We discuss how to create worlds and themification for your online course with Bradley Morris in this episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Chris and Bradley dive into creating habits and taking consistent action when building a business, and strategies you can use to themify your online courses and engage students.
Bradley is a repeat visitor to LMScast. He is from eCourseAdventures.com where he focuses on teaching online course creators how to create engaging content for their students. In this episode he shares his story, from dropping out of college to pursue his career in professional golf to changing the state of the online education industry by teaching education entrepreneurs how to incorporate entertainment into online courses.
A lack of engagement is a huge problem in the online course industry. When you are in a physical classroom environment you are present and accountable for doing the work, so you are more invested in learning the material. Bradley talks about how students are easily distracted from an online course, especially when they are comfortable at home and have Facebook and email open in other browser tabs.
It can be difficult for students to digest information coming at them if the method of delivery isn’t interesting to them. This served as the inspiration for Bradley and his partner to create The Great eCourse Adventure which is the flagship training on how to incorporate entertainment into online courses.
Themification is a huge part of the entertainment aspect for online courses. It is the process of putting yourself into your students’ shoes and facilitating an experience that captivates them and inspires them to take action. One of the core pillars of a successful online course is the experiential factor that guides the transformational learning journey. Bradley shares some strategies for how you can incorporate themes into your educational content.
To learn more about Bradley Morris head to eCourseAdventures.com. Also check out Demo.LifterLMS.com to see the Green Screen Magic course where you can learn about how to transform your courses into immersive experiences that can captivate audiences and change your students’ lives. He also has his master class on The Art of eCourse Creation at Demo.LifterLMS.com/Art-of-eCourse-Creation.
At LifterLMS.com you can find out more about how you can use LifterLMS to build your own online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!
Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator, looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.
Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. Today we’re joined by a special guest. This is actually a repeat visitor to the show, round two I believe, with Bradley Morris from eCourseAdventures.com. How’s it going, Bradley?
Bradley Morris: I’m doing lovely. Nice to be back on the show, Chris. Hello, Everybody.
Chris Badgett: It’s great to connect. We’re on opposite oceans. I’m over here on the Atlantic Ocean, on the coast of Maine, and you’re over there on Victoria Island, right?
Bradley Morris: We’re on Salt Spring Island, which is just off of Vancouver Island, which is commonly referred to as Victoria Island, because that’s our capital of BC.
Chris Badgett: Right on.
Bradley Morris: But we’ve got the whole mainland surrounded here.
Chris Badgett: Coastal. Awesome. It’s a beautiful part of the world where you live, and I spend a lot of time in Southeast Alaska, and in the Pacific Northwest in the United States, and spent a lot of time in British Columbia, too, before I got into technology. The environment has always inspired me and just a close connection to nature, which is one of the reasons I think we just probably naturally connect as people, because you can sense that in other people.
That’s a common theme between us, but when we look at online education being more than just exchanging information, you get into this concept of themeification and world creation. Can you lay it on this? What is this all about? What gap is this filling or what is this doing in the eCourse or online education space?
Bradley Morris: Yeah. This a great rabbit hole to start off. Let’s just dive on in. Let’s look at the dropout rate of online courses to start. I mean, the average is somewhere between 70 and 97% apparently. That’s the stat that’s being given through Forbes and there’s a bunch of resources out there that talk about this. So let’s look at why that is.
Typically, if you’re in a classroom, you’re in an engaged environment where you are accountable for the learning experience and for doing the work, whereas if you sign up for a course, you’re on your computer, you’re at home, you’re in your PJs, you’ve got your Facebook tab open, your email’s open, and there’s really no accountability to complete it, what it is that you started.
The way that online education has traditionally been done is it’s a bunch of PowerPoints or PDFs and it’s just a talking head talking at you and giving you a bunch of information. As we know, it’s really hard for us, no matter how good the presentation is, or how high quality the media is, it’s hard to digest the information that’s coming at us.
So, a few years ago, we started looking at this. We had a course called the eCourse Creation Blueprint, and we were doing those PowerPoints and PDFs and selling it for a good price, 1500 bucks or so. We were looking at this and we were like, we asked ourselves this question. We were about to go redesign our course and we asked ourselves would we have signed up? Like, [inaudible 00:03:40] and signed up for this course if we found it a few years ago and we were looking for the information?
We were like, “No.” Then we started asking if we would complete the course if we did sign up for it, and the answer was no. We were like, “Well, this is a really big problem” and this is a really big problem for everybody. If you’re creating courses out there, ask yourself those same two questions, and if you get the same answer as we did, then there we go.
After that epiphany, we started asking ourselves, “Well, how do we consume media? What kind of media would we like to consume? And how were people consuming media on the internet?” The answer is entertaining videos, we’re listening to podcasts and music, and we’re playing video games. These are the main ways in which people are consuming media.
