How to Design the Perfect Business Model Around Content, Courses, Coaching, Community, and Retreats with Josh Hall and Chris Badgett
LMScast with Chris Badgett
Learn how to design the perfect business model around content, courses, coaching, community, and retreats with Josh Hall and Chris Badgett in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by LifterLMS. Josh specialized in Divi web design, so he has sort of a niche within a niche of not just WordPress users, but also Divi users. Josh breaks down how over time he designed his perfect business model around content. In this episode, Chris and Josh talk about the ecosystem of courses and building community. Josh offers courses, and his target market is intermediate and advanced web designers. He also has a membership that’s an upsell from his courses that encourage people to get involved with the deeper community Josh has built around the WordPress design space. Josh does serve the beginner audience as well with some content around introductions to Divi and web design, but he has a lot of focus on more advanced courses like the web design process and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). He also has some content that gets into the business side of running a web design agency and taking it to the next level. Josh picks Chris’s brain in this episode on some strategies he can use to further his membership site platform and community. Chris shares insights about creating three simple packages based on the setup Josh currently has: A self-study course package.The course + community package with a monthly 1-hour group office hours call with a member of Josh’s team.Then a membership upsell that’s ongoing. Making a freebie piece of content for pre-sales that is a taste of your larger program is a great way to get opt-ins to an email list and create those lead generation pieces of content that can help you get SEO and become more sticky (meaning they remember you and come back to your product) with people who interact with you. To learn more about Josh Hall, be sure to head to JoshHall.co and check out his podcast which is a mix of design and business related content. He also has a YouTube channel with 23k+ subscribers with all kinds of content around the WordPress and Divi space. And at LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us! EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end. I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show. Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. We’re joined back by a guest. I consider Josh a brother from another mother. Once we connected, I was like, man, this guy has got a lot of the same energy and interests and overlap. It’s really cool to see our online relationship growing. Today we’re actually just going to have some back and forth conversation between what Josh is doing with his ecosystem of courses and the community he’s building. Courses and community building are two of my favorite subjects. I’ve been in the industry now for almost a decade and I’m excited. If you’re listening to this or you’re watching this on YouTube, think of this as a fly on the wall observation of two people who are deep, both in WordPress, courses, online entrepreneurship and community building, just having a conversation of how can we help each other grow. Josh, welcome back to the shell. Josh Hall: Thanks for having me again, Chris. I think it’s a great way to put it. I even told you, I just reached out to see, I just told you, hey man, I would love to pick your brain about some stuff I’ve got on my mind, because I coach a lot of web designers and business owners, but most of them are not, even though they’re in web design, they’re not in the course space or the learning management space or their community space. I’m really excited to just have somebody who is like-minded in this area to just pick your brain and get some ideas off of. Looking for some advice and some things that you’ve seen, because I know you’re in with a lot of other course creators and community builders. I appreciate this coaching type of call, man. I’m looking forward to it. Chris Badgett: Well, how can I help? What’s your biggest challenge or opportunity or area you want a second set of eyes on? Josh Hall: I actually wanted to ask you, because we were talking about this before we went live. I want to know what it looks from your perspective, knowing me a little bit over the past year or so, or actually longer than that. You’re also a part of my web design club. I have a membership which is my own personal web design club. That is for serious web designers and web business owners. That is not for people who are just starting their web design journey primarily, because it is a premium club, it’s a membership. But I do have a bunch of free resources and I have my courses, which are separate. And as you know a lot of students come through the courses, on all different levels. And then the ones who are serious about their business and are looking for more of a mastermind, more connection with other like minded people and quite frankly, more direct contact with me, because I’m getting to the point now where I just can’t be available to random people. I was already at the point where I’m starting to set up some filters to where you’ll have to go through somebody to get to me. I don’t mean to sound a total deuce bag with that, I just mean I literally can’t answer random questions anymore and do what I do. I would just like to ask you, Chris, what are your thoughts on my current setup? How does it look from somebody who understands it, but on the outside? Because I value your opinion on what I have going. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, there’s so much in what you’ve said already to get into. The first thing just for you that’s listening to be clear, and correct me if I’ve got this wrong, Josh, you offer courses. Your target market is web designers and not necessarily super beginner web designers, but people who are serious, and working in the WordPress space. Your community is actually, the club you call it, is a membership, which is basically an upsell that people can tack on to the courses, right? That’s the business model? Josh Hall: Yes. Yeah. Generally my students are really broke down into two categories. One is a brand new web designer looking to learn web design. As you know I’m a big Divi guy. I use the Divi theme by elegant themes. What’s interesting about my brand is, I’m in a niche within a niche. How many millions of people are learning web design? That’s not my ideal audience. My audience isn’t even WordPress necessarily. It’s Divi. It’s Divi, WordPress web designers. That’s one audience, learning Divi, learning web design, learning, a little CSS and the tech side of things. I have courses on design, basic design principles, my web design process and SEO. Those are more the technical courses. But then I have courses for the business side of stuff. I have a whole business course, which helps people either build their web design business or take it to the next level. And then I have a website maintenance plan course, helping them build recurring income. Those are my two different people, people just learning web design or people who are starting their business or they’re ready to take their business to the next level. Because I am coaching people now who have businesses that are doing 50, 75,000 to six figures and I’m helping them get into six figures. Those are my main demographic as far as who I cater my content to. And then the membership is for the ladder. The membership is for people who are business oriented, which leads me to another question I’ll ask a little bit, but I’m finding I’m attracting more and more web design entrepreneurs. But as of right now, that’s the current setup. Chris Badgett: Well, the first thing I would just say is, a lot of times you’ll hear advice on the internet that there’s the perfect business model and there’s not. Some people try to include community in with the courses as an example. You’ve made a decision that your courses are one-time purchases, right? Lifetime access? Josh Hall: Yes. They are separate. Lifetime access. We have one-time purchases that is separate from the community. Chris Badgett: Do they get any support in the courses? Or are they more just passive income style, go at your own pace? Follow along, it’s an information product that is done and good to go. Is that right? Josh Hall: That actually is the main purpose of this call, because I’m trying to figure out how to better support my students, not my members, but most of my members are students. I think I’ve only had one person become a member who wasn’t in courses. Generally it goes to the path I just told you, from a student to they love the course. They’re getting a lot of results. Now they want to connect with me and connect with my tribe and have that community. The question is though, as of right now, I have over 800 students now in my courses, the question is, how do I support them without it becoming a separate type of membership and without getting myself into too much trouble time-wise? Because I could sit and answer questions all day. But that’s a little tricky if you have somebody who just did a one-time purchase, but then there’s an open type of forum. What I have in place right now is, I do have a handful of Facebook groups for certain courses. Once somebody joins, I have one from my business course, my maintenance plan course, my CSS course, mainly for technical questions, and then my SEO course. Now, the trick is though, those are on Facebook. And as we’ve all learned, it’s very, very tricky to have a community like that on Facebook that is related to a certain course or a training because of all the ideas and issues we can think of. There’s distractions, there’s this polarization. At the time of recording this, we just came out of the most divisive political season ever. We’re still in the heart of coronavirus and everything going on. That leads me to think about pulling my course groups off of Facebook and maybe use Circle, which is the platform I have my club through. And almost maybe have a Circle thread per course, because the problem is I don’t want somebody to go through one course and then have access to a different course group, because I trust most everybody, but I don’t know if I trust everybody not to share assets and checklists and stuff from certain courses with other people necessarily. That’s one question I have, is to go about it that way. I guess maybe we could start there. We could probably [crosstalk]. Chris Badgett: There’s a lot in there. The place I start with is the end, which is, the classic marketing or sales thing that I’m sure you’ve heard, that a confused mind doesn’t buy. What that means is, when it comes to packaging, what we’re doing here, we’re packaging and training opportunity. You really want to have three or less options. At the end of the day, how can we offer this with three or less options? Otherwise it becomes too confusing. Like, okay, I got this over here, this over here, this upsell, downsell, across, you can easily get in a spaghetti mess. The more creative and entrepreneurial you are, the more dangerous and likely that is to happen. There’s a couple of key concepts here I would get into. The first is, if you’ve heard of the online learning courses called masterclass, I’m imagining you’ve seen those. Josh Hall: Yeah. Chris Badgett: That’s where we can learn comedy from Steve Martin, or we can learn entrepreneurship from Sara Blakely, from Spanx or whatever. Those are super cheap. You get all these courses by best in the world instructors in these niches, like writing a book, being a DJ, being an entrepreneur, being funny, all that stuff, but it’s only $15 a month. The reason it’s so cheap, is because of the lack of fidelity, which means access. I can’t call Steve Martin and get some joke advice. But I could take his self study, do it yourself course, and the next month I could learn from Sara Blakely. When we think about you supporting people, either in the forum or on a Zoom office hours call or inside of a community and even the community supporting each other, these are value adds, which allows price action for you to move pricing up based on the value. There are several factors that go into pricing, which we could get into or not. But in terms of what makes sense at what price point, but before even looking at pricing, on the other lever you have is the term. Lifetime access is very different from, for a month or for a year. Again, if we dial it back to, okay, we can only really have three offers without running the risk of confusing people. The place I would start, I always try to go to the, what is the absolute simplest solution. If I could come up with three packages based on what I know you have right now, I would do the course only option. So self study course only, there’s nothing else outside of that. Then the course plus community option and probably a minimum, a monthly one hour, office hour, that you or somebody on the team runs, that’s quite a bit more, because it has more fidelity or more access. I would actually probably stop there instead of going to three options. We have two options with our courses. Course, option one, option two is course plus coaching plus community. And then the ongoing membership you have, is more of a continuity program or upsell that happens, that’s just there for added value beyond the focus of these individual courses. So whether to do it on Facebook or whether they do it on Circle, we can talk about that. The platform, before we get into that and price points and frequency and stuff, I think this fundamental packaging thing is important. I don’t know. What’s your reaction to that? Josh Hall: I definitely understand that framework and there’s a lot I like about that. I’m going to put a big, however, out there though. However my courses have been out for a while. Some of them are two years old, I’m actually getting ready to revamp. And not that that would change too much, because it’s not going to change the pricing. I feel pretty good about the price points I have