Today I have the pleasure of sitting down to chat with podcast listener and super-niche course creator Neil Benson. Neil shares about his corporate background, how he became a course creator, his experience with B2B marketing, and why he uses LEGO to explain very complex concepts within his niche. We also discuss how Neil measures success and what 2021 holds for his course. Enjoy!
“First of all, go for it. A lot of the hang-ups that people have are just about getting started, getting that first course out there.”
– Neil Benson
In This Episode, We Talked About:
- (0:53) Good news and bad news
- (1:06) Recording courses
- (5:54) What’s going on with David?
- (6:36) Camera chat
- (9:50) What does David’s true crime story have to do with online courses?
- (12:16) More about today’s guest, Neil Benson
- (14:03) Welcoming Neil and talking about Neil’s niche
- (16:20) How did Neil end up with an online course?
- (20:30) Obstacles and Shiny Object Syndrome
- (23:44) Using LinkedIn as a traffic source
- (26:33) Where did the brand name Customery come from?
- (27:52) What’s the deal with the LEGOs?
- (31:47) Neil’s take on New Zenler
- (33:14) Using Bonjoro
- (37:07) Where does Deadline Funnel come in?
- (44:36) B2B or B2C
- (47:58) Neil’s student experience
- (50:42) How does Neil measure student success?
- (52:09) Neil’s Why
- (54:25) So, what’s the accent, Neil?
- (56:14) Neil’s podcast
- (58:28) Neil’s advice to new course creators
- (59:31) What does 2021 look like for Neil and his courses?
- (1:00:42) My advice for Neil
- (1:05:44) David breaks down SCRUM vs. Waterfall
- (1:10:00) My project manager past
- (1:11:28) David’s experience with Waterfall and what he plans to do going forward with his course
- (1:12:28) The benefit of using a beta group
- (1:13:20) Putting yourself out there
- (1:18:46) The big vein in David’s forehead
- (1:21:04) My favorite joke
- (1:22:22) Using Bonjoro as part of the sales funnel
- (1:25:48) Do couples talk to each other about buying decisions?
- (1:28:52) Gift giving as part of online courses
- (1:30:06) 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:
- Parrot Padcaster
- Canon T6i
- Canon T7i
- Sigma Prime Lenses
- Nifty 50 Lens
- Sporty’s Private Pilot Learn To Fly Courses
- Outside Article on The Barefoot Bandit
- Barefoot Bandit: The True Story of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw
- Amy Porterfield’s Digital Marketing Academy
- Bryan Harris’s Growth University
- The 5 Love Languages
- New Zenler
- Deadline Funnel
- Smart Passive Income
- Double Your Freelancing
- Amazing Apps
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
- Episode 110
- Episode 111
- Episode 152
- Episode 161
- The 4-Hour Work Week
Jacques Hopkins: [00:00:02] Regular people are taking their knowledge and content and packaging it up in an online course and they're making a living doing it. But not everyone is successful with online courses. There's a right way and there's a wrong way. And I'm here to help course creator actually succeed with online courses.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:00:24] Hi, I'm Jacques Hopkins and this is the The Online Course Show.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:00:32] And off we go. Welcome aboard. Glad you're with us. I am your host, Jacques Hopkins, and right over there is our co-host. What's going on, Dr. K.?
David Krohse: [00:00:40] Oh, I'm super fantastic up here. How are you doing?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:00:42] Super fantastic. Good man. I did tell you last week that I was going to be recording the newest version of my flagship Piano In 21 Days course.
David Krohse: [00:00:51] Yes, you did.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:00:52] I have I have good news and bad news about that experience. Well, the bad news is I didn't record the whole thing. The good news is that I recorded about half of it and it went really, really well. Let's talk about let's talk about recording courses for a minute. Are you OK with that?
David Krohse: [00:01:10] Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:01:10] Man, it's been it's been about four years since I recorded the previous version of my piano course. And it's I've recorded it several times. And every time previous to this, I recorded the entire course in one day. I'm just a big fan of batching things. And that's, you know, the first couple of versions, I was still working my full time job when I recorded them. So I had to my wife and I were both out of the house at the same time working when we were both like in the house at the same time after hours, too. So I would always have to schedule it around her kind of being out of the house because I recorded it on my piano in our living room.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:01:45] And so it was it was a big deal to get that scheduled. Well, now, I haven't worked in a traditional job in five years and I have my own office here in my house. And I can you know, as long as that the kids aren't home, then it's I can record just about any time I want. Monday through Friday to 5:00 type of thing. So I scheduled it for this past Friday. My calendar was open, ready to go. I had my curriculum ready. All my notes. And I'm just like way more into the course than I've ever been and the curriculum and I've shared that along this way. And so every lesson is just it's longer than than previous and it's better. And I'm not taking any shortcuts at all. And I look up and it's about 3:15 on Friday and I've gotten through day 11. I'm like, I'm done. Like, I don't have anything left in the tank. I'm done. I gave it my all and I'm going to have to draw the line right here.
David Krohse: [00:02:42] Well, I think that's the right call. I mean, energy energy is so important. I mean, if you could give a new course creator one one piece of advice, the first time they record themselves as you got to, like, turn up the energy. And so, yeah, you got to got to call it.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:02:57] Yeah, you do.
David Krohse: [00:02:58] Have you now recorded the last ten?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:03:00] No, I'm going to do it this Friday and it takes my video editor a probably a day, a day to do each lesson. So I'm still going to be ahead of him if I finish this Friday. So he's he's starting to work on the editing part.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:03:13] And so I didn't it's not me not finishing the recording doesn't delay these lessons getting out there and being released and launched because we have the editing side of things and we spent a lot of time in the editing. I've got three camera angles, some, you know, the lesson where I taught the pedal, I actually had to use my phone and put it up my foot because I needed a fourth camera angle to show what I was doing with my foot. So there's a lot here. And I recorded my screen. I recorded my piano. There's a lot of raw files. It takes a while to edit these things, to do it the right way.
David Krohse: [00:03:45] Now, what time did you actually start recording the first the first lesson?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:03:50] So kids went to school about 8:00. And I just I did a lot of preparation the night before, but I still had a few little last minute things to do to get ready. So I probably didn't hit record until about 9:00. And you know what the most nerve wracking part of that whole thing is? And this is a good, you know, people that have recorded courses, especially ones where it's not just like a screen record where you're actually on camera, we'll get this. But like, what if my microphone went out or one of the cameras went out and you have to redo the lesson or multiple lessons like that would be really frustrating. Right. So the way I did it is I hit record everywhere. I had a record like seven different places, and then I would do a lesson and then I wouldn't stop recording. I would just let it keep recording, but I would be like, OK, now I've got to go check all seven things to make sure they're still recording. Before I pick back up on the next lesson because the last thing I was to not have everything I need it. Fortunately it went really well. You know, that's part of what I'm saying when I say it went really well. I've got the integrity of all the files is there. I recorded everything in 4K. The quality of the audio was good. The quality of the video is good and the files are all there. Nothing, nothing seemed to have glitched and it was a seamless handoff to my editor and I felt really good about it throughout the day, so.
David Krohse: [00:05:12] Awesome. Well, six hours, I would say the most that I figured out I could only really record good content from 10:00 to 1:00. So three hours was the most. I was like that, that was it. So six hours is a lot of stamina in my book.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:05:26] Yeah, for sure. I didn't. I was drinking water and coffee. I didn't eat anything till after I was done, but I was I went out and went to my wife about 3:15. I was like, "Babe, I did a great job, but I got about halfway through and I am so wiped out," and I got a bite to eat and I made myself a a little cocktail and I was I was just done.
David Krohse: [00:05:45] Nice.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:05:46] So the other half is this Friday. I've got a scheduled. I'm excited about it and I hope to finish up the recording this Friday.
David Krohse: [00:05:52] Very nice.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:05:54] Your turn. What's going on? Your world?
David Krohse: [00:05:55] Oh, man. Well, I mean, for a lot of 2020, I kind of shelved my course and just wasn't super active in it. And so starting to gear up with the anticipation that at some point the world's going to get back to normal and chiropractors around the country are going to feel like they can go and do Lunch and Learns in person. So this Thursday, I am doing a little interview with I found this other chiropractor that he also has brought in well over a million dollars through this specific type of marketing. And so he didn't learn it from me. But I'm just going to sit down with him and get that social proof that this concept of going out in person, talking to people does work. So I'm super excited about that. Christmas, I got a bunch of money from people, and so I went out and bought a a new camera. So I got a Canon T6i and I got that specifically because I wanted to get a Parrot Padcaster.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:06:48] Nice.
David Krohse: [00:06:48] And so I'm all excited to use the Padcaster. Or did you use the Padcaster or during the recording of your your new course?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:06:56] No, I actually didn't. I had notes up on my screen like bullet points.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:07:00] I just I'm so intimate with this curriculum that I don't need an exact script, but I certainly use it for for a lot of a lot of times if I'm doing like a sales video or even certain YouTube videos, I love the Padcaster. It's amazing. It's a $99 teleprompter and it blows the $500-600 ones out the water.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:07:18] In terms of simplicity, ease of use, I've used both types and it's amazing. That's awesome. Did you did the Padcaster yet or you just have the camera?
David Krohse: [00:07:26] Yes, they both both arrived and I haven't really fully gotten going with using them. I'm so excited to play with them.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:07:32] Really cool. Now what what lens did you get? Because that's more important than the camera.
David Krohse: [00:07:36] I know it's just a standard one that came with that T6i.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:07:39] Nope.
David Krohse: [00:07:40] You think I need to upgrade?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:07:41] Yes, please. You need to upgrade. Get that nice blurry background.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:07:45] Let's let's get Dr. K. As professional as possible. You can go with a Nifty Fifty. There's some it's about $100 for a Nifty Fifty. And the problem with that is you need a lot of space, you need a lot of space between yourself and the wall behind you. But but what you really need is a lot of space between you and the camera because of just how much the Nifty Fifty zooms in. It's not it's called a prime lens, and that means that you can't zoom in and out.
David Krohse: [00:08:10] OK.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:08:11] But if you want to go a little more expensive, I think around $350 you can get a Sigma prime lens. Sigma is the brand and that's what I use. And it is game changer. And you don't have to stand near as far away from the camera. And that is I'm telling you, that is the game changer for for making just super high quality videos.