Well, eLearning is basically not using these art forms. It’s just basically like me standing here, looking at the screen, telling you what to do, and hoping that you do it. So, that was basically the night that The Great eCourse Adventure, our main flagship training, was born.
Themeification is this idea there you take that curriculum, so curriculum is like 33% of what it takes to build a great online course. If you don’t have the curriculum, you don’t have a course, so you need that. You need to have something to teach and have a process for people to follow. But then there’s this other pillar and that is around experience. So, really putting yourself in the student’s shoes, and facilitating an experience that captivates them, that inspires them to take action, and that moves them forward on this transformational learning journey where they go from not knowing how to do something, to knowing how to do something, the result that you’re promising on your sales page.
This idea of themeification, it was something we totally stumbled upon, it was a complete accident where we just, The Great eCourse Adventure is essentially like Saturday Night Live, skit comedy meets Indiana Jones adventure. We take our students up a meeting to launch summit, where they create the greatest eCourse they can possibly imagine. Along the way, all sorts of different characters come into play, and there’s this story arc where the student is the character in the journey, and there’s all of this magic that happens as you’re going through the creative process of building your course.
As we’ve started teaching people about how do you take your curriculum and give it a theme, we’ve learned so much, and it’s actually what we’re doing as eCourse creators is most of us have a website, right? Our website’s our storefront. Well, the theme is the world in which your course is taught from, and exists within. For example, we just created our most recent course, which is now on LifterLMS, and it’s called Green Screen Magic.
Instead of just taking you into the editing room and showing you how you edit videos and use green screen, and do your lighting and perspective, and how you create these worlds, we basically played the roles of magicians and you are a magician’s apprentice. We teach you how to make eLearning illusions, and how to take this green piece of fabric behind me, and create all of these amazing worlds, and to bring your ideas to life.
What we’ve been learning is that throughout time, all of our ancestors taught each other through storytelling. Where’s storytelling? I mean, sure, we use it in our marketing, we tell a nice story that inspires people to want to buy our product, but where’s the storytelling when it comes to our eLearning experiences, our courses? What we’ve been really just getting to play with and discover through our students’ experiences and feedback and the things that they’re creating now, it’s that story is such a powerful and missing ingredient that makes, it draws people in.
If we want to captivate people’s attention, we need to do something more creative than just the PowerPoint and the PDF, which served up until a point, but now there’s so many sparkly distractions on the internet, that if we all don’t step up our game and get more creative with it, then we’re going to be losing a lot of people’s attention and the possibility of facilitating something transformational and credible for them.
Based on that, I mean, it’s a big topic. Where do you want to go around the themeification idea, based on what [crosstalk 00:08:20]-
Chris Badgett: That’s a beautiful thing. When you were talking, you were talking about games, podcasts, music, and those things naturally have a world. Like, when I’m listening to a podcast I really love while I’m out on a run or on my bike or whatever, I literally drop into this world of where I exist with this creator and I’m engaged with his content, usually around a certain niche, whatever that is, it is like literally a world, it exists in my head more with the audio format.
Music is the same way. I mean, depending upon what type of music you listen to, it drops you into a specific world. If you go to a live concert, and you get it coming in from all angles, you’re definitely in your own world. Video games, I mean, those are imaginary worlds.
Bradley Morris: Totally.
Chris Badgett: That’s where the Super Mario Brothers live. They jump over pipes and eat [crosstalk 00:09:12].
Bradley Morris: And you know, the best parties I’ve ever been to in my entire life are always themed parties. It’s like everybody shows up to the party wearing their toga or everybody’s in costume, they’re all vibing in the same experience, and with The Great eCourse Adventure, we did it all just because we were trying to be our absolute most creative selves possible, because we’d gone the other way in our entrepreneurial journey.
We’re like, “Well, we need to just be artists, and we already know the entrepreneur thing, we can do that, so let’s just be artists.” Our eCourse adventures, they’re adventurers. They’re not students. Instead of earning badges, they’re earning backpack supplies, our forum is the community camp fire, each lesson is a step along the journey, and each module’s a checkpoint.
Like, we really got into the theme design thing. We used language, we used colors, the visuals, there’s 92 lessons in The Great eCourse Adventure. I mean, we teach our students about the media side, curriculum design, theme design, gamification, marketing, launching, selling, communicating your … Like, everything. There’s so much that we cover. Every single background, or every single lesson is a different location on the mountain, which means a different background, or different nature sounds that are immersed in there, different characters that come into the story to help take them on their next step. We just went above and beyond.
For us, the goal after creating mediocre courses for so many years, they were the best we could do at the time, but then we realized that we could a lot better. For us, it was just about creating the greatest eCourse we could possibly imagine, something that we would want to binge watch and that would be binge worthy for other people as well.
