Six Minute Strategist John Colley Discusses the Business of Building Online Courses

November 9, 2020
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In today’s episode, we have the Six Minute Strategist himself, John Colley, who will share his success in business and building online courses.

You will also get to hear how John has branded himself across many different channels, the business strategies that he suggests you should implement today, and how you can create a long term plan for your online business growth.

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In this episode, you will hear...

… how John Colley went from being a captain in the British Army to becoming an investment banker and then onward to creating online courses.

… why he thought it was a great idea to create online courses for a long term strategy.

… how John was able to raise his profile and authority with marketing for his investment banking boutique.

… the marketplace John found online that made it easier to sell his online courses.

… how John is able to find audience demand with market analysis for online courses in various niches.

… John’s thoughts on how marketplaces balance the interest between students and instructors, and how it has affected his business.

… other platforms and marketplaces that John uses to reach more people.

… how you can use marketplaces to build your list and audience.

… the way John brands himself across all major platforms and networks to make it easier to find him online.

… the many different strategies John uses for bringing in new traffic and subscribers each month.

… the one platform John recommends that translates well into getting people into your online course.

… John’s thoughts on adding a coaching program to your online course, and what you should look out for if you choose to do so.

… other revenue streams that John is using to bring in extra money each month with different audiences.

… what you need to do to take your business seriously if you want to grow it to new heights.

… where the future of online courses, online business, and freelancing is heading.



Jeremy Deighan
Hello, and welcome to the podcast today. I have an old friend with me, the Six Minute Strategist himself, John Colley. John, how are you doing today?

John Colley
I'm doing very well, Jeremy. It is brilliant to be on your show. Thank you very much for having me.

Jeremy Deighan
Thank you for coming. We appreciate you being here. And you have been in this game longer than me. So when I first came into online courses, I found a lot of your courses. I took some of your courses, they really helped me out, get started. And I just have a lot of questions. And it's really exciting to have you here. How has the online business been going for you?

John Colley
It's going really well actually. I'm really, really enjoying it. I love making the courses. And I love sharing the knowledge. Yeah, it's great fun. And it's interesting to see the market evolve and become broader and more exciting.

So it's all good. We're definitely on a train that's moving faster and faster. And I'm pleased to be on board.

Jeremy Deighan
Yes, definitely. And I definitely want to get into some of those marketing strategies and the evolution of online courses over time. But before we do that, let's go ahead and just get a little bit of a backstory, where you came from. How did you get into online business, maybe what you were doing before online business? And then how did you get into online courses?

John Colley
Okay, very quick resume. I started off out of university. I was at Cambridge University. Went into the British Army. I spent a number of years. Ended up as a captain of the British army. Came out in 1988. Yes, that long ago, in 1988, and went into investment banking.

So I did several different jobs but worked my way through the 90s and the noughties in investment banking. Had a couple of my own investment banking startups. And the online journey really started in 2008, when everything fell out the window, as we all know. And I had to start doing some marketing.

Well, blow me down, that was unusual. Because up till that point, I'd lived on referrals. And that taught me quite a lot about getting more into creating online content. And I guess I got into my first online course about 2013.

And the reason I made the switch was I still enjoyed the advisory work. But I figured that in the long term, having your own platform, your own intellectual property out there, providing you keep it relatively evergreen, was a good long term strategy for exploiting the knowledge I had.

So a long journey, but I'm very excited to be here. And I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome. So when you started doing marketing, was it for the coaching or life consulting you were doing? Or did you go straight into online courses? Or did you try some other things before that?

John Colley
The online marketing was really for my... at that point, I had my second investment banking boutique in London. And my partners said, "Oh, we have a website." But basically, it was a brochure.

I'll keep it short. But the basic issue was trying to raise my profile, particularly in places like LinkedIn, where we can get more exposure and more referral into the business by demonstrating our expertise and our credibility in the investment banking sphere. And the courses really came about five years after that.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay. So how did you hear about courses? What got you started on that journey?

John Colley
Well, personally, I'd been thinking about them for quite a long time. And I was beginning to hear about them. And I'd struggled and struggled and struggled then finally somebody whispered the magic word, Udemy, to me. And we're talking about 2013.

And it still took me six months to make my first course. Yeah, it was that, but it was finding a marketplace and a system, an LMS system, online that actually worked. Much improved today, but even back in 2013, it was a pretty good platform for publishing on. And it was stable.

