Today, on our 49th episode of 2020, it’s finally time: I’m ready to reveal exactly what platform I’m moving my piano course to! This has been a topic of much debate and it definitely took me some time to sort through my options. So many course platforms exist, old and new, and there are pros and cons to each. But I’m happy with my choice, and had a great time discussing this journey with David on our final episode of the year.

“It’s overwhelming, but I really wanted to find the best option for me and my students.”

– Jacques Hopkins

In This Episode, We Talked About:

    • (0:39) Setting the stage for today’s topic and looking back on another year of podcasting
    • (3:06) Why my platform switch is not a one-size-fits-all decision
    • (4:52) My history (and beef) with course platforms so far
    • (8:44) Talking pros and cons of ClickFunnels
    • (13:42) The three types of online course platforms
    • (17:04) Top features I was searching for
    • (20:05) A few disclaimers
    • (21:30) Some creative reveal ideas courtesy of David
    • (24:31) The top two contenders and why I chose one over the other
    • (29:29) Why I’m happy with my customization and community options for my new platform
    • (31:52) The announcement that tipped the scales for me
    • (33:54) Pros and cons of my choice
    • (37:48) Apps, Apple, and transition
    • (39:15) What I’ve said no to – and why
    • (47:00) Does price reflect features?
    • (48:08) Best choices for different categories
    • (54:23) Disclaimers and slogans
    • (1:02:15) Reviewing options and a recommendation
    • (1:05:31) Wrapping up

That’s all for now, folks! See you on the next episode of The Online Course Show.

 

Offers and Tools:
Resources and Recommendations:
Jacques’ Courses:
David’s Courses:

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. 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 we have our cohost, what's going on Dr.K.?

 

David Krohse  00:40

Oh, I'm sitting here, shivering in anticipation to find out which course platform you went with.

 

Jacques Hopkins  00:47

Well, that's what this is about. This is about which course platform that I've chosen. Plus, just an honest, hopefully honest, and unbiased review of a lot of the options out there because there's a reason there's so many options out there and no one is right for everybody. And that's what we're getting into today. This is also I don't know, if you're aware, the very last episode of 2020.

 

David Krohse  01:07

Excellent!

 

Jacques Hopkins  01:07

Episode 161 here. And I went back and looked, and it will be our 49th episode of the year.

 

David Krohse  01:15

Wow!

 

Jacques Hopkins  01:15

So, we missed three. We missed three, but 49 is not bad. I was hoping to get to 52.

 

David Krohse  01:21

That's pretty great.

 

Jacques Hopkins  01:22

But there were three times throughout the year where we just could not get out a weekly episode, but I feel very good about going into 2021, compared to 2020. My business is just in such a better place. The team is much bigger and better than it ever has been, and I feel pretty good about that 52 episodes going into 2021.

 

David Krohse  01:45

Fun! But yeah, I think that I can speak for all the listeners that it's just fun to follow on your journey.

 

Jacques Hopkins  01:49

Man, I appreciate that so much. And among those episodes, there's been several where you kind of came to the table with some awesome information as well. So, it's been a lot of fun. In this particular episode, we are talking about online course platforms. So, here's the plan; and I know you didn't... I didn't share any of this with you ahead of time, so stop me at any point, ask questions, you be the voice of the audience throughout this presentation, throughout this discussion.

 

Jacques Hopkins  02:16

So, my plan is this: I want to talk about kind of my history as it goes with course platforms - where I started, where I've been, where I am now and why I've been considering changing which course platform I'm on. I'm going to talk about all the different options that are out there. I'll tell you what I've picked and why that is. I'm going to try to be as unbiased as possible as we go through this process, right? When I get a, you know, a kickback from ClickFunnels - when you sign up for ClickFunnels - that causes me to be a little unbiased, and I acknowledge that. So, I'm going to do my best to take out any bias, not skew these opinions based on how good somebody's affiliate program is or not, and so on. You can stop me if you feel like I'm being biased in any way.

 

Jacques Hopkins  03:08

Also want to mention that what platform you pick is not the most important thing here. This is not the be-all-end-all that's going to define your success. What's more important is the content that you put out there, the overall experience you're providing for your students, the hopefully transformative nature of what we're doing - I've talked about it many times, but transformation over information - and at the end of the day actual student results. To me, that's the most important thing. And I think no matter which platform I pick, because there's a lot of good ones out there, I could make my course and courses successful, my students successful. Is that a fair disclaimer?

 

David Krohse  03:50

That sounds great.

 

Jacques Hopkins  03:51

And then we're going to look into what platform might be... once I tell you which one mine is and go through some of the big ones out there, we'll go over which platform might be right for you, the listener out there, depending on your needs, and your students’ needs and so on, and then I kind of want to wrap it up; I want to look at the USP - Unique Selling Proposition - of each one. And I want to go through this exercise where we actually go to the website of each of these platforms that I looked into and see what's their pitch, what makes them different. You know, I really encourage listeners to read the book Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson, and one of the big messages in there is you want to give your audience and your students a "new" opportunity, not an "improvement" opportunity. So, with all these different course platforms out there, are any truly like unique and trying to do something that others are not, or they all just kind of the same thing? You know?

 

Jacques Hopkins  04:48

So that's my plan. Does that sound good?

 

David Krohse  04:50

That sounds great.

 

Jacques Hopkins  04:51

So, we'll start with my history with course platforms. So, I started Piano In 21 Days in 2013, and as you know, David, it wasn't all just rainbows and butterflies, there was a lot of obstacles, especially at first. It took me about eight months to go from idea to actual launch of my course. Most people heard my story by now I didn't actually make a sale that first day. Made one sale the next day and it was like one of the happiest moments of my life. Even though I only made one sale. It was like 100 bucks but for the first time, somebody had actually paid me money that wasn't like my paycheck for my job. It was amazing.

 

Jacques Hopkins  05:22

So, one of the biggest obstacles in 2013 was simply the course platform, like I could not figure out having content behind a kind of a paywall, and then having users have a username and password. And that sounds crazy in late 2020, because of all the platforms out there. I mean, there's hundreds...

 

David Krohse  05:45

Right.

 

Jacques Hopkins  05:45

There are hundreds of options out there. Whereas in 2013, there were very few options out there. And most of the ones we're going to talk about today didn't even exist in 2013. So that was a huge, huge, huge headache. I ended up using something called Sensei, which was a WordPress plugin. It was actually a WooCommerce plugin, which is like the number one E-commerce plugin for WordPress. And then they have this E-learning plugin as well called Sensei. It wasn't great. There were things I just at the end of the day couldn't figure out. And when I was going to launch, I realized that there was like, I don't remember specifically what it was, but there was something about it that just wasn't going to work. And so, I had to scramble at the last minute and find something else. I ended up using something called Optimize Press. And then their membership plugin, which is what allows you to have like, username, password, have certain pages that you can't get to unless you're logged in - that part of it was called Optimized Member. That's what I used for a couple of years, was Optimized press,   Optimized Member. That was pretty good. Pretty good. I think it's still around, but it's not near as popular as it was back then.

