Daniel Walter Scott Explains Generating Multiple Income Streams with Online Courses

January 18, 2021
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In today’s episode, we have Daniel Walter Scott from Bring Your Own Laptop and InstructorHQ, who is going to share with you how he has generated multiple income streams with online courses.

You will also get to hear his early failures and successes with his business, how he has dominated YouTube with one unique strategy, and information on his own online course platform and why you should sign up for it today.

Website: bringyourownlaptop.com
YouTube: Bring Your Own Laptop
Facebook: Bring Your Own Laptop Online
Twitter: Daniel Walter Scott
Instagram: bringyourownlaptop
LinkedIn: Bring Your Own Laptop Group
Pinterest: Bring Your Own Laptop

Notes

In this episode, you will hear...

… how Daniel transitioned from in-person teaching to creating and selling profitable courses online.

… the winning formula Daniel uses to drive traffic from his YouTube channel to his website.

… the rookie mistakes Daniel made as a beginner and how he overcame them to become successful in his business.

… the best way to use free course content to build relationships and trust with the audience to increase conversion.

… why hosting your courses on multiple platforms is great for generating multiple income streams.

… the unique strategy Daniel uses to keep his audience engaged with his content and to build a strong community.

… why you should not be afraid to try new marketing and lead generation strategies for your online business.

… the pricing model Daniel uses on his website to earn a consistent income from his courses.

… the self-hosting and educational platform Daniel has created to support new course creators.

… Daniel’s number #1 advice to anyone starting an online courses business.

Resources

Transcript

Jeremy Deighan
Hello, everyone. Thanks for checking out the podcast today. We have Daniel Walter Scott from Bring Your Own Laptop and instructorHQ. How's it going today?

Daniel Walter Scott
I'm great. Thanks for having me, Jeremy.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, and very excited to have you. You have been in the online course space for quite a while. I've seen you very intimately because we have similar courses.

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah, exactly. We compete in lots of things, don't we, Jeremy?

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah. I like it. It's awesome. And then you've gone on to also teach and help other course creators with some of your own information and software that you have. We'll dive right into that, but let's start at the beginning. How did you get into online courses to begin with?

Daniel Walter Scott
My journey started as a designer. That's what I went to university for. During my degree, one of my tutors said, "Hey, you're pretty good at this software stuff. I'm really bad at it. Can you teach the rest of the class?" It was kind of awkward, but I started helping people and then started running the night classes at the university.

So I started teaching that way. And then in and out of working as a designer, then back to a bit of teaching and then back to being a designer. And eventually, I started working for someone else teaching Adobe products to professionals. So it was kind of commercial.

People would turn up for a two-day class intensive workshop. I did that in London for a company called Academy Class for a long time. Then I moved back to New Zealand, where I'm from, and there, I opened my own version of that - an Adobe certified training center that still runs.

That's with live classes - people who turn up. They're turning up not right now, but soon, in about a couple of hours, New Zealand will be awake, and people will be turning up for an in-person class. So I own that.

Then I moved to Ireland. I was going to redo the same traditional classroom that people turned up at the door or try online. I tried both. I started an Adobe certified training school here in Ireland and started doing online courses.

And online courses took off so I closed up shop for the more traditional classes, and then started doing online. And that was not long ago. You introduced me like, "Dan's been doing it for a long time." But I don't know how long. Is it a short time or a long time? You were there before me and my long time was about five or six years now?

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah. In the technological era, five years is a very long time.

Daniel Walter Scott
It's three Macintosh computer laptops old.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that's awesome. It's really cool to hear your story coming from a teaching background. A lot of instructors come at it from different ways. But it sounds like you already had an established way of teaching in person, which I think is really beneficial because you get that one-on-one contact with people.

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah, it's really hard with no feedback when you're talking to your screen like, "Hey, you guys should do this." Whereas I can pretend them in the class and have a lot of experience with the kinds of questions that come up or the kinds of funny looks I get from people. So I got to practice quite a long time in person before I started doing online, which I think was a bit beneficial.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that's really cool. So you heard about online courses and you decided to just throw a course up? Where did you start?

