Episode 312

How to Build Side Hustle Recurring Revenue, WordPress White Label Services, and Online Course Cashflow with Divi Power User Keegan Lanier

Learn how to build side hustle recurring revenue, WordPress white label services, and online course cashflow with Divi power user Keegan Lanier. Keegan has a course about how to build quality websites with WordPress at Academy.KeeganLanierMedia.com.

How to build side hustle recurring revenue, WordPress white label services, and online course cashflow with Divi power user Keegan Lanier

Keegan runs a podcast called Addicted to WordPress that started out around feature previews for Divi. As they released new features every week, he would cover that as a sort of Divi news for the time. Over time his podcast has grown to be more focused on mastering the Divi theme and taking it to the next level with business tips.

Anchor.fm is a platform that allows you to create podcasts and distribute your episodes to podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc. That’s where Keegan started out with the Addicted to WordPress podcast. Although he could have built a website himself, it is a lot faster to get started on another platform. Chris emphasizes that point, as LifterLMS started out selling on Leadpages instead of building a WordPress eCommerce website, until they had proof of concept to continue. Sometimes in the web development community, we can get so focused on the in-depth solutions we can create that we forget that there may be a simpler, third-party platform that could better address the problems for the use case.

If you’re interested in getting started offering freelance services to clients, Keegan shares some excellent tips for trying things out in the website development space. The best way to get started is to build a list of agencies you like and respect and reach out to them asking if you can pick their brain about their process, how they manage clients, what platforms they use, how they invoice, etc. Reaching out like this can also bolster your lead flow, as those agencies may refer clients to you that the agency doesn’t want to take on. Maybe it’s a smaller job, not a perfect fit for them, etc. That’s a great way to build relationships and kick off your freelance business.

To learn more about Keegan Lanier, be sure to check out his Divi Foundation course and subscribe to his podcast Addicted to WordPress. Keegan also has RefinedCreative.com where he builds websites for clients if you need help with the tech-side of things. You can also find Keegan on Twitter at @KeeganLanier.

At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. 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!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

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.

Chris Badgett:

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m joined today by a special guest. His name is Keegan Lanier. You can find him at keeganlaniermedia.com. He’s got a course up at academy.keeganlaniermedia.com. Welcome to the show, Keegan.

Keegan Lanier:

Hey, thanks for having me.

Chris Badgett:

You know, occasionally I run across people that I have a lot in common with, and we’re both podcasters. You’re also the host of the Divi Addicts podcast.

Keegan Lanier:

That’s right.

Chris Badgett:

And you’ve been doing that for a couple years. You’re a course creator, you’re about eight years in WordPress just like me and you do agency work. So we do a lot of same things you’re looking, you’re creating a recurring revenue business with your website safety plan. And you’re also just providing incredible value to clients who don’t want to mess around and get knee deep in the tech unless they want to. So you’re just covering WordPress, and Divi and business sites and you’re creating your own products. You got a lot going on. Welcome to the show.

Keegan Lanier:

Again, thanks for having me, man. There is definitely a lot going on. Understatement.

Chris Badgett:

Let’s start at the podcast. What’s iCast about and where did that come from? I mean, it’s a great way to create content these days, but how did that happened for you?

Keegan Lanier:

So you know, I played around with anchor in multiple versions. And when they hit, I don’t remember the version number, but they hit it to where they really took the kind of audio Twitter and transitioned into we’re going to focus on podcasts. So I was like, well, it’s a perfect time, it’s in my pocket, It’s something easy to create, I can play around with it, may be a catch traction, maybe it doesn’t, but at least I’ve experimented. And two years later, I’m still going strong.

Keegan Lanier:

The whole concept originally, if you remember, for anybody who’s deep in the Divi audience, or in that community, they were doing the feature previews, because they hit this run a couple years ago, where it was like every week, they were just releasing new features, whether it was find and replace, copy and paste, all their workflow efficiencies. And so originally, the first few episodes were all about this is the sneak peek they gave this week, so it’s just kind of covering Divi news, and it’s grown and it’s become more focused on Divi, mastering Divi, taking it to the next level business tips. Sometimes it’s just state of business and mentality things and it’s really just kind of a million different passes come off of it. Whatever I feel like talking about, It’s always going to be WordPress and Divi related, but it’s the contents all over the place at times.

