You don’t have an excuse to not do this… If you don’t put out your crappy version, you’ll never get your good version.
It was awesome to chat with Alison and hear her open up about the why and how of her online course business. Her take on teaching online is inspirational and I think you’re going to love listening in to our conversation!
In This Episode, We Talked About:
- (1:47) How Alison got into making online courses
- (4:10) Going from idea to actually creating a course
- (9:32) Did Alison start making sales right away?
- (11:16) An early realization she had that led to her development of new courses
- (13:44) Why Alison started with “flower math”
- (14:58) Her thoughts on figuring out sales and scarcity
- (18:39) Some of the benefits of creating an online course
- (21:14) What to do when customers fail to complete a payment
- (26:44) How having an online course enables to be flexible with her florist business
- (28:01) Where Alison’s traffic comes from
- (29:15) Does Alison have favorite tools or software?
- (31:18) How simple solutions can be game-changers for students
- (34:08) What Alison would tell herself if she was just getting started with online courses now
- (35:31) How her online course business affects her and her family
That’s all for now, folks! See you on the next episode of The Online Course Show.
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 Jacques Hopkins, and this is the online course show.
Everyone's shock Hopkins here, and welcome to the online course show. This is the show for all things. You guessed it, all nine courses. So whether you're a complete beginner and just starting to go down this path or someone just launching your first online course, or maybe you're a seasoned veteran and online courses.
There's going to be something here for you. In today's episode, we'll be talking with Alison Ellis, who has succeeded with an online course about flowers and running a floral business. And look, I'm really curious if there's ever going to be a niche out there that's just not going to work in an online course, and I continue to seek out people in all kinds of niches and try to continue to talk to people in niches that haven't been featured on this podcast.
And today is certainly one of them. So if you're in some niche and not sure if it would actually work, listen in, because people all over the world are succeeding with online courses in all kinds of niches and topics. So lots of great information here. Without further ado, let's get into the full conversation with Alison Ellis.
Hey Alison, welcome to the online course show.
Alison Ellis: Thank you for having me.
Jacques Hopkins: You are on the show today and that means you have a course or at least one course, right? I think you have more than one. How did you get into this whole world of online courses?
Alison Ellis: What accidentally? It really was not something I planned to do, but I'm a business minded person. I'm a floral designer, and so I, you know, have the artistic side, but I really. I'm a small business minor. I have always worked in small businesses. I'm fascinated by small business. I'm fascinated by like having a good brand, having a good reputation, longevity, you know, there are a lot of like short business lives and I want to have a long business life cycle.
So I've been running my business for 17 years and. What I found several years ago when I started attending workshops and meeting other floral designers in my industry that they didn't actually know how to make money in their business, which was a shock to me because I had worked in about half a dozen flower shops that all had a similar pricing model.
So I never questioned how to do this. There was never any kind of question in my mind about how much money I should make or how much I should, you know, Mark things up or charge for my time. So when I discovered that people didn't really 100% feel confident in pricing, it just sort of hit me that I should teach people how to do that.
And so it began, it was just that easy, like a small little idea that was, I don't want to say nagging at me because it wasn't negative, but it was implanted and all of a sudden just started taking root.
Jacques Hopkins: So there are several ways you could go with that when you get the idea, okay, I've got this system, people are struggling with it, and I can help people. There's several ways you can share that information. You could write a book, you could do local training, seminars, all kinds of things. Did you consider anything else or did you immediately think online course?
Alison Ellis: No, I immediately thought online course because then you could take it anywhere. It doesn't matter what country you're in, it doesn't matter what time of day it is. You don't have to hop on an airplane to come see me speak somewhere and you can access it any time at all. And also I think people, you know, I'm sort of like the, you know, extroverted, introvert or introverted extrovert. I don't know which. But I'm one of those. And I think a lot of people are, and learning and your own time at your own pace, behind the safety of your little computer screen is, it's not risky. And so it feels like the perfect Avenue.
