It’s time to catch up with another course creator friend! Abbey Ashley is no stranger to this show, but it’s been a while since we’ve heard what she’s up to. And she does not disappoint: Abbey’s been killing it this year! We chatted about how her business is evolving, where she sees herself focusing her energy in the future, and much more. Enjoy!
“You will pivot. Things will shift, and that’s totally okay.”
In This Episode, We Talked About:
- (0:39) Why I’m excited about today’s episode + a teaser for next week!
- (3:07) Thoughts on lead magnets and “getting to know” course creators
- (5:18) Working out in 2020
- (8:36) Talking Facebook ads and group interaction
- (10:03) Setting the stage for today’s interview
- (11:09) Welcoming Abbey back and hearing her online course business update
- (14:07) Keeping the train rolling in 2020
- (16:33) Abbey’s growing team
- (18:24) How she’s making an impact on students’ lives (including my own team)
- (21:17) Charting metrics and looking for areas to improve
- (26:41) Project management tools
- (28:38) “Extreme ownership” and applying common leadership principles
- (30:12) What it takes to succeed
- (31:55) The evolution of Abbey’s funnel and how learning from others has influenced it
- (38:46) The importance of finding your audience
- (42:00) Abbey’s Facebook groups and the importance of honesty
- (44:44) Thoughts on leaving Facebook – or not
- (47:39) Course platform decisions
- (49:54) The importance of listening to your audience
- (52:49) Why Abbey’s enjoying learning from a new mentor
- (55:55) Hiring and running a team
- (58:53) Thinking about team culture and efficiency
- (1:03:36) Making the transition from contractors to employees
- (1:07:55) Surprise, delight, and… shots?
- (1:12:45) Handling hiring in the U.S.
- (1:13:44) Delegating and getting out of day-to-day operations
- (1:17:12) Lynch-pin redundancy
- (1:20:56) What’s next for Abbey
- (1:26:13) Is a podcast in the works for Abbey?
- (1:27:42) Where to find her online and why it’s okay to copy
- (1:30:23) How much fun it would be to be on Abbey’s team? + How we first connected
- (1:33:04) Emotions and shareable moments
- (1:34:52) Updates and differences in teams
- (1:37:48) How things are going with my OBM + David’s singing solo 😛
- (1:39:02) Upsells vs. downsells, tortoises vs. hares
- (1:41:41) A high-ticket program without a sales call?
- (1:44:10) Funnel hacking and evolving with the times
- (1:46:40) “There is no secret sauce” + Pinterest myth-busting
- (1:49:00) The importance of a learning mindset
- (1:50:54) Wrapping up with a plug for next week’s episode
That’s all for now, folks! See you on the next episode of The Online Course Show.
Offers and Tools:
Resources and Recommendations:
- Betty Rocker
- Dr. John Jaquish
- Evolved Finance
- Extreme Ownership
- 2X Business Coaching
- Mariah Coz
- Fix This Next
- The Pumpkin Plan
- Good to Great
- Side Hustle Nation
- Episode 37
- Episode 79
Jacques Hopkins 00:02
Regular people are taking their knowledge and content, packaging it up in an online course, and they're making a living doing it.
Jacques Hopkins 00:12
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.
Jacques Hopkins 00:32
And off we go, welcome aboard. Glad you're with us. I'm your host, Jacques Hopkins. And over there is our cohost. What's going on Dr. K?
David Krohse 00:40
Not too much. I'm doing fantastic here.
Jacques Hopkins 00:42
I am ready for another episode. This is 160. And in just a little bit, we're going to hear from a returning guest. This will be her third time on and she is such an inspiration. Abbey Ashley. Her business is up to about 2 million a year. She's got like 14 or 15 full time employees. Doing very little into the business now. Really excited to share that conversation with you and with the audience, but I would like to tease something. I would like to tease something to next week.
David Krohse 00:53
All right. What?
Jacques Hopkins 01:12
I don't do this often. So, what's the big thing that you keep asking me about, and everybody keeps asking me about?
David Krohse 01:18
Yeah, I think we want to know what the best course platform in the world is.
Jacques Hopkins 01:23
Best course platform in the world is. Yeah. So, past, what, six months probably, I've been doing a deep dive on a lot of different course platforms. It's probably impossible to evaluate all of them because there's new ones cropping up every day. And so, I've looked at the big ones, I've looked at some smaller ones as well, and I have made a decision on where I'm going to be hosting my course - my piano course - going forward. And so next week, I'm going to reveal what I've picked, if you should pick the same thing, and we're going to talk about a lot of other platforms, as well. Pros and cons of each, and kind of what which one would be a good fit for certain types of people. Because I promise, the one that I have selected is not the right fit for everyone. It's going to be the right fit for a lot of people, but not for everyone. And we'll talk about that next week. How does that sound?
David Krohse 02:19
Got it. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that conversation.
Jacques Hopkins 02:21
Cool. So, it'll just be me and you. No interview next week. And I'll kind of walk you through my process and you can ask questions and whatnot. So that's what's coming up next week. So, everybody stay tuned for 161 next week, which will be our last episode of the year. Last episode of December.
David Krohse 02:41
Nice. Yeah, we got a lot in this year. We didn't quite get one every week but pretty close.
Jacques Hopkins 02:47
It'll probably end up at like 49. We probably missed two or three weeks. We didn't release one on Thanksgiving week. There was one or two other times throughout the year. And you say we like if it were up to you, you would release them every week. It's definitely on me that we missed a couple. So, you do your part. You show up every week and I really appreciate that.
David Krohse 03:05
Jacques Hopkins 03:06
So that's what's going on next week with platforms. Before we get into the conversation with Abbey, you got any updates for us? Anything of note that seems off the wall, but somehow you magically tie it in the courses like you do every week?
David Krohse 03:18
Yeah, I do. So, I started a new workout program. And you know, one of the common questions for course creators is what should my lead magnet be? And also, a question, how much should you give away before people actually join your course or join a community? And so, I have started doing a workout called The Betty Rocker. And I actually invited you to join it. I don't know. You turned me down. But this Betty Rocker it's, I mean, I think it's a huge, huge membership. A huge community of people that do these workouts. But she has a 30-day challenge. And so, what attracted me to it, I mean, first off, I have a female chiropractor friend that posted this picture of herself with these biceps that were just popping huge. And I knew that her only workout was doing Betty Rocker. So, number one, I mean, it was just seeing visual proof of what that could do for a female friend. But ultimately, the workouts are 15 minutes a day. All bodyweight, no tools, nothing needed, except for a mat on the floor. And so, I'm like five days into it. And you know, I mean, she's given away a ton of value. So far, the only thing I've been pitched is a meal plan for like, $39 or there's like a smaller meal planning a little info product for $9. But other than that, I mean, heck of a huge lead magnet. And yeah, we should get her on the podcast at some point.
Jacques Hopkins 04:41
There you go.
David Krohse 04:42
The Betty Rocker.
Jacques Hopkins 04:43
There's always an upsell, man.
David Krohse 04:45
Jacques Hopkins 04:45
There's always an upsell.
David Krohse 04:47
By the end of it I'm going to feel like friends with Betty. So...
Jacques Hopkins 04:50
Yeah, I bet you are. I'm sure a lot of people feel like they know me so well, you know, going through my course or heck, even listening to this podcast. It's like they're spending so much time with you when you have a platform like this, but you're not necessarily spending time with them. It's a very interesting relationship. I mean, listeners of this feel like they know you so well. But you don't know all the thousands of people that are listening to this podcast. You know a few of them, but you certainly don't know everybody.
David Krohse 05:18
Right? So, did you look into the workout at all? Did you consider doing it all with me?
Jacques Hopkins 05:22
I looked at it briefly, but I recently started something myself, as well, that I don't want to get off. I don't want to get off that train. What I succumb to... So, I'm a Crossfitter. I've been doing CrossFit for like three plus years, but I haven't... that kind of stopped when the first lockdowns came in middle of March. And I supported my gym, I still paid my membership for several months. And then they open back up and I went like two or three times, but it just wasn't the same. It was it felt weird being there. And to be honest with you, they kind of for some reason fired my favorite coach that was there as well. So, I decided to just okay, now's the time for me to just back out for now. And so, I stopped going completely. And all the while just kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do, as far as working out goes, because resistance training is important to me. And my brother-in-law recommended something to me that I've been using and really, really digging. It's called the X3 System. Have you heard of that?
David Krohse 06:24
I have not.
Jacques Hopkins 06:26
So, let me... this is we're getting a little off tangent here, but you know, health and wellness goes along with success in online business, for sure. And this system was created by a guy named Dr. John Jaquish, and he's been in the wellness space for a long time. He's got some sort of partnership or business with Tony Robbins. He invented some sort of bone density medical device that was like his big claim to fame. And through that research, he discovered that variable resistance training was actually incredibly effective, meaning that it's not the same amount of tension or force the whole movement while you're pushing or pulling weights. And so, he invented a product that could - for most bang for the buck - help you accomplish that variable resistance training. And that's bands. Right? But he had to invent these really, really powerful bands that don't break ever. And the unique thing about the system too, is its bands with like an Olympic bar. So, you're not just holding the band, you're holding the bar, and then the weight is the bands.
Jacques Hopkins 07:34
So, it's really cool. I've been doing it for probably six weeks now. My brother-in-law actually bought it about a year ago, because he succumbed to these Facebook ads. And every time we talk about it, he's like, "I can't believe I gave in to those ads." But he loves it. And if anybody's listening to this, like not just in your headphones and your phone is listening to you, you might start getting advertised to buy X3 because we keep saying X3, X3, or I keep saying it, but I've been enjoying it. It's about 10 minutes a day. The guy recently wrote a book, also, called Weightlifting Is a Waste of Time. And it's clickbaity title but it goes into the science. It's very, very good. As a chiropractor, you might really enjoy the science behind it. But it just talks about why variable resistance training is so much more superior to constant resistance training. I don't know when the opposite of that would be. So that's what I've been doing. And I'm sure your program is great, too. But I wanted to stick with mine.
David Krohse 08:27
Nice. Well, yeah, I'm sure I'll see those Facebook ads shortly here and I'll probably interact with one and then I'll see it for the next 30 years or whatever. But yeah, and regarding courses, I mean, there was actually a question in your Next Level Courses this morning with somebody that just started running Facebook ads, and was disappointed in their results one week in and you know, I got in there and I just said, "Hey, like retargeting is the biggest thing. Like you have to have those touch points multiple times before people make a decision." So, there's lessons there.
Jacques Hopkins 08:59
Definitely. And you know, speaking of courses, once again, I think there's room for X3 to have a course. When you buy it, they send you a link to a collection of videos on how to use the product but there's no login, there's no, they're not updating the information. What I would love to see is a little area inside of a member portal where other extra users are giving their best tips and tricks on how to use it instead of just the creator because he's obviously very biased. And that's actually something that I would love to have as a part of my course. Now that I say that. You know, every video pretty much except for the ones that have outsourced to other piano teachers is the expert. But I would love to have a section of like students who have been through the program, offering tips and tricks and advice. It's a totally different perspective and I think that a lot of courses could be doing something like.
David Krohse 09:55
Yeah, that sounds awesome.
Jacques Hopkins 09:56
Well, let's get back on the train tracks and not just about our working out goals. So, like I said, this was an excellent conversation with Abbey Ashley. She is killing it as usual. She's been in business since like 2016 and has basically doubled every year. She's going to be doing over $2 million in sales this year in 2020. And, of course, this is one of the businesses like mine, that has done really well with the pandemic. Right? More people are staying home, more people are looking to work from home, and that's exactly what she promises with her course. But like mine, you know, it actually produces results. And the goodwill associated with her course; I know several people that have been through her program, including my new OBM/Director of Operations. She started out as a VA and took Abbey's course years ago. And then I've got a newer VA on the team who also took Abbey's course, and they speak very highly of Abbey and the course.
Jacques Hopkins 11:00
So, this was a true delight. So, without further ado, let's go ahead and play the full conversation with Abbey Ashley right now.
Jacques Hopkins 11:10
Abbey, freakin, Ashley. What's up?
Abbey Ashley 11:12
Jacques Hopkins 11:13
I'm so pumped to have you back on. It actually feels like we haven't talked in quite some time now. I mean, we've talked plenty times on the podcast and off the podcast, too. I'm excited to dive into what's been going on the past few months and heck, probably year.
Abbey Ashley 11:26
I know. I'm definitely, we're like, it's gab time. It's just time to catch up time and everyone gets to listen to it.
Jacques Hopkins 11:33
That's perfect. You know, I've had I've had people come back on, like repeat guests, and they didn't really have a lot of updates. I've been watching your stuff from the outside, even though we haven't communicated directly a whole bunch lately. But it seems like a lot of cool things have been happening. So, let's just start with your main course that you offer. What's the latest? Have you updated it? Updated pricing? And how's that going?
