Episode 364

From Zero to 300K Per Year in Course and Membership Sales in 3 Years as a Chill Entrepreneur with Josh Hall

Learn about how one can scale up his or her course and membership sales in 3 years in this LMScast episode with a blue-collar dude at heart named Josh Hall, hosted by Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. Entrepreneurs can turn their passion into a money-making business with joshhall.co and LifterLMS.

We have trainers, course makers, and people establishing training-based membership sites at LifterLMS and in our community where everyone is asking and looking for ways to acquire more visitors. They want to buy traffic since they don’t want to squander money on a rabbit hole that will not bring them any results. So, this episode has a lot to offer to all members of our audience and community.

Josh is a chill entrepreneur, a lifestyle businessman, and a family man who was really excited about building an online community. He gravitated towards entrepreneurs and online mentors who are a little more like-minded. He took a counterintuitive approach by signing up with James Schramko, the author of Work Less, Make More. In his opinion, “webpreneur” sounds a lot better than a web entrepreneur so he stuck with that. His business model is not something that’s negotiable for him to revolve around the lifestyle because he gives importance to time, freedom, and definitely financial freedom.

Josh mentioned a pro tip earlier about how he nails that first impression and makes people comfortable in his membership. He makes sure the members of the community feel like they’re super welcomed. He also ensures that they’ll get community support from other folks. The best part about being a member of an online community is that one can start sharing what he or she knows and help others. He also focused on how one can go to the next level and not be a stressed-out entrepreneur. For example, it doesn’t matter what one uses for monthly training or yearly planning.

Josh considers the current year as the creation year to continue with his podcast and boost his YouTube channel. He will also consider revamping, tweaking, fine-tuning, redoing, and spending a lot of time refining his three years old business course.

You can learn more about his courses at joshhall.co. Their support is helpful, so feel free to reach out. Josh is also active on Facebook and Insta. He encourages folks that if they have something to share, to please share it with the world. Make your course, and don’t let anything stop you.

At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. We have a gift for you to help your online learning business grow when you subscribe to LMSCast at lifterlms.com/gift. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here.

Transcript of the podcast

Chris Badgett:
You’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking to create, launch and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay till the end, I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Chris Badgett:
Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMSCast. I’m joined by a repeat guest, his name is Josh Hall. Welcome back to the show, Josh.

Josh Hall:
Great to be back, Chris. I was thinking this was the third time I was on, and I just looked back at your site and realized that this is actually the fourth time we’ve chatted. Although one was a long venting session/coaching call. So hopefully, I can provide a little more value on this one for everybody.

Chris Badgett:
Well, life’s a journey and course creation and coaching, membership site, online business is all a journey. And one of the great things about you is you’re an open book and you’re an inspiration. And what you’ve done… If this is people’s first time hearing about you, let me see if I can frame this up and then fill in the gaps. You ran a WordPress agency, you wanted to serve that market with courses and coaching and digital products and things, so you built some digital courses. And then you added a membership, which you call a Club where you add ongoing value, community, training, other niche trainings, and stuff like that. Is that the trajectory of the big high level?

Josh Hall:
Yeah, I think as far as what I’m doing with joshhall.co, the personal brand, yeah, that pretty much encapsulates it. Previous to that, I was a solopreneur, web designer. And then I ended up selling that agency, and then started teaching. Like I said, it’s ever evolving. And I’ve personally found that coaches, online course creators, and community builders, I think it’s easier to teach web design because it’s like, here’s a pretty proven path on how to get clients, how to bid out projects, how to do the work, with what I just mentioned, an online printer, an online web printer, there’s so many variables.

Josh Hall:
And what you do as far as your content marketing and how you offer your services and products really varies depending on what your industry is and how you are as a creator. So that’s what I’m navigating through, but gosh, I love it, man. I love the online course world, I love WordPress, I love web design, and I really love community building now too, which I know you’re keen on.

Chris Badgett:
Yeah, that’s awesome. I’m really impressed with what you’ve done with your community. And we’ll get into that in a little bit. We’re recording this at the beginning of 2022 and in 2021, you crossed 300K in sales with the courses and the membership. Can you just overview for people, what were you selling there? What is that 300K… what happened in that year? What products were sold?

Josh Hall:
The bulk of my revenue comes from my online courses. And as a web design coach, I teach folks how to build awesome WordPress websites and how to build and run their web design agency. So all of my courses revolve in and around that. Those are what’s bringing in most of my revenue and my income. However, like you mentioned, I do have a coaching community, which is dubbed my Web Design Club. And that’s really exciting now because that’s getting closer to the six figure mark, and that’s my big goal for 2022 is to take that to six figures. I’m not really worried about scaling and building that too much because that is much more quality over quantity for me.

Josh Hall:
Courses, I can do at scale, because anyone could go through them at any time, it doesn’t matter. But my coaching community is definitely folks who are really serious about their business and it’s more of a tight-knit community, not in a way of feeling click-ish, but it’s much more high touch. So we’re getting close to taking that to six figures in 2022, which is really exciting. And then I do have some other revenue streams, including passive income with affiliate sales. I had sold my web design agency, so I get a little bit of money from that, although quite honestly, it wasn’t a big, sexy sell. I basically sold a job and my maintenance plan. So I get a little bit of that every quarter. But the primary income for me is web design courses and my coaching community.

Chris Badgett:
And you do it a little bit different, which I love, because there’s always more than one on ways to do things. Your courses sit outside of your membership. Some people build a membership site and they put courses in it, you have a different model. Just tell us about how you ended up there, what you like about the way those two interact with each other as being separate instead of mashed together.

Josh Hall:
Yeah. And this is our last conversation where we spoke for a good two and a half hours and just had a lively chat and I was picking your brain about this. It is a very interesting type of model when you have online courses and a membership. And the question is, should that be all together? For me, it was a pretty easy decision to have the membership separate because I already had online courses that were established, and these are lifetime access, one-off style courses that you can, in my case, you can either buy one at a time and go through as many as you want, or I do have a bundled option for all of them together.

