Financial Advisor Vashisht Bhatt Explains Why Testing Your Course Material is Critical

July 26, 2021
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In today’s episode, we have Vash with us who is going to talk about why you should constantly experiment and test different aspects of your online course.

You will also get to hear why you should start with the user in mind and not the content first, how he listens to what the students want to create a better program for his audience, and the importance of staying in good mental health when working in your online business.

Website: ferventlearning.com
Facebook: Vashisht Bhatt
Twitter: @VashishtBhatt
Instagram: @vashishtbhatt
LinkedIn: Vashisht Bhatt

Notes

In this episode, you will hear...

… Vash’s story before joining the online business world, and what inspired him to create online courses. 

… how Vash continued creating online courses after feeling failure and demotivation.

… why you should constantly experiment and test different aspects of your online course.

… why you should start with the user in mind and not the content.

… how Vash listens to what the students want, to create a better program for his audience.

… how pursuing a minimalistic lifestyle can transform your business and your personal life.

… the importance of staying in good mental health when working in your online business. 

… what Vash’s course creation process looks like and how it has changed over the years. 

… practical and helpful tips to reduce noise from your everyday life to focus more on your online business.

… Vash’s number one piece of advice to anyone starting out in their course creation journey.

Resources

Transcript

Jeremy Deighan
Hey, everyone, thanks for checking out the show today. We have Vash from Fervent with us, who is an expert in the finance arena and has a great story to talk about today and has gone through the process of creating courses and experimenting and testing different things and has really figured out some great things that he wants to share with us today.

And I'm very excited to have you on the show. How are you doing today?

Vashisht Bhatt
I'm good. Thank you, Jeremy. How are you doing?

I'm doing excellent. Really excited that you reached out and that we could put this together. And yeah, I think it's going to be a good episode. And I always like to hear people's stories and how they kind of got into course creation.

Jeremy Deighan
So before we get into the course stuff, why don't you just take a moment and tell us what were you doing before you got into courses? And how did you get into this realm?

Vashisht Bhatt
Cool. So I had actually been training people in person for a good few years. I was training people in finance and accounting that was university students as well as professionals. So people working towards like an ACA qualification, which is a professional accountancy qualification, CFA, SEMA, a whole host of different professional qualifications, I was training people in person.

And I was doing that for roughly about five years. I guess there were two problems that I faced when I was training people. I do love teaching genuinely. It's just because of the sheer amount that I was teaching and training in person. There was very little learning from my own end. That was one.

And two, just the nature of what I do, just the training, it was stupidly expensive for most people. And I think that's a bit of an issue from an education standpoint. You know, it's great from a business standpoint, but not so much from an education standpoint, because I don't think education should necessarily be all that expensive.

So one thing that kept annoying me was, "Hey, you know, you're putting so many people out, and that you're not making your education, your teaching, your training accessible." And so that kept eating at me until I finally said, "You know what? The best way I can actually scale and offer my services or offer my teaching at reasonable prices, while still, you know, maintain some sort of profitable business would be to create online courses." So that's what ultimately drove me to creating online courses.

Jeremy Deighan
So you had this idea in your head. How did you go about the course creation process? Did you have any particular platform that you were looking at? And what did those early days look like?

Vashisht Bhatt
The real early days must have been something like 2014-2015. So I think Udemy was still very new at the time, and there were hardly any platforms or anything. So the way I was gonna do it was potentially create some sort of, you know, web application, some sort of platform. I think I do remember reaching out to Udacity, but they said that the instructors need to be, you know, someone from Harvard, or I don't know Princeton, and they need to be Xooglers and whatnot. So I didn't quite fit that bill.

So, you know, the platform issue was certainly a massive issue. But more than that, I think, you know, when I just ran into it, and just started creating these courses, sorry, single course, because I just started out with creating one particular course, it was just badly done, like really, really badly. I'm glad I never shipped it. I never published that.

You know, they say, you should always publish your courses, and you know, get things live. I totally agree with that. But for that particular course, I'm just really glad I didn't ship it because it's just terribly done. I mean, the reason it was terrible is because I just took precisely what I was doing, which was, you know, in-person training in-person teaching, and just took that online. And that's a terrible idea.

Because, you know, when you're teaching people face to face, it's a two-way conversation, people can ask you questions, you know, you have an engaging conversation. When it's an online course, it's literally just one way.

