In the podcast:
01:17 – Finding the balance
03:15 – A bit of context
05:47 – Scott’s journey (the short version)
08:12 – Deciding to teach
09:58 – “There’s this thing called the Internet.”
13:09 – The team stuff
18:15 – A changing approach to content
22:01 – Authenticity versus high tech
27:20 – Storytelling plus education
29:53 – Fave traffic source
30:25 – Favorite product
35:22 – Lessons learned from James
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today, I’m chatting with a super awesome man, Scott Devine, from ScottsBassLessons.com. Welcome!
Scott: Hello! Hello! How are you doing, James?
James: I caught you at home today. You’re not in the studio, so there’s probably going to be family sounds, and that’s the great thing about the kind of job that you’ve created for yourself. How do you find the balance between working at and going off to a little studio and basically in charge of your own routine?
Finding the balance
Scott: How do I find the balance? Well, it fluctuates. Sometimes I find it really easy, sometimes I find it more challenging. And I think that it depends on what you’re like as a person. Some people may need something super structured. I think that I’m in between, so I do like structuring my day, I generally try to work set hours and make sure that I’m maximizing the hours that I’ve got. And sometimes, yes, sometimes I have crazy kids running into my life. And I’ve got two kids, three and five in fact. Anybody can hear any sort of clicking sounds, it’s my five-year-old sitting next to me doing Transformers.
James: Isn’t it the best thing? My kid’s in another room there playing a game right now, and just being around. Like, I’ve been around him since he was five, at home. Like, the last decade I’ve worked from home.
I imagine as a musician, that’s something that is more common in your industry. But how is it to bring a stable income to your industry as well, where you actually get to do the stuff you love and get paid a consistent income from it, and have that flexibility? It must be quite a unique situation.
Scott: Yeah, yeah. It’s mind-blowing, really, in terms of like, this wasn’t ever the plan. I didn’t ever think that this was the plan. My plan was to just be a bass player for the rest of my life. And you know, one thing led to another and I ended up doing this, that I’m doing now. We can talk about more of what I do, for anybody that hasn’t heard of me or anything like that. I’m assuming most of your audience won’t have heard of me because they’re probably not bass players.
But in terms of like, the family, yeah, it’s awesome. It’s awesome. It’s just like I have to pinch myself all the time and just think, you know, what’s going on? This wasn’t supposed to happen. I’m glad it did, but, you know.
A bit of context
James: We’re definitely going to talk about how that happened.
So just for context, ScottsBassLessons.com is a site where you have educated over 30,000 people on how to play the bass guitar, and associated topics around that. You’ve got a YouTube channel with over 562,000 subscribers, and it’s some of the coolest stuff. I don’t know anything about bass guitar, and I am so drawn to your content. As soon as you click on it, you start hearing this funky music. You make the videos fun and entertaining. I think this is definitely one of your strengths. And I’m not going to ask you how good a bass player you are, because the people who I’ve mentioned your name to, they all say, “Oh, Scott absolutely rips. He’s actually a really good player.” So you get good credit in the industry.
Scott: Yeah. Like, I think that is probably one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. I think it’s really, really easy for us all trying to create products and solutions and solve problems online for the people to focus on the tactics. But the overlying, like, I wouldn’t have been able to get this to where it is today if I didn’t have my sh*t together. Like it wouldn’t have happened. So it was all of the hours put in beforehand, getting my craft really down and really nailing that and putting the hours in there that has helped me do what I’ve done afterwards.
So I can copy whoever I want, but if my foundational skills aren’t together in terms of whatever I’m trying to teach, big problems.
“If you happen to be the best in the world at it, that’s a great starting point.”
James: I just did a case study presentation at an online marketing event, and it was case studying SilverCircle members who were happy for me to mention what they’re up to. And one of my points was, if you happen to be the best in the world at it, that’s a great starting point. Because your marketing stuff, you can get help with that, but the people who market things that aren’t that good are going to suffer against the bad offer. And I imagine you get quite a lot of groundswell off pure reputation and the quality of the training there.