Chris Badgett:

Well, that’s-

Keegan Lanier:

What I hope is a good way.

Chris Badgett:

And it’s on anchor.fm. Like you don’t have an associated WordPress website, right?

Keegan Lanier:

You can go to diviaddicts.com.

Chris Badgett:

And it’s there, but you didn’t take the time to build a WordPress site for your podcast, which I think is cool. You’re like, I’m just going, anchor is going to handle the tech, even though you could. The reason I think that’s cool is because you’re so busy. When we first launched LifterLMS, I use lead pages to put up the landing page, because I’m in a hurry. And sometimes a software or a SaaS tool, just I mean go for speed. Not everything.

Keegan Lanier:

Absolutely, that’s right. Yes. And so many people like you said, they’ll go out and build a full site for it. What I did, actually, I do have them on my site, but I put in a plugin that just pulls everything as the RSS feed updates, it creates it as a draft inside the back end of my main site. So you can go there and see, the archives, but it’s literally just an embedded version of the podcast, show notes and then links to where you can find it on Spotify and Stitcher and Pocket casts and things like that.

Chris Badgett:

That’s what-

Keegan Lanier:

But, I do no work. It takes me like two minutes to turn on a podcast episode. It had to be quick and efficient.

Chris Badgett:

Super cool. And I know a lot of people in the course building community are looking at podcasts because for many depending upon your style, myself included, it’s way faster and create bigger content than writing a blog post. How much time do you spend on your podcast a week? Just like…

Keegan Lanier:

However long the episodes are, I literally… like I get in, anchor, they really do make it so easy. So I’ve got the intro music already saved in the library, I go in, I hit record, I do an intro, I add that into it, then I drop in the music. And then I’ll put in a couple little breaks and then record the main body and an outro. And literally, if the podcast is 10 minutes, I probably take 10 and a half minutes, because it takes me a little bit to put the show notes together and the copy and schedule it and that’s it. I scheduled five episodes in maybe 45 minutes to an hour this past weekend. So it doesn’t take much time. It’s a great way to create content without having to take hours and hours and hours.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. And in the LifterLMS community, we run into a lot of Divi fans. What do you love about Divi?

Keegan Lanier:

It’s the flexibility. It’s like whenever you first install it, it’s blank, it’s a canvas. It’s white, it’s not flashy, it’s not pretty in its base form, but it’s a canvas that you can do anything with it. You’ve got the ability to add in custom classes. If you know a little bit of JavaScript or jQuery and CSS you can make it do whatever you want it to do. And it being just such a big theme to the community is incredible. So whenever I try and, or when everybody asked me about it, the first thing I say above the fact that it’s a good product because it really is, is the community. That the people are so, they’re just nice, they’re good people and they want to help. They want to share their knowledge and their experience on the platform. So it’s that, the product drew me, and the community kept me here.

Chris Badgett:

That’s cool. Who are some people just that you give a shout out to in the Divi community?

Keegan Lanier:

Sure. The Godfather of the Divi tutorials is Geno Quiroz. He’s been around for quite a while. David Blackmon and Tim Strifler are two guys that I have a lot of respect for. Talk to them a lot. Actually did their Divi business experts course, phenomenal course by the way. And Josh Hall, another guy who’s just doing a lot of great things in the course community, he’s doing a lot of stuff. I think he’s got a bundle, maybe like eight or nine courses now, and then got a podcast started now too. He’s another one that’s just busting his butt.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. Well tell us a story of your course, which is Divi foundation. So who’s it for? Where’d the idea come from? What is it all about?

Keegan Lanier:

This is the, I think the beginnings of the idea came, I was working as a white label developer for this marketing agency and a guy-

Chris Badgett:

Can you unpack that? I think some people don’t realize that they can build websites…

Keegan Lanier:

Sure.

Chris Badgett:

In that way. So what do you mean exactly by white label for a marketing agency?

Keegan Lanier:

For sure. So essentially, what I did is like, I was reaching out to this brand, the way this particular situation came out, I was just Facebook messaging, some brands that I knew when I was at karate school. I sent them a direct message and didn’t even think that somebody else or an agency may be managing their social at the time. Well, a guy reached out to me, he’s like, “Hey, look, you know I don’t work directly with them, but I do run this agency. I’m looking for people to build sites. Would you want to work with me?” Like, yeah, sure. I need money, why not? So I partnered with him and essentially, I build sites as a representation of his brand. I work for him, but not employed by him.