Abbey Ashley 11:55
Yeah,. So, things are going great. So, we, you know. For those who don't know me - Hi! I teach people how to become virtual assistants. And we have our signature training program, it's called the Savvy System. And the Savvy System is, it's our core product. Right. And that's where we send the majority of our traffic. It's kind of where we want everyone to start. And so that has been going really well. We're still, you know, we do two launches a year, our evergreen funnel that's running all the time, we finally started doing some paid ads to that. So that's starting to go and again we're not, that's kind of next year is, is paid and partnering small... And we can talk about that a little bit, but we've really just been right in the organic train for a long time. And so that organic train definitely picked up. And, you know, I'm almost cautious of who I tell people this too. But you know, for us, I know that, you know, March of 2020 was really, really hard for a lot of businesses. But for us, we teach people how to work from home. And, what a time to, you know, teach people how to work from home. So, we actually, internally, you know, we employ a lot of moms, too. So, we, you know, 90% of our team instantly became homeschooling moms in March. And so, we said, “You know what, here's what I want you to do. I want you to take your list of tasks for everyone on the team - we just did it across the board - let's highlight the things that have to be done, and if you can get your job done in five hours a week, cool, do that.” And March was the month that we doubled without doing anything else externally. And it was like so now of course, all my employees are like, "We sold! We only worked five hours a week." I'm like, "No, not quite." But you know, so definitely, we've just been on kind of an onward track. So just looking backwards, you know, 2018, we did about $600,000 in revenue. Last year, 2019, was our first million-dollar year, and we are going to hit 2 million this year. And then now we're like, "Well, let's go ahead and go for four next year. That's the... We're on the track to double each year." So that's kind of what we're shooting for and what we've, you know, ran projections and everything for next year.
Jacques Hopkins 14:08
That's all... Yeah, once you're doubling every year, it's like why not keep the train rolling?
Abbey Ashley 14:12
Just keep this going.
Jacques Hopkins 14:13
Yeah, I'm kind of... mine's kind of doubling every year too. It sounds like, I'm kind of one year behind you. I'm probably going to hit right at a million dollars in revenue this year, about 500k last year, and so on. So, I'm going to try to just do everything that you're doing with just one year behind you and I think I'll be successful if I do that.
Abbey Ashley 14:29
That's amazing though. That's huge. Congratulations!
Jacques Hopkins 14:33
Thank you and congratulations to you, as well. I think actually around the pandemic time... Well, I guess we're still in a pandemic but around the original lockdowns is probably the last time I had messaged you because I was thinking about the course creators that I knew. And you know, some people like my friend, Nate Dotson, who you know, he teaches people to start in person, like, sell microgreens at the farmer’s market. Like, his went down, right? I have a friend who teaches musicians to get higher paying gigs, right? All of a sudden, there were no musical gigs. His went down. But mine went very well, because everybody has learning piano on their bucket list, or a lot of people do. And so, staying home, have extra time. My course did very well. And I was like, man, I bet Abbey's killing it, too. So, I remember messaging you, I was like, "You're doing well during this, this, this time, too, huh? Cause everybody...
Abbey Ashley 15:23
Jacques Hopkins 15:23
...opportunity to work from home.
Abbey Ashley 15:24
It's hard because you know, you don't, I don't know. You want to be sensitive, because I know, like, so many people are hurting during that time. And so, you know, I think that's why it's cool to have these conversations too. And just see, like, what works and there are so many businesses that were planning, you know, like, they should have done poorly. Right?
Jacques Hopkins 15:43
Abbey Ashley 15:43
And then they pivoted, and I've seen that, too. My husband...
Jacques Hopkins 15:46
Abbey Ashley 15:47
...my husband used to work in the entertainment industry. He was in the circus. I don't know if we've ever even talked about that. But so, he knows a lot of people in the entertainment industry and I mean, that's just gone, right? But there's this one company that they were doing, like a touring show. And they had the, you know, the idea of like, could we make this a drive thru experience, rather than...
Abbey Ashley 16:07
...they are killing it. Like, they're just hiring like, crazy. It's like 60 bucks a car or something, that they're just. And they're just absolutely killing it, right? So, I think that there's definitely, um, you know, it definitely tested a lot of us in the area of innovation, and alright, let's test our tech and innovation and whatever skills so yeah, crazy.
Jacques Hopkins 16:07
Jacques Hopkins 16:32
Yeah. But it takes... Not everybody's willing to pivot like that and it's cool to see that a lot of people are doing that. Whenever it looked like we were going to be locking down there was like a day, where I made very few, if any sales. And I was like, "Oh, no, here it is. Here's the decline of my business. And I was freaking out a little bit. But I also didn't, and still don't have any actual employees. Did you reach a point where you're like, "Oh, no, like, I'm responsible for all these people's livelihoods.”? Were you ever worried about it back in early March?
Abbey Ashley 17:04
Yeah. So, we were still a smaller team, then. I mean, smaller for us. So, we, I think we had six full time employees. And now we're at, we're hiring 14 and 15 right now, which has been...
Jacques Hopkins 17:16
Feel like you just you were just at like, 11 last week.
Abbey Ashley 17:19
I know. It's, it's, it's crazy. It's crazy. And that's about a lot of our business model too, is really, we spend on team more than other avenues. So, but yeah, that, you know, I think we had our emergency fund in the bank. So, I knew that no matter what, we had been planning, growth and hiring, so the conversations never really got to the point of like, "Oh, are we going to have to let people go?" But in my head, I was like, "Okay, well, we're definitely holding off on hiring." Which is what we did, you know, until we saw, "Oh, this is actually causing us to grow." And then yeah, so I didn't necessarily get to that point where was just like, "Oh, no!" But I don't know, I'm definitely probably a half glass full type of person, I'm sure my COO was like, "Ugh!", and I'm like, "It's fine! We're good." You know, she's the one that that helps bring me down sometimes from total optimism.
Jacques Hopkins 18:18
Yeah. And to piggyback off of what we're talking about, a little while ago, it's like, if you have if you're genuinely helping people to, then it's a good thing like you, you genuinely help people to quit their job, work from home, do work that they love on their own schedule. And so, you are just in the right place at the right time. You we're already making sales, but just like that your sales doubled. But it's not just you making money, like, you are having a direct impact and positive change on other people's lives.
Abbey Ashley 18:44
Jacques Hopkins 18:44
And how does that make you feel? First of all.
Abbey Ashley 18:48
I mean, we've started sharing more testimonies in our like, our social media and stuff and that it's so it's, it's cool, because they come in, but just like, I don't know, just getting to really see them and see the impact, and so many people just quitting their jobs or paying off debt or doing you know, getting to be with their kids and not feel bad for it. And I don't know, it's been really cool. It's been really cool.
Jacques Hopkins 19:13
The last three people that I've hired have been through your training.
Abbey Ashley 19:18
Hey, that's cool!
Jacques Hopkins 19:20
Do you just have like a complete monopoly on this market or what?
Abbey Ashley 19:24
No, there's other people. And there's other people who do what I do really great, too. Honestly. Um, there's, I definitely, I have competitors and some of them do a good job. No, there are some that are turning out really great VAs as well. But no, I'm glad that that's worked out for you and that it's good to know that we're training awesome people. I of course, think that they're awesome, but it's always great to hear and that's, you know, my next endeavor is definitely I'll be chatting with you and we're really, really have the wheels rolling on it because we want to create an opportunity for virtual assistants and clients to connect, and so we're going to be building out kind of a marketplace for that. But that's on the horizon. So, it's cool. It's cool to hear that that's, you know, kind of organically happening anyways.
Jacques Hopkins 20:13
Yes, absolutely. So, the first of those three is now my D.O.O., Director of Operations. Which I think Melissa is. Is she's your D.O.O.?
Abbey Ashley 20:23
Yeah, she started as my D.O.O., we ended up once she became an employee, we call her my COO, and that's literally, girl basically runs the company. I mean, she's phenomenal.
Jacques Hopkins 20:34
Yeah, so I've interacted with her a lot. In fact, she gave me a lot of tips a few months ago, on hiring and how you guys do some of that. So, thank you so much for putting her in contact with me about that. But yeah, I hired a D.O.O. and she started as a VA a few years ago, went through your program, worked her way up till she got a certified OBM, and now she's a certified D.O.O. And she, through her connections, found a couple of other VAs. And I guess connections is like your community, probably. And that's probably why the next two went through your program as well. But every time it seems like every time that somebody new is coming on, it's like they went through your program. And I'm like, "Oh, yeah, I know. I know, Abbey, you know, personally." And they're like, "What?! You know, Abbey? That's amazing."
Abbey Ashley 21:15
That's so cool. That makes me happy.
Jacques Hopkins 21:17
So, let's talk about, I want to talk about your evergreen funnel. Okay? I know, we talked about that a lot last time you're on a long time ago. And it's a basic evergreen webinar funnel? Is that a fair way to label it?
Abbey Ashley 21:31
Yeah, it is. I mean, honestly, our funnel, it does amazing. I love it, I love that we, you know, we had a funnel that, gosh, that was back in 2018, we had a funnel that was doing fine. It was making like $4,000 a month in sales. And then I went through a program by Mariah Coz where I learned her system for developing an evergreen funnel, and it was amazing. And I flipped it on, and we basically tripled our revenue with the same amount of traffic just from this funnel. And it's literally the same funnel we have now. We need to do some tweaks to it honestly, like it's, we've learned some things. It's like, "Oh, yeah, we need to do that." But we've just been hiring so much like crazy that we don't fully have the margin, but we're going to this next year, that's going to be one of the levers we pull is just kind of increasing our conversion rates even more on that funnel.
Abbey Ashley 22:25
But even that, I mean, this year for us, like if I was to put a like a word to this year, it was definitely like the year of the metrics and, you know, becoming an operational machine and starting to like to record data, and record metrics, and to do projections. And we have like an actual org chart. We know what our org chart looks like now, what it's going to look like in three months, and then six months, and we're planning like, "Okay, based off with these projections, will we be able to pay for these people? And how much can we spend on these different areas? And what our expense caps like? How much can we spend on team this next year and having percentages for those?" So, it's definitely been the year of the metrics and starting to track things. And now that we have all that now we're seeing, oh, my goodness, look at all these areas, we can improve on now that we're actually tracking them, you know. So, I think that kind of this year was just that. It was definitely a data year, operational machine metrics year. Whereas next year, I think is going to be more of like an exponential growth year where it's, you know, taking the things that we've learned from our data, and making tweaks and testing and things like that.
Jacques Hopkins 23:33
That's really next level. You mentioned earlier that you really invest in your team more than anything else. So, to collect that data, is it more of a manual process from human or are you using actual software to do that?
Abbey Ashley 23:45
Most of its manual, I mean, we have a great bookkeeper. We love our bookkeeper, and so he lets us know how much we're spending on team, percentage wise, you know, and in all these different areas. So..
Jacques Hopkins 23:57
Are you still using Evolved? Or is it...
Abbey Ashley 23:59
Jacques Hopkins 23:59
Okay, so we share the same bookkeeper. Parker's been on the podcast.
Abbey Ashley 24:03
I mean, they're just the best.
Jacques Hopkins 24:05
They're great. Yeah.
Abbey Ashley 24:05
They're literally the best. I was just actually on the phone with him right before this call. He's so great. So yeah, we use Evolved for bookkeeping, and that, you know, once we got to where we couldn't do it in house anymore, and we made that transition, man, that was that was really awesome. To have a bookkeeper we could... That was kind of our level one. You know? Level two for us was coming up with a, like a project management software. So, for us, we made the switch this past year over to ClickUp and I really, really have enjoyed that. It was a learning curve for me. I'm so resistant to tech change, like it's ridiculous, but my team was driving for it. They're like, "Abbey, this is going to be so amazing." And now that I'm used to it, I'm like, "Yes!" We love our project management software now.
Abbey Ashley 24:08
Then we moved on and we created a KPI dashboard. So, we have key performance indicators for every member of the team. So, every week they're reporting on the major areas in their role. So, you know, "What is the...? How much did our list grow by? What was our goal and what was the actual?" You know. "How much? What were our conversion rates on our funnel, the goal and the actual? And so, every single person has kind of a KPI right or multiple KPIs that they're doing and then that way, and then it's literally just like black or red, right? Black, we're doing great, everything's in the black, we're fine. Red means that, "Hey, this needs some attention." Right? We're not quite hitting our goal on this KPI. And so that's where we spend some time attending to that thing. So that's been really cool, too. And we've even integrated like, our project management software. So, one of the KPIs is how many overdue tasks do you have, right? And so, we can kind of make sure that the team is keeping up with their tasks and everything like that. Yeah.
Abbey Ashley 24:33
So then step three. So, I was like, phase one... What was phase one again? But like getting the bookkeeping, project management software, KPIs, and then now we're really working to develop like a financial dashboard and making actual projections for next year. And that was pretty much the most fun thing in the world was coming up with projections and being like, "Oh, we actually, you know, this is how much our list is growing by. This is what we should be able to do based on how well we convert our list." And we came up with numbers, and we're like, "Oh, this is actually possible. Okay, that's cool." Like, I don't know, it's just every part of it's just fun.
