Episode 165

The Magical Combination for Course Quality, Speed To Market, and Low Stress

Chris Badgett and Ali Mathis of the LifterLMS team talk about the magical combination for course quality, speed to market, and low stress with content creation in this episode of LMScast. Chris and Ali discuss the different problems and opportunities that face course creators and how the LifterLMS Done For You service and the LifterLMS Experts program aim to solve those problems and take advantage of those opportunities.

The LifterLMS Done For You service is a service where we setup up your LMS for you and fill it with demo content. Then we deploy it on a new blank WordPress website or on a subdomain of your already existing site. This gives you a great starting point, because then all you have to do is fill in your course content, add a payment gateway, and you are ready to sell. There are two different levels of the Done For You service: the Infinity Bundle Done For You and the Universe Bundle Done For You.

When you purchase the Done For You service, we walk you through your branding materials, the Google Fonts you want to use, your logo, and any preferred color palette. Once we establish all of that, the LifterLMS team configures the website with the LifterLMS Launchpad theme and settings. We’ll then hand it back over to you for you to add in your content and install a payment gateway, such as Stripe or PayPal, and then you have a live course.

There are four major aspects to building online courses: production and design, expertise or knowledge on a given subject, the technology behind the course, and finally the marketing. The Done For You service is meant to cover the bases of production and design as well as the technology behind the course. This way all you have to do is insert your knowledge and raise awareness for your course.

The LifterLMS Experts program is a network of LifterLMS Experts who are web developers, designers, and course creators who have a high level of experience working with LifterLMS and are looking to take on new projects and new clients. They can help you with anything from content installation to custom development.

Chris and Ali describe the differences between the Infinity Bundle and the Universe Bundle. The LifterLMS plugin is free, but the Universe Bundle is a collection of add-ons that add design enhancements and access to third party integrations like MailChimp, Gravity Forms, ConvertKit, Stripe, and PayPal. That is all included in the Universe Bundle. You can purchase any of these add-ons individually, or you can get the bundle at a discounted price for all of them.

The Infinity Bundle has all that is included with the Universe Bundle plus more advanced add-ons such as Private Areas, Social Learning, and Advanced Quizzes. These advanced add-ons require more of a human touch. For example, the Social Learning add-on is meant to create networks between students and teachers to build a community, and the Advanced Quizzes can require manual grading. The Infinity Bundle also gives you access to weekly group Office Hours calls where Chris Badgett and other special guests connect with people who have any technical or strategical questions regarding LifterLMS.

To learn more about the LifterLMS Done For You service, head over to LifterLMS.com/dfy. Also check out the LifterLMS Experts program at LifterLMS.com/experts.

