099 Danny Iny On Creating Profitable, Scalable, and Effective Coaching Courses

099 Danny Iny On Creating Profitable, Scalable, and Effective Coaching Courses

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Have you ever participated in an online learning course? Better yet, have you ever thought about creating your own course? It’s a daunting task, without a doubt, and that’s exactly why Danny Iny is here. He’s a master at creating online courses – serious online learning with coaching and guaranteed results. Danny is here today to share what it takes to make a course and how to know if you are on the right track with your content, support and pricing.

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the founder of Mirasee, host of the Business Reimagined podcast, bestselling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich, and creator of the acclaimed Audience Business Masterclass and Course Builder’s Laboratory training programs, which have together graduated over 5,000 value-driven online entrepreneurs.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Why both online courses and info products can be valuable to your business. (5:30)
  • Learn why the transformation from a course is where the magic is. Interaction is just a bonus. (10:39)
  • No matter how brilliant you are, there are only so many things you can do well. (16:45)
  • Sometimes people are ready to buy your product because it is exactly what they need. This may or may not correspond with a typical sales funnel. (19:15)
  • Why a course should be rebuilt from scratch each year. Getting lots of feedback is the key to knowing what to change. (26:36)
  • Find out how much content you should have to create a course. The answer will make you uncomfortable. (30:02)

 

00:02 Michael Port: Welcome to, “Steal The Show” with Michael Port. This is Michael. Today’s guest is Danny Iny. And he’s the founder of Mirasee, host of the, Business Reimagined Podcast, best selling author of multiple books including, “Engagement From Scratch”, “The Audience Revolution”, “Teach and Grow Rich”, and the creator of the acclaimed Audience Business MasterClass and Course Builders Laboratory Training Programs, which have together, graduated over 5,000 value driven online entrepreneurs. In just a few short years, he’s grown the business to multiple seven figures in revenue, and a team of 30 plus people spread out all over the world, including his talented wife. Danny?

00:46 Danny Iny: Michael.

00:46 Michael Port: Hi, how are you?

00:47 Danny Iny: I am great. I’m really excited to be here.

00:50 Michael Port: Good. Good. So, we’re gonna do a session here on content creation and course creation more specifically. Because nobody is better at this than you. And I’m a big fan. And I think that the work you do is very, very important because you have a very interesting way of identifying the problem in the world of info product creation and course creation today. And what the solution is for the time that we live in. And that’s where I’d like to start.

01:25 Danny Iny: Sure. And again, thank you. I’m flattered, it’s high praise coming especially from you. I think the core issue is actually in exactly that phrase, that marrying of courses, which is implicitly an educational experience that you’re creating and providing to your students, with the term info product. Information and education are used interchangeably in this world of online business. They’re actually very different things. They’re very different things and they have very different purposes.

01:58 Danny Iny: Let’s use the real world to kinda start understanding it. The real world analogue of information is a book in a book store. So, you walk into a bookstore, you find the book you want, you pay for it, typically not a lot of money. Information is typically cheap or free. You walk out of the bookstore, and from the moment that you’ve done that, nobody owes you anything. You’re on your own. When somebody buys a copy of, “Steal the Show”, you’ve done everything you could to make it the best, most compelling, engaging information you can. But once I walk out of the bookstore with my copy, you don’t owe me anything, I’ve got what I paid for. Not you, not the bookstore owner, not the publisher. Now, what I do with it is solely on me.

02:41 Danny Iny: Contrast that with an educational experience. In the real world analogue is a course at a university. You can’t just go and buy a diploma the way you can buy a book. What you’re buying is the opportunity to earn one, working in partnership with your teacher. And that partnership is the key difference. I’m not solely responsible for my success, neither are you as the teacher. We’re in partnership in this together. And that is the real difference. It’s not about is it text versus audio versus video versus live in person or whatever, it’s about where does the responsibility lie. And because of that difference between information and education, information tends to be cheaper free, education commands a premium. And they’re both important. I’m not saying that education’s important and information is not. They serve different purposes. Information is meant to inform, to inspire, to present possibilities you didn’t know existed, to act as a reference. And if you’re already an expert, you can integrate new information into your existing knowledge set.