Daniel Walter Scott
My first course was more content marketing. I didn't really want to get into online courses. What I wanted to do was promote my physical classroom. So I had opened another company in new in Sydney, Australia.

So I was like, "I'm going to branch out of New Zealand and go to Australia." I thought, "My first course is going to help promote through backlinks and normal search engine optimization."

I was going to create this free online course so that people would see it and come to the... I get good backlinks and Google would rank this physical classroom that I had better. I did it and it didn't help my physical. That business closed. It didn't do terribly well, but the actual course did well.

And that gave me my first inkling. And then I started making really random courses that nobody wanted to get started. And that was my, "I'm actually going to try this full time, move to Ireland, and I'm going to start this new business. And I'm going to make courses." And I just started making really obscure ones that I've since closed

Jeremy Deighan
Now, were those on Udemy or Skillshare? Where were the first courses at?

Daniel Walter Scott
I stuck them everywhere. I always started off with my own site and there were Udemy and Skillshare. I think those three were it from the beginning.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah because you ranged very quickly and very well. The production of your courses, I think, was very high, especially to other courses out there. And it seemed like people were very drawn to you right away.

You had great cover images and your production quality was up there. How did you learn that stuff? I mean, you come from an Adobe background so you already had a little bit of experience, but did it come naturally creating a course when you first did it or did you have to go through some...?

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah, it was pretty hard but not as hard as somebody that didn't... Coming from a design background, as you know, does make creating graphics and things a lot easier. And I had the benefit of teaching in person before. So that's a big leg up.

But I had to do what everyone else did, like download free software, find out the free software wasn't very good. Try and do this, try and do that, get too close to the camera. I talked into the back of the microphone for my first class.

It's the same microphone I've got now and it sounds good now. But I was talking to the wrong side of it. I didn't realize it was directional. I went through the pain of just awkward. I spent most of my time cutting out "ums" and "uhs".

It's funny. It seems like an easy transition, and if you're out there going, "Oh, it's easy. He went from live teaching to online creation." It's not an easy transition. Talking to nobody and just hitting the record button. Man, you just get like crazy stage flight.

There's nobody with you, but you're like it was easier doing live classroom. Sometimes talking in front of 1000s of people was easier than it was hitting... Let's say it was just as bad hitting record where I could stop and redo it. It was easier probably than some people, but definitely not instant smooth.

Jeremy Deighan
Well, that's good to hear because I think that's important for people. When you're just starting out and you see instructors who've had really major success, it's nice to know that it wasn't smooth going all the time in the beginning.

Daniel Walter Scott
I'd love to show some of the stuff that I did first. Go to my YouTube channel if you've seen any of my later courses. Go to my YouTube, look at the oldest video I've got and it's, "Hi, my name is Daniel. I am trying not to read off the screen." And it sounds like I'm in the toilet.

It was bad and you do get better. People ask me all the time, "How do you do it?" I'm like, "I'm not sure." It's like every video I do is a teeny tiny bit better than the last one. And I bet you I'll look back in five years from now and look at my courses that I'm producing right now and shake my head and be embarrassed by them.

Jeremy Deighan
That's cool. I'll save this podcast episode and five years, I'll set a reminder to play it back for you. Cool. So you were doing some obscure courses and maybe some hit or misses. What was the first course that really took off for you where you realized, "Wow, I actually have something here; this could be something big."?

Daniel Walter Scott
There were two phases. There was one where it was a web design course using Dreamweaver and that did well. It's quite an obscure software - Dreamweaver. Not a lot of people use it, but it did well mainly because it did well on YouTube and it was pushing people to my courses.

So I'm not sure it did well on the platforms, but it did well out there in the wild of YouTube. And where I struck success in terms of financial success and it started paying back at least the time I put into it was when I started getting into the more...

I was scared of doing top ticket, popular software and topics because I felt like they were already done. I didn't touch Photoshop or Illustrator. InDesign was my big massive first start. I didn't want to touch it because there was already pages and pages of InDesign courses on Udemy.