You can post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett. I’m joined today, or I should say re-joined, by a special guest, Ali Mathis, from the LifterLMS team. She’s been on maybe four or five times?
Ali Mathis: I think I’m your number one guest.
Chris Badgett: You are the most visited guest.
Ali Mathis: You know I’m competitive, so that’s important that I establish that at the beginning.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Yeah, you’re definitely in the lead in terms of number of appearances. Today, we’re going to be talking about some unique problems and opportunities that face course creators. It’s these problems and opportunities that guide the vision of the LifterLMS product and our vision, our mission, and really the services we roll out and the community we connect with of other service providers and that sort of thing. What this show is all about is about what we’re calling the magical combination between the LifterLMS Done For You Service, which just relaunched, and the LifterLMS Expert Program. In a nutshell, Ali, and Ali is a big part of both those programs at Lifter, for the listener, for the uninitiated, what is the LifterLMS Done For You Service and what is the LifterLMS Expert Program?
Ali Mathis: Sure. Well, the LifterLMS Done For You Service is a service where we go ahead and we set up your LMS for you with demo content, and we deploy it to a blank WordPress install on your site, either on a subdomain of your current site or on a new site for you, and it really gives you a great starting place to bounce off of. We’ve really streamlined the Done For You Service to focus on what we do best to be able to make it most economical for you guys. We have two different levels now. We have the Infinity Bundle Done For You and the Universe Bundle Done For You. In just a minute, Chris, I’m going to toss it back to you and have you explain the difference between those two levels of software packages.
Basically, after you purchase the Done For You, you send through your branding materials, the Google font that you want to use, your logo, and any preferred color palette, and we go ahead and get started with sort of the Launchpad settings and style it for you and hand it back over to you with our demo course content in there. You can learn all about it on our Done For You page and see the exact deliverables involved. We hand it back over to you, so, basically, all you need to do is get your content in there and pick which payment gateway you want to use and go ahead and set that up, and you’re ready to go.
How this sort of is interwoven with the LifterLMS Experts Program is we vetted and assembled and are currently accepting new applications for a team of LifterLMS experts who are web developers or designers or even course creators who have a high level of experience working with LifterLMS and are looking to take on new projects and new clients and can help you with any, either just content installation if you want that, or if you want any special custom development, we have experts that can help you out with that as well. That’s sort of just the general overview of that, and then, Chris, I am going to ask you to help explain the difference between the Universe Bundle and the Infinity Bundle because that’s really your wheelhouse.
Chris Badgett: Absolutely. For those of you who have ever come across LifterLMS and had a question about pricing or packages, first of all, I apologize because I know that it is somewhat complicated because we do have a lot of different products available at all these different levels and bundles and that sort of thing.
The basic soup to nuts from the free core LifterLMS plugin to the Infinity Bundle, there’s a lot in between. There’s a free core LifterLMS plugin, and then we have various add-ons that do different things. What’s in the Universe Bundle is the bundle of add-ons that add design enhancements like the graphics in the LifterLMS Pro Graphics Pack, like the Launchpad theme that Ali was talking about that gets implemented as part of the Done For You Service. It gets access to support, and then it also gives you access to third party integrations like MailChimp, ConvertKit, Gravity Forms. This is where the integrations go, like PayPal, Stripe, for accepting money for your courses. This is all inside the umbrella of the Universe Bundle. Those products can be purchased individually, or you can save big and get the whole group of them and other ones that roll into that category at a discount via the Universe Bundle.
The Infinity Bundle is all that plus more. The more that goes into the Infinity Bundle is everything we talked about plus what we call advanced add-ons, which is advanced functionality coming to Lifter. That’s Private Areas, Social Learning. As you’re listening to this, we’re in the process of releasing Advanced Quizzes. We may have already rolled it out depending upon when you watch this on YouTube or listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher or wherever. And then Assignments is in there.
These are really advanced features that require, in most cases, require a little bit of human touch, like Private Areas is all about one-on-one coaching. This is not just passive course anymore. We’re now providing some one-on-one coaching and letting the platform do that for you. Social Learning creates this whole social network that you can use to build learning communities, allow students to talk to each other, message each other, and really build a social environment around your course. Advanced Quizzes, quiz questions requiring manual grading. Assignments, similar to quizzes, but kind of different use case there. That’s what’s in the Infinity Bundle.
Also in the Infinity Bundle is access to our weekly Office Hours, where myself and special guests connect with people who have the Infinity Bundle or have purchased Office Hours and want to come hang out, ask technical questions, strategy questions, screen sharing, doing it live, tapping the brain trust of the LifterLMS power users. That’s called Office Hours. That’s in the Infinity Bundle. That’s the difference between the Universe and the Infinity.
