When you’re starting an online course business, you probably have a lot of questions about what it will take to keep that course running smoothly every month. My business has evolved a lot over time, and that means my expenses have evolved too. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today!

“You have to be your own CFO”

– David Krohse

No matter what stage your business is in, you probably have expenses! In this episode we’re taking a look at all the essential tools and services I pay for – and why I think they’re worth it.

In This Episode, We Talked About:

  • (0:47) Dave’s story about being in an online course mindset and cost/benefit analysis
  • (3:52) My latest launch
  • (5:25) Learning from imperfect leaders and thinking about success
  • (8:39) A life update made possible by my online course business
  • (10:04) Setting the stage for discussion of my monthly expenses
  • (14:10) My credit card rewards recommendation
  • (14:46) Spending on tools, ads, and cloud storage
  • (21:46) What I’m doing for Instagram content so far
  • (24:08) Physical pack components and how I handle shipping
  • (28:04) More expenses and outsourcing costs
  • (29:28) Why I love StreamYard
  • (32:31) Staying organized, handling ads, and customizing communications
  • (34:51) Thoughts on Wistia, Canva, and Zoom
  • (37:07) Payments I handle outside of my credit account
  • (37:25) How much did I spend on advertising, course supplies, and processing fees in April?
  • (39:13) Contractors’ fees and handling business while away
  • (39:56) My experience with Evolved Finance so far
  • (41:27) My business wishlist and what I’m enjoying being able to afford for my business
  • (43:22) Pitfalls new business owners should be aware of
  • (46:34) Three key tools and why I didn’t include them in my monthly expenses
  • (47:37) Wrapping up

Thank you for listening in – I hope you enjoyed what you learned! We’ll be back with another episode soon of The Online Course Show soon.

Jacques Hopkins: Regular people are taking their knowledge and content and 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'm your host Chuck Hopkins, and here with me as our cohost, dr. David Crosy.

David Krohse: Hey there.

Jacques Hopkins: And we're excited to dive into all things online courses with you today, David, what's up, man. What's going on in your world.

David Krohse: Oh, not too much. It's been a busy week up here taking care of a lot of patients as a chiropractor was kind of interesting as a chiropractor, things come in waves and I had a group of Spanish speaking patients come in and I just got really motivated. I was like, I know this little bit of Spanish and I've kind of put together my little cheat sheet for when I work with patients, but I was like, I would really like to level up my Spanish. And so guess what I thought of.

Jacques Hopkins: What's that.

David Krohse: One of your interviews with a Spanish course. So, yeah. So back in episode 28, you talked with the founders of speak shop.org. And again, they have a group of tutors in Guatemala, I believe, and you set up a one to one lesson. And so I was like, I'm going to sign up for that and just try to improve my Spanish within my own office.

And then it is interesting once you get in this mindset of creating courses, kind of in the back of my mind, it's like, well, You know, if I could get to a certain level of proficiency, I could make a course for other chiropractors and I'm never going to be like fluent, fluent in Spanish. But you know, again, with the idea of courses, you don't have to be a total expert to still provide value to other people.

I mean, you just have to be one step ahead of where they're at. So Sunday afternoon I met with Aira Sally down in Guatemala. The prognosis is basically I need some remedial work. She's like, he's like, you need a lot of work. We need to back up. And so. Ultimately, like I had to look at it and be like, you know, I don't, I don't know that I have time to really fully commit to this.

At this point. I have too many other things that I should focus on, but overall I do like that speak shop.org. It's a great, great idea. And I was, I appreciate it. I learned about it on your podcast. There you.

Jacques Hopkins: go, man. I don't like the end of that story. Like at the end of the day, you're like, ah, I think I'm going to give up as soon as I got started.

David Krohse: Well, I mean, the thing is like, you know, I mean, when we look at this episode, you're going to be talking, you're going to be sharing what this finances and it's like, You want to focus on the things that have a return on investment. And right now, you know, I went through that. It's like, no, it's too much of a distraction from my other goals. And so.

Jacques Hopkins: that's fair. Sometimes you just have to, to, to try things and see how they work, just, you know, in life or in our online course businesses. And sometimes you're really excited about something you're trying and you put it out there and the market will tell you. Whether it was a good idea or not. And in this case, it was, you know, this, this person in Guatemala telling you, Hey, you're not as far along as you thought you might be, this is going to take more effort, more work, more time than you expected.

And so you, you had to regroup reanalyze and decide. Maybe it's not worth the, my time investment and I'm not going to get the proper ROI for that out of my business.

David Krohse: Right. Cost benefit analysis.

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. And you, you briefly teased to talking about expenses a little bit. That's what we're going to be talking about today. I'm going to kind of give a, give everybody a run down of what do I spend money on in my online course business. So I'm excited to dive into that here in a little bit. Also of notes worth noting is that I did launch the new, the online course guide.com in the past week. And so if you haven't checked that out yet, go to the online course guide.com of course, and check it out.

So let me know what you think of the new design. I'm pretty excited about that. I had had it professionally designed for the first time. And some cool new features and new trainings and whatnot. So that is one of the big things that's been going on on this side of the microphone lately. Have you seen that yet?

