Jacques Hopkins: This is episode one of the online course guy podcast. I am John Hopkins, the online course guy, and this is the show where we show you how to turn your hobby or passion into a profitable online course. I was able to do just that with the piano. And now after being an engineer for eight years, I'm proud to say I support my family with the income for my online piano course. I'm also joined by Nate Dotson, who is hard at work on his own online course. How's it going, Nate?
Nate Dodson: It's going pretty good. Jock. Happy to be on here. So this is.
Jacques Hopkins: Episode one, man. Not sure where this thing's going to go, but, Let's just have some conversations about online courses.
Nate Dodson: Sounds good.
Jacques Hopkins: You remember what our topic today is.
Nate Dodson: Brianna? Tell our backstory.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. Online course stories. Get, let people get to know us a little bit, understand where we're coming from in terms of our own online courses. So I'll, I'll start, you know, I'll, I'll, I'll talk about my story, where I am with my online course. Feel free to jump at any time. Ask questions. I know you've got a little bit about my story. You probably don't know everything. And I could say the same about.
Nate Dodson: You as well.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So, you know, before the call we were talking a little bit about like are entrepreneurial beginnings. And for me, you know, I don't think I had as much business interests in savvy as you when I was like really little. I think it really started for me when I was a senior in college and I picked up four hour workweek for the first time. Have you read that book?
Nate Dodson: Yep. Oh yeah. I loved it.
Jacques Hopkins: I'm sure. Just about everybody doing what we're doing. Has read that book at least multiple times. I've probably read it five or six times at this point and that, I don't remember.
Why are you even picked it up? You know, cause I was, I was just going about my business, you know, I've always wanted to be an engineer. I, I never questioned that. I never questioned going get it going and getting a normal job and, and doing that until I was 65 that I was excited about that. Yup. And then I read this book and I was like, man, you know, he had, he has several examples in that.
And one of them was like selling t-shirts. And he talked about, Mmm. Putting up ad words to test it and figuring out what marketing messages was best and things like that. And then just getting sales a while while you sleep and things like that. And I'm thinking.
Nate Dodson: How cool is that?
Jacques Hopkins: Right. And it was, it was a world I never really thought about or explored at all. And so it gets, it got the wheels turning. Of course, I was just about to graduate, so it's not like I'm going to not graduate and, and go. I think I already had a job lined up too. I'm not a risk taker. I'm not a big risk taker. So, I still with went to work and everything, but my first.
Nate Dodson: My.
Jacques Hopkins: First thing I tried after reading that book was called Hopkins HTPC, which stood for her a home theater, you know, personal computer. And this was 2007 2008 so this was before like Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, before all that. But it was still a time where people were interested in kind of having their TV be a.
Nate Dodson: Computer. And so.
Jacques Hopkins: I, I just kind of assembled computer parts and made, you know, put together a device, a computer. But it was, it looked nice. It looked kind of like a receiver that you want to have with your alone, other electronics, and you can plug it into your TV. guess how many I sold.
Nate Dodson: How many? One.
Jacques Hopkins: It was like a thousand dollars. Nobody wanted to pay for that. Plus, yeah. I didn't know what I was doing from a marketing perspective. Right. I mean. It, it quickly was a failure very quickly. so I didn't give up. You know, like you, you've, you've tried many things and, I know you've got varying levels of success with your various things, but I really had a lot of failures on my way to having success with an online course. I tried something called desk Docker.
I was into the standup desk stuff. I still am. And I wanted to have a way where people could just take their existing desk and raise it up rather than have to having to build something new. So I kind of designed this thing that you could put underneath her desk and a man. I just, it was really difficult and that's when I decided I didn't want to have any sort of physical product.
I wanted to be all online. Mmm. I tried various blogs and I'm not a good writer, you know, blogs didn't really work out. One of the last. Blogging type things I tried was called one change a month, and I was just going to kind of talk about.
Nate Dodson: Or try to.
Jacques Hopkins: Change one thing in my life or form one new habit each month, and just write about it or, you know, blog about it or something. And that didn't really go very far. But fortunately that's what led me into my all my piano.
Nate Dodson: Course.
Jacques Hopkins: I, I was, I was really procrastinating, you know, I work a long day at work, come home. I would, I knew I should be working on my side business or side hustle or whatever you want to call it. And I would instead be playing the piano and that's what it'd be procrastinating with.
And it just, it just clicked like, Hey, maybe, maybe there's something with piano I could be doing. And I was like, I wonder if I can teach people with an online course how to play piano. Cause I do, I do kind of play a little bit differently than most people or teach differently than most people. So, do you listen to smart passive income podcast?
Nate Dodson: Yeah, I've listened to a few episodes of it. Yeah. With PatFlynn.
Jacques Hopkins: Pretty good. Really, really popular.
Nate Dodson: Yep.
Jacques Hopkins: The very next day, I was listening to an episode of that, and he had a, a guy on that had made on my piano course. And, I was like, yeah, it seems like destiny, right?
Nate Dodson: Yeah. That's an element for sure.
Jacques Hopkins: So, I took that and I ran with it and I just, I was gonna make it part of that one change a month thing at first. And then I quickly just shifted gears and, and I did that. And that was about 2013 when I started my online piano course. And, man, it took about eight bucks to make. when I hit go, I made like three sales. it took several years to get it, to get it, you know, profitable and, and, and where it is today, and it's, today it's, I saw multiple copies a day.
You know, I, I make, I make five figures a month from it, and, and it's, it's the main source of income for my family right now, so it's pretty cool.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. That's awesome.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So, you know, we'll, we'll get into that and my story and your story more as we go through these, these episodes and stuff. But let, let's shift gears to yours because I think, you know, you're, you're, you have an online course, but you're, you're a couple of steps behind me, I would say, right?