Chris Badgett:

So he brings [crosstalk 00:08:22]

Keegan Lanier:

[crosstalk 00:08:22] a contractor working through them. That’s right.

Chris Badgett:

He brings the leads and he manages the client, you build the site, right?

Keegan Lanier:

You get to focus on building the site. Yes.

Chris Badgett:

Yeah. That’s cool. What advice do you have for somebody on like that relationship? Because I think that’s kind of cool. Because one of the most painful things in being a freelancer or an agency owner yourself is wearing too many hats, like getting new client leads, and managing the client experience is a huge part. And a lot of us, myself included, what I love most is building the site. Like what if you just want to build sites all day? How do you find that dream relationship?

Keegan Lanier:

Build the list of agencies that you like and respect, and then reach out to every single one of them. [inaudible 00:09:03] I love it. I have a friend of mine that I’ve worked with to another one of those agencies. And that relationship has been, like the beauty of working as a white label for somebody else is, like you said, the lead generation and the project management thing. That part of it, you don’t have to worry about.

Keegan Lanier:

So anybody who’s starting, if you’re just thinking about getting into this, it’s the perfect way to do it, build that list of people that you have an interest in working with, and just cold email them. If you send a message to five or 10 of them, one of them is probably going to reply, and it’s the best way to get into it because you can just build sites, and then you can kind of pick their brain on their process. How do they manage clients? What platforms do they use? How do they invoice, how often do they invoice, all those business management aspects if you try and go all in on that stuff at once, It’s a recipe to kick most people out who don’t have the will to fight through it.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. Yeah, and if you’re looking for help getting leads in your happen to be a LifterLMS person who’s built a site before, we have this lifterLMS experts program you can apply for just look for a link to that at the bottom of the website. It’s free. We just want to help people who are focused on building course sites get clients. Because we get asked all the time, “Hey, do you know anybody that can build my sight for me? I don’t want to… I want to create a course, but I want to do the tech.” So these partnerships are out there. You just got to go for it. Tell us more about the course?

Keegan Lanier:

Yeah.

Chris Badgett:

So how did it come out of this relationship being a white label partner?

Keegan Lanier:

Yes. So the guy asked me, he’s like, “Man, look, I have a lot of people who are project managers and I’d like for them to be able to do some of the updates to sites once they’re built.” And he said, “But a lot of them don’t understand how WordPress works or they don’t have as much exposure to the platform. Could you do some videos for me? You know, could you do just the basics, how to update posts, how to create new pages how that works with Divi because I know you’ve built it in that.” And I was like, ” Yeah, absolutely.” then I got to thinking, I was like Man, I can do some more generic ones, put the stuff out there, create it as a course and make it repeatable where I can manage just making those individual 15 videos or however many it turns out to be, making those the best they can be and updating them. And then it just continues to cycle.

Keegan Lanier:

We started from there and then, there goes the research, which platform should I use, find lifter, that makes the most sense, great platform, so easy to build with. Thank you for that, by the way.

Chris Badgett:

Appreciate it.

Keegan Lanier:

And then, I put it on my 2019 goals at the end of 2018. Then I was going to launch in 2019. Totally failed. That’s okay. Started again in 2020. Put it back on the list. Finally, made it happen.

Chris Badgett:

It always takes longer than you think. So, I like to think of courses as having starting points and ending points. When somebody who’s the perfect fit customer and how do they, when they enter what’s life like and when they exit the course what’s life like?

Keegan Lanier:

Yeah, so for me, it’s really kind of geared towards two different people. So it’s either people who are in a job, who are unhappy and look into, have a creative bone in their body and have an interest in WordPress. They want to build websites, they’ve heard you can make money in it. It’s for them and it’s for bootstrapping business owners, somebody who just a single business owner, doesn’t have a lot of capital. Basically, when they start, they can walk in saying, I have no idea about WordPress. I don’t even know how to install it. I’m going to take them through. This is how you buy a domain, this is the hosting that you can get, and here’s why you want to spend a little bit more on it as opposed to going for the cheap one you know. This is the additional benefits you’re going to get from it. Here’s how you tie those things together. Here’s how you make sure it’s secure. You know, these are the functionalities of WordPress. These are the basics of Divi, and this is how you connect everything to Google so that you can be found, make sure that people can find your site and here’s a few best practices, what you need to do on that site to be found.