David Krohse: [00:08:30] But are these lenses camera specific? Because you're a Sony guy?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:08:34] I'm a Sony guy now. I was a Canon. I was a Canon guy. I think I had a T7i but Sigma is a is a brand third party brand. It's not under Sony or Canon or anything like that. And so they make lenses for both brands. But you've got to get like my Sigma lens on my Sony camera will not work on yours for the, for your Canon but they make Canon lenses and when I had a Canon I had a Sigma lens. I've since I think sold it on eBay otherwise I'd give it to you. But yeah, you just look for a Sigma prime lens that specifically for Canons.
David Krohse: [00:09:08] Gotcha. Well I mean I, I'm a hobby photographer. I mean as long as the aperture, the little hole that lets the light into the camera through the lens is big enough, that's what creates that blurry bokeh effect, so.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:09:20] Exactly.
David Krohse: [00:09:21] I assume this... I'll play with it and check it out.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:09:22] But yeah, you want to try to get it as low as 1.4 Would be ideal in the aperture. And I bet your lens that you have that came with it doesn't go down to 1.4.
David Krohse: [00:09:30] No, probably not.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:09:30] Maybe like maybe like 2.8. And so that's what I think the Nifty Fifty goes down to 1.4. But there are some downsides. Like I said in the Sigma that I use, which you're looking at me right now, is certainly a 1.4 aperture.
David Krohse: [00:09:42] Gotcha.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:09:43] That's why this great LSU football helmet back here so blurry. Geaux Tigers. Alright man, any other updates?
David Krohse: [00:09:51] Well, so I've shared before that I like a good true crime story and I'm reading this true crime book that really illustrates one of the more interesting uses and just proof that an online course works. So have you ever heard of the Barefoot Bandit?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:10:06] No.
David Krohse: [00:10:07] OK, so this is back in 2009. But up in the San Juan Islands, a northwest region of Washington state, there was this young guy named Colton Harris Moore. He was 17 and just a terrible home life and upbringing ended up in juvenile facilities a couple of times. And at 17, he just ran away and essentially started breaking into these people's vacation homes and he'd sit there, eat some Beanie Weenies, eat some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And then ultimately he'd just use their internet, not destroy or damage anything. But it fairly early in this, he was super obsessed with flying. And so I just read this last night, but he bought an online course called Sports Private Pilot Learn To Fly course. And at 17, he, like, started watching these videos, taught himself to fly and like within a year, he stole a Cessna, flew over the North Cascade Mountains and crash landed it successfully was able to run away. He went down to Reno for a while and then he stole other planes and cars and ended up back on the San Juan Islands and stole stole like a couple more planes, I think, all based on taking Sporty's Learn To Fly course and the story ends, he actually stole a jet, I believe flew down down to the Bahamas and there was this high speed pursuit in the boat. And so I'm just reading this. I'm like, wow, you know, if an online course can teach you to fly successfully, that's that's pretty impressive.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:11:40] Well, hopefully. Yeah, absolutely. That's really cool. Hopefully the course didn't teach him to steal all these things, though.
David Krohse: [00:11:45] No, no, definitely.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:11:47] You know, we talk about transformation over information, but I mean, hopefully the transformation that you're helping people do is to not be a felon, right?
David Krohse: [00:11:55] That's a good point. But no, if anyone is interested in this story, there is a great Outside magazine article. Just search for the Barefoot Bandit or I'm actually reading the book that I think it's just called The Barefoot Bandit.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:12:08] Well, I'm not sure how to transition there, but that's a cool story. But I think it's probably time that we move on to our conversation of the day. Is that fair?
David Krohse: [00:12:15] Sounds good.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:12:16] Neil Benson. Podcast listener. Shout out to Neil listening to this. He's one of the people like yourself that's listen to just about every episode of the podcast and have been listening for quite a while. Has his own online course and has been been fairly successful but has a lot of plans to grow it even more. A couple of years ago I got a little package in the mail and it was a little LEGO figure that was that was somewhat looked like me with a note from Neil.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:12:44] I didn't know who he was at the time. I think you had briefly mentioned him on a podcast episode and that's why he actually sent me the LEGO. But he actually sends when people finish this course, you'll send in his students these little LEGOs. And it's just it's just so fun and so, so interesting. And if you're a student of his and you get that, I'm sure it's just awesome. I mean, people in my course, I don't necessarily have something I send them when they finish the course. But a lot of people get some physical goods for me. They love the T-shirt. They love sitting me them in the t-shirt at their piano with their workbooks, physical workbook at their piano. And I love seeing that, too. It's just really cool when we can break through this digital product world a little bit for certain people and send them something physical.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:13:25] And I think Neil wanted to send you one as well. Have you received your LEGO yet?
David Krohse: [00:13:30] Not quite yet.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:13:31] Yeah. I think I think he showed me a picture of it. It looks a lot like a nice Dr. K, so hopefully that comes in soon.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:13:38] But Neil teaches a he's got a very, very, very, very niche niche, like very. He's got a very, very small potential audience. But sometimes that's that can be very successful as well. So, as usual, you and I, David, will come back and talk about a little more on the back end. But for now, here is the full conversation between myself and Neil.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:14:02] Hi, Neil. Welcome to The Online Course Show.
Neil Benson: [00:14:05] Thanks, Jacques. It's good to be on the show. A long time listener, first time caller.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:14:10] You were telling me, you were telling me just before we hit record, you think you've listened to every episode of the podcast. That's impressive.
Neil Benson: [00:14:17] Yeah. No, I love listening to podcasts. I used to listen to them on my commute. Now I listen to them when I'm gardening or doing the dishes around the house. And yeah, I love your show and yeah. Been a big fan for a long time. So thanks very much for putting on that content out there.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:14:31] Well, yeah, thank you. Thanks for the kind words and I think I believe you have a podcast of your own. And that's certainly one of the things that I want to talk to about with you and your business. But let's start with just like what your niche is like what is it that you help people to do?
Neil Benson: [00:14:45] Sure. So my name is Neil. I run the Customery Academy and Customery helps Microsoft partners and customers build amazing business applications using an Agile approach called Scrum. So that's that's pretty niche, right? Of all the Microsoft...
Jacques Hopkins: [00:14:58] Very.
Neil Benson: [00:14:58] Of all the Microsoft professionals, I'm looking at the ones who build business applications, so that's a subset. And within that set, I'm just looking at the ones who want to take an Agile approach. So that's kind of a software development or project management approach. And my favorite is called Scrum. So there's probably a few thousand people in my target market and I'm here to serve them.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:15:18] A lot of times when we get that niche down, you can actually end up charging quite, quite a high price because there's supply and demand. So do you charge a higher price for this?
Neil Benson: [00:15:29] Probably not. My main course sells at $297, so that's probably not what you'd call a premium price. It's a fairly mid price and it used to be $97. So I've stepped it up a little bit since I started it. And my competition, I guess if people want to learn Scrum, that can go to an official Scrum training class. That's typically two days. These days it's online, but it used to be you have to go in person and that costs, you know, $1,500. Some are $1,2000 to $1,800 depending upon the trainer. And it takes two days and you have to go on, you take time away from your business to go and take those classes. So I think I've got a good proposition whether or not it's priced at the right price point. You know, maybe I need to experiment a little bit more.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:16:11] When people get into... And by the way, from what I know about you so far, you probably want to go higher price. But we'll see. From my experience, when somebody gets into online courses, they've either been teaching this this thing or helping people with this thing professionally for a while or it's more of their their hobby. Like for me, I never really was a piano teacher. Like, I just I have always played piano and it's one thing I knew how to do. And then I created an online course of that topic. It's not something I was already doing professionally. I would guess this is something you've been doing professionally for a while before you turn it into an online course. Or maybe not. You tell us.
Neil Benson: [00:16:49] So, I've been a developer developing Microsoft Business Applications and then an architect and a project leader, and I've been doing that for 15 years. So I still do consulting work today, leading delivery teams, managing development teams, helping clients with estimation of projects and launching those projects. So I have a pretty healthy consulting business and that's 90% of my my revenue. I've got one technical consultant who works for me. I'm just about to launch another startup with seven other founders. We're doing more or less the same thing. So I've been in that universe for a long time, but I've only been training as an online course creator for three years. So it's still still fairly new. I still feel like I've got a lot to learn in that space.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:17:30] Yeah. So you get you've worked in this world for for quite a while. What motivated you to want to make an online course?
Neil Benson: [00:17:37] I was working for a huge global audit company where there's a very structured career progression and I couldn't quite see myself getting to that next step on the ladder. So I was being, not blocked, but it was very tough to get to get promoted. And I was just looking for other ways to boost my income. And in particular, I wanted a way for my family to diversify my income to my wife could get involved in the business and teaching online seemed to be a good way of sharing my experience. I've been a Microsoft, it's called the Most Valuable Professional Award. So they give out these awards to community contributors who help the Microsoft community with their experience with blogging or podcasting or videos or speaking at conferences. And I've had that award since 2010, so I've been used to sharing my experience. And it just seemed like a natural progression to go from blogging and speaking at conferences to packaging it up into an online course, then offering that. There's a free one, and then there's a paid one as well.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:18:35] So when's this time frame when you when you said, OK, I'm going to move forward with an online course? And what were the steps that you took to make it happen?
Neil Benson: [00:18:41] And so this is middle of December, 2017. A course launched at the end of the year. So on December, 2017. So I was blogging about this topic, about Scrum for Microsoft Business Applications specifically. So I focused my blog articles on this content for about six months before, collected a few email addresses, launched with a list of a couple of hundred people, maybe 200 people in December, 2017. And I remember the first couple of sales I made were some friends of mine who bought the course. They got a $50 discount, they paid $47 for it and that was that there was enough sales in that first month to egg me on, to keep me going and it's been pretty solid since then. I relaunched the course on New Zenler in October, 2019. So that was nearly two years later and that's helped me up the game but more. And yet today we've got about a thousand students in the paid course and a couple of thousand students in the free course and it's growing every month.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:19:44] Wow. That's that's impressive numbers, Neil. Any regrets? I mean, are you glad that you decided to to go into this world of digital products?