 

Jacques Hopkins  06:56

And then, in about 2016 a friend of mine was like, "Hey, have you read DotCom Secrets, this book, it's pretty awesome. It talks all about funnels and stuff." And I was like "No," but it was a guy that I trusted. In fact, I think his name is Dean Dwyer. I think the first person I ever interviewed on this podcast way back, I want to say like Episode 16, possibly. And so, I picked up the book and it was fascinating just learning about all these different types of funnels. And of course, I realized now like the book itself was a funnel and it makes you really want to sign up for ClickFunnels. So, that's when I switched over from Optimized Press to ClickFunnels. And it was great, because I could easily make funnels, I was making all these cool funnels, and it was a lot easier than in Optimized Press. And it was just a bonus that you could also host your membership, your course inside of ClickFunnels. So, this is 2016. And I moved everything over to ClickFunnels. And I liked it so much, I even moved my whole website over to there: my homepage, my about page, my FAQ, and like my whole business, other than emails was over in ClickFunnels for a couple of years. And I realized that email was not what ClickFunnels did best, so I pulled that out and put that on ActiveCampaign, which I absolutely love.

 

Jacques Hopkins  08:18

But ever since then, since 2016, my funnels and my course - my piano course - have been on ClickFunnels. Even today, we haven't fully moved over yet to this new platform yet. So that's where we stand now. And that's how I ended up on ClickFunnels. And it served me well and I think it's still a great option for beginners. It's probably the simplest course platform that exists.

 

Jacques Hopkins  08:45

I was talking to Nate Dotson yesterday, and I told him which platform I picked. And I was asking him if he, you know, maybe wanted to try that or some of these other options out there. And he's like, "Man, I just, I love the simplicity of my course in ClickFunnels." So, it's still viable. In fact, David, your course, it's in ClickFunnels, is it not?

 

David Krohse  09:11

It is, yes.

 

Jacques Hopkins  09:12

Thoughts? You like it there?

 

David Krohse  09:14

Well, yeah, I mean, it's fine for my audience. I mean, again, there's the whole, there's all these factors: there's user-friendliness, but also your audience. So, let's say you're making a course specifically for graphic designers, you know, serving that course in ClickFunnels would be kind of like serving SpaghettiOs in a fine dining restaurant, right? It's like the aesthetics are not there. I mean, you can try to fancy it up, but at the end of the day, it doesn't have the user experience and the design elements that somebody that's making a01 course for graphic designer's needs.

 

Jacques Hopkins  09:45

Well, to piggyback off that example, imagine a course for course creators, and I've definitely gotten complaints from people inside of my programs on The Online Course Guy side of my business it's like, "Dude, this is not a great looking course, like there's not many features," and I get that. Whereas my piano students have never complained about it. It gets the job done for the most part, but they're probably also not as aware of the possibilities, as well. So, with just right at 6000 students now, like I said, ClickFunnels, the membership site there has served me well, but it's time to move on.

 

Jacques Hopkins  10:25

So, here's the reason. Here's what I don't like about ClickFunnels as a course platform. It's limited in its features. And for some people that's a plus, right? We were talking about that. There's lessons, there's sections, there's lessons, and then within each lesson, you can put some text and some downloads and videos, like it's the bare bones, minimal, viable course software you could possibly have. And for me at this point, that is a con. For some people, it could be a pro.

 

Jacques Hopkins  10:56

This drives me crazy. For some reason, the password reset function almost never works. So, if my students go to try to log in, and they forgot their password, or whatever, there's a forgot your password link and it just like, less than half of the time actually works and their support is no help. And maybe other people don't have that problem but that drives me crazy because students' success and their experience and everything, that's my number one factor here and if they can't even log into the course, that's a huge problem.

 

Jacques Hopkins  11:29

Next that I don't like is that they don't seem to be actively developing the platform. It seems like they made it and it's like, "Okay, now we're going to put our whole development team on funnels," which is fine. They're good at funnels. That's what they do best. And so, I'm going to continue to use ClickFunnels for its sales funnels, and probably move to something else for the course, because they're not actively developing the course platform, at least from what I see.

 

Jacques Hopkins  12:01

They don't have video hosting. A lot of these platforms we'll discuss today, you can actually upload your videos right to the platform, and you don't have to use like a Wistia or Vimeo to host your videos. So ClickFunnels doesn't have that.

 

Jacques Hopkins  12:12

It is not mobile optimized. A lot of people access my course from a mobile device. Let me give an example of a problem there: They have this big navigation, there's this big navigation menu on the left, and then your course content appears on the right. But if you access it from a phone, then the navigation is so wide that it fillls the width of the phone. And if you click on a lesson, the lesson information actually pops up below the navigation instead of on the right. Well, when you do that, and the content appears below the navigation, if somebody doesn't realize they need to scroll down, they think it's just not working. That has caused so many problems. Fortunately, I had a coder on Upwork code it to where anytime you click on a lesson, the screen automatically will scroll to the top of that lesson. So, it hasn't been a problem. But that's kind of ridiculous that I have to go get some custom code put in to make something that silly work.

 

Jacques Hopkins  13:11

And then there's no, so this kind of ties into limited features, but there's no community element at all. And there's no events, like it's just information. So those are my, those are what I don't like about ClickFunnels. Did I miss anything? Is there anything you don't like about your course in ClickFunnels that I didn't hit?

 

David Krohse  13:28

No. I mean, there's workarounds and jerry-rigs that can be done. I mean, I think that you could add a Facebook conversation below your lessons. I mean, there's these workarounds, but they look like workarounds.

 

Jacques Hopkins  13:40

And they absolutely are workarounds. So earlier this year, I decided it was time to look around. Like, I'm sure there's better options for me out there. Let's figure out what's going to be best for me. And look, that's daunting, because there are so many options out there. You know, the Online Course Community - the Facebook group that we have for this audience - I remember polling them earlier this year, "Hey, which platform are you using?" and I left it so they could add their own options. And there were like 25 different, you know, I started like 10 and by the end of it, there were like 25 different things in there. And so, it's overwhelming but I also really wanted to find the best option for me and my business and my students.

 

Jacques Hopkins  14:28

So, I've really been going on a deep dive the past six months and looking at as many of them as possible. And it's not possible to look at every single one for sure but in my opinion, there's basically three categories of course platforms and some people will call them LMS - Learning Management Systems - that's kind of a technical term for this. And, Jason Dion and I talked about these three categories a little bit back in 154, which Jason's got a good perspective on this stuff. So, if you want to hear more details about like, kind of these categories, you can go back and listen to that episode. One category is these marketplaces like Udemy, Skillshare; the newest one that I've seen is Mastermind which is like Tony Robbins and Russell Brunson, where they do the marketing, and you provide the content. That's what these marketplaces do. So that's, that's one category. And, that's not for me, but it is for some people. 

 

Jacques Hopkins  15:28

The second category is what I'll call fully hosted SaaS. Okay, that's kind of what I'm calling it. SaaS stands for Software as a Service, meaning that they take care of any server hosting, like everything is on them. You use their software, their service, and you don't have to really worry about anything else from like a hosting and uptime and that type of thing perspective. So, these are your Kajabis, Thinkific, ClickFunnels, and so on. That makes sense?

 

Jacques Hopkins  16:02

Third category self-hosted SaaS. Typically, self-hosted SaaS is going to be some kind of WordPress plugin. There are others, Moodle has something, but in general your self-hosted stuff is going to be on WordPress. So, the most popular one out there is called LearnDash. There's also LifterLMS. There's a lot of WordPress plugins that you can use; I mentioned two earlier: Sensei, OptimizeMember, and so on. With these, there's a lot more like customization but there's a lot more potential headaches and problems too because you have to pay for the server you're hosting all this stuff on. And then the more users, the more bandwidth used, you got to have bigger and better servers, and so on. So, there's pros and cons, but those are the three categories: marketplaces, fully hosted SaaS, self-hosted SaaS.

