Here on The Online Course Show, we’re all about learning from successful course creators and keeping an open mind. That’s why I’m super excited to share this episode with you! My guest Alison Beere has a pretty unorthodox approach to teaching in her niche online, and our conversation was definitely thought-provoking.
Find one person who wants you to teach them, and find out what their questions are.
David and I had a lot of fun hearing what’s been working for Alison and discussing her business model. I hope you enjoy listening in!
In This Episode, We Talked About:
- (1:46) How we’re doing with podcast goals and course business goals thus far this year
- (3:25) Questions from David about affiliates
- (6:56) A virtual summit with a past podcast guest
- (12:06) A very cool new podcast feature and how you can participate
- (14:06) Win of the Week
- (17:43) Setting the stage for today’s interview
- (18:21) Introducing Alison Beere and her online course niche
- (21:25) Offering a service versus a course
- (23:15) How Alison would (or wouldn’t) pitch her course offering to me as a business owner
- (24:52) Why she includes live components in her course and how that affects students’ results
- (28:19) Pricing and scheduling considerations
- (30:19) Going back to Alison’s first sale and discussing the structure of her business
- (31:51) The perks of being a successful online course creator
- (33:08) Deal-closing strategies that have worked for Alison
- (34:52) Would Alison change anything if she was starting over now?
- (35:35) Imposter syndrome and how she’s overcome it
- (37:38) Alison’s favorite software and tools
- (38:58) Her advice to new and aspiring course creators
- (40:55) Wrapping up and how to learn more from Alison
- (41:55) David and I discuss Alison’s unique course model
- (42:28) Resources related to topics discussed in the interview
- (44:48) Thoughts on Alison’s evolution from student to teacher
- (47:07) Wrapping up and a reminder on how you can record your own Win of the Week
Thanks for listening and learning along with us today. Stay tuned for another great episode coming soon!
Jacques Hopkins: This episode is brought to you by Bon Juro. I recommend course greater, send out a short personal video to new students when they sign up. That's what I've been doing for years now. It's exactly what I do to this day as well. With my online piano course using on Jorell on Jura makes this process so seamless.
And easy. Right now, my sales are actually up because of everybody staying home, wanting to learn new things, and I'm getting 10 to 15 new piano core signups a day, but I'm still doing my 10 to 15 Bundoora is each day. And even though the quantity has gone up. On makes it so easy that it's really not much additional time for me.
So it gets started with the free trial today by going to dot com slash Jacques that's dot com slash J a C Q U E S. now on to episode one 29 of the online course show. Success would one launch a year, only 30 seats and a huge waiting list. Let's go.
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 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'm your host Jacques Hopkins, and here with me as our cohost David Rosie.
David Krohse: Hey, what's up?
Jacques Hopkins: And we're excited to dive into all things online courses with you today. David Crosy, welcome to episode one 29.
David Krohse: Thank you.
Jacques Hopkins: Man. I appreciate you so much for joining me on these podcasts. You know, tried to try and release them every Tuesday. I made a promise to you and to the audience that we would make this a official weekly show, not miss a week. And so, so, so far, so good. The goal is 52 episodes in 2020 and we're rocking and rolling, man.
David Krohse: Definitely.
Jacques Hopkins: What's going on in your world lately?
David Krohse: Oh, I spent time over the weekend, dug into deadline funnel, signed up with your link and yeah, like people have said, it is a simple process and I'm super excited. Like once I'm in there, I'm like, again, I can use this for my main online course and then also for my in-person business. Then I was thinking like if I can, if I can figure out this certain type of webinar, I can create an online course for other people in my, in my business model, be the go to guy for how to run a webinar with a deadline, deadline funnel. So I'm super excited and appreciate your guidance.
Jacques Hopkins: Awesome. Yeah. Obviously I love deadline funnel. You can get a double trial, 28 day free trial like you've just done by going to deadline funnel.com/o C G for all nine core sky and yeah, I mean, I love the software. Their support is fantastic. Every time I've ever had an issue.
And the owner and creator is fantastic as well. He's been on this podcast. In fact, I got a, I got a message on Facebook from him either yesterday or two days ago, and he just said, Hey Jack, hope you and your family are doing well through all this craziness or something like that. Just he was just saying hi and just, you know, wishing well wishes and that just goes to show you what type of guy he is. So I, I'm glad you signed up man, and I'm glad you got good, good things to say about it so far.
David Krohse: Definitely. The other thing I, I made it through the entire audio book of traffic secrets. The last portion is on this, these affiliates, and so it got me thinking. I had a couple of questions for you. Number one, I know Marley jacks has been going through your piano course, and I've gotten to see some of her piano playing, so I'm just wondering, do you have any people sign up as affiliates?
A second question is. Have you considered at all reaching out to like young, young influencers that are like singers and like saying like, Hey, would you like to be an affiliate? You could learn to play piano, sing along, and it could go out to these like millions of like teens and preteens. Have you thought about that at all and what's going on with your affiliate program?
Jacques Hopkins: Well, that last part is a great idea. So I'm just starting the whole affiliate, the whole affiliate model with piano in 21 days. A lot of online courses. That's, that's one of their main sources of traffic is affiliates and that, that's awesome. It's, it's such a win-win potential for win-win. I've just never really figured out, you know, who to market that to, what audience to, to market it to.