Chris Badgett: How do you pick a theme? And correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like once you choose, it’s not that hard to come up with the ideas.
Bradley Morris: Totally.
Chris Badgett: For example, at LifterLMS, we have a space theme, we have the universe bundle, the infinity bundle, we have this little space man we put on a lot of our graphics. We just integrate space. We’re just really into it, because for a lot of reasons. Liftoff and lifter, like part of the whole concept of the beginning, just artistically, was to elevate and give people a tool that could literally transform their life in lots of different ways, and impact others and all this. But once you decide that, then it’s now we have an artistic direction.
Bradley Morris: Totally.
Chris Badgett: How does a course creator pick a theme?
Bradley Morris: Well, it has to be something that you would be excited about.
Chris Badgett: ‘Cause you asked yourself on the mountain, “Would I take this” … The blueprint course. And you’re like, “No.” So then you’re like, “Well, what would I get excited about?”
Bradley Morris: Yeah. We started writing out the qualities. I mean, for us, now we’ve got a whole process that helps people figure this out. But imagine your eCourse was a person and how would you describe that person’s personality, or your eCourse’s personality? What are the vibes? What are the quirky traits? Obviously it’s going to be an expression of who it is you are.
So it has to make sense to you, the creator, and it has to make sense to the audience. The Great eCourse Adventure, it was so obvious because we were going out on these huge hikes every single day. While we were writing the curriculum, we were doing it in a journal, and we were going for daylong hikes, and we would write everything in the notebook and then we would come back and transcribe it to the computer.
So an adventure was the most obvious thing. We got lost some days, we would be sweating our butts off and trying to get to the summit of a different mountain. It was just kind of like entrepreneurship. And I mean, anybody out there that’s ever created something great, you know, it’s like climbing Everest. It’s hard.
Even if it’s your passion project and you love it, if you’re trying to do your best work, it’s freaking hard. There’s no way around it. It takes a lot of time and effort and love and sweat and tears. And then, we have an outer space course that’s called the Art Of eCourse Creation. That’s a Star Wars themed course and that one really teaches people all of our philosophies in a condensed experience, and for that one, the metaphor was simple.
We’re taking you to the new world of online education. How do we get there? We go by the eCourse frontier star ship. It just makes sense. And then for Green Screen Magic, all of our students the last couple years were just begging us to create this course, and so because they wanted to be able to do what we were doing with a green screen. We were like okay.
And that one again, it was just really obvious to us that we’re teaching people magic tricks. Well, who’s the magic teacher? It’s a magician. So, we just have to be magicians and the student is a magician in training. The theme is something, usually it has to do with something you’re passionate about. I can’t remember the course, but on a recent coaching call, a woman was, I think it was like some form of business coaching, and she was really struggling with finding her theme.
When I started to ask her, “What are you passionate about? What do you do when you’re not working? What are the things that you love to get up to?” For us it was hiking. For her, it was cooking. All of a sudden, we started to brainstorm around, “Well, what if your eCourse was a recipe guide? What if all the kitchenware were metaphors for what you’re actually teaching the student? What if you actually taught them business while doing a cooking class so that they’re learning about cooking and they’re also learning about business?”
It’s something that happens, like I see people and they try and force this theme into their curriculum and the first thing you have to do is create your curriculum. Curriculum design is like for us, The eCourse Creation Blueprint, it was good curriculum. It just wasn’t delivered in an engaging and exciting way. We took 80% of that old curriculum and then we turned it into The Great eCourse Adventure. If you don’t have your curriculum, don’t think about the theme yet.
Design your curriculum, the lessons, the outlines, all that sort of stuff. Don’t go into scripting yet. Then start to brainstorm with your theme, and in that Art Of eCourse Creation course, which I believe is up on LifterLMS at the time of this, yes?
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bradley Morris: So, you can do that. We’ve got a whole workbook that guides you through coming up with your theme. Because there’s a lot of questions. There’s a lot of ways. If you don’t have the video skills, language and pictures and colors, like all these different things.
Chris Badgett: Just copy. Language by itself is huge, right?
Bradley Morris: It’s huge. If you think about how a book can transport you into another universe. And we have so many other tools available to us.
Chris Badgett: You said something around themeification and world creation related to community. When I’m literally designing LMS software concepts, what I usually do, whenever I have an idea for a feature or anything like that, is I actually go back to pre-technology Chris, and I actually go back to British Columbia, which is funny ’cause I’m talking to you.
I did a National Outdoor Leadership School trip in the British Columbia back country, right when I was like 20 years old. This was in the remote [inaudible 00:17:00] wilderness with this small group of people and it literally transformed my life in terms of leadership ability, love of nature, all this stuff, just all coalesced and came together.
