In this LMScast episode, Christopher Stammer shares insights about their specialized online training program, “Level Up,” developed in partnership with TRSA for frontline supervisors in the commercial laundry industry. And they used most powerful LifterLMS plugin for this.
Christopher Stammer is an Entrepreneur, Speaker and Training Innovator. He’s from Volu Interactive. He also has a unique LMS project in the industrial laundry niche. LifterLMS powers this unique training project, which provides supervisors with important skills like as leadership, communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and root cause analysis.
When deciding on the best Learning Management System for their project, they prioritized dependability, scalability, and customizability. After thorough research and evaluation, they ultimately opted for LifterLMS due to its robust capabilities and the exemplary support provided by the LifterLMS team.
Christopher also emphasizes the discovery of other functionality inside LifterLMS, such as social learning, testing, and badging tools, which have proven to be quite useful. Their success with LifterLMS is clear, as they have already begun their second batch of training.
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Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress State of the end, I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMS cast. I’m joined by a special guest. His name is Christopher Stammer. He’s from volume interactive. He also has a cool LMS project in the industrial laundry niche. We’re a training project. It’s called level up in the laundry. com. Welcome to the show, Chris.
Christopher Stammer: Thanks for having me, Chris.
Chris Badgett: I’m excited to get into it with you. First let’s just level set on what level up the laundry. com is what is that there’s, I find all these interesting niches within training. So what is this niche here?
Christopher Stammer: Oh yeah. This, is about as niche as it gets. Okay. So level up in the laundry is a training portal for a supervisory skills training program that we developed for an one of the.
Largest industry associations for the commercial laundry industry. It’s called TRSA. And we have had a relationship with TRSA for 13 or 14 years now. And they had identified a need for supervisory skills training for people that work in laundry plants. These are commercial laundry plants. So imagine like you doing laundry in your house.
But like multiply that times a thousand, like hotels and stuff. Would you say so they’ll do the laundry and the garments for hotels, restaurants hospitals if any sort of an industrial. Organization where they have like uniforms that they wear that need to be cleaned on a daily basis. They do it.
Chris Badgett: So it’s the management layer that you’re training with the level up the laundry.
Christopher Stammer: That’s right. Yeah. Tell us more. Yeah. So it’s the frontline supervisors. Okay. These are the people that are, walking around these plants and. Providing assistance to the frontline workers who are actually doing the work that are manning these stations and these these machines and processing the laundry as it moves through these plants.
And as you can imagine, being in a production oriented environment like that is it’s pretty challenging, especially when you’re, up against people that have varying levels of education and varying. Levels of understanding of the English language. So, level up in the laundry provides them supervisory skills training, ranging from leadership, communication, decision making, problem solving root cause analysis literally runs the gamut.
Really what we wanted to do is just give them the platform, the starting point for them to develop their skills and to Perform their jobs effectively as supervisors.
Chris Badgett: Nice. And in general, how’s it going with the website?
Christopher Stammer: The website is going extremely well. And to be honest with you, that was probably one of my biggest concerns.
When we when we got into this project about a year ago, right now, it was the platform and it was first of all, what LMS are we going to use? That’s a big question, right? There’s Oh, it’s a huge question. And coming from a situation where I had never deployed an LMS independently on my own, it was literally keep me awake at night, sort of an issue.
Chris Badgett: Wow. So what tell us about like the decision matrix journey through settling on WordPress and ultimately LifterLMS.
Christopher Stammer: So it was a lot of research and going out and finding out all the different solutions that are out there. And my biggest concern was reliability. I wanted to make sure that we didn’t launch a couple of courses.
And then lose everything at some point down the line. Also set my second priority was, scalability. I wanted to be able to allow the LMS to grow with us. I wanted to be able to grow the course and expand the course and, have the LMS be able to accommodate that. So the journey was, is just going out and doing a lot of research.
Developing some evaluation criteria to figure out which LMS is going to be the best for us and the best for the, program and. Narrowed it down to two or three and I won’t say the names of your competitors, but there are some, essentially there, there were, there was an option that we were considering that was like a software as a service option where everything was set up.
You just plug and play, just put your date, your content in there. And they had all the processing payment processing and all that sort of stuff set up and I eliminated it because it wasn’t customizable. It wasn’t going to have the look and the feel that I wanted for the site to have.
And then we looked at another WordPress based solution and it was the same sort of thing. It was cost and, this one was cheaper, but I was a little bit concerned about reliability and, also functionality too, for that one. So we eliminated that and LifterLMS wasn’t the cheapest solution that we were considering.
But in terms of the capability. That it had and the level of support that I knew that you and your team were going to be able to provide us in the end, it was a no brainer. And ultimately we went with the, infinity bundle. Awesome.
Chris Badgett: So those are those music to my ears, reliability, customizability.