Nate Dodson: Oh, yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So, so why don't you take the ball and jump back as far back as you want to go.
Nate Dodson: Okay. well, yeah, I've always just kind of made stuff. I've just always been a maker. I just have ideas in my head and I want to get them out there in the world. And that's been my drive the whole time to be an entrepreneur, I guess know I just, to me, selling something valid validates that.
That idea. Is a good idea. I just always wanted that validation when I, when I would finish an idea. So for me it was make something then fine, then try and sell it. And I was, I would do that for a little, little bit. Businesses in high school and middle school, even a little things like a school newspaper.
And, I even remember selling these things called Wingdings. We called them in like fourth grade. They were just like rolled up pieces of paper. I sold out in recess. So I've always kind of hustled a little bit as far as that goes. But why? Why.
Jacques Hopkins: Do you think that is Nate? Why do you think that you did that at.
Nate Dodson: That age? I don't know. I just think, I just thought it was fun. It always felt kind of like a game too, in a way. I.
Jacques Hopkins: Mean like I just, because like I wasn't like that when I was little and I'm just wondering if was the motivation money or was it that you wanted to be an entrepreneurial one day? You have any idea?
Nate Dodson: Yeah, the none of the motivation wasn't really money. It was just like validation, I guess. I just liked, I just liked to the interaction and making people, making people happy. I mean like people loved him or they wouldn't have bought them, you know? Providing value, you could see something are excited about.
And then, and and I remember like even like third grade, I had a really nice, really cool tree for, and I was like, man, I could just make this tree forward a little better. I could probably charge like a membership, see our kids in the neighborhood. But it ended up in sixth grade. Me and my buddy Michael has his uncle got.
Candy for really cheap from a wholesale distributor. So we started selling that to kids in school. Okay. Until we got in trouble for that. And, and then into high school, I started selling on marijuana a little bit, and magic mushrooms to people. It's just kind of a crowd. I fell in, I worked at working at a skateboarding shop and the city bias and, you know, got to know a bunch of older guys that were kind of into that scene.
And, and, And no one had ha had witnessed marijuana like I was, I like I had in my little town. So that was fun too. You know, brought in tons of friends and a bunch of money and I was working at McDonald's. My first job when I was 15 I would, they would say, Nate, you have like six paychecks sitting here waiting for you that you haven't picked up yet. So money has never really been that, that huge of a drive for me.
Jacques Hopkins: So the message is that drug dealing makes a lot of money. Is that what we're trying to say?
Nate Dodson: Yeah, it did well, way more than I need care too to need, I mean, I've never been one to like spend money, frivolous frivolously on clothes or, or anything, even even housing or, or anything.
Jacques Hopkins: Do we need to put a disclaimer in right now that we're not endorsing drug dealing?
Nate Dodson: No, I'm not endorsing drug dealing, but. some of that stuff definitely does have medical benefits and there's starting to be less taboo around it. it's kind of interesting to watch, but yeah, I definitely don't do not deal drugs anymore, and I do not condone dealing any, doing anything illegal.
But, that was, that was a long time ago. I mean, that was okay, almost, you know, 15 years ago now. So, but then I, after, after, After high school, I ended up coming down to university here and, and Bloomington, Indiana university, and just got sidetracked from entrepreneurship. Just having to focus on college for awhile.
And I started out in business and I just, as you know, I'm not very good at tech stuff. The computer glasses just like killed me, so I, and I was really into it. I think that maybe getting into the marijuana and mushrooms brought about my like environmental side and my connection to nature more. So I decided to, to switch my major to, environmental management and started to learn more about nature and plants and stuff like that.
And graduated. Didn't really do any bit. Actually in college, I did handyman stuff. I advertise in the newspaper and on the school board, and I did painting and, some other light handyman work on the side, but I also had a job. and then I, after that, moved away for a little bit out to Portland, Oregon.
That's when I first first started learning about urban farming, which is where my course will come in. And here in a little bit, first started to hear about it. Think about it. Experiment in gardening a little bit. Then we moved to Michigan for a little while and I did a little more gardening. Then we moved back to Bloomington, the college where I went to college and I got a job with an environmental firm doing protecting invasive , eradicating invasive plants rather, and, promoting a native species.
We would seed, prairies and do Woodland restoration, all that kind of stuff. And, Did that for about five years while I was learning more about gardening and experimenting in the garden, and after about three years of that, I was just like, burn out. It's really hard work. You're, you're literally like, Hey, you have a backpack sprayer on a lot of times where you have, yeah, 30 gallons of herbicide.
You have long sleeves, long pants, gloves, hat. And you're hiking through Rose bushes and 110 degree temperatures during the summer up and down Hills. Crazy, crazy, brutal deterrence work. It's just day after day at wore you out. You're covered in ticks and poison Ivy and shakers and, and it's, it started to get old and you'd, you'd spray herbicide and it would like drift onto your face and you'd have Lou die on you from the herbicide, like on your skin.
And it didn't feel healthy and it didn't feel like a pro, like to me, like it was a how we should be dealing with the environment. Either didn't feel, like the mission I wanted to align myself with. So I started to, okay. To figure out other I, I started to like go on a mission of how, how am I going to start earning an income of my own?
I've always been an entrepreneur. I don't think I'll ever really be happy unless I, you know, and able to figure that out at some point. So I started to research it more and I just read a ton of ton of random books. nothing really sticks out all that much to me. To be honest with you right now, looking at my books up there and seeing which one, I just read a bunch of different things, like half of a bunch of books and eventually came on.
