Today we’re chatting with Steve Nixon, a successful online piano course creator who played an interesting role in my own course creation journey. He’s got a wealth of experience in his niche and is on a mission to teach people what online businesses actually need to become successful.
It’s better to get feedback from people right away… real people with real problems that you can serve right away.
It was awesome to hear Steve’s perspective on over a decade of successful online courses, plus hear where he is branching out into new territory. I’m feeling inspired and I think you will be, too!
In This Episode, We Talked About:
- (1:11) Chatting about the latest updates to our businesses and more
- (6:18) Catching up with Steve Nixon and hearing about his online course journey
- (9:16) How Steve’s story impacted my own
- (12:06) Tracking the market and finding “the hook”
- (14:01) Steve’s perspective on starting the risk of starting his own online course
- (15:58) Why he has multiple offerings within one business – and his suggestion for people who don’t have an audience yet
- (19:36) A classic downfall of new course creators
- (20:08) What Steve would do if he was creating his first online course today
- (24:38) Looking to the future of the online course market
- (28:37) Branching out and providing value
- (31:46) Steve’s upcoming projects and future plans
- (34:15) David and I discuss Steve’s interview
- (40:55) Is it a good sign if you’re being trolled?
- (41:12) Wrapping up today’s episode
We covered a lot of interesting ground today, so I hope you’ll drop me a line and let me know your favorite part of the conversation! And make sure you check out the great tools and freebies linked below.
Jacques Hopkins: Episode 117 is brought to you by Deadline Funnel. When I implemented an evergreen funnel into my online piano course, my sales literally went from about a thousand dollars a month to $10,000 a month, and Deadline Funnel makes it super easy to do evergreen funnels the right way and the ethical way, and the folks at Deadline Funnel have set up a special deal just for listeners of this podcast. You can get a 28-day free trial of Deadline Funnel. Normal is 14 days by going to deadlinefunnel.com/OCG, which stands for online course guy.
Regular people are taking their knowledge and content, packaging it up in an online course and they're making a living doing it. 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 online courses.
Hi. I'm Jacques Hopkins, and this is The Online Course Show.
And off we go. Welcome aboard. Glad you're with us. This is The Online Course Show. I am your host Jacques Hopkins and here with me as our cohost, David Krohse.
David Krohse: Hey there.
Jacques Hopkins: And we are excited to dive into all things online courses with you today. David, welcome to episode 117.
David Krohse: Thank you.
Jacques Hopkins: What has been going on in your world?
David Krohse: Oh man. Came in on Saturday morning and just touched up those couple parts of the webinar that I was talking about. But then my wife and I headed down to Kansas City over the weekend and did a run called the Groundhog run. It's an entire 5k or 10K that happens in these underground tunnels that are like just like dug into this cliff.
Have you heard of this?
Jacques Hopkins: No.
David Krohse: Yeah, it's pretty crazy. So it's been a tradition for us. We've gone down there like seven years. And it's climate controlled at like 68 degrees. When I say tunnels, these are like, you can really think of it as like underground streets. They're like tall enough and wide enough for a couple of semis to drive side by side.
3,000 people go in there and you're just running through these caves, so to speak. And like every so often you'd like look to the left and you see a loading dock for like the US government, and then you'd run a little ways and see a loading dock for quick trip gas stations. It's just a unique experience and a fun tradition for us. So.
Jacques Hopkins: I love how everybody is different because as soon as you said Kansas City, like my mind, I just completely zoned out. I'm thinking Superbowl, cause you probably don't even know this. You're not a big sports guy, but Kansas City, the Chiefs are in the Superbowl here coming up soon. And that's the first thing I think of.
But I'm glad you had a good trip man. And one thing we do have in common is online courses. We both have an online course. And that's what we're here to mostly talk about today. So I'm excited for the interview. We're going to be playing here shortly with Steve Nixon, and I wanna update a couple like you and the audience on a couple of things going on on my side.
I may have told you this before, but I'm working on an update to my testimonials page on pianoin21days.com and I'm really excited about it because it's got this, it's got a new feature, it's a filter, and I'm allowing people to be able to filter the testimonials by what type of person they want to see.
Do they wanna see men or women? Do they want to see, you know, what age do they want to see? Do they want to see people singing while they play piano or just people playing piano? And I've got, I've got a ton of, got a ton of testimonials now, and so that's going to really help people narrow, narrow in on maybe finding somebody similar to them so they can best relate.
Have you seen that update yet?
David Krohse: No, I haven't. Is that, what kind of technology or what plugin are you using to do that?
Jacques Hopkins: Oh, I don't know. I just say, Hey, web guy, this is my vision. Make it happen.
David Krohse: All right.
Jacques Hopkins: And that's one of my favorite ways to execute a project. You know the, if you've ever heard of the book called Traction?