David Krohse: I haven't well, I seen where you're holding, hosting a webinar with the next level of courses, but we'll go ahead and share it with like, what are the different things that, or how would people join the next level of courses?

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So I have two programs now I have the online course accelerator, which has meant for beginners. You have made a core sale yet that is designed to help you with the basics and getting that first sale as quickly as possible. And the next level of course is, is for existing course creators. And that's actually the majority of my audience is those that already have a course and they're looking to take it.

Things to the next level. They're looking for help with scaling and automation and outsourcing, and systems and just running their business better, more efficiently, getting, getting more students, getting happier students. And that's what next level courses is all about. And so you can find out more information about both of those programs by going to the online course guy.com.

And I won't, I won't share too much more information about that, but I promise you they're very, very inexpensive. Each one is very inexpensive to join.

David Krohse: No. The other thing I did this week, there's this book by Bob Iger, who was in charge of Disney and super highly rated. And so I ended up reading that it's called ride of a lifetime, and I have to say, I wasn't impressed with it at all.

Like essentially like the chief takeaway is join a powerful successful company and buy everything. I mean Bob's Bob's legacy is that, well, he, he joined Disney when Disney acquired ABC, but then under his leadership, they acquired Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and the whole star Wars family. And then they also acquired Fox.

And so I was kind of listening to it. It's like hard to tell if he was a good leader, it's kind of a, there's a quote. You know, born on third base and think you hit a triple. I was like, I'm not sure he's that great of a leader. Like, I mean, all he is like, he just bought one thing after another, but there was this quote that I thought, man, that's a, that's a great quote.

Just as a, as it applies to course creators. So essentially it was right when he was in charge of ABC and then ABC was acquired by Disney. And he basically, somebody gave him this idea for like a new magazine, kind of an equivalent of like teen Vogue. And he green-lighted it and put some effort and some money and some resources into this, this magazine and this leader, I believe from Disney named Dan Burke.

He slipped him a note. And on the note it said, avoid getting into the business of manufacturing, trombone oil. You may become the greatest manufacturer of trombone trombone oil in the world, but in the end, the world only consumes a few quarts of trombone oil a year.

Jacques Hopkins: And so I listened to that. I'm like, yeah, that's a great quote for us as course creators because you know, what's trombone oil to Disney. Could be a goldmine for somebody in the audience that like, you know, let's say that you find out that there's a hundred thousand people around the world that are obsessed with like maintaining their brass instruments. Like you create the course, you create the community and that could be like a healthy side hustle or.

Or, you know, a full time career. So it's trombone oil for Disney. but it could be that goldmine for an individual course creator. And then the other thing is once you have your course going, I mean, you got to watch out for the trombone oil in your own business. So something that you're putting resources and time into, and it doesn't actually provide that return on investment, which, you know, when we talk about the things that you spend money on, it's like, does it actually. Does it actually create a profit? I mean, that's the only as a business owner. That's really your question. Yeah. So you took that quote and you kind of applied it a couple of different ways. Very, very, very interesting. And I'm sure a lot of the listeners can relate to this, but I never, I never had aspirations of, of.

Putting together some massive company. I mean, Disney is one level, but, but even, even a company with 20 employees or 50 employees, like that's, that's never been my vision and it's still not today because that's just not who I am. I'm I'm not interested in running a company like that. But what I am interested in running is an online business that allows me freedom and, and have a few contractors, maybe a couple of employees one day, but very, very, very small, the least amount of risk and headaches and yeah. And a business that really serves me as much as possible. So that, that goes right along with that quote. And on that note, David, I mean, I'll share with the audience. Me and my family are about to take off on a five week road trip. We're going to rent an RV and just kind of explore for about five weeks.

And this is something I would not be able to do if I didn't have a successful. Online course business. And I plan on doing a little bit of work from the road, right? I'll do my bone gyros. I'll catch up on a few emails here and there, but not very much. And I'll be living that, you know, four hour work week and probably, probably less than that over the course of the next five weeks.

David Krohse: That's awesome. What's a rough map of where you're headed.

Jacques Hopkins: We're doing, we're going mostly West. While I say that we're going to start to the East a little bit. We're going to go to the beach for a little bit, and then we're going to go out West Albuquerque, grand Canyon, Yellowstone XY on places like that.

A lot of mountainous stuff. And man, I don't know, you know, a lot of listeners maybe have never been down in Louisiana, South Louisiana, but it is as flat as flat gets. So anytime I go to somewhere with some terrain, I'm just like, Completely blown away because I've lived in South Louisiana, my entire life. And it's just so, so different, so different. So I'm excited about just kind of a, an adventure with my family and, and see how it goes.

David Krohse: That's so awesome, man. I'm jealous. Can I come along?

Jacques Hopkins: Well, do you have any nanny experience? No. You could be a ride along nanny.

David Krohse: You should, you should park your camper next to Paul Lipski somewhere.

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I know he does the band life, man. All right, David. Well, let's get into it. So the plan today, and this was your idea, because I think you genuinely, genuinely are curious about, Hey, what, what are you, what are you spending each month? You know, 15 to 30 grand each month? What, where does that even go? What are all the expenses that, that, that jock is spending on, on his online course business. So that's what we're going to get into today. So.

