The Importance Of Feedback

mye-saas-5

Feedback is one of the most important facets for any endeavor that requires creative thinking. Many creative types brainstorm with others to come up with the best ideas. Detectives and lawyers discuss aspects of their cases with their colleagues. Even Dr. House (remember him?) had a team of specialists to assist him.

It’s the same way for businesses owners and managers. If you’re engaged in an important creative task like writing a book, creating a video, or making an online course, feedback is absolutely critical.

 

Why is Feedback Important?

The value of feedback is that it provides you with a perspective that’s different from your own. Often you can get stuck on one thing because you keep on thinking about the same issues and the same situation. But when you receive feedback, it can spark new ideas in your mind that you probably know, but may have somehow forgotten or have overlooked. With feedback, you are forced to look at a problem from another angle, enabling you to avoid making the same mistakes again and again.

 

Feedback from an Expert

When you ask for feedback from an expert, you get more than just a comment. You also get advice, support and guidance as well.

This is especially crucial when you’re engaged in a creative assignment. You have to be inspired and focused, but that sort of mental atmosphere can’t be turned on at will all the time. Sometimes you get into a rut and you keep spinning your wheels. You forget to evaluate your goals, strategy, and direction to see if you’re really on the right path.

When you make time to evaluate these things, you are able to make course corrections and improvements. But the problem is that often we forget to make time for it. After all, when you’re done for the day, you just want to relax with friends and family. You probably don’t have the will to block a 3-hour segment for such evaluations

But who says you need to set aside extra time for such things on your own? That’s what a subject matter expert (a mastermind) is for. Join a mastermind group and that period of evaluation will be integrated into your regular schedule. You’ll then have to evaluate your situation on a regular basis. In fact, if you’re in a mastermind group that doesn’t force you to evaluate your situation regularly, you should really think about joining a new one.

 

Getting Feedback from Masterminds

So how do you find these masterminds? One easy way is a simple Google search, but make sure to do your due diligence on the groups, particularly the accomplishments of the group leader. Or you can ask some people in your industry or personal network to see if they have a mastermind they can recommend.

In fact, just associating with smart people can really help with your brainstorming efforts. These people don’t have to be better than you on everything. They can be on the same level, but still offer a different perspective.

Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes it takes a team to create success.

 

 

3 Things You’re Doing Wrong When You’re Designing An Online Course

MYE-SAAS (3)

 

On the face of it, an online course seems like a perfectly ideal way to conduct business on the Internet. You can have students from literally anywhere on the planet. They can log in anytime they want, and they can learn at their own pace. But achieving the course’s objectives is only possible if you make sure that you design it correctly. If the design is not good, you end up with dissatisfied students which will be a terrible blow to your reputation.

 

Here are some mistakes you need to avoid:

  1. Not knowing if people actually want to learn the material you want to teach. This is perhaps the most common mistake in online course design.For example, if you design a fantastic course about how to make a video, and it focuses on the technical details such as proper lighting and sound and even teach your students how to use the best video software available. But no matter how comprehensive your course may be, it may not attract a lot of participants because your audience is actually looking for ways to make a video interesting.You’ll need to do a lot of research and even create a survey so you’ll know if you are offering them the right material and the right course.
  2. Not transforming your source material. Some professionals who design their own courses simply tell their students to read certain books and online sources, and prepare for a test. We certainly know of a few college professors who teach this way But if you ask students, they’ll tell you that this is a boring way to learn.So you have to take advantage of other methods of instruction. You can offer videos or slide shows. You can film certain experiments or demonstrations. You can feature interviews of other notable experts in the field. Be imaginative — simply showing a recording of a lecture is not the best way to let your students learn.
  3. You want to cover a lot of ground. This is another mistake that’s often the result of wanting to make sure that you give your students more value for their money. So you create a comprehensive course that covers many areas, thinking that doing so will enable your students to learn more.The problem here is that the scope can become too overwhelming for your students. An online course can be considered work, and there may be too much studying involved.Of course, you can design the perfect online course and you still won’t get a respectable number of enrollees. At this point, it’s no longer about the design, but about the marketing of your online course. When it comes to marketing, it’s no longer about making sure that your program is useful and effective. It’s about making your potential students understand that they need the course and that it will truly help them learn what they need to know.

How SaaS Companies Can Use a Free Online Course in Their Onboarding to Reduce Churn

SAASSaaS companies, like other service-based businesses, know the importance of retaining their current customers. And to do that, the company’s churn rate must be kept as low as possible. But how? One effective method is by offering them a free online course.

What is Churn?

Churn refers to the customers you once had but no longer use your services. Churn rate refers to the number of customers (or the percentage of customers) who leave you for any number of reasons.

Often they leave your company right after the initial onboarding, especially with a SaaS product. They sign up get confused about the product, then cancel the subscription. This one of the reasons companies like ClickFunnel and LeadPages create extensive free training (free courses about marketing, facebook ads, webinars, and more) and user guides. The more they reduce the confusion of new users, the more people stick around.

If you want your business to stay afloat, you need to keep track of your churn rate and keep it low. Remember – if your customers are leaving you, then that means you will need to bring in more customers to replace them. Marketing costs are generally more expensive than the cost to retain your current customers.

A simple tweak might be all you need to keep 10% more of your customers every month, meaning your company can grow that much faster.

Reduce Churn Rate with Free Online Courses

As I mentioned, one way of reducing your churn rate is to make sure that your customers remain educated. And that may mean offering them online courses. Making these online courses freely available not only help your existing customers use your product more effectively, but also help new potential customers first find your courses, and then ultimately want to buy your product!

For example, you can offer a free online course on how to use your product properly. Perhaps they quit shortly after onboarding because they found your product too complicated. With an online course, you can explain the proper procedure more clearly so that they will not feel intimidated or frustrated by the product because it didn’t work as promised.

With your free online course, you can also make them understand each feature of your product. You can highlight exactly how your product can solve any specific problem or issue your customer has. You can also demonstrate how they can use it more effectively.

Or maybe the course can even help them get greater results with your product. For example that is why Leadpages offers free marketing courses. They offer a marketing software, so the more their customers know about marketing, the more successful they will be and the longer they will use Leadpages.

