Transcipt: Advantages of Creating Online Courses and Digital Products – DS496

Doug: Hey, what’s going on. Welcome to the Doug show today. It’s going to be a shorter episode. I’m testing out this format. I’m going to talk about why I create. Online courses. And digital product sort of in general. This show was inspired. Because one of my friends. Was giving me. A little shit about having online courses and he w you know what, he wasn’t really coming at me. And this is the story we’re interviewing someone. And it is my friend, Carl. I may have him. Come in and talk about this as well. But we were interviewing someone and he asked the person. About her coaching that she was going to do some sort of one-on-one coaching and stuff like that.

And Carl said, Hey, how are you going to scale this? Would you do. I hate to say this, but would you do an online course? And he made a, a very disappointed face about online courses. And he left that as the question and the person answered. And this is the part that I cut out. I said, Carl, You always should on online courses. And I have a different take on it, but let’s talk about it a little bit.

And then I went on a little bit of a rant. And eventually, I mean, when I was saying that this is the sad part, when I was talking about it, I knew that it was out of place in the interview. And kind of just kind of fucked up the whole flow. But it was, I mean, I stand by my points. Uh, but anyway, I edited it out because it was totally out of place. Anyway. I was like, well, I have my own, I have my own show where I can talk about whatever I want. And no one can talk back to me. So that’s what we’re doing today. I’ll give you a couple of very specific points.

And if you go and like Google this and you go to like online course platforms, like a Kajabi is what I use. Teachable’s very good Thinkific. There’s a bunch of others. There, there are plenty of places where you can very easily create an online course. And if you go to any of those, they will tell you the benefits.

And they’ll tell you how to create an online course. Right? They want you to do it. They will give you free training for it. So, if you’re thinking about online courses, you literally can go to any one of these. Learning management systems. And. All the trainings right there. I mean, they, they will take your hand and walk you through the whole thing. So I’m going to go over a couple of things, including income, diversification, mastery, scalability. Authority and credibility and lifestyle.

There were a few others, some of these blend together, some of these have sub points that all. You know, talk about too. And I’m aiming for shorter episodes. Let me know if you dig this format. In fact. You can shoot me an email One cool thing. I don’t get that many reviews over on Spotify or apple podcast.

Those are the two big ones. If you like these episodes, or even if you dislike these episodes. Go over, leave a review. If you have constructive feedback or something like that, that’s great to have. So it was good to have a positive note and I know I can learn. I think there’s some. Many people that quote. Uh, I don’t know who it was, but feedback is a gift.

So even if it’s negative feedback or something that I don’t like want to hear. There’s some truth to it. So those are always good. Let me know about these short episodes. I can tighten them up a little bit more, which I’m actually going to aim to do that said. Not going to ramble on. But to get to the point. So number one, I did start. At the very beginning, as soon as I had a little bit of success. With affiliate marketing and SEO.

And my first few niche sites. When I barely had any business creating a blog or anything I created. A an ebook. So is it. Uh, digital product. That eventually iterated many times. And it became some of the online courses that I sell, uh, until very recently. So income was a key piece. It is a digital product.

I can create it one time and then sell it. Essentially. An infinite number of times, there’s a small processing fee for payments. Typically that’s like about 3% these days. And very easy to do. A lot of the platforms actually have payment processing built in. You often can use PayPal or Stripe, but many of the. The companies have payment processing built in and it will probably cost about the same. The other cool part from an income standpoint in digital products. It’s a very high profit margin. If I was selling a physical product. My profit.

If I’m lucky. It might be, you know, 50 or 60% if there’s like a high markup and a half. A lot of value that I’m adding to the, the core physical product. But a lot of times, Your margins are kind of thin, like you don’t have that much leeway. And if you look at people that are selling products on Amazon, for example, When you add up. All the fees, different processing, the core costs of the product and some of the overhead. Sometimes your profit margins are. You know, 10% like. They’re there barely enough.