I’d love to talk a bit about that. You said you didn’t start out to have this. How did you get to this point? Because I’m sure someone listening to this, they might be pretty good at something. But it’s pretty common that they’re in the foundational stage, might be considering a membership, they might already have a membership, and they’re just wondering, can they do it without 562,000 subscribers?
What was that little journey for, if you were to put it in just a few sentences? We don’t need the long version, just the short version.
Scott’s journey (the short version)
Scott: So what I’ll do, I’ll just circle back and just mention two things and then I’m going to answer your question. So just on what you were talking about in terms of being the best in the world or something – like, I’m definitely not the best in the world at bass playing, because I don’t think there really is a best anything. There’s different styles, but you can absolutely be in the top five percent of what you do.
“You can absolutely be in the top 5 percent of what you do.”
Let’s talk about surfing. I’m sure that there’s some people that are really great at a couple of different skills, and then there’s somebody else who’s a completely different style, and they’re in the top five percent of that thing. Same as with skateboard. Tony Hawk’s great at one thing, but somebody else will be better at something else. It’s about, how do you get in the top five percent of what you do?
And then the second thing that I didn’t mention is that you’ve got to be amazing at teaching that thing. Like, your communication is the most important thing that you can work on. So listen to other people that are fantastic at communicating.
Let’s talk about internet gurus. You know, there’s no huge Jeff Walkers or Frank Kerns and Brendan Burchards and those guys back in the day. Yeah, they were like, internet gurus or whatever you want to label them. But they’re all really, really fantastic, as are you, James, at communicating. That piece there is the missing piece of luck that so many people forget about, is the actual communication piece. So yeah, I think that’s also super important.
But in terms of like, how I got to where I am right now in terms of running a membership platform, I was a bass player full-time, all I ever did from forever, from when I was a kid. I was dropped out of school before the end. The end. But I dropped out of school before the end, before the exams, and started making basses, actually, because I was into woodwork and those types of geeky things.
I got an apprenticeship making basses, saw other people playing basses, and I thought, I might be able to do that. And that whole world of being a professional musician was kind of opened up to me, because I came from a town of like, I don’t know, a few thousand people. I didn’t even know that you could be a professional musician. Decided that I wanted to do that, went down that route, and then I did that for… And it was clunky as well. I couldn’t get into music college because I didn’t have any qualifications, because I left school too early, so I had to just kind of wing it and you know, hustle my way to be able to become a professional musician.
Deciding to teach
I did that up until the late 20s, and then I got a movement disorder. A neurological movement disorder called focal dystonia, which basically cut my career. Well, it didn’t just cut it off, basically. It was like, OK, and I can remember being at the neurologist, and he was like, “What else can you do?” And I was like, “Oh sh*t, I only do this one thing.” You know, I don’t do anything else. I can only play.
So I was told to take six months off. Took six months off and in that time, I figured out I could play, I could play guitar or play bass for around 10 to 20 minutes without any symptoms kicking in. And I thought, well, if I can do that, I should try and teach.
And I was desperate at this point, like super desperate. I even created a website at one point, A Bad Dog Walking. I was like, OK, I like dogs. I could be a dog walker. Because I didn’t have any money. I was completely reliant on my girlfriend at the time who’s now my wife, and, yeah.
And how I got into the whole website thing is really clunky as well, because I only bought my first computer eight years ago. I’m a complete technophobe. That wasn’t my schooling at all. For anybody that’s out there, I’m like 40 years old now, so I was just before computing came into school. And if anybody is 40 or a little bit older out there, they might be able to remember where you had one computer in the classroom and everybody used to crowd around the computer. And I’ve got no idea what they were talking about. I was just at the back of the class, misbehaving.
But yeah, so I figured out I could play 10 to 20 minutes a day and I thought, well, I might be able to teach. And by doing that, I might be able to get some money into the household, might be able to earn a little bit, because I wasn’t earning anything at the time.