03:44 Danny Iny: Information does not lead to a jump from a certain level of competence or capability to a higher one. For that you need education if you wanna create that real transformation. And the big frustration in our industry is that, a lot of people are creating information products. And yes, the media is rich in it’s videos and so forth. But, it’s information products, no support, no partnership. And trying to sell it at a price reserved that make sense for education. That’s where the emperor has no clothes.

04:16 Michael Port: It’s interesting because over the years we have moved most of our offerings 97% or 98% of our offerings are in the latter category. They are education experienced driven partnerships with our students. And what you made me think of is, how we think of the people that we serve, we don’t think of them as clients. We think of them as students. For a couple of different reasons. Number one; because if we think of them as clients, then we are worried about things we shouldn’t worry about. If we’re thinking about them as students, we are focused solely on their progress as it relates to the goals they set. And we’re not worried about losing them. Meaning, we will say the things that need to be said, even if we are not sure how that student’s gonna respond because a great teacher says what needs to be said. And we will also do what needs to be done even if we are not sure how that student is gonna respond. And that’s made a big difference for us. So, what do you think? Should people be creating info-products and also courses and experiential events? Or should you really stay on one side or the other? Should you focus on one or the other?

05:47 Danny Iny: I think there’s room for both. I try to be very careful about making blanket prescriptions. Something that I’m very weary of is Maslow’s hammer. Abraham Maslow was the, he created his hierarchy of needs that a lot of people know about. He also formulated what he called the Law of the Instrument, Maslow’s Hammer, the idea that when what you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

06:10 Michael Port: Yes, that’s right.

06:10 Danny Iny: Right. I’m very wary of say, “Well, everyone should create courses or everyone should be doing only information.” There’s room for both and it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. The challenge is when you try to build your business on a foundation that doesn’t have long-term success. So if you’re building info-products and selling them at a premium, your days are numbered. That’s just not going to fly for very much longer. If you’re using it as a way for people to discover you for the first time, it’s cheap, it’s free, that’s great. And we’re just now beginning to get into the mainstreaming of this, MasterClass is a great example of that, with courses by famous celebrities like: Dustin Hoffman, Serena Williams, and Aaron Sorkin. And it’s $100 course and it’s information, you’re absolutely not…

06:58 Danny Iny: When I take Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass on script writing… I’ve no partnership with Aaron Sorkin, Aaron Sorkin bears no responsibility for what I do with that or not. It is interesting and valuable, it’s not transformative, I don’t have that kind of support and that’s fine. Now here’s where it gets tricky for the rest of us. If someone has the choice of, “Do I spend $100 on Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass or yours, when they’re both information?” It’s gonna be hard to compete with Aaron Sorkin. On the other hand, if you’re creating great information, you’re giving it away for free, or very cheap, there is going to be room for that as a way of establishing yourself as the expert that you are, as a way of building credibility, as a way of building those relationships.

07:46 Danny Iny: And what I love about the fact, people like Aaron Sorkin are creating these courses is that, the biggest leap that most people need to make is not realizing they should buy your course. It’s realizing that a course is something they can buy from someone who’s not a university, right? This is still cutting edge for a lot of the broader mainstream market, that’s just starting to come into it. And Aaron Sorkin is doing the heavy lifting by letting us know that this is possible. But when you look at this MasterClass course… Again, whether it’s Aaron Sorkin or Dustin Hoffman, Serena Williams, Gordon Ramsay, basically, I imagine this is how it works, they come into the studio, they’re interviewed for a bunch of hours, the video is recorded and cut up and so forth. But they get a day or two of these celebrities time and that’s plenty when you’re looking at a celebrity’s time. There’s no way that Aaron Sorkin is gonna deliver a $2,000 course on script writing where he’s going to review your stuff and give you feedback and workshop stuff and… He’s got other things to do, his time is just not… That’s not his pursuit.

08:52 Danny Iny: And so, when people have consumed the information, they’re inspired, they’re excited, they want to learn more, where are they gonna go? Aaron Sorkin’s created the demand, there is room for other people to fulfill it. And what’s really interesting also is that the economics are very different for information versus education. A hundred dollars which is a high price for information, but still, it’s not a huge amount of money. There’s a hundred dollars split between the course creator, the MasterClass company, etcetera, you’ve gotta move a lot of volume for that to add up to anything interesting. You don’t need nearly as much volume when you’re selling a $2,000, $3,000, $5,000 course for it to add up to money that is meaningful. And, Aaron Sorkin, I don’t know what his net worth is, I’m assuming it’s quite meaningful. The number has to be a lot bigger for it to be impactful for him. Whereas, for most people if you can add a few hundred thousand dollars to your bottom line, per year, that’s pretty awesome, that’s great.