He recommends you actually set up your entire company that way, where you have two people on top. One of them is, is a visionary, and the other one is called an integrator. Right? And I kind of, I can do both. And I, and I, a lot of times I do, I do, do both. And, but like in, in situations like this, I love being able to have this vision for what I want the testimonials page to be like. And I've got a, a web guy that I fully trust.
He's not full time for me and everything, but I just say, Hey, here's my vision. And he, he makes it happen. He's, he's amazing.
David Krohse: That's great.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, so that's, I've been, we've been working on that and we're putting the finishing touches on it, and by the time the this podcast comes out, that will be live. So if anybody wants to check it out, just go to pianoin21days.com. Click on testimonials at the top.
David Krohse: Sounds good.
Jacques Hopkins: And then the last thing I want to mention before we get into this, this interview with Steve. I haven't brought this up in a while, but I wanted to remind people about my offer for, for ClickFunnels. We both use ClickFunnels. I know you like it. You know I'm a big fan.
I want to incentivize people to, to try it, use it, and obviously use my affiliate link when they, if they, if they want to give it a shot. And I want to help people succeed with click, ClickFunnels as a course creator. And so I want to go over the things that people will get when they sign up for ClickFunnels with my affiliate link.
First thing is like hour long course on, Hey, if you're a course creator, here's how I recommend you use ClickFunnels. Then you get all of my templates. You get my memberships site templates, so my online course, you get my order forms, you get my funnels. Pretty much every template that I have, you get. Webinar funnel, all that good stuff.
Just sign up for ClickFunnels using a free trial of ClickFunnels using my affiliate link. Go do theonlinecourseguy.com/clickfunnels. Sign up for the 14-day free trial. You'll within 24 hours, you'll get an email from my assistant Emily, with all that good stuff. How does that sound, David? Is that a good offer?
David Krohse: It sounds amazing. Yeah. I mean, you're, you're teaching got me up to speed and I'm happy with how it's working, so definitely it's efficient and effective.
Jacques Hopkins: Thanks for that. Appreciate that. All right, well, before we talk about this interview, why don't we play it for everybody? This was a fun one. I'm a big fan of Steve Nixon. You'll hear that in the, in the conversation with him, so we'll go ahead and play that for you right now.
Hey, Steve, welcome to The Online Course Show.
Steve Nixon: Man. It is truly a pleasure to be here.
Jacques Hopkins: It's good to see you again. It's good to catch up. I'm excited to dive into your story, specifically how it relates to online courses and among other things.
You're not new to this at all. You know, you've been doing this a long time, so there's so many places we can go here, but let's start with you just telling us a little bit about what your niche is and what your current course offering is as of today.
Steve Nixon: Yeah. Great. So we, I am the creator of freejazzlessons.com. We started the website in 2011 it's funny, I've trained myself to say we as we built a team, but it was just me in the beginning, threw a couple licks up on YouTube and a couple chord videos and put a lot of time and energy in and made sure they were good.
The production wasn't so hot because it was 2011 I didn't know exactly what I was doing quite yet, but the teaching was really solid, you know, it was a professional, full time professional musician at that point, you know, got busy with gigs. So I put, you know, two, three, four videos, whatever. I started kind of getting some emails and some comments in YouTube and being like, Hey man, I love your stuff, you know, thank you.
You know, Sergey from Ukraine. And I was like, yeah, right, spam. That's not a real person. You know, some dudes, you know Paulo from Brazil. Yeah, right. Whatever. But after a while, I keep getting some wait, maybe people actually are watching this stuff. So I put up just a few more. When I had a break from touring and people started kind of passing it around and sharing, you know, the videos, and we started getting people subscribing to the email list and it was really, really fascinating how the growth went.
And we released our first course in 2012 on this website. Okay. It was a jazz piano course in which we taught about, it's actually called the jazz masters method. We taught about the improvisation styles of many different famous players. And you know, there's a funny story. When I first launched the course of, I said, Hey man, you know, I'm going to print up like a hundred copies of this thing.
Like I don't, that'll last me like six months or so. And it's sold out the first day and I said, what the heck is going on here, man? This is crazy. And that really just that first day was when it was when I truly realized that we had something here. So, you know, that was 2012 and fast forward to today, which is 2020 we are one of the largest, if not the largest jazz piano education websites in the world.
We have a lot of different courses, coaching programs, individualized lessons, membership stuff, books, DVDs, you name an old kinds of different assets so that we can use to help people really get this art and science of jazz piano down.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, that's incredible, Steve, and I think it's appropriate at this point that I tell a story, and I'm sure I've told you this before, and I've told it on the podcast before, but I'm sure you could agree that we all have many different influences on our lives that get us to where we are. And I think there's a good chance that if I didn't hear about you and your story, I still could be an engineer to this day.
And so you definitely had an impact on me and my life and my story. You launched your course in 2012 I heard you on a podcast in 2013 it was early 2013 and I hadn't created piano in 21 days at that point, I was working on some other business that was making zero dollars and I was trying to get out of the world as an engineer. Not because I really hated it. I just really wanted to work for myself and have an online business, and I was procrastinating working on that business and I was procrastinating with playing my piano.