Josh Hall:
I still, as much as I would love to have 300 people pay me 39 bucks a month or whatever it would be for access to everything, there’s something so powerful about having separate standalone courses that somebody could just go through and get a result, a point A to point B, start to finish result that they get awesome results from that and then they’re interested in more. And then for me, most people will go to numerous courses after that, hopefully go into my bundle. And then, if they’re really serious and they want coaching from me and to be in a part of my amazing web design community, then they join my Web Design Club.

Josh Hall:
The Web Design Club is not about the content and trainings as much as it is community and coaching. Now, we do have a monthly training in there, and I’ve had you recently, which was awesome. You talked about planning the year ahead, which is still one of my favorite trainings to date. But those are nice because it keeps the community engaged, and really, it adds a level of training that is outside of my courses. You know what I mean? It’s a little bit different than a course, it’s just a training with a Q&A. So I found a nice balance with that, and I’m really happy about the way it’s worked together. It really suits the lifestyle I want to live, which is a low stress, very meaningful connections through my Web Design Club. And then more one to many sharing of expertise with my courses.

Chris Badgett:
What was the, just real quick, the timeline from your first course to now you’ve just finished a year with 300K in revenue?

Josh Hall:
I started doing courses August of 2018. So I guess three years to get to the 300.

Chris Badgett:
Three years?

Josh Hall:
Yeah, yeah. And honestly, what did help though is, I had been a freelancer and a website designer and then turned into a business owner accidentally, had no plans on doing that. But my mind was already at a place when I started doing courses to where I took all the lessons I learned, I took every tactic that I told all my clients to do when it came into blogging and content marketing, and I just applied it. And I’m not an SEO expert, but I built my entire online brand completely organically through SEO, a lot out of Google tutorial or a lot of YouTube tutorials and just posting blogs and getting better rankings on Google, and that’s what built my site and built my content.

Josh Hall:
Once I started doing courses, I finally had something to sell. Interestingly enough, I was creating content like crazy; I think we’ve talked about this on a previous episode, and I really didn’t have anything to sell. I was just building my audience. It’s not necessarily a strategy I would recommend doing if you’re strapped for cash. But luckily, I had my web design business. Because to be honest, Chris, I always thought I was going to do child themes or plugins. My goal when I started doing tutorial-

Chris Badgett:
Software?

Josh Hall:
Yeah. I thought about doing software, because I just didn’t know where it was going to go. So I just built my audience. But then, I found out that I’m pretty dang good at teaching and I love teaching. And then I realized, I’ve got a decade experience as being a web designer and a business owner. Why not give this out? And then once courses came into the picture, it was downhill from there, man, in a good way.

Chris Badgett:
Does everybody in the membership , or most of them, have they taken a course before? Do you have people that drop into that from like a cold start?

Josh Hall:
Yeah. Primarily, they are our students. They’re students who have gone through courses and then they’re ready for that coaching aspect. Now, funny enough, more recently, I’m actually finding quite a few people who joined the coaching community first. Yeah. And then they get involved and then I can guide them personally as far as what courses they might want to take from there. I honestly didn’t think anybody would join my Web Design Club without going through of courses, but oddly enough, more and more now that’s actually happening in the reversal.

Josh Hall:
The way my business model works, if I could say this and try to visualize it in a way, is I have free content from, I have a podcast with awesome guests like you and other folks from all around the web design community, and solo episodes. And then I have video tutorials on YouTube and my blog and a lot of free resources like webinars and master classes that I’m continuing to produce. Those all funnel into my courses, which is what actually fills my bank account and I actually get paid for. And then again, my goal is to get somebody in one course, I want them to just get an awesome result and then I want them to go into numerous courses, ideally, my bundle, which they can upgrade to. And then to my coaching community, my Web Design Club.

Josh Hall:
So that’s the path and the visualization of all my content marketing strategy and into my digital products, I guess.

Chris Badgett:
I love that model. And I think that’s cool too how sometimes the market just as and behave perfectly and they just jump in here and maybe somebody even finds one of your YouTube videos later after they’ve been a customer for a while. Sometimes people break the rules, but having that path is cool. Any advice for that top of the funnel content? I know that’s a big question, but should people build an audience first? How do you make engaging content? Is YouTube the best use of time per se? I know I just threw a lot at you, but speak to that.

Josh Hall:
Yeah, I know. I love that. I’m super passionate about this. I could talk for eight hours about content stuff, which I feel like you and I could pull off this. There’s definitely no right or wrong answer as far as what content you should produce, where it should go. But I have found that there are certain platforms that are better for certain content, and I, as a long-winded person who loves going into the nitty gritty on things, I found podcasting to be a big time source of bringing in… It goes back to the quote, your vibe attracts your tribe. I’ve brought in people who are very like-minded through the podcast, particularly, because I found out that they are serious about their business.

Josh Hall:
A lot of them are parent printers, both guys and gals. In fact, interestingly enough, my audience is now over 40% female, according to Google Analytics, whereas before it was like 80% dudes, 20% gals. I think being a family man has helped attract people who are just working from home and balancing family life. Although I have a lot of entrepreneurs who are traveling the world and doing whatever they want to do. But the content strategy, what I try to do essentially is longer form content that I want to really talk about and share my feelings on and do a long-form interview on, that’s podcast. If it’s more of a tutorial, if it’s like a quick training or it’s something I can visually show in five to 10 to 15 minutes or a little bit longer, that’s a YouTube video.

Josh Hall:
So I say all that to say, when you think about what content you want to produce, and you want, think about your audience, you really got to decide on what type of content you want do, what do you feel comfortable with, and what are you interested in? And then where is your audience going to be? If you can serve them on YouTube better than on a podcast, then go to YouTube. Whereas if you feel like a lot of people in your niche are going to be listening to podcasts, then try that out. And you can always add different sources of content. One thing I would say if I could give anybody advice is just pick one to start with, get really good at that, get systems in place, figure out ways out to where you can batch record stuff, and then then add other stuff on.

Josh Hall:
Because what happens to most people who want to do content, and I understand this, is you just get completely and utterly overwhelmed. And then you’re like, “Oh gosh, I’ve got to have a YouTube channel, I’ve got to have a podcast, I’ve got to have a blog, I’ve got to be on Facebook-

Chris Badgett:
TikTok.