Okay. The premise of, Mmm. Basically just finding a product online that you can make and that you can maybe make a little bit bigger and just rep kind of replicating it. And putting it in the same channel and everything, and you know, buying the same ads they're buying if they're buying ads and all that kind of stuff.
And I was like, that makes sense. So that's basically what I did. I went on to Etsy and I found a couple of products on Etsy over the next couple of years and made mine a little bit unique, but then put them on there on the channel. And I, I'd focused on branding. I noticed people weren't branding themselves very well.
On Etsy and they didn't have much follow up. And, I watched a couple of pretty successful at T businesses. Mmm. I like my second month, I was making like three close to three grand a month on there. So it took off really fast.
Jacques Hopkins: Is that profit? Three grand in profit or revenue?
Nate Dodson: Revenue, but there was that, that product, the first one I launched was really high profit cause it was just a print. So it was a, I would sell it for $17 and it was a 11 by 17 piece of paper. So my total costs was like a dollar per.
Jacques Hopkins: But you had to, it wasn't passive in that you actually had to print this and mail it to the person.
Nate Dodson: Yeah, I would print out a lot. so it was, it was really a pretty quick, you know, 15 $14 profit. And the fact that I would just print out a label, roll up the print, put it in the package and send them off.
Jacques Hopkins: Right. I'm just saying that you do have to factor in your time. And that's, you know, one of the advantages of online courses we'll talk about is that it can be very passive.
Nate Dodson: Yeah, yeah. And, and then I, and then I said, wow, that worked pretty good with that first product. So then I said, I'm going to do another product. And I looked, did some more research, and I found another thing that was selling well, but I thought I could make a little better and brand a little better. And on Etsy, it's easy to actually research. How much people are selling of certain items. There's like a sales button on each person's page.
You can click it and see what they're selling. so I found these drop top, these a wedding guest books. There are luxury wedding guests books. They're like a. It's kind of like Plinko people sign a wooden heart and they drop it into a shadow box frame and they all load in there with people's names on them.
And so I started, I found someone, you can also, you don't have to make this stuff yourself on FTE. If you register with an outside manufacturer and they approve it, that's totally cool. So I found someone local to make those for me and he charged me 50 bucks a piece and I sold them for $150 and I did like $47,000 worth of those the first year. Holy.
Jacques Hopkins: Smokes.
Nate Dodson: Yeah, that's pretty impressive. It all came down to, you know, researching, just spending a good bit of time on the research and.
Jacques Hopkins: Knowing those, are you selling those today?
Nate Dodson: Well, I, I'm not. I actually, he moved, he moved out to Oregon in it. I went through a mix up and I tried to find someone new to make 'em and I went through a point where someone filed an IRR, a patent.
Infringement on me. It was some guy from the UK and he didn't have any grounds, but it was, it was a DM, DM, digital millennium copyright act. He filed a notice on that basically, I spent a bunch of money on a, on an I aye P attorney to help me with it. And, I would have had to file a suit in the UK and deal with all of that.
At the same time, I was already starting to, I was just so busy, like starting to get into farming and ramp up my farm because I didn't like just working in my office and I wanted to be able to do, be outside half the day. So trying to get this other business launched at the same time, this urban farm here in town.
And it was just like craziness. And he had basically knocked out just one of my products, which was the natural guestbook book. It was the unpainted one, but I still had like six painted ones and those were still selling. All right. So it just like dropped my business by half and I, I didn't want to go through the stress of spinning, you know, 30 grand on a lawyer and going, having to.
Go through this case in the UK, in a foreign country and all this stuff. And I just, I hate attorneys. So I said screw it. Mmm. But then when my guy left, I kind of shut it down cause I'm, I'm doing, we're doing totally fine with our, my other stuff I have going on. So right now it's on pause. Actually.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, I think, I think a great lesson from that is having multiple income streams because any one of your income streams, something could happen to it that you just didn't think about or know was possible.
And if you only have one income stream and that gets cut off, you're kind of screwed. And that even applied to if your one income stream is a. Full time job.
Nate Dodson: Right? Oh yeah. So it sounds to be very risky.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, they can be. And it sounds like you are definitely, you have a more diversified portfolio than me in terms of income streams.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. And I'm that, that, that definitely gave me a little PTSD. I think in going forward, I'm always going to have that fear. I'm like, it's going to take awhile for that to vanish. Just kind of the bottom dropped out there for a little while on that. actually it did on my Prince business too. The first one I had, I was making these prints that had, it was called Indiana university topography print.
And I had all these words associated with Indiana university. I made them for like six schools. And they, they filed a, infringement charge on me too. But they are, they, no, they didn't file a charge. Just said, you have to take these off there now. So I took those off and that was my best seller. So I lost like 25% of my sales when that happened.
That happened before the second one. So I haven't, you know, I'm replicating stuff. I'm telling you to go replicate stuff, but you gotta be careful, that's for sure when you're doing, when you're doing that. But, they definitely had grounds. I mean, I was using their trademark terms in there. Right. so yeah, that's happened twice to me.
So I've definitely, I'm all about diversifying, but it's, it's tough too, because it, it's hard to. Really thrive when you can't give a business your full attention. Something I'm kind of struggling with right now.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, that's true too. I mean, you don't want to have so many different things going on that you can't give anyone the proper attention it needs. And that's one of the reasons passive income can be so good is cause if you get something to a good place, then you can just let it do its thing, focus on something else. And that's kinda what I'm, I'm trying to do right now is I've got my piano course in a really good place. Ah. Now I'm thinking, okay, let's try to, let's try to diversify it a little bit.
you know, I'm starting to show people how to, how to take their hobby and turn it into an online course. I've got a couple of other things I'm thinking about possibly working on as well, so I agree with you completely. So you, you know, you talked about getting into farming a little bit, you know, how, how, how long until you started thinking about an online.
