Hey everyone! This week I’m joined by Paul Minors, productivity expert, virtual consultant, and founder of PaulMinors.com. He is here to talk about his course, How to Become a Virtual Consultant, and how he helps businesses set up and use tools like Asana, MailChimp, Pipedrive and Zapier. Productivity is the vehicle by which you can have a great life. As someone who is passionate about productivity and automation, Paul understands that setting up efficient systems is the key to success in any business. His course, How to Become A Virtual Consultant, enables clients to learn the processes and tools he uses to be more organized and achieve more in both business and life. Paul has helped more than 400 clients create more effective businesses using the best tools to get them results. Tune in to hear Paul’s transition process from one-on-one work to an online course, plus his productivity and marketing hacks and how to build an online community. Episode Quotes "Surveying your audience is always a good idea." "Community is the X factor when building your business online." - Janelle "You're going to have a load of failure, so patience is really important." "You will always be rewarded for being consistent." "The success of a business comes down to how clearly you can communicate an idea." Listen to Learn 01:43 - Rapid 5 Questions 07:28 - Paul's career and business journey 11:24 - Initial steps and transition to course creation 16:28 - Ways to build an online audience 18:41 - Course launching and audience survey 25:42 - Creating the course structure 27:51 - Marketing channels, why YouTube is worth it 32:21 - How to build and personalize marketing funnels 39:10 - LinkedIn, Google AdWords, and other marketing tips 41:31 - How to price online courses 45:50 - Paul's advice for online creators 48:29 - Exciting things coming up from Paul Connect with Paul Check out How to Become a Virtual Consultant PaulMinors.com Follow Paul on Twitter! Looking for the Transcript? Episode 123
Hey everyone! This week I’m joined by Paul Minors, productivity expert, virtual consultant, and founder of PaulMinors.com. He is here to talk about his course, How to Become a Virtual Consultant, and how he helps businesses set up and use tools like Asana, MailChimp, Pipedrive and Zapier.
Productivity is the vehicle by which you can have a great life.
As someone who is passionate about productivity and automation, Paul understands that setting up efficient systems is the key to success in any business. His course, How to Become A Virtual Consultant, enables clients to learn the processes and tools he uses to be more organized and achieve more in both business and life. Paul has helped more than 400 clients create more effective businesses using the best tools to get them results.
Tune in to hear Paul’s transition process from one-on-one work to an online course, plus his productivity and marketing hacks and how to build an online community.
"Surveying your audience is always a good idea."
"Community is the X factor when building your business online." - Janelle
"You're going to have a load of failure, so patience is really important."
"You will always be rewarded for being consistent."
"The success of a business comes down to how clearly you can communicate an idea."
Listen to Learn
01:43 - Rapid 5 Questions
07:28 - Paul's career and business journey
11:24 - Initial steps and transition to course creation
16:28 - Ways to build an online audience
18:41 - Course launching and audience survey
25:42 - Creating the course structure
27:51 - Marketing channels, why YouTube is worth it
32:21 - How to build and personalize marketing funnels
39:10 - LinkedIn, Google AdWords, and other marketing tips
41:31 - How to price online courses
45:50 - Paul's advice for online creators
48:29 - Exciting things coming up from Paul
Connect with Paul
Check out How to Become a Virtual Consultant
Follow Paul on Twitter!
Looking for the Transcript?
Paul Minors: That's the power of video. It's like if a picture tells a thousand words, video tells like a million words because they can see who you are, and your credibility is built very quickly. And so when they inquire, I've always said it's a bit like jumping straight to a third date. They already know you a little bit, and now I'm actually just getting to know them. Yeah, I think video is definitely a channel worth thinking about. What is some advice I can share via video, whether it's like quick tips and things, or maybe it's screencasting, like what I'm doing, answering questions. There's loads of ways you can use video, but I think it's a very effective channel.
Janelle Allen: Welcome to Level Up Your Course, where we pull back the curtain on what it takes to create learning that transforms lives. You will hear stories from business owners like you who share their success and their struggles. This is not where you come to hear passive income hints, friends. This is where you learn the truth about building a profitable learning platform. I am your host, Janelle Allen, and this is today's episode.
Hey family, it's Janelle, I just wanted to come on really quickly to give you a heads up about something. If you're a longtime listener of the show, you know that there is one question that I ask every guest, and it is a popular question. That is, how would they prepare for the zombie apocalypse? And I realized that question might hit a little too close to home for a lot of us right now. So if you think that that question might trigger some things you might want to fast forward because it is asked in this episode, that episode was recorded before the Coronavirus situation hit. So just want to give you a heads up. Let's get back into it.
What's up everyone, today I'm speaking with Paul Minors, founder of Paul Minors.com, productivity expert, virtual consultant, and course creator if that wasn't enough. Paul, welcome to the show.
PM: Hi, Janelle. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
JA: Yeah, I'm really excited to chat with you. I know we've been planning to have this conversation for a while. So, before we get into all of the questions, we have a tradition on the show. Paul, I have five quick questions to help listeners get to know you, ready?
PM: Yeah, ready.
JA: Alright, so number one, what did you have for breakfast?
PM: Like a crunchy muesli thing with yogurt.
JA: Okay, cool. And I should mention, Paul, you're in Australia, right?
PM: New Zealand.
JA: New Zealand, that's right. It's 8 am.
JA: So that's a timely question.
PM: A day ahead as well.
JA: Gotcha. Okay, number two, what is the last rule that you broke?
PM: The last rule? Ah, oh, gosh, I can't think of anything. The last rule that I broke, I don't know. We might have to circle back to that. I'll try and think of it as we're coming in. I'll try and think of it by the end. I'm sorry.