Like you have a lot of money tied up in inventory and then it’s eaten up with fees. Digital products, online courses. Awesome profit margin. Next is a diversification of income. When I started again. I was aiming at affiliate marketing and I was aiming at. Amazon affiliate specifically, maybe a little ad revenue. Hi. And it was much more secure back then. But I was like, it’ll be great to diversify my revenue sources right upfront.

And what better way to do it? Not just, you know, like the same website, earning affiliate and ad revenue. I was like, I want something totally separate. An email list and I want to sell my own product and I want that product to be digital. And it really insulated me from ups and downs. From the website standpoint, 20 17, 20 20. Amazon changed their commission rates. Dramatically.

It was a huge, huge deal. It didn’t. I mean, I didn’t like it when they did that, but it didn’t hit me as hard because I had other revenue and. It was essentially insulated from external forces in many ways. It’s not a hundred percent. Secure, but it’s diverse enough where. If something happens, I feel pretty good about it. Next is mastery. So a lot of people don’t talk about this one, but if you, if you, um, learn something. And you’re able to teach someone else how to do it. You have. Processed it in a deeper way, you know, the material better. Often there will be questions that you have to answer.

So you really demonstrate. A level of knowledge, a level of understanding of the topic area. And that is, you know, part of mastery. Not that I wanted to master certain things.

Conceptually. Or that I was very intentional about that, but I knew if I was able to teach it, then I would, I actually knew it a little bit better. Side tangent. One thing that I’ve observed more and more, and the more people that create content, this happens even more often. But someone. Let’s say a fellow YouTuber. I try not to do this myself, call me out if I do, or when I do it. But some someone. Is. Thinking ham.

I want to learn about this and they read like two articles from some other bloggers or on medium or some other place. Or God forbid, Reddit. So they read a couple articles about a topic, and then they’re like, I’m an expert on this and I’m going to teach people about it. It’s like, fuck, you are not an expert.

You read two articles by a questionably qualified people. It’s not like you read textbooks or you, you really studied the material. Like you barely know the vocabulary or what the fuck is going on. Yet, they come out, they send you emails, they do videos. They’re like, here’s how you do X. And they don’t know what they’re talking about at all. That was a side tangent and that’ll move on. Number four is scalability.

Here’s the big one that I pushed back with on Carl. So. I like podcasting. I’m starting a new podcast, which all very soon. Reveal the name of the show. I’ve been getting some of the properties out there, but I love podcasting. I was on a panel with some very high level podcasters at fin con a financial creators conference. Back in new Orleans. And. I talk about podcasting all the time.

I really encourage people to do a podcast or YouTube, and it is something that I am interested in, passionate about. People also know that. So I had some people ask me about podcasting and I was like, oh cool. Like, I actually enjoy teaching people about it. And I’m. You know, I know a lot and I want to share the information. So I helped out. And, you know, I probably have talked to. Probably close to 20 people about podcasting, where I like sat down and spent one to two hours chatting with them about that. Um, a lot of the times, I was not recording it and I was just chatting with them. At a restaurant. Or a coffee shop or whatever, just chatting with them. And the thing is I wasn’t charging or anything like that.

But. I was really happy to share the information and when people to do something with it,

After I started talking about it a little bit more. And I was talking specifically about podcasting. I started to get questions from people. Once a week or so sometimes twice a week. And then as I helped more people. They would then refer folks that they knew to me to help with podcasting. So kind of a warm introduction. And the problem with that, the problem with one-on-one interaction like that. It’s not scalable. And. It’s really a recipe for disaster. And what I told. Carl in my rant. That I edited out.

I was like, There’s a couple of problems. Number one, people don’t value that free advice. So a lot of the people that I told the information, they were like, okay, okay. Yeah, maybe they take some notes, but they would sometimes just ignore what I said. And then they would find another resource online.

They were like, oh, this YouTuber said to do this. And instead. And I’m like, well, didn’t you try what I said? And they’re like, no, they said this audio was a little bit better. So we’re going to use this audio processing thing. And then, you know, they tell me it doesn’t work. And then they come back and ask me the same question that I already told them, and they didn’t follow the information.

