The Art of Selling Online Courses

Why Community Is So Important In The Age Of AI - with Pat Flynn

February 22, 2024 John Ainsworth Season 1 Episode 124
Why Community Is So Important In The Age Of AI - with Pat Flynn
The Art of Selling Online Courses
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The Art of Selling Online Courses
Why Community Is So Important In The Age Of AI - with Pat Flynn
Feb 22, 2024 Season 1 Episode 124
John Ainsworth

Welcome to "The Art of Selling Online Courses" podcast! Today's guest is Pat Flynn, host of the Smart Passive Income Podcast and entrepreneur.

Pat Flynn was laid off from his dream job as an architect, a pivotal moment that led him to the world of entrepreneurship. Since then, he has founded multiple successful online businesses, reached millions globally, and gained more family time. 

Without formal business training, Flynn focuses on service-first business building and team or systems development. Unlike pursuing material wealth, his goals are to inspire others with his actions, lessons, and shared happiness.

Pat's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGk1LitxAZVnqQn0_nt5qxw

Pat's Podcast: https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/spi/

If you're interested in growing your online course sales and funnel optimisation contact us at https://datadrivenmarketing.co/

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to "The Art of Selling Online Courses" podcast! Today's guest is Pat Flynn, host of the Smart Passive Income Podcast and entrepreneur.

Pat Flynn was laid off from his dream job as an architect, a pivotal moment that led him to the world of entrepreneurship. Since then, he has founded multiple successful online businesses, reached millions globally, and gained more family time. 

Without formal business training, Flynn focuses on service-first business building and team or systems development. Unlike pursuing material wealth, his goals are to inspire others with his actions, lessons, and shared happiness.

Pat's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGk1LitxAZVnqQn0_nt5qxw

Pat's Podcast: https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/spi/

If you're interested in growing your online course sales and funnel optimisation contact us at https://datadrivenmarketing.co/

Speaker 1:

ingrained us as humans to want to connect with other people. The internet came about and said to be able to connect all of us together, but what it really did was it actually separated us more?

Speaker 2:

apart. 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 Pat Flynn. Now Pat owns several successful online businesses. He's a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a YouTube with over 100 million views. He also hosts the smart passive income and ask pat podcast, which have been downloaded over 80 million times. He's an advisor to convert kit circle and several other companies in the digital marketing arena, including podcast walk, which is run by two friends of mine. Shout out to podcast walk At smart passive income. They run the smart passive income, all access which I remember of, and SPI pro as well. And today we're going to be talking about community why it's important, what makes a good community and how Pat runs his.

Speaker 2:

Now, before we dive into our interview with today's guest, yosip is our funnel strategy lead and he is an absolute wizard at all things Email, marketing, funnels. He has helped our clients make tens of millions of dollars and what we did is we downloaded all of the transcripts from all of the coaching that Yosip has done and we use them to train a chat. Gpt based version of Yosip. Yosip AI is built on a system called coach box, which takes chat, gpt and other AI systems and adds it a whole nother layer to them, where we train it based on all the transcripts of what use it was taught people. So if you go to data driven marketing dot AI, you can access this for free and it's going to give you advice about your email marketing, your funnels, how to increase your average order value, all the things you might to know to improve your email marketing and funnels. So go check it out today at data driven marketingai. Pat. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 1:

John, thank you for having me. I feel like I need you to read my intro all the time because it sounds very different from your accent.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much, very kind. So talk to us about community. Why do you think community is so important?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean it's. It's ingrained in us as humans as humans to want to connect with other people who are just like us. And it's interesting because when the internet came about, and social media especially, I mean it was said to be able to connect all of us together, but what it really did was it actually separated us more apart. I mean, hardly now are we ever feeling, feeling like we really belong to things. Now and, as creators, as founders, we can be able to step forward and create a safe space for people to connect with each other. And that's you know. I have a book called Superfans. It came out in 2019. And I predicted that community was going to be so important in businesses for longevity.

