As experienced course creators, in this episode they share their expertise and tools of choice for creating, delivering and marketing successful online courses.
Tune in and discover how you, too, can enjoy the leverage that comes from creating and selling your own course online.
In the podcast:
01:38 – Why there are so many courses about courses
03:09 – A time to start creating again
06:02 – Two critical considerations
06:46 – The payoff and what’s made it possible
07:44 – The saga of the perfect course tool
11:44 – Two standout points about the software
13:46 – When to do a course versus membership
14:43 – Can you really make a course within a month?
15:51 – A tale of two courses
17:38 – The most important part of creation
19:16 – Just how long does a course have to be?
19:57 – Do you need a good camera to get going?
20:49 – James’s secret weapon
22:11 – What to do when you don’t have an audience
23:54 – The trouble with some platforms
25:11 – Smart ways to build your list
26:16 – The free course you’ll want in on
26:59 – No customers? No traffic? Consider THIS
28:03 – Two valuable course creation tips
29:02 – Start by giving it away
30:45 – Letting them know you, like you, trust you
32:53 – Some parting tips for courses in 2020
35:02 – Where they don’t have to be the main feature
37:21 – It works for offline businesses, too
38:51 – How affiliates can profit from a course
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to superfastbusiness.com. This is Episode 770. And I’m having a chat with my friend John Lint over there in Thailand. How are you going, John?
John: I’m good. How are you, James? Hello, everybody.
James: I’m okay, considering we’d normally be sitting side by side in the lineup somewhere in the Maldives right at this time.
James: I guess that’s the most significant change to my schedule I’ve noticed during this whole global situation. So it’s real.
But it’s given us opportunities to do other things. You and I’ve been chatting about business and online stuff. You of course are the founder and operator of 10XPRO.io, fabulous software tool that I’m using for my new stuff.
Why are there so many courses about courses?
We were just talking about courses, and I wanted to do a podcast episode around online course trends, because it seems everywhere you look, someone’s got a course about courses. It’s been the way for a long time actually, since I’ve been online, there’s been a lot of courses about courses, there’s people who have specialized in it.
They’re coming at different angles. I’ve seen the extreme ones, where they’re kind of educators doing certified type, step-by-step, academically-approved gap analysis, you know, governing body type courses. I’ve seen people who have probably never even had a business, you know, attempt to do courses, which, obviously, the content is questionable.
James: And there’s people in the middle who are just doing their thing, good at what they do. And inevitably, people ask if they could share it, and they put together a course. And there’s a few questions along that pathway.
I know what you’ve done recently is you’ve gone out to your audience – into my audience, actually – and you offered a training on courses. And your promise is that you can have a course within 30 days. That doesn’t sound unreasonable.
But in the lead up to that, I know for a fact, because we’re friends, you’ve done some research. You’ve been out into the marketplace, you’ve had a look at other people who are providing courses. You’ve seen what sort of teaching style they’ve been using, what they are actually teaching.
And then you’ve also been able to take internal benchmarks. Because you have a platform that is built for courses, you’re able to draw from the experience of other people, your members, people like me who have courses on the 10XPRO platform, and you can see who’s doing well and what they’re doing.
A time to start creating again
James: And I’ve been really enjoying the process. This year, I started creating courses again, where I had a big break, probably five or six years off, actually publishing single courses.
And the interesting thing for me is in a time where I’d normally be traveling and doing other things, I’ve been able to build up a relatively leveraged, almost entirely passive income from my courses that are just putting money into my bank account on a daily basis, with mostly stuff that was either already there, or, in the case of one of the little memberships that I’ve put to the side of the courses, I started with zero content.
Now we’ve covered courses before, we’ve covered memberships before. There are small differences between courses and memberships, but essentially 10XPRO handles both very well. And they interplay well, and that’s what I’m experiencing, because I’ve got a recurring subscription program and I’ve also got individual courses.
Now the most recent one I published that’s going the best is my Profitable Membership course. That course was a summary of at least a decade’s worth of experience running memberships, and I’ve put it all into training. I was encouraged because I’m making a book about it. But why not have the byproduct of a course?
And a lot of people sell these sorts of courses for several thousand dollars.
James: From my perspective, I wanted to get all that information, I wanted to curate that into a keynote. I presented it for members of my SuperFastBusiness membership community so they could ask me questions. We then took the recordings and we edited it up and we broke it down into chunks. We put it into 10XPRO. And when I say we, I mean my team. I didn’t touch it.
James: But I can. I think I’ve edited a couple of words here and there. But I haven’t been deep down in the process. And they’re not deep either, because some of the things I’ve noticed is you don’t need a coder. You don’t need any particular programming knowledge, You just need to know where you want the money to go, which autoresponder you’d like to add people to when they buy.
And you can have a lot of choices around how it’s laid out. You don’t even have to fiddle around with apps and so forth, because you’ve got an academy app that will feed any membership in 10XPRO for a small amount extra.
Some of the features I’ve loved are the ability to send notifications all built in. And I like that little proof widget when people buy, that shows someone just purchased, but it’s not revealing any private details.