You know, now when I'm creating an online course, there's a lot more thought that goes into the course creation process, but at the time, it was just, you know, "Hey, I know a bunch of things. Let me just go ahead and create a course out of this. So let me just put together some slides and record the slide deck and then some face shots, and you know, there we go. We're done. Here's a course." So that was my first ever course which never shipped.

Jeremy Deighan
How long did you spend creating a course that you never shipped?

Vashisht Bhatt
I think, bear in mind, at the time, it wasn't full-time. I think that would have been roughly about 8-12 months. The other massive mistake I made was to be like ridiculously ambitious. The idea that I had was to create what I called at the time "corporate finance infinity."

So the idea was to have all of finance, you know, the entire subject, if you like, the core aspects of all of finance, in one single course, which is an enormous task that at the time, I just didn't think about, I just thought, "Yeah, this is a great idea. That's what I should do."

Jeremy Deighan
Gotcha. Okay. And when you were creating this course in these early days, I know you never shipped that course out. But had you started building any kind of audience or talking to anyone about what you should teach? Or were you just creating a course based on what you thought people would be interested in?

Vashisht Bhatt
So this is a really good question. Because I was teaching people in person, I mean, my audience, at least I thought my audience was with me. So I didn't particularly need to ask around all that much. And that was a pretty big mistake, I think now in reflection because although I was teaching people in person, they aren't really my audience because the people who want to learn one-to-one aren't necessarily interested in online course.

So although they're interested in learning the same thing, the medium that they're willing to explore the medium that they're willing to or want to learn from is not an online course. That's why they're paying big money to have a one-to-one lesson with me, for instance.

So at the time, I didn't actually ask around, and I didn't do much of market research, either. In fact, I'm trying not to use financial terms here, but basically, the course I created was to do with just the present value and future value, which is an extremely important concept.

If you're familiar with finance, it's basically just like, the most essential concepts in finance. And so that's what I ran with, right? It's the most important concept, so why don't I create a course about this? The problem is that, although that is, in fact, a very important concept, I think, from an online course standpoint, it's a bit silly to create a course around that because there's not much you can do with that.

So I mean, what I should have done at the time was to have create a course which shows or teaches people how they can use that present value and future value concept for things like, you know, stock valuation, or bond valuation, or a whole host of other things. And, sorry, I'm trying not to get technical here with financial concepts.

But the idea is that at the time, I just thought, "You know, this is a really important concept that anyone who's looking to study finance must need to know." And that's still true, you know, it's still a very important concept. But I don't think it's suitable by itself for an online course.

And I think if I had done a little more research, I'd have probably figured that out. I say, probably but, you know, you never know these kinds of things. Hindsight is great.

Jeremy Deighan
Right, right. And, you know, that's why I wanted to ask just because I know myself included, I'll go out and I'll think that I've got this perfect idea. And like you said, spend months and months creating something that you find out that no one wants.

And it could have been demotivating to even ship that course and then find out that no one's buying it, which might have been worse than you just not even shipping it, to begin with.

So you create this course for eight months, you kind of realize that it's not really meeting your expectations. A lot of people might have thrown in the towel at that point. So why did you continue? And what were your next steps after that?

Vashisht Bhatt
So this is actually a really good question. I mean, I didn't continue for a long time. So I think that course I probably finished it in something like 2015 if I'm not mistaken. And then I did actually just stop. I didn't do much with it for about a year. I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything in 2016.

I was actually going through quite a lot mentally back then as well. So 2015-2016 wasn't a good year for me. And so I kind of just put that away, but one of the things that really helped was listening to Phil Ebiner's podcast, at the time, you know, it was their Online Course Masters. And also, you know, podcasts like the minimalist that also kind of helped me just gain some sort of perspective, some sort of insight into what's important to me.

And then I think as a result of listening to these podcasts and also engaging with, you know, online course creator communities. In 2017, I think I started resuming, you know, thinking about creating an online course again, and you know, putting a little more thought into what I would actually do and how I would go about doing it, and whether it's kind of useful for people.

And then I finally shipped my, you know, official first course if you like, that was in March 2018 is when I shipped that course. So I did the slides and things that the content I think I started in something like June the previous year so June 2017.

And then something happened, and it just kind of laid there and didn't do anything. Until January 2018, I just had that moment that we all have at some point, which was basically me saying, "Enough is enough. I'm either gonna ship something now, or I'm just gonna forget about this and never look at it again."