 

David Krohse  17:01

Got it, I got it.

 

Jacques Hopkins  17:03

Alright, so for me, the most important features that I'm looking for are... Well, first of all, the ones that I mentioned about not liking about ClickFunnels, it'd be ideal if whatever I choose didn't have those problems, but then, in addition to that, there's three things: one is course and community in the same place. I'm trying to get off of Facebook with my communities. The reasons - there's a lot of reasons- one is distraction. There's ads on Facebook, there's notifications, you go there with the intention to get into the piano group and ask a question or see if you can help somebody else or see when the next live stream is and then you just get pulled into the latest fad that's being advertised to you, this and that, or, or some political debate you get roped into, and it's not necessarily serving you very well, in that way.

 

Jacques Hopkins  17:54

I do recognize it can work the other way around, meaning you jump on Facebook, like maybe to kill some time, and then you get pulled into the piano group. It's not all bad on Facebook, but I think the cons, it outweighs the pros at this point. And then there's privacy concerns and just overall contributing to bad habits and for that, man, have you watched The Social Dilemma yet?

 

David Krohse  18:19

No, I haven't.

 

Jacques Hopkins  18:22

Watch the Social Dilemma. It will make you want to get off of Facebook. I’ll just say that, as well. So that's a documentary on Netflix, highly recommended for anybody out there. But there are pros to being on Facebook, but like I said, I think the cons outweigh the pros. So, course and community in the same place. I've said this before, like, I could move to something like Circle, which is just a community, but I don't want users to have to go to one place for the course and another place for the community. I want it in the same place.

 

Jacques Hopkins  18:53

Two is I would like events and the ability to do live streams inside of the platform, because right now I do go live with my students once a week in Facebook. So, I need an alternative to that.

 

Jacques Hopkins  19:05

And three is I would like to be able to wrap all of this up and have it be in a branded mobile app, as well. I think that's especially important for my particular audience because piano apps are a thing - piano learning apps. And the demographic of my students also skews older, and older people typically prefer apps as well.

 

Jacques Hopkins  19:29

So those are kind of the three main things I'm looking for. Not as important, but something that I've been looking at as I evaluate things is it'd be nice to have video hosting, so I don't have to host it on Wistia or Vimeo. It would be nice to have some sort of gamification features, and so on. So, that's my list. Let me stop and give you the floor if you have any questions or comments and then we'll move forward.

 

David Krohse  19:59

No, I think I think that sounds great. I agree with all those lists. I think that'll greatly enhance the experience.

 

Jacques Hopkins  20:05

Okay, there's a few disclaimers throughout this and here's one: I'm going to tell you what I pick shortly, but what I pick doesn't mean that you should pick it too. I'm talking to you, David, I'm talking to everybody listening. There may be a lot of people who it might be a good fit for, but just because I picked it doesn't mean you should, too. And somebody in the Facebook group I think said it best. Neil said, "I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't really care what platform you pick. I'm sure you'll pick the right for your students in your business, but it will have no impact on me and mine."

 

David Krohse  20:36

Right.

 

Jacques Hopkins  20:38

Fair.

 

David Krohse  20:38

Right. But, I got to say that that particular Facebook comment feed was really interesting, just in the way that people have enjoyed watching your journey.

 

Jacques Hopkins  20:50

Yeah.

 

David Krohse  20:51

There's a lesson for other people that have their own communities is that people like, I don't know, I think people are invested in your decision, even though they're not planning on changing their hosting anytime soon, but they've enjoyed kind of watching a horse race and just kind of wondering and doing their own research about which direction you're going to go. So, I was really amazed at just the way that people have gotten excited.

 

Jacques Hopkins  21:15

Same here. And I've kind of leaned into that a little bit, dragged it out a little bit, teased it, and so on, just because I know people were excited about it. But, I don't want to drag it out any longer. So, are you, are you ready to hear what I think?

 

David Krohse  21:28

Well, no, no, I got to, I got to, I got to say like, the way that people are excited, we got to take the reveal to the next level. So...

 

Jacques Hopkins  21:34

Oh gosh.

 

David Krohse  21:35

I have a... you know, I'm always brainstorming, but your mission, should you choose to accept it: we got to take the reveal multimedia, and so this is kind of inspired by all these baby reveals. But I've got three different video reveals that you could choose from, or you could come up with your own. And if you decide to take my instructions here, if somebody goes into the actual show notes, they'd be able to click in and watch the video.

 

David Krohse  22:05

So, option number one, Jacques, is you would get two different pies. So, what's your favorite kind of pie?

 

Jacques Hopkins  22:13

Pecan.

 

David Krohse  22:14

Pecan.

 

Jacques Hopkins  22:14

No doubt. Pecan.

 

David Krohse  22:14

I was wondering how you pronounce it. I guessed that. So, pecan. So, get a pecan and a cherry pie, assign each one as one of these top two choices, and then take two pieces from each, set the one that you didn't choose off to the side, and then cover the other in whipped cream, get your daughters there and let them smash pies on dad. And we'd be able to see which one you went with. So, option number two, we've had a recurring theme in the last couple episodes about a cold shower. So, option number two is you get to get some Kool-Aid packets, cherry and like a green apple, and then you got to take a shower head off in your house and stick some Kool-Aid in it...

 

Jacques Hopkins  22:18

Oh, my goodness.

 

David Krohse  22:25

...and then you got to get in your swimsuit and a white shirt, and then we get to see your daughters turn on the cold shower on you and see if your shirt turns green or red. 

 

David Krohse  23:05

Alright, so option number three: you might appeal, or you might like this one the best since you're the big sports fan, but you can actually get these baby reveal baseballs. And so, we design...

 

David Krohse  23:15

...sign pink as one of the top two choices, blue as the other. You get to throw the ball up in the air and swing like you're trying to win the Stanley Cup and just see that thing explode to the color that you chose.

 

Jacques Hopkins  23:15

Yeah.

 

Jacques Hopkins  23:28

So, are you suggesting that we actually do one of these three? Because you know, we're recording this three weeks before it'll actually air. So, are you saying in the next three weeks, we need to record something like this?

 

David Krohse  23:38

In the next three weeks, you, and the kids, record it and then just put it in the show notes as the top one. And if somebody wants to watch the reveal, as a video, they can do that. Hey, it's next level! That's your thing.

 

Jacques Hopkins  23:51

It is next level. You never make it, you never make it easy on me, man. I was ready to just tell you what I picked and now you got to go do all this. So...

 

David Krohse  23:59

That third one is doable, though.

 

Jacques Hopkins  24:00

The third one is pretty doable. You know, you got to remember, I've done two baby gender reveals before. And one we did balloons where I think it was a certain color confetti inside of the balloon that we popped. And then the other one was eggs. Once again, I think it was confetti, but you had to crack the egg open to see what color was on the inside. In both cases, it was pink. And now I'm a girl dad, which is fine. But I know, I know about these reveals and so if I end up doing something like that, which I don't appreciate you adding work to my plates, the top two would be Mighty Networks and BuddyBoss.