By focusing on how your product can actually solve the problems of your customers (instead of creating them), you keep your customers happy and successful – which in turn will keep your churn rate low.

[Case study] How Tung Tran Made $28,329 in 5 Days with his first online course (a step by step guide)

Online course membership area - AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp

Tung Tran launched his first online course ever a few weeks back. The course is called AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp, and it teaches people how to build Amazon Affiliate websites.

He earned just shy of $30,000 in the first 5 days.

UPDATE #1: A couple weeks after this was written, he sold 23 more seats in his course, bringing the total to $42,000 in about the first 6 weeks. He also plans to continue to market it to get more and more students every single month!

Update #2: After checking in with Tung about 10 months later, his course has generated $8,000 – $12,000 / month in income, and between that and the launch will have generated a solid 6 figures in it’s first year. 

In this article you will get all the behind the scenes information on exactly how he did it. The Monetize Your Expertise team worked with him every step of the way, and so we will be showing you exactly what he did, and what we did, that allowed him to achieve these kind of results. It will walk you through the exact method we used to build the course (with templates), his actual launch sequence, and even the hourly journal he kept on the day of the launch.

The goal is to give you everything you need to also be able to wake up and see this in your inbox:

List of course sales from the online course launch


Simply put, we went through 3 essential phases…

1. Validation and pre-selling the course

2. Building a world-class course

3. Executing an online course launch strategy

Normally in case studies there is some kind of a disclaimer stating how the results are not typical. However, in a way these results really ARE typical. How? Because we knew it would succeed from the very beginning based on the plan we created. And as you’ll see below, we run the numbers, and his results (based on industry averages) are not unusual.

Simply put, while of course we can’t guarantee anything, if you do the exact same things that we did, and have a similar starting point, then you should get relatively similar results.

If you want to learn the exact steps that we used to build and launch this course, then invest the time to read closely all the way to the end of this case study.

The Brand Behind AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp

Written by Tung:

“I’ve been building Cloud Living for a while, and currently have built it to about 6k pretty well engaged subscribers.
I started Cloud Living in February 2013 just as a place for me to document my online journey. The blog grew pretty fast in the first year thanks to my public case studies on how I built and grew profitable affiliate sites.
Since then, I let it sit and the growth stalled out. The blog was making only around $1k a month for about 2 years.

I wanted to sell my own products but wasn’t very happy this first attempt. I tried to sell a PDF 3 years ago on the same topic that we ultimately made the course on for $99. I launched that ebook around February 2014 and made $7k in sales in 3 days – around 70 customers.The results were sub-par, and I wasn’t excited about the quality of the product so I discontinued it after 3 months. I didn’t feel it was good enough to charge a premium, so I wanted to build something better.

Last year I decided that I wanted to focus on the blog and grow a business out of it. That’s why I decided to make a course. I know this is something my audience really want so it wasn’t a hard decision to make.

For the course we built this time around, I’m extremely happy with the quality and feel totally confident to sell it at a premium. Without you and your service [having the course built by the MYE team] I wouldn’t be able to create this quality course myself.

This time around, I was committed to make the best training course on the market and that’s why I turned to you [Monetize Your Expertise]”

Course Revenue Results 5 Days After Release

Pre-launch revenue – $3,479 (7 sales)
5 day launch revenue – $24,850 (50 sales)
Total first launch revenue – $28,329 (57 total sales)

We tackled this project in 3 distinct phases

Phase 1 – Pre-selling and validation
Phase 2 – how we built the course
Phase 3 – how we sold the course

Let’s go through each phase one by one.

Phase 1 – Pre-selling and validation

Note: Validation is mostly important if it is your first time creating a product on a particular topic. For example, if you run a blog and you want to create your first product for it. However, a lot of clients come to us who have been giving talks, offering services, workshops, books, on their topic for years. In this case, they already have validation – if you’ve had hundreds of people pay you $5,000 for a workshop, then you can be confident that you can find hundreds of other people who will pay you 1/10th of that for an online course version.

As you read above, Tung’s goal for 2016 was to monetize his blog. He had made some decent passive income,  but nothing to get super excited about. It was time to take things to the next level. How? An online course selling at $497 a pop!

Tung took stock of the things that he knew, and the different types of businesses he had built (for example he was making over $50,000 per month selling t-shirts at one point) and ultimately landed on helping people build Amazon affiliate websites in the same way he had done successfully. This was also a topic that he had written extremely popular case studies about, and had even sold an ebook on, so he suspected a premium course on the same topic would be in high demand.

Now, this sounds like a good IDEA. But in reality, ideas aren’t worth much without validation and execution. The next step was to test the assumption that people would actually pay for a course on this topic. This is something many first time instructors forget to do, and then end up with a course no one wants to buy. If YOU think “it would be so cool to make a course on XYZ” that is a very different thing than your CUSTOMER saying (preferably while drooling) “I would do anything to buy a quality course on XYZ – it would solve my exact problems”.

Using the best practices of online course validation, Tung built a launch sales campaign. His entire blog campaign is included below.

A KEY POINT:

At this point in the process you should have NOT built the course. In fact you should have nothing more than an outline. This is important.

Tung followed this methodology, so at this point he had not built any part of the course. The idea was to write blog posts around the same topic, deliver value, drum up excitement and see if he could get people to buy the course NOW in exchange for early access when he built the course later.

If it failed, then the only resources wasted would be a few hours writing blog posts (versus several months producing a course).

Here is his exact validation pre-sales campaign – it is simply 6 blog posts chronicling an exciting case study example of what he would teach in the course

Tung’s 6-Part Validation Prelaunch

Piece #1 –  The $10k Case Study Challenge

Piece #2 – $10k Challenge Update #1

Piece #3 – $10k Challenge Update #2 <<< He announced the course is coming soon on this article

After post #3 the course was considered to be officially validated and worth building. The reason is based on the way the first 3 posts were received and the conversions up to this point. Posts 4-6 were focused on building anticipation for the future course while it was being built.