Keegan Lanier:

So one thing, they can come in with, I mean, having no idea what they’re doing no idea how to use WordPress and when they’re done, they should be at the core like the foundation. That’s why I call it the foundation course, they should have all the basics in place. That’s what they need to start really taking things to the next level, then they can get fancy and we can, I’ve got different avenues we can go after this, but it’ll give them the basics they need to build a good house on top of it.

Chris Badgett:

And that’s what people need. If you’re just wanting to get into the game and maybe explore building websites for clients or you’re a DIY, build your own website type of person, the place where people get stuck in the quicksand is too many options. Like okay, well, there’s hundreds of hosting companies and thousands of themes and thousands of plugins and all these different ways to approach how to build a website. It’s overwhelming, so people need a guide and jump in, getting a guide to build that foundation. And with a highly curated set of tools like you said, You’ve been in this for almost a decade, lean on somebody decade’s worth of experience so you don’t waste time and money with the wrong stuff, right?

Keegan Lanier:

A 100%. I say that multiple times throughout that course and all the content I put out, I just wish that I would have had somebody said, look, and grab you by the hand, let’s go because I mean, I tried so many things and spend money that I didn’t have to spend on things that ultimately were never going to work for me. So yeah, I know there’s a reason behind why I use what I use now. And I know it works together well.

Chris Badgett:

What is the stack that you use to create your course? I’m just curious like screen sharing, what tool do you use? Like do you have talking head in it or not? Did you video camera and microphone, and then the main like WordPress plugins and theme or whatever that is?

Keegan Lanier:

Yes. So I am recording on a MacBook, I use ScreenFlow to record the screen. I’ve got a Logitech camera up here. So it gets a little heads in the bottom I did ScreenFlow, so I could do picture in picture. Hosting on Fly will, Divi as a theme. I used obviously Lifter. On the site itself, there’s also connections with easy digital downloads, because I have layouts and some different things in there. It’s pretty basic as far as that site goes. I think I picked up a child theme from Aspen Grove studios with Divi space, because they had done a ton of customization for some of the things, some of the different parts of Lifter as well. So again, going back to speed, I could have done it, but let me find somebody else who can supercharge the timelines. Did that and then I spent the time actually custom building out that my account dashboard that was like my little baby in the project. It was one of the things that had the most fun building. And all the videos were hosted on Vimeo.

Chris Badgett:

Nice. And that’s I mean, that list of tools is like highly curated. I see so many people get just sidetracked, but that’s not that many tools just to make the magic happen. And if you’re not using a Mac, there’s a PC screen recorder thing you can use. It’s not the end of the world, but I love that stack. I love that approach.

Keegan Lanier:

And I edited everything in iMovie.

Chris Badgett:

Okay.

Keegan Lanier:

[inaudible 00:16:27]. I try and build everything for efficiency.

Chris Badgett:

I’m curious, why did you use iMovie to edit instead of ScreenFlow since you’ve recorded it in there?

Keegan Lanier:

So I don’t know, it’s the way I do everything inside of YouTube. Essentially, I have these little templates that I’ve built in iMovie where it has my intro animation where it’s like, the logo comes up and there’s a little pop and it’s really quick. I can just dice up the video. So the only thing I edit in ScreenFlow normally is like I’ll record everything straight, will have the webcam at the bottom corner. So after the intro, I’ll drag that to where it’s [inaudible 00:17:04], like you’re seeing right now.

Chris Badgett:

Full talk [inaudible 00:17:06]

Keegan Lanier:

Talking full screen, and then I’ll clip it and then I bring it into iMovie and then I just split it up and have the new outro music already in there. So I can just align it. It’s just that, I don’t know, I just found it to be a quick workflow for me.

Chris Badgett:

I like putting that talking head in the bottom corner, but I’m curious, why did you decide to do that?