Speaker 1:

I didn't know AI was coming, speaking of AI where it was going, but you know as great as it is and as useful as tools like the one that you just mentioned can create. It's also like there's now even less humaneness to the things that we're doing and the people, the things that we're, you know, collaborating with. Now we're collaborating with robots. So there's even more of a desire, a hunger, for people to want to find other real human beings like them, people not that, not just that they can learn from, but they can learn with. It's like, oh, that person's just like me and going through the same struggles, or hey, that person's going through something I just went, let me help them too. And that's where I think the differentiation between you know AI and you know building businesses with community focused is really going to stand out and differentiate itself. So for us you know I had online courses for years, ever since 2017, we generated $6 million in online courses through webinar funnels, email funnels, nurture sequences, all the things that I know you talk about on the in the brand.

Speaker 1:

But when the pandemic came around, I mean, a few things happened. Number one in 2019, I decided to bring my community together in person in San Diego. We had 500 entrepreneurs pay you know, there's like a $1,000 ticket. They came in and we just enjoyed each other's company so much. And I remember doing a survey, like you would normally do after one of these things, asking like what were your favorite parts? Which parts did you enjoy most? And the thing that everybody enjoyed most were the conversations in the hallways in between all the things that we planned. I was like I could have just had a big giant box and just invited you here and it would have been amazing. And that's actually the truth, because people were happy to connect with each other. They found their people.

Speaker 1:

So in 2020, we wanted to do the event again, and then in March, of course, we learned that we weren't able to delete it another year and just said you know what, let's not wait till we can get together in person again. Let's bring people together online. And so that's where SPI pro came about. Our hypothesis was, if we can bring people together and have those hallway like experiences, but in a digital format, and encourage those conversations, encourage those interactions actually, you know, proactively, say hey, you should meet this person and make those kinds of connections, that great things would happen. And they absolutely did. Not only were we able to see those connections and those still continue to last, but now we have recurring revenue on our business for the first time. Right, that's like magic, because it's more predictable and as long as we continue to provide value inside of those spaces, we will continue to get paid for it. And although at front, on paper, it was like okay, like we could sell these courses like for hundreds of dollars and get a one off payment, and that's a lot of money up front or we could charge a smaller amount, but monthly. It just made sense if, as long as we can keep them on for long, then we're going to actually make more revenue than we would if we just sold a one off course and then kind of have to force them into another one and into another one, into another one.

Speaker 1:

So we discovered that it was a great thing for business. We discovered that it was a great thing for the community and then we said, okay, well, this serves the existing entrepreneurs in our audience, but most of our audience are beginners who are just getting started. They actually need more help and need more community. So that's when we hired Ashley. Ashley is somebody who came on to not just be like a community manager but a curriculum person. She's a teacher who came on and we said, hey, ashley, we have a dozen courses and we're banging our heads against the wall, and so is our audience, because we send them an email about a new one every single month. How can we package this in a way that's not going to like give us more unsubscribed, because people are tired of hearing these messages over and over again? Packages together in a way that feels like a school feels like a library of courses, but not just to give them more information, because they don't need more information, they need each other.

Speaker 1:

So she went away for a couple months, came back, was like this is it? It's called the all access pass and what it is? It's the membership right. So we started at $49 a month to get access to yes, all of our courses, all of our workshops so over 20 different ones. Everything from email marketing, affiliate marketing, webinars, all the things YouTube, online courses, building communities. They're all in there.

Speaker 1:

But two important things go along with that to make this actually work, because there's been a lot of creators. We know a lot of them who go hey, here's all my best courses. You can now pay thousands of dollars to get access to all of them. You can go through them when you want. We don't need more information again. We need the right information at the right time, and everybody's timelines are different. So what Ashley discovered is you know everybody's kind of on. Even though we're all entrepreneurs trying to learn the same kind of things, we're not all trying to learn the same things at the same time, and one person maybe in more of a beginner phase and another person might not need the email marketing course, but they might be ready to get into advertising.