Nate Dodson: Course? Well, I was, I was, farming. I was growing some stuff and mostly outdoors. I was doing, trying to micro green stuff. Mmm. Which is what my course is about. I'll get to more, more about that here in a little bit, but, I was farming a little bit on the side just to, just to kind of balance what I was doing, the indoor work on my business.
And, it, it, I started listening to a podcast, actually, permaculture voices podcast, Curtis stone, this guy, he's an urban farmer. And during, well I was working on the garden now this news podcast, cause he's really good. He's got tons of good farming techniques. And he lost a course called profitable urban farming.
It was a thousand dollars. And I went onto one of his webinars and in the chat box on the side, people were like, I'm in, I'm in, I'm in. I was just like teaching, teaching, teaching. I was just like, Oh my gosh. He said he's making 50 grand on his farm. You just made 50 grand tonight probably, and you can see, you know, on his Facebook group, it's a private group.
You know, you're not allowed to really join it unless you're in is join his course, but you can still see how many members are in there. So I ran the numbers and I was just like, okay, this course he made. And it seems like he's probably been filming it over the last month or so by what he's been, but what he said on the webinar, and it's made, it's made more now close to more now than he's made the last few years farming.
I was like, that's a, that's a huge ROI. So I was like, as I move forward in this farming thing, I'm going to try this out. And I was like, that was when I was really learning about microgreens is 2015. I was starting to ramp up those a little bit because Curtis said they were such a good profitable crop for him.
So just while I was just starting to really get into that and learn that, I see taught it at the same time, I think that's the best, really the best time to teach something is like right after you learn it, as long as you get some sort of feedback or market feedback and you can tell it's working. So that's essentially what I did.
And I created six YouTube videos, over the course of a month or two, and I put them up online and you know, life got busy again and. I was working on the farm and my other, both my Etsy businesses and I didn't really pay any attention then. Oh, actually, right when I put those up online, I knew I needed to lead magnet.
So I wrote a quick start guide to microgreens getting started. It's just like a 10 page PDF. I bought a domain name microgreens, farmer.com and I put that up there and all my videos. A couple of videos. I said, Hey, go there and download the quick start guide. The other videos, I just had a link in the description and I didn't really pay much attention to it for a couple of months. I kind of forgot about it.
Jacques Hopkins: Just to be clear. Date, the videos you put on YouTube and what you're teaching to people at this point was simply how to grow microgreens for yourself. Are you actually doing the business thing at this point? Like how to sell and profit from growing micro greens.
Nate Dodson: I basically just taught how to grow for five of the videos, I think, or maybe for the videos, and then a one or two of my guests and tips on selling too. At that point, I had, I had launched a, a program where I deliver by bicycle to people's houses on a subscription basis, and it charged them on PayPal automatically every month. So I made a video about that too. And, And I know a few months later I came back and I had like, no, 500 people sign up to my email list.
I was like, wow, this is crazy. That's really cool. And I had a bunch of emails in my email I had created that I didn't, hadn't paid attention to, and people asking me all kinds of stuff. And one of the. The primary questions I got was, where do you get your labels? How do I get, make my labels like yours?
Because I show those in the intro to my, my super long intro I have on my YouTube video that shows my labels and people were really into those. And people, they actually said, you know, I'll pay you for those labels. I said, okay. I just created a labels package. okay. Some downloads they could have and a little video showing them how to use the labels and how they could put there foreign logo on there and everything.
And I put those up for sale. I launched them to a list of like 900 people and so $3,500 where shredding, writing a few simple emails and, and I was just, I was blown away by that. I just was like, wow, this is crazy. You know, this is not even really a warm list. I hadn't emailed them one time since they signed up.
And Yeah. I was like, yeah, this really does work. Curtis was, you know, Curtis was right. I forgot. I kind of forgot about it. I need to get back on that track a little bit more. And, I was kind of doing some innovative stuff with my far more than a lot of people. I'm big experimenter. I like to conduct experiments and try things out and try and innovate.
Farming just is way behind the times in a lot of ways. they're not, they're not good marketers are not good salespeople. They don't make it easy for people to buy from him. So I was trying to do focus a lot of stuff around there. And, and then I just, I just kept selling that on, on automatic launch that, so when people would join my list, I'd get a few emails that said they could buy my branding package. And I was like, for the next five or six months, I was making like 250 bucks a week or so. So in about.
Jacques Hopkins: You were selling those around $47?
Nate Dodson: Yep. 47 I think, or 49.
Jacques Hopkins: And that was pretty much a hundred percent profit, right?
Nate Dodson: Yeah, that's a hundred percent profit for sure. Just, just, you know, you have a tiny bit of overhead with click funnels, $97 a month subscription and MailChimp. but yeah, otherwise it was, it was pure profit. And, As I got more into the farming, that's what I was really, really ramping up to farm and we were selling at the farmer's market and everything. Aye. I knew that a course would be something that people would want people, we're kind of asking me and I even sent a survey out to my audience, you know.
I think I said, what is your favorite variety of microgreens? I'm going to share the results with everyone in the list. And I was like, I got a few other questions on there. I asked them what their biggest struggles were and took all that data. And I filmed a course. I made a microgreens course how to grow and sell microgreens with a bunch of downloads and priced it at $99.
Well, for my initial launch and sold $7,000 worth, I think. And then I put that one on automatic in an email sequence autoresponder sequence. So now they were getting offered both of my my course and my branding package when they signed up for my email list. And then my email was just was growing more and more because YouTube is really cool in that when a video kind of, it kind of snowballs where a lot of channels that drops off like.
