Charles: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 227 of the Freelancer Show, this week on our our panel, we have Reuven Lerner.
Reuvan: Hi everyone.
Charles: Phillip Morgan.
Philip: Hello. Hello.
Charles: Jonathan Stark.
Charles: I’m Charles Max Wood from Devchat.tv and this week we have a special guest, and that’s Anna Sobramowicz. I hope I got it close.
Anna: Hello. Yes, that was perfect. Thank you. Glad to be here.
Charles: Do you want to give us an introduction really quickly? Who you are, what you do.
Anna: Yeah. I’m an instructional designer and strategist. Basically what I do is I get into the minds of masters and subject matter experts in their field and then I help them pull out all those juicy details into awesome courses online.
Charles: But I don’t know anything, I’m sure you get that all the time, right?
Anna: Actually, a lot of people think that they don’t have a special expertise or they don’t have, who are they to claim to be experts on anything but I think you’d be surprised when you dig a little bit to see how much people acquire over the years, there are special processes that could help others.
Phillip: Let me actually ask a question before the, “who, me?” Pursuing putting together an online course is a lot of time, a lot effort, probably even some money, and I know there’s somebody who totally questions is it really worth my while financially, is the investment going to pay off in doing an online course. How much money can I expect to make? There you go, I’m convinced now.
Anna: You could say that about any venture really. It’s a product, right? Is it going to make you money? I feel like if you’re solving enough of a problem and that problem is something that somebody would enjoy seeing sell from your perspective then why not? Yes, of course you do some testing but more times than others I think there’s a lot of more things in people’s heads that should be out there getting consumed and applied by other people but it’s just not happening enough as for some concern because we all have a million different ways of approaching problems. Is it going to make you money? I don’t know. But I feel like if you do enough testing and enough people resonate with that message then yeah, you can make enough money and you can just put another course.
Charles: One thing that I see over and over again with people who author books, who put together these kinds of online courses and other things is that they get the book done and they dust their hands off and they’re like, “Yeah, I did it!” And then they realize that they still have the other 80% of the work which is the marketing. If you do your job ahead of time and find out that there’s a need, that makes the marketing easier, it’s selling from what I understand is much more the work.
Anna: It is. I’ve been there. I failed there. You’re like, “This is it! I’m going to release it and become a multimillionaire. I don’t know the calculations but if these many people buy I can retire.” I did it. I did. I’m serious.
Philip: You’re so good already.
Anna: Exactly like you said, you can’t just put out a book. Yes, that’s really impressive but that’s an accomplishment in itself and it gives you some credibility but as we know a book will not sell itself, you really have to do some work and the hustle begins way before you’ve been start writing, right? It’s the same with your online course.
Charles: We’ve done a whole bunch of episodes on asking good questions and finding the pain because that’s how you ultimately, as a service provider, make money too. I want to skip that and come back to it if we have time, I’d really like to dig into the nuts and bolts of this. First of all, I’d just like to start out with, okay I know there’s this pain but how do you come up with what to put into the course? How do you know exactly what things to put in and what to leave out?
Anna: That’s where people who are true experts versus people who don’t really know what they’re doing, that’s where the distinction happens. When you talk to somebody who is an expert, there is this point where you become so good at what you’re doing, it becomes automatic, so you almost forget you have the course of knowledge, right? You forget all the experiences you need to acquire to actually get to your level of expertise, all these pain points.
That point is, I feel, that’s where I step in, you need a novice. You need somebody who is a novice at your subject matter expertise but is good at drawing out those details from you, they’ll ask you where do people mess up? What is somebody who’s an expert versus somebody who’s not an expert, how do they differ? How can you observe their behavior, how can you observe the actions they perform that actually show you that this person is actually an expert. A lot of times, I end up doing that. I observe somebody do something and I’ll say, how do you know how to do this or what makes you do it this way. It is a lot of questioning but it is also having somebody else there because sometimes you can’t necessarily ask yourself the right questions.
Charles: I’m going to jump in here because you actually gave us a few discussions points and the first one is really what I’m interested in, I’m just going to read this because it made me think a little bit. It says you have a process repeat over and over and it produces consistent results for you, this is the time to create your course so you can teach people how to apply your own process to solve their own problems.
Regardless of whether you’re solving big or small problems, you are a closet genius or have stumbled on a winning book and you need to know the common mistakes to avoid before you invest a huge amount of time and energy into developing your course. It made me think, what are the things that I’m doing over and over that give consistent results. Who are the people that are going to care about that? It goes back to the question I asked initially, where I don’t know anything but I’m doing some of these things everyday. How do I identify those areas as, this is a skill I have, I get consistent results and somebody’s going to care if I’m going to put a course about it.
Anna: What are those results? If your results are I consistently get 50 people to sign up to my newsletter every day, that may not resonate with everybody but that may resonate with people who get no sign ups, right? Figure out what those things that are working for you and say, do others want to know this? Maybe I make a weekend lasagna and people are saying that’s the best lasagna I’ve ever had, how do you do that? You’d have to have a conversation with somebody or basically your potential clients or potential students. What are those things that are winning for you that you’re like, you rock at this. I wonder if other people enjoy learning how to rock at this too.
Philip: People do rave about my lasagna and I’m not kidding. It’s funny because both of those things were things that generally true of what I’m doing. I make a mean lasagna and I have 30-50 people signing up for my email list every day.