Because at first, at first glance, I'm thinking, okay, piano teachers, but most, most online piano teachers sell a course of their own already. So promoting my course isn't necessarily a good fit unless they're, unless they don't have a course already. So. Right now, there's maybe 10 people that have signed up for my affiliate program, and it's interesting timing.
We didn't really prep this, but I just submitted my first payout yesterday. Somebody had signed up a couple of months ago, I think she's an in-person piano teacher in Australia, and she came across my stuff. She reached out to me a few months ago about being an affiliate. I said, sure, you're going to sign up here, and apparently she made her first sale within the past month, and so I went over to my dashboard for the affiliates and I had to manually click.
You know, send a payout. This is all still new to me. So she, I think she sold one entry package and so, which is my bottom and package. So she got like $38 from me cause I offer my affiliates 40% of the sale. So that was cool that, you know, the first one. But I hope I can grow that a lot more. And I'm getting, I'm getting students of buying to sign up.
That's kind of the main source of people that are signing up for my affiliate program right now because they're like, Oh, you know, I have a good friend that this would be a great fit for, you know, where we're at. How can I, you know, earn a commission when somebody signs up through my link. So I'm doing that more and more, but I appreciate the advice on, you know, additional people I could potentially reach out to to help promote this.
And. You know, it'll be more sales for me from traffic I wouldn't have had otherwise. And they'll get 40% and if, if somebody ends up buying the 497 pot package, yes, that's a good amount of money. Somebody can learn from this.
David Krohse: Definitely. Yeah. And I, I mean, these young influencers, I mean your content and them going from not being able to play piano or to be able to play proficiently is just, it's really good content for them to be able to put out with. And I think that you could reference them to like take a look at the feedback on Marley Jackson's. Posts?
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I think so. And, and Marley jacks I her organic postings just on Facebook and Instagram as she's going through this process, she's contributed to at least two sales, I think. So. I'm definitely gonna reach out to her soon and be like, Hey, you know, I'm pretty sure two sales at least have come through you.
Do you want to be a part of the affiliate program? I don't want to come across as. As to like, like salesy, like I'm trying to get her to sign up for like a, like a multilevel marketing scheme or anything like that. But I wanna I want to be like, look, you're, you're, you're providing me sales anyway, you know? And I know she's big into promoting things she believes in. So I definitely plan to reach out to her about that.
David Krohse: That's awesome. The other thing I wanted to ask about, just yesterday, yesterday night I signed up for this virtual summit put out by a Bailey Richard, I think is her name. Tell me about that. What's going on with that?
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So Bailey, Richard has been on the podcast. She's a online course coach. A lot of her information that she puts out there is about being successful with online courses. And she somewhat coined the term infopreneur. Meaning you've got info in your head, you've got knowledge in your head, you can share, here's how to package it up in a digital product or an online course.
And so that's what she focuses on is, is, is coaching and training for quote unquote. Infopreneurs right. And she's a, she's big in the click funnel space. She, she posts every day in the click funnels Facebook group. And the other thing she's really known for is virtual summits. And that's what she came on this podcast to talk about was how to successfully run virtual summits.
And I don't know if you've seen this, but man, there are so many virtual summits happening right now. If people are, people are throwing those out there everywhere. I think I'm going to be on one here next month, for music teachers specifically. But because everybody's home and doing a lot of virtual things of virtual summits are very popular right now.
So anyway, Bailey, Richard, she reached out to me a few months ago and she's like, Hey, can I interview you now on online courses? And basically she told me this idea she had for an evergreen kind of virtual summit where she just got some course creators together who, you know, most of them know what they're talking about.
I can't promise that I do, but. Just answering the one question, like if you had to start over, how would you go about course creation process? So fascinating question, and it's interesting to hear, you know, people's. Answers to that and process for that that have been through this and kind of coach others through this process.
So I didn't know who else she was reaching out to. I didn't know what it was going to look like at the end of the day. But here are three or four months later she launched it. There's only eight people that she had on, and I gotta be honest, like I'm a little intimidated by the list. It's a, it's a solid list and one that I wanted to sign up for to view myself, John Lee Dumas. Of, of entrepreneurs on fire who, you know, I've, I've been following him and his stuff's since before I got the idea for piano in 21 days. Back in like 2012 he was such an inspirational story. Dan Henry, Rachel Peterson, Julie stow in, so definitely in, in good company there. And I'm honored that she asked me to be a part of it.
David Krohse: So, and she probably explained to some in the episode, but can you remind me like. Do you like? What do you get out of it? Like do you actually get people's emails or anything like that, or is it just people are exposed to your brand and obviously, like you said, you're an amazing company there, which I feel you deserve.
Jacques Hopkins: Thanks, David. It's the number one is exposure, right? And I'm, I'm perfectly good with doing it just for the exposure and that that's all it is at this point because she also did provide me an affiliate link as well. So it's, the way she set it up is very interesting. It's kind of, I think it's kind of our main opt in.
Now. You opt in for it for free and then using probably deadline funnel, I'll have to ask her. You get 24 hours access to the content and then you have to pay a small amount. It's not much to get lifetime access to it, and there's a couple of upsells as well. So she did provide me an affiliate link to that to be able to promote and whatnot.