And scalability. That’s, awesome. That’s what we try to, that’s what we aim to do here, that’s, awesome. So I’m glad you found us. How did you I see a lot of people when they’re in research mode, they get a little overwhelmed. Like you mentioned there’s, some options in WordPress, but then the greater e learning industry market’s huge, there’s a lot of SaaS solutions.
How long was that experience of shopping around and how’d you avoid the overwhelm?
Christopher Stammer: I’m overwhelmed every day. Yeah. Yeah. And and the LMS for this project was just like a piece, right? Of course it’s the foundational piece, but it was just a piece of the overall program. And then, you start talking about all the tools to develop content and that sort of thing.
And it’s just so, essentially, yeah I was initially pretty overwhelmed because there were so many solutions out there. Then I started getting smart with my searches and tried to, look for like top 10 best solutions that are out there and watch some YouTube videos of people that had actually gone out and experienced trials.
Of these LMSs and and, listen, listened and watch these, videos, these YouTube videos, and these, and looked at these reviews with a very critical eye, a very keen eye to see if what that person was looking for was what I was looking for. Sometimes there’s a difference. And when they rank these LMSs their, evaluation isn’t in line with yours.
So you really need to. To prioritize what you really want out of the LMS when you start with your search, sometimes you don’t know, you don’t know, but you’ll learn over time and you begin to to understand what, it is you really want. Yeah, so there were just, there was just a ton that were out there and yeah.
And, try it out a few as well try it out of the LMSs that were out there and had the opportunity to experience them a little bit. But if you don’t have any content to put in, that can be a little bit challenging. As well. So we went to a lot of demo sites and evaluated the demo sites.
And I think when we came to the LifterLMS demo site, I was like, okay, I see how this is all going to work together. And I think this is going to work out really well for us. But then I started to see some of the extra functionality that you had built into the infinity bundle, like social learning.
That was huge. The the, testing and the badging functionality of Lifter, that was huge too. And and, I’m glad we did choose LMS or LifterLMS because when I actually started to get into it and use it and start to put content in there, I began, it was like layers of an onion. That started to become unpeeled.
And I was like, Oh, it does this. I was like, that’s so cool. That’s exactly what we need for this. And yeah, so now we’re off to the races. We’re in our second cohort. That’s awesome.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, the layers of the onion. I appreciate that. I, think that experience comes from the fact that. We just build for people like you and you guys tell us what you want and it’s not, we’re not guessing.
So as somebody like yourselves gets into the tool in the early days, they’re like, Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we had some community features? Let’s gamify this more. Let’s extend in this way or that. So that’s, that makes me super happy to say that or to hear that. How about tell us more about the cohort, your cohort model, how does it work for this niche? What, are you doing? Like you get, yeah, just tell me, tell us more about the business model of it.
Christopher Stammer: So it’s all driven. The format of the course is totally driven by our users needs. Just like you had gone out and gathered requirements and heard what your customers wanted we had done a pretty comprehensive needs assessment pre COVID on people that were plant managers, VPs of operations, general managers of these plants, and also people that were supervisors.
And we said, okay, if you were to have some sort of a supervisory skills training program, how would it be deployed? Like, how would you want to go through it? Going to. A hotel for a bootcamp or a three day weekend or a week long training was not going to work primarily because you just can’t pull your supervisors off the plant floor and say, Oh, go to training for three days, right?
Because obviously there is not anybody in the plant to supervise. So they knew that they needed to have something that was remote. They need to have something that could be accessed via the web. But the problem with that is that you lose if it’s totally asynchronous, right? Where you have people just accessing the content at will on demand.
That’s great. If it’s one person wanting to learn these skills and develop the capabilities of niche, whatever it is they’re trying to learn. But with this, what we want to do, we want to do something a little bit more community based. We wanted the people that were going through the training together to be able to, talk to each other, to be able to communicate with each other, share lessons learned, and be able to learn from each other.
So that’s when we decided that the best approach for the overall training program was going to be distance learning, but have it be a little bit blended with a couple of real time sessions built in, where we could bring everybody together and talk about. What we’re learning through the program and talk about how to apply the concepts of the program to their actual live environment.
Chris Badgett: Was that virtual? The get people together?
Christopher Stammer: Yes. Yes, it was. Yup. So I can’t leave the plant. So it was, yeah, they can’t leave the planet. Yup. So it’s, virtual, but in real time live. Yeah. Cool. Yeah. So that was cool. But also with the with the program, we wanted to have applied. Assignments, we want to have what we call action assignments, where once you go through a module that consists of several lessons, there’s going to be an action assignment that they need to take and apply the learned skills in their own unique environment.
