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Joshua: Hello, everyone. We are back today with another episode of LMSCast. I’m Joshua Millage, and I’m joined with Christopher Badgett. Today, it’s going to be a really fun episode because it’s going to help you avoid some landmines when you’re creating your WordPress LMS course. Chris, we’ve got four topics, four things you should avoid doing when you’re creating your WordPress LMS course. Kick it off, man. What’s the first one?
Christopher: All right. Awesome. One mistake that we see happening in the industry is, in general, I would just call it feature creep. What that means for a WordPress LMS course is that you’re just … You have a lot … The thing is education entrepreneurs, they’re creative. They’re smart. They’re intelligent. They want to like do all these different things with their courses. The way we built the Lifter LMS plugin is we’re making it, so they can do a lot of the core things that you need to do when you want to touch online and there’s various functionality there that you can turn.
Almost always with a WordPress-powered Learning Management System, people want to extend and go further which is great and totally possible. That’s one of the beautiful things about the WordPress framework as a development base for additional functionality, additional plugins like we talked about in the previous episode. What ends up happening a lot of times is if someone is like, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could also do X, Y, and Z? It’s not an option in the plugin.”
That kind of thing, I’ve seen it delay a lot of people for launching, and getting to revenue, and getting to impacting lives, and getting their business launched or jus their course platform launched as quickly as they really could. They get bogged down in feature creep.
Joshua: Yeah. I think it’s a great point, man. It means like people are coming for the content that’s in your one course. Maybe in time, they’re coming for multiple courses, but it’s like focus on the absolute essentials out of the gate and make sure you’re getting those right. I had a call today with someone that … He’s a good friend of both of ours, Charles Gaudet. Charles is just a brilliant marketer, teacher in his own right, and he said something that really struck me.
He said, “If these marketers could just understand that if their course …” He’s talking about marketers, so you got to apply this to your own life, but he’s like, “If the marketers can understand if their course actually helped people like if the content of the course actually helped people,” he’s like, “They would have more business, more leads, and more profit than they would know what to do with because the course itself changed that person.”
Christopher: It’s like the old outage, “Form follows function.” We would modify that slightly to say that additional functionality follows the course content. That’s the … Yeah.
Joshua: Exactly, but the lie that we tell ourselves is, “Oh, I don’t have that X, Y, or Z,” things that we talked about. One of the things I think is great is we have a system that gives you Swiss Army knife of all the essential tools that you need to build your course with Lifter LMS. At the same time, even if you’re using LearnDash, WP Courseware, or ZP Courses for the … More of the marketers or even if you’re trying to put this in a membership, it applies to everybody.
It’s like create killer content right out of the gate and don’t get so focused on all the whiz-bangs that go around it. That stuff is nice as time goes on. I would just say engage, engage, engage, and engage some more, and he who engages the most will win. That’s the quotable, I think, for today.
Christopher: Absolutely. Just to piggyback on that, I’d come into the mistake number two that we see happening. This is especially for someone who’s just starting their first online course platform is too many courses, and that you can always rollout your WordPress LMS platform with just one course, and now you’re on the market if you’re selling your courses and you’re up and running. If you’re like, “Oh, wait. I need to get a course ready for this. I need to get a course ready for this.”
If you’re starting from scratch, that can like really delay and also demotivates you because you don’t feel like you’re getting any closer to launching and actually connecting with students and impacting lives. Especially for the complete beginner. If you don’t already have all these course content created, just focus on just one course.
Joshua: Yeah. I think that’s huge. I think the best online schools, especially the independent ones, they have courses that fall logical sequence that build on each other which I think is really a unique opportunity. Like you go to college, you have all of these different degrees, right? You have all of these different pathways, these different journeys you could take, and things build on each other. Prerequisites build on each other. I think it’s important to do that instead of just having a course on everything.
Joshua: It’s like someone … You got to build that power line and that power band. It makes sense, and you can have a much greater impact I think from a learning standpoint as well as it’s just so much easier to market and sell something that plays into the next thing, in the next … 101 to 201, et cetera. That’s a really good tip. What else, Chris?
Christopher: The mistake number three that we see a lot is actually piggybacking on both those things, and it’s creating other offers that you want to launch with in addition to your courses. It’s just … Overall, it’s a tendency to overcomplicate things. What I mean by that is if you’re going to sell a course and then you’re like, “Oh, I should … I need to make or also sell this complementary product I have with it that’s not ready or already for sale on my website. I need to get that ready too.” Now, you’re juggling a different kind of ecommerce with your LMS.
It just interjected a lot of complexity in the mix. Of course, it’s important to have courses. Then if your business model supports it, they have other things like physical products, eBooks, coaching opportunities, one-on-one or group. All these other things can be added in, but if you’re just trying to launch, just launch with the course first before you start trying to build all these pieces and like launch it all at the same time. Building a WordPress Learning Management System is more of a process than like there’s one event that only happens once.
Joshua: I think it’s a … It’s the marathon mindset.
Joshua: I don’t think we have ever said or I know we will never say that this is a get-rich-quick thing.