Jacques Hopkins 25:11
I mean, you're making me so jealous that I now understand why you're a year ahead of me. So, we're going to, I'm going to share this with this episode with my team. I'll be like, "Look, this is where we need to be in a year." Now what we're using before ClickUp?
Abbey Ashley 26:43
Jacques Hopkins 26:43
Trello. Okay, so we're on Asana now. All right. And I think... So, the last time you were in the podcast was actually a focused episode and just talking about tools. So, I think I first learned about ClickUp from you. I think you were just starting to maybe move over to it. And I wasn't really using any project management software at the time. I think I was doing a lot of spreadsheets. Like, alright, I'm going to convert all my spreadsheets over to ClickUp because Abbey recommended it. And I spent maybe four hours with it, I'm just ripping my hair out. And I'm like, screw it. My spreadsheets are better. But then Colleen comes in about three months ago, Director of Operations, right. And she is an Asana expert. So, she comes in and puts the entire company in Asana. And now using the project management software is great. But setting it up was awesome.
Abbey Ashley 27:28
Oh yeah. Well, that's the thing is that I think that we didn't switch to ClickUp because I wanted to switch to ClickUp, or I felt we needed to do it. It was my team that was like, Abbey, you need to get your stuff together. We need to get this, you know, and so they set it up. And so, I think that's perfect. Like, and I don't think it's not a like is Asana or ClickUp better. It's like, what works best for your team, and what are they going to be able to own. Because that's been a real shift that we've been trying to make this year to is this idea of Extreme Ownership. And like, you know, my team owns their areas now. And they make decisions, and they have decision making power. And they are the ones that are, you know, so if they say, we're moving to ClickUp, like, obviously, I want to hear about it and stuff like that, but for the most part, alright, you guys want to do this? Let's do it. And so that's been, yeah, that's been really, really cool. So, I think that it's not so much the what tool you're using, as is your team on board and are they going to be able to really take the ownership with it.
Jacques Hopkins 28:37
That's really cool. You mentioned the words Extreme Ownership. That's, hey, have you read that book? Jocko Willink?
Abbey Ashley 28:43
I actually haven't. No. So, I'm in I'm in a coaching program right now. It's called 2X Scale. Yeah. And it's so good. Oh my gosh. And so, they use a lot of just like these common principles. And just, it's almost like a... every, like leadership and business book you can read, they just basically make you apply the principles. So, it's almost like what they teach isn't necessarily even like, this whole new, like, secret sauce. And that's what I feel like... You know, what is this? I started this business in 2016. So, we're four years in, coming on five years. Like, I feel like at this point, I finally realized it's like, there's not really this like magic bullet. It's like, there's not like this just secret sauce that I was missing out on the whole time. It's literally just taking the ideas that work and just doing them like day in and day out, and just actually doing the thing and being consistent with it. And, and just, I don't know. And so, that's a lot of what I've been learning in that coaching program is just like, alright, here's just like, I mean, an org chart and dashboards and things like that. So...
Jacques Hopkins 29:54
Are you suggesting that this whole online business world is not that hard?
Abbey Ashley 29:58
I mean, I'm now at the point where I'm like, "Everyone needs to do this," although, I do realize that it's not necessarily conducive to every personality type. But yeah, I just like, “Come on guys, you can do this.” It's not that hard.
Jacques Hopkins 30:11
What I'm hearing from you is like, there's not these, there's not these big secrets that a few people are hiding, like, most people probably know what it takes to succeed. You just got to, you got to execute on the simple things over and over and over again.
Abbey Ashley 30:26
Yeah. And it's so funny, because like I mentioned, so I'm finally, I mean, for years, and I guess it's not that long. But like, I've been saying no to so many things, right? Like, there's so many like, "Oh, I should do this, I should do that." And it's like, "No, no, no, like, I just got it, I got to stick to the plan, stick to the plan, stick to the plan." And so now we're at the point where my team is doing so much of the work that I'm like, "Oh, I actually have margin to do something else now." And so, I am, you know, I'm starting a second business. And I'm so excited for it. But it's so funny how I'm like, I'm finding myself being, it's almost, I'm like a new entrepreneur with the knowledge of what I have. But starting from scratch again, and I, I'm going through all the same things where I'm like, Squirrel Syndrome, and like, "Ooh, maybe this course or maybe this course. And maybe I should do this, and maybe I should do this" and I'm like all over the place again, and I've just had to go back to like, nope, zero in one thing at a time. Like, you know, build my audience. Like, just go just simplify, simplify, simplify. Do it really well, consistently and this thing is going to work. But man, I get the struggle. And like a new fresh way again, I'm like, "Oh, yeah, it is really hard to just be consistent and stick to the path when you're a new entrepreneur."
Jacques Hopkins 31:43
That's well said, I mean, because look at you and your success. And you're kind of taking a step back and starting a second business now. And you're even struggling, but you got to remind yourself of those things. Now, you've mentioned two programs so far, in the short time we spent together already. And that's one thing I really admire about you is you're always learning from people that are doing bigger, more things than you. So, let's jump back to 2018, I think it was, when you first sign up for Mariah Coz's. I think that's called The Accelerator. Right?
Abbey Ashley 32:14
Jacques Hopkins 32:14
I know, multiple people have come on and said that that was a big catalyst to their success. You specifically said that changing over to the evergreen funnel that you have now that you learn from her tripled your revenue, was it?
Abbey Ashley 32:29
Yeah. Yeah. Like our funnel revenue.
Jacques Hopkins 32:33
The revenue coming from the funnel. So, what did, what did your funnel look like before?
Abbey Ashley 32:37
So, there was not really urgency or scarcity, there was just a lot of emails, and you know, the big, I mean, honestly, just adding deadlines to the funnel I think was a huge part of it too. We're big, big deadline, funnel fans. So, you know, having a really great, she kind of refined my webinar a little bit, my emails that follow up, but it I mean, it is a pretty simple process. It's the, you know, it's download my freebie, on the thank you page "Hey, here's this webinar, you can access it immediately." If they don't, I'll send them some follow up emails about the webinar. In that webinar, I pitch. So that webinar, the format of the webinar is really similar to the, it's like condensed, not quite as pushy version of the like, Expert Secrets, like ClickFunnels-webinar style. So that's at least the way that I've done my webinars - tons of social proof, tons of like, and here's all this other stuff that you get to you know - and then they have, you know, an actual deadline of when it's going to go away, and there's a timer, and it really does go away. And so that's where we have the funnel that's running all the time. And then if it ends, they have to wait till one of our live launches to purchase. So, we do two live launches a year. And so, and then we have a secondary product that they can, once they purchase, it's like, "Oh, here's a really natural upsell." So, 50% of our people who buy our program end up doing our upsell, because they just, they really go hand in hand.
Jacques Hopkins 34:09
Very, very cool. Yeah, I was, I opted in for your funnel a few weeks ago, just to get caught up on what it was looking like these days. And it really is simple. Right? And, you know, I'll have people come through my world and I'll be coaching them a little bit. And they don't have any sort of evergreen funnel set up. And I'm like, "Look, the simplest funnel is also like one of the most effective." Like a simple evergreen webinar funnel. Like, they're like, "Okay, what should the opt in be?" I'm like "The opt in is the webinar." Like it's free training. Then you take them straight to that training, don't have them schedule a time like we used to do with EverWebinar and all that.
Abbey Ashley 34:44
Jacques Hopkins 34:44
Take them straight to the free training and then it doesn't end there. Like if they don't buy you have a few days where you send out emails and then have a deadline and that's exactly what yours looks like. One thing that really jumped out at me about yours that I'm not doing with mine: You let people skip around the video even. You've got like an hour video, and I'm pretty sure they can fast, you know, skip ahead and all that. What's the thought process there? Because normally people say just, you don't want them to be able to do that.
Abbey Ashley 35:10
I mean, my methodology... I am, so again, Mariah, she's a good friend/mentor of mine. She talks about this whole idea of like, the tortoise, and the hare, right? And so, your buyers, your customers are, some of them are tortoises and some of them are hares. And so, some of them are the people that are going to, they just need time, they're going to go through your launch four or five times. And then finally, after they've been on your list for two and a half years, they take the leap, and probably after like asking 1000 questions on tap, right? They're the hares, they just really need to like take, or they're the tortoises, they need to take the time to make that decision.
Abbey Ashley 35:46
And then there's the hares. They're the people that are - and I am so a hare, oh my gosh, like, I know, like, I bought so many programs that people have contacted me afterwards and they're like, "How did you even find this? I'm not even selling this anymore. You found a way to buy it." And I'm like, I just heard about you on a podcast, and I googled the crap out of you until I found a link to buy. And that is me. So, I definitely am a, you know, like, if somebody wants to buy my thing, like buy my thing. Now, I think that there is an element of still having urgency. And that's why we don't have a, you know, you can't just go to my website and buy my course necessarily, but like, really quickly, you can find it. I mean, there's so many avenues to get to the course that way. And in fact, I need to, we have like a waitlist instead. And so, one of the things that it's on my list to do I just haven't done yet is like, basically right after somebody does the waitlist, saying like, "Oh, actually you can buy now." You know, because again, if you're a hare and you just want to buy it, then like, give them the chance. Just there you go.
Jacques Hopkins 36:54
Very interesting. Yeah. And Mariah’s program, The Accelerator, I want to say it's like a $10,000, ballpark...
Abbey Ashley 36:59
Jacques Hopkins 37:00
It's not a cheap program by any means. But my understanding about it as well, is that it's not just a course, like it's group coaching even. Did you have somebody actually, like review your funnel?
Abbey Ashley 37:12
Yeah, so when I started with her back in 2018, she had a, like, a really like, high touch program, that was, I paid a lot more for. And there were four of us in it. And so, we like I actually, like, flew up to Boston...
Jacques Hopkins 37:27
Abbey Ashley 37:27
...and went out with her and like, did the whole, like, thing. And so that's what I did with her. So, it was a really quick turnaround. And it was a yearlong program. And so, that: she does not offer that anymore, but you know, and but I've still I've stayed in the group, and I hang out in her program still a lot. And it's your, it's the exact same information that she taught to us during that, like, it's literally the exact same exercises and stuff that's in there. So yeah, I think that it's definitely an investment. And I know that that's where I think, and I know that you have like, like your course and all of that kind of stuff too. So, I feel like it would be a really good progression for a lot of people. It's like kind of start here, then you know, develop that course, get your idea, your audience, all of that kind of stuff. Move on to evergreen engines, then once you've, you know, gone on beyond that, then there's, you know, this 2X Scale that I'm in once you're at like, a million dollars or whatever. I mean, that's at least what I've gone through.
Abbey Ashley 38:24
There are other programs out there too, but if someone's just like, "Abbey, I want to do what you did" like I would literally... You probably teach the stuff that I just kind of figured out on my own and I wish I would have had a course to go through and then you know advance on to these other programs. So that would probably be someone's like "Give me the path." That's the path I would tell people to go down.
Jacques Hopkins 38:20
Yeah, excellent. No, I go through a lot of people's funnels; the people that I know are crushing it. I go through their funnel, so you know I was going through yours not just for research for this this episode coming out but also just like "Hey, I know you're killing it. Let me see if you're doing something I'm not doing" and I'd certainly have done the same with say Mariah Coz and one thing that was interesting going through her funnel is like your testimonials throughout, seeing you in her in her funnel talking about her program.
Abbey Ashley 39:14
And then I think that there's a huge element, too, of just, man, just all the funnel and all the right strategies and all of that is great, but if you don't have the audience, I think that it's just where we just miss so much too is just pick. Like for me like we picked an organic traffic source and went all in on it. I guess technically too for us we went I would do really in depth, SEO-rich, thousand-word blog posts and put them on Pinterest, and I kind of feel like I did that a little bit more in like the wild, wild west days of Pinterest. I feel like maybe it would be a little harder, but I don't know like Pinterest to me is still just so amazing. Like I love Pinterest. We still get great results with our Pinterest strategy. And then for me, I started a Facebook group too. And so those, we just hit 50,000 members in that group. So, like we, and it just brings us so many leads. So, Facebook and Pinterest were the ones we went all in on. Right?
Jacques Hopkins 40:13
Abbey Ashley 40:14
And just having that good, organic strategy is amazing. And then you can... and so what we're doing is we have this rich organic strategy. And then now we're finally like, adding, so good organic audience. And awesome, you know, evergreen funnel, and then you can use the like the fuel of paid advertising to kind of add to that flame that's already going. And I think that's at least what has worked for us and I'm so glad that we did it because I had my ads account shut down earlier this year. And it's like, man, that's like Our... we didn't have a blip in sales, because we weren't really doing many ads. I was actually, I hired somebody to do ads and that was, uh, yeah, when we got shut down, and I was just like, "Meh. Okay, well, let's try this again." So, we you know, it wasn't, it was really not that big of a deal but like, um, yeah, it's, it's like, gosh, to have some kind of organic method. If I were starting all over today, I would probably do like, a good Pinterest strategy paired with either a podcast or YouTube. Like, I think that those are kind of the hot ones right now, in my opinion, to be able to grow an audience organically really quickly.
