HOW TO TURN YOUR IDEAS INTO AN ONLINE COURSE THAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR

HOW TO TURN YOUR IDEAS INTO AN ONLINE COURSE THAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR | #THINKMEDIAPODCAST #180

Speaker 2 :
What we do is we try to make sure that we so over deliver in value. You can use the free stuff, it's better than most people's paid stuff. But the paid stuff, we want it to be excellent. Excellent production values, excellent content, ten x a hundred x the value you paid for it. If you have that, you have no problem.

Speaker 1 :
Carrie welcome back to the think media podcast so.

Speaker 2 :
Good to be here man I appreciate you so much Sean.

Speaker 1 :
I'm excited to get into the topic today. You are very prolific and you have packaged what you know into products and programs and it's helped you build really a big business, impactful business that helps church leaders overall. You not just have built a very powerful podcast with a huge listenership helping leaders in the business world and in the church world. But you've also created online courses. You've written multiple best selling books, and I want to learn from you the process of packaging what you know. A lot of our community wants to create an online course. They may want to write an ebook or a. Full on physical book, traditional published maybe and really reach more people. And then of course they're trying to figure out how do I package what I know in a way that is actually effective. It's one thing to just commit to making an online course. It's another thing to making a good online course, maybe creating a framework around things and you're very studied and read leader yourself. So I kind of just want to unpack how you go through this process of packaging what you know and then marketing it and monetizing it. And so let's start off with what are your existing products and programs and what formats are they in? Just kind of as a quick rundown?

Speaker 2 :
Yeah, sure. So it's changed a lot over the years. It started as a hobby a decade ago and become something totally different. But right now, freeze frame in this moment, sort of the centerpiece of what we do is something we launched like not even a year ago, called the art of Leadership Academy. And what it is, it's a place mostly for church leaders and also faithminded business leaders to come together. It's a membership program, so it costs right now 447$ a year to join. All of my premium content is inside the Academy. So that's all of my courses. I think I have a half dozen of them. I do some coaching in there. So like this, only with the people who want to join us for that month, once a month. And that's available to all Academy members. And then I do something called monthly team training, which is like a short course, 15 minutes, just a video you can play because a lot of people don't develop their teams particularly well. It's like, oh, I got to teach on something. So you whip it off the night before. So we'll prep for that and then just create some short content with an application guide. And then the best part, the secret sauce has been. We built out this like social media forum, a private one just in the Academy where there's some really cool sharing opportunities, threads, conversation, dialogue, community happening between the fifteen hundred church leaders who are in it already. And that's sort of the centerpiece of that. And then I do a leadership podcast and it's growing really well right now. And then I also blog on my website. We have some free articles and that's sort of the heart of it. It's writing. Podcasting and then the art of Leadership Academy. I think that covers most of what I do. And then I'm still the speaker. So I've written five books, but books tend to be episodic. That's about every couple of years you put out a book or so, but I do. Yeah, probably 20 to 25 events a year, Max. Less than I used to. And those are for church leaders or business leaders. I'll just go out and communicate usually around. One of my biggest blog topics or something I wrote in a book more recently.

Speaker 1 :
So today, and this is amazing, you have the art of Leadership Academy and there's six courses in that it. Did you make those courses though over the past few years?

Speaker 2 :
Yes so we started by just offering courses a la carte. You know, you got into, you asked a question about monetization and honestly I had no monetization plans at all. When I started this was a hobby. I thought I would start writing three days a week. You know, just put something on the blog and it was the golden days of 2012 And SEO isn't wasn't then what it is now, which is highly technical. And you publish a post on church growth and pastors find it and we had immediate success, but there was no monetization behind it. Then I started a leadership podcast just because. I really enjoyed doing it. Cost of entry is super low. So in 2014 I launched a leadership podcast just to bring the backroom conversations I was having to people I cared about, my staff, my team, other leaders. I'm like, wow, I'm privileged to have amazing conversations with great people. Let's bring that to the public for free. So I'm still doing that. But again, no monetization strategy. I mean, I probably could be a lot wealthier than I am, but you know, I just, that wasn't my motivation. And then eventually what happens is I got a lot of inbound, you know at first it's just you and a keyboard and couple of comments here and there and a few emails and then when millions of people showed up, it was like inbound, inbound. So I started to have to hire and that's when we. Started accepting partners for the podcast. I'm still really picky. We just had a meeting this week that we've left a lot of money on the table. Like if you're a sponsor on my podcast, I believe in you, I believe in your company and I want leaders. I always feel my brand is trust. So as soon as you buy the Academy, if you click on a sponsor link in the podcast, if you click on an affiliate link on my website, I don't want that just to be a revenue thing for me. I want it to be value added for you. And there been people that we dropped. So but I started doing that on the podcast and then I wanted to get in online courses because I would be asked for consulting. We end up saying no 90 % of the time when people ask me to appear in person. And I'm like, well, I can go deeper than a blog post, deeper than a podcast and just producing an online course. So we started those maybe five years ago. So I'd probably produced one or two a year, about six or there might be 7 in there. I haven't counted lately. And then earlier this year in early 2022 we bundled it all together in the art of Leadership Academy. And here's the crazy part, we used to sell a single course for 447$ Now you get all of them for a 447 dollar annual membership. So it was a big risk, but we're really encouraged by the early results in that. And best of all, the dialogue in the community in the art of Leadership Academy has been exceptional, just great.