And we needed to make sure that we’re getting that fed back to us in terms of what it is they’re actually completing. And the results of those assignments. You can only do some, you can only handle so many students at one time. So that’s one of the reasons why we capped off our seats at 25 for each cohort.
And so you’ll register for a cohort and they’re a limited number of seats. So you’re in a group with 25 and you go through the training program, all the relative same time, theoretically because as with. With the with prerequisites built in and having the capability to what do you, call it?
Trickle you’re learning drip content with the drip content with the drip content. What we’ll do is for each module, we release a new module every Tuesday. It doesn’t mean you have to be a hundred percent finished with the content in the previous module. It just means that. The next module is going to open up and now you’ll have access to it.
So some people are falling a little bit further behind others. Some people are like boom, want to get it done as fast as possible and provide us some really good results with the action assignments. Other people are a little bit more. Lacks in terms of their access to the materials.
So, anyway, so that’s the cohort model. We found that it works really well. Brings people together, helps develop a network and that’s really what we wanted to do. We wanted to create an ecosystem of supervisors that can get to know each other and as they start to become more involved in industry events through TRSA, which is this industry association, they’re going to be motivated to want to go to some of TRSA’s other events down the line.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I noticed on your pricing for the cohorts, you had a TRSA members only price and then a non TRSA members price. So people just, if they are members, they get the benefit of cheaper pricing, basically.
Christopher Stammer: Yeah, that’s right. They have the privilege of spending less on the program.
And we just want to make sure that we’re, incentivizing people to become members of the industry association. So that way they can get preferred discounting, not only on this program, but other programs as well. And it’s, it works to their benefit in the long run because being involved in a member oriented industry association, there are a lot of benefits.
Chris Badgett: Tell us more about you in terms of the your niche. And what I mean by that is there’s lots of different people that use LifterLMS and WordPress. There’s course creators, there’s website builders, web developers. Curriculum providers and you’re, I’m looking at the volume interactive.
com website and you mentioned the e learning website is just a piece of the stack. So what is your niche in this, in the training world here?
Christopher Stammer: Yeah, it’s a really great question. I’m still trying to figure that out. My company started as as voluminant in 2004. All right. And we were we are, I should say, cause we’re same company, just different emphasis, right?
We’re a business, performance improvement firm. Okay. So we’ll go into organizations and we’ll try to improve their operation from a strategic. Operational behavioral or information technology perspective. So our relationship with companies, clients is we’ll do a wall to wall analysis, identify areas of opportunity, and then create, construct a project around it to improve the operation as a whole.
And that model worked for us up until about 2019 even before COVID, we realized that when we were going in and we were doing these, like these laser focused, Performance improvement programs. 80 percent of the programs were oriented around training, right? It’s not, just about the process stuff is, great, but you know what, anytime you make a process change or implement any sort of a change within an organization, there’s gotta be that, tactical offset.
There’s that human element. So most of what we were doing was focused on training and we made a pivot in 2019. We said, you know what? Let’s. We, love the training element because it has an impact on people and you’re engaging with your audience. Let’s just focus our organization on training.
So we still do the strategic stuff and the business performance improvement stuff and stuff oriented around project management, enhancing project success. But the bulk majority of what we do is focused on training. So from there, we had already developed a whole slew of training programs that were.
Legacy training programs that were either delivered on site live. In person, or we had some online components of those some were blended up blended between those two. And we said, yeah, we should really just focus on these and start to deploy these programs virtually and, shift them away from, there being a live element to where people can just access the content on demand.
And that’s another reason why I wanted to buy the infinity bundle is the intent was. Sure. We’re going to launch level up in the laundry, but we also have four other programs that we want to get online that can be delivered through LFTR LMS and that’s where we’re going. And so
Chris Badgett: you guys are creating the content, not just the website for the training, right?
Christopher Stammer: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. And end to end solution. So we’ll do the needs assessment, develop the content host put the content into LFTR. And with, in the case of level up in the laundry, we, we actually facilitate it as well and administer the program. Wow. That’s, awesome. It’s very full stack.
Yep. For sure. Go ahead. Take takes, it’s very, very time and energy intensive. It’s also one of the reasons why we’re in growth mode right now to get a new program manager in for level up in the laundry and get a couple of associates in as well to support that program and grow it.
But also to, to expand some of our other programs.
Chris Badgett: So in this model with level up in the laundry was TRSA, the client
Christopher Stammer: TRSA is the client. Yep. Yeah. And and, actually the, relationship segue they, initially started as a client and they segued into being a business partner.
Chris Badgett: I was wondering that cause you’re very deeply integrated and helping them improve in some significant ways.
Yeah, absolutely. And it just goes. Back to the, ongoing relationship that my company has had with T R Ss a over 13 or 14 years. And our relationship with the executive team there and also the the, office team there, they’re just amazing, people. And because of that relationship and the trust that they had in us, Joe Ricci, who’s the C e O of T r Ss a.