And I tried making courses and tying in membership software to my website and hosting it on my web. And the whole thing was a technical car crash because the bits of the different parts of software wouldn't talk to one another.

Along comes Udemy. The platform worked very nicely. And at that stage, there were 4,000 courses on Udemy. I think there are 50,000 today, 60,000, probably more than that. But it was very early days.

And I thought, "Yeah, I'll have a look at this." So the first thing I did was have a good look at what was on Udemy. So I analyzed all the 4,000 courses and made a course about Udemy. And it sold $1,000 worth in the first month. I thought that was good.

Jeremy Deighan
Well, that's definitely a motivator, right? Awesome. So you get that first course up there. It does really well. And I assume, at that point, you were hooked.

John Colley
Yeah, I realized that there was a real long term game to be had here. But one would probably have to be patient. Because the market was so immature. And you know what the risks are when you're a very early starter. That you get the early adopters and then there's this trough of uncertainty when nothing happens.

And full marks to Udemy for persevering. And, yeah, they've had a few changes over the years and all the rest of it, but they have done a sterling job in growing the platform. And as they've grown the platform, then it's matured.

And it's now a very... far fewer people are gaming it, which is a good thing. There's a better relationship and better communication with students, which is a good thing. They've got more tools. I mean, all around. It's a very good place to start. And, yeah, so hooked is a good word.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome. Yeah. And I want to talk about some of those changes over time that the platform has gone through. But just thinking back to those early days when what do you say? That was about seven years ago now. And I think I probably started maybe a year, year and a half after you.

Because when I came on, I found that you already had a dozen courses or so on different things. And so, to someone who's listening who hasn't created a course, or thinking about starting a course, and maybe they're nervous or don't know what to expect, I know the times are different now.

But what was it like when you first put up that course? What were you kind of thinking? And what did you think the outcome was going to be?

John Colley
I actually didn't know. And that was the fun thing. To put it out there, the learning curve was learning how to make the course. And getting the confidence to deal with the camera and learning how to speak into the microphone and dealing with all that sort of stuff. None of which is particularly difficult, I must add.

John Colley
But I really didn't know what was going to come with it. And then because, at that stage, I knew exactly who had what courses on Udemy. Because I'd analyzed the whole of the platform. So I was then working out where the audience demand was.

And at that stage, it was around people who want to know more about making money online, and around marketing, and around some of the platforms. The courses that were going gangbusters, and always have done, are all the technical courses. But I didn't have any technical programming skills.

Jeremy Deighan

John Colley
So I bow to the gods of Adobe and the gods of all these courses.

Jeremy Deighan
Web development.

John Colley
Yeah, which is just, I mean, I've been long past that. Actually, joking apart, I did do a bit of programming in the 80s, but it's long since passed me by. So I followed where the market demand was, having done my market analysis. And built it slowly. But I really wasn't expecting it to become anything very, very valuable very quickly.

Jeremy Deighan
Right. And you were doing market analysis because I remember this, manually, pretty much, for the most part. I mean, now they give you tools that just tell you what they want. But back then, in those early days, you were going through and finding those gold nuggets yourself which is awesome.

So as we know, the platform went through some changes, some ups and downs. They had pricing changes, rule changes. They changed the way that you could title courses, what you could have in them, and not have in them. And some of those really affected some people.

Other people were able to weather the storm. How did you get through that process? When you're on a platform like Udemy and they come in and they change the pricing strategy, some people's businesses really got affected. How did that affect you and how did you deal with that?

John Colley
I was never dependent on Udemy. For me, it was always a pretty significant user of my time. But I always regarded it as not a sideline, but as a long term project. So I wasn't dependent on it for my income and sort of living off it.

And I think it was more difficult for people who had really committed to it in the sense of that was their main financial income. I mean, I can see why they did it. They're venture capital-backed. And I've spent 30 years advising businesses, in the last 20 years, advising tech businesses.

So I understand how businesses like that evolve. How they're searching to improve their model and trying to optimize or balance between the interests of the instructors and the interests of the students to get the right blend. They'd started off with a very heavily discount model, which they were trying to move away from. They've never really quite done that.