Keegan Lanier:

I wish I could say there was some big great reason as to why. Probably because I’ve seen other people take that formula and I was like, if I had a brand that was just XYZ brand, it probably wouldn’t make sense for me to do it. But I think because I decided to go with Keegan Lanier media, I thought let them see my face, let them see, it’s more than… Hopefully, it looks like there’s like it’s coming from a place of actual enjoyment and passion for what I’m doing because I genuinely want them to learn and be better. Not just some robotic voice, like some of the YouTube videos that have no face. Now you’re going to [inaudible 00:18:04]that’s just not me.

Chris Badgett:

Yeah that’s awesome. I think that’s actually a great way to explain the value of that level one is talking head, human to human, down in the corner hopefully out of the way not covering up everything important. Then the next is like no talking head, but narrated, then the next is like that weird computer automated voice thing that I don’t know where those videos come from. And then the next is like, have you ever gone to a piece of documentation that has a video with no sound?

Keegan Lanier:

And I’m not.

Chris Badgett:

So there’s a spectrum there of how engaging do you want the content to be? And how human do you want it to be? If that’s just to make the case for people want to do business and learning between people? How do you get leads for this course? What’s your… You said YouTube? You do a lot on YouTube or what’s…?

Keegan Lanier:

Yeah, I’ve tried to make it a lot more of a focus this year. So, I mean, there’s two main sources. Number one, the podcast, is a [inaudible 00:19:07] of listeners are pretty consistent. Almost every episode gets the same number of listeners, which is, I guess a good and a bad thing. It makes me excited on one hand that people are coming back and it’s the same number of people, but it’s also not growing that much. So that’s kind of [inaudible 00:19:23] but-

Chris Badgett:

Hey this is a [inaudible 00:19:24] podcast. I know my numbers are not huge, but the people who care they really care. I mean, it’s not all about having a viral podcast.

Keegan Lanier:

Oh, yeah. I’m never concerned about that for sure. But the podcast is one and YouTube’s actually probably more effective because people can, again, they can see me, they can hear me, they can see walking through the builds, and then always have it in the links below and my links, those things get clicked. I mean, I would have never really thought, typically when I’m watching it, my behavior is not let me go into description and click through a bunch of links, but apparently I’m the oddball. A lot of people are clicking through them and go and checking out the course. So those two for sure.

Chris Badgett:

Do you for your course marketing it on the podcast, was it like an episode where you talked about it? Or you mentioned it in conversation in most episodes, or there’s like a specific call to action at the beginning or the end about the course?

Keegan Lanier:

So a little bit of all. I did have one. It was kind of like, a headwind last year, whenever it was on my 2019 goals, and like, we’re going to launch this course this year. This is the stuff we’re using. And of course, I had to do another one in 2020. Oops, you remember that one? So I did another one. I had an episode, but it was more, I tried to gear it rather than saying and making it real promotional saying, oh, we’re launching a course go check it out. It was more of, hey, look, we went through the process. We built this course, we launched this course, here’s what we used, this is how we did it, to where it was more educational than promotional.

Chris Badgett:

Yeah. That’s cool. Well, you said it took longer than you anticipated. Like why? I mean, I’m just saying that’s common, but like what happened in your case?

Keegan Lanier:

A lot of things, I think life happens. What’s interesting is, I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but the website side of the business for me is all a side hustle. Like I have a full time job. I work 40 to 50 hours as a regional franchise coach for a restaurant. So I’ve got 15 locations throughout the southeast. And this is all stuff that I do on the side.

Keegan Lanier:

And so, the day job has to take precedent at times and you know, Coronavirus, is a part of that. Our company growing a lot as part of that, but really, the biggest part because I carve out time specifically for this thing, for the website development stuff, and there was a run at the end of last year and the beginning of this year where I was just, it was that super [inaudible 00:21:59] mode, like I was just going. There were projects like crazy and I just had to focus on that above doing the course thing which I was sitting in the back of my head the whole time I really, really want to get back to this. So I had to stop taking some new projects because I’m like, I got to do this. I want to do this as part of, it’s going to happen. I’m not going to let it carry over one more year.

Chris Badgett:

Are you married?

Keegan Lanier:

I am.

Chris Badgett:

Okay, so you are married, working a full time job? Do you have kids?

Keegan Lanier:

No kids.

Chris Badgett:

Okay, you’re married, working a full time job, have an agency on the side and building digital products. What advice do you have for somebody who’s doing the side hustle like this is not my main income stream, to do it successfully without like burning out and losing the love of it and that kind of thing?

