3D Thinking and Your Recession Recovery

To say that 2020 was “different” might be the greatest understatement of the century…so far. 

With Covid-19 devastating families and businesses around the planet the collective global suffering is likely to impact all of us far into the future. 

But there is an end in sight. And there are opportunities to be had.

James Feldman, CSP helps companies discover new opportunities using their existing resources. And with everything still tight from a year of social and business disruption he seemed like the right person to talk to about how businesses can look beyond just staying alive and actually thrive in the post-pandemic world.

HIs latest book Shift Happens: How to Reinvent Yourself Using 3D Thinking is a toolbox for businesses big and small;  filled with resources, questions, infographics, resources, and more.

It’s designed to help folks create their own recession recovery program.

According to Feldman, who brands himself as the “Nowist”, organizations are stuck thinking about what used to work instead of looking for new ways to adapt. 

This is going to be the time where more millionaires and billionaires are created than any time in our history. Click To Tweet

“Often you find people are in denial and they’re not willing to accept the fact that things aren’t working,” Feldman says on a Zoom chat from his home base in Chicago. “But if they reach that precipice, where do they go?”

“The companies  we’re working with are getting anywhere from a 10x to a 40x lift because often all we’re doing is reordering things, repositioning things.”

Looking for solutions that use existing resources is what Feldman calls “thinking inside the box.” This runs counter to what many of us have been told in the past when it comes to problems solving. 

Most of us grew up with the think outside the box mentality” Feldmans says. “But if we use that illustration of the box, And we’re outside the box. How do we have any clue what’s inside the box – because that’s where the problem lies. So I say go inside the box. See what the components are that make up the problem, separate them, solve them.”

To get to this point, Feldman uses what he calls 3D Thinking to get to the core issues. 

The 3Ds of this approach are Depth, Distance and Determination.

  • Depth is going inside the box to find a solution to a problem people have. 
  • Distance is looking outside to see if there is a market for the solution you want to sell. 
  • Determination is finding the resources to carry it through.

With the advent of a new post-Covid era upon us, Feldman sees new opportunities for those willing to look for them. 

“I say this to everybody,  this is going to be the time where more millionaires and billionaires are created than any time in our history.”

“The playing field has been leveled in almost every industry. You have the opportunity to really go out and reinvent, repurpose, and refocus as you move forward. 

“The barriers to entry are gone. All of the opportunities are laid bare and all you have to do is seize that opportunity and monetize it. And that’s the key, make sure that you’re working on something that people will pay for. Otherwise, it’s just a hobby.”

These are just some of the lessons found in his new book. But it’s not a text you’d pick up and blow through on a weekend. Something Feldman admits.

“It’s like drinking from a fire hose. There’s just so much in it. It’s not something that you sit and read cover to cover because it’s full of things that you’ll want to go out and try right after you read them.”

“It’s sorta like getting a golf coach or a tennis coach. You’re not gonna learn everything at one time.”

How local retailers can replicate what makes them special…online

local retailers selling online

With full and partial lockdowns happening around the world again it really does seem like we’re experiencing what Thomas Fuller once described as “the darkest hour coming just before ]the dawn” – at least for retailers not called Amazon.

But while politicians and others beg us to shop local – many retailers are having a difficult time adapting to the new online reality.

A lot of this comes down to three reasons.

  • The misconception that moving online is going to cost a fortune (Spoiler Alert – it won’t)
  • A real fear of the technology.
  • Most retailers look at Amazon as a competitor they just can’t beat.

Let’s take a look at how local businesses can adapt quickly to the environment today and leverage these changes to come back stronger – when the current scourge fades into history.

Ecommerce strategies ranging from free to cheap

First, let’s talk about costs. When I first started my business, it wouldn’t be unusual to charge anywhere up to $10k for a website. Today that number can be as low as $1k or even free if you do it yourself using WordPress.

