Episode 371

Language Learning Curriculum Entrepreneur David Cole Has a Surprising Use Case for Lifter LMS!

In today’s episode of LMScast, we have David Cole, a curriculum entrepreneur. He lives on the road as a digital nomad and manages his whole business online. As usual, we have our host Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. Cole is still a newbie to WordPress and is already a power user. He says that seeking help from the community is the secret to his quick learning. He takes the tips and researches to know what is best for himself. His site has been live for only 3 months, and he has just hit 200 users on the day of the podcast.

Teachers who are instructing English in China can get the needed curriculum from David Cole. He is connecting parents with instructors at thetutorresource.com to teach ESL curriculum to students in China. Most of the language learning students are just kids. Cole was a stay-at-home dad for many years, and that’s how he enjoys the growth of the students as they are the same age as his children. Cole teaches in an ILT method, where the instructor leads the student’s learning in a fixed curriculum.

Cole uses LifterLMS in a different way than others. Cole sells the LifterLMS system to instructors for a fee to connect them with the students. The teachers mostly use it by sharing their screen and drawing on it besides using the plugin’s core features.

Cole’s favorite feature in LifterLMS is the course builder, where he can quickly outline his courses and intuitive user interface. Because of his tools, there are infinite possibilities for any kind of instructor.

Why did he choose Lifter?

The choice came after much research. Other solutions like Learndash didn’t offer freedom. Building from scratch would cost around 50-60 thousand dollars. He didn’t want to spend that much then, so he started looking for solutions on Google to make something on WordPress. That is when he discovered Chris’s videos, which stuck in his head. LifterLMS allowed him to do most of the things he wanted to do, so he started building his site with it, kept looking for other tools for his needs, and integrated them with the website along the way. Right now, he is working on the SEO of the site and will be creating social media profiles to reach more people. In the future, Cole has in store to make more lifestyle-based courses from other digital nomads to generate some residual income for the instructors or even the students.

Cole uses multiple tools to make his whole system work. As his clients live in China, it is in a different time zone. Getting payments directly through credit cards is hard to achieve there. So he has divided his business into multiple solutions that combinedly work towards his successful customer experience. He uses the WordPress Amelia plugin to get bookings for his schedules from the parents. It has a built-in WooCommerce and Stripe gateway to make the slot’s payment easily. He is using Bluehost as his hosting. For site optimization, he uses Perfmatters to speed up his site and WP vivid to compress and delete unnecessary images from his site. But to make the entire learning process work on his site, he uses LifterLMS. Besides, his instructors are using gravity forms to get reviews out to the parents.

He also has a multivendor plugin called WC vendors. He has added this so that other course creators could also start selling courses from his website. He has taken inspiration from Chris to create a course for internal training for his instructors. The key intention was to familiarize the instructors with how to use the tools on his site and how to make better courses for their students.

Cole’s favorite tools

  • Slides & Excel – started off to design but didn’t use them anymore as he has discovered better tools.
  • Genially – interactive lessons and homework, pdfs, etc.
  • Edpuzzle – video quizzes, pause to answer questions, MCQ, or comments.

Cole also has a personal blog called ouroffbeatlife.com. He and his wife lead a nomad life, being constantly on the move and managing his business entirely online. They sold everything, including their house, and now live in their carriage. So, many people ask them how they did it. How do they sustain, and how much do they make? It took them one year to make the transition. He shares that seeing the volume of interest, they are on to creating course material. If others want to adopt a similar lifestyle, they have a guideline to help them.

At LifterLMS.com, you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build 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. I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Thank you for joining us!

Episode Transcript

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 cofounder 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 special guest, he’s a nomad. He’s on the move but he’s in Mexico city. Welcome to the show curriculum entrepreneur, David Cole!

David Cole:
Hello! How’s it going Chris?

Chris Badgett:
And by curriculum entrepreneur, I mean he’s a curriculum creator, he’s a curriculum provider and he’s a curriculum connector. So all those things roll up inside of David’s work in online education. I think it’s mostly around language learning. Am I right?

David Cole:
At the moment, yes. That’s where we’re starting.

Chris Badgett:
David’s got a really interesting story. We’re gonna get into that but we’re going to start over at LifterLMS land. In his website which you can find at the thetutorresource.com. Go check out what he’s up to over there. How do you describe the tutor, if we met at a bar in Mexico city or somewhere at a coffee shop and I was like- oh, that sounds interesting! What is the thetutorresource.com?