Keegan Lanier:

Man, you got to really want to do it. Drink a lot of coffee. It’s tough. You know, I mean, I think as just people in general, we all go through cycles. Sometimes you’re really in it, you’re fired up, you’re ready to roll. I think the biggest thing is, don’t say yes to everything. Find the things that you really, really, really want to do. Like, if you feel there’s a calling to go do it, go do it. But don’t feel like you have to say yes to everything. That’s probably the best and maybe the only way to manage the burnout.

Keegan Lanier:

And when you feel like you need a break, like last night, just a side story my wife comes in, she’s like, I can always tell when you’re a little on edge. She’s like, you start, your body language changes, your face changes. I’m like yes. You just need to get up, get up and go walk, just take a break. It’s okay, the world’s not going to end, the stuffs going to still be there. Just communicate and take care of yourself and you’ll be okay. But you’ve got to really want to do it to be able to put in the additional time on top of 40 hours of a regular job.

Chris Badgett:

And you have a really interesting stack which is agency work courses, Divi layouts, which are digital products, right, which is why you’re using easy digital downloads. And you have a hosting option for clients so they don’t have to get in the weeds with setting all that up, they can just one stop one shop with you, which I love. And then you have a website safety plan, which includes backups, updates, monitoring. And you have a podcast so there’s like five things in a side hustle. That’s amazing, but what’s your approach to that stack? It’s not just like one thing, it’s five things. What does that say about your personality or the way you approach business? Tell us more about having these multiple offers and projects within WordPress?

Keegan Lanier:

I think it says that I like to chase a shiny red ball. No, they all start, It’s interesting because they don’t start from a place of like, man, I really want to go do this hosting thing because I think I can get rich on it or hey, I want to do layouts because I think I can make a ton of money on it. Or I want to do courses because it’s the hot thing right now. Like, I’ve been thinking about it for two years, not just because people can’t go out and learn face to face.

Keegan Lanier:

I think it all starts for me just from a place of I see an opportunity. There’s people who ask me all the time, how do I build this in Divi, how do I create this type of layout? I’m like, well, let me go build one because if one person’s asking for it, there’s probably hundreds of people who could use it, so let me go out there and build it. That way It’s scalable for them, I can point them to this resource. You know, maybe it’s $1 or two or five or a layout, they can take it, import it easy. Same thing with the courses. You know, it’s like people don’t know how to use WordPress, or the beginnings of Divi, so, rather than having conversation or a call with them once or twice a week, let them do the course, you spend $89 to have access to it forever, they can reference it anytime they want.

Keegan Lanier:

I think it goes back to two things. Number one, I just have a genuine want to help people. And then number two, I’m always looking for efficiencies, how can I do things quicker? Or how can I help people quicker too? I guess that kind of tie together. And it just drew me to those things. And then the podcast was probably one of those let me jump in on the hype train. Because Podcasts were pretty big two years ago. And honestly, it was one of those, I’m going to try it out and see how it works.

Keegan Lanier:

And the stats were like, most people don’t make it past 10 episodes. I’m like well, I’m going to make it past 10 episodes, I might only make it to 10 and might quit, but I’m going to make it to 10 and by the time I got to there, it was just almost fun because it kept me engaged. It was like my way of staying engaged in the news and what was brand new. So I do it as much for me as I do for if anybody decides to listen and probably do it if nobody was listening.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. And I love that idea that it’s really driven by your customer and the people you’re interacting with and your need to serve them efficiently. That totally makes sense. I mean, as soon as you start doing something with a client multiple times, in terms of training or consulting, that’s like course material right there, which you’re just a natural at picking up on. What’s the end goal? Like if you could wave a magic wand, do you like the mix of getting out in the world with the restaurants? And you know, this whole digital world I call it clicks and bricks. Do you like the clicks and bricks or do you for now, it’s great or where are you headed? What would be the ideal state?