So I don't blame them in any sense. They were working very hard and trying really hard to make things better all the time. I genuinely believe that. I think they had one or two hiccups with trust and safety people, where they expanded their trust and safety unit very quickly. And I think brought in some inexperienced people who dropped a few climbers, in my humble opinion.

But otherwise, it was difficult sometimes to stick with them. Because you did feel that when things did happen very suddenly, and there were disruptions, you were thinking, "Are they cutting themselves to pieces?" But on the whole, I just sort of rolled with it.

And we've come out the other end. And everybody's stronger. The platform is going from strength to strength. And they've done a lot to help the development of the market. And I think that's an important thing as well.

Because they're not the only show in town by any means. Although they are, in my opinion, particularly in the b2c sector, the market leader. They've done a very, very interesting, and I think, on the whole, good job over a period when they're trying to build a startup. And that's never easy.

Jeremy Deighan
Yes, that's right. And they have done a great job, as you mentioned before. Just adding new tools for instructors, like we talked about. Able to find niches and different subjects that you can create courses on.

The way that they've created communications with students. And the way that we can message them and communicate with them has definitely improved over time. And I've seen pretty consistent growth on the platform over the years.

If you look at my graphs, they just consistently rise. And I even haven't created courses in a while. Are you still producing courses on the platform?

John Colley
Yeah, last year, because we were moving house and it was a very drawn-out process—I won't bore you with the details—I actually didn't produce any courses last year. And then I've published one course so far this year. I've got another five on the go—three in partnership with other people.

So I'm back to creating content. The problem is I started off making what I thought would be a three-hour course, and it turned out to be over 14 hours. So it took quite a long time. But that's what it needed to address the issue. So that's what I produced.

Jeremy Deighan
That's a good point. People always ask me, "What's the proper length for a course?" However long it takes to solve the problem you're trying to solve.

John Colley

Jeremy Deighan
So, Udemy is definitely one of the biggest leaders. Of course, there's a dozen other course platforms out there. But let's move off of Udemy. Because you mentioned that Udemy's never been just your only source of income. You have other things going on. So are your courses listed elsewhere? Are they on your own platform? And how do you go about that?

John Colley
Yeah, up to 2016, I've been still very much involved in the corporate finance advisory work. So that was my primary source of income. The online courses were secondary. And that's gradually evolved.

To answer your question directly. Yes, I am on other platforms, none as lucrative as Udemy. But some have real potential. Some are a lot less mature. I have also courses on Thinkific and on Teachable. And I've been on those platforms since very early days.

Jeremy Deighan
Now, Thinkific and Teachable aren't considered a marketplace like Udemy, Skillshare, or some of these other places that you can go and find other instructors and other courses. You have to generally just drive the traffic and the audience yourself.

John Colley
Correct, yes, the LMS platforms. My strategy on that is very simple. One, it's a good way of building my list. But more importantly, it gives me a complete set of backups for my online courses online. So whenever I make a course, I always copy-make it on Teachable.

So that I've got all... again, I basically got a copy of that course. it's on Udemy, but it's also on Teachable. So if anything happens to Udemy or to my Udemy account, I don't have to spend six weeks or three months or six months rebuilding my online school. That online school is there.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah. That's a very good point. You're always the subject of the platform rules. And you have to abide by what is going on with that platform. So having it on your own platform seems like a really smart idea.

So what I wanted to ask is, if someone is just starting out creating a course, they've heard about Udemy. And the big appeal to Udemy is they already have the students coming there buying things. And so it's easy for them to do the marketing and the advertising.

Someone starting out, what would you recommend, if they were to go with Udemy, or just host on their own platform? Or put it on both platforms? How would you answer that type of question?

John Colley
Yeah, I think you don't put all your eggs in one basket. And you won't make $1,000 in the first month on Udemy today with your first course unless you're exceptionally lucky. So let's get that issue off the table.

I think you should definitely build your audience on Udemy. Because it's a great place to earn an income relatively quickly and build up your income from that. I would absolutely put your courses on a platform like Teachable or Thinkific. One or the other, you don't need to do both. So that you've got an online school and a presence, which you can then work yourself.

Certainly, start building your presence on Skillshare. On Skillshare, you can only publish one course a week. Well, that actually sounds quite a lot, except that my 14-hour course I'm having to publish in 11 parts. So it's taking me three months to get it on Skillshare. Because they like to have shorter courses on Skillshare. So you need to think about that.