But basically for 30 days, I was in the woods, no trails, nothing, compass, this group of people. Lots of bears, different types of bears, all kinds of stuff going on, learning how to navigate cross river, all kind of stuff. But that world was one, like when I think about the offline world and where I had one of the most profound learning experiences of my life, I go back to that experience and I look for reference points where I look at what worked there and how it worked, and how can I transfer that to technology to work in the digital world?
But that aside, part of that learning experience being so great was this little group of community around this adventure, if you will. How do we think about designing for community? How does the world fit the community? I understand that the themeification fits the brand and the personality of the leader and stuff like that, but how do we design worlds for community?
Bradley Morris: Yeah. It’s a great question. That’s something that we’ve done a lot of experimenting around, and we’re at a point, two and a half years in, where we really starting to see the culture take over, that there’s enough buy-in from a large enough group of people, that we’re really able to watch people flourish and take care of each other. Just like you guys were in the wild, everybody was taking care of each other.
It wasn’t like there was one alpha leader and everybody just did whatever that person said. It was like everybody had their role and everybody was looking out for each other, and we have to create an environment that really supports that. In the beginning, it does take that one or two or three people to show up again and again and again, to demonstrate to the community what leadership looks like in this community.
You’re not going to create a social space, invite 1000 people, and all of a sudden, everybody’s going to be taking care of each other. It does require a period of time, a gestation period, where you the leader have to put in a lot of upfront energy and answer all the questions and support people, and give people the best possible feedback you can.
That basically shows people, “Oh, you’re really here. Oh, I’m being helped right now and you’re going out of your way to help me. Oh, I want to do the same thing for other people.” That is something that’s so important that we rarely get to see. I mean, if you want to be supported in a community on an eCourse program, mostly you have to pay like $5000 a year to get into the VIP rung of that community.
Whereas like, community is the third pillar. That’s the other 33%, so you’ve got curriculum, experience, and community. That’s what’s missing in a lot of eCourse worlds. Facebook’s a tricky place, too, to grow a community ’cause there’s so many distractions, and everybody’s connected to 72 different groups that they get notifications for.
For us, we grow our community off of Facebook so that it’s a really focused, safe container for people to dive into the topic that they’re trying to explore. We do recommend that for other people. There’s so many, I mean you guys have a social aspect on LifterLMS. There’s so many other platforms as well, depending on whether you’re going with a SaaS or a WordPress tool or whatever.
There’s a lot of great tools out there to build your own little social network where you can help facilitate the conversations. It’s something that we’ve seen that has brought people together, a few things that have worked really well, is at the beginning of The Great eCourse Adventure, people get paired up as buddies. They’re adventure buddies, they have to do weekly calls, and we have people that have been part of The Great eCourse Adventure community for over two years and they’re still doing weekly check-ins with their buddies.
Some form of accountable buddy, whether it’s for your business or eCourses or whatever, it’s so important in life to just keep you on track, to have somebody that you’re telling, “This is what I’m going to do this week” and at the beginning of next week, “Here’s what I did last week and here’s where I struggled. This is what’s coming up for me.” Just somebody to listen.
Like, most of us have the ability to find our own answers and figure stuff out, but if we’re not being held accountable, if somebody’s not there being like, “This is the fourth week in a row that you haven’t followed through on the thing that you said you were going to do. Do you want this? What is going on? Is there something more happening in your life that you’re not talking about?” We all need that. For me, I’m fortunate. I’ve got my business partner, I have some mentors.
I have that support and I didn’t always have that support. Now that I do, I see how valuable it really is.
Chris Badgett: It’s not just about the course content.
Bradley Morris: It’s not, no.
Chris Badgett: I say that like, we have three Cs. We’re in the LMS area, so there’s lots of TLAs, three letter acronyms. But courses plus coaching plus community, that’s one of the ones that I like to go to, because it’s not just about the course content. Community, I mean there’s tools you can use, but also it could be as simple as taking a little leadership in the design of a program, and helping new people coming in at the same time form these accountability groups or mini masterminds or whatever. That’s all part of the design.
Bradley Morris: Yeah, totally.
Chris Badgett: I’ve built community around LifterLMS software. We have a weekly mastermind office hours call. People in there have become friends, people have started businesses together. It’s way beyond just Chris the coach, high on the mountain, talking to people. The community in and of itself and the relationships inside of that, that’s the glue and that’s where the majority of the value is.
Bradley Morris: Yeah, we do coaching every week as well. I’m curious how you facilitate your office hours ones. What’s the timeframe and how do you facilitate or … I’m just so curious about that.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, for us, it’s for the software, so it’s not a course plus community. This is a software plus community. Basically it’s a weekly one hour Zoom call, just like we’re in right now as we record this, and you have to get the product or the office hours mastermind product, or get it as part of our biggest bundle. Every week it depends on the week, 30 or so people show up and there’s some people that have been there since the very beginning, and then there’s always new people coming in, getting oriented, need a quick question, quick hot seat.