David Krohse: yeah, especially as a contrast in the first 20 episodes, there was one where you broke down your, your costs of doing business. And I remember at the time you were bringing in about $30,000 a month, but your expenses were $24,000 a month. And so you're kind of like, man, I brought in a lot of money, but Hey, a lot of it went out the door.

And so it's interesting to hear. Here your present situation and where your expenses are, as we know that your, your top line has certainly grown.

Jacques Hopkins: Okay. Cool. Yeah. So that was, that was, you know, two, three years ago and my profit margins are significantly better than they were back then. And, you know, I was still kind of setting the stage for a lot of things back then, you know, always bending.

I remember specifically I was spending three or $4,000 a month back then on, on SEO services that weren't paying off yet, but they are very, very, very much paying off today. Right. And so that's, that's a good example. So to set the stage for this a little bit, I'll kind of want to give a. An overall strategy, big picture view of how I handle expenses and finances.

And so I have, as of January of this year, I signed up with a new bookkeeping service, which we've, I've talked about that on the podcast. Plenty of times evolved finances. Dot com I highly recommend them for bookkeeping services. They specialize in helping small business owners of online businesses, and they only work with people that are making at least a hundred thousand dollars in revenue.

And so if that's you, if you have an online course business and you're still doing the books yourself and you're making at least six figures, I highly recommend you check out of all finance. I've had a great experience with them so far. I was doing all the bookkeeping myself before that. And it is just, it's so much easier on me now so much easier and it's just like so much more accurate and they actually know what they're doing.

I'm not a bookkeeper, I'm not an accountant. And so I use those guys and then I put. Almost all of my expenses on a credit card and I'm not a credit card guy. I don't use any credit cards in my personal life. I'm very much, I mean, you know, this I'm very much a Dave Ramsey fan and an advocate, but I spend so much money each month in my business that I get so many like reward points, reward, reward.

Why is that such a tough word, miles and points through. The chase business. It's like chase business inc preferred or something like that. It's one of the best credit cards out there for, for online business owners, because they do like triple points on online advertising. So I get a ton of miles each month, you know, I just mentioned our trip.

A lot of those, the things that we booked are paid for with miles, you know, you can, you can rent cars, you can, you can book hotels, flights, crew, like there's all kinds of stuff you can do with those miles. So I do that and I pay. Off the balance of that. Not only do I pay it off every month, but at least once a week, if that balance on my credit card is above zero, I hate it.

Like I pay it off as, as often as possible, and I'm purely using it for the points. And so that's just kind of my overall strategy. So what I have printed out right now in front of me is I kind of, we're kind of going to go over April, right? The books aren't completely closed on may. So I'm gonna jump back to April.

Which it happened to be a very good month in my business. We're not going over the revenue, we're going over the expenses here. So it's, it's fairly consistent from month to month on what I would spend. And so I've got basically my credit card statement and I'm going to go over a lot of the expenses on the credit card.

And then also have my, my report from of all finance for April. Where we can look at bigger picture. Right? So for the, for the credit card statement, it'll be individual expenses. Whereas on the report from evolved, it'll be like, okay, grand, total, you know, you spent this amount on advertising, for example. Hey.

David Krohse: one quick question. I know a lot of people are curious, like what's the best credit card rewards credit card. So what one, I mean, I'm sure you probably researched this, but what did you end up with choosing?

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, that's the one that chase business inc. Preferred or something. That's why they regarded as the top credit card bill. It's a business credit card. So not a personal credit card for online business owners. And that's pretty much the consensus there in everybody I know in the space has one of those, if they're using a credit card. So that's the one I recommend, but that is a business card, not a personal card. Sure. Alright, so let's get into it a little bit. Backupify $8 a month ever heard of Backupify.

David Krohse: I've never heard of that.

Jacques Hopkins: This is going to end up being kind of a tools episode because a lot of these individual expenses are tools. But my hope is that people can, can just kind of pick and choose. And here it's like, Oh, I've never heard of that tool. I've never heard of that service. Maybe I should check, check it out. So I spent $8 a month, which is, which is very little on Backupify. What that does is it automatically backs up everything in my Google suite account. Right. So everything in Google drive, all my emails, everything like that. It's backed up somewhere else. That's secure. I'm just very, a very conservative, I'm not, not a big risk taker.

And so the thought of just something happening to my Google account and all my files and all my pictures and all my emails, just going away, just. That doesn't mean sit well with me. I want to have it backed up somewhere and back up a fire as a service that does that for me for very, very inexpensive. So one quick

David Krohse: question there, like, do you have any video files or any files that are just sitting on a single computer in your house as well?

Jacques Hopkins: No.

David Krohse: No. Everything. Everything goes onto the drive.

Jacques Hopkins: Everything goes to Google drive and then that's automatically backed up. I don't have any files just sitting on my hard drive that are not in Google drive.

David Krohse: So how much, how much data do you have on Google drive? Do you know?

Jacques Hopkins: A few seems like a lot. Yeah. Some, a few terabytes or something, but I have a, when you do the Google drive for business account, you get unlimited storage. Oh, nice. Unlimited. And that's something that, Jason Dion taught me on a previous episode of the podcast because before I think I had like more of a personal Google drive account and I was having to pay.