Speaker 1:

Okay well, let's create different roadmaps so when you come into the all access path pass, you can be figuring out where. What pathway is yours. For example, if you are on the beginner path, like absolute beginner path, don't even worry about creating a community, don't need, like those courses exist, they're not even on your on your radar right now. You need smart from scratch to help you discover your niche. Then you need email marketing magic so you can build your email list around that topic and then you either pick YouTube or podcasting to be able to amplify that. That's your path. Oh, here's another person who comes in. Okay, they're a podcaster, they already have a podcast and now they want to make it a podcast that's profitable. Okay, here is our online course course to help you because you have an audience. Here's this online course course and to amplify that, here's our advertising course that you should take. Next, so you can. You know scale that Cool. So that worked really well. Now there's like pathways and curriculums.

Speaker 1:

Right, the magic really happened, however, when Ashley said and here's the other thing that we can do, we can do an accelerator, and we're like, ooh, that's a big word. What does that mean? It sounds fancy, but what is this really? What is it really Okay? So she's like okay throughout the year. Here's what you can do.

Speaker 1:

You can take one of your courses, for example, power Up Podcasting, which is our main course, our flagship one, if you will and go. Okay, everybody, you can take this at any time. However, starting on this date, you can go through it with everybody else at the same time. We're going to have an instructor go along with you and here's the thing the course is already there. You don't need to sit and watch a lesson at the same time because you can. You we're all busy. You can do that whenever during the week, as long as you get module one in during week one, good. And if you have questions about that, there's office hours at the end of the week so that you can just ask questions about that little module in that one bigger course. And what we found is that more people are learning and getting results because of the group going through together.

Speaker 2:

We call it community powered courses.

Speaker 1:

We didn't come up with that term, but that's really what this is a community powered course. The data shows now, after doing this for two years, that people are two times more likely to complete the course and launch their thing, or or or get the result by going through it in this manner, because there's a specific date, there's a specific curriculum and pacing, there are people there to help you and your colleagues going through it with you, right? So it just makes sense. I'm gambling a lot, john, but I'm almost done here. The other part about this accelerator model especially is it's helped us with the sales of our, of our, of our membership, traditionally with our one off courses.

Speaker 1:

What we would do is and this was really bad of us, really we, we, we introduced the D word into the audience, that is, discount. Hey, this course is coming out, but for the next week you can get it at $100 off or $200 off, until this date where the price goes back up. So we were training our audience for years to just wait till the discounts come, even though these were evergreen courses, anybody could come in at any time. People just knew to wait till the next launch and then we just started to kind of condition our audience to kind of expect that D word every single time, and that's not good. That's not good for a business, it's not great for perceived value of what it is that you're serving your audience with, because it's like, okay, you're just inflating the price so you can discount it. It's actually not worth that original retail price. If you say there's a $200 discount, right, that's like the like, the perceptions kind of off. So what we do now is we still create urgency by having a date that something happens, but instead of the date where the discount goes away, we don't discount anymore. The date is this is when the accelerator begins for this next course. So when we sell, I might do a webinar on YouTube strategies and say hey, by the way, next week our YouTube course accelerator begins, so sign up before then so that you can have a 2x chance of getting the results, so that you can go through it with people and you know if you get lost we'll make sure you get. You get picked back up, and that works in the exact same way that the discount ending did. I mean we still see the same percentages of people buying on the last day and all that kind of stuff.

Speaker 1:

So I'm just so grateful because we're at a place now where we're better serving our community. We have recurring income now. People are staying on for more than a year, so we're making more revenue than we were if we were just selling one off courses. They bought and then they left and it's just. The feedback that we're getting from the community is off the charts. I only wish I did this sooner. And what we're trying to do at SPI is kind of talk about these things, which is why I'm grateful that I'm here to be able to share these things, to reveal these kinds of new strategies or ways to kind of puzzle, piece things together for longevity and brand fandom and customer loyalty. And the cool thing is a lot of people who are in the community invite new people in, so it's like our customers are referring new customers for us, you know, sometimes not even using our affiliate program, which is incredible.