Is trust just trusting blue interactive to to, take the reins on this program and move it forward and to facilitate administer it and also to, market it and, sell it to his industry as well. So it’s been it’s it is a true partnership in every sense of the word.
Chris Badgett: Would you consider TRSA an association?
Christopher Stammer: Yeah, they’re a professional association.
Chris Badgett: Professional association. So I see. And you, said there’s more projects you wanted to get into. Are those with other associations?
Christopher Stammer: No, they are. Okay. So the, association world is, a tough nut to crack. I live here in Alexandria, Virginia. It is the association headquarters of the world. Definitely of the United States. And I have worked with, many of them and yeah, the associations are tough because first of all, they operate very lean, especially now, especially recovering from COVID where a lot of their industry events were just, they were cooked.
They just did not have them in 2021, sometimes 2020, 2022. And they’re still making up for that shortfall. So for them to invest. If not hundreds of thousand dollars in a training program it’s a big ask at this point. And also a lot of the associations, they operate lean.
It’s like they outsource a lot of their work. And I’m not talking about their training work. They’re the, op, they outsource like their admin work and their marketing work. So you end up calling one of these associations and they have Three people that work there full time and they outsource everything else in terms of the admin.
So, to go in there and actually pitch a training project is, can be very difficult. We’ve tried, we tried varying levels of success outside of TRSA. That is. You
Chris Badgett: mentioned on your website on the volume website, industrial, medical, military technology. Is that where you see a lot of opportunity in those?
Christopher Stammer: Yeah. Yeah. So, being here in, in outside of Washington DC, we have access to a huge federal market. And that, too can be a difficult nut to crack primarily because you’re at you’re beholden to federal acquisition guidelines, regulations. And the, the. contracting process to slow sale cycle.
It is a very slow sale cycle. Actually I was training last week at the state department and we were talking about the procurement process and the acquisitions process. It’s, clunky. It’s cumbersome but it’s designed for a reason,It’s set up that way for a reason, for fair and open competition for all sorts of vendors, not just the biggest companies and biggest.
Contractors that are out there. So yeah, so those are like the four niches that we really are focused on. Primarily because the medium that we use as a company is well suited for those industries. So where we’re going right now is in a lot of interactive multimedia, leveraging 360, leveraging virtual reality, leveraging 3d technology.
And, putting people in immersive situations like that virtually. Where you can get Google cardboard whatever on your phones and, leverage some of the apps and some of the programs that we’re developing.
Chris Badgett: So like simulations, like virtual reality simulations and things.
Christopher Stammer: Exactly. Exactly. So it was really, funny, just a really quick story. As we were developing the level up in the laundry. It was like, January, February, and we were still trying to figure out exactly what LMS we were going to use. And I think we had made a decision to go with LFTR in January, early February, something like that.
We finally made the decision. And then in March they had the TRSA board meeting and they wanted me to come in and show them some of the content for this program and stuff like that. I’m like. Dude, this content’s not developed. It’s one of those situations where, and actually fast forward six months, we had the first cohort running and they’re going through module one and two, and we’re developing module four and five, right?
Chris Badgett: That’s the classic way to do it.
Christopher Stammer: It’s totally
Chris Badgett: classic. You’re one step ahead and you’ve got the validation. There’s a market there and you’re moving.
Christopher Stammer: That’s what the first
round’s exactly. And really all we wanted to do with the. First cohort is just get to an MVP, right? And once we got to that minimally viable product, we knew that we could expand on that.
We just wanted to have a good starting point, one of good foundation. So anyway, so I’m, I have to stand up and present to this board. And these are like CEOs of allSCO, Unifirst, Sintas, like these big commercial laundry and uniform companies, and I don’t want to bore you with all the machinations, but I needed something to show them something that I could put meat on the bones.
So I developed the night before a simulation. Of walking into a commercial laundry facility and walking around and look, and I had 360 degree video on my desktop. So I was like, that’s cool. I had that available to me as a resource to use. So I developed this, simulation where you could walk in and look around and identify what we call variances, things that you do not want to have in your plant, like slip, trip and fall hazards garbage.
Cans overfilling people wearing Uggs instead of like steel toe shoes. Yeah. So it enables you, so you go in, you look at the scene and you look around and you click, Oh, I see something. And then it opens up and you score points and that sort of thing. So I spent four hours developing the singular three scenes that you go through and I launched it.
And I was, and I showed it to them at this board meeting and everybody’s wow Oh, this is what the program is gonna be all about. I’m sold. I’m in. So yeah, And and that was just, like a BS like app that I developed just to show them what could happen and what the program is going to include at some point, I actually did integrate what I developed into the program, but there’s but, that was pretty much the only.
