The Art of Selling Online Courses

Building Wealth Through Online Courses - with Doug Cunnington

September 06, 2023 John Ainsworth Season 1 Episode 103
The Art of Selling Online Courses
Building Wealth Through Online Courses - with Doug Cunnington
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

From being laid off to creating a prosperous online course business, Doug Cunnington takes us along on his inspiring journey. With a former career as an IT project manager, Doug transitioned into the online course industry, establishing five comprehensive courses to guide those looking to start their own side hustle. His subjects include affiliate marketing, link building, email marketing, and productivity. A unique strategy he employed is lead generation using keywords, YouTube videos, and a basic spreadsheet. His YouTube channel, coupled with website traffic, brings in around 200 new subscribers each month with his email list promotions converting at an impressive rate of 30%.

Doug doesn't just dish out success stories; he shares his experiences of the hurdles and the victories that come with launching a course. From tackling stress and inevitable mistakes to developing a pre-launch sequence that includes providing a mini free course via email, his insights are invaluable. Key to his strategy is an emphasis on optimizing a launch sequence before automating it, with the optimal conversion rate found at 10 emails or 20 days. He also weighs in on the benefits of using price anchoring to maximize profit margins.

As well as being a business guru, Doug is a man of many interests. We get a peek into his personal life, discussing his fondness for playing the guitar and bass, a goal he has set for himself, and his involvement in the financial independence community in Longmont, Colorado. We also talk about his two podcasts, The Doug Show and Mile Hi-Fi, both attesting to his wide range of expertise. This episode offers a deep dive into the life and mind of an online course industry expert; insights that can certainly help broaden your perspective, whether you're an entrepreneur, a side hustler, or someone simply interested in the world of online courses.


Speaker 1:

My audience is sort of small and I realized that me trying to segment it was kind of fragmenting the data and the feedback that I was getting, and it turned out that people were interested in different things, even though I made an assumption that I should segment them in a certain way. So eventually I was just like, ah, I'm just going to send the offer to everyone because maybe they're interested in it, and if they're not, then they just won't buy it or they'll unsubscribe. And you know, that's just part of the cost of doing business.

Speaker 2:

Hello and welcome to the art of selling online courses. We're here to share winning strategies and secret hacks from top performers in the online course industry. My name is John Ainsworth and today's guest is Doug Cunnington. Now Doug is a recovering IT project manager and spends his time thinking and talking about SEO, affiliate marking and doing cool things outdoors. For 10 years, in a corporate gig that ended in a layoff, he went out on his own to learn affiliate marketing and SEO. He's been featured all over the web, including CNBC, nasdaqcom, ahrfs, semrush, empire Flippers, hubspot, bigger pockets money podcast and more. So today we're going to be talking about Doug's course business, how he started it, what courses he sells, how he drives traffic and sales and what's allowed him to succeed. Now, before we dive into the interview today with Doug, I want to remind you that you can learn how to two to five times your revenue by going to datadrivenmarketingco.

Speaker 2:

There's a recording of a 45 minute presentation I gave to hundreds of online course creators about the process that we use to two to five times online course creators revenue. I've had people come up to me at conferences after watching the presentation who have made tens of thousands of dollars from one of the techniques. In fact, I ran a conference earlier this month and someone came up to me and told me he'd implemented one of the techniques. I was like great, how much money did you make from that? He's like I'd say tens of thousands of dollars. He's like I owe you a beer. I'm like I think you owe me more than a beer, dude. I'm like come on, have you implemented technique number two? He's like oh yeah, I forgot there was more. So I was like all right, cool, go do that Next time you see me at a conference. Hopefully you'll be making tens of thousands more. So go to datadrivenmarketingco slash webinar datadrivenmarketingco slash webinar and sign up Now. Doug, welcome to the show man.

Speaker 1:

Thanks a lot, appreciate the invite and I've learned a lot from you over the years, just hearing you on some podcasts that I listened to.

Speaker 2:

Oh nice, that's awesome. So tell everybody who's listening what are your courses about?

Speaker 1:

They are affiliate marketing generally. So I got my start with niche sites or authority sites, primarily monetizing with the Amazon affiliate program. So it's still kind of popular these days, but it was a lot more popular when I was starting in 2013 to 2015. And generally that's what my main flagship course is about is finding a niche, doing some keyword research, launching the site and getting going. There's a few advanced topics in there as well, and then I have some smaller courses that take you through some other pieces. So maybe it's link building or email marketing or even productivity. I'm a little productivity nerd so I created a course on that as well. So I think I have five total.

Speaker 2:

Perfect, and who do you help with your courses? Who's the?