Speaker 1:

So all good things and I'll stop there so you can come in, but I hope that's at least helpful for kind of where we're at and how we got here.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. I mean, there's a lot of things that you covered. I want to just kind of recap quickly and then I want to dive into a couple of them a little bit more with you and kind of understand exactly how they've worked for you. So I mean, you've talked about the importance of the community. I found that to be absolutely massive. So I'm a member of Dynamite Circle. I know you know Dan, who runs that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, shout out to the DCers yeah, so fantastic group. I run the event in London. I know that some listeners of this podcast have then joined the DC after hearing about it. I met some of them at events out in Bangkok, which was fantastic. How do you find, in terms of the elements of community that you have like? Are there meetups of people locally? Is stuff happening just online? I know you use Circle in order to kind of enable people to connect together. Is it tend to be like all through the stuff that you guys are organizing, or is it like a bit disparate, as it has it spread out and people are connected with each other in other ways?

Speaker 1:

We have heard stories of people in SPI finding each other online, connecting in the DMs, and then they send us a picture and they're like, hey, look, we're like two SPI pro members hanging out and we're just like wait, when did this? How did this? That's cool, that's the whole thing.

Speaker 1:

When you just literally put people in a room together who share the same values, who are trying to achieve the same thing, who've gone through the same things together, I mean that stuff happens Like it doesn't even necessarily need to be facilitated. Obviously you should facilitate it and you can step up and actually create those moments more, more, more less organically and more planned. So that's actually our plan moving forward is to do a lot more of the in-person stuff right, and we see this. This is why meetupcom is a thing, because people want to connect with other people who are just like them. I mean, if you look up, have you ever heard of an A-full John?

Speaker 2:

No, I don't know. A-f-o-l.

Speaker 1:

An adult fan of Lego. A F O L that's their language for who they are. They they identify as an a full, and if you go to meetupcom and look up a full meetings, I mean, you'll see thousands throughout the entire world of adult fans of Lego who want to connect. Not just fans of Lego, not just adult nerds, adult fans of Lego who talk about their collections and all this is all the other things that they have. I guess. Just, they have their own shared language and that's why this works, because when people come to you and you build your audience, that's a. That's not building your community. Audience is different than community. Yeah, audience is you talking to them and them talking to you, them listening to you and maybe a conversation between the two of you. Community is where they talk to each other.

Speaker 1:

Right, like I said, the power of our, of our event, where we brought people together, was not Me on stage or all these big names on stage or the activities we did. It was like just literally allowing them to connect with each other. And we use circle for that, to do that online. And we do have events, we do have what we call rituals and things that happen sort of on a regular basis to continue to encourage people to engage and meet each other. We do what we call mastermind matching inside of SPI pro, specifically so those higher level entrepreneurs. We say, hey, fill out your application for kind of what you're looking to hope to get and kind of person you are and where you're at in your business, and we'll match you with other people. And then we actually train mastermind facilitators who are just simply members of SPI pro, who want to serve more to, to lead those and to keep those going. And you know they all have.

Speaker 1:

I don't know how this happened, but we just ended up naming them all after vegetables or fruits and it's like People will be in the live chat on some of my YouTube's and be like where my where's my orange group at and be like team orange and it's like they have this like little camaraderie in there, like a little group within a group. So it's it's really fun when that happens and you know, honestly, if you're just starting out building a community you Like, it's really easy to go hear all the things that I imagine that are gonna happen in this community. But the the the real way to build it is to Just put a few people together in a chat or get on, get online or meet in person and just kind of just talk, like, like and just see what you all want to get out of, out of being with each other, and then magic happens from there. I think too many people who are getting into community try to Over design it and and community has to happen somewhat organically. But you design the space, the safe places for people to go, you encourage those in those engagements and then you kind of just see what happens from there.

Speaker 1:

And so we have a whole strategy and launch plan that we offer to people for for communities. If we want to get into that, we totally can, but it's just magic and the beauty of this is it does take work up front. It is the least passive thing ever, but it is very fulfilling. But you can't you can get it to a point where it can become pretty hands-off. I mean, we're at a point now in SPI's life and with its community where it just it, just like it has a heartbeat of its own now, right, like you got to give it a few like chest compressions in the beginning To get it fired up, but then the monsters made and he's up and running and he's breathing. It's.