Instagram and Twitter, your posts just after, after a year, you know, no one ever sees that stuff. Or after, right? Three days, no one ever sees it. Whereas YouTube, when something kind of gained steam, it kind of snowballs and getting steam even faster. And so now it's, I launched that course back in October of last year, and I've raised the price and I've done close to $20,000 in sales.
Mmm. And, and I just. I knew it was totally lame how I was offering it to people. Just, you know, a couple of basic emails on an, on a MailChimp auto responder sequence, and from re, from some books I've read, they said one of the fastest shortcuts to growing a business is to find someone that's, that's like doing five to 10 X what you're doing and see if they'll be your mentor.
So that's where you come into this texture. I heard you on a podcast and I was like, man. He's doing like exactly 10 X what I want to do. I reached out to you and you started coaching me and now I built out a pretty elaborate sales funnel that delivers some value right up front to people with some videos and, and I've raised the price of my course, everything. So I'm real excited. We're just going through testing right now and I'm about to launch it.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. I'm excited for you. I think, the numbers, I mean, you, you, you started off so much better than I started off. I mean, you, you've launched your course. At $99 in that. How much, how much did you say you sold $7,000 worth?
Yeah. I mean, I can't tell you how many months and months after launching my course did it take me to get to 7,000 I mean, that's incredible. I, I remember. One month early on, probably after a year I had been doing it. I made a thousand dollars and that was donate four figures, and that was just.
Nate Dodson: Incredible.
Jacques Hopkins: And now if I made a thousand dollars from it, you know, I'd have serious problems.
Nate Dodson: And it did a thousand dollars did that 7,000, but then it was doing like between the two products, it was doing five, $600 a week. And you know, that period between launching the branding package and the course 250 to 300 bucks a week.
I didn't do anything. I didn't send any emails or do anything. And then after I launched the course. I was doing 500 bucks a week or so. I didn't do anything. I sent out one email on new year's. I was like, if you guys want to get some training and take it off last year's taxes, you can. I sold it almost $1,500 worth, and that was it.
There was no followup. So it really was like between those periods, it was really good residual income. It was very passive. And and the potential is huge and it's just like, right now I'm at this point where. I'm trying to like scale back my farming a little bit and focus more on this because the market really tells you where you should put your energy.
You know, it's a markets. If you're getting a really high ROI on something, then the market's telling you that they are people really value. That adds a lot of value to people's lives. So that's where, you know, you should kind of move towards. So that's what I'm doing right now, turning my farm into Mo into smaller, more experimental farm, trying to figure out ways to, push the boundaries.
Of sales and efficiency to help other people and then focus more on creating these products and helping people, and even maybe one on one helping people eventually. Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: And so we've, we've talked several times, you know, we've, I've, you know, kind of in coaching you and, I, and I saw the potential right at the beginning because you're, you're, you've been.
Nate Dodson: So.
Jacques Hopkins: Kind of unintentional about the way you've done things so far, and it's still worked out really well considering that. So I think if you can be intentional about it, I think that your, your results could be incredible.
Nate Dodson: Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: And so I know you've been trying to implement some of the things I've been doing, some of the things I've been showing you.
Nate Dodson: And you know, you've been.
Jacques Hopkins: Putting some, sort of prelaunch videos together. You've been putting email marketing sequences together and, and work, we're kind of testing it together right now. So hopefully, hopefully you'll be seeing some results from that here pretty soon. It sounds like.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. And it is, it somehow the salesman really came out of me when I was making those videos and like the final video is very salesy in a way. I don't know where it came from, but it, it's going to be interesting to see how people perceive it. I was following Russell Brunson, the guy from click funnels, the founder funnels, and he, he's a very good salesman. And, I just, I had already kind of created a perfect webinar. He calls it right three quarters of the way through creating it, so I can kind of put that into my last video, but it's, it's super sales tactics, so we'll see how that works out.
Jacques Hopkins: That's, that's one of the things I've struggled with the most personally because I was, I mean, I was an electrical engineer for eight years, introverted, you know, opposite of a salesman, right? Yeah. You know, I made this piano course and I just kind of expected that. I would, I would make it, I would put it on the internet and then people would start buying it.
I guess, you know, it just seemed like listening to different podcasts and things like that, that it was just so easy. And you just put it out there and then all of a sudden you have a hundred thousand dollars in your bank account, boom. And and man, no, you gotta, you gotta market it, you gotta sell it. You gotta get, you got to get it in front of people and you got to have the right messaging and all that. Yeah.
Nate Dodson: I think for me, you know.
Jacques Hopkins: I'm not the only piano course out there. I don't know if you're the only micro greens business out there. There's a lot of online piano courses out there, and so, Mmm. Why, why would somebody. You know, with, with all of my marketing, everything I gotta make sure, okay, I may be clear to somebody why they should take my.
Nate Dodson: Course.
Jacques Hopkins: And not, not another course. And so, you know, I like to say that I'm not, I'm not selling piano lessons. Right? That's not what I'm giving you. I'm giving you the ability to play piano. In as little amount of time as possible. You know, my brain is piano in 21.
Nate Dodson: Days. Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: That's what I'm giving to people. And so, you know, do you art, do you have competition with you? And if so, how do.
Nate Dodson: You differentiate yourself? Yeah, I do. there's just, just a couple of people though. They have a microgreens courses and, basically differentiate myself by. actually doing a little bit of marketing, you know, having the email sequence and, and, having the YouTube videos, like the people that, a couple of people that are selling it, they just, one of them has it on you. You, to me, I think, you know what I mean? Yeah. And the other one, he just, he's a, I actually learned a lot from him.