Speaker 1:

audience for this. In a general sense, it's people that are interested in starting a side hustle. So a lot of people dabble just like I started. I found a podcast. I got obsessed and then just kind of went in headfirst. When I got into it a little bit deeper, I realized that my audience was often very similar to me. This just happens. Naturally, you attract people that are pretty similar to you. So I have the IT background and it actually worked out pretty nicely. So typically IT professionals they don't like their job very much, they're looking for a side hustle and they could relate yeah, they could relate to me ranting or complaining about the old days when I had a corporate job and the great part is an IT professional, especially someone who is, say, 10 to 20 years into their career. They have money to spend, they have money to invest. So that's definitely the market that I wanted to aim for. So typically it ends up being IT professionals not always, but that's a great group for me to target primarily.

Speaker 2:

And how did you go from building affiliate sites yourself to teaching other people about it?

Speaker 1:

It ends up being a really smart thing that I did. But I didn't realize that it was smart back then when I first started. I found Pat Flynn and Smart Passive Income. That was the gateway drug for me and I saw what he was doing and I thought, well, I want to start a blog also. And maybe I listened to the TMBA podcast or some other thing and it made me think, hey, I want to make sure I have an email list and I want to have my own products from the get go.

Speaker 1:

So almost at the very beginning I was only six months in I really didn't know what the hell was going on, but I thought, hey, I'm smart enough to also sell an ebook. So that was the original iteration of the course was an ebook. And I started selling it right away. So right when I had my first success a site that was earning a few thousand bucks a month I was like, all right, I'm going to make sure I launch a website, start building the audience. And it slowed the progress down for everything because I was splitting my time between two different things the core boots on the ground, building the websites and trying to build an audience and trying to create a course so it slowed everything down. But here, 10 years later, it ends up being great to have diverse revenue streams, my own audience, so I can weather algorithm updates or any other external issues, and I'm a lot more insulated from those issues. Nice.

Speaker 2:

And what kind of size of the business at now, like revenue-wise, if you're happy sharing that number of students, team size, that kind of thing.

Speaker 1:

Sure. So revenue-wise, I'll say the mid to low six figures, and I think a theme will come up a little bit later. I've actually tapered down. So, as I reached a certain point, I wanted to make sure I was playing my own game and I wasn't trying to be as big as I possibly could, and I value time freedom a lot more than additional money. So at some point I just capped it and I started trimming down the amount of work that I was doing. And as far as team size, I've always wanted to have a lean, small team to have more flexibility. So I don't have whatever eight people waiting for me to tell them what to do. So I have one to three VAs that help me in various areas, maybe video editing. I have an executive assistant and they help me out maybe 10 hours a week or so. And as far as number of students, I actually haven't looked in a while, but Ballpark is between 500 to 1000 students over the course of a few years here.

Speaker 2:

Okay, cool. So you said one to three VAs, and then did you say there was other people as well? No, just me Just you Wow, that is lean, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, super lean. Expenses are very, very low and, like I said, the freedom that it gives me. I don't have very many people to interact with and I just made it as small as I could possibly make it for as much flexibility as possible.

Speaker 2:

And what are your main drivers of the traffic for this? For the course, when you mentioned the numbers in terms of revenue, is that a combination of courses and the affiliate sites, or is that just a course business, just just the course site? Okay, gotcha, where does the majority of the traffic come from that? Is it from SEO, because I know that's your thing, or if you've got other traffic sources now that are really big?

Speaker 1:

Right, so originally it was the SEO, and over time again the theme will be. I've just gotten lazier over time so I realize some people may. Yeah, so you could beat me up on that one. But yeah, so the SEO, I think laziness is all right.

Speaker 2:

I think it's like it's the point of like I'm not a Protestant, right, I don't have to have the Protestant work ethic. It's like what's your goal for life? What do you want? As long as you're doing the stuff that gets you that, then, like I have no problem with that, I'm not going to attack you for it.

Speaker 1:

Sure, fair enough. Thank you. So originally, a lot more on the SEO side and then, I think around 2017 or 18, I decided I wanted to do a lot more YouTube. So I started spending most of the time that I was blogging on the YouTube side and nowadays most of the traffic does come from YouTube, but I do just try to get them on my email list. So same technique, same content. Really, I mean, I would look at a blog post that did well and make several videos about it typical lead magnet or a content upgrade, send people over to use a tool or a spreadsheet or whatever and they sign up for the email list and that's generally where most of the traffic comes from. I have a podcast as well. It's not as good to bring in new people Just it's the nature of podcasting. But once they get into the ecosystem, then the podcast is great to build additional trust.

Speaker 2:

Beautiful, okay, and I saw how many podcast episodes have you done so far.

Speaker 1:

It's like a big number right yeah, Cost of 500.

Speaker 2:

I think it's just about 500 right now Nice, and how often do you publish?

Speaker 1:

Right now once a week, but for four years three years I was publishing twice a week. So that's how I got the numbers up and it was, yeah, over time it just really adds up and I've, you know, never missed a week or a schedule or anything like that. And on the YouTube side, I think I have like 1400 videos or something like that. So I've definitely I've aimed for quantity over quality, like get the reps in, and I've improved over time, hopefully.