Neil Benson: [00:19:54] I ended up leaving my job with a global audit company, partly because the managing partner that I worked with didn't really enjoy me having this side hustle, and it was a bit of tension there, and we ended up parting ways. And I'm out on my own again. So this is, Customery is the sixth business I have launched. So I keep flipping between and paid employment, working for somebody else and running my own thing. And I've realized I'm much better at running my own thing. I'm a terrible employee. So no regrets at all. It's amazing.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:20:22] Ok, good. I was wondering where you're going with that regret that you wrapped it up nicely with it. No regrets actually. What's what about just like obstacles, roadblocks was there a time when you're like, I don't know about this online course thing. I might not be for me.
Neil Benson: [00:20:38] No, I never doubted the path I kept on it. But what I do struggle with almost on a daily basis is, you know, what should I do next? I listen to a lot of online course creators, yourself included, and you've got a very well defined, proven strategy. It's worked really well for your business. Is my course business the same as yours? Well, not quite. There's some differences in our target markets and our approaches. But should I be doing webinars? Should I be building my second course? Should I hire a virtual assistant? Should I keep up with my podcast? Should I do more YouTube?
Neil Benson: [00:21:10] I just I got torn in lots of different directions, and I probably need to just focus a little bit more, do one thing at a time, get it done, experiment, see what the results are like before moving on to the next one. Instead of trying five or six things at once and getting getting nowhere.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:21:26] I mean, I, I've got the same struggle, Neil. I mean, that's it's shiny object syndrome. Well, it's that and and just overwhelming confusion, too. There's so many directions we can go and our time is is very limited as well. I mean, I'm, I'm working on all kinds of things and I talk about this a lot. But the great irony of The 4-Hour Work Week is like that book is what really got me into this. But now these days, I'm kind of working like a crazy person just because I've got so many ideas, so many initiatives, like I have a podcast and I have multiple YouTube channels that are getting a little bit neglected. I've got multiple courses, multiple brands. I've got a team. It's like, where should my attention actually be focused most? And what are what are some things that you're trying to help rein in that focus?
Neil Benson: [00:22:17] I don't know, I haven't cracked the Jacques I wish I had. I've I've taken a couple of courses about how to build better courses, so I took Amy Porterfield's Digital Course Academy. I think she's got a good approach.
Neil Benson: [00:22:31] It's based on on a closed cart launch on a periodic basis. I have never used that. I've always had an evergreen approach to my course. So I haven't followed Amy's path faithfully. I was a mentee within Bryan Harris's Growth University and learned some great lessons there. One of the big lessons I really need to act upon that I learned and that mentorship was a good part for me is probably to sell to other partners, so instead of trying to build my own audience all of the time, find other people or businesses who have an audience and partner with them. So, for example, in a Microsoft world, a lot of businesses buy their software through a Microsoft software distributor. Those distributors offer training to Microsoft partners. Well, maybe I could piggyback on that training and offer my course as part of their training bundle. In fact, I did that with one Australian partner last year, that was really successful. We did that five training classes for about 20 students, and that was really successful. Most of them ended up getting certified and Scrum and the results were really good. And I only had to sell once to the Microsoft software distributor and they did the job of inviting all their partners on board. So I need to do more of that, I think.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:23:44] What what is your biggest traffic source at this point, is that it?
Neil Benson: [00:23:49] I'd know, I'd say, but I doubt it's LinkedIn. So I did a lot of outreach on LinkedIn, and that's been a good traffic source for me. However, I did try advertising a LinkedIn with LinkedIn paid ads. I experimented with two different ads, about $1,000, I got 31 leads and no sales. So probably not quite. Maybe it was the creative, maybe it was the message but that didn't didn't quite work for me. What I do on LinkedIn is I post a certificate of completion for every student who completes my free course and will have about a 50% completion rate there for free course, that's pretty good. And for my paid course it's slightly higher, probably 60, 70% completion rate.
Neil Benson: [00:24:28] And I post those certificates of completion and LinkedIn. And then I tagged the student and I tag the company that they work for. And that means that people in their network get to find out that they've completed this course to achieve that certification. So that brings a little bit of viral buzz into my network and into my business. And I also do direct outreach on LinkedIn. So I've got another 25,000 connections on LinkedIn and I'll message some of those every day and say, "Hey, look, here's my podcast or here's my free course." Just welcome them into taking an Agile approach.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:25:00] I'm curious to the response rate on that because I'm on LinkedIn. I don't use it very much. And with you, I understand that that sounds like a great platform for you. I mean, given the the nature of your niche Scrum for Microsoft Business Applications, it sounds it just sounds like it would be a good fit on LinkedIn versus something like piano. But people are constantly reaching out to me like offering services, SEO, web design or pitching to come on the podcast, like constantly. So you are one of those people that are like doing outreach, pitching people different things, what kind of success rate, response rate or you getting with that?
Neil Benson: [00:25:38] Reasonably good. So I'm pitching to people who are in my niche, first of all. I'm I'm in this industry as well. So I'm not I'm not a vendor pitching web design services. I get pitched on a coaching services and LinkedIn. I'm I'm a practitioner. I'm in the trenches. These are my peers. And I'm fortunate enough that I've been on the speaker circuit the conferences for long enough that I have a bit of a reputation as well. So people know me and know my specialty and know my content, which is just great. So it's quite a soft message and I'm not selling anything. I don't pitch my paid course. I don't pitch any paid products. It's "Hey, I've got I've got a great podcast episode you might be interested in," or "I've got a great free course that teaches the basics. I thought you might be interested in that." And if they take it up, great, if they don't reach out to them another time in six months or a year, I'm not I'm not bombarding them with messages.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:26:32] So your brand name is Customery?
Neil Benson: [00:26:36] Yes.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:26:36] How does that relate to Scrum for Microsoft Business Applications?
Neil Benson: [00:26:43] I was working for a business back in London who rebranded as Outsourcery. So they did, they wanted to outsource your IT, so they took the word outsource and added a Y on the end. I thought that was quite clever. And I specialize in customer relationship management. That's the type of business operations my background is in. So CRM, it's known as. And so I want to help you get closer to your customers. I just like my wife feels Christmassy in December, I feel Customery all year round. So that's where that's where the name came from. And it's a misspelling, obviously there's customary with an A in it so I have to clarify the spelling all the time, but it's pretty easy, you know, if I'm reading it, it's just the word customer. Why on the end you'll hear that. You'll hear that a lot of you listen to my podcast. So yeah, it works. It's reasonably short. And the domain name .com, .com.uk,.com.au , you were all available. So, yeah, that's that's how that one started.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:27:38] We've got the logo very nicely behind you on the video that I'm looking at. And I didn't I was I didn't know if it had to do with the word custom or what, but now it's very clear to me that it's customer with a Y. And so thanks for thanks for explaining that now along with your brand, tell me, what is the deal with the LEGOs?
Neil Benson: [00:27:55] So I was just looking for a way to illustrate some pretty complex concepts in Scrum. You know, we work with teams, there's a product, we're working in sprints. And I just wanted a way of illustrating these things in graphics or with some kind of designs. And I saw somebody else posted a picture of a business meeting with Scrum, sorry, with LEGO mini figures sitting around a table. I thought, that's amazing, I could do that. So I. I dove into my kids LEGO boxes, pulled out some superheroes. So we've got the Scrum Master who's Superman, so the initials match, and we've got the person who's got a vision for the application that we're building. They're called the product owner. So that's Wonder Woman in my world because most of the amazing product owners I've worked with have been Wonder Women. And we've got the Scrum team of Spider-Man and Batman and Robin are all in there. And it's just a really fun way of illustrating these concepts. My kids get to help me build it. I can buy LEGO through my business, which is a wonderful tax right off. The kids love that. And I've just become known for this kind of fun way of illustrating some pretty dry, boring, well not boring, but dry, obtuse kind of concepts with LEGO. So, yeah, it's a lot of fun. Wearing my LEGO t-shirt today.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:29:09] And my understanding is that I don't know if you still do this, but you physically send out like a LEGO figure to your students.
Neil Benson: [00:29:16] Oh that's a secret!
Jacques Hopkins: [00:29:17] Oh no!
Neil Benson: [00:29:18] Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:29:19] Should we cut that out or are we good?
Neil Benson: [00:29:22] No, no. I'm kidding. So any, the students who complete my course and then fill in the feedback survey at the end, last question I asked them is just "There's a secret gift coming your way if you give me your address," and I mail of a LEGO figure to them. So I look up the LinkedIn profile, I try and match the LEGO face and hair to what they look like, and then I give them a pair of colored legs and off it goes in the mail. So it's a little Customery branded LEGO mini figure and those end up getting photographed and then posted on LinkedIn. I really enjoy receiving them. I'm amazed. I thought it was maybe quite polarizing, something as playful as LEGO. I thought maybe a lot of serious Microsoft people wouldn't really appreciate it, but everybody seems to enjoy LEGO. I've never had a negative comment about it. So and people love getting LEGO mini figures, so it's really worked.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:30:09] Well, it's different. It's very different. And you sent me one couple of years ago. I went I checked the mail and I'm like, what is this? I didn't I didn't know who you were. And and I think you were just saying, thanks for the podcast, but I was blown away, man. So thanks again for that. It's been a couple of years now since that since I saw that. But it's such a unique thing. And I think it's so cool that you send that to the people that go through your course.
Neil Benson: [00:30:33] Well, that was David Krohse's fault. I probably should have sent it to him because there was a you mentioned a book that I've never read, about the Love Languages and gifting, I think is one of the languages of love. And he mentioned my LEGO figure and I don't know where he heard about it, but yeah, he mentioned it on the podcast. So I thought I'd send you guys a LEGO figure, but I probably should've sent it straight to David.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:30:54] Yeah, well, David, David's going to hear this and he's going to he's going to be like, I need a LEGO. I know him and he's going to want a LEGO. So maybe I can get in fact, I think I have his address. Maybe I could send it to you. And if you don't mind, I'm sure David would really appreciate LEGO.
