… think about the psychological state of the learner at every point
We delved into some very important insights on how to ensure student success, why learning to learn matters, and much more. I’m going to go out on a limb and put this episode in the “must listen” category!
In This Episode, We Talked About:
- (2:27) How Jonathan got into the online course world
- (4:48) The reasons each of us got and MBA, and our thoughts on whether it was worth it
- (8:57) Why Udemy?
- (11:25) How Jonathan generated sales early on
- (15:59) Why he’s sticking with Udemy even after building up his course library elsewhere
- (19:48) His recommendations for new course creators
- (23:29) Other elements needed to promote successful online learning, especially for adults
- (26:59) Jonathan’s take on refund policies
- (28:47) How he helps people build their own online courses
- (30:24) Some other things Jonathan is very excited about these days
- (32:36) His favorite tools for his business
- (34:45) How having online courses has impacted his life
- (36:37) Wrapping up
Whew! That about does it for today – don’t forget to check out all the cool tools (listed below) that we mentioned in this episode! And if you haven’t already, drop me a line and let me know what you’re enjoying about the podcast and what kinds of topics you’d like to hear me cover in the future.
Jacques Hopkins: Regular people are taking their knowledge and content, packaging it up in an online course and they're making a living doing, but not everyone is successful with online courses. There's a right way and there's a wrong way, and I'm here to help course creators actually succeed with all nine courses. Hi, I'm John Hopkins, and this is the online course show.
Hey, out there. My name is Jack and I'm your host here at the online course show. But if you've been listening for a while, you obviously know that already, but if this is your first time, I want to personally welcome you and thank you so much for joining me on this podcast. All about online courses. I'm excited to geek out with you about online courses.
In today's episode, we do several different types of shows around here, but today's episode is the classic success story highlight where my hope is that by digging into this person's story, we can provide both inspiration and information for you on your online course journey. And there's no question that today's guest has been an online course success.
Jonathan Levy have become a super learner. Dot com has done over $3 million worth. Of course, sales. Let me say that again. $3 million worth of course, sales both on YouTube, me and his own domain. He's also got books, podcasts. He speaks at conferences all over the world. And so there's no doubt that he's passionate about learning and about online courses.
This episode is absolutely jam packed with great information and takeaways for you. For example, Jonathan provides an awesome answer to one of the questions that I get most often, and that is. Hey, why would I buy an online course when I can just learn that topic for free on YouTube? So you definitely want to hear that answer from Jonathan.
He also talked about how to use you to me, well, even when you have your course on your own domain, and we spent a good amount of time discussing user experience and how to get your students to actually learn. The material and stick with it, so there's no doubt this is a must listen for anyone interested in online courses. Without further ado, let's get into the full conversation with Jonathan Levy right now.
Hey, Jonathan, welcome to the online course show.
Jonathan Levi: Thanks so much for having me as y'all come. Really, really excited to be here.
Jacques Hopkins: I'm excited to talk to you, man. I know this is a broad question, but I got to ask you, how did you get into online courses?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, accidentally is the short answer. I took a couple of different online courses while I was trying to do a startup idea. One of them was one or two of them actually were from Matan Griffel. I found this website called the Udemy, and I took this growth hacking course and in it he talks about like, you know, when we were growing our course business, we did this and this, and I was like, Oh, he has a course business.
And then I looked it up and he had a Ruby on rails course. It was called one month rails, and I was like, Oh, it's 50 bucks. I'll take it. Coincidentally, he and Chris Castiglione, his co-funder have become really good friends of mine since then. But I had this like light bulb moment where I was like, huh, people are actually paying to learn online.
I had a really good experience. It was the first time I'd taken an online course. Arguably I had a better experience than I'd had in my hundred thousand dollar MBA that I had just finished, I'll say, cause that's interesting. And during my MBA at oftentimes leave the lecture hall and go on Khan Academy, which isn't.
I wouldn't call it an online course, but I would call it online education in kind of a less structured way. In any case, I thought, that's really interesting. Startup didn't work. Few months later I'm looking for something to do and I figured out that I really only need to make about an extra thousand dollars a month to sustain myself in Tel Aviv where I just moved.
I had some real estate stuff going on and I'd sold a business before that was still paying out. I was like, if I could just make $1,000 a month, and then I remembered this whole online course thing. It's like, well a lot of people ask me about accelerated learning cause I had hired two private tutors to teach me because I grew up with learning disabilities and really struggled academically.
