Big niches and creating an ecosystem around your tribe with Avery White of Third Person Creative in this episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Avery shares his story of how he went from a degree in computer engineering to running an online ecosystem of artists and an education platform online.
Avery is living abroad in Thailand and has created a large ecosystem online of artists and creators from all different media formats and forms of expression. Avery is all about delivering value to creatives, so his mission is to let artists and other creators know how they can make money pursuing their passion.
Course creation and teaching overall is a form of art, so you can really benefit from thinking about different art forms when creating educational content. There are many bridges that link different forms of art, and when Avery couldn’t find anyone talking about that online he decided to lead the discussion himself by starting his blog at ThirdPersonCreative.com.
Storytelling through media can be a powerful way to convey a point and share information. In the online education space it is important to capture attention and encourage engagement. Avery shares some great examples of telling stories through media formats like photography.
Avery touches on the point that you can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you don’t have the necessary skills to communicate that idea, then nothing will happen. Taking inspiration from various art mediums can help you to better communicate with kindness, elegance, logic, and rhetoric.
Knowing your audience and being very clear when teaching is important. Avery created a course on his site that walks people through how to get to a functioning WordPress site from nothing. His tutorial walks his audience through click by click from opening a browser window to finding hosting to navigating the back end of the WordPress dashboard to setting up custom website emails.
To learn more about Avery White and the projects he has going on, you can head to ThirdPersonCreative.com and you can reach out to him personally by email and get a discount on his course. You can connect with Avery on Twitter and Instagram at @tp_creative and on Facebook at @ThirdPersonCreative.
Find out more about how you can use LifterLMS to build your own online courses and membership sites at LifterLMS.com. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Thank you for joining us!
Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest, Avery White from thirdpersoncreative.com. Welcome to the show, Avery.
Avery: Hey. Thank you so much, Chris. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here, man.
Chris: Yeah, I’m stoked to have you. Avery is using our software called LifterLMS. He’s living abroad in Thailand. He’s serving a market and has a big vision and mission, and has created an ecosystem online. We’re really going to dig into his story, how courses fit into that, and how he’s figuring all this out. First off, can you tell us who is the target market for not just your courses, but your blog and your forums and your projects that you have on the internet?
Avery: Yeah, absolutely. The blog is targeted at creatives. Whether you are a writer or a photographer, a videographer, a dancer, a carpenter, a poet, whatever, that you are the target audience. The goal of each blog post is to either highlight an existing story that’s already out there. It could be something that’s unique to a television show. The post that I actually published just recently looked at three different commercial campaigns. One was done by the train system in Australia. They ran this kind of … They studied virality for a little bit, and they launched this campaign that did go viral. It helped to spread awareness about train safety. It totally didn’t work. It totally shouldn’t work, but it did. The title of it is “Dumb Ways to Die”. It’s this really catchy, cheesy, cheese ball jingle, but it works. People thought it was hilarious, and so it kind of caught on.
Or I’ll look for collisions where you have maybe culture intersects language. I’ve done a piece on Google Translate. As Chris mentioned, I do live in Thailand. I’m learning Thai very slowly with some help from some tutors, and I wanted to look at, okay, how does Google Translate handle something very simple. I discovered that it makes about four mistakes right out of the gate. Some of them are kind of serious. Just looking at, “Okay, this is where language and culture intersect.”
I’m hoping that kind of the synthesis of these blog posts can go on to help inspire creatives to create in their own art and get them thinking about other mediums, because I think there’s a lot to be learned. As a writer, I know I have a lot to learn from a dancer or a photographer or a sculptor. I can learn from that. It’s calling those things that are to be learned out and saying, “Okay, what is it? Let’s talk about it, and let’s really get it into the light.”
Chris: Let’s talk a little bit about serving a big niche. If you look at artists or creatives in general, a lot of the conventional wisdom or common advice has to do with riches and niches or whatever, or just focus on a sub niche. Why not just sculpture? Why not just the craft of writing? How and why do you approach the greater creative artistic community as a whole as opposed to a niche within it?