Piece #4 – 10k Challenge Update #3 <<< He keeps mentioning it on every new update

Piece #5 – $10k Challenge Update #4 <<< He keeps mentioning it on every new update

Piece #6 – $10k Challenge – Final Update <<< The case study site making $3k per month by this post, and Tung increases the emphasis on the course and urgency with each new update

Results – Pre-sales revenue – $3,479 (7 sales)

Now that it was validated, it was time to build it!

Phase 2 – Building a world-class course

Originally, Tung had known he wanted to make an online course, and had even made some initial steps towards building one. But as many first time course creators find out…it can feel a bit overwhelming at first when you try to take on the whole thing yourself.

Not even taking into account the validation beforehand, or the marketing after…to build a high-quality course you need to….

  1. Be able to translate your idea / concept into a course curriculum
  2. Turn that curriculum into individual lesson plans
  3. Understand instructional design well enough to make your content effective an engaging
  4. Create custom designed slides for your entire course (often 500+ slides)
  5. Design and build workbooks and bonuses for the course
  6. Record the videos with high-quality presentation skills
  7. Edit all the videos to fix mistakes and improve the quality
  8. Project manage the whole process (i.e. do all of the above steps for 40 different lessons, on a clear schedule)
  9. Put up your content on a course platform (Tung used MemberMouse)

Realizing that his time would NOT be well-spent trying to figure out all of this and do it all himself – that’s when Tung came to MYE.

He turned to me and my team of course experts here at Monetize Your Expertise for this project to ensure the final product was worth charging a premium for, and something he could be proud of. We are both extremely proud of the results we achieved together.

Here is the exact process we used to build the course.

Step #1 – We mapped out product based on the goals

There are many ways to build a course. You can build a text-based course, a video-based course that focused on live filming, or on recording your screen while you teach someone to program, or by recording slides as you teach. Usually it’s a mix. You can also have courses 2 hours long, or 20 hours long. With or without PDF handouts. With or without bonus content (such as expert interviews).

Here is what we decided on:
• Ultimately 8 modules, with 8-10 lessons each
• We would launch with 3 modules completely finished, and drip feed the rest (to maximize efficiency)
• The lesson length would average about 8-10 minutes (although it ranges from 5-15)
• The content style would primarily be a mix of recording well-designed slides, mixed with recorded screen walkthroughs

Now at some point you might have wondered…

How do they build a course for someone else? How do they make a course on a content they are not experts in? How do they logistically do it?

Let me explain the process, which also serves to illustrates the workflow of course content creation. Also, you can review our FAQs which explores these and other questions in more detail.

Context: my company builds done-for-you online courses.

Specifically here is how we do it….

Note: you can use a similar workflow to efficiently produce courses yourself.

  1. Organize and go through all starting materials. Usually this is a published book, series of blog posts, or a live workshop that we will be turning into an online course.
  2. We schedule around 4-5 Content Development Calls with you, where we interview you about your course topic and build your entire course curriculum.
    DIY version: outline your course as a whole, and then have a friend interview you, and have that file transcribed.
  3. We take the course curriculum and break it down into lesson plans for every single lesson.
    DIY version: clean up the transcription, break it into lessons, and flesh it out.
  4. We build you custom-designed slides and workbooks for the whole course.
    DIY version: try to use a really nice design template and possibly a design tool like canva.com
  5. Client records the materials from the slide decks and lesson plans we’ve built for them.
  6. We edit your videos, project manage the process, and do internal quality assurance to make sure the final product is world-class
    DIY version: for project management, use Basecamp. For video editing, don’t do this yourself, hire someone from upwork.
  7. The client receives the completed course, and instead of 500-5,000 hours of work, they’ve just had to show up to the content development calls, and take a day to record from the lesson plans.

Keep reading to the end and you’ll get access to a free course tool I built I built for you, and a list of resources to maximize your chances of success with your project.

AN OPTIONAL STRATEGY

It is optional, but highly recommended to use every opportunity to get feedback and continued validation of the course you are producing, particularly by involving your early adopters. During this particular course project. we got a ton of feedback from customers every step of the way to make sure we produced the best product possible.

Here are examples of real life feedback we got from the students
(click on the arrows on the side to slide through them):

Note: the tool we used to do this was intercom.io

Phase 3 – Executing an online course launch

The structure of this launch might surprise you in its simplicity (and efficacy). Course launches don’t have to be sophisticated, especially if you have some kind of audience. You sometimes have to be a bit more crafty if you don’t have much of an audience to work with, however.

The Strategy

A 3-part content series on building a profitable Amazon affiliate site, posted on the blog and blasted out to his email list.

Here is a visual illustration from Digital Marketer that Tung found helpful:

Pre launch content from Digital marketer

Image from Digital Marketer – wwww.inspirechanges.com/portfolio/mini-class-launch-funnel/

Prelaunch Content #1 – Big Idea and Case Study
Prelaunch Content #2 – Step by step teaching
Prelaunch Content #3 – Addressing objections

Now you might be thinking: “Wait. That’s it?! Write 3 blog posts and mail them out?”

I know this is a huge sticking point for a lot of people. When people submitted questions about this case study, it usually involved asking about where exactly the traffic came from, and what was the exact marketing strategy.

Well here is the exact traffic breakdown:

Course Launch Funnel CTR's

 

Breaking down what this means:

  • 2,700 total visitors on the sales page
  • This converted to 50 customers (of the $497 product)
  • 1,300 from mailing the launch content (using Activecampaign)
  • 500 from Tung’s Cloud Living Facebook group
  • 500 from direct links on other places on his site
  • The last couple hundred from random anonymous sources

If you do the math for what this means to you:

  • 1300/6000 = 21.6% click-through from his email list
  • 288/2438 = 11.8% click-through from the Cloud Living Facebook group
  • 235 other visitors from Facebook due to social sharing of the launch content and sales page

These are relatively modest numbers, especially when you consider that these CTR’s are not even on individual emails or links, but just somewhere during the whole campaign. 21.6% of his email list clicked through to the sales page at some point.

That’s what I mean when I said this case study is by no means an unusual result. The metrics are normal. The strategy is simple. Your expected results will just involve doing the math based on the size of your own email list, social media following, etc. Your conversion rates won’t all be the same, but they can be used as a ballpark estimate.