“There’s this thing called the Internet.”
And I thought, well, I could do one-to-one lessons on Skype. The guy I was living with at the time, my roommate, he was like, “Oh, there’s this thing called the Internet.” I know this sounds exaggerated – this really isn’t. This is how it happened.
“There’s a thing called the Internet.” He took me to the local internet café – because we didn’t have any internet in the house – and sat me down. He said, “This is this thing called YouTube.” I was like, “Woah, this is amazing.” And I geeked out, you know, looking at all the past concerts and things, all the artists I’d been listening to as a kid like Van Halen and stuff like that. I think I used to just sit there and watch Van Halen for like, an hour at a time in this internet cafe.
But I looked on this thing that I’d discovered, called YouTube, in that Internet café, and thought, well, if I’m going to be teaching and possibly using this thing called Skype to teach, maybe I could put some lessons up on YouTube, people will be able to find me. And I’ll put my contact details or a link underneath the YouTube video, they’ll find the website, that I didn’t know, I didn’t have a website, I didn’t know how to make one. They might be able to contact me and I’ll do some Skype lessons.
And then that’s how it started. That was the whole birth of it. So I bought a computer and went on YouTube and wrote, “how to build websites”, and spent, oh god, even saying this is so painful, because it took such a long time. I can remember trying to figure out like, how to install WordPress. Like, for me who’s never owned a computer, it was like trying to do a Rubik’s Cube. It was insanely hard.
And then I can remember trying to embed a video. I didn’t even know what the word “embed” was. So I was like, searching things on Google like, “how to put video in website”. It was so basic. And I remember that day that I tried to do that, it took me about eight hours to try and figure out how to actually get a video onto your website. And then that was, you know, that was history.
James: Wow. Yeah, I can totally relate to that struggle of trying to build a website. I remember it took me from Friday night to wee into the hours of Sunday night to install my first WordPress install. It was an entire weekend job. And then I had to go back to my Monday to Friday, or Monday to Saturday as it was, general manager role. So, wow.
Scott: I’m still the same now, I’m still the same now. When I’m talking to a developer, I start it with this kind of thing: “OK, so tell me what’s going on, but bear in mind I don’t know how to use my iPhone. So talk to me like you’re talking to a 5-year-old.” And then we’re on the same page.
James: It’s good. I think the encouraging thing is that you have learnt to find out who can help you and you don’t get too bogged down in that stuff now. You do have a little bit of a team around you now, because you have a substantial-sized business. You’ve got help with development. You’ve got people in there doing certain roles.
What are the things that you focus on? I know you spend some time in front of the camera and I know you still work quite hard in the business. And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially if it’s bringing smiles to your face. And you, I see you unbox these bass guitars that you get sent and you are like a kid at Christmas on Christmas Day. You love it, don’t you?
Scott: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I absolutely love it. I absolutely love it.
The team stuff
I have got the team, and that’s changing a little bit, I mean we should definitely talk about that, because I’ve got some tips in terms of building a team and all the mistakes I’ve made. Because I think I can say this straight out of the gate, I’ve made all the mistakes, all the mistakes. You know, I’ve got a custom website instead of a WordPress website. Well, that opened up a whole heap of issues.
And I’ve hired, you know, I’ve started building the team from the ground up instead of hiring top down and I didn’t even know what this meant. You know, hiring top down – what does that even mean? I do now, and we can definitely talk about that.
But in terms of making, I love making the content, and moving forward, it’s what I’m really going to be focusing on a lot more, because I think that that’s my unique ability. Why not do more of that, right? That’s what’s going to get people through the door and into the membership platform. Let’s do more of that and focus on the stuff that I’m really good at.