Thank you. Highly interactive component. There’s, going to be more of that stuff coming down the line. And sales.
Chris Badgett: I call that a mic drop moment. You just engineered the perfect mic drop moment. That’s awesome. Exactly. Speaking of the layers of the onion as an instructional designer yourself there’s like the e learning website we’ve talked about, like some virtual plant manager virtual meetups.
You got some simulation in your view. Particularly in this B2B business to business training niche what’s a stat? Like you’ve got LifterLMS and the WordPress website delivering content that drips out. You’ve got the virtual meetings, you got the simulations, like what’s the perfect training stack for B2B training in your view?
Not necessarily brands, but types of things. To really make training work online.
Christopher Stammer: It’s a good question. I would say the first, and foremost the, most important thing is you gotta get, you gotta get people to come in and buy the program. Yeah, you have to get customers and the only way you’re going to get customers is if you’re able to Merchandise and promote the benefits of the program.
Yeah And that’s got to jump out to them on that front page on that landing page for whatever your program is if somebody is looking at that front page and they, start to scroll down and they don’t see what’s in it for them or how it’s going to benefit their organization, you’re lost.
They’re going to, they’re going to abandon the site and they’re gone and they may never come back or worse. They may have a conversation with somebody and go, Oh yeah, I looked at that program and yeah, it just doesn’t, there’s other stuff that’s out there. And, it’s really hard for us, for custom developers, because we’re competing.
With what’s right in front of people’s faces every day. We’re competing with LinkedIn learning. And I’ve gone through that and I’m like, okay, and people mention it. They mentioned it on that needs assessment that we did before COVID for level of laundry. They’re like, Oh yeah, we use that for things.
And I’m like, really? I’m like, how does that stuff apply to you? It’s like relatively generic. And I, and it admittedly, I haven’t really done a deep dive in LinkedIn learn. And then there are these other sites that are out there. The ones that when you’re on. YouTube or Facebook or whatever they’re right there.
They’re promoting themselves because they’ve got millions of dollars of venture capital backing them. You’re watching YouTube TV and there’s, an ad for masterclass or something like that. That’s who you’re competing against, right? That’s who you’re competing against. So the advantage is, that a lot of that stuff.
Is like thousand foot level. Whereas if you’re like us, as somebody who’s a custom developer in, and you’ve got a niche or you’ve got a talent that you want to sell it, you’re like 500 foot level. And in order to merchandise yourself, you have to be able to explain to people what the benefit is going to be for them to invest.
A hundred bucks, 200 bucks, 500 bucks, whatever in your program. And, you have to be able to do that. So that front page is really, crucial and really important. And, the ease of conversion, being able to go from looking at that, identifying what the benefit is to buying it easily.
That’s, crucial. So that, that would probably be the most important thing. Nice.
Chris Badgett: What are some of your favorite things about LifterLMS?
Christopher Stammer: Oh man. I would say my favorite part about LFTR LMS is, God, there’s so many good things about it. Like literally, like we were talking about it before the interview.
There’s just so many things that I didn’t know it had the capability to do so many things that I didn’t realize that I needed when I first was going out and looking for an LMS. I would, you know what, I would say that my favorite thing about it is, and some of you, some people that are watching this may not know that this functionality exists.
Maybe they don’t have access to it the infinity bundle. But my favorite thing is, being able when somebody completes. An assignment or a lesson, not only can you automatically send them a badge, right? Or when you approve their assignment, like for us, people will get an assignment back. If they pass with whatever the threshold is, it’s 90%, 85, 60%, whatever we will hit, accept their assignment.
And then they get a badge sent to them right away. And also on the timeline, the social learning aspect of the site, everybody else sees that they get a badge, right? That’s really cool. But in addition to that, it’s the email that you can customize and that you can send out and it’s, mail merge.
The fields are all in there where you can, it’s all customized. So when people get that email message. They think that you actually put together the email message saying, Hey, great job on putting together completing that exercise or completing the lesson or whatever it was that’s, pretty cool.
And the delay that you can put in there too, or you put in a day delay or a two day delay. That’s really cool too, because and I’m not saying we want to like bamboozle people and thinking that the message came, from you and it really didn’t, like it was automatically generated.
It did come from you. That message is going out to them, but having it be able to have, and you would probably send a message like that as a facilitator or course instructor, but if you’ve got 500 people going through your course, 20 people going through your course, there’s no way you’re going to be able to reach out and interact with, everybody in your class or within your cohort in this case.
So having the functionality for that to happen automatically, I think is really, powerful. The way that we use it is about halfway through the, course, which is a three month course, right? Where we actually have a module released every week over the course of 10 weeks. And then there are a couple of weeks where we have off because we have a live webinar about halfway through when they complete that assignment.