While we kept this first version of the launch pretty simple, Tung already has big plans for the next round of marketing for the course that we are really excited about. JV partnerships, webinar marketing, PPC, etc. There are several great tools we are looking at to scale his marketing and scale his results. We’ve validated the quality, demand and results every step of the way and now it’s time to double down on those results.

The final product

 

Primary sales page – https://www.amzaffiliatebootcamp.com/sales-page/

tung tran amz affiliate bootcamp course sales page

Right click to save this image and view full-size.

Secondary Sales Page / FAQ page combo – https://www.amzaffiliatebootcamp.com/faq/

AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp Course Sales Page

Right click to save this image and view full-size.

Launch day

As you will see. Even though the results were great, there were definitely the inevitable launch obstacles.

Here’s a little mini diary kept by Tung documenting the launch:

“Launch day – I almost messed up the launch by leaving a couple things until the last minute
5pm – I wanted to do these myself, but I just now started working on the sales / checkout page
7pm – Still haven’t finished customizing the check out page. It looked broken. Need to ask for help.
8pm – Sales page took longer than I expected. Decided to just do the bare minimum to launch.
9pm – One hour till launch. Still working on sales page. Check out page was still being worked on
10pm – Launch time. Freaking out. Check out page done. But sales page was still work in progress. Haven’t added the add to cart button.
10:30pm – Ready to launch. Sent the first email.
11pm – Got 1st sale! Woohoo!
1am – Went to bed

Next day
8am – Woke up. Saw only 3 sales. Felt like I screwed up the launch. Was a bit disappointed with the results. But still stayed calm. Maybe people need more time to think because it wasn’t an impulse buy.

Rest of the 5 day launch:
The rest goes well. Last 24 hours brought in enough sales to hit the $25k mark, not even including the prelaunch revenue.”

5 day launch revenue – $24,850 (50 sales)

Total first launch revenue – $28,329 (57 total sales)

Like any major project, we inevitably faced some obstacles. But the results were more than worth it, especially considering this is just the first launch, and every subsequent launch should be bigger and better.

Now It’s Your Turn

If you read ALL the way to this point, then chances are that you have been wanting to do your own online course for a while. Well now it’s your turn.

I built this custom tool just for you – the Course Project Success Calculator

This tool will estimate your chances of success with your course project, and give you a list of selected resources to help you with your project, including interviews, guides, tools, and more.

Even with all the tools and information, remember that is up to YOU to take action on the opportunity provided through what you just learned. If you’ve been wanting to build the next big course on XYZ, now is the time.

Final thoughts from Tung about this project:

“Overall, I believe that we have created an awesome course here.

The final production quality is great. I’m really happy with the videos we created. Your voice is awesome! This project is pretty important for my personal and business growth. Now the course is done, I can experiment with all sort of marketing strategies to sell it. I’ve been doing only SEO and affiliate sites for a while. So learning new things is exciting!

For business, it definitely helps to diversify my revenue sources and help to position myself as an authority in the market. And the course makes good money as well 😀 I definitely see this course generate 6-figures for me by the end of the year!”

One week after this case study was published everyone continues to be happy, including both Tung ad his customers which is always our goal:

Tung: “The course is so amazing! I know I keep saying this over and over again, but I can’t help it! I get really excited when seeing our awesome product. So happy with how this turned out.”

Check out the Course Project Success Calculator, and if you’d like to discuss your course project with us, grab a time here. 

MYE Marketing Apprenticeship (Location-Independent Position)

UPDATE: No longer accepting applications. We got 26 awesome applications from 10+ different countries. Thanks everyone! 😀

Once you are location-independent you'll try to work like this a couple times then realize how impractical it is ;-)

Once you are location-independent you’ll try to work like this a couple times then realize how impractical it is 😉

facebook page profileI’m looking for a fast-learning and self-motivated individual who is interested in becoming a core component of my fast-growing online course creation and marketing company, Monetize Your Expertise.

Your primary role will be creating/overseeing various elements of marketing for MYE and also for our clients. This means you will be responsible for creating marketing funnels, using email marketing tools (creating an autoresponder in Active Campaign, for example), basic web design (using primarily Clickfunnels and WordPress to create simple pages), and testing everything to make sure it works. If you are not a total expert in ALL of these areas, don’t worry, keep reading.

You will also be corresponding with clients via email directly to assess their needs as well as overseeing/reviewing other marketing initiatives by other members of our team. This job will require attention to detail, flexibility, organization, self-motivation, and a passion for learning.

What’s in it for you?
This internship is a great opportunity to get the “behind the scenes” look at what it takes to serve clients in a location independent online course creation and marketing company. If you’re just looking for a way to make some extra cash, the pay probably won’t be worth it for you. However, if you are interested in world-class training on being a professional course creator, web design, creating effective sales copy, and the ins and outs of email marketing and marketing funnels, this job is a great way to do that, and make some money to compensate for the time commitment (see stipend rate below).

Additionally:

  • Work when, how, and where you want, including traveling.
  • Plenty of training available. If you’re interested in getting your hands into other parts of the business, such as video editing or Photoshop, I’m happy to help you develop new skills.
  • Experience with widely-used software in the location independent (and non-location independent) business world, including Active Campaign, Clickfunnels, Mailchimp, WordPress, Asana, Slack, Optinmonster and others.
  • For a qualified individual, there is room for growth in the company.

Responsibilities:

  • You will be working 15 hours a week, every week.
  • You will be producing specific deliverables every week.
  • Creating marketing funnels for MYE and clients
  • Setting up email marketing, autoresponders, etc.
  • Making changes to WordPress websites.
  • Creating sales/email copy. (If you don’t know much about this, I can teach you.)
  • Corresponding with clients directly via email or project management software.
  • Note: we have existing frameworks/instructions for most of these, but existing skills in each area is important

Things You Need to Know

Here are the things you need to know up front:

  • I only hire 100% fluent English speakers.
  • You don’t need to be a professional marketer/web designer/copywriter to apply for this opportunity. I have pretty specific guidelines for doing all of these, such that someone with decenter experience in things like wordpress, email marketing, etc can learn fairly quickly how to perform your responsibilities to Monetize Your Expertise standards.
  • There is a lot more to this position than existing skills. Dependability and responsiveness is more important to me than anything. I need a reasonable amount of communication. For example, not just getting a funnel created by the deadline but letting me know that everything is taken care of (“Yes, I can take this assignment.”). On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d take a dependable apprentice who is an 8 over an unresponsive apprentice who is a 10 any day.
  • You will often have to adapt to using new tools and new functionality within given tools (ie you must be self-motivated and able to self-teach certain things) because clients vary from project to project

Stipend
The internship comes with a stipend of [removed – see current position details for latest number] to offset your time investment to start.