Josh Hall:
… TikTok, I’ve got to be on LinkedIn. I’ve realized the best thing for me and that I see that works for almost everybody else is one thing at a time, add on to it, create your systems, and build from there. But it really all goes back to, who’s your audience? Where are they? And then what type of content is going to be best for them to build that audience and to eventually get them to your stuff?

Chris Badgett:
One of the quickest top of the funnel that you do, I won’t say it’s easy, but it can be quick, is a livestream Q&A. And I was actually just on doing one of your guest talks to your Club, and then I was actually going grocery shopping. And right before I go grocery shopping, I open YouTube or podcast and I find something to listen to. And then I go on the store and I was like, “Oh, there’s Josh, I’ll see what’s going on here.” And you even mentioned like, oh, I think I left a comment and then I walked in the grocery store, and you’re like, “Hey, I just interviewed Chris, whatever.”

Josh Hall:
Oh, that’s right. That’s right,

Chris Badgett:
The live medium is different. Tell us about live. How do you approach live? And how’s that different from creating a video? Because there’s a lot of difference there that people don’t always realize. How do you get people to show up?

Josh Hall:
Live is really interesting, man. That’s one of the biggest things I’m I’m doing in 2022 is really taking live streaming more seriously. And I got some gear for it, I’ve got a little sound board that has sound effects, I’m using Ecamm Live so I can do graphics and overlays and trigger them with a little stream deck board. The cool thing about lives is that…. And I’ll definitely answer the question how do I get people on there. There’s something about being live that is so engaging for somebody. It’s better in a prerecorded masterclass in a lot of cases.

Josh Hall:
Look, I love doing YouTube videos, I love doing podcasts, I love doing master classes. They’re evergreen that can always be out there, but there is extra power in live, particularly when it comes to selling something, because you have urgency that you can put there if you do have a deadline. If you a live stream and it’s like, everyone who’s on this live stream gets this deal within 72 hours. There’s a lot of power in that to actually sell something. Additionally, it really breeds that trust and authority like nothing else. You can build trust, authority and likability in videos and in podcasting, and I love that.

Josh Hall:
But when you are live and you are answering people’s questions, even if it’s just a few people that are on with you or if it’s just a few clients, it really develops that trust and an authority that it takes longer to get with other stuff. And the cool thing is, when it comes to going live, one of my apprehensions, just like probably everybody listening or watching is thinking about is like, “Well, I don’t know if I’m an expert. What have I get stumped on a question? What if I don’t know?”

Josh Hall:
And that happens to me all the time. And if that does happen, I just say, “I’m not sure, I’ll look into it.” That was a sales trick that I use as a web designer. If a client said, “I want to do this on my website, how do you do that?” And I’m like, “I don’t know, but I’ll look into that and I will follow through on that.” You’ll be surprised at how much you know when you go live and people ask questions. The cool thing about going live, it’s actually the… It’s not the easiest work I do, but it’s the least time-consuming work, oddly enough, because as you know, if you do, if you YouTube tutorial, there’s editing, there’s thumbnail, there’s all these other aspects to doing that.

Josh Hall:
With podcasting, it’s a little quicker on podcasting for me as I have people who help out with that now, but you edit the podcast episode, there’s outlines, transcriptions if you do that. You go live, you just go live and you answer questions. And it really breeds that trust. Funny enough, I was looking at my… which this answers the questions of, well, how do you get people to go to that? I send out emails, and I’ll just say, “Hey, tomorrow at noon, I’m going live for an hour to answer your questions. These are some topics I’m happy to talk about, though I’ll take any questions.”

Josh Hall:
So email marketing has been huge for that. I also do a little bit of social media and just say like, “Hey guys, I’m going live.” What I do that seems to have worked recently is I’ll use a plugin called Pretty Links where you can create a little short link on your website, and I just do joshhall.co/live, and I’ll just update the YouTube video, if I’m going live on YouTube, on that little link. That way, people can just go joshhall.co/live. So you want to make it easy for people to join if it’s not on that platform, but being that… I have a big audience on YouTube and I’m trying to nurture them, I’ve been doing my lives there. But yeah, email marketing, that’s how I get them in there.

Josh Hall:
And what was really interesting, my last point on this, is I looked back at some metrics on my email campaigns, because I have my website WooCommerce stuff hooked up with my email so I can see revenue from people buying courses and stuff. When I looked at my live, I looked at one of my sales emails versus one of my live emails, and I had made three grand off of a live. And I had made like, I think 700 or so off of a sales email in this particular week. And it just showed me the power of lives because people clicked on the live and then they were so bought in and they were ready, and then they immediately joined courses within 24 hours or so. So just a little case study of the power of lives for sure.

Chris Badgett:
That’s awesome. And you mentioned some revenue stuff there. Pricing may change or whatever, but what is your average course price? And what’s the bundle cost, just to give people a sense of that?

Josh Hall:
My courses range from the very low end, as of right now is a $67 course to 97 for the lower end courses. And then my top tier courses go from 397 to 497. So it’s really anywhere in between around 67 bucks to 500. And then my bundle, if you add all my courses up, all my design courses, my bundle, normally, they cost, I think it’s like almost 2,200, all of them together. My bundle, I’ve reduced down to 1,499. It’s just a flat 30% off for all courses. So I feel like it’s a pretty hefty discount. If I were somebody interested in web design, I would take advantage of that as a student of courses.

Josh Hall:
In fact, one of my good mentors, Pat Flynn, I’ve taken a lot of his online courses, I kind of wish he had a bundle because I would of just buy all of his courses. But I’ve just gone one by one. So it’s essentially a 30% off discount for all my courses. And then you’re probably curious if someone buys a course or numerous courses, what if they want to upgrade? I give them a special discount depending on what they’ve already purchased off the bundle.

Chris Badgett:
That’s awesome.

Josh Hall:
And that’s my biggest seller, by the way, that I can’t encourage people enough to-

Chris Badgett:
The upsell?

Josh Hall:
Yeah. I have to look at the numbers, but the bundle is by far my biggest revenue product, by far. In fact, I think almost all my other courses combined don’t even make up out that I take home from the bundle sales. So all that to say, if you’ve got numerous courses, definitely consider wrapping them up in a nice little bundle, people love bundles.

Chris Badgett:
And all those courses in the bundle, there’s just a one-time payment option and that’s it, or do you have payment plans?