John: Yeah, very important.
James: Just letting people know that other people have bought. You’ve really thought this out and put the things in there. But we basically didn’t need to glue together seven different things for this. This is what I like. We were able to have the sales page, the cart, the product itself, when people buy. And access via app. It’s all covered in one place. Even hosting.
I just got a bandwidth notification from my other membership saying, you know, run out of bandwidth, we need to upgrade it. Like, all the usual stuff when you go deep.
Two main considerations
So I think a lot of people, when they’re doing courses, they’re going to have two main questions. One is around, what course? What should they make, and which audience to make it for, and how much they should charge. All the actual course stuff.
And then there’s the tech side. Where do I put it? Do I put it on Udemy? Do I put it on Teachable? Do I get a WordPress blog, and then I put a plugin or a membership thing or some kind of extra add-on, and then I add on a cart and then I add… it just goes on and on.
James: These days, I just say 10XPRO, just put it on 10XPRO. Use your own domain. Get the maximum amount of control with the minimum amount of hassle in one place, and just let it go.
The payoff and what’s made it possible
So my little experiment is actually clocking up a significant income. In fact, it would probably pay the rent for most people, what I’m earning from my courses, it would pay the rent or a mortgage. Certainly in America. Maybe not London, Paris or Sydney. But it’s getting close.
And, you know, this is significant, because it’s right there available to us. And I’m glad that I’m doing this. And I’m glad you’ve made the platform that’s made it easy for us, because it used to be difficult.
I’ll tell you, one of the main reasons I stopped doing courses was just the pain in the ass. I mean, to do the sales page, we had to set our cart, we had to go into the separate membership slash page thing and set the product up, then we had to make it all talk to each other, and it was just too difficult.
And then we changed. I like having everything in one place. But I like having the ability for us to get visibility too across all our things. And even the in-funnel view, it’s showing us what’s happening to the traffic, where do they opt in, where they go next, which ones purchased. It’s been a dream for the team in terms of transactions and reporting, etc.
The saga of the perfect course tool
So let’s cover the two big questions. I feel like the technology one we should just cover off first. Is there anything 10XPRO doesn’t do well, or is not suited for when it comes to the course?
John: I don’t think so, to be honest. I mean, we built it for that, you know? That was the genesis. And like you said, you know, back in the days, it was such a pain, right? To create an online course, and all the pages that we needed, and all that, accepting payments. And that’s why I actually started creating 10XPRO.
I mean, I’ve started really, if we think about when did 10XPRO really start, over 10 years ago, you know? It started in 2007, 2008. You know, I was seeing what people were doing online and I wanted to do the same. Then at the time, we needed to do HTML, all that stuff. I mean, it took forever to do one page.
So then I started to hire some programmers and I started to say, Hey, can you build me a tool to do this? And it was just one thing. And I’ve always been like that, right? I always try to speed up my results and get tools to help me do things that you know, were a bit difficult and I didn’t want to spend so much time. So it started that way.
And then it grew. It became, well, great, now we can do pages, but how about let’s do funnels? And now, okay, well, let’s do courses. Let’s have a private member’s area, so we can deliver courses.
And then you know, with you, then, we just took it to the next level, you know? Working with you guys and all of that, we’re, okay, let’s add gamification, automation, segmentation, affiliate system, upsells, downsells, promo codes, all of that stuff, right?
And we’re always adding, and I think that’s why people love us so much. That’s why people are switching from some of these other platforms. And that’s pretty much the feedback of the people who are using 10XPRO and and the people who love it. That’s what they will tell you. If you say, there’s no better team out there that’s going to implement new features, you know, as fast as possible, that’s going to add the cool stuff that we might need.
“10XPRO is all about being able to do the professional stuff as well as the easy stuff.”
And 10XPRO is all about, yeah, being able to do the easy stuff, but then being able to do the professional stuff as well. And that’s how we kind of started with 10XPRO, because we needed to do really, really complicated things for some clients, right?
So the platform has evolved. And my goal has always been, okay, because, like you, I sold a ton of online courses. You know, I started, my first course was how to be better at specific video games. You know? It was like a leveling guide. Then I did a bunch of other courses, right? And that’s how I was able to, you know, quit my job and all of that and really go full on online. It was by selling online courses.
So creating and selling online courses has always been my focus. And that’s really what 10XPRO is about. It’s about, how can we create online courses fast? Now with you, how can we do membership sites and be able to do some really cool stuff in the membership sites, like private coaching, live events, all of that.
But the Genesis was online courses. And then okay, great. We have the members’ area ready. Well, now we need to do the important stuff, which is the marketing. Okay, how can we build our list? That’s number one. And we have a ton of different templates and tools and features to motivate people to join a list.
And then, great, now the next thing we need to do is to make an offer, you know, present our online course and invite them to buy it, basically. So how can we do that? And there’s a ton of different strategies that we can use. We can go straight to the sale, we can do a limited-time offer, we can do a launch, which is just a video series, and spread it out. We can do webinars.