Speaker 2:

It's amazing because you know conversations are happening literally as we speak and people are helping each other and and as we all have heard before, you know, people come for the content but they stay for the community and, yeah, it's just a beautiful thing yeah, it's a fascinating thing you're saying about with the, the hallways being the part that people enjoy the most, and it's always the case, and so I run an event in London and People desperately want that part of it, so I allow lots and lots of time for that. Yes, but they won't come if that's all you had and they'll complain if you don't have talks and you don't have planned workshops and everything else set up in advance. That I will one minute. What is that? There's no structure. You need something that kind of kicks everything off, and then there's the chat in between as well. It's a fascinating balance to see. How do you kind of set all of that up?

Speaker 1:

100%.

Speaker 2:

I've got a community. Actually, if anybody listening to this podcast is interested in Talking with other course creators, there's a WhatsApp group that I run for online course creators who are doing at least 20,000 a month, and if you want to join that, just drop me an email, john at data driven marketingco, and I'll add you in, and it's great. It's just like I kind of the nobody was enabling it. I find it absolutely blows my mind is that if you go for, if you're in e-commerce, there's so many e-commerce communities and conferences and what have you? If you're in SAS businesses, there's so many different conferences for that you can go and attend. And there's all these different meet-ups and what have you, rob, rob, rob Walling one of them, for example? And in the online course space, the only stuff there is is for people who are at the beginner level, not for anybody who's more advanced, and at least it's certainly none that I've said. I found, I guess, that some of your community is course creators from the sounds of it, because that's one.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, the pro community. Many of them are creating courses and stuff. But I love what you just said, that you have, like that's what you want in a community. It's so clear, right, it's not just like, hey, online business people like, come, I'm enjoying. Well, when that happens, I Mean it's online business is so vast that you won't feel like you belong, right, yeah, versus okay, if you make over 20k, so I mean, the female will get you in.

Speaker 1:

You're speaking a totally different language and people who are just figuring out who they are, what niches are serving and and you know the problems in that area or the challenges are all very similar at that point. That's why you, that's why the riches are in the niches, right, and then that gives you an opportunity as the creator of that community. If to Go, okay, many people outgrew this community, let's. Let's have now the more private community that's separate for those who have sort of graduated, if you will. It's not like they're leaving this one behind, but they kind of are, because they now have new problems, new challenges and and and you know, that's something that the ones who are at the lower level can kind of look up to you or kind of shoot for right. It gives like a. It gives like an ascension ladder for them to To understand where they're at in the journey, and that's that's that's great.

Speaker 2:

So you mentioned this a little bit already, but you said that for some people you've got this course in your membership about creating a community themselves. Do you recommend that all course creators Add a community as well as selling courses, or does it depend on a certain number of factors? Is there a certain point when that starts to make sense?

Speaker 1:

This is a totally loaded question, by the way, john. I mean this is the. This is the million dollar question, right? It's not something that's for everybody. Hmm, probably the number one thing is if you are a course creator and you know that you don't have a ton of extra time. I mean, part of the reason why we create courses is because we can buy time back right, or we're getting sales asynchronously and while we sleep and all that kind of stuff. It takes a lot of work to put a community together. I'm just gonna be honest. It takes a lot of work to maintain that community even more so. I mean, we hired people specifically to be our community director and our community managers and stuff to keep people happy and to keep the conversations going and to make those connections. Hey, john, you need to meet Jim. You guys would connect. It's an easy hack if you have a less active community to make that like. Be the one to make those connections just like you would in person, right?