I guess I got fed up of being neither here nor there, you know, having these materials and not really shipping them and sort of going back and forth, not completing some things that I had in mind or wanted to complete. And so January was basically that definitive moment where I said, "You know, this is it. I'm either going to do something with this now, and ship it, or that's it. No more online courses. Let's figure out something else that, you know, maybe worth pursuing."

And, as they say, I guess the rest was history. So after that, you know, once I shipped the first course, then it's like, you kind of get into a bit of momentum. So I started working on the second course. It did help that I started to make sales. I mean, it wasn't a huge amount of money by any means. But you know, just that one sale or two to sales was also like, wow, you know, people are buying this product.

And then, to be honest, what was even more inspiring was when people started to use the courses, when they started asking questions in the q&a forum when they started leaving good reviews, you know, when the messages started to come in, "Hey, this is really great. It's helped me get a promotion. It's helped me get this. I finally understood it."

That kind of thing just kept me motivated because that's kind of why I went down this route, to begin with, right? It was to basically make my teaching and training more accessible. And so now we're seeing the evidence of that with people appreciating the product.

But you know, more than anything else, really learning these seemingly complex concepts, and actually understanding them and, you know, getting past their fears of numbers getting past their fear of equations. And also, you know, cutting through the noise. And I don't know if I can use the word, but [bleep] because especially for finance, there's so much crap out there on the internet, right? I mean an insane amount of noise.

And so it's really great that now people are questioning these things, and not just taking things as is and you know, learning finance, which I think actually is a beautiful subject. But again, I should probably not get too technical into finance now.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, no problem. Yeah, and we'll continue down this journey that you had and talk about your course creation process and what it looked like going from there, but I wanted to go back to a couple of points you mentioned.

First of all, you mentioned the Online Course Masters podcast, which I was the co-host of for the second and third seasons. So we'll put that in the show notes if anyone wants to go back. It's no longer active, I believe, but all the episodes are still there. And you can go back and get a lot of gold nuggets from that podcast, also. So I'll make sure that I link that up.

And then, you know, you were talking about some of the mental things that were going on. And you mentioned The Minimalist, which are some people that I follow too, which really helped me kind of reframe my brain and cut out all the noise and get back to a better center. And I want to touch on those in a little bit going back to that.

So you put this course out, and you start seeing some sales, and that is really motivational to continue to go for like you say people are showing interest. Were these on Udemy? Or were you putting these on your own platform?

Vashisht Bhatt
Those were on Udemy.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, so you put a course up there, you get some sales. And then did you just create more courses? How many courses did you end up putting on that platform?

Vashisht Bhatt
So on Udemy, at the moment, we now have seven courses on there.

Jeremy Deighan
So you put the course up there, you see some sales, and you're like, "Yes, this is working. Let me continue to publish and produce." So when you started creating these courses, as everyone finds out, once they start making courses, you tend to make a lot of mistakes.

And so what was your course creation process, like? And how has that changed over the years?

Vashisht Bhatt
Oh, that's a really good question. I think I'm gonna ignore the very first course because that was just bad. The one I didn't ship, I mean, but I think basically, the thing that hasn't changed from, you know, the actual first course that I shipped, and even now is the first thing I do is I start with the user in mind. I start with my students in mind.

I don't focus so much on the content itself because the content is something that you know you can access anywhere. I'm not inventing a lot of these concepts, right? It's how I'm communicating the concepts and how I kind of make it student-centric and user-centric that distinguishes my courses from everything else that's on the internet as far as some of the concepts go.

So I always start with the user in mind, or we start with the students. So that includes, you know, who exactly are my students? What's their motivation? Why do they want to learn this course? What do they struggle with? And you know, that's not purely from a conceptual or from a specific concept standpoint, right? So I'm aware that a lot of people want to learn finance, but they really hate math because they've had a terrible math teacher in school.

Or they're afraid of equations, again, because they've had likely had a terrible math teacher in school. Of course, I know that because I, myself, had terrible math teachers and school, bless them. But you know, it's really zoning in on the pain points and the problems that my users have being absolutely crystal clear on that, and then going into the content side.

So then I start to think about, okay, fine, I know my users, I know what they struggle with. And then, I start to do research on what kind of concept or what topics the course is going to cover. So that will involve everything from, you know, using Udemy's marketplace insights to keyword research to seeing what else is out there on Udemy or other, you know, education marketplaces or platforms. So that's like the market research side.