JA: Okay, that one always stumps people. All right. Number three. This is a serious question. It's also a timely question. So the zombie apocalypse has officially hit, you have six minutes to grab three essential items to get you and your family through, not people, all of your loved ones are good. What three items do you pick?
PM: Oh, good question. I would probably pick some kind of board game. My first reaction, actually, I'll talk you through my thought process. I was like my laptop and my phone. And then I'm like well, zombie apocalypse there might not be power, there's probably no internet, so I'm not gonna be working so those things I don't need. Probably a board game of some sort, if my friends and family are there, we can have a really good time. My friends and I really love playing Secret Hitler, which is this role-playing game a bit like Mafia or Werewolf, where people in the group are baddies, and you have to work out who the bad people are. So I'd probably take some kind of board game, my Rubik's Cube as well because I can see that right in front of me. Anything entertaining, as you can see. There's a theme here anything entertaining, anything that's going to keep me entertained. What else let's take something practical. Probably a book. There's some books on the shelf behind me. I'd probably look up the bookshelf and maybe quickly try and decide what I haven't read in a while, that's gonna keep me entertained as well.
JA: Okay, so let the record show Paul is taking his Rubik's Cube, a board game, and a book. We didn't mention water. We didn't mention weapons.
PM: I figure I'll find those things as I go.
JA: I love it. I love it. I love asking that question. All right, fill in the blank. When I was a kid, I wanted to be blank.
PM: I wanted to be an inventor. Which came about after, actually, there were two things that came to mind. One of them was an adventure that was after I watched the Disney movie Flubber with Robin Williams. I was like, well, that looks fun. I want to invent things, which kind of is I don't invent things, but I create things for my horses and things. So I kind of in a very loose sense did that. The other thing was an astronaut. And that came about I don't know why but I watched the movie Apollo 13, which, if you've watched the movie, you know, it's like a space mission gone horribly wrong. They nearly die. But for some reason, I watched that and thought I wanted to be an astronaut.
JA: Yeah, you thought that looks fun. I want to do that. Alright, number five, what is the hardest lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur, so far?
PM: The hardest lesson is probably cultivating discipline and patience. Actually, patience would be the big one. When getting started, it takes time to kind of figure out what works to find your niche, your specialty. You're gonna have so many ideas, and you're gonna fail so many times. And I think the hardest lesson is around developing that patience and sticking at it long enough. Now being a few years down the line, I'm really glad that I did. But I think a lot of people, in the beginning, it's very easy to feel disheartened when you have an idea, and it doesn't go the way you want. That was a big lesson for me, learning the importance of patience, and even now, I'm still trying new things all the time. If something doesn't work, I'm like, okay, that's fine. We'll move on. We'll try something else. That's been a really important lesson.
JA: I love that you said that as we kind of come out of those questions because that's very real. And I think that you're right. A lot of people do think I'm gonna jump in. I'm gonna have this idea. I know it's gonna work. And I'm gonna be, you know, making six or seven figures within six months and sometimes, that's not how it goes. There's a big learning curve if you have never been an entrepreneur before. So especially online, there's a lot to learn. So thank you for saying that. All right, before we get out of the the rapid five, I'm going to come back. Did you think of a rule that you broke?
PM: A rule? Well, recently, I've been having an issue with my wrist. I'm actually having surgery on my wrist next week. So for people that don't know me, I'm a big CrossFit fan. And my wife and I just love being active, go to the CrossFit gym a lot. And six months ago, I started having an issue with my wrist. I've got a ganglion which is like a little cyst. Nothing serious, but it's a little cyst. Basically, it needs to be cut out. And so I'm actually having that done next week. But the rules I've kind of been breaking recently is like just doing more at the gym, even though I know I shouldn't. It's not really a rule that I am breaking, but it's definitely something I know I shouldn't do. Because I'm like, well, I'm having surgery in two weeks. It's gonna get fixed soon anyway, so if I hurt, it doesn't matter. So that's maybe not a rule, but definitely something I shouldn't be doing.
JA: Yeah, that counts. We'll take that one. All right. So let's talk about your journey as an entrepreneur, what were you doing before you started your online business?