So people don’t value free information. And. It’s disheartening. When you tell people the right answer and they’re like, I don’t think that’s right. And they don’t value it. And then they eventually come around. To realizing that you are right. And to be clear, I don’t give a fuck if they think I’m right or not.

And when they think I’m right, it doesn’t make me happier or sadder. But what does matter to me is my time. And. It, it, it became unscalable, right? So if I help people, one-on-one all of a sudden I’m spending like say three to five hours a week, giving people free advice that they may or may not take action on and ignoring. Let’s say they did take action on it.

Carl asked me this the other day. He said, if you knew that they were going to take your advice and listen to everything that you said. Would that be okay. And I was like, I don’t really care. They think they are going to follow the advice, but there’s too many cognitive biases that get in the way. And if they have no sunk cost in it and they have confirmation bias and they go seek out information that makes them. Here and confirm that they wanted to use this other software instead of what I told them to use.

Then you end up in a situation where someone won’t follow the advice, all that to say would Carl asked me if I would feel better if they follow the advice? The answer is no, because I don’t, I don’t think they actually.

So it is unscalable. Unscalable to help people on one-on-one. That is why an online course solves that problem. It has been scalable and by the way, I’m not, I don’t have perfect memory and I can’t recite something perfectly. So. If I went through an outline, I may miss something. If I’m just having a sort of offhand conversation.

This often comes in the form of, Hey, can I pick your brain?

I’ll buy you a coffee. And I think, ah, fuck you. I could buy my own coffee. Right? Like, again, When this happens at scale. It’s not, it doesn’t work. I should not drink that many coffees a day. Right. The, the big thing is. No one is going to protect my time. More than me. In fact, these people don’t know.

Right. They think, oh, Doug, he’s just going to spend a couple hours chatting with me. But they don’t know. There’s, there’s three other people, three very nice other people that were introduced to me by a friend. That seem awesome. And if they had the same demands asked of them for free. I’m 90% sure they would realize they have a problem. And I didn’t know how to deal with this.

Exactly. Because my actually like true friends were asking me to do this stuff. And eventually I was like, I, I. Have a court. I have. Material that you could check out. You could hire me for consulting. But, you know, I can’t do this anymore. Like it doesn’t add up. Right. It doesn’t. It doesn’t work for me again.

No, one’s going to protect my time more than me. The scalability is so important. And. Side note. When I have given my courses away for free to people. They don’t. They don’t follow it. They don’t do the work because they have no skin in the game. And I’ve tried it before and I heard people say this and I was like, I don’t know.

It seems like that person’s pretty ambitious, blah, blah, blah. They don’t, they don’t go through the material. They just don’t value it in the same way. If they paid 500 or a thousand dollars. The threshold doesn’t matter. Like for some people, you know, 10 bucks, they’re like, oh man, I’m really going to do. The work here. For some people, it might be like $3,000. So that’s all different, but the point is scalability is huge.

I can’t help people. One-on-one. Even like, you know, friends, friends of friends at some point it’s not, it’s not something that I can do. Next number five, we have authority and credibility, and here you’re literally an expert. So if you are looking to maybe be on podcast, as I talk about all the time, Or speak at a conference or maybe there’s a retreat.

There’s a retreat that I like to go to called campfire. They’re all over the country. They happen about, I think about eight times a year. Super fun during the financial independence, personal finance area. Super cool people. But if you have a course and you have put yourself out there, like you have some level of authority that is. Externally verifiable.

So that works really well. And people know you’re an expert. Hopefully you have some students or people that can provide testimonials. And that’s really helpful too. But that gives you that authority and credibility. And we’re wrapping up. Hi, I’m keeping it fairly tight and minimizing the various tangents. So lifestyle is next. This has been very important to me from the very beginning. I did work very hard for many years, but as time went on, I looked at, you know, people that were ahead of me and more successful. And how hard they worked and what they were trying to accomplish, which I, you know, I can’t. I can’t judge them.