Speaker 2:

So nice? And how many views do you get a month on your YouTube videos?

Speaker 1:

I haven't looked in a while. I want to say, gosh, I'd have to guess, I think when I was in the dashboard the other day maybe like 20,000 views a month, but I think that could be low. So here's. The other thing is, as I have sort of tapered off, like I don't even look at the analytics, especially on YouTube, which can make you crazy. It can lead you down a path where you're creating videos that you don't want to create because the art, like the algorithm, likes it. So I've kind of stepped back and I'm just publishing what I want to publish, even if it's not bringing in the more subscribers or views or whatever. So I'm making it something that I could work on and have like longevity and not get burned out.

Speaker 2:

I had a really interesting conversation with Lucy Simkins the other day, who came with a podcast. She's a client of ours and our group coaching program and she's got like nearly 10 million YouTube subscribers. She's like an absolute badass at this stuff. Yeah, I know right. And she said she does three kinds of videos. She does ones that her audience wants, like their existing subscribers, that they want to see this useful content for them. She does ones that the algorithm wants, so that's ones that is going to get noticed, bring her a new people in.

Speaker 2:

She's got a specific kind of angle she's got for that. And then she does the ones that she wants, like ones that makes her feel proud, ones that she thinks are fantastic. Maybe it's something promoting her courses or promoting her email list or what have you. And so she's balancing it that way. Because of what you're talking about. Right, if you just do the algorithm side of things, you get tons of new people in, but then they don't stick around and you're not happy about it. So it's like how do you balance all of that together? I'm a real beginner in the whole YouTube space, so I'm just kind of learning now.

Speaker 1:

Got it and I did pop over and it looks like about 31,000 views in the last month or so and I used to look, I used to know like all the details really well. But, like I said, I've kind of stepped back and I'm sort of testing what happens if I do less and less and just what the impact is. So it's been interesting and it's tough because there are so many analytics. I mean, you're probably able to hop in and see where people drop off and, like you can get all this information and get obsessed, and for me it just makes me crazy. So I was like, okay, can I?

Speaker 2:

do a little bit less, I'm feeling crazy. It's not a good way to have a long term business. Yeah, if you burn out, if you dislike, I don't want to do this anymore than the whole thing falls apart. So what's the point? Yeah, how do you get people from the YouTube video onto the email list? You mentioned lead magnets, content upgrades, that kind of thing. Are there any specifics about the way that you do it? Do you mention it at the beginning of the video? At the end of the video in the comments, like, where do you put that promotion?

Speaker 1:

I've tested it all over and I think the very best way is you're demoing whatever. It is that the content upgrade is so quick. The specific example for me I have keyword concept called the keyword golden ratio and it's catchy, sounds pretty good and I have a couple of videos on it and I just have a simple spreadsheet and that is the lead magnet. But I explain the concept, I use the spreadsheet and then I say, if you want the spreadsheet for free, just hop over there. So it's really the simplest thing that you can do. But if you are interested in the concept, the easiest way to take the next step is to just use the spreadsheet. A person could create it on their own. There's only three columns, right, I mean, it's as simple as it could be. But it's much easier to just go sign up on the email list and get that link to the spreadsheet.

Speaker 2:

And that's kind of genius. I love that. So you actually make the YouTube video about the lead magnet, basically, yep Ha. And that's your way of teaching the concept. And then, if they don't want to download it, then they understand. They've got it now. But if they want the easy way, they just download it. Man, okay, do you know how many subscribers you get from YouTube in particular, or how many new subscribers you get a month generally, if you don't know, specifically from YouTube?

Speaker 1:

These days it's actually down a little bit. So it was around five to 600 a month for several years, but as some of my videos have aged then I haven't replaced them with new videos. It's tapered down to about 200 per month. Also, hopefully I'm not like demotivating people to do less work, but as I've done less, I see that it drops. It's dropped down from, you know, the 500 to 200. And I'm just again testing to see what I can tolerate, what the business will do if I'm not putting in as much effort. Gotcha, okay cool. So not too huge, but a few hundred per month consistently over, you know, several years.

Speaker 2:

And is that that's from a combination of YouTube and a CEO right? I'm guessing.

Speaker 1:

Correct. However, back when I decided to put more effort into the YouTube side, I saw that the YouTube traffic was converting to the email list at like a 5x rate. So that's when it hit me Do more YouTube and do less blogging. Gotcha, wow. When did you notice that? 2017 or so, that's really interesting.

Speaker 2:

We generally find that a really good opt-in rate for YouTube channel is about 1% of views converting to signing up to the email list and for website traffic we normally find about 2 to 3% of website traffic converting to email list. I'm going to have a look after this at your website. Would it be to check for? Is be the niche site project? Right, correct? Yes, okay, cool, I'm going to have a little check on that afterwards. Okay, what size is your email list? Are you happy to share that?