Speaker 1:

That's what a great event host would do, like, hey, you guys need to meet because you guys have some synergies and then you just let them talk and then you can move on to the next connection. That is a value to provide that. But for those who might be working nine to five but they have an online course, a community might not be the answer for how you can provide more value to your audience. You might find that the answer would be a monthly call that your course students can come into, where you can just answer questions and that provides a little bit of a connection with people, with each other, but at least it provides something in addition to what you're doing that maybe keeps people on for longer or helps you sell them to the next thing or what have you. If you do have the ability or want to really focus on building a community, I would recommend doing it small first. The analogy I like to use is like opening a restaurant. Right, you don't launch a community like you launch a spaceship, because there's just too many things that could go wrong. There's a lot of buttons to press. Right, you launch it like a restaurant. When you launch a restaurant, you don't just open it randomly and say I'm open, you have the private dinner for just a few special friends in the back, there still might be construction going on. You have two things on your menu that you've tested so far, but you're going to serve your people. Get them involved and say, hey, you're going to serve your people. Get them involved and say, hey, you're invited here because you are a special member of the community and we're building something special here. It's still under construction, but I wanted you to be the first right. That's what I like to call the alpha launch right. It's the private dinner for that restaurant that's opening for their special friends, and what that does is it sort of warms those people up to this idea that there's more coming, but also that they're special, that they're a part of this.

Speaker 1:

Then comes the soft launch. This is where, if you're a restaurant, you might open just for one week only. You have a limited menu, but this helps you test your staff, your systems. Like you maybe have a few more menu items, if you will. In the case of a community, just a couple more events that you might add into the situation, a couple more spaces where people can chat about certain things, and then you get people in there at a you know, founder's price, you close and then you just focus on their experience in there and you help develop the curriculum or you help develop what the events the signature events are going to be in there with those people and you test them out and then you can have your bigger launch from there.

Speaker 1:

But it is something that is definitely something that should be a target on a person's future for sure. It's again becoming a differentiator and when you look at it, at least from our perspective, data is very important to us and when we see that core students are more successful going through it with other people, I mean, is there not a better reason to try to figure this out? So another thing that might be of interest for a course creator listening to explore would be before you create, like the online version of the community, what would it be like to work with people in a cohort fashion through your course together? You can experiment with that. You can do even do that once. If you've had your course for a while, let's say two years, an interesting experiment could go.

Speaker 1:

Okay, we're going to do an accelerated version of this course. It's going to be an eight week period. The lessons are already there. I have when you should watch each lesson for the next eight weeks, but I'm going to be a little bit more active in supporting you along the way. We're going to just experiment and see what that's like, because our course is 299 on your own. I am going to charge 499 for this. I'm going to take 20 people and we're just going to run through it for the next eight weeks. A lot of people would take you up on that offer.

Speaker 1:

Most likely it also is great because it's just for the next eight weeks or however many weeks. So you know there's an end date. In case this is, you know, you're just like in the middle of it and you're like, okay, I'm just going to finish this. I don't like this. That's good to know too, because then you don't want to put it into your whole business plan moving forward. You're micro-experimenting here, you're validating it before you make it a part of your thing.

Speaker 1:

But I love the marketing of this because it's actually quite simple. You could say to the people who didn't buy your online course right, you have a list of people who bought and you have a list of people who didn't buy the people who didn't buy. You could say, hey, you're probably like me. You don't just want to take an online course on your own, because you want to get your hands involved and get some instructors to help you along the way. That's how I learn. And guess what? For the next launch, we're going to do a cohort base. So if you are like me and you learn in that style, come with me on this.

Speaker 1:

Here's the page. It's like, okay, cool. The other thing is you can sell it to people who already bought the course but didn't finish yet. You could even say hey, you guys just bought the course, but if you didn't finish it, it's probably because you're like me, you need a little bit of help along the way, and because you've already paid for the online course alone the $499 cohort that I'm doing in the next eight weeks where we're going to run through it together I'm going to hold your hand because you obviously need that. I'm just gonna remove the price, I'm just gonna just take the difference. Yeah, you've already paid 299. You just have to pay an additional 200 for that. Oh man, we've sold out Many, many of those in that way. So we actually experimented with cohort base first before we injected it into a community With the ongoing sort of live feeds and spaces and all those other things. So, for course, creators specifically, that model works really really well.

Speaker 2:

Mmm, fascinating. Okay, so to kind of summarize back, as best as I've understood it, the answer is it's not for everybody. It's a bunch of work to build a main community, lots of work to maintain it. You've got to connect people together. So maybe start really small. Maybe you're not ready for this at all, but maybe you are. And if you are, then maybe start small.