I started it actually, I tell people I started a mastermind by accident, which I did. I had no intention of creating a mastermind. I was trying to create a group coaching call to help people get unstuck, or get their questions answered, or get live technical support, ask strategy questions, ask these other questions that aren’t software related, but I know the answer to or have had experience with an online course.
But what happened is over time, I’m the keeper of all the knowledge. Some other people on the call would be like, “Oh, you have this question about this email marketing tool or this marketing strategy or this instructional design theory” and it started, it became more of a circle than a triangle, you know?
Bradley Morris: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: I just embraced that. I just changed the name of it to a mastermind, and it goes on. I look forward to it. Happens every Thursday.
Bradley Morris: I love it. Yeah. It’s such an important part for people to have that real connection with these other people that you see their profile, you see them type things in the conversation windows and comment on your stuff, but until you actually have a face-to-face like this, and Zoom’s amazing for that sort of thing.
Chris Badgett: It really is.
Bradley Morris: Yeah. It creates that bridge.
Chris Badgett: I wanted to ask you a little bit about something we talked about before we started recording here, which is the discipline of being a creator. If you’re going to build community or you’re going to build, you’re going to draw up into the artistic mode, and you’re going to build a world and then you’re going to lead that world and you’re going to get the flywheel spinning to get that momentum building, I mean, I want to ask you about how you keep the fire alive in the discipline, and can you also just have a little story time, and take us back to … You also, you’re a course creator yourself, but before eCourse, it was meditation courses. You’ve been at this a while. How long? What happened? How do you keep going?
Bradley Morris: Well, I dropped out of college in 2005 to start my first online business and to sponsor myself to play professional golf. That was the game plan. The business was called Man Shirts. I sold offensive t-shirts online. It basically ruined me and my liver within a year. That was when I had a huge breakdown in life, and got really into meditation and personal growth.
And then, in 2007, after going through a radical shift in perspective and life and habits, I launched a video on YouTube called The Gratitude Dance. It went viral. Check it out. That led to speaking tours around North America, which got me really into my meditation practice at that time, and a lot of sad stories happened between, but basically in 2009, I taught my first ever meditation workshop.
Over the course of the next two years, led retreats around the world, and taught more than 500 workshops. I got burnt out from teaching meditation, kind of funny, but I think you do something too much and you do get burnt out. In 2012, I wanted to retire from teaching meditation, but I didn’t want the medicine to die with me. I committed to getting all of my work online and that was when I started building courses.
In March, 2012, I launched my first meditation course. In October that year, I launched my second. Those have since spread to more than 50 countries. When we did The Great eCourse Adventure, I actually took those meditation courses down ’cause they weren’t up to snuff, so now I just have an audio library where people can download all the tracks at BradleyMorrisMeditations.com.
Those are really high quality, custom composed music for every track. It’s beautiful stuff if you like breathing. Basically, that’s the summarized version.
Chris Badgett: That’s the progression.
Bradley Morris: Yeah. Then because the success of my courses, I’ve started teaching people to build courses and so the discipline side, I wake up every morning between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. and I go to the golf course after my personal practice, and I play sunrise golf. This is a five to six day a week thing. This is when it’s freezing cold and raining sideways. This is some days it’s snowing a little bit, and that’s where I am.
I’m disciplined with that. I’m disciplined with my personal practices. It was a learned discipline. It’s still every day, the alarm goes off in the morning, and I’ve only had four hours sleep or six hours sleep, ’cause I’m also a dad and entrepreneur and a husband and all these things, and my mind is screaming, “Stay in bed, sleep longer.”
The part of me that has a vision in something that I’m working towards is like, “Get out of bed and go do the thing. You know you’re going to feel better if you go do the thing,” and so that’s what I do, I go do the thing. Business is the exact same thing. We all have this higher vision of what we’re being called to do, this service that we’re here to provide, and the amount of resistance we’re all going to come up against, internal resistance, less, like way less resistance from the outer world.
Like, if you’re getting resistance from the outer world, congratulations, you probably had to get through a lot of internal resistance to meet that. I would just, for me, it’s knowing why I’m doing this, so that why is what motivates me to get out of bed every single day, that seeing the progress and working towards that vision is so fulfilling for me.
And I would just say like, I’ve found my momentum really kicked in about five years ago when I stopped going for those six month and 12 month goals that were lofty and stressful, and I took a step back and I created as clear a vision as I could. My wife and I did a full moon cycle from new moon to new moon, where we really dreamed in, and every day we were writing our visions, and visioning and basically creating a 10 year picture for who we wanted to become, and the lives we wanted to create and the businesses we wanted to run, and the roles we wanted to have within those businesses.