Neil Benson: [00:31:07] Of course. Of course.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:31:09] All right, man. So you mentioned New Zenler. And I've I've heard a few people using it. I included it in my review, my last episode of 2020, where I reviewed a lot, of course, platforms, and I don't have any direct experience with it. But my very high level assessment was it's one of these do everything platforms, but it's still kind of early on, so it doesn't do everything super well. But if you're interested, it might be worth checking out because you can get in now at a pretty pretty good discount compared to other platforms, is that from your experience, is that a fair assessment of New Zenler?
Neil Benson: [00:31:50] Yeah, I think it's fair. It is. It does represent itself as an all in one platform, but does a lot of things that some specialist course platforms don't do. For example, it's got marketing funnels and it's got email capabilities built into it. I don't happen to use those very much, but I, I came to that from Teachable. Right? So Teachable, it's a much smaller footprint in terms of its capability. And what I love most about New Zenler was the reaction from their development team. So there's they're headquartered in London, I think, and they've got developers worldwide. But there a great Facebook groups for the people who use New Zenler, and they're really reactive to fixing bugs, to launching small features and massive features as well. So the pace at which they do that is just blown Teachable away. I was really frustrated with Teachable's lack of development. And yeah, sure, I don't, I always used ConvertKit, so I kept ConvertKit for my email. I use Deadline Funnels because the countdown timer in New Zenler isn't quite what I want. It doesn't can't show it in an email message, which you can with Deadline Funnels. So I think I took up your affiliate like for Deadline Funnels and for Bonjoro. So there's a couple of other tools I use as well. And yeah, other than that, it's, it's a very broad as I said. It's got webinars built in with the Zoom integration and I pay less than half of what I used to pay on Teachable. It's a good deal.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:33:12] How do you... Thanks for using my affiliate links, by the way. How are you using Bonjoro?
Neil Benson: [00:33:16] So I send a personal message to everybody who joins one of my courses. So I've got my free course, I've got my paid course, I've got two wait lists for future courses and I just got the wait list to see which ones most popular. But most people sign up for both, so that hasn't helped me decide which one to launch next. And I also send a personal video to anybody who completes the course as well. And during the message, I'll just say welcome to the community. It's great to have you on board. Don't forget to follow my page on LinkedIn or don't forget to share your certificate or whatever, whatever achievement that they've made. And that's worked really well. The feedback I get from those is amazing. People really enjoy receiving those.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:33:54] Very positive, right?
Neil Benson: [00:33:56] Yeah, you still using that for all of your new students as well?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:33:59] Absolutely. Almost every day, man. It's is very important to me and my people really enjoy it. I was talking to somebody at Bonjoro the other day. They were they were doing like a case study on on the way I use Bonjoro. And it was interesting because it sounds like the main use case that they see for Bonjoro is is kind of setting up some automations to where at a certain point in the customer journey there's a trigger and that's when, you know, you should send somebody a Bonjoro video to try to get them over the top to make the sale. Whereas me and you are using it the same way is that we're sending the Bonjoro after the sale has been made to say thank you. Right. So, yeah, I looked into my account. I've sent over 4,000 Bonjoro is at this point. And he asked me like my open rate was on my Bonjoro and I had no idea. And I looked at it and it was 91%.
Neil Benson: [00:34:50] Wow. That's...
Jacques Hopkins: [00:34:51] Yours is probably very similar. You should, you should check one day. And he, he was like, he was like, "What?" And he didn't believe me. And so he got into my account and he's like, "Holy smokes. This is the highest open rate I've ever seen." But you got to, you got to put it in context, like my people have already purchased, I usually send it within the first 24 hours of them purchasing. So it's a very welcome message. Like they they're probably not going to be as excited about me as they are when when they make that purchase. Even a week later, they might be ready for a refund or sick of me. But I think that's why the Bonjoro is is so well received and I'd imagine it's the same for you.
Neil Benson: [00:35:32] Yeah. My open rates, they're not 90%, but I think they're north of 60, maybe 70s, low 70s, which is really good. I probably need to tweak the subject line a little bit, but the team at Bonjoro have been really good is one thing I just wish they were able to do, and that is in my automations I'm using Zapier to trigger the Bonjoro task and I would love to be able to configure the message that should go in the little email from Bonjoro in Zapier. So I've got a welcome message. Welcome to the Customery Academy and then I've got a congratulations message. I really only use those two, but I have to I have to look it up before I start recording and I have to remember exactly which course and the message goes out. Sometimes I've sent the wrong message to somebody. I've said, "Congratulations," when I should've said "Welcome." But apart from that it's really good. I in my trial period with Bonjoro, I got a sale on the first day. So a welcome message for a student to my free course, converted into a paid student on my paid course. And so that was a really easy decision for me to sign up with Bonjoro.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:36:36] Excellent. Well, I'm glad you're doing things like that. That's the type of thing that I want to see course creator doing and making this more personal, even though things like that don't scale as well. You also mentioned Deadline Funnel, but you also mentioned, I don't know, ten minutes ago you took Amy Porterfield's course, and you didn't necessarily subscribe to her model of I guess you were talking about live launches, perhaps. But I think when I went to your website, I could buy your course at any time. So I'm a little confused at where Deadline Funnel comes in.
Neil Benson: [00:37:09] So I use you're quite right. Amy, her model is live launches. She launches her own course, the Digital Course Academy, twice a year, I think. And she preaches that message using lots of webinars around a couple of weeks in a calendar. Open up your cart and make a lot of money a couple of times a year. I prefer I had an evergreen model before that and I've stuck with that. I haven't switched over. I may do live launches for future courses, but today my courses are available any time somebody is ready to sign up. But that's just I think for me there are in my audience, my crew. There's people out there starting a new project with a new customer any day of the week. I can't tell them when to start a project and I want them to be able to take my training when when their business is ready for it at the point at which they're going to do that. And I don't want to constrain it around a couple of times a year just to help me launch more courses. So it's evergreen, but the free course is a kind of it's almost an evergreen webinar. It's about 45 minutes of training content in that free course. And then there's like a ten minute introduction to my paid course and the benefits of it, what you get inside and how to sign up for it in the last ten minutes of that free course. And then there's a few more educational emails and then there's an offer which is a $100 discount if you purchase with the next three or four days. And that all is managed in Deadline Funnels.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:38:32] I see.
Neil Benson: [00:38:33] And so I. Yeah. So I'm getting pretty reasonable conversion of that process.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:38:37] So it's based on when they start the free course. Right? So that's that's one of the main goals that you have for people when they visit your site, is to get them to sign up for the free course, which is kind of like a free opt-in of sorts. And that's when the Deadline Funnel timer starts for them. But it's not like they won't be able to buy it after the deadline for you. It's a $100 discount.
Neil Benson: [00:39:00] That's right. Yep. So it's a little discount if you sign up within I think four days of the offer being made. So everybody who's finished the course within the previous week, they get a couple of warm up pitches saying, "There's going to be a special offer, check your inbox." And then Monday comes around, they get the special offer. It's got a $100 discount and says, "Hey it expires on Friday. And there's a couple of emails that week. Like one is, "Here's some text to help you pitch this to your manager if you need approval so you can get your training reimbursed." And yeah, just a couple of pitch messages during the week and then the cart closes or the special offer closes on the Friday afternoon. And so I learned all of that from Brennan Dunn. I don't know if you're familiar with Brennan from Double Your Freelancing and he has been on The Pat Flynn Show and he's got a course called Mastering ConvertKit, which is really a next level course and on ConvertKit really deep, like a lot of coding liquid. And this went way over my head. I took the course and then said, "Hey, Brennan, I can't implement this. I don't have the technical skills." But within his course community, I find an email marketing expert who was leveling up, taking Brennan's course, had a great copywriting skills. And so I hired him to implement Brennan's system in my business and through that free course, pitching into the paid course. And so we set all that up and we got all the copy written for that. And that's that's worked pretty well.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:40:22] I'm about to call you out on something, Neil. You say you listen to every episode, big fan. You know, Brennan Dunn's been on the podcast.
Neil Benson: [00:40:28] Brennan Dunn has been on your podcast. That's right. Yeah. That was reasonably recently, too.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:40:32] You probably are just, I mean, it sounds like you're a course junkie. You're probably a podcast junkie, too, so. I am as well. And like, you get you start to get confused that like who was where, and this, you know, you know. So yeah, I just looked it up 152. Brennan Dunn is a great guy and yeah, Mastering ConvertKit and you mentioned that that's what you're using. Even though New Zenler does the emails, you're still using ConvertKit.
Neil Benson: [00:40:53] Yeah. I don't think New Zenler's email capabilities, certainly they're not up there with ConvertKit and I don't think I could have implemented this system in New Zenler's email.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:41:00] I'm glad to hear that you're using Deadline Funnel and it sounds like it is effective. You're probably aware, like with my piano course, it isn't available to buy just from the from the website. Right. And you have to enter the funnel and then I use Deadline Funnel within the funnel. A lot of people aren't comfortable with that or don't think it's right for their particular business model, like you said, that you want people when they need it to be able to get it easily. And so I think that your approach is a fine one. I think those are the two ways to do it. If you're not comfortable with removing the ability for somebody to buy the course from your site, then you can still use all the same concepts. But the incentive to buy within the funnel is the discount rather than it just being available or not available. So it sounds like that's that's working for you. I'm curious if, you know, if you sell more discounted courses or regular price courses?
Neil Benson: [00:41:52] I sell more regular price courses.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:41:54] Really?
Neil Benson: [00:41:54] I know that for a fact. But I was really skeptical about Deadline, not Deadline Funnel the software, but the concept of of fake scarcity. I listened to your podcast. I remember this one. I remember the name of the founder from Deadline Funnel was on your show and just explained it in a really clear and simple way that I have a duty to my audience to help them make a purchasing decision. If they don't, they're going to miss out on my training. I'm going to miss out on the benefits that will bring to them in their professional career. So I have an obligation to help them make that decision and make it today. So that trip me over, it's like, OK, I've got to sign up for Deadline Funnel and again I used your affiliate link for that and implemented that in my business. And it works quite a lot of the time. I'd say it's quite polarizing. There's definitely some students who unsubscribe during that pitch period. And I got I definitely got some pushback initially when I implemented it that the marketing messages were over the top. And so I, I changed the copy and dialed it right back. And it's worked really well. In fact, I get a lot of compliments on my marketing and but I still got a lot of people who either come straight into the paid course or take the free course and upgrade to the paid course before I even pitch them. So, yeah, most of my sales, my pay course are still direct without people coming through that funnel.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:43:21] Very good. So I was talking about the simplicity website and I like that. I mean, I'm at Customery.com. Very, very good, big, bold headline, but very simple. There's only two menu items. Listen and Learn. You have a podcast. I'm guessing that's where the Listen takes me.