But just having a site with a phone number on it is not how you are going to thrive. So here are a few tools that will position your business to succeed in whatever business environment comes next.

Now obviously if you have money to burn, you can hire an agency and let them scope everything out for you. But I want to give you tools that range from free to cheap.

If you want to sell online, you’re going to need an online store. This may come as a surprise – but one of the most popular ecommerce platforms on the planet is absolutely free and shockingly easy to set up.

Going online sounds scary for a lot of small businesses. But the reality is that it’s not nearly as complicated or expensive as you may think. And if you get set up now, you will be in a better position going forward. Click To Tweet

WooCommerce works with WordPress. But even if your current site is not built on WordPress – don’t sweat it. It’s really simple to create a subdomain on your site and drop a WordPress/woocommerce site into it. If you can’t do it yourself – your web person should be able to set it up within an hour or two.

The second step is to upload all your products. Hopefully you already have some sort of an inventory system. If so – you’re in luck. Here is a link to a step by step guide to importing a spreadsheet with your inventory into your new e-commerce site.

Now let’s be clear – simply building out an online store will not help you compete against Amazon.

Your local competitive advantage is YOU

When people choose to shop local, it isn’t always about price or even convenience. They appreciate the face or personality of the business. When I was in my 20s I worked in a real used record store(RIP Dr.Disc London). We were local. And even though the HMV across the street was often less expensive, our customers enjoyed coming in and chatting with a staff made up of music lovers and audiophiles.

That still works today. If you want to retain your position as a local seller, you need to make sure that what made you special in the first place still works online. So how can you do this?

Well I said that I was going to cover things that were free to cheap. 

Many local businesses are currently restricted to “by appointment only” restrictions. So another free tool you should consider is Calendly.

Calendly is an online appointment system used by consultants. But it works just as well for retailers. Even the free version integrates with your Google Calendar. So you can set hours and even limit bookings to 15 minutes.

If you want even more you can connect Calendly to your free Zoom account to have “face to face” conversations with customers via computer. It really is as close as you’re going to get to having someone was right there in the store with you!

You can make recommendations, send links to products via chat and arrange for pickup. How’s that for easy? And so far your investment in e-commerce has cost you nothing.

Now that we’ve covered free, let’s talk about cheap. 

One of the best things to drop onto your site is a live chat option that will let you personally greet visitors – as you would if they just walked in through your front door.

There are literally dozens of options to choose from. But the service I use is Zendesk. It’s $35USD a month and works as your digital welcome to anyone who visits. If your store is closed now – you can monitor this yourself from your phone or even set triggers based on pages or visitor actions and have automated responses.

This is an important investment for your local business as it allows you to bring what is unique and appealing to walk-ins to your online store.

Now let’s go back to our three objections. 

Cost – If you decide to build everything yourself you can get away with a fixed cost of about $35 a month for the live chat. Obviously if you hire somebody like myself to do it for you, you have to pay for time. But even that isn’t going to cost you what it would have even 5 years ago. 

Technology – Between WordPress, Woocommerce, Calendly, Zoom and Zendesk, the implementation and learning curve is not difficult – even if you’re not a techie.

Fear of Amazon – Yes it’s easy to buy from Amazon. But have you ever tried to talk to a real person before you buy? The local advantage is you and your store’s personality. Even during a lockdown you can replicate some of this online and keep your customers coming back.

Going online sounds scary for a lot of small businesses. But the reality is that it’s not nearly as complicated or expensive as you may think. And if you get set up now, you will be in a better position going forward. No more slow snow days or rain days at the brick and mortar because people don’t want to leave their homes.

If you think you might need help with any of this, click on my Calendly link to see how quickly you can get up and running or open a chat!

Increase the engagement of your online course videos for a better ROI

How many times have you heard the expression “you don’t trade time for money”?

So why is it that when it comes to creating and selling online courses most of us are completely stuck in this mindset.