I don't know that I'm really going to use it necessarily. I'm going to happily promote it and I'll tell you guys the link to get it either way. But for me, it's just about exposure. And I didn't realize I was going to be sitting there next to Dan Henry and Julie Stone and all these people a few months later.
But now, I mean, I think it's going to be great. And a lot of people know Bailey Richard too. So on, it's, it's a much smaller version of the one funnel away challenge that. Click funnels did. So if you're not familiar with that, they got together about 32 comma club winners a few years ago, and they, they did a very similar thing with them.
In fact, Bailey Richard headed this charge. I mean, that's why she's so ingrained with the click funnels community. And she went on and interviewed people about kind of their main funnel that got them to the two comma club. And there have been so many people that have signed up for that, that course, or summit, whatever you want to call it.
Even though it was recorded three years ago, I've been through about half of those interviews. It's amazing content. A lot of those same people are in it. Dan Henry's in it, Julie Stone's in it, Rachel Peterson's in it, and then some, some other people like Caitlin Pyle has been, was in it that that people listeners may be familiar with.
She was on an episode of this podcast, but the exposure that people get. From, from that, from three years ago, like everybody in that is like rock stars too, to like the click funnels community and online marketing community. So I don't expect that to be, you know, the same. For this smaller version, but I do expect a decent amount of exposure for it because I trust in what Bailey's doing over there.
So I appreciate you bringing that up once again, an honor to be a part of that, and if somebody wants to opt in for it, it's just infopreneur summit.com I'm pretty sure that's an infopreneur summit.com.
David Krohse: Correct.
Jacques Hopkins: Cool. Yeah, and look, I, you know, you mentioned traffic secrets. Haven't been through all of it yet, but I've got my hard copy here sitting right right here in my hands right now, and I've started to go through it and I'm excited to get all the way through it as well.
So the next thing I'm really excited about this, David, and I think you are to win of the week, a new segment here. We're calling win of the week. And you know, I'll, I'll give you credit every time that you deserve it, man. This is an idea you, you had to just inspire listeners in yet another way. Inspire aspiring course creators, maybe somebody who's struggling and also give somebody a platform to share a recent win that they've had with courses.
So. What we're talking about here is if you just had a really successful launch, maybe you just had your very first course sale, maybe, maybe you've been able to quit your job from because of having a successful online course, if you've had a wind, a wind related to your online course and your online course business in any way, we want to hear about it and we want to feature that win. On this podcast. Is that a fair summary of, of kind of your vision of this? David?
David Krohse: Definitely. I'm super excited about this. You know, I love that you interview people that are making approximately $60,000 a year, if not more. But yeah, there's a joy that comes when people get over these humps or have success, and I can't wait to hear. Here, people breaking through and breaking through barriers and yeah, doing all those things that you just said.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, so I'm really excited about this. We're going to debut the first one here in just a minute, but for those of you out there listening to this and want to be a part of this and you've got to win that you want to share with us and the audience head over to the online course, guy.com/win and there's going to be a button there.
You can just record a short audio message for us if we feel like you followed the instructions and we feel like the audience can. We'll be inspired and motivated by your, your brief story. Then we'll share it on an upcoming episode. So I'm excited about that and I'm excited about our very first one. We'll go ahead and play for the audience, and it's somebody who, a lot of people are probably familiar with that or listen to this podcast. So without further ado, let's get on with this week's win of the week.
Nate Dodson: Hey, Jacques and David, this is Nate with microgreens farmer. And I just wanted to share my win for this week. So last week with all this Corona virus stuff, I sales declined significantly. I think there's just a lot of uncertainty for people starting businesses or investing in businesses. I realized, you know, people had that fear and didn't want to do it, so I pivoted.
And I, I let them know that now it's actually an amazing time to start a microgreens business because you can focus on home delivery and it's in really high demand. So I created a webinar, sent out some new emails and fired it out, and my sales skyrocketed this last week, so that was really awesome. All right, you guys, thanks for putting on the show. I'll talk to you later.
Jacques Hopkins: All right, so thanks to Nate for sharing that with us and being the first one to be on the win of the week segment. And I told Dana about the segment and I told him about it right after he was telling me about the pivot. That he made, and I was just so impressed by it because at first with all the coronavirus stuff, his sales really were dwindling because his core marketing, his core message about what you're going to get out of his course, the core transformation is that you're going to be able to start this amazing microgreens business, that you can go in person and you can sell your microgreens to people at farmer's markets.
Well, Hey, farmer's markets are not really a thing right now. Those are, those are all closed. So he very, very, very. Quickly started pivoting because he saw an opportunity for home delivery with his microgreens. And I'm just so impressed by the way he pivoted and pivoted so quickly and found success with this pivot as well.
So a lot of people out there might be listening to this and needs a pivot as well. Maybe you have pivoted, but I'm just so impressed by what Nate was able to do and obviously a very huge win for him. What do you think?
David Krohse: Very awesome. Yeah, and I. I'm on his mailing list, and honestly, the email that he put out where he introduced this different opportunity or this pivot, like what's the best written email that I saw from anybody selling a product during this time?