And so I was like, man, if I could just turn this into an only in business some kind of way. And I was like, how can I do that though? And it was that very night that I heard your podcast episode with Pat Flynn on the Smart Passive Income podcast. And I was like, oh my gosh. Fate, if there ever was a moment, an online course, of course, and back then, if you would have been more like a pop piano or just not jazz back then, Jacques would have been like, Oh, well this exists already.
I can't do that because it, it already exist. But I was thinking, this guy did it for jazz. Let me do it for another genre. It's possible. And the rest is kind of history. So once again, thank you Steve, and I just wanted to kind of set the stage here for this conversation with that story.
Steve Nixon: Man. That's, that's awesome. Thank you for sharing that. And first of all, it's truly my pleasure. I was telling my wife about this earlier. I was like, you know, I'm doing this interview with Jacques here, and you know, I helped him out in the very beginning, but really, you know, I can take maybe 0.01% credit for it because I know how much work really goes into it.
So I'll take that 0.01 credit for the inspiration and maybe the, you know, the model of that this could be done. You can serve people, you know, thousands and thousands of people over the world, but you did 99.9999% of the work on yourself. So, but thank you. Anyways, I, I, but I really can't take a lot of credit.
Jacques Hopkins: I appreciate that, man. And I'll be honest with you, you know, you just talked about the a hundred copies and how they sold out in the first day and when it was time for me to launch, then I think I launched right at the end of 2013 I was like, well, you know, Steve. Steve's sold like a hundred copies when he launched. I'm, I'm definitely going to do that too. And I got, I've made like one sale with my first one.
Steve Nixon: Oh man.
Jacques Hopkins: What do you think? Why do you think it was that your first launch was so successful?
Steve Nixon: That's a great question. Okay, I'll, I'll kind of spitball here since, since I'm a jazz musician, let's just, let's just riff here and let's see, let's see. I'll, I'll think of this out loud. So if some of it is that I am, I am my customer in many ways, right? I am a jazz musician. Jazz is an art form for those people who aren't listening out there, who don't play jazz, you know, it's an art form that could last, you know, the study that 20 lifetimes. And so you're constantly trying to get better no matter where you're at, even if you're already a pro, you're trying to get to the next level, whatever that is for you.
So I'm a student of this art form as well, right? I'm constantly trying to figure things out. So I've really had my finger on the pulse of what does the market want? What are people struggling with? Where are their problems? I also have always had a good sense of like kind of a hook of like, how do we, how do we get something that's, for lack of better terms, kind of sexy to people and exciting that they would want to have, I got gotta have this.
And I think it's important that you do that. So for example, well, like one of the biggest problems that people have in their musicianship is rhythm. Okay. Now I'm saying this to you, but people don't want to buy a course really on rhythm. Right? Even though it is, one of the biggest problems in the piano world is rhythm.
People getting their coordination, their hands working together, playing cleanly in time, but people really aren't that interested in it. Right? And I, and I know this, I, I'm, I'm well aware of this, so when I create courses, it's, it's, we're doing stuff that's really helpful for people, but also it's things that they absolutely know that they want and we're just going to really deliver those goods and make sure that we're really knocking the park out.
So, you know, it's being aware of, you know, what's going on with the market. Also, you know, it was a little bit earlier days, internet nowadays, you know, your average, you know, info product seller, you know, especially if they're kinda like. Yeah. You know, you and I are both in the, in the ClickFunnels Facebook group, man.
You know, some of those dudes are like kind of really aggressive marketers. They're not necessarily like musicians, you know? And you know, they're like, yeah man, we're getting 6% open rates in our email, and I'm like this because you're spamming the crap out of them, you know? So we always deliver value.
Even, even if it's a marketing email, there's some sort of value in that email. So we have a really high open rates, high clickthrough rates or making sure that we keep that relationship good. But like I was saying in terms of early day entrepreneurship in 2012 just as an overall whole opening clickthrough rate was higher across the board in almost all verticals. So you know, our conversion rate crushed in the very beginning. Now, and that was, I think, another really big factor as well.
Jacques Hopkins: So I mentioned to you that your story on this podcast is what made me realize that this was even possible, like an online course as even possible. I'm curious, what was that for you? How did you realize that online courses were even a thing? Like today, everyone knows about online courses or most people know about online courses, but back in 2011, 2012 how did you know that creating an online course was even possible?
Steve Nixon: Yeah. So since we're having fun here, I'm gonna, I'm gonna grab that question and I'm gonna flip it on its side, okay. If you, if you always go with what is possible. It's almost, it's you, you are immediately really running into a wall. So it's, it's, it's a better question I ask is how can I make this possible, right? Or how can I do this? So I didn't necessarily say, okay, well I followed XYZ path and I did this and I knew that, and I knew these metrics in place.