What I mean by this is that we still tend to equate the length of our programs with how much they are worth, instead of the return on investment they promise to the people who pay to take them.

Over the years, I’ve signed up for loads of online courses. And the reality is that I’ve finished very few of them because they took too long or I simply lost interest halfway through (or sooner).

Creating a 10 hour course might seem like it should be worth $10,000. But if your students don’t watch it, they are wasting their money and you have wasted your time.

However if you create a 3 hour course that is filled with practical action steps that folks can implement immediately – they will have a better chance of realizing a return on their investment – even if that investment happens to be $10000!

But even a 3 hour course is too much if it just becomes a data dump.

Who in their right mind wants to sit through a 3 hour virtual lecture? Even 1 hour is often way too long to keep me engaged.

For many thought leaders the temptation is to dive deep into the weeds in order to demonstrate an expertise that people who paid for your program already believe they have.

So the result is overly long presentations that meander into the unnecessary instead of fulfilling the initial promise laid out in the sales page.

Longer videos don’t have the engagement

So what can you do? Well the first thing to do is create bite sized chunks of knowledge that build upon the learnings that came immediately before..

People don’t want to stare at a screen for an hour if there aren’t cats or dragons on it.

According to a study by Wistia measuring video length vs engagement our attention spans are not very long. Indeed after 2 minutes engagement starts to drop off fairly quickly until it plateaus between 6 and 12 minutes at about 50%

But if you can keep your content videos under 5 minutes you can maintain engagement above 55%. That’s a big deal if you are thinking about creating a course made up of, let’s say, 4-60 minute modules.

Increase your engagement and deliver more value

So how do you do this? It’s actually very easy for you to make it easy for your students. Imagine writing down your course syllabus – planning out your content and then, instead of having to do a 60 minute presentation, you only have to take for 3 to 5 minutes on a specific topic within your larger program.

This approach forces you to cut out the fluff and think about your content in a way that is more accessible to your students’ learning capacity.

How does that work?

I’ll give the example from my own online program DIY Marketing for Consultants, Trainers and Professional Speakers.

This course is 9 modules long with over 3 hours of video. But each module is broken down into multiple units that anyone can go through at their own pace.

Make it a challenge!

During the pandemic people are finding it even harder to concentrate. So even the above Wistia study may be a bit of a stretch. But there are ways to help your students using micro learning supplemental programs.

I remember back in my university days when I would attend lectures with a professor and then break out into smaller study classes lead by a teacher’s assistant (usually a grad student) who would assign and grade our work.

Recently I’ve created a number of “micro-learning” challenges based on longer programs that were already on sale. The concept was the same as the university model where the longer programs were there to provide knowledge and perspective – while the shorter program acted as the more practical and simpler roadmap to implementation.

For example Ed Rigsbee has a program for speakers to help them sell their services into the association market.

In the “before-times” Ed held a 2-day intensive workshops in Las Vegas multiple times a year. However after Covid shut everything down he created a virtual intensive from previously recorded sessions. Having attended this program myself – his system really is fascinating.

But last month Ed launched his own micro learning program based on this content. The Selling to Associations Challenge: 30 Simple Steps to Dominate Your Niche in the Association Market takes the learning from the larger program and turns it into a 30 day action plan with a single task delivered each day via email.

As one of the purchasers noted in a recent email:

“I’m loving this. The step by step approach takes the overwhelm out of implementing the information from the intensive.”

Ed’s daily challenges are generally less than 3 minutes long and they give a very specific instruction that students need to complete. There are no excuses. Just do the work and he promises they’ll see results.

I’ve done the same thing with my full program with 30 days of short action-oriented videos that each contain a specific direction. You can check it out here.

There’s nothing magic in what we’re doing. Ed, myself and others have simply identified another way to adapt our content to the needs of the people we serve. Attention spans and focus are experiencing a pandemic-induced decline, so we’re making it simpler to implement what we know in our customers’ businesses.