 

David Krohse  24:01

Very nice. 

 

Jacques Hopkins  24:06

Okay. And it's interesting because I put a poll in the, in the Online Course Community on what people think or thought I would pick, and I've certainly dropped hints here and there and I've been somewhat transparent without blatantly saying what I picked but you know, the community has done a good job. And those are the top two vote getters. I think Mighty Networks is the top vote getter that people think I'm going to go with. And so those are the top two. You care to guess which one it is?

 

David Krohse  25:16

Uhm, well, I think, well, you got to remember BuddyBoss, you'll explain it more, but BuddyBoss sits on top of LearnDash. So, if you combine those two... doesn't it?

 

Jacques Hopkins  25:25

Yeah. It does. Yes.

 

David Krohse  25:27

All right. Well, yeah, my guess is definitely BuddyBoss.

 

Jacques Hopkins  25:30

Correct. That's the one. So, here's what happened; I fell absolutely in love with Mighty Networks. Absolutely. Especially after talking to Gina, I don't remember what episode that was, but we'll link to it in the show notes. And there was so much to like about it. I love that it was a community platform first and then they added courses later. And it was really nice. They released this new events feature that was super slick and I started playing around with it. There's certainly people in the audience that use it and they informed me of the kind of the pros and cons of it. There's one lady in Next Level Courses, Celia, shout out to Celia, because she loves Mighty Networks. She let me be a student inside of her Mighty Network, and I got to play around with it there.

 

Jacques Hopkins  26:21

But as it turned out, there was just a couple things about it that I just couldn't get past. They do charge like a transaction fee. If somebody purchases through your course through their system, they charge like a 2% transaction fee. Now, that does vary depending on what level you sign up for. And then also, they have... Their really high tier plan is the one that comes with branded apps, which is what I was looking for. And it's very expensive. I don't know if they would want me to say exactly how expensive but it's definitely in the five-figure range, and that's a yearly fee for this particular level.

 

Jacques Hopkins  27:04

And I'm telling you, David, I was so close to signing a contract for that, but they're in Apple's pocket, like or maybe the other way around, like they're... I was going to have to charge a price for my course that ended in 99 cents. Like, they're tied to Apple's pricing model for their App Store because of the app situation. So, I was going to have to charge like $299.99, or $399.99, or $499.99. And I just didn't like being limited in that. Like one of the things I'm looking for is customization and not being held back in any way.

 

Jacques Hopkins  27:39

And then the last thing I didn't like about Mighty Networks was they didn't have a tagging system, which I found very strange. Like, I like being able to tag my students with certain things, for certain access restrictions and they just didn't really have that. And so, for some people, that won't be a problem. For some people, none of those things will be a problem. Mighty Networks could be a good fit for you. But those kind of three things really, really made me not want to sign the contract. I'm telling you, I had it like printed out, I was ready to sign it. I just kept not signing it because I'm like, "Oh, but there's these things." Right?

 

David Krohse  28:12

Right.

 

Jacques Hopkins  28:13

And then all of a sudden, I came across BuddyBoss. I never heard of it other than a few past guests actually briefly mentioning it on the podcast. Had you heard about it until recently?

 

David Krohse  28:25

No. Again, I think I shared a clue with the podcast listeners because I was listening in your Next Level Courses, and somehow you mentioned BuddyBoss when you were talking with one of the students in there. And I was like, "What is that?" And I looked it up and all of a sudden in my Facebook feed it started saying our new BuddyBoss app is coming soon, AppBoss. I'm like, "Oh, wait, this is a clue." So, I asked you about that back in the - Oh, it was just one of the episodes where we talked about the things that were going on in the next level Q&A.

 

Jacques Hopkins  29:00

Yeah. So, there's just a lot to like about BuddyBoss. There's a lot of downsides, too, and I'll certainly talk about those, because now I'm talking about getting back into the WordPress plugin side of things. And I did have not the greatest experiences before. There's a lot of problems with that. But the reason I'm going with BuddyBoss is, first of all, the sheer amount of possible customization. I can get it just almost exactly like I particularly want it to be because it's WordPress. It's like, that's one of the cool things; WordPress is like the number one website platform in the world. So, there's just like, probably millions of WordPress plugins out there and just about anything you want to do, you can probably do. For a lot of people that's not a good idea because you could break stuff, right? And even with me, like I understand that I could do some customization and then BuddyBoss updates, the plugin updates, and it doesn't jive with some of the customization we did. So, I mean, I wasn't going to go down this path unless I had a like dedicated person kind of owning that, because I understand that the problems that come with that as well. So that's one of the disclaimers that I'll give is if you're going to go this route with BuddyBoss, and you got to have LearnDash, as well, and I'll talk about that. But you're going to need somebody who knows servers, knows WordPress, that could kind of manage this for you. You don't need a full-time person, but you need somebody dedicated and responsible for it. For the updates, for the upkeep.

 

Jacques Hopkins  30:33

I mentioned that some past guests had mentioned using it, and I didn't really know what it was at the time, so I couldn't really lean into that. But Dr. Marnie Ginsburg from Episode 147, she uses it - loves it. Tim Topham from Episode 69 uses it - loves it. Both of them are actually extremely, extremely successful course creators. And as I say that I'm looking at their names, they're actually both more membership sites to be honest with you. That's because BuddyBoss is actually so social. Like it's built to be this big social -  it's like installing your own social network.

 

David Krohse  31:09

Okay.

 

Jacques Hopkins  31:10

That's what BuddyBoss is. It's kind of creating your own, white-labeled Social Network. Gina, the founder of Mighty Networks kind of talked about that in our episode. She was talking about how you could with Mighty Networks, you can be your own Mark Zuckerberg of your own network. And I think this takes it even a step further, because you're not tied to all of Mighty Networks's features that you just cannot change or customize in any way. But, BuddyBoss is a lot more open because it's on WordPress.

 

Jacques Hopkins  31:40

So, the customization is one of the main reasons I went there. Community obviously is very, very important to me and it's got that. And then, just the icing on the cake was the app. Right? So, when I first discovered BuddyBoss, they had this announcement, it's like, the next big thing for BuddyBoss, the BuddyBoss app coming soon. You know, sign up here to get informed. So, I didn't know exactly what it was going to be when I first came across BuddyBoss but when they announced it, I think it was the beginning of November, they announced what it was, it was exactly what I was looking for, like, literally packaged this whole thing up and turned it into branded apps. And it wasn't... it was like $100 a month or something and they had an add on package for like, around $800, where they would like do it all for you and they would submit it to the App Stores and make sure it all works for you. So, I bought that as well. And so, my investment is going to be far, far, far, far less than Mighty Networks. Plus, hopefully I'll be able to do the extra things that I wasn't able to do in Mighty Networks.

 

Jacques Hopkins  32:44

So, BuddyBoss is the social network, right? It's not the... technically it's not the LMS, right? It's not the course part. So, it integrates seamlessly with LearnDash. So, BuddyBoss and LearnDash go together, as far as I'm concerned. Some people I guess, like anybody that's come on and had a membership site where they didn't necessarily have an online course could use BuddyBoss without LearnDash. It does work without LearnDash but most of the listeners here would want both. So, you install both and they seamlessly integrate together. So, in my poll in the community, I separated them out. And I think the guesses we're like Mighty Networks, number one. BuddyBoss, number two. LearnDash, number three. So, a lot of people were on to me, but nobody called me out. I mean, you just did on the podcast a few minutes ago, but nobody was like, wait, when you need BuddyBoss and LearnDash? Like nobody said that in the comments.