Neil Benson: [00:43:38] That's right.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:43:40] And if I scroll down a little bit, there's also a call to action that says, "Take my free mini course today." So that's we've been talking about the mini course a little bit. But if I click on Learn, that takes me over to Customery.academy. So this I'm guessing this is a New Zenler page?
Neil Benson: [00:43:58] That's right. It is. It's the home page from New Zenler. So all my courses are displayed there. So there's a thumbnail for each one. It's probably five or six. So there's the main paid course, there's an audio version of that. So some people aren't ready to make a $297 commitment, so there's just the pure audio for $29. There's a Myth Busters game which nobody has ever bought. That's just a bonus that I ship with some of the other courses. And in order to make that bonus look valuable, I sell it for $49 on the home page as well. And then there's the free course and then there's a couple of future courses that are waitlisted.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:44:33] Ok, I got it. Thanks for that explanation. Is your are you, are you B2B? I'm guessing your B2B and not B2C.
Neil Benson: [00:44:41] A bit of both. So I'm selling a lot of the times to individual students, but they're all professionals. Some of them are able to get the training expense reimbursed from their employer, whether that's a Microsoft customer or Microsoft partner business. Some of them, however, are freelancers and they're spending their own money. So it's a mixture of B2B and B2C. And then if you want to take my paid course as a team, I also have a team edition, so five enrollments for $997. And so a manager can sign up, get their team enrolled at a slight discount, and that includes one hour of coaching as well. So I've made a few of those sales this month, which is just great. I got to focus on that this year, is getting teams enrolled by outreach to Microsoft partners and customers and through these Microsoft software distributors as well.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:45:30] I don't have a lot of B2B experience, meaning business to business and especially on the piano side. I'm selling directly to the person that wants to learn how to play piano. It's very far from B2B, but I do get a fair amount of people coming to me and saying, "Hey, how would you how would you do things differently if it was more B2B, like any any tips for for for more B2B stuff?" Like what's your take on that? As somebody who's kind of in B2B like what, what's different about it that we need to worry about?
Neil Benson: [00:45:58] So where the audience hangs out I think is is different. I've had zero success with, for example, a Facebook group. I just have no engagement on there at all. There are a couple of Microsoft Facebook groups in my community, but they're very technical, like a super technical questions. And then there's a whole lot of other technical forums as well, where people want to talk about, you know, "How do I get this feature enabled?" Or "How do I implement this or how do I resolve this error that I'm getting?" And it's a very technical content. Not a lot of people talking about how to manage the project. So I haven't found a great place for that yet and you know, in terms of somebody else's community or a community online where I can introduce myself, so I'm having to build my own. And LinkedIn groups, unfortunately has been a big failure as well. LinkedIn seems to be trying to kill the groups feature. What's been working for me recently is having my LinkedIn company page and posting regular content of mine and others in there because that's very easy to share. People can follow that company page really easily. They can engage on the content really easily and get some viral spread, which is good. Down side is they can't start a new post on there. They can only comment on one of my posts, but I could invite up to 10 other people in so I could get a little leadership community of people posting in there if I wanted to. So that's what I'm trying next. Direct messaging and LinkedIn is working. And I haven't tried Facebook Ads or Google Ads yet. I have no idea how those would go from business to business setting.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:47:29] Well maybe maybe once you find success there, you can come back, share that, because I think there is a fair amount of people that that are B2B and that's not necessarily my strength. All right. So let's say I'm in your niche, I'm in your market, following you, I decide, I want to I want to go all in. I buy the the Scrum for Microsoft Business Apps course, the paid course. And the next day I get a Bonjoro from you. I can log into the site and take the course. Like, what else is there? Is there is there any interaction with you? Bonuses? Like what's the course experience like for your students?G
Neil Benson: [00:48:05] Good question. So I'm trying to create a great course experience, obviously, for my students so that they will give me a good rating. They'll share it with their teammates. And I do get quite a bit of that referral business as well.
Neil Benson: [00:48:17] So there are two to price plans for an individual. There's the $297 price plan. So they get the course. That includes a couple of bonuses like the Myth Busters game. I get a annotated Scrum Guide. So this is a Scrum Guide is like the official version of Scrum and you need to know that pretty well in order to pass the third party exam. So I give you my annotated guide with all my study notes in the margins, highlighting which bit you need to learn. And you got a practice exam for that Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master exam as well. And I've recently revamped that. So it's a really close experience for the for the real exam. And you get a little bit of community. I don't get a lot of engagement on the New Zenler community, but I do get people leaving comments on the lessons and so I'll respond in there. So, for example, somebody responded this week saying, "Oh, the only captures that I can get for this video are in French, what's going on?" And I had to respond, "Sacre bleu!" I'll go and fix that. And what else do I do? So there's been some follow up emails. Every time there's six sections, every time you complete a section, you get a "Well done. Here's what you've learned." "Here's what's in the next section. Click here to start that one," and then they get the certificate at the end and they can take the practice exam. We share that and LinkedIn we celebrate the success. And they're also the same time they're getting any podcast episodes or blog articles or any other interesting news that I've got to share as well. So they're on my subscription list and then there's the ultimate version, which all that same stuff, plus an hour of coaching as well. And it includes the fee for the third party certification exams. It's $150 exam fee. So I buy them a credit for that and send that to them. And so both of those cohorts come through very well, very good satisfaction ratings. I think I've had one four, everybody else has been five stars and, yep. Really enjoy that student feedback.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:50:17] That is good. So I know that I know my student is successful, the best way for me to know is if I see a video of them actually playing piano, playing a song on the piano. To me, if they just if I follow the back into their account and see that they went through every lesson, that's not student success. Right? But if I can see them playing piano now, I can now I can measure that. Now I can call them a success. What is a successful student for you?
Neil Benson: [00:50:45] So for me, I'm trying to help people prepare for this Scrum.org Professionals Scrum Master Level One certification. So the students...
Jacques Hopkins: [00:50:53] That just sounded like a bunch of gobbledygook by the way.
Neil Benson: [00:50:56] Right. OK, so you might be familiar with Pat Flynn's origin story. He taught people how to pass the Lean Green Building certification exams, so mine's kind of, it's kind of similar. So I help people prepare for somebody else's exam. And that's a it's a recognized, well known industry exam. So it's gobbledygook to anybody outside the industry, which is fair. And if they pass that certification, that's a great measure of success for me. So I ask them to let me know when they've achieved that exam. And then I, I take their LinkedIn profile photograph, their certificate, and I put that on my channels on LinkedIn and within our community to celebrate that success. And yeah, that's that's really heartwarming. I've had... we had almost 100 students now have achieved that Professional Scrum Master certification, so that's a pretty good rate and some of them pass don't tell me or you know, I don't it's very hard for me to confirm that they've taken an exam. That's a good measure for me.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:51:49] Well, good. I mean, it sounds like it sounds like you're having success. Your students are having success. I mean, if we could go a little higher level, like, what does this mean to you? Like, what it what does it mean to you to have a successful online course? And you can stay high level or if you have any, like, specific stories of something that's allowed you to do, I always like to hear about the whys behind what we're doing.
Neil Benson: [00:52:11] So I've got a personal reason why. And it's just it's allowed me and my family to live and work in different places. So I met my wife. She's from Brisbane here in Australia, but I met her in Scotland 20 years ago and we lived in London for 12 or 13 years. And we moved to California. We lived in just outside Los Angeles for three years. And now we're in Brisbane. And we'd love to travel more to the back to those places to catch up with friends and family before a year or two at a time. And so it's very hard for me to run a consulting business where I have to be in person with a lot of clients. I'd love to have a course business where I can work, like you, you know, for 15 minutes a day and and and get to travel the world and bring my family along with me. That would be great. And it would also allow me to if I can figure out how to make it work, I can earn revenue that isn't directly tied to my time that I put into it. I'm very lucky as a consultant. I've got a lot of experience. I'm reasonably well regarded so I can charge a premium consulting fee, which is which is I'm very grateful to be in that position, but it's capped.
Neil Benson: [00:53:18] I can only work for about 40 hours a week for clients and if I want to increase my revenue, I've got to work more hours and I don't want to do that. So I want to back that down, so we can travel and earn a good income from the course business. But for my students in my community, I've had the time of my life since I switched to this Agile approached in 2008. My projects have been far less stressful, far more successful. I've had a lot of my team members come up and say to me, "This is the best project I've ever worked on. This is the defining moment of my career. I got to teach everyone, I've got to tell everybody about this approach." And that's so heartwarming. I've had clients who have had success with this approach where they failed once or twice before, trying to get a trying to get an application built and live. I've had my clients promoted as a result of that success and they've gone on to have great careers. So all of that is massively heartwarming as a professional. And that's the really the reason why I do it. The income is a nice side effect of all of that.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:54:21] Yeah, very good. There's a lot of takeaways from what you just said. You know, one of my top takeaways is... You're Scottish originally?
Neil Benson: [00:54:27] I'm originally Northern Irish.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:54:28] I've been trying to nail down your exact accent. So I'm like, wait, this isn't Australian, but it's like it's not English either. So it's it's it's originally Northern Ireland, but also like a combination of everywhere you've you've lived over the course of your life.
Neil Benson: [00:54:42] Yeah. So I'm a little bit of a chameleon when it comes to accents and I pick up a little bit from everywhere I've lived. So originally from Northern Ireland, I left there when I was 18, went to university in Edinburgh in Scotland, lived there for seven or eight years and then London and as I've moved around, I've had to soften my accent a little bit more and more just to be understood. And I took some speaking lessons with a local vocal coach recently to improve my podcast and everything else. And I learned that I've been pronouncing my own name wrong for the last 40 years, which was rather embarrassing. And yeah, so I've had to work on my accent a little bit just to be understood by as many people as possible.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:55:22] With your first name?