I was like, what if I put a feeler out and just offered to teach this. And, yeah, I knew nothing. I knew nothing about online courses, but I knew how to learn. That's what I teach. So I opened up a bunch of tabs on my browser and was like, how do you build an online course? How do you record videos? How do you edit videos?
How do you like where do you even sell an online course and how do you design pedagogical materials and what does it take for people to learn online? I just went crazy for like a week and a month later I published my first course become a super learner. Which went on to be one of you to these top selling courses of all time.
So that the whole message I share with my audience is like you can learn anything. And, and learning is like this master skill, but that's how I got into online courses.
Jacques Hopkins: So obviously I've got several followup questions on on what you just don't want to touch on is you mentioned the $100,000 MBA, and I want to ask you because. I also got an MBA, wasn't a hundred thousand dollar variety, but I read for our workweek in undergrad and like I was trying to create a business for myself and I was working and I felt, I feel like I chose an MBA cause it was kind of the easy path. Like I could spend money and go learn and then maybe new opportunities will come up as opposed to really buckling down and creating a business. Why did you go from.
Jonathan Levi: Your totally true and a lot of people do that. I went for two reasons. One, growing up in Silicon Valley. My parents had kind of just groomed me that I was always going to go to Stanford MBA. It was like one of these things. There was never a question like I was going to go to college and I was going to get an MBA and, and I, I don't think I questioned that enough because.
You know, they're my parents and they knew me and my parents didn't make kind of crappy recommendations to me. Like they never told me go out and flip burgers. They were like, you want money? Find a way. Start a business, do something. So they got me, and I think my parents worked directly with the founders of Intel.
My dad was one of the first employees at Intel. My mom was one of the first employees at sun Xerox and Eritay like they were around a lot of Stanford MBAs and were very impressed by that. But, I don't think I questioned it enough. And I also, I really enjoyed learning business. My favorite class at Berkeley, despite the fact that I was not in the school of business at all, I managed to squeeze my way into a class at Haas business school.
It was my favorite class by far. the professor was Dave Robinson. I'm still in touch with him, phenomenal educator, and so I really enjoyed it. And I thought, third answer to your question, I thought that I was going to learn the things that hadn't worked well in my prior business. So I sold the business in 2011 it was a luxury e-commerce play.
We're selling luxury car parts online, and it never really grew past a certain level. And I thought that in business school, I would learn how to grow bigger businesses and I would learn how to lead better and I would learn how to manage better. And in retrospect, I learned a lot of things, but not the kind of things that I really needed to be a better entrepreneur.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, very interesting. I've had people come to me even today and be like, you know, they know I've got an MBA. They asked me for advice on it. I'm like, don't do it. Just start your business. You won't. You'll learn so much more on your own than you will in the NBA.
Jonathan Levi: And you'll save a lot of money.
Jacques Hopkins: Save a lot of money too. Yes, absolutely. It was just the easy way to try to see progress as a 23 year old, but agreed.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. Agreed. And. In defense of the MBA, you can learn everything. I almost wrote a book called skip the MBA, where I was just going to teach you like the 500 different little lessons, like, okay, here's what managerial accounting is and here's what you need to know is going to be a textbook for people who skipped the MBA, right?
You can learn everything that is taught in an MBA on your own. The real question, and this, by the way. Segwaying back to online courses, I ask myself like, why do people learn from me when they can learn for free on YouTube? The reason people pay for an MBA or pay for an online course is the accountability, and I call it the curated learning journey.
I actually trademark that curated learning journey right. Where it's like having the structure. Someone sits you down and says, this is what you need to do and you're accountable this week. And so after coming off this MBA experience building my online course, I was like, look, I'm not a world champion memory expert.
I don't hold the Guinness world records for speed reading. Like I'm pretty average in both of those skills. How can I stand out? And it was, I will teach this better than anyone else, and I will give more lessons, more applicability, more worksheets, more everything, so that my students will be the most successful students, despite the fact that.
I mean, I'm pretty average when it comes to, I can memorize 50 digits backwards and forwards. I memorize 250 people's names. The world record right now is 1500 people's names, you know?
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. I mean, I always tell people that I'm not that great at piano either. Right? I just, I put this together in a very systematic, step-by-step way. I love the, I love the, the term. You've got curated learning journey. I think that's exactly what it is and exactly why somebody would take, you know, pay $500 for a piano in 21 days, which is actually a pretty short course and just going on YouTube and learning from a bunch of free videos. You got excited about online courses. You started diving into how to do the process. You've got it up in one month. Why you? To me.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, that's a great question. I think, originally for me, this was supposed to be a side hustle and I had that number, you know, the whole Tim Ferriss four hour work week thing. It sounds like we both both been influenced.