Anna: Excellent. That’s great.
Philip: But when I think about that it’s, “Oh, we’ll do this and you’ll get people.”
Anna: Yes. The other thing is that, because when you come to the point where everything becomes effortless, not everything but a lot of things in business, you start taking those things for granted. So I think just figuring that out, what are those small things you wish you knew before you started, that would be awesome.
Philip: But in order for me to have this “Aha!” moment, you had to say it. Do I hire Anna? Or is there another way that’s maybe a little bit more cost effective for me to identify this?
Anna: Yes, you’d hire me. I’m never going to say no. Hello?! But there is an inventory that you’d ask and actually I have a course in this if you want to do this yourself because you should at least have that mindset of what kind of question am I going to be asking myself? There is an inventory that you can look at and it’s actually right on my site and it’s a nine lesson course that just kind of breaks down the process for you a bit.
Philip: If I want to do and get course, when you talk about courses are you talking about email? Are you talking about a video? Are you talking about primed, that you are live? What’s the best way or what are some of the ways that people approach this from different problem?
Anna: Really, one of the things that depends on how much time you want to invest in your budget, you could start very, very simply with email, right? Test it out with email and one of the challenges is, I’ve been there myself is, that you end up doing a lot of telling in email and it’s hard to step back and say, “How can I have people apply? How can I ask people to start doing things and testing things? The way that will help them learn these strategies?” I’ve started with email, I’ve done a huge video course and that was a lot of work but it really depends on your budget and first start small, right? You can start very small and if they see action take place, they can see application, they’ll go for it. It doesn’t matter which format it is as long as they see the value in it.
Philip: So good.
Jonathan: That’s interesting because in the preshow I was picturing, I guess it’s my default, typical online learning thing with like a, you’re I module three section one and there’s a video that goes along with it but you’re thinking much core probably which is not what I was expecting but very refreshing because I was, I think a little bit like Reuven I was thinking, “Gee, this sounds great but I’ve participated in big, professionally done video courses that totally flopped and totally I know other people who are really excited about the topic, did zero market research, and spent a month putting it together, a course that got exactly zero sales. I think Chuck asked earlier is that risk thing, how do I mitigate that risk and starting with email course, it’s just an absolutely fantastic answer to that. I just love email because it’s just inherently two-way and it has a sense of privacy, so it’s not like comments on your blog necessarily.
Jonathan: You can have a conversation asynchronously with a large group of people but still retain the scalability of the email and the web in general. That’s a really good tip.
Anna: The other thing is that I have a huge video course that I invested a year of my time to put it out, it was insane. But anyways, the thing with the video course versus an email course is that people are more likely to give you good feedback and honest feedback via email in those little nuggets that you share versus a course that’s online, looks published and it’s a barrier there between that, that you just said that communication is less intimate, your feedback becomes a little more like, “Yay I liked it.” Did you really? You only went there to have it. Starting with the email course has been a huge eye-opener for me personally because I started out with going full on, full out.
Reuven: The email course is not just for the good thing in all of itself. I have a bunch of email courses and by the way I just get, I get what you say, which is I’ve been writing for 20 years and I think I get more mail back from people, for every message I put out in my email courses than I do per year of my column.
Reuven: People respond, people get excited, people give feedback and that’s the best feeling in the world to get that feedback from them. And then they’re getting more ideas from more things but it sounds like hearing suggestions in the email courses for the good first time, I’m not sure what direction do you want with an email course. An email course then provides me with a quick, low budget, easy to put together something to get feedback from people. I can see which direction is really going to be helping them.
Anna: Oh, totally. You can put unlisted videos on YouTube and embed them if you really wanted to start testing that out and I say start testing that out ASAP to getting comfortable in front of the camera if you want to connect with people. There’s so much you can do and I wish I started that way, I really, really do but whatever..
Reuven: To be clear, we are talking about a paid email course delivery over email, right?
Anna: Yes, but I do that when I ran a little free one too. Just to see if people resonate with that message with that product and with a lot of times you’re testing activities. Like if you really wanted to teach people something right? You have to have them apply and then if they get the results that’s even better for your course because you could say people did get results from my course. I think sometimes we’re like, “What can somebody do to apply this?” And some ideas are just better tested before they actually launch, so it’s better to see if people will find your application activities that’s actually realistic.
Reuven: I love that idea.
Philip: I’m sorry, I’m just amazed by this idea of paid email course, like I think, it’s an email course it must be free. Why didn’t I thought of this before? You can charge for an email course. How long can it be? I know the answer still depends but give me some general…
Anna: We’re looking for certainty, right? I can’t give you the exact date. Nobody says how long should it be. That’s a really common question. This is my answer always, as long as it takes for somebody to get the value and proved to you that they’ve gained mastery or improved their skills that enough to feel more confident. Your course could be three emails, where they apply process over three stops and iterate on it, or could be 25 emails where they take smaller steps and take time to think and maybe applying their own world and then come back to you and then do something else. It’s actually better to do it fast and dirty and then see what happens.
Philip: Is it okay to do one for free and then say, “Okay, now that I’ve gotten feedback and people seem to like it, from now on it’s going to be for pay.”
Anna: I say there’s no rule, I say you could do whatever you want as long as you’ve shown that there’s a value, why not? Nobody’s questioning that, considering people pay $400-500 to show up to a course in university that has a zero real application value in the real world, then why not? Realistically, that’s the truth, I know because I built some of those. I don’t think there’s any rule, I think if you can show value, you can charge for that value.