09:52 Michael Port: So what’s the difference? ‘Cause I wanna make sure that we get really clear on this. Sometimes when people think about courses, they don’t think necessarily about interactive courses, they say, “Well, I’m gonna put a course together and people can go through it, charge a lot of money.” But that’s still in that information category, it seems to me based on your example that you gave at the beginning. How do you make it so that it is: Interactive, experiential, transformative, ’cause transformation is where the value lies?

10:34 Danny Iny: I agree completely, transformation is the necessity. Interactivity is usually a part of that, not necessarily. So, I wanna say something about the economics and we’ll talk about how to make courses that meet these criteria. A lot of people have pretty unreasonable expectations around levels of profitability, levels of profit margin, right? Producing a $2,000 course that cost you nothing to fulfill or deliver, that just doesn’t make sense. I had a conversation with my wife, the other day, she comes from a finance background, she’s our CFO. And we were talking about profit margins in the business, and people can disagree about the exact number but the idea makes sense. She said, “If you’ve got much more than a 15% margin, you’re screwing somebody. But you’re either screwing your customers because you’re gauging them or you’re screwing yourself ’cause you’re preventing, you’re not investing in growth the way you should.” Like if your margins are too good, if you’re taking home too much of the total sale, something is not sustainable in your business. And at the very least, you’re going to be disrupted.

11:50 Michael Port: That’s very interesting.

11:52 Danny Iny: ‘Cause think about it, if you’ve got a 50% margin, that essentially means someone can deliver the same thing at half the price, the same thing, same quality, so there’s no sustainability.

12:02 Michael Port: Yeah.

12:03 Danny Iny: So, just in terms of reason-ability of expectations. On that side you can be very profitable, you can be very successful. And it’s not about having to meet a particular bar of interactivity or support. It’s really about providing the interactivity and support that it takes in order for people to get the outcome. In order for people to experience the transformation. And I can illustrate this with two courses that we deliver that are very different. One is our Course Builders Laboratory. We teach people how to build and sell courses, which is a complex endeavor to undertake. There’re a lot of moving parts, there’re a lot steps. And so people need more support. Every student in our, Course Builders Laboratory gets a dedicated coach on my team, because that’s what it takes to get to the finish line with this subject matter.

12:47 Danny Iny: Another course of ours is called, Standout Guest Posting, teaches people how to write great blog post, get them published on major blogs. It’s not as complicated. It’s a much smaller course in terms of content, in terms of scope. It’s just not as hard to do and so everybody doesn’t get a coach ’cause people don’t need a coach in order to get to the finish line.

13:06 Danny Iny: And so, here’s the really quick process, quick to explain, not quick to actually implement. Quick process for figuring out what is the level of support you need. You start with a high level of support and a low number of students. And because you’re offering a high level of support it’s a lot of your time, low number of students, the price per student can often be higher. So you can still be very profitable. That can work fine. But you work with maybe a few dozen students who deliver your curriculum ideally in a live context, whether that’s in person or video conference or some way where you can ideally see their faces.

13:41 Danny Iny: If they’re not getting it, you wanna see that right away. You wanna be able to pivot and adapt. When people have questions, of course you answer them, ’cause you wanna get them to the finish line, you wanna get them the outcome, both because that’s your responsibility as someone who sold this promise, and because if you wanna sell the promise again, you’re gonna need the proof of, “look what my previous students have successfully achieved.” And you wanna take stock, keep track of what all the questions are that came up. And all those questions are gonna fall into two categories. One group of questions are the unique questions. That’s where people have questions that are very unique to their life, their business, their situation. There’s no replication there. Those are the questions, or those categories of questions, they will keep coming up. There’re always gonna be questions like that, and you need someone smart and competent to answer them.