Jacques Hopkins 41:30
Yeah, I completely agree. I recommend people when they're starting out, you know that you've got to build the audience. They're... people skip that step. I don't know why. But pick one, one platform, don't pick six. Pick one: YouTube, podcast. Your audience was probably all over Pinterest, that's why it worked so well. A good strategy and the people were there, right? A lot of a lot just like stay-at-home moms, I'm guessing.
Abbey Ashley 41:53
Jacques Hopkins 41:54
I know my wife uses Pinterest a ton and so yeah, I'm completely in agreement with you there. I want to ask you a little bit about the Facebook group: You said you just cross over 50,000 people there.
Abbey Ashley 42:04
Jacques Hopkins 42:05
That's, that's free. Do you have a separate Facebook group once somebody purchases the course?
Abbey Ashley 42:10
We do. Yeah. So, we host our communities for our paid programs on Facebook as well. So, since we have two products, each one of them has their own separate Facebook group and that's where we'll do live streams and things like that.
Jacques Hopkins 42:22
So, the free group, I for my piano audience, I just have one group for the paid members, I've always resisted creating a free one. And it's because of my evergreen funnel, right? How do you get around the fact that everybody's got a different deadline and interacting with each other in the free group?
Abbey Ashley 42:38
You know what? We just tell people, like, we don't really make it a secret. Like, it's just a, like, "Hey, we launch our course twice a year. If you missed the last launch, then you get a one time opportunity through this webinar." And someone's like, I want to join now we're like, "Cool, here's the webinar. This is how you join." And if someone's like, "Hey, that link didn't work." It's like, "Cool, because you've already been through the webinar" or like, email us, and we'll see if we can reset it for you. But it's, yeah, we're just really transparent with it. I don't know. It's not a like, this, like secret thing. I feel like.
Jacques Hopkins 43:13
It's interesting. It's amazing how far just honesty can get you, right?
Abbey Ashley 43:17
Oh, my gosh, I literally the other day, I signed up for a webinar and it was one of those, like, pick the time and it's in 15 minutes. And like, oh, there's going to there's a thousand people max on here. And she's like, literally, like, in the webinar being like, "Oh, ha-ha, Rick, that's hilarious in the comments." And I'm like, “This is not real, like, what are you doing?" Like, it's just now, like, I remember, you know, like two years ago when that was like, really, really a thing. But now it just feels so icky to me. I'm just like, "Why are you doing this? This is not real. It's so weird."
Jacques Hopkins 43:53
It got really popular. I did it for like a year and a half, not, maybe not quite to that extreme but I was using EverWebinar. People had to schedule the time slot. I never directly said it was live. And I thought that, that, just that alone would mean that what I was doing was okay. But when I switched over, I think it was the beginning of this year to a system that's very similar to yours, where it's just like you opt in and then you get the video and it plays, I actually had obviously far less complaints and then conversion rate was, actually went up.
Abbey Ashley 44:25
Jacques Hopkins 44:27
Abbey Ashley 44:28
Yeah, it's just it's an on-demand training. Like I don't expect webinars to be live, like, I don't know.
Jacques Hopkins 44:35
But you know! But you're on the inside.
Abbey Ashley 44:37
I know. And so maybe, I don't know. I don't know.
Jacques Hopkins 44:40
Yeah. So, Facebook groups, any plans in the future to maybe move your paid groups off of Facebook?
Abbey Ashley 44:49
No way, Jose.
Jacques Hopkins 44:50
Why not? I do.
Abbey Ashley 44:52
I mean I... Do you?
Jacques Hopkins 44:54
Abbey Ashley 44:55
I know people who have done it and their engagement just dropped so much because they... like it's just another platform like, I won't check a group if it's not on Facebook. And I understand some people don't have Facebook, which is why we say our group is a bonus. It also means that we can remove people from the group if we need to, which we had to do in the past, because it's a bonus. It's not something you pay for. It's a bonus. So, um, and all the live streams that happen in there and everything are a bonus. And so no, it's working now and it’s, so I don't have I don't have any plans to change. It's interesting that you've switched over.
Jacques Hopkins 45:33
No, I haven't yet. I haven't yet. I'm going to.
Abbey Ashley 45:36
Oh, I was going to say, to the dark side. I'm just kidding.
Jacques Hopkins 45:38
No, I don't know.
Abbey Ashley 45:39
Jacques Hopkins 45:40
I haven't I haven't, you know, we haven't moved over yet. So, I'll tell you, I'll tell you my vision. By the way, have you seen like, have you seen the Social Dilemma?
Abbey Ashley 45:47
I have not watched it.
Jacques Hopkins 45:49
You know what it is though, right?
Abbey Ashley 45:50
Yes, I know what it is. I just don't want to watch it.
Jacques Hopkins 45:53
Yeah, you need to watch it.
Abbey Ashley 45:54
I know. Okay, I'll do it.
Jacques Hopkins 45:56
First of all, I had these plans to move off Facebook even before watching the Social Dilemma. And if anybody's listening to this, it's just a documentary on Netflix about some of the kind of evil things that these social media companies do.
Abbey Ashley 46:08
Oh yeah. And I believe it.
Jacques Hopkins 46:10
Yeah, they don't if I could go on a whole tangent there and it's probably not wise for this particular discussion, especially since you haven't seen it. But my thing is I want people to learn piano. Like that's my goal. And I know for me, like, if I go to Facebook for a particular purpose, it gets very, very, very easy to get distracted: notifications, ads, messages, whatever. And so, if somebody has the good intention of logging in, to go to the Facebook group to interact with piano students, but then gets distracted to me that takes away from the program. There is the other side of the coin, I recognize that somebody could be on Facebook, goofing off, and then see the piano group and be like, "Oh, yeah, I got to get back to my piano lessons." I get that part of it. But to me, the more focus the better.
Jacques Hopkins 46:58
So, my vision is to have my course and community in the same place.
Abbey Ashley 47:02
Jacques Hopkins 47:03
Right. I don't want to do like a Circle or Mighty Networks, where it's like, okay, now, you've got the course over here, and then you've got your community over here. And both are separate from Facebook. I want it all in the same place. And then I want to be able to wrap that up and people access that from the web and a mobile app.
Abbey Ashley 47:18
That's pretty cool. No, I could see that. I could see that being beneficial. Let me know how it goes.
Jacques Hopkins 47:24
Keep you posted. Yeah, we're working on it right now. I keep teasing it to the audience because I won't tell them what platform I'm using.
Abbey Ashley 47:30
Jacques Hopkins 47:30
Because it's, it's actually like I make it sound simple. But it's actually like, hardly anybody allows you to do that.
Abbey Ashley 47:37
Yeah, it's true.
Jacques Hopkins 47:38
Yeah. Where's your course hosted?
Abbey Ashley 47:41
Jacques Hopkins 47:42
Abbey Ashley 47:43
Err, it is Teachable but we're switching. You know, I haven't publicly told anyone that.
Jacques Hopkins 47:49
What does it rhyme with? What is the new one rhyme... no, I'm just kidding.
Abbey Ashley 47:52
It rhymes with hajabi.
Jacques Hopkins 47:57
So many, so many possibilities. It could be wujabi, it could be yajabi. So, the platform we won't name has community built in.
Abbey Ashley 48:09
Jacques Hopkins 48:11
Can you tell us why you're moving over?
Abbey Ashley 48:13
Honestly, it was a, yeah, two things. Number one, again it was my team, my Senior Director of Product said, we need to switch this. Here's all the reasons why. And she's like, this is how we'll do it. She came up with a plan. And I said, flip the switch. Um, the biggest thing for us even though it's going to be it's.. we're getting really close to switching over. The biggest thing is that we use SamCart for our payment processing, and Teachable just won't integrate with SamCart, despite our many, many requests not to not for at least cancellations. It's fine for getting people in but if somebody does fail out, or you know, we let them cancel for whatever reason, or a membership where we're having, you know, more cancellations, because it's, it is a cancel anytime thing; we still have to do that manually, like, I mean, there's some apps that can do some of it, but it's just like, it literally could be like one click of a button on Kajabi where we can do the cancellation. So yeah, that's going to free up a lot of our time because we, you know, we're letting in so many students a month that obviously, our refund rate isn't huge or cancellation rate isn't huge but the amount that we do have, we're just we're going to save time on that cancellation process. So that's why we're switching
Jacques Hopkins 49:34
Kajabi is a good choice. I've done a deep dive. The past like six months, I've researched all of them because I want to not only make the best choice for my piano students, but also share these findings with the audience too. And so, I think you're making a wise choice there. Not a huge fan of teachable. I've actually heard about a lot of people switching off of it lately to various platforms.
Abbey Ashley 49:54
You know, and this is where you know, my new business is going to be, you know, more tech. It's, you know, a SAS marketplace. And the more than I'm learning and observing, and I mean, this is good for my own business too, and I don't know if I do this as well as I should but gosh, it's so important to listen to your customers. Like, you just, just ask them like, I don't know, even developing this new product. So, you know, we have the audience already for it. It's going to be VAs. So, I came up with a little I came up with my idea for it, here's my little mock up. And then I just sent out a survey, we got 250 responses, and it was like, pure gold. I'm like, "Oh my gosh, like, you guys have better ideas for this thing than I do." Like, it was genius, what they gave me and I'm just like, I just need to tap into that more often because my audience is amazing. And they know what they want, and they can literally tell me what they're going to pay for, and I can see trends and things like that. So that's, I mean, if anyway, I think in one of our old episodes, I did kind of how the Virtual Savvy came to be. But I wasn't even teaching virtual assistants at first. I was just building an audience about anything online business that I knew. And I didn't know very much, right, like I had been on an online business for like a year. But I'm like, let me just start blogging about what I do know, and talking about what I do know, and going on podcast with what I do know. And then once I got an email list of like a thousand people, I was like, "What do you guys want to learn?" And literally, they built my training program. They're like, this is what we want to learn. And I said, "Oh, okay." And that's when the Virtual Savvy became, we train virtual assistants before, it was just online marketing, passion to profit, or whatever. Like, you know, there's like, the generic courses that everybody does, when they don't know what the heck they're doing, which is what I had in the beginning. And then, you know, I just listened to my audience. And I think that if you just do that you'll, be successful.
Jacques Hopkins 51:45
There's really two layers of listening to your audience. They're like, when you're just starting out, you can start out broad and start putting out content and see what's what resonates. That's what you did when you first started. But then once you have an established business, it's important to keep listening to them to see what else they need help with, or how what you're doing could be even better. I know that just the very last person that I interviewed; it's going to be the episode right before you - Chris Liepe. His origin story is very similar to that even though he started like a year ago, not four years ago. He was in music, and he plays guitar, teaches guitar, drums, singing. He just started putting out music content. And what really resonated with people was the singing part. So that's how he really figured out his particular niche.
Abbey Ashley 52:28
Jacques Hopkins 52:29
It's one of those things like we were talking about earlier. It's like, it's simple, but not a lot of people do it.
Abbey Ashley 52:34
Yeah. Yep. Is it scary. I think we want to have like the plan for everything. And it has to be part of your plan, like you will pivot, you will, you know, things will shift. And that's totally okay.
Jacques Hopkins 52:46
So, let's jump back to it to a loop that still open 2X Scale, I think is the program that you're maybe in now like...
Abbey Ashley 52:53
Jacques Hopkins 52:54
You keep learning from more people. I don't know much about this program. I know a good amount about Mariah Coz. So, tell me what attracted you to this program and what is it for you?
Abbey Ashley 53:02
You know, I think, at that point, so I was, at that point, a million-dollar business owner, and this was like this, like epitome of thing that I was like, I've been working at this for so long. And I got to this like, "Uh, now what do I do?" Right? And so, I'm very much like, I love, love coaching, like learning from people who've gone before me, that's just one of my, you know, one of the things even internally, we came up with this whole, like vision statement. And one of the things is like What do we do? What do we do that's different? And we take these solid principles, we learn from coaching, we learn from courses, but we also add in our own creativity and our own knowledge and things like that, too. But like, I love basing what I do off of proven strategy. So, I'm always looking for like, okay, who's done the next thing, right?
Abbey Ashley 53:47
So, like, I did this one program to get to a million dollars. And now like, who's doing $10 million? Let me go find those people and who teaches how to do that. And so, I really liked the structure 2X. It's really getting back to basics. Like I said, like we've developed org charts and that financial dashboard, it's like all this super exciting stuff. But it's the basic. It's basic business principles and to be honest, not even, like a lot of the coaches aren't necessarily like online business owners. They're just, they're people who have just grown big, you know, million multi-million dollar $10 million businesses. And so, they're doing a lot of the coaching. So, you meet one on one with a coach, you come up with a plan. They do these little 90-day sprints. You come up with goals for those, and then you just do them. And so that's where we're at. And so, I would love I mean, and now I'm already like, okay, so once I get to like the $10 million mark, like I've already I've already found a program that I think I want to do to get me from 10 to 100. You know? And so, what does that look like? So that's, um, I'm always like, keeping like my feelers out for, you know, coaching programs and things that yeah, that I feel like, I'll get an ROI from.