So if you are thinking of creating a program or a supplemental tool to help people execute on your brilliant ideas, all you need to do is stop thinking about quantity of content and start thinking about how you can show real ROI through shorter, more engaging, content and products.

How to make your courses and podcasts more professional

What’s keeping you from creating an online course, webinar or podcast?

We are well into this pandemic. And even if a vaccine were to be released tomorrow, the business of speaking, training and consulting is going to be changed forever. 

If you are one of those waiting for everything to go back to “normal” I hope you have a lot of savings. 

Those who want to keep the lights on during this difficult time and prepare for what comes next are already adapting.

In the past I’ve talked about how you can quickly and easily create online programs and scale fast. 

So why isn’t everyone jumping on the online course and presentation bandwagon?

Well the truth is most of us just don’t think we’re good enough to pull it off – even if we have great content.

There is a great story about how Cary Grant wouldn’t ever watch any of his movies because he didn’t think his performances were that good. I have a soft spot for his screwball comedies and can attest that he WAS THAT GOOD.

Are you like Cary Grant? When you look at your own recorded performances do you cringe at the tics and fillers that creep into your speaking voice?

I know I do. When I recorded my first online course over 5 years ago, I had faith in the quality of the content. It was the performance that made me blush. 

But people liked it and I moved some units. In fact I sold enough that I had no problem creating an updated version at the beginning of 2020. 

When I started doing pre-recorded webinars I got rave reviews for the content and the presentation. But when I look at them, it’s not the content that catches my attention – it’s the verbal gaffes that nobody else seems to notice.

It’s the same with any podcast interview I do. I come on –  and in the moment – I think it’s great. But then I listen to it a few weeks later on my podcast app and I’m embarrassed. 

You are THAT GOOD as well

If you are a content creator you can’t let an obsession with your own deficiencies become the excuse not to adapt your business to what the market wants. 

Easier said than done I know. 

When I present or do interviews my biggest, most notable “tic” is filler words. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ums and ers and you knows. 

I drop them into the conversation effortlessly as I search for the right words to use. It’s annoying and I sometimes think that it makes my stuff sound unprofessional. 

I know I’m not alone in this because I have spent countless hours editing client videos for courses and removing filler words is a tedious nightmare.

The other week I tried an audio/video editing tool called Descript that promised to seamlessly remove filler words for audio and video with just a few clicks. Did it work? It sure did. And if what’s keeping you back from creating videos and audios to help your business shift into a market where virtual is going to be the new normal then you need to try it.

What Descript does is use advanced AI to create a transcription of the video or audio input. Then you can edit the video or audio  – by editing the text!  In my tests I found the transcription to be better than 90% accurate.

There are both free and premium versions. The  “Filler Words” feature— available on the premium version —finds and highlights unwanted words. Then, as if by magic, you can delete them from the video.

I signed up for the free 7 day trial to test it out on my latest free online workshop (Work it Like a PRO: How any business can use content to create a micro-media empire). When I used the filler word feature, my presentation went from 45 minutes to 42 minutes. And more importantly it sounded a lot more professional!

How good was it? Well I went back to the course videos from my online program and used the magic editor on all those as well.

I’m not an affiliate or shill for this product. They aren’t paying me to promote it. 

There are loads of other features I’m not going to get into – this isn’t a review blog. But it is certainly something worth checking out as a free trial.

Every day there are more and more tools to help make our businesses thrive in the post-pandemic world. And with each one the excuses to put off moving forward become weaker and weaker.

I’d love to hear what tools you’ve discovered and how they are helping your business transition.

Add a micro-learning product to your mix

man creating an online course

micro-lessons are a great alternative for audiences that are struggling with focus. And offering that tool for a price that works in the current economic climate is also sure to attract some eyeballs.

How’s your focus? If you’re like a lot of people you may be finding it much harder to concentrate than you did before the pandemic.