Jacques Hopkins: But you've said you've been doing this for 17 years. You were obviously the floral expert. How did you know how to make an online course?
Alison Ellis: Really? I had no idea. I had no idea. I don't know if you're familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert's book, big magic, but it's about sort of living your creative life. Oh, you must've read it. You must. So it's really about creativity and ideas. And. One of the concepts that she talks about pushing through fear is really what it's about. Pushing through the fear of, you know, your arch being rejected or your passion being, you know, not something you can monetize and just doing it because you for the love of it.
Right. And one of the things he talks about are ideas and how ideas are alive and so they exist and they are. They are floating around there. And an idea may come to you like this flower math idea came to me and it may be yours. They may be waiting for you whenever you're ready. Or it may go visit other people too, and someone else may get to it before you.
And then how do you feel about that? And so I happened to be reading this book at the time, and you know how I would feel about that? I would feel real mad if somebody did this. First, so it wasn't an option to think about, well, I don't know how to do this. That's how I live. A lot of my business principles.
It's just about pushing through fear of not knowing and just doing it and not caring if it's perfect, just getting it done and getting it out there. And so that's what I did. And so one of the other concepts of big magic is that these big magic moments happen, like, you know, feed, kismet, whatever you want to call it, destiny.
Once you have an idea that's yours. Moments start happening around that. And that is exactly what happened to me. So I had this idea that I wanted to do a course. And you know the magic of Facebook all of a sudden, this was before, I think they were doing quite as much tracking cause this was in 2015 when I first made the course.
Just all of a sudden there was a, you know, Hey, there's a free webinar. You know, someone who's email list I was on and he said, I'm doing a, you want to do an online course? I'm doing webinar today at noon on how to make an online course, so I want to make it all online. Worst. I signed up for the webinar and bought his platform that day. It was just like, done deal.
Jacques Hopkins: Do you mind Sharon, who's of course.
Alison Ellis: That was Derek Halpern's Zippy course.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I've heard good things about that. I haven't taken it myself, but I'm very familiar with with Derek and that course, and I've talked to some people that have gone through it. Would you say you've had a pretty good experience with that course?
Alison Ellis: Well. So when he did, again, this was like in 2015 so as I recall, it was really just like a webinar showing you how easy it is to use this WordPress. It's basically the WordPress template, right? That allows you to just add courses, and I already use word processing already. You know, know how to work the backend of my website because I know just enough about WordPress to be dangerous.
So it was a no brainer to use a word press platform. You know, again, it was just a big magic moment of kismet. Like, this is something I already know. You know, I already know the dashboard, so it wasn't quite so scary and it's super, super easy to use. So I have been happy with it.
Jacques Hopkins: No, I, I misunderstood at first. He had Zippy courses. Is the software like that's the WordPress plugin. Does he also have a course on how to do courses.
Alison Ellis: I would bet that he does. He's been changing a lot of things around, from what I realized, like I don't think he's into like a new aspect of business. I don't know exactly what like health stuff now, you know? But this is something that was so easy again. Yeah. It's like a, it just allows me to add a course out, a product. I can do anything in minutes. It's really very, very easy and it's mine. I own it, right? Like I'm not paying somebody monthly. I'm not on somebody else's platform. It's totally mine.
Jacques Hopkins: So because it was meant to be like you got on the webinar and you were able to find this platform that allowed you to easily create an online course. And that was one of my biggest struggles when I was getting started was just the tech of it. Like literally having this membership site behind a password wall that nonmembers couldn't access back in 2013 that was, for whatever reason, incredibly hard to find. I don't think Zippy courses existed back then, but what about the information? Like how did you know what to do and how to market this stuff?
Alison Ellis: A lot of trial and error, but also just being somebody who follows business logic, even if it doesn't necessarily apply to me. So I'm a big fan of Marie Forleo and I took her B school. Again, a lot of the work I do is like pushing through fear, right?