Ali Mathis: As of right now, that’s how we’ve streamlined the Done For You to basically differentiate between those two packages.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, so you get to choose, like if you’re just doing more of the passive, which isn’t a bad thing, course and you need to sell your course and it’s pretty much kind of automated information product machine, you might be good to go with the Universe Bundle. If you’re wanting to do coaching, community, have more advanced instruction with things like assignments, advanced quiz questions, manual grading, the Infinity Bundle is probably the better pick for you in terms of if you’re going to select a Done For You package.
Ali Mathis: Right. Right.
Chris Badgett: Part of this conversation is around what we’re calling the magical intersection between the Done For You Services and the LifterLMS Expert Program. If you’re not a member of the LifterLMS VIP Facebook Group, I’d encourage you to join. I’d encourage you to go into there and look at the photos. There is an image that I put in there about the many hats that LifterLMS or education entrepreneurs need to wear. You need to do many things at once.
In my picture, I’m kind of poking fun at the idea or just recognizing the challenge that course creators have where you can either have these five people or wear all these hats and have these five completely different skillsets. What those are is a community builder, a technologist, a teacher, an entrepreneur, and a core instructional designer. The reality and what we see with people in the LifterLMS community and just the general online education space is it’s very rare for somebody to have all those skills. The platforms we see that are the most successful often have a situation where the teacher or the entrepreneur is kind of subcontracting out or building a team around some of those pieces, which is where the LifterLMS Done For You Service pops in.
What, Ali, in your mind, do you see … What problems does the Done For You Service solve for people?
Ali Mathis: I mean, I think it solves the problem of if you’re just trying to get over that mountain and you’re almost there and you’ve been planning on getting started with your course but you just can’t find the time to sit down or you’re not quite sure what the first few steps are, it really hands your course platform over to you in a way that makes it really easy to get started really quickly with just your course content, which is really your expertise, and so you can really focus on what you do best and not have to worry about just the initial technical setup. I think that’s a big roadblock and a big obstacle I see for people. Another big obstacle I see for people is just delays in their course content, but this removes the excuse of, if you don’t have to spend your time working on the technical content, it kind of removes that excuse that you don’t have time to work on your course content, so you can focus on what you really want to do.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, those are some really good points. I mean, capacity is a huge issue. LifterLMS makes it possible to create and sell online courses, to own your platform, to start a coaching business, education company, but it’s still not a task for the faint at hearted. There’s a lot that has to be done, a lot of pieces have to come together. The Done For You Service really just helps accelerate the timeline, put technology in place for you, and even do some of the instructional design for you in a sense that there’s demo content in there. If you’re an expert but not really a teacher, once you get in there and you start kind of playing with and looking at the sample content, it inspires ideas in you on how to design and create your course. That’s really cool.
If you’re doing the Infinity Bundle Done For You Service, you’re also going to get access to that weekly Office Hour, which gives you that lifeline, that support group. Sometimes education entrepreneurs can be a little bit isolated or not necessarily surrounded by other people doing similar things, so if you’re looking for a little bit of community of people who gets you and are working on the same problems, perhaps they’ve already solved some of them and can help you, that’s a great benefit with going with the Infinity Bundle option.
After you get your course back and you add your content, all LifterLMS products, when you become a customer, you get access to the LifterLMS support system, which is great. People typically have a fair number of questions within the first month. As they’re learning the software, setting things up, questions arise, but sometimes you need more than just technical support from the product companies that you’re using. Sometimes you need a technical person on your team or you want someone to do more than just figure out how it works and make sure it’s working right. Let’s say you’re 95% happy and you want to add some functionality that doesn’t exist for what your goals are, that’s where the LifterLMS Expert Program comes in. What else did the LifterLMS experts do, Ali?
Ali Mathis: I mean, the LifterLMS experts are great resource if you have a functionality that you’re looking for that LifterLMS doesn’t do out of the box. We have gotten asked a lot over the years. Our company, in the interest of full disclosure, did use to do custom development, but we’ve moved away from that to really be able to focus our energy on our product.