Josh Hall:
I just have a one-time option as of now. I did payment plans for a little while. Technically speaking, that got a little tricky with, I had course students lose access once their payment plan was done and I had to manually re-add them to all the courses. And then, to be honest, I have found out that a lot of people, when I was doing payment plans, would pay once and then they would change their card or they would just disappear and it became more trouble than it was worth personally for me. So as of right now, it’s just one time.

Chris Badgett:
I actually really like that because you’re warming people up, you give away great free content, then you have one-time payment courses, there’s no recurring revenue, subscription commitment. And then you have your membership, which is a commitment, but the actual sticker price is lower. However, it’s going to renew every month, which is cool. How did you think about pricing your membership? I’m sure that was a big decision for your Club.

Josh Hall:
Oh man, that was a few months of turmoil thinking through it. And it was super exciting because I was really excited about building an online community. I’m an online community guy. And the biggest challenge that I face. And I think a lot of course creators face is, if you have a lifetime access, one-time style course, it’s awesome, and you might get really good results, but then what happens is the student disappears. And it’s no fault of their own, you don’t have a means of keeping them engaged or connected without some sort of membership. We can talk about this, but I do live streams and Q&A’s for my students, but I knew I wanted to bring the folks who were serious together and have my own community off of Facebook, something that I own, and that was branded to my brand.

Josh Hall:
So yeah, pricing, I had debated on numerous tiers, I had debated on how intensive it was going to get, but I landed on $99 a month for my membership. Most people, I did have a founder members discount when I launched it, which brought a lot of the core members in. I’ve got a couple promos out there where you can usually get about 10% off or so on my membership, although I’m kicking around some ideas about doing maybe like a big discount on month one. Actually, my business coach, James Schramko recommended that because it’s similar to his membership. He offers 70% off, so you basically pay a dollar per day in month one just to get a feel, get some coaching, and then full price after that. I’m considering something like that.

Josh Hall:
The $99 a month is the ticket price for the coaching community. You can pay annually as well instead of going month to month, which is 999 a year, so you save a couple hundred bucks. It’s been a good sweet spot because it is a high-touch coaching community, it’s not just a forum. If it was just a forum, I might have made it like 20 or 30 bucks a month, but I’m there, that’s where you’re going to get me, I have private messaging threads with every member who wants to ask me questions. One thing I was a little leery about that is, I was thinking, “If I’ve got 100 members and 100 people are messaging me every day, how am I going to manage that?”

Josh Hall:
But the reality is, I get three or five private messages a day in there of members asking questions, and it tends to even out really nicely. So yeah, that’s the price point. And I think it’s a good sweet spot between the people who are serious about their business, but it’s not a high ticket coaching community that are often like… they might be $1,000 per month.

Chris Badgett:
1,000 bucks per months.

Josh Hall:
Yeah, yeah. A lot of members, as you know Chris, will tell you this, the value for being in that is crazy, and that’s what I want. I want to make people feel like they’re ripping me off, that’s a good way to do business.

Chris Badgett:
Well, you mentioned you put a lot of view in there. What does a calendar of a month from your perspective, look like? What’s dropping in every month for to benefit everybody?

Josh Hall:
As far as just the coaching community?

Chris Badgett:
Yeah. Like in the Club, what all goes down, they got a private thread with you? There’s a guest training? What all’s happening?

Josh Hall:
Yep. So the private coaching from me is probably… It sounds so douchy to say it like that, but that’s probably the biggest thing, is you get access to me. I simply cannot get back to all the questions that come through email from random people now. I do monthly calls for my students, monthly Q&A’s. And I do have a student center, which is just a support forum for the courses, but I’m only there occasionally. The Club is where you’ll find me every day. I’m literally in there every day. I love it. We have the private coaching thread with me where you can ask any questions that you want to remain confidential or want to get strategies or pick my brain.

Josh Hall:
And then there are weekly Q&A’s that I do with the Club, and these will range from website reviews to what I like to call hot seats where members can come on live and ask some questions to me. Sometimes we do like group coaching style calls if there’s a few people who want to come on. And then there is a community aspect. I use a platform called Circle, which is strictly an online community platform, and it integrates with also sorts of tools, which is really cool. But as you know Chris, for people who are not familiar with it, you can basically create different dedicated spaces for certain topics.

Josh Hall:
I didn’t want to just have one forum, like a Facebook group that is just chaos and has all these different topics. We’ve got one for tools and tech, we’ve got one for wins and successes, we’ve out ones for challenges, we’ve got one for share your stuff if you want to feature some of your content, we’ve got one for get help. So there’s all these organized threads that really help engage the community and people can direct message each other in the Club, there’s partnership opportunities. So all those things combined have made for a really awesome online community that I love showing up for.

Josh Hall:
And to answer your question about what a week would look like for me or a month, generally, it’s three to four Q&As once a week, and then a monthly training. But I either bring a guest in to do a monthly training, I’ll do them occasionally, but I actually love having colleagues and guests do monthly trainings. It just spices it up. One thing that’s cool now is some of my members who are killing it… We’re recording this in January of 2022, Next month, one of my members is going to be speaking. He just has a lot to share and he knows a lot about confidence in sales. So I was like, “Dude, would you want to do a training in the Club?”

Josh Hall:
And he wants to get out of his shell more, he wants to do more master classes and trainings, and this is a great opportunity for him to have a safe place to do that, to grow, and then for me to be able to feature him to the community and really grow that bond with him and everybody else. So all those things mixed together are pretty powerful. Practically, I will generally log in. That’s generally the first thing I do when I start my work day, is I go into my Club, I do all my private messages. And then I usually end the day with it as well. But it doesn’t feel like a chore, man. I’ve doing it for well over a year. It doesn’t feel like a burden. I would so much rather login there than Facebook or anywhere else.

Chris Badgett:
Yeah. I think you have a really good community. You should feel energized and like look forward to jumping in the fray with your people. You know what I mean?

Josh Hall:
Yeah. And I posted this yesterday in the Club, so I do run a Facebook group that I had started years ago for just for Divi, it’s a Divi support group. And I love that group at first, but now, not only because of the polarization and everything that has gone on with Facebook, but now that group is almost 24,000 people. I’ve tried to create a nice community there, but I’m not really active in there, but I went and just tried it out last week. I was like, “I’m going to go for it. I’m going to get a little more active.” It wasn’t a great experience compared to my Club.