Speaker 1 :
I love it. So take me back then to the first course and thinking about the listener. So someone's like, okay, I want to create an online course and I'm trying to figure out what to make it about. But I'm also trying to figure out how to structure it, how to organize it for you. How did you get, what was your first ever course? How long was it, and how did you go about actually assembling it? Was there anything you studied? You have a background in teaching? As a pastor. So maybe that maybe comes a little bit naturally to walk me through the process of any insecurities or learnings of getting the first one off the ground and if you remember what it was called yeah you know, I'm kind of entrepreneurial, so I don't remember studying the art of making an online course. I just kind of did one and I hadn't taken a whole lot myself, which is silly, but I just, I felt like I was responding to the number one question I was being asked. So the first course was called the high Impact leader. Which over the years evolved into what is now at your best, a book you know very well. And it's a book, it's now a course, it's inside the Academy, etcetera. But it started out of a talk I gave a productivity talk in 2015 maybe at Mark Patterson's national Community Church in Washington, DC and I was trying out new content because by that point I was leaving a church full time. You know, my family was fairly healthy. I was blogging 3 times a week. I had a leadership podcast and the number one question I was being asked is how do you get it all done? And what had happened to me is almost a decade earlier I burned out and I spent years reconstructing my life, getting coaching, getting counseling and I created these principles that help me stay out of burnout, help me thrive, which eventually are now and at your best. So I hadn't really shared that content. People would ask me that question. And I'd be like, well, you know, you should think about how you manage your energy, not just how you manage your time. If you're a morning person, do your mort. But it was very like all over there. So for this talk at national Community Church, I tried to organize it and that took me days. Like, I'm like, Okay, well, what are the principles like? I never. I knew what they were internally, but I didn't know how to express them. It's like, you know, somebody saying to you, how did you build think media? Well, you kind of know, but do you really know? Like that would take a lot of work for you to describe it step by step. Yeah, it was me and my phone and you know, I uploaded video to YouTube and here's my first video. But like that's a that's a different thing. So I spent the time, put it into a 45 minute talk and delivered it for Mark Patterson. And Mark stood up when I was finished, he intercepted me as I was sitting back down in my seat. And he goes, that needs to be a book. Well, I just released a book. And I had other priorities. So I'm like, well, maybe not a book, but maybe I could do a course. So I thought, short 9 sessions, less than 10 minutes each. I had a partner at the time in Orange, the Rethink Group flew down to Atlanta. They had the studios and everything. I recorded it. I, you know, it took me a month or so to prep, not of like 40 hours a week, but just working on it. I refined my ideas and the filter that I used was. I assume people have short attention span. I'd never done an online course before, and the filter I used was helpful. How is this helpful? Like, people care less about my story, they came care more about their story. So if I can produce some principles that will work in the lives of other people that I could field test, then that might be a good course. So I wrote it with that in mind. And you know, it wasn't as polished as I didn't have the Green Zone, yellow zone, red zone stuff I hadn't at your best. I didn't have all the handles around it, but we released it and it took off and the craziest thing of all if you want to talk about pricing man, like that product had a four year shelf life. We took it off the shelf. I think we launched it in 2017 2016 pulled it off in 2021 when at your best released. And I believe I launched it at 59$ and I just couldn't imagine anyone paying 59$ at that point because this was 2016 It was online and on a thumb drive. Do you remember those that we produced thumb drive? So we actually had like almost physical digital copies of it and we had a little workbook that I had produced for it just like 60 pages or so, 59$ I thought nobody will buy this anyway. It sold out and then we cut off sales and then we released it again and we raised the price to 79$ and nobody balked. And then 99 well, when we took it off the market, I think it was 397$ nothing changed in that course, nothing. It was the same product, but it went from 59$ to 397$ and that was another big decision for me, I mean. Every Black Friday, everybody discounts whatever they do. I've never had a sale. What I try to do is I try to price everything I do according to value. Because I really believe if you get really good value you will never complain. So I tried to think, OK how much is you getting? And you just went through at your best, at our best, with your whole company, you know, what are evenings at home with your wife and children worth 59$ 397$ what is getting a thousand productive hours of your life back this year compared to the old system? And by the time we released the book at your best and the course at your best, I had thousands of data points and stories from people who had done this, and I found out these principles work almost universally so I could start to make brand promises like. What would you pay if you're a preacher, to have your sermon done on Tuesday rather than on Saturday night? How much is that worth to you? How much is it worth to you as a business owner not to burn out? And to do less and accomplish more, it's got to be worth than three more than 397$ or and forty seven dollars. So as long as there's a value gap between what you get from a product and what you paid from a product and that actually works in favor of the customer. You never have to put stuff on sale because as Seth Godin says, once you do it on sale, it's a race to the bottom because somebody will always, like if you're competing on price, somebody will always do it cheaper, somebody will always do it less than you. So what I want to do is I want to have super high value. The other thing I'm pricing that we've done, we've always offered it 30 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee and our refund rate. I don't know what you see in the space. But for software as a service or online courses, the refund rate is usually through the roof, like 30 % or more. Ours is between one and 3 % depending on the product, because what we do, we give away. We want our free stuff to be better than most people's paid stuff. So you can find a lot of the principles on my blog for free that made it into at your best. Now you're not going to get a course with me teaching you through 14 sessions. The new course is 14 sessions. You're not going to get the convenience of a 55,000 thousand Word book where every word has been edited and thought through, but you can find it for free if you've got a few days more power to you, go do it. But what we do is we try to make sure that we so over deliver in value. You can use the free stuff. It's better than most people's paid stuff. But the paid stuff, we want it to be excellent. Excellent production values, excellent content. Ten x a hundred x the value you paid for it, if you have that. You have no problem. So to me it's a lot more complicated. People like what's your next course going to be when I feel myself or collaborator has something that would that we can deliver that is going to help the person and they will get 10 times minimum the value out of it, then they paid for it, then I'm ready to do the next product.