We created as crystal clear a vision as we could, and right at the next full moon, we built this immaculate vision board with all of the writing on the back of it, and all the images that we found and then we framed it. That was the most powerful visioning experience of my life, ’cause it was every day. I wasn’t concerned about where I was now. I was only concerned about dreaming into my ultimate vision for all this stuff, and that took a huge amount of weight and stress off of me, to need to have it all now.
I came into full acceptance of exactly where I was, who I was, where I was in my bank account, where I was in my business, because I realized all these things are perfect and in 10 years from now when I step into the highest vision of what I could possibly see now, all these are just stepping stones. I just felt all of the weight released, from the self-inflicted pressure I was imposing on myself.
That was the greatest thing I ever did for myself. Then, the discipline is just every single day, waking up and doing the next series of things. For me, pro golf, this first year, I got to play 12 tournaments so far this year. I probably have about 16 or 20 by the end of the year, and I’m finally living that portion of the dream. Not winning yet, but that’s okay. And then the business side is just like every day.
I mean, we can all think of one to three things that need to get done before we go to bed tonight, to move the vision forward. It’s like with guitar, if you want to learn guitar, pick the guitar up for 5 to 10 minutes every day. Don’t pick it up for 60 minutes once a week, pick it up every day. The business is the same thing. Take one step minimum. If you’re working 40 hours a week and you’ve got kids and all that sort of stuff, carry your notebook with you everywhere you go, so you have those lists, and make sure you’re taking one action step towards it. Otherwise you’re stagnant, and you’re staying in one spot. [crosstalk 00:33:04]-
Chris Badgett: That’s really good. That’s really good. I really appreciate you sharing all that, and it’s really inspiring. A couple of notes I wanted to comment on is you said you gave yourself a moon cycle, a month to really give yourself permission to vision and think about the future and think about your highest self and your impact on the world, and your legacy, and the life you wanted to live.
That’s amazing to give yourself that much time. I give myself lately, and this is with … I mean, I’m often a futurist, I’m always living out in the future, I have to snap back here a lot, but every year I have what’s called a founder retreat, but I only go for three days, not like 30. So I could only imagine, maybe I need to try that. That’s really cool.
Bradley Morris: I will say, we didn’t take 30 days off of running the day-to-day business and that. It was just a-
Chris Badgett: A priority.
Bradley Morris: It was an ongoing conversation and a meditation and we also [inaudible 00:34:08] that, we did a whole bunch of clearing rituals, burning rituals, where we were letting go of the aspects of ourselves that we knew needed to go. That’s still a part of it. With everything major step forward, we have to let go of parts that aren’t serving. We’re just in the process of the time of recording right now, of taking our first investment capital.
The amount of work it’s taken us to get to here, to be able to gracefully receive that and know that it’s in good hands has been a lot, you know?
Chris Badgett: Yeah. That’s cool. You also mentioned all the resistance, and you’ve probably heard of it, the book called “The War Of Art” by Steven Pressfield where he talks about the resistance. For you out there, I highly recommend, if you have not heard of Steven Pressfield and “The War Of Art,” it’s a classic for the creator type.
One more question on your personal story. You mentioned making offensive t-shirts. That was your foray into making money online perhaps. What was the trigger point that, like what helped you make that leap? ‘Cause I think we all, especially as creatives, we discover the internet, and perhaps we didn’t come from the business school per se. Maybe you did, I don’t know.
Bradley Morris: No.
Chris Badgett: But then you’re like, you discover this marketing thing and you’re like, “Wow” and this whole scalable internet thing and this whole digital product thing. And there’s this niche on the internet called the make money online niche, and I know you have some parodies on that in your videos, with Slick Rick and I forget the other guy. What helped you not really mature, but more like step into that higher vision of where you wanted to go? There was a total leveling up by making the commitment to vision. What caused that commitment to vision? Or were you back in the [inaudible 00:36:12], and you’re like, “I’ve got to do something here?” Was it like-
Bradley Morris: Yeah it was a bit of everything. I mean, I think a lot of it came from frustration of having lofty goals every 6 to 12 months and continually not meeting them. I was like, “I need to create something that feels, that is realistic and doable.” I can’t remember what inspired us to take a step back and just vision. It just needed to happen. I’m a strong believer in journaling, and just what we write is so powerful, and the act of journaling and writing intentions and all that sort of stuff is the act of taking that etheric thought energy and putting it into the physical world where we can see it and it’s tangible and it’s that first step.