As you grow into the company, become better trained, take on more responsibilities, and we start hitting certain target metrics, compensation will also grow with you.

This job is for you if you:

  • Are a perfectionist when it comes to producing quality results (email autoresponder with no typos, marketing funnels set up and thoroughly tested, etc.)
  • Have experience with web design, copywriting, marketing funnels
  • Have strong online research skills on topics that are new to you.
  • Are very organized and never miss deadlines or emails.
  • Have a learning-focused attitude. I’m less interested in what you know or have experience with than I am in your attitude and ability to adapt to new situations.
  • (Bonus) you have video editing skills or you live in a timezone that aligns well with mine in Asia.

People who would probably not find this opportunity interesting or rewarding:

  • People who only check their email once a week and respond to it once a month.
  • People who can only do work “when they are inspired.” Inspiration is overrated.
  • People who like to do marketing/copywriting but aren’t into researching topics with which they are unfamiliar, or get stuck when they have to figure out something new
  • People in it just for the money. This is for someone growth-oriented.

FAQs

What are things I might be working on in a typical day?

Is this a long-term position?

Yes – after an initial test period, ideally this is a longer term position where you receive continual training and improvement to your skills.

I live in ___________ (X country) [or] I travel a lot. Can I apply?

Yup, I don’t care where you live as long as you can meet the deadlines and you have what it takes to do great work! We love to travel too!

How much work will I be committing to?

15 hours/week

I’m a student/I have another job. Can I apply?

Yes, if you have 15 hours of focused work available to you every single week, I think this would be a great gig for university students to learn what they like, to develop marketing skills, and add something unique to their resume.

About Monetize Your Expertise:

Here are MYE, we are passionate about working with experts to help them impact as many people as possible with their message. Democratizing education, and making the world a better-educated place. We are a mobile team that supports the creation/marketing of online courses and related materials for our own brand and for clients. We also have a community of online instructors.

Make A Difference:

Many experts in various industries have extremely useful skill sets and knowledge, but often struggle to break into offering these things online. That is where MYE comes in. Supporting people all over the world to better monetize their expertise through helping others with their knowledge.

The Experience:

1981fa7Working with Grant has been a great experience. Not only do I get to work from home and on my own time–which has also taught me a lot of self-motivation and time management–but I’ve also learned what it’s like to start your own business, and how to best go about it. Grant’s also super kind, flexible, and he helps/teaches you as much as possible so that you get as much out of the experience as possible.” – Digne

 

 

READY TO APPLY?

Before you apply please read how to get hired by a location independent business

Shoot a quick 1 minute video of yourself, explaining why you think you are a good fit for MYE and this position. Some things you can talk about:

  1. What interests you most about this position?
  2. Are you an aspiring location independent entrepreneur? (it is ok if you are not) What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
  3. What experiences or skills qualify you for the position?
  4. What’s your current lifestyle? Do you live in the US, abroad, work part-time, work full-time, student, etc.? We want to make sure you can support yourself since this is a part-time apprenticeship.

Submit this Google form including the link to your video: http://goo.gl/forms/LI16WMTfLM

After reviewing your application, if you look like a good fit then we will be going through some initial assessment tasks designed to further test your suitability for this position.

P.S. Nearly every new position or opportunity I have available in my business I share on The Worldly Blend. If you never want to miss out on one of these opportunities, sign up here to be notified in the future.

3 Steps To Making A Great Online Course (And The 3 Mistakes That Will Stop You)

[Read all the way to the end for a chance to get a free tool you can use to validate your course ideas!]

As the “online course guy”…I am a big fan out courses (obviously). I was never a fan of old-school traditional educational systems, so I think it is fantastic that education is becoming more open-source and flexible. And it’s a great income opportunity for anyone who wants to share their expertise with other people!

That being said…

It can be quite difficult.

I say this from my experience with creating my first courses, and also having worked with dozens of people, helping them in this capacity. When you don’t know what you are doing, it’s incredibly challenging not feel overwhelmed by the process or insecure about what you end up creating. And these two feelings interact and exacerbate each other. Most people find themselves asking…

What if people don’t like what I am making?

Do I really know as much about this as I think I do?

What if it’s not good enough?

How do I know if this is actually going to sell?

So today I want to target 3 of the biggest obstacles that people encounter with online course creation:

  1. Validation – how do you know this course will succeed?
  2. Creation – how do you turn your knowledge into a product?
  3. Confidence and credibility – who are you to teach somebody?


Obstacle #1 – Validation

A typical mistake many entrepreneurs make is to focus on creating something solely because they want to make it. This causes problems for many obvious reasons, but even more so with online courses.

Sometimes it takes a visionary entrepreneur to create some innovative product or service that the average person in their market would never come up with, but this is almost never the case when it comes to education.

That is akin to telling the person who wants to learn about marketing – “I am going to teach you about chemistry instead because I like it more than marketing, and I am going to teach it in the way that I want to teach it rather than the way you want to learn it.”

Of course you could find someone who wanted to learn about chemistry as well, but you can see the potential problems you would run into with this backwards approach.

Rather than going out and building what you want, instead go discover and build what your market wants.

If you want to build a course for local business owners over 30 from Kansas, there is a good chance there is a common desire to learn a particular skill.

This is especially important because of the effect that some refer to as the “Expert Fallacy”.

This refers to the tendency of an expert to forget what it was like NOT to be an expert and to inadvertently assume others know more than they really do about that topic. So ironically enough, the expert will have a tendency to make content that is totally inappropriate for the people they are trying so hard to teach and help!

Just picture that genius professor you had in college who was actually one of your worst teachers.

Here are some simple steps to get started validating your ideas for your content and online courses:

1. Scout out what already exists:
If there are no current products on your topic, that is bad! Is there are successful products on your topic, great!