It just. It came through so loud and clear that he still wants to help PBL people. He still believes that they can have success and potentially grow even more during this hard time. So obviously a huge fan of Nate and think that he, he's really inspiring for me.
Jacques Hopkins: That's awesome. I'm glad you, you got all that from his email. And I'm on his email list too, just to kind of keep up with what he's doing. Not that I'm interested in growing and selling microgreens BI. I got that too. And there's, there's no, there's no person that's more just genuine and authentic than Nate because some people may be pivoting because they need the money and they need to keep supporting their family and they're just kind of desperate to do anything that's going to keep in the core sales.
And for Nate, like I promise you he's doing it. I mean, the money's good, but like, he's. The pivot was based on continuing to try to help people as much as possible because he's set up his business so well. He's got, he's, he saved up so much cash. He's got expenses for months and months and months if nothing came in, and he lives very frugally as well.
So I know for fact that he didn't pivot solely because you wanted to continue with the revenue. He did it mostly because he wanted to continue to help people. He saw this opportunity on how we could help people and he executed on it beautifully. So, so thanks again to Nate for doing that. Once again, that's Nate Dotson from microgreens, farmer.com and this has been the win of the week segment.
Our very first one. And if you want to share a short win, a short story from a recent win and you in your online course business, then we'd love to feature you on an upcoming episode, head to the online core, sky.com/win to be able to do that. All that big said, David, we have. An interview to share with the audience today.
This is not just me and you throughout this whole episode, so why don't I go ahead and set the stage here. I had a conversation with Alison beer who's down in South Africa and she's got. She's got some interesting ways that she runs her online course and very unique ways, some very unique things about her story that I'm excited to share with the audience. So we'll talk about it on the backend. So without further ado, let's go ahead and jump into the full conversation with Alison beer right now.
Hey there, Alison. Welcome to the online course show.
Alison Beere: Great to be here.
Jacques Hopkins: Let's start off like this. Tell, tell us about who it is that you help and how you help them.
Alison Beere: I teach a very specific little niche on the internet. I teach mostly solo printers, how to create themselves a cartoon alter ego that they can use to illustrate their work, to market their business and just to have a bit of fun with as they work in the business.
Jacques Hopkins: While that, that's quite a niche, they're like pretty niche down, right? So you're not just teaching cartooning, you're not teaching, you know, cartooning to general cartoony to a specific audience. It is. Solo preneurs to create a cartoon image of themselves for marketing purposes. Am I getting that right?
Alison Beere: Yeah, it's super Nisha. It's, you couldn't get narrower really? I mean, if people want a cartoon for Disney, and they came to me and said, can you help me? I'd say, absolutely not. That's not what I do at all.
Jacques Hopkins: Wow.
Alison Beere: And super specific.
Jacques Hopkins: That it may be one of the most narrow topics that we've come across here. So how do you even market something. So narrow. How do you find that audience?
Alison Beere: So the audience, it grew very organically. So I have a business associate who is actually the kind of. Brains behind the course. His name is Sean D'Souza and he's based in New Zealand. So we are a very remote partnership because I'm based in Cape town, South Africa. He's all clean New Zealand. And we met because I had a small travel website that I was marketing online when when I was looking after my kids, very, very young kids, I needed a bit of iOS stimulation.
So I built this website and was marketing it, and he is a marketing specialist, so. I got involved with his online community. It's a marketing community. And within that community there was someone who kept saying to him, can you teach me to cartoon? And the reason they kept asking him was that from the time he was 17 he had run a cartooning business all through college.
And before he started marketing, he always had a cartoony business on the side. And. He teaches a lot of stuff and she's really good at breaking things down into step-by-steps things. So eventually, often number of years, I think of this person saying, but can't you teach me to cartoon? He said, yeah, I can, but there's no point in teaching one person at a time.
Who else wants to try, and I was one of the Guinea pigs. You put up their hand as a chartered accountant. I wasn't really thinking I was a cartoonist, but I was prepared to try and I started cartooning with him and he literally developed the course. He got us to doll something to see what we couldn't draw, and then he took it step by step, week by week, working out the material.
Specifically for our group. And that's how it started. So the vast majority of our students come out of that marketing community. And the reason the marketing works so powerfully is because every single piece of Shawn's material that goes out into the world is illustrated with his own cartoons. And the same on my own websites in Australia with my own cartoons as a result of working with him. So, and they just come and say, well, I want to be able to do that. And they was out audience.
Jacques Hopkins: That is just absolutely fascinating. So why is it that you, you guys don't just offer the service of the cartoons and sell what you make as opposed to what you're doing and that's teaching them how to do the cartoons for themselves?
Alison Beere: I think, well, because doing cartooning commissions is, it's a deadline oriented, high pressure environment and you don't get the same. People just don't get the same results. So firstly, it's expensive for a solopreneur to be constantly commissioning cartoons. Also, if they're not artists, they really struggle to tell you what they want, and they can look at something and say, but that's not what I wanted.
They can't easily tell you what they do want. And when someone develops it, or in cartoon character, there's a uniqueness to it that you will never get from a professional cartoonist. So. I notice with my students, every single one of them, it's a little bit like handwriting. The way they draw is absolutely unique to them from virtually the first week or two, and the character that they ended up developing, it's just, it's so personal.