We get asked a lot, “Well, can you help me add x, y, and z to my website, or can you help me find somebody who can?” It was really important to us before we send out any referrals that we could provide our … our customers, we like to think of as kind of like an extended family, so people in the LifterLMS family are resource or a lifeline to other people in the LifterLMS family who are skilled and are capable of doing custom development works. Whether it be custom development work, whether it be from a small tweak to a large tweak, but just anything that Lifter can’t quite do out of the box, or also if you have your course platform and you’re looking for somebody to build out the rest of your website, a full website, we have lots of LifterLMS experts that are skilled with that and can help you do that as well.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s a good point. I’ve also seen people using them. They want to come to Lifter. They’re not new to this rodeo. They know it’s a lot of work to set up a website and everything, and they want somebody technical to just manage that whole transition process of getting out of this other LMS or membership or course marketplace, and they want to come into Lifter and they want to pay somebody to just do it for them. That’s another way that you can use an expert, especially after the Done For You Service, to then migrate all your content in, set it up, make the design look exactly the way you want it to look. Really, it’s invaluable to have somebody technical on your team who is trained at doing the technical part. Maybe they have a specialty in the theme you like whether that’s … [DV 00:15:39] is a popular one or working with the various page builders, like Beaver Builder or Elementor. Experts have different specialties.
The other thing that’s really comes in handy, we always recommend having a quality web host, like WP Engine has a staging environment, backup and restore system in place. There’s other good web hosts out there. When things do go wrong, you want a red phone, you want somebody technical that you can call to be on it and fix it. That’s another great use to have a LifterLMS expert. Maybe not full time on your team, but at least on call or available, somebody you have a relationship with that you can reach out to as needed for technical help, support, or even emergency situations.
Ali Mathis: Absolutely. Absolutely. I believe a lot of our LifterLMS experts are also in our Facebook group as well.
Chris Badgett: Mm-hmm (affirmative). If you’re curious which LifterLMS expert is a good fit for you, head on over to lifterlms.com, scroll down to the bottom of the website, and in all those links at the bottom, there’s the Find An Expert link. You can go look at all the various experts. You can see what their specialties are. They have sample projects that you can go and look at. There’s details on how to contact them so that you can request quotes or propose the issue you want help with or to see if they’re interested in doing your project. That’s where to find them, and then the Done For You Services, there’s just a service link at the top of the website, the main menu there, and that’s where the information about that is. What else? Is there anything else that we want the listener to know about in terms of the Done For You and the experts and the magical combination?
Ali Mathis: Let’s see, anything else we want them to know about it. I mean, I think that there may have been some disappointment when we took away our offer of adding custom content creation ourselves, our custom content installation, but I think that the LifterLMS Experts Program is a great solution in response to that. It’s just like another step or maybe even another piece of the triangle in getting your website online as fast as possible and getting the right people to do the right thing because I think it’s really important to know where your skillset is and to pick the right people. Again, not to overuse this word, but to pick the experts in their field who are going to do the best job possible and really shine at doing the things that they do best.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s a super good point. Yeah, that’s the beauty of the finish line of the Done For You Program. You’re pretty much at the just add content point, so you could do it yourself, you could hire an expert. Basically, when you go through the Done For You Services, instead of purchasing, say, the Universe Bundle or the Infinity Bundle and now you go download some plugins and zip files and themes, some graphics, perhaps you’re new to WordPress or you haven’t used it that much and you’re a little short on time, the Done For You Service just moves that starting line way forward into the future to the point where it’s, okay, everything is set up, looks good, just add connect.
Ali Mathis: That’s another, actually, important question that I’ve seen a few times today. The Done For You Services do include the software bundle with them and the cost for the first year of the software bundle, and then you have the option at the end of the year to renew not the entire Done For You price but just the software bundle portion of it. If you don’t renew it, you don’t lose any access to your site. Your site still keeps working perfectly fine. You just wouldn’t be able to continue using our support ticket system and you wouldn’t receive any plugin updates until you renewed your subscription. That’s sort of how that piece of that works.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, if you’re listening out there and you have any questions at all about the LifterLMS Done For You Services or about the Expert Program, head on over to lifterlms.com. At the bottom, there’s a general contact link. There’s the link to the expert page. There’s link to the Done For You Services Program page. We’re easy to get ahold of. Ali, thank you for coming back on the show and-
Ali Mathis: Anytime. I love being here.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, you’re still winning. We’ll have to do it again sometime. For the listener out there, I hope you found this valuable. I’d encourage you think long and hard about the issue that course creators have where you have to wear all these different hats. Sometimes putting the right expert at the right place at the right time can actually save you a lot of time and money and frustration. Check out the Done For You and the Expert Program. Keep building your course. I hope you have a great day. That’s it for this episode of LMScast. We’ll catch you in the next one.

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