Boom. They get an email message that says, Hey, congratulations. We really appreciate. Your level of engagement, the time, effort and energy you’re putting into the class, keep up the good work, we’re halfway there and people are just like, Oh, they’re like, that’s so cool. I just got a message from the person that’s running the program.
So I think that’s really powerful. The other thing that I really like is it’s just the reporting capabilities. I also like the integration of the payment process striping PayPal, that’s pretty cool too. Cause that, was an area of concern for me. And to just click a couple of buttons, open up a Stripe account.
It’s so easy. You guys have money. Yeah, of course. You guys have made that integration really easy. But, yeah, just. Yeah, that’s, so those are really great, aspects of the program and of Lifter.
Chris Badgett:Thanks for sharing that. I just wanted to ask you’ve, gone into it, but it’s really got me intrigued this idea of if you’re a training provider there’s, and you’re talking to these businesses and there’s the LinkedIn learnings and the masterclass and the high level stuff.
And it seems like what you’re saying is that when you focus and really niche down and get to that 500 foot level Oh, I helped this specific industry. The content is not generic about business in general. It’s like super specific. And the platform I want to deliver that on needs to be flexible.
WordPress is. And like you said, you built an awesome landing page that really sells the benefits and flows right into the LMS and in your own way, unique for that industry. I guess what other advice do you have for somebody who’s wanting to, maybe they’re just building websites right now, but they’re also really into like leadership and management and they want to add this training piece or they’re, trainers and they’re wanting to move it online and get into the WordPress.
LMS side of things tell us more about that sweet spot of B2B niche training and how somebody can really get into that and why use WordPress versus other options.
Christopher Stammer: Yeah. So you are wading into a really interesting area here, right? Because it’s like wordpress, a lot of people feel like wordpress is not a stable platform, right?
And what I realized as a result of, recently switching hosts to a host that you guys have. I think you have a relationship with them or promoted from another host. That was like one of the biggest ones in the country world, potentially. You need to make sure that you’re with the right host first and foremost.
Because even with our other WordPress oriented websites that we’ve developed, not only for our own company websites, but also portals for some of our other training offerings that we have that we developed. I found that. The performance of those, sites was not good because we were using the wrong hosts.
So you really need to use a host that’s fast, that’s reliable. And also I had a nightmare story or a nightmare situation where we moved over to another host that was like known as like the best WordPress hosts in the world. And they were terrible. Like they, they ended up like the site ended up crashing.
Like we just couldn’t access it one day. And then I went into the admin panel and I couldn’t get into anything. And I. Got on the customer support, which was. Real on the other side of the world and they blame me. They said, Hey, yeah, you went, somebody went in on your side and erased all these files.
And I’m thinking to myself, it wasn’t me. And they said they said maybe it was maybe somebody penetrated your website and deleted all your files and, everything. I’m thinking to myself, why would somebody do that? This like little niche y Company organization.
Why would somebody do that? But anyway, so we never realized we never were able to figure out what the root cause was. I just bailed. I just said, I’m out of here. I’m going to go to with a different host. So finally, we’re the host. That’s really good. And we love them. And I can’t believe how fast it is interacting with lifter on the back end with that.
Like I can have two versions I can have Lifter open on two two which we call it tabs. On Mozilla. And, I can make changes to the site on one and I can see the changes on the other side. And and it’s just reliable and it’s fast and it’s seamless and it works really well.
Knock on wood. Just watch what happens this afternoon.
Chris Badgett: Do you mind sharing who the awesome host is that
Christopher Stammer: you’re enjoying? Our host is Hostinger. Okay. Cool. And and they’re just really, good. And I don’t know what makes them so good, but I also spent the money on one of the premium plans that has some of the fastest bandwidth and, the most capacity, just because I want to make sure that as we get more students enrolled in this program and in our other programs that we don’t lose the data.
We want to make sure things are being backed up routinely and we don’t lose the data, which is really crucial. And that was a lesson learned with our last site. So, that, that’s probably the first consideration is, just making sure that the backbone and the platform is solid and good. The other consideration, and the other consideration using WordPress versus some other solution that’s out there is just first of all, LifterLMS, you can integrate it with just about any theme, right?
And something like you guys said, when we were first interacting, when we were getting ready to roll out the site, some themes are better than others, but it will probably work. Probably it will work with just about any theme that’s out there. We haven’t tried it with any other themes yet, but what are you using?
Chris Badgett: What theme do you like? What’s that? What theme do you like? What are you using?
Christopher Stammer: We’re I know, I think we’re using cadence. Cadence. It’s very popular. I know you guys started to push. There’s a new one that just came out.
Chris Badgett: SkyPilot is one we make, we’ve always had our own theme Kadence is awesome.
Astra is huge. We have a lot of Divi people, but like you said, it can work with a lot of different themes, but Cadence is a great one.