David Cole:
Thetutorresource.com is kind of my solution for teachers that were teaching kids in China, and getting them the ability to still connect with those parents and students and find curriculum. Now that most of the online companies are no longer able to work with foreign teachers.

Chris Badgett:
So why is your company able to work with the thetutorresource.com but not others?

David Cole:
Because I am connecting private individuals. So you’re still able to have private tutors in China and suppose the parents are still working with individual teachers here and there. There are active groups trying to connect parents and teachers. They’re just not allowed to go through a big corporation anymore. So, instead of me hiring teachers and becoming that big corporation now, I’m providing them with the curriculum and the lessons that they need to teach those students.

Chris Badgett:
That’s awesome! Well tell us about the language learning niche. I know that’s a big question but you know if somebody is like an expert and they’re like oh yeah I’ve thought about that or I know how to speak 3 languages or 2 languages or whatever. What have you seen in the language learning market? What makes you excited about it? You’re all around this issue of curriculum and different ways of teaching through content and through virtual meetings and stuff. What’s the language learning market like for an entrepreneur?

David Cole:
It’s an interesting market. So once you connect with some students and I’ve got people on the website that work with teaching kids in Spanish, that teach in French. Most of them are teaching in English in China

Chris Badgett:
ESL?

David Cole:
That’s where it started. ESL. And so it’s a fun market because you’re working with, mostly with kids. There are some adult classes that we do as well but there’s mostly kids and kids can be so fun! I was a stay at home dad for so many years since my kid was born. So when I really got into it I was like oh these kids are the same age as my kid so I can really relate. So I was watching them grow. I’ve got one girl I’ve been working with for 3 and a half years now and so I’ve seen her grow within the language and physically. And so it’s rewarding because you get to see this grow, you get to share your culture, you get to learn about their cultures and you get paid! Now on the private market when youre not working through the big corporations it’s a lot more money. I’ve got teachers out there that I know are taking 15 an hour or 15 a class all the way up to 29 a class. So it really depends on what the parents are willing to spend for what you offer. So it comes down to both your personality and the curriculum that you offer. Sometimes the parents will even request a specific curriculum, they’re very knowledgeable about what the standards are out there.

Chris Badgett:
That’s cool. Well let’s talk about the tech stack, the software. You had mentioned when we first met that you were using LifterLMS in a different kind of way. It was kind of the more standard online course that somebody sells for $500. It has lots of videos, maybe some quizzes and assignments, maybe they have a community attached or whatever. But how is the thetutorresource.com kind of a non standard WordPress LMS use case. What do you say?

David Cole:
Yeah! So being that I’m not selling these $500 courses, we’re not selling to the end user the student. We’re giving the teacher something that they can use to screen share or what not with the student. So they’re going to use Zoom, or China’s VooV. Then they can screen share, basically like its a powerpoint so I have an embedded feature on Lifter to embed the html, so you go to your Google slide, publish to web, so you got your html embed code and you throw it in there. And then they are able to make it full screen or keep it small. They are able to do a little bit more, some of the tool things have drawing tools on it so the student can still be interactive, say circle the umbrella and they can circle it. So they can still be interactive and you just still have to take your time out to figure out when you’re creating it to help several vocabulary slides, some phonics, some grammar,math and make sure that it fits within these 25 minute or 40 minute lesson plans or whichever teachers are actually teaching. Then you have quizzes that you can incorporate as well which the Lifter quizzes have been really cool for that. I also use Edpuzzle to do video quizzes which is really cool. I’ve even embedded things from Genially which are interactive presentations where the teacher can drag and drop and if the teacher is actually using Quialigo which is another program then the student can still drag and drop within the Lifter system as well, as long as it’s embedded in there. So it gives so many possibilities to depending on, what the teacher is using on their end. I’m just providing the ability for them to access the material.

Chris Badgett:
Wow this is super cool! I just want to restate it for the listeners or the watcher if you’re watching this on Youtube, so they kind of understand what’s going on here. At the teachersresource.com your customers are actually a teacher who is inside or outside of China more likely? Outside of China?

David Cole: Outside. Yeah I’ve got them from all around the world.