Neil Benson: [00:55:22] Yeah. So in Northern Ireland it would be very flat vowel, one syllable. Neil. My name's Neil Benson. And when I moved to Australia, they, there's, there's definitely two syllables in there. So it's Neil. And I guess that works better for Americans and British people as well. So Neil Benson rather than Neil Benson.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:55:46] Well, there you go.
Neil Benson: [00:55:46] I never knew. You're looking at me, you're looking at me like, what are you talking about? You can't even say your own name right?
Jacques Hopkins: [00:55:53] Yeah, for sure. Well, one thing I've noticed about Australians and their accent is like even the word "no", like, n-o, they'll put two syllables in that. It's like, no-yuh. And so I think that's more Australian than American. It's, I would probably pronounce it somewhere in the middle, but that is somewhat of a tangent now, so. Man, thanks for sharing all that. You just mentioned the podcast there, but yet you didn't mention the podcast earlier when I asked you about traffic sources. So how new is the podcast? What's the motivation behind having a podcast and how is it going?
Neil Benson: [00:56:26] So there was a friend of mine had a podcast on Libsyn and it was great. And he had me on as a guest on again. And then he branched out and some other people in our community launched podcasts on his network. And so I launched one on there called Scrum Dynamics. I had a co-host. We did about 20 episodes together and then it was solo. I did a lot of interviews in about 50 shows on that network over two years and for by the last nine months I've gone out on my own and I've relaunched it as Amazing Applications and it's all about Microsoft customers and partners build amazing applications. So I do some solo shows and interviews on there to share the story of how to build great business apps, and it's pretty good you know, we've got a couple of hundred downloads per episode, which in our niche is pretty happy with that. And I got some great feedback from it. A lot of the people I reach out to LinkedIn say, "Yeah, I've already listened to your show. I love that episode." How much of a traffic source it is for my courses? I'm not quite sure. I don't I don't have a good way of tracking it. I probably should use a special tracking URL or something, but I do mention the courses occasionally on the show. And one of the things I love to do on the show is a student shout out. So if somebody has passed their exam, give them a shout out and say, "Hey, well done Jacques Hopkins from Louisiana for passing my course and getting the Scrum certification. Jacques signed up a few weeks ago on the ultimate package and he's done really well. Well done, Jacques for crushing it." I kind of shout out and it's been good fun. I just love doing it.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:57:59] Yeah. I like that. Are you are you pitching your maybe free course in in each podcast episode?
Neil Benson: [00:58:04] Not in every one, maybe one in four. I'll mention it. And other times I'm mentioning conferences that are coming up just trying to be a good promoter of other content in the community. Not necessarily always my content.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:58:17] Ok. So now as a course creator yourself, Neil, what what advice do you have for for other people looking to to be a course creator themselves, having gone through this process, doing it for, I guess, a little over three years now? What's your advice to aspiring course creators?
Neil Benson: [00:58:30] First of all, go for it. A lot of the hang-ups that people have are just about getting started, getting that first course out there. I know you've revised your piano course many times, Jacques. And I'm sure when you look back on that first version of it, it's you know, it's not up to the standards that you have today. And I'm the same. I keep having to level up my audio, my video. It's more investments in my home studio. And I love that.
Neil Benson: [00:58:53] I love continually learning how to build better content, how to engage better with students, how to market more successfully. But you have to get started in order to start learning so, get on, get on there. And don't wait until you know the moons are in perfect alignment. It'll never be the perfect time. But you can make today the right time to go and get started and then just keep leveling up. Listen to listen to the Jacques podcast and you'll learn a lot of valuable information.
Jacques Hopkins: [00:59:17] Thanks. Thanks for that. Yeah. I mean, just go to get like, not focusing on perfection, getting something out there and then constantly leveling up, taking things to the next level, as you know, that's that's what I'm about, too. So I think that's well said. So probably the last thing I have for you is like, where do you see this going? What's your future plans for your online course business?
Neil Benson: [00:59:35] So for the longest time, I've had another course in mind and that's sketched out. I've outline that. I'm debating whether or not at the moment to hire an outside team to produce that for me rather than me shoot the video at home, edit, it and produce it. I've got a reasonable setup here, but I can't do any kind of graphics in video. I don't know. I just don't to have to learn that stuff. Some debating moment whether to find a local videographer and a team to produce that, or whether I should shoot the raw video and send it overseas or something on Upwork or something. Love to get your thoughts on that Jacques, because I know you've revised your several times. Are you still doing all of that yourself? And yeah, I've got to get that out this year. It's been I should have launched it last year when I had some time in between projects, so I've got to get on it. That's my mission at the moment, is to do a quick revision of my Scrum course because there's been some updates to that in the Scrum Guide. And then I get onto the new course and launch that this year. Quite a different plan. I'm going to do live launches. It's going to be a team only, so you can't join as an individual, a student, and it's going to be much higher price point. That's the plan for 2021.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:00:40] Sounds like a good plan. My advice to you, Neil, would be to record the video yourself and then find a non-local video editor. I guess. I guess it could be local. But when, when you look nonlocal, you have just so many more candidates out there. And as you know, I'm a huge fan of Upwork for finding somebody like that. And that's the process I do. I mean, I'm looking at you right now and your video setup is phenomenal. Your lighting is good. You obviously have a great camera. And so you're clearly capable of recording good video. But I'm the same as you in terms of like, I don't I'm not I'm not a great video editor. I am competent, but I'm not great at it and I don't want to do it either. And while I mean, I now that my studio is set up, like it's easy for me to just hit record and save those files, it would take hours and hours and hours to actually produce the videos so you can find somebody for eight, twelve, twenty, thirty dollars an hour when your time might be worth one, two, three hundred dollars an hour focusing on what you do. You you, Neil, the owner of Customery this person that's got a thousand people in his paid course, thousand person people in the free course, that is an authority in this little niche. Should not be editing videos.
Neil Benson: [01:01:57] Right.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:01:57] Like, no, I will slap you on the... I'll come down to Brisbane and slap on the wrist, man. That's that's unacceptable, ok? So don't edit your videos. I'll let you record your own because that's a different ballgame. But I would highly encourage you to find it is easier said than done because you don't have anybody yet. I've got somebody on my team that does that now, but I would highly encourage you to find that person and outsource it.
Neil Benson: [01:02:19] So what advice do you have for finding that person? Should I? One of the things I've thought of doing, I think I might have heard this on your show as well, is to really give the job to three or four video editors who look reasonably competent, you know, interview them and check out their previous work, but don't rely on one person. Give it to three or four, let them all come back with a finished product, use whichever one is best and then continue to work with that person. That's a way of mitigating the risk, I guess, and making sure I can get good quality product and in a reasonable amount of time. So is that a sensible approach?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:02:47] Yes it is. That's what's one possible approach or tactic. And you've got to keep in mind, it depends on if we're talking about like a one off project or if you're looking for somebody more consistent long term part of your team. Because if it's just one project, I'm going to I'm going to handle finding that person a little differently. Whereas if somebody's going to be sticking around for a while. I think for you, you could probably start with, hey, you pick which course that you want to film next and then you've got all this raw footage and then create create a job on Upwork and explain that it's eight hours of footage or whatever it's going to be, but that you're going to select three of three people to edit the first two lessons. And then whoever does the best will get the job for the rest of them. I think that'd be the best approach. And then you could evaluate in real time on an actual project quality of work, but not just that, like communication, like ability. Like to me, it's more than just the final product, like how good are they to work with? And even if they can see your vision and want to help other people as well, that's ideal.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:03:57] I'm working with somebody on Upwork on on a fun little project right now, and he's helping me develop some backing tracks for my students. And he's doing a phenomenal job. And one of the samples that he sent me, I posted in my student community for feedback and there's like 50 comments saying how amazing it is. And I took a screenshot of that and sent it to him. And he was like, man, that's amazing. It's so great to see that my work is is helping other people.
Neil Benson: [01:04:25] Great. Ok, I like that advice. Thanks very much.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:04:27] Yeah, you're welcome. Neil, thank you so much for for being a part of the audience and listening to this podcast and and for your support and then for coming on to this episode of the podcast. So it's been a pleasure on my side. Good luck to you. And let me know if there's anything I can help with down the road.
Neil Benson: [01:04:42] Yeah, thanks, Jacques, and thanks, David, I know you'll be listening, so I really appreciate all the content that you guys have put out there. And to anybody else, you know, I just say let's get started. Jacques has had some amazing guests with six and seven figure course businesses. But I hope I'm proof that you can start with a side hustle and work it out. It's it's fun. There's a little bit of money to be made and you can just help people, other people in their careers or in their hobbies and go and get started.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:05:08] Right on. Thanks, Neil.
Neil Benson: [01:05:09] Thanks, Jacques.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:05:12] Dr. K., welcome back. That was Neil Benson.
David Krohse: [01:05:15] Thank you.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:05:16] Give us your thoughts.
David Krohse: [01:05:17] Yeah, I really enjoy just hearing Neil's story. And, you know, the main thing that I just want to talk about is up to this point, a lot of the listeners might have felt like Neil and you were talking about gobbledygook. I would say that this Scrum, this Agile, this is something that we all use and we just haven't it didn't really get broken down like how relevant this is to a course creator. So I wanted to chat a little bit about that. So I came into contact with this idea of Agile and Scrum. Just whenever somebody comes into my practice, I want to learn about what they're into. And so I'd have these developers come in and I'd have them talk to me about how their job works. These are guys that program they program like GPS units for like John Deere tractors, let's say. And so they told me that there's these two styles of development, like for years it was something called Waterfall. And then they said that more recently they they switched to Agile development and they explained it to me. And then it was so great, any time a developer came in after that, I would actually ask them sometime in the first or second visit, I'd be like, so does your team over there program in Waterfall or Agile? And these guys, they're their heads would whip around.
David Krohse: [01:06:28] They they just look incredulous. They'd be like, what the heck does a chiropractor know about developing computer software? So let me just break down a little bit about Waterfall versus Agile. So this classic style of development is Waterfall. And in this style, you'd ask you'd ask your customers, what are you guys need in this product? Then you take all that information, go back and design the whole product or the service. You'd develop the whole thing and you'd present it for sale. And then a lot of time with Waterfall, there'd be this long period of time in between when you ask the customers what they wanted, and when you present the final product. Ultimately you find out it's not really what the customer wants. So as an example, let's say we have a course creator out there who says I'm going to create a course on how to succeed at these escape room challenges. So how to make it out of out of an escape room in an hour. And so they ask people that are in their escape rooms what they want. Then they spend eight months making the course. They get their first sale when they launch it. And the review comes in. It says, "Terrible lighting, audio had an awful buzz, instructor had the energy of a hungover sloth, couldn't watch more than five minutes. Refund requested." Like, how terrible is that?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:07:40] Yeah.