PM: So, I'm from a marketing background. So at university, I studied a Bachelor of Commerce and majored in marketing and entrepreneurship. I always knew that I wanted to work for myself like, from when I was a teenager. I knew that I wanted to run a company, and my goals really changed. Like when I was younger at university, I wanted to run a big successful company, have a big product, make the next Facebook, and make millions of dollars. And my goal has really changed. And so, I spent a few years working in marketing at an e-commerce store here in New Zealand, which was really good, it gave me a lot of foundational knowledge around online marketing, SEO, AdWords, and social email. Just a really good base of lots of different types of online marketing. I then spent about 18 months working with a friend of mine at a mortgage broking company. And even though it wasn't my area, I actually trained as a mortgage advisor, which was really interesting and spent some time helping in that business. And during that time, when I was working as an advisor, I was starting my business, my blog, trying to sell some online products and courses and things and getting my first few sales, which was really exciting. I still remember when I made my first sale online, it was a Saturday morning, and I was very excited. I ran into the bedroom where my wife was still asleep. And I'd made $10 from the sale of an E-book and some videos and things, and it was just mind-blowing to me. There's something I had made on my computer, and it was a PDF. It's not even a physical thing. It was a PDF and some videos, and I'd sent somebody a link, and they paid me $10 through PayPal. The first time that happened, my mind was blown. And it was like, I can't believe that just happened. And it was really exciting. And what was I saying? And so yeah, my first few sales I was working in mortgages, but I was thinking, my goal in the beginning was I'm gonna make a course I'm going to be like Pat Flynn or one of these other online people, and I'm gonna make a really good passive income business. But my goal at the time was, I just need to make like four or five grand a month or three grand a month, I think was my target to just be able to quit my job. And I thought, well, that's something I can do, short term may be to get to that figure, so I can quit. And I thought maybe there's some freelancing or consulting that I can do and I was thinking about different skills that I had. And I landed on Asana, which is a project management tool. I actually had some experience in my marketing job at the website, where I'd rolled out the tool to the company and trained everyone on how to use it. And my boss had even paid me a bonus at the time because it was so impactful. And I remembered this and I was thinking, I wonder if other people would be willing to pay for this kind of support. My assumption was like they're just going to go online, they're going to learn for free like I did. But I didn't realize that there are business owners who don't have time; they want someone to hold their hand through it and teach them how to use these tools. And so, I started reaching out to people and going on a few directories to market myself as an Asana consultant. And it kind of started just to just take off, I got my first few bookings. And, and I started teaching people about Asana. And within a few months, like fairly quickly, I was able to get to that sort of 3k a month figure, and I could justify quitting my job, and that's when I left in December 2016. And I went sort of full time on my own business. And then, I started doing the same with Pipedrive, which is a sales CRM that I've been using at the mortgage business. And I thought these are just tools that I personally use every single day. I know how to use them really well. I feel like I can communicate really clearly. That's actually something my boss had said, is you actually have a really good way of explaining these things you can actually be quite a good teacher. And so yeah, I started just consulting helping companies with these tools, and it really snowballed into the business that I have today. And so, my business is a combination of consulting and helping companies with these tools, but I also have some products and courses that I sell. I earn an affiliate income off the back of these products. And so it's all just really grown from that pretty humble beginning.
JA: Yeah. I love that you took that step. Because a lot of people want to jump straight into courses. You mentioned that initially, you were going to sell products? What was it about everything that made you realize, I'm gonna start by being a virtual consultant?
PM: Well, I had tried the products before, for a year or two, and going back to what I was saying, like the failures that I had, I tried making a six-week productivity program, and I met this guy, and he agreed to help me run webinars in his audience, and there were about five attendees, and I tried pitching it and gotten zero interest. So that was like a big failure. I tried other products and things that didn't sell. And at the time of doing this, I had made a course, my first course. And it was getting some traction, but not the three to five grand a month that I needed. And so I was thinking, well, to make a course really work, I need a bigger audience, I need more traffic, I need a bigger list. Or I'm going to have to really specialize and create something more niche is the other way to do it. And so I was thinking, well, what's something temporary, something short term I can do to quit my job, that was the number one priority, I just want to quit my job. So the consulting was supposed to be a short term thing, just to get that money. And then, I would focus on the courses. It ended up actually being the consulting that was a really good source of income. So I still do that now. But it has allowed me to quit my job and I have put more energy into the courses. And so that revenue has grown, but it was really just, the courses are going to take time, you're going to need an audience and traffic, it's going to take time to make that work. So that's why I decided or thought about what is something else I can do. And consulting and freelancing, you don't even need a website. You could just have a good LinkedIn profile. Everyone's got like a skill or some expertise that they could probably monetize. And you can get started consulting very quickly without having to build an audience and create content and market a course and all that kind of thing.
JA: Yeah, absolutely. Again, I'm so glad you said that a lot of people do think they're going to jump right into products. But like you said, there's going to be a learning curve, there may be some failures. And so consulting is great. But it's also great because it helps you to hone a process. This is what I talk to people about all the time you begin to develop a process that you could then turn into your signature course. So speaking of courses, you have a course called How to be a virtual consultant. Tell me about how you made the transition from doing the consulting. And then when was that lightbulb moment where you said, I'm going to take this and package it up? Or is that how it even went?
PM: Well, I mean, I still do both, remember. So, it's not that I stopped consulting. It's more just that even after six months or about a year of doing the consulting, I thought that other people would like to learn what I've done. And so I thought, let me just package this up. And one of the key things with courses I think people get in their heads is that creating a course has to be a lot of work. And I don't want to say that it's not like a significant amount of work, but it's probably not as much as you think it is in your head. And definitely, if you've done a few courses and products, you do refine the process a little bit. I was thinking; I'm doing quite well consulting, there are probably other people out there who would like to learn kind of how I've been able to quit my job through doing this virtual consulting, let me package that up. And so I thought about just planning the content of the course. And then, I just started recording videos. And videos always come quite easily, quite naturally to me. So I don't have an issue with that. And my goal was just like, I just want to have a course up in the next like four to six weeks. Like I didn't give myself a ridiculous timeframe. Actually, maybe it may have even been quicker, maybe it was four weeks or something. And so that's a key thing, you don't have to build it up to be this massive thing in your head. Your first year iteration of the course can be fairly straightforward. I actually did pre-sell that course as well. And the thought process was just yeah, I want to share what I've learned. And that's how I market it today is just this is the process that I've used. This is how I price my service. This is how I write proposals. And let me just see if other people are interested in this. And then what I've actually done more recently, which I'm really pleased to tell you Janell because obviously, we worked together last year. I've now started an Asana course, finally, because with the consulting that I'm doing, I just repeat myself a lot. So in the last few weeks, I've launched a course teaching people about how to use Asana. So the goal is to sort of streamline that consulting, I hope. So instead of working with people exclusively one on one, you'll get the course, you'll do that to kind of learn the basics. Then there's group coaching, which is where I can really build some efficiencies. Instead of dealing with each person one on one, there's going to be group coaching, where there is now group coaching twice a week, and there are options to buy additional one on one sessions if you need to. So that's something that I'm really hoping is going to be able to help me to be more efficient. But actually, I can provide more long term value to my clients as well, because you can sign up to the course for a year, get group coaching for a year, that being able to offer a year of support is really only possible in a group format like that. So that's something I'm really pleased to share with you.