Chris Badgett:
So the teacher then goes, they buy your courses which are powered by LifterLMS which are kind of like lessons and then they get on a screen share with a student, a Chinese student or wherever they are in the world and they are using your website through a screen share to present and create a learning experience. Did I get it?

David Cole:
Yeah you got it perfectly there!

Chris Badgett:
Did you know that the LMS industry has too many TLAs which stands for three letter acronyms. Is this an ILT thing like an instructor lead training? Have you heard that in acronyms?

David Cole:
Yeah! Yes! That’s basically it’s instructor lead. I do mine very open ended. Some of mine are free talk, that’s like courses where I let the student kind of tell me what they think and I just correct their grammar and their speech. But when you throw up an idea it will show up like I’ll pan down on the screen and I’ll get some facts and ask them what they think about it, what they understand from that. Maybe we’ll have a reading and then they’ll explain their comprehension of that, about what it meant to them. It can go a little both ways.

Chris Badgett:
Okay! And most of what you’re doing though, the way your courses conceptualize it should fit into like a 30 or 25 minute kind of blog?

David Cole:
Yes!

Chris Badgett:
This is super cool! I Love seeing you use our tool to create tools for teachers, which is amazing. You’re obviously really good at tech. You kind of rattled off some names of some of the tools that you used together. Like as an instructional designer and a technologist you’re assembling the tools to get the job done. Could you kind of walk us through, before we look at instructional design tools like interactivity kind of tools but just the WordPress stack like hosting or essential plugins. Like what creates the WordPress site for you?

David Cole:
Yes, when I first set it up, my wife had the idea first off to do schedule. She’s like at this point when we first started conceptualizing it, so many teachers we’re hosting out there they’re having a hard time keeping tabs of schedules, payments and finding out how to get things paid in China. You can’t just take your credit card to someone in China, it doesn’t work that way. So we knew we needed to have that feature available for teachers who needed it or might be just getting into it. So I scoured the web and found Amelia which is a really cool plugin and like Calendly it does scheduling. But it allows you to do bulk packages, so a person can buy a 10 pack of classes and then schedule one at a time and it will take it out of the bucket and it’ll show up on your calendar and as the Amelia employee like i am, it would schedule on my calendar within there. So that was great! And then I’m able to use the system of backend to run the process and for some reason the payment doesn’t go through the Amelia site , I can still use Woocommerce and my Stripe Connect to still send out to have the person buy a product and we just give the backend for the person. Usually that’s kind of how it works, most of the time Stripe is the best way to do it and then they just do a Wechat payback to us.

Chris Badgett:
That’s cool.

David Cole:
Because they dont have PayPal or anything. Sometimes some parents do but not most.

Chris Badgett:
And what else is in the tech stack, what are you using for hosting?

David Cole:
So now, for my host I’m actually on BlueHost. I might switch down the road but for now it’s been working much better since I started getting an optimisation plug in. And I’m using Key perfmatters for that and that’s helping speed up the site quite a bit. I also have been put in the WPvivid backup plugin,which actually has a good image scaler and removes all the images that are no longer being used, that sort of thing which is really cool. Then you have the Lifter which is basically powering all the classes. I’m starting to put in things with gravity forms to do some more CRM so that teachers can now track their students progress or after class they’ll just go to a separate page where they can type in notes and say that the students did this and that, they learned this and this is the course that they are doing and they can send those notes off to their parents really easily so the parents can be kept informed. Yeah! I use Kadence theme because it’s so smooth with an elementor for the builder.

Chris Badgett:
And you have the multi instructor or the multi vendor plugin.

David Cole:
Yes! Yes!

Chris Badgett:
So that’s WC Vendors?

David Cole:
WC Vendors [Cross Talk]

Chris Badgett:
Tell us about adding that on top of your WooCommerce stack. Like what was the need there?

David Cole:
Well since I wanted to make sure I can have as many vendors as I could because it’s just not me selling it. and I didn’t have to worry about it in the backend trying to figure out like okay so this course was sold and it was by that person in that month through a different scheduling, and payment system. So WC Vendors takes care of most of that for me so

Chris Badgett:
You’re a curriculum creator but you’re not the only creator on your site.

David Cole:
I’m not, I have 20 or so other great creators on the site. One of them started 11 as a group of creators. That one’s a little more tricky so I still have to do a little more math at the end of the month but it’s just as simple as copying and pasting into the spreadsheet which does much of the work. I love spreadsheets,

Chris Badgett:
And are those creators like creating their stuff on LifterLMS themselves?