Speaker 1:

Yep, it's about 11,000 or so and I keep it fairly clean over the last couple of years and the open rate is roughly 30%.

Speaker 2:

Nice, that's strong. And then, how do you sell your courses? Do you do launches, webinars, email promotions? What do you use to kind of get people to actually buy?

Speaker 1:

So email is the the primary. I do mention the courses on podcast and YouTube, but it's it's almost all email and I do four launches per year and that was, I think, driven from the course that I learned, from which there's a guy named Derek Halpern who's, I think, moved away from internet marketing, but I took his course seven figure courses back in the day and I think he suggested the four launches per year model and I went with that and it's a good cadence for me. Primarily email, as I mentioned, and I have a pretty good launch sequence that has worked for me. It took, I think, about two years to iterate, with a long feedback cycle of, you know, once a quarter. It takes a little while to see what works and what didn't work, but once I dialed it in, it's fantastic. I tested webinars a little bit. It didn't really convert as well as I thought is as much effort as I put into it, so I just backed away from that.

Speaker 2:

And what price point are your courses?

Speaker 1:

at it is. So the flagship is 500 to 2000. And then the smaller courses are 300 or less.

Speaker 2:

Interesting, okay, okay, because at 500, so we normally only recommend webinars when you get to about $500 plus, because the conversion rates within the webinars mean that only a certain percentage of people will register. Only certain people who register will watch it, and your percentage of them will get to the end, blah, blah, blah. Which means that the number of people who you get all the way to the end to see the pitch is smaller than if you just send out an email permission to everybody. But once you get to a high enough price point, that's made up for by the fact that people will buy at. People are very rarely going to buy a thousand dollar products direct from email promotion, but they will buy from a webinar because you built up more trust. So that's really interesting to hear. It didn't work for you. I wonder why.

Speaker 1:

I have a theory right. So because I have the podcast and the YouTube channel, people already trust me. Yeah, and it took that. That's the conclusion I arrived at and it kind of makes sense. Especially, you know, your thought was hey, people are not going to spend $2,000 if they haven't spent a little time with you. But if someone has 20 hours that they listen to my podcast, then they've heard me talk a little bit and they they like me or they don't like me.

Speaker 2:

So if they're listening, after 20 hours and they don't like there's too many other options.

Speaker 1:

They should just stop listening. So so that was my thought. But I mean, I tested, probably for six months or so. I gave it a little bit of a shot and I know you know, working with students and coaching people, I know that maybe if I gave it more time and effort and went to an expert to really tear it down to find out the weak spots. But you know, when you step back and you think you know webinar builds trust, I have other platforms that help build trust. It kind of solves the same problem. So maybe I don't need to do the webinar.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally so. You do launches once every three months. Do you do any other promotions in between? Do you do smaller email promotions of some of your smaller courses or anything?

Speaker 1:

Occasionally I do. I need to get on that a little bit more. You know, usually whenever I do launch one of those it doesn't go as well as I hoped. Those smaller courses, for whatever reason, maybe the market fit isn't as good. Sometimes they've done really well, like a particular topic was more popular and then less people talk about it over time. And then when I try to launch the course again the one I'm thinking of there's a Harrow helper reporter out and people use it for link building and it sold really well for six months or so and then it kind of tapered off. But generally I'll be able to sell, you know, a few courses here and there if I do like a mini launch along the way through the year, gotcha.

Speaker 2:

Interesting. Well, we typically see in terms of conversion rates with email promotions, like a smaller email promotion, maybe lasting a week, something like that, 30% discount is a 0.3%, 0.2, 0.3% conversion rate from the email list to buying. So if you've got, what did you say? 12,000 people on the email list, 11. Yeah, 11,000. Okay, if it's a hundred dollar course, then you're looking at probably only a few thousand coming in from that. If you add on I don't know, some order bumps or upsells, maybe 5,000, something like that. So launches the thing with launches is they convert better than smaller email promotions. The downside and you can sell more expensive courses. The downside with it is people often get stressed with it. Do you feel stressed when you do your launches? Or if you got it dialed in and you're like I says, all fine now.

Speaker 1:

I have it dialed in now, so over the course of how many years ago. I launched it in 2016. So I have seven years of doing this. So now it's pretty kind of mechanical at this point. It definitely stressed me out for the first few years and I was afraid of making a mistake, which you know I maybe have a wrong, the date is wrong or something like that, and you feel really bad, but you get over it. So over time I've just realized that hey, there's, there's going to be a couple little mistakes that pop through because I have a really small staff. I'm like proofreading stuff myself. So it's the cost of the extra time, freedom and all that, but it doesn't stress me out anymore.