Christopher Stammer: So I’m looking to see what we can do with SkyPilot, but you know how the problem how it is with WordPress themes. Like you get to learn one and you get comfortable with it.
And then you’re like, Oh yeah, you install a new theme and you have to relearn it all over again so what, I need, we have another site, it’s called industrial athlete university. And this one focuses on it’s industrial skills training primarily for logistics and distribution.
Like I’m getting ready to, implement. Or to, install Lifter on that site, right? In that install, but first I need to migrate everything away from our old host over to hosting her. So that way I know that this thing actually works. So knowing that you’ve got a theme that works well with Lifter. And because they’re all going to work, but knowing that it’s going to work seamlessly with Lifter and that the appearance is going to be good is another consideration that needs to be made.
But the biggest thing for us with WordPress as a platform and as a starting point for our LifterLMS is just the scalability. And, also the price you look at some of these SAS LMS is that are out there. It’s like a car. It is like a car. And then they start to charge you per trainee and like one, one, one organization we were talking to, they’re like, Oh yeah it’s, something like it’s only 40 per seat.
And I’m thinking to myself, 40 per seat. Are you joking? I’m like, that’s crazy. I’m like, there’s just no way. So I wanted to make sure that. When we’re starting relatively small, that we’re not losing our shirt and we can actually get some revenue generating where we can now expand and build from there.
So, yeah that was the biggest thing. So it’s like just scalability and price and just the, being able to make it so it looks how you want it to look and it matches. The mission of the program and also matches what your audience expects. Those are key elements.
Chris Badgett: And a couple of quick lightning round questions here.
For, volume what’s the team size or what are the roles in the company for a company like this to really work? Even just building a website, doing sale, like who’s, what are the roles here?
Christopher Stammer: The roles are the number of people you need.
Chris Badgett: I like the number of people and then what function could one person do this business?
Christopher Stammer: Oh yeah, for sure by themselves.
Chris Badgett: I think so. But tell us like where volume’s at today. If it’s,
Christopher Stammer: yeah so we have a relatively small team. We’ve got about five people that work within the company full time. And then we’ve got a cadre of developers and subcontractors that we use to really focus on some of the, content.
Stuff. And then, as I mentioned to you with level up in the laundry, we’re looking to hire a couple of people to actually facilitate the program and continue to expand on it. Sometimes we’ve got things that we want to do. We want to incorporate into the programs that we just don’t have the in house capability to do and don’t have the time to do, in which case we need to outsource it.
I know now there’s like this movement to outsourcing everything to on guru or Upwork or whatever, they’re all these sites that are out there. But the problem with that is now you’ve got to manage all of these people and you’ve got to wait for the jobs to come back and that sort of thing.
One of, one of the most important things for me is to. To get as much work as we could possibly can get done here locally. That way we’re supporting our economy and I’m also supporting people that are coming up through the ranks and are starting to develop their skills and want to expand their skills like I was 20 years ago.
And where the people that are actually doing the work can interface with our customers. And can, go in and actually have a weekly status meeting with with a customer down the road here, like in the federal government. So, to answer your question if, you’ve got a really compelling, if you’ve got compelling subject matter that, and a good message that you want to train, that you think people are going to want to hear, and there is a tangible benefit to it, then a single person can do this.
Now there’s going to be a learning curve, of course, like with everything, but LFTR makes it easy. Just once you get into it and you start using it and you understand how things are structured and how to actually incorporate and integrate, the data into the LMS it’s, pretty easy.
Pretty straightforward. And you can create something that’s pretty compelling and that’s attractive. But, the key is to make sure that you’ve got good material. You want to make sure that you know what you’re talking about and you’re presenting it in a way that makes sense in a way that people understand it.
And that’s appealing to them. And they’re able to say, ah, yeah, I get it. I know what’s in it for me, I know how this is going to benefit me and make me better at doing whatever it is that. I do, I would say that for, us, that’s like kind of a growing small business. I’m, in a role now where I’m more of, a business development person, like I’m out there in having ongoing conversations with current customers to look at more work, look at other programs just through level up three or four other companies have contacted us and have said, you contacted me and said, Hey, we want you to actually develop our LMS.
We want to help. We want you to develop. Our internal corporate training and integrate these modules into. Our, own portal. So that’s pretty exciting. So I’m like the front man that interacts with people, identifies the requirements, and then I’ll work pretty closely, but I’m, I want to delegate the actual development of the, materials and the program itself to, people underneath me to developers and some of the associates we have working with us.
It just all depends on where you want to go. The problem with hiring more people and, bringing people into your organization and growing your organization is that now you need to manage those people. And management takes time, right? The drawback is that if it’s just you and I saw a couple of your case studies that were out there.