You know, those entrepreneurial skills that I learned later in terms of studying metrics. I didn't think about that, you know, I just said, listen, I want to really, really, really help people. I'm going to start building some great relationships. I'm going to build out something really cool that I think the market is going to want.
And if it doesn't work, what you do, I got a couple thousand people are my fans online, you know, and I lost, I lost some time, you know, I'll survive. It was wildly successful, of course, but like, you know. Sometimes you gotta look at it and say, well, what's the worst thing that's going to happen to me? You know, I didn't necessarily spend a ton of money in the very beginning when I was first building the site.
Put a ton. It's time in, but okay, you, I'll survive. So I lost, you know, half a year, whatever, serving people. Like if that's the worst thing that happens to me in my life, I've lived a blessed life.
Jacques Hopkins: That's a heck of an answer, Steve. So here's where I want to go next. Our businesses seem to be fairly different. Even though we're in basically the same niche of piano, I chose to go the route of, I basically have one course and it's on my one site and people can shoot, choose to either stick with my free material or buy the, that one course. For you, you mentioned you have a lot of things going on. You have lessons, you have DVDs, all kinds of stuff. Why did you choose to go the route of so many different offerings within your business?
Steve Nixon: Yeah, great question. So, initially I mentioned in the beginning, you know, I've had sort of my finger on the dial, so to speak, and I knew I had a sense of what the market wanted in the very beginning. But after that every single thing I've created afterwards has been what people have told me they want.
And you know, studying, looking at data, looking at people, respond to the website, qualitative feedback. People writing me and telling me, you know, I have a couple customers we have who they're like my eyes and ears, you know, they tell me what's going on, what they're traveling with, and I'm taking notes. I'll interview people. And we just, we get a lot of data. So everything we, we build at this point, it's just basically trying to help people solve their musical problems, you know, helping them succeed and become a better musician. And so, you know, there's a lot of our courses that we don't do necessarily, like generalized courses.
There's an outcome based thing. For example, we have a course, a zero jazz piano hero right? And the goal of that course is to teach them everything they need to know, to be able to play songs they love in 30 to 60 days. Jazz, piano songs they love, right? But there's other things as well. You know, there's music theory, you know, and so we do always have music theory in our courses embedded in, but we don't have, you know, we did, that's not a course directly for music theory.
We have another course for jazz improvisation for blues piano, you know, so these different assets of musicianships. You know, musicianship that, that people want and need. And that's all we're trying to do is just give them like everything, you know, one stop shop for everything they need to do to become a better piano player and a better jazz musician.
Jacques Hopkins: So you said that basically everything that you create and have been creating is based on people asking for it. I think that's clearly the best way to go about things because you know that there's going to be a market for what it is that you're creating. The last thing you want to do is spend all this time and energy and resources, creating something, and then, and then there's crickets, right? So one of the biggest questions I get is.
Steve Nixon: Very, very, very expensive. You're creating stuff, whether that be expensive from, you know, financial investment or time investment. If you're creating stuff that nobody wants, I mean, Ooh, that's tough, man. You know?
Jacques Hopkins: So I think most people would agree that it's great to ask and then deliver on what people are telling you they want. But you've got an audience. I've got an audience. What do you suggest people do that either have a very small audience or no audience yet in that, but that want to give people what they want?
Steve Nixon: Great question so first of all. Why don't you have an audience? And what I mean by that is, why aren't you working to build an audience? You know, like, why aren't you out there building relationships, trying to build an email list, giving value to the marketplace in advance, asking nothing for, you know, asking nothing in return. Just trying to build relationships, trying to become somebody who, you know, is the trusted source for them in their life. And then it's very easy.
So you can go in and be like, well listen, let me, let me make something and then I'll try to build the audience afterwards. But I think it's backwards and I think they actually, that's probably what most people do, is they're like, listen, I'm going to build my amazing product or my amazing course, whatever, and I'm going to find the audience afterward. I'm not saying that doesn't work, but it's harder to do it that way, right? It's better to like get feedback from people right away and then you know, you actually have a, an audience and real people with real problems that you can serve right away.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I love it. I think it's intimidating and, and, and sounds like a lot of work. It sounds like even more work than just go ahead and make an, a course. So a lot of people will choose to make the course or make the product, whatever it is first. And, and hope that the audience comes later. And a lot of times it never does. So I love that and I, I even suggest people, you know, maybe you don't even know what direction you're going yet, but start building that audience.
And that way you can get that feedback. You know, even if you don't know what you're going to make a course on, or maybe you don't know specifically what the course topic is going to be within your niche, start building that audience and start listening. Now, Steve.
Steve Nixon: On summary.
Jacques Hopkins: On, on, on that same note, like let's, let's say hypothetically free dry, jazz lessons doesn't exist. Your company doesn't exist. All the things you've created doesn't exist, but you, you still, you, you, you remember all of it. You have the experience and the knowledge. Like let's say that you had to start over, like what would you do? What are the steps you would take to be successful again?