14:27 Danny Iny: And maybe there are a lot of them, maybe there are very few, and that’ll help you figure out what level of support the course ultimately needs to come with. The other category of questions, are questions that a lot of people are asking the same question. And that is your cue that, “Oh, maybe you didn’t deliver something as clearly as you thought in the course to begin with”, and you wanna go back and smooth that stuff over, clarify. And once you’ve done as many rounds of this as it takes to find all the speed bumps, smooth them all out, and usually one or two rounds is enough, that’s when you’re ready to make a course into something permanent, whether that’s videos on a membership site or whatever format it might be, and that’s when you attach to it the level of support that the individual one-off questions called for. And that could be a lot, that could be very little. It’s really about what is the level of support that it will take for the majority of the people who sign up for this to get to the finish line.

15:23 Michael Port: For a thought leader’s business model, do you believe that they need these more entry-level courses that are lower price point, lower touch, in order to then move them towards the higher touch, more transformative specialized individual courses?

15:47 Danny Iny: No. No. Absolutely not. And that’s not to say they shouldn’t have it. It’s a matter of what is the business model that excites you and that works for you? And frankly, what is your subject matter even call for? Some subject matters are just easier than others. But it’s absolutely not necessary. It’s a matter of how it fits into the whole puzzle. If you’re a thought leader, then presumably you have a podcast, you have a blog, you speak on stages. There are ways already for people to discover you, come into your orbit, learn that you are someone they should trust and listen to. And so it sounds like the low priced information type course is a little bit redundant. Now that doesn’t mean people won’t buy it. That doesn’t mean it can’t serve as part of your ascension model, if that’s what makes sense in your business. But especially for someone in that category, I don’t think it’s necessary. And I think there’s also a splitting of effort and attention, and no matter how brilliant we are, there are only so many things we can do well at the same time.

16:48 Michael Port: I’m really with you. That really resonates for me. One of the things that historically has been taught in our industry is the idea of the marketing funnel, this idea that someone does something free and then they buy something that there’s a low price point and then a little bit higher and then a little bit higher and a little bit higher, etcetera. And those of us that have been doing this for a long time, we’ve experienced something different. We know that not everybody buys in the same way. Not everybody moves through a funnel in the same way. Somebody might discover you on a Tuesday and be blown away by what they saw. The timing is so perfect for them, in fact that they need to do what you’re offering right now or else there will be negative consequences in their life or business. And they will sign up for something that is arguably “expensive” the very next day. And other people will watch you for five years before they take a bite. And so people will move through these “sales funnels.” That’s the second time I’ve used the quote and quote expression. Ah, there’s the third, in different ways and if we try to force people into one particular way, we often lose the opportunity to make the connection where appropriate.

18:12 Danny Iny: I think the challenges that people often lose sight of the strategy or philosophy because they fixate on tactics. So when you think about the value ladder, a lot of people have this image of your $7 tripwire product and I hate that term by the way. I think conceptualizing your relationship with a perspective customer in a way that’s combative or oppositional is just awful.

18:35 Michael Port: That’s really funny. I’ve never even heard of that one and I am totally with you. It’s like when they use the funnel and they [18:41] ____ the funnel chokes people into… I don’t want to choke anyone.

18:46 Danny Iny: Exactly.

18:47 Michael Port: Yeah.

18:48 Danny Iny: So, people imagine, you’ve got your $7 offer, your $17 offer, your $97 offer, $197, $997, you’ve got this ascension model. And they figure, “Okay, well, these are the price points I need to slot something in.” And that kind of misses the point of where all this comes from. The idea is that there is a ladder of ascension, not in terms of price points people are gonna pay, but in terms of, at a step someone is your perfect customer ready to sign on the dotted line and move forward with whatever your offer might be. Half a step before that, they’re not there yet. Maybe they don’t understand their problem quite enough. Maybe they aren’t quite far along in their business or in their life. Maybe they don’t trust you enough. There is some movement, some evolution that has to happen with them and their relationship with you.

19:42 Danny Iny: Now, if that evolution corresponds to a problem that you can solve that at that step they’re happy to pay you for and so your hypothetical, your $97 product is the way of helping them make that change, creating that growth, then great. The $97 product will very likely lead to the $997 sale. But if you’re trying to slot in boxes, it’s the other way around ’cause what people end up doing is like, “Oh, here’s my $97 thing, but it won’t create the outcome that you really need, for that, you need the $997 thing.” That does the opposite of what you’re supposed to be doing.