20 bucks a month for two terabytes. And then the next level was like 10 terabytes. And I was going to have to start paying a hundred dollars a month, or maybe even more than that. And he's like, why don't you just do the business version that you get unlimited storage. So that's what I'm on now. And then I use a, I use Google drive in sync to automatically sync the contents of my hard drive to Google drive.

So it's not like I'm having to manually, you know, open up a browser drag files there. And so it's a pretty seamless system. Advertising. I see an expense here for Google ads. So every time I spend $500 on Google ads, they charge me same thing with, with being ads. That's the next one on here? Every time I hit a hundred dollars threshold on being ads, they charge me.

So there's going to be a lot of $500, $100. And I think the threshold for Facebook, I want to say is two 50. I advertise on Facebook as well. So there's, there's those just throughout the month. . Here's another service called Auphonic a U P H O N I C. And that's part of my podcast process. That's one of the last services we run the podcast file through. It just does some, some noise leveling and just some final, final production value to the quality of the audio before we publish. And what does that.

David Krohse: what does that name one more time?

Jacques Hopkins: All phonic, you look confused.

David Krohse: It's like AUP, H O.

Jacques Hopkins: And I see. Yep.

David Krohse: Okay. Got.

Jacques Hopkins: It. So.

David Krohse: and then we got to pump the brakes here for a second. So like, what is your actual total spend on, on the Google ads per month?

Jacques Hopkins: Well, all total advertising is about 10 or 11,000. I'm going to get into that at the end. So that's the, that's on the involved report where I'll go over total amounts. Right. All right. So then I've got a lot of. I've got a lot of individuals shipping charges, postage, and that's because certain people, when they buy my course, when they, when they, when they buy it within a certain timeframe, they buy a certain package.

I physically mail them out a package that has my workbook and some flashcards, a tee shirt and so on. And I'm having to pay postage each and every time that we do that. And so if it's in the United States, it's a few bucks. It's international, it's anywhere from 15 to $20. And that's part of my operating expenses.

All right. Next. I do pay for G suite and we talked about Google already. And so I do pay per user for G suite. And so I have a couple of my contractors that have a Google account as well. And so I pay for several different G suite accounts. Stunning. I've talked about stunning on the podcast before. So what stunning allows me to do, and that's $50 a month.

What that allows me to do is when somebody is credit card. So I offer a payment plan with my piano course. And if somebody, if Stripe tries to charge them for month, two or month, three or month four, and it fails while before I use stunning, it would just fail and they wouldn't get a notice. I wouldn't get a notification.

So what stunning does is handles sending out emails, automatically reminding people to update their credit card. It gives them a place, a good place to go in and update their credit card. And it helps me with payment plans in an automatic way. And so if you're offering payment plans and you're using Stripe, I highly recommend use stunning.

Yeah. All right. . On Jura was on here. Everybody knows I'm a big fan of budge Oro. And, and so that's, if you're not, for some reason, I use that every single day to thank people on video personally, when they purchase one of my courses. Yeah. WP engine is, is what I use to host my WordPress websites. So F piano in 21 days.com the online course guide.com.

Those are both WordPress sites, but once you start getting into the funnels and the landing pages, those are all ClickFunnels pages. WP engine is a phenomenal I've. I've used them for years. They've always been amazing support. You know, I mentioned earlier that I just redid. The online course guide.com.

They have this really great staging area where you can build everything in the staging area. Test it once you like it, click one button and boom. It's on your live site. All right. What do you think so far? Is this valuable?

David Krohse: Yeah.

Jacques Hopkins: It sounds good. All right. I've got a charge on here for my accountant. trustpilot.com man. I spend $299 a month on Trustpilot. That is a third party review site. So everybody that signs up for my course. So after about a month, they get an email from, Trustpilot asking them for a review. And I personally just really like having a third party site out there with some reviews on it. And I have almost 500 views now on Trustpilot for piano in 21 days.

If. If you have all the reviews on your site, that's a bias place to have reviews. Right? I filter everything, everything that goes on there. So I like having Trustpilot as well. So if somebody is really just skeptical, Mike, look, there's, there's almost 500 reviews on average, it's 4.7 stars out of five over here on this third party site.

So there's a free version of trust pilot, but it doesn't get you near as in many, many features. And I've been paying for that for, for a few years now. All right, going down the list. I mean, I'm seeing a lot of like Microsoft advertising, Google advertising, the postage expenses. Okay. Later, later.com. That is a, that is an Instagram publishing service that we started using a couple of months ago.

I've been really hitting the Instagram. W what is it called? Paige channel on Pia for piano in 21 days hard lately. So you can check that out if you, if you're a big Instagram user, check out piano at piano in 21 days. And we we've been pushing out content every single day, they're using later. And it's really great. It's 19 bucks a month, not too expensive. And it's so much easier than just using the native app.

David Krohse: What types of content are you putting on Instagram? You haven't really talked about that at all.

Jacques Hopkins: Okay, so memes we're doing, you know, that like really there's a really. Popular meme where there's a guy walking down the street, holding a girl's hand, but then there's another girl go in the other direction.

And he's just looking back at her with a like, wow, she is good-looking look what, and then people will put, you know, label label, the two girls, something. Well, Just to give you an example. We did one recently where he's holding the hand of traditional piano lessons, but he's looking back at piano in 21 days.