And all of that always with the same perspective and mentality, and the same approach was okay, I want to do that. I want my members to be able to do that. What are the tools that we need to be able to do this thing? Okay, we need to do that. Team, let’s develop this, let’s add this on top, because we want to be able to do automated campaigns now. So we need to have automated countdown, let’s add that in. We want to be able to do automated webinars, let’s add that in.
So all of these things that are really important, that we all use, you know, on an ongoing basis, then those features were added on top of that. And yeah, so for me, if you are looking for online courses, then I invite you to give us a try, you know, take the trial and see if it’s for you, and hopefully you like it. But yeah, that’s my focus, is online courses, membership sites, and being able to sell them online.
Two standout points about the software
James: Look, two points I want to make there. One is, I get the best feedback about support and development updates. And I’ve experienced that from using the platform, too. Things happen really quickly, and it’s dynamic. Support’s fantastic. So congratulations on that.
John: Thank you.
James: Secondly, what I have noticed is there are tools that come along and they’re good at one little thing, you know? And we talk about them, John, I show them to you, I’ll tell you what’s attractive about them. But what we find, every time, is there’s some kind of limitation, some fatal flaw that would cause it to get to a certain point, and then it can’t go past that, which is really kind of like you have to uproot and tear it out of the ground and start again.
And I know a number of people who started with something simpler and easier, and then they get three months, six months, even a year into it. And then they come back and say, it couldn’t do the thing I needed to do, or the essential component that made it all work.
Now you kind of hinted on the next part, which I think is fantastic. And it’s, even though people are worried about what course to create and who to create it for and how much to charge, and what camera to use and etc, etc, the big deal is, this is something I see so often, they make the thing, and then no one buys it. So like, there’s no point having a great course sitting up there on a platform.
Now, you could use a platform where they will, you know, it’s a marketplace as such, like a Udemy-style place. You can put it on there. And they’ll take a cart and they might send you traffic.
But you do have limitations there in terms of, you know, if they want to run special discounts or pricing or promotions, you don’t really have much say in that. They’re very particular in terms of what you can and can’t do. But especially, it’s not easy for you to communicate with your customers and make other offers or sell things and increase the lifetime customer value. So there are definitely reasons why that’s difficult.
When you have it on your own ecosystem, what I love is that you can bundle and combine things. You can have a membership where you bundle courses, you can have a course and then offer the membership. I mean, I’m doing both, because I love them. I love memberships, always have, always will. It’s hard to beat recurring income.
Course versus membership
However, not everyone is ready or able to go into the membership. So I created a low-price membership. It’s like, I’m not giving up. And I love my low price membership. If you’re listening to this, and you didn’t realize, I used to coach people from $10 a month. I don’t know anyone on the planet who will show up every day for $10 a month, but I will do it.
I actually had someone post yesterday, John, and you’ll love this. They said, I feel like I’m ripping you off for $10 a month. I feel guilty about how much value I get for $10 a month.
John: That’s crazy.
James: That’s what I’m shooting for.
“Give people the option to buy a course, and they might get a taste for what you do.”
Anyway, those people also buy courses. Give people the option to buy a course here and there, and they might get a taste for what you do. And then the membership solutions are really going to kick in down the track. And that’s good.
So regarding the membership versus course thing, we’ve covered it before, but essentially, it’s relatively easy to put together a course. It’s a low commitment for a customer to spend one time with you. It’s a short implementation. You really could have your own course this weekend. I think that’s even one of your courses, John.
John: Yeah, that’s one of my courses, yeah.
Can you have a course within a month?
James: Yeah. But if you’re starting from scratch, if you had no idea what to do, you didn’t know anything about it, can you have a course within a month from now?
John: Yeah, absolutely. You know? And you can have it in a very short time. I mean, you kind of need it as well. You mentioned it. Like, you hadn’t done a course in a long time.
And you and I talked about it, and I was like, Hey, you really should create a course, and you didn’t want to do it. Because yeah, it takes effort, right? I mean, we are all like that every time we need to record a new course, it takes effort and energy. And we’re like, ugh, and we might procrastinate a bit. But I remember you did it in two sessions. I think we recorded two sessions. And you know, you went for it, boom.
So if we look at the total time or how much you spent creating that course, I think it’s like two hours and something, two hours and 30. Right? And then after, your team went into the videos, and used 10XPRO, clicked the button, the course is there, add the video, add the video, add the video, the course is ready, the page is ready. And that’s it, right? So creating the course can be very, very fast.
James: And some of those little courses, we just took them straight from our membership, and then edited them up as a course into little modules.
James: So there was no effort. And they sell.
A tale of two courses
James: The big one, the membership course, I think I probably put, I’m going to guess maybe 15 or 16 hours into that. But that being said, in my previous courses, our Traffic Grab in particular, I think there’s about 16 hours’ worth or 12 hours’ worth of content in that. It was a mammoth course.