In terms of team stuff, like, up until now, and I start, just to give people an idea of timeline, I think I was two or three years in, so I’ve been running this thing about seven or eight years now. I was like, two or three years in before I made my first hire. And that hire was somebody to help out with customer support. And then that went on from there and became, I hired a community manager, and then I hired another community manager. And then I hired somebody to help out with tech, and he kind of grew into it and he was very much, I didn’t really understand what I was doing so I was just kind of plugging the holes.
“Get a project manager.”
Now, I’ve definitely learnt the hard way and hired wrong people and hired right people and everything in between. What I would say is that over the last few months, I’ve hired a project manager. And anybody that may have got into this, you know, building a business online, you will come across some people that start talking about, “Hey, get a project manager, get a project manager.” And all I can say is, get a project manager – it really, really helps.
And in terms of getting a project manager, I have got my first proper project manager eight years in. I hired my first proper project manager maybe six weeks, seven weeks ago, and my entire life has changed in that time. And it’s because she has done this before, so she understands. Like, you, as a business owner, shouldn’t be really thinking about… it does help to be able to think about how to build a team and how to structure that team and how to keep the team accountable and how to get them to report to you and that whole thing, which is, it’s a skill set in itself and you’re actually an absolute ninja at that, James and I’ve watched a ton of your training on that.
And you’re going to get to a point where you probably don’t want all the people to be coming to you and reporting and that whole thing. So when that time comes, a project manager is going to be the one that they’ll be reporting to. And what’s really great is if you get a project manager who has built teams before, because then you don’t really need to worry about it. They can be like, OK, we need to hire in this area because of X, Y, and Z. And you can be like, yeah, great. What’s the finances looking like? Yeah, we can do that. And they can figure it out, and that’s what she’s bringing to the whole team.
And she’s been looking at our internal project management tools, and she’s like, OK, this bit is working great. This bit isn’t. Let’s change that completely. Here’s why we need to do it. And then I’m going to, oh, she’s going to. Then she will train the team on how to use it and then she will keep people accountable. And like, all of that stuff is really, I find it really hard, and she’s just taken that completely off my chest, which is just an amazing experience.
It is tough at the same time, seeing that happening and having things taken away from me. Oh… he’s just getting another Transformer, guys. He’s off.
James: Good on you.
Scott: He’s giving me the thumbs up. I’m just getting another Transformer.
But yeah, it was tough initially, having that taken off me. Not tough as in, it wasn’t like emotionally tough, it was just kind of scary. I was like, wow, this is it. And even now, even two months into this, it’s pretty scary, because she is a fighter pilot in every sense. You know, in every way she’s on it 100 percent of the time, and it’s just great to see that happening within my team and me not having to be part of it.
James: You know, I saw this graph about flow, and on one side it has a circle saying discipline, and the other side it has one saying surrender. And flow is the part that overlaps. A huge part of being able to just hurtle into that success zone is just letting go of the stuff that we tend to hang on to from when we started.
Scott: Yeah, absolutely.
James: You can’t get the next vine unless you let go of the one you’re hanging on to. God help us if Scott’s doing the WordPress site and answering the support tickets and making the videos. It’s just so far you can go until you run out of time.
Scott: Yeah and that’s what I was doing before. You know, that’s what we all do.
James: I think we all do.
A changing approach to content
When you talked about content, you were making content. I know that you put a lot of effort into your premium content, your master classes, your behind-the-paywall membership content. You go to fantastic studios, you have amazing artists you collaborate with. That must be fun. And then on the free content side, I know you’re driving a lot of traffic with your YouTube. You shared a couple of tips with our group in SilverCircle about what sort of changes you’d made with your YouTube video marketing approach. I wonder if a couple of those might be shareable, because I think that’s something you’re a master at.
“You’ve got to treat each channel as its own channel.”
Scott: Yeah, OK. So YouTube is a channel in itself, and I think that when people talk about marketing channels, it’s absolutely cool for people to think of YouTube as a marketing channel, but I do think that if the YouTube audience, and they’re really… Just to back up a bit, you know you’ll have heard people say, like for instance, Gary V saying, hey, you’ve got to treat each channel as its own channel. Facebook’s its own channel. Instagram’s its own channel. YouTube’s its own channel. And you’ve got to get really good at figuring out what the audience on that specific channel want. That’s really important.