Just start looking for…

  • An innovative angle (example: I could easily write another article on this same topic, merely picking a DIFFERENT 3 steps to focus on to create online courses)
  • How you can create a product in the same area that targets a different market (example: marketing FOR ice cream shops)
  • What is the feedback on the product? What do people say it is missing? (Amazon reviews and blog comments are particularly good for this)

2. Pick your target market before your idea
It is much easier to create a product to meet the needs of a market than to find a market for the product you just created. If you create a product FOR the people you are trying to serve, exactly tailoring it to their questions and needs, that is one of the best ways to guarantee success.

So rather than deciding that you want to make a course on Facebook ads, instead realize that you are actually interested in helping local businesses with their online marketing. Now you have your target to reverse engineer the actual product by…

3. TALK to your target market
This may seem obvious, but almost no one does it. If you ask a hundred local business owners about what they want to learn about online marketing, you are almost certainly going to get some interesting answers. And the best part is that you will have a list of people to circle back to later once you create the product, and if you are creating a  product that is basically tailored to their exact needs…how can they turn that down?!

Here are some ways to get started speaking with your market:

  • Create a one question survey, and send to any email list or audience you have asking “If you had 15 minutes of my time what would you want to learn about?”
  • Create a list of 20 people you personally know in your target market, and email them this same question
  • Once you are starting to get a general idea of the direction you want to go, start posting on social media with “I am starting a free newsletter on [your general topic] message me if you want to be included!”
  • Each of these begins your list-building for this new idea, then you start polling the list you are building with questions that get more and more specific. “What would you want to learn about in 15 minutes?” becomes “what would you want to learn about guest blogging?” which becomes “what would you want to learn about sending cold emails to land guest posts?”

Obstacle #2 – Creation

Now you have some ideas about your topic, how do you actually CREATE this beast? I’ll go through your major options and what they are best suited for.

1. Recording your screen and slides

This is the bread and butter of most online courses nowadays. Create some sexy powerpoint slides, start recording your screen (with a tool like Camtasia or Screenflow) and bam! You are now creating your first content for your course.

This is best suited for talking about major concepts during core sections of your course. A good principle is to seek to “show don’t tell” whenever possible, so focus on using this for more abstract points. For anything that can be made more tangible you should use…

2. Recording your screen for walkthroughs

If I AM going to make a course on facebook advertising, then it would make sense to use the above approach to introduce the broad concepts, but then switch to recorded walkthroughs of EXACT strategies of setting up ad campaigns, finding facebook groups to target, etc.

The act of showing this rather than just abstractly talking about it on a slide is clearer and more effective, although combining both will drive the point home even more!

3. Talking head approach

Talking head style

I am a fan of this style, but it also a total pain in the ass! It can look amazing once you create a simple setup for it, but it inevitably takes much longer – you are more likely to run into problems (since now you have to start worrying about external cameras, lighting, how things LOOK as well as sound, etc.) and editing the content also usually takes longer.

On the other hand, it looks much more professional, and there are ways to do it with minimal skill and equipment. Due to the increased complexity and time involvement I typically recommend reserving this for course introductions, sales videos, etc. while relying on screen recordings (mix of slides and walkthroughs) for the core material.

4. Animation

There are some great fiverr.com gigs that allow you to cheaply create logo animations to spice things up with your content, and even some that can create customized promotional videos for you. This one is totally optional and should probably be avoided for your first course for the sake of simplicity.

5. Written material

Including some PDFs with your course is KEY. It adds an additional level of professionalism, and helps you incorporate multiple modalities to drive home important points.

Never underestimate the value of a pretty checklist which summaries some of the main points from your videos!

You can also find plenty of designers on fiverr.com to turn a word doc into a professional PDF handout for around $10 each.

Obstacle # 3 – Confidence and Credibility

There is a definition of expert that I love (although I forget the origin): an expert just means a person who knows more about a given topic than the person they are speaking with.

Think about it.

There are plenty of first-grade school teachers who are extremely mediocre at math, and yet they are fairly the “math expert” as far as those 6-year-olds are concerned.

Compare the teacher with an actual mathematician, and the “expert” status is lost.

The most productive way I have found to maintain confidence is to:

1. Always target a market who knows less about the topic than I do. Some people will inevitably know more than me out there in the world about ANY topic. But that’s fine, I am never targeting them.

2. Create insanely great content. I think people naturally feel confident when they do their best. After all, if you are doing your “best”, then literally by definition you can do no better! On top of this, I have found that students and customers care much more (on average) about quality rather than “official” credibility. As I mentioned above, often the more knowledgeable person with a PhD or MBA will actually be a worse teacher than a dynamic kid who just graduated college who puts in 110% effort.

So just remember…

1. VALIDATE your ideas

2. CREATE awesome content

3. CREDIBILITY comes from knowing more than your audience – that’s it!

Still not 100% your course will succeed? That’s why I built you the….
VALIDATION TRACKER!
Download This Free Validation Tracker To Easily Evaluate Your Idea.

New Workflow To 10x Your Productivity

Being in the zone is awesome. In fact, you are actually 500% more effective when you are in a state of flow. The difficulty? Very few people set themselves up to ever work in this state. Part of the reason is environmental, the subject of another day’s post, but the other necessary ingredient is a method of organization and a workflow that is conducive to frequently entering this state.

Awesome focus and productivity

When I was in school, I was one of those crumpled-paper-stuffed-into-my-backpack types. Now that I wear my big boy entrepreneur pants, I’m at the other end of the spectrum. I got sick of what inevitably happens when you aren’t organized and prioritized. Tell me if this sounds familiar:

  • Inbox 0? Try inbox 100
  • You occasionally stumble across emails or notes with information or opportunities that you “missed” because you found them too late
  • A typical day involves switching between half a dozen projects and sub-projects
  • There’s a constant background stress that you are forgetting something important

The problem with typical to-do lists is that the list quickly becomes overwhelmed when you set 3 items for the day and at the end of the day your list has turned into 10. This creates the sensation that you have gotten nowhere and are not doing what is most important. If you manage to avoid that problem then you end up failing to capture ideas and new tasks, and you  won’t have them on hand when you need them.