Steve Nixon: Yeah, I mean, first and foremost, I would start building an audience again, right? How can I deliver value to a marketplace in advance? And then everything gets easy. Right? Everything gets easy. So what can I do to build an audience? How can I contribute to people? So everyday I would, I, you know, and you want to do this in a strategic way, of course we can get more into the weeds of that, but the high level review thing is how can I deliver some sort of value to people in a scalable way, on a consistent basis and start building a fan base and, and you know, a sense of followers or an email list or something like that.
Jacques Hopkins: Do you think that if you had to do it over again, that YouTube would be the main way you would do that?
Steve Nixon: I'm a big YouTube fan, both as a, as a content producer and as somebody who watches stuff on YouTube, right? Like I watch a ton of NBA stuff on YouTube and you know, and I listen to podcast on YouTube, you know, YouTube is just a channel, you know, it's something that I like from, from a business perspective, but also as a consumer, right? I think it comes down to paying attention to what works. Right? So the, you know, there's lots of different channels. You know, there's Instagram, there's Facebook, there's Twitter, there's blogging, right?
Jacques Hopkins: Podcasting.
Steve Nixon: There's podcasting. Exactly like we're doing right now. You know, there's solo email drops. I mean, we can, we can, you know, list stuff for, for hours and hours on end, right? They're all just different channels and you have to pay attention to what works for, you know, what are people responding to you, but also from a slightly different angle, what are you best at?
You know, I don't always like to go from a Steve first perspective. I think that's kind of a mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs do is they start with me first. It should be about them first, right? The other person first, but, I'm really good on video, right? I happen to also, you know, my audience likes videos, so great, a great connection.
But if I was horrible on video, for example, right? I just, I was not good on video and I was horrible at speaking and everything about video just freaked me out. I'd find a different channel, you know?
Jacques Hopkins: Let's talk about tools next. What software are you using to host your course?
Steve Nixon: So we use a lot of different tools. I mean, I'm a, I think . I don't know about you or you just entirely on ClickFunnels? Is that basically what you do? Are you just a hundred percent ClickFunnels?
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I'm a big fan of ClickFunnels. I don't use it for every single thing. I mean, trust me, I just had to switch over my billing information for every software tool I use because my card had expired and I had to make this big list and switch them over one at a time. So there's probably like 35 things.
Steve Nixon: I'm kinda like that too.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. so I use ClickFunnels to build funnels and for order forms and for checkout, and to host my course as well. So I, I do all that. I don't, I don't use like the email, I don't use it as my email auto-responder, but I do host my courses inside of ClickFunnels.
Steve Nixon: You know, I can talk about like some of my favorite tools. So I'm, I'm a big Ontraport guy. A lot of Ontraport type automation doesn't run all my business, but it runs, you know, 50, 60% of it. You know, we, it would be a pain in the butt if I had to move away from Ontraport at this point, cause I've gone into, I'm in that thing like working on it.
You know, you talked about being an engineer in the past. I'm not an engineer, but I am, I'm a jazz musician. I'm a, you know, an analytical guy mixed with creativity. Right? So Ontraport is a really big thing. For WordPress themes, you know, I use OptimizePress, and those are, it's certainly not the most cutting edge software out there, but I'm good at it, you know, and I've learned how to, how to use it in a way that's really effective for what we do.
So we do a lot of our course designs inside OptimizePress. It's from a customer experience standpoint, it looks just as good as anything else out there, if not better. From my team and I work in sense, a little bit of a pain, but put together. But again, you know, I'm putting them first. It's not about me.
Jacques Hopkins: So you, you use OptimizePress, use Ontraport. I mean, do you even use ClickFunnels?
Steve Nixon: A little bit? Yeah. We have some landing pages that are ClickFunnels generated as well. ClickFunnels is a great program in a lot of ways. You know, it really is. It's not the one stop solution. None of these softwares are like the one stop solution. They can get kind of close, but you know, I am a definitely a fan of ClickFunnels for what it does.
Jacques Hopkins: What do you think about, kind of like, I'm going to ask more of a micro question next, like the state of online courses, like what do you think that they're going to continue to only be bigger? Do you think the market's getting overall too saturated? Like where do you think we are as course creators and online courses in general?
Steve Nixon: So the answer is yes, yes and no, no. So now, what the heck do I mean by that? Right? So, you know, is the state of online courses going to get bigger? Absolutely, man. You know, there's more people who are making stuff as it goes along, right?
And online education is an overall platform is getting bigger, right? Where it's going to be a NO thing is the quality of content that's being put out there. There's a bunch of crap out there. People can't teach, haven't done the surveys in advance, have built the tribe, don't really know what's going on, you know?
And they're starting from that me first perspective. So, you know, is it too saturated? Not if you're delivering value, you know, not if you're delivering value. Now you gotta have overall business chops as well. It's not just always necessarily delivering value. Like you need to learn some one-on-one, you know, accounting stuff, right?