JA: I'm excited.
PM: And that's only been a very recent development.
JA: How long has that been live?
PM: Like maybe three weeks.
JA: Okay, so it's brand new. I love it. I love it. So something that you were talking about, just with regards to how to be a virtual consultant, is, you know, just being able to still do the consulting, you have that program and being able to help people in that way. When you kind of launched your courses, one of the things you said was, it doesn't have to take a long period of time. I do want to mention that that is true. But for anyone listening, it also depends on how engaged your audience is. So, with you, how did you build your audience as you were growing? You started with products had some failures. You decided to do the consulting. How are you building your audience along the way?
PM: In terms of like channels and where they come from? Probably a couple of key sources would be just organically through Google. And something I started doing early on was I wrote book summaries of popular productivity business, just self-improvement books that I've read. And the summaries, I just wrote for myself personally, to be able to recap the book. And I started loading them up, and they ranked really well. And so it was a good source of traffic. And that led to people joining my email list. And I've then used that to try and get them interested. If you're interested in this book about productivity or business, you might be interested in my productivity course or my consulting program. So that's been a good source, a good way to build my audience. The other thing has been my YouTube channel. For the last few years, I've been making a lot of videos to market Asana and Pipedrive, and to more market myself. For my consulting to get clients is like, look, let me give you some free advice, and it's amazing even though you give out all this free advice people still want to work with you, have you repeat that advice for them for their business.
JA: Yeah, yeah, it goes to what we talked about earlier before the interview about personalization. There's something about feeling like you have that one on one connection, and people are speaking directly to your situation that is really powerful.
PM: Definitely, a nice by-product of the YouTube channel. I mean, it was just to get more clients. But it has resulted in me growing my audience, and affiliate revenue as well is a nice by-product of that. So the YouTube channels been great.
JA: Yeah. So something we're doing new on the show is really digging more into marketing. And so I want to come back and talk about that affiliate piece because you mentioned that a couple of times. For anyone who's wondering like how the makeup is, but let's kind of switch gears and talk about your course from more of a course design standpoint. So when you launched how to become a virtual consultant, the first run, was it live, or did you go ahead and upload it into an online course platform?
PM: What did I do? It wasn't even that it was actually just that I emulated Nathan Berry, who's the founder of ConvertKit. So I came across him, I think before ConvertKit was a thing.
JA: Yeah, he was doing what like the app development?
PM: Yeah, he had an app development course and some videos and things. I actually bought his book Authority, which is about kind of like what we're talking about building an audience and products and things. And the way he delivered that was really just I think he used gumroad. But it was just a link to some files. So with how to become a virtual consultant, I just put a load of videos into a Dropbox file folder and just said, here's the link. So when you buy, you go to my Dropbox, and you can download the videos and everything. It wasn't even anything as elegant as a course platform. And that's what I mean a course, platform is really nice, but to get started, I was just like, let me just do this as quickly and easily as I can. Last year, I actually set up my own membership area of my website. So I have a plugin that can restrict content unless you've paid for the content. And so that's something I've done. More recently, but at least for the first few years, I was just delivering it through Dropbox.
JA: I love it. What was the reaction? Did you have anyone because people are afraid of pushback for doing something like that? Did you have anyone who was like, oh my gosh, I can't believe this is just in Dropbox, you know, were there any negative reactions?
PM: I mean, sometimes people had issues downloading it. I mean, but you have the same thing with courses. It's like, oh, I can't log in, and I can't access it. Like you have little issues all the time.
But no, nobody was like, Oh, my God, I can't believe I've paid for this course, and you're sending me a Dropbox link. There was nothing like that. Like if the content is there and you're providing value, whether it's a Dropbox link, and you're downloading my theory was just that, and I a lot of the way I make decisions is what do I like. And when I bought Nathan's product, I was like, oh, wow, this is really nice, because I'd signed up to courses before and had the experience where you log in to access the course. But I'd always tried to download the videos because I want to keep it for myself. And that's just something I quite liked about having it on my computer. So when Nathan just sent me all the products in a link, I was like that's really nice. I was going to download it anyway. And now I've just got all the downloads, I can keep it. So that was an experience I really liked. So I just thought, I'm going to do that for my customers that way. They don't need an internet connection. They don't have to worry about logging in. They just kind of download it. So no, there was no negative pushback.
JA: Yeah, sitting here thinking about that part about not needing an internet connection is huge, especially for people who might be in parts of the country or world who don't have great internet or just are traveling on the go and learning on the go. So actually while some people might look at it and say, that's too simple. The simplicity is what makes it work for more people.
JA: All right. So let's put a timeline on this. What year was it that you launched the first version?
PM: Of how to become a consultant? That wasn't even my first course. I quit my job in 2016. I launched that halfway through 2017.
JA: Gotcha. So how has the program changed over the years? Where is it at now, and what have you learned?
PM: I've only really made one major update, which was last year, it was an update based on I've been consulting now for a few years. Here's a bunch of new videos to share. Everything that I've learned in the last few years. And so I just recorded two new videos and released that to all the customers. And I did obviously move it to the membership area on my website. But those are the sort of the two significant changes that I've made. Obviously, the lessons that I released last year was sort of based on feedback as well. So it was what I have learned what's different in my business, but also like, what do you want to learn about and what people were asking me about, such as can you tell me about YouTube because it's working so well for you? Can you tell me how to find clients on YouTube? So that was like a lesson that I created based on customer demand?