Like not being afraid that my video isn't good enough or that I don't have a great background or. My content is solid and good, and that's what I hang my hat on, not the production value. So, I just knew that I could do this if I just wasn't afraid to put myself out there. So, you know, I started making videos like, like kicked my husband and my son out of the house for like a few days.
You got to leave for a few hours every day. So I could sit, you know, with this, the one white wall in my office and a lamp, you know, I didn't, I didn't have like a fancy little light or anything and just did my best to just like record these videos again as fast as possible because that idea is alive and somebody else may get it. So I had to do it now and I really slapdash this thing together. Probably went from idea to my first sale within five weeks of the idea.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, the first sale I usually tell people is the hardest. Would you say that the course was successful from the start.
Alison Ellis: You know, it was, I had a really lucky, and I really mean that. I'm not gonna. I don't shy away from patting myself on the back if I do a good job. I got very lucky. I started, you know, of course it started an email list, right? You have to do email list. I got people on my list. I had been doing some education through a website called flirty Fleurs. So she's a blob for florists.
And again, it's a follow the Marie Forleo Koolaid of putting yourself out there and videos and things to do. I started writing guest posts for her and submitting them. And every time I wrote one, she published it. And then I started making videos. I said, what do you think about videos? So I started making videos for flirty Fleurs and she published them.
So I started, you know, just dipping my toe in the water of being an educator, doing that free education on somebody else's platform. And then, so I had enough practice, you know, everything is practice. So I had a little more, you know, especially when it comes to piano. Right. It's all about the practice. So I got to a point where it was easy enough to say, I'm going to just put out these videos.
I'm going to type up this content. You know, I already blogged, do all the things, do all the things that you have to do. So when I got the email list started, I would, you know, blog and give them free content. Told them that flower math was going to be coming soon. And then once it was released, you know, they was talking about having like your five figure sales month, right?
Like make five figures. So it took me about five weeks and I got to just about five figures in the five weeks. But that's the most successful launch I've had with flower math. And what I realized very soon after that was I could not just keep every single day, every single week talking to my list about flower map, right?
Like promoting the thing, you know this like launching the thing promoting thing is. Exhausting, and it is pushing through fear, constantly of tiring out your audience and sounding like a broken record, like by my flower MAPCO. It's by my flat, you know? And so while I had that successful launch and I was really happy with it, then it just sort of like petered out a little bit because just naturally, like, you know, I had the sale price, I had the whole thing.
So that went well, but then following up to sell it became. Just really, really draining and I thought, okay, I'm going to make it not for sale all the time, right? Like there's a launch period. There are times when it's available, and a good friend of mine who's a famous floral designer, she said, you know.
Why would you take this off when you just started it? Which is a good point. I had just put all this time in to make this course and one, you know, five week period of good sales and now I'm going to take it off the market. And then that's when another floral designer said, you know, you're really great at customer service and particularly like talking to customers in email and stuff.
So you should make some email templates. And I think she's joking. But then I Googled email templates and I found a photographer who makes email templates for photographers. And there were like $15 so I bought them and they were kind of crummy, frankly, like they were super branded to that person. Like I would never send an email that sounded like that.
So I thought, man, I can do this. I can make awesome templates that are really easy for you to add your own voice to. And yeah. And then all of a sudden I had more courses rolling out a few months later, and now I think I have, I have 10 paid. Courses and a handful of resources that I do as well. So. Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: Well that is just awesome. That is so cool. And the five weeks, you know, five figures after five weeks is definitely an outlier in these conversations. Most people don't find success that quickly, so that's, that's really amazing that you did. Clearly, you were doing plenty of things right before you jumped into the core stuff.
I wish I would've been able to learn from you when I, when I was just getting started with my course. Because it certainly took me far longer than that to hit the five figure Mark. so you mentioned all these courses you have now, it sounds like flour. Math was the first one, and I was looking into it a little bit before we jumped on the call.