I've talked to him on the phone several times. He, He just has it for sale on his farm website, and he doesn't do any sort of advertisement, but he's got it. Couple of videos on YouTube that are really huge, but he doesn't even have links to like his course on the video. but I also, I'm trying to.
Distinguished myself. Yeah, I totally agree with you. You have to kind of create your own niche. You can't just like pick a niche. You have to like pick a niche and then decide how you're going to be different than everyone else inside that niche. You kind of have to create a monopoly. and my mine is really that my courses heavily focused on sales and tools.
So I have a lot of downloads and stuff that come with it and tools and stuff that people can use for sales, like how they can get a a subscription delivery program going like I had, and then some flyers that they can hand out at their boots. A bunch of marketing flyers and stuff like that.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, I will tell you, Nate, everything you're saying. That differentiate you.
Nate Dodson: Is still a feature.
Jacques Hopkins: Right? You know, the whole features versus benefits.
Nate Dodson: Thing. Yep. So.
Jacques Hopkins: Really, I mean, be thinking about the benefits of those features, right? You know, for this conversation, I understand what you're saying, like you're providing labels, you're providing flowers, things like that, but when you're.
Nate Dodson: Pitching it to potential customers, make sure they.
Jacques Hopkins: Understand what the benefit of those things are.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. I know. So it's probably sales confidence and. And, organizational confidence. But I know that that's right. I've been hearing that lately. I've been reading more on this stuff, and you're exactly right. So I don't always communicate it properly. I know I focus on that, on the features for sure. That's what I'm trying to change right now.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. Well, I mean, if you think, you know, the first.
Nate Dodson: The first.
Jacques Hopkins: Sales you were making were these.
Nate Dodson: These labels right? And.
Jacques Hopkins: You weren't really selling labels. You were selling. Mmm. What were you selling? You were probably selling time, because people didn't want to spend the time to figure out how to make these elaborate labels that you had already done, and they wanted to take that shortcut and get it. Something that they knew existed and was working. Yeah. Somebody that knew what they were doing. so that you probably cut out several, several, several hours of their life, and it wasn't just a.
Nate Dodson: Piece of.
Jacques Hopkins: Paper or, you know, and an image you are selling, you know.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. Yep. That's exactly right. Cool.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, The next thing I want to talk about is okay with, with my online course. You know, it's been a, it's been a, just a very slow progression, from where I started to where I am now, to be able to actually support my family with it. But there were three things, Kind of bumps along the way. There were three things that I did that really, you know, made a noticeable impact on my, on my bottom line. The first thing I did was scarcity, right? A lot of people, that have an online course somewhere, you can go to their website.
And you can buy the online course novel concept, right? You can't do that with mine. And I think that with, with yours, Mmm. You just have a squeeze page up right now, and it doesn't say whether you can or can not buy something from you right now. It's just that everything happens once you get past that squeeze page. And I think.
Nate Dodson: Before, you know, several months ago, you had the kind of upsell right after they opted in, then they could buy those labels. Yeah. Am I, am I right on that? Yeah. Mmm. With, with mine, I actually put on my website like, Hey, the online courses wait-listed, you know, join the wait list here, and if you do, you'll get this free workbook.
Jacques Hopkins: And, so I implemented that scarcity and that immediately showed she had a huge Bob and, and I would only launch the course every so often. And. because people, you know, people just procrastinate. That's just human nature. And if you give them a reason to buy in terms of your product is not going to be available, or maybe certain bonuses that come with it are not going to be available anymore, or a certain price isn't going to be available anymore. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the price thing. I like to keep prices constant. I never liked to devalue, my, my own product.
Nate Dodson: Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: But just a scarcity is very powerful. So you know that that was the first big, big jump. And I think you're, you're on board with the scarcity as well.
Nate Dodson: Yeah, for sure. To your people have the fear of missing out and FOMO. Yeah. And they're procrastinators, but it's fine to like, you know, make them take action if you know that your product can help them.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, exactly. I mean, I got an email from somebody a couple of days ago and he was like, he was like. And I'm one of the people that jumped in right at the last second, cause I knew it was expiring, but I'm so glad I did. And I'm already on day, you know, eight of the program, this, this and that. So, and, and, you know, and since then, you know, I implemented scarcity two or three days ago. Now I still have scarcity, but it's on an evergreen level. So I'm really, hopefully not missing out on any, are there any potential sales?
Yeah. so the next thing I did would be, phone calls. I don't know that a lot of people are doing this out there, but, you know, almost, you know, a lot of people that sign up for my program, I will have spoken to on the phone before they sign up. And that's just, I get, I, you know, I really enjoy it. This is what I do for a living. So.
Nate Dodson: I enjoy speaking to people from all.
Jacques Hopkins: Over the world that want to take my course. that's just super cool. And so we get on the phone and. Most of the time they sign up right on the phone. I think that, it's probably an 80 to 90% close rate because of the way that I have things set up before they get on the phone with me.
but I don't know, just, just do it to close the sale. I mean, it just, it really is just a cool, cool thing. yeah. Part of my business and the people on the other end of the phone really appreciate it as well. It's not just. You know, a computer screen, like they know that I'm a real person, that I'm passionate about this stuff like that. So, but you know, it's nice that you get a little more sales that way too. Cause it's, it's easier for people to click yes to book a phone call and then say yes again on the phone call to purchase and to just purchase, click a button to say purchase.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's also, it's just a major. When people, when people just start doing this, you know, they're usually on their own. They're usually a solo entrepreneur and they're working from home and it's super lonely just being at home all day by yourself and it'll affect your mental health quickly and make you burn out on it really quickly.