I had my number, I was like, I make this much here, this much here, this much here. I had this concept in my mind that I called infinite runway, right? So like in the startup world, runway is like, okay, you raised $1 million that's going to hold you for six months and then you're going to run out of money.
So I wanted infinite runway, meaning there's enough money coming in every single month. For me too, if it takes me 10 years to find my next startup idea. Hyperbolically speaking, fine. If it takes me 10 weeks, fine. But I didn't want my decision of what I was going to do next with my life to be at all influenced by monetary need.
In our first four days, we made $500 you know, and then in the first month we made 2200 and you would think that I'd go, Oh, this is a really good opportunity. It actually took me 14 months to turn around and go. I can turn this into a business. So I started on you. To me, because it was passive and I had to do almost nothing.
It was just set it and forget it, and believe it or not, for the first, I want to say three years, two and a half to three years of running my business, we only sold courses on Udemy. Even after I launched my podcast and my book, we were still teaching courses on Udemy. And then, you know, a friend, Dr. Anthony CVA kind of bashed it in my head. He's like, you are. Leaving so much value not delivered. Forget the monetary aspect of like selling courses for $400 instead of 10. The example he gave me, he's like, what would you do if money were not an object for your students? And I was like, Oh man, up. I would fly over to Berlin right now and you and I would record content, or I would have these guest lectures come in, or I would hire a neuroscience.
We recently hired a neuroscientist, which is not cheap. Let me tell you, in the UK, not in, you know, Manila. We hired a neuroscientist to go through and do a full audit of all of our techniques and publish a research paper saying like, these are the things that are really well proven. These are the things that are still unproven.
Just so you know, we teach them, but that, you know, science hasn't yet been able to prove this. You can't do that for 10 bucks. A student, especially when you to me, takes 50 to 75% so, but yeah, we started on you, to me, and I'm super grateful as well, to you, to me and every student who's ever bought a course from me, because that's literally what launched me into this thing.
Jacques Hopkins: Obviously don't have to tell you the pros and cons of you to me versus kind of having your own platform, but you know, people listening. You know, it's very easy to get any you to me course for like $10 you don't have near as much control, you can't customize as much, and you're just very limited when you're on your tummy.
But the advantage that I've seen is that you get to tap into their existing audience. So when you were able to almost 50 million people at this, right? So when you decided to go with Unum and you launched, you say you made $500 in the first four days, like did you have an audience already or were you successful because you tapped into their audience.
Jonathan Levi: Well. So part of my research in this whole thing of like, how am I going to win at this online course game if I'm going to do it right? Because I had other side hustles. I had a little software business that I started with a friend and I had all these different, you know, I'd read the four hour work week and the rich dad, poor dad, so I had all these little things trickling in money so that I could get up and go to a country where frankly, like.
My wife's a lawyer and the income that they pay, like skilled tradespeople is just ridiculous. So I had no plan to participate in the economy here. In any case, friends and family, like I did research, I did this whole lean startup thing. I asked people like, what would it take? What would I need to deliver to you for you to pay me 50 bucks for a copy of this course?
I didn't know how you'd have me work back then. So I sold to friends and family. I thought I was doing them a big favor, giving them a 50% off coupon. In retrospect, thank you to the first, you know, 50 people, friends and family from business school and whatever, who paid 50 bucks when three months later it was up for $10 and then that catapulted me to the front page and then, you know, you can get there.
I just launched a book two days ago. You can get to the front page of Amazon really, really quickly to stay there. You better have a high quality product. And I think we did by today's standards, probably not as much. You know, I didn't have this ridiculous studio that you see that I. Went way overboard on, I had my MacBook pro and a blanket taped on the wall and a desk lamp with a yellowish bag over the lamp and no microphone, you know, but I had figured out what it would take to win in this algorithm and to get on the front page. And then I leveraged friends and family to do that. And once there, you know, the quality of the course is what kept us there.
Jacques Hopkins: Now when you say front page, are you talking about like overall front page or just for a certain search term?