And, on the site it said something like, you can't opt out of mathematics, which was really cool. So why did you start there? Why not just start with a course that's called how to run a flower business?
Alison Ellis: Well because just the pricing was the thing that I felt was most lacking, and it was most shocking to me that people didn't know because I worked at, like I said, half a dozen shops that all did the exact same pricing model.
So it just never occurred to me that anybody who sold flowers. Do you didn't know this exact same model. So it was the thing I felt the most confident that I could be an authority on in a way that wasn't at all. You know, when we talk about pushing through fear and stuff, it's those fraud feelings like, well, I could never do that.
Who am I to teach this? There are people who are way, way better than me. So through pushing through all of that sort of, you know, background noise, which takes practice, right? To push through those fraud feelings. It became really clear, like this is the thing I can do without having any sense of feeling like I'm a faker.
Jacques Hopkins: So you got this advice from somebody that you said was good, to not have your courses go away. Like people can always buy your courses. I'm thinking that's still the case, but just going from your website, it looks like I can pretty much enroll in anything now, which is not how I do things, right? If you go to piano in 21 days.com right now, you can't actually buy the course right now.
But I do notice that, for example, flower math, right now there's a sale. I think when I go to real flower business.com right now, I mean today is September 25th the day we're recording this, and I'm right at the top, it says, flower math. False sale is here. So are you trying to do a little bit of scarcity maybe by rotating sales? Is that what you're doing?
Alison Ellis: That is apparently what I'm doing. You know, I'm trying to be really kind with myself around these courses. This is my, this will be like the fourth anniversary of flower math this year. And I really have to give myself grace around figuring this out, because you have to try a lot of things.
And that's what I've come to realize. The audience is different for everything. And like I was just, I was saying to you before we got on that I was at a retreat with, whereas teaching flower math retreat, I mean, it was a workshop. It was a learning workshop. There was very little relaxing going on, but it was lovely.
We did sleep in a year. So I guess that counts as a retreat, but you know, it's teaching the pricing aspect live, which I love doing. And you know, someone's said, well, you know what, if you just make it not available, and you know, they only can sign up at these times and that might actually increase my sales.
And I do know that. But you know, a lot of times they'll say like, why did you create your business? Right? Like when people get deep as you, why did you create your business? It wasn't to make money right. And as a floral designer and my floral design business, I think, no, no. I became a florist to make money.
That's why I created this business and with my courses. I understand that statement a little bit more. Why did you do this? Hint? It wasn't to make money rings more true with me with the courses because yes, I did do it to make money. I'm not, I'm not going to lie to you, right. I didn't make this and put it out for free.
Right. But so like for example, right before we got on, I hopped into my email and there's this like unbelievably incredible. Thank you. From someone who took flower mouth a few months ago. Telling me how much money she made over the last three months, how everything is so much better in her business, how she couldn't do this without me.
And just thank you so much for, you know, making a course that you can buy for, you know, $500. Thank you so much for letting me pay you $500, you know, that feels amazing. And the truth is, I don't want to deprive somebody of the opportunity to buy flour math whenever they finally get their act together to get their $499 or their payment plan or whatever, because they need this.
And I know that they need it. And so that's why I don't do it in a launch period. And so it may be not the best marketing strategy, and it may be something I need to. Reconsider, but that's where my heart is behind this thing. Like if you don't know how to make money in your business, I do know how to do that, and I want you to know how to do that.
So the sales are a new thing. I just started doing that. Last fall was the first time I did this idea of a sale to create some scarcity because I create great products, but I am terrible at creating a sense of urgency. I am like, I have this coolest, and it's your anytime you are ready people. And so that's, that's something that I'm working on improving. So yeah, the fall sale, I did a March sale and now this is the second time I'm doing a fall sale. Yeah. Try to get people to realize they want it.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, I think, I mean, it certainly seems like it's working for you and there's a lot of benefits to having an online course, especially when that's actually selling.