Avery: Right. The foci I think is the plural of focus, the foci shifts per post. Maybe one post I talk about the intersection between music and videography. That’s out there. That’s every YouTube video, music video ever. That’s a very common collision that I think most people are familiar with. But you could also talk about writing and culture. If you want to talk about the effect of Harry Potter on children’s literature, now you’re getting into, okay, this is a piece of literature that affected an entire generation of people and infected an entire class of writers. Now you have a lot more books about magic. You have a lot more … If you’re into the publishing [inaudible 00:04:29], you hear a lot more queries about magic. You get a lot more just traction there and people trying to write into that world. Not specifically the Harry Potter world, but the magic realm and expanding fantasy in that regard.
It’s a challenge, because I have to think, “Okay, if you take out, if you zoom out a little bit, what are the things that are common to all creatives?” You can start talking about some of the obstacles that creatives share, right? All creatives share some kind of creative block. Writers have writer’s block. Maybe a photographer can’t figure out what he wants to shoot that day, or maybe the weather his against him or something. You can talk about maybe a sculptor kind of hitting the same kind of creative slump. Everything just kind of feels the same.
You can talk about creative blocks. You can talk about inspiration. The things that inspire creative types are often very similar. There’s a lot of connections that you can draw there. Then the things that I think all creatives kind of go, “Oh, that’s actually kind of cool. Let’s look at that. What is that?” That’s something that you can work with as well. You want to find things that make people go, “Huh.” You want to find things that make people go, “Oh man, this is way too hard. I can’t do it. I’m not enough. I’m not good enough,” whatever. There’s a skill level.
You got skill as an option. You got inspiration as an option. Then the last thing that I think really combines creativity and I would say is even the hinge pin of Third Person Creative is storytelling. If I show you a picture of a plant, like a still life kind of shot, you can only derive so much story, but if I were to show you a picture of a girl on a train, and let’s say she’s got her hand up against the glass, and outside is this blurry picture of this guy that’s running to try to keep up with the train, but it’s a still shot, that’s a story. You have a protagonist who’s trying to get the girl. You have an antagonist, which is this circumstance keeping them apart. You have a story. That’s just in a photo.
Of course you have story in writing. Of course you have story in sculpture. Of course you have story in pairing and all these other mediums where it’s more obvious. A question that I love to ask other creatives is what are the themes of the stories you’re trying to tell? You can talk about mood. Music has a mood, right? Sure. Painting has a mood. Photography has a mood. You can talk about lighting.
You walked out of movies before, like if you ever watched Batman: Dark Knight Rises, you can say, “Man, that was a dark movie,” well, people know what you mean by that, but you can also look at a photo and go, “This photo is really underexposed. It’s dark.” Well, now you’ve used the same language to use two extremely different creative mediums, but people always know what you’re talking about.
There’s bridges like that that are all over the place, but for me, I couldn’t, when I looked at the internet, I was like, “Man, I can’t really find anyone talking about that. What are those bridges?” That’s kind of what Third Person Creative came out of and what I’m really seeking to want to talk about.
Chris: That’s awesome. I’m 100% with you. I think we’re kind of outnumbered. I’m very much a big picture thinker. My background is in anthropology. Even things like education and technology and marketing and things like that, these are all sub niches of humanity. Pretty much everything is anthropology, so I can go on into whatever. My work and my business and this podcast is focused on a particular niche, but I’m very much a big picture thinker like you. I appreciate what you’re saying about building those bridges. I think when you naturally see those in a big niche done well, it’s a big opportunity, because the market can be so huge. You’re not just targeting sculptures or sculptors or painters or dance or writers or whatever. You’re just kind of having the conversation above the conversation, or the meta.
Avery: Right, the meta. Yeah, yeah.
Chris: The meta bridge builder is awesome. Also, in our pre chat, you mentioned there’s a theme of storytelling, but also towards to fight for a cause or some kind of change. Could you speak a little bit to not just storytelling for storytelling’s sake, but is there something … What’s the battle that’s waging that you want your project to be a part of? Or what types of greater purpose are these stories serving?
