There is a lot of work (both in thought and in actual preparation) that is involved in launching your own membership site. Of course, that doesn't mean it is as difficult as some people make it out to be. Good ideas and proper execution are all you need to find the success you crave.
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Build Anticipation: If you want the launch of your site to be a success, you need to be able to build anticipation for it. Dropping a hint or two about something important coming up is a great way to build the anticipation of your chosen audience and that will set the bar for the launch of your membership site. This creates the hype needed for a successful launch and getting people interested in you before they see your site. If you don't want to tell people everything about your site that's okay but at least tell them to get ready for an event on a specific date. However, launching your site without first building up this kind of anticipation isn't really a very good idea. People like to look for clues and be fed anticipatory hints about a hidden something that they can see for sure on a certain date and time--it helps them look forward to your launch.
Focus on the Needs: Choosing a target market based on your hunch or assumption is not the right way to go about when launching your membership site. You should spend a considerable time doing your homework and preparing yourself in the best possible way, so that you're able to identify the needs of your target audience and fulfill them. Your first priority is figuring out whether or not your market has a marked interest in any particular topic so that you can make sure that your membership site covers this topic. Next, you need to make sure that your audience is stable and has a good growth ratio (and that it wants more information). Choosing the right market from the beginning is important because that's a kind of mistake that is very difficult to correct. You need to focus on what your target audience wants, find the gaps in what is offered and then fill those gaps with your site.
Complete some Competitive Analysis: Don't try to launch a membership site without first trying to figure out where you fit in amongst the competitions in your niche. It doesn't matter what niche you're targeting, keeping an eye on the competition is important to ensure that you're ahead of them. Watch what they do for marketing, promotions, advertising and pricing. Try to remember that the more you know about your competitors and the habits they have, the better able you are going to be to grow for the long term.