If you’ve been struggling to focus and be productive, there is good reason for it. The pandemic is stressful. And researchers have observed that the part of our brain involved in decision making, known as the prefrontal cortex, shrinks and becomes more disconnected from other brain areas in response to long-term stress.

If you want to dig a bit deeper into this subject, here’s the article in Nature.

It’s not about the Why. It’s about the How

But I’m not here to talk about the WHY. I want to talk about the HOW. Specifically how you can adapt your business to work in a “high stress – low focus” environment.

When everything first went sideways, I was really quick to adapt my own business from helping folks market their live speaking, training and consulting programs to converting those same programs into virtual experiences.

That meant creating courses using software like WP-Courseware.

Even then I knew from a user experience most people had no interest in sitting in front of a screen for 45 minutes as a disembodied voice took a deep dive into a very specific subject.

So I encouraged my clients to break things down into shorter 3-5 minute units within broader modules.

But this still followed the full-course format we’re all familiar with. You watch, you take notes, you make a plan to implement.

But remember what I said a few paragraphs ago? We are in a time of extreme stress and our brains aren’t firing on all cylinders. So our ability to focus is diminished.

I’m not immune. I signed up for a few courses on Udemy over the last few months and found myself easily distracted by Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Sure the course was playing in the background – but I wasn’t really paying much attention.

So how can you reach the millions of people out there who are just like me? The people who are likely to be your customers? The people who really need your help?

Start thinking small

That’s something I put a lot of thought into. And the answer I came up with was literally right down the stairs from my office.

My wife owns her own fitness company here in Mississauga and she was also able to make a quick pivot to online services back at the beginning of the pandemic. That meant she was running her classes in our living room.

But in addition to running her classes, she created a 30 day challenge where participants were given a single task to complete each day for a month.

The idea hit me like a ton of bricks. What if I could do the same thing for my training? What if in addition to my full length online Do It Yourself Marketing Course, I also had a simplified 30 day challenge with simple action steps?

In essence a series of micro-lessons on marketing that anyone could complete?

Fortunately, the software I use on my site to deliver the full length programs also has a drip feature. So the next step was to map out the 30 days and record the short videos. Surely a daily email with a link to a video of 1-2 minutes is something anyone could follow.

Well when I launched my 30 Day Marketing Challenge I sold a bunch right away. Practical action items for less than a buck a day…what’s not to love?

Obviously, micro-lessons are a great alternative for audiences that are struggling with focus. And offering that tool for a price that works in the current economic climate is also sure to attract some eyeballs.

Last week I helped Ed Rigsbee launch a 30 day challenge based on his Sell Your Speaking to Associations Virtual Intensive. And again – it has sold really well. 30 days of action items is a simple formula that any trainer or consultant can develop and deploy quickly.

Before your get started

Here’s what you need to know to get started:

  • Determine what software you want to use. I use WP-Courseware. It has all the features I need and integrates nicely into any WordPress Site
  • Choose your topic and map out your 30 days. This is obviously easier if you already have some sort of training program. But it can also work if you don’t. If you have a sales training business, map out 30 days of tasks for sales people. If you are a leadership consultant – 30 actions around inspiring staff. You get the idea.
  • Record your first 5 days. What happens if nobody buys your program? This is always a possibility. When I put together my program, I recorded only 5 days worth of content. That way if the program was a bust I hadn’t wasted a lot of time on it.

So there you go, If you want to create a quick product based on your expertise that can resonate with your audience at a time when they need to improve their results – and are having more difficulty focusing for longer programs – micro learning experiences may be the way to go.

If you want help setting one of these up – send me a note. I’d love to talk to you. aidan@shortcircuitmedia.com

8 steps any entrepreneur can take to better marketing


Detailed marketing plans are fantastic – only if you have the patience and knowledge to implement them.