Avery: Yeah. No, that’s good. I don’t remember. I don’t remember. I was following, there was a blogger I think out there that I was listening to, and he talked about creating revolutions, not just wanting to create a website, but starting a revolution. What I think has a lot more potential than your average Facebook troll for sure, that when people want to talk about creating change in the world around them, there’s a lot of weapons that people like to pick up. They can obviously there’s the obvious ones. “Let’s go get our pitches and torch forks to spit on the common thing and go burn something down.” There’s the, “Let’s write a letter to Congress.” There’s, “Let’s old a rally.” There’s all these different things that you can weaponize. You can weaponize a letter. You can weaponize your voice. You can have rants and-
Chris: There’s a lot of conversation today about weaponizing Twitter.
Chris: Twitter is weaponized, or people say that about political campaigns and things like that.
Avery: Yeah, absolutely. You can weaponize basically anything. What does this say? There’s this old adage that says, “Anything is a weapon if you swing it right.”
Chris: I think that was Ani DiFranco. “Any tool is a weapon if you crosstalk.”
Avery: There you go. You know it. That’s right. There you go. Why not weaponize a story? There’s a lot of stories out there that you can call them … Oh my gosh. I totally blanked. What is it? You know a fable, you can call a metaphor. I’m looking for a word. Oh man. Not a fable, not a metaphor. This is hilarious. It’s the sort of thing I’m going to think about at 3:00 AM and go, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I forgot that. That’s ridiculous.”
Chris: Is it a tale? Is it a tale or a-
Avery: A tale, it’s like a … Pilgrim’s Progress was a …
Avery: Allegory, thank you. Okay, thank you. That was what I was looking for, allegory. You can create these allegories. Well, the problem with allegory is that it can come off very cheesy or come off very contrived, if it’s not done extremely well. For example, a short story I’m working on right now actually addresses, is looking to address a lot of Facebook trolls out there. It’s the idea that if we write a story, what if we wrote a story that said you can be right, but if you present your correct ideas in the wrong way, it’s still ultimately damaging to your cause.
I’m working on a story that kind of addresses that theme. The whole point is I want to get people, after they read my short story, to go, “You know what? Maybe we need to think twice about the way we go about presenting our ideas,” because you can be dead on about something, but if you cannot communicate your point in love, in kindness, in elegance, with logic and rhetoric, if you cannot present your ideas well, it’s not going to land. No one is going to listen to you. No one’s going to care.
Not only do you want to present an idea well, but you also want to present an idea in such a way that other people can receive it, and they can work with it, and they don’t feel attacked. Stories help people navigate everyday life. You don’t want to write a story that’s designed to really attack someone. You want to write a story that helps people think about the world around them so that they can navigate it better.
I want to write awesome stories, because I love good storytelling. I’m not out there to just help people and change the world and stuff. That’s cool if that happens, but the goal is, man, I really just want to write really good stories. Well, okay, if I want to write really good stories, how then do I write really good stories that matter and that make an impact and that really get a theme across? Does that make sense?
Chris: That makes total sense. No, I appreciate that, and I think that just because something is weaponized, it could be a weapon for good, in the same way-
Avery: Absolutely, yeah.
Chris: … a farming tool is for planting food. You can plant positive seeds. You have a course, you used Lift LMS to build a course about WordPress. Why did you decide to build for creatives or the artistic community a technology course?
Avery: Oh man, okay. Thank you for asking that question. I love answering this question. Okay, so when I … I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, SCBWI. It’s kind of an on-ramp, and it really introduces you to the world of publishing, editors, illustrators, other writers, critique. I got my critique partners have all been through SCBWI. Yeah. I’ve got really good writing friends through this organization. It’s phenomenal.
Well, I had … The timing of it was curious. I had just finished building Third Person Creative basically from nothing. I was like, “I have no money.” I had just gotten married. My wife is like, “Hey, I think you should create a blog.” I was like, “Sweet, how do I do it with zero budget?” Then I think it was 11 weeks, 12 weeks later, I come up with the website. It has a theme on it. It’s not a very good theme, but it’s a theme. I think I was using Color Way. If you want to go find that theme and go, “What? He was using that?” It’s like, “Ugh, don’t do that.” There’s better themes out there, I promise.