Jonathan Levi: This was many years ago. I know for personal development, we hit the front page, I'm pretty sure on the front front page. This was before, by the way, you knew me. You went the way of Amazon. Like there's no front page of Amazon. It's just, here's things that we recommend for you. It's personalized. It's like that now. But for a while there, this was early, early days, not the earliest days, but earlier days of UME where like there was actually a front page of their website and there was a team that made these banners.
I still remember. You know, and it was manually controlled and they sent me an email and they're like, our marketing team decided to put your page, you know, on the front page of the site. So that was huge. And then it, it really just took off from there. And again, you would think that I would go, Hey, this is really great.
We're helping a lot of people and why don't I do another course? I've got other ideas now. It didn't happen. It wasn't until I was in a, I was at a conference representing another product, which was for. The base of the pyramid. So I was really interested in technologies to serve Africa, South Asia, things like that.
And someone goes, so wait a minute, like you're doing all this for free. Like how do you sustain yourself? And we started talking about online courses. He's like, you have 40,000 students in your passive income. Side hustle project. I was like, yeah. He's like, why don't you just do another course and email them about it?
I was like, you know, I never thought of it that way. So I did another course and that course took off as well, and yeah, it just snowballed from there.
Jacques Hopkins: So he said to email them about it, but those 40,000 people were on you. To me, how did you have their email addresses?
Jonathan Levi: You use messaging tools, which had gotten worse and worse over the years. I have a pioneered. Many, many, many, many different ways to, how do I put this delicately to build relationships with my Yutani audience in ways that do not get me in trouble. Systematically. A lot of those ways have been closed down. A lot of those loopholes have been closed down because of me. There are still ways they're never gonna not be okay.
For example, offering bonus resources such as podcast episodes that I've done with other memory experts, and when people come to the webpage, they can opt in to get notified of new episodes. We do a lot of that. Offering games and resources on our website that people have to use it. We've actually built an entire game server where people can challenge and test their memory, and once they're there, they see advertisements for our premium products, things like that.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay. So you, you had a lot of success on you to me of several years ago. Are you still on Udemy or have you moved everything over to your own platform now?
Jonathan Levi: We are still very much on you. To me, perhaps this cannibalizes some of our premium business. My take on it is two things. One, it's not just about the income, it's also about the impact. You to me, allows me to reach people in Brazil, Russia, places that I would just never get Indonesia. We have a huge following in India. And I would never get to the numbers that I've gotten to. We've done 220,000 paid enrollments on YouTube, which is bonkers to me in 205 countries and territories, which if you look on Wikipedia, there are not 205 officially recognized countries, which means like South Sudan.
I have a student there, Palestinian Territories. I have a student there. What's the other one? I think it's Kurdistan, not Kurdistan. You know what I'm talking about? In any case, like countries that are not even recognized as countries, I've been able to impact people's lives, which is so freaking cool, but also I'm not the kind of business person who can turn down five figures a month.
You know what I mean? Like that comes in every single month. We do nothing for it. Sometimes it's mid five figures, sometimes it's low five figures. But I don't know. I had a friend who pulled all this courses from you to me on principle, and I was like, I just can't. I can't do that. That's money that like can cover a lot of my staffing expenses. You know, I've been able to grow my team on that.
Jacques Hopkins: So yeah, I mean, I, it sounds like it's a relatively easy decision now that it's there and you had such early success to just leave it there, but if you were starting now and you know everything you know now, would you have a presence on you? To me.
Jonathan Levi: Yes, actually. And I'll tell you why. It's hard to stand out just like in the app store or you know, Google play or whatever. It's super hard to stand out. But here's the thing. Every person who finds your brand, that's, that's someone coming into your world. I have this model that I developed with, one of my friends and mentors, Dr.
Anthony, ms CVA, we should call it the iron pentagram, but no one liked that name. So now we call it the pinwheel model, and it's basically, it's a five pointed star with your podcasts, your books, your entry level courses, your. Blog, your mailing list, your social media, it's all this different stuff and it all points to each other.
And then all those things point to your premium content. So it's like all roads lead to Rome. It's like, I don't care where you discover me. You know? And you'd be surprised how many people discover me on you to me or my podcast, like my cheapest entry level stuff as opposed to the $750,000 we spent in 2017 on Facebook ads.
I still, a lot of people come to me and they're like, yeah, I discovered you because you interviewed Chris Bailey or Dave Asprey. You know this, right? People come to you through your free stuff. I do a lot of consulting and I help thought leaders build online courses. And what I always have them do is create an entry level light version and put it up on you.