But building up a presence on Skillshare is definitely a good idea. You have to think about this in terms of a portfolio of intellectual property, where you can develop multiple streams of income slowly over time, by exploiting, selectively, different platforms, different marketplaces that are out there. Some are better than others.

There are a lot of mature ones out there. These don't pay very much. But in due course of time, they should become more significant earners. And treat it like a business. You want to have multiple streams of revenue. And one of those is definitely building your own sales to your own platform on something like Teachable.

Jeremy Deighan
Very good. That's some great information. And then one more question that I wanted to ask about these marketplaces like Udemy and Skillshare, and then we can move on to some other marketing techniques is have you found any ways...? I know because I'm on the platforms, but some other people listening might not know this.

But when you're on a platform like Udemy, they don't really approve of you sending people to your own products, your own email list, any type of opt-in form, or anything like that. So, do you have any methods of getting people from Udemy into your world outside of Udemy? Whether that's a blog or YouTube or other courses?

John Colley
The simple answer to that is no, I don't. The one thing that I do is I consistently brand myself across all platforms. So if you know my name, you can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me on Twitter. You can find me on Facebook. You can find me on YouTube.

So if people want to find me, they can find me. And I get invitations on LinkedIn from people saying, "Oh, I'm taking your corporate finance course. I'd love to connect with you here on LinkedIn." It's against their T's and C's to actively tout for them. And I don't bother.

I allow the courses to speak for themselves. And, basically, get on with it. You can put stuff in the bonus lecture. They never really convert. You can put your web link in the bottom of a video. The problem with doing that is that I found that some platforms don't like that. So you then have to re-produce all your videos in that course to take the link out.

Which I tell you, I've done it once and we're not doing it again. So I sort of let it speak for itself. And I'm very happy with my relationship with Udemy as it is. And then I've got lots of other social channels, particularly things like Twitter, YouTube. I've got two Facebook groups, which I selectively drive the traffic where I want to drive it.

Sometimes I drive it to Udemy because I think it helps to show Udemy that you are driving traffic to Udemy. And at the same time, sometimes I drive it to Teachable.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, awesome. So, let's talk about some more traffic strategies outside of the marketplaces. Going more into if someone's just hosting directly on their own platform. They don't want to put it on Udemy or marketplace. What are some other strategies that you're using to get traffic? Do you do free lead magnets? Do you do free courses? How are you getting people into your email list?

John Colley
Yeah, I've got a range of things around the place. Obviously, I've got a website, which has got a number of links on it. I publish pretty regularly on YouTube. I think YouTube is an excellent place to build an audience that likes consuming video. But it's slow. It doesn't happen overnight.

I get about 100 and something new subscribers a month at the moment. I'm up to about 2,600. But I just publish regularly. And I don't always try and drive traffic one way or the other. But I always make sure that the video has a call to action of some kind. But I never expect it to monetize.

So sometimes I'm trying to drive people to a pre-registration list for a new course. Or sometimes I'm driving them using the reference code on Udemy, to the Udemy course. Sometimes I'm driving them to individual courses on Teachable.

I have my Teachable school set up with a membership as well. So I'm trying to drive them to that. But my approach is relatively laid back in the sense that the harder you try and sell people, I think the more they get turned off. The more value you give them, the more they'll sort of come to you.

So I've sort of backed off the hard sell. We Brits don't do the hard sell as well as you Americans do. We're much more languid and laid back about the whole matter. But having a social presence where you're regularly contributing value.

So I'll take some of the lectures, or even a section of a course, and publish it for free on Udemy. And then have a link saying, "If you want to see the rest of this course, then this is where to go and find it."

Jeremy Deighan
Right. That's awesome. Yeah, I guarantee you that if we ever figure out a way to put an advertisement on the actual hand burger button while you're eating it, then it's all over.

Awesome. Yeah, that's some really great information, John. I appreciate that. So you have your online courses, you've got all these different avenues. Obviously, you've been doing this for a long time because you have all kinds of different things out there. You got your different lead magnets and YouTube channels, courses on all these different platforms.

For someone who's starting out, that can be very overwhelming. And so if I was brand new to creating a course, and I didn't have a blog or YouTube channel. I don't have an audience. And I'm just thinking about putting out a course for the first time. What is just one thing that someone new can focus on in the beginning to make the most traction?