Speaker 1 :
That was a master class with a lot of Nuggets that I want to recap a few and I want to invite you to. Add any nuances into some things I heard that I really believe is a framework for the listener that wants to create an online course. Number one you responded to the number one question. You get the most I think for listeners as you're posting content and as a footnote to your content empire. You do have a podcast you started in 2014 but it is also a video podcast, meaning your YouTube channel and your. It not just getting great results now but that continues to grow. So you're distributing content, you're distributing your blogs and as you're adding a lot of free content up front, which many people are doing, you eventually develop even a small audience that starts to ask you a consistent question and that what should I make my online course about? The number one question you get the most probably for us it's like how do I start and grow a YouTube channel that makes money and our main YouTube course answers that question. You then also number two did raw first. It was also somebody that asked you to talk on this. You would heard it elsewhere, so you did a version of it first. I've learned that to be true in my own story where you can actually develop your online course. Might be it will probably be cultivated in public. You'll probably practice in public for a speaker or pastor, and maybe. Many speaker, many pastors have turned a sermon series into a book. They've turned a sermon series into something else because it resonated. So I think the cool thing about committing to creating YouTube videos weekly, podcast weekly is you are testing messages in public and sometimes seeing what resonates. So you went raw first, then you did a refined version. But what's amazing is you Fast forward to today and you've done a further refined version. And then what you did step five was you've also refined your marketing because as you continue to impact people along the way, you got more case studies, more feedback, more nuances, okay, this actually leads to imagine your sermons done by Tuesday. This actually leads to imagine you have a thousand hours because you essentially you've been getting custom testimonials in the process and I can relate to a lot of these steps because. Video Ranking Academy is actually now six years old. We've redone it multiple times, it responded that question. There was a raw version, there was a refined version, there's been a further refined version and kind of put a cherry on the top of the whole thing. Your book at your best is so incredible, and I've told you that before. Not just the content itself, but actually it's just one of the great books ever written. That's a big statement, but just it's just, it reads well. It's amazing. It doesn't surprise me because you talked about how much editing, how much pain, love had gone into it. The frameworks are strong, the stories are strong. It's not too long. It's kind of like Albert Einstein said. I think that if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Well, this shouldn't be a surprise to us. Because you can take this all the way back to responding to a question, raw version, refined version, further refined version, living it, testing it, doing it over and over. And then once you bring it all the way to book form, it's kind of a painful process for the listener. That's like, I want to write a book in the next three months as opposed. And you may be ready, but in case of a truly kind of viral message that I think you have here, that's also a perennial seller that'll keep impacting. It speaks to just actually the continuous refinement of one other nuance I noticed, which is kind of developing a core message, kind of finding what is that genius zone, something that you've refined in your own life, how to be at your best, how to be a high impact leader, how to recover from burnout, which is now we're talking really the legacy piece of this is you could argue that a decade or decades have gone into the message because you experienced the pain yourself. You pursued solutions, you tested a lot of hypothesis and disproved them. You found the things that worked, and now Fast forward to today. You've packaged it but then repackaged it. And there's also been an evolution in price along the way. I said a lot, so for you to poke holes in any of the nuances there. But to me, I see that as kind of a framework for someone listening that wants to make a truly impactful online course. Don't overthink it at the start. Because it was you invited to talk. The talk turned into the original package. You got it to the market. It was, it was 59$ get it out there, have something that resonated. But then you've also refined it along the way. And not only did the price eventually for the course elevate, now it's in the, you know, art of Leadership Academy, but now it's a book that's also impacting at a crazy level. A lot of steps have been there on the journey. Any feedback on my assessment of that process?

Speaker 2 :
I think it's very accurate. And I think, you know, there's a couple things that we haven't touched on yet. Your pain is probably related to your purpose. So if you had to look at what weaves all of my content together, well, first of all, I wasn't, you know, a quote influencer. I wasn't a thought leader in my twenties. I was in school and then in my thirties I started leading a church. In my forties I led a church when I was 50. I handed it off to the next generation and started to focus more on the stuff I'm doing now. But the stuff I'm doing now arose from like I'm also a law school grad. So the short way to understand it is I went to law school but nobody taught me how to run a law firm and I went to seminary and no one taught me how to run a church. So if you want to look at kerrynewhoff.com what my company does, I show you everything you didn't learn and you're figuring out the hard way and I can give you shortcuts. And that's kind of what you do, right? Like you figured out with think media, oh, this is, you know, this the camera to buy. You don't have to go and order 17 kits and try it out yourself. You can listen to my recommendations. And so I've figured out like, what do you do with a toxic team member? I've got one called the art of Team leadership. That's one of the courses in the Academy. And honestly, I just made so many, pardon me, mistakes in leadership that I. Wrote a course about it. It's like, oh, when you get toxic people, here's what to do with it, here's how to govern remote work, etcetera, etcetera. So it's sort of that thing where if your pain, whatever that happened to be, will probably lead you somehow to your purpose and that burnout. Most painful thing I've ever been through. And the reconstruction, like when I was doing that reconstruction, I wasn't thinking one day this is going to be a course that's going to sell thousands of courses and then, you know, a book that's going to help tens of thousands of leaders like it. That was the furthest thing from my mind. It's like how do I get to tomorrow? But I took good notes. And then those notes eventually led to a question. I did another course called the art of online influence because by last year. The number one question I was getting then wasn't how do you get it all done because they had read my stuff or read the book or taking the course. It was how did you grow this company, man? How did you get, you know, 26 million downloads on your podcast? How did that happen and how did you build such a big, influential following? And of course it was an accident because I wasn't trying to build a company. I was trying to help people and find a hobby that would keep me out of jail. So it was writing at five a m before my eight a m. Job it, was like yeah, I'll just write some stuff. It's fun. And of course now that's not a hobby anymore. It's what I do full time. So I had to find some other hobbies. But, you know, it was the art of online influence because wherever I went, whether I was having lunch with business leaders or church leaders, they'd always pull me aside and listen for the hushed tone. Because when they go, OK Sean, that was really nice, but how did you build think media? How did that? They'll talk in a different tone of voice because they really want to know the secret. And of course it's never a single line. But if you start to really think about that, okay, well, how did we build influence on the Internet? Well, I always talked about less my story and more the listener story or the reader's story. You know, i have a formula for podcasting, which is if I talk more than 10 % of the time, I'm a failure. That I have to let the guests shine and that I have to, you know, follow the Curiosity trail. Cuz I often hear Carrie, I really love the way you interview people and I hear this on a regular basis. So I sat down and I thought, okay, how do I do my interview? And then I enumerated, you know, cuz I'm 500 episodes in okay, good interviews, I do this. Bad interviews, I do this. So don't do that. Try this. And I'm very happy to let the guests take the spotlight because I get to talk on my blog, I get to talk in my courses, I get to talk if I preach. But it's like my job there is to listen, to be curious and pull things out of the guest that other people don't do it. And here's how you do that. So that's a whole unit in the art of online influence. So that's how I develop my content. It's just like I had a big problem this summer where I ran into a vision crisis, so my next course might be the art of casting vision why? Because I went through three months of pain trying to go. I've lost my way here in this company and I got to find that out. And I read books and I listen to podcasts and I researched it and I talked to friends and then we found a crystal clear vision. My team is excited, I'm excited. We're moving into the future. But then I thought back on all the times I lost vision over the last 20 years and what happened and what were the conditions? And I took I got pages of notes. And now I'll do more research, but that'll probably be the next course.