Speaker 2:

Treat it like launching a restaurant. Have a small launch for a few people, have a soft launch for the Kind of the founders price. Do a bigger launch. Maybe do this one step at a time, maybe bringing cohorts first, or maybe bringing in the call on its own first, and then, once you've got this and you've kind of got this in place, there's ways of using this as a way of marketing to get people in, and you mentioned this before. It's like a. You don't have discounts anymore because you've actually got something that's going to be starting In just a week's time or a few days time, and it's going to be running for eight weeks, and if you don't get in now, you don't get to get in until the next time you run this in. I don't know how often do you run each of these accelerators?

Speaker 1:

As often as you want. I mean, that's the cool thing, you can do them whenever you want. I know some course creators who do this when it might sound weird. It was just like, hey, you know, summer's coming, I want to pay for this vacation for my family.

Speaker 2:

I'm right, oh, you know yeah.

Speaker 1:

We're just gonna do cohort and do and do that. Some have gone all in with it. I mean, we kind of did a hybrid model and put this into our community, which is which is interesting. I do think that after you've recapped, the best way to begin would be, if you again already have an online course and you've had students and you also have a list, is you run a cohort. A Community will be formed with that cohort, just naturally.

Speaker 1:

What always happens after these eight week things are done is people have made friends, they want to stay connected and that is a great opportunity for you to go Okay, we're gonna, we're gonna, we're gonna stay together, come into this circle space or let's go into a Facebook or whatever.

Speaker 1:

And you know, you just house those people in there and you kind of can work with them on keeping connected or stay connected. You can even, if you wanted, to Inject sort of another pricing structure on top of that. You know, hey, it was 499 to get in this eight week thing, graduate for $29 a month. You could stay inside of the Academy and continue to chat the Alumni Academy, if you will, which is where you kind of Dump the people who finished. But then they can kind of take things to the next level from there and you could even say, like anybody in the Academy gets, gets, you know, you know, first access to the next accelerators that happen at the grandfathered price that they came in on the first one, or something like that. So I mean you can design any which way you want, but Naturally you'll see communities form when they just go through an experience together.

Speaker 1:

Another great way that some people have launched communities are on the back of a challenge Challenges that help a certain group of people get to a particular point that then opens them up to staying connected after that right and you might again, whatever the niche is I mean, you can have a 48 hour challenge, a seven day challenge to do something where people are rooting each other on and bringing each other on for the ride and Motivating each other and lifting them up when they get down and at the end of this, now they want to stay connected because they've all achieved something and it's like, oh wow, we did this in seven days. Imagine what we could do together across a whole year. So that could, that could be an interesting play as well. My advice would be I mean, this is what we did. We just explored what communities existed and just like, what was their pitch?

Speaker 1:

What's like how are they doing it? We are just doing it one way, but we found what works for us right and we launched and we it wasn't perfect. We've removed certain parts and we've added new things, and a lot of it is literally based off of and where it's going is based off of just Getting the audience and the members there involved. What's really cool about that is, when people are Involved, that they get invested. So the more that you can get your community feeling like they're the ones building it which they should be the more likely they are to stick around and root for it and support it and potentially even become affiliates for it. Nice.

Speaker 2:

And what do you? You use circle right for the software.

Speaker 1:

Yes, circle. So there's many different solutions out there, from mighty networks to memberful, and there's plenty. I came on with circle in 2020 as they were being built. They were founded by two ex teachable employees. I was a big teachable fan for online courses and then those two guys, andrew and Sid, kind of branched off and we're like Well, teachable is not solving the community problem. We see where this is going. We want to build something.

Speaker 1:

They built circle and so they came to me and my partner, matt, and they showed us what they were building. We're like, wow, okay, this is so easy and intuitive for both the creator and the student. Like it's not fully built yet, but Okay, like, we trust you can. You can you make it what we need? And so they brought me and Matt on as advisors. So, full disclosure, we are advisors to the company, so we own like a small fraction but shares of the company.