Speaker 2:

Do you basically run the same launch every three months? Was it as a multiple versions of it that you're doing throughout the year?

Speaker 1:

It's pretty much the same launch. I will switch up some of the details. There was a point in time where I just tried to use the same emails verbatim. But I'll change a few things, make a few updates. A lot of it is case studies of students, so I could actually like ask the student to give me refresh numbers, so that adds a little more authenticity, I think, because it's, you know, revenue numbers from last month and you can see screenshots and all that kind of stuff.

Speaker 1:

And the other thing that I do with a launch is a sort of a pre-launch sequence. So I've seen it a few times. I can't remember who I learned it from originally, but it's a little. You know, quote mini free course via email. And really I just get people to take a little bit of action. Super simple, they just, you know, write down their goals on a post-it note or something like that, they send it back to me, they take a little action to just start the momentum and they're starting to think a little bit differently and take action.

Speaker 1:

So that's just a three email sequence that comes the preceding week and I let everyone know that the email, the free mini course, is coming, so that they're not surprised. And then I know that everyone doesn't read every email, so I also let them know like, hey, there's going to be a course coming next week, so there's no surprises of what they're receiving. Like they know it's coming and they know next week they're going to get an offer, so they they're kind of primed. I made that mistake early on where I just send out an email like, hey, I'm selling a thing, like, do you have an extra thousand dollars to buy this? And that never worked very well. So really warming the audience seems to help, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Great Evergreen funnels. Do you use those at all Like? Do you have a welcome sequence when people first sign up? If so, kind of how long is that? Or do you not use Evergreen at all? So?

Speaker 1:

I used to, but at some point in time I decided to simplify my text stack. So one thing when I had the Evergreen funnel I realized that I needed to make sure that my launch sequence was very, very good before I automated it. And several of my friends unfortunately they didn't take my advice, but they would launch a course and then they would just say, hey, I'm going to put in my auto responder and I'm just going to rake in the money like every month. And it never worked because I did not optimize their launch. So I spent two years getting the launch as good as I can get it. I was always, you know, I was getting happier and happier with the results. And then I put it into an Evergreen funnel and it worked quite well for a couple years. But I ended up with a horrible text stack. So all these weird integrations that would break pretty frequently just with a little change on one application or something like that. So at some point I moved over to Kajabi and I gave up some functionality and you know it's not best in class for everything, but it had all the stuff that I needed. But it didn't have a good way to integrate the Evergreen funnel software that I was using. So I just made a decision that I'm not going to go with the optimal solution of having the Evergreen funnel. I'll just have the one piece of software, kajabi, and then I won't have to mess with all this Frankenstein application stack.

Speaker 1:

That said, I did have an Evergreen funnel running for about two plus years or so and, yep, I had the autoresponder sequence going out and I think it was about 25 days or so. So I had a lot of data to look at and I saw that it seemed to convert the best after about 20 days, probably 10 emails or so. So people are really like kind of getting into the content and then they would see the offer and that seemed to work really well and I, like I said, through all the data that I had, I knew that that was a really good conversion rate. Too long and people kind of lose interest. But if it's just in the right window they're pretty pumped and they're like I can do this, I can do this, and then they would get mini course and then they would get the launch sequence Got it Nice, brilliant.

Speaker 2:

The stuff that you've said about why not to do like a really long autoresponder for selling your courses is exactly the same reason that we don't do it. So there's two main problems with it. One is tech shit breaks all the fucking time and even though, like lots of companies will promise you this is like so, no, it does. It just breaks all the time. If you're sending out an email, promotion or doing launch, whatever, it's just like, this email is going to the whole list or whatever subsection of the list you know, minus previous buyers or whatever. At the same time it's so much easier to set. You don't need a complicated automation to make that work. You just create the list, you check it, you go yeah, that looks right and you send it. It's so much easier. And then the second reason is the iterations. It's way easier to iterate when you're doing something to a big audience in one go and then afterwards you look at it and go well, how did it do?

Speaker 2:

I've just sent this out to 10,000, 20,000 people. I've got a big enough sample size to see. Well, what were the open rates, what were the click through rates, how many people got to the sales page? If you have to wait, whatever it is, three months, six months with an automation in order to do that. You don't have enough data. It's like slow, you don't get around to doing it. It just doesn't seem to work. Whereas the process of we do like we do two email promotions a month, smaller ones, that's our kind of system, and every two weeks you get to look at the data afterwards and go OK, what did we learn from this? Well, how do we tweak the emails for next time? What did people like, what did they not like? What subject lines worked? Initiate from there. So it's really I love hearing that you've had exactly the same kind of experience as we did.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and the other part, slightly related, is just like segmenting the list. And I know I mean the software can do it and like the best practice is to segment. But my list is small, my audience is sort of small, and I realized that me trying to segment it was kind of fragmenting the data and the feedback that I was getting and it turned out that people were interested in different things, even though I made an assumption that I should segment them in a certain way. So eventually I was just like ah, I fit, I'm just going to send the offer to everyone because maybe they're interested in it and if they're not, then they just won't buy it or they'll unsubscribe. And you know that's just part of the cost of doing business.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we do exactly the same thing. We send the promotion to the whole list. We don't try and cleverly figure out Well, these guys got these lead magnets, therefore they're interested in this topic, or they clicked on this website page, therefore they're interested in that topic. We just send the whole promotion to the whole list, minus people who bought that course before. That's the only thing that will take out from that. You know, yep.