To me, it costs you nothing to put it up there. If you get 20 students and one of them buys your premium course, cool. You know, my team is so pro at uploading the courses, getting them through all the approval processes, it takes them a few hours of work and it takes me, you know, a few hours of planning and thinking, okay, like what can we cut?
That really is only. Merited by a multi hundred dollar price point. And what can we give people as a taste one for impacts? Because a lot of the clients that I work with, I built a course for someone who doing gender intelligence training, right? Like her whole premise is we should treat men and women differently because men and women are different at the neurological level.
And employers need to know this and they need to treat them different in a good way, not in a bad way. Meaning don't try and force female sales reps to sell like men and don't try and force male designers. To design like women. So anyway, important stuff that we want to get out there, even if people can't afford the thousand dollars of her training program. So there's a version on you to me, that people can check out for 10 bucks.
Jacques Hopkins: It sounds like you are a big fan of kind of being in as many places as possible. Totally. I'd imagine your process for like creating an online courses is different today with your current catalog, maybe back steps that you recommend for somebody just getting started.
You know, if somebody is just getting started, you recommend having a light version on you to meet. What are some of those other steps in the process that you'd recommend for people starting out with online courses?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, this is a great question. I give a 10 minute talk about exactly this at a genius network last year, and the idea is really simple. Like first things first, assume that people can learn everything that you are teaching for free. It's just like when someone's starting like an app company or whatever. And you know, you know these like first time entrepreneurs and they're like, don't tell anyone. Can you sign an NDA before I tell you my idea?
You're like, dude, the idea is like the least of your concern is the execution. Like anyone who's done it before understands ideas are worthless. Right? And it's the same thing with online courses. Like your actual knowledge is worthless. I hate to say it, but like it's very valuable. But as a commodity in the marketplace, it is worth a zero because I promise you there is someone teaching it on YouTube for free as a lead magnet, right?
Like in my business, I've got Ron white, who is the one time USA memory champion. He teaches most of. Like memory techniques and stuff on YouTube for free. A lot of it, people pay him and me for our courses because of this idea of the curated learning journey. So therefore, the biggest part of the value of your online course is the learning experience, the pedagogical journey.
Then that's where you spend your time and emphasis. How does that play out? One, I never write a word before I create an outline. That outline is checked for inconsistencies. It is checked for things coming in the wrong order. It is checked to make sure that I'm actually countering people's questions before they even have them.
And recently we just did a certified coaching program, which was a lot of prerecorded content, and I'd never done one before, but I treated it as an online course. And I asked someone who finished, I was like, do you feel ready to coach clients? Did you have any questions in the process? He said, every time I had a question, it was answered within the next lecture.
Like you were reading my mind. And that's because I am. I literally sit there and I think about the psychological state of the learner at every single point. and I think that's what you have to do. That also plays out in your writing. So when I introduce the concept and I think to myself. Is this really the concept that the person wants to learn?
For example, people take an accelerated learning course because of the sexy stuff, speed reading. They don't understand that. First you need to upgrade your memory. You need to make sure that you're optimally using your brain before you can speed read. So I grabbed that bull by the horns. I say, look, I know you want to learn about speed reading and we're going to get to that in a few lectures.
Here's why I'm teaching you this now, or in this lecture, you're going to learn why this way of doing things is wrong. Now I know what you're thinking. So just countering and making sure that the learner feels supported and carried through that learning experience is huge, is absolutely huge. And that's the same reason I script all my lectures word for word for word to make sure.
And my whole team and I go through and we do this, like if I introduce a new concept or idea, I make sure that it's been defined before. And if you write things out of order, you can say like, yeah. And as you know, you know, this is what's called hubs law. Well, did you define that before? And how long ago was that?
Because there's the learners still remember what that means. So I spent a lot of time thinking about this, but of course I would, because my whole background is how do adults learn, you know?
Jacques Hopkins: Well, it sounds like you place a very high importance on user experience as well as user results. Yeah. And making sure that the curriculum is the right fit for the audience and it's the right order and it's going to be effective, but there can be more Tomlin courses than just the curriculum.
Right? There's, there could be interactive components, community S some other things. What other aspects do you think are part of a successful online course?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. Well, so the Andra Goggle theory is very clear, right? The way that adults learn. If you don't engage people and get them actually doing, they're not learning.