20:18 Michael Port: As a teacher.

20:19 Danny Iny: Mm-hmm.

20:20 Michael Port: Yeah, I’m completely with you. Can we talk a little bit more about your, Course Builders Laboratory, as you would say. And from Canada, I would say laboratory.

[chuckle]

20:29 Danny Iny: Absolutely.

20:29 Michael Port: But just, I’ll translate for the Americans out there the laboratory, laboratory. So, let’s talk a little bit about this because from what I’ve seen it’s a very, very effective course and I’ve had a number of my students go through your course to great effect. And it’s such a high touch course and frankly it’s not very expensive, $2,000 for a course of that level with the kind of return on investment that you get, you have some really very strong promises that you make to your students.

21:02 Michael Port: It is a pretty modest price point I think and it seems like it’s not cheap to run for you. You have coaches for every single student. That’s pretty significant. So, I’d like to talk about how you do this. How do you design it? How do you decide what the students need in it and then structure it? I know I’m throwing a number of questions at you at one time. I also want to know, how do you train the coaches so that they can deliver in the way that is most effective based on the protocols that you’ve designed? So, let’s start there.

21:42 Danny Iny: Yeah, I’ll try to remember and answer all of those questions…

21:44 Michael Port: I’ll bring them back to you, yeah, no problem.

21:47 Danny Iny: So, first of all I want to throw out there the program actually costs $3,000 because it has grown and evolved and the support that we put into it keeps being beefed up. It is a very expensive program for us to run on two levels. And this is instructive for anyone who’s thinking about, how do I create something good and do it profitably but with reasonable margins. It’s expensive in the way that a lot of people can see right away which is every student gets a coach. There are people on my team, there’s manpower and that is their salaries, the training, everything that goes into that, that is a cost, obviously.

22:26 Danny Iny: The other way that it’s expensive that a lot of people don’t see is that this course keeps evolving. So, a pet peeve of mine is in our industry you see some courses that do have some longevity which is actually rare in our industry. But, every year there’s a big launch and every year the marketing gets better but the course stays the same. And there’s something wrong with that. It doesn’t matter how good the course is, if 1,000 people go through and you don’t learn anything about how to make it better, I’m sorry, you’re not paying attention.

23:00 Danny Iny: And that is how the course has evolved. It’s been through, what we’re releasing now, what we’re enrolling students in right now, it’s the third full version of the course and there have been a number of pilots and smaller tests of new methodologies and stuff along the way and it kind of goes to exactly what I was saying earlier, you deliver it. You want to start with a much higher touch delivery and that’s part of why I’m really glad that we have coaches that continue to work with our students ’cause I get much better feedback. But, you want to look at the trends. Where are people being successful? Where are people having challenges on the way to that success? Where are there questions that are coming up a lot? What are we teaching that might seem cool to me but seems to just confuse a lot of people and isn’t relevant to most of their situations? And also, there’s a matter of with a couple thousand people having been through it since the last version and it’s been a year or two and we’ve learned things about instructional design and delivery and so forth, how can we do it better?

24:01 Danny Iny: And we keep revising it. And there is a cost to rebuilding the course from scratch all over again. There are costs in a lot of businesses and you build a successful business by investing those resources by making those costs be in places that create the most value for the customer, for your students. And all the things that we invest in are about making sure our students get the best learning experience and the best support to create the outcome that they want. And the thing I’m most proud of, when you look at this course and you compare it to the market place of people who teach courses about all manner of topics in this online business world, is that typically on their sales pages, you’ll see five or 10 or maybe 15 case studies or testimonials. And if you’ll read them closely you’re like, “I don’t think this person actually went through the course. I think maybe they worked privately with this person, or they were buddies or something.” But this is not really proof that this program will [A], I don’t think is proof that this program works for anyone, but [B], I don’t think it’s proof that this program will work for someone like me.

25:06 Danny Iny: We have hundreds of students who have been successful. When you look at our sales information, there are case study, after case study, after case study, after case study of real people, real students, who were not my private clients or anything like that, they didn’t already have successful businesses, they weren’t coming to the table with an email list of 40,000 people or whatever. They’re people who are starting from scratch like many people are, and they followed the process and it worked. And that was a function of the strategies being good, the curriculum bing designed and presented in a way that people can understand and implement, and the support infrastructure being there to help people get the results that they want and need. I feel like I’ve answered 70% of your questions.