James: And I spent, I’m probably guessing hundreds of hours preparing that. It was a big task because it’s so comprehensive. And I sold it for $79. Like, I just blew the paradigm of a $2000 course out of the water. I sold two and a half thousand copies of that, it was a very, very popular course.
Now, this membership course, the trouble I had was straining a decade’s worth of experience. You know, I’m literally talking to people with memberships every single week for 10 years, I have so much data that it was hard to compress that coal into a diamond. That was my biggest challenge.
I would dare say there’s not many people listening to this podcast who have that much content or expertise on the one thing they’re going to do the course. Maybe they’ve been doing it for a couple of years, maybe five years. But I can guarantee you I’ve probably got more notes and time invested in that topic than most people when they’re doing a course.
So that was my challenge, as it has been with books. How do I get it down into a small enough thing? But you’re right, I delivered that training, I think, in three sessions over an hour each.
James: That’s about two and a half, three hours worth of delivery turned into the course, which is a couple of hours’ worth of content. But it’s a damn fine course for the amount we’re selling it for at SuperFastResults.com. So if you are not a member of SuperFastBusiness, where it’s included, you can buy that individually, and it’ll blow a $2,000 course off the rails.
James: So that’s good. You know, it’s like, that course also is really building up a substantial momentum in terms of sales. And, you know, it’s, it’ll fund my next surfboard, that’s for sure. And that’s what matters to me at this stage in life.
The most important part of creation
John: Yeah. And I think you mentioned something that was very important, you know, and that’s something that we see a lot with course creators, especially people who have been doing it for a long time, and maybe they have been doing coaching for a long time, and they have all that knowledge.
“The most important thing when you’re creating a course is coming up with a good outline.”
Because the most important thing when you’re creating a course is not really the recording part on video. It’s really coming up with a good outline, you know? A good outline, like, for the course. And once you have clarity on that, it’s just execution, right? You have a plan of attack. You say, okay, video one is this, video two is this.
But first we need to come up with that, right? So a little framework to help your audience with that. And something that we teach all the time is always try to reverse engineer the things that we know where we want to go, right? For example, your membership, the end goal is having a successful membership, right? And that’s the end result. And the starting place is, I don’t have a membership, I have no idea, what should I do?
So if we reverse engineer, well, these are the steps that you can take, these are the things that, you know, I found super valuable. This is what I’ve been teaching other people, and this is kind of like the system or the plan, right, to go from A to B. So that’s really a good framework to use.
If anyone is thinking about, how can I create an online course? Think about this in this way and ideally try to finish this sentence, which is, at the end of the course, you will be able to XYZ. And replace that with, what is the end goal of your course?
Because once you have that sentence in your mind, then it’s always there to guide you, you know? As you create your outline, say, Hey, I remember I’m not here to just tell them everything I know about this thing. I’m here to help them get to that specific point. How can I do that? Right?
How long does a course have to be?
Because people who are very knowledgeable about something, they’re usually not the best course creators because they have too much content, right, too much information. And with a course, ideally, we need to remember that the best online course is a shortcut. People want to buy the shortcut to their result.
So it doesn’t really matter, because that’s the question you mentioned, and that’s the question I get all the time: John, how long should my course be? Well, there’s no actually hard rule, but it doesn’t have to be long. If you need an answer, it doesn’t have to be long.
And our goal is try to make it as short as possible, because that’s ideally what they want. Okay, watch one video, I know everything I need to know to get that result. Awesome. You know, I love this course. But you know, the reality is it could take more than one video or one training. That’s okay. We need to keep that in mind because we’re trying to create something that is the shortcut to their success.
Do you need a good camera?
So with that in mind, the sentence in mind, and we come up with a good outline. Now we have a good plan of attack. And then after that, it’s just process stuff. It’s like, which camera should I use?
And if you go through the brand new course that I created, which is available 100 percent for free, by the way, we teach you how to do that in the next 30 days. Every day for the next 30 days, I show you one specific action that you can take, that is not overwhelming, that you can do it step-by-step, baby steps, and then you learn the whole process.
And you know, I show you how you can get it done very easily. If you’re using your smartphone, or maybe a good webcam, maybe a GoPro, then you can get started with that. These cameras have really good quality. If you want to go more fancy and use a great camera, like you’re using, James, you can do that as well. But you don’t have to at the beginning, right?
James: Well, you don’t even have to at the end. Like, I don’t think a single one of my courses has me on camera.
John: Right, right, exactly.
James: In the whole membership.
James: Ironically, I’ve got the good gear, but I actually like to deliver keynotes because I can concentrate on the presenter’s notes, which is where I flesh it out.
James’s secret weapon
I also had a secret weapon, John, when it came to creating the membership course, that I think if people were aware of and utilized, it would really help them when it comes to fleshing out the table of contents.
James: And that was you. I got you to help me with that. I ran the concept past you of what I’m trying to do. You’re very knowledgeable with memberships as well. I asked you, and together we refined that table of contents, which the end version was I think about 85, 90 percent of what you and I fleshed out in about five minutes.