So that's another really cool aspect of getting on the phone too. I think. I don't get on the phone right now, but I do a monthly mastermind here locally with other entrepreneurs in my town, and, still working a couple hours a week for this nonprofit organization. I'm kind of consulting with them on there, helping them with their sales funnel, essentially.
so that gets me out of the house at least one day a week. Now. And then I'm at the farmer's market and stuff. So it's definitely really important, something to think about if you're going to get started with info products.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, definitely. I mean, the calls are not a requirement. and I would still be making sales without them, but, for now I still enjoy them. and it's, it's a great point about just kind of like if you're working from your house, by yourself, you know, I know I've got a wife here and I've got one kid, one on the way.
Nate Dodson: You've got. Two kids. Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So we're in a similar situation. I mean, I say hi to them throughout the day, but that's the most interaction I get. and so, yeah, the phone calls are really nice. I was just looking at my schedule. I haven't had a phone call yet today. Mmm. You know, I, I got up this morning, check some emails or doing this. We're recording this podcast now. at 1145, I have a call with Dawn in New York city. and then. At one 15.
Nate Dodson: I have a call with John who's in Glasgow. Glasgow. Yeah, Glasgow, lasgow city in great Britain. Cool. And then at three 30 I have a call with Lisa who is in. Let's see. She is in round rock, Texas. Wow. And would you say like at least 75% of them answered the phone and probably a, at least that many ended up closing on the phone. Man.
Jacques Hopkins: I G I mean, I would say 99% okay. I get on the phone with 99% of the people that book the call, and well, you know, maybe, maybe 90% answer, but if they don't answer, I'll send them a text message or something and like, Hey, you know, Jackie, are you ready for our call? And they just kind of forgot, or they were. Busy, and then we get on the phone.
So almost everybody get on the phone with, and then, I mean, the close rate is just 80 90% by that point. And we'll talk about in future episodes, why that is. Because I'm doing a lot for the people before they get on the phone with me.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. Mmm. So that's a, that's phone calls. That's really cool. And I earned that from 'em. You know, at one time, at one time I, you know, I thought maybe my future as an entrepreneur was, was digital marketing consulting. And, and so I learned the phone call thing from somebody, you know, telling how to close digital marketing clients and the, and I, you know, that never really worked for me in terms of that being successful for me.
But I applied the phone calls to my online course and that was, it's been really cool. The third thing. is Google ad words. Before I implemented Google ad words, I was only doing couple, two, $3,000 sales a month. Mmm. And all of my traffic came from YouTube, all of it. And I think that's kind of where you are in terms of your traffic. Yeah. And I was getting 10, 12 leads a day, something like that. And I had, and look, I've got a, I've got a decent YouTube channel. one of my videos has, it's just about to hit a million views. Wow.
Jacques Hopkins: and, and a lot of my traffic comes from there, but it's nowhere near the traffic I get from Google ad words. And the reason that traffic is so good, at least in my niche and a lot of people's niches that are going to create an online course is because. Well, it depends, but if somebody knows what they're looking for, then Google ad words is a great way to go. Yeah. People know when they want to learn how to play piano, and they go to Google and they search learn piano online.
They search adult piano lessons. They learn, they search how to learn piano quickly, you know? And if you type in any of those, I'm going to appear right at the top because I'm paying Google to do that. Yeah. People are looking for a solution when they get on Google. Absolutely. Yeah. So you know, I'm, I'm doing a little bit of Facebook ads now, but that's just the quality of traffic is nothing compared to Google ad words because people are, aren't necessarily already looking for those things.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. So I'm sure, I know, I don't think you're doing Google ad words right now, are you? I'm not doing any advertising now. Yeah. So you're not doing any paid advertising once you get your funnel in place and your systems in place, and I wouldn't recommend anybody to pay for advertising before that, but once you get them in place, you're going to want to look into, are people searching for how to start a microgreens business, how to sell microgreens, how to sell microgreens at the farmer's market.
You know, to chefs, you're going to want to see if people are already searching for those terms. And if they are, you're sitting on a gold mine. Yeah. That's exciting. Yeah. Yeah. And there's not very many farmers that, you know, people who teach farming online, they're farmers. There's not many farmers that are interested in advertising and learning advertising, but that, I know that's a key from all the internet marketers that I follow.
It's just like, you know, the, if you can just pay for eyeballs. And you can at least connect, you can admit at least make enough to cover your ad spend plus a little bit more. You know, you're making money on the top end and then you have these contexts that you can launch to in the future with any new products you come out with or yeah, follow up with them whenever. So that's cool. And you're helping more people with your free content, even if they're not buying.
Jacques Hopkins: Exactly. Yup. So I mentioned, you know, I mentioned from YouTube, like before I was advertising, I'm getting 10 to 12 leads a day. now that I'm actually paying for traffic, I get between a hundred and 150 leads a day, which is, which is nice. and like you said, I mean, even nowhere near that many people actually buy something from me, but hopefully I'm still providing a ton of value to those that don't. Yeah. I think I am.
Yeah. So. Right. Pretty well. Yeah. So that's a, that's our, that's our online courses. Any, anything else you want to add for today? which of those three things do you think I should focus on first after I get this funnel in place? Should I start figuring out the phone situation or should I turn to add there? That's a good question. So the funnel that I'm helping you implement already has scarcity in it, so you don't need to worry about that. That's already going to be implemented.
Nate Dodson: Yeah. Okay. The phone calls, that's really a.
Jacques Hopkins: Personal decision whether you want to go through with that or not, because you're going to make sales, even if you don't do phone calls. And that takes away from some of the passiveness of this process. Mmm. Now my funnel, and I think your funnel is set up in a way to where, Hey, if you're going to go out of town for two weeks and you don't want to deal with the phone calls, you could just flip a switch.