25:52 Michael Port: Yeah, pretty good. Well, let’s go a little deeper into the cost aspect of it, because you mentioned that you recreated each year from scratch. But do you really create the whole thing from scratch each year?

26:10 Danny Iny: Yeah. Yeah, we do.

26:11 Michael Port: Wow. Aren’t there some components, for example, like when we do an event, I have someone whose job is to sit there and write down every single thing that didn’t work. Then we come home, and we analyze what worked, what didn’t work, then we adjust for next year. But we make sure that we don’t throw out the things that worked, just to change.

26:31 Danny Iny: Absolutely.

26:36 Michael Port: There’s a little bit of difference between you and I and the people who are going through your, Course Builders Laboratory. One, we’ve been doing this for a long time. I don’t know how long for you, but I’ve been doing it for 15 years. So it’s not the first time we’ve done it, so other folks, when they’re brand new, they are starting from scratch entirely. So I’d like to address first, what you do when you’re improving it each year, and then lets talk a little bit about what you have to contend with when you’re starting from scratch.

27:06 Danny Iny: Sure. So I’ll tell you what we did with this latest version because it’s instructive. The previous version of the course… And by the way in case anyone’s wondering, when we have a new version, we don’t charge people again or something, everyone gets upgraded. But the previous version was good, our students were having great successes, but they’re always things that could be better and so we keep a running file. What are the things people are struggling with? What are the challenges? What are the things that we’ve learned about instructional design, about how to best present content? And so when the time comes, we then do detailed in-depth interviews with all of our coaches, we wanna hear more about their experiences with their various students and where people are struggling and deepen that list. Excuse me, we have a coaching team but we also have a courses team, a course production team. And so they gather all that information, they take the scripts of the previous version and use that as kind of source material to recreate the entire course. And so we restructured a whole bunch of stuff, we cut out a fair amount of stuff that we were like, “This applies to 2% of our students but it confuses 20% of our students, let’s just get rid of it.”

28:16 Michael Port: Sure.

28:17 Danny Iny: We added some stuff, sometimes strategies change ’cause the landscape changes. And a big change was the way lessons are structured. So our lessons used to be about 20 minutes long, and what we found in our research is that shorter, tighter lessons, basically if you take a lesson, break it into its component ideas, and the average lesson is three to five minutes, that works a lot better. And so all of that was restructured as well. And re-filmed it from scratch, reproduced it from scratch.

28:48 Danny Iny: Now, this is not what everybody needs to do at their very first course. Your very first course, you’re delivering it live so you’re not producing much of anything, you’re just delivering it and kind of learning from the experience, and it’s once you feel like you’ve ‘nailed it’ is a strong word, once you feel like you’ve got it good enough that this can get people where they wanna go, you codify it, and then you sit back and you let people enroll and pay you lots of money which is great. You work with them, you support them, and you just kind of keep track. I wouldn’t rebuild the course after 100 students. But after a couple of years and a couple of thousand students, it’s like, “You know what, I feel like the list of things we could do better has gotten long enough that it would be worthwhile to rebuild this.”

29:32 Michael Port: So how much does a new course creator create in advance? And how much is built through delivery?

29:46 Danny Iny: So my answer will make people uncomfortable.

29:49 Michael Port: Great.

29:51 Danny Iny: But what I’ve found over and over is that people over-prepare for delivering their first pilot course. What I recommend is that for every lesson you have a one page outline at the most. Half a page of bullets is plenty. ‘Cause remember this is your subject matter area of expertise, you know this stuff. You can just go ahead and talk and deliver it from the bullets and you’ll be fine. But if you create a more detailed outline, if you create script, if you create slides, it becomes hard to deviate from what you’ve created except that you haven’t actually delivered this to people yet, you don’t know where they’re gonna get stuck and often, it will surprise you.

30:29 Danny Iny: I’ve had a lot of experiences with students and clients who are like, “No, I know you say I don’t need a long outline but I feel like I need it anyway, so I’m gonna do it.” I had one student’s a great example. She had a four week course and she wrote a detailed script for every lesson. She delivered the first one, and her students were freaking out. She was like, “You covered so much ground… ” What she basically found she had to do was throw out the next three lessons and take that first script and break it into three parts and that first lesson became the whole course.