James: But that is the most important thing. If you can come up with a table of contents for your product, the rest is actually easy. The rest is easy. Just put that table of contents into a PowerPoint or a Keynote. Use a camera or not, doesn’t matter. Flesh them out with some points, teach people the bits.
James: And then put them all in individual modules in your course, in 10XPRO is ideal. Then you make the sales page that sells it. Like, you can actually deploy a campaign, from memory.
John: Oh, Yeah. With 10XPRO, yeah.
James: Yeah. Don’t get too tech on me, but you just click a button and it creates the sales page and the cart page and the thank you page, joins people up to where they go to get the product. That all happens. Tell it where you want to send the money and which autoresponder, and you’re good to go. And that’s what we did. And it turned out to be a great idea.
John: Yeah, absolutely.
When you don’t have an audience
James: The big problem is, they make the course and no one buys it. That’s like, the most common one. How can people get, so like, I’m going to have someone say, but I don’t have any audience. I don’t have any audience, what do I do in that case?
John: Yeah, absolutely. Well, the reality is that you need to get traffic to your site so that they can buy. I mean, there’s no way around it, right? That’s what an online business is. Okay? So we have an online property, that’s great. We can create all of this, but we need to attract people to our site. And there are obviously many strategies, many traffic strategies that we can use.
The most important thing that we teach all the time, you know, and you, James, you always talk about this, yeah, we need to build our own audience. And that’s building our own email list. So we can control. Because building a Facebook page or a YouTube channel or Instagram, it’s not our business asset. We are building Facebook’s business, we are building YouTube’s business and they are saying thank you.
James: And get serious, man, you know, like the news at the moment in Australia, is Facebook’s going to switch off, they’re not going to let you link to any news source.
James: That’s pretty major. That is a catastrophe for users and for the news, because they’re very upset with the government trying to tell them how the privacy should work.
James: But the technology companies can just do a workaround. And you’re not part of the picture, you are the product. So what I do like about it is having it hosted somewhere where I have that domain. And of course, all my videos are still sitting in my Drive folder. And all our PDFs are sitting in my Dropbox. So we actually have all the bits and pieces.
My email database is sitting over there in Ontraport, and I’ve got a backup CSV hidden elsewhere. So you know, like, if the whole internet melted tomorrow, we would still be able to use our backups as they come back online and patch it up to wherever we need to.
The trouble with other people’s platforms
James: I notice Facebook, for example, they’re trying to do this paid membership thing and paid webinar stuff. They’re really trying to get you in there. But if they decide they don’t like you and turn it off, there’s really not, like all your stuff’s there and you probably uploaded it natively. And you’re not necessarily building a database, which is very risky. I always think it’s worth saying that, because it’s just more likely than not that this will happen. So be aware of that.
John: If 2020 didn’t tell you that all of these big companies have way too much control, then I don’t know what will. You know? I mean, it’s just insanity. What, you have some of the biggest YouTubers getting banned, some of the biggest Twitch streamers with millions of photos getting blocked for just no reason. Facebook, don’t even get me started.
I mean, we know how it works. We have many friends, all of a sudden ad account blocked, ad account closed.
My biggest issue is that, you know, some of those big companies, it’s insane to me because, you know, obviously 10XPRO is way smaller in size than Facebook or those companies. But in terms of support, try to talk to a real human being at those companies, it’s impossible. How can that be possible when they have billions of dollars, you know? So that’s just mind boggling in and of itself.
How do you build your list?
But going back to our question, you know, about audience, so yeah, we need to build our audience, we need to build our lists. That’s the number one goal whenever you have an online business, right? How do you do that?
“We need to build our audience, we need to build our lists. That’s the number one goal whenever you have an online business.”
Well, the good thing is that now you’re creating a course or a membership site, so that you have something of value that you’re going to offer in exchange for a payment, right? So you know it’s valuable.
So a good strategy is to take a piece of that, elements of that, maybe the framework or something, like X steps that you teach. And you can offer it, you know, in exchange for an email, so they can join, they’re part of your audience. And something that’s important is that people just think, okay, it’s just building a list, just one email. That’s not why we’re doing this, right? We’re doing this because that gives us a chance to help them get to know us, like us, and trust us.
Because the more they are involved with our content, right, let’s say this is the first time someone hears from me, right? In your podcast. They listen to your podcast, John, oh, that seems like an interesting guy, but I have no idea who he is, right? So at the end of this podcast, they can either go to SuperFastResults, and you know, buy some of your courses, they can go to some of my stuff and maybe get the free course that we are talking about.
James: Where do they go for that? They’re busting out of their skin to find it.
John: Well, there’s going to be a link, right? There’s going to be a link.
The free course you’ll want in on
John: One hundred percent free for the next 30 days.
James: I actually had someone email me yesterday, John. Lots of people say thanks when they found out about it. One person said, I’m still doing some other training. Should I do it? And I said, you know what? I would join and just read the emails that come through, as your first draft at this, to just get a feel for context,
James: So that when you’re ready to create your course and activate it, it won’t be the first time you’re hearing it. And you’ll be like, Oh, yeah, I like this part. And you’ll know what’s happening and you’ll build up to it. I think more exposure is good.