And then, you know, once I have some sort of reasonable basis of reasonable evidence to show that this might be a course that's worth creating, then I can get into, okay, how am I going to create an outline for this particular course? So what's the syllabus, so to speak, what exactly am I going to cover? And it's at this stage where I guess the planning, in my experience, is no longer necessarily useful.

Because what I find is, I'll come up with an outline for the course. And you know, I'll create the slides for it. And I'll create a plan and sometimes even a script. And then I actually get to recording it. And I'm like, "No, this doesn't work." It's not as simple as it could be, or, you know, it's too complicated. Or this is not useful for the users. So at that point, it's very much going back and forth, constantly iterating, constantly trying out new, different ways of teaching the same thing or changing the specific lectures.

So I might not teach something that I thought I would teach. But yeah, at that point, it's just a constant case of testing iterating and improving the recording, and then you know, it's editing, and then shipping. You know, sometimes even when I'm editing, I'll figure out, Okay, this is not really the best way to explain it. So I might actually restart that particular video, hopefully, not a whole course. But sometimes, yeah, I'll go back and re-record one version or two versions.

I think, you know, this is something I wouldn't necessarily advise, though, because it's something I'm a little bit anal with this kind of thing. And, I mean, it's arguably good from a production standpoint, but at the same time, it really does slow down the course creation timeframe. So it takes me a ridiculous amount of time to create courses. And that means that you know, where at the moment we only have seven courses. If I was a little bit more easy on myself, I reckon I may well have had 14-15 courses.

Jeremy Deighan
Thank you for breaking down your course creation process for us. I wanted to talk a little bit more about the experimenting and the testing phase. This is something that I find interesting, because a lot of people will just produce a course and then that's it, you know, like, this is what you get.

So can you elaborate a little bit more on how you're testing different aspects of your course? What does that look like? And how are you tracking the test? Because it's one thing to go in and say, "This isn't good. Let me change it."

But are you keeping any kind of track of things that are working better or working worse when you change those aspects out in the course?

Vashisht Bhatt
At the time of production, when I'm actually creating the course, a lot of it is is based on what I think works well and what doesn't work well. And so, the testing and iterating are less to do with user-led data. It's often a case of, you know, me just going back and forth and trying out different versions of getting to the simplest way to explain the concept I'm trying to explain.

But I do incorporate user feedback or student feedback once the course is shipped. The first course that I created didn't use any real-world data. It was purely theory. It was purely theoretical concepts, with loads of examples and things. So that's something you know that's consistent across all our courses.

There are loads of quiz questions, there are loads of assignments, loads of opportunities for students to apply what they learn or practice what they learn, but there was no real-world data involved.

And the same thing happened with the second course. But from the second course onwards, people were getting quite annoyed that there's no real world data that it was purely theory. And so that actually caused a massive change in how I go about creating courses.

So thereafter, I made it a priority to make sure that I'm really covering proper, real-world data. I showcase real-world data. And it's not just theoretical knowledge. So I certainly don't cut corners on the theory. The courses are extremely rigorous. And they rely on the research that's out there. The math is quite math-heavy. But as far as possible, I'll try and push to showcase real-world data as well.

And that's as a result of really listening to what users want, what my students want. And so thereafter, I think, yeah, the third course onwards, I've have always featured real-world data, unless it's a purely theoretical course. Like the most recent course that I shaped was financial math primer, which is literally, you know, the absolute basics of mathematics.

There's very little real-world data that you can apply if you're teaching someone mathematics for finance. So that you can't really use real-world data, but with all the other courses, there's extensive use of real-world data, thanks to what the students told us.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, definitely. I think that's awesome. And I want to emphasize a point of listening to that student feedback because I have courses that I have published before. As I said, I put them up there, and you get what you get, and never really took the time to go understand what people were saying about the course and making those adjustments.

And you don't know what you don't know. As you create more courses, you stay in this game longer. You start realizing that you really need to rely more on the student's interest and their feedback versus what you just think should be in the course. And so I like what you said about that.

I do want to go ahead. And let's go down a different road here. Because earlier on in the episode, you talked about The Minimalists. And you also mentioned that you went through kind of a mental struggle for a little bit. And I don't think we talked about this enough.