Speaker 1:

Same, and even then there's some waste, since people buy with different email accounts. So sometimes you know they get the offer, but they bought it with their business account or something.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, yeah. So what about you said you've got a main course is 500 to 2000. That's quite a big range. But the different packages within that Yep.

Speaker 1:

So three different options. There's a basic, which is sort of the core, I think, like six units of the course, and then there's an advanced package, the middle package, and that has, I think, maybe three more units of advanced topics in there, and then the third package is the advanced plus one on one coaching. So that's something that I wanted to add in there and I know through some of my testing and just like hearing other people talk about having different options, I knew that I wanted to have three different options for price anchoring and to give just higher profit margins in general. So it's priced at 500, a thousand and I think 1900 or so, and I have payment options also. So there I think you get a 15% discount if you pay all in one time and one payment, or it's a 12 month payment plan, which ends up being a little bit more. So that's how I have it laid out and I know I mean.

Speaker 1:

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't take advantage of all the coaching that they have available. So it's four hours worth and one hour chunks and typically people only use maybe one to two of those coaching sessions. Yeah, it's kind of it's crazy. Some people you know they'll use it right away. But some people they just kind of wait and then eventually they just they don't use it. I mean, I stay in touch with them and I try to get everyone to use it within a year, but I'm not strict on that. And when it took them two or three years, then I would respect it and go ahead and meet with them and help them out. But yeah, kind of crazy. I mean it's a good chunk of money for them to not take advantage of and you do order that coaching yourself.

Speaker 1:

Correct. Yep, and I do. I limit that typically since it is my time, but over the years, because I have observed that people don't cash in on the coaching, I'm not as protective on it. I mean, they have to book on my calendar, so I you know I'm not going to get overwhelmed with meetings or anything like that. But yep, I do all those myself.

Speaker 2:

Could you talk everybody through what price anchoring is and how that helps Sure?

Speaker 1:

And you could fill in some gaps if I, if I miss some. But generally when people see a price, especially the first price that they see, it gives them an anchor point right. So they think, oh, there's a certain amount of value for this service or product at this price point. And as you see the three options, you'll see that maybe the coaching option, which is $2,000, like wow, that's kind of expensive and I don't think I want to spend that much. But the second option, which is 1000, well, that's much cheaper than the other one. And maybe I'll go ahead and select that middle option, the advanced, instead of the top one, because I don't want to get the cheap one. Like I could, I could pay a little bit more, and that's exactly what I have seen.

Speaker 1:

So when I have that third option, the most expensive option, more people buy the middle one. So it's not necessarily that they buy the most expensive one, it's just that there's a more expensive option. Some people they always buy the most expensive thing, Like I have a friend, you know, whatever the car is like, he'll get all all decked out top, top of the line, right. And then other people are like, well, I'm not that kind of person that buys the top of the line, or they're not the kind of person that buys the cheapest economy option. So I end up selling a lot more of the middle just because of the price anchoring around that. So, John, did I get pretty close to what you would define it as to?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely yeah. So what happens in people's mind is when they hear it and it's fascinating to hear any number, not even necessarily one that's connected to what you're selling they start off with that as like their starting point of what seems like a reasonable price for it. So if you just say a number randomly at the beginning of lecture this was a study done, psychological study and then you ask people later on what price someone thinks this particular bottle of wine might sell for, then people say the price somewhere near to that number. That was from the beginning of the lecture. There was nothing to do. They weren't claiming they had anything to do with the wine. It's like oh my God.

Speaker 2:

If you look at menus from restaurants, it's really fascinating because there's a lot of stuff in menu design that allows you to just make more money, get people to order more expensive things. So if you put a really expensive thing on the menu in the top right corner, then most people will see that and they'll be like oh right, so some reason top right corner people's eyes are drawn to that on a menu. They see that and they go that's a lot. Well, I'm not going to buy something as expensive as that, but that's their anchor. Now I'm like okay, that was 47 pounds for this meal. Well, I can at least get something that's 27 instead of thinking 18 would be a lot before. And the other thing that actually with menu design is not about price anchoring, but I find it fascinating is if you put the prices at the end of each line so they're not aligned, so people can't compare them as easily, then people will end up spending more as well.

Speaker 1:

Oh interesting.