JA: I've always thought that that was a course that you should have. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Okay. So we're there. So as far as the lessons that you have, did you survey your audience before you created it? Or was this you just taking everything that you knew and putting it into a course format?
PM: It was the latter. Which may not be the best way to do it, I'll admit. It was serving your audiences always like; it's gonna be time well spent. But I was just sort of like, let me just put everything that I know into a course. And this is my experience. This is what I've learned about pricing and finding clients. And I think I've made it from, if memory serves me correctly, sometimes when I'm working on a course in my newsletter like I send out a newsletter every week. In the PS, I'll say something like, oh, by the way, I'm working on a new course about consulting. If there's something particular you're interested in, let me know. It's a very casual way of serving people. It's not an actual survey, but it's sort of like, this is what I'm working on. If you have ideas, or if you're interested, let me know. And I would just get a few email responses, and I would just kind of have a few little conversations, but really, it was me just putting in this is what I know about it. That's not to say that that's the best way to do it. Serving your audience is always a good idea.
JA: It is good, but you know what I just recently wrote an article where I told people if you sell a service if you're a consultant or a freelancer and you have a proven process like you've been doing it for a while, and you know how things go, that's almost a shortcut for research, you know, because your research is your client work, right? That process that you've honed becomes that research. So I think that it works when you sell a service that you're turning into a course, to take that shortcut.
PM: 100% agree. Well, that was definitely my experience with the Asana course that I've just done. It was actually so much easier in a way because, like you said, I've been doing this for years. I know exactly what it took me, I think two hours to plan out the agenda or the lesson structure. And then I was able to start recording pretty quickly because I knew this is these are the questions that people always ask me is how do you do this? And how do you do this? I've been doing it long enough that I know what I'm going to get asked. And then, when I was writing the sales page, we were talking before about personalization. I've been using Right message to personalize the page. And so I've set up these segments, one of them being like, what's the what is the number one goal you have in using Asana better, and I could instantly name the top three, I didn't need to ask anyone, I just know that the top three responses are going to be number one, I need to know the best way to set up my account so that I don't waste time. Number two is I want to learn all the different features so I can use it more effectively. And number three is I want to improve the adoption of my team so that they use it effectively. And it's not half adopted. I hundred percent agree with what you said. But that was all based on doing this for like three years.
JA: So I want to come back and talk about marketing. But before we move on, how is the program structured? I know you said you have the videos. What are the other components? Do you have group calls? Do you have downloads, what else is inside the course?
PM: Most of my courses, they all are pretty similar structure. So there's the course itself, which is like a number of modules and then lessons within. Those with the consulting program, there's some templates and things you can get. So like email templates that I use to follow up with clients. There are proposal templates. And so basically, yeah, some extra downloads like that. I think there's a Google AdWords like a keyword planner, which is like an Excel file. So a couple of my courses come with those little kinds of extra resources really like templates and worksheets and things. And then what I do is I have a productivity course in my consulting course, I run a bonus launch where when you join my list for a week, you'll get pitched on this bonus launch. And during that bonus, you will get access to my private slack community. And so that's something I've really enjoyed putting together and building a really tight-knit group of customers there. I mean, I would even say like a lot of them are my friends now. It's really awesome. And that's a really nice way to connect with people. I think it lowers refunds because you're helping them with the course, and then we actually do a mastermind call every two weeks. I actually just got off one just before this session today. And that's just a bonus that I offer to people who buy those products. And that has been, I think, for customers one of the most valuable pieces. Not everyone engages in that community, and some people just want the course. But those that do they get a ton of value great relationships and friendships out of this community. And I think that's the most valuable part for a lot of people.
JA: It is because it can be lonely, you know, as an entrepreneur, especially an online entrepreneur, so being able to have people that you can connect with, people who can kind of help you stay motivated and share wins with, ask questions of, is huge. I think community people always ask me about courses. And the past couple of years, I've been telling people you know, what community is the X-Factor when it comes to building your business online, people can find information, but what people are really searching for is that connection and community. So, yeah, okay, so let's talk about marketing. I want to just start from the top you mentioned your channels, YouTube being one I think you also mentioned that you use Google ads, what other marketing channels do you use to get traffic?
PM: Gosh, I'm guilty in saying that, like, I don't spend that much time on marketing now. And that's because I'm a little bit more established now. I think when you're a few years down the line, you benefit from this sort of network effect of like; you've been exposed to doing interviews like this. And people watching this three years from now may discover me. Yeah, and so I think where I am now is where I'm starting to realize the fruits of that labor from years ago doing interviews like this and writing guest posts for people is something I did years ago, but I haven't really done in a while. So now like, I mean, it's not that I don't care about marketing. It's just that I'm just often just in my business day to day; my key thing is working with clients. So my volume of leads that I get is big enough that I have enough work, I don't need to worry as much about marketing. But I think the biggest source is like I said, YouTube and Google. There are more referrals coming through now, that's important. So clients that are saying, Oh, yeah, like, I found you because my friend recommended you and that kind of thing.
JA: So let me ask that question a different way for anyone starting out. If you had to recommend one channel based on your experience for marketing, what would you recommend?