I know that when I do these podcasts, you know, we can talk about the marketing strategies all day, we can talk about traffic, we can talk about course creation. But there's another side to this that is often overlooked. And that is the mindset. That is, you know, making sure that you're in a good mental state.

I saw The Minimalists, the documentary, great documentary, and it's really about, from my understanding, cutting out all the extra stuff you don't need in your life. And this is something that we actually did. Because I used to live in a house, I had, you know, five rooms, all kinds of gear, you know, toys for the kids, all the nonsense.

And we wanted to go traveling. We wanted to travel the country, which is what we do now. And we realize that to do that, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff. So this was a perfect turning point in our life where we were able to sell, have a garage sale, get rid of a bunch of unnecessary stuff in our lives. And when we did that, it was so much better for us. We were able to get rid of all these things that were bogging down our life.

So I would love to hear about your philosophy on both the minimalist idea side of things and also the mental health side of things.

Vashisht Bhatt
I totally, absolutely can relate to exactly, you know, your journey as well with minimalism because I, too, went through the same thing. I think I got rid of something like 500 kilos worth of stuff. And bear in mind, you know, bachelor, right? So I didn't have a family at the time I didn't have, now I've got a fiance.

So it was literally just me, and I got rid of roughly about 500 kilos worth of stuff. At one point, I have seven computers. I have no idea why. It's just insane the amount of stuff that I had just accumulated over the years.

So minimalism really helped me. It was two things. Actually, one was The Minimalists, and two was Marie Kondo, who's written this book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And it sounds so cheesy, you know, the title of the book, but my god, that book is absolutely amazing. And I would highly recommend it to anyone, really.

But it was those two things that really allowed me to zone in on the things that matter to me. Travel is a really big one. And so naturally, it helps if you can travel light if you don't have loads of baggage, the literal physical baggage, not the emotional baggage. But you know, the more physical baggage you have, I think the more likely you are to have emotional baggage as well, at least I did, you know?

So I decluttered the physical space, I found myself decluttering my mind as well. And this is something I've now brought into the courses as well. So the courses, although they have so much involved, it still starts off from a user standpoint, or user-centric standpoint, and to a minimalist standpoint.

So it's very much about what exactly is essential. What are the most essential things that you as a student need to know without, you know, us cutting corners? So rather than covering breadth, I really go into the depth of specific concepts that I'm teaching, and so that's really all thanks to minimalism, I think.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, I love this. So just, you know, a little story. Back in our house, I had an office, and I must have had an ungodly amount of equipment at one point. I mean, you know, a dozen microphones, multiple cameras, multiple lights and backdrops, like you said, multiple computers, a bookshelf just stacked full of books. And I love reading. So I won't say anything bad about books. But you know, and we had just all this stuff.

Well, when we started traveling, all we had was a Toyota Camry. And we literally packed up my wife and my two kids in what we could take in the trunk of a Toyota Camry, which, let me tell you, is not a lot of stuff. And when you do that, you really focus on the things that are most important to you.

And I had to think to myself, like, "Oh, my gosh, I can't take my lights, I can't take my DSLR, I can't take my backdrops. What am I gonna do?" And I started freaking out, you know? To this day, I have my whole business in a backpack. I have, you know, my laptop, I have this microphone, I have one light that I use if I got to get on camera. Otherwise, you know, you've you find ways around that, like, if I don't have good lighting, then I go stand by a window, or you figure those things out.

And it is so freeing to get rid of that physical baggage. And in return, like you said, it reduces the emotional baggage because you don't realize that you're so tied down to these things. And they're hindering you. And by releasing those, well, first of all, like you said, that book, I haven't read it, but tidying up, decluttering. Just the fact that my desk is so much cleaner now because I don't have all this stuff, you know? It truly is amazing.

Vashisht Bhatt
Cleaning is easy. I used to hate cleaning, but now I mean, it's really not a big deal because there isn't that much to clean. And also, I guess the other thing is like you can get on with doing whatever you wanted to do, right?

So even if it's cleaning, for instance, when I had loads of stuff, before I cleaned, I needed to kind of remove stuff, right? Because the table was full of stuff. And you know, the chair always had something on it. So if I wanted to sit, I would first need to remove stuff from the chair. And only then could I sit.

And the same thing when I wanted to lie down. I had to remove stuff from the bed, and I'd actually put them on the chair. So that was my routine. At night, remove the stuff from the bed and plunk them on the chair. And in the morning, take the stuff on the chair and put it on the bed.