 

David Krohse  33:38

Oh, yeah, somebody did.

 

Jacques Hopkins  33:40

Okay, well, maybe I just missed that. But that's... it was kind of a trick question because I say I'm going with BuddyBoss, but I'm going with BuddyBoss and LearnDash. I'm going with both of them. And I had kind of made up my mind several weeks ago and then I talked to Jason Dion, from episode was it 154? I mentioned earlier. And if you guys listen to that episode, you know that Jason is moving off of LearnDash on to Thinkific. And I kind of made up my mind going into that conversation and that's why kind of presented it. It's like, "Wait, tell me about all the downsides of LearnDash?" Like, give me, I needed all the details from him. And a lot of times I'll use this podcast as an outlet for like getting information for my actual business. And so that's why I pressed in them so hard, and we've actually had a lot of conversations off-air about it, and he supports it - he feels pretty good about it. His business is so different than mine. But, that's what I have chosen to do. What do you think?

 

David Krohse  34:47

That sounds great. So yeah, I guess I just like to learn more about, like the costs of LearnDash. And then now you're going, to you're still going to be paying for your video hosting through Wistia. It's just a lot of moving parts, but...

 

Jacques Hopkins  35:02

Yeah, so the one big thing it doesn't have is the video hosting. And I said that's kind of one of the things I was looking for, but the category I ended up picking was that third category, the self-hosted SaaS, right? And you're just not going to get video hosting on something like that. That's just not... it's not congruent with being self-hosted. But I'm able to get just about everything else. For gamification, there's a WordPress plugin called GamiPress, G-A-M-I, which seamlessly integrates with BuddyBoss. And we've already done a ton of customization to it to where it doesn't even look like other BuddyBoss sites, like it's my own thing. It's like this white labeled platform. Some people asked me months ago, like, "Are you going to develop your own platform?" I have no interest in doing that. Like that sounds like such a headache. That's not something that I particularly would want to do. And there's so many out there. But with BuddyBoss, and LearnDash, and WordPress, I kind of am able to do that but not be near as difficult.

 

Jacques Hopkins  36:06

So, why should somebody not choose this option? I mean, I've alluded to it already. It could be an absolute nightmare for you. I do not recommend you start here. If you're a beginner, don't start there. I promise you, please do not start there. You have got to have not only... I recommend, if you go this route, like have a person dedicated, like even if you find somebody on Upwork, who's just like, "Hey, five hours a week, forever. You're responsible for this installation in this server." Like, I'm suggesting you do that. But you also have to worry about where you host it as well. Right? If you go sign up for Teachable, then you have an account and you upload things to Teachable, your Teachable account. You don't worry about like, "Okay, what server is this actually living on." But with this you do. Like, you got to figure out where this stuff is going to live. Just like you would a WordPress site but it's more important because you have to worry about server load, and all your users and how many users are playing a video at one time, and so on. And then, as you mentioned, it also doesn't include video hosting.

 

Jacques Hopkins  37:09

So, there's the downside, so please take this with a huge, huge grain of salt.

 

David Krohse  37:15

So, you're saying that it doesn't pass the Nate Dotson test, right?

 

Jacques Hopkins  37:18

Ooh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, it does not pass the Nate Dotson test. And as you know, I'm pretty technical. Like, I'm not a big server nerd or that. I know some coding. I'm not a coder. But I'm pretty technical. So, that's another reason I feel comfortable with this solution is because minor things I can troubleshoot and fix myself, not that that's the goal, by any means, but for somebody super non techie, all the more reason you would need somebody available to help you with this.

 

David Krohse  37:48

How confident are you that you are not going to have to pay Apple the 30%? Or there was an update that maybe it would drop to 15%. But, how confident are you that that's not going to happen at some point here? Or what is the workaround where you don't have to pay Apple?

 

Jacques Hopkins  38:04

Yeah, so we'll get into that in future episodes, because here's another disclaimer, right? We haven't actually launched yet. We're getting very, very close. We're populating all the content. It's looking great. It's working great, so far. We're beta testing it a little bit so far, but we haven't actually launched yet. And we certainly haven't launched the app yet, because BuddyBoss made the announcement in November, but they're not rolling out the first apps for people until like, February. Right.

 

Jacques Hopkins  38:31

So, I'll keep everybody updated along the way as we go. I'll keep you updated. They say that they have ways around that, like they're going to help me... that's one of the reasons I paid the extra for them to help me. That's non-negotiable. I'm not going to pay Apple 30% of my revenue on sales. We're going to find a way around, it for sure.

 

David Krohse  38:54

Right.

 

Jacques Hopkins  38:55

So, remember that, like I haven't actually launched yet. And, I will be completely honest. It's possible that it doesn't work out and six months down the road, I'm not using BuddyBoss. Right. Keep that in mind. We're not actually on it yet. This is the path we're going down. We're launching soon. And I'll keep you guys posted on how it's going.

 

David Krohse  39:14

Okay.

 

Jacques Hopkins  39:15

so, let's talk about what else is out there. We talked about Mighty Networks, we talked about BuddyBoss, and LearnDash a little bit. What other options are out there? It seems like the options are endless. It seems like new ones are popping up all the time and I'm sure in a year from now there'll be fifty more that come out. And so, I certainly can't mention them all right now, right? So, you know, if you're listening to this and I don't say one you're thinking of, or I didn't look into one you're thinking of like please don't email me like saying, "Hey, why didn't you mention or talk about this one?" Like, that's almost impossible. I tried to talk about the most popular ones out there for the most part but just keep in mind this is not exhaustive, by means. Okay. So historically on this podcast, I've kind of talked about the Big Four of course platforms. You know what they are?

 

David Krohse  40:08

Thinkific, Teachable, Kajabi...

 

Jacques Hopkins  40:11

And ClickFunnels. Yeah, those are... I've called those like the Big Four, historically. Here's the New Big Four: BuddyBoss, Kajabi, Thinkific, and Mighty Networks.

 

David Krohse  40:24

Teachable. You're not... Yo, come on. Teachable...

 

Jacques Hopkins  40:26

I do not like Teachable.

 

David Krohse  40:27

You don't think so?

 

Jacques Hopkins  40:28

I do not...

 

Jacques Hopkins  40:28

...like Teachable. I do not like it. That is one of my least favorite ones I've evaluated of all the ones we're going to talk about. And I might get to Teachable. But I do not like Teachable. I like these others. I like these others a lot. Okay, so these are my new, like, top four, Big Four that I'll recommend to people.

 

David Krohse  40:29

Okay.

 

Jacques Hopkins  40:46

Kajabi is awesome. In fact, you asked me a few episodes ago, if you thought maybe that's the one I picked. I think.

 

David Krohse  40:54

I think so, I mean, it all comes down to the value of the branded app. And whether that's really worth it. Which I was thinking, I mean like, if you... let's say that you... I mean, you could assess the value that if you asked every customer, like, okay, you know, the price is $497 with a Kajabi app, or it's $547 if you get a Piano in 21 Days app. I mean, you could actually... it's interesting just like, mental, kind of, like, exercise to say what's the value of the custom branded app? Where people actually pay $50 more to see the app say Piano in 21 Days.