Keegan Lanier:

And the ultimate goal is freedom. It’s a freedom of choice. I love the career I’ve had in the restaurant industry is phenomenal. I’ve been doing it in one form or another since I was 15 years old flipping burgers in fast food or full service restaurants and managers or corporate office support or regional operations support, whatever role I’ve had in that industry I’ve loved it. The restaurant industry is loaded with great people. I mean, it’s been really good to me. But on the flip side of that, I have this creative itch that I’ve got to scratch. And I think ultimately, I’d like to be location independent, to be able to work from anywhere. My wife and I want to travel we can do that. And I just like working with clients. You can take somebody’s business and create something that can drive leads, be a sales generator for them, or be a really good showpiece for their brain.

Keegan Lanier:

Most people, especially in small businesses don’t even understand the value of what they’re doing. They’ll pay somebody, usually, especially around me here, way too much, for way too little of a product. And so like, for me, I try to be the value. But ultimately, I think my goal is to do the website development stuff, grow that into a full time gig, full time income, and transition.

Chris Badgett:

Do you do some of your own, like lead gen for clients? Or is it local, or you’re mostly doing the white label agency stuff or both or what?

Keegan Lanier:

It’s a combination. A lot, probably 80% of it is done through other agencies. Actually, I have one of my friends, it’s kind of a unique, interesting situation. He does a lot of the lead generation, he brings me the clients, I build through him. So I build him, he builds the client just like a traditional white label. But the client still know that he’s outsourcing, like he’s been open and very transparent. He’s like, this is my web guy.

Chris Badgett:

You’re one of the vendors?

Keegan Lanier:

This is his company. Yeah. And so my tags that were at the bottom of the site, which is extremely odd, for white label style, I don’t deal with the clients ever. So it’s like, I’ve got this really interesting, cool dynamic going with this one.

Chris Badgett:

How do you manage when you’re white labeling and you’re not boots on the ground, like listening to client feedback? How do you manage revisions? Or if the clients like yeah, we’re close, but I kind of want to tweak it, and now it goes through somebody else? Are they recording conversations or how does it work?

Keegan Lanier:

They’re not. So it’s a lot of Google documents, a lot of Google stuff. So for every project, we’ve got its own shared folder, it’s got the media resources, I keep them very organized with a brand standards folder. There’s Site Content outline, there’s media folders, there’s even like, we just launched your site, I’m downloading the backup, I’m going to drop it into there. So if anything, we’ve got backups that are happening nightly on your site. But if anything just goes completely crazy, and the world comes to an end, we can put your site back in place. So it’s just a lot of trust, honestly, between me and that guy, we’ve known each other for about 20 years, the guy who runs the agency, so I think we’ve got a pretty good working relationship. We figured out how to communicate a while back.

Chris Badgett:

That’s good. That’s good. And what do you love about FlyWheel when you do the hosting part? And FlyWheel recently joined the WP Engine family like I don’t know, a year or two ago or something?

Keegan Lanier:

Yeah, right around a year ago.

Chris Badgett:

But what do you love about it in terms of providing the hosting to your client without them having to get in the weeds with it themselves?

Keegan Lanier:

Yeah, I mean, It’s a long list. Number one, their servers are great. You can put side by side and not look at the stats pretty often. Especially having different clients, some of them don’t host with me, but I still manage uptime.

Chris Badgett:

Okay.

Keegan Lanier:

FlyWheels uptime, compared to some of the other ones like Black, Blue host and a few others that I’ve seen, I know it’s a different site specific, not necessarily a true representation of hosts versus hosts, but their uptime is just seemed to definitely be better, and that the site speeds are more consistent. So just the product itself is great. Being somebody who’s not necessarily a designer, but has a design eye, and it’s dialed into efficiency, I love their dashboard. It’s just it’s silly, simple. It’s so easy to start a new website, have an agency plan I’ve got a direct account manager who’s phenomenal. I don’t know that I’ve ever emailed him and him not reply within five minutes.

Keegan Lanier:

The support team is legitimately the best I’ve ever dealt with. Is it the cheapest? Definitely not. But is it the most expensive? No, it’s absolutely worth what you pay. And you’ve got CDNs built in, staging sites, you can still get in and do some of the database management if you need to go that route, but most people won’t. Just connecting domains is so easy, add an SSL, it just makes it simple. And then they’ve got blueprints, where you can create a stamp of your site, like the basics, the framework, the foundation, and you can just replicate it. So when you start a new site, I can pick my blueprint. It’s already got Debian installed, it’s got the plugins that I use on every site with the bare minimums, all the API keys are in there. So when I fire up a site, I’m not looking at WordPress, I’m not basic WordPress, I’m looking at the basic Divi installation, then I can go to town.