So I was picking really strange ones trying to find this weird little niche. As soon as I did InDesign essentials and it did really well, I was like, "Hey, you don't have to avoid what other people are doing. It doesn't even have to be better than other people. It just has to be your style."

And that's what I finally learned is there are people out there who will hate my courses and go to somebody else's. And there are people that love my courses and can't understand why people are going the other place. The nice thing about online is people can do four or five courses.

And the keen ones will go through and go, "Oh, man, I found you and it's great." Or, "Hey, the one I did before yours was way better than you." So InDesign was my first commercial success, if you will.

Jeremy Deighan
And then you hit the ground running after that?

Daniel Walter Scott
Then I was like, "I'll do another one that's in Illustrator, and then Photoshop and then XD and After Effects and Premiere. I started doing the ones that seemed like they were already saturated and they turned out to be a space for me and all those places.

Jeremy Deighan
And then Jeremy starts saying to himself, "Man, this guy is really up and coming. I need to look out." No, it was awesome, man, just because like I said, I've watched some of your courses. You put out some really good stuff so it was cool to see that trajectory.

So you started having some good success on Skillshare and Udemy and these other platforms. And you said you were always putting courses on your own site also?

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah. I've actually got courses on everything. Now, though, I'm a bit more selective with where they go. I didn't know what were the good ones. I feel like if you are following all the forums now and using your services, you can kind of shortcut that.

But I found at the beginning everyone was learning about where the marketplaces were and which was good and which was bad. Now, there seems like a really good dialogue to go, "Hey, these people have emailed me 20 times to put it on their site. Should I stick it out there?"

And it's really good to get a cross section of people rather than having to stick it over a bit. I was really keen to have it on my own site to be able to control at least one part of it.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, cool. So you have some of your courses up on your own site. Were you driving traffic to that site in any particular way? A lot of people will have a lead magnet or free offer. Did you have that kind of setup or was it just throw something on YouTube and hope someone goes to my website?

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah, I went for the throw something on YouTube that'll take them to my website strategy, but it was a little bit more strategic. I make a course knowing that the first part of it, like the first section or chapter, I'm going to give away free on YouTube. So I record it so that it's like a product in itself.

It's not just cutting off somebody halfway through listening and going, "Hey, if you want more, go to my website." I try and make an outline that has a nice little snippet at the beginning because it works for people doing the paid course, that nice little high five, we've done it.

We've got something actually produced right at the beginning, and also, it's something that I can use as my lead magnet. And I use it through YouTube. And that's where 90% of my sales from my own site come from - YouTube stuff saying, "Hey, I love what you did here."

And I always make sure that I add intros, middle intros and outros to all that YouTube stuff, and track it all. And that's the winning formula for me at the moment.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that's great. I made that mistake that you were talking about where I had a full course and I put some of it on YouTube. But I think because there was not a complete program, like you're talking about, there was a disconnect there. So I really like that strategy. If you're going to put some of your courses for free on YouTube, make sure that it's its own complete package within a bigger course.

Daniel Walter Scott
Yep. I'm always honest at the beginning like, "Hey, this is a small section of my larger course." And then halfway through, I put an ad in to say, "Hey, if you're enjoying it, check out the larger one." And at the end, the same thing again.

So I'm not shy about advertising the full course, but I make sure that nobody can walk away saying, "Hey, he just got us to the end, and then I need to go and pay to get the rest of it." It's nice and complete.

Jeremy Deighan
All right, very cool. So you've mentioned YouTube a couple times. It sounds like the majority of your traffic comes from YouTube. Have you tried other areas to get traffic or to make content like a blog or podcast? Has anything else been successful?

Daniel Walter Scott
I haven't tried blog or podcast for the courses. I've tried everything else, though. I've tried everything else under the sun - all of the advertising on all the platforms, and I haven't had any success.

And I wouldn't say YouTube is the only thing. It's what works for me now and it's the only thing I've come across that works. And it works so well that it's hard to go off. I feel like I've tried lots and I haven't had good success. Social media in general does well, but that's kind of a chicken and egg thing.