Personally, I was sick of it. So, upon the recommendation of a friend I picked up Getting Things Done by David Allen. Now I’m going to be honest…it was a terrible book. I have absolutely no idea why it is wildly popular. I couldn’t even get through it! BUT…the overarching point and method (which is extremely simple as you will see below) is golden, even if the book is lacking in the application department.

Warning: if you are lazy you should stop reading here, because you won’t end up following through with this. The system is relatively complex and will take a few hours to set up. You might even have to re-read this post a couple times to get it down. But once you do, it’s easy to maintain and you will end up saving tons of time and see an immediate increase in your productivity.

Summary of Getting Things Done by David Allen

The brain is a beautiful thing, but in some ways it has consistent, systematic failures.  One major shortcoming that kills organization and productivity is how we have a terrible time remembering things at the right time. Instead, we worry, ponder, and have our thoughts race at 3am.

This kind of stress is most often a result of open loops which have 3 causes:

  1. A lack of clarity of intended outcomes
  2. Not knowing the next step for important projects
  3. Not having reminders of the outcome and immediate next step in a system that you trust

The Five Steps To Solve This Problem:

  1. Capture – record thoughts, ideas, and initiatives for all projects, large and small
  2. Clarify – understand what it means and how important it is
  3. Organize – put it where it belongs
  4. Reflect – review frequently
  5. Engage – actually do the task

For you visual learners out there… here’s a pretty flowchart!

GTD+workflow+diagram

If your organizational system is functioning correctly, it should always….

  1. Allow you to have the relevant information on hand
  2. Indicate what you should be working on at any given point in time

If your system does not have these properties you will inevitably lose track of that important note to send an email to your team at 1pm, or you spend all day working just to realize at 10pm you completely forgot to do that main project you originally intended to do.
Pretty simple right? The book doesn’t really give you a way to implement this process, so I’ve created my own system that I wanted to share with you which will completely transform the way you work.

Through months of trial and error I’ve created a relatively advanced organizational system and workflow which has allowed me to be more productive than ever. With this system you will be able to manage dozens of projects and initiatives without letting a single thing fall through the cracks, no matter how small. You will also always know what is most important, and what you should be working on, in any context or situation. Sound good? Great – let’s get started!

The Formula of Super-Achievers

The key to any organizational system is prioritization. This involves always doing the most important things, but even more importantly never doing the less important things. Your first reaction to that sentence might be to disagree with it, but just stop and ask yourself why you would ever do something that is not the #1 most important thing for any given moment! For more on this topic, listen to this great talk.

To summarize the formula of Super-Achievers, and to create a framework of prioritization we will be using later, we will focus on 6 principles:
1. STOP doing more THINGS (this is what fools do)
2. Master the FEW that MATTER (usually 2-3 things in any time period)
3. Out-focus everyone else
4. Outlast everyone else through unbreakable consistency
5. Measure progress
6. FAIL more than everyone else (through failing often and hard you will get the biggest breakthroughs)

We want our system to incorporate these ideas, but in reality few people are able to pick 2-3 things out of everything that they do, while dropping everything else. So instead, we will use a system that allows for focus on the few things that matter, without having to worry about those small odds and ends that will inevitably derail us.

This means our setup should always allow us to knock out those big, important, audacious projects, while keeping track of those less important tangents and distractions so that we can deal with them later.

Creating This System For Yourself

1. We will be using a very specific setup on the Evernote platform. The first step is to set up and account if you don’t already have one, then delete all unnecessary tags and stacks. Chances are you have probably used Evernote off and on but in a relatively disorganized way. I was in the same boat until two months ago.

2. Create a “GTD” stack with the following notebooks: Projects, Processing, and Completed. Also a shared notebook for your team if applicable. It looks like this:

Evernote workflow

3. Create a separate “Filing” stack with reference material for projects, learning, etc. I also keep a notebook for notes with important points from all books that I read. It should look something like…

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 5.50.51 PM

4. Create a note for every major project (business and personal) and add to the Projects notebook.

A note on what qualifies as a “project”:
I’ve played around with a couple versions of this system, and one source recommended creating a project note for basically everything – every project and every step of the project. A note for “redesign blog” and “go to store to pick up toilet paper”. You can quickly see the potential problems you would run into – you’ll have 50-100 of these and there is no difference in prioritization between toilet paper and the next major step in your business! This is a total nightmare and best to be avoided.

Instead, we will be creating notes for larger projects, and a few categorical notes which compile less important items which still need to be done. Some examples of current project notes I have are: List of blog posts to write, Plan and run a webinar, Grow my email list, Product launch project, Online course marketing initiatives, Coaching, etc. Each of these notes should begin with an overarching description of a goal or desired outcome for the project (ex: get 3 new coaching clients) and include at least the first step you should be taking.

Finally, create an “Errands” project note that you can throw in the random odds and ends that are conducive to batching, such as shopping, filling up your tires, going by the post office, etc.

5. Create the following notes to add to the Processing notebook:

Screening: This note is for quickly jotting down everything when you are in a rush. Business ideas, to-dos, etc. You will be regularly sorting this, but having an initial place to jot everything down is essential.

Someday: This is where you store things you want to do “someday” but that are not CRITICAL right now. Be very harsh with what is important at this moment, otherwise you will be overwhelmed with too many projects.

Routine: This note is where you store your morning and evening routines, your work routine, as well as your notes on the workflow of this

Priorities: Create a list of ALL your projects. Every. Last. One. Then pick the top 2-3 that are most important this week. It’s difficult but extremely important to do this, and repeat this exercise at the beginning of every week, because often your priorities will shift from week to week.

GTD Method: It’s important to remember to screen your setup regularly to keep it optimized (thoroughly described below). As you are reading this post, take notes on the step by step process of this system, and put it in a note to review once/week for the time being. This way you remember how it works, keep it squeaky clean, and won’t lose track of something important, like forgetting that you even have a Screening note for example. Here is a screenshot of the most important part of my GTD Method note which I use as a checklist during a quick weekly review (to be discussed shortly):

GTD Methodology

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next step…

6. Create the following tag breakdown:

Evernote tag breakdown for GTD system

You can copy the above structure exactly, with the exception of the “.Who” and “.Projects” categories. For these you will want to customize this for your own team and list of overarching categories of projects, such as youtube, blog, product development, course creation, etc. There might be multiple youtube projects, for example, which would all be listed under the “youtube” tag when you click on it.