Chris Badgett:

Talk about efficiency. I mean, that’s how as –

Keegan Lanier:

All about.

Chris Badgett:

A freelancer agency, you really accelerate by your base set of tools and you’re not starting at zero makes a lot of sense.

Keegan Lanier:

Absolutely.

Chris Badgett:

You mentioned you have a design eye, which is something I don’t have actually, so when did you realize you had that interest or talent or just passion for design?

Keegan Lanier:

I don’t know if there was a single time. I think when I got back into WordPress, I really started looking at sites. And I started getting into studying conversions and looking at successful designs and sites that people admire. And these are the ones that are winning awards. These are the ones that people talk about from a user experience. So let me focus on those. And when I started looking at little pieces, the menus, the simplicity, the space and all those different things, It got me more interested in design. So although I’ve never been like, formally trained on any of that stuff, I look at so much other whether it’s looking at dribble, talking to other people that I’m friends with who are designers and just getting some best practices, it’s helped me kind of develop that eye. I don’t think [inaudible 00:35:15] it definitely didn’t come naturally, but it’s been learned.

Chris Badgett:

That’s cool. Well, You said it took a while to build a course what was the… When you decide I’m going to do it, can you tell us about the decision and how you found Lifter or heard about that, what was your gateway into… What was the path to building a membership site and choosing tools and ultimately deciding on Lifter for it?

Keegan Lanier:

Yeah, yes. A ton of research. Looking through all of the different membership plugins first and foremost, I have a license for restrict content pro which is really good for membership. I’ve built out a couple of sites using it, actually use it on my site for a little while. And whenever I started doing that the LMS research, honestly, the fact that the core of what you do is free, that was a that was a big piece, but the real one, because I would have paid for whatever to find the good one, the best one. Going through, talking about Tim Strifler and David Blackmon, they’ve got WP gears where their courses are. And I went through that Divi business expert course. And they used Lifter.

Keegan Lanier:

And just talking with David I was asking him, what platform did he use? What did he think? What was his experience with it? How easy is it to really kick things up and build out the content? And he’s like, dude, he’s like, there’s nothing. He’s like, we’ve tried so many of them, there’s nothing that makes it as easy Lifter, it’s just that simple. So when he said that, he kind of gave it, that’s the endorsement I needed. Somebody who’s doing some really good things in the Divi space, his products are really good, he’s got a lot of stuff out there. His courses are great, he’s just, when you find somebody that who’s kind of farther along the road that you want to be on, you look to them and say like, Okay, I’m I’m going to follow some of this framework because I don’t want to just stumble on and make a bunch of mistakes. Let me take what works, supercharge them on my journey.

Chris Badgett:

Which really brings us full circle on the episode and like why you built the course is to help other people accelerate and choose a good stack and build their foundation. So, that course is called Divi foundation. You can find it at academy.keeganlaniermedia.com. If you’re listening on the podcast or watching this on YouTube we’ll have links down below for that. Keegan’s WordPress agency site is keeganlaniermedia.com. Any other way the good people the internet can connect with you, and if you also have any other final words for the people [inaudible 00:38:11]?

Keegan Lanier:

So connection points I mean, everywhere except for Twitter it’s at keeganlaniermedia. So Facebook, Instagram pretty much everywhere. On Twitter, it’s Keeganlmedia, that’s probably where I’m the most active, conversation can flow free, find me, let’s talk. As far as final words or parting words, if there’s something you have an interest and trying to do, whether it’s building courses or podcasts or a product service for plugins or layouts or whatever it is, go try it. Like why waste another second? Go build and if it flops, it flops, but at least did it because you want to give it a shot. That’s what I’m doing here and just ended up with a five different things stack.

Chris Badgett:

Love it. Love it. So go check out keeganlaniermedia.com. Keegan, thanks for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. And wish you all the best on your next adventures and your path to freedom.

Keegan Lanier:

Chris, I appreciate it. Man, this has been a blast. Thanks for having me.

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 by 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.

Exclusive Download: 2021 WordPress LMS Buyer’s Guide – Stop wasting time and money researching online course and membership site tech.

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