So you may create a very entertaining online course. Masterclass is really good at this. Super entertaining to watch Steve Martin talk and tell stories and super entertaining to watch dead mouse actually do stuff. How much are you actually learning because are you downloading templates and manipulating them themselves?
On the other side of the scope? One month does an amazing job of this. Like we're not going to teach you how to code. We're going to walk you through and you're going to build your own app and by doing, you are going to learn. So some subjects lend themselves more than others, but getting people to do actual exercises and.
And, and this is one that I think is really overlooked by most online course creators. The guy by the name of Malcolm Knowles in the 1950s came up with these six understandings of what adult brains need to learn, and none of them will really surprise you, like pressing need, immediate applicability, leveraging of prior knowledge.
Very important. So give people examples that tie in, show them how these things are related to things they already know, even if this is a new subject, but then another one is agency, right? They need. To make decisions and, and this is what I think is so flawed with not just online courses, but a lot of learning experiences is like, when was the last time I teach her when do this or do this?
Do whichever assignment is most interesting to you. There are three recommended articles that you should read as homework for this lecture. Pick one because just by doing that, what you've done is you've moved the locus of control. To the student from the teacher and anyone who has a morning routine will tell you when they do their morning routine, they feel more empowered.
There's actually a study done that seniors in senior homes who disobey, meaning the nurse says, take your pills now, and they say, no, I'm going to take them at lunch. Or they move the furniture illegally against the policies of the nursing home. They live longer and they live happier and they stave off dementia.
Longer because their locus of control is internal. Their minds are engaged. And and we do the same thing in our learning experiences. I say, I want you to decide between doing this and doing this. I want you to decide how you're going to do this. And I want you to pick one of these and, and actually get people making decisions, personalizing their learning experience. It's so important.
Jacques Hopkins: So my big takeaway from what you just said is, as I'm, as I'm teaching somebody piano in my piano course, typically associated with a concept or a lesson is a song example, right? Because I want them to directly apply what we learned to actual songs. That's my big thing is go, let's not practice just drills and whatnot.
Let's apply it the songs, but there's always just one song, right? Okay, let's, let's apply this concept to this song. And I do get complaints like, Jack, I've never heard of this song. Like I'm not getting it. I'm like, look. It's the concept applied to this song, and then you can apply it to other song. But according to what you just said, I really should be giving people a choice. Like, look, I have three choices here. Pick one of them to apply this to. So I love that.
Jonathan Levi: That's exactly, and notice what they're saying to you, right? They're telling you one of those other requirements, which is. Prior knowledge, they were like, I can't connect this. This isn't a song I've ever heard. It doesn't fit into my worldview because adult learners come to the table with a lot of knowledge, and that's a good thing because it allows them to create more synaptic connections and, and connect things easier.
But it's also a bad thing because they come in with preconceptions. And so you have to kind of work with that and try and turn that into a an advantage.
Jacques Hopkins: Jonathan, what is your take on offering a refund policy?
Jonathan Levi: Great question. So we have a couple of different business models that we've gone through over the years.
We still sell courses at the 300 400 $500 price point. And for those we haven't, no questions asked. We do ask questions, we say, what could we have done better? But we have a no questions asked. 30 day refund policy. Part of the reason it's only 30 days. Is we work with affiliates as I know you do shop. And people don't like to not be paid for 90 days or a year or whatever it may be.
So that's the main thing. I would love, love, love, love to do a one year refund policy because my stuff takes at least two months to apply, but it's just not practical if you're actually using affiliates in your business. We also have subscription programs, so $499 a year or $49 a month. You can access our full library.
Of over $1,700 worth of courses for that. On the annual plan, there's a 30 day cancellation policy. On the monthly plan. There is a no cancellation policy.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay. Got it. And you've got a lot of things going on. Is it safe to say that core sales accounts for most of the revenue in your business?
Jonathan Levi: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. Of course. Sales and then course consulting as well as is big for me. More recently, I've started doing more courses for other people. Joe Polish kind of kicked me in the ass. He's like, so you've done 200,000 enrollments and you only build courses for yourself? Like, does that sound smart? When I say it to you like that?
I'm like, no, that's. Doesn't sound smart. It sounds like I should share this expertise with people. But yeah, no, the vast majority of my business is core sales and membership. So we also have a mastermind group where I have people come in every month, folks like how L rod near all Benjamin Hardy. And they lead challenges for my group. So a 30 day challenge with Hal Elrod to fix your morning routine. And that's also a pretty significant driver of revenue for us.