And I think on YouTube specifically, and it has changed over the last eight years, I’ve seen, like, incredible changes in the way that the audience consumes content on YouTube. And also how the algorithm works on YouTube has changed a lot as well. So with that in mind, if the audience don’t think that what you are doing is authentic on YouTube, and they sniff that you are using it as a marketing channel to drive business and that whole thing, that’s cool, but it will have an effect on how well your YouTube does in general.
I can give you two great examples. So, Casey Neistat, who’s a vlogger. I think he’s got over 10 million subscribers right now. There’s another, there’s a photographer called Peter McKinnon. If you check out them two channels, there are actually businesses on the back end of those. And they’ve got millions of subscribers. But it’s just pure authenticity when you watch those guys. They keep the plugs of that businesses like really, they do it jokily, or they have, it’s an undercurrent, right? It’s not this sort of like, huge CTA at the back end, you know, “Do this, go to our website and do X, Y, Z,” and stuff like that.
So I think in the short term it does hurt you a little bit, but in the long term it helps you really grow a YouTube audience that are, you know, they’re in it with you. They see that you’re in it for them.
Like, a lot of my YouTube videos, I actually kind of reminded myself of this the other day, because I’m like super tuned into my YouTube videos. I’m like, why are we dropping some views here. You know, looking back six months, why we were we getting sort of like 100,000 views on all our videos, and now we’re only getting 60,000 views? What are we doing? What am I doing specifically to not gel with our YouTube audience well enough?
And something I noticed when I was doing this is, when we were booming on YouTube – we do pretty well right now, but we were doing really well six months ago. A lot of the time I actually started the video off and said, “Hey YouTubers, what’s up today?” And those guys are like, ‘He’s in it for us.’
You know, I’m not repurposing content on there. Like, I am to a certain extent, some of it. But you know, I’m here. Hey YouTubers, I’m here with you guys today. And I’ve being really authentic and the audience can feel that. And obviously this depends on if people want YouTube to be their channel, you know? It is our channel, it might not be for everybody but I think it depends on if you’re teaching something that is really visual. Like musical instruments, it’s visual, so it’s a really fantastic channel for that.
Authenticity versus high tech
And to even lean more into this authenticity thing, like, what we were doing in 2017 is we did a lot of, as anybody would, the business was growing, we had more revenue, we’re buying DSLR cameras, we’re buying lights, we’re making all the videos look super sexy. Oh, it’s fantastic. The audience are going to love us even more.
And the opposite happened. They were like, this is getting corporate. It’s super polished. I liked seeing behind the scenes. I liked it when he was rough and he was sort of like in his home bedroom, his like, spare bedroom.
And then I bought a cheap camera. And I found this out by accident, actually I should say that, I bought a cheap camera, a Canon G7X, if anybody is geeking out on what to use out there which we all are, right?
James: Every single listener here, they’re already googling it. They’re absolute hardware geeks. I’ve got one in my drawer here that I bought because you told me about this. I’m like, I’m getting one of those cameras. With all the short videos that I’m doing, I often mostly don’t have a call to action in them and they are just shot on an iPhone and I’m taking my Canon away when I’m going to the Maldives.
I loved hearing about this, how low tech. And I sold off all my lights and boom mics and all the rest of it. You know?
Scott: Yeah. So, yeah, exactly.
James: This is such a big lesson.
Scott: The story goes, sit around children. The story goes, I was about to go to New York and I wanted to vlog about it when I was out in New York and capture some of the material that we were filming out there, because we were doing it for the platform. We’d hired a studio and we were going to do a ton of courses out there.