The people that follow me on Instagram and Facebook group and all those things are only there because they've done my courses that it makes it really easy to launch a new course to them. So that's definitely a big way of bringing existing people back into new courses whereas as at the beginning, that doesn't really work.

You can have all the social media accounts, but if nobody knows you're there, it's just really easy in a course to say, "Hey, follow me on social media." And they do and then you get to remarket to them.

Jeremy Deighan
So why do you feel like YouTube has been successful?

Daniel Walter Scott
It feels like the maturity of YouTube. And I think what works for me is long format. So instead of doing lots of individual videos, I find a long format video works better for me. People get to know me as an instructor and get a feeling for it.

And I feel like those people convert better than the how-to mask here and Photoshop. They'll do it, and they'll like it, but you fulfill their need. Whereas if you do a bit more of learn how to do motion graphics, there is a broader topic that people need a lot more instruction behind.

And the nice thing about that is if it's a long format, you get to really get to know them, they get to know you. And if they want to go further, it's a no brainer, I guess. If you've connected with somebody and they're like, "Yeah, I like this. I'm going to go learn more."

So I find those long format videos are by far the... I still release singles only for the more FOMO than anything. I'm like, "Maybe I should just do those anyway." It's like paying for Google ads. You do it because you're scared you're missing out on something.

So I'm not above shot gunning stuff against the wall to see if it sticks, but really consistency. It's easy now because I've been doing it a long time to see that the long format, with a nice complete one for broader topic do really well on YouTube.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that sounds really good. It all comes back to relationship building. The people who are going to buy from you are those who trust you and have that relationship. So it sounds like if you do a how-to video, someone just gets the information and then bounces, where otherwise, they're spending more time with you building that relationship and can convert better into student later on.

Daniel Walter Scott
I think so, yeah.

Jeremy Deighan
One of the common questions that comes up when we start talking about this is how do you decide what you're going to put on YouTube versus what's going to be in the course. I know this is a lot of fear at some people is I don't want to give away all my good stuff on YouTube, and then I won't be able to sell my course. How do you handle that objection?

Daniel Walter Scott
I think there's going to be people who only ever want free stuff, and that's fine. What you're looking for is that small percentage. Like the conversion rates are tiny of the people that kind of watch my videos.

I've got a lot of subscribers and the videos are in there. I think my biggest video at the moment is like 600,000 views and it's a long format video. And that's a lot. For most people, that's a lot, but the conversion rate for that is teeny tiny. I might get one a day or two a day from that video. But that's enough over a month over a year.

I think you need to pay it forward in terms of your audience. It just needs to be long enough for you to convince them your value. If it's one minute, for whatever you're doing and you're like that's all you need to do. I think I need to do further.

I feel like I need to go on further to do a nice complete project and whatever the topic is, and sometimes that's a 20-minute video and sometimes it's an hour and a half. I think you got to worry more about finding that small percentage that really want to go further and over delivering for them because then they're the ones that are going to convert.

There are going to be hundreds of thousands that won't and never will because they're not looking to get to know you and go further. They're looking to scratch an itch. And once it's done, they're off.

I got to a point where I was giving away almost half of my course in the beginning. I instantly look at 25%. That's my thing. And some of my courses are 15 hours long. So, a couple of the freebies that I give away are a couple of hours, and that's hard.

But there's still a chunk more. And those people that I've got to the end, there's very few people that make it all the way to the end, are all the people who want to carry on. And I feel like if I'd cut them to five minutes, they're not the believers anyway.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, they're fully committed at that point.

Daniel Walter Scott
They are, yeah.

Jeremy Deighan
If someone is watching three or four hours of your video straight, they're committed to learning whatever it is that you're teaching. And if they've stayed with you for that long, obviously, they must like you. So why would they not continue?

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah.

Jeremy Deighan
So is your strategy still on YouTube? What is your strategy now and present day? Are you driving YouTube traffic to a free course on your own platform? Are you still sending people to Udemy? What does that look like now?