Note: pay close attention to the exact way the tags are entered. The periods are intentional – they make the tag structure show up at the top of your tag list and in a particular order.

This tag structure is one of the fundamental parts of this system. This breakdown allows you the flexibility to choose what is most important to work on at any moment. If you are at the office, what do you need to be working on? If you have only 15 minutes before a meeting, what should you be doing? Etc.

7. Go through and tag all project notes you’ve made with the appropriate identifiers from the tag list above – when, where, relevant project, etc.

Integrating with Google Calendar:

So far everything that we have set up is great for prioritization and organization, but doesn’t capture events that happen at specific times. For those team meetings, business lunches, and webinar calls we incorporate something like Google Calendar. You can also use this to map out specific blocks of time to have uninterrupted focus on a larger project.

Other optional integrations:

Todoist – an alternative to Google Calendar if you favor list formats over calendar formats

Lifetick – good option for more advanced long-term goals and planning if you’d like something more intricate than a prioritization note

Typical Work Day With This Organization:

Preparation is everything. The night before, I always do a quick review of where I am with my current priorities and which project I want to focus on the next day, as well as any scheduled appointments or interviews I might have.

On the day of work, the first thing I always do is a very specific morning routine – the importance of which will be the topic of another post. Upon sitting down to work…

1. What priorities did I set the night before?

2. How much time do I have until my next interruption? This could be lunch, a phone call, or an appointment.  This will often determine which initial list of tasks you should be looking at. If you’ve only got an hour, you probably shouldn’t be sitting down to write 2,000 words for your next book, as that requires uninterrupted flow.

3. Are there any other special circumstances in the moment? Is there a person at hand I normally don’t have access to, or am I in a location that I need to do certain things in?

4. Pick the applicable framework and get to work!

5. After lunch, process email – all emails should either be archived, responded to (if less than 2 minutes), or added to your “Screening” or “Someday” notes.

As you work – things will naturally come up. Someone asks you for a quick favor, you remember you need to grab milk, or maybe there’s a nasty product review you find that you need to address. Anything. If this new item takes less than 2 minutes, do it right away. If it takes longer and is not related to your chosen priorities for the day, immediately add it to your “Screening” note and don’t look at it again until the end of the day. This takes some practice and self-control, but I promise you will be more productive if you do this.

Towards the end of the day – review your “Screening” list (process below) and set the priorities for the next day, making sure to consider the context you will be working under the next day, in terms of location, interruptions, appointments, etc. Don’t pick a priority that will clash with your day. Set a daily reminder in your phone or calendar to do this step. This will help you add items to this list and immediately move on, because you will have the confidence that they won’t be forgotten. There are no “open loops”.

Maintaining The System:

Like any system, this one requires a bit of maintenance. As mentioned this requires a quick daily look at your “Screening” and
“Prioritization” notes. The final requirement to maintain this system is to do a quick review at the end of the week. For me this typically takes an hour and makes sure I keep kicking butt every single week.

Scheduled Sunday Maintenance:

1. Screening the “Screening” note

Just like at the end of each day, you will want to go back and process anything else floating around on this note. Here’s how to quickly process each item:

  • Does it take less than two minutes? Do it now (you should have already done it)
  • Is it not super important? Add to “Someday” list or “Errands” list
  • Is it important and related to a specific project? Add to that project note, or create a new project note under the same project tag (depending on the size)

2. ” Someday” list review

Have any of these become important? Add to related project note. Have any of these become no longer worth pursuing or thinking about? Great, then delete them! Otherwise, just leave them.

3. Long-term goals

Whatever goal-setting method you use, it’s important to review these regularly, as this helps you prioritize your projects. Incorporate this into your weekly maintenance routine.

4. Prioritization

Here’s where you decide what you will focus on for the week. It’s extremely difficult to work with daily to-dos without getting stressed, but setting higher-level priorities for the week is extremely effective. Relate them to your long-term goals. Maybe you need to work on writing that next book, but landing 3 interviews might be a quicker win for that goal you’ve set to double your email list.

Moving Forward

This system takes a couple hours to set up and about one hour per week to manage, but I can guarantee that it is a worthwhile investment. It forces you to be organized and prioritized, and if used correctly you will always know what you should be working on, even if you are juggling half a dozen projects like me!

I’ve been asked many times how I move so fast and do so many things while keeping track of everything. Previously: I was a stressed-out neurotic mess half the time. Now: I maintain a relaxed, organized focus.

Do you plan on customizing this system in any way? If so leave a comment and let me know! There’s always room for improvement.

Credit to The Secret Weapon for the inspiration for this system.

Traveling the World, Content Publishing, Thailand, and Udemy – Interview with Rob Cubbon

 

Traveling the World, Content Publishing, Thailand, and Udemy – Interview with Rob Cubbon
Use this link to see more great free videos about travel and business!

Today I sat down with Rob Cubbon to discuss his journey from an unexciting freelancer life in the UK to digital nomad who has built a large following through his blog, client work, and online courses.

While Rob is a success story, you’ll hear some significant challenges that he went through to get to this point, which contain some great life lessons on how you can start your business faster, while maintaining greater balance in your life.

This video is a teaser from a full online course on how to quit your job, start your business and travel the world! Get it through this link for $19. (normally $297, so that’s 94% off!).

Digital Nomad Interview with Natalie Jay – Seizing Business Opportunities while Traveling

Digital Nomad Interview with Natalie Jay – Seizing Business Opportunities while Traveling
Click this link to see more great free videos about travel and business!

I met up with Natalie Jay the other day to discuss her business. She has a fascinating story of having done many different kinds of things, and we also talk about the importance of recognizing an seizing opportunities that come your way. And above all else having belief in yourself to do these things.

This approach is what enabled Natalie to start a business importing lumber to Russia from scratch. She’s now expanded into selling sugar as well, and she knew nothing about these industries before diving headfirst and becoming successful with them. A lot of great takeaways in this interview!