David Cole:
Some of them are, some of them are not super tech savvy so they haven’t picked up on it just yet but they’re learning. I put my own course creation class together which I cover for free. Which you probably saw that out there. I watch some of yours, and I was like okay Chris did this and I wanted to be branded and figure out how to make it so they can just follow my site so Chris did this and I go through it and I do a video and then do the type with screenshot so depending on the type of learner they are they could read through it or watch through it to follow along.

Chris Badgett:
I love that. Using a course to help your users or your collaborators is awesome. That’s like internal training too.

David Cole:
I did the same thing with another tool. I have a spreadsheet so like I’m using Gravity view and everything to create that CRM. Before that I’ve been tracking it all through a Google spreadsheet that I have that basically tracks everything, so I have to remember which curriculum I’m using for which student, what lesson they are currently on, what unit and all that stuff. Otherwise 15 to 20 students that I am teaching everyday on top of working on the website, it gets confusing on the order. So I built a spreadsheet to do all that and then I built a course to teach people how to use the spreadsheet and at the end of the course they get the spreadsheet for free. The $10 course.

Chris Badgett:
That’s cool. That’s great, I mean you’ve got some skills. Just give us a date or the number of years that you’ve been into WordPress because you can kind of move around and put tools together.

David Cole:
WordPress? Really only started with this.

Chris Badgett:
Oh my god! You’re so new to WordPress and you’re like a power user guy?

David Cole:
I’m a WordPress newbie. I’m in a lot of newbie groups and I’ve asked questions. I do a lot of research. I Love research

Chris Badgett:
I’ve seen you on social media and that is a skill to ask for help. And you do it well!

David Cole:
Thank you! I’ve built Wix sites before. I did all these sites in the past that too those types of things. No effort at all, it’s just like a block builder. It’s so simple. So my wife’s actually been doing this for 3 years on her website and she’s the one who told me to use Kadence and try to make sure that your site is performing well using perfmatters. She got me going on some of the basics and then I just did the research myself to figure out the rest. But I’ve been a tech guy most of my life with computers and everything else.

Chris Badgett:
That’s the thing I see with education entrepreneurs and technology as it’s not so much that you just know everything. It’s just that you know how to learn and get in the leads and make mistakes and just try and get faster over time. Run us through some of your favorite teaching tools or instructional design or any interactive content tools that you use.

David Cole:
Okay! For design, first of it started off with Google slides and Excel. I don’t really use Excel any more but there are some cool tools that you can do in Excel where you can have people click and it’ll take you to another thing, mix some interactivity. But that’s getting pushed to the side with other sides like Genially. Genially is a new tool which I just discovered and it just kind of exploded while people were at home in lockdowns all around the world and teachers had to learn how to teach online. But it’s interactive, you can create interactive homework, you can create interactive lessons, pdfs, anything really. That’s the new one. And then Edpuzzle which is a video, where you’re able to make video quizzes where you play a video from YouTube that you put in there and then pause it every so often and in every pauses you put in a question like multiple choice, fill in the blanks, click on the screen and lots of different options. That way you can ask them about it. The first time that I used it was with an olympics lesson so i was like what sport is this, skiing? So that was really kind of cool. So there’s lots of different programs to embed and I really like the video features. So snow on the lessons we’ll throw in a Google sheet so people that are old school and they don’t like the extra bells and whistles they can still see the class. Then I can upload that Google sheet into Genially and it converts most of it. Even though you have to do a little tweak it here and there to make it be interactive the way you want, format the way you want but then you pretty quickly have a interactive version of the same lesson. And then you can add in any other video quizzes or anything after the fact that you want as well. So those are the main ones that I’ve been using. But then to teach you can use Voov, Zoom but I use Classend that’s the one that I like to use because it’s just so versatile.

Chris Badgett:
Well, that’s awesome! That’s quite the stack. I know you have your personal blog which is ouroffbeatife.com? Did I say that right?

David Cole:
That is correct! Yeah!
Chris Badgett:
And you folks are working on a course or your wife is? You have a nomadic lifestyle and you’ve figured out how to kind of break free to digital nomad and work from anywhere kind of thing? Tell us about this course you’re planning for that.