It becomes part of their brand DNA and it's absolutely not copyable. So they're prepared to put in six months to a year to get. Incredibly proficient at doing it. And look, the course delivers far more than just being able to enjoy your cartoon. It's a tight little community. We take 30 students at a time and they become friends, they egg each other on, they get to know each other, and they're all over the world, and it's an experience as much as a learning kind of process. So it's much, much more than what they actually ended up drawing.
Jacques Hopkins: Alison, I am an online entrepreneur and I'm very, very busy, but I, you know, I have my online businesses that I want to market and reach as many people as possible. Why would I convince me to, to why I should take your next course.
Alison Beere: Maybe you shouldn't take my next call. So the interesting thing with all the people that I work with, Bob a fraction every year, they are also busy people who have day jobs. So this is completely something that they do after hours. I think, I don't even know. Sometimes you kind of think, why did people do this course? It's such hard work. You know, they do five assignments a week.
They putting in 30 to 60 minutes a day after their day job. It's just, there's something about it that's really compelling. So I've seen people literally. Turn the life around as a result of cut showing up and cartooning every day. I've had people who've come into the course and I thought, wow, this person is going to be hard work to kind of coax through, and three months later it's like they had a personality change because they are so delighted with what they've unearthed in themselves, which they didn't think they were possible.
It was possible for them to do. So it's a little bit, for me, it's like pulling a rabbit out of a hat because there is some magic in it, and I actually can't tell you what it is. It's just. People want the end product. They want to be able to cartoon like that. They often go through some lumps and bumps thinking, wow, I didn't think I'd let myself in for quite so much hard work.
And they get through the lumps and bumps and realize this course. I mean, they say it so often. This course is so much more than cartooning. It's fantastic. I love it. I, I sometimes the magic is. Invisible to me, but the effects are there.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, it sounds like it's definitely not for everybody, but the people that, the people that go through it, it sounds like they're pretty, pretty happy with the results. Now, another, another aspect of your course that isn't typical, if from my understanding is that it's not really prerecorded every time you do it, it's basically live. Explain to me how that works and why you go about it that way.
Alison Beere: The course is conducted by our forum, so we have an online forum. No, it's not really like a classroom. The material is delivered via videos and notes and examples and demonstrations, and what happens is every Friday I put up the new details for the following week. Monday to Friday, everyone submits their assignments once a day. So. If you want to pass it through the forum once in 24 hours in whatever times they are in, and I pass through once in 24 hours in my own time zone and give feedback on their work.
So the material is basically the same, you know, from year to year, if you're doing week one of the coolest you're doing week one of the course, but I tweak it and adapt to it. Obviously if I get feedback. It's been going for nearly 10 years now. So amazingly, we still get feedback and I'm still constantly tweaking, thinking, you know what, we could teach this differently and it would be more effective.
So the iterations to the material gets smaller and smaller. The basic skeleton is there, but they get live feedback, so they get actual feedback on their works that they submitted from me as opposed to just. Find the assignment as best as possible and not knowing whether they've done it right or not.
Jacques Hopkins: So the, the, the coursework, the content is essentially prerecorded. It's just that you have cohorts of people all going through it at the same time and then they get live feedback from you. Am I understanding that correctly? How, how different do you think the results from the students in the course would be if that live feedback component wasn't a part of it?
Alison Beere: It's interesting. So we've had people saying, when are you going to develop the self study of this? You know, we, we at the price point feels quite expensive and if you could do it as a self study, it would probably be more cost effective for us and we'd like to try it. And we haven't gone that route yet because. The, the cohort kind of momentum.
The group experience is so powerful and when you, when you're doing something every day, pretty much, well, pretty much every day for six months. Your life is busy as you know yourself. So continue carving out that time every single day for six months. The group actually carries you the days when you think, Oh, I don't feel like showing up.
You know that the rest of your little group, because the group of 30 is divided into six groups of five, you know, the other four people that were five people in your group are going to show up. And if you don't, you literally taking some energy out of your group. So it's a thing, the group kind of dynamic and the camaraderie, the people grow within their little family of five or six is really what keeps people going.
So I think we'll probably talk again about. Self study and see with the, it's got legs and possibly within the Psychotactics little marketing community. If we look to the two people who were already within that forum, it's a separate forum. Maybe they would be able to keep each other going because they were mostly quite good friends already. So it's a small community. But yeah, like the group cohort kind of dynamic is very powerful.
Jacques Hopkins: Just just when I think that I've heard about kind of every way to execute an online course, you know, you come along and, and with this 30 and then you break it up into six different groups. I love it. So you mentioned the price being a being a premium price. What is that price point for the course?
Alison Beere: The course sells at $1,500 for a six month course. And to put that in perspective. There are other, there aren't courses, so there's not, there aren't very many cartooning courses. In fact, I don't know if there are any other content in courses online, maybe a few kind of teacher's self, but they quite generic.
The sort of general articles would sell for about a hundred dollars for a four to six week course. So this is a lot longer, much more in depth, much higher touch, but it's $1,500 is a lot of money for someone to find.
Jacques Hopkins: No doubt. So every six months you get 30 new people paying you guys the $1,500 and you just repeat every six months.