Philip: You can’t tell me there are no rules, you never know what you going to get.
Anna: I like that. I like that.
Jonathan: You’ve mentioned a couple of times you are a sort of tangentially referred to adherence. Can you talk a little bit about, over the years have you come up with tactics that will help people stick to what they say they’re going to stick. You know what I mean, peoples like, “Something must be done, I will spend $150 for this course and now I feel like I’ve done something.” And then they never even crack it open, I know I’ve done this. Is there best practices for trying to minimize that, because as a creator, it feels very cynical almost to put something out for money when you’re know no one’s going to do it. I know from my coaching program that people need their hand held wide one to really move beneath on the lesson, it takes extremely rare individual to be self-directed enough to just sit down on the video course and actually do it.
Anna: Yes. Once in while I’ll have a student like this and I’ll just go through every single worksheet, every single video, they will apply everything at the end I will get feedback and I’m thinking, “How can I replicate you? Because you validate me.”
Anna: Thank you. And I actually go to LinkedIn and I give those people serious kudos and recommendations for being such a stickler and just persevering because they’re rare, right? They’re rare. And I feel like one of the things that, considering the fact that you sign up for things and you’re like, “It was great. I signed up for 10 coursera courses and I start them and then I don’t complete them. There’s nothing at stake for me to finish them or buy them or whatever and I don’t finish them.” There are small things that you can do to keep up people’s momentum, like those achievable little pieces and I feel like when you have those built in, little check ins and small wins, those tiny wins, that increases the propensity somebody wanting to finish it. One of things that I found works really well is you get statistics is who’s going to your course, if somebody slows down for a day, I’ll email them a week and I’ll say, “Hey, you’re doing so well, what’s going on? How can I help? Let’s keep it going.” Actually that interest is huge. People want that, that somebody cares when they left and I think that’s one of the things that online courses lack sometimes, as people think that they can just disappear and nobody will notice. There’s no accountability but if you can spend the time to be that accountability, people actually respond to that really well.
Jonathan: What do your people say?
Charles: When you’re talking about people dropping out that’s just watching the opens?
Anna: Yeah, that’s watching. Because the course that I had set up through teachable, it actually tracks your participation through the course.
Charles: Oh. Gotcha.
Anna: Email course would be the opens, exactly, and it would be doing say, “Hey, you know you’re doing so well or I saw you execute or have you been executing?” Being the guide at the back who actually cares about their progress, totally can be a game changer for you.
Philip: Anna, you’ve mentioned earlier video and I’m curious if you have any guidelines around? How do you think about what kind of media is going to be most effective for a course? When you’re putting another course or designing it?
Anna: I’ve done video and I have a YouTube channel as well. And I find that the minute you start seeing a person’s face, this is inherent in all of us, you start to trust them and you start to like them more. The more you can get in front of people even in the very beginning and talk, you don’t have to talk for the whole thing but you’re going to introduce yourself, create that primal connection, I think that really resonates with people even if you start up your lessons with after the second welcome, I think it creates a huge connection. The voice is okay, the merited pieces are okay but I think if you can amp it up with a video, people respond well to that and just are interested. It doesn’t have to be high-tech or anything, but YouTube works with a good mic so I always suggest for a video because people resonate with video still, and your face.
Philip: Oh that’s great, very interesting.
Charles: I have a friend John Sonmez, I think he’s been on the show. But anyway, he does just daily videos on YouTube and he gets a ton of traffic coming to his website where then he is able to sell them the courses. I find it very interesting that people respond to that because for audio podcasts you can get thousands of thousands of people every week, and for video people have to be in front of a device that will play it. You don’t usually see the audience size match between video and audio, usually audio has a much larger audience but video I’ve been seeing has a different engagement level that is kind of insane.
Anna: Have you listened to the Joe Rogan podcast?
Anna: Okay, so Joe Morgan’s a comedian and he’s been podcasting. He’s been podcasting for years. He runs his podcast also on YouTube, he does it all recorded. I now go to YouTube because I want to watch and talk with the other people, and I find it so much more engaging. And he has millions of views on YouTube when he posts those podcasts, which is crazy because it’s not prettier or anything.
Charles: If I am doing a video course, because I’ve seen video courses where it’s like, “Hey look! Here are my slides!” I show my face?
Anna: If you’re doing webinars, I’m putting out webinars now and I’ve done academic courses where people are they show up too like an online webinar classroom. The minute you have that little picture of you on the side, even if it’s tiny, that’s a human. Now that the slides are bring me, I want to look at your face. Because people are drawn to faces, you add a face anywhere people are looking at that, that’s what we’re designed for. The more faces and the more you give them that facial connection, people will respond better, people will remember better because your face is attached to something. And trust, it has a lot to do with trust, they trust you because you’re real.
Jonathan: I just take on that because when I do webinars, I got a lot of feedback from people saying, it’s more important to have your face than to have the slides, always make sure to somehow have my face there, and when I do, what they call the feedbacks, you know those things that everyone knows what they’re called. When I do those, I make sure to have a video of my face there and I definitely got feedback from people saying that adds a lot.
Anna: Yeah. Even if I had these pair of eyes glued beside my camera, it helps because you always forget that people are looking at you.