Josh Hall:
You go in the Club, we’ve never had to remove one comment or one post for breaking guidelines in well over a year, that’s amazing. And it just speaks to the quality of person in the Club. So all that to say, there’s something so powerful about having a dedicated community that is serious no matter if it’s coaching or community based or whatever it looks like,

Chris Badgett:
What tips do you have for bringing in a guest expert to present to a membership community so that it runs well, the people get a lot of value, the guest feels like they got a lot of value. I think you did a great job. Your audience is like super engaged, and it was awesome the chance I had to do it for your crew. But what advice do you have for people who want to do that?

Josh Hall:
I would definitely utilize the network you have in place with colleagues. And if you are doing podcasting or anything like that, often, you can take a podcast episode and just make it more visual. And trainings don’t have to be anything massive or robust, most of mine are between a half an hour and 45 minute or so, with visuals and a slide if that’s the way you want to do it, and then a live Q&A. So I would say you want to make it, and I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this, Chris, being on the receiving end of this, but make it exciting and just be very clear about who this is for, and pick a topic that they would be interested in.

Josh Hall:
I don’t want to suggest a topic to you, Chris, that you are going to have to research and feel stressed about, I want it to be natural. And the way I’ve found a lot of my guests to do presentations in my Club is off of my podcast. In the case of yours, we weren’t even talking about yearly planning, we were doing a guest episode, you happen to mention it in a brief part of one of our episodes.

Chris Badgett:
And I said I had a process for it.

Josh Hall:
Yeah. You said you had a process for it. And then I think after we hung up that day, I was like, “Man, we’re headed into the end of 2021. I’m curious about that. I want to hear that process. I guarantee everyone on my Club would love to hear that.” So I just proposed to you, “What would you think about doing a training about planning?” And you came in. I’m curious, can I throw a question back to you? What was your experience like when I asked, did you feel excited? Obviously you were a pro, you weren’t scared to hop on, but what were your thoughts when I approached you?

Chris Badgett:
I was happy for one. It was not the usual topic. I’m usually asked to speak on online courses and membership sites and stuff, but I also have a lot of experience just as an entrepreneur, just in general. And so I was like, “Oh yeah, that would be fun to really present on some entrepreneur stuff that could work for any business.” And because I said I had a process, I didn’t have a presentation together because I do present a bunch, I have a framework I follow for how to give a presentation. And it took me about 30 minutes to prepare the presentation. And then I just showed up and did the thing and it was easy and it was fun.

Chris Badgett:
And your audience was so engaged even after the fact, I’m in your Club community and I’m still getting notifications. It’s one of the things I love about Circles, they have notifications figured out. You’ll send me a private message, the email notification, wrote me right back in, I just clicked the link and all of a sudden I’m in The Club. And somebody’s like leaving a comment below my presentation that maybe they watched it later, not on the live and they’re like, “Oh, this is awesome, or this and that.” And then I can go say hi and appreciate them there. It’s so easy.

Josh Hall:
Oh, that’s awesome to hear you. You’ve done a great job. And that is one thing too, you said it was easy right there. I hopefully I try to make that as easy as possible on you. That’s a biggie. If you’re going to have guests come in for free, if it’s not a paid thing, there’s got to be some return on investment, for sure. I want people to be familiar with your brand, Chris, and subscribe your stuff and try lifter out. But I also want you and everyone who does a training to know that what you do here, you can use as framework for other stuff as well.

Chris Badgett:
And that’s what I did. Right after I did the presentation, I was like, I released it as a course in the academy for my crew. I actually rerecorded it because I was protecting the privacy of the Q&A in your call, but I just did my presentation again and I got to reuse and a bunch of people jumped in and my email list gotten even bigger.

Josh Hall:
There you go. So that’s a biggie. If you have any community or training, or course where you’re bringing in guest experts is make sure they know all of their hard work is not just for that hour, but it’s going to continue to build and they can use it for something else. So I tell all my guests, we just do a half an hour training, you can do slides, you can do visual, whatever you want to do, we’ll do a live Q&A, I’ll host it. I always make sure they know, it’s going to be easy for you, you don’t need to worry about monitoring the Q&A. I’ll do the Q&A, I’ll host it. You just show up, do your thing, and then we’ll have a chat. And then you’re welcome to repurpose that, feel Free like you did.

Josh Hall:
Rerecord it, make it a masterclass, make it a webinar, repurpose it, whatever you want to do. And it’s been really cool. And for me as a community builder, it takes a lot of stress off my shoulders because I originally was like, “Oh man, every month am I going to have to do basically a masterclass or a training every month?” But no, get your friends and your colleagues into it to share what they know. And it’s awesome. It builds the community too, because it’s less about one person and more about the community around it.

Chris Badgett:
I love that. And you mentioned a pro tip earlier about, and sometimes the presenter’s going to actually come from inside the community itself, which I’ve done in other memberships I’m in. I’m a paying member and I’m presenting as like a thing in there. What are some advice you have on creating a first impression? I know when somebody drops into a community and it feels like, “Whoa, everybody knows each other here. Maybe I have some imposter syndrome. Should I be here?” how do you nail that first impression and make people comfortable in your membership?

Josh Hall:
The biggest thing on this is to have a high-touch experience at first.

Chris Badgett:
Onboarding.

Josh Hall:
Onboarding. I take the same approach with my courses, which I’m happy to dish out what I’ve learned on that. But once a new member joins my community, I send them a personalized video, which I don’t have new members join every week, so that’s not a problem to keep up with. Courses, it’s a little trickier to keep up with, but I have done it, but it’s not easy. But I send them a video, along with it there’s a list of videos when they sign up that is like a getting started guide. It’ll tell them, “Here are the first few things to do.” I’ll follow up with a personal video. And I always encourage them to say hey to The Club and post an intro. And almost every member-

Chris Badgett:
By text or video?