Before I went, I was going to take a big, chunky DSLR and film myself. And I just thought, this is way too big. I’m like, a real introvert. I find it hard to film myself anyway. I don’t want to be stuck there with this massive DSLR. I want something really like, I’m not going to feel embarrassed to get out and talk into it, OK? Because that’s the thing, I am an introvert. So I bought this tiny little Canon G7X. And then I did a couple of videos just to test it out before we went, and I uploaded them to YouTube. And they performed over a hundred percent better than any of the videos that we published that year.
I was like, what gives? I don’t get it. You know, I’ve got the editors doing their thing, I’ve got fancy lights, I’ve got DSLR, and I’m shooting this thing on a point-and-shoot, it’s getting more views than the DSLRs are?
I just leaned into it and then just something clicked. I was like, oh, this is the mistake that I’ve been making. I’ve been thinking that quality content means good quality editing and fancy lights. That isn’t the case.
Good quality content is like, you can be sitting in a pub with your mate and he can drop a knowledge bomb. You know? And he could be half-cooked and have a bitter pint down his top. It doesn’t mean that he’s not good quality.
You can make good quality content but also make it authentic and make the audience feel like you’re in it for them and you’re their mate and you’re hanging out there. And that’s what the YouTube audience in terms of our audience really resonated with.
And the views on our videos went, like, 200, 300 percent. In fact, in 18 months we added more subscribers on YouTube to the past five years. So it’s more subscribers in a year and a half than all of the other time that I’d been on YouTube, simply because I went to a cheap-ass point-and-shoot camera and realized that I needed to be authentic.
And it wasn’t about fancy lights, it wasn’t about fancy cameras. It was just about hanging out with the guys and making them feel like I was in it for them. And I am in it for them. I’m not a charlatan. I’m not sort of like, doing a switch and bait. I am in it for them.
I’m in masterminds. I was in a mastermind last night talking to some friends and they were asking, “Do you get fed up of doing it?” Because they know I put a lot of work into these. “Do you still love it?” I’m like, “Yeah, I absolutely love it.”
It’s a challenge, it’s something that is really challenging, because there’s actually more challenge in the making just a video where you sit down with fancy lights and fancy cameras and just shoot this lesson. Because a vlog-style lesson, you need a narrative that is pulling the video together. You also need to teach within the narrative. Like, it’s complex. So even though I am using a G7X and it’s a point-and-shoot, the actual work on the back end of it is way more than a DSLR camera with fancy lights. That’s the tricky thing. But it’s actually way more.
One of my videos that I did recently, it was two days. It took me two full days to edit it. And it was done all on a G7X. Two full days, like nine to five, hours and hours. Now the upside is that it got 250,000 views in like, a month and half. That’s the difference.
James: That’s really the key point. Fantastic content is chatting to a guy sitting in his superdry T-shirt somewhere in the UK while his kid’s playing transformers on the floor nearby. Because what you just shared there, it’s just so profound.
And unless it’s not obvious, I just want to point this out. I love how you look at the data, you care about the analytics, and you want to refine and improve the product and you understand how important storytelling is because it makes it easier for your audience to learn and to be engaged.
Like, I love watching your videos, and I don’t know how to play the bass guitar. But that may change over time if I watch enough of these videos.
Scott: Get in it, man, get in it!
James: It’s just so exciting.
Storytelling plus education
Scott: On that storytelling thing, I’ve got to obviously give credit where credit is due to where I got that spark from. It was really from, and I know like, he’s top of mind for a lot of people at the minute because he’s doing some great work, but Gary Vaynerchuk, I think that he uses this term of “document” instead of “create” and “write”. Document, don’t create.
Now, it’s subjective to what you’re doing, right? I think if I was just documenting all the time on YouTube – Hey, we’re just in New York filming this course, then we were over here filming another course… I think we have to bake in education with that. So I’m finding a balance of that, so I’m documenting, that’s the narrative throughout the content. And then at the same time, I’m also educating as well.