Daniel Walter Scott
I've never sent anybody to Udemy and Skillshare, the two big ones. I support that platform on that platform. Like I make sure I answer all the Q & A, and I do anything that the platform wants me to do, but I never send anything their way. I send everything to my own website.

I always go direct for the sell. I feel like I've given enough away. I don't know if it's because it's never worked for me, or I just don't like the system of the whole Jab, Jab, Right Hook, whatever it is, getting them on an email list.

My email list is huge and it sucks. There's like 15,000 people and it works okay, but nowhere near as good as the YouTube videos where some people get to the end, very few of them, but those very few people are enough to run a great business. So I basically just link straight to the course, "Hey, here's the rest of the course."

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, cool. That's good to know because I've heard that strategy work for some and not work for some. So it's good to hear that you are having that success. But maybe it's working good for you, as we talked about, that person is probably ready to continue their education at that point.

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah.

Jeremy Deighan
So if you were talking to someone who was just starting out for the first time. And they're listening to this podcast, and they hear all the different platforms. They hear different ways that you could do traffic. It sounds like, of course, you would go with YouTube.

But would you recommend any of the marketplace platforms like Skillshare or Udemy? Would you recommend just sticking with their own platform? Or would you do what you've done and just put it up everywhere and see what works?

Daniel Walter Scott
It depends what it is. I think you need to look at what your content is. Is it low value, high volume? Then Skillshare, Udemy, your own platform. If yours is different and it needs to be a higher value and a more niche; it's B2B or it's something quite specific for a specific group and it's not like...

I teach Photoshop, which is like the world. It's not the world, but it's a pretty broad software. If you're doing anything that's broad: play piano, learn to draw, go full noise everywhere because you don't know which platform is going to do well at the beginning.

You can always come off these things. People feel like they're making these big giant commitments. Even back to what we're talking about YouTube, like how much do we give away? You can take stuff down.

If you're like, "Man, this is not working for me. I hate it," take it down. And it's not a one- way-street all these decisions. So, if you're doing something commoditizable, then go to all the platforms. If you're doing something a little bit niche that you need a bit more hand-holding, that you do need to do the free course, but the main course comes with all these extras and it needs to be $500, then I think probably straight to your own platform.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, cool. I really like what you said about, it doesn't have to be concrete. You can take it down at any time. You're absolutely right. We put these courses out there; we put the videos and our blog posts and podcasts episodes out there thinking that once it's up there, it's going to be forever, but it doesn't have to be. So I really like that analogy.

So moving forward, what today is working out the best for you? Would you say it's just the YouTube to the landing page? Or is there anything else that's going on that you are seeing some major results from?

Daniel Walter Scott
I don't want to sound big headed, but at my level, I've got to a point now where I've got like 30-ish courses. And rather than just reiterating YouTube works really good for my own stuff is probably what's happening for me at the moment is I'm starting to get into live.

And I'm not sure exactly how this is going to work out, but it's been quite successful. I've started running some live design challenges. So doing something outside of my courses to keep people involved in design and with me and what we're doing, and doing a lot of live stuff.

And what's weird that's come out of that is the design challenges are going really well. We're on to our fourth one now. And along with that, during the live events, it's turned up like this Q & A at the end that I thought it was going to be Q & A about the challenges.

What's ended up happening is people are asking really pointed questions about a bigger scope than the software that I'm teaching. They're like, "Hey, I'm really interested in UX design and I am 50 and I'm a barista. Can I change over?" And those sorts of questions I didn't cover in any of my... I teach software.

So I teach how to be a UX designer, but not some of the more esoteric questions of like, "Is this for me? How do I know? Am I too young? What kind of portfolio do I need?" So all of that stuff's coming out.

So watch this space. I don't really know what it's going to become, but it feels like that's the... nobody's asking like, "Hey, what was the trick for lightning teeth." It's always, "Hey, how do I get my first freelance job?" "Hey, how do I get paid? How do I send an invoice?" I have no idea if I answered your question or not.