Jacques Hopkins 55:00
So, when you went through Mariah's program, the big thing was just changing up your evergreen funnel, is a pretty, it was in the grand scheme of things, it was a pretty micro thing. Whereas it sounds like with this newer program to 2X Scale, it's more of like how to run and scale an effective business overall, like hiring org charts, operations, operational efficiencies. Is it things like that?
Abbey Ashley 55:22
Jacques Hopkins 55:23
Is that the type of program that you have one or multiple people on your team going through with you or is it still just you doing that program?
Abbey Ashley 55:31
No. So I mean, my COO is with me on every one of the calls now. And so, since doing that we've, you know, we've come up with the dashboards and the metrics and the projections, we have an org chart, we've, we have senior leaders inside of our organization now. We came up with kind of like pay scales for each level of employee. We've just done the stuff that it's like, "Oh, this is how you run a real business." Okay. Learning it retrospectively. But that's cool.
Jacques Hopkins 55:58
So, I want to dovetail that into just your philosophy on hiring and also running a team. Let's start by just contractor versus employee, because you clearly fall more on the employee side of the spectrum.
Abbey Ashley 56:11
And I teach how to be contractors. Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins 56:13
Abbey Ashley 56:14
Okay. So, I, I see so much value in contractors, obviously, like I, I teach people how to contract. That's the essence of what I do. And I'm so grateful for the contractors that we had, and many of my employees even started out as contractors. Right? But once we got to around the $500,000 mark, it was like, I needed a little bit less of like, hey, I need you just to run Pinterest for me and go with it. At that point, I knew I had the financial margin to hire a full-time employee. And so, for me that first big, like real full time employee hire was taking my D.O.O. and making her my COO. And she was already you know, doing so much for the business, had already shown her value and her worth. And so, it was such a natural transition, and she could focus on me full time. And that was amazing. And just the team culture that you can have with full time employees: the dedication, the culture, the buy in is just incredible. But I don't know, when you're first starting out, that's not necessarily what you always need, right? You need like, I need, okay, I need someone kind of ready, like, my organic method is Pinterest. So, I need someone over here running Pinterest. My organic method is podcast. So, I need someone that's going to just run my podcast and go with it. Or and then I need some over here that's going to help with organizational stuff and all of that. So that's where it's like, I feel like contractors are great for that. But then, yeah, we now just hire full time employees because we have the financial margin to do so and I just, I love it. I mean, that's my master's degree is in organizational management. Like I love leading a team, like it's my favorite thing in the entire world is leading a team growing a team. And for some people, it's not, right? So, you know, we spend more on team than we do in other areas, because that's just I love having team culture and meetings and all of that. But if somebody would hate that, then maybe that's not the path for them. Right? But I don't know, it's what I enjoy doing.
Jacques Hopkins 58:17
Well, we finally figured out the secret you got to have a master's degree in organizational management. That's the secret.
Abbey Ashley 58:22
The secret. The real secret is that I didn't learn C-R-A-P from my degree.
Jacques Hopkins 58:29
Same. I have an MBA. Right? Master of Business Administration. I don't mean there's no I run a business now I don't apply anything from that.
Abbey Ashley 58:37
I literally don't apply anything from my degree. So that is 100% not a prerequisite. In fact, I feel very strongly that most people should not go to college but that's a whole different discussion.
Jacques Hopkins 58:50
Agree. Yeah, so let's just move right past it. So, are you familiar with Mike Michalowicz?
Abbey Ashley 58:55
Jacques Hopkins 58:56
Read any of his books? Fix This Next is his latest.
Abbey Ashley 58:59
No, I've just... The Pumpkin Plan and Profit First is all... and Clockwork. Oh, we love Clockwork.
Jacques Hopkins 59:05
Excellent. So, I'm a huge fan of... Read all his books. He's somebody very much look up to as far as small business advice goes. I did a mastermind with him recently. It was him and a few other people. It was like an all-day thing was really cool. And one thing he was telling me - and I love your thoughts on this- the discussion of like employee versus contractor or more, I guess it was more full time versus part time came up, and this may be even in one of his books, but he was talking about how they hired this, I guess stay at home mom for a 20 hour a week position. And she went to work her first day and his I guess COO, or something was leading her and didn't get the memo that this person was part time and not full time. So, she gave her eight hours of work for a four hour day, and she got all the work done. And then the next day, Mike they realize what happened and Mike was like, let's try that again and see if she does again like, pretend she's working a full day. And then she did it again. So, his philosophy is that if you let people work more like 20 hours a week, then they don't have time to do all the BS part: goof off, take breaks, they get in, they get out and go, you know, spend the time with their family or with their hobbies or whatever. And so, he's really leaning in on that philosophy. What are your thoughts on that?
Abbey Ashley 1:00:24
I mean, full time at my company is 30 to 40 hours a week. And so, I'm curious if that is, I mean, it's bit of Parkinson's Law, right?
Jacques Hopkins 1:00:34
Abbey Ashley 1:00:34
And I think that's just a bit about that's how moms do. Moms just get stuff done. That's why I love hiring moms. Sorry, I had to go off on that rant because it's so true. We just we know how to do it all. I love that. Sorry. Okay. So yeah, I get where he's coming from, for sure. I could see that. And I...
Jacques Hopkins 1:00:57
Well, it doesn't sound like you have a hard and fast like, you got to work 40 hours a week for your company, either.
Abbey Ashley 1:01:02
Oh, no, like, we don't time track or anything like that. Like it's very, very flexible schedules. I mean if we say, "Hey, we're going to have a meeting tomorrow at 10." And everyone needs to be there at 10. And that's where, again, employee versus contractor, you can't do that with a contractor. You can do that with a part time employee. But like, you can't say if you have a contractor, you can't be like, "Hey, I need you every Monday at 10 to do this." That like goes against contracting laws. So that's another reason why we like employees. And I like the full focus to be on our business, which is another reason why we love doing full time. And I mean, honestly, one of our core values is irrational generosity. That's a huge part of our business. And so, could I pay these people part time and get the same amount of work from them? Yeah, probably. But I don't know, if I, you know, have people that worked for me for five years and are like, I'm never leaving this company. And they practice irrational generosity. And they, you know, they love working for the company. Like they love it. And so, I don't know.
Jacques Hopkins 1:02:09
Yeah, so clearly, you've created that culture are you do you also, like offer full benefits? Like, you know, it's weird because your business, my business, it feels so different than say that the business that I worked for, for eight years as an electrical engineer, it was very corporate, and you got your healthcare, and you got your 401k and everything. And when I see a business like mine, that also have, would you say 15 full time employees? It's like, weird, like, are those people getting health care and 401ks?
Abbey Ashley 1:02:38
Yeah. And we do matching, and unlimited book allowance, and, you know, bonuses throughout the year, and we just randomly buy everyone dinner. And we, you know, do really fun gifts on their birthdays. And we, you know, the team, I mean, one of my team members is moving from Chicago to Texas this week. So I think three of our employees are literally going to fly to Chicago on their own dime to help her pack up and move down.
Jacques Hopkins 1:03:05
Abbey Ashley 1:03:05
Like, it's a pretty great team. You know?
Jacques Hopkins 1:03:08
Abbey Ashley 1:03:09
And I was like, could we have fostered that without being full time? I don't know. Maybe, but I just don't feel like we could have so.
Jacques Hopkins 1:03:17
And it's all virtual, right? Is there anybody that's local to you?
Abbey Ashley 1:03:21
I actually have two people that are local, but one of them I mean, but we just did an in-person team retreat. And before then I hadn't seen her in like six months, which is terrible because, you know, but yeah, so there's two people that happen to be local. But that's it. Yeah, it's all virtual. We're, we're all over the US.
Jacques Hopkins 1:03:36
So, I have, my team’s, is about seven or eight people. Zero employees. Even though two of them don't work for anybody else. Right? And I understand there's laws where it's like you, there's certain things you can't do with a contractor that you can do with an employee. You mentioned, you know, "Hey, you've got to meet with all of us at this certain time and so on." Contractor you can't tell exactly what hours to work. There's a lot there. I'm not completely opposed to having actual employees. But if anybody's out there in my boat too like, where do you even start? Because you can't just like flip a switch and have employees. Like legally and accounting like, where do you start to make that transition?
Abbey Ashley 1:04:17
That's a great question. I mean, so much of it, my COO did so that was part of what I did. I was like, here's the thing, I'm going to hire you as a full-time employee, you're going to have benefits, but what I need you to do is I need you to figure out how to hire you. Literally. So, we got on Gusto. Gusto is the service that we use. And we asked people when we were confused, we have a CPA that really helped us too with kind of understanding, like the tax implications of, you know, having employees as opposed. And so yeah, between really Gusto and our CPA, we got all questions answered that we needed to switch to employees. And then, you know, she got on like a regular salary. So, there was incentive for her to figure it out.
Jacques Hopkins 1:05:10
Yeah. And how are you finding people now like when you need to hire position, how do you find good people?
Abbey Ashley 1:05:16
So, we hire, I mean, we pretty much just promote to our list because we have a...
Jacques Hopkins 1:05:22
Abbey Ashley 1:05:22
...a community. So, my suggestion is come hang out in my community and go find the people because that's obviously what Jacques did.
Jacques Hopkins 1:05:30
Well, yeah, I've got I've got my, my people are inside of your community now. That's my secret.
Abbey Ashley 1:05:36
Yeah, exactly. So, you know, we, hiring has become a really big process for us. And we hire for culture above skill, for sure. We want someone to be skilled off, obviously, but I would say emotional intelligence, and just team cultural fit is just so much more important than... If we have somebody who's really, really skilled, and an amazing culture fit, or if we have someone that's even more skilled, but we're like, I don't know, if like, they really just have the same values as we do, then we'll hire the less skilled person, you know. And the last person we did that with went from being a team member to like, a director to a senior manager, literally in like, three months, because they were so good, right? And just a fast learner and all of that. So definitely, like, if you're looking for someone to come in, and like be the savior of your business, like, Whoa, we don't know how to do ads. So, we're going to bring someone in, that's amazing and ads and... I don't know, like, I would rather have somebody that's a really amazing culture fit. And then we find an awesome course or coaching program that they can learn how to do it. So...
Jacques Hopkins 1:06:46
That's just like Good to Great. Jim Collins, right? He talks about you want to get the right people on the bus before you figure out where the bus is going. Sounds like that's exactly your philosophy.
Abbey Ashley 1:06:56
Yep. So, we, you know, we have a great job description out there. And we have a hiring process. We have them submit a Loom video, as part of their application. They don't have to submit like a resume. We don't necessarily do that. But there's just a series of questions. And then throughout the process, there's test projects that they do. And so, the interviews and the test projects tell us a lot, honestly. And then we do two series of interviews. And they used to be very similar interviews. This next round, we're going to really do one, is just kind of a basic interview. And the next one is going to be like all about like, culture questions, just kind of like scenarios of like, you know, somebody, somebody just lost their house in a hurricane. And then they have four payments left, like, write an email to tell them.
Jacques Hopkins 1:07:43
Oh, my goodness.
Abbey Ashley 1:07:44
How are you going to help them? You know what I mean?
Jacques Hopkins 1:07:46
Abbey Ashley 1:07:49
So, like, how and like, obviously, like, our core values are irrational generosity. So, in most cases, we have a thing and it's actually one of our KPIs is how many surprise and delights do we do? So, when I was working at Starbucks, we have this surprise and delight button. And if somebody was coming in and had a really hard day, you know, you just tell like, they were just like, Oh, this coffee is what I need so much. You could hit that button, and they would give them a free coffee. Right? And so, we try to do that. So, like, we found out someone in our team was, or someone one of our course members was having surgery. So, we sent her like chicken noodle soup. And so, or, you know, we send flowers, we had somebody in our course, whose husband just passed away. So, we're sending her flowers and like things like that. So, and we teach our team to look for those opportunities, too. And so, we it's actually like a KPI like, how many surprise and delights did we do this week?
Jacques Hopkins 1:08:40
That's amazing. We need to be doing more of that. There's only one example that comes to mind of anytime we've done something like that. During the big surge in like, May I think it was, I was telling my wife, I was like, man, I want to celebrate, like, I want to get a bottle of Dom Perignon, because I've never had it. We went there last summer, before the pandemic, we went to where it's made and did the tour, but we still didn't even get to try any there. I've always wanted to just try it. So, I was like, okay, I'm going to get a bottle Dom Perignon, and then I was like, wait, I'm going to get it engraved with my logo. And then I was like, wait, why would I make this about me? And then so what I did was I got three bottles of Dom Perignon with the Piano in 21 Days logo, and I went live with my students. And I was like, you got in my audience was not only was I making a lot of sales, then but a lot of older people were just so reinvigorated by the piano. I was like, I'm so impressed by what you guys are doing, I have these three bottles and, you know, on this date, I'm going to randomly draw two names and ship out to two of you one of the bottles, and then we'll share it together. So that's an idea. That's the only the only thing that comes to mind of something that we did.