So for instance, when I was starting to get into this style of video making, I would start the video off with a vloggy-style section to the video. And it was very much, I’m in the studio with X artist, we’re doing this, documenting what we do and documenting the educational platform that we’re building, and then that would transition into a lesson where I would be sat down with the bass and I’d deliver.
What I found is that does work, and it serves the purpose of documenting what we’re doing. We’re educating the audience about the product we’re building instead of saying buy, buy, buy, buy, buy. We’re saying, “Hey, this is really cool. We’re building this thing and you guys tuning in every week are helping us build this.” So they feel part of it. But you can also mix it up where the narrative runs throughout the entire video and you’re teaching in those gaps as well. And that’s hard. It’s hard.
James: You know, that’s such a great tip. I want to mention episode 241 on SuperFastBusiness, because that episode was called Ten Steps For Creating Powerful Selling Documentaries. And this was in 2013. So you know, some time back. This is five years ago, we were talking about how important it is. And I do think this is the way of the future.
I love this idea of documenting. And it explains why these behind-the-scenes videos are so popular.
James: I know I could talk to you for a million years, and I’ve been working with you for quite some time now. It’s such a joy to always discover what you’re up to. You know, we genuinely have some amazing chats.
And I’m super conscious of your time, so I just want to go through a couple of quick things that I think, you know, I’m aware of that I think would be great to share. But just the short answers here. Favorite traffic source?
Fave traffic source
Scott: YouTube. Even though it’s not… like my analytics guys, they kind of hate YouTube. It’s just so wide, isn’t it? You don’t know if somebody’s watched a video and then in three days they go down to your site.
James: Like you said, it’s a long haul strategy. It’s the same for the podcasts for me, I’ve been doing them for long enough that it’s not uncommon for someone to say they’ve been listening to hundreds of hours of my podcast before they come on. Like, it might take five years, but it will happen eventually.
James: What are you selling? What’s your favorite thing to sell?
Scott: My favorite thing to sell and the easiest thing to sell is one product.
So my thing, you know, because it is what it is. And I think that there is a case sometimes of having multiple products. Obviously if there’s a chain of products, so you move somebody into one and then up the chain, that’s a different thing. But yeah, all my marketing focus is on one product, which is a membership platform.
James: And you’re on a recurring situation?
Scott: Yeah. We’ve just moved to a monthly, actually. Like, we were on annual only, we’re on monthly as well now. It’s going cool. Is it moving the needle? I’m not sure, we’re still waiting for the true numbers to present themselves. But yeah, it’s going good.
It’s definitely not, we’re not in a situation where we’re panicking and going straight back to annual only. But I would say that annual only, like we were annual only for like seven years and it worked really well, but we crushed it.
James: OK, now someone says, “OK, you put your products into your membership, you’re selling the one thing. What else can you sell once you’ve sold that?” Just some ideas.
Scott: OK. So once you’re in the membership, so we’ve had some experimentation with physical products, which went really well, and we did sort of like an open and close on that. You know, like limited amount. We sold like 3,000, 4,000 bass straps off the back of that, in like 18 months, which was fun. And they were, like, over a hundred dollars.
What I would say is, selling physical products, anybody who’s going to get into this, my experience is it’s really different from digital products. So, obviously, the profit margins are very different. But even down to the way that people buy them. Like, if you’re opening and closing, for people who haven’t heard of it, you know, that’s sort of like the PLF, product launch formula, Jeff Walker style thing. You know, you open, you get a big burst of sales, and then at the end you get a big burst of sales. I’ve not seen that ever happen with me on physical products. I do not know why. You normally get a huge amount of people up front buying, and then it kind of just tails off. And you’ll get a small bump at the end, but nothing like digital products where you will double your sales on that last day, generally.
Yeah. What else? So coaching, we’ve been experimenting with coaching, selling a $500-a-month program, which sounds crazy. Obviously, it sounds crazy to me as well. That went better than expected. We had 15 spots available, and we sold 25 in three minutes. So yeah. High-ticket coaching, $500 a month on a 12-week program. And then we’re going to experiment taking that into more of a continuity thing.