David Krohse: [01:07:41] That's that's Waterfall development gone bad.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:07:44] Yeah.
David Krohse: [01:07:45] And so, so Agile, Agile and this idea of the Scrum is basically you start out by asking customers what they want, then you're going to sprint to the minimum viable product and you're going to bring it back to the customer and have them proof that, give any feedback. You're going to apply the feedback and you're going to proceed with your next sprint to the next minimum viable product. And so, again, Neil teaches those roles and best practices for the Scrum Master to manage this team going through this so same idea with the course, you know, you ask people, what do you want your course? The first sprint is to get your audio and video setup. So you order your camera, you order your your microphone, create a two minute video. You drop it in The Online Course Community and ask for honest feedback. And somebody comes back and says, you know, your audio's muffled, your camera angle, your camera angle was upwards so far that had me counting your nose hairs and you had the energy of a banana slug waking up from a nap. It's like dang, like, good thing I asked. And so you change your your camera set up, you improve your microphone, drop another sample in The Online Course Community and people say, yeah, everything looks great, camera looks great and your energy is good.
David Krohse: [01:09:02] So then the second sprint is going to be you're going to do a one hour workshop. So you get some people signed up for this one hour workshop on solving the escape room. You've got great quality video. You drink a Red Bull, so you have good energy and people come back at the end of that with feedback and they say, we loved it, but the roles were confusing. I was still a little bit confused about who was supposed to do what in the escape room. And so then you're like, look around and you find how Neil uses the LEGOs to give greater clarity. You decide that you're going to use some Star Wars models in your course. And so you add that in there and then you create your third sprint, which is to take a beta group through the course content in six weeks. And so you get feedback after each week's lesson, you rerecord any confusing bits and when you finally launch, you know, you've got this product that's 100% verified. And, you know, it's exactly what your customer wants. So that's Waterfall versus Agile. Any feedback?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:09:59] You have such an amazing ability to tie anything into online courses.
David Krohse: [01:10:03] Well, you're the project manager. I mean, do you...
Jacques Hopkins: [01:10:06] Not anymore. No. Yeah. So that's interesting because years ago I was a certified PMP, Project Management Professional, and that's more of the Waterfall side. And that's how we that's how we managed projects. I have zero experience with this Agile Scrum stuff. I knew it existed, but that's a really interesting way to apply the concepts and the pros and cons of each each style to course, creation. And I can remember, you know, being a project manager, managing these projects and you would you would meet with the customer a couple of times. And really, you just try to nail down the scope as much as possible, try to try to nail down what they want as much as possible. You put as much of it into like one scope document as possible. Then you go away for a few months at times, you come back and it's like, here we did, we made the thing. And it's like, well, and they could be like, well, this isn't what we wanted and that's not what we wanted because they weren't as involved throughout the process necessarily. And so I see I see advantages to this approach and I see advantages to this approach as a course creator, too.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:11:05] And your examples were really good because you don't want to just go away for a couple of months working your course, do your thing, and then you think you have this amazing course to launch the world. But there's all these things that you had blinders on and and it's not an amazing course, so.
David Krohse: [01:11:22] Right.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:11:23] Great takeaway.
David Krohse: [01:11:25] Yeah, definitely. And honestly, I mean, I'll be honest with the listeners. The way that I developed my course was very much that Waterfall example. Just I mean, I had imposter syndrome. I was scared to put something out to my actual peers. So I'll admit that it's hard to do it that Agile way. But the sooner that you can get clarity about what's good and what what needs work, the better.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:11:48] So are you going to be... You mentioned getting back into your course a little bit now that things are I don't know if we can say back to normal, but, you know, I don't think we can not be normal forever. But eventually you're going to get back into it. So are you going to try to use some of these principles you just mentioned as you developed maybe a new version of your course?
David Krohse: [01:12:07] Yes, definitely. I want to do essentially kind of a mindset challenge that would have a beta group going through. And I would present information on Monday and then we would have a live feedback on Friday or Thursday where people give their input kind of a deal. So definitely more collaborative and more feedback along the way.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:12:25] Yeah, and I think I've mentioned this before, but testing my new curriculum with a beta group live was one of the best things I've done in my business. I was just talking to my wife yesterday about the new version of the course that I'm recording and just how awesome it's going to be because and I know it's going to be awesome because the previous version gets very high feedback and people are learning piano with the previous version. But there are certainly holes and problems with it. And if I hadn't done this beta group with the new curriculum, then there would be there would still be unknowns. But I did test it with these eight people, and I know that it works. I know that it works significantly better than the previous version. I know that. Now I just need to go record it as more of a more of a course that anybody can take, as opposed to recorded sessions from recorded live sessions. But it gives you just extreme confidence that it's going to work because you because you just know it's going to work.
David Krohse: [01:13:17] Right. So I love this point where Neil said that he did work to improve his accent so that it wasn't as thick for listeners around the world. And he learned that he was pronouncing his name wrong. So he was pronouncing Neil with one syllable instead of more commonly in America, we would say with two syllables. And I was reflecting back. I mean, the thing is putting yourself out there as a video creator and just any time you record yourself, I mean, it can kind of unveil some things that you didn't know about yourself. So the first video that I ever had made to promote my practice, my chiropractic practice, had an element of this that I got this surprise about myself. So I was going to share that story. And it also just kind of highlight the idea of this Waterfall, how Waterfall could be a problem. So I had a patient coming in and he's a photographer for this nationwide retail company. They fly him out to locations and he photographs like an entire catalog worth of essentially it's like a HomeGoods products. And he said that he'd like to get into doing video work. And so he proposed to me that we barter actually for a 30 second commercial. And really I didn't want to run it on TV, so that should have been my first stopping point because I was like not willing to commit that amount of money. But I was, he was a nice guy. I was like maybe it was a vanity thing, but I was like, yeah, I'll do it. So we put all this work in do this whole recording, and I don't see the footage at all as they're recording it and they play it for me and I look at my bottom row of teeth and there's this one tooth that seems to stick out like an inch above the rest.
David Krohse: [01:14:57] I'm just like, "Oh, my gosh, I have a snaggletooth." And I was just mortified. I was like, you know, my top teeth are pretty straight. I wore a retainer for a bit, but I was just like, no way. So so I joked that I got this 30 second commercial, I gave this guy 2,500, $2,500 of credit for this, and all I got was a complex about my teeth and some visits to the dentist. So but yeah, I mean if they would have like played the little clips of footage, I would have been like, "Whoa," you know, "I didn't realize that. Can we come in from a different angle that, like, does not make that tooth appear to stick out so, stick up so high?"
Jacques Hopkins: [01:15:38] So what did you end up doing with it?
David Krohse: [01:15:39] Well, I went to a first dentist and I was like, dude, can you just Dremel this, Dremel this down? I was like, it doesn't need to be straight. I don't care about that, but I just don't want it to stick up above the others. And the first guy kind of like he just blew me off. And so I ended up go to a dentist, basically ask the same question. He was like, "Yeah, no problem." It just, yeah, essentially the dental equivalent of a Dremel and I was good to go.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:16:00] Well, I was I was actually talking about the video, not the tooth. Like, did you actually use the video? I mean, glad we got the tooth story, but.. Yeah. What did you do with the video?
David Krohse: [01:16:10] So the video is set in a vault in my desk this whole time. But actually, as I was like getting ready to share this story, I was like, I am going to put this out as a Facebook ad for my practice where I just the subject's going to be "I kept this secret for the last ten years." And I'm going to talk about I'm going to tie it in to the way that, like, when people are dealing with pain, it's kind of this private thing that you're embarrassed about that you don't want you don't want other people to see. But internally, it's a struggle. So, yeah, I'm excited to actually put it to work after all these years.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:16:44] I bet it's not as bad as you think as you think it is.
David Krohse: [01:16:47] Oh, man. I'll share it so people can jump into The Online Course Community and look for look for this episode and I'll drop up a picture in there. You can judge it. Do you have anything like that that you learned about yourself as a part of, just like taking, having the bravery to to record yourself?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:17:03] So in terms of any anything like I'm self-conscious about or anything like that?
David Krohse: [01:17:07] Just I mean that if you can reflect back when you first put yourself on video or audio any moment that you were like, whoa.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:17:14] Yeah, if you if you if you are new to being on camera, having yourself on camera and you feel good about it and you like what you see, that's weird, right? Most people...
David Krohse: [01:17:23] I agree.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:17:24] Most people, when they're starting out, it's very weird for them. And I was certainly like that. I'm naturally introverted and I was very monotone and had very little energy on camera. I've still got the very first video I basically ever recorded was a little a little promo video I put on PianoIn21Days.com saying, "Hey, I'm working on the course. But for now you can download this free ebook." And I have that video. It hasn't been public in years and it's very embarrassing. But I will I will share it one day just to show, like, here's not that I'm the best person on camera today ever, but I'm just I'm significantly better today than I was back then just to kind of show how bad I was. And then just slowly over time with practice, you get better and better and better at it. And now I'm very comfortable on camera. Like when I was recording on Friday, I was very much in my element because I've done it so many times. I know how to talk to the camera. I know what it's going to end up looking like on the other end, but it did not start that way.
David Krohse: [01:18:26] Is there still somebody that you picture that you're talking to? A specific person or anything?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:18:31] No, I don't have to really do that anymore. That is a trick that I've used in the past where I just like actually picture a student and one trick is you can give your camera a name and just pretend like you're talking to John or Sally or whatever. But no, I just I've got it now.