Jacques Hopkins: So when you say that you help people with courses, what does that look like? Are you actually building it for them? You just consulting. What is it.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. We have three different levels that I work at. One, I just consult and it's like a whole package. I, I'll review your content and make sure that everything is doing, cause I really view my secret sauce. Like there are better videographers than me. People have nicer studios, is nicest as this whole background is. My magic is really in the learning component because that's what I do.
I teach how to learn, so I will go through your materials for X if you want me to go through your materials and also consult you on the production and all that stuff. It's why, and if you want me to do everything besides actually write the content, that's the only thing I can't do for people. I know Tucker max, you know has this all right.
The book for you, if you just talk to me or talk to my team. We don't do that. I can't do that, but I will do everything except write the content, including editing your scripts, making sure the language flows, my team edits everything. We come out, we film, and that is a different price altogether.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. Very cool. Where can people find more information about that?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. For that, they would have to email me personally, I only work with a few clients at a time because I'm always producing my own courses, but they can, I can give you my personal email. It's, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jacques Hopkins: And that's your actual email or is there actual email?
Jonathan Levi: I never actually give that out, so I would just ask that people respect that email. And there is a slight chance that I will forward your email to my assistant if I personally don't have to handle it only because I'm going honeymooning for the next, month and a half.
Jacques Hopkins: That's exciting. So look, you're obviously very passionate about online courses, but you dropped in a little while ago that you just launched a book. Like what? What else are you excited about? And I'm assuming, you know, one of those things is this book.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. I'm really excited about the book because again, it's just a way for me to sink my tentacles into the brains of more people and empower more people. 205 countries is awesome. I want to get to a million people.
I want a million people to have measurably better lives because of the techniques I talk about in my book. And that's hard to do with online courses because online courses are huge. You know that the online education space makes $360 million a day. A lot of it goes to Tony Robbins, but still, but still it's not as big as books.
And so that's part of it. And I'm also really excited about the certified coaching thing because as you and I have been talking about. I realized at a certain point that no matter how good my pedagogical content is, I still can't force people to go through it. And I'm sure you know this, you know 70% of people don't complete your courses in the publishing industry, the book publishing industry, there's this statistic that only 27% of books that are sold ever have the spine cracked.
27 it's really bad. It's better with online courses because how hard is it to pop open that instead of a YouTube video right. But, that's really bad. And so I realized if I actually want people to be implementing this stuff, then I need coaches. And so I spent six months developing the most intensive course I've ever done, which is a certified coaching program.
And we now have 27 people enrolled in 17 different countries who are being trained not to teach my stuff, but to. Support and hold accountable around all of my stuff and that, that was an important distinction for me as well. I want everyone to learn from source materials, but I want them to have someone on call where they can ask questions, who knows, knows their stuff, and I want someone kind of sitting on their heads and holding them accountable to their goals.
Jacques Hopkins: I don't think anybody's probably ever called you lazy. It sounds like you've got all kinds of things going on, man, and when you have an idea, it sounds like you absolutely run with it. So look, just a, just a couple more questions for you here, Jonathan. Next thing I want to ask you is about some of your favorite tools, software tools, online services. I like to geek out on this a little bit. What are your top maybe three to five tools that you like to use for executing your courses? Three to five.
Jonathan Levi: All right. We use Thinkific. I'm a brand ambassador, so I have to disclose that. But I love Thinkific and, it has its limits, but I think it's in a good way, just like an iPhone has limits, but it kind of keeps you out of trouble.
So I love Thinkific. We use Zapier. Zapier is my favorite employee. I love my employees. My assistant is a superhuman. Brandon, if you're listening, you're awesome. But I, I'm exaggerating cause APR is awesome. I, it's not better than human beings, but Zapier is the best thing ever. you have a followup on that.
Jacques Hopkins: I love it. I absolutely love it. It's one of my favorites because I'm a huge fan of automation because it can do things without human intervention. Like it saves time, but it's also typically more effective, like less errors too. It's a, I love it. Totally, totally.
Jonathan Levi: And yeah, we use all the standard stuff. Stripe, Asana, Slack. One that I just discovered recently, which is so cool. It's this thing called . Have you heard of this?
Jacques Hopkins: Bungee Euro is a, they sponsored this podcast for about 20 episodes. I've had the creator on it is it is one of my, if not favorite tool.