Josh Hall:
Video, both. It’s a part of the onboarding sequence and then when I send my welcome video, if they haven’t yet done that, I just reaffirm that. I say, “By the way, if you haven’t had a chance yet, post your introduction,” or in some cases, they’ll do it right away, and then when I follow up with a video, I’m like, “I loved your intro. It was so cool.” And here’s, what’s really interesting because you nailed it. When you join a community, you feel like everyone’s already a club. And part of me is like, “Man, should I have called it something different than The Club? I don’t know.” I could always rename it, but I don’t want people to feel like they’re getting in with this clicky group.

Josh Hall:
I want to make sure they feel like they’re super welcomed. So when they post an intro, I do remind my club members, I actually did earlier today when we do live Q&As, I remind them, say, “Hey to new members, go to the introductions thread, just welcome them in if they post an intro.” And it’s been great, it’s worked out really, really great with that model and that call to action. And something that’s interesting that I found out, I’d say about a good three or four of my most newest and recent members have said posting that intro helped them get out of their shell. They all said, “I was a little nervous to say hey, but once I did, I felt great. And I’m like welcomed in. And they feel empowered immediately, which is awesome.

Josh Hall:
One thing I’m trying to do better on my end with how I advertise it and how I market it, and how I sprinkle it in in my other content is I’m trying to make sure people feel like they’re welcome to join no matter where they are in their journey. A lot of people feel like it’s only for web experts, but I’ve got members who are just starting their journeys. But the key is that we’re all like-minded and that we’re serious about it, and we’re helpful. That is the key. You could have started your business yesterday, you could have started it 10 years ago, you can join The Club My only ask is that you’re serious about it and you want to help.

Chris Badgett:
Let’s dig in on the customer avatar. You’ve already mentioned some counterintuitive things like your vibe attracts the tribe and people are in your club are generally givers and generous, not just takers, but more demographic, who do you help? But then what kind of counterintuitive stuff have you found about the types of people that join your membership?

Josh Hall:
Gosh, that’s a great question. One thing I was not prepared for is I’ve got people joining who don’t use WordPress.

Chris Badgett:
They’re agency owners or digital entrepreneurs?

Josh Hall:
Yeah. What found really is, one of my new members has this as his subtitle is he calls himself a web printer, and that’s really the great way to sum it up. I always call it web entrepreneur, but web printer sounds a lot better. So I’m going to stick with that.

Chris Badgett:
So it doesn’t necessarily have to be an agency owner?

Josh Hall:
No, no, not at all. I’ve got folks in there who just want a white label and who are just wanting to build websites. Primarily though, it is web printer. Primarily they’re all business owners at heart and entrepreneurs, even if they’re just building websites still, they’re still running their freelance business. So you are a business owner whether you like it or not. But the cool thing is, there’s a bigger aspect, and I’ve actually found people getting outside of their shells in The Club to be a web printer and to focus on what they want to do. If they’re really interested in copy and copywriting and conversion-based text, then hone in on that, add that as a service and get some help with people who are in The Club or partner with people who need that as a service.

Josh Hall:
And if you hate SEO, partner with somebody in The Club who does SEO. So there’s a lot of really cool things like that are going on that I think are empowering people to focus on what they want to do and to focus on their strengths, their superpowers. I think that’s been slightly counterintuitive too because a lot of people have joined up and they’ll get community support from other folks and then they’ll get direct coaching from me. And then I see them making massive changes, good changes, and life changes, really taking their business to a next level.

Josh Hall:
A lot of folks, interestingly enough, had joined The Club in order to go full time because they don’t want to go full time and do it alone, which I can’t recommend enough. But if you are going to make the leap and take your online business full time, to have a coach, number one, and to surround yourself with a supportive community, those are the two things, you’ve got to have those two things, particularly if you don’t have a circle of friends who are entrepreneurs in your family. God bless my family, they still don’t know what I do. Before went live, we were talking about the new build, my family’s building a new house right now, and I know they’re all like, “Did he do something illegal? Is there a charity give, like how is this happening?”

Josh Hall:
So you got to surround yourself with like-minded people. And I really believe having a coach, somebody who’s ahead of you and can show you some principles and give you some guidance and people alongside you is huge. And then the best part about that is when you’re in an online community, you start sharing what you know and help others, and that trinity of somebody above you, somebody beside you, somebody below you, it’s awesome.

Chris Badgett:
I’ve heard that called the plus minus equal.

Josh Hall:
Oh, that’s better. That’s better than the holy web trinity. So I’m going to use that.

Chris Badgett:
Before we move off the point, the online business or the online entrepreneur on a negative side, on the internet, there’s a lot of make money online, get rich quick stuff. And another challenge I could see with this niche is like you said, people are doing different things. Some people use WordPress, some are agency, SEO, affiliate, whatever, but you’ve done it. You’ve got the members focused. What creates that container where people feel part of this tribe? Anything else that you haven’t mentioned?

Josh Hall:
I’ve really tried to make it a little more generalized to just web business and web entrepreneurs. So when we’re talking about strategies in there, your monthly training, for example, on yearly planning, it doesn’t matter what you use. So I generally don’t go topical, topical stuff is for courses, which again is why it’s really nice to have standalone courses that bring people in, you get paid for it, then they can go to the next level. I think that’s an issue. If I were to have a membership with all my courses wrapped up in a membership, but then I’ve got people using all different themes, all different platforms, that’s tricky.

Josh Hall:
And we do talk tech a little bit in The Club, but it’s much more broad and much more generalized. So just web business and web entrepreneurship, that’s been the key. I think that’s been the key glue that’s held everyone together because we’ve got people who are terrible at design in there, but are really good strategy. We’ve got people who are amazing designers, but can’t figure out how to price their awesome designs and we cover all that in The Club, in particular, in my community.

Chris Badgett:
You mentioned some online entrepreneurs you look up to like Pat Flynn and James Schramko. What are some of the gems that you’ve learned from those folks?

Josh Hall:
Well, you mentioned counterintuitive approach a little bit ago. I think that’s why I signed up with James Schramko. The author of Work Less, Make More. That’s why I signed up with him as my business coach, and we have a very similar arrangement. In fact, my community is based off of what he’s done, which is-

Chris Badgett:
And his community is successful, so you’re modeling is success.