And all the, everybody goes through the path of, of just being able to buy on, buy it online, which is fine. And you can test it. You know, you can go both ways. You know, do, do phone calls for one week. Do it without phone calls for one week. See what your enjoyment level is, see what your income is.
Yes. To just kind of test it. Yup. Cool. So to answer, you know, I would probably lean towards more towards ad words once you get, yeah. The funnel in place, I would lean more toward it. Ad words. Yeah. Okay, cool. I mean, I'm, I'm spending, I'm literally spending like 10 grand a month on ad words. Wow.
I wouldn't be doing that if I wasn't making more in that more than that in return. Right. Yeah. Yeah. And that's from, I mean, that's from piano lessons. I don't know if, if a microgreens business is, is, is probably in less demand than that, but, but we'll see. We can, we can do the research
and see. Yup. One other thing I do want to talk about before we get finished up for today is just with you launching this podcast, and people that listen to this first episode, I think that they really need to pay attention to this.
Because this is a huge opportunity right now. There's, if you look at the ROI on college right now, college is the most expensive it's ever been, and the average earnings of like a college graduate or like the lowest in comparison to that than they've ever been. So it's at like a breaking point and a lot of people are realizing it's just not a good deal to go to school anymore.
And you can instead invest in learning a specialized skill from someone online through like an online course. And, and you can take that skill and make money with it. Like my course, he just, people had to grow and sell microgreens and the course is going to be $297 now. And they can take that information and within two weeks they can have a business that's making 300 to $600 a week selling to chefs and at farmer's markets.
And that's like a huge ROI. Or you can spend $60,000 to go to college and hope that you get a job working for someone. You know, shifting around constantly and having to fill out resumes and all that, all that stuff. So if you can, and you know, if you can create a course, you can scale it and help a ton of people.
That's why, that's why this stuff, this stuff produces a good ROI is because, you know, people couldn't pay me $300 to come to my house and learn how to do this. But with the power of the internet, I can do it one time and then it's worth it for me. So that, so then they get a killer deal cause they can pay $300 to learn everything.
But then I get a killer deal too, cause I can sell it to tens of thousands of people eventually. And it's an asset that I own that I can have, have my own my whole life to sell. And it's really not that it can be pretty simple to get one of these going. my, my course, for instance, all I did was film myself with not a very special camera at all.
Really crappy camera. Actually, I just upgraded, but it was a, it was a camera that I bought in 2007, I filmed myself, everything I did for two weeks, edited it down over the course of a few days, put up the videos and then essentially just took the, they made a couple extra downloads and tweaked the ones I had and I had my whole course done in a month or less, and that was working just an hour or two a day.
Really. you don't need to put a ton of effort in and with the power of the internet, right? Right now it's just like, it's a crazy time. It's a crazy opportunity. And. I think people should definitely consider doing something like this because it's just going to become more of the go to for training in the future, I think.
Yeah. I'm glad you said that Nate. you know, it's, people get scared about making their own online course because it's like, what am I going to teach somebody else? And what I always say is like, you don't need to be an expert. That's something you just need to know a little bit more than somebody else to be able to teach them something. And that goes right along with what you were saying earlier about how you, you had kind of just learned about how to grow micro greens and sell them or whatever. And that's at the point when you started teaching other people.
Yes. Because you had the information, it was fresh. and that also helped you learn it better too. Yeah. And I, I, that's all in grained in my messages too. You know, I have a Facebook group growing and selling microgreens, and I tell people where I'm at, you know, I'm not, this is not a hundred thousand dollar a year business. I just, I'm selling typically like 30 trays a week, maybe on a good week. And my, my, keep in mind, this is real small, but you can take what you learned from me and you can scale it up even bigger for yourself.
It's just that I just don't have the time to scale it up right now. but you can be totally authentic and tell people exactly where you're at. And actually, you know, that's even more powerful in marketing nowadays. People are really into the arts, authenticity online and just, you know, exposing it all and, and more of a trusted advisor.
But yeah, you're right. It's, it's one of the best. You don't have to be an expert to do this, to launch an online course, pick something that is a high value that takes a bit of work to learn. Like piano takes a bit of work to learn. Going and selling microgreens takes a bit of work to learn because then you have a barrier of entry.
You're not going to get tons of competitors sweeping in and people know that they need some training to learn it. So if you find something like that, maybe it's, learning to code on the computer or know. Learning to startup professional closet organizing business or something. Business opportunities are great because it's really easy to, okay, to explain how people can get a return on their investment, but you're obviously not selling that and you're doing really well, so it's definitely not required.
Mmm. yeah. It's, it's definitely, great time to, to look into this and if you want to learn something that's pretty tricky, document what you're learning. Along the way. Put it up on YouTube, share it with people, right? A little cheat sheet and put it on a website and tell them, let's go to the cheat sheet.
It's as simple as that. And then you stay, keep staying one step ahead of them and keep learning more. And that's all there is to it. You can be teaching within first couple of weeks of learning something new yourself. Good stuff. Hey, all right. I think that's a, that's going to do it for episode one. So this has been really good.
And we'll be back. Episode two. We're going to talk about this. This leads right into it. We're going to talk about why, why create an online course? Why would you want to do it? So little preview there, the past couple of minutes.
Nate Dodson: Okay. I forgot that it was coming in episode two, but I'll have plenty more good reasons why you should do this in the next episode.
Jacques Hopkins: Yup. Sounds good. All right. See you next time. Well, thanks for listening to episode one of the online course sky podcast. If you're ready to jump in and start making your own online course, I've got a free quick start guide waiting for you at the online course, guy.com and in that guide, you'll find the eight steps to turning your hobby into an online course.
So go ahead and head over to the online course, guide.com and grab that Quickstart guide and we'll see you next week for the next episode of this podcast.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.