for the courses. My thing though is, I don’t know if I would necessarily want to, I don’t know if I would even want to offer a course without some support, I guess I do right now. A few of my courses don’t have a group with them, but any of my students are welcome to email me. I always get back with them. Not many do, but my thinking was to do something that one of my mentors, Pat Flynn does because I’m in a couple of his courses and he does office hours once a week for anyone in any course. Chris Badgett: That’s cool. Office hours is the easiest way to add that value, and if you time box it and you do it for all courses, so you don’t have 10 different office hours, that’s pretty cool. Josh Hall: Yes. That’s exactly what I did not want to get into was to have to migrate between all the coaching for this one, versus this one. I would be totally open to doing an on average weekly or bi-weekly office hours, which may be bi-weekly for now, because I do weekly calls for my membership. Something that I think could be really great because not only would it have the chance for everybody to join and they could ask questions, but it will also be a great opportunity for upsells, because when somebody is listening and somebody who just has my beginner’s course, maybe they hear a question about my design course and I tell them, well, here’s what I would do. And they’re like, oh, shoot, that’s a good idea. Maybe I do want to check out Josh’s design course. I can just keep on letting them know, you guys are students, you’re enrolled in my student loyalty discount program. Remember, use your student discount code for the next course you’re interested in, or I do have a bundle option to where somebody can upgrade to the entire bundle. I have nine courses right now and they’re all in and around web design. That’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made, was to have a bundle, because people can either purchase that one time and save 700 bucks or they can just upgrade to it. It doesn’t work out to quite that pricing if they upgrade, but they still get a really good discount. That’s what I’m leaning towards, Chris, is just having a general office hours type of thing for all students, but still having those core specific groups, whether I keep them on Facebook or have Circle threads, which cool thing about Circle is you can embed a space inside a course. I could have a forum in the course where people could go there to answer questions. Now, how engaged that would be, I don’t know. I don’t know if they’ll find the level of support that they would since people are primarily already on Facebook. I’m not for sure about that, but that would take it off of my shoulders to where I’m not doing the support myself all the time. I’m happy to jump in, but I can’t be answering every student’s question in a forum. Kind of like the membership, you’ve seen my membership now. I jumped in there quite a bit, but if it’s not something that I feel led to dive into, I’m going to let other members take care of it. It’s a self sustaining type of group. That’s what I’m looking to do, potentially. Chris Badgett: I liked that. I liked that. To me, that’s a simple packaging. We have all a cart and we have a bundle. Then the place where I’m where I feel just a little bit of disconnect, is if we have lifetime pricing, but you’re doing ongoing office hours. I think that perhaps making it an annual subscription is better than lifetime, because you’re basically, if somebody comes and they stay with you for 10 years and they come to every single office hours every couple of weeks or whatever, the monetization is awful a little bit. I know the lifetime’s a big selling point. People are like, yeah, I want that. And then there’s no fear and less mental calculus, but if you’re literally adding recurring value, it makes sense to have recurring pricing. Josh Hall: I still view that as a mini membership. Where I could see that getting confusing though, Chris, is if somebody has the beginner’s and they got an annual subscription to that. I might not update it for a couple years. I personally might be like, I don’t know if I want to pay yearly for something, if I don’t even know if it’s going to be updated, even with the support and all that. My other thing that could be a little tricky with that is if they want to upgrade or buy different courses, I feel that just might get a little tricky, although I know what you mean. My thinking with that though is, have a one-time payment lifetime option for all the courses, whether they want one or whether they want the full bundle. And then as I continue to promote my membership, which is a big add, I really want most, all the serious people to go to my membership. And I’m going to be doing additional courses, that are going to be in and around web design. My thinking is, if I have office hours and a lot of people are joining for these calls, it’s not as personal as my membership, but it’s not as public as say, a live Q&A on Facebook or YouTube. They might be much more led to keep on investing in additional stuff that I’m putting out, or maybe it’ll help them get to the point where they’re like, you know what, I want to do this more. Maybe instead of every two weeks or every maybe once a month, what if they’re like, I want to have a Q&A with Josh every week, that’d be awesome. Then they can join my membership. That’s my thinking there, almost even just keep it really simple. I definitely, I’ve learned just like you said, as an entrepreneur and as a web designer in particular, we can just make things really messy. I’m even trying to stay even more simple with that, at least to test the waters, to do something like that. I say all that to say, my goal with an office hours type of thing would be to stay engaged with students and use that as the upsell tool for additional courses, for membership and new courses that come down the road. Chris Badgett: I like that. I like that. Simple is good, protect it like it’s the most important thing to protect. A couple of things just around packaging that I think are important. I’ve done a lot of research and just experience around pricing, packaging, and positioning. There’s a couple different vectors you can come at. One way is the who, who it’s for. This one is for the beginner. This one is for the scaler, and then this inner circle is for the lifetimer or something like that. So that when people are looking at a plan, one of the three options, they’re not just looking at the price and the features, they’re also looking at who they are. Like, is this plan for me? We see this on pricing tables a lot where it’s the starter, the small business, and then enterprise, and it says call for price. They’re not only segmenting on price, they’re also segmenting on the avatar there. Features is one way to do it. Okay, this is one course. This one is all the courses. This one is one office hours a month. This one is four office hours a month. This one is four office hours plus this entire community thing or something. And then there’s something called fencing, which you probably don’t want to get into, where there’s levers that they could basically move, expand. That one’s more complicated, we can just skip that one. Josh Hall: You got me thinking about, I had thought about doing different bundles. I’d have a beginner bundle for the beginner’s course, a couple of other beginners course and some design stuff. And then I would have a middle tier bundle that would have maybe more of the design stuff. And then the business bundle that would have the business course and maintenance plan. I haven’t done that yet, just because I had actually thought about taking, and I like the term you used there, Chris, beginner, starter and scaler, because I had actually thought about creating a really good funnel on my front page that helps people. Because I am getting a lot of people onto my side that are in different paths. I’m trying to figure out how can I figure out what content, because we’re just talking about my courses, but I have tutorials, podcasts and blog posts and elegant themes blog series that I wrote years ago that are still really relevant. I’m pointing people to all these different resources. My thought was to have a funnel and it would say, if you’re a beginner, you just want to learn web design, here’s some free resources. Here’s what I recommend diving into, and then I would recommend taking my beginner’s course, that would be the funnel for that. If you’re a starter, if you ready to start your web design business, these are some free resources that will help you, and then here is the course I would recommend to help you start your business. And then the scaler, if you have a web design business and you’re ready to take to the next level, here’s what I would recommend doing, and that’s probably where I would have my membership in there. That’s my thought. I liked that idea a lot, those terms. That’s what I was thinking. I know that would be a little bit different than just for students, but that would be the funnel that I’m thinking about creating. I think that would help the right people get into the right courses. And then again, I think if I did a bi-weekly or monthly Q&A office hours for all students, I really feel pretty strongly that that’s going to reconnect a lot of my previous students that haven’t heard from me in a while and it’ll lead to a lot more sales and and just keep them more plugged in. Chris Badgett: I love that. I love that. As a guy who’s done a ton of office hours, I can share from experience that, yeah, it’s a sales tool. It’s not an overt sales tool, but just the nature of being there and adding value creates expansion revenue. One more packaging and positioning thing is a concept called an add-on. Your membership, your community as it exists now, I would consider it an add-on and that’s great. It’s a really good add-on, whether you’re an information product company or a software company, or even a service company, is something that not everybody needs and maybe only 20% need it or want it, but the people that do want it, really want it. You pull it out of the features in the price boxes or whatever, and this is something that is an add-on. Add-ons, if you just study a pricing expert, there’s a guy named Patrick Campbell, you can find him on the internet. He’s one of the best pricing experts there is. I was going through one of his recent studies of how add-ons are the easiest way to just better monetize a business. And also the, the who, I know, because we do a lot of Zoom based sales calls in group and also phone sales. People when you’re talking to them directly on a Zoom or on the phone and they’re like, which one do I need? I’m always surprised how many times people ask me, do I want this, this plan, this plan, or this plan, which one’s the right fit for me? I’m like, well, let me ask you some questions. Are you a starter? Are you a scaler? I’m not using those exact words, but I’m getting into, I’m trying to identify that. What’s your budget? What’s your goals, which has to do with what features do you need? Do you value whatever Xs, in your case, it might be community. Do you feel like an isolated entrepreneur who would benefit from not just learning how to run this thing and have my support, but also being an ongoing community where you can support each other and not feel alone? You might be a good fit for this bundle, and then I’d recommend for you adding this, add-on. If your budget’s tight, just do the training first and you can always add the community later. Josh Hall: Yes. That was my mindset with my club. For sure was that, there’s no pressure. My big thing too, I prepared myself for this, for the membership. I know people are going to come in and come out. It’s not- Chris Badgett: It’s churn. It’s churn. Josh Hall: For sure. I would not take that personally. I’ve had some people already leave for one reason or the other and they feel bad and I’m like, dude, don’t feel bad at all. I realized that’s something where it might be a really good fit for a little while, but for whatever reason, you needed to step back or you’re in a new role or finances are tough. It’s no problem at all, but I always leave the door open to rejoin and that’s always the option too. I liked that idea. I think it might come down to how I phrase it, honestly, Chris, I don’t know if I’m necessarily going to tweak any of the payment options as far as pricing tiers or tables for each course. Because again, just based off of my situation, which is a little unique, I think to a lot of others, is that, I do have people who will just buy random courses and they’re at these different levels. I’ve even had people who are on the scaling side, but then they buy the beginner’s course, just so their team will learn Divi. That’s interesting too. It’s almost its own little product that people sometimes buy as an agency. There’s all these little different intricacies that come into play. But overall I think creating those funnels and having those recommendations on what resources are the next best steps. I think you’ve sold me on definitely doing the office hours, just to make sure all students feel they can join in. Now, I’m very aware that the people who went through a course two years ago, are probably not going to do it, maybe some of them will, but it’s going to be the active people who are more interested. Because a lot of times courses come into play when you’re in that mode. If somebody is learning Divi, once the learn SEO, they go through the course, they’re really active. Even I’ve seen this in my groups, my Facebook groups, they’re really active for a little while, but once they get past that, then they generally tail off, that’s when they drop off. Chris Badgett: I just want to add, I’ve seen that as well, both with my office hours and other coaching programs and things, things I’m in. It’s often a surprise how few people come. You may be worried about capacity and scaling and can I get to everybody’s questions and whatnot, but like you said, you’ll have some lifers. I’ve run office hours for four years and there’s been people that have been there every single