Josh Hall:
Yeah. It sounds so elementary and so simple, but if somebody who is ahead of you in the game tells you to do something, I would take that very seriously and consider doing it because a lot of people were like, “Yeah, it work for you, but not for me,” whatever. And then they just don’t listen to anybody and then you just run yourself into the ground. And honestly, that’s been the biggest thing. All the mentors that you just mentioned and everyone I learn from, it works for them and I make it my own. I’ll add my own flare to it, but I’ve done that with of my membership, Pat Flynn you mentioned, All the courses I’ve taken from him from podcasting to webinars to email, I just make it my own.

Josh Hall:
I look at what works for him, I use that as the framework and then I fill in the gaps and do my own thing with it. Those two in particular are probably my two biggest mentors. Both of them are, I think, we chatted about this, Chris, it may have just been through email, but they are both what I like to call like chill entrepreneurs. They hustle, but in a way that’s not the typical like hustle, hustle, hustle.

Chris Badgett:
Get rich or die trying.

Josh Hall:
Yeah. Get rich, you will kill yourself before you’re 40. I’m not interested in that. And I have a family. I’m a family man, I’ve got two little girls. I have one who is special needs. So there’s a lot of requirements for me to be able to have flexibility and freedom in my life. And that’s not something that’s negotiable for me. So my entire business model, even my income, we talked about that a little bit, it all revolves around the lifestyle. So I say that to say, I gravitate towards entrepreneurs and online mentors who are a little more like-minded. And actually, some more recently I’ve been following is Amy Porterfield, who is big in the online marketing space and online courses.

Josh Hall:
And what attracted me to her more recently was, I think, she had some content about if she could go back, she would tell herself to hustle less. And I think it’s really important. And look, I’m a hard worker, I’m a blue collar dude at heart. I will work and sometimes I have to stop myself from working, but there’s a difference between hustling in a season and hustling as just a way of life. And the reality is, if you’re doing a launch and you’re doing certain segments and seasons of your work, you’re going to be in hustle mode, but that’s not every day, and it’s not the common approach to every day, if you’re going to enjoy yourself.

Josh Hall:
So every week I want to end the week and be like, “That was an awesome week. I’m excited for Monday.” I’m excited for Sunday night, because Sunday nights are awesome now. Sunday nights used to suck when I was a cabinet maker, but now I love them. So that all goes back to finding the people who, again, you resonate with, whether it’s a coach or a podcaster, a course grader, whatever it is.

Chris Badgett:
I love that idea of a brand having like an adjective. And you mentioned the word chill, like chill entrepreneur as a way to help people self-select. I’m more like that. Maybe somebody like Gary Vee, he’s like hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle. Maybe that’s a different avatar.

Josh Hall:
Yeah. And I honestly, I think that’s why I have attracted a lot of parent printers and folks who are like me who are maybe… It doesn’t even have to be by age, but just at a point in their career where they want a little more time and they want to have freedom to do what they want to do, and they want web design as the tool to get them there. Whereas some of these online markers attract the people who are just fired up in gung-ho and they don’t have family, their working 90 hours a week is cool. For me, 30, 35 is max. I’m good. So I think I’ve chucked a lot of people who want to figure out how to grow their business with that type of framework in mind

Josh Hall:
And maybe I’m too chill. What’s funny enough, I did not wear my Columbus chill old t-shirt on purpose, this is completely coincidence, but here we go. The chill entrepreneur for anyone watching, I’m probably too chill for a lot of folks, but I’m probably a little more hyper than some people, and that’s fine. None of us are for everybody. You can’t be everything to everybody, you got to attract who is going to gravitate towards you and just be in real and authentic, I think has really helped with growing my brand to the income level that I’m at right now.

Josh Hall:
And I do want to say real quick, I know we talked about some numbers, you had mentioned in the training, I think it was, that once you get to about 200,000 to a quarter million, that is a sustainable revenue metric for a solopreneur or-

Chris Badgett:
Lifestyle business.

Josh Hall:
Lifestyle business. Yeah. Lifestyle business. That’s a great way to put it. Now that I’m hopping over that at this point, now my big thing is like, how can I go to the next level and not be a stressed out entrepreneur? How big do I want to set my goals, but also how do I maintain what I’ve built and solidify the foundation that I’ve built with my business now and our income stream? So all these to that.

Chris Badgett:
You anticipated my next question, which was, now that you’ve crossed 300, there’s targets like 500 or a million, what as a chill entrepreneur, as a lifestyle business, as a family man, and also with this conversation around what is enough, what are you going to do to take your business to the next level? I love how you mentioned to revisit and make sure you’re on steady foundations, but any other big projects you see looking ahead for growth or stability or both?

Josh Hall:
As far as growth goes, mainly what I’m working on is elevating and maintaining what I have in place. I do have some new course ideas which are going to branch out into more web entrepreneur style courses. A lot of people have been asking me about video marketing and I’m like, “Man, I could totally do a course on that.” It’s not a web design course so now I might have a couple different categories of courses. So that’s a biggie for me as far as new courses, new content. I’ve found the shelf life for most courses, particularly if they’re topical are about three years. So I’m about ready to revamp a couple of my topical courses.

Josh Hall:
My business course is going to be three years old this summer. So that’s probably one I’ll consider revamping and redoing. So it’s basically taking what I have in place, refining it, tweaking it, fine tuning it, particularly with my community. We’ve talked a lot about my community on this, but the goal is now that I’ve spent a lot of time refining that, now I feel confident with marketing that more. So I might do that a little more. And then it’s adding a few new courses here or there. I really don’t have intention of adding new products other than a few new courses and boosting my club, but the content marketing side, and really putting more free content to get people into the funnel, that’s the biggie for me this year.

Josh Hall:
This year is creation year with boosting my YouTube channel, continuing with my podcast. And one thing I’m really excited about, which you know about after doing the training and talking about goals for 2022 is my first book. That is a biggie. I want to write a book and I’m actually already starting to formulate the outline of what it’s going to be about, which is essentially, my idea is to encapsulate my journey into what design freedom, and how can I put that in a book? How can I take that to help people who are like me, who are doing it on the side or wanting to start a web design business, and then how do you take it full time and then grow it to be a business that can give you that freedom?