I can’t apply my judgment lens onto what they were doing, but I could see what they were doing. And the drive that they had and the time that they were able to spend with other pieces of their life, aside from the business. And compare it to other people who maybe valued lifestyle more than earning as much money as possible. There’s a spectrum. Right.

There’s a spectrum. People have different. Motivations and desires and ultimate goals. And when I took a step back. I realized time, freedom and lifestyle was far more important. Then earning as much money as possible.

The people that I saw trying to earn as much money as possible. Usually we’re a little bit unhappy. They often were playing some sort of comparison game to other people that they knew that were earning a whole lot of money. Which is a losing game because there’s always someone who’s earning a little bit more or do it a little better where they did it faster. Or there’s a new person who started up a new thing they’re younger than you. To have more hair than you. And they did it. Faster and they’re earning more and you’re like, what?

Like how my behind I started before this person. And it’s just a losing game. So it was like, how can I get out of that? And highest value on time. Freedom for me. So the cool part, which is a little bit redundant is again, You can resale. You could resell a course or digital product infinitely. Again, there’s some processing fees, but like, you don’t have to like hold inventory. You don’t have to buy and hold the investment, maybe like real estate or you. This is not an investment.

Uh, Uh, advice. I’m not an expert consult your own professionals. This is just entertainment. But buying and holding something. From a speculation standpoint seems bananas to me. So I don’t, I don’t do anything like that. Um, very conservative. So being able to create something once that has value and value that can be scaled in a huge way is awesome.

And that. Helps me create a great lifestyle where I have a lot of free time to do. Other things aside from sit at the computer. I do like sitting here in working and creating stuff, but it’s easy to go too far and not know when to stop. It’s really fun to create something new. But you gotta remember like what the ultimate goal is.

And at some point.

The demands could be too great if I’m like, okay. It’s really important to me to pull an ex a male. Per year, and that is my sole focus. And then when you step back and you’re like, why, why, why. You asked that question a few times, you realize, well, maybe it’s important than that. Maybe I just want the free time that all that money could buy. Well, maybe I don’t need that much money to have free time.

So it’s just a matter of reframing things. And for me, it’s worked out great. In fact, I see, I have observed some people, some peers here recently with. Some of the, the, basically people that were earning a lot more than me for a solid chunk of time. For years right there, we’re earning a lot more than me for years. And they are talking about going back and getting a job. They’re talking about. You know, stopping there. Side hustle, their entrepreneurship stuff.

And I’m like, What like what happened? Like how. What happened? All the money at first. But you know, aside from that, it’s like, Is it the time freedom that, like, what were you, what were you chasing? And that’s not a fully formed thought that wasn’t in my notes, but I am seeing people with like helpful content. Flipped a lot of people’s sites upside down.

So I think maybe some people felt invincible for a little while. And they didn’t have a firm foundation, which is another topic for another day, but this, my friends is why I like online courses and digital products. Probably not that much that you haven’t heard before, but I hope. It lets you into my worked psyche and the crazy stuff that I think sometimes. And for me, you know, figure out what it is for you, but for me, lifestyle and time, freedom to do, you know what I want, whatever I want with the people that I want to do it with. Like that is really, really important for me personally. And it might be a little different for you.

Like everyone has different motivations. And of course we all have different backgrounds. And even if we have, you know, similar goals, we may want to go about it a different way. Or if we have very different goals, we may go about. Uh, building a business in a similar way and there’s no right or wrong answer. But just, I mean, make sure you’re playing the game you want to play and not something else. Let me know what you think about online courses and be sure you’re subscribed to wherever you’re consuming this.

I will be talking about my new show very soon. Hopefully the next few days, I’ll have a, the landing page up. Email wait list. I’m going to have all the other properties, all gobbled up. And we’ll catch you on those. Uh, upcoming episodes thanks.