And you just mentioned a couple of receiving thank you. Emails like that. I mean, I'm sure that made you feel incredible situation to impact people like that. And then, you know, making money, passive income and all that is, is obviously a huge benefit. You didn't shy away from that being one of the main reasons to jump into that.
I think anybody that would deny that would be kidding themselves. If you don't feel comfortable with this, that's no problem. But can you give us just a ballpark of how much this brings in on a monthly basis?
Alison Ellis: All the courses. Every month is a little bit different. My goal this year is to reach $100,000 in course sales. So that's my goal. It's not impossible to reach that goal based on what I've already done so far this year, and projections and also the payment plans. Right. The payment plans, like I said, I tried to give myself a little grace here as everything's an experiment, I'm figuring things out. Still creating payment plans, particularly interest free payment plans, you know, not in year long interest repair, but two months.
You know, something like that really helps with. That consistent income because then when I have those payment plans rolling in, you know, we talk about this passive income. Nothing feels passive about what I am doing here. You know, I have a Facebook group that I foster. There's probably, there's almost 8,000 florists in my Facebook group.
I am, you know, writing emails. I am blogging. I am, yes. Blogging, I'm on guest podcasts. I just did a podcast yesterday where I was a guest, which was a great honor. So, you know, I'm doing all the things. But it's okay. Cause I love it.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. You know, the word passive is there's always something to do. It can be misleading, but you know, I'm sure there are plenty of nights where you go to bed in the morning. Additional money has shown up in your account. You know.
Alison Ellis: There is nothing better than making $499 while I'm sleeping. And I also like when I make $20 when I'm sleeping, cause I have some courses that are only $20 you know any of those moments, you're just like, look what I can do.
Jacques Hopkins: So it sounds like it's safe to say you probably are making between like five and $10,000 a month. I'm doing that math correctly.
Alison Ellis: That would be safe to say. Yep. Some months, you know, some months it's 15 some months it's six, you know? It just depends. It really, really does. It depends on how much. I put into it sometimes and the sale and then there are just times where for whatever reason people seem to wake up and just start buying it.
Jacques Hopkins: So, yeah. And I love what you said about payment plans cause a lot of people are kind of scared of doing payment plans cause it's like, well what if they don't pay and this and that. I love it as kind of what you alluded to as a way to just diversify things and know that you will get like next month if I don't make any new sales.
Well, I'll still make a little money from payment plans. Right. And I just, I pulled up my tracking system and for example, I know if I don't make any more sales over the next six months, I'll still make $30,496 from the payment plans. And that's a sense of security there. And yeah, sure. Some of those people might not make their payment, but most, well, yeah.
Alison Ellis: Jerry's fault on the payment plan and it is annoying. It is. It is annoying when they don't pay and you have to send them an email, Hey, your payment didn't go through. I'm just wondering when you wanted to catch up with that and then they don't email you back and then do I take away their access to the course?
It's, it is what it is. There's always going to be some risks with that and I also have a money back guarantee on my course. And that took me a while to finally say, I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid to say I stand behind this so much that I'll give you your money back if you don't love it.
Jacques Hopkins: I have a pretty dialed in process for the failed payments and all that. Maybe I can share that with you after the call. I don't know if it's a legit.
Alison Ellis: I would, well, you know what I, you know.
Jacques Hopkins: I think it could be valuable to the audience. So if that's something that's valuable to you, I'll go ahead and share it now cause this is certainly something I struggled with for a while and honestly like, do you use Stripe as your payment processor?
Alison Ellis: I don't see. So here's the thing, I, when it comes to the technology side of things. That'll be the next phase of me really like reevaluating what I'm doing here. Right? So it's like the, my sales funnels and the emails and like my sales language, all that stuff has been a work in progress and I've just been using the Zippy courses platform.