And then you put a caption about how it's like this new, better way to learn piano. So there's memes, there's, there's quotes for my students. There's lifestyle stuff, where it's just like me and my family doing certain, certain things. It's a, it's a variety. one thing I want to be doing more on there that I'm not doing a lot of now is video clips of actual piano.

Content where people should learn to write. Now it's just more fun and lifestyle stuff, and there's not a lot of piano learning happening. And I think that's the one thing missing so far.

David Krohse: Are you getting good at good engagement?

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I mean, so I've got almost 2000 subscribers. Instagram's not a platform that I've historically hit very hard. My, my email list and YouTube subscribers would be kind of the biggest platforms that I have, but trying to build up Instagram and. I think it's going to be more of a slow and steady approach. I wouldn't say that the engagement is huge, but it's going to get, get better every day.

David Krohse: Okay. And then you might talk about a actual people that are working for you, but do you have somebody else managing that or are you doing it?

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I've got a contractor managing that for me. And she'll, she'll put together basically like a week, a week of posts inside of later, and then I'll give her feedback and review it and then they'll just, it just automatically happens. It's a really great combination of a contractor and later is so far a great way to run Instagram.

All right. So here I see a charge from custom ink. So I use custom ink customink.com for my t-shirts. So I mentioned the physical package already. I mentioned the postage, but there's also. An expense for buying the tee shirts that go in there. We'll probably see in a little bit that I have to buy physical books and I'll go ahead and mention that comes from lightning, press.com.

It's a small company in New Jersey. That's done a phenomenal job, printing my books, and then I use mood.com. dot com to make my flashcards and I use flash bay.com to make my flash drive. So I put the contents of my course on a flash drive. And those are the four things inside of the package. Actually, there's a fifth thing because there's a thank you card with my logo on it.

That's also moo.com and then there's actually a sixth thing. If you count the bag, the packaging, and I get the packaging from sticker mule.com, which has my logo on it. And it's, it's, I'm pretty proud of the physical package, David, a lot of effort. Went into the research of all these different companies and where I could source all these different things.

I've actually, I actually had an idea recently for something else I could include in the physical package. One thing I love seeing in my Facebook group is people filming themselves, playing piano. No matter what stage they're at. If they're on day six of the course, they finish the course, whatever I want to include, like a little tripod tripod for people's phones in the physical package, I think that could motivate people to actually do more of those videos. What do you think of that?

David Krohse: That sounds good. Definitely. And then I got to ask, I mean, I learned, I know you love to outsource and automate, so who's actually like, are you walking down to the mail, the post office currently, or who's doing that?

Jacques Hopkins: I think somebody asked maybe it was when I was doing the Friday iced coffee, Q and a, somebody was asking about my process. I remember going over it recently. So I've got, I mean, you know, David, like I, if I can systemize. Automate and outsource something then I will. And I've definitely done it with this. So let me, let me explain how I, how I've done it. So my assistant. My executive assistant generates the shipping labels. So she handles so, so I have this form that people have to fill out in order to get the physical package, because I need their mailing address and I need their shirt size, but I also need them to kind of opt out of requesting a refund because I don't want to mail them out.

This package that's cost me $60 to put together, and then they request a refund for the course. And so. I kind of tell them that they need to make sure that they're actually going to stick with it. Like, like take the time you need inside the course when she feel good about it, that you're not going to request a refund, then I'll ship it out.

It's kind of a, it's almost like a waiver inside of there. And so. The result comes back from the form I use type form for that. We'll probably see that expense on here. And Emily manages that and she'll go through and create the shipping labels, put those in a Google drive folder, but Emily's not in the United States.

So she can't physically mail them out. I have a, basically an intern that goes to the local university here at LSU who helps me with some things she used to help me a little bit with Instagram. But she, her main role now is to mail out these physical packages. And so she actually handles all my inventory and she will print out the shipping label on sticker paper and put everything together and put it in the bag and take it to the post office every couple of days. And so it's pretty much out of sight out of mind for me, because I have a system in place.

David Krohse: Well, Hey, pretty soon you might want to start having Annecy do that and start paying her. And then you could start a Roth for her. How old is.

Jacques Hopkins: She now? She's about to turn five. So.

David Krohse: There you go. Good enough.

Jacques Hopkins: I think that'd be a great task for, but I don't think we're quite there yet. David. All right. So I see a, there's an Amazon expense here. I mean, that could have just been any random thing for, for my office, for my business Upwork. There's a lot of Upwork charges. So I have just random contractors doing random things for me on Upwork. And it's just going to show up on here as an Upwork charge.

So I've got a guy that's amazing with ClickFunnels. I've got a, an amazing graphic designer. I've got just all kinds of people that are awesome. That I've, that have already vetted. With, with my process and, and I'm just, I'm Upwork is one of those things that I've got to check almost daily because I've just got so many people doing so many great things for me on there.

And those are those charges show up here. I see the charge here for evolve finance. Once again, another shout out for those guys. A rev.com is an amazing transcription service. And so anytime like a, make a new YouTube video or something, I'll go to rev.com and get it transcribed and add those captions to the video.