No customers? No traffic? Consider THIS
And at some point, if you’ve got no customers, no traffic, no following, a product is one of the easiest things to make, a little tiny one.
James: You’ll notice that at SuperFastResults.com, we build a list from giving away a free lifestyle design training. That one is me on camera, but it was filmed by professionals at my event. We literally took an event recording that I already had, and we gave it away.
And we build our email list, and those people will be exposed to, you know, they’re now indoctrinated into our membership. They’ve got their logins, they can buy any other course in there, and it’ll just appear in their account. It’s actually from a usability perspective. Fantastic.
So that’s what I suggested this person should make their first product, it could probably be a lead magnet.
James: It solves two problems. It’s giving you something to give away, it’s going to build you an audience, and now you’ll know what they want so you can create the product itself.
John: Yeah, and it’s a perfect thing to do if you’re starting out, because you know, when people are starting out, they’re a bit nervous.
Two valuable course creation tips
So a couple of tips I wanted to touch on whenever you’re creating your online course. You know, we talked about the outline. And whenever you’re creating it, just think about it. Don’t think about, I need to create this because I want to sell it and I want to make money. Forget about this. This will come later.
Just think about, hey, I’m doing this because I want to get more leverage. So people are asking me questions. Instead of repeating myself all the time, why don’t I just get some leverage, actually do a course, like that? If they have a question, I can give them the course. That’s number one, little tip.
And then the second tip is that, think about that you’re recording those videos for your best friend or a family member who is, let’s say for example, me, I’m thinking, hey, I want to teach my brother how to create an online course. He has no idea. Let me just create those videos. Let me be myself, be natural, relaxed. Yes, I have an accent, hopefully people understand what I say. That’s okay. Let’s not worry about that. You know? I’m just trying to teach, trying to provide value.
So when you have that mindset, you’re going to feel more relaxed, and you’re going to be able to create a course. Right? And then once the course is created, yeah, just like we just talked about, it’s super valuable, because it’s a business asset. And that’s the most important thing that you need to do as a business owner, especially as an online business owner, is to always try to spend your time creating assets, right?
First, give it away
So the email list is an asset. Your courses are an asset. Because you can do what you just said. We know we could sell it. But let’s say we aren’t even ready to sell it now. And we know that the most important thing we need to do is to build an email list. Great. Let’s give some of that mini-course or our first draft, maybe, for free to some people, you know?
And the good thing with that is that now you’re going to get some subscribers who are going to be going through your course. Engage with them. Let’s see what they like, what they don’t like. Take that feedback, maybe improve it if you feel that you need to improve, and get some testimonials out of that, right? Help them get the result they want. Get those testimonials.
And now all of a sudden, you’ll have an awesome course; you have happy clients that went through your course, they think it’s awesome; you’re getting that confidence, because it’s not only in your head, now you got, let’s say 10 people that are telling you this is an amazing course. So you feel good about it. You start recording better videos, if you need to do that.
And now you have a course that you can now position as Hey, look, I’ve been helping those guys. They got great results. And now you can get it, you can purchase it. And maybe you do a limited-time special, whatever, you do a launch or a webinar, whatever you want to do, different strategies.
But you just make an offer. You simply invite your audience to take the next step and purchase that course. Right? So you can use it in multiple different ways. You can even use it as a piece of content that you can give away to someone else who is actually selling their own course. Right? So now it’s like you inject yourself into their audience, basically, pretty much.
And that’s how I’ve been able to build an email list of thousands of people. When I was really starting out, I created a course. And I gave it away to other guys that were selling their own courses and said, Listen, if you want to give that away as a bonus to your buyers, that’s okay. And that was a complete course, you know?
So it’s time well spent to creating that course and setting it up, because now you have something real that you can use to build your business, build your email list, and of course, sell access to your course.
Letting them know you, like you, trust you
So that’s pretty much it. And once you build that email list, the next thing, like I was saying, is to get them to know you, like you, trust you. How do you do that? By again, providing value. It’s about helping them solve their problems, helping them get the results that they might desire. Telling them, Here’s a good tip.
“Help people solve their problems, helping them get the results that they might desire.”
And that’s exactly what you do, James, right? People join your list. They are aware of your podcast episodes. Each time they listen to a podcast episode, they get value, they learn some new cool stuff. Great. So you are providing value. I get to know you, James, I get to like you, I get to trust you, because I see how you interact. That’s why we’re building our base. That’s why we’re doing these things.
And then once in a while, we open the doors and we say, Hey, listen, I’m opening the doors to my online course, or, Here’s the link to buy my online course. And there it is, this is what it is. These are the main things you’re going to learn, the benefits, and just click on the button to purchase. That’s it. Nice and easy, you know?
James: Love it. I had someone call me yesterday. They wondered if I could do a consult, because they had an upcoming pitch to do relating to selling a membership site service to someone.