Speaker 2:

I can't remember where I learned about menu design. It was probably one of these like pop science kind of psychological books about this kind of stuff. But yeah, the idea of price anchoring I think is fascinating and I've got an ex-client. He used to do exactly that right. He'd have the really really expensive option that he really didn't actually expect him to buy, with a one-to-one coaching, and then he had the cheaper option that he was expecting people to actually buy, and sometimes he'd sell the expensive one and it's like, oh no, I've got to actually deliver this coaching now. It's like, well, I can make it more expensive, then if you don't want to do it, you know. Like, so there's only three that people can get. But it's like, have that in there as an option means that people think, okay, well, I'm not going to spend that much, I don't have to go to 2,000, but I could do it 1,000,. So yeah, that's exactly right.

Speaker 1:

You made me remember it. That's exactly how I listed on the sales page the most expensive option is first, so people are like, oh shit, and then they see the cheaper options and they're like, okay, I can deal with these.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, and it's like kind of almost a sense of relief of like, oh, there's an option that's not as much as that, after they've had the initial kind of jump in their stomach of like, oh my god, 2,000, oh, no, it's 1,000,. Okay, I could do 1,000, yeah, all right. There's one concept you talk about I really want to understand. You said be intentional about the job you are creating. What does that mean?

Speaker 1:

So we work for ourselves, right. So hopefully, you know, people are aiming in that direction anyway and it's really easy to create a job that you don't like, and I was kind of going down that route. So I got laid off in 2015,. I was still dabbling with the side hustle stuff, but I knew I could do it and I needed to test a couple different business models. So I started a kind of a link building agency. I was guest posting and I had my courses, I had the affiliate sites and I had probably a couple other things that I was testing.

Speaker 1:

The agency was hugely profitable and within six months it was, you know, on track for six figures and I thought to myself, like, how does this look if I'm successful? What does it look like in a year, 18 months, five years, whatever? And it looked like having a team and it looked like having whatever 20 people, maybe five or six managers, a project manager, blah, blah, blah and that looks like an org chart from my old corporate job, which I did that before. I already know how to do that and I already know that I don't want to do that. So I pulled a plug on it and I realized, hey, I don't want to do that. I want to have a lean team, you know, calling back to the very small team that I have right now, and I just focused on things that would allow me to have a lot of time, freedom and, you know, still good profit margins and all the good stuff. And actually, I interviewed someone the other day who is running an agency. This is a link building agency, right, and he's experiencing a lot of growth and he's having these little anxiety attacks because he has a ton of clients who he needs to hire a bunch of people, but then he has a bunch of people that need to keep working because he's trained them, so he has to fill the pipeline again. So it's a typical thing running an agency, right, so it's a solvable problem, but it's not the kind of problem that I want to solve on a regular basis, right, right, right.

Speaker 1:

So, that said, I moved towards the course area, which is great. There's a lot of freedom. You create the asset once, sell it again and again, right, everyone knows this stuff. The other side of it is I could have kept growing the course business. I could have hired some more people, got some marketing folks to help out with, maybe bringing some ads and maybe a support team.

Speaker 1:

Again, you end up in the same spot that I mentioned before with an org chart that looks like my old job. So when I reached a level that I was pretty happy with, I just kind of I lifted my foot off the gas and, as I've been mentioning throughout, like I'm doing less and less, so I've tapered my work week down from whatever five or six days a week when I was really hungry and trying to get this shit going to three days a week and my work days are, like you know, three, four hours long, just as much as I want to do and I'm happy to, you know, push stuff. A lot of it's pretty fun stuff, like I interview people or I get to join like podcasts like this, where I get to talk about fun stuff. So I've seen a lot of people you know create a job that they don't really want and they end up stressed out and they're their own boss, like it's a little it's a prison of their own making.

Speaker 1:

So if you're intentional and you're thinking like, how do I want my days to look, then you can shape it that way versus you know, kind of get getting caught up playing a game that you don't want to play. So I listened to a ton of podcasts but at some point I realized that I was comparing myself to every success interview on these podcasts and I was like, oh, I need to do more of this, I need to do more social media, I need to do this or that, or there's a new tool that I can optimize with. And it started stressing me out. And then, like I said, I sort of stepped back and I'm like all right, what game Am I trying to play? What am I optimizing for which?

Speaker 1:

For me it's, you know, time and freedom and options and all that kind of stuff, and it could be different for everyone. So I'm not saying everyone needs to do that. If your intention is to grow a big company and earn as much as you can or have a big team, I respect that. But just be sure you're choosing it intentionally, versus all of a sudden you find yourself with like an office and a bunch of people working for you and you're like I'm stressed out all the time and I don't get to hang out with my family or whatever.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't. Don't do it because it's a societal expectation. Somebody else thinks you should do it, and then yeah. So what do you spend your time doing? Now that you've got all this time, what are you up to?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. So there's a couple of guitars behind me. I try to play guitar as a hobby. I'm not that great, but it's a lot of fun.