Jeremy Deighan
It reminds me of a movie called Along Came Polly with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. And every night, she takes throw pillows out of this box and puts them on the bed. And then when she's ready to sleep, it's like 16 pillows right on her bed.

And she takes them off and puts them back in the box, and does this every night. And he goes, "Why? Why do you do this?" And she's like, "I don't know, it's just something I've already done." And he takes a knife, and he just cuts up all the pillows and releases her from that clutter. And it really reminds me of what you're saying here.

Vashisht Bhatt
So I mean now the chair has one purpose, it's for me to sit on, that's it. There's never anything apart from me on the chair. And the same thing with the bed, its only sole purpose is for me to go and sleep on it. So there's nothing on the bed apart from the duvet and, you know, the bedsheet and two pillows—one for me, one for my fiance.

Minimalism is so incredible because it doesn't sound like something that can have such an important and such a transformational impact. But it really does. Because, you know, it just changed the way I think about things, it freed my mind so much. I guess I just felt free once I went down the minimalist path. And I still do, you know, it's like you're saying about the backpack.

I basically reduced the vast majority of my things to a single backpack. Now there's a bit of a caveat, I did have some stuff in storage, things like my monitor, I need my 27-inch monitor, there are certain things that I want to, you know, get rid of, but that's the beauty, right? It's not a case of, you know, you need to get down to just 100 items or less.

If they're 500 items that are useful for you, then knock yourself out. I guess the whole idea is to get rid of the stuff that's not useful for you or the stuff that doesn't really add value to your life. So yeah, I think that's what's amazing about minimalism.

When I think about that documentary, there was one thing that stood out. I think it's like a two or three-hour documentary. And there's always one phrase that he said, and I'm just paraphrasing because I don't remember the exact quote, but he said that he got rid of all of his stuff. And then he realized what was most important to him. And then, he is able to invest more into the things that are more important to him.

Jeremy Deighan
I think he was talking about, like his jacket or something or a suit or something. And he was like, "You know, I don't have a lot of clothes. But now I can buy the clothes that I really enjoy because I don't have, you know, 40 shirts. I've just got five or six shirts, but they're very nice shirts, and they fit me perfectly, and they're the exact kind of shirts that I want." And that's kind of where I've gotten to.

It's like, you know, I don't have to have seven computers, but I'm going to invest in one really good computer. Or like you, you know, a 27-inch monitor. That's fine if that's a tool that you use. But at least now, instead of having 14 monitors, you're going to have one monitor that you really enjoy, you can invest in that monitor, and it definitely helps out, so that's awesome.

Vashisht Bhatt
With clothes as well, that's something I've actually implemented in my life. So I have just the same black t-shirts. I've got five black t-shirts. You know, they're really comfortable Polo t-shirts. And I guess the other thing is, it means that in the morning, I don't really need to think about what I'm going to wear because I know I'm going to wear a black t-shirt.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, Steve Jobs made that very important. That's a big thing that people refer to when they refer to Steve Jobs is he had the same outfit every day. So when he got out, he wasn't spending time thinking about what he was gonna wear or any of that stuff. He just says, "Hey, I have a black t-shirt. That's what I wear." You know?

Vashisht Bhatt
I think it's the same with Obama, as well. I'm pretty sure he just had seven or eight suits. But the same suit, you know, the same version. I think I've heard anyway.

Jeremy Deighan
I know we're going off on a little bit of a tangent here. But it does help if you're an implementing these into your course, your business, and you're getting rid of the junk that you don't need. But there is a thing called. I can't remember the name of it right now.

But basically, what it is, is like, instead of having a bunch of random outfits, you have kind of like a color set of things.

Vashisht Bhatt
Like a palette.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, yeah, like a palette, and there's a certain name that they use for it. And if I remember it, I'll put in the links in the show notes. But basically, yeah, you have a palette of colors. You have two or three colors that you enjoy what you wear all the time.

And then you get five pairs of pants, five shirts, you know, one or two sweaters, but everything matches. So it doesn't matter what combination you use. They all match. And this is something where you know, I used to have 30 shirts and 20 pairs of pants and, you know, 14 pairs of shoes or whatever, and none of it matched. And you have to sit there and think about like, "Okay, what am I going to wear, what am I going to wear?"