week. It’s cool. It’s awesome. But I also see a lot of people come in, come to one or two and then I never see them again, but that’s fine. That’s okay. Also if you run into scaling issues, all you have to do is open up another hour, which I know we’re getting into another hour of your week or bring in a coach to help support the business who, which you can often find somebody in your community who really knows you and your process to help facilitate a second hour, because of either for the different avatars or just because your capacity is maxed. Josh Hall: That’s good. I like that. That’s what I’m doing with membership. Next month, at the time of recording this at least, what my SEO specialist, who I personally work with is in my membership as well, and she’s doing the presentation for, because I do a monthly training for the club. Basically, it’s interesting. I intentionally started with my membership to see how I could do that for students in a roundabout way. And again, I still, my priority and the main things that I want to work on. There’s really three things that I’m going to be working on moving forward, is to keep my courses up to date and build new courses. I guess that’s two different ones. I do have some new courses, but one of my biggest jobs over the next year is to revamp my current courses, especially the topical ones, to keep them up to date. That’s a biggie. The other one is just the content I produce with my tutorials, podcasts and stuff like that. That’s huge because that’s basically my marketing right now. And then my membership, that’s where a lot of my attention is right now. And now that I’ve got used to it, I’ve gotten a good flow with it. I have a VA who’s going to come in and help out with a lot of the admin tasks with that, that’s going to free me up. Those are going to be the three things I focus on really primarily for 2021 at least. That’s where I was trying to figure out, how do I number one, first of all, take people into courses, that’s the big one with the funnels I’m setting up. And another question I had for you was creating more free guides and legions and cheat sheets and stuff, because I really don’t have much of that right now. That’s a big goal for me to create a bunch of those, get more people in the courses and then the people who are serious and who are ready, then lead them to the membership, where I can really focus on quality over quantity, but I’ll still have that option to do office hours for people who don’t have the budget for the membership or who are still early in the journey. And of course I still have my free Facebook group, that’s my main Facebook group. That’s 23,000 people now. That’s always an option for free support for people who need that. Those are primarily just for web designers, not the business minded folks. That might be a good segue to the idea of the legions. I’m really trying to decide what I want to call those, how I want to position those. Should it be a cheat sheet? Should it be a webinar or should I call it a training, a webinar or a workshop? Open to your thoughts on all that. Chris Badgett: All right, cool. Well, I’m going to tie a bow on the bundles and then we’ll go into that. Based on what I’m hearing, I know this pretty well from a software perspective, because we have all our cart and then we have two bundles. All right. Just one way I might advise to look at it is, you’ve got all your courses, so there’s all our cart. Don’t stop doing all our cart. It works now. Plus the WordPress community is really used to this of plug-in mentality where I can pick and choose what I want. But what I would recommend doing is, if we can only have three options, all our cart, and then two bundles, the starter bundle and then the everything bundle. And then the club is an add-on, that anybody can add at any time. They could start with it. They could tack it on whenever they want. That’s probably what I would go. If I was on an individual course page and I’m looking at it, I would see, buy just this course or get with bundle. If I clicked get with bundle, I would go to just a very simple landing page that had the two bundles, the 60% bundle and then the everything bundle with all the courses lined up with check boxes, buy which one is there, so that they can choose, am I all a cart buyer or do I like to save in volume. It’s bonus points, if the bundles are positioned for the avatar, because it makes people, even, it makes the decision easier. Like, well, I’m a beginner. My budget’s less. I’m just getting the cheaper bundle. I like saving money too. I’m here to stay. I know I’m looking at this course right now, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to want that one later. I’m just going to get the bundle. All right. And then the one thing I would do for you is to put in another add-on, I bet you have thought about it, because you’re an entrepreneur. Is this super expensive, we’re going to a tropical resort, the inner circle mastermind, that’s very expensive, that happens once or three times a year at an exotic location, that is a mastermind retreat. That would also be an add on, but what that does is, you plant the seeds to find out who’s interested in these bigger things. You know who Chris Lema is, right? Josh Hall: Yeah. Chris Badgett: Have you heard of CaboPress the event he runs? Josh Hall: I don’t know too much about it. It sounds familiar though. I know there’s a lot of those where you’ll get your top 10% or whoever. Chris Badgett: Yes. The inner circle thing or whatever. I’ve been to Chris’s CaboPress five times. That’s how much I loved it. It was great. It really connected me with other WordPress entrepreneurs. I hope to go back again in the future, but I’m sure I’m just this really small part of this bigger audience, if you will. That was more of a bonus idea. Don’t get too distracted by that. I think it’s helpful because you identify even just putting up a coming soon page, you identify if there’s interest number one, and number two, it helps with price anchoring. It makes the other stuff like, oh, well, this- Josh Hall: It reminds me of, some business coach James Schramko, who has- Chris Badgett: I know Jay, I don’t know him personally, but I’ve been following that dudes podcast forever. He does the Maldives thing. Josh Hall: Oh really? Chris Badgett: Yeah. Josh Hall: Yeah. Keep an eye out here, Chris, because he’s coming on my show. I already recorded with him. He’ll be on my podcast, episode 102. I actually have Pat Flynn coming on too. By the time this comes out, this will already be out. But Pat Flynn’s on for my 100th episode. I’ve got a couple, man, my podcast is full of gems here coming up pretty soon. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I just want to add James Schramko, I have been listening to that guy for a decade in my earbuds. This is the power of podcasting everybody. Josh Hall: I have to let him know. Chris Badgett: He has no idea who I am. He might be aware of me, I’ve engaged with him on Twitter, maybe a little bit. He even contributed to a guest post or a roundup post I did once, but that dude has added so much value to my life through his free content, and he has no idea, at some point I will give that guy some money, but anyways. Josh Hall: That’s hilarious, man. You’re going to have to send me that clip. I want to send that to him. He’s been my business coach for two and a half years. I joined SuperFastBusiness membership and we have the option where I just message him. We don’t talk on calls or anything, but we just have a private thread. He’s really helped me take things to the next level. But just recently he said, “Make an offer that makes you nervous.” Number one. And he said, “You need to offer something that is only going to be worthwhile for your top 10% of clients.” And there’s the old rule. 10% of your clients will pay you 10 times as much as they’re paying. Chris Badgett: Exactly. Josh Hall: That’s where, my next step after all of this was to figure out something for the top tier, really top tier people. A lot of them will be in my membership, but maybe those are where we do, maybe that’s where I’m dabbing my feet into more of coaching, that coaching realm. That would be the next step. But I say all that. James is awesome, and that’s what he encouraged me with, that’s what made me think about what you were just talking there. Chris Badgett: You’re pulling out the right words here. These helps simplify and I’m going to move on to your next thing, which is content, but the four Cs are content, courses, coaching community. And when we think about the features we’re providing, just think about content is free products for everybody. And then the fifth C, would be that premium mastermind retreat or whatever. Josh Hall: What were the four Cs, again? Content… Chris Badgett: Content, courses, coaching, community, these are all features. And then the other one, which doesn’t start with a C, is events. If you are going to do your Maldives trip or the CaboPress is a five star resort in Mexico that I’ve fly to or whatever. The event is another level. But basically they’re all doing the same thing, which is, we have a target customer and maybe there’s some segments in there, the beginner or the scaler, but we have this target customer and we’re trying to help them get a result. We do that through content, courses, coaching, community, and mastermind retreats. Right? If we’re going to build a marketing funnel for this and get leads, one of the important things is to look at segmentation. When a coach or a course creator, does it really, really well, somebody may fall into this and not even realize that there’s a lower level option for the starter, as an example. If I’m a scaler and I fall into your content, I’m on YouTube, and I see this video and it’s telling me to go here. And then I buy your membership for the, I’m a scaler, I’m trying to go from break the 10K a month barrier as a web designer or something like that or 5K, whatever it is, then that’s me, I’m in. And then later I find out about your mastermind retreat, because you’re planting seeds and I’ve got an aspirational thing, but that membership, the add-on for the club, I can just add right now. But to back up and look at lead-gen, my favorite way to think about it is I have a framework I use called the YouTube traffic system, and especially since you’re on WordPress, I would look at this. I know you’ve had a lot of success with your YouTube channel as well. Basically what we do is we create the buyer’s journey going from unaware, to problem aware, to product aware, to solution aware, and we make a piece of video content for that. I would do a separate one of those for each of your segments, of your avatar. For the starter, you’re already a professional YouTuber, but what I’m asking you to do is to make one video per stage, per avatar. An unaware video, like, hey, I want to figure it out how to work online, work remotely. That’s totally unaware. And then the problem aware, is like, I should build out WordPress agency. I liked this. I liked design, building websites is fun, some video around that. And then product aware is like, I need a guide to help me get through this. What should I do? How do I evaluate, Troy Dean versus Josh Hall versus some other WordPress person. How do I figure this out? Who are these WordPress coaches and agency accelerator people? Then once I’m aware of Josh Hall, I’m like, what’s Josh Hall got? That’s your solution aware video, which then we have a call to action of like, if you this video go to my free course lead magnet or download this cheat sheet or whatever. Josh Hall: I had thought about, I love where your head’s at Chris. I think either way we’ve established that I’ve got three funnels, basically. I definitely need to cater content to those funnels and help people, because it’s going to be the best for everybody, because right now my site’s a little confusing. People just aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for. Chris Badgett: Let me give you an example from me. This is so much clearer now, because I have WordPress professionals in my audience, but I also have do it yourself experts. They need separate funnels and separate content. Once I gave myself permission to do that and not try to make something that works for everybody, it gets so much easier, right? To make content that’s really helpful and speaks directly to the person, right? Josh Hall: Yes. Yes. That’s where I was thinking, I had thought about doing a lead gen, whether it’s a webinar training or a cheat sheet or a workshop for each course. I would do a video, a beginner, getting started with Divi, free guide kind of thing. Here’s the basic stuff, and then that would lead them into the Divi beginner’s course. I can have the same one for my process. If your process is a scattered mess, here are my five phases. Here’s the basic info on the five phases cheat sheet. But then that would lead them to my full process course to where they see the all the ins and outs of the course. And then same thing with my business course. So if you’re ready to scale your business, but you need help with these areas. Shoot the business side of things, I could make a freebie for each thing. I could make a freebie for sales, a freebie for pricing, that could really be a massive, I could really grow as James Schramko likes to say, an octopus of arms to bring people in that way. That’s what I’m thinking. My question real quick, because I never getting tight on time, is what should I call these? Do you have any research or have you seen things that work better, whether they’re called webinars versus trainings versus workshops? Chris Badgett: The content or the content upgrade thing? Josh Hall: Just the content, these free resources that are lead magnets that I’m going to create. I’m still warring with myself as far as what I should call them because they’re not going to be live. These are going to be something that I put out there that people can go through and I’ll probably revamp it or create edited. But a perfect example is what Pat Flynn has in place, because this is how I got connected with him. I heard Pat Flynn on James