 

Jacques Hopkins  41:31

That's fair. I am as you know, dead set on this branded app idea. It could blow up in my face, but I just think my students would really appreciate that. So, Kajabi’s great. It has everything, okay, that's the thing about Kajabi. It's got the email in there. It's got community. It's got... you can even, you know, they pitch it as you can build your whole website, you can have a blog there. It's the best, in my opinion, like, all-in-one platform. For that you pay for it. It's one of the most expensive, as well, but you got to keep in mind everything you're getting, too. To me, the biggest downside with Kajabi, other than you can't have a branded app, but this kind of goes hand-in-hand with that, is that there's not from what I've seen, there's not really an open API, meaning that it's kind of closed down. You can't really tie other things into it, which is unlike Thinkific, which I'll talk about in a second. That's the biggest downside. They do have a mobile app, there's a Kajabi app that you could get your students to download and access your course through that, but it's not a branded app. So, there's a lot to like about Kajabi. You look at a guy like Graham Cochrane, from RecordingRevolution.com - we'll link to in the show notes what episode he was on - but he runs his whole business on there. In fact, he's got two businesses, because he does kind of what I do, where I've got the music course business, but then he also teaches online business, as well. And for that, he just uses his name, GrahamCochrane.com, and he runs both businesses entirely in Kajabi. From the website, to the blog, to the emails, to the courses, to the membership, to the community; everything is Kajabi. He's a huge fan of it. He promotes it, you know, they have a good affiliate program, too. In fact, I was recommending Kajabi to somebody the other day, like, they came to me, somebody I know personally, and was like, "Hey, here's my needs." I was like, "You know what, I think Kajabi is actually a good fit for you."

 

Jacques Hopkins  43:28

Thinkific is another great one. Okay.

 

David Krohse  43:31

Jacques, could we talk a little bit more about Kajabi?

 

Jacques Hopkins  43:32

Yeah, sorry. Go ahead. Yeah.

 

David Krohse  43:34

All right. Well, a couple questions with the Kajabi. I know that you're appropriately, like geeky about email deliverability and you want an appropriate amount of automation. Is your assessment of Kajabi's email that it's adequate for somebody that wants their emails to actually hit people's inboxes?

 

Jacques Hopkins  43:52

Yes, it is. It's not as feature rich as ActiveCampaign, which I use for my emails, but overall, it's good enough for most people. And, I seriously considered Kajabi. There's a lot to like about it.

 

David Krohse  44:08

Yeah. And the other thing I'd mentioned is that there was a conversation somewhere in the Facebook group about branded versus non-branded app and like two people chimed in and said that they now have four or five courses all in Kajabi. And they view that as a huge benefit, is that they can jump in there and go to whichever course that they like, so it's just hard to anticipate all of your members' needs and obviously this whole online course space just keeps growing.

 

Jacques Hopkins  44:36

Yeah. Have you ever tried to like, read more than one book at one time?

 

David Krohse  44:43

Sure.

 

Jacques Hopkins  44:43

I don't know about you, but it doesn't usually end well for me. Like, if I start reading a book and I get a third of the way through and then it's like, "Okay, wait, I really want to read this other book." I start that other book. I usually don't finish the first book. Right? And I think courses are the same way. You don't want to go through multiple different types of courses at the same time. And that's what I want to do for my piano students, I want them to be fully ingrained and immersed in piano and learn as quickly as possible. And so, if they go to their app, and there's the piano app, but there's also the coding app and the brewing your own beer at home app, it's like, no, like, let's not learn all these things at the same time, like let's learn piano and then move on to something else.

 

David Krohse  45:23

That's fair.

 

Jacques Hopkins  45:24

That's my opinion.

 

David Krohse  45:25

Usually, I have like one fun book and one nonfiction book.

 

Jacques Hopkins  45:26

That's what I do, too. I'm usually reading one fiction and nonfiction at a time, but when I start getting into like multiple nonfiction books at the same time, then I'm not going to finish it all.

 

David Krohse  45:35

Right.

 

Jacques Hopkins  45:37

You ready to move on?

 

David Krohse  45:38

Yes.

 

Jacques Hopkins  45:39

Thinkific. It's a big... in fact, when I polled the audience earlier this year about which platforms they're using, this was, this was number one. This is probably the biggest one. Really cool. This is what Jason Dion's moving on to. It does have more of an open API, so technically, like some sort of custom app/branded app that then ties into everything that's inside of Thinkific seems like it's possible, but it would cost a lot in development to be able to do that. And it also doesn't have the email system from what I've seen. So, it's not quite as all-in-one as Kajabi. And I don't think that it's meant to be an all-in-one platform, I think it's meant to be focused on online courses.

 

Jacques Hopkins  46:24

So Kajabi, you would choose if all-in-one is important to you. Whereas the Thinkific, it's maybe more if open API is important to you. And then, Mighty Networks, the biggest thing about that, for me is like community first. It was a community platform first; it's very focused on community. The community elements in Mighty Networks are far superior to Thinkific and Kajabi. And so, if that's important to you, then consider Mighty Networks because they also have courses, as well. It also does events really well, too. But, I've told you the disappointing things about Mighty Networks as well. Those are the Big Four, the New Big Four.

 

David Krohse  47:01

Got it.

 

Jacques Hopkins  47:01

As far as price goes, with these and the others, from what I've seen, for the most part price reflects features. For example, Kajabi is probably the most expensive one, but it's got the most features overall. Now, we'll get into some more budget options, but in general I'm not like, I'm not going to rank things on a scale of 1 to 10 on a bunch of different factors like price, but just in general, you kind of get what you pay for. That makes sense?

 

David Krohse  47:31

Well give us a rough idea of what a beginning course creator might spend on Kajabi.

 

Jacques Hopkins  47:35

A hundred and sixty dollars a month. Right. They have multiple plans, multiple tiers - don't quote me on that - and then you could pay up to $350-400 a month, depending on how many courses, how many students, and so on. But you look at like, a MembersPRO, which is just the course software, right? Just the course side of things, it's a lot cheaper than Kajabi, but it doesn't have the email and the community and website and blogging and all that. So, I just wanted to give that little disclaimer about price.

 

Jacques Hopkins  48:06

So, I think, let's get into some categories here. Best choice for established course creators: I would say either BuddyBoss or Thinkific.

 

David Krohse  48:16

Okay.

 

Jacques Hopkins  48:16

That's my recommendation. Maybe Kajabi, but I would say either BuddyBoss or Thinkific. Okay?

 

David Krohse  48:21

Okay.

 

Jacques Hopkins  48:22

Bootstrappers on a budget. Okay, I got few for you here. So, ClickFunnels is still viable. And especially if you're already using ClickFunnels for your funnels, and you're trying to bootstrap things, then use the, use the ClickFunnels course platform. You're using it, Nate's using it, a lot of successful course creators are still using it. It works for what it is. So, consider that if you're bootstrapping things, and you have a ClickFunnels account already.

 

Jacques Hopkins  48:49

MembersPRO. I think their lowest tiered plan, I think is $40. Thirty-nine dollars a month and it's one of the best just course platforms. I had one of the creators on an earlier episode, Chris Benetti. Love them. Love those guys. They're doing awesome things and I'm really excited to see where MembersPRO goes. I could be on MembersPRO in five years, or in three years, you know if they add some of these features that I would love to see. But, if you're bootstrapping things, you just need a course platform, MembersPRO - I'm looking at it now, starts at $39 a month. I know people that use it and love it. It could be a good option.