Alison Beere: Oh, actually, we do want him to take a year. So we do a new intake every August and we get take steady people in. Those people work with me for at least six months. After six months, usually there's an opportunity to carry on for another three or six month period covering more advanced material, and about 50% of the group continue with the more advanced stuff.
So after, after six months, half the people like, okay, I've got what I need. And then about 50% will say, no, I want to carry on, and then they'll work with me for up to a year. That often, because I give them holidays every time my children have a school holiday, so I ended up with two courses overlapping.
The kind of end of the previous year's course will be continuing when the new course starts. So in August, I'm often pretty phonetic cause I've got about 40 people that I'm checking in on every day.
Jacques Hopkins: Absolutely fascinating. Okay, let's, let's jump back again. And I always like hear hearing people's stories of, of kind of their first sale. Cause I remember for me and my course experience, like getting that first sale was just an unbelievable feeling. but for you, I'm interested to hear how that went because it's, it sounds like. It was really Sean's idea at the beginning, and then you are one of his students and then you kind of took it over.
I guess maybe you're in a partnership with Sean to this day. So take me back to the time when you got your first sale, when you were the instructor and not the student.
Alison Beere: So that's fascinating. So I wouldn't call myself. Sean's business partner because most of what he does, I have actually nothing to do with, I'm just involved in this tiny little slice of Psychotactics, which is called the DaVinci cartooning course, and short, it was his brainchild at the kind of request of this very persistence client that he had.
So I think my own experience of selling my first course. That was really exciting was when I first started teaching. I had a couple of little courses on the side, one of which was called ambitious characters, and it was for people who'd kind of gone through some sort of cartooning experience and had a character that they wanted to take to the next level, and it costs about $60.
It was also an in person, well, not in person, but. Presented in the same sort of way through a forum, and I can just remember the thrill of selling that first $60 a course off my own marketing. You know, because Sean, obviously Psychotactics is a marketing machine. That's what they do, and that's what they teach.
So they have a very slick and well organized system of marketing. But to market something for myself on the side and to actually sell something was a giant thrill. So I was delighted.
Jacques Hopkins: That's a, that's awesome. So you said you've been doing this now for about 10 years, roughly, is that correct?
Alison Beere: So the DaVinci courses been going since 2010 July, 2010 so this is, this'll be the 10th year, 2020 but I've actually been teaching the course since 2014 so this is my sixth year.
Jacques Hopkins: Your sixth year. So in, in those six years. Running this, this online course. Can you tell us a story or maybe like a, a cool experience or purchase you've been able to make, or do. Because you basically have an online course business these past six years.
Alison Beere: Yeah. I think that what's been really exciting for me is obviously I live in Cape town, so that is a long way South from almost anywhere. And Sean and menuca live in New Zealand, so we only met about four or five years after I'd first kind of got involved with them online. And. They usually teach workshops in , sometimes in North America, but usually in Europe as well once a year. So having the course and all the work that I'm doing online means that I can fly up and join the workshops in Europe once a year, which is just such a bonus for me. It's like kind of dash of independence cause I leave the family behind and off I go. Is this jet setting travelers? So. That's makes everything worth it for me.
Jacques Hopkins: Now, for these people that are rolling, enrolling in the course every August, would you say there's just like one or two things that really put people over over the edge in the marketing that you guys do to get people to actually pull out their money and pay the $1,500 to enroll.
Alison Beere: So Psychotactics works with a concept that they call presales. So it's like a tiny drip feed of little snippets of people's experience, little samples of what they can expect, and it goes on over months. So Shawn has podcasts, he has a blog, and. Lots of articles and things that go out. And then obviously he and I and renewed his wife all cartoon a certain amount.
So that stuff goes out on our social media feeds. And his podcast kind of builds up to the point, which the course sells a couple of months before. So at the end of the podcast, there's always a thing of what's happening in Psychotactics land. And then there's. Whatever courses are coming up and Divinci slots into that.
So I think the fact that there's always a waiting list, the waiting list literally starts the day after the course sells out because there's never enough space on it. There are only 30 spaces. I have people who wait a whole year until the next year to sign up again because they missed the spot. So there's a sense of.
There are only 30 spaces cause I'm only one person and I can only give so much feedback. And then there's also they can see from people that they know going through the course what people are achieving. So it's like if that person can do it, I can do it. I want to get on. And that's what pushes them over the age.
Jacques Hopkins: Sounds like you guys need to keep going with that original business bottle and keep hiring on the successful students as teachers and just get, you know, a lots of cohorts of 30 people to try to ramp this thing up.
Alison Beere: Yeah. Maybe we could do that.
Jacques Hopkins: So having, having done this for the past six years, roughly, is there anything, do you think, you know, kind of knowing what you know now with all this experience, is there anything you would've done differently back when you were just getting started several years ago?
Alison Beere: I don't think so. The course, the course material grew really organically, which I think is valuable. You know, when you, when you teach for a particular person answering very specific questions, it's much more powerful than when you were very generic. So. That I think is the power of the course. And as I say, I was lucky because I came in.
Kind of very new on the business side, but I had a pretty powerful business associates. You was well established in online courses, so I didn't, yeah, I had it pretty easy. In terms of not making too many business mistakes.
Jacques Hopkins: Were there any struggles or obstacles that you had to try to find a way to get around or was it all just easy with having Sean there?