Speaker 2:

I'm learning the bass at the moment and it is just the most fun. I love it.

Speaker 1:

It's so fun. Yeah, how long have you been at it? Six months.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I started, I started Ender last year in November, December, and I had this one song that I was like that's, if one I can play, that I'll feel like I can actually play the bass which is out of the black by Royal Blood and it's, it's pretty fast and it's like a bass led band. So they've got it's got bass, drummer and singing. There's no, no guitar, and so it's like it's it's front and center, you know, and it's like, and I'm, and my goal was, if I could do, I'd like to be able to do that by August and I'm, I'm, I can play it at 94% speed and I'm like, come on, Come on.

Speaker 1:

Hardly anybody could tell us not a hundred percent. That's good, yeah, that's fun.

Speaker 2:

But if I'm playing along with it, you know, if I put it on the speaker and I'm playing along, I said there's a bit where I lose it. I'm like, oh, I can't quite keep up. So I'm like I'm going to get there. They're like I've got I'm away for two weeks in August, but I've got two weeks where I can practice that in August, so that's going to be good.

Speaker 1:

Right, that's cool and otherwise, you know, I spent a lot of time outside. I tried to hike, get, get over to the gym and there's a good community here. I live in Longmont, Colorado. One of my other interests which we didn't even get to at all, which is fine is that financial independence. And there's a blogger named Mr Money Mustache, which you maybe have run across, but he lives in the same town here.

Speaker 1:

So there's like a cool community of like early retirees around here. So we hang out and, you know, grab dinner, grab drinks or go on a hike or something like that, and we get to have a bunch of people that live in the same town that have like free time during the week. So Go to blendr啦com for fit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I went around to a friend of mine, noel, and he put on a. What does he call it? It's a two hour cocktail party. It's something from this guy called Nick Gray, this kind of concept. And you have two hours and everyone comes around and you have some icebreak. You get everybody to know each other, so everybody has to answer these certain questions and the end of the two hours the original idea of the book is you kick everybody out and so it's like everybody knows I can come for just two hours and I'm not kind of feel uncomfortable if I don't really enjoy it and so I won't stay.

Speaker 2:

You know, I don't have to stay for too long and what we do instead is we all head off to a cocktail bar around the corner and he invited us all to try this out, and he invited us on a Friday afternoon and somebody said to him like I can't remember, this is mom or somebody who's like what are you doing on a Friday afternoon? Who's going to be able to come on a Friday afternoon? It's like all of my friends. None of them have schedules and they're all just going to be available. It's cool.

Speaker 1:

It's awesome, yeah, yeah. It's amazing to have like the community and then people that you could just call us and say, hey, do you want to, do you want to go on a hike today? Can just kind of at the last minute.

Speaker 2:

Oh, okay. Yeah, I've not tried that, just on the day you do it.

Speaker 1:

Occasionally you know it just has to work out just right, but occasionally that could happen.

Speaker 2:

Nice, all right, I don't know if I'm there. I might need to work on that one. Three yeah, you've got a couple of podcasts yourself. What are they? Where can people go listen? Sure.

Speaker 1:

One is called the Doug Show, where I talk about affiliate marketing and SEO, so kind of the the core pieces of the course that I mentioned, and there's some other general entrepreneurship as well. And then the other one is called Mile Hi-Fi. That's the one about financial independence and I have a co-host there. His name is Carl Jensen and he's been a financial independence blogger for about a decade and he's over at 1500 days and we generally talk about like post financial independence and the goal typically is like the retire early part. But we don't focus on that, like once you have financial independence, then you could keep working if you want to, or you could just, you know, retire or do whatever you want, but really it's just the flexibility. So we talk about financial independence a bit, but a lot of it is. It ends up being about like happiness and lifestyle and fitness and whatever we're interested in.

Speaker 2:

Nice, all right, cool. So the dog show and Mile Hi-Fi. How do people spell that? If they want to go, look that up, yep.

Speaker 1:

Just Mile Hi, so M-I-L-E-H-I-G-H-Fi, so F-I, and it's tough for me to spell out loud, so I actually had to read that there. It's on all the main big podcast directories and over on YouTube. Both of those are on YouTube.

Speaker 2:

Beautiful, all right. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Really really appreciate it for listening. If you found the interview useful and you want to get future episodes, subscribe wherever you listen. Thanks so much for listening. We appreciate your time, as always that you chose to spend your time with us, and, doug, thanks so much for coming on the show Really appreciate it, man. Thanks, it was a blast. Appreciate it.

Selling Online Courses and Affiliate Marketing
Lead Generation and Course Sales Strategies
Email Promotions and Launch Strategies
Price Anchoring and Maximizing Iterations
Hobbies, Community, and Podcasts