But let’s face it. Most of us don’t have the patience, time or expertise to implement a complicated plan ourselves. Nor do most businesses have the budget – especially these days – to hire a agency to deliver much more than a basic report full of “to-dos” that we know in our hearts will never become “to-dones.”

So what is a small business owner to do? Well you can ignore your marketing and hope. That certainly is a strategy. But it’s not really a good one. 

Another road involves taking small steps that will move you incrementally towards more profitability. In other words “things you can do yourself.”

Whether you do it yourself or hire someone else to do it for you, here are eight to-dos you can check off your list that will help you meet your marketing goals – even during a pandemic. 

  1. Take a look at your site from the viewpoint of your ideal clients. What is it you’re offering them? What problem do they have that you solve? That’s the reason they are on your site in the first place and that’s the only reason they will ever hire you.
  2. Check your website analytics. If you have a website, you probably have Google Analytics installed. If you don’t do it now. But even if you do have Google Analytics installed – when was the last time you actually looked at them? Knowing how many people come to your site on a daily basis and where they are coming from is important. More important is knowing what content your visitors are looking at. So make it your goal to check your analytics at least once a week and start creating more of the type of content your visitors are actually interested in.  
  3. Add your phone number and email to your website. Too many businesses make it difficult for potential clients to do business with them. Your goal is to make your visitor experience as easy as possible. Are you more afraid of spam and sales calls than client calls? You shouldn’t be. And while you’re at it check the copyright on the site and make sure that it is up to date.
  4. Review your LinkedIn profile. This is a simple one. LinkedIn is simple to set up. So most of us do it and then never look at it again. Review your LinkedIn profile and make sure that it reflects the services and experiences you bring to the table today and not the ones that you put in back in 2013.
  5. Set up a Facebook Business page. This one is another no-brainer. I have a personal Facebook page that is for my actual friends and family. I don’t pollute it with anything about my business – other than if I write a book and want to brag. I have a business page for that. And if you don’t then you should. 
  6. Create a Google Business page. Local search is super important for every business. Google gives us all so much for free. And if you don’t take advantage of it, then you are making a huge mistake. Google My Business is a great way to optimize how your business appears on the world’s largest search engine. While you’re thinking about this, why not drop by mine and say something nice. 
  7. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth exponentially more. Even if you are not a video editor you can create amazing shareable videos based on your content for EVERY social media platform. Just sign up for a free Lumen5.com account and create videos using artificial intelligence and your very own blog posts.  based on the article you wrote.
  8. Record a short video for LinkedIn and tag connections. Even if you don’t have a blog post to turn into a video, I bet you have a thought or two about how you can help your clients. So flip your phone around and take a quick video that talks about a common problem your ideal clients might have and give three ways they can quickly take care of it. Then post that video file directly to your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook Business page.  Remember, we’re all busy. So don’t make it longer than 3 minutes.

 

What do you think? Are these 8 reasonable action steps you can take? Of course they are. If you want access to 30 days of action steps with videos and how-to, join my 30 Day Marketing Challenge. 

Weaponize Your Content for Sales Leverage your genius to build a more profitable training and consulting business

Is your website still pushing services that no longer have a market?

update your website to service clients during the pandemicTalking about the fast pace of change in the modern world had become a cliche. And I’m as guilty as the next marketing guy for overusing it. So much so that I’ve consciously tried to avoid the term for at least a few years. [EDITOR’S NOTE: A quick site search tells me you’re not very good at it]

But gee whiz! The last couple of months have impacted everyone’s business pretty darn quick!

Entire industries that have either vanished or collapsed since Covid-19 took over the world.

In fact I’m already having discussions with friends, colleagues and competitors about what we did in the “before time” and what we’re going to do in the future. The hard truth is that everyone needs to pivot and pivot quickly to the current situation. Those businesses that are just waiting for everything to “get back to normal” won’t survive. How can they? Zero revenue for 6, 12 or 18 months is not sustainable. Not when others are trying to figure out a way to actually service clients now.