podcast, liked him, heard his name before. I knew I wanted to start a podcast and when I checked out Pat Flynn, I saw he had a free video on getting a podcast started. That video led to a cheat sheet that had a free webinar, a 45 minute webinar. I went through the webinar, went through the cheat sheet and then that upsold me to the podcasting course, which I then went through. Chris Badgett: You’re asking what to call the cheat sheet type thing? Josh Hall: Yes. Yes. Chris Badgett: What they’re called is a free resource, because if you use that word, basically when you create, let’s imagine you’re creating a YouTube video, you would see the lead magnet at the beginning of the YouTube video. I would do some interrupt, open, like, hey, are you feeling frustrated trying to find the right page builder for your business? I’m going to go over why I love Divi and all this and stay to the end of the video, because I’ve got a free resource for you. It’s an exclusive, and then mention the name it’s called this, stay to the end. And then you go into the content. And at the end of the video, you’re like, I said, the beginning of I’ve got a free resource, it’s called the Divi startup guide or the Divi whatever, cheat sheet. Then you can get specific. And if this free resource happens to be a cheat sheet, it’s good. If this next resource happens to be a free course on your website, it’s just a different type of resource. That way you’re training your audience in a healthy way to just understand your flow of, there’s always a free resource at the end and it can- Josh Hall: Okay. See, I can start putting this into my podcast and stuff too, because as of right now, I just leave my podcast listeners straight to courses. But I know that’s not the ideal lead. It’s helped. It’s really brought a lot of people in, but I know ideally, or maybe at least if I had free resources to sprinkle in there, that would help a lot of people. Chris Badgett: Yeah. Just know you’re super creative. It might be a cheat sheet. It might be a calculator. It might be, whatever. It can be a lot of different stuff. Josh Hall: Okay. Here we go, Chris, because I know we both got a roll. All right. This is why we need to play a Joe Rogan three hour call here. Chris Badgett: We should do that. We should do that. Josh Hall: We can talk about this for three hours. Okay. My biggest takeaways are setting up the funnels. I’m definitely going to set up a beginners- Chris Badgett: One quick thing, you may already know about these, because you’re pretty established, you might consider adding a funnel filter. What I mean by that is, whenever you have an opt-in form, what is one question you could ask that is going to help segment somebody. Like for me, one of my segmentation criteria is, how many years of experience do you have with WordPress, zero, two or more than two? Josh Hall: I got it. I think I pretty much have that. The questions would be, I want to learn how to build websites. That’s funnel- Chris Badgett: Yeah, which one best describes you? Josh Hall: Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m thinking. And that would take them to their pages with the resources. Chris Badgett: Not only do you get the email, people end up in the right places in your CRM or however you’re doing it. Josh Hall: Okay. Awesome. The funnels, I’m absolutely going to start that. I’m going to start the office hours for students, whether I pull the groups from Facebook, TBD on that, I’m going to decide what to do with that. Chris Badgett: I just want to make a quick comment. It’s really hard to compete with Facebook, with the community. What you’re doing with Circle and the way it works, when I get an email notification, I click through I’m right into your site, I’ve gotten valuable relationships and connections. One of your guys have me on their podcast and some back and forth conversations. I had a job posting I put in there. It works, man. You’re doing it well, because it’s really hard to beat Facebook, but you did it. Josh Hall: Oh dude, I appreciate that. Wow. I appreciate that, Chris. I’ll think on that, but the funnels, the office hours, the bundles, for sure, I’m going to do the two bundles, I love that idea and then the free resources. Those are my takeaways from this. I’ve got it all listed out here. I’m pumped. Thanks so much, man. This has been awesome. Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, I’m serious, man. We’re going to have to plan the three hour Joe Rogan. So thank you for coming back on LMS cast. You can find Josh Hall at joshhall.co. Is there anywhere else you want to send people who are listening to this on the LMS cast podcast or on the Lifter YouTube channel? Josh Hall: Man, I think a lot of people who listen to this would probably enjoy my podcast, which is a mix of business and design related stuff. Just head over to my podcast. You can just go to the website and just click on podcast and see if there’s an episode that’ll get you pumped up and help you out. Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, keep up the great work, Josh. Can’t wait to see it evolve. Josh Hall: Thanks Chris. Chris Badgett: That’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode. The post How to Design the Perfect Business Model Around Content, Courses, Coaching, Community, and Retreats with Josh Hall and Chris Badgett appeared first on LMScast - LifterLMS Podcast.
How To Master Your Freelance Business Like A Pro | Josh Hall
If you’re a freelance service provider. This episode is for you. On the podcast today I spoke with Josh Hall, from the Josh Hall Web Design Show. And funnily enough, we didn’t talk about web design. We narrowed in on the nitty gritty of how Josh went from a cabinet maker (making $9 an hour) → to a full time freelancer → to selling his web design agency and founding a successful online membership. I had a blast interviewing him. Here’s some of what we spoke about. **What to do to avoid ‘feast famine’ cycles as a freelancer. Not only does this keep your calendar loaded with new clients, but this strategy also silently resells the impatient clients waiting around. **How to avoid a dreadful client relationship mistake when things pick up and get busy. Josh gives you the perfect template to calm and soothe angry clients. If you’re a one-man-band, this is the perfect ‘get out jail free’ and tool to keep your clients happy. **Squash imposter syndrome, even if you only have a few good case studies to show off. The trick comes down to how you position your portfolio with this simple headline tweak. Try it and see for yourself. ______________________________________ Connect with Josh. Josh's Podcast --> https://joshhall.co/podcast/ Josh's YouTube Channel --> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmu7bw5BYIeR0VDw0hJKblw
From agency work to making online courses, Josh Hall and Simon Severino | STRATEGY SPRINTS® 256
Josh is a web design coach, podcast host and agency founder who teaches aspiring web designers and web entrepreneurs all over the world how to build awesome websites and build a web design business based around the lifestyle they want to live.🐋FREE SALES TEMPLATES:www.strategysprints.com/tools🌞FREE SALES MASTERCLASS:www.strategysprints.com/equalizer💎SALES COACHING (Free 7 Days Trial):www.strategysprints.com/tuesday-sessionsWHO I AM:My name is Simon Severino and I help business owners double their revenue in 90 days. I sing your song, with you, until you know it by heart. After 17 years of strategy execution from NY to Sydney, I created the Strategy Sprints® Method, a practical method to run an agile and resilient company. I have fired myself from client work and enjoy now working above the business. If you run a business, I can help you make it irresistible for clients, easier to run and immune to competition. BE MY FRIEND:🌿 Sign up to my email service - https://www.strategysprints.com🌍 My website / blog - https://www.strategysprints.com🧊 Instagram - https://instagram.com/strategysprints
How to Transition from Online Services to Online Courses in the WordPress Web Design Niche With Divi Expert Josh Hall
LMScast with Chris Badgett
Learn about how to transition from online services to online courses in the WordPress web design niche with Divi expert Josh Hall in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. Josh is a classic education entrepreneur and WordPress pro. He’s been creating tutorials for WordPress users and Divi users for many years and has built courses, a podcast, templates, and all things around education entrepreneurship. Over a decade ago Josh worked as a cabinet maker for a tour bus customizing shop in Columbus, Ohio. When the economy got hit hard in 2008 and 2009, Josh got laid off. He had an interest in design and art, so he dove into how to use Photoshop. At the time, Josh was in a rock band, and he started doing all of the artwork as they went on tour. He did t-shirt designs and CD artwork. When they were on tour, someone asked him, “Hey man, really like your t-shirt designs, how much would you charge…?” and from there Josh dove further into graphic design. As he was helping out a local church, they asked if he could take over their website, as no one had been managing it at the time. Josh agreed and learned Dreamweaver, HTML, and CSS for building websites. Eventually he came into contact with WordPress and the Divi theme, and he started learning that and making helpful tutorials for others. And the rest is history. He was able to build up his brand and community to over 20,000 YouTube subscribers and a thriving Facebook group over the better part of the past decade. Josh’s business on YouTube was 100% referral based, where he earns a commission if a product he shared ended up converting to a sale for the product. He also had his web design agency building sites for clients, and he recently had his 10 year anniversary for his agency. He’s now expanded to include courses in his offerings and membership masterminds to help his highly-engaged community of users get more out of their businesses. Be sure to check out JoshHall.co to learn more about Josh’s podcast and how you can build awesome websites and a website design business around it. If you’re an expert type person or a subject matter expert, Josh’s site is a great example of having content, courses, templates, and all these different things working together for a clear target audience. At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Thank you for joining us! EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high-value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end. I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show. Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m joined by a special guest, Josh Hall. You can find him at joshhall.co. He is what I would consider a classic education entrepreneur. He’s a WordPress pro. He’s a Divi guy. He is a course creator, podcaster, template creator. This dude is all about all things education entrepreneurship, and he’s a rock solid WordPress guy. So first, welcome to the show, Josh. Josh Hall: Chris, thanks for having me on, man. Chris Badgett: One of the cool things about WordPress, in general but also in education entrepreneurship is it’s often a windy road that gets people to where they are. Tell us about, I call it the turn, for everybody there’s like this event that like kind of turns them or a moment in their timeline. You were a cabinet maker and you still are, you’re still a craftsman, I know you haven’t forgotten how to do that, but how did you make the turn from building cabinets to this whole digital, WordPress, education entrepreneur, online business owner guy? How did that turn happen for you? Josh Hall: Great question. And, I probably wouldn’t trust myself to build a cabinet now, it’s been a decade, so I don’t know if I would trust myself to do that anymore. But yeah, I was a cabinet maker for a tour bus customizing shop here in Columbus, Ohio, which is where I’m located. And I was doing that for a long time, I actually worked there through high school, I went from sweeping the floors to becoming a cabinet maker. And when the economy got hit really hard in 2008 and 2009, I got laid off, so me and like half the company got laid off. And I had always had an interest in some sort of design or art, so the day after I got laid off I drove into Photoshop. Josh Hall: Now at this time I was also a drummer in a rock band and we were doing the weekend warrior thing and we were getting some pretty decent exposure across the Midwest and we were traveling quite a bit. And we started getting more serious in the band so I just started doing all of our artwork. I started doing our t-shirt designs once I got familiar with Photoshop and graphic design, was doing our CD artwork. And then, I will never forget it, we were traveling, we were playing a show and somebody was like, “Hey man, really like your t-shirt designs, how much would you charge…” They were like, ” Who does your designs?” And I was like, “Oh, I do, I started doing graphic design.” And they were like, “Hey, how much would you charge to do ours?” And it was like this light bulb went off, I like how you call it the turn where I was like, “Wow, I could actually make some money doing something I really enjoy.” Josh Hall: So that’s how it all started for me, man. I was a cabinet maker, got laid off, and I was doing the band thing and then getting into design. And then once I started doing graphic design, sort of building that up, I was actually helping out a local church, and they were like, “Hey, we know you’re doing design, no one’s managing our website, would you be interested in taking that on?” And I was like, “I don’t know anything about web, but sure, I’ll give it a go.” I learned Dreamweaver and some basic HTML code and basic CSS in those days, and they sent me to the community college here in Columbus to learn a little bit more about web design and that’s what really kind of started the itch for me with web design. So that’s kind of the genesis of how it all started for me. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. And we’ve mentioned on your show, I was having a conversation with you, you have a podcast called the Josh Hall Web Design Show, and I mentioned this framework I use called the hipster, the hacker and the hustler, which you said you were going to borrow and use. In your turn you mentioned the hipster, which is the designer, you mentioned the hustler, which is, hey, this church is asking me to do something I don’t know how to do, what does a hustler do? They say yes and then figure it out later, and then the hacker. How did you put together the skills to put together a website? How did that come together for you? Josh Hall: That’s a great question because the hacker was the one that I’m least adept to. So I was a good designer from the get go, I’ve always been interested in design and look and feel of things. I was definitely a hustler as far as doing my own thing. And even when I was in the band I was kind of like the dude in the band that got everything going, everyone kind of relied on me to get the gear ready in time to go to the show. And so I was good at… I already kind of learned… And actually I’m a big proponent of different industries translating to WordPress and web design, so I actually learned a lot in the band world that translated to eventually running my own business. Josh Hall: So yeah, the hacker was the part that I really had to work at. So it was really just a matter… And luckily with WordPress, and as you mentioned, I’m a big proponent of Divi, a lot of my students use Elementor though as well and I’ve got a lot of people who are using all different tools in and around WordPress and web design, luckily you don’t need to be too advanced into code nowadays to get by, but I am a big proponent of at least knowing CSS. So for me, it was learning the basics of HTML and then just getting more comfortable with CSS. And then as I started transitioning into web design, I learned more and more about CSS and then one day it just clicked, I kind of realized I understood the fundamentals and that’s what really helped me start to build my own freelance web design business and create custom websites for clients. Chris Badgett: Well, let’s talk about what I’ll call the second turning, which is from services to product. So you have templates, you have courses, you’re creating like a content engine too with all this awesome content you have, what caused you to go from, all right, this church wants to hire me, they can pay me to build a site or whatever, and I’m sure you got more clients after that, where did the itch for product come and then how did that transition happen for you? Josh Hall: Yeah, Let’s see, I started working for the church with their website, and then once the word got out that I was doing websites, it didn’t take long to start getting- Chris Badgett: Referrals. Josh Hall: … referrals for that. Referrals, yeah, my business is 100% referral based. So essentially, I technically started my web design agency in 2010 and actually, funny enough, at the time of recording this, this is my 10 year decade anniversary for my web design agency. We’re recording this in October, 2020, I started it officially in October, 2020. So I was doing freelance and I was getting involved in more web design and then I was doing graphic design and web design for my solopreneur agency for years. Essentially I started in 2010 and I ended up doing more classes at the community college here in Columbus, just to learn more about design, I learned Illustrator and Photoshop on a deeper level. And my whole goal was to just work for an agency, like get a job as a designer. But I remember the side business, doing freelance, it picked up pretty well and I think I made like 30 grand or something. And I thought, “Man, if I made this just working part-time, what could I do if I went full time with this?” Josh Hall: So when I finished my little two year associate degree, I had already built up some good freelance, I’d come up with my business name, which was actually based off my band’s third album, my business name was, In Transit, and that was our third album. So long story short, I went for it and I continued to build the agency up and then I just became a business owner and an entrepreneur over that time. I had no real drive to be a business owner, it just kind of happened, I just kind of fumbled into it. Learned a lot about personal development, learned more and more about business, I eventually took more trainings and got involved with some coaching that really helped shape my mindset and I was a freelancer and a solopreneur until I eventually started scaling my web design business, and I think this was about 2016, I really started hiring some more staff hour. And then once I started scaling it, I realized that the next step for me was I really had a passion for teaching and I had a passion for sharing kind of what I’ve learned with other folks. Josh Hall: So to answer your question, the second turn really happened when I became a part of the Divi Community, I started using Divi and I have not used another WordPress theme since 2014. And in a couple of years into using Divi, I realized holy crap, Divi has an amazing online community. So I became- Chris Badgett: Lots of them. Josh Hall: Lots of them. So I became a part of some of the Facebook groups. I started a Facebook group called The Divi Web Designers Facebook Group and [crosstalk 00:08:59]- Chris Badgett: What year was that? Josh Hall: That was 2016. [crosstalk 00:09:02]- Chris Badgett: How big is it now? Josh Hall: 22,000. Chris Badgett: Wow. Josh Hall: And we have an entrance rate of little over 50%, so we’re pretty stingy on who gets in. So it’s the second biggest group and it’s been amazing. But what I did is when I started that I had no idea how many other groups there were, so it was just persistence and consistency that really helped grow that group. So it kind of gave me a name in the industry, in the realm there with Divi. And then back then, sometimes when you would post on Facebook it would show the location you were at when you posted, and the content manager for Elegant Themes who creates Divi posted in my group and it said Columbus, Ohio under it. And I was like, “Oh, no way, he lives in Columbus?” So I just reached out to him and I said, “Hey man, I’m Josh, I’m a local Divi guy, love Divi, it’s a huge part of my business, I’d love to take you out for coffee.” So we met up, had coffee and then hit it off. Josh Hall: And then I think about a month later, he was like, “Hey man, I really like what you’re up to with your business, would you be interested in coming on to blog for the Elegant Themes blog?” Because I had done some blogging on my website for In Transit. And I was like, “Heck yeah.” So that was kind of the start of that new turn for me because I became an author for the Elegant Themes blog and that really just gave me the itch to start giving back to the Divi Community, and then I started my personal brand @joshhall.co and then I started doing tutorials. And that’s kind of the start of what I’m sure we’ll segue to, where things are at now. Chris Badgett: Well, before we go there, a couple of things I just wanted to unpack. What was the coaching mindset shifts or unlock that helped you in your entrepreneur development? Josh Hall: Great question, again. I think for me the biggest thing was becoming a business owner and delegating. Because I’m a hustler and because I became kind of a makeshift hacker, I could figure almost everything out. Even though it would take me three times as longer as a good developer, I could figure out some coding or how to piece WooCommerce together with some other plugins and stuff like that, so I just got so used to doing everything on my own. And the shift for me was realizing that I was working so much time in the business, I wasn’t working on the business. I wasn’t doing any marketing, I wasn’t really innovating the business too much. At that point I had started a website maintenance plan so it was my first taste of recurring income. And that experience showed me as well that if I take some time to build out something that’s going to be really valuable for my clients… Yeah, it took some time, but it was my first dose of really innovating and working on my business. Josh Hall: So there was a series of things that kind of led up to that but one of my clients was actually a business coach and then eventually I enrolled in their program so we were kind of clients of each other, and that really helped shift my mindset as the business owner. I started being more serious about the business itself, where it was going. And at this point I had just started delegating and subcontracting out more work so I really kind of embraced the CEO role. Josh Hall: And what I realized was if there were tasks that I could do but I knew were going to take a lot of time, I just started getting those off my plate. I realized I had to focus on the high level tasks that only I could do in the business. And it’s not that I’m above those little tasks or that I’m better than those, it’s just my time is more valuable now as the head of the company. So I learned, whether it was basic Divi stuff or content kind of stuff or troubleshooting CSS issues and stuff like that, those are the things I could hire out. So that was the biggest mind shift when I started really becoming a business owner and an entrepreneur, Chris Badgett: You mentioned being a community builder in an online group, so I’m going to put the pressure on you. If you were to give somebody five principles to build an online group, what have you learned, what operating principles would you stand by? And I’ll help you keep track if you got five. Josh Hall: Okay, okay. Well, I would say first off you got to have the heart, you’ve got to have some sort of mission for it. When I started my group, the whole intention was to help people have a safe place, a community that was really going to help build them up and not tear them down because web design groups notoriously are vicious, except for LifterLMS and my groups. Honestly, most forums like developer and designer forums can be brutal. If you post your work you’ll often get torn apart, and I found that out for myself. So I wanted to have a place where people could post their work and have a really good community. I did not intend it to be this big, so it’s a little different now but it’s more of just a support group now. But in the early days, it was a very close knit community. Josh Hall: So that was the first thing, I wanted it to be a place that was helpful. I realized that you have to have really good guidelines in place just [crosstalk 00:14:00]- Chris Badgett: What are some examples? Josh Hall: Any sort of documentation you have to have in place for the product or group itself. Chris Badgett: Yeah. Josh Hall: It would be like, what kind of posts are allowed? Any sort of guidelines as far as… Again, what’s allowed, what’s not, how to behave. Some groups are really stingy like you post tutorials on Tuesdays, you post your work on Wednesdays, we didn’t go that route, I kept it very open-ended. But at the same time, I made very strict guidelines and the fact that don’t come to the group and ask for work, you can post an opportunity but you can’t ask for work, stuff like that. So having really clear guidelines is one. I would say the third would be to be engaged. If you’re going to be the leader of the group, you’ve got to be there, you’ve got to actually show up, otherwise, it’s just going to die. Unless you have a team, which I guess will be point number four, you really need to be there and really be leading the charge, and you have to be excited about being in there. So I would say being there is the big one, you got to set the example. Josh Hall: Number four would be to have, once it scales, to have a good group of moderators or a team that you can delegate some stuff to so you’re not responsible for every approval, every denial, every issue, that was the big one. And then I’d say five, would be just consistency. I think every aspect of business, consistency is always in the mix, you have to be consistent. If you’re really amped up for your group and you post a lot a couple of days but then you don’t show up for another month, it’s not going to go well, particularly in the early days. Chris Badgett: How often do you show up now? Like here we are four years later or whatever, how often are you there? Josh Hall: I don’t show up as much now just because I have moderators who handle everything. I do request approvals and stuff or I do approve some requests and everything, but I’m in there every day at some point usually just to pop in and to request approvals and stuff like… Oh, excuse me, approve requests, some stuff like that. But I don’t dump into the threads as much now simply because, for one, I found myself getting pinged like crazy and [crosstalk 00:16:10]- Chris Badgett: Like personally? Josh Hall: Yeah, personally, which is a big issue, I’m actually trying to work some of that out right now. So people will be tagging me like crazy, which was cool in the early days, but now it’s like, man, I also have groups for my courses, which I’m sure we’ll get into so there’s a lot of different groups. So that main group is essentially run by me, I make it very clear that this is a Divi support group by JoshHall.co. But I do hop in usually once a week, at least. I’ll jump in the thread, if somebody has a question or posts my tutorial and has a question, I’ll hop in. So I am still active, it’s just not as much as I was previous to this because now I do have courses and I have different levels of my community, my tribe together. But yeah, even at this level, four years later, I’m still in and I’ve never gone more than a few days without at least being inside it to some extent. Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s awesome. So just to recap, you got to have passion in your group, you got to set the guidelines, set the frame, you got to be engaged, get your team involved and be consistent. I love that, that’s super hard one truths and just a good blueprint of the fundamentals, that’s awesome. Let’s talk- Josh Hall: Well, I didn’t have time to think of any better ones. I’m sure it’ll all come back like, “Dude, Chris, I thought of five better ones.” Chris Badgett: Well, I think that the big takeaway you said, for me anyways, was that there’s a lot of bad groups out there. Especially in tech or especially around products where it can get really negative or whatever, or people trying to use it to grab clients or something like that. So a group is not a passive thing, it really isn’t and you got to really invest. Josh Hall: It’s living, it’s breathing, it’s people… Chris Badgett: Yeah, Josh Hall: … [crosstalk 00:18:00] it is. And luckily the Divi Community itself is something special, you said that, I think maybe before we went live, you said you love the Divi Community. It is something special, it just attracts good people. Now that said, with a group of 22,000, we’re going to have some bad apples. Chris Badgett: Right. Josh Hall: And I mentioned that we have just over a 50% approval rate, we still get a lot of people that slip through there and then they ended up spamming or they end up tearing somebody down and then we’re pretty quick to act on that. And if one of my moderators doesn’t know if they should be deleted, then they handle it for me and that’s where the every couple of days me jumping in there is crucial. But I have two thoughts on that. One is that everything rises and falls on leadership. So you as the leader of any sort of group, you have to set the precedents, which kind of goes back to the five points that we talked about. So people are going to see the leader and they generally kind of act like the leader a lot. And then the second part to that is there’s a quote that I heard a while back that I just love as a course creator and as a tribe connector, and that is, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” Chris Badgett: Wow, that’s good. Josh Hall: So as somebody who is running a community, people are going to have their own personalities and stuff, but you set the precedent, and that goes back to like staying involved. And I love that quote because it really resonated with me. What was interesting and the way I saw that play out through the years was that there were tons of Divi Facebook groups, there still are, there’s a lot of them, but the question is, what’s the difference between my group and a bunch of other ones? Josh Hall: Well, I think honestly, it’s just the five tips that we went over. It was showing up, it was being helpful… Even though the group has changed at a higher level now compared to what it was when we just had a few hundred members and it was a lot easier to be really engaged, the core is still there. It’s still a very helpful group, and if somebody is not being helpful then we nip that pretty quick. Even when I jump in there occasionally and people see the owner of their group giving a free snippet of code or some free advice, it still looks really good and that really sets the precedent. So I’ve always been really open with just sharing everything I know, like here’s the playbook, here’s everything I’ve learned. A lot of people are weird about giving stuff away for free, but I’ve found that the more you give away for free, I’ve never regretted that, I’ve never been like, “Oh, I’ve given away too much.” Even though I have courses and I’ve repackaged a lot of my free information and premium products, it still worked out really well. So, yeah [crosstalk 00:20:27], yeah. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome, good stuff. Well, let’s talk about the third turning into courses specifically in training, what happened there? And tell us about how you got into it and really grew it out. And as of this recording, I’m just looking at your website, how many courses do we have here? Josh Hall: So we have nine courses [crosstalk 00:20:47]. Chris Badgett: Nine courses. Josh Hall: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:20:49]- Chris Badgett: Well, what was first and how did you get into that? Josh Hall: Yeah, so when I started my Divi group and I became a blog author for Elegant Themes, I started getting some notoriety in the community, and I’d mentioned that I had started my personal brand site at JoshHall.co. First, I started doing tutorials, I just was doing tutorials like crazy off of what I knew with Divi, and then somebody called me the Yoda of Divi once, and I love that name, so I just rolled with it, I’m kind of still in that personal brand of the Yoda of Divi. So I started doing that and then… I will say for anyone who wants to produce content, one thing that I did that really helped from the get go was I did a tutorial a week for 12 weeks. I gave myself some light at the end of the tunnel, so I was able to commit to 12 tutorials, take my time with those, and those first few months of doing tutorials blew up my brand. Chris Badgett: Are those blog content or YouTube content or a course content? Josh Hall: It’s both. Chris Badgett: Okay. Josh Hall: Just blog and YouTube at that time because it was… I would post a YouTube video- Chris Badgett: Okay. So free content? Josh Hall: Yeah, it’s free content. It’d be like, “Hey, here’s a trick I did on a recent client site, here’s how I did it with Divi.” Maybe a little bit of CSS, and that really kind of elevated me initially, and then I started doing that more frequently. So I was doing tutorials, building up my YouTube channel, building up my site with the blog. And then my whole goal after that… Because I was still running my web design business but I was scaling it so I did it on kind of a low level the first year, I was just doing it essentially part-time, maybe 10 to 15 hours a week I would invest in doing a tutorial in the Facebook group. But then it started getting bigger and bigger and then I started offering layouts that I did with Divi. So if I came up with a team page layout, I would package it up and offer it on my site as just a cheap product basically. [crosstalk 00:22:35]- Chris Badgett: And a layout, it’s like a template that somebody else could just suck into their site, right? Josh Hall: Exactly, exactly. Chris Badgett: Okay. Josh Hall: You could buy the layout, it’s a page template, and then you could put it up on your site and customize it the way you want. So I started doing that, I only did a few of those and it went over really well and then that got me thinking, “I’m going to do child themes where I do like full website templates.” So that was my whole goal. But what I realized was I really enjoyed the teaching aspect, and then long story short, at this point, my first daughter was born and we spent 56 days in the NICU, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit with her, so I had to really reevaluate what I was doing. I basically put everything I was doing with JoshHall.co on hold at that time, I was just overseeing my subcontractors in running In Transit. But funny enough, at that time, my YouTube channel got featured on the Elegant Themes blog by another contributor, and then I looked at my subscribers and they like doubled, they went from like 1,000 to like 3,000. Josh Hall: So once we got out of the NICU and we kind of settled down, I kind of started going back up with more tutorials, and that’s when I realized I have learned a lot. And to answer your question, you wonder what the first course was? My first course was how to create a website maintenance plan for recurring income for web designers. And the reason I was so passionate about that was because our maintenance plan was one of the things that got us through the NICU. Because I had a really hard time working in those couple of months, I did work from a Panera coffee shop across the street from the hospital, I wasn’t working too much and it was really hard to stay creative. Luckily I had the team at that point, but our maintenance plan was basically paying our bills through that time, the recurring income I had with my clients for hosting and maintenance. Josh Hall: So once we got out of the NICU and I had thought about what I wanted to do with JoshHall.co, I was like, “I’m so passionate about helping other people have a maintenance plan that I want to do a course on this.” So I went for it, I bailed out, I kind of came up with an outline. I did go with LearnDash, I’m a big proponent of you, Chris, and what you do with LifterLMS I ended up using LearnDash. I built the course out and then I launched that in, I think, August of 2018. And it went really, really well, I think I had almost 100 signups for the first pre-order and launch phase and I got such good feedback on the course that really, it was all downhill from there, man, I was a full blown course creator right then. So I was about ready to get going on child themes and I pushed that to the side and I was like, “I’m doing courses.” Josh Hall: After that went over really well, I did a CSS Divi course, which is a really big course. And then once the new year came around in 2019, I went on a tear, I did like four courses in a few months. One on cPanel because that’s really, really important to know, just to understand how the file structure works and all that, I did one on my web design process, I did one on WooCommerce and then one as kind of a Divi beginner’s course. So, at that point, my lead designer for my agency was really taking off and able to handle a lot of that, so I almost went like full blown course creation. So yeah, that’s kind of how it all started. I went full blown courses in, and that’s what really set in motion for me to finish kind of like this suite of courses. Chris Badgett: Wow, that is such a cool story. And just tell us briefly, what was the… Becoming an entrepreneur, I relate to what you’re saying, it’s somewhat of a journey of self discovery, so you were about to become like a child theme creator which is more of like a software product entrepreneur and then you discovered this teaching thing and you’re like, “Wait a second, this one is resonating stronger than rolling out child themes.” What was that for you that lit you up as a course creator? Josh Hall: I’ve always liked teaching, and what I realized doing tutorials was that I’m actually a pretty good teacher. I got better and better with the tutorials being more concise and being more direct and I was getting YouTube comments like crazy with people saying, “Dude, you’ve changed my life. I feel comfortable with Divi and I’m customizing.” That really set the it for me. Child themes can be life-changing in a way, but very rarely is somebody going to be like, “I bought your child theme and my journey has changed forever.” Chris Badgett: Yeah. Josh Hall: It’s very rare that a product’s going to do that as much so I really enjoyed the human aspect of just really making a big impact with the knowledge I was sharing. Because I realized too, I’ve learned a lot in my experience. I never considered myself an expert, but I realized at that point I’d been doing web design freelancing for seven, eight years and I learned so much so I didn’t want to keep it to myself, I wanted to share that on a one to many level. And I’m a big proponent of even if you’re in a year into your journey, you’ve probably learned so much, so you can start giving back. And you can do that for free in Facebook groups or I’m a big part of people starting courses pretty early on as well, just sharing what you know. Josh Hall: So that was the big thing for me, I actually just always liked teaching too. Before all this happened, I was actually an advisor, I still am an advisor to a local high school media program. And years ago, they would send me in like once a quarter for a full day and I would have a couple of students and I would just show them how to do websites and some basic design stuff, and that really got the itch for me to do that on a bigger level. Now then, it was like one to one or two students who were maybe halfway interested. Most students were just wanting to learn video game design and they would just kind of space out, whereas I had some students in there that were all about it. And when I found the students that were all about it, that just lit me up, it was like the favorite thing I had done to that point. Josh Hall: So when I started doing courses, I realized it was like those few students I had back then, but it was like hundreds of them. So now I’ve got hundreds of people who are amped up and fired up and really serious about their business. So yeah, that was the initial it, and then it just kind of grew from there. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I’m glad you talk fast because there’s so much I want to cover and we only have like 30 more minutes. I wanted to dig in for the WordPress freelancers and agency people listening to this. And if you’re an expert and you don’t build sites for clients, hang in there, we’re going to get into the membership and where Josh is going with podcasting and other things. But I’m just going to challenge you again as a course creator, if you could give five principles for building a web design maintenance plan. Josh Hall: Well, first off you need to think about your clients because you got to think about the benefit for the client. Because if you just think about recurring income for yourself, your client’s going to know that and it can come across a little greedy, because it’s awesome, it’s awesome for web designers to have this recurrent income, it’s crucial. So you got to think about your client, you have to think of the benefit for them. And those benefits are you are their web person, you’re that web guy that web girl for them ongoing, you are their support person for years to come. So you have to think about it for the client and really highlight the benefits. I would say for you as a web designer, as kind of a number two, it’s going to end the feast and famine of web design because web design is very project oriented, so you have really good months and really bad months and website maintenance and hosting plan really kind of alleviates that often because you can cover your basic expenses with a maintenance plan. It doesn’t take too long to scale it and it is scalable. Josh Hall: So you got to think about your clients, got to think about how it’s going to help your business and how to implement that into your business. As far as the plan itself, I would say, trying to think of a good way to recap this, I would say limit the amount of tools that you use in your toolbox. I think that’s an important thing because we did our maintenance plan and I only use Divi, WordPress and our handful of trusted plugins and WooCommerce. So when you have a maintenance plan where you’re dealing with a lot of different themes and a ton of different tools, that can be a little tricky because inevitably, sometimes there’s conflicts between a bunch of stuff. And when you end up bringing people on to help you with your maintenance plan, if you have a subcontractor or something, if you’re using Elementor, [inaudible 00:31:02], a bunch of different themes and Divi, they’re going to have to know all these themes to be able to work with that plan. So, I’ve found that kind of keeping up a smaller set of tools has been really huge. Josh Hall: The next big thing is the extra platforms for the maintenance plan. I use ManageWp, but there’s some other good ones out there as well. So you want to have something that is going to be trusted, and that really handles all the main aspects for like updates, for plugins, basic optimization. With ManageWP, you can do reporting, which is huge, keeping in touch with the clients is absolutely huge, and then you can do backups and stuff like that. So having a platform that’s going to work well with all of your tools that you decide on, but then it’s going to be kind of your dashboard, your hub for everything that you do for your plan, that’s huge. And then as far as kind of a fifth thing, I would really, really encourage everyone to be proactive in keeping in touch with their clients apart from just sending reports, like really nurture those relationships. Josh Hall: And the really cool thing about maintenance plans is not only does it end the feast and famine, but it keeps you from having to sell every day or every week. If you get a dozen clients or a couple of dozen clients… I’m a big believer, and if you get 25 to 30 clients, you should be able to make six figures a year with those clients, with the maintenance income plan that you can circle back to them. It’s going to open the door for more projects and more work so those are five of about 50 points I would come up with, but those are some of the biggest ones I’d say. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, I was just looking at your YouTube channel and you’re at almost 19,000 subscribers, what tips do you have for somebody, as an expert, in your case Divi and WordPress, and being a web designer, as a business, what helped you go from zero to almost 20,000 here? Josh Hall: It probably goes back to what I said earlier, which is consistency. I just consistently pumped out Divi tutorials which really elevated my exposure on YouTube and my website. Because contrary to my service business, when I did my agency, that was 100% organic and referral based. JoshHall.co on the other hand is 100% SEO based, so there’s no local referrals with this, it’s completely YouTube Search and SEO, so consistency was huge. I didn’t go wild on keyword research, I basically just posted stuff that I learned and I was curious about or if I looked for a question and it wasn’t addressed or it wasn’t addressed well, I did a tutorial on that. And then I’ve branched it off to not only Divi tutorials, but eventually I did more like personal development kind of vlogs and videos and stuff like that. Josh Hall: As of right now, it’s primarily just my podcast because my podcast is video as well, so all the videos go up on there. But I’m going to start implementing more tutorials in with the podcast videos because if you look at my channel right now, all the recent stuff is just podcast videos just because I’ve got a lot else going on right now. But I’m going to start doing more Divi tutorials and tools and tips and tricks in and around platforms for web design. But consistency, consistency is a big one. And then going back to what I said earlier, if you give yourself some light at the end of the tunnel, do like a three month tear of content and then take a month off, you could do something like that, that way it’s not so overwhelming. Because if you just say, I’m going to do a tutorial every week, it can be a little daunting until you have a system to keep up with it. Chris Badgett: And how did podcast enter the conversation? Because you started with blogging and guest blogging and YouTube, when did the podcasts roll on the scene and why? Josh Hall: Yeah, So 2019, I had just went through releasing a bunch of courses together and at that point I had like six courses and I was working on my next course, which was going to be the biggie, which is my business course. And I was planning everything out with pricing and collecting content and all the big areas of web design, and then I released that in the summer of 2019… And I knew by doing that course and getting the feedback from some amazing people, I always knew that I wanted to do a podcast because I figured it’d be a great way to build my community and my network of designers and folks like yourself, Chris. But also I knew as a podcast listener, there was something about podcasts that builds likeability, trust and just a lot of other aspects that are to get with videos, particularly like tutorial videos. So I always knew I wanted to do it, so I was actually planning on doing one the year before, but I just felt like I didn’t have the time. Josh Hall: So once I got my business course done, I knew I wanted to get going on the podcast. I’m a big proponent and a fan of Pat Flynn, who is an entrepreneur in an entrepreneurial space, but he has a podcasting course. So I invested in that, it was a big investment, but I went through that course and it rocked my world, it really helped set me up. Because, again, I had learned that my time is the most valuable thing, so if there’s a course that’s going to help me from point A to point B, then I’m going to take it. And that’s exactly what I tell my students, “Yeah, you can learn CSS on your own, but it might take you how many days or months? It’s going to be very scattered. Or you can go through my course and it’s going to help you in a matter of hours and in a matter of a couple of days.” So I had that same mindset, I am a course creator, but I take a lot of courses now too if it’s going to save me time. Josh Hall: So went through that course, it really helped set me in motion to have a successful podcast [inaudible 00:36:38] start. [inaudible 00:36:40] do a podcast, don’t launch with one episode, if there’s one thing I learned in that course was to launch with few episodes and I made it like a concert, like a big kickoff. And then I had a few episodes that I launched, I had a few episodes lined up and then I just started doing it consistently, and I’ve never missed a week. Right now, I’m publishing two episodes a week, but I think I’m going to back down in the new year here back to the one or two a week just to have some time for some other stuff. But it’s been huge, man, it’s been a game changer for me as a course creator because it just builds that like and trustability. Trustability, I just made up a word. Josh Hall: But it really builds so much that videos and other types of content can’t build. Because with a podcast, people are listening to you over and over and over and over. And as everyone can probably figure out by listen to me, I do like to talk, I like to get detailed on stuff so podcasts lends itself to my personality really well because with a YouTube video, I’ve gotta be fairly brief, I’ve gotta be fairly swift. And I’ve actually explored putting some of my YouTube videos as podcasts, and I had one video a while back that I did which where like my top 10 lessons as a freelancer, and I had a lot of people on YouTube and on the video saying, “This is really good but it was really long.” It was like a half an hour. I did it as the podcast and everyone loved it on the podcast. So it’s just a difference of how you can be really detailed with podcasting. So it’s been a game changer for me, man, it’s something I still love. I’ve actually learned so much from it as well, just from guests. Now, instead of relying everything on my experience, I’m able to share what’s worked for other web designers and other agencies, so that’s been a big game changer part of it too. Josh Hall: Last point on podcasting is I’ve found it’s brought so many people that are serious about their business. The YouTube tutorials I did with Divi, a lot of people find me through there and it segues them to my podcast but I also get a lot of people who have zero budget and are just looking for something free or something cheap, and they’re never going to buy a course or they’re going to be like, “Oh, 97 bucks for a course, oh no.” Whereas the podcast folks are serious about their business and [inaudible 00:38:55] drop 500 bucks on my business course because they’ve listened to me and they’ve got a lot of value and it started changing their life already. So they’re like, “Absolutely. If the podcast is this good, then the course has got to be way better.” So, yeah, it’s been huge, man. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. A question about where you’re headed next. You mentioned going towards membership and I find that people get a little hung up on these words, I’m going to build an online course, I’m going to build a membership site, I’m going to build a coaching program, I’m going to build a training company, I’m going to build a online community, how do you think about where you’re going next and how you’ve used those different words in what it is that you do? Josh Hall: Yeah, it really all started with the needs of my students now. So just like with the maintenance plan, I had the need for my maintenance plan for my clients. And I should say too, once I got my podcasts going, I finished up kind of my suite of web design courses, I did two more courses in the beginning of 2020 right before COVID hit. And so what was really interesting is once the pandemic came, I actually saw a huge influx of students in my courses because a lot of people were losing their job or they had done web design on the side and they were forced to do it full time. So it was really an amazing time for me to have gotten all that stuff done, I feel really fortunate to have all of the suite of courses done right then. Josh Hall: But long story short, I ended up actually selling my web design agency just a few months ago because the course stuff had taken off. The courses were like 75% of my income at this point, so I was like, “I’ve got to take this full-time, this is the opportunity, I’ve been doing service work for almost a decade.” One of my students is actually the one who took over my web design business. And what was really cool about that was he came through my maintenance planning course at first, then went through all my other courses, learned my systems, learned Divi, learned all my processes, so when I turned my clients over to him, I’m condensing a very long in-depth story but when I turned my clients over, it wasn’t like they were working with somebody who used different tools. He used all the same tools and better yet he used the systems that were in my courses. Chris Badgett: Trained by you, that’s awesome. Josh Hall: [crosstalk 00:41:05]- Chris Badgett: Just to be clear on this, how long did you run a service company and a training company at the same time? How many years? Josh Hall: So about two years. Chris Badgett: Yeah. Josh Hall: The first year I was doing the layouts, I wasn’t doing courses yet. It was actually a year and a half exactly from the time I first built my first course and then with selling the agency. Chris Badgett: So there wasn’t a switch you flipped, it was a transition. Josh Hall: It was a transition, yeah, yeah. Anybody who is going from one endeavor to another, I heard a good analogy a while back, it’s like swinging from a vine and you need to make sure if you’re swinging from one vine to another that there’s enough weight there to hold you, otherwise you’re going to plummet to the ground. So yeah, I didn’t have a successful web design agency and then said, “I’m just going to start building courses and get rid of it.” I did them together. And the cool thing about doing it together was I was still actively in the industry while I was producing content. So that was a biggie, but the cool thing too now, kind of as we look moving forward, I still retain some ownership in my agency and I’m overseeing my CEO now who took over the business, and I’m still really in touch with the team and our processes. So he’s basically relaying everything to me to continue on with good relevant content for my students. Chris Badgett: Nice. Josh Hall: So that was the big thing. But yeah, I really still went back to the need for my students. So what I found as a course creator was the money that was coming in with courses was awesome, however, it’s not really recurring income because it’s not something that somebody buys once and it pays over and over, they just buy a course and that’s it, and it’s not really passive because you need to actively promote it and do a lot. So I had months that were really good with course sales and months that were a little down if there wasn’t a launch or if there wasn’t a sale or there wasn’t any good promotion around it. Josh Hall: And what I found was, number one, I wanted to have more stable recurring income with the courses, but the other aspect was the students themselves. What I found was a lot of students would come into a course or they’d go through multiple courses and they would say it was life changing and it was amazing and it would be awesome, but inevitably once they’re done, they would disappear. Unless they would intentionally reach out to me or come back to me, it was hard for me once I got several hundred students to remember, “Oh, I should reach out to Jimmy to see how Jimmy’s doing with his business.” It was hard for me to do that. Josh Hall: So what I realized was there was a big need for a deeper sense of