Alison Beere: Probably the biggest struggle is, was with confidence to an extent. Thinking. How am I going to handle if there are difficult questions because I'm quite freshly a student and it was gradually that. That sense of it lets me know what, I've been doing this for four years. I've, I've gone through every Divinci course that Sean's ever presented, and I understudied him for 18 months before I started playing, staying in the field myself as it were. So it was, it was more getting over my own self doubt than actually not having the ability to do what I needed.
Jacques Hopkins: And did, did you find that that came quickly? And I think a lot of. Course graders in potential course graders might have that struggle themselves. It's like, who am I to be able to teach this thing to other people? Who am I to be on camera? And actually, you know, put myself out there and, and think that I know more about this topic than other people and that people can learn from me. I think a lot of people have that. Did you, were you able to get over that pretty quickly or did it take time?
Alison Beere: It did take time. And I think I was lucky because Shawn's a great mentor, so, you know, he would just say to me, look, we all go through this. You know, when I started in marketing, this is how it went for me, and this is how I used to overcome it. And actually you're good at what you do and you just need to do you believe that? And I think there was also that I got to a point where. I didn't like to go online and see other people's material on YouTube and things like that.
Cause cause I would just feel so inadequate. And then I realized I've got a very unique perspective on what I do and let me focus on what I can do and not on the things I can't do. I know that I'm good at what I can do. I'm never going to be a person who trains Disney cartoonist and I don't aspire to be, but what I can do, I can do well.
So let me just do that and grow in it. And that's actually been the greatest kind of approach because I've let my students push me to new things as opposed to pushing myself out of a sense of insecurity.
Jacques Hopkins: I love that, Alison. All right. So next I want to ask you about some, some kind of software and tools that you may be using on the site, and this could fall more under Sean's dirt jurisdiction. I'm not sure. Let me know. But you specifically mentioned like the forum is kind of how you present the course material and interact with people. What software is that? And are there any other software and tools that you guys are using and find are working really well for your business?
Alison Beere: Yes. So the forum is that the forum software is Zen forum. So that, and that works really well. We upgraded the forum a couple of years ago, and the new software is great compared to the old one that we had. The, all the marketing stuff is done via a weeba. So that kind of rolls along in terms of other stuff that we use. So I use, obviously I have to, I do a lot of screen capture and that sort of videos.
So I use, an iPad pro with an Apple pencil. And procreate, which is a joint software, and I use ScreenFlow for my screen capture and video editing, and that works like a charm. So there's obviously a quite specific to a cartooning or art time of course, but yeah, the forum and the email marketing software.
Jacques Hopkins: The software can actually hang people up pretty good. So it sounds like you guys are pretty dialed in on what is working best for you and your particular particular niche. This is really gonna be the last question for you. I always like to ask this question because one of the things I like to do with this podcast is really inspire and motivate other people to either get started with their own online course.
Or really, you know, kick it in gear and get their existing online course to really be profitable and really help people as much as possible. So the question is simply, what advice do you have for those? Thinking about creating an online course or more at the beginning stages of the course creation?
Alison Beere: My advice would be to find one person who wants you to teach them and find out what their questions are. Because for me, it's, if I look at the material that I've developed for my students specifically. It's so difficult to develop in a vacuum. It's so much easier to imagine this person whose face I know sitting next to me and saying, show me that again. I don't understand. So starting with. Specific questions from real human beings as opposed to thinking, what would someone out they want to know is the fastest way to create content for a course? In my opinion.
Jacques Hopkins: I love it because I, that's something I did wrong when I get started. I. Just assumed I knew what struggles people would have on the piano and I assumed that I knew exactly, you know, the, the, the exact steps that we need to take. And I just kind of put my online course out there without actually running it through, like you said, like an actual human and figure out where they're struggling and what questions they were going to have.
Fortunately, I've done that since version one and now in version five, but I think that is truly important, not to just assume what people's struggles are and actually. Run it by someone and ask them and hopefully as many people as you possibly can.
Alison Beere: Yeah. I mean, I do that all the time because, you know, people ask me for self study material and I always develop it with a little cohort of four people and I'd run it in a forum setting so that I can hear their questions and actually answer them and update the material before I make it self study. So. Yeah, definitely. Go, go. The human roots.
Jacques Hopkins: Love it. Well, Alison, this has been a pleasure getting to know you and your story a little bit more. I don't think we've even like mentioned your, your website a domain yet. So just to wrap this up, let everybody know where they can find. More information about the program, get to get on that wait list and maybe reach out to you a little bit.
Alison Beere: So my website is literally my name Addison beer. That's, yeah, like the drink, but with an E on the end.com and you can find me on Instagram at us and via, you can find me on Twitter, a YouTube. I think I've got a rather strange name. They're a Cape town family, but there I am. The easiest way to find me is my website.
Jacques Hopkins: And if somebody wants to learn more about the program or maybe get on that wait list, they just go to Alison beer.com.
Alison Beere: They can go to dot com and look for the DaVinci waiting just and they'll find the details there.
Jacques Hopkins: Awesome. Thank you so much, Alison. All right. That's a wrap on our conversation with Alison beer. David, welcome back.
David Krohse: Thank you.