David cole:
She’s kind of just outlining it lately and I mean it’s gonna be an extensive course. Some Educational components are in there to follow through to just kind of give you the idea of how we did it and how you can alter it to your lifestyle. We keep getting those questions everywhere we go.

Chris Badgett:
Yeah like how did you do it? Right?

David Cole:
Wait, you travel full time? How do you live? Wait, you only make X dollars a month? how do you live?

Chris Badgett:
Right?

David Cole:
And so we’re gonna answer some of those questions in there because it’s all about research before you go somewhere. It comes down to mindset and change in that mindset because you have to be open and everybody says think outside the box but really you do. You can’t can’t hold on and be a hoarder forever type situation, I mean I sold everything to do this lifestyle including our home and now my car is my home even though its for driving. So you take care of that now.

Chris Badgett:
How much time did it take for you to go from okay, I think I kind of want to become, I know it’s all work in progress. But how long from the decision I think I kind of want to become this kind of nomad and work from anywhere person to really do it and be able to just kind of travel on to really unlock that kind of freedom. From a decision point?

David Cole:
From a decision point, obviously it’s been something that we’ve been talking about since our marriage started, doing something. But from a decision point of view it took us a year. We said alright for sure we’re going to do this. My job is to do this, work my butt off teaching and get as many students under my belt as I can so that we can make it to Asia which is our first destination. I’d have a good amount of students that can support us because by that point we’re just gonna need to be working. My wife decided to dedicate herself to work as many hours as she needed to and do a particular job even though she doesnt love it just to rack it up and put as much in the bank as possible. We tried to not spend much on food, we’re literally penny pinched for that year and then made the decision whether we have to rent or sell our place at the end and we decided to sell it at the end which I’m glad we did because we probably would have lost it during lockdown where nobody was renting airbnbs and landlords wouldn’t get paid. So yeah! We made the right decision. That took us about a year from finally saying let’s do it. Let’s depart.

Chris Badgett:
Well as a fellow digital nomad, I’ve been pretty settled for the past 5 years but before that I did move around a lot. What’s kind of your itinerary of major things you did or places you went to? And when did this start? I think you said 2019?

David Cole:
So on June of 2019 I sold our place in Chicago. Then we joined trusted house sitters, if you’re not familiar with it, it’s awesome! I think we have a link to it on our website promo code or something like that. We just kind of house sat for people around the US for a little while, while we waited for our cruise ship. We’ve said it. Why wait 30 hours and have jet lag over to Asia when we can just take 24 days at sea, get there nice and slow in comfort.

Chris Badgett:
Is that a full boat or is that like they are seasonally moving and they try to sell the tickets?

David Cole:
It was a seasonal move and they sold pretty much the whole boat out at the end. It was cool. It was one of the last big cruises I guess before anything crazy happened. We went from LA to Singapore. Singapore was cool but expensive and their national language was English. Like it was so easy to move around and speak and do our thing. Then we went over to Indonesia and spent 3 days out on a little fishing boat and saw komodo dragons and then went snorkeling everyday seeing sea turtles. It was amazing!

Chris Badget:
Yeah!

David Cole:
That was one of my favorites. And then since I hadn’t worked for so long we went to Bali and I was like okay I’ll get some work done in Bali. But the internet was terrible. So I spent a week there not working and just enjoying Bali. I did all my work when I got to Malaysia where I spent our first 3 months there. It was great! My family loved it. I stayed inside and worked. Then we went to Myanmar before they had their coup recently and saw all the old temples and met some locals. Then we came back to Malaysia where my wife helped to set up a world schooler group where a bunch of other families are traveling. We all brought our kids together at Legoland in Malaysia and we had fun for about a week until everything went on a lockdown when the virus was finally taken seriously. Nobody could get in or out after that so we were kind of stuck there for 18 months in Malaysia.

Chris Badgett: Wow!

David Cole:
Now we’re traveling around central and South America for the next few years so we see if anything pans out.

Chris Badgett:
Before we leave this part of your story, I’m just looking for some words of advice if somebody’s inspired. I’ve done similar things, I’ve had to cut expenses to become minimal. I did it with kids, as you have too. So you’ve to really kind of just commit and also find a lot of joy in the little things and cook a lot of your own food. I mean you can do it in a big budget but you can also do it in a small budget so that’s what I kinda wanna get across like if someone is really admiring the story and dreaming a little bit here. What advice do you have for somebody who is thinking of cutting the one location and opening up the world? How to do it?