Jeremy Deighan
No, I think it's brilliant. To me, it comes back to community. The way that I've always pictured it is the content is great to have because you are putting some things out there that can be evergreen, and people can come find you. But I feel like the other important part of the equation is the community.

When you have a community, whether it's a Facebook group, your own community, or what you say you're doing, live videos and helping and teaching or doing challenges, you start getting that feedback from people that you might not normally get on a YouTube video or a blog post.

They might go in and make a comment, but I feel like these conversations, these Q & A's that you're having are super important because then you can start crafting products and offers and services around those answers.

Daniel Walter Scott
Totally. Like at the beginning, I made Dreamweaver tutorials, so people wanted more Dreamweaver tutorials, and you're like, "That's what people want; that's what I'm going to give them." And it takes a while, a couple of jumps and a few Holy Moly moments to go, "I'm going to try this other thing."

But these conversations through, like you said, you're like, "Huh, these people want these other things that I..." If you send out a survey to people that have done my UX course, they want more UX stuff. And these live events have given people an open and different platform. And they've come to me with strange questions that I didn't realize I needed to answer.

Jeremy Deighan
I also love the challenges personally because I was following a guy who taught Blender, which is a 3D software. And this was years ago. I just loved his style. He was Australian and he had a podcast and I loved listen to him. For some reason, that side of the world gets the good accents.

Daniel Walter Scott
I don't know.

Jeremy Deighan
I think that your success actually is just your voice and maybe the glasses helped.

Daniel Walter Scott
Anybody in New Zealand or Australia, just make course. The Americans love us.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, instant success. But he did challenges and I always looked forward to those. I ended up buying his products and this was well before like Udemy was even around. But he was doing challenges. He would do like a seasonal challenge. And I was terrible at Blender but I always submitted anyways because it was just fun. People love that stuff.

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah, it's amazing how many people buy like multiple... Udemy has pretty good data on what people buy and it's very common. More often than not, people will buy one. They'll start it and then go off on the next Udemy deal and buy lots of other ones. And when you do get to 30 courses, when somebody goes off and buys 10 or 20 of your courses, it's proper money.

Jeremy Deighan
Now, speaking of that, when you sell your courses on your own platform, have you done any type of membership or bundling? Or do you just sell individual courses?

Daniel Walter Scott
I only do subscription. So it's $12.95 a month for everything or annually $84. I leave the kind of bundling to stack. So that's one thing we didn't mention is StackSkills or StackSocial is probably my fourth little leg in my online course empire. They're like the next step kind of income that's worth mentioning. And they do the bundles. I let them do their stacks and stuff, but I do subscriptions only on my site.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay. And then how are you keeping people subscribed? Are you continually putting out new content?

Daniel Walter Scott
That's my big problem at the moment. I have probably an average subscriber staying for only four or five months. 2020 is my year to address that. And it's basically community. That's what I've come down to, but at the moment, it's only writing on the paper. I need to actually start it.

There's no real reason for you to come to Bring Your Own Laptop to actually subscribe when you can go to Skillshare and get all the courses plus everyone else's. So that's what I want.

I'm starting to get it through my Facebook group and through these Q & A's. I want there to be some sort of benefits for being on Bring Your Own Laptop. At the moment, I've been just fishing in everybody's pond to try and figure out and make this thing work.

And I will continue supplying Udemy and Skillshare with the packagable classes, but the intangible bits of the Q & A and portfolio reviews, all that sort of stuff I want to introduce to Bring Your Own Laptop. I think that's my hunch is that that's what will make Bring Your Own Laptop pass from that four to five months subscriber kind of average.

I really enjoy what I do and I really want people to stay around longer and I give them no reason to; absolutely none. Done with my courses? You could keep paying me or you could leave. That's the option. You can pay me for free or you could leave. That's the only two options I've given them. So I need to give them more options.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that's what I was wondering because the issue with memberships is how do you keep people on longer? So finding ways to increase the value or having the community aspect I think is beneficial for that.