If it’s just you and you’ve got a really compelling, you’ve got compelling content, if that’s all you’re gonna do, you better make sure that you’ve got the revenue to support your lifestyle. If, you’re going to be developing multiple. Training programs you’re, going to get stretched in very, quickly and, then quality suffers or when something goes wrong, you can’t troubleshoot as quickly.
So it just really depends on what your mission is and where you see yourself and your organization going over the next. Year, five years, 10 years. Can you
Chris Badgett: give us a quick pro tip on how to get clients? You just mentioned it a little bit with going out and connecting and in the associations and doing active business development.
But if somebody wants to get into finding a client, like TRSA or like, how does
Christopher Stammer: one do that? I, what I would do is just buy a mailing list and just spam everybody. Isn’t that what it seems like everybody is doing now?
Chris Badgett: My email inbox is insane. The email spam alone is yeah.
Christopher Stammer: Insane. Tell me about it. And I get hit up probably, I get probably get five or six messages a day from these. These agencies, so called agencies that tell me that they’re going to, they’re going to book me five to 10 meetings a month. Appointment setters. And it’s all three mail blasts.
So the, common. The common, like the zeitgeist lately has been just, blast emails to people that you think are potential clients. What I found is that I usually sabotage my reputation doing that. I think it’s more of an annoyance than anything else. And I think right now people see through the, merges and in the emails themselves and their names being in the subject lines and.
I, think that’s, I think those days have passed. Now you see a lot more people moving to social media to Instagram, Twitter X, whatever you want to call it. Facebook, to a certain extent people marketing through there with varying levels of success. And the, catch here is this, is that it really just depends on the segment that you’re going after.
People in the commercial laundry industry and the people that we’re targeting who are like plant managers and general managers of plants, guess what? They ain’t on Instagram, right? They’re not out there promoting themselves and putting pictures online every day. It’s kind.
Essentially the best way to reach those people is the old fashioned way is picking up the phone and calling them. And thankfully we have, at least in this case, we have an industry association that has a database of all of these people. And I have not asked. TRSA or the CEO of TRSA, Joe, for that information, when we go out and we do outbound marketing and I call these people I, have a, serve, not a service, I’ve got access to an online resource where I can find what those companies are based off of their NICS codes or the SIC codes.
And I see them pop up and I pick, up the phone and I call and I say, Hey, listen this is what we’ve developed. This is what it does. These are the, there’s some of the results we’ve been able to accomplish even in our second cohort how interested would you be in selling and sending somebody to the training program?
And then, like you had mentioned in one of your training courses it’s if they’re new, I wouldn’t expect for them to pay full, price. The first time they go through it, you can offer an incentive offering an incentive through couponing or promo codes via Lyft or LMS, which is awesome.
Another cool functionality, because we made pretty heavy use of it when we first launched the program. So I tell you what, for this first run, we’ll give you 20 percent off or we’ll do a twofer. Send two people. We’ll, only charge you for one. I just want you to experience the program, experience the benefits of the program.
And then once you get them, they’re like, this was, this is if you’ve got a really compelling product, they’re like, this is really cool. Yeah. I want to send more people with the program. So, that’s probably. But, if you’ve got some sort of a product, some sort of a solution or training program that appeals to a wider audience then, you can leverage other tools Instagram and Twitter and do the, outbound blast emails and that sort of thing.
We just choose not to do it just cause we’re usually going after nichey. Companies and organizations.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Thank you for that, Chris. I know we’re up on time. I want to thank you for coming on the show and sharing your, journey into building up level up in the laundry. com and what you’re up to it.
Volu as a as a training provider, it’s such a cool story. You have my respect and admiration for all that you’ve done, not just in building the website, but doing the sales, doing the B2B, creating the training yourself and helping other companies grow part of what makes me excited and keeps me in this niche is we create a tool that then other people use to send out like this positive impact in the world and in the B2B context also help people make more money and create jobs and all that stuff.
It’s, really awesome. Any final words for the people and go check out level up in the laundry. com and volu interactive or volu interactive. com. Any, final words, Chris?
Christopher Stammer: No, I, all I can say is thank you, Chris. Thank you to you and to Will and the entire LifterLMS team. You’ve created a really great program.
And just as an aside, I was not paid to say any of this. Anybody you’ve created a really great application and platform for, learning. And literally we wouldn’t be where we are with the second cohort if it weren’t for, you and and this, fantastic application, I really appreciate it.
So thank you.
Chris Badgett: Awesome, Chris. We’ll have to check in down the road and maybe do another one of these in a year or two.
Christopher Stammer: Yeah, for sure. There’s definitely more to come.
Chris Badgett: Thanks for coming on the show, Kim, and wish you all the best on your trip to Asia. I hope you have an amazing time.
And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMS cast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at LifterLMS. Go to Lifterlms. com forward slash gift.
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