I’ve experienced a lot of magical things from that act of journaling, so it just seemed like actually, I do recall. It was just after my 30th birthday. We’d move to Salt Spring like a year and a half before, from the city, and I could finally play golf 200 to 250 days a year, which I hadn’t been able to do since I was kid. I was seeing rapid improvements, because my meditation practice was directly impacting my golf.
And for my birthday, my 30th birthday, I told Celeste, my wife, I said, “I want 10 years to go after this dream. I want you to fully support me and never complain that I’m golfing. If you’re going to support me as a wife, this is the gift I want, this is what I’ve always wanted since I was a kid and the first time I ever touched a golf club. I want to see how far I can take this. This is for me, this is my path to self-mastery, this is my spiritual practice, this is where I get to iron out the kinks, body, mind, and spirit and grow. This is something that I’m really excited about.”
She said yes, and she’s been fully supportive ever since. After we made the commitment, I felt the power of having a 10 year vision. I’m only four and a half years into that now, and I just tied the course record at my club the other week. Things are happening, and I’m seeing the rapid improvements over the last four and a half years.
Chris Badgett: There’s that famous that we overestimate what we can do in a day, underestimate what we can do in a year. I would imagine that would extrapolate to we vastly underestimate what we can do in a decade.
Bradley Morris: Totally. Yeah, and I still have six years left and I’m looking at, I’m taking better care of my body than I ever have. I’m taking better care of everything, and the business is growing and the business is allowing more time to focus on practicing and training, which I’ve never done before.
It’s only going to get better, and just on the note of receiving investment capital, we spent six months redoing our business plan again and again and again, and pitch deck and all that sort of stuff. It was really powerful, right before we got the thumbs up to receive investment capital, the question we had to answer was what our exit strategy is.
We had to come up with a really solid exit strategy that’s eight years out in the future, of what is the point where we’re going to need to have somebody buy us out and us step away from being in those leadership roles? That was a powerful exercise. ‘Cause we build these things and we’re like, “This is my baby and I couldn’t sell my baby” and it was a powerful practice to just do that. Yeah.
Chris Badgett: What’s your vision for course creators? Take us into the future of your vision. Where are we headed with eCourse Adventure?
Bradley Morris: Well, I mean at the time of this recording, it might be a lie, fully, but we’re aiming to build the Netflix of online education that would be for entertainment based eLearning experiences. Courses that are themeification, that are gamified, that are highly engaging and truly transformational, and that we’re creating a hub for course creators to come and learn from each other and learn how to develop these types of immersive online learning experiences, and also to have a marketplace where those that really create world class courses can have them hosted and sold on as well.
We’re already, our first virtual reality company has approached us and we’ve started working with them about a month ago on a beta experience that would be for professional athletes and sports teams. That was a really, really fun experience. I mean, when we created The Great eCourse Adventure two and a half years ago, we knew that VR was where this was all going.
I mean, as much as I’m afraid of that technology, and I think it’s crazy that we’re going in that direction because people are already disconnected enough from this reality on the Earth, I don’t think there’s any stopping where it’s going to go. We might as well create experiences that are beautiful and transformational and can help raise people’s awareness and increase their skill levels and ability to be a good human on this planet.
Where else? For us, it’s just every time we create a course, we’re just building our next course right now, we just want to push the limits of, take all the stuff that we learned before, we’ve come up with some new ideas, and just stretch our abilities to create something even better than what we did last time. We’re pretty darn proud of what we’ve done so far, and it makes us a little bit nervous of like, “Man, how do we top Green Screen Magic?” Or, “How do we top this last thing?” It’s a good test. It’s pretty fun.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Well, if you’re listening to this and want to check out Green Screen Magic, you can get to it at the LifterLMS website. Just click on courses and you’ll find it. I wanted to ask you a question, especially related to the green screen course, and you being a nature guy and meditator, me being a nature guy and a meditator, I also don’t know how to write code. Yet, I have a technology company. You’re not like a hardcore website builder, so when people come to us, I think … Or I should say people like us, non-techies, or not technical people that are teachers, creators, artists, entrepreneurs with ideas who want to teach, how do you … Especially with something like green screen, how do you make that approachable to the non-techie? What’s your strategy?
Bradley Morris: Yeah. This is from one of the characters in The Great eCourse Adventure, Master Zen Teach. He says if you create time for tech learning time, then you’ll create … No, sorry. Let me start again. If you create time for tech learning time, then you’ll learn tech in no time. That’s the name of the game. I’m much more willing and excited to learn the ins and the outs of the tools that will help us achieve what we’re trying to achieve.
For example, I am excited about learning about platforms now, whereas before it used to scare the hell out of me. I’m excited about learning, about the … We’re now doing a livestream show every week, which you were on a week ago, and just learning from Blair, my media partner, to learn how he’s doing all these magical things, that just look so cool.