Like, how do I, you know, keep the lights on in the business. Right? You know how if having the ability to communicate with people, both on the customer side of things and also on the administrative side of things, right? Can you build a team? You know, there's a lot more involved with that, so yeah, it's saturated. Right? But at that point, that just means you need to step up your game and deliver more value. And if that's what your goal is, you're going in with a, I'm going to do everything I can to serve people, you should be successful.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. Very nice. I've got the piano thing, but then I've also got this online course coaching, you know, side of things where I actually spend most of my time on this side of things these days. I saw something where you're doing maybe something similar is, I want to say it's called Strategy Samurai?
Steve Nixon: Yeah, exactly.
Jacques Hopkins: Something like that.
Steve Nixon: Yeah. Strategysamurai.com. So, you know, it's funny that you mentioned the Pat Flynn interview because, yeah, I've been on the podcast interview circuit for a few years now, and they heard me an entrepreneur on fire and you know, a variety of different things.
Pat Flynn's podcast, you know, I'd start getting these, you know, consulting people hit me up, Hey, can you teach me? I heard you talk about this. Can you teach me more about this? How are you doing this? And also just a lot of like, you know, people I've met in conferences and stuff like that. They see, you know, the, the level of success we're doing with automation and metrics and serving our customers and all the, you know, different courses and stuff.
So. Unofficially, I was doing it on a one to one basis where I'd be working with their COO or you know, somebody in their product team. And my thing is, I love one-on-one. It's super fun to talk one-on-one, but in terms of serving people, men, it's much better to build something that's scalable where you can serve 100,000 people. Right?
You know, for example, you and I, we could just be drinking a beer and hanging out or drinking coffee and just talk and stuff. But we're recording our conversation right now who we can serve many, many, many people. So, basically what I had started doing was I said, you know what, man? I'm going to just give all the techniques that I'm giving, you know, I'm teaching people.
I'm going to start this, this website called strategysamurai.com where I teach all the entrepreneurship strategies. I'm doing all the online marketing techniques and doing as well, and really how I think about online business, and if I may speak freely, ever stuck in, you know, most of the quote unquote gurus in the marketing space are completely full of crap.
That bothers me a lot. You know, they're saying, Oh, we're in the, you know, the two comma club, or, well, that's gross revenue, you know, but they're making no money at all. And you know, they're slinging crap products out there. And they haven't been in this game for a long time, you know. They haven't really, truly built a real business.
So I want to, you know, this is my way of serving people. And then also to kind of talk about the real stuff. What it would really takes, instead of the glitz and glamour, BS, you know, laptop lifestyle crap that like 99.9% of people aren't successful with. I wanted to really teach people what it took to be successful.
Jacques Hopkins: So I asked you earlier, what would you do if you started over and you're somewhat doing that with this strategy samurai, it sounds like right?
Steve Nixon: Very smart.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah.
Steve Nixon: Very smart. Good, good observation, my friend. Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: It's just a different niche. So building the audience was the key. When you answer the question earlier, you said you'd probably start a YouTube channel. Are you building this business on the backbones of YouTube?
Steve Nixon: So I'm doing it very similar to the way that I started with free jazz lessons, but smarter, right? Cause you know, I've learned a lot over the years what works and what doesn't work. But the overall, the overarching strategy of giving value, first building the tribe, you know, building the fan base and then, you know, seeing where people's problems are.
You know, I've been in this game for almost a decade now. I have a really good sense of where their problems are, but I'm not going to make the mistake of saying, well listen, let me put out a, you know, product on, on marketing metrics and how to build KPIs and how to build funnels and you know, a variety of other things.
I know the market wants, but let me figure out what my people want, you know, specifically what they want and then I'm going to deliver it afterwards so we're not even monetizing it right now. Everything is free as we are recording.
Jacques Hopkins: That's where I was going to ask next soon. No products for sale yet. You're still in the listening phase, so you are, you are actively taking your own advice right now. And so people listening to this that maybe are right at the beginning stages, it sounds like you'd recommend, Hey, listen, for as long as you can stand it, like build the audience, put out, keep putting out the free content. Do I mean you're saying do what I'm doing right now.
Steve Nixon: 100%. Now I'm not gonna, you know, want to kind of give some truth to the people listening out there. It requires discipline. Right? It requires discipline. It's kinda weird. You know, for example, free jazz lessons I'm trying to think how much money we made in year one.
I don't know, man, like 300 bucks or so. There's nothing. Right. And I worked the heck a lot, you know, full time plus on free jazz lesson, 300 bucks, not, I chose that. Right? I chose to not monetize in the very beginning, you know? But I could have pulled the trigger much earlier, but it would have been a very different business and we wouldn't have had that amazing first launch that we did and things like that. Right?
Jacques Hopkins: Well, you also chose a domain with the word free.
Steve Nixon: That's true. That's you. And you know, people ask me about that. They say, we know free, how come your selling and stuff? Well you know, there is or 200 free lessons on the site. Right? And those are really, really, really good stuff. Our goal is to make their free lessons better than 99% of the stuff that people are putting out there.