Abbey Ashley 1:09:43
That's so cool. Yeah, it becomes a game for sure. And so, our customer service, really our customer service, and the people that interact in our social groups are the ones that are watching out for it the most, you know, and that doesn't mean that every person that emails with like a sad story necessarily gets the something from us, I don't like, come bombarding my emails. But, you know, like, there's just this, you know, we're, the majority of the people on our team also have, you know, a faith background. And so, there is this element of like, we, we feel like there's a little bit of like a spiritual pull sometimes with certain people. It's just like, we just need to irrationally bless this person, like something that's just so crazy that they're like, what, like, why would you do that, and those people are just, you're like, they will never leave you. They will tell everyone about you. And they will. And it just feels good, right? Like, it's just it, I don't know. And then our employees feel good about it too like they know. And the stories, the testimonies that we get back of people just like, like I'm in tears reading your email. And they're the one that got to write that email, you know, and them knowing that they're having an impact on people that's bigger than just selling a VA course. And that's really what I mean, that's it. That's why we do this like, and we talk about in every one of our team meetings. And again, it's that whole culture thing, like we, we pray for every single one of our students that comes through, so we spend, like our weekly meeting, we literally like pray by name for every student. So, there's like this element of like, if that's going to make you super uncomfortable, like, that's fine. We're not we don't force anyone to do that. But we let people know that in the interview process, too. And so, I think that, you know, that's a part of this, like, culture. So, like, that's not something everybody needs to do by any means. But like, is that, but what are the things like? What are the things that are just like, man, this, this is something we do every week as a team, maybe, you, no judgment, maybe every Monday in your meeting, you take like shots, and that's like, part of your, you know, like, I don't take you but like, the, like, what? And then you're like, Hey, we do this crazy thing every Monday, you know, but like, and what is the thing that's going to be man, this is uniquely us. And we want people that are like, uniquely us on the team. And how do they respond when you talk about that in the interviews?
Jacques Hopkins 1:12:02
That's amazing, Abbey. That's truly amazing. I mean, I'm, I'm a Christian. And I've never once thought about like praying for my new students. Like, what a concept.
Abbey Ashley 1:12:12
It's been cool.
Jacques Hopkins 1:12:13
That's incredible. And then, you know, I don't expect to do like virtual shots with my team but that reminds me, a course, that I took years ago, when I was by myself and trying to learn how to do AdWords, I was taking an AdWords course and literally three quarters through the whole course, like the guy's like, Man, I'm so proud of what you've accomplished so far. And he pulls out a bottle of whiskey and like, pours two shots. He's like, this one's for you and this one's for me. And like, just to tie it back to courses. That was really interesting.
Abbey Ashley 1:12:39
Jacques Hopkins 1:12:40
You got to make it. You got to make it fun for your students and for your team as well.
Abbey Ashley 1:12:45
Jacques Hopkins 1:12:45
Do you have anybody out of the country or is everybody in the United States on your team?
Abbey Ashley 1:12:49
Everyone's U.S. and that's honestly, um, I kind of, there's part of me that doesn't wish that it were that way, you know, but it's just, it's just so much easier inside of Gusto. And with our, yeah, with taxes and stuff, it's just, like at some point maybe will expand, but it's just happening. We've been growing so quickly, that we just haven't been able to, like, take the time to figure out like, oh, what would it look like to hire outside the US? So.
Jacques Hopkins 1:12:49
What about different States? And if you don't know the answer to this is no problem but is there any.. does it get more complicated, the more different states your employees are in?
Abbey Ashley 1:13:26
Yeah. So, I mean, as far as I know, again, I don't actually do this. I should have had my COO on the call with me because she'd be like, Abbey, you're saying this all wrong. So, but as far as I know, we basically I mean, we, have to we have to pay taxes in each one of those states. But that all just happens through Gusto.
Jacques Hopkins 1:13:45
What is it that you do do?
Abbey Ashley 1:13:51
I can't do anything anymore.
Jacques Hopkins 1:13:53
Well, you mentioned earlier, I mentioned the word margin, you're like, well, now I have a lot of margin. I'm like, Okay, I need to circle back to this, like, you know, like, what was the... Office Space or something. It's like, “What would you say you do here?”
Abbey Ashley 1:14:06
Exactly. Um, so that actually was part of my... one of the biggest things that through 2X, my coach challenged me, she's like, Abbey, you're allowed to have three swim lanes in the business, and you need to pick with those three swim lanes are. You're not allowed to do anything else except those three swim lanes. And so, my three swim lanes are face of the company, like big picture strategy, and high-level strategic partnerships. So, face of the company is podcasts. I go live every Tuesday in my group, right? And so, I'm not doing any of the like the work to get the podcasts, but they show up in my calendar and I go to them, so I do the podcasts or any other like, face of the company things.
Abbey Ashley 1:14:52
Big level strategy. So, I'm still involved in you know, our big planning retreats and coming up with our quarterly goals and those kinds of things, although we're even now starting to do more, so like this year, coming up with our quarter one goals, my senior leadership is coming with the goals and then presenting them to me rather than me coming up with them. So, but I'm obviously still involved in that.
Abbey Ashley 1:15:16
And then really high-level strategic partnerships. So again, we hired an outreach director this year, and one of the things she's going to be doing, and she's new, so it hasn't really started yet, but it's just identifying people that we could be partners with. And so, the plan is that she'll like find these people, maybe I'll record a loom video of like, Hey, we need to connect, let's get on a call. And then I will do some of those calls. Not all of them, but some of them.
Abbey Ashley 1:15:38
And that's it, which is why I'm starting another company because now I can get everything done for my business in probably like, an hour a day. And that could be condensed into just one day if I really needed to. So..
Jacques Hopkins 1:15:49
It's pretty cool, isn't it?
Abbey Ashley 1:15:51
It's weird. My team knows it. Again, like, we're transparency is huge. So, it's not just like, oh, Abbey's sitting on her butt. Like they actively like one of my team members, I was still like doing the final pass on most of the emails that went out. And so, one of my team members the other day, notice that my little picture was still on that and click up and she's like, so she assigned me a click up task that said, Abbey, the next time we review an email, I want you to record your process and then I'm going to document it, turn it into an SLP so that when we hire this copywriter, she can take that off your plate, right? And so, she like, forward thinking she saw that something was on my plate, and was like, we're trying to get that. So, they are like on a mission to work me out of the business the day to day. So that because they see the bigger vision. Because they know this other thing that I'm launching and how it's combined and how, you know how we're going to help more people.
Jacques Hopkins 1:16:44
Yeah, and that's, you know, Colleen does stuff like that. She's only been around about three months now, but she'll assign me things that it's like the last thing I'll ever have to do for that because I'll create the loom and then I'll never have to touch it anymore. And she's constantly talking about all the ways that I can get out of the business. And that I mean, that's why I hired her and I'm looking forward to hiring more people and growing a team like you have.
Abbey Ashley 1:17:07
That's so amazing. Those people are golden. Hang on to her.
Jacques Hopkins 1:17:10
Um, I want to tie it back to a couple more anecdotes from Mike Michalowicz if you don't mind.
Abbey Ashley 1:17:17
Jacques Hopkins 1:17:18
One thing I've heard him talk about is how you know we create these businesses not so that we work in them 80 hours a week, we want them to serve us and to serve our lifestyle. And he's a big advocate for getting out of the business and having somebody in charge. He's at this point, he's got two businesses, a president on top of each one. And he is, he's the face of it. But that way, I mean, his goal, his like life goal is to write 25 books. His big statement is he wants to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty, right, and just help people help small business owners. But he's got this tree in his office, his wooden tree that's got 25 shelves on it. And right now, it's got six books on it, and he wants to write 25 books. And if he didn't have a president, above his companies running it, then he wouldn't be able to do that.
Abbey Ashley 1:18:10
Jacques Hopkins 1:18:11
So, then the second thing is more of a question for you is I think this was in his latest this concept was in his latest book, Fix This Next, this concept of Linchpin Redundancy, have you heard that term?
Abbey Ashley 1:18:21
I have not. Enlightened me.
Jacques Hopkins 1:18:23
Yeah. So, he talks about how when you're at a certain level in your business, you need to make sure that if any one person were to leave or be all of a sudden, unavailable for a couple of months, that shouldn't be a huge detriment to your company.
Abbey Ashley 1:18:37
Jacques Hopkins 1:18:38
And that's what you need to have some sort of Linchpin Redundancy to where there's contingencies in place. So, if you're COO, Malisa, all of a sudden left, what would your life look like the next week, two weeks, month? Or do you have a plan in place?
Abbey Ashley 1:18:54
Our Senior Director of Operations who is training under her would take over her tasks. It would still at this point, let's be honest, be terrible. But we're working toward it. We have a plan. So that's so yeah, our systems playbook, like we have SOPs. We have those things, but are we fail-proof right now? No, we're not. In fact, our customer service, our Executive Assistant is actually in the hospital right now. She is having an unexpected surgery that she has to have. And she's probably out for the next two weeks. This is a girl that answers every single one of our emails, and does our collections, and does I mean girl does everything. So luckily, everything that she did, everyone on the team, someone on the team knows how to do. Now are there perfect SOPs for it? And is there all that? Nope, we're still getting there. So that's kind of one of our big goals for next year is to really have a solid playbook. And just people who are familiar with, you know, with other people's roles too. So, you know, this, this copywriter that's coming in. That's like this. The next role that we're hiring for is kind of a full-time person to do writing on the team. And so, they're going to be under the marketing team. And so, the goal is that their director, or possibly the person that's working alongside them, would be able to cover all of the roles if something happened to them.
Jacques Hopkins 1:20:18
This is so fun. Like I'm genuinely asking you questions that I want to know about. I hope the audience finds it valuable as well. I'm be, I'm being very selfish here.
Abbey Ashley 1:20:26
No, I love this, Jacques. You know, I don't get to talk to anyone about this stuff. Like I this is the one area where I'm like, I don't I don't like geek out over course creation very often. And pretty much my favorite thing in the world that nobody loves to talk about, except for me. So, this is like literally call me anytime. We can chat because this is so fun.
Jacques Hopkins 1:20:47
Cool. Well, you know, it's ironic because we didn't talk about like, course creation a lot. We talked about, like running a business and a team and, and things like that. So, I mean, I don't want to take too much more of your time here.
Abbey Ashley 1:20:59
No, it's fine.
Jacques Hopkins 1:20:59
But I want to talk a little bit about like, what's next for you? Right? You talked about the second business and I believe the second business is more the other side of the coin of your first business where it's where it's, I mean, it reiterates you I'm struggling for words, here. It's It's It's finding the people, right?
Abbey Ashley 1:21:16
Exactly. So, I mean, like if you take Mike Michalowicz and I need to, I need to verbalize it more, I need to sit down and process a little more. But like, basically, I want to have this whole savvy brand, where we're just changing the face of remote work, right. And we're making it more accessible and more of an option for people. I mean, that's the goal of The Virtual Savvy is that we train 100,000 virtual assistants, because if 100,000 people are new to this industry, it's going to become a known option for people. Right? And so that's kind of the vision behind The Virtual Savvy.
Abbey Ashley 1:21:51
And on a grander scale, you know, I want to like how many areas can we put this idea of using the skills you already have to work remotely. Right? And so that's, that's a big part of what this new company is going to be, is really connecting virtual assistants to clients. And from a broader scale from the client side, like I want to teach about how to manage a team and how to hire well. And we want to have trainings inside of that membership, we want to have, you know, like virtual networking events, and almost like speed dating, but for, you know, clients and people to connect, and it's going to be a hiring platform. So, think, you know, Upwork Fiverr, but relationship based and conversation based. And the whole goal is to really form true connection to find like that, that golden person. Right? And so, and my team is just giving me so many ideas about how we can make this hiring marketplace unlike anything else that exists on the market.
Abbey Ashley 1:21:51
So, and that's where I feel like most of the hiring marketplaces that are out there, right now, they serve their purpose. And we've used them, I used to work for one of them. Like, I mean, this is like a contractor very part time. But like, we like most of them, I feel like you post a job. And then it's kind of like race to the bottom dollar. And it's very project based where this is more like, let's connect you as somebody that's going to be a long term team member and a part of your team and a part of your culture. And so that's what this new hiring marketplace is going to be.
Jacques Hopkins 1:23:27
So, is there, is there going to be any sort of training or course with it, like how to hire, how to run a team?
Abbey Ashley 1:23:34
So, a lot of that is going to just be included. So, the goal, at least right now we're very, very in like the beginning stages of planning what this is going to look like. But the idea is that it's kind of a freemium model for the VAs. They can build out a portfolio on the site. Like, they can have their packages and their pricing like, listed in their portfolio, right, they can list their skills, and it could be searchable by skill. So, I could literally just type in Pinterest manager and see a list of like, all these amazing Pinterest managers with reviews and different things like that. And then on the client side, we'd love for them to even have portfolios to where it talks a little bit about their culture and the things that they stand for. And then the goal would be part of membership as a client because there will be a membership. So rather than making money off of the transaction because we may eventually have a way that you can pay for the site. But really, if you're wanting to hire an employee or you're wanting to hire a contractor, they have their own systems for working. So rather than making money through like, scraping money off the top of every transaction, our goal is to have really build a community that you want to be a part of. So that's going to be part of being a paying member on the client side is that you're getting access to our templates and are our hiring procedures and like how to actually find a great person.