I remember thinking this was awful. I hope no one ever has to go through this again. Well, I was at this lunch through SCBWI and a bunch of these people were talking about, “Man, we really need somebody to fill this seminar slot coming up in a couple months.” I’m like-
Chris: This is a seminar for writers and illustrators, right?
Avery: Writers and illustrators, right. For the local chapter in Bryan College Station, Texas, there’s 20 people, 30 people. I don’t know how many are active attendees at the moment, but at the time, there was 15, 20 people. They give me two months, and I said, “Hey, I can create a course on how to build a website.” Their eyes lit up, because they’re all wanting author websites. They’re wanting to create sites to promote their work and to talk about writing, talk about creativity and illustrating. I was like, “Cool, I can help you build that.”
The problem is a lot of them were so focused on writing, they didn’t have a technical background. My degree is in computer engineering. I’m very used to solving technical problems. I was like-
Chris: One quick question. If you’re an artist, how did you end up in computer engineering? Or is that a type of art too?
Avery: Wow, okay. That’s a complicated question. I think I could get shot if somebody said it’s not an art. Man, out of high school, I wanted to be an engineer. I knew I wanted to be an engineer. I chased it. And then-
Chris: It is an artisan thing, but it’s [crosstalk 00:17:37].
Avery: Yeah, yeah. No, and I don’t regret it. I don’t regret it. I think being an engineer, and I worked in industry for six years, and being an engineer taught me a lot about not only web development and problem solving there, but it taught me people skills and it taught me how to navigate deadlines. It taught me a lot about the inner workings of a software company. It’s like I’m probably more kind to software guys that I’m like, “Oh, I get it bro. You take all the time you need.” I totally understand, but at the same time, I’m like, “But really, when is it going to be done? Because I really know that it’s kind of a big deal.” It’s like it’s a little bit of both, and I’m like, “Oh, bless your heart. I know what you’re going up against.”
Chris: Sorry to derail your story.
Avery: No, you’re good. You’re good. You’re good.
Chris: I just was lost. It’s like liberal arts, fine arts.
Avery: I am wordy as all get out. I know that. It’s understood. Usually when people ask me questions, I say, “Okay, do you want the two-minute version?” I set a stop point for two minutes, and then I’m more on point. Maybe I’ll start doing that. Okay, great.
Writing has always been a part of my life. Creativity has always been a part of my life, but you can’t … I had a desire to make stuff and build things. I didn’t want an occupation where I couldn’t create my own ideas. If you looked at drafting I think is a good example, a draft, somebody who majors in drafting, when they go into industry, they cannot present an architectural design, unless it’s a licensed architect signs off on that design.
There’s something very similar that happens in engineering. If you don’t have computer engineer somewhere in your degree, you can’t create and present your own design. I was like, “I don’t want to pigeonhole myself and put myself in a situation where I got to answer to somebody else. I want to have the final say. I want the training, at least, to have the final say.” That’s why I kind of chose that degree path.
For fun, I’m overclocking computers, I’m building computers for friends. I’m like, “Man, at some point, this is ridiculous. I need to make this my major rather than …” I started in ocean engineering, and that’s a completely different story. Switched into computer engineering at Texas A&M.
Okay, so back to that first thread about, oh, the SCBWI. I created this course for SCBWI, and I’m thinking in the back of my head, “I love helping people. I love helping people realize their vision and realize their goals. I want to help every single person that comes in that seminar, I want to equip them so that when they leave, they have something tangible and they have something that they can act on. That was very important.
Chris: Just to highlight that point, the course idea came out of an open slot at an in-person seminar that you had to fill and do a live presentation.
Avery: Right. Yes. Absolutely.
Chris: You’re saying that you wanted it to not just be good ideas, but have it be super actionable and people walking away with something of value.
Avery: Yeah, so there’s a lot of steps in building a website. You know this. There’s a ton of steps. I knew that if I were to just build a … It’s not recorded. The seminar wasn’t recorded. If I just build a website live for somebody and I fly through it, and it’s not recorded, people’s eyes are going to glaze over. They might catch the first 15 minutes of actionable, and it might by synthesized into actionable content, but everything past that is going to be lost on them. I knew it. I knew it going in. I’m like, “There’s no way anybody’s going to be able to retain the amount of information that I had to Google, synthesize, apply, tweak, land on, what plugins I had to go to from the …” It was nuts. I’m like, “There’s no way.”