And using my email platform and I haven't had any bandwidth to explore, is there a better way to do this? Should I move it to teachable or something else? So that's going to be sort of something I have to explore in the upcoming months is how can I do this better? So for now, I'm really just using PayPal. That's like how you can pay for the courses.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, I switched over to Stripe from PayPal probably three years ago, and I think Stripe side, the most popular payment processor for online courses that I've seen integrates well with, you know, the teachable think if they click funnels, all those, I'm sure it'd be courses as well.
And I switched over and here's what happened is I set up my payment plans and all that, just like I had them in PayPal, things were working. And one day I logged into my Stripe account and I just happened to click on like payments. There was multiple failed payments in there. I'm like, wait a second. Okay, so this is what it looks like when somebody is on the payment plan, but then their card is declined.
And I was like, how did I not get a notification? How did the customer not get a notification? It blew my mind that Stripe would fail the payment and not have any sort of notification system and they legitimately did not. And so I was looking for a solution and I came across something called stunning, stunning.co and that's something that integrates with Stripe.
And that will automatically email people not only when they fail payments, but also when they have. A credit card on file that's going to expire before the payment plan ends, and it will email them to update their credit card information. So I use stunning, there's three different emails that I send out that you know, it puts their first name, it has a message.
In fact, on the third email that gets sent, like I have a link to a video in there. And if they click the link, it brings up my video and I'm just like, look, Hey, this is how this works. Like you signed up for this thing in good faith. I provided you the thing and I hope that you'll continue to make your payments.
You know, this is how I support my family, this and that. You know, try to try one, one last ditch effort to get them to actually pay. But here's, here's what happens. Stunning does not do anything beyond that. It just sends these emails. So at first I was using stunning and all that, but it's like, okay, if somebody still doesn't.
Pay after that, then what do we do? Right? So my assistant kind of manages this whole process and what we do is after that third email, we wait like three or four more days. They still haven't done anything and they're not replying. They're not doing anything. We just kill it. We kill their subscription, and we don't let them into the course anymore.
Right? We just say, okay, this is a loss, but we don't want them to be able to continue to access the course and that I haven't found a way for that to necessarily happen automatically. So we manually go in there. She, she goes in there manually, doesn't let them access the course. They won't try to be charged anymore.
And I have had people come back to me months or even years later and be like, Hey, I'm ready to get back into the course. Why want to let me in? It's like, dude, like you got three reminders. Like you never responded. I can't let you back in. You know? Yeah. So that's, that's, yeah, that's what I recommend. You'd have to be using Stripe to be able to use stunning. But just the general concept, I mean, you can even get a VA to send out the email reminders to, if you needed to.
Alison Ellis: PayPal does let me know if a payment is skipped or missed. It does automatically try it again after. And I can set how many attempts. I think it does three but I love your video idea and yeah, you can remove access to the course, but you know, for me, they can download the stuff so they can, you know, download, watch videos and do the whole course.
And that's just gotta be a risk you're willing to take in order to make the sales for the people who will send you the email about how amazing you are.
Jacques Hopkins: All right, so we got off a nice little tangent there. Jumping back. you're making a good amount of money from your courses, so this is what you do full time now, right?
Alison Ellis: I do this full time and I'm a full time florists too, so I'm sort of two times full time. I keep doing my floral design. I just do weddings. So I'm scaling back on, you know, my first business. So I want to still keep doing it cause I love it. I don't want to give it up. I love the courses. I totally love the courses.
But I really do still love floral design. I love flowers, so I don't want to give that up. And I've been doing this for 17 years here in my little state here, Vermont and a, I don't want to give up my piece of this market. I want to keep my hands in it. So I'm doing, I did fewer weddings this year and the courses give me that flexibility to say I'm going to take five weeks off in the middle of our prime season here so that I can like have vacation time or focus on my courses or do something else. And I'll take more advantage of that next year. I will be even more bold in taking fewer weddings and not being so afraid to take some time off.
Jacques Hopkins: So look, I have a wife who enjoys getting flowers, and so I've certainly Googled in my city, you know, florists and places I can buy flowers. And there's, there's no shortage of results. There's lots of florists here in my city. I'm sure there's lots of florists everywhere, all over the world. Lots of people that need your courses. So how are these people that need your courses finding you.