Charles: That is awesome.
Philip: That’s so funny.
Jonathan: Love that idea.
Anna: My old school webinar days. It makes a difference because then all of a sudden you’re like, the minute you make that eye contact, persuasion seriously. Any meeting that I ever ran with large faculty, I bring them on, I turn on the Skype and I turn on the video. I am the most persuasive person in that room. If you’re running a webinar and your face is not on there, you’re messing up because you can be now the most persuasive person in that room.
Charles: Nice. Now I’m actually going to preempt the pick that you just reminded me and it’s called: Heads Up. It’s an application for the Mac that actually allows you to put a video from your webcam anywhere on your screen. It’ll float in front of things for example, your slides, when you full screen your slides and so I’ve actually had remote conference speakers ask how to do that and this works really well. You tell it where to stick it, you tell it to keep it in front and it works really well.
Anna: I love that. Thank you. Heads Up.
Charles: And it’s in the Mac App Store.
Jonathan: Here’s a question, what tools you do you have for testing or that making sure people can apply what they’ve learned. Because I do feel like some people get excited about in the idea of a course and they’re like, “I’m just going to copy paste this book and call it a course and I can charge more for it. How do you move beyond that in the world of application?
Anna: That’s a great question. Actually, anybody who’s doing email course right now and asking questions, I feel like you’re already doing a lot of testing because you get problems you’re solving, you’re figuring out what problem people have. You obviously, through helping others or talking to other entrepreneurs or freelancers, you see common mistakes that people make. They’re perfectly avoidable but sometimes people have to make that mistakes on their own to perceive them as mistakes, right? Because you’re trying to give advice when people don’t see the value in it yet, because they haven’t suffered enough. Right? I hope you agree.
What I would say is that that testing piece comes from asking questions and I feel like I used to ask questions in public platforms, LinkedIn, there’s a lot of discussion groups but nobody’s really comfortable saying when I don’t know something. Especially publicly, like when I say, “What are your biggest challenges?” Nobody wants to say what they are, nobody wants to say that they don’t know, especially if your name is attached to it. Email, I feel is great because it is personal especially people like you, they’ll start talking to you, they’ll start telling you more than you want to know and trust me it’s happened. I’ll subject whole career path saying, “What should I do next?” Which is great because you’re like, “Hah! I’ve got a great course I can design for you.” But asking those questions via email and then also where you struggled, if you could say, “I’ve had this big challenge and do I wish I had in place to help me.” And then wish whatever that resource that you’ve come up with is, whatever this guide is, put it out there, have a couple of people actually learn through your course or ran through your application process and give you feedback.
I feel that you need to be in that momentum first before sending it out to your students. I had 10 data testers in my first course go through the whole thing and he gave me a wicked feedback, and they were just saying, “This is great, but instead of having 20% application, 80% theory, you should reverse that. I want it amped up to be more application heavy than theory heavy, because I can find this theory on the intra webs.” I’m like, you’re right, I’m not inventing the wheel here, special gift is helping you apply not helping you find a good info. I don’t know if that answer your question though.
Jonathan: That was great.
Jonathan: I’m sorry. I was going to add on that I am thinking now that like to my experience to reading business book which I know is not a course. But when I read a business book I feel infuriated most of the time that it’s usually a fairly straightforward simple that’s been padded out with all the stuff. I think because publishers want to serve the link through business books.
Anna: Oh god, yeah.
Jonathan: Whether they have story, all these stories. I’m a big believers in stories as a vehicle for teaching and inspiring and changing behavior. It’s not that I’m going to get stories that’s just, I don’t know. I mean, this is not really question, this is just me like, how does this relate to these business books that I hate? Are there specific ways to help people apply information? What did you learn when those people gave you the feedback to invert the amount of application and theory? What did you do different? I think that might be an interesting question.
Anna: People don’t know what they don’t know, right? We know this and but then it’s like becoming a cliché when we start saying that but instead of thinking let’s give them all the info and then have them try it, and then see what happens. Do this. There are two things that happen there, some people figure out they don’t know something and then they need to find out how to do that and either seek the information or seek the advice or they know it, great. Give me the next lesson because I’m ready. Which is awesome because when people aren’t going through things that they already know, they may already be advanced or they’re scared to execute on. And then for the others, now they know they don’t know. It puts them in that position of one thing to learn because all of sudden they perceived that gap they didn’t know they had.
Jonathan: When teaching people about positioning, I’ve often thought that the first thing I should do is assign people the assignment of building a list of 10 or 50 perfect ideal clients. 80% of the people are going to completely fail at doing that because they had no idea of who those perfect clients are. And my concern was always that people be like, “Who sucks? Screw you to open that here.” They were just kind of give up and it would be a failure that happened at a long time. That sounds that you’re saying, that can also be a motivator.
Anna: It definitely can. For sure. Even if I make them believe they’d been doing that on their own anyways without you, right? Might as well do it with you there to be there to pick them back up if they’ve failed miserably, right? I think you should just say, “Listen, I know you’re not going to get value out of this if I just tell you what to do, you have to see where your gaps are we do that by having you do something really difficult. And I’m here to help.” That works, and that’s how people learn. Most of us are already doing that, those positioning mistakes anyways, we can’t even reflect on them because we’re so deep in it, we don’t have a mentor to look on that from the 30,000 point perspective and then just say, here’s what you need to tweak.