 

Jacques Hopkins  49:28

A couple more like bootstrapping options: New Zenler. Right? Jono talked about that in a previous episode, how it doesn't do everything like, really, really well, but it does it good enough. And it's pretty inexpensive because it's new. It's the new version of Zenler and they're kind of still beta testing it so you can get in on a lot lower price than it's going to be. And that's kind of an all-in-one system. They have a lot of components inside of there. So, it's worth checking out if you're on a budget and want that all in one thing. Also, Podia. Podia also pitches itself as kind of all-in-one, but it's a lower priced option for that. Probably not going to get as good as stuff as Kajabi, but if you don't want to pay $160 a month and you want to pay $60 a month for kind of the same features, then Podia, New Zenler might be a good option.

 

Jacques Hopkins  50:25

If community is most important to you, consider Mighty Networks. If a personal touch is most important to you, I'd recommend MembersPRO. I think that's one of the big things you're getting there is you will probably get to know the creators if you sign up for MembersPRO.

 

Jacques Hopkins  50:42

This is a category you suggested, and I have a good option for it - Rookie of the Year. Kind of a newer one, one to keep an eye on. Have you heard of this one: Xperiencify?

 

David Krohse  50:53

I think I saw it in the list, but no, I haven't.

 

Jacques Hopkins   50:56

XP, it's like "experience-ify" but it starts with an X. X-P-E-R-I-E-N-C-I-F-Y. Very interesting, because their big pitch is "Hey, in general, people buy courses and don't finish them." Their big thing is we have AI technology that like 3X’s actual completion rates, which is really cool. It's really cool. I looked into it. They certainly don't have community or an app or any of that, but it was very interesting and something worth checking out and worth keeping an eye on.

 

Jacques Hopkins  51:33

Others that I looked into at least a little bit, or people have mentioned in the community: Teachable. I just don't think it's anything special. I don't love the environment. I don't know why you would ever go with Teachable over say a MembersPRO. They're both just course platforms. MembersPRO is a lot less expensive and in my opinion, it's better. I don't know why anybody would ever use Teachable.

 

David Krohse  52:00

Okay. It's got a pretty huge user base though. So, I don't know.

 

Jacques Hopkins  52:05

It was one of the early ones and then people like Pat Flynn getting behind it certainly helped. This is just my opinion, but I don't like Teachable.

 

David Krohse  52:16

Got it. But they do... do they have an app?

 

Jacques Hopkins  52:19

They do. I don't know if they have a mobile app. They have the whole myTeachable thing where like, you were talking about with Kajabi, you can log in and see all the courses you bought on Teachable. I don't know if they have a mobile app or not. I would like to think they do since they have that feature already. Ok.

 

Jacques Hopkins  52:35

Circle, which is actually like an offshoot of Teachable. People left Teachable, started Circle. People asked me if I was considering that. The thing is, it's just community. It doesn't have the course features in there, but from what I've seen on the community aspects, it looks amazing. And I think if they add course features, it could be pretty awesome. And I have to think they're working on that. Maybe not, I don't know.

 

Jacques Hopkins  52:59

Kartra is another popular one. Pretty sure it's made by the same people that made like, WebinarJam, EverWebinar. I just don't really like those. WebinarJam and EverWebinar are very clunky. Support is not great. Like, I just don't love those, so therefore, I don't even want to try Kartra. I know that may not be fair. I've heard from other users that their support is not great. But it is another all-in-one platform.

 

Jacques Hopkins  53:26

And then we have something called 10XPRO, another all-in-one platform. I don't know why you would go with 10XPRO over Kajabi if you're looking for all-in-one, just my opinion.

 

Jacques Hopkins  53:39

Disciple. This is an interesting one. I actually looked into this pretty hard. Disciple is actually a community first platform, but they don't have courses. They had some features in there that made me think I could kind of put a course in there; they had something called folders and you could put content in there. And they also will make you a branded app too. So, Disciple is very interesting. I don't understand why they don't have courses, but Disciple looks pretty cool, too.

 

Jacques Hopkins  54:06

And then I think I mentioned Podia already in the bootstrappers. So, a couple more disclaimers here. And we need to wrap up soon because I have a pretty fun masterclass coming up for Next Level Courses on evergreen webinars. But customer support, in my opinion, is a very important part of this. And I just am not able to rate the customer support of all of these in a format like that. So, take this once again with a grain of salt. You know, let's just say hypothetically, like, a Podia. If they have world class customer support, that could possibly put them in the top four. I just don't know, right? I think customer support is huge. DeadlineFunnel, right? This is not a course platform, but DeadlineFunnel support is probably the best support that I've seen for any software platform ever. I've reached out to Jack Born, the creator before and be like, "How do you hire people? Because your support people are so amazing." So, I have not evaluated customer support here so that could easily jump somebody way up the list if they have really, really good support. And if you're on a platform that has great support, then you might want to stay there because not everybody does. Okay.

 

Jacques Hopkins  55:19

I mentioned that I haven't actually launched yet, so in six months now you might find me on Thinkific or Mighty Networks or something. Not likely. But, you know, keep that in mind too. I want to look at some of the USPs of these. So, like if I go to Mighty Networks, right now, it says on the homepage, like, I believe that when you go to somebody's homepage, you should be able to really tell what they're about and how they can help you within the first like, five seconds. They say it's, "A new kind of website builder that grows with you." Website builder? Okay, interesting. The sub headline says, "Bring together your website, online courses, memberships and more, to create your own thriving passion, economy business." I like that a little better but there's nothing that really jumps out at me as like, why this would be a good fit for others. I don't need a website builder. I need an awesome place for my community and courses.

 

Jacques Hopkins  56:12

Next, let me go to LearnDash.com and what they're saying at the top is, "Your online course deserves the best, the only WordPress LMS created by e-learning experts." Okay, that speaks to me a little bit, e-learning experts created it. And my online course deserves the best. Okay, it's still not getting a lot of what makes it different other than I guess it was created by e-learning experts.

 

Jacques Hopkins  56:39

BuddyBoss says, "Sell memberships, courses and build online communities." Okay, that's what I want to do. "We make it easy for you to build on WordPress." I told you about all the headaches with WordPress. That speaks to me - we make it easy. "The world's #1 open-source platform..." It's open source that means customization, "...giving you the flexibility, control, and freedom you need to create a successful online platform." That speaks to me, that's pretty good.

 

Jacques Hopkins  57:04

Let's look at Kajabi.com, they say... probably should have had all these pulled up at once it's loading. "Everything you need for your knowledge business. All in one place." Everything you need for your knowledge business. All in one place. Okay, personally, when somebody tries to do everything in general, it's it feels like they're not going to be great at everything so... but for some people that makes it just incredibly easy. But that's well said, "Everything you need for your knowledge business. All in one place." I kind of like that.

 

Jacques Hopkins  57:39

Thinkific says, Thinkific.com, "Power your education empire. Create and sell online courses and membership sites under your own brand and see first-hand the impact teaching online with Thinkific will have in your business." All right. Not super different, but something.

 

David Krohse  57:58

I like the empire. That one was very inspiring.

