I have built my business career around the longevity and sustainability of the subscription model. There’s something so impactful about it and the association it builds with a customer base. 

Within this business model are several professional takeaways that translate to personal growth. Here are four ways the subscription model has taught me to create a life with meaning. 

It’s all about relationship 

More and more brands are adopting the subscription-based model approach. That’s because, in order to compete with the big elephants in the room like Walmart or Amazon, you have to stand out. The essence of a subscription-based business centers on community building and providing value to those you serve. This business model creates connection and gives clients an easy solution to their needs on a recurring basis. 

That’s part of the reason I helped found the Subscription Trade Association. It gave me the ability to connect with others, work through challenges and critically think through questions and solutions. 

Take away the term subscription and what you truly have is a relationship. Each month, subscribers interact with and receive information and goods from a brand. In the same way, relationships are key to a meaningful life. When we create long-lasting, mutually beneficial bonds with another human being, we thrive. After all, we are meant to be in community, to do life together. 

Concentrate on what you’re delivering

In subscription-based organizations, and in any organization really, there’s this seemingly necessary item called the coupon code. The problem is, when you do a bargain deal, you often attract a less loyal customer. Accumulate too many of these and your business will become dedicated to the constant churn of selling and onboarding new customers, rather than building a steadfast buyer base.  

Strong brands with clear values like Apple or Lego never use a coupon code. Successful companies are not only secure in their identity and their product, but also look for only the dedicated consumer — that lifelong fan that will become an advocate for the brand and its products/services. They want the one that’s going to spend money and stay on because they have trust and appreciation for the brand.

I think about this a lot in how I show up to my own life. Loyalty and delivering a quality product can also serve as lessons in personal growth.

One of the key factors in a meaningful life is who you choose to surround yourself with. For me, it’s about those who challenge me to be the very best version of myself and share in my mission, vision and values. These types of people cost you nothing, but the value you gain is everything. 

But friendship is about more than just the right people. It’s about showing up for them, and for yourself, over and over again. I choose to live generously with everyone I meet, but especially with my family, friends, co-workers and employees. I give without expectation, every single day.

What are the ways you can deliver the best quality you? How can you be generous and supportive with those around you? People will remember you for what you’ve given, not what you have.  

Don’t let failure control your life

Building a business is not easy. The day I launched Certified, I encountered one issue after another. Our inventory wasn’t linking to our website. TikTok kept putting influencer videos under review. 

I could have given up. But what would be the purpose in that? Failure, after all, is just a lesson for the future. When faced with failure, it’s all about what you learn and how you move toward better decisions the next time. 

We ended up launching the brand even with all the bumps and were able to donate 8,200 meals to those in need on the first day. This only happened because failure didn’t define me. I worked through it, solved the problems and continued building my dream. 

Don’t dwell on your failures. Yesterday is over, focus on today. 

Show up for yourself

When subscribers cancel, I always ask why. This allows me to make an informed decision and potentially salvage a customer relationship. This could be quarterly instead of monthly pricing or a change in the shipping cadence to make products last longer. My ultimate goal is to keep and enhance the connection with the customer. 

Why don’t we do the same thing for ourselves? Rather than shutting down when things get hard, or bowing to the circumstances life gives us, we can choose to show up — we can choose to subscribe and go all in. We can find different alternatives to create our own reality. 

To start, invest in yourself each day. Read a book, listen to a podcast, go for a walk. Take time to expand your mind. 

Then, think through how you show up to life. Are you stepping up in every way you can or are you only partially present? Do you find happiness in each moment of your life? There’s good in every situation, you just have to look for it. 

On a recent podcast, I heard this quote: “At any moment, you have the power to say, this is not how my story is going to end.” 

Every day, you have a choice. 

It all begins with subscribing to the life you want and creating your own story.