Jonathan Levi: Yes. It is so freaking cool. So I've been using that a lot recently. And then I'll give you a free one that we haven't started using yet. It's called thanks.io and it's Bon Gero, except it automatically sends out handwritten postcard that are actually written with a pen. I love that. Cool. And it plugs into Zapier.
Jacques Hopkins: I love that. I'm going to have to check that out cause I'm all about automation. But when we can break through that barrier every now and then and have like a super personal touch as well. I love it. That's why I love barn. Juro. There's something I use called pick snippets, which allows you to do something similar with email. It is sent people a picture with, I'm holding a picture, it's got their name on it, like welcome a welcome Jonathan, and that's automated. And so I'm definitely gonna check out this handwritten look thing.
Jonathan Levi: We do that with the Lem list as well. Cool. I love this like marketing hat, geeky stuff. I just love it so much, man.
Jacques Hopkins: Yes, I could. I could probably talk about it for awhile. So look, let's go a little deeper here. Yup. You have online courses, they've probably changed your life. What have you, been able to do with your life because you're in online courses and have online courses?
Jonathan Levi: Well, I live in Tel Aviv, which I. You know, I'm completely detached from the economy. I have a really, really great quality of life here. I can travel as much as I want. I'm about to take off, as I mentioned in the next two months, I will be in Orlando, Phoenix, Berlin, Seoul, Hiroshima, Tokyo, all of Japan.
Let's just skip over all of Japan. London twice. Phoenix twice. I just can like travel as much as I want and I get to impact people's lives. My last business was selling luxury car parts on the internet to wealthy people and I don't think I was impacting people's lives, but at least once a week I get an email that I actually changed someone's life, which is super cool.
At first, you don't know how to handle it. You're just like, Oh, thank you. But then like you kind of, You learn to accept it. And when I say accept, I mean accept, like you accept a compliment. And that's really super cool. And now what I'll do is the coolest thing ever, and I wish more of the people that I looked up to did this, but if I'm going to be in a city, I just send out an email.
With like an acuity scheduling thing and I'm like, Hey, you know, just put down a $40 deposit and I'll pay for your lunch or whatever so that people don't cancel. And I like have lunch with people who've taken my courses is freaking awesome. It's so much fun. That's another tool that I use religiously acuity.
And two weeks ago I had lunch with like eight people in London, two of whom literally, their lives had been completely changed. By my work and that is so gratifying. So I'm going to do that in Seoul, Tokyo, Berlin, Phoenix, and London again.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, that is just super cool, obviously that, I mean, just congratulations on all the success. It's been a pleasure talking with you today. Let us know if there's anything else like on your mind that you want to share about online courses and, and just remind us where we can kind of find your stuff online.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. So my main business is superhuman academy.com you can check that out. You can go through my funnel, see how we're selling products. I do have a program that teaches you how I string it all together. So it doesn't per se teach you how to build online courses, but teaches you how to build the business around it. How do you connect the podcast to the books, to the, you know, mailing list and how do you do all these moving pieces? And that's at branding you.academy.
It's a cool program for people to check out. Oh, and check out my new book, if you don't mind. Superhuman academy.com/book I would greatly appreciate if you picked up a copy and left a review. It's only $7 49 cents.
Jacques Hopkins: Right on. All right. Well, thank you so much, Jonathan. It's been a pleasure.
Jonathan Levi: Thanks for having me.
Jacques Hopkins: It was real fun. That is going to do it for episode one Oh two of the online course show. Thank you so much for joining me here today. If there are any links or anything we mentioned that you want to check out, you can always. Do that by visiting the show notes page. And today's episodes page is you could probably guess the online course, guide.com/one Oh two and you heard there at the end, we talked about a few of our favorite tools that support our online courses.
And Jonathan and I are both a big fan of Bon Juro, which is a tool that makes it crazy easy to send short, personalized thank you videos to your students. You can get started with a free trial, a Bon Jura for 14 days by going to dot com slash Jacques that's J. A. C. Q. U. E. S. we also talked about thanks.io which is a new one for me, but I'm definitely going to check that out.
We talked about pick snippets. Think get big. We talked about Zapier. They may have been a couple of others. The links to all of those. You can find at the online course, guy.com/one Oh two and don't forget to join the free community for listeners of this podcast and other online course creators to join the community and be a part of an online course tribe.
Just head to the online course guy.com and click on community at the top. Or you can go to Facebook and search for the group called the online course community. Guys. That is all I've got. Another episode is officially in the books.
Thank you so much for listening once again, and we will talk next week.
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