Jonathan: Right. I have found that asking provocative questions is the key to creating a realization. The trick though I think is not leave them hanging too long.
Anna: Yeah right.
Jonathan: That example like Phillip, if you said, “Okay, make a list of 50 clients, I’ll see you next week.” Completely lose them all. But if you just said, “If you have 30 seconds to identify as many ideal clients as you could, what would be you answer? Go ahead and try to do that right now.” Just like meal they lock up. It’s hard right? And then you say here are some techniques, so you gave them the pain, they get the realization, “Oh wow, I don’t even know where to start.” But if you just leave it hanging too long, and just like, they just totally shut off.
Anna: Make them suffer a little, actually one of the things that works with changing people’s mind, if I tell you or ask you a question and you think you know the answer to that question but you don’t do anything about it and let it simmer in your head. And then I tell you the answer and you’re like, oh yea, I would’ve come up with that. We have deserve a memory built what we actually think we know. The best way to do this is to actually having commit to something so that exercise that you just said, take it a bit further and actually having commitment say, “Okay, write down five.” Even if it takes you a date, let’s say five and then the next time we talk, I’ll ask you how you chose those five, why was it hard? And all those other things that positioning gurus do, the rest of don’t. To make them commit to it and then after the exercise have them rewrite the list again and then compare it to the first list, and say what changed? What is different? What is better? What’s more comfortable?
Jonathan: Yeah, I totally agree. I infect from my sales page for coaching I insist the people take out a pencil and do an exercise the middle of the page.
Anna: The minute you commit, you can’t go back and say, “Yeah, I totally felt that, I knew that.” It’s a good lesson.
Philip: Now I know what the headline uniqueness can be for this course that I’m building which is the positioning course that makes you suffer the most, more than any other.
Anna: I like it.
Philip: Mistress Morgan.
Reuvan: I’m wondering, this is a question of a cross between Anna and Phillip. And I apologize that my neighbors once again practicing piano consistently always. Anyway, I do a lot of training and I found that the impression training gets better, surprise, surprise and they focuses more. And instead of trying to do everything and anything and impression course, I squeeze it down to, every year I tell people, I put in less content and more exercises and people come out happier. An online course is a little different because it’s something people going to come to and they’re not going to interact with me unless I’m doing amazing things like you’re describing, reaching out to them and making sure they’re happy and so forth. My gut instinct is going to say I’m going to do one big elemental course and charge a lot for it, it’s better to do many smaller courses and charge a medium amount which is sort of better for me because I’ll probably make more, and better for them because they can find the course that’s most appropriate for them. Is that instinct and target at all?
Anna: I would 1000% agree. Yes. People even know the online course I’m running now, I find people already self-select and there’s topic that they’re more interested in than others, they’re getting all these noise and excess stuff. If I could just next step, unbundle the course into specific actionable little nuggets of application. I probably make more money because people would actually say, “I actually need this, this is a nice small chunk, I can afford it, let’s go with it, I like the rest, if I like the rest I’ll buy the rest, right now I need this.” It’s a smaller gate to entry and also if they like it, they’ll probably go for the rest if they like what you’re saying. So there’s lots of benefits to going that way.
Jonathan: Going to dig in the deep risk for everyone involved as long the chunk isn’t too small to be effective so I would agree that the best way to go.
Charles: It’s interesting for my perspective too because the course that I really am working on is how to get a job in programming and it’s aimed mostly in new programmers and there are definite sections of the course that could be broken out into their own course. For example, the main cracks is don’t send your resume around all over the place but actually do targeted job search where you’re looking at companies and then finding ways to get noticed by them. And I could put all of that into one course, and then I could put, and here’s how you get noticed at the Yeezus group meetings in one course and here’s how to get noticed in other ways in each of their own courses and then the people who are like, “You know what, I’m just not the person who’s going to write a blog and get noticed that way but I’m comfortable getting up on a small group of people and doing a presentation. Well there you go, they can pick choose the course that they want and go with the strategies that they’re most comfortable with.
Anna: Yeah. Totally. I like that.
Charles: And then I like to sell a 5-stage course that tell them how to do it all.
Anna: And the other thing is, I know that people mentioned the live course and how the live course gets better results because you focus so much on the application, you really have to consider doing that when you’re doing the online courses but all of a sudden, you don’t have the momentum of the group and the enthusiasm of the presenter and facilitator. You have you and a computer, that’s different. That takes a deep level of commitment and a different level of motivation and also a different design. People have tried, you can’t move just a life on the computer and say it’s going to work the same way. Sometimes it’s better because you rethink it and you rethink all those activities and interactions in a one-on-one way, how would I do this if I was just with one person talking to one person versus I have the 15 people to leverage, who are going to brainstorm together and if one gets stuck, there’s five more people to come up with ideas and so there’s a person who isn’t stuck. That’s different dynamic and then you have to accommodate for that online.
Charles: I also see people do kind of a hybrid where essentially there are guided sessions and then there are also the live sessions, you watch the pre recorded stuff and do you have any questions? Can I help you move ahead with anything? And things like that. Do you find those are more effective than doing all live or all recorded?