James: And I said, I’ve just put together everything I know about it into a course. You should just go and buy that. It’s fully transcribed. You could read the whole thing in about 30 minutes, and you’ll know whatever you want to dredge out of me on the telephone for the next few hours. It’ll save you a fortune in consulting fees?
James: They loved it, I hung up and went on to whatever else I was doing. Money’s in the bank account. The leverage is insane. So if you’re starting out and you’re not sure how to create the thing, I would say, just think about what are you actually doing with people in person or on the phone, you know, over and over again? And start documenting that. That’s probably a course right there.
Are there any other steps we should be aware of in terms of what’s current or what’s relevant for courses in 2020? I mean, we couldn’t travel to the Maldives, so instead, I added an extra business model to my overall portfolio. It’s turned out well.
I’m not sitting on my hands, I’m not just going to be upset about it. I’m just going to make the best of it and it’ll be that much sweeter next year when we get to go and hang out. But I will have paid for the trip many times over, so that’s a nice thing. What other tips or advice would you have for someone at this point?
Some parting tips for courses in 2020
John: Yeah, I mean, if you’re starting out, obviously, now is a great time to go online. Everything’s online. Education is online. Before, there might have been some objection about Oh, should I learn things online, now it’s like a common thing, you know? So that’s a good thing, that it’s a barrier that has been removed.
And like I said, you know, you mentioned it. you can create very short courses. I’ve seen a lot of people starting to do that, just to get started. But I’ve also seen, and that’s something I like as well, is like that premium type of course, that flagship course that represents your brand.
And I like to have all of these elements that we’re talking about. I like to have a flagship product, I like to have little courses, I like to have a membership site. Because I always get that question: John, what should I do, a membership site or a course? I say you should do both. Because you use them in different ways. And they do different things. They have different purposes.
Like, the course can represent your brand. You can say, Oh, John – that’s the guy who teaches that course. And that can be a premium course, for example, right?
A premium course gives you different things that you can do. Because it’s a high-ticket item, it obviously gives you more revenue for less amount of people. But it also opens the door to have, for example, an affiliate army that is going to promote your stuff, because, obviously, they can get a cut of the sale. And that cut is going to be bigger because it’s a higher-price ticket item.
It also allows you that positioning. Because just like those fancy Italian brands that we have never seen before, we’ve never seen anyone in the street wear any of those brands, we have no idea who they are, right? But we see the store, we look at the price tag, $2,000 for a pair of shoes. Must be awesome. It must be the best shoes in the world, right? The best thing in the world. But we’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen anyone wear any of that stuff.
And you know, it’s basically a psychological type of thing, right? So it gives you that positioning. I like that. The lower ticket items, they give you that fast cash, right? It’s like, no need to think about it too much. Let’s buy it. Little result. And again, to play with those is to attract as many people to you, get them to know you, like you, trust you.
So then you can maybe talk about your membership site, your coaching program, your services, whatever it is, and then you keep that relationship going. And you’re attracting people that way.
You have little courses that you give away for free. We talked about these. Build your list, get them into your brand.
Course plus membership
And then of course, the membership site is the holy grail for recurring revenue, right? What I like about it is that you can combine all of them together, you can combine those pieces together. And that’s a trend I’ve seen happening right now, where people are starting to do that, where – a couple of strategies here for you guys. Like, you can start with selling the course for example. And what you could do, you could add some elements of the membership site.
So let’s imagine your membership site. What do you do? You do live Q&A calls where every single week or every two weeks you’re live online. Maybe you have a community right in there, maybe you do some little private coaching, maybe things like that, right?
These are usually powerful elements of a membership site, of a program that people pay every single month to get access to, right? They have those powerful elements. Well, you could take some of those elements and include them for a limited time only, when they purchase that course, for example that flagship course.
So it’s kind of like you’re merging together, you’re giving them a taste of the membership as a bonus, for example, that’s going to maximize your sales of that course. But they have access to these membership elements for maybe, let’s say, four weeks, five weeks, six weeks, whatever you want. And after that, if you want to continue, they can simply upgrade and continue the relationship inside a membership site. Now you’re running these two things, and they’re all working together, you know, perfectly. So that’s a beautiful thing.
You can also do strategies, like, if you’re using video courses, where if they buy your course, as soon as they buy, you could offer an upsell. And the upsell, the perfect upsell is like, Hey, why don’t you join my membership site? When you do, you get access to other 12 courses like these. And these are the topics, dah dah dah.
So now if they just bought one, and you’re offering them to get access to 10 other ones for just maybe taking a trial or paying, you know, whatever amount, maybe the first month of your membership, it’s a beautiful thing.
There are many strategies. Just a couple of examples. And I think that combining all of these together is something I’ve seen a lot of people do right now, you know? They are realizing that hey, these are all business assets, these are different moving pieces that we can use together to try to make different offers.
Because you can attack with different angles. Like I said, you know, you can go to the low-price item one month; next month, it can be the master class; next month you can go straight to the membership site, etc, etc. So now, even though you have all the same audience, you have different angles that you can make an offer, pretty much.
James: Yeah. I call that a seafood platter strategy.