David Cole:
Anything is possible. We did a very drastic approach at first because we were just gonna travel, carry on only. We don’t check bags, we have never have in all of our years of marriage.

Chris Badgett:
We did one check bag, we have one duffle and like a stroller but it was only one.

David Cole:
Because yeah checking, it sucks the baggage claims and iI just love walking past everybody looking at me and stops and say ‘don’t forget your bags mate”. I’ve got my bags.

Chris Badgett:
You can buy a T-shirt where you land.

David Cole:
You can buy a t-shirt yes, But on some of the smaller Asian airlines I had to check a few things anyway because they dont have room. But my biggest point of advice is travel with the things that you love, don’t get caught up on knick knacks. I am a hoarder, I am somebody who always wants to grab things and get the knick knacks but i take photos for memories, i buy my son tshirts everywhere important that we’ve been so that when he’s older off to college I’ll have one of these big blankets made of all the t-shirts, we keep ‘em all. He’s gonna have this weird quilt.
So yeah keep the things that mean something to you. That’s the important stuff. No need to worry about all the gadgets and gizmos. And you can find the same things all around the world that you can find in your home town America or France or wherever you’re from. Every place seems to be very similar. We were driving through Mexico today and I’m like, I wanna take out my camera and just do live a feed and show everybody this looks just like just asking people like ‘where in the world do you think I am?’ and people would have just said Texas because it looks driving along like a normal texas road, suburbs the houses don’t look very much different other than in the US we like to use dry wall sliding.

Chris Badgett:
That’s awesome! Let’s bring it back to LifterLMS. Why did you choose Lifter? How did the selection story happen there?

David Cole:
It was a lot of research again. I was looking at how I would have more freedom to do what I want to do. So I was like, should I Learndash or should I do this or should I just go to Udemy and put some courses on and I was like none of this makes sense? Maybe I should build my own course and teach people how to become a teacher. But eventually I was like you know what? I need something that would be versatile and will allow me to do everything in one. I talked to my website builder friend,he builds salon websites all around the world, he’s another traveler. He’s like well build what youre talking about might be 60 70 80 grand out of the pocket to build it from scratch. Well but not right now. So I’m like I’ll try to cobble it together with WordPress and I did a lot of questions on the blog posts and people kept saying Lifter, Lifter’s the greatest. I watched a lot of your videos, just googling what i want to do. You’ve got great SCL, your name pops up. So I was like ‘okay Lifter is in my brain let me see what I can do’ and you’ve got your great Sandbox tools and stuff like that so I was able to find out that I could do majority of what I want on here not everything but let’s see what else I can cobble together after the fact and move on to do the rest,

Christ Badgett:
That’s cool. What’s your favorite feature or what part of it do you really appreciate?

David Cole:
My favorite part on Lifter, well there’s so many things I can do. But I like the outline feature. I love how appealing it is.

Chris Badggett:
Course Builder

David Cole:
Course builder? I know! It’s great! It’s simple and I can move it around, its really visually appealing. And yeah, it’s just an excellent way for a person with my mindset to work with a program. So I love that.

Chris Badgett:
Yeah that’s awesome! I appreciate that. We like to make the complex simple and LMS is structured data. You really wanna be able to manage it from a screen, that’s a big challenge. So like figuring out how to do the course builder is hard and like you mentioned your developer said that to build a site might cost 70-80k. There’s a lot you can get with spending just a little bit of money or even using our free plug in.

David Cole:
To be honest I was going back and forth between Lifter and Newsambler, I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.

Chris Badgett:
I am familiar with that. I have a friend who has a course creator facebook group in Australia. He is a huge Newsambler guy. Yeah it’s a good tool.

David Cole:
With them I just couldn’t figure out how I could really incorporate the other major tools that I wanted which was scheduling, multiple vendors and eventually the CRM for managing students. It was great for just doing corporate courses but not for expanding into in my opinion my site’s got infinite possibilities for all tutors not just ESL, math teachers can use it eventually when we start making math lessons, science teachers, history teachers. Every kind of teacher I want eventually to be able to come for the course and find a course that they like.

Chris Badgett:
That’s awesome! And you do have a great domain name: thetutorresource.com. Have you had that for a while? Or did you just get lucky?