Anna: Yeah. They are more successful than the live sessions because you can space them overtime so you can give people time to apply it, you have to get it all and the one day because every body’s coming down. You can still maintain that idea of, “Hey we have groups, these guys can talk to each other if they want to, you creates co-host and then other thing that you’re doing which you can’t do in a live classes, not everybody is ready to learn that day and you’re expecting them all to be mushy tailed, bright eyed, ready to consume and participate. Some people need time to think and time to read and maybe they had something bad happened, right? This gives them a chance to consume all that information and think through it at their own pace and then when they come and get together there’s more of a propensity of them to actually be ready for it.
Jonathan: I’m dying to ask a technical question that are probably maybe going to come up in the picks, if so then we can just wait for that. I’m just curious if you got suggestions for different sorts of tools that you think would be good for people just trying to get on with this, whether it’s an email tool or online course like a full blown video type of thing or an LNS, those things that you could app share?
Anna: Yeah. I actually wasn’t going to share any technical things, glad you’re asking because I was going to share my favorite games that I think people should play. Your writer’s picks are usually like, I like this app, it’s fun. I’m going to put games because I think adults should play more games. Right now we got this platform, it’s funny because it’s like a kind of boom right now that’s happening, there’s the online course industry is just for individuals to self-publish courses is just huge and one of the ones that I’m using teachable right now and it’s awesome because it’s super simple interface, low cumulative load to entry and it’s awesome because it also tracks user progress, you can set goals, you can release contents based on time, you can release content based on whether if somebody is really moving faster so you can make it. There’s a lot of options, in the beginning you should just start small.
It’s really affordable to launch a course there and they have a community of other people who are also launching their own contents and you can see what works and what doesn’t. I would say I agree with all of their advice because I’m coming at it from more of learning adult theory perspective and they’re coming at it from a great content perspective but that’s something that I think you can tweak after you participate in courses that you enjoy and figure out why did I really enjoy that course? And then say how can I make that happen in mine? teachable.com is a good one. And even email, I’m really using drip, of course. I feel like you could just send out emails from your google account to people on a small list and then once they reply to either when they ask you a question, give them three options saying like you want to do a little bit of an test, How would you do this? And people will reply to you, you can reply back to them or you can actually have a consequence that give them saying, this is your choice, this is what happens. What do you think of that consequence? There’s so much you can do with email alone as long as you plan that out ahead of time. Low, low investment same with putting up a little video on YouTube and making it private, very small investments to just take some thinking, some planning and testing.
Jonathan: Perfect. I’m going to say that I think like a lot of people who do that kind of work that we do. The tools are fun and it’s easy to get carried away with picking the perfect tool and evaluate the features of these five different learning platforms but as Anna indicated for starting small and keeping things really granular and small, drip would really be a really good platform for delivering, even a paid course.
Anna: Oh yeah. Right.
Philip: Because Jonathan mentioned how confidential you feedback is going to feel and because of that email thing and you said the same thing. It seem it’s got a lot of going on for to do it over email with something like Drip.
Anna: I agree, I mean the platform is to be able to see how responsive people are, that data. That data’s great, that’s basically what you’re paying for with all those other courses or those platforms to get the date, to see what people are doing, and to deliver contents to them on a certain schedule. Where you can do that with drip, so why not use that? Go more personal.
Anna: And then later on we will move to teachable.
Philip: Finally getting a link course.
Anna: Yeah right. I know I should.
Philip: I guess that’s a question what that each tool do that something like a Drip workflow could that do?
Anna: You know what, the difference would be that the workflow is only visible to you and I guess you can work that into your drip course is that people enjoy that idea of progress. If you’re releasing a course and you have 10 lessons and you’re saying, “You’re halfway there, you’ve completed the first five.” That’s what teachable does, it gives you a little bit of that momentum. There’s a progress bar which is going to identify the progress saying, “Look, I’ve made this progress today and 78% complete so it’s almost like these little elements also drive that engagement. You might want to, in essence, look something like a teachable course and see what are those little new ones that they use to motivate people extrinsically and maybe work them into the way you converse with people in your email course. Those things work, they do. They’re tiny and a lot people who intrinsically motivated they don’t even matter anymore but to get you started, those visual reminders saying, “Hey. Go champ, you’re on three of five.” That makes a difference.
Jonathan: Interesting. It sort of come out a couple of times but it makes sense to explicitly say it, I am sure when I’m going to do a course, which I will, that open up greatly from having taken a bunch of them, I’ve been involved in the creation of a number of them and I’ve paid to be participant in at least a dozen and there are certain little things that I found were subtle and surprising how powerful they could be, like the thing you just mentioned. No one where you are in this huge chunk of content helps you feel like you’re not drowning in it and having different kinds of course that taken up had different kinds of check ins from the teacher or from the person who created the course. I found that different ones are certainly lacking and other ones that had maybe just a different take on, which is much more compelling. I think maybe taking a few things even a free one will be super interesting to get a field for, kind of test drive what you would like in yours and maybe what you wouldn’t like in yours.
Anna: I 1000% agree. If you haven’t been a student lately then you’re not going to take advantage of what other people are already leveraging, especially considering most of us have experiences from the academic world which is not designed to be engaging, it’s designed to produce certificates. And most of the people who design those courses, they just don’t care about research and grants, they don’t care about teaching or becoming great teachers.
Jonathan: You’re not bitter.
Philip: Let me get the latest point at here, that I have a PhD from an educational school and I agree a 100%.
Anna: I feel if you’re like if somebody’s is going to be stuck with you for an hour every day for three months at least try to be good at what you do, right? Like care. Care. I don’t need you to be a rock star, just care.