What I did is I created a Google doc. In that Google doc, I went through this is what hosting is. This is how you pick it out. These are the hosting companies that are out there. This is the one that I recommend. This is why you should go with them, and this is why you shouldn’t go with them. I want to present a very unbiased view. This is what WordPress is. This is why WordPress is great. This is what an email list is. This is why an email list is great. This is how you integrate those two. This is the WordPress dashboard. I walked through everything.
I went through Gmail integration so that people can send emails from … For me, I sent from [email protected]. Well, truth be told, if you shoot an email to [email protected], it goes to my personal Gmail inbox. How do you set that up?
Chris: I love that you’re-
Avery: The course walks you through it.
Chris: As you’re talking about curriculum design, I just want to highlight one of the real gems in here is you’re not just teaching the why or the what or the how. You’re teaching all three. Why is this host important? What do I recommend? Okay, here’s how you get WordPress up and actually going on in this host. It’s the why, what, how. I see a lot of courses are really lopsided or almost amputated. They’re all what, or they’re all process, or they’re all why this is important, but they’re missing the other legs of the stool. So great job on your curriculum design.
Avery: Hey, thanks. Thanks. Yeah, so I created that Google doc, and then I walked them through the Google doc in the seminar. Then at the end of the seminar I said, “Give me your email.”
Chris: You gave it to them.
Avery: “Give me your email. Here. You’ve got the entire presentation.” It’s step by step. I’d already written it. It took me about a month to write the curriculum. It was a lot of work, I’m not going to lie. It was-
Chris: A month before the seminar or after the seminar?
Avery: Before the seminar. A month before the seminar, I spent probably three or four hours a day creating the curriculum. It was a lot of work.
Chris: Now this is video content or slides?
Avery: No, it was screenshots. Every relevant screenshot of the hosting page, every relevant screenshot of WordPress, boxes, click on this, click on this, then click on this, then click on this. It was click by click. If I made it click-
Chris: That’s the big thing. I just want to highlight another thing. It’s really powerful, especially when you’re teaching technology, to take the approach that Avery just said, which is no steps skipped. He said click by click. It’s so easy as an expert to just jump from hosting over to here, all deep into WordPress, themes already set up. No. Click by click.
Chris: Yeah, I just want to highlight that.
Avery: Yeah, so something that I wanted to do in the course is, because not everyone that takes my course is going to be starting from nothing. The course is zero to WordPress. Not everyone starts from zero. What I did when I heard of LifterLMS, I shopped around for a lot of different learning platforms.
Chris: Do you remember how you heard about Lifter?
Avery: Oh, I Googled, man.
Chris: Google search?
Avery: I Googled it. Google. Google showed me. Google showed me. I’m pretty sure that’s how I landed on you guys. I really am. I looked at a lot of different options, and I looked at, okay, the cost, obviously, because I’m broke. How in the world do I prepare this thing? But I also looked at the extensibility. I wanted … This is tied to Third Person Creatives as a greater vision. There’s a reason I landed on Thirdpersoncreative.com and not Averyadamwhite.com. There’s a reason.
Chris: Okay, so the difference between a personal brand and what we would call a corporate or business brand or whatever you want to call it, why did you not go with a personal brand?
Avery: Because I wanted to build something bigger than myself. What’s going to happen to Goins Writer when Jeff Goins retires? What’s going to happen? Then what happens to Video Fruit when Bryan Harris retires? One of those things is going to make a lot more sense to stick around than the other. No knocking on Jeff. The guy’s doing great. He’ll think of something. He’s an entrepreneur. He’ll think of something. He’s awesome, but I’m just saying if you took those two things at face value today and you said, “Okay, Jeff got hit by a bus, what happens?” It’s like, “Uh.” I didn’t want that.
Chris: Same thing here. It’s not Badgett LMS. It’s LifterLMS. It’s LifterLMS.