David Krohse: [01:18:46] Gotcha. Well, I had one other moment like this just recently, so I do the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. And I've had my little brother, Preston, for three years here. And I mean, he actually is super just emotionally intelligent and smart. But last year we had like well it was probably 2019, but we had bike down to the beach and hung out there for a while and then we stopped on the way home and stopped at this restaurant. We're sitting in the restaurant and I noticed that he's like staring at my forehead and I was like, "What are you looking at?" And he said, "Nothing." And I said, "Well is there something on my forehead?" And he said, "Yeah." And I said, "Well, what is it?" And he said, "A giant vein." I was just like, oh, my gosh, it's so seriously I don't know, it's just funny. But when I look at the mirror, what are the things I look for is like, how much are those veins on the side of my forehead sticking out today? But, yeah, it's interesting, we all see things when we look in the mirror.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:19:46] But do you think about that when you're recording videos or anything like that?
David Krohse: [01:19:50] No, although I would say that when I proof of video, you know, as I look at the the lights reflecting off of my big bald forehead, I probably do. I probably am. It is one of those things that I check.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:20:03] Well, I think one of the main takeaways...
David Krohse: [01:20:04] How are they looking today?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:20:06] I mean, I don't see them. You look great. You look great as always. Nice. Nice shininess on the on the top of the bald head from the up from the lights coming down, it looks great. But I think the key takeaway here is if you've got anything like that right, if you have a snaggletooth, you got a vein, right? You've got a birthmark. You got like, if you're unique like that in some way, like let's own it. As a course creator, own it.
David Krohse: [01:20:26] Exactly.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:20:27] And that can make you just even more endearing and unique to somebody out there watching. We don't want to be just some generic talking head voice out there. We don't need to be perfect in any way. There's times when I was recording my course where, like, I messed up and we're going to leave it in there. It's OK. I'm not I'm not perfect. I think I would say that in the course it's like I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. That's OK. And that's another thing about this version of the courses. I really let, like the casualness of it kind of come through, too. So every few lessons I would throw something in. At the beginning of one lesson, I was like, "Alright guys, I'm gonna start this off with a joke."
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:04] I may have told you this joke before, but this is my favorite piano joke, ok?
David Krohse: [01:21:07] OK.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:08] What's the difference between a piano, a tuna, and a big tub of glue?
David Krohse: [01:21:12] I don't know.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:13] Well, you can tune a piano, but you can't piano a tuna.
David Krohse: [01:21:19] That's dad a joke, if there ever was one.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:21] Yep. So there's a part to that joke that that you seem to have missed. You remember the three things?
David Krohse: [01:21:30] No.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:31] I said what's the between a piano, a tuna, and a big tub of glue?
David Krohse: [01:21:34] OK.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:35] So you're supposed to say, so most people, when they hear that joke, you just completely ruined it. But I'm sure listeners are like, "Well, what about the tub of glue?" Right? That's what you're supposed to say.
David Krohse: [01:21:44] OK, what about the tub of glue?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:46] I knew you'd get stuck on that one.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:49] So basically at the...
David Krohse: [01:21:50] Oh no. You made it worse!
Jacques Hopkins: [01:21:50] At the end of that lesson. I know. I know. I know. So at the end of the lesson, I go, I'm like, by the way, if you're wondering about that tub of glue, I know you get stuck on that one.
David Krohse: [01:22:01] Nice. Well, what shirt did you wear? Your "I'm Kind Of Player" shirt?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:22:05] "I'm Kind Of Player". Wore the same one throughout. If I tried to change shirts every time, it would mess up my my luscious locks on the top of my head and just wasn't worth it. So I wore my on brand shirt for the for all of them. And I'll wear the same one, but wash it and I'll wear the same one this Friday as well.
David Krohse: [01:22:21] Very nice. All right. So Bonjoro. I remember way back in Episode 110 with Leah Gervais, she said, I hope I pronounce your name correctly, but she said that she had found that there was a certain point in her, like as a person was progressing through her sales funnel that she would send out a personal message, maybe send out a Bonjoro. I'm not sure. And you mentioned that Bonjoro gave you some feedback that they're seeing the most usage at a certain point in the sales funnel. Can you share with us specific best practices that would be, in your opinion, to add Bonjoro into the funnel?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:22:57] Yeah, I can give you a high level because this is not really something I'm doing myself. But I know from talking to the people at Bonjoro that the number one use case is to send somebody a Bonjoro video at a certain point the sales funnel in hopes that that puts them over to the edge to actually purchase, which, as you know, I'm using it more for after the sale to just thank and welcome my students. But in most like email autoresponders, I personally use ActiveCampaign. You can set up certain like triggers or scenarios and you can say, like, if this person opens this email and clicks this link and visits this page or something like that, you can you can come up with your scenarios for what you consider like a very, very warm lead that you think a video would push them over to the edge. And so you wouldn't want to if you're getting, say, 100 email opt-ins a day going through your funnel, what you can't send, well, it's not practical to send 100 Bonjoro videos, but if you can figure out 5% of the people do this, and then if I can send those five people a Bonjoro each day, and that's really going to double the chances that they're going to then make the purchase. These are all theoretical, hypothetical numbers. But that's the that's the concept. If you can, you've got to do the work to figure out who those prime candidates are to receive a video like that. And then can you send them a video and increased the conversion at the end? Does that makes sense?
David Krohse: [01:24:23] Yeah. So, I mean, just trying to think about it in your situation, if you said people that have visited your landing page but still haven't bought by the next to the last day, that would be a group of people that it would be worth sending a Bonjoro and just saying, "Hey, just wanted to check in and see if you have any questions. I'd be thrilled to have you join my program."
Jacques Hopkins: [01:24:44] Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:24:44] Like if you could pick one point or one, what would you pick for our average listener?
Jacques Hopkins: [01:24:50] That is a good example, but I think more about like somebody that maybe has seen the offer in some kind of way. So maybe they they've watched a certain point through of the sales video. If they've watched a certain point through the sales video, but didn't purchase, that might mean that they've they've they've seen the offer now, they're just kind of thinking about it. And then a video of me coming on, just reinforcing the offer a little bit and just saying that we'd really like to have you on board here to help you reach your goals could be the thing to push them over the edge.
David Krohse: [01:25:25] Yeah, that's awesome.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:25:26] Yeah, good question. And I this is this is hypothetical on my side. It's not something I'm doing. And maybe down the road it's something that somebody my team could be doing because I don't really have interest in doing it myself in terms of the time it would take, but it could be something that we could integrate to our process down the road.
David Krohse: [01:25:44] Nice. One other thing I picked up on that I thought was interesting is that Neil basically trains people that go into his funnel to ask their manager for reimbursement, and that's something unique to business to business. But I was just thinking that a lot... So just so people know, I mean, before I became a chiropractor, my undergraduate degree was Psychology. So if it ever seems like I'm just fascinated with human behavior, I mean, there is that element that, yeah, I am. But I would really be curious what percent of people that are in committed relationships have to have a really in detail discussion with their spouse before they buy. And so I actually did some research into this. I found an article that says what percent of people in this just self reported survey of 27,000 people, what percent of them have to talk to their spouse before they make a purchasing decision? Essentially, this this survey found that 28% of people said that they talk to their spouse about every purchase. 64% of people talk to their spouse to an item up to $100. So if they bought a $97 product, they would have to talk to their spouse.
David Krohse: [01:26:54] If you go up to a $500 product, then you get up to 86% of people would have to talk to their spouse. And if you jump up to a $1,000 product, then 91% of people have to talk to their spouse before they pull the trigger on that. And so for you, Jacques, I mean, I kind of like the way that Piano In 21 Days is kind of just this test forum. But I think it would be really fascinating just to ask people in your Piano In 21 Days Community a question and just see how that went for them. So the question would be for those in committed relationships with shared finances, did you have to convince your significant other that investing in Piano In 21 Days was worth it? What was most helpful to convince them? I'd be curious if if these people, a lot of them sat there and watched the entire webinar a second time with their spouse or how it went.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:27:47] That's a really, really good point. And I've certainly had people come through, you know I have a 30 day refund policy. I've certainly had people like the next day after signing up, be like "My my husband is is so mad at me for making this purchase, please give me a refund." So that those are cases where they didn't run it by the spouse and maybe should have. But I like what you're saying because it's one way, we've talked about it many times, but it's always good to just talk to your talk to people, talk to your students, talk to prospective students and find out what they're struggling with or or what's going through your head about certain things. And so maybe there's something I could be doing better in the funnel to help decision makers, to help loved ones that might be involved in the decision making process for a $500 piano course. So I'm going have to go back and listen to those exact words that you said, because that's I think that's perfect. And I will I will post. You got my word. I'm going to post that exact those exact words to my my Student Center for my Piano In 21 Days Student Center for my students. And let's see what some of the responses are. Maybe I can share it on a future episode.
David Krohse: [01:28:52] Love it. All right. Well, the last thing I mean, it was just fun to hear about Neil Benson using the gifting, the LEGOs, like you mentioned earlier, and that you talked about, again, that episode where we talked about The 5 Love Languages was Episode 111. And so essentially we said that giving a gift again, you can give a gift to welcome people to your course. In the past, I've shared that when somebody joins my course, my course is on public speaking, which is terribly scary. And so currently, if someone joins my course, I send them a pair of Superman or Superwoman socks or Wonder Woman socks that I say, hey, wear these during your first first Lunch and Learn, you know, give you that extra extra bit of boldness. But the gift for a success is really cool just because it creates a social share and social proof. So we talked about the ClickFunnels award being a great example where, you know, it seems like everybody that gets a ClickFunnels award other than Nate Dodson shows it off., so.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:29:53] No doubt about that. And that's that's really awesome that you do that. I think that goes it's very congruent with what you're trying to do just to to show them that they're a superhero on some level with the with the socks that nobody else really sees other than themselves.
David Krohse: [01:30:06] Right.
Jacques Hopkins: [01:30:07] Cool man. Well, I think you said that was the last one. So this was this was a fun conversation with Neil. It's good. I mean, he's he's been very successful, but he's he's not, like, absolutely killing it with courses either. And I think it's good to hear all ends of the spectrum. And I appreciate Neil for being a part of the audience and a listener and for coming on the podcast and sharing sharing a lot of value with you out there. So that will do it here for 168. David, thank you as well for joining me here yet again. As usual, you can find the show notes by going to oc.show/168. And until next time, get out there and make some Next Level Courses that provide transformation to your students and not just information. Take care, everyone.
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