Ooh, here's a good one. The engraved bottle. He remember my story about getting the Dom Perignon with the piano in 21 days, logo engraved on there. That was the service I used the engraved bottle, I guess it's them.com. So that expense came through in April. Mmm. Going down the list, stream yard. Streaming art man. Extreme art is just so good. If you are doing live streams of any sort you're streaming are please. I go live with my piano students every week on Wednesday mornings. And lately, one thing I've been doing is bringing on guests. I had a guest a couple of weeks ago, join me other all night piano teachers.

I've got another one lined up to come join me tomorrow. And it's like, everything I've tried with stream art is just so seamless. Bringing on a guest, sharing a screen, going live, like all those things and it's not expensive. So if you're, if you're streaming in any way, your stream yard, if you're not streaming yet considerate live stream is a lot of fun.

David Krohse: Just $20 a month, right?

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. Something like that. I mean, I think this, this right here says $49. So maybe I'm on like super, I think the more places you want to stream to at the same time, the more it costs, but for most people, I think $20 a month is going to be what you could expect. All right. So I see some charges here for mood.com.

So that was the, the flashcards that I, that I get printed. And the, thank you cards. Lots of lots of postage, lots of advertising here. Here's a charge to my SEO guy, so $1,700, but he is on a very incentivized pay structure. So, and it's usually a month or two lag. So the, the payment he received from me in April was based on the results from either February or March, but he gets, he gets basically a percentage of.

Sales that come through via SEO. That's the way we set it up that way. It just, you know, I wanted to, that, that was my idea. Just to keep him motivated. Cause SEO is a weird thing, man. Cause once you get it set up, you can somewhat coast to an extent. So I wanted to keep him motivated to try to keep doing better and better and better.

David Krohse: Do you get a report of the different things that they actually do each month for that $1,700?

Jacques Hopkins: Yes.

David Krohse: And so what are they doing?

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So they're, they're still, you know, helping me to just optimize content, you know, they'll recommend. Okay. I think we should combine these two articles and we'll just have one, one link instead of two, or I think, you know, we did some research and I think you need to have an article or a video on your site around this topic to try to get some traffic.

So it's mostly. Around content, but I mean, that's what SEO really is. It's people typing in search terms in order to bring up some sort of content to help them. And so, yeah, they're just constantly providing recommendations on things we can do and then helping me execute those things as well. And that's like, Oh, go ahead.

No, I was just going to give a shout out. That's logistics kind of a funny name. That's Kayla Buku is the guy that runs that and he he's been on the podcast before. He's a great guy. And so if you need any help with content or SEO, check out. Well, cool logistics.com. That's U U L K U.

David Krohse: Okay. About how often does a new blog post go onto your website? Would you say?

Jacques Hopkins: Oh, it's, it's very random. It's very random. I can't even answer that question. I don't know. Alright next. We have Calvin Lee there, here. This that's a very popular program to have people book into, into your calendar. So I primarily use that to book podcast guests, but if somebody, you know, somebody in my network wants to have a 30 minute meeting, they're not, then I send that out as well. That's $15 a month. Have you ever used Calendly?

David Krohse: Oh, yeah.

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So, you know, you know, a lot of people use it. I'll constantly be getting requests for meetings and stuff and they just send me your Calendly link. All right. So here's conversion owl marketing, that Chanel tool who does my, all my ads show. I have a contractor or really an agency that handles.

All my advertising platforms, being ads, Facebook ads, Google ads, and YouTube ads. And she manages all of that for me. And she gets paid basically a percentage of ad spend. And so she's motivated there to do as well as possible because the better I do, the more I'm going to want to spend and therefore the more she makes as well.

So it's a percentage of ad spend. And, and I get a report from her each month on the different platforms. So that's conversion al.com. That's who I use for ads pick snippets. If you go to the online course, guide.com and click on tools. There's a list of my top 10 favorite tools and pick snippets did make the cut there.

It's a $20 a month service, which allows you to send, so you know how many emails you can address people by name. If you have their name captured in your email software, it's like, Hey David, what's going on in it. It feels more personal. What, what picks snippets allows you to do is do the same thing, but with picture pictures, right?

So I have. A picture of me sitting at my piano, holding up like a white sign. And when I took the picture, it was basically blank. But with pick snippets, I'm able to add in welcome David written on the sign. And so if you go through my funnel, that very first email has a picture of me welcoming you by name.

And I just. That's I like to treat people how I would like to be treated. And I want people when they enter my world to feel as welcome as possible. And that's one, one way, one way I do it and I love pick snippets. Okay. Picking up on the list. Oh gosh. Wistia. Can we talk about Wistia for a little bit? All right.

Let's hear it. Wistia is killing me. All right. Whiskey is awesome. I absolutely so, so it's, I keep saying the word, but, but you might not be familiar with what it is. It's a video hosting platform. So I, most of my videos, you know, you make a video, you have a file, you got to host it somewhere. And most of my videos are hosted.

They live on Wistia, but the more that people are consuming your content and the more videos you have, the more you pay and business has been really good for me lately. My piano business is getting more traffic than ever more sales than ever more students than ever. And therefore I'm paying Wistia last month.

I paid Wistia, nearly a thousand dollars just for hosting videos. And so I've been doing some research and, and Vimeo is the other, the other kind of competitor they're not near as expensive and they also offer unlimited bandwidth. And so it's just, but it's just not as nice, but I think I've found some ways to make Vimeo videos kind of as nice as Wistia videos.