Speaker 1 :
It's beautiful. Now, can you go through your process in what you think makes communication compelling, specifically when you're trying to teach how to be a high impact leader? If your next course is going to be the art of casting vision, or the art of vision when you're assembling a course, what have you learned with the background now as a? Prolific podcast communicator as also having to make sermons weekly is challenging and you communicate in multiple different modalities. You could let's either start with the mistakes you think that communicators are hurting them that make lose attention in a video or a podcast. Makes a podcast boring or social media or what do you think it powers it up? What are what is any kind of frameworks you have so that when you present you record one video inside of your Members area. How are you structuring that?

Speaker 2 :
So the way I think about it is clarity, clarity. It's that Einstein quote. It's like you have to understand it well enough to be able to explain it to somebody in kindergarten. And where a lot of content goes wrong is the communicator doesn't understand it well enough to be able to explain it and teach it at a level where the uninitiated can understand. And So what I work on in my communication, I don't always get it right, but what I work on is I think about the bones of a talk or the bones. Like what are, what are the principles for Session 1? The principles, if you're doing a 40 minute message, right. I spoke to a couple of leaders in Virginia and Toronto last week and what did I do? Well, first, the first thing I'm trying to do in the first few minutes is establish a connection with my audience. And I don't do that by talking about me. I start that as you teach by talking about them. And i'll ask them a really intriguing question. Like why is it that so many leaders end up collapsing morally? It's true in politics, it's true in business. But, you know, it's awful. It's really true in the church boom well, most people are hooked at that point. And then it's like, well, could that happen to you? Could that happen to me? So you do some kind of hook. To start with, and what you're trying to surface is either a really interesting problem, and in particular a problem that they're struggling with or interested enough to, you know, take on for themselves, or how many of you have experienced some form of burnout in the last year. Quick show of hands, you know, there might be more of you than you even think. Let me tell you why. Boom boom, boom. And then I can talk about burnout for an hour and then you want to be really clear on some of the principles like you know we you were just on my show and you quoted back one of the lines from at your best my you know time management productivity book. And it's like if it and I worked really hard on the sentence but it goes something like this. If it's not, if you're busy season has no ending it's not a busy season. It's your life. Well, that took hours and hours of me thinking about going to parties and telling people, yeah, I'm you seem really busy. Yeah, it's really busy. You always say that. And I'm like, oh, wait a minute. Seasons of Beginnings, Season 7 endings. If your season has no beginning and ending, your busy season isn't just a season, it's your life. That's where that rhythm came out of. But that is like if you have a big funnel. Like all these ideas swirling around boom, boom. The problem with most preachers, the problem with most communicators, the problem with most video content creators is you get lost in that sea of ideas and you haven't done the reduction. Like, what's a really good pasta sauce? I know you're starting out as a gurmand now, Sean. You're on your way. It's not. You threw a bunch of stuff into the pot, and you served at 10 minutes later. It's that you let it reduce and reduce and reduce and reduce. Until it becomes really thick and really good and the flavors kind of meld. That's when a sauce becomes amazing and that's what you need to do in your communication. And that is the really hard work of taking complicated ideas and expressing them simply so and in a way that resonates with people's experience. So once I have 3-4-5-6 of those hooks. You know, key key areas. And I know like, oh, this could be a six unit course idea one, idea two, idea three, idea four. And in communication, Andy Stanley calls it this. I've learned so much from Andy Stanley. He says, what's your bottom line? So your bottom line is time off won't heal you when the problem is how you spend time on, you know, I got a whole section on why vacations don't work because we've all had. That situation we took two weeks off lay at the beach, totally relaxed. We come back and we feel like we get hit by a truck on Monday morning by eleven a m why? Is that well, the problem isn't the way you vacation. You know how to vacation, but time off won't heal you because the problem is how you spend your time on and what we need a plan is how do you spend your time on. So again, that was that was hours of thinking into me trying to figure out why do so many people come back from vacations and sabbaticals. And minutes after they get back, they feel like they never left. And it's like that was it just hit me one day I wrote it down and then I had to figure out how do I express it in a sentence that is memorable. So it's a hook so that people can take it with them. So you want to have one for all of, even if you're doing a short on YouTube, you want to have a hook like that you know, on my burnout thing, if you don't take the Sabbath, the Sabbath will take you. Or leaders who never take a break end up breaking. Do you hear how that kind of rhymes is a phrase? Again, that's hours of work. Just thinking, noodling, going for a bike ride, or whatever. It's like, that's it. Leaders who never take a break end up breaking. If you don't take a Sabbath, the Sabbath will take you. That's burnout. It's involuntary rest. And then you write it down and that becomes your hook. But those become memorable, and when they're memorable, they become portable. So you've really got to work on clarity of thinking, and that's hard work. And it's not googlable because people can tell. Did you steal this off some motivational poster from the nineties you know, or did you steal it off someone else's website with a Google search? Or did that? Does that content live in you, and if it lives in you don't have to study. You don't have to memorize it. I mean, you'll learn your bottom lines. You'll learn the way you know, Green Zone, yellow zone, red zone, you'll learn phrases like that but. My goodness, that lives in you. So just kind of flows out of you and people can tell, they can tell if you're faking it, they can tell if it's imposter syndrome. So what I would say is the work you need to do is to look inside like were you bullied as a kid? You got some material there. Did you fail in your first couple attempts at you know content creation, you probably have some content there. So that's where I would look to the past because those personal stories, the pain of like having to let go a toxic staff member. It's awful and all, right? Well, I probably have some content there. What did I learn?