Everything has changed

Nobody knows what the new normal is going to be. But whatever it is – it won’t be the same as it was last year. If you want to thrive in the future you need to be able to keep your head above water now. And that means experimenting with your services and adapting your delivery to whatever the market currently needs. AND THEN MAKING IT CLEAR ON YOUR WEBSITE.

My “before time” business model was helping consultants, speakers and trainers market themselves to get in front of the decision-makers who were most likely to hire them.

Obviously live in-person programs have been wiped from the menu. And with them went a lot of the reason people engaged me.

Like yourself, I had two choices. I could keep beating a dead horse and continue selling a service that no longer had a market or I could adapt.

I chose to adapt. And so should you.

In my case I already had an easy pivot in my back pocket. For the last two years I’ve been helping clients adapt their in-person training into online programs. It’s been a small but growing part of my business. At least it was. Remember when I said that businesses depending on live in-person programs had suddenly become dormant?

 The demand for virtual programs is only going to grow

Once I’d decided to focus on this part of my business the next job was to make sure my current, former and future clients knew this was something I did. I couldn’t simply wait for folks to find the page on my website – I needed to make it front and center.

The first thing I did was to change the homepage of my site to focus exclusively on my ability to help folks turn in-person programs into online experiences. Then I created a free online workshop to talk about how developing online programs was so important to content speakers and trainers AND how they can market it. Go ahead and watch the on-demand replay here.

Now ask yourself – is your website still marketing your “before time” business? Are you still pitching in-person programs to a planet filled with empty rooms?

The time to adapt is now

If I start zipping around to different speaking, training and consulting websites – most of them are still exactly as they were last month. They haven’t changed a word. But the market for these services has. And it will take years to get back to what it was – if it ever does.

If you are a service provider you need to articulate your value in the market as it is – not the market as it was before.

If your content was valuable before, it most likely continues to have value. But the way you deliver that value must change. You must not only adapt in the backend, you need to broadcast that you are open for business and ready to help your clients through this difficult period.

You have a choice. You can prepare for the future or dream about the past. Change your website copy to reflect what you can do for clients now. That will be the bridge to what your business will become when the pandemic recedes and the economy recovers.

Is coronavirus going to kill your live training business? Not if you do this.

cancelled training sessions because of coronavirusI’m not a doctor. And I don’t even watch them on TV. But as a small business owner I take the idea of a global pandemic very seriously – whether it involves zombies or coronavirus.

My business is primarily focused on helping speakers, trainers and consultants connect with, and convert, clients. For most of these folks live, in-person events are the bread and butter that pays for the bread and butter. 

So they are obviously very nervous as the fear factor escalates and the prospect of cancelled events not only seems more likely by the day – it’s actually becoming a reality.

Even Google cancelled it’s biggest event of the year because of the coronavirus bug.

Google isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last company or association to suspend or cancel events as nations try to get this virus under control.

So where does this leave small trainers, consultants and speakers whose businesses rely on getting people into a room together?

In a previous article I talked about the 4 reasons everyone should have an online course. I think it’s becoming increasingly evident that there is now a 5th reason – “fearbola.”

“Fearbola” was a term dreamed up in and used extensively by the media during the Ebola panic of 2014-2015. It is the fear of a pandemic. And it’s taking root again in 2020.

Defend yourself against fearbola. 

According to TechJury the e-learning market is projected to be worth $325 billion by 2025.

I’m no Nostradamus. But I’d take a bet that that number is on the low end considering the panic projected by businesses and governments when facing a virus that is nowhere near as deadly as actual ebola. 

Creating an online course or online training program inoculates your business from death by fearbola because it allows you to reach out to existing clients and offer them the same training you would otherwise deliver in person – remotely. 

That sets you apart. 

Another reason to develop these programs is because they are easy and inexpensive to set up and configure. 

I use a software from Flyplugins.com called WP-Courseware and recommend it all the time to clients. 