PM: Well, the tricky thing with that is it's it is hard to answer because obviously, it is going to vary a lot depending on your expertise and what you're selling in. So yeah, what I'm going to say is kind of there's a big disclaimer in that the answer here will vary a lot depending on your product or service. However, I do think YouTube is very good, and I think it achieves a couple of things. Even if you're just doing like a talking head like this, where you're sharing advice, even if your business isn't like a tangible thing or service. Like with my YouTube videos, I'm doing screen sharing, it's very visual. So it lends itself to YouTube very well because people can watch my screen and learn from me. Even if you don't have like Visual, maybe you're more like a business consultant. And it's more strategic, the advice you're giving, that would actually still do very well on YouTube. And I think YouTube is good because you can convey credibility very effectively, more so than what you possibly could, certainly compared to a written piece of content, like a blog post, or possibly even a podcast, like I think podcasts are great, but just something about seeing a person on the screen, how they present themselves how they talk, I feel like you can learn what kind of person somebody is very quickly. And hey, blowing my own trumpet, but some people have even come to me and said, like, oh, I just watched your videos, and you just seemed like a nice person to work with. So I wanted to reach out, and that's been really lovely to hear. But yeah, that's the power of video; it's like if a picture tells 1000 words a video tell video tells like a million words because they can see who you are, that your credibility is built very quickly. And so when they inquire, I've always said it's a bit like jumping straight to a third date. They already know you a little bit, and now I'm just getting to know them. Yeah. So I think I think video is definitely a channel worth thinking about. And so thinking about, you know, what is some advice I can share via video, whether it's like quick tips and things, or maybe it's screencasting like what I'm doing, answering questions. There's loads of ways you can use video, but I think it's a very effective channel.
JA: Yeah, video is super powerful. But you're right; it does depend on what you do so and also your audience. It's super important to know where your audience is going to seek answers to the types of problems that you can solve. So, for example, you said your content lends itself to video, right? If I want to know how to use Asana, I'm pretty much gonna go to YouTube. And even if I just search on Google, I'm going to see those YouTube videos pop up, and I'm probably gonna go there, right? For my audience, it's a mixture, but a lot of my audience really loves a podcast, right? They're listening to stuff on the go. And that was something that once I realized, this is huge. It became a focus and saying this is my primary but also YouTube is something that I just started, so I'm kind of in that area where I'm going to test out YouTube and see what's what, but I think the long and short of it is know your audience know where they're at where they're looking for information and then make that your primary channel—alright, so talking about marketing. So you mentioned that you use ConvertKit. I don't know if we talked about that, but and you're also using Right message. So ConvertKit is your email service provider. How are things set up once people get onto your site? Are you using funnels? How are you using personalization, and why is that important to you?
PM: Oh, man, so yeah, like when I worked with you last year, obviously, I had like a fairly straightforward funnel, which is you know, people would sign up to get my free I had a productivity blueprint, for example or a consulting blueprint that you can download. You then get pitched on a few videos. That's right; you do not pitch. You get a few free videos like you know, common mistakes to avoid and best practices, so some free content, you would then go into this bonus launch sequence, which is a week-long period where for this week you can buy my course, in the first 24 hours, there's a discount. And also, there are these bonuses you can get this week. So there's the VIP slack group that I mentioned. There are some extra downloads and things. And then, once that's complete, you basically go on to my newsletter list, which is my weekly email that goes out with my latest content and tips and things. So that was sort of my basic format. And it largely is still the same, but there's a bit more like personalization and stuff behind the scenes to help improve that. So when I signed up to ConvertKit, I actually signed up to Brandon Dunn's mastering ConvertKit course as well. And so what he teaches which I have applied, is like in my initial onboarding, where you're delivering those videos is number one, how to score your subscribers. So based on how engaged they are based on links, they're clicking, they're getting scored like a numerical number is being incremented. Based on that score, if they are deemed as being kind of qualified and engaged, you can put them into a hot or a cold bridge sequence. So if they're really engaged, your pitch them on your product sooner, if they're less engaged, you'll maybe deliver more content before pitching them in a few more weeks. Yes, that's something I've implemented. Secondly, with personalization, I survey people. So it's like, click here, that's one of the scoring metrics, if you even fill out the survey, you get your score incremented. But the survey also tells me about what they're interested in. So it's like, what's your number one goal with wanting to be more productive? And what do you struggle with right now, that information actually feeds back into ConvertKit. I store that in some of the custom fields in ConvertKit, which I can later use to personalize my emails. So when I'm pitching that bonus launch, it will say to Janell, this is the toolkit that's going to help you to develop the right habits and routines so that you can be more productive. However, me going through the course, I might get a different pitch, which is this course is going to teach you how to use different tools and technology to be more productive so that it's based on what you've already told me in that survey, and so the email itself speaks directly to the problem that you've mentioned you have or the goal that you have. And then secondly, using Right message, I can then personalize my website. So when you click through to my product page, rather than just saying the personal productivity toolkit downloaded, be more productive, fairly generic, or trying to guess the best headline to use. I can personalize that headline and say, you know, learn how to develop the right habits and routines or, in my case, learn how to use tools and technology. And so it really speaks specifically to that goal or challenge that people have. And we said this at the start; it gets people to that point where they're reading your copy or reading your email and thinking, wow, Paul wrote this for me like he knows what I'm struggling with. And I can testify to how strong that is because that's why I bought Brendan's course, he'd segmented me, and I was reading this page that was telling me to use your email list to be more efficient, save time in your business, and that's stuff that is important to me. And I bought his course. And so that's, that's the brilliance of personalization is not having to guess what's the best copy that I can write as well you're going to tell me what you struggle with. And I can use that to create a few different variations of this email. And it might even just be tweaking a paragraph, that's all we're talking about here is that introductory paragraph might just be different for those different needs. And it really does mean that people are so much more engaged. And so that's sort of where I've put a lot of effort over the last six months is sort of scoring these people more, building that bridge sequence, applying all this personalization. And yeah, it's really exciting.