Speaker 1 :
Hey, we're going to get back into the content in just a second, but today's episode is brought to you by Tube 1K challenge.com If you want to start or grow a successful YouTube channel in 2023 then you're going to love this free five day challenge hosted by me, Sean Cannell and the Think Media team we're going to be sharing the best tactics and strategies for. Getting views, getting subscribers and the best methods for making money in a 2023 world, even if you have a small channel. We only do these challenges a few times a year. They are completely free, but you have to register to be a part of the private group where all of the streaming, all of the giveaways and all of the community and connection happens. Inside of the tube 1K challenge. To register, just go to tube the number one k challenge dot com. The link, of course, is in the show notes. Now let's get back to the featured content. If you weren't to let's workshop, assuming the art of Leadership Academy is not where all of your courses live, but you were going to now, knowing what you know now, after all your experience, you were going to package. And promote and launch this vision course breakdown over the next couple months, how you would do it? How many videos do you think it would be? Where are you going to upload and host that? And maybe however you want to approach this, but if you were to just put yourself in the viewer listeners shoes that wants to get a course off the ground, how much margin would you give yourself? How would you keep yourself motivated to again sit down, outline, record, upload? And what are those steps in your minds of just how you would do that today if you wanted to launch kind of a simple mini course and get it to market so that you could package what you know impact people's lives but also start generating revenue specifically as a content creator that's an educator thought leader, right, that an online course is relevant for them. How would you do it?