Avery: Right, exactly. Right. There you go. It’s like, “Okay, we’re going to do it this way.” What I want to do is I want to create an on-ramp for artists. The idea behind Third Person Creative and courses is I started to dream a little bit bigger. What do I bring to the table? Man, I can do a WordPress course. I’ve already got the curriculum. I know how to do the videos. I know what I’m talking about enough that I can either troubleshoot problems that arise or just I can spout it off the top of my head. I know how this stuff works. But as I work with these other artists, what if I reach out to my carpenter friend and say, “Hey, will you do an online course for me? Here’s a WordPress course that I did. It’s already doing well. You’ve got a platform to run on.” I create it as a course platform.
Then I have a painter friend, and I bring them in or a sculptor. Then you bring in all of these different art forms that you’re trying to stir conversation about the collisions between those creative mediums anyway. Why not create course content that also teaches the basics of those mediums? Because people want to learn new skills. Yes, I’m a writer, but I love photography. I read websites like Photography Life, because I want to learn how to shoot better. I’m not awesome at photography. It’s just like I’m still very much feeling it out and going, “Okay, I’ve taken a few good pictures, but let’s figure out how to be better.”
Then what happens if you start selling courses? I can go, “Well, my WordPress course kind of hopefully one day will pay for itself,” but now if I can extend some grace to a writer friend or a painter friend and say, “Put a course on my website. I’ll give you 70% of everything you make off of it,” because I believe that that painter doesn’t need to be getting … Okay, so here’s a story to drive this home. A story does way better than an explanation.
I sat down with a painter friend of mine. He’s extremely talented. He’s brilliant. His work has been featured in airports. You know when you get off the plane and there’s an artist featured, and you’re like, “Who, that’s amazing.” You’re on the moving elevator, so you can look at it for eight seconds. You’re like, “[inaudible 00:28:28].” But it’s gone. He made it there. He’s got his own website. He’s got his stuff appears in galleries all over the world. He’s brilliant.
I go, “Eric, man, what do …” He works in College Station, Texas, and I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “Well, I’m working this day job at a photography studio shooting portraits of people’s children.” Now I’m not knocking guys that go and shoot portraits of people’s children, but my friend Eric had no business working a day job. That guy needs to be in his studio painting non stop because A, that’s what he loves, B, that’s what the world needs, because that what makes him come alive, and then as a course content creator and as a platform owner, I’m asking myself the question, “What can I do to empower people like that so that their dreams are realized? What can I do,”-
Chris: To go full-time, full-time.
Avery: Yeah. Full-time. I’m like, “What could I do for Eric? What can I,”-
Chris: I just want to highlight that spirit of service, and not even having the answer right off the bat, but just attacking the problem and asking the right questions for your target market or your audience. How can I help Eric? You’re not thinking, “How much money can I make on the internet with my website?” You’re like, “How can I help artists like Eric?”
Chris: I just want to highlight that, because that’s a mindset where the innovation comes from. If you’re just like, “How can I squeeze another dollar out of the internet?” That’s a scarcity mindset.
Avery: Yeah. No, for sure. For sure. To be honest, it’s not a very … I recently read a book called “How to Think Like a Spy”. In this book, the author talks about different games that people play. There’s a zero sum game, which is where in order for me to win, you have to lose. There’s a positive sum game, which means that both sides have a perceived gain in the game that they’re playing, and then there’s a negative sum game where both sides are actively losing, but maybe one side is hoping they’re not losing as bad as the other guy.
I think if you look at the idea and the business model of, “I really want to give an awesome commission to artists where it’s benefiting them more than it’s benefiting me.” I’m playing a zero sum game, but I’m stacking it in their favor. I think that’s service. When you define the rules and then you follow the rules that you define, and you follow them in such a way that it actually benefits the other guy. In this case, it benefits the creator, benefits the creative.