JA: It's exciting to see the growth of segmentation. I remember when segmentation having the first name field or personalization, rather, having the first name field you use their name, and then seeing that grow and then probably around the time, Brendan started, Right message was a lot of conversation around personalization and segmentation. In other words, for anyone listening who has maybe eyes or ears, maybe it's just kind of going a little haywire, you have different segments in your audience, right? People want different things. But even going deeper, that's where I think the personalization comes in, even within those segments, there are people who use different language or certain things are important to them, and other things aren't as important. So if you can use quizzes or surveys, either with Right message or Typeform, or some way of getting that data and being able to then plug it into your marketing, it allows you to speak directly to your potential customer, which increases the likelihood that they're going to do business with you. So it's super powerful and just kind of cool to see how things are growing. So it's complex, though. I think one thing that I would tell people starting out is don't go for that.
PM: Yeah, I agree. Like I said, more of the basic funnel for years. And that was good for somebody who's new to email marketing. And while you're kind of working out, you know the structure of how you're going to pitch this product, like working out that bonus launch how you're going to kind of warm them up and get them into this sequence. Trying to go from zero to 100 miles an hour, really quickly is going to be too much. I think, yeah, there's enough to worry about in the beginning. Just keep it simple. And then once you've validated this format, running this promotion works really well. I've got the product sorted. That's all good. That's all kind of your first priority, then personalization. That is something that can definitely come in further down the line when you're really kind of trying to dial that lever a bit more specifically, really trying to hone in a little bit more.
JA: Adding complexity before you know your audience or have something a system that's working is just a recipe for overwhelm and disaster. So I always say complexity after simplicity, have a simple system that works, that you know is converting, and then you can optimize it and add in that complexity. So speaking of your marketing systems, is there one thing that you still would love to implement, like one marketing thing that you feel you have a gap or a blind spot?
PM: Yeah, definitely. LinkedIn comes to mind. Yeah. So with consulting, you always want to try and get in front of the highest quality clients. I deal with people who are wanting to present to teams, to medium-small to medium-sized teams of like 10 to 15 people, and then big corporations like 30, 40, 50 plus teams. And I think with LinkedIn, it's something I'm not doing at the moment, but there's a good thing there. I think there's an opportunity there to really get in front of high-quality clients, like maybe bigger directors or CEOs of these bigger companies, and I could spend more time on the higher value clients and less on the lower end. So that's definitely something I'm not doing. But I think I probably should be.
JA: Yeah, no. Well, when you started out doing virtual consulting, how did you get in front of clients?
PM: Google was actually one of my biggest channels early on, and I was lucky, in a sense, because not many people were really doing what I do, like with the Asana consulting, so it's fairly easy to rank organically at the top. So for people searching Asana consultant or Asana expert, I could rank at the top of Google search organically really easily. I then did Google AdWords as well. I put like a few hundred dollars a month into AdWords to just help that along. So that was my number one channel when getting started was actually AdWords. YouTube came a bit later, as well as these expert services. So Clarity is the one that I used in the beginning. I don't really get much business through it. Now, it is more of a validation tool, where I could list some skills and sort of say look, these are some skills, some expertise. I have people who just book a call with me. And that was something for the first few clients who actually came through Clarity. And it was a great way to validate the idea and think this is working well. There is a demand for this.Then I did put the money into AdWords and things. T there are other services like Upwork. I'm a bit hesitant about things like Upwork. Because I think it's more of a race to the bottom, in terms of pricing. And so I generally stay clear of those kinds of services.
JA: Since you mentioned pricing, the last thing I want to talk about before we get to the final three questions is, as far as pricing is how to be a virtual consultant, for example, how did you approach pricing that program?
PM: Yeah, good question. Again, it was sort of thinking about my own experience, like what would I be willing to pay for a course like this? And I've always struggled. I mean, there are people pricing much higher than me, doing it very successfully. Some that come to mind our Rihmet Sieta (sp), who does his own 1K course. I think when looked, it was about $1200. And David, I think his name is David Simon Garland, who did a course about online courses, he's done ones on webinars. I think it was a similar price. There are people out there doing very well at that sort of price point. And maybe I should be pushing more for that. But my strategy is like, what would I be willing to pay for a course like this? And so that sort of $300 to $500 price point is sort of where I started. And so the thing that I've done there is to try and not leave money on the table, is by always giving people options. Yeah. So to get the basic course, like with how to become a virtual consultant now, I think it's 397. So $400 to get the course, there is, oh, gosh, I can't remember this. There are three options. What is the second option? There are three options. I need to probably go double-check. I think it might be $297, $397. And then I think it jumps up to like $997. Yeah, I think that's it, I need to double-check. But it's about that thousand dollar price point, which comes with a few hours of consulting. So obviously, there's a bit of a one on one requirement for me there to be putting into that. But it means that whatever price point you're at if you're someone that's really budget-conscious, you can get the course for like a $300 price point, I don't want to sell it for less than that. Because, like, quite honestly, the value in this course, if this is going to help you to develop a successful business and quit your job, the $300 is very reasonable. So don't want to spend less don't charge less than that. Yeah, I actually think it's $400 now, but then yeah, not leaving money on the table. If you have the budget, if you're really willing to take this seriously, you want to work with someone, you can spend the thousand dollars, and you can get access to me if you need to. So I always think that's the power and the beauty of giving people options.
JA: Yeah, and just that flexibility right now we're talking, things are kind of up in the air. So giving people options for cash flow flexibility, so whether it's using breaking it up into payments, or a model that I'm loving right now, is seeing people who are providing access for a year at a higher price and then a month to month access at a lower price for people who need that flexibility. I love that. And I've been kind of telling my clients Hey, check this out.