Speaker 2 :
I would give yourselves a long runway. So back to the cooking metaphor, the best content comes out of. A long process to germinate the brain is a really interesting thing. So if you started to say, okay, I'm going to write my art of casting Vision course today, you're going to have an empty Google Doc and you're going to start writing and you'll definitely have something on the page at noon. Maybe you'll have an outline by 5:00 but it won't be that good. It's got to simmer in the way, you know, from what I've the little bit of brain research I've done. There's science now behind this idea that your best ideas hit you in the shower or when you're running or when you're not trying to think of ideas. What's happening is your brain is working in the background to connect disparate and isolated thoughts. It's helping you gain clarity when you're not working on clarity. So you're mowing the lawn and for some reason the art of casting vision pops in your mind and you're like, oh, wait a minute, that's it. And then. Grab your phone, grab your voice memos app, grab Evernote, whatever you use your notes and write it down because it's not coming back. Like write it down in the moment. I've got so many voice memos. I've got so much stuff in Evernote where I'm just capturing. So I actually opened up an art of casting vision file that I've been working on since August. So this is like four months old. I probably won't record a course until the spring, so let's say it's now been simmering in the background for eight months. But what I have here is field notes. What I've got is a little bit about how I ran into that problem and then I'll just, can I give you an actual example of what I wrote down that will probably turn into session. One of the course signs you and this is marketing language too, signs you don't have a white hot vision, you're delaying on key subjects because you don't have clarity, you can't make decisions. Your drive is suffering. You're just maybe you're balanced, but like you just haven't got that fire in the belly, your business or your organization, or you are moving in random directions. Everything looks good. You've got mood swings. One day you're super motivated, the next you're super lethargic, and you've got a lot of brain fog. You can't really see your way through it now I might make. I might change some of those, but, like, that's a really good start because people are like, all right, do I have a vision casting problem? It's like, well, here's some signs. You actually don't have a white hot vision. Well, that's marketing language. But it also what something like that does is if you're giving a talk, and I preached for over 20 years, so I'm used to giving talks in front of a live audience what you want to do in those first 5 minutes or what you want to do in that first 3060 seconds. Of your video is you want to pull everybody in. You want to find as many common touch points as you can. So you might say, Sean, you might be like, oh, I have no trouble making decisions. But I'm like, yeah. But do you find that you have mood swings or you're a little lethargic, or one day you're super hot and the next day you're kind of like, I don't even want to do this anymore. Or you've got brain fog and you never used to have brain fog. You're like, okay, now I'm hooked. Or you're like, this is not for me, okay. Maybe it's not for you. Because if you don't have a vision problem, you don't need this product. I'm talking to people who can do a better job doing that. So I've got those notes, I've got those field notes, and then what I'm going to do is I will sit down one day, months in advance of recording it, or at least a month in advance of recording it, and go that feels introductory because my goal is to hook everybody in so that we're all on the same page and they can see how this applies. Some of them, they don't have a vision for the for work. Some of them don't have a vision for family. Some of them don't have a vision for their life. I've got a story in there. I interviewed or meet Satie, a personal finance guy, and he said, what's your rich life look like? That question bugged me for a month and I had a good answer on the spot. But I'm like more of the same and more of the same as in a vision that will make it into the course. But I wrote that down because now, five months later, I'm not going to remember that or I might remember that by chance. So then I'm going to start organizing the content and then I'm going to say. Well, what are the gaps? And I'll probably do some reading on casting vision. Look at some HBR articles, see what's out there. But again, this is your content. You're not there to redo the HBR That's Harvard Business Review. They do that better than I ever will. So then you know, I remember Arthur Brooks, his book from strength to strength, learned one thing from that. Then there's a Tim Ferriss podcast. I gleaned a great quote from a guy named Rulof Bota. I've got that in here. I'm like, yeah, I'm going to talk about the size of the problem. So one of the units will be the size of the problem. What problem are you trying to solve? And then I'm going to talk about that problem should be big. It should be inexhaustible and you shouldn't try to be able to solve it in the next few months. Like if your vision is to grow by 20 %, you might solve that by Q2 You know, where we landed as a team is our new vision is to reverse the decline in the church. And when I share that with people, it gets an oof. It gets a Oh my gosh, like, are you kidding? Do you know how big that problem is? Exactly but we could work on that for 20 years, and it's going to be bigger than us. And we're going to need partners. We're going to need people to help. So, you know, what is your big problem that you're trying to solve? And a lot of entrepreneurs, they can't answer that question. And when you can't answer that question, you don't really have a product and you don't really have a message. Like what are you trying to do? Are you trying to solve self esteem for young girls? Are you trying to solve addiction issues? Are you trying to solve growth problems with meteoric growth in a company? Are you? And it's got to be big enough that you can't solve it by the next quarter, otherwise your vision isn't going to be red hot. I knew what it was when I was at in a church because it was so easy. We had 300,000 thousand people who wouldn't be in church on a Sunday morning within a 30 minute drive of our church. That's a pretty big problem. We're probably not going to solve that by next weekend. So that's going to give us something to work on. But, you know, and so those are some excerpts. So then I put the bones in place. It's like, hey, session one, but talk about signs that you don't have a clear vision. Then we're going to talk about step one is to define the problem. Here's some exercises. Then we're going to talk about how do you relate that to a vision? What's the difference between a vision and a mission? And then we can talk about how do you communicate that vision? How do you explain it? And then there's probably another unit in there. And then I'll start to build those out. And then, you know, we'll get the film crew and I'll have all the content written. In an ideal world, I'll have the application guide done because I already know what I want the teams to do before I record the video, and then we'll just shoot and then we go into marketing. But if you've designed the course well, the marketing is already baked in because you already know what problem you're solving. You already know who it's for. It's not like I created this thing in an isolation. You already know who it's for and you know what their pain point is and what the other thing I'll do is I'll test these ideas out in the Academy by asking questions of the leaders we have there. And I'll test these ideas out on social media. And I might even do a real or a short where I'm like, hey, if have you ever suffered from these problems and what's the issue or what big problem are you trying to work on right now? Let me. I know, because then at minimum I'm going to get examples or another thing you can do. I did this in the Academy recently. I'm doing the monthly trainings. We got a video shoot coming and I'm like, hey, what do you wish I would talk about? Or what problem are you trying to solve? So get listener feedback and that will inform it. And if you've got the combination of listener feedback and some expertise in an area, you potentially have a product. You certainly have a subject. Maybe you have a product.

Speaker 1 :
Wow, so eight months simmer. Then organize it. Then asking what are the gaps? Research some more than bones. Do you consider the bones the outline like writing outline? So then outline it, then film it. Then also if possible, create a guide and a good online course comes with the workbook essentially and then upload it. What do you practically use for your hosting at this point?

Speaker 2 :
So yeah, my team is better at answering that. I believe it's learn Dash and mighty networks. So learn Dash is where our courses live and all of our video trainings that are the ones behind the pay wall. And then. Inside the Academy and then the chat and conversation and community in The Academy Is hosted by Mighty Networks. So they have two platforms. One is the mighty networks label. We have the white label version of Mighty Networks. When you go in looks exactly like we would design our own custom Academy. And at the bottom is a little copyright mighty network, so we white labeled it.

Speaker 1 :
Got it. Yeah and we our YouTube boot camp community is hosted in mighty networks the white level version and then allows it to be they see the name of the course essentially or they see the art of Leadership Academy and it's an it's like experiencing your brand with all of your branding all of your graphics and then at this point and try to go back to being in the shoes of someone who's just starting and maybe that doesn't have a team and probably doesn't have a team. Do you think it's possible to create, shoot, outline, upload, organize, landing page, email, list launch a course completely by yourself?