Speaker 1:

So take that bias and, with a grain of salt, take that recommendation with a grain of salt, but it is a great tool and it continues to expand and focus on both the creator of the community's ease of use and options all the way down to the member and and and you know, I feel like they're like the apple of circle they often aren't the first to come out with features, but when they come out with them, they come out better than perhaps you know. Instead of being more on the more innovative, brand new feature side, they just make things that work and work the way they're supposed to, which which is great. But yeah, I mean, do you have any questions on on Platform or capabilities or anything like that?

Speaker 2:

I was just really curious to hear what you're kind of recommending. Yeah, yes, we had Gina from mighty network before she's wonderful.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, she was great and I know her great things about that. I've also heard great stuff about circle as well. One of our clients to use one uses that and they they have great success with it, really Help them to build up their membership, which has been fantastic. And then you've kind of done sales of stuff within that, you know to upsell people to other things, which has worked really really well, yep so that's really good.

Speaker 1:

I mean, the honest truth is like, when it comes down to it, just find a place of tool that works for you to bring your people together, because that's what really matters the ability to bring your people together and and allow them to, you know, shoot for the same things or root for the same things. It is really important today, especially with everything that's going on. Like people are are really needing to connect with each other, and it is creators like you, especially those who've created online courses and you know what the goals are of your people like. Have a space to bring those people together. You're gonna see there's a lot of magic and, if possible, be like DC and bring people together in person, because that's where, like, even more magic happens. I mean, you know people are Getting meals together, having drinks together and being able to connect, like literal business, partnerships and friendships happen that wouldn't have happened otherwise and, again, if you become the person that facilitates all of that, that just heightens your brand and allows people to feel even more loyalty to it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so think I'm actually starting to do I've done one of them so far. I'm starting to do next month is running dinners for online course creators. So again, if you're interested in being part of that, just drop me an email. But I'm I'm gonna do it as I travel. So, like you know, when I go to New York, I'm gonna message all the people in New York who are running online course businesses and be like Do you want to come, hang out and organize?

Speaker 1:

dinners for people. I think when you come to San Diego, john, don't uh, don't be a stranger, all right definitely not.

Speaker 2:

I love San Diego, so absolutely massive fan of the city.

Speaker 1:

Just make sure it's not raining, because when it's raining here, nobody knows what to do.

Speaker 2:

I was out there for a month in, I don't know, 2019, 2018, something like that, and Everybody was like, oh, my god, it's so cold. I was just like just give me a break.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's really not, not even funny. I'm gonna be the first to admit it we're we're spoiled brats over here weather wise.

Speaker 2:

So if people want to learn more about this, if they're like man Pat's got some great stuff here, I want to go and be a member of this community. I want to learn all this kind of stuff and how to grow my podcast and YouTube channel etc. And I can, you know, total shout out. We signed up for your membership because of the stuff around the podcast, because we wanted to learn how do we grow this podcast faster. So we've been going through through your course for that, that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you, and if you're listening to this, that's obvious proof that this is working, or else you wouldn't hear this, but uh no.

Speaker 1:

I appreciate that I'm not here to plug too much, but smart passive income calm would be the website and you'll see our communities there. We got to the pro community for existing entrepreneurs, which comes with the all-access pass. Or, if you're more on the beginner side of things and you want to learn specifically the, you know, either YouTube or email marketing, affiliate marketing, any of those kinds of things to help you with your business specifically, the all-access pass has has that info. But you know John's in there and so many I mean thousands of others, and we're doing our best to just, you know, wrangle everybody into success and you know that's why we're here. So I appreciate this. Again, I haven't talked too much about this part of where the online courses have now gone. This is now I mean, community is now the center of our business and community-powered courses is how we're helping people succeed.

Speaker 2:

Beautiful. You're doing great work. Really really appreciate you, john, appreciate that. If you found this interview useful and you want to get future episodes, subscribe whatever you listened. Thanks so much for listening. We really appreciate your time and your attention. And, pat, thanks so much for coming on today. I really appreciate it. Man. Thanks so much, john, appreciate it. Thanks everybody you.

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