But we can put so much more resources and so much more into our paid courses. Cause you know, we have a team of producers and great artists we're working with, so our courses allows us to go more in depth. But you know, to circle back to what we were saying earlier about the, you know, just if you, you know.
You're going to have to work hard in the very beginning. If you decide to go that particular model of just giving everything away for free value first, in the very beginning, you are going to have to work harder in the beginning, you know, you're not going to be able to do, you know, get a Bentley. You know, your first five minutes hosts in the website. Right? But if your patient. You know, if your patient for a year or two, maybe eight months, and you're just give value first. You could potentially have a business for life totally worth sacrificing, a small amount of revenue for a year.
Jacques Hopkins: So we've had a lot on your backstory with free jazz lessons we've hit on this newer project. Next, let's move forward and talk about free jazz lessons going forward. What are some upcoming projects and where do you see it going over the next few years?
Steve Nixon: Yeah. Great question. So we're building a lot of relationships with, again, notice, notice of the recurring theme of relationships, like listening and building. You know, we're building relationships with more and more of our great artists that we get a chance to work with and try to enlist into our customers and figure out ways that we can serve them. So you want to be doing a lot more courses, more coaching programs. Everything we can do to help them succeed.
We do have some really cool things on the horizon. I'm not going to say exactly what we're doing cause I don't want to tip off our competitors too much, but it's going to blow people out of the water, especially when we have gonna, I will stay, I will, I'll give a couple pieces of information. I'm invested in a ton back into the business the next year and a half in terms of hiring some total rockstars to really, really, really help us serve this market.
It's going to be exciting. I'll say this, we're building the website that I wish I had 15 years ago when I really, really, really got serious about free jazz piano I would have been like, this is the Holy Grail of jazz piano and piano education. If I would've come across what we're building for the course the next couple of years.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, I hope the big secret is not that you hired someone to create piano in 20 days.
Steve Nixon: We're, we're actually doing piano in 20 days. Sorry, Jacques, man, I hope that it doesn't undercut you, bro.
Jacques Hopkins: Bring it all on, Steve. All right, well, this has been an absolute pleasure, Steve, but let's go ahead and wrap up and to do that, let us know if there's anything else you want to share and remind everyone where they can find you online.
Steve Nixon: Yeah. Yeah. Well, first of all, you know, if you have further followup questions or you need help with anything, best way to reach out to me, and especially in terms of online businesses through strategysamurai.com you know. I would love for anybody to listen to this, who needs help with their business or their marketing.
If they're stuck at the six figures realm and they want to go to seven figures, or you know. Any bottleneck points you have in there, reach out, you know, figure out a way we can help you get past those areas. And there's contact forms on the site through strategiessamurai.com and you know, if you got any value at all out of this, I'd appreciate it if you, if you shared any of the resources we have, either a free jazz lessons or it's Strategy Samurai.
Jacques Hopkins: Steve Nixon, freejazzlessons.com and strategysamurai.com. I really enjoyed it.
All right, that's a wrap on the conversation with Steve. David, welcome back.
David Krohse: Hey there.
Jacques Hopkins: All right. So we all just listen to that and obviously I'm a big fan of Steve. He had definitely a big impact on, on me and my story. What are your initial thoughts on that conversation?
David Krohse: Definitely. I mean, my favorite part was just learning that like this was the interview that inspired you to get started with a piano course, and so I just, that was, that was so neat to hear that, that's where it started. And now you're out here inspiring other people to do courses. So I know that the guy that founded chiropractic, he actually has a quote. It's, you never know how far reaching something you think, say, or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow. And so it's really cool to meet the guy that, the guy that got you started.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. And I'm not a big like serendipity fake guy, but that, you know, that just all came together just just seemed like it was so meant to be. And it wasn't, it, it was just validation that I could make a business out of teaching piano, eventhough I wasn't a piano teacher like Steve himself was, was a traveling pianist, teacher like his life was piano, not me.
I, it was just this little hobby that I was, I was doing instead of what I thought I should be doing. I was procrastinating with playing the piano, but it obviously worked out. Now, my, my biggest takeaway here, other than that would be just how, how insistent he was on building your audience first. And I've just been thinking more and more about that.
Obviously I've, you know, I recommend that most, most people would recommend it, but it's so hard to actually take that advice and do it right because everybody wants fast results. And, I'm to be honest with you, I'm even questioning like, you know, my, my online course that that's free, by the way, the online course accelerator, you can find more about that at theonlinecourseguy.com like the, the tagline or whatever is from nothing to your first sale within eight weeks.
I'm questioning whether there should be even a timeline there because you usually, you can't build an audience within eight weeks, you know, and I feel like to do this right, you may need to really spend that time and build your audience the right way.