And so I'm actually in that process right now of moving some things from Wistia to Vimeo. More information on that coming soon, because whiskey is what I've been recommending for, for years now, but I'm always, I'm always reanalyzing what I'm doing, making sure it's the best thing I could be doing because there's a lot of people that follow my advice too.

So that's, that makes it especially important that I'm, you know, doing the right thing. And, and so I'm considering a move, a total move from Wistia to Vimeo, but I'm in that process right now. And I'll keep you guys posted on how that, how that goes. Gotcha. Canva is, is great for, for graphics. I'm sure a lot of people out there use Canva there's lightening press.

We talked about. And zoom. I pay, I pay $16 a month for, to use zoom. I guess they have a free plan, but I think it cuts you off after like 45 minutes on the free plan where you were, we're communicating on zoom right now. I love zoom and that is about it. There's, there's a few other things on here, but those are the main things worth noting as I go through my April credit card statement.

And then there are a few occasions where. I'll have to pay for something outside of my credit card. So there's a couple of contractors that I do pay with PayPal. And so between PayPal and my credit card, I think that's probably about all that I do with expenses. So in April I spent $11,075 on advertising. About.

David Krohse: These very low or reasonable.

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. It's I mean, it's fine. What's funny is that my ROI in April was like six, which is insane. So, so I brought in over $60,000 in revenue. From that $11,000, but you got to keep in mind context, April was the best, like pretty much the best month ever. The most amount of students I've ever gotten in one month, I got 452 new students in April because of the quarantine because of COVID-19 and all that.

But. We've been and we've been spending more and more. I think if you go back six months, I probably only spent six or 7,000 on advertising, but we've been creeping it up as business has gotten better and better course, I actually spent $5,000 on course supplies. So that's the flash cards, the flash drives.

But, but that goes up and down because I try to keep a good inventory and I made a lot of sales in April. So I, so I also restocked my inventory a lot. So that's by far, that. A big expense in that category. And on most months, I think on average, it's going to be closer to about a thousand dollars on the physical, physical stuff.

I spent like $4,000 on Stripe fees, but that's just because I made so much and I actually messaged them about trying to get a better rate. And what they told me is you need to bring in six figures. You need to bring in at least a hundred thousand dollars for three consecutive months for them to consider giving you.

A discounted rate. So I've hit two months of that. I don't know if I'm going to hit it in the third month or not, but if I do the first person, that's going to know about it as Stripe. Cause I would love to get a better rate from them. And then beyond that, I mean, I've got my, my contractors, I spent about $7,000 in contractors.

And so outside help in April, which is, which is really important. And that's. That's one of the main reasons I'm able to go on a five week trip. You know, I've got, I've got systems in place, but I've also got the right strategic people in place to do the right things, to help my business go along. Because I know that my systems are going to be taken care of and my students are going to be taken care of. Well, even when I'm not there as well. So I think those are the key ones worth hitting. Man. What other questions or things you want me to talk about with my expenses?

David Krohse: Well, I'm just curious. you've talked about evolved, finance very highly. I know that they had like monthly or periodic meetups or, webinars. Have you been joining those and. Doing that kind of educational part of it at all?

Jacques Hopkins: No, they do. What they do is, is twice a week, they do a group coaching call essentially, and I haven't attended one yet, but that's part of what you get when you sign up for evolved finance. I think they used to have more one-on-one.

Coaching built into their packages, but they, as they've grown, they've shifted to more group coaching. And I keep telling myself, I'm going to take advantage of that because the guys that run the company, specifically Parker Stevenson, who came on the podcast is just a great source of information for running, running a healthy business.

And, but, but I will say that. When, when all of this, when all of the COVID stuff was happening, they personally reached out to all of their clients. Like, how can we help? How is this affecting you? Like, let's jump on a call, let's see how we can help. And I took advantage of that and I had a really great.

Call with Parker a couple of weeks ago, and he's just, he offered so many great insights into, into my business. And so I want to be able to continue to do that and continue to get feedback from park. And I think those group coaching calls are gonna be the best way to do that.

David Krohse: No, no, obviously this was focused more on recurring monthly expenses, which super important to pay attention to those and not, not have something running for a year that you haven't used or hasn't brought value to your business.

But I thought an interesting question would be like within the last year or two years, like, what's the most fun thing that you've bought, like an individual one time purchase. And then I was just curious if you have anything still on your wishlist that you're kind of like, yeah. Maybe it's time to buy that.

Jacques Hopkins: Person you're talking about personally, right? Or.

David Krohse: No, I was thinking of for business.

Jacques Hopkins: Oh, cool. Well, one thing I've bought within the past couple of months that I'm really excited about is I have three really, really, really good cameras in my studio now. Right. So before I had, I've always kind of always had one good camera for the main shot.

And then I kind of use a wet, like I've got to have overhead shots for, for teaching the piano, but I kind of use a webcam, but I've always wanted a third shot too, just to get that side angle. And so. One thing I rewarded myself with with such a good month in April is buying three amazing cameras. They're all the same camera.