Jacques Hopkins 1:24:54
That's brilliant. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Upwork and I found a lot of great people through that but that's what you're describing is like they make their money because they take a cut of what I'm paying the contractors and you're thinking of a completely different business model.
Abbey Ashley 1:25:07
Yeah, it's like kind of like a care.com of, of a freelancing. So, it's, it's coming.
Jacques Hopkins 1:25:14
What's I mean, by the way, you need any beta testers, like call me first, please like I'm.
Abbey Ashley 1:25:19
Oh, trust me. Once I have at some point, maybe when we're done talking, I'll show you my little mockup. It's very, very rough right now. But I'm, my plan is to, so I showed my mockup to my freelancing site, because I essentially have to build two audiences. Now, thankfully, I already have one, but I don't really have the other audience yet. Got to get there. But so, which I actually realized, you know, a thousand jobs get posted a month inside of my community.
Jacques Hopkins 1:25:44
Abbey Ashley 1:25:45
Inside My VA Savvies Community, we just ran that data, and I was like, oh, maybe I do have an audience...
Jacques Hopkins 1:25:50
Maybe you do.
Abbey Ashley 1:25:50
...that I didn't even know that was there. So..
Jacques Hopkins 1:25:52
Two of those thousand, were from me the past month.
Abbey Ashley 1:25:55
Yay! That's what we're going to tap into is try, you know, finding those people and who's already doing this. And then, and really, I mean, I will be doing market research like crazy. So, get ready. I will definitely interview you at some point and get your feedback, because I want to build something that people will really use.
Jacques Hopkins 1:26:13
Amazing. What else? I've heard you tease a podcast, are you going to be releasing a podcast?
Abbey Ashley 1:26:17
I would still love to do a podcast. My goal for a podcast would be to build the client side of you know what I mean? So, I still I'm, maybe. Yes, I still haven't like this. I know, this is my next business. I know, this is my next product. So, I'm still figuring out what's the best way to grow an audience. And honestly, I think a podcast would be pretty amazing. So, I could definitely see that happening in the next year. But I just haven't solidified yet. If I'm going to do it, it's going to have a purpose. And it's going to have a big ROI. So, if it's a list builder for my client side, because here's the thing, what's so cool is I love to talk about course creation, I could talk about, you know, business building, and hiring and this kind of stuff all day. I don't necessarily want to like to teach it in a course because I feel like so much of what I've learned is just what I learned from other people, right? Like, I know, I have my own original ideas and things like that. But I would rather go in and just have a podcast where I interview those people and you know, people like you and like Mariah, and like the Austin from 2X, and, you know. And then at the same time be kind of building this audience of people that are maybe a little higher level in business 500,000, you know, and above, who would actually be the people using my hiring marketplace. So yeah, at some point, it'll probably happen. I'll let you know.
Jacques Hopkins 1:27:37
But one thing at a time, and right now you're full steam ahead on the, on the hiring marketplace.
Abbey Ashley 1:27:41
Jacques Hopkins 1:27:41
Love it. So, I'm not, I'm not in the market to be a VA but I'm still on your email list. And no, I have no plans to unsubscribe, because I think that's probably the best place to stay tuned for announcements like that. Right. So, most people listening to this aren't necessarily in the market to be a VA, either. But they could definitely be a fit for this hiring marketplace. So, what's the best way to kind of keep in touch with you from that side of things would be to do what?
Abbey Ashley 1:28:09
Yeah, for sure. And that's where it's like, a lot of stuff we talked about on here. Um, you know if you want to check out my funnel, go to VAstarterkit.com. I know you're not a VA, you might mess up my conversion rates a little bit. I don't really care. It's fine. Go. And you can, you know, get on that list. And we'll definitely once we do that, I mean, I told Jacques before, we before we started the podcast, I was like, man, I should have had a freebie for you guys. But it's cool. It's cool. You can get on just by regular email list, kind of, you know, be a fly on the wall for how a business like this runs. And then for sure, our VA Savvies Community too. The TheVirtualSavvy.com /community is another great resource. Again, it's if you're looking to hire right now, that's definitely the place to be is jump into that community and post a job opportunity because we've got a ton of really qualified amazing people there.
Jacques Hopkins 1:29:04
Cool, good. That's a good call to action because yeah, I stay, I stay in your email list to see what's coming with this hiring marketplace. But also, just to see how you run your business do I think it was maybe just yesterday, I got an email about you hiring for a couple of positions. So, it's like, okay, I want to see how she sends this email. And once I click what is that next page look like and so on. And so, I would encourage people to she gave us permission to join the email list even though
Abbey Ashley 1:29:28
Oh my gosh, do it. I don't care, copy all my stuff. I don't care. Okay, nah no, don't copy everything. But like my systems. I mean, that's so much of what I learned is like, every time I get an amazing email that like I click on the subject line, I have a folder in my email. That's great subject lines, right. And so, I don't copy the exact same email subject lines, but like, at certain points, I'm like, what made me open this, oh, it was like this little, you know, and so I'm constantly like, I don't know, evaluating the way other people do things and learning from it. So, do that for me. That's cool.
Jacques Hopkins 1:29:57
Yeah exactly. And because I have this platform, like probably 5% of the people that opt into my piano list and funnel are just coming at it from this side of things and want to see what my funnel looks like. But joke's on them, because some of them end up buying my program actually.
Abbey Ashley 1:30:11
And you're like, and you learned piano, so.
Jacques Hopkins 1:30:15
Exactly. Well, Abbey, it's been a complete pleasure. Thank you so much and definitely, let's do it again.
Abbey Ashley 1:30:21
Yeah, for sure.
Jacques Hopkins 1:30:22
Jacques Hopkins 1:30:24
And, that is a wrap on the conversation between Abbey and I. And now as usual, welcome back, our beloved co-host here, Dr. K.
David Krohse 1:30:32
Jacques Hopkins 1:30:33
Come on back and start giving me your takeaways here.
David Krohse 1:30:36
Oh, man, I mean, what a fun conversation to listen to. I mean, just, Abbey just exudes this attitude that that business can be fun, that owning a business, starting a business. I mean, I kind of pictured her as a kid sitting in a room full of toys, and she's just like, all these toys are so fun. And every toy, you know, is a different part of having a course. So, it's course creation, marketing, analytics, and metrics, and planning. But she's like, but then I have to have friends to play with these with. And so, at the end of the day, she's like, my favorite thing is just having this team but I mean, that was the mental image. She's like, it's all so fun. And it was a super fun conversation.
Jacques Hopkins 1:31:17
Yeah, she's very passionate about her business. It's always very positive vibes when I talk to her about it, both on the podcast and off air. Right?. And I've talked to multiple people on her team as well. And they, they exude that as well. There's just so pumped to be part of a team like that. The benefits that she offers, like maybe I should dig into that a little bit more she briefly mentioned, like, unlimited book budget. Like how cool is that?
David Krohse 1:31:43
Jacques Hopkins 1:31:44
There's... I want to see like, the list of benefits that the team gets because it sounds like a just, an incredible environment to work in. I mean, she, they’re, they’re anything strict about the hours, she's like, at, you know, 30 to 40, whatever. Not only is it fun, but it sounds like they're really kicking butt too.
David Krohse 1:32:01
Yeah, it's awesome. It's an awesome discussion on building a team and just creating an environment where people want to come in every day. Very inspirational.
Jacques Hopkins 1:32:09
And before you get to the next point, by the way, I meant to mention this in the intro, but this is the third time Abbey's been on. The first time was Episode 37. Long time ago, actually. And the reason she came on originally is because my friend Nick Loper, Side Hustle Show, he interviews people more broad than me. Right? Side hustle people, not just course creators, but Abbey's a course greater, and he interviewed her for his podcast couple years ago. And he was like, immediately he chatted, he sent me a message. He was like, Jacques, have to talked to Abbey Ashley, like, you got to talk to her on your podcast that you would really get along. And I've been friends with Abbey ever since. And then she actually came back on episode 108. But it was me and her and Nate and the three of us. It was we were focused in on the topic of tools and online software. So, this is our third time here on episode 160. So, I wanted to make sure I mentioned that. Go ahead, David.
David Krohse 1:33:04
Definitely. Well, I just wanted to say that I appreciate you getting into some of the emotions that go with the course creation. Obviously, that's easy to do with Abbey because she's clearly an extrovert. But you were asking, you know, what, what, what was your emotion that day when the pandemic really hit in like that moment that you're like, Oh, my God, I have these people who I've truly employed, and I'm responsible for. The discussion of the surprise and the delight moments. The idea of her sending chicken noodle soup to somebody who had been in the hospital, your bottle of Dom Perignon. I mean, again, I just do encourage you this, this one had some moments in your conversation with Abbey, that I would, I would go and share with my wife. And so just encourage you to definitely ask these course creators. You know, again, my big three questions from a while back, you know, what was the best day and your course creation journey, the coolest thing that you've gotten to do, which I think Abbey would say, just creating these surprise and delight moments, and then obviously building the team. And then then the biggest obstacle that people have had to overcome those moments really are what makes my ears perk up and just to get excited to listen,
Jacques Hopkins 1:34:12
I love it. I've got those three written down somewhere, but I just wrote them down again, because they're so powerful. And I don't know that I directly asked her any of these specifically, but I need to just post those on my wall probably. I try to keep it like super conversational and just see what kind of things come up. But I need to have certain talking points like that.
David Krohse 1:34:32
Yeah, I want to, I want moments when I smile, laugh out loud, where I just feel the excitement and I know that all anybody who's bringing in $60,000 a year or more with an online course has had some of those moments. I mean, for sure. They're living the dream according to most people in our world. Um, so we, the last time we talked about you adding to your team, you had added a new VA from Dallas. Is there now another one?
Jacques Hopkins 1:34:59
Yes, well to be honest with you that that didn't work out very well.
David Krohse 1:35:04
Jacques Hopkins 1:35:04
She just wasn't a good fit. So, we have, we have now another one that is taking on that role.
David Krohse 1:35:10
Okay, got it. Well, sometime, I'd love to, to do, or to get to listen to a get to know you. An episode with your entire team. I enjoyed the episode where you chatted with Emily, that was Episode 70. And talked about how you brought her on to answer your emails and to do some of your writing. But yeah, I think it would be super fun for you to get on the get on a zoom call with your entire team. I wrote some questions that I thought would be fun just to ask these people and get their backstory. So, I mean, essentially: What's your story, what's on your bucket list, what's your most embarrassing moment, what's been the most interesting thing about working in an online course business, and then what song would you like to play on piano and why? So, I think in the coming year, within the next couple of months, that would be a really fun episode just to meet your team.
Jacques Hopkins 1:36:03
Yeah, well, we'll have to do that, you know, my team and the philosophy that I've taken with my team is significantly different than Abbey's. She's every everybody that works with her for her is a full-time employee in the United States. And there's certainly pros to doing that having everybody in the same country as a dedicated employee. Whereas for me, actually, at this point in time, that'll, that will probably change soon, I have zero employees, and more people are outside the United States than in the United States. Right? So, I've got, you know, Director of Operations Colleen, she is not an employee. She's in the United States. Have a VA, who's in the United States. I've got a video editor in Romania. The audio editor for this podcast is in the Philippines. Graphic designer is in Brazil. And I've got a local intern here that helps me with the physical packages. So, she's in the United States as well. And, man, if I, if I leave anybody out, that's going to be a problem. Like, how did I? Emily's going to kick my butt. I didn't even say Emily. I mean, you said her.
David Krohse 1:37:17
Jacques Hopkins 1:37:17
Emily's she's basically like my Executive Assistant, you could say she's, she's, she's, she's born and raised in in the United States, but she's been living in Cambodia for quite a while. So, there's, there's Emily as well. So, but once again, none of them are full time employees for me. And we talked a little bit, Abbey and I, about you know, pros and cons in there. I mentioned Mike Michalowicz's philosophy and so on. So, there's multiple ways to do it. But I definitely see advantages to having employees.
David Krohse 1:37:48
I did have one question. I mean, I'm thrilled to hear that working with Colleen is going so well. How often do you meet with her now?
Jacques Hopkins 1:37:54
Multiple times a week. So, she's been working with the team for three a little over three months now. So, we haven't gotten to a, an exact routine of like, okay, we have a standing meeting on Mondays or anything like that. We're still at a point where she's still learning, right? You can't learn everything there is about a business or my business in that short amount of time. So, we probably meet two or three times a week just when it becomes necessary, which I'm happy to do that because she is far taken away tasks from me. Like my schedule is way more free now that she's around than before. And the more the more we meet, the more she gets caught up. So that is going very well so far.
David Krohse 1:38:36
Awesome. Yeah. I was curious, like at the start of each meeting with Colleen, if you find yourself tempted to say her name, like Dolly Parton, like "Colleen. Colleen. Colleen. Colleen."