David Cole:
No! I was so lucky! I didn’t have to pay big bucks for it. It was available. It’s great!

Chris Badgett:
Good for you! Tell us a little more about the future. Do you see this site? Well first of all let me backup and say I think you’re absolutely correct that you say the way you described it, like having that flexibility this is a perfect set up for WordPress. You’d never be happy in like a hosted tool that has its opinionated way of doing things. This is where WordPress really shines. It’s not always easy, which really impresses me with what you’ve been able to do with all your different tools made by different companies. You mentioned just growing the site in different subject matter. You’ve got your lifestyle course about helping other people become digital nomads, what else is in the future? As a digital nomad, laptop lifestyle work from anywhere guy.

David Cole:
I think the sky’s the limit with a site like this. If our lifestyle class also takes off, and I find that other people also wanna host those courses as well on there I’d love to section it out. Like okay, we’ve got our lifestyle, we got our courses that you can sell to the end user then actually have a student profile coming up. Right now I have vendors and instructors, those are my two profiles. I would love to have students come on, not the ESL students because then it’ll get really cluttered. But I would love to have an int student there, I’d like somebody to come on there and be like ‘okay I have a course idea I teach taekwondo and I wanna do it online, I wanna have an online course that can bring me residual income too’. This is for anybody who wants to have a residual income. So we’ll go out to all these different subjects and hopefully teachers will be able to use it in their physical classrooms or their online classrooms. I think over the summer courses where kids can go online and take classes, it’s gonna be great. Other world schooler families like I am instead of going for something necessarily like outschool maybe those outschool teachers can utilize my material and sell some of the materials eventually like Cambly who work with language learning students who want more and more curriculum coming in as well. So there’s endless possibilities as we grow.

Chris Badgett:
That’s awesome! Well lastly I would like to help curriculum entrepreneurs and education entrepreneurs with getting leads and clients. Actually making it work, making money, getting people using the deal. What’s worked for you from a marketing perspective for your LMS? I know you had existing relationships in the industry. What worked? What actually worked for you?

David Cole:
I mean I think I hit 200 users today and I’ve been live for 3 months or 2 months something like that. For real. So most of it is word of mouth and alot of it is people who are selling their own curriculum, marketing their own curriculum and then people finding that. So I haven’t had to spend a bunch on marketing just yet. Right now it’s just spending the money on getting the right tools together for the website. And I’m in lots of ESL groups> Next is making my SEO work well. Right now it’s great! If you google teachers together English you’ll find the thetutorresource out there so it’s pretty cool and that’s just one of my vendors there. We’re trying to focus on hitting some of those keyword searches, type things. So it really comes down to knowing your SEO, getting into the right groups that follow along. Because social media is really where it’s at and I havent had to pay to market any course or anything like that yet. I don’t want to if I don’t have to. But I know eventually once I reach a certain threshold then I might want to jump over there or when I want to get out of the ESL market and start to get people from another market then I might need to do some other kinds of marketing tools down the road.

Chris Badgett:
That is awesome! Well that’s David Cole. Go check out the
Thetutorresource.com and also his personal travel site which is ouroffbeatlife.com. David thanks for being a shining example of what I call an education entrepreneur who has to do many things. They have to be an expert at something, they have to be a teacher, instruction designer then to be a technologist, community builder and have to be an entrepreneur to figure all that out. And you’re doing all that while on the road with family until figuring it out and enjoying life in the process. I love your attitude! It can be frustrating and hard in tech in business sometimes but you gotta stay upbeat if you want it to last. Any final words for people about making the dream work?

David Cole:
Of Course! I think it really comes down to one of my favorite quotes “What does not kill me makes me stronger”. I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years and worn many different hats from real estate to sales to marketing to teacher. You name it, I’ve probably done it. I’ve failed 4 times and I’ve succeeded. But every failure teaches you to grow! As long as you learn from your mistakes and you grow from those mistakes, you can continue to find success in many different areas. So just don’t give up! Yeah you continue to grow! Don’t give up!

Chris Badgett:
That’s awesome! Thanks for coming on the show,David! We’ll have to do another one in a couple of years into your journey and see what continent we’re on and thanks again for coming on the show. I really appreciate that.

David Cole:
Of Course Chris! Thank you!

Chris Badgett:
And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy the 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 will see you in the next episode.

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