Speaker 2 :
I certainly couldn't do it by myself. And remember I was doing this as I was developing a revenue model, so I had to go to partnerships. Now, you know, I'm also in my fifties when I'm doing this. If I was eighteen, I would probably be a lot better. At that stuff, so I i'm definitely the content 30.000 thousand foot vision lane, that's what I do. But at the time when we launched our first course, I had two assistants that was it. And they didn't really have the technical skill either. So we leaned into people like Alejandro Reyes, who helped us. Market and launch the course. I leaned into the video crew at Orange and Rethink because I didn't have a video crew and we did a revenue share of that first course that I produced. And I just went to freelancers and people who really had the expertise in areas I didn't because I knew what i could bring the audience to the product and I could bring the content to the audience. And that was sort of my lane. In the same way, you know, I used to be in radio 100 years ago, but when I launched the podcast, part of what was really enticing to me is, oh, I was really picky about the music, really picky, and I still AM. But I'm like, I could edit this myself, and I chose not to because we have a guy, Toby Lyles, he's done all of our podcasts for all these years. It's fantastic. Never met him in real life, chatted with him a bunch. But he's done all of that because I knew my unique contribution was going to be to get top level guests and to ask great questions and host the show well. That that's my lane. I'm going to stick to it. But I think if you were, you know, tech savvy, the thing is eventually. I mean, I imagine you don't do a lot of editing anymore, do you, Sean?

Speaker 1 :
Yeah, and to that point, I did pull off some online courses. Mainly, I created a YouTube for churches course back when I wrote my own ebook. I still had an editor in the church and some other things hustling with friends. Kind of assistants, freelancers. Uploading some videos. But as soon as we entered this era, in those early days, Heather Torres jumped on the bus and was the equivalent of, I think your two assistants, someone helping upload the videos into the course, send out emails, get the IT members area organized, all that kind of stuff. And to your point of video editing, I don't edit video anymore. That was kind of one of my not only do I teach video editing, but I also was a video editor. So definitely for the first even year and a half of business. Once think Media was a little more sophisticated, I was editing video.

Speaker 2 :
And I think that's the point. And we all have friends and we all have different strengths and we all have different weaknesses. And the other thing to realize too, is your first product should be really good, but it doesn't have to be your final product. Our courses have gotten better and better over the years. And I mean, one of them was shot in lockdown, right? So it was my son. Coming in on my iPhone to record a course. Now we replace that one with another course down the road. But yeah, you can get started pretty humbly. But what you have to make sure is that the value that the user gets out of the course, and that's why I'm a big guy. For workbooks and application guides, the value is always. It's like in a can of paint, right? The value of the can of paint is in the application. If I have five cans of paint in my basement, does nothing. Doesn't help anybody. If I apply it to a wall, I got value out of that. So I want. And that's why the refund rate is so low. That's why people buy the products again and again, because they got so much value out of it. If it's just helpful information that you forget by dinner, nobody's coming back. So you've got to figure out how do I make this stick in the end user's life?

Speaker 1 :
That's very powerful and I've learned that. At the end of the day, if your online course can get the person who's going to purchase it a result, then that's the bottom line. Andy Stanley, you know, simplify that with the bottom line. I didn't have a YouTube channel set up with cover art and thumbnails and I didn't know how to title the videos. And now I do. And if I got a video from not having a video to having a video, great. If I got from calendars, chaotic to. Calendar is not chaotic and I've regained some hours and some Peace of Mind and my anxieties noticeable be lower great and I like that you didn't just call it a workbook, but you call it an application guide. And the can of paint analogy. So powerful because an online course, unopened and unutilized, is not bringing transformation. It not only needs to be consumed, but it needs to be applied. And so by actually thinking about the application guide. And so many Nuggets. This was obviously a very packed mini master class as much as you can pack into you know a 50 minute conversation. But I really appreciate you're very prolific already with this. There was so many incredible Nuggets in this process and so I recommend if you're listening to this to re listen to it to pull out some of those details. Man, I like the grace that you gave us at the Fake Media podcast of give yourself a long runway in today's world, we just feel so much pressure, so much comparison on social media. We never know people's process, but we see this person, oh man, they're launching something or they're doing that or they're doing that. And I still have an idea and it's and I love what you've learned about simmer. You know, let it simmer, organize it. And what I respect the most is also that. You just care so deeply about the end user getting a result, and you care deeply about spending the time refining the idea. I do think too many people are rushing content to market, or they're rushing content. That's okay, but it's not great. And that also is why people stay stuck. Cream rises to the top no matter how many cups of coffee you pour. But it takes time to develop that cream. It has to. You have to let it brew. You have to let that simmer and your. The intentionality you put in to build out those incredibly poignant phrases. It probably encourages us listening to this of realizing that took a 5 hour bike ride for you to ultimately write a sentence. But then that sentence is something that can live in, live on, and impact people for weeks, months, years to come. Eventually find its way into a book into version 3 oh and you've built out this incredible empire following these tips, so I really appreciate you sharing this.

Speaker 2 :
Can I add one more tip to you know, I was thinking about this week and you helped me connect a few dots because if you give yourself a long runway so you don't have a long runway, OK do a real OK that doesn't that real isn't going to live 2 years from now. It's not a blog post isn't going to live 2 years from now. Like you know a quick short isn't going to live 2 years from now probably. So that's where you do your experimenting, that's where you do your quick thinking. But I really started giving myself, I've been communicating for 30 years. I have been giving myself a longer runway only for about 12 or 13 and that was in large measure because I met people like Andy Stanley and Jeff Henderson and I started to write my sermons and then later the content. I do now way ahead of time and I started to take notes and sometimes I'll work for a year on a piece of content before it sees the light of day, maybe doing a quick little snippet here or a snippet there just to test it. But what happens if you give yourself a long runway is your ideas get better and better. Like I was. I was literally just thinking about this now. Some of the phrases I still use today I've developed 12 or 13 years ago after I gave myself a long runway. So one that's popping to mind right now. The difference between love and lust thought about that a lot. You know what it is now. Maybe it's more complicated than this, but if you wanted a simple phrase. Lust takes love gives. If you're lusting after somebody, you want something from that person, and you don't care about that person when you're finished with that person. If you love someone, you want something for that person, not something from that person. So I first preached that maybe ten twelve years, ago but it sticks. And I could because I did the hard work and that took a long time to figure out. But now that's become a life principle. If I find myself in a place where I'm lusting, it's like, Oh yeah, you just want to take from that person. You don't want to give to that person. That's not love, that's lust. And the same is true for your audience, right? You can be like, I want to take from you, I don't want to give to you. So that's a handle that took me a while to develop, but it's standing up more than a decade later. So if you give yourself a long runway, your chance of running into ideas. That you will still be sharing and marking, like Patrick Lencioni, the five dysfunctions of a team. A book's almost 20 years old. He's still talking about it because he gave himself a long runway to write it. The five love languages. Gary Chapman wrote that almost 30 years ago, and it sells more copies every year. And i've run into Gary Chapman at conferences. And he says it sells more copies every year. He's still talking about it because he really put some thought into those five love languages. Now they've been tested by tens of millions of people, and they stand up. That thing that you thought about yesterday that you want to turn to a course tomorrow probably is not going to stand up 25 years from now. But if you give yourself a little extra time, give yourself a long runway, you're going to produce better ideas. And it's not that the nugget isn't there. It's just not developed enough to stand the test of time and help thousands or millions of people.