So I'm looking at you through my main camera and then right there. and I know this is worthless for the audio audience, but over there on the side, I've got the exact same type of camera mounted to my wall over there to get this angle. And then right above, I actually mounted another Sony, a 6,400 camera.

To the ceiling. So I used to have, I used to have this structure that I would attach my webcam to, but now I just mounted this great camera right above, and I've got, they all have really nice Sigma lenses on it. That's maybe more important than the camera itself is having a good lens. And so between the three Sony, a 64 hundreds, three Sigma lenses, I've got a really good camera set up going on right here.

Awesome. I thought you were asking personal. And one thing I did like six, eight months ago was buy a, an E bike. And that's the first day that came to mind. I love my e-bike man. We, and we, we use that all the time. I've got two kids seats on the back of it so I can bring my kids anywhere on that thing.

David Krohse: Super fun.

Jacques Hopkins: What else, man? Any other questions? Followups?

David Krohse: No. I mean, I guess as a business owner, myself, I was going to share just a couple of thoughts on kind of the pitfalls that, that new business owners will, will make. The first one is not understanding a tax write off. So I think anybody that starts a business, they instantly think like, Oh, if it's a business expense, there's this temptation to think it's actually free.

I know that I've seen some friends that start a business and they're like, Oh man, I'll take you out to lunch. It's a business expense. Yeah, but again, the, the deal with that is that if you make it a business expense in general, you're going to save your tax rate. So that could be around 25 to 30%, but, definitely not free.

So anything that you pay for with your business still has to make sense. You can kind of like you can say, okay, whatever you're paying. Functionally, you're saving 25 to 30% on that, but it's still not free. So that'd be the first one. I don't know. Did you fall into that at all? Being super excited about business expenses?

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, man, I still am excited about business expenses, but it's not, it's not near the savings that some people would lead you to believe.

David Krohse: So the other one is just that when you're a solopreneur, you have to be your own CFO, especially if you look at your personality and you're like, I'm a gadget geek. I'm like.

I mean, you just have to like, say, you know, does this gadget actually bring value to your business? And I know in my own life or in my own business, my best friend from growing up, his name is Matt, but he's my it guy. And anytime I'm like, I need to upgrade this. He wants the best of the best. I mean, this guy.

He's he just, he always wants to buy premium. And so I'm like, I just need some computers to show x-rays to people. And he like wants me to get a $1,500 computer and I'm like, no, it just needs the browser super basic. And we have fights about that. And, but, but if you. If you're a gadget person, like you gotta assess the own set your own situation.

Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, totally. I mean, just going back to the cameras, I went, I was just fine for years with one good camera. It's just have a list running of things that would be nice to have. And then when you reach certain levels, you know, you can re reward yourself with those additional gadgets. And so once I felt like, you know, I had a really good month. I had some extra savings in my, expenses category. Then I was able to buy two more of those great cameras.

David Krohse: Yeah, the last one is just a, it's very tempting to say I'm going to justify this new service because it only needs to bring in like one, one new client per month, one new member. But I'm just going to tell you, like, overhead, overhead can pile up quick.

And again, if you go back and listen to the first 20 episodes with jock, he'd have a really good month and sometimes be like, Oh, I'm going to sign up for this, this new service or that new service based on the good month. And then things dropped down. And so. Again, that, that kind of justification like, Oh, I had a great month. So I'm, I'm ready for this new service. It only has to bring in this many additional it's like, you can only take that justification so far. So that's another one that I know I've done.

Jacques Hopkins: in one month. I mean, you could, if you have 12 good months in a row, then maybe it's time to do something like that. But one month usually isn't good enough to justify something like that.

David Krohse: Yeah. So that's what I've got.

Jacques Hopkins: So one more thing I thought of is, you know, David, and I'm surprised he didn't catch this, but when I was going over my expenses, did you hear me say ClickFunnels? Or active campaign or deadlines. So three of my favorite tools that I use and are very, very important to the success of my business.

Those are the, those are three of them. ClickFunnels active campaign and deadline funnel. Well, the reason that you didn't hear those in my monthly expenses, cause I pay for those yearly now. And so a lot of the services you use and you know, now that I'm thinking of it, Zapier as well, and there's probably others that I use, you get a, you get a pretty substantial discount if you pay for these services on a yearly basis instead of a monthly basis.

So the way I like to do things is start paying for them monthly and make sure that it's going to be part of your, your business for the longterm. And those services definitely are going to be. And so, so I had the money in my account and I paid for those services yearly. Closer to the beginning of this year. So that's why you didn't see those as I was going through the expenses for April.

David Krohse: Sounds good.

Jacques Hopkins: All right, David, let's get out of here. This was a fun one. I appreciate the idea. We are about to embark on a really fun five week adventure. And to be honest with you, I'm not sure exactly where this podcast is going to go, but I have some fun ideas for the next five weeks.

And so, and so stay tuned for that and see how it goes. Thank you, David, for joining me for another episode and thank you everybody out there for listening to another episode. As usual, you can find all the links and show notes from today's episode, by going to the online course guy.com. And in this, in this case, it would be slash one, three seven.

Since this is episode one 37, and by the way, Go to the online course guide.com and check out the new design and check out all the ways that I can now serve you with your online course journey. Thanks again for listening. We'll talk next week.