PM: Sorry, I'll inject there. So, I know that you've been working with a mutual friend Garrett with his course. And he told me, and I've actually implemented this for Master Asana. You can join the course Master Asana, you can get course updates, there's a slack community and coaching, you can join for 397 per month, or it's a much better rate if you pay 1997. It's about half the price. Basically, if you pay 1997 for the year, that option also does come with a one on one call. So you get the course and everything for a year, much better value than paying monthly, but you also get a one on one session. So that's a little extra thing that I put in there because people sometimes want that one on one. So that's something that I'm seeing people go for both options some people want, like you said, the flexibility of being able to pay for a month. See if they like it. I actually had someone email me this morning, they said, we're going to sign up for a month, see if we like it. And then if we do, can we upgrade and get the year? And I said, Yeah, that's absolutely fine. So yeah, helping people with cash flow like that and giving them a foot in the door is a great idea. So I have to thank you because I think I indirectly ordered your advice through Garrett.
JA: Yeah, no, I'm glad to hear that it's working out. I think that when I was first exposed to that, it was with a program that I was looking at for copywriting. And I was like, this is brilliant. Because at that point, there are no objections with regards to the price unless it's just completely out of budget, right. If you want to do month to month, you have this option if you want, you know all the bells and whistles you have that option. So I'm glad to hear that you've implemented it. Cool. So we are down to the final three questions. Before we get there any final insights on creating courses or marketing courses?
PM: I guess I'll just go back and repeat what I said at the start. So patience is really important. Like just sticking at it trying different things, you're gonna have a load of failures along the way. So patience is really important. But also consistency is another word that I really like. So with whatever you decide to do in terms of your marketing, you will always be rewarded for being consistent. So whether you are saying, I'm going to do YouTube, like I'm a few years down the line with it, I find that I get good rankings, good traffic through YouTube now, but it is the result of being consistent platforms like YouTube, tend to have some kind of there's a piece of the algorithm that says if Paul is producing good, regular content, we're going to rank him more. And I think I think that's fairly common with different social platforms and things, is consistency is always good. Not just from like a technical algorithm point of view, but even just your own your ability to hone your message, get better at making content, the more you do it, the better you will become at making videos- at speaking. I was saying before, I feel like the success of my business now comes down to how clearly I can communicate an idea. And so it's a skill that I've always had in mind before I even started videos before I started writing, even just when I was talking to clients, I was like to be a good consultant. I can't ramble, I need to be able to share an idea and answer somebody's problem in as few words as I can. So communicating clearly is a skill that has always been very important to me that has transferred into how I produce videos and things. And the more I've produced videos, content, blog posts, and writing, I feel like the more refined and minimal it has become without sacrificing the content itself. And so that's again, where the consistency is really important. Bringing this full circle is that the more practice you get, the better you get at it. And, and so I would really encourage people just rather than just doing a couple of videos and then feeling disheartened, oh, it's not working. I'm not getting clients, stick at it: patience and consistency.
JA: And it also builds trust with your audience. That's the part that I definitely want to bring into this conversation is because when people see you showing up, it builds trust, and in my opinion, it also builds your authority because it makes it seem like, this person is serious. Yeah, they're not just fly by night. They're showing up delivering value every week. I mean, check them out and see what else they have to offer.
PM: Yeah, I mean, with my videos, you can go back. You can see Asana videos from me years ago. And Asana looks really different. And people sometimes comment like, well, yours looks really different than mine. And I have to say, no, this was from three years ago. But I think you're right. When people see, oh, he's been doing this for a while. Okay. He is somebody I want to work with.
JA: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Cool. So let's get into the final three questions. The first one is easy. What is next for you anything exciting coming up?
PM: Well, this week, I started working on a new Pipedrive course. So basically, what I just did for Asana, I'm now doing for Pipedrive. So I'm putting together the course I'll be doing the group coaching and everything like that. So short term, that's my goal. And that's, I guess, part of a bigger picture. And my goal is to really sort of streamline my consulting this year, particularly on the lower end clients, to be able to offer this course that says, this is everything you're going to need. There’s group coaching; there's the ability to book one on ones if you need to. I think having those two courses set up will really help you to save some time. And because I just find I've been a victim of my own success in the way my calendar gets quite booked up and which is a great problem to have, but part of the reason you get into business in the first place is to have some freedom. And so that's part of the goal of the working on these courses this year is to try and get back some free time on my calendar.
JA: Yeah, I love it. I love it. All right, so where can people find out more about you and your work?
PM: Yeah, just head to my website, paulminers.com. Minor is spelled M.I.N.O.R.S and everything that I do is up there.
JA: Last question, Paul, what is your why? Why do you get up and do this work?
PM: Oh, great question. I actually did spend a lot of time kind of finding my wife years ago. I actually wrote it down. I could try and find it but from memory. My why statement, if you like, I believe in trying to improve myself and others through being more productive through having good systems and tools and technology that allow us to achieve more. I love helping people, whether it's individuals or businesses, to like realize their full potential. And I think what I do with helping people to be more efficient with productivity, building a consulting business using Asana, Pipedrive, it's all really just about optimization and helping people to be more efficient so that you can build that business that you want or free up your time, and have more free time for your friends and your family and that kind of thing and realize the potential. And for me, productivity, which is sort of my key topic, productivity is the vehicle by which you can have a great life if you can be more productive in anything with everything that you do, work and your personal life. I think you can just unlock more potential you can have a happier, more fulfilling life if you are more efficient and effective in what you do.
JA: Yeah, I totally agree. Well, Paul, thank you so much. This has been great. Thanks for giving us a peek inside your business and your course, and I can't wait to share this with everyone.
PM: Thank you so much for having me on. This has been great.
JA: All right, my friends. That is my time. Remember, before you can level up your course, you must first level up your mind. As always, thank you for hanging out with me for another great episode. I do not take it for granted. I am Janelle Allen, and this has been level up your course. Peace.