31:06 Michael Port: Yeah. This is the same thing that often occurs with speakers. They have way, way, way too much plane for not enough runway because they’re so concerned about delivering value that they try to pack so much value into a constrained short period of time that they end up overwhelming their students. So I think there’s a balance that we need to strike between being very well prepared and able to be adaptable when teaching a course. One of the things that we do when we’re teaching a newer course, and you tell me what you think about this, is we’re very clear on what we believe the structure will look like. We’re very clear on what we believe the students need at various points throughout the course. And I use ‘believe’ as the operative word here because we don’t know.

32:16 Michael Port: So what we do is every single day that we finish, we then evaluate and we look at what we scheduled to determine whether or not we think it still applies. And then we redo the schedule if something needs to change. So not only do we do this after a course, and a lot of our courses run either over say, four months and many of them are in person because of the public speaking aspect of it. Now there’ll be four days a month for four months, or it’s a full five day period that’s a self contained period. But we’re doing that each day, and we do that even after the fourth or fifth iteration of the course, but we don’t need to do as much of it at that point, meaning we’re pretty clear on what’s gonna work throughout, and then our adjustments become smaller over time. But we will do our big course creation with an eye towards the fact that it’s going to change based on what actually happens moment-by-moment, day-by-day.

33:26 Danny Iny: I think that’s exactly the attitude that people need to come into it with, and people sometimes think, “Well doesn’t that mean I’m short changing my students in terms of the investment of my time?” And the answer is, no. But the investment of your time needs to happen when it’s most relevant, which is in the 10 or 20 years leading up to this as you became an expert in whatever you’re going to be teaching. And in the moment, so you can evolve in real time. In the month or two before the course, that is the least effective time to be investing your energy and trying to make it great. You wanna be present when it’s happening. And there’s a really interesting mind-shift that happens here. And actually, I’m reminded, when you came on my podcast when, Steal The Show was published, we talked about this a little bit, you shared that you were contacted by a colleague who was going to give a presentation or give a talk that was very, very important and high profile. And she said, “I really want to be good.” And you told her, “Well, that isn’t possible. You can’t be good, you can just do the best job in service of the people and the audience and it’ll be what it’ll be.”

34:35 Michael Port: Yes, and you can be helpful. And if you’re helpful, they’ll have a great experience ’cause they get value, but you can’t be good. There’s just no way to… How do you… “I wanna be a great person.” Well, you gotta do something for others to be a great person.

34:48 Danny Iny: Well, and not only that, when you’re trying to be good, when you’re trying to present a certain facade almost to the world, you’re in a place of insecurity, you’re in a place where it’s like, “I have to justify that this course is good enough.” And when you’re in that headspace, that’s when you cram in, as you said, way too much plane for the amount of runway you have, because it’s not about creating a great experience for people, it’s about creating an experience that you can justify and defend as being great, which is not the same thing. If you come at it, not from a perspective of, “How do I build the course that I can justify as being the best?” But rather, “What is the outcome that people actually care about and how can I best help them achieve that outcome?” Most of these things fall away.

35:36 Michael Port: So what kind of outcome do you see your students have in that particular Course Builders Laboratory? And you’re not a particularly braggadocious type person, I’ve known you for a while, you’re pretty straightforward, pretty humble type person. But please, feel free to share because I wanna get a real true sense of well what percentage of people are actually creating courses, following through and doing what they need to do, ’cause it’s one of the things people worry about. Well, if I make this promise that I can help you do this, and if you do X, Y, and Z, you’ll do this. But then they don’t do it, they’re gonna be angry at me. You know there’s this weird balance and I’d love to hear your experience with relation to that, and then also what kind of results are you seeing people have?

36:29 Danny Iny: So I’ll share with you the results that we promise. And by promise, I don’t mean we say it, but then the fine print is “your mileage may vary, can’t actually promise any results blah, blah, blah.” [laughter] The results that we promise are… If you sign up for this program, you put in the time, you do the work, you follow the plan, you will successfully launch your course. If you don’t, you reach out to us, and we will help you. We will give you a plan to follow. If you follow that plan and you still do not successfully launch your course, we’ll give you double your money back.

37:02 Michael Port: Wow.