Speaker 1 :
Wow, this is some brilliant depth carry. I really appreciate that and it and you have the credibility to prove it again. This also inspires me because I do want, I want to create less, better yeah and.

Speaker 2 :
Youtube secrets written in 2018 It's easy as a creative to want to move on and do something else, do the next thing. We have a million ideas. Even the commitment to doing the second edition was also taking the same thing and going deeper and deeper. And what I found is by sticking on that core message, going even deeper, it's just made it more rich and more sticky. I'm learning so much and I took pages of notes during this entire conversation and I want to have great ideas that stick and then ultimately. Your framework of putting kind of summing it all together that in our best case scenario as course creators and as contact creators that want to hit our financial goals and build financial freedom and figure out how to monetize and maybe go part time go full time. That is what we want. But we don't want to take from our audience. We don't want to have this coming from a place of lust and just trying to get too many people again. They slapped together, a, half hearted, rushed not thought. Through online course, just try to sell it. Build no brand, build no connection. Maybe have that terrible refund rate. But just try to get whatever, extract whatever they can get. And then just as opposed to love takes, love serves, love gives. And so if you're coming from a place of love with your online course, putting all of this painstaking work and margin and time and thought and what's also amazing just like your book and an online course is you've theoretically taken. 50 A hundred, two hundred five hundred hours and you've condensed it into five hours or 500 hours and you've condensed it into 5 modules to a thousand hours and you've condensed it into 180 pages you know, 10.000 thousand hours and you've condensed it into and we encourage people on YouTube to do that as well that some of the best Youtubers. I was just with Andre JIC personal finance YouTuber. He basically gets 1-2-3 great videos out a week, but in a video takes about 10 to 20 to 25 hours of reading and studying. And he can. He takes 20 hours of reading and studying and puts it into 6 minutes. It's that refinement, it's that consolidation. It's the fact that and the reason he's doing so well is because that was not easy. That was painful. But now the viewer gets to benefit from that compression of time and the heavy lifting he's done. Putting that in for them. Well listen, I know you've got another show, another things on your calendar. Please shout out. I know people definitely got to check out your podcast, one of my favorite leadership podcast. I'm always checking in to see what topics you have. A regular listener myself at your best, one of my favorite books you've written. We're going to link up that book as well as your podcast in the show notes, but please rearticulate anything you want to mention and how people can connect with you and follow you yeah you can find what I do on kerrynewhoff.com on Insta. I'm at Kerry newhoff. And then you can check out the art of Leadership Academy. We are having a lot of fun in there. That's particularly for church leaders. So it's not for everybody. Or if you're a faithminded business leader who cares about the church, you might have some fun in there as well, but it's been really great. Sean, thank you so much. I don't get a chance to talk about this rarely, if ever. So it was a lot of fun for me. Thank you.

Speaker 2 :
Appreciate you, Kerry. Thanks for coming on. I am so grateful for carrying you off and all of the value that he added in this episode, and if you're new to the Think Media Podcast, I want to recommend checking out some of the past episodes with. Kerry, he always delivers massive value. His book at your best was one of the most profound, impactful books for myself and the think media team. And there's some really powerful episodes in our library that I know you'll love with Kerry now I also want to remind you that coming up soon is our free five day YouTube challenge. As Kerry was talking about creating and marketing and online course, one of the things I've learned is that YouTube is one of the best platforms for course creators. So whether you already have a YouTube channel and you're thinking about doing your course or whether you already have a course that you're improving but you want to market it more effectively. When I've hung out with brands like teachable or think Ific or kejabi at different events that I speak out, they all say that their most successful students, these course creation platforms, they say they're more most successful students are. Active on YouTube and are investing a lot of energy in YouTube. So the punchline is that the combination between YouTube content and creating and selling online courses is a power combo. And this is where our five day YouTube challenge comes in. If you want to jumpstart your channel, if you want to start a channel from scratch, if you want to learn about the new trends and the latest things working on YouTube right now, you don't want to miss this five day immersive event that is happening online. It's entirely. Free, but you have to register at tube one k challenge dot com the u. R is t u b e, the number one, the letter K and the word challenge.com And of course that's in the show notes as well. If you're new to the podcast and you're not subscribed, subscribe wherever you listen, whether on audio or whether you watch on our Think Media podcast YouTube channel. And it means the world to myself and the think media team. When you hit the like button or rate and review the podcast or leave a comment with feedback or questions about topics you'd love covered in future episodes, well, hey, I love and respect you so much for just being a part of our community. My name is Sean Cannell Rhymes with YouTube channel and I can't wait to connect with you in a future episode of the Think Media Podcast. Take care.

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