And when you do this, it comes to a point where it doesn't matter what pant you choose and what shirt you choose. They all match together, so you can interchange them. And it gives you a bunch of combinations. Even though you've got five pairs of pants and five shirts, you have like 25 pairs of different outfits that you can wear. I thought that was a really cool concept.

Vashisht Bhatt
And I think I've actually kind of applied that to the content side as well. Because one of the massive problems I had when I was creating blog posts and articles for content marketing was coming up with feature images for the blog post, right? So the image is like the hero image for the article. And it was an absolute nightmare to come up with these different feature images for every single blog post.

So I basically just said, "Well, what's the simplest way I can tackle this?" and ended up creating just one template, which is now the same design, regardless if you know how many blog posts I've got. So on ferventlearning.com, if you go into the article side, you've got loads of different articles, but the design is fundamentally the same thing. And that's again, as a result of going down this minimalistic kind of route where it's really focusing on fewer things, but doing those few things really well.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, definitely. That's awesome. I remembered the name. It's called a capsule. So if anyone wants to look at what a capsule wardrobe is, that's really cool.

But I like that because when you work with a designer, they help you come to this understanding that you need to have your brand colors and your branding. And so instead of like you want to make a YouTube image, like you said, instead of not knowing what colors to pick, not knowing what fonts to pick, you have a palette.

Like you said, 1, 2, 3, 4 colors, and one or two fonts that you always use. And it makes it easy for you to figure out, you know, how you're going to create those designs. But then also it helps your branding because it's always cohesive.

Vashisht Bhatt
Exactly. And it makes your life so much easier.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, definitely. And that's a point. And I'm glad we went down that road. I know we went off on a little side street there. But I feel like if people are hearing what we're saying, it really does help your mental state of mind because what you're doing is you are getting rid of unnecessary decisions that you have to make each day, and you are making those decisions easy so that you can focus on the more important things like creating your course and helping others.

So I appreciated today. I think you've been awesome. And I love this talk. And maybe we can have you back on the podcast again and talk some more about these philosophies.

But thinking about the person who's starting out in their course creation journey, what is a good piece of advice that you could give to that person, whether it be on the creation side of things, the marketing side of things, or the mental side of things?

Vashisht Bhatt
I'd say, given that it's so diverse. I mean, different people are at different stages in their course creation process. I think if there's one universal message that will apply, it will be to pick one thing and do that right now.

So it doesn't matter whether you're in the marketing side, whether you are looking to create your course, whether it's the first course you're looking to create, or the 20th course, and you're currently having a bit of a burnout. Just pick one thing that you want to do right now and just go ahead and do that.

It doesn't matter how big or small. The thing is, preferably actually pick a small task, one that you can finish within one hour ideally, but you know, don't let this now be a new hindrance, "Oh, you know, what should I do? What's the one task that I can do within an hour?"

No, just pick one thing right now. Stop listening, just pick one thing and just tackle that single one thing and finish that, and I promise you. Well, I don't even need to do tell you what's going to happen after that, because you'll see it. It just works like magic. Pick one thing and start doing that right now.

Jeremy Deighan
Perfect. That's awesome, great piece of advice. And just thinking about your business going forward, where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?

That's a good question. I honestly don't think that far ahead because things change so quickly. But I think I'm just going to focus predominantly on creating really great content, focus on delivering what my users need, what my students need.

I genuinely do enjoy the course creation process. That's something I've really come to enjoy. So I do hope that I can continue to have this luxury of creating online courses and digital assets two years down the line. Hopefully, I'll be, well, I'll certainly be older. Hopefully, I'll be a little bit wiser.

But I do hope also that I'd remain, you know, naive. And I remain a bit foolish because I guess that allows you to be nimble, and it allows you to change very quickly and also incorporate feedback very quickly. And you know, be agile.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome. Vash, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. This has been a great talk. And we appreciate you hopping on here and just sharing your knowledge and your expertise and talking about some of these fundamentals.

And if people wanted to find out more about you and your business, where can they do that?

Vashisht Bhatt
The core business is Fervent, and you can access the site on ferventlearning.com.

Jeremy Deighan
Perfect. Well, very good. Again, thank you for your time. We appreciate you, and I just hope you have the most success going forward in the future.

Vashisht Bhatt
Thanks so much, Jeremy and thanks ever so much for having me on your show as well. I really had a cracking time. Thank you.

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