37:05 Danny Iny: And that’s why I can confidently say that this program works for everyone who goes through it. The exciting… I think we’ve had to fulfill on that guarantee like three times. So, it does happen occasionally but it’s very rare. This works for people who follow through and do the work. There are certainly more cases where someone will sign up and then just not do anything. That’s not on me. What’s on me is that we made the course as easy as possible for someone to stick through, to work through, to get all the support they need to get to the finish line.

37:42 Danny Iny: And, if you look at outcomes, you know when people… The big number people look for is how much money did somebody make selling their course, and that’s unfortunate because there’s a lot more to it. When you sell your first course, when you deliver it, when you see it, “Oh my God, people actually do want this!” The confidence that gives you, the traction, the proof of concept sets you up for a lot of success. So I don’t like to boil it down to that number, but for people who do care about that number, most people who launch their first course will typically make a few thousand dollars on that course. This is assuming they don’t have an existing following, they don’t have… They’re not the world leading authority in whatever.

38:23 Danny Iny: They don’t have their own TV show or some nonsense like that. Average people just getting started. First course, a few thousand dollars, sometimes more. The most I’ve seen someone make on their first launch, this was a private client, and her situation is not completely typical, she did about a quarter of a million dollars on her fist pilot. And I’ve seen people who are students in the program, do many tens of thousands of dollars on their first pilot. Those results are possible, but not typical. A few thousand dollars on your first course launch is typical, and that paves the way for a lot more success after that. It’s very common for the next launch to be bigger, the next launch to be bigger, and we’ve had a lot of students, if this is what they want, ’cause again, people’s goals vary, but quit their jobs, make this a full-time thing or a substantial supplement to the rest of their business.

39:19 Michael Port: That’s fantastic. So, the second edition of, “Teach and Grow Rich” has just come out and people can buy it on Amazon, I imagine.

39:28 Danny Iny: Mm-hmm.

39:28 Michael Port: It’s a wonderful book. I recommend you do pick it up there. In the show notes I’m also going to include some links so people can go and check out the different courses that you’ve been talking about. If they wanna learn how to build courses, I think they should go and do this with you. And… I thank you, Danny. I think the work you’re doing is wonderful. I love what you bring to our industry, this very straightforward, practical, results oriented, approach. Not much hyperboley, and reality, frankly, and I appreciate that.

40:03 Danny Iny: Michael, thank you. I’ve been a fan for a long time. It’s been an honor getting to know you, becoming a friend over the last couple years and I’m looking forward to a lot more. I hope this has been valuable for everyone who’s listening.

40:14 Michael Port: It’s been valuable… I’ve learned a lot so I figure if I learned a lot, I imagine others have as well. Anything else you’d like to share before we wrap up?

40:23 Danny Iny: Yeah. We talked a lot about the what and the how. I wanna share, the 30,000-foot view perspective for a moment. Why this is important. If you look at all of human history, we’ve always had a big leap forward when we got better at taking knowledge and competence and inspiration out of one person’s head and into anothers. When we developed the ability to speak, society lept forward. The written word, big leap forward. The printing press, radio, television, the Internet, this is kind of what’s next because it’s about taking evermore complex ideas and competencies and gifting the opportunity to acquire them to other people. This is what’s next and I’m so excited that we’re at this moment in history where this is happening and that so many people are getting involved in helping our world take that next step forward.

41:24 Michael Port: And beautifully, it’s not just the whole world. This is not just a macro opportunity. This is a very specific unique opportunity for each individual, because generally in our field, the next step is through these kinds of courses. If you’re looking to become more scalable, more leveraged, more profitable, and grow something that has more meaning, and I think, a legacy opportunity, then this is the kind of thing that needs to be done, I believe, and as a result it changes us on an individual level as well.

42:09 Danny Iny: Absolutely.

42:10 Michael Port: Thank you so much, Danny. I appreciate it. Have a wonderful day and everybody keep thinking big about who you are and what you offer the world. Thank you for your attention, I never take it for granted. I think it’s an opportunity, it’s a privilege to be of service. Now while you’re over at Amazon picking up a copy of, “Teach and Grow Rich”, pick up a copy of, “Steal the Show” if you have not read it yet. And send me your questions or comments anytime to questions@heroicpublicspeaking.com, questions@heroicpublicspeaking.com. Bye for now.