Alison Ellis: They are finding me. I think a lot of times through referrals, they're finding me when they're searching things like how do I price something, and they're certainly going directly to my website, real flower business.com and you know, consuming probably some free content there first and then hopefully opting into something else that I have to offer.
Jacques Hopkins: Paid advertising or is this all organic.
Alison Ellis: I just started attempting Facebook ads. And that's all I'll say about that. I, it's not something I have been successful with yet. I've really been working on, you know, the warm audience, the people that already know me and selling to them. And I have to, again, you know, in the list of long list of to do's and how to expand, I have to start, you know, selling to cold traffic and getting those people to sign up. For courses that I have not mastered yet at all.
Jacques Hopkins: Let's next talk about some of your favorite software and tools that you use. You already mentioned Zippy courses. Are there any other tools or software that you're using that you just couldn't live without, with to manage your course? Yeah, I wish I had tools.
Alison Ellis: I couldn't live with that. I mostly have tools and I'm like, Oh, is this the best you can do? I mean, I really, I work everything just off of my laptop. I do absolutely nothing fancy. I just use the built in, you know, camera and I got a microphone that I felt like did not improve my voice quality at all.
So I ditched that. And yeah, I really, I, there is nothing that I use that I'm like, this is perfect and everyone needs to do it. Like I said, I need to. Explore some more options of, you know, what other platform, it's not that I'm unhappy with Zippy courses. It's been great. I love how easy it is, and I don't even know that I want to change platforms.
Like I have control. I'm not a control freak, I like to say, but I'm lying. I obviously am, you know, I obviously am a control freak. I want to own this platform. Like if anything, these are mine, you know? I don't want anybody else having a piece of this. So, I don't have really great recommendations on any of that.
And it may be the flip side of that is you don't need to have great anything to pull this together. You can just do that. You don't have an excuse to not do this. Cause if I can do it from my nine year old laptop that I have, and you know, the built in camera and the built in microphone and. A Facebook group, a Weber email list, you can do it.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, I think that's the key takeaway from that answer for me is that you don't need all these fancy tools. You don't need all this fancy training necessarily. Like for you, you got started, like through fate, you found this software that allowed you to have a course. And beyond that, there wasn't much like, you literally didn't name one tool that you like and you're still very, very, very successful with all my courses.
And, I think people listening to this can just take away. Like, if you know something, if you can help something, somebody with a, with a certain topic and you've got the motivation and the grit to get it done, you can be successful like you.
Alison Ellis: And you can never underestimate how helpful you can be. With something that seems simple, because while flower math, I think is, you know, a game changer for people. I also have email templates, like I mentioned that our people freak out about my email templates, but I don't know how I live without them. I don't send an email without these, and it's literally like how to tell somebody you're, you're not available or how to tell somebody that they owe you a deposit in a contract.
People have trouble just saying basic stuff to customers. And so I made a tool that helps them see basic stuff to customers and they're like, Oh my God, this is a game changer. So there's nothing to like simple or basic or rudimentary that you can't share with the world that people won't be like, wow, that really changed.
I mean, I can't tell you how much people freak out about my email templates. I, there's like a super cheap, affordable thing, you know? But. there's thousand dollars for these email templates, but people literally say they can't send emails without them. They always refer to them. And it's literally just so basic to me to do what I do in these templates. It would be easy to not recognize that it's a need that people have.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I would say I take that for granted as well. I'm just thinking as you're talking, I'm thinking, okay, piano teachers, like they would probably love to have some of my email templates.
Alison Ellis: Oh, I bet. You know, how did they, like if you, so my mom is a piano teacher. She, she's always been a musician and she took lessons as an adult. She would have, you know, teachers come to the house and she would go lessons. And then one of her piano teachers was retiring and said, you should take some of my students. And so all of a sudden my mom's running a piano tutoring business with no intention of doing it.