What else have we done? Like, one-off courses.
James: Master classes?
Scott: Yeah, master classes, sort of like one-off. And that’s always hard. Like, I’m figuring that out of the minute how to differentiate what’s inside the membership and what’s outside the membership.
In hindsight, I wish I’d had that mapped out a little easier or a little better going into it. But now, I think I’m kind of solidifying what that looks like.
And really, it’s just helping the audience differentiate between the two different types of content. So maybe inside the membership you’ve got courses that are 40 minutes to 90 minutes long. Whereas these sort of like in-depth big master classes will be like eight to 10 hours long. You can sit those on the outside of the membership. You can give members a slight discount, and then you can sell at full price to the public. And they tend to do really well.
“A membership platform is not one solution.”
And selling one-off products like that, it’s always easier to a certain extent because you’re selling one solution. And a membership platform is not one solution. It’s sort of like a whole, you know, we do courses, we do live streams, we do this, we do that.
And it’s a bit messy sometimes to be able to sell it, which is why some people use trip wires and things like that to get people into the membership. Which, if anybody is wondering, I haven’t really experimented with trip wires at all. It’s definitely on the list. I’ve got a lot of stuff on the list.
James: It’s a lot on the list and I’m looking forward to going through those.
I know there’s so much we could ask, so much we could share, but you have given away some real nuggets there, especially the approach to having a successful channel on YouTube. It’s obvious how much you care about your customers and how much you love what you do, and I just want to say on behalf of the listeners of this show, thank you for coming along and sharing. You didn’t have to do this. It’s not your market. There’s really nothing in it for you.
I’m sure your subscriber count will go up. I encourage you, please, go and join Scott’s Bass Lessons on YouTube, because it’s a masterclass in how to do great content. And it’s really entertaining, whether you play the bass guitar or not.
Scott, thanks so much. You’re an absolute legend.
Scott: Oh man, thanks for having me. And obviously, everyone listening to this, you know, go check out old Schramko, he’s on it. He’s got this.
Lessons learned from James
Can I talk a little bit about what I’ve learned from you? Because obviously I hooked up with you how many months ago? A year ago, something like that?
James: It has been. And you know, that’s one of the calls I look forward to so much, because it’s so interesting and it’s such an example of a non-business coaching, non-make-money market. It just shows the potential when you love something. But if there are some things that we’ve tried or done that got great results, it’d be wonderful to share that, for sure.
Scott: Yeah, well there’s tons of stuff that we’ve tried. Like the monthly thing, I think, came from you. Oh, the bravery to do it. Actually, let me back up. Like I think that what you bring me is just the ability to, you know, like sometimes you just need a mate to be just like, “Stop mucking around and just do it. Just get on with it and then if it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the day. We can sort of like figure it out.” That’s what it’s brought to me.
And like, one of the big things to me was team. So, like, the team, that really came from you just saying, you know, “You’re too busy.” I’m like “Oh yeah, no sh*t, Sherlock.” But sometimes, you need somebody to be like, “You’re too busy. You need to do something about it.” And it’s the accountability. Accountability of somebody that’s been there and done it and isn’t afraid to sort of like, put that pressure on. That’s what I’ve got from this relationship. Well, there’s other stuff as well but that’s the main thing.
James: Aw, that’s wonderful. And often we have a fair degree of confidence because we’ve seen it work in a dozen other situations, so we get to cross-pollinate best practice from our peer group. But thank you for saying that, and I look forward to seeing the feedback from this episode. It’s actually one of my favorites to have recorded because you know, it’s just really interesting. Very interesting. Thank you.
Scott: Awesome, man. Awesome, James, and thank you for listening. Boom.
James: All right. Scottsbasslessons.com. Check it out. Give Scott a shoutout if you heard him on this episode and you liked it. He really deserves a lot of praise for that.
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