I love the idea that you can pay a licensing fee once and use it forever. 

It’s also super simple to create and run your courses for clients. If you know how to manage a wordpress website and record something on your phone or computer screen – then you are all set. 

Simply take the program you would otherwise deliver in-person and adapt it as an online presentation. You can keep the same structure, same handouts, same activities. 

And then you wrap everything up with a big ol’ Skype or Zoom call with the whole group.

Think about it. Not only have you cured the fearbola, you have saved yourself the hassle of presenting the same workshop a million different times. The only customization will be the big ol’ wrap up video conference. 

Has that got your mind racing? Are you revving to get started?

Well I’m about to throw a bit of gas on your inspirational fire. 

With WP-Courseware you can create unlimited courses. So there is nothing stopping you from creating a generic version of your training program that doesn’t require a final call or online live discussion. And you can even set it up so that students automatically become affiliates so they have a bit of skin in the game to help you promote it.

So if you are terrified that Covid-19 (coronavirus) is going to infect your business this year, there has never been a better time to move things online. And if you need any help – just let me know. 

Use online training programs to better leverage your genius

build online training programsA while back I wrote an article about why it’s so important to have online training programs as one of the legs supporting your business. It listed 4 reasons that were compelling then – and only make more sense now. After all technology has only improved in the last year and online programs are becoming more and more common. 

Remember a few years back when having a book was a key differentiator for thought leaders?

Well today everyone and their dog has a book. And thanks to the good folks at Amazon those books simultaneously appear in every marketplace on the planet as soon as they are published. 

So what’s a guy (or gal) to do if they want to stand out from the crowd?

Currently thought leaders offering online courses are still few and far between. But that’s going change. Soon. 

Here are a few stats to consider from TechJury:

  • The worldwide e-learning market is projected to be worth $325 Billion in 2025.
  • In 2017, approximately 77% of US corporations used online learning, but 98% planned to incorporate it in their program by 2020. 
  • In 2017, 67% of US companies offered learning opportunities via smartphones.
  • E-learning increases retention rates by 25% to 60%.

Consider the potential for your business if you create online training programs to compliment your other IP.

I was recently chatting to a leadership trainer about how an online course could work as a way to lock in more business from existing clients if she simply forked her half-day workshop into 5 30 minute modules and offered it as an onboarding tool.

One of the big problems with live in-person workshops is that employees are very mobile. And very often the people in the room when you deliver your program may not be there for long. So employee “churn” reduces the long term impact of your training.  

But if you were to create a simple onboarding tool – not only would you be able to increase your fee through a licensing arrangement – you would almost create an element of “vendor lock,” as you become the natural choice for all future workshops because everyone is already familiar with your program!!

When online courses first came about they were clunky, hard to manage and a pain in the butt to set up. But it’s not like that anymore. Tools like WP-CourseWare from Flyplugins.com allow you to pay a small one-time fee and start building right away using your own WordPress site. It even comes with its own shopping cart. 

My online training programs are not onboarding courses. They are marketing programs for consultants, trainers and professional speakers. So everyone who takes one is generally an entrepreneur or working with an entrepreneur in a marketing capacity. 

With my courses I’ve opted to configure them using WP-Courseware and Woocommerce. I did this because it allowed me to leverage some really cool free Woocommerce tools to create affiliate programs and automatically enroll anyone who signs up. This gives every one of my students a little “skin in the game.” And if they like the course, provides them with an incentive to share it out. 

It also allowed me to use a cart abandonment tool that sends out messages to people who drop out of the cart before completing the purchase. It’s all about the infrastructure and the process that runs under the hood. 

If you don’t have a course and you’d like to set one up fast I just released a program called “The Simple, Non-Techie, Guide to Building an Online Course.”  It’s a 40 minute crash course that will help you get up and running fast. If you have any questions about online courses – send me an email or book a call.