And so she's someone who has been, she's been doing this for a really long time now. And even in retirement still does. It travels, you know, goes to their houses and stuff and no matter what, when I say to her like, let's streamline this, and you know, you should have a cancellation policy. You can't, we can't just tell you that soccer lessons today and they're not going to be there and you show up.
And she is like, no interest in making it more businessy. You know? It's like, it's very casual. which blows my mind, but you know, every now and again, she'll send me a text, like, what should I say to this student? I mean, it's a text, but that is what her text sounds like. And, I'll give her a little phrase or two, you know, but, and sometimes you have to fire a student, right? Like she's had to walk away and say, I, this isn't working. so yeah, I bet those templates would be very handy to teachers.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, look, just a couple more questions for you here and then we'll get outta here. Put yourself in your shoes back when you were just getting started. When you first get that idea for to take this information and put it in an online course, knowing everything that you know today, like what advice would you have for that person that's just getting started?
Alison Ellis: I think the advice I would have is just. I don't know if anyone's ever said this before, but just do it. Just do it. I would just say, swoosh, Nike, trademark. Just do it. Don't think about all the things that you can tell yourself you're not prepared to do. Don't think about what people are going to think or say, or that people are going to judge you.
Don't worry about. If it's not good enough, if it's not good enough, you'll make it better. You can always improve it and you know, progress over perfection is a mantra of mine. Also, a Marie Forleo is, and it's a game changer when you give yourself that permission to. Put it out the best you can now and make it better later. Because if you don't put out your crappy version, you'll never get your good version because you didn't get the practice of getting it started.
Jacques Hopkins: I completely endorse what you just said. Last thing for you, we'll go a little deeper here, and that is what does having a successful online course, mean for you and your family.
Alison Ellis: I'll tell you what it means for me personally is I feel like I feel pretty bad ass. Am I allowed to say bad-ass on your podcast? well you did. You are now, it feels really good to have worked so hard at what I do to perfect my craft of floral design and running my business. And to have pushed through fear again of being judged or of not being perfect to say, here's what I have to offer.
And for people to say, this changed my life. I made money for the first time in my business. I feel so much more confident in what I'm doing and I feel more respected. That bolsters me up so much. Like I love what I do. I love floral design, and I love when I bring a bouquet McBride and she cries, Oh, those tears.
I feed off of those tears. Right? I love when a bride cries, but what I love even more cause that's important and I really do love that. Even more than that, when someone says, you help my business and you'd like. I'm making more money. That feels even better. If I had to rate which one I like more. The truth is I do like the way that I can help impact people's lives.
So that's what it means personally for the family. The truth is what it means is that mom's on the computer a lot and mom does need to step away from the computer a little bit more. And I got better at doing that this year. So there's a learning curve that created a little bit of a tunnel vision for me of building up this business.
And what I see happening in the future is that I can step away from some of this stuff and be more present. And then just super specifically what it means is like right now I'm sitting in a brand new office cause we put an addition on our house and had a beautiful porch. I got a mud room, I have a place to hang my coat.
All of a sudden. That is because of my courses that we're able to do that. So just to put a little said.
Jacques Hopkins: It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. To just wrap this up, where can people find your stuff online? Connect with you online.
Alison Ellis: You can find [email protected]
Jacques Hopkins: Thanks.
Alison Ellis: Thank you so much for having me.
Jacques Hopkins: All right. That's a wrap for today's show. Thank you so much for listening in to episode one Oh three you can find all the show notes as usual by going to the online course. guy.com/one Oh three. And if you want to learn more about how I can help you with your online course beyond this podcast, head over to the online core, sky.com there, you'll find my free community, of course graders that you can join all the tools and resources that I recommend and the courses and programs that I have to offer it to you. And of course, plenty more podcast episodes.
So thanks again to you out there tuning in and I will talk to you next week for more online course show.
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