Jonathan: So that’s what you really feel.
Philip: Fine, I quit.
Anna: You got to have an enemy, right? I agree. Be a student and because if you don’t know what’s out there you don’t know what you can leverage. And that’s why I tell people to play games because they have a bazillion test users, people from all over the world say things that they like that gets team implements it and then you see what people like, what people enjoy, what drives their engagement and why can’t you just fill some of that and use it in your course that’s going to get a thousand reviews, right? Smaller pool of feedback. Leverage things that you enjoy.
Charles: Wow. I think you’ve stunned us into silence.
Anna: I felt that.
Philip: It’s a good stun.
Jonathan: Yes. We’re all like thinking outlines in our head.
Reuvan: There’s a lot to digest.
Anna: Oh good.
Charles: We were all creating course outline in our head.
Anna: You know what, feel free to send me your course outline. I’ll critique it. Seriously. I’ll ask you some questions. I’ll ask you some provocative questions. It makes me better at what I do. Because one of the things people start doing is they start to outlines instead of with, how is somebody going to prove to me that they’ve got it, that’s the question. What am I going to be able to see them do that proves to me that I’ve taught them.
Philip: That is so good.
Anna: And then you can do the outline.
Jonathan: It took me a second to understand what you meant there. Could you restate that?
Anna: Sorry. How is somebody going to prove to me that they’ve mastered this topic or this skill.
Jonathan: The student?
Anna: Yes. Your student. Totally. Once you decide what those elements are, that’s just for you. Nobody else needs to know that and then once you decide, you deconstruct it down. They’re going to be able to do this, I’m going to be able to observe do this, they’re going to be consistently able to do this. Then you say what are the things they need to practice or do that will help them get there. And then your outline comes from that.
Jonathan: Let’s sell it gold.
Anna: Thank you.
Reuven: It goes back to what we say about freelancing all the time, right? Is that people aren’t paying you to write code, they’re paying you to solve a particular problem. In other words, they have an outcome that means success to them. We’ve talked a lot about asking the questions that get you to figure out what that is. What is that outcome? How do you measure that success? And then if you build the course around that, then it makes a lot sense that you’ll be able to measure how successful you are in helping those people achieve the outcomes they want.
Philip: Absolutely true because. Figure how many classes you’ve been in or courses or lectures or whatever. Where it was clear that from teacher’s perspective, you’re sitting there for an hour, they demonstrated an off mastery, their goal was to have you get through an hour of their talking or day of their talking or semester of their talking. As you got through it, fantastic, you’re done you get the certificate, you get the stand of approval. Clearly that is so far removed from people what people want. I was just teaching courses as last week or two weeks ago. Someone said to me, this is a company where the company pays for people in the other course and they have course that are running all the time. So it’s said to be, you realize that the most courses people just like stop coming after first day. Because basically they’re like, why should I be sitting in here, It’s not getting me anything, I’m not getting any practical skills and the money is what do they care. Part of an instructor’s job is to get them excited engage and give them some accomplishment. You’re going to be doing something interesting, practically useful with this information.
Anna: I love the fire, I love it. It’s true. If you’re repeating yourself more than once, record it and then people can watch it or listen to it while they’re walking their dog and then you can get together for application session. So the course make sense.
Jonathan: Yes we’ll do that.
Anna: Send me your outline first.
Charles: I’m going to push this towards picks. Just so that I have plenty of time for what’s coming next to my day.
Charles: This has been really fun and if people want to know more or hire you or figure out what’s wrong with what they’re doing, how do they find you?
Anna: They can go to my website it’s called elearnerengaged.com and I have lots of fun resources there including the course I talked about to get you started.
Charles: Reuven, do you want to start off the picks?
Reuven: I think I’ve already mentioned on the show that I already started doing a weekly newsletter and I cannot recommend highly enough doing that remaining list. It’s great for me. I’ve gotten great feedback from people and one of piece of feedback I gotten is a programming newsletter, it’s like a new programming where tip and tidbits every Monday and there were people know that I’m into training and writing about it and how to come with it ask me to do a similar newsletter but with training tips every week.
By the time this podcast actually comes out it should have started. You can go to my website and it’ll be there at lerner.co.il and basically the plan is to include all sorts of information about for people doing training to weekly in person training although I guess now that I have been convinced that I should do online course as well, maybe I’ll sneak stuff in about that also. And the basic thing is going to be sort of split up between some practical tips, some periodical tips, some business tips for how to sell training, market training and service family training business. Look for that, and if your ideas or questions about training or the things you like me to include, that’s where the feedback is really useful even at this very beginning stage. Look for it in an email box near you.
Charles: Awesome. Jonathan, what are your picks?
Jonathan: I’ve got two. The first is a fun kitchen gadget that I call a wheezy which is a handheld little wheezy thing that, it’s kind of like a teeny weenie electric egg beater that you can use to froth your coffee and now that I’ve been working in my office, started maybe six months ago in an office so I’ve been spending a less time in coffee shops and I make my own crappy cure-egg coffee in the office so I can use my little wheezy thing and get an unbelievably good like latte cappuccino thing right here in the comfort of my cube. I highly recommend the Ikea, here’s the actual name it’s not called the wheez thing, Ikea New Cordless Milk Frother Handheld Cappuccino Latte Espresso, really rolls off the tongue.