Daniel Walter Scott
It does mean, though, that the $12.95 becomes, on average $50 or $60 per person after fees. So it depends on what you're selling your courses for. You need to look at subscription not just as $12; it's the lifetime of the student. 60 bucks per student is obviously a lot nicer than the Udemy $2.95.

Jeremy Deighan
It seems like with subscriptions, you can "guesstimate" your percentages a little better of how much you're going to make?

Daniel Walter Scott
They're so repeatable I know exactly next month, probably within about 1,000 bucks of what I'm going to earn because it's not that fluctuating. Five month runway is pretty cool. Whereas I feel like Udemy must sit every month and cross their fingers to go run more sales.

You've probably seen it through your earnings. Some months are amazing and some months aren't. Whereas Skillshare, they're on the subscription model and my subscriptions just get a little better every single month. They pay off from them because they've got some consistency. And it must be so much easier as a business to bank on consistency than it is from Udemy's roll the dice every month.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, exactly. And even people who launch on their own websites face that issue too. You have great months because you do a launch and then for the next three months, it's a desert town because there's nothing going out. But the subscription model is kind of the Holy Grail, but then it comes with how do you get people to stay on there.

So thinking through those is very important. So let's switch over to instructorHQ before we wrap up. I know that you went out and started helping other instructors and I just wanted to hear some more about what you're doing. What is instructorHQ and what are you doing with it?

Daniel Walter Scott
So basically, I built my own Teachable/Thinkific just because I wanted to do it the way that I felt like it should be done. Both of those other places where you can host your own courses weren't right for me. So yeah, I made instructorHQ. Basically, I made it for myself.

It got to a point where it was actually quite sophisticated and I was like, "All right, let's spin this off and let other instructors use the same platform I host my own stuff on." And the big perk on top of delivering your courses on your own side is the education behind it.

So I love doing things like this with you, Jeremy, helping people find their way getting started mainly. And yeah, that's instructorHQ. It's mainly a hosting platform for your own courses but it's perk is the education side helping people get going.

Jeremy Deighan
So when you say the education side, is there educational content included with the program?

Daniel Walter Scott
Exactly. So you sign up there's a course to get started: how to make your first course, how to do an outline, how to get it up on Udemy, those sorts of things. And then on from that is a boot camp where we do things like a bit more live, where people can sign up and join us for, instead of doing a video course, doing a meetup every second Thursday and be held accountable. And let's actually get something up and out as a community.

Jeremy Deighan
Nice. And you showed me an early version of it that I got to log in and check out. And I loved it because you come from a design background So it was very beautiful. It's very pleasant to look at. Some of these platforms look like they're from the 1980s.

Daniel Walter Scott
It does feel like at the moment, it's a bit of a boom. People are looking at Teachable and Thinkific and Kajabi, and there's a few out there. There's loads out there now. And we're just another one. And we do it well, like the rest of them, but our point of difference is it's more of a let's get your first course out and let's show you how to actually do it from somebody who's done it. That's our point of difference. And it looks nice.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, it looks beautiful. Do you still have all the analytics and everything inside of it?

Daniel Walter Scott
Yeah. So there's a cool instructor dashboard. I use it every single day. Wake up in the morning, check my Skillshare minutes, check Udemy minutes, I check YouTube. It pulls in everything from my own site-based courses. It's pretty cool.

Jeremy Deighan
Explain that real quick to everyone listening so they understand.

Daniel Walter Scott
So as part of your subscription, you get a dashboard. You can actually go check out my dashboard. I give away all my stats, how much I earn on all the different platforms free. It's at instructorhq.com/bishop. Bishop is the name that I caught my dashboard, I gave it a name.

But if you go there, you can check out my dashboard. It shows you what I learned this week, this day on Udemy. And what course earned the most and what my best video on YouTube is doing. And it's just a dashboard as you'd imagine; a tiled dashboard and it just shows me all in one place my site, Skillshare, StackSkills, StackSocial. I just plug everything in there.

Some of them it's easy to plug in. Some of them I have to manually do, but I just love having a place where I can say, "Oh, this month I've earned this much." If you're crazy about earnings, you can follow me on that one as well.