That’s the heart of what I want to do. It’s like, man, if I can make, we’ll say X dollars on Zero to WordPress, that’s my course. I can give myself the same deal that I give anybody that wants to build a course under me. I give myself the same deal. Hopefully, the work stands on its own, and I know that I can teach people. I know that I’m a good teacher. It’s something that I know. It’s just a gift that I have. I’m not saying that to be arrogant. I’m saying that because I’m acknowledging, “Okay, you know what? I’m a good teacher. I’m not the best teacher in the world. I know that, but I know I’m not the worst.”
Anyways, I really just want people to know that there’s a way you can make money as a creative. There’s a way that you can overcome these technical hurdles, and you can really get to a point where you’re free to create. I think that’s really important.
Chris: I just want to highlight that. When you select your target market, they had their challenges. This is me putting my anthropologist hat on. There are stigmas and there are self-fulfilling prophecies in the way the world sees them. If an artist is in the stigma of starving artist, then you come in to serve that market, and your number one objection is for them not to starve and to step into their genius full-time and feel good about it. That’s a great … You’re literally attacking the stigma that’s against them. You’re kind of like the knight, or at least the champion of their cause.
Chris: Which is super cool. The other thing you mentioned is there’s a difference between being a course creator and having to publish your mindset. I just want to highlight how you didn’t just straight jump straight to the publisher mindset. I’m going to the be the Udemy of artists. I’m going to bring creatives together to make all this. You led by example. You leaned into one of your interests and specialties where you can help others. So you’re a course creator and then you have something to show people when you pitch them, “Hey, you want to do your course on painting or metal work or whatever,” you have an example. You’re leading by example.
The last question I wanted to ask you, which I something we talk about a lot, especially when we have a course creator and entrepreneur like yourself on the show and a visionary is I call it the stack. Courses are cool, but you can also do other things. Like you have a blog. You have a media … It’s not like, “Oh, I have this little blog. I publish on it a couple times a year.” You actively focus energy on the blog and writing and getting cool ideas out there. You’re looking into forums. You’re looking into having an online art gallery to, again, solve another problem for your target market besides education and besides fresh ideas. Can you tell us more about your stack? What is this ecosystem you’re building around the creative?
Avery: Sure. Okay. For this, I’m going to set a two-minute, I’m going to start a stopwatch for two minutes. This is for your listeners’ sake, not just for me, because I can ramble for 1,000 years. It’s ridiculous, man. If you ever need a guy that can soak up a lot of time, man, hey, I can be that guy. All right, all right. Here we go. All right, two minutes.
Chris: It started with the blog, right?
Avery: Very good. Yeah. Absolutely. The blog is the centerpiece of the website ecosystem. It’s thirdpersoncreative.com. It is about creating a community of artists that wield the power of the story against injustice, passivity, and if I could memorize my own about page, that would be phenomenal, but I don’t [crosstalk 00:35:33].
Chris: I think you said something about fighting a cause.
Avery: Injustice. Prejudice is the word that I always forget when I’m reciting my mission statement. It’s the problem with creating mission statements. Three years ago I think is when I drafted that. It’s like, “Oh wait, what does my about page say?” Okay, but it’s about using stories well to create community is really what the website’s about. That’s what the blog’s about. The blog lives on thirdpersoncreative.com. It’s kind of the mothership that everything is kind of docked to.
Now that’s where people sign up to the newsletter. It’s where people can contact me. It’s how people can navigate between the other parts of that ecosystem. I’m a at minute 18. Daggum, I got to fly. Okay. Then you have the courses, which we’ve already talked at length about the courses. That’s going to be the-
Chris: The [inaudible 00:36:36].
Avery: … platform from which other creators can contribute their own coursework as well as where my course lives and people can go there to learn about different mediums and actually apply some of these ideas that they may talk about in the next part, which is the forums. The forums are there to facilitate conversation, not just amongst creatives, about medium. If you were to visit my forums right now, you would see that it’s divided by … It’s actually divided by medium. You can go into forum for film or writing or painting or music, and there’s an audio visual section. It’s broken apart by niche, but the goal is you want to encourage people, “Okay, yes, ask your question on your niche that you can get your question answered by people that know something about your topic, but then visit the other niches.” Niches? Niches? I don’t know how to say it. Anyways, visit the other parts, the components of the forums and start engaging in the conversation with other people from other mediums.