Joshua: It’s not. It’s just … It’s not going to be that. If anyone is listening who thinks that building an online course is like the lottery ticket, I would suggest shutting off our podcast and not listening to it because that’s not at all what we teach, and that’s not how it works. It’s an iterative process. It’s really focusing on value from course to course, to course and making things roll out in a way that makes sense. I love that.
Christopher: Absolute …
Joshua: Number four?
Christopher: Number four and the final mistake that we see a trend that we’d like to bring to your attention is just not outsourcing when you need to. What happens is, especially with educational entrepreneurs, is often times, there’s a lot of like knowledge in like the course material, but then they get bogged down in the tech or they get bogged down in graphic or other custom development.
If you’re running into issues with your course, instead of just like just trying to teach yourself how to program or trying to teach yourself how to do graphic design on Pixlr or something like that, sometimes it’s just so much more worth it and so much more profitable in the long run and get better results by going to someone who’s specializes in that thing. To give a few examples of what that could be, courses tend to have like a featured image that represents the course.
Designing that image is like really important to grabbing attention like we talked about in our episode about creating a sales letter and selling your course. If you’re not a graphic designer, you can spend $5 on a website like Fiber and see what someone comes up with as an idea to represent your course.
Christopher: The same is true for development. If you run into some issue with the theme you changed and you want to change some sizes and colors that aren’t really part of the Lifter LMS plugin or whatever you’re using or your WordPress theme and you can’t figure it out, you probably need a developer to help you with it and something that may take them like, “Oh,” just like 60 seconds. You might waste two hours like trying to figure that out on your own or more, so things like that, development, design.
We did the episode about multimedia and learning styles. If you need help with like creating the video part of your online course material, maybe grab some help, throwing out on Craigslist and see what you can get for a local video person to come help you out or audio person and that kind of thing. The same for the written word. You can get back up on the writing part if you’re doing downloadable PDFs and so on.
Joshua: Let me give a real good example. This podcast as well as the other podcasts I run in FusionCast, it’s a lot of work, man. Six episodes a week, I can’t handle it. I recently brought on a phenomenal assistant named Kara. She’s going to help with the syndication process of this. I got a guy down in Arizona who’s going to help me with actually … We give him the transcript. He’s going to help us with creating the actual post. We’re bringing people into the fold as time goes on. Does it cost money? Yes, it cost money, but it’s investing in the business.
It’s also the innovation and suggestions that come from people like our writers and producers like Kara is huge because they’re going to see things that we don’t see, and that’s another added benefit of outsourcing. I don’t think a lot of people consider or even put on their radar. I know that like one of the things that people say about CodeBOX which is the company where you and I are partners is that we innovate with people.
They’ll come to us for a project, but in the progression of that project, we come up with ideas for them, different ways of structuring their LMS system if that’s what they’re coming to building, or traditionally where we’ve come from is Infusionsoft, coming up with new marketing campaigns and things where … It’s another value add. We don’t need a charge for that, but was just part of our culture. I think that’s the thing.
If you build a culture of that in your eLearning system where you’re bringing on contractors and you’re encouraging them to give you ideas, for one, they’re going to love working with you because they have ideas, but no one ever gives them the platform to share those. That’s really fulfilling because a lot of times, people look at these contractors, their outsourcers, as hired guns. “I’m going to pay you money. You give me a product.” Yeah, that’s like very … That’s not very human like allow them to suggest things and build that platform. It’s only going to help you.
I think it’s really a hidden benefit of spreading the work out. The biggest thing is it gives you more time and energy to be creative and do what you do best too. Let’s not forget the primary reason here either, but there’s a lot of secondary really good reasons to get comfortable with that. One book I want to suggest is by Chris Ducker, “Virtual Freedom.” If you’ve been in the internet marketing world, I’m sure you’ve heard this book mentioned.
It is a truly phenomenal book. I don’t say that very often because I read about a book a week, and I’d say half the books I read every year, I just can’t suggest, but his book is really good. It has a lot of ways of looking at outsourcing, so check that out when you get a chance.
Christopher: Awesome. I would just close it out with one more book recommendation in line of what we’re talking about here with outsourcing, and building systems, and keeping as education entrepreneur whether you’re marketer, teacher, an artist, or some kind of subject matter expert is to focus on your … Stuff that you can be in your zone of genius, and that book is called “Work the System” by Sam Carpenter. It had a huge impact on my life, so there’s another one.
Joshua: Yeah. I actually think that if you’re going to make a decision whether to read a book about systemization whether it’s getting things done … I can’t really put “The 4-Hour Work Week” in there, but that’s a pretty good book too, but “Work the System” lays it out. It’s very straightforward on how to do this and how to build processes. I think it’s a really, really, really good book to … It’s like foundational learning, so I would suggest checking that out too.
With that, we’re going to close up today’s episode. We’ve got another one right around the corner for you, so stay tuned. If you haven’t already, go to LMSCast.com and hit the “Subscribe” button, and we will email you every time we have a new episode available. Thank you so much, and have a great day.