’re pitching to, think about the people you need to hire in the first place or what kind of advisory board would actually prompt investors to put down their money.
It’s in your control to make these opportunities, this proverbial club. If someone doesn’t want to invest in you, it’s probably because you didn’t build the proper opportunity.