James: They come in, they want to buy the shrimp, or they want to get the barramundi or the lobster or the crab. But you can say, Hey, we have the entire seafood platter here for just a little bit more. So you could lead with the individual products.
Where they don’t have to be the main feature
One thing I think is crucially important, and I am seeing as well, while we’re on the trends, you don’t have to be an exclusive online marketer with a membership. That doesn’t have to be your only thing. Courses and memberships work really well for other businesses, where it’s just their secondary support ecosystem.
Like you, John, you have Software as a Service, but you use courses to help people come in and understand how that software can be powerful. Very clever. You also have an academy in there, that others would charge $10,000 for, just the trainings in there. But you’ve bundled it in to create value to help your customers succeed.
It also works for services, like traditional business services. I’ve seen agencies, I’ve seen advisors, and you know, regular, even offline slash online hybrid businesses start adding in support services and courses to support their actual in-person service.
Like, even a car dealer could. And I’ve taught these people like 10 years ago, they could run workshops, they could do virtual training courses on how to change a tire on the side of the road. They could do so much. How to use the tow bar that’s approved for this vehicle. All of these things could be bundled into a support package or program.
I think we end there, unless you got something to go. Like, I’m just going to drop the mic.
John: It’s an amazing point.
It works for offline businesses, too
And actually, this morning, I had a private strategy session, because whenever someone becomes a 10XPRO.io member, or they take the trial, even the $1 trial, I offer a free strategy session with me, 30 minutes where we talk about their business.
And I was just talking to a new client who joined a few days ago, and actually it’s not the first time that this specific example happened. And they are actually owners of a gym, you know? Like a real gym where they offer workouts and training. And they wanted to create a series of courses about dieting, maybe exercises for their current members to help their actual offline business. So yes, spot on, what you said. Exactly right.
James: And how do you use every single piece of equipment in the gym before you even set foot in the joint? Wouldn’t that be nice? Because it’s kind of embarrassing when you go to a new gym. You’re scared of the equipment if you don’t know how to, you know…
People are going to look at you, and the first thing they’re going to think is, you know, why is that guy wearing a pink leotard? The second thing they’re going to think is, why is he trying to use that equipment? It obviously is the first time, he doesn’t know how it works.
You could reduce that fear by showing people, like, what’s appropriate to wear at the gym, how the equipment works, the importance of hydration, the dangers of overtraining. Like, all of this stuff could come into play.
John: It opens the door to so many other things. Because now, you know, they get to use the membership site, they learn extra topics, and of course, that’s going to open the doors to selling maybe specific courses.
James: And you could give these courses away to prospects, you know? Or bundle them in trials. There are a lot of things you can do.
How affiliates can profit from a course
John: The second thing that we talked about that is quite powerful for those who don’t have maybe an online course, or if they feel that they are not an expert, but something that a lot of affiliates were doing, and I clearly remember, I do have members who do that right now – they actually are affiliates for, let’s say, a camera, right? They sell photographic equipment. Well a great way to increase your sales is to say, Listen, you’re going to get access to the exact course that shows exactly how to use that specific camera and how to do different things, how to do amazing photos and all that.
That’s just an easy example to maybe, you’re not going to sell that course, but again, you’re building a business asset that you can use to help you sell maybe something else.
James: That’s how I made my first hundred thousand dollars online, John, you know it. I created the cheat sheet that was perfect for the software I sold. And then I turned that into a membership. And then I got webinar software back in 2007 or something. But the problem with it was it was one-time and then people kept having questions, so I turned it into a membership.
So I went through this migration. I still had the individual product as an info product. Then I started selling it standalone, because the product was really suitable for people who already had the software. That was like, doubled my business overnight by realizing there’s a whole other market here. Because people kept trying to buy it from me, because they already had the software and they didn’t want to buy it from me as an affiliate because they had it.
And I remember that someone sent me an email, said, would you sell it? And I said, Well, okay, send me $40 via PayPal, and I’ll send it to you. So they did. And then the next day, there was like, seven orders in my inbox, people sending me $40. And they’d gone and told people on a forum and the word had got out.
I’m like, oh, my god, I should put this on a domain and sell it as a standalone, for $79. I sold it for years.
John: Wow, there you go.
James: It’s close to my heart, this whole info product, affiliate, membership stuff. It’s my core. I know it’s in your blood, too, John, we could talk forever.
I’m going to ask you, if you’re listening to this, and you got a question on courses or memberships or 10XPRO, send me an email. Just reply to any email we send, that comes straight to me.
Comment at the show Episode Number 770.
By the way, if you listen to these podcasts and you enjoy them and if you haven’t already done so, I’d love it if you could give it a rating wherever you listen to it. I hear we’re rating pretty high in Finland right now. Thank you to my Finnish listeners, I appreciate the love. And also the UK. And we’re back in the top 100 in Australia, which is great. So I appreciate the support on these shows.
Thanks, John Lint.
John: Thank you.
James: We’re going to put a link to your free course on how to have your own course in 30 days.
James: Until next time.
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