Jacques Hopkins 1:38:48
I've never once thought of that. And now that's probably going to be in my head and Colleen's going to listen to this and like think you're ridiculously silly. And she probably hates that song If I had to guess.
David Krohse 1:38:59
Yeah. Um, so when you were discussing Mariah Coz with Abbey, and then like, what her current funnel looks like, um, you kind of skipped over where she said that she has an upsell. And she said, 50% of people that join her course, do the upsell. Do you happen to remember what the upsell was?
Jacques Hopkins 1:39:21
No, I don't know what it was. But that's yeah, I don't know. I know I've been through a funnel. And I guess you don't really see the… you don't see the upsell unless you purchase because that's the definition of an upsell. So, I'm not sure I didn't ask her that. I do know having been through her funnel that once you once you don't enroll like the next day or a couple days after that there is a down sell, if you will. It's a very inexpensive, like maybe $50 product that she does pitch to those that don't buy the $1,000 product. But I don't know what the upsell is.
David Krohse 1:39:56
Gotcha. Yeah, that'd be interesting to know because obviously that's a, that's a pretty good percentage.
Jacques Hopkins 1:40:00
Yeah, exactly. 50%. I would imagine it's not super highly priced, but maybe it is. And you know what it could be if I had to guess she's got this portal of tech, where every month she'll add a new tech training because that is important for a VA to learn how to do basically like, here's Asana, 101, here's Canva, 101, things like that Later. And they'll add to it every month. My guess is maybe that's the upsell. Abbey might listen to this and be like, Oh, Jacques, that's not the upsell. And she'll correct me. But from what I know about her business, I'm guessing maybe that's it.
David Krohse 1:40:38
Yeah. And she also mentioned in that discussion, just this concept that buyers can be a tortoise or a hare. And I love that analogy. And I look at myself, I've been both at different times. I mean, there have been times that I hemmed and hawed over a relatively small purchase. And then I got a stack of like, DVDs on my desk that were $800. And I bought them. There's specific training, I bought them, I haven't watched them. But what I was, I was in the, in the mindset of just buying something. So..
Jacques Hopkins 1:41:09
Well, that's a, I've heard Mariah Coz talked about that before, I think she's, she, that's her concept, but it's so true. Right? And that's the reason that my funnel for my piano course works the way that it does. And for the longest time, once you opt it into the funnel, you couldn't even purchase it anyway, within like the first week. And so, I was making everybody be a hare. That's the reason that, what, two years ago, now I put in an evergreen webinar in those first few days of the funnel and left everything out. So now that gives the opportunity to the hares to purchase the way they want to as well as the tortoises. And that's one of the reasons my funnel works. Works so well, I would say.
David Krohse 1:41:51
Yeah. And the other thing, you said that Mariah Coz's current training, it's around $10,000. So that did just make me think like, Whoa, what a value that the Next Level Courses is right now.
Jacques Hopkins 1:42:01
Thanks. Well, you know, I've been through Mariah's funnel, I think I mentioned that. And one, one thing that's very interesting about her funnel is it's a high-ticket program, but there's no sales call. The way it works at a very high level is you apply for it, you don't know the price until you apply for it, or well, after you apply for it, actually. So, you apply for it. And then I waited like a week and a half before I heard anything. And then it said like you're approved, watch this training for Mariah, something like that. So, you go. So basically, there's an evergreen webinar after you're approved. But one of the things that you give them in the application is some sort of social media handle. And so, the way they get around a $10,000 price tag without a sales call is they're constantly reaching out to you on social media, like on Instagram and sending you like voice messages and just trying to answer your questions and get around your objections and whatnot. And it's a more passive approach, you're not actually talking to somebody one on one, you can do it in your own time. You're looking at me like oh, like this is crazy. You have questions about it.
David Krohse 1:43:13
So, someone on her team is like sending you, sending you voicemails?
Jacques Hopkins 1:43:18
Not voicemails, right, voice messages through Instagram dm.
David Krohse 1:43:22
Jacques Hopkins 1:43:22
They'll do both, it was a combination of chat messages and voice messages. It was very well done. Very well done. And so, it accomplishes kind of the same thing as a sales call would do. But you can, you can do it more in your own time. And if you have one or two dedicated people, like your sales staff, they don't have to constantly be looking at their calendar and getting bookings and calling people at certain times, they can just have a list of their current, you know, warm leads within a certain point in the funnel, and send a message and then go to the next person, send the message. And then once you get to the end, come back to the first person, and follow up and so on. And that's how she can sell a $10,000 product without an actual phone call. I thought was pretty cool.
David Krohse 1:44:11
Well, I like the idea that for any, all of us out here just listening to you and kind of looking to you for advice that you're still out there funnel hacking. Is that something that you do on a schedule, or just on a whim, you go and look at somebody's, they pop back up in your Facebook feed, and you're like, I should see what they're up to now?
Jacques Hopkins 1:44:27
Yeah, you think I know everything, David? Like...
David Krohse 1:44:30
No, I don't.
Jacques Hopkins 1:44:30
I mean, and it's and things are constantly changing. And people are finding new ways to do things even better. I think that's important as the host of this podcast too is to try to share as much good information as I possibly can as well. I don't think that my funnel is going to be the best forever, either. I'm always looking at things. I mean, I could give you another example. One person I follow and very much look up to is Sam Ovens. He runs consulting.com and I've learned a lot from him because there was a time years ago where I thought my future was in digital marketing consulting. And he I remember, you know, I learned a lot about webinars from him. And his webinar used to be like three and a half hours long. And he very much pretended like it was live, you would see his ads for webinars all over the place. He doesn't do that anymore. And he just released a new video a few days ago, and I'm on his email list, I love to see what he's doing. And it was he didn't even pitch it as a webinar, even though it was kind of an evergreen webinar. And it was a link that you clicked on, you went straight to a page, completely white, nothing on it, except this video. And it was only 28 minutes. And the way he did that presentation was fascinating. I never seen it done that way before. It was completely different than any webinar script I had seen. I'm not really going to get into many details about it. But it was just really cool. And I do want to like, maybe do a split test or something because my evergreen webinar right now is still over two hours. And I would love to try to model mine after his and see if it's more effective. But that's just an example of me just like following people doing bigger and better things than me and always trying to get better myself. That includes guys like Sam ovens. That includes people like Abbey Ashley, I mentioned, like she seems to be about a year ahead of what I'm doing, roughly. And I am like, when I was looking to hire a couple of people a few months ago, like she's the first person I reached out to like, Hey, give me some tips on hiring please. I very much look up to her in that respect.
David Krohse 1:44:34
Awesome. Well, she talked about organic growth. She said that in her world, the top two things that she would do was Pinterest, plus YouTube or a podcast. And she really said there's I mean, I felt like she said there's no secret sauce except for just being consistent. And so, I thought that was a great takeaway for anybody that's trying to jumpstart this journey. I did catch a little bit where you kind of had the sentiment that Pinterest is mainly only for women at this point. There's been reports that came out in September that Pinterest use among men has jumped up 50% since last year. The top searches, top searches are home improvement projects, woodworking projects for kids. It's really spiking for men as well. And so, if somebody out there listening kind of took your attitude at first and said, Oh, I think that's just mainly a platform for women. It's really spiking for men too.
Jacques Hopkins 1:47:32
Interesting. I would love to try it for Piano in 21 Days. My main demographic, like the average person in my audience is like a 60-year-old male. And so that's why just inherently I feel like Pinterest would not be the best platform. But that is certainly an assumption on my part. And also 60-year-old males are not my only, the only person on my audience. There's certainly plenty of women like 35 40% women, it's not just older necessarily. So, I appreciate that reminder. And once we knock out some higher priority initiatives, maybe we will try to get on the Pinterest bandwagon.
David Krohse 1:48:09
Yeah. Well, let's see here. I don't have too many other things. I mean, at some point, I think you need to get Mike Michalowicz on the podcast.
Jacques Hopkins 1:48:17
David Krohse 1:48:17
Have you reached out to him yet?
Jacques Hopkins 1:48:18
No, I mean, we've obviously like, met, when I did that mastermind with him. So, it wouldn't be a cold approach if I asked him to. But my thought is to do that the next time he's releasing a book because you know, these big authors. That's one of the ways they go about promoting their new books is they try to get on podcasts and in various interviews, and so I know he's working on his seventh book, it's going to be called Different Is Better. And so, I was thinking around that promotional time, is when I would reach out to about coming on the podcast.
David Krohse 1:48:50
Yeah, that sounds great.
Jacques Hopkins 1:48:52
That would be like total fanboy mode.
David Krohse 1:48:56
We'd be hearing your voice quivering.
Jacques Hopkins 1:48:59
Maybe so. Yeah, so just a couple more things on my end before we get out of here. I just want to stress - and we talked about Mariah Coz - but I want to stress how important learning from others is. Have you look at Abbey, like, whenever she was first getting started, she invested in a very expensive program from Mariah. Once she hit like a million dollars, she's still investing in programs, this 2X growth program that she talked about sounds amazing. And that sounds like what really helped her with growing the team, and analytics and stuff like that. So, whether you look into those particular programs, or you might want to check out Next Level Courses or something else, like just finding other people that are doing what you want, like they're a year ahead of you three years, five years ahead of you and learning from them, is incredibly important.
Jacques Hopkins 1:49:46
And then one other thing that really jumped out at me and she, I'm sure she mentioned this back in Episode 37, but I'm fascinated by just how she got started, because she got started by building the audience first. Just like Chris Liepe. Just like a lot of people that have been on the podcast audience first and let the audience drive what they need your help with the most. Right? She was more just like general business. And then once she got started, what she was already putting content out there is when she realized, like, oh, helping people become VAs, that's my thing. And she went to figure that out if she didn't start putting out more general stuff first building that audience first. And I think that's really powerful. So, if somebody out there is struggling with that, you're struggling to make your first sale, you're struggling to build the audience, build your email list, like think about that you might not be just because you feel like you really niche down to exactly where you need to be doesn't mean that that's it for you. You've got to listen to the market. You've got to listen to the people that you could eventually help. I think that was a good reminder.
David Krohse 1:50:50
Jacques Hopkins 1:50:51
All right. Another good one in the books, David.
David Krohse 1:50:54
Yes. And we'll all be waiting in anticipation for the big reveal next week.
Jacques Hopkins 1:51:00
Oh, that's right. That's right next week,
David Krohse 1:51:02
I'll have to practice my drum roll.
Jacques Hopkins 1:51:05
Oh, hopefully, it'll let you guys down. So. So, we'll just do a dedicated episode to let's talk all things online course platforms next week on 161. Talk about various ones that I evaluated, looked into all the features, pros and cons of each. Who might be a good fit for each one and then eventually, which one I picked and why. And let me just to tease it even further. Before we get out of here. Let me let me talk about like some of the things I'm, I have been looking for in a new online course platform. So, the big, the big items for me are that I would like to try to have the community in the same place as the platform, I want to get my community off of Facebook for a variety of reasons. We've talked about this plenty of times before, there are advantages to having your community on Facebook. But there are a lot of disadvantages, as well. And for where I am, and for my audience, I think it's going to be better to have that off of Facebook. But I don't want it to be in a different place than the course if it's going to be somewhere else than Facebook, I want it to be exactly the same place as the course. So that's really important to me. And then to be able to wrap that up that course and community and be able to launch it as an app as well and have it completely seamless and integrated would be ideal as well. And that that's that that part, not many people are doing that part.
Jacques Hopkins 1:52:28
So, beyond that, gamification would be cool. You know, possibly. I'd love to be able to have like events and go live from within this platform. Because right now I'm going live once a week on Facebook Live. So, I need to find another way to do that. Another requirement is I want the developers to be actively working on improving the platform, right? I don't want it to be something that peaked a few years ago, which to be honest with you, that's kind of how I feel about ClickFunnels, which is where my courses right now is. Like it works. It's really simple. They don't seem to be improving it at all. And I think with 6000 students now, in the portal, it served, it served me and it served them well. But I'm ready to move on to something that is bigger, better, more powerful, more capable, in that there's, they're actively developing and working on it.
Jacques Hopkins 1:53:20
Video hosting would be nice. Some online course platforms will host your videos for you, whereas others you have to use like a Vimeo or Wistia and then embed. Certainly, want it to be mobile optimized. And then there's, other there's other features that we can get into next week. So that's the, that's the full teaser there. So once again, next week, we'll be talking about the various online course platforms. David, any last thoughts? Any other words of wisdom before we go?
David Krohse 1:53:49
No, I don't think so. It's been a good one.
Jacques Hopkins 1:53:50
Yeah. Thanks for joining me. Thanks for everybody out there listening to another one. This has been Episode 160. So, you can find the show notes at oc.show/160. And for additional online course resources to help you along your journey including my program, which now has 75 people in it: Next Level Courses to help you take your course to the next level. Check that out at the OnlineCourseGuy.com as well as some additional resources. Until next time, get out there and make some next level courses with transformation and not just information. Take care everyone!
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