Whereas before I didn’t, so this idea of taking time to learn tech, like what we’re talking about is scheduled tech time. Where it’s like, “Oh, you want to go and learn ActiveCampaign?” Where you’re less interested in getting a result, and like, “Oh, I have to get my autoresponders programmed and all my if then statements, and everything’s set up by tomorrow.” It’s like I’m giving myself three hours of play, and here’s the things that I’m going to go try and learn.
It has nothing to do with like, “I’m going to get all my autoresponders written” or anything. It’s like, “I’m going to go figure out how to do this.” YouTube, I mean YouTube is where we originally learned to do green screen. We’d have an idea and then Blair would go do a bunch of research and figure out how to do the effects, and then we would just try it.
Chris Badgett: I think that’s really beautiful. It’s time and mindset and play. I’ve heard this, this is like a mindset thing, or from the personal development world. Instead of saying, “I suck at tech,” you can reframe that to, “I’m not super proficient at tech yet.” The whole concept of yet as opposed to, “I suck” is like totally different mindset. But you’ve got to make time.
Bradley Morris: And a two hour space. Yeah, if you give yourself two hours to go in, and you’ve got a few pre-prepared questions of the things that you need to learn how to do, you can just search those things on YouTube and watch videos on how to do it. Or every platform’s got an onboarding process that will guide you through exactly how to use the software. For me, I used to resist it, “No, I don’t want to look at the instructions. I just want it to work now.” I’d get all bent out of shape about it.
I mean, it’s really not hard. All of the tools, most of the tools that exist don’t require us to know code, they don’t require us to be a techie. We just have to take that time to go in and play with it and be okay with breaking it. Like right now, I quit Facebook at the end of last year, and I just hired a mentor that’s forcing me to do some Facebook ads to test our websites to see if they’re actually working.
I just had to reopen my account and I mean, at first, my stomach was turning inside out, because I had to reactivate Facebook, and I was just like, “Oh,” and now I’m learning how to do ads. I’m like, “I don’t want to do this.” Then, I woke up this morning, I’m like, “Dammit. I’m just going to enjoy it. I’m just going to go in. I’m going to follow the instructions and I’m going to learn this and I’m going to enjoy it, and I don’t know if I’ll be doing it in a month from now, but for right now, today, I have a choice to just go and enjoy this learning process and go learn something new that so many people are using. So I’m doing it.”
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Well, as we wrap up here, tell us about Workbook Heroes which may or may not be out by the time you’re listening to this, but it’s a new course, and then just follow that up with how people can best engage with you and the eCourse Adventures.
Bradley Morris: Yeah, so Workbook Heroes, it’s the next course that we’re making in-house at Ecourse Adventures. It’s basically going to be a course on how to create interactive themeified workbooks. Because a lot of the times-
Chris Badgett: Not like a boring [crosstalk 00:48:09]-
Bradley Morris: Not just a blank document, exactly. Something that’s interactive, that people can write notes in and something beautiful and fun. Something people would actually want to print out or want to keep on file, and go through. That course is obviously superhero themed. The main character in it is Kent Clark, and you are working at a journalism, like a 1960s newspaper, retro themed, and the main boss at the newspaper, he’s a hard ass and a stickler, and he wants you to do your very best work.
He’s not going to let you publish something that’s mediocre. Because he wants to have the best damn newspaper in the world. You’re going to have to just go under the wing of Kent Clark and learn how to become a workbook superhero.
Chris Badgett: That’s cool.
Bradley Morris: We’re stoked. We’re having a lot of fun with the … We took a whole day about a week ago, two weeks ago, and we spent it out in nature, hiking, and we mapped out the whole course that way. That’s still how we operate. We actually, we now take at least a half a day every single week, as a team, to go out into nature and to plan, to write, to just make things up, to work on our business, to talk about things that need to be talked about.
Because what’s the point of doing it in the office when we could be out there. So much of what we do is just conversation and brainstorming and stuff, so we might as well be out hiking and enjoying the weather.
Chris Badgett: That was awesome. That was awesome.
Bradley Morris: As far as where to find us, our main domain will be eCourseAdventures.com, and that will, you can find The Great eCourse Adventure, you can join our community for course creators from there, you can check out our weekly show, you can get into all the fun stuff that we’re getting up to and connect in that way.
Chris Badgett: Bradley, thank you for coming no the show and sharing your journey, and your vision, and your tips and recommendations with us. This was value packed. Thank you so much.
Bradley Morris: My pleasure. Thank you, and thank you for doing such great work. It’s a pleasure to be in business with you guys.
Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMSCast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you buy LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling, and protecting engaging online courses. To help you get more revenue, freedom, and impact in your life, head on over to LifterLMS.com, and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging results getting courses on the internet.