I remember following our joint good friend, Phil Ebiner. He gave away his data for a long time. And I was just like, "Man, that is super useful to know." And same with the Pat Flynn's of the world. They gave away, showing it all night. That's what I do as well. I try and show people behind the scenes, behind the curtain.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, I followed I followed Pat Flynn for a long time because it's motivational to see it rise because then you know like if he can make it rise from this month to this month, I can do that too. I can probably do a better.

I like the instructorHQ dashboard. I thought that was a cool thing where you could have all these different platforms in one place. I'm an analytics type guy myself. So I love being able to see all the numbers populate in...

Daniel Walter Scott
Teachable and Thinkific and the other self-hosting platforms, I don't know, they don't seem to want you to do well on the other places. But I feel like if you're like me and you feel like your courses could be on Udemy and Skillshare, your income is going to come from multiple places and not just your own site or not just Udemy.

That's why I built the dashboard for myself. I want to pull in all these things because at the end of the day, I pay my mortgage with all of these, not just one of them, not just my own site and not just Udemy.

Jeremy Deighan
That's awesome. Well, thinking back to when you first started and there's someone out there listening right now to us talk, and if they went and pulled up your dashboard and saw how much money you're making, they're probably like jaw dropped to the floor. It's easy to get up to a high point and kind of forget those early days and how much that struggle was.

So what is one good piece of advice that you can give to someone who is just starting out or maybe they've launched their course and they're not seeing the success they would like to see? What are some tips, tricks, or any advice that you could give to that beginner person?

Daniel Walter Scott
So probably the best is that I don't know anybody that had their first course be this gigantic win, unless they come with an audience already pre-sold. And that's out of the scope of most people. So I think it's going to be your fifth course that you're going to find your voice, you're going to find how to talk to the camera properly.

So I think you need to be prepared for the first one earning very little and the second one earning a little bit more, but helping the first one go. And then your third one's going to be a little bit more provisional, and help the first two. And by the time you get to 5 and 10, and then 30, they're all supporting each other.

I've got courses that I made five years ago that still do well not because they're particularly great on their own, but because people like me in this latest course assume the last one was going to be just as good. They go back and do the other one. Production level might not be as great, but still

I think it's not a one-hit-wonder thing. It's a five course, 10 course thing. And that sucks because that's a couple of years work. And that's what it was for me. So you can do well or at least side hustle well with your first course. If you want to earn a couple of 100 extra bucks a month, then that's going to work great for you. But if you want to give up your job and become a full time online instructor, it takes time to find your topics and find your audience and find your own voice and how to talk to that audience like I found.

It just gets easier and easier. And potentially, you find a couple of winners. There's a little bit of rolling the dice. I've got courses that do amazingly well on my site that don't do well on Skillshare and Udemy. And the same thing, my big Udemy course does very averagely on Skillshare and on my site. There's no scientific formula to it. You just got to stop making them and keep making them.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome. Yeah, it's weird. It's weird how some courses do better and others, even in the same niche like design. You would think that there'd be some kind of logical explanation for it, but there's not. So, Dan, where do you see yourself in the future? In the next, you know, 510 years what would you like to accomplish?

Daniel Walter Scott
My big change this year is getting a proper vision together in terms of supporting people outside of just software. And I want to Bring Your Own Laptop to be based around community where people have it not because they've got a course in the queue, but because they find it fulfilling for them becoming a designer. I want to build a community at Bring Your Own Laptop. That's my 10-year goal.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome. So let's get the community started. Where can people come find you?

Daniel Walter Scott
On all the platforms, I'm Bring Your Own Laptop for the design stuff. And if you want to follow me for instructorHQ, that as well. So it's instructorHQ on all of them. Just add the @ symbol to them all and you'll find me.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome. Perfect. Daniel Walter Scott, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. We appreciate all of your wonderful advice, and I just look forward to your success in the future.

Daniel Walter Scott
Jeremy, thanks for having, man.

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