Charles: I’m sure there’s a shorter sweeter word for that.
Reuven: It doesn’t have that long english names.
Jonathan: This thing is $1.60, I’m going to a six pack of them in case it breaks or something, because if it does I’m going to be horribly disappointed.
Anna: Here I thought you’re going to give out presents.
Jonathan: It’s so great. That’s what this year, I’ll send it to all the guests. It creates a coffee tornado in your mug, it’s unbelievable. The other thing I just want to remind people that I did launch teaching the hourly teaching podcast obviously, folks listens to this are into podcast. If you’re interested in stopping the habit of trading time for money you can check out teachinghourly.com Probably by the time you hear this, there’ll be 10 episodes on there. Check that out. That’s it for me.
Charles: Alright. Phillip what are your picks?
Philip: There’s this thing sometimes that marketers want to do and it tends to require writing custom software unless you don’t want to do that and use my pick this week or one of my two picks this week, it’s called Deadline Funnel. Here’s the thing that it enables you to do, it enables you to have a sale on some kind of digital product, I guess you could have other use cases like have some time limited promotion for something that’s not a digital product.
Let’s assume you’re talking digital products here. Unless you have a sale for digital product where each person on your email list gets their own individualized deadline for that promotion expiring, the key based on when somebody opts into an email list and then x amount of hours or days later, there’s a deadline and you can remind them of that deadline and as we all know, either from selling or being on the buyer side of things. One of the things that inspires action is deadlines.
deadlinefunnel.com is about the ugliest, most poorly designed interface I’ve seen in a long time but it gets the job done at a reasonable price. I feel like I can recommend it as a pick.
Second pick is piece of software called Ringer for recording conversations where you record it locally so you don’t suffer the bandwidth or the quality degradation that you get over Skype, which sometimes is fine but when you’re planning a podcast with the guy who lives in Turkey, Skype is not always the best choice. Something like Zencastr or Ringer which I’ve been experimenting with recently is also… I find that the quality is better with ringer, the problem with ringer is that it doesn’t do it more than a two-way recording but they’re adding that feature soon. I feel like I can give it a recommendation via my pick this week, ringer.com. That’s it. that’s my pick for the week.
Charles: Alright I’m going to throw some picks out there myself. I initially wanted to build my courses a series of webinars, I’ve kind of moved away from that idea, I’m doing webinars anyway but it’s kind of a different focus. I have been using Webinar Jam for that, I think I picked it on the show before but I really like it. It works over Google Hangouts, and it’s pretty cool. I mentioned heads up which is as I said just that video. I think you can also get away with doing it with Quicktime but don’t quote me on that.
Finally, I have a really nice presentation clicker that I use for my presentations and I’ll put a link on that on the show notes. Most of them are the same where they have the buttons to advance and go back and laser pointers and this is just one of those, but I don’t know where my other one went, so I have to buy a new one. I like it, I like the shape of it in my hand and I don’t remember what brand it is. Check the show notes if you’re looking for one of them. Anna, what are your picks?
Anna: Mine are totally not practical but they’re really are practical. The first one, it’s called Firewatch, a game and it’s scenario driven narrative game. It’s beautiful and the reason why I recommend it is because I think that to be good at teaching, you have to be good at stories and scenarios is what I help people determine, especially contextual scenarios, really help people learn and put things in perspective.
One of the things we do is help people make decisions, like we can’t always stimulate the environment, but if you’re faced with these factors, here’s a thought process I want you to follow. I think scenarios help you do that. Firewatch, the game is awesome.
The other one is called Papers Please, it’s a game about being a border patrol guard and all you do all day is people come up in front of you, people come up in front of you, and you have to check if their passport or visa is legit. It sounds super boring and that’s what I think a lot of our topics, we think are like, this is boring, this isn’t exciting. This person was able to create these levels and constraints around what kind of people you’re going to let in, how are you going to evaluate this criteria to let this prisoner in or something like that into your country.
Anyways, they took something that’s uber boring and repetitive and made it into something interesting, exciting and something that you want to pursue. I feel like Papers Please is every teacher should look at and say, “This is a way to gamify boring and successfully how can I take away some of these pieces and do that and maybe I can apply to my own stuff that I think is boring but it really isn’t.”
And then my third one is a website that I visit all the time it’s called Mark’s Daily Apple and it has everything to do with just food and eating like meat and more meat. I’m sorry if I’m offending people who don’t eat meat but, you mentioned coffee for the bulletproof coffee.
Jonathan: That’s what I use the wheezy for.
Anna: The wheezy does enough for you? I have to use this giant machine to get the froth.
Jonathan: I’m telling you, this thing is magic.
Anna: For a $1.60 I can’t believe I spent $600 on a blender. But whatever.
Jonathan: You don’t have to clean it either. It’s the best.
Anna: You don’t clean that thing?
Jonathan: Not like a blender. It just takes two seconds just run it some water.
Anna: Anyway, that’s what I go for food inspiration and coffee inspiration. Those are my picks, forever.
Charles: Nice. We’ll go ahead and wrap this show up. Thank you for coming, Anna.
Anna: Thank you for having me, this was really cool and I do mean what I said, send me your outlines because I think I can help.
Reuven: I need all the help I can get.
Charles: We’ll call this one and we’ll catch you all next week.
Reuven: Bye everyone.
Anna: Take care.