Jacques Hopkins: All right, man. So kind of a unique, little bit unique of a story here, but it was definitely a pleasure. And I always like hearing new perspectives and things, and one of the biggest things that jumped out at me is just like how much they're limiting enrollment, right?
And so they only let 30 people in. Per year. But Alison is like so happy with where she's at in life with where she is with her business and it doesn't sound like she wants to grow at anything past that, and she's just, she's passionate about what she's doing and she's making more than enough money from it. So, Hey, if that's the way she wants to do it, it sounds like it's working.
David Krohse: Definitely that smaller group though, does enable them to charge this higher price point. So I mean, that's a interesting concept is that if you have this wait list and people are actually kind of like elbowing for spots in the course.
Then naturally you can raise your price. So up at $1,500 I believe, for the course. I actually read a book that that talks about this idea of trying to create an like a, a waitlist for anything that you put out. The book is called oversubscribed, and it's by Daniel Priestley, and I'm like 96% sure that this was recommended by Stephanie Taylor with the rent to rent. She's in your next level course. It's correct.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, correct. Yeah.
David Krohse: So super vibrations, but I swear that she recommended this book and I just was like, okay, I'm going to look into it. But it just talks about the concept. Just like when a new iPhone comes out, you know, people are fighting for that spot.
Obviously with courses, if you have a limited a number of availability, then you can put the prices up. So the book was good. I definitely recommend the book for anybody that's interested in, in that concept.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. Scarcity and. There is zero false scarcity in what she's doing. Like she actually opens up her enrollment once a year and there's already a wait list and she actually caps it off at 30 people.
You know, as, as, as marketers and online course graders, we try to implement scarcity in, in as many ways as we can. Because it's so effective. But we also don't want to limit ourselves either to how many people we could potentially get to enroll. So I'm working with somebody right now who's about to launch their, their first course, and he's got a big audience and I'm like, and he's a little scared.
So I'm like, you know, you could limit this to say 50 people, but he's like, no, I want to see how many people I can get enrolled. So what we're doing instead is certain bonuses like are limited to two certain people. So it's going to be this big live webinar launch. And so. A certain awesome bonus is only going to be for the first 10 people that sign up, and then there's another bonus that's only going to be for the first 50 people and so on.
And so that's going to be true. That's going to be true. But in her case, like it's plain and simple, like there's 30 spots first come, first serve, and then after that you can be on the wait list for an entire year.
David Krohse: So the other thing that really jumped out at me is just how interesting the the funnel, so to speak, is into this cartooning course. I looked up the Shaun, her business partner, essentially, I looked up his podcast. It's called the three month vacation podcast. So apparently his thing is that he goes on a three month vacation every year, just teaches people marketing strategies, and then somehow they start to follow him, and then ultimately they decide that they want to learn to become a cartoonist.
So. Even after listening, I'm like, man, that's gotta be, it seems like it would be a really small percentage of people that would start listening to a marketing course and then be like, I want to be a cartoonist.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, it's obviously working. I mean, you could probably tell toward the beginning of the interview, like I was, I was trying to dig in and like make sure that I was really understanding it correctly. Cause it was, it was a little bit bizarre.
David Krohse: So I downloaded a few episodes of the podcast. I'll jump in there and see, see if they connect with me. Now, do you have any art skills that we don't know about? You got your, your music skills, but.
Jacques Hopkins: No, David, I'm you. I mean, you know this, I'm very left brain, right? I'm very analytical, business-minded. I take a very left brain approach to piano, but no, I don't. I don't sing. I don't do art. I am. I am. I'm as left-brain as we can get here.
David Krohse: Gotcha.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. And then to, to piggyback that off, off of that, you know, sh Alison started as a student of Sean's in the, in the marketing space, and then she got into the cartooning herself. He was teaching that to her. And then I guess he was like, Hey, do you want to, you want to kind of teach this and had this charge. So now it's a partnership for those guys. And those are very interesting that she started as a student. And then became the teacher, and as course creators take away, we can have from that is if you, if your course and your business grows enough to where you need additional support and additional people to help you help others, well then the best place to start with that is the people that have gone through your course.
I know Nate, Nate's done this, you know, we talked about name the win of the week, and the, in the intro of this episode, he has reached out to his audience. To see who has succeeded with growing in selling microgreens because he wanted to grow his like coaching team and his, his support team. That helps.
That helps the students along the way and he's done that and there's no, there's really no better people to, to, to help you do that than the people that have already been through your course.
David Krohse: Definitely.
Jacques Hopkins: All right. Well this was, like I said, several times, a very unique conversation, very unique things that Alison and Sean are doing over there with their course. Any, any other takeaways? Any other insights from this episode, David?
David Krohse: No, I don't think so.
Jacques Hopkins: All right. Well that was a lot of fun. I think the overall, this is gonna be a really cool episode with the debut of the win of the week at the beginning. Some of the things we talked about at the beginning, this conversation with Alison and then we finished it up with our takeaways here.
So what skin, if you want to participate in the win of the week segment. Going forward. Head over to the online core sky.com/win and for all the notes and links from today's episode, you can find the show notes by going to the online course, guy.com/one 29 and for all the other online course resources that I have to offer, head over to the online course guy.com.
Thanks again and we'll talk next week.