 

Jacques Hopkins  57:59

Okay, there you go. ClickFunnels. What do you think ClickFunnels going to talk about? Hopefully funnels, right? "Quickly Create Beautiful Sales Funnels That Convert Your Visitors Into Leads And Then Customers..." Beautiful! That's why I use it for my sales funnels. But that's why I also am not going to be using it for my course anymore, because they're clearly focused on the funnels.

 

Jacques Hopkins  58:21

Teachable.com. Teachable.com says, "Share what you know. Create online courses and coaching services. Transform..." Oh they use transform, "Transform your experience and know-how into a thriving knowledge business." I like that, but there's so many online course platforms out there like that's the thing, like share what you know, okay. I don't need Teachable to share what... like, I want to know what specifically is different about Teachable.

 

Jacques Hopkins  58:53

MembersPRO. "Build a Tribe of Raving Fans. Course Software That Helps Your Members Win." That really speaks to me. I've been hyping up MembersPRO in this episode more than I expected to but that's cool. That's different than anything we've seen. That really talks about your student more than you. I really like what they're saying there.

 

Jacques Hopkins  59:20

Kartra. I'm nervous about Kartra. "Your Online Business Made Easy. Finally, everything you need all in one place!" I hate when people say stuff like that. Finally, everything you need all in one place, as if Kajabi hasn't existed for years. As if Podia doesn't exist. As if all these other all-in-one platforms exist and that Kartra is finally here to save the day. Don't like it.

 

Jacques Hopkins  59:44

Circle. "The modern community platform for creators." It's a community platform for creators. It's not really a course creator platform. We already established that.

 

Jacques Hopkins  59:57

New Zenler. "All-In-One Course Creation, Delivery & Marketing Platform." Okay. The all-in-one-ness is not a new opportunity anymore. That's not what's going to set you apart. All these... half of these are talking about setting themselves apart by talking about how they're all-in-one and I just I'm not buying it anymore.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:00:19

Xperiencify."Xperiencify is the only course platform that builds seven powerful psychological triggers into your course. Engage more students, reduce dropouts and refunds, create 10 to 30 times more repeat buyers."

 

David Krohse  1:00:34

Wow.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:00:34

Love that one.

 

David Krohse  1:00:35

That sounds unique and new.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:00:36

That sounds good. Yeah, I'd invite you guys to go to Xperiencify.com and check out the video they have. They show you how it works. Pretty interesting, pretty interesting.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:00:45

Let's go to 10XPRO. Another all-in-one platform, so I'm nervous about this one. "Finally! All the tools you need to build your online business in ONE easy solution." Finally! Thank goodness for 10XPRO, because finally all my problems are solved.

 

David Krohse  1:01:00

You're going to get some hate mail here for some of these... platform owner.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:01:03

Maybe some companies will change their headings. Disciple. DiscipleMedia.com, "A new era for community builders. Join our movement." Okay. Now this one is the same category as Circle where it's just community.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:01:17

And Podia is the last one here. "Turn your passion into income. Everything you need to sell online courses, webinars, downloads and membership without worrying about the tech." So, let's compare, like, what Podia says to like, MembersPRO, right? Podia is speaking to me about how I can take what I'm passionate about and make a living from that. That's cool. But, I like what MembersPRO is saying. It's about the student and not about me, or it's more about the student.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:01:45

So those are just some USPs - Unique Selling propositions - there. I was thinking to myself, like, if I did create my own course platform, what would mine be? And just this is off the cuff,  I haven't spent a lot of time on this, but I would say something like, "Take your courses to the next level by giving your students transformation and not just information." Sub-headline, "The online course platform whose main focus is just one thing, actually getting your students results."

 

David Krohse  1:02:15

Nice.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:02:16

You think somebody else's is better than mine?

 

David Krohse  1:02:18

Um, oh, it's it's it's all kind of yoga-speak in a way.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:02:22

Yeah, that's fair. That's fair. All right, David. Well, that's it. That's the reveal. That's kind of a very high-level overview of all the platforms here. Let me share a few links. I mean, I kind of shared some home pages already, but I'm not an affiliate for all of these by any stretch. But, if you do resonate with any of these, you want to try to use my affiliate link as a way to shoot support, the show, the business we have here, then I want to share some of those with you right now. I'll start with one that, where you get something extra by using my link. I only have one of these, but it's actually pretty great. And it's for Thinkific. If you found what I've said about Thinkific... think that's right for you, you can go to oc.show/Thinkific and you will get a three-month trial of their Pro Plus Growth Plan which is like 99 bucks a month for free. Three months, free trial, that's pretty awesome. I think normal is maybe a month which is still pretty awesome but if you go to oc.show/Thinkific, three-month trial of... and it's not even their bottom level plan, either. It's a really, really good plan. So, check that out, oc.show/Thinkific. And then here's six of my affiliate links that you don't get anything extra. This would just be if you're going to sign up for it anyway, you want to support me. For BuddyBoss, it's oc.show/Buddy. For LearnDash it's oc.show/LearnDash. For Mighty Networks, it's oc.show/Mighty. For ClickFunnels, it's oc.show/Click. And we actually do get some extra stuff when you do that one, by the way, at least for a few more weeks, but you at the very least you get my ClickFunnels templates if you use that one. For MembersPRO, it's oc.show/MembersPRO. And for Xperiencify, that's kind of hard to spell, so it's just oc.show/XP.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:04:17

So that's it. David, all the show notes, all these links, all these references back to old episodes, you can find those at the show notes at oc.show/161. Any final thoughts, questions, comments, David, before we get out of here?

 

David Krohse  1:04:32

Yeah, just, you know, I think that a lot of our listeners resonate with Nate. So, just one more time if Nate came up to you today, he hadn't built a course and he said what platform should I put it on? Which platform would you put Nate on?

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:04:46

What a great question. What platform would I put Nate on? Um, I would say for his particular situation, possibly Mighty Networks. Possibly Mighty Networks. I was thinking maybe Kajabi, at first because it's all-in-one but he's already on ActiveCampaign. He knows ActiveCampaign. He likes ActiveCampaign for his emails.

 

David Krohse  1:05:10

No, but he hasn't even built his course yet.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:05:12

Oh, you're saying somebody like Nate whose...

 

David Krohse  1:05:15

Nate but he hasn't released a course today. He's like one of the members, but most relates to Nate.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:05:22

Kajabi.

 

David Krohse  1:05:23

Okay.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:05:24

We're talking about a non-techie person, and it's all in one place. Kajabi.

 

David Krohse  1:05:28

Awesome.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:05:29

Alright, David. Thanks for joining me here, I got to bounce in and help The Next Level Course people learn some new things about evergreen webinars. Hope you guys have enjoyed this. I hope you'll jump over to our Facebook group to discuss this further. It's likely that that won't be there forever, either, but I'm moving everything on my piano business first. And then if that goes well, I'll probably do the whole BuddyBoss and community thing for The Online Course Guy brand, as well. But for now, you can head over to Facebook and search up the Online Course Community if you want to join the conversation for more online course success resources, including how to join Next Level Courses, which is kind of like my inner circle. Share literally everything to the detail with those folks. Head to TheOnlineCourseGuy.com it's all there. For that particular one, you would just click on Next Level Courses at the top.

 

Jacques Hopkins  1:06:19

Hope you guys enjoyed this. We'll talk next week. Until then, get out there and make some Next Level Courses with transformation and not just information. Bye everyone!