Chris: Quick question. What forum software are you using?
Avery: What forum software?
Avery: Can you guess?
Chris: Is it WordPress BB Press?
Avery: Yes, BB Press, baby.
Chris: Cool. I just want to make sure.
Avery: Yeah, vanilla. Hey, which one’s free and which one can I throw just a tar-load of CSS at to bend to my will? Yeah, that’s how we do it, man. That’s how we do it.
Chris: Cool. Just had to ask. Go ahead.
Avery: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure. Then I’ve got … What’s the last one?
Chris: The District.
Avery: The District, man. The District is an online art gallery. I’ve tied a Buddy Press to it also exists on the District so that artists can have individual profiles so they can promote their own websites. Again, that hearkens back to wanting to create a space where artists can promote themselves. Hey, if you left the Third Person Creative ecosystem to go check out an artist’s website, I love that. That’s awesome. I count that as a win for me, because I help that creative reach their goal, which is get more traffic. Hopefully get a buyer, and they’re one step closer to being independent from [inaudible 00:38:56]. Then, of course, there’s the lovely GDPR privacy notice that we all had to write last month.
Chris: That’s awesome.
Avery: There’s that. Yeah. Okay, but that’s it. That’s the ecosystem. I was at four minutes, but you asked me a question, so you know.
Chris: Nice. No, that was good.
Avery: I probably went 45 seconds over, so I’m going to say your question took 15 seconds, but hey, it’s better than 12 minutes.
Chris: That’s fantastic. Avery, I really wanted to just thank you for coming on the show.
Avery: [crosstalk 00:39:25].
Chris: For those of you listening, check out thirdpersoncreative.com. If you’re in the Lifter ecosystem and you don’t know WordPress yet, go check out Avery’s course, Zero to WordPress, because in order to do Lifter, you need to know WordPress. You got to start with some WordPress knowledge.
I really got a lot out of this show. I think it’s an excellent case study. So many things I see the DNA of other projects I’ve seen further down the road when they look back, they’re doing a lot of things you’re doing. They’re creating a curriculum before they went to the LMS software. They’re doing it with a live audience to validate, help figure stuff out. They’re building a stack around a person, trying to serve their audience, not focus more on how do I make the most money or increase conversions?
Even like you’re talking about like you’re happy when people leave the District website to go to this artist’s website, it’s all good. It’s an outbound link. They left your website, but you’re serving your community. That’s the number one thing. You just said so many awesome things that I’ve seen in projects that work out well. You just have a vision for cross-pollination and bringing people together across niches or niches or however we want to say it. Avery, thank you so much for coming on the show. Where else can the good people of the internet connect with you?
Avery: Yeah, that’s great. I’m on Twitter at you go to tp_creative. You can follow me there. Then I have a Facebook page. You can go check it out. To put a little bit of backing behind kind of what we’ve been talking about, I’ve said verbally that I want to serve creatives. I’ll tell you what. If you’re watching this right now, you can email me at Avery, A-V-E-R-Y @thirdpersoncreative.com. You can say, “Hey, you told Chris Badgett that if I emailed you and asked for 75% off of your course, I would get it. Where’s my coupon?” I would love to send you a coupon. I’d love for you to take the course. I’d love to hook you up and get you rolling on it. Please email me, shoot me an email. I said that. That’s the same thing. I just said it twice. I’ll send you a coupon, and then that way you can get the ball rolling on it. I’d love to do that for your listeners and love to do that for you guys. That would be great.
Yeah, [inaudible 00:41:56] at Twitter, Facebook. I’m on Instagram, tp_creative as well, although I don’t really post to that a whole lot. Yeah, Twitter is where it’s at, and then you can jump on the website and subscribe to the email list. That’d be awesome.
Chris: That’s awesome. That’s very generous of you, Avery. Thank you so much for coming on the show, and we’ll have to do another one-
Avery: Thank you.
Chris: … with you in a couple years and see where all this goes.
Avery: I’d love it, man. That’d be awesome. That’d be rad. Cool.
Chris: Awesome. Thanks.
Avery: Hey, thank you.