community and connection, which is what I’m actually building out right now through my membership. So my membership is going to be, I’m just calling it my web design club, and it’s going to be basically much different than a free Facebook group because it’s going to be a premium type of membership where a lot of my students are going to be able to connect with each other. What I was doing was I was pairing students up with each other like crazy. So I never [crosstalk 00:43:56]- Chris Badgett: Like mastermind creation or what? Josh Hall: Yeah, exactly. Very much like a mastermind, like a community that’s private, that’s going to weed out the people who are not a good fit. If somebody has zero budget or they’re not ready to invest in themselves, then I’ve got a free group, they can join my free Divi web designers group, but this is for people who are really serious about their business. Josh Hall: I’m also doing like exclusive training and a bunch of other aspects and really cool things in the community. But it’s also a place where they can connect with me because as I get more notoriety in the community, I’m not going to be able to answer every email that comes through or a random message. So, everyone who joins my community will get a private messaging thread with me for basic questions and basic coaching basically. And that was really the key, to bring my community of amazing students together because, like I said, I was basically playing matchmaker. Like I’d have one student go through a course and they’d say, “You’ve helped me out so much, I love the course. I’m ready to hire somebody, do you know of a designer?” I’m like, “Oh, I do. Here’s a list of recent designers, this is my network.” I was doing that left and right, and I still am. Josh Hall: So the community aspect is going to be where like everyone can go and I just can’t wait. I’m really close to launching it here, so I know it’s going to be a big piece. And it’s really going to be, I think, kind of the glue that fits all the puzzle pieces together because there’s a lot of things that I want to teach on and go in more in depth but don’t really fit in my courses. Like I’d like to talk to people about how to get better on camera and how to do like basic videos for their business, I guess I could do a course on that but I’d rather that be kind of a membership type of piece. There’s- Chris Badgett: That’s cool. Josh Hall: … a lot of little side topics like that, that are going to help my students that don’t really fit into my web design courses that this membership is going to be a big part of. Chris Badgett: So just so we’re clear on the model here, the membership is like a value add, it doesn’t include courses, the courses are standalone. But then there’s this continuity thing which provides more support, more community, ancillary content that is around the ecosystem of what they’re up to, that’s what it is? It’s not like a membership that includes all your courses, right? Josh Hall: Exactly. Yeah, the courses are still separate, they’re their own standalone things. And I had debated on putting the courses in the membership but I’ve got hours and hours of content in the courses and it would just be overwhelming if you joined a membership and there’s like a hundred hours of stuff to go through, it just doesn’t lend itself for success for the students. So, the courses are separate, yeah. Chris Badgett: Do you see people joining the membership only after having taken a course or they might join and then realize like, Oh, I might want to take this course or both either, or, choose your own adventure kind of thing? Josh Hall: I think it will be both and maybe we could schedule a follow-up on this next year, I’ll kind of fill you in on what I’ve learned with the membership alongside courses. But I have heard from people who do both that they feed into each other. I think that more people will go through courses first and then they’ll come to the membership as the sense of connection. What’s interesting is I built up a little member interest email list, and I’ve been doing some calls and some Q&A’s with people who are my students, who are interested in the membership and they’re like fired up. They’re like, “I can’t wait to join, I’m ready to go like right now.” Just because they’re dying for that sense of community that’s at a whole other level than a free Facebook group or a course group. So yeah, I think it’s going to feed both, but I have a feeling that most people will come through courses first and then the membership is going to be that piece that really engages them, it really connects them. Josh Hall: And I think it’ll be a really good upsell for people who maybe go through my business course and then they join the membership and then they hear talk people talking about my SEO course, and they’re like, “I need to take Josh’s SEO course.” And then they go through that. So I’m pretty sure it’s going to feed really nicely with each other. Will do a round two if you want and I’ll fill you in what I’ve learned [crosstalk 00:47:48]- Chris Badgett: Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll definitely check in a year from now and see lessons learned. In terms of pricing, I’m just asking you because we get all these questions, I’m not asking you specifically on price point, but are you thinking of like a monthly thing or an annual thing or both options? Josh Hall: Two options. Both, yeah. So right now I’m like 99% sure I’m rolling with $99 a month for the membership, although I’m going to give founding members a 20% discount. Chris Badgett: Early adopter, nice. Josh Hall: Yeah, early adopter discount. So if you join within a few months, I’m going to set the deadline, you’ll get it at like $79 a month. And that will include everything in the membership with trainings, weekly Q&A’s, the private coaching thread with me and everything that’s involved with the membership. But then there’ll be an annual, and I’m thinking annual I’ll probably do for like the $999, [crosstalk 00:48:33] want to say, but then I will be giving discounts to students who are already in a course. So if they’ll want to upgrade to the membership, then they’ll get a special student discount because I’m a big believer in not being a cable company, meaning you want to give your best deals to the people who are already a customer because- Chris Badgett: Wow. Yeah, I love that. Josh Hall: … the cable companies is the typical like we’re going to give our best deals to new people. And then what happens after a year? They hike up your prices. Chris Badgett: Wow. Josh Hall: So I’m a big believer in if you get a student or you get a customer, treat them even better as the years go on, give them more discounts as time goes on because you’ll make a client for life. So yeah, pricing model wise, that’s what I’m looking at. Eventually I might do more tiers for like more advanced coaching or maybe even a basic level of the membership that maybe doesn’t have access to me, I might explore that. But right now, I’m keeping it just $99 a month or $999 a year with discounts to students, yeah. Chris Badgett: Man, this is awesome. Cool. Well, I want to kind of wrap it up with one question just to kind of put a button on it. You talked about, in our episode where I was on your podcast, about competition and being different in the space and all this like… There are other web design courses and memberships and stuff like that, not like who are your competition but how do you think about competition? Because I see that hold back a lot of would be course creators or people who want to build a coaching program or an online community or membership, what is your perspective on competition? Josh Hall: It really goes back to the Divi Community, I think. Because that community is so open and everyone’s sharing their code and sharing what they learned, it really put the bug in me that you don’t need to have this dog eat dog mentality online, and even if it’s a different industry, you can share what you know and you can actually help your competition. I like to call it, and I didn’t come up with this word, I stole it from some of my competitors, but they call it cooppetition to where, yeah, you have competition but you can cooperate with them. So some of my competitors are like Divi Life and Divi Space and some of these plugin and course and theme creator companies, but there are some of my best friends. I have them on my podcast and then eventually we’re going to be doing trainings together. Chris Badgett: Right. Josh Hall: Like I’m going to have them to do a webinar on my membership. What’s really been interesting is the creators of those two companies in particular, they have a course together, they have their own Divi business course and I’ve had a lot of students go through both of our courses. And the cool thing about that is, some people might say, “Why would you go through two Divi business courses?” Well, each one of our courses are based solely off of our experience. In web design, there’s no right or wrong so the way I do contracts and proposals and my onboarding process looks different than the way they do it. But if somebody goes through both courses, they can learn so much and they can apply what they want to do in their business. So I’ve had a lot of students say, “I really like the way they do certain processes, but I like the way you do this.” And then they make it their own and it’s amazing. So, yeah, big on cooppetition. Josh Hall: Yeah, we have competing stuff, but at the end of the day, I’m not looking to get every person in the Divi market. And as a web designer, you’re likely not going to be able to work with every person in the world that needs a website, so just stay in your lane and it can be you. And it was the same principle with my Divi group, my Facebook group, there was a ton of other groups, but instead of looking at their numbers and being worried about how many subscribers they were getting or whatever, I just focused on being genuine and being real and helpful and that’s how my group grew. Josh Hall: And it’s the same principle that I applied to my courses, and it’s actually the same principle that I pulled from my web design agency. We had a lot of competitors, but I wasn’t trying to compete with them. I was like, “I’m in Columbus, Ohio, there’s plenty of people who need websites, I’m not going to try to get every person in Columbus who needs a website.” So I just focused on my few clients that turned into a few more and then it built up from there. So yeah, that’s a biggie, man, cooppetition, all about it. Josh Hall: And actually, you learn a lot from your competitors if you’re friends with them and you’re not worried… I know my episode that I had you on for my podcast, Chris, you talked about Justin and LearnDash, you guys are friendly competition as well, but I know you’re cool with each other. It’s not like you see Justin at a WordCamp and give them the side-eye. Chris Badgett: [inaudible 00:53:00]. Josh Hall: I don’t know, maybe I haven’t seen you, but I can’t imagine you’re that kind of person. So yeah, it doesn’t have to be like that, there’s plenty of fish in the digital sea, I guess. And it just makes life better. It sucks waking up trying to compete with somebody when there’s no need for that. You can help each other out and then you can really make a big impact and you can actually wake up and enjoy your day and love getting online, so yeah. Chris Badgett: Totally. Josh Hall: I want to make the web a more friendly place, that’s kind of what it’s all about. Chris Badgett: Yeah, it’s about the infinite game. There’s a lot of resources and customers out there or whatever, it’s more infinite than a fixed game where there’s only so many. You can’t build a website for everybody in the world. Josh Hall: And also just real quick, I know we’re on a time crunch, but I will often promote and recommend my competitors. So somebody in my Divi group a while back said, “Hey, there’s a bunch of Divi CSS courses, which one should I go with?” Some of the other course creators popped in and they were like, “Go with my course, it’s way better than the other ones.” And I tried to take a different approach so I said, “Hey man, there’s a lot of good options, it might come down to who you resonate with. Look at the course overviews, look at the budget to see if it aligns with everything and just make sure it’s somebody who you resonate with.” And I said, “Here are all of the people I know and trust that create Divi courses, and either way, no matter what route you go, you’re going to be taken care of. But I would just encourage you to choose who you want to be your teacher and your guide.” And that person went with my course after I’d post that. Josh Hall: So oddly enough, recommending a bunch of other courses was the catalyst for them to join my course. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. So- Josh Hall: Try that out next time [inaudible 00:54:47] like that. Chris Badgett: So that’s Josh Hall, he’s at JoshHall.co. If you’re an expert type person, subject matter expert, go check out his website, I think it’s such a great example of having content, courses and all these different things that work together for a clear customer. If you’re a WordPress professional or agency, go check out his business course, check out his membership. Josh, I want to thank you for coming on the show, any final words for the people as we sign off here? Josh Hall: Thanks for having me on, Chris, I really enjoyed my time with you, man. I would just say, just think about your mission and just align your content and your plans around the impact you want to make. It sounds cheesy, it sounds really entrepreneurial and corporatey but if you keep that at the heart of it then life will never get boring and you’ll be able to do all kinds of cool stuff. Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning. Keep taking action. And I’ll see you in the next episode. The post How to Transition from Online Services to Online Courses in the WordPress Web Design Niche With Divi Expert Josh Hall appeared first on LMScast - LifterLMS Podcast.
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