Josh Hall:
Those are all the other things I’m going to be working on to solidify what I have now. When it comes to monetary goals and stuff, that’s what’s tricky. What is important to me is time, freedom and definitely financial freedom. And freedom works in conjunction with those, freedom to have the time to spend with my family, do my work, but also have the freedom to do what I do want to do with my finances and stuff. I’m really fortunate, I’ve got time, which is awesome with my family. I’ve got my schedule. I’ve got freedom to do the projects I want to do. Now, I’m working on financial freedom. Now I’m working on solidifying what I have in place and taking that to the next level.

Josh Hall:
That is hopefully going to transfer to figuring out the next steps with how far do I want to take this. I think half a million is a cool goa, my business coach is really pushing me for seven figures, and I think he sees that I could do it without changing my lifestyle. The cool thing about that is that means I don’t need a million dollars for my family right now, that’d be awesome, but more money, more problem. That means more taxes, that means I got to look into more investing opportunities. I don’t even know if I’m ready for that quite yet. So I’m just trying to keep our current lifestyle and solidify that, have plenty of savings.

Josh Hall:
And I think it’s going to help me determine how far I want to take this. But the idea of getting the seven figures excites me, not necessarily for myself, but what other opportunities would come from taking this business to seven figures. My editor who does all my podcast editing, I might be able to hire him for triple the amount of hours and give him a lot more opportunity. I might be able to hire my VA for triple the amount of hours and give her a lot more opportunity. I might be able to bring in other people and give them opportunity. I think that’s what’s most exciting for me with the idea of going to half million to seven figures is the opportunities that can be created from this venture.

Chris Badgett:
That’s awesome. I love that idea, sometimes maybe it’s not more money for you, but more money for some other person in the company to help give you more time, freedom, or leave you more in your creative genius and stuff like that.

Josh Hall:
Yeah. It sounds weird, man, but I realized this when I look back at 2021, I’ve hit the life goal that I had for myself, which made me realize, I’ve got to reevaluate my goals. Now I’ve got to really look at the vision of myself and who do I want to be, what do I want to do. Your training really helped me with that. It’s really got me thinking about the next five to 10 years and what that could look like. And I realized that, again, I got the time, I got the freedom. Now, I’m working on financial freedom. What I envisioned years ago is the schedule I have now. Mondays and Fridays are open days, completely no calls.

Josh Hall:
I have really deep, meaningful, impactful work, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I get to create content, I get to talk with people who are awesome. What more could you want? I have stresses in my business just like everyone else, but I’ve really created this awesome online business. I don’t say that boastfully, I say that to say, I’m at this point now and now I need to decide what do I want to do with this? And how do I protect this? And I was thinking about like Pat Flynn, for example, and it’s easy for somebody like… How are you on time by the way, Chris? Are we cutting this off at an hour?

Chris Badgett:
I do got to wrap up in a few, but go ahead and finish your thought.

Josh Hall:
Well, I was just thinking when it comes to goals and planning and stuff like that, I’ve realized that my life right now, I’m able to provide for my family, all that stuff. I was thinking like, what would it look like if I got to seven figures? I’m not the entrepreneur who needs a fancy car, I don’t need a boat. Well, a boat might be cool for summertime, but I’m not that typical like Ferrari entrepreneur, I’m a family entrepreneur. But what I realized is some of these other entrepreneurs who are way out of me probably have the exact type of schedule throughout the week, or they maybe have more stresses with more team calls and stuff.

Josh Hall:
I’ve actually thought about that more recently, it’s like, I have to be careful about wanting stuff that I don’t necessarily need because a lot of these “big-time” entrepreneurs, a lot of us are probably doing the same type of work. They’re doing Zoom calls and content and just providing for their family just like we are, they just might have more money to invest or go on vacations a little more. That’s what I’m challenging myself with now as I look forward to this next phase as far as income stream and what I’m looking to do. Probably wasn’t a great answer, but that’s at least where my heads are with thinking about some of the stuff.

Chris Badgett:
That’s a perfect answer. That’s one of the crazy things about the entrepreneur journey is it’s really easy to end up where something you envisioned three years ago and then be like onto the next thing but hold on, take a moment, reflect, what do you want? What is the next five, 10 years going to be like? How’s the quality of life? How are your relationships? All that. That’s awesome. Well, that’s Josh Hall, he’s from joshhall.co. Go check it out, go check out his courses, go check out his membership, which is called The Club. Any final words for the people, especially somebody who’s sitting on zero and they’d love to get to 300K one day? What’s your final thought for them? And where can people find you anywhere else or anything like that?

Josh Hall:
Yeah, joshhall.co, you can find everything there. Terribly active on socials, you will find me on Facebook and Insta. No, I’ve never logged into TikTok, still don’t know I’m ever going to cross that bridge. But I would say for folks who are just starting and want to get to this point as an online entrepreneur, you have to have your mission really clear with who you help. I think that’s a biggie. I was thinking back to when I started Joshhall.co in 2017, technically I started doing free tutorials, the mission was still the same then. I was helping people learn web design, and then I eventually started helping them build their web design business to create a life of freedom that they want to live.

Josh Hall:
So that mission has stayed intact through all this. And then once you get your content marketing strategy, your products, whatever you do in place, then you can scale all that and build all that. It probably sounds super cliché, but I was not chasing $300,000, I was chasing making a good impact with the people who I can resonate with and I can do this. And then you start to get smarter and you start to refine your offers and your services and what you do to get to that point. And I would say too, last thing on that, getting to the 200 to quarter million dollar range is very achievable now, it’s so achievable.

Josh Hall:
Everyone has the opportunity to do that right now, which is why I’m so excited about the landscape of web design and all in entrepreneurship. There has never been a better time to be able to work from home, do the work you want to do and get to that range where like you said, Chris, you can achieve that lifestyle work balance freedom in that range without having a stressful seven-figure agency. And people do seven figure agencies that are not stressed, I’m not saying that, but I think there’s a lot of power to do what you want to do and hit quarter million range and do it successfully that you still love life every day.

Chris Badgett:
That is awesome. Josh, I’m sure we will do it again sometime. Thank you for coming back on the show. I wish you all the best in 2022. And thanks for being a shining example of a web entrepreneur yourself who also works really hard to have a great life and be a family guy and all that stuff, a chill entrepreneur. So thanks again. Really appreciate it.

Josh Hall:
Anytime, dude. Thanks for having me, Chris.

Chris Badgett:
And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMSCast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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