David Krohse: I agree. I mean. The idea of building the course out with a live group and having people pre-buy it. I mean, that sounds great, but I know that it just didn't work with my, my thought process and my personality. You know, one thing is like when you start to build a course, you're learning as you go. My worst videos are within the course. And then like as I, as I made the course, my, my skills at making videos got better.
And so then when I got started making promotional videos. I at least had some amount of experience, and so I don't know. I mean, if I had just instantly started trying to make videos to put on YouTube and things like that, those would have been kind of just terrible quality potentially.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, but you could still be, you could still be building an audience with YouTube videos, even if you don't really know where things are going. You know, I'm, I'm trying to think of what, if somebody came to me and they were like, Jacques, I don't, I don't know what exactly I want to make a course on. I know I want to go down this path. What do you recommend? Just what's the simplest way to get started and just start building an audience.
And I think what I would do is I would probably start YouTube channel and a Facebook group. That's probably what I would do, and I would start putting videos on YouTube, maybe do a call to action to a Facebook group and really probably do daily posts in the Facebook group and try to build that audience in a Facebook group and do Facebook lives and really, really do that.
And then do what Steve says eventually and that start asking them or just listening, right? They're going to tell you what their problems are. And eventually you're going to be, you're going to be able to, to create products to help them, that it's going to be a no brainer for them to buy. And I'm doing some of that now with, with this brand, the online course guy everything.
I've got, the free Facebook group, the online course community. Many of you listening or are in that group, and I'm listening to you guys and my mind is always racing with different products, different courses I could create to help to help everybody in this audience. And the more, the more we go down this path and the more I continue to put content out there and grow this audience, the more things like that are going to come up.
David Krohse: Yeah, that sounds great.
Jacques Hopkins: What else from this, this conversation with Steve stuck out to you, David?
David Krohse: Really early in the discussion, he, he mentioned how he had all these different courses, books, and he described them. He said they're assets. It's just the term that he used to describe them. It was just, he said, I have all these assets.
That was just something that I, my ears picked up. You know, you could say offerings, but I mean, that is the right way to think about it. Like you just mentioned, there's other courses you could create and stuff and, and just viewing them all as assets, kind of the rich dad, poor dad, rather than spending money on things that go down in value. Anytime you try to make something that can help somebody else, you're creating another asset that could or hopefully will make money for you.
Jacques Hopkins: That's one reason I love that we get to kind of talk about this together after the interview cause like I, I didn't even realize he used that word. And I love that too. It's like now that you've spent the time to create this course, this thing, it's, it's, it exist. That thing exist and now it's an asset for you. I like, I love that.
David Krohse: I mean, the last thing was just he, he put it really well. What gave him the belief that he could do it was just simply asking the question. One question:
What's the worst that could happen?
And I mean, again, in the world of courses. There's easy, cheap ways to get started, so I just feel like people should ask that question and just say, yeah, let's go ahead and do it.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. Normally when we're talking about an online course or building an online business, the worst that can happen is it doesn't work. If you do it the right way, you're not going to have to spend a lot of money up front. And so it's not like, it's not like, you know, some physical brick and mortar business. We have to invest all this money. And the worst that can happen is that you end up with a lot of debt. Hopefully that doesn't happen to you.
And hopefully the worst that can happen is it just doesn't work. And if you look at it and say, is it worth risking wasted time for, you know, potentially awesomeness, like freedom and quitting, quitting my job and being able to impact people all over the world, is it worth risking, just did not working and wasting time yet typically it's going to be, you know, I think we would both agree that it was worth putting that time and effort to create the course and, and go down this path, even though we're, we're on different paths. You and me and, yeah, that's, that's a good perspective as well.
David Krohse: Yeah. So just that and the trolls in the comment section, right? Hurting our feelings.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. You got to ignore the trolls.
David Krohse: That's right. We still, we still.
Jacques Hopkins: Don't take the bait.
David Krohse: We still need to do that Jacques and Dave read mean comments, right?
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. That's coming. I have my assistant Emily collect mean comments cause that, that, that is definitely gonna come, you're doing something wrong if you're not getting mean comments or trolls for sure.
David Krohse: Right on.
Jacques Hopkins: All right, David, well, that's gonna put a bow on this episode. I appreciate you joining me here and I appreciate everybody for listening to another episode of The Online Course Show. For all the notes and links from today's episode, you can always find the show notes at theonlinecourseguy.com and in this case, it's theonlinecourseguy.com/117.
Don't forget about that ClickFunnels offer I mentioned at the beginning of the show. ClickFunnels is awesome. It's one of my favorite online course tools because it does so much. I host my courses there. I do my order forms there, you know, collect payment, build funnels. It's a great page builder and you're going to get all my templates and a small course, for course creators when you sign up for a free trial ClickFunnels using my link.
So to do that, just go to theonlinecourseguy.com/clickfunnels and if this is your first time listening to the show, WELCOME, and make sure you jump back and listen to episode 89, which is our online courses 101 episode. I'd recommend you go back and start there rather than episode one.
Thanks again everyone. We'll talk next week. .