John Colley
I would start with YouTube. You build your course on Udemy, definitely put it on Teachable, as I said. You mirror-image what you do on Udemy as a backup. And then I think it's right to focus on one platform.

To set up a blog at this stage would then be quite time-consuming. And it requires a lot of writing and a lot of thinking and all the rest of it. I think the quickest way to start getting traction with an audience and bearing in mind it will take time to build an audience any way you do it today.

I think YouTube is a fantastic place to compliment because it's video. And the people who watch on YouTube, they will buy. They want to consume video. They want to learn. They're inquisitive. They're asking questions.

And as long as you tag your videos correctly, and you do your SEO with your course description and the language, which is not difficult. It takes you about 10 minutes to learn it. You can get a YouTube channel, a basic YouTube channel set up without too many bells and whistles, in probably an hour.

And then you just take content from your course selectively and then repurpose it on the YouTube channel. And that's a very simple thing to do. But it will start to build you an audience, who will then want to subscribe to you and will be interested when you produce more content. And then in due course, some of those will probably buy your courses.

Jeremy Deighan
That's brilliant. Yeah, I've always agreed with the fact that the transfer from YouTube, someone's already watching videos to a video course, is really smart. I've seen that myself. So, let me ask you this. Because I know some people who are offering online courses on their own platforms might throw in coaching, group coaching, consulting, Have you ever done anything like that for your courses?

John Colley
I've done a little bit of coaching in the past. I mean, I'm used to advising people. That's been my business for 30 years. The issue you have to bear in mind with coaching is pricing and scalability. Pricing, in that you can sell a course on Udemy for $10. And if enough people buy it, you can make a nice little income from it.

But your time is much, much, much more valuable than that. So your time is worth hundreds of dollars an hour. But it's very difficult to transition an individual from a $10 course to a $300 hours coaching. So you've got that issue. But don't price yourself as a coach at $25 an hour because it's just not cost-effective.

Part of the problem with that is if you have a very good student who wants to learn more from you, and they're in a part of the world where the cost of living is very low. Am I getting this right? The earning power is very low. Then, of course, it's almost, you're pricing yourself out of the market.

Now, I've done some pro bono work with people from Egypt and various other places, where I've given up my time and realized that they just don't have any money to speak of. So that was not the motivation for doing it.

The coaching issue is also one of scalability, in that once you've made your course and you've published it, wherever you publish it, it pretty well looks after itself. Other than responding to questions, keeping it updated, and all the rest of it. So you can sell it many times.

And the problem with coaching is that you are then back to selling hours for dollars. And that was something I was doing in my corporate finance advisory business. Very successfully, thank you very much. But nonetheless, it made me committed to time, all the time. And I wanted to have a time-independent lifestyle.

And so you have to be quite careful, I think, about bringing it in. That having been said, it can be, if we're talking about creating multiple streams of income, and we were. It can be a very nice addition at the top of your income pricing strategy if you're like, where you have different offerings at different prices.

And if you're selling off your time, it should be the most valuable part of your product service offering.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome, brilliant. So yeah, that's just some great information. I appreciate that. So let's talk about because I know you do some other things, too. And I want people to know out there because we've been talking about multiple income streams and having different courses and different platforms. But what are some of the things that you've got going on out there that you're doing?

John Colley
The thing I really enjoy at the moment, and it's actually going very well, is freelancing on Fiverr. Now, this is not... again, what I do is I offer voiceover work. I've been plagued with this funny accent from across the water, which sometimes people find it completely incomprehensible. But it does seem to work for voiceover work.

And I do things like I do dwarves, I do children's books. I do corporate narration, I do real estate offerings. And that's a really good little earner. And I think if you've got skills, then you can reach another audience because it's a marketplace and offer those skills as well.

So actually this last week, I've added what I've called a consultation offering. It's relatively new on Fiverr to be able to do this, where I will consult on online courses. And I will consult on business strategy, which is one of my core skills. And I'm waiting to see how they go.

So looking at platforms like Fiverr. I'm on Upwork as well, but it hasn't really done much for me. Focus on one and get it right. And that's approaching a four-figures a month stream of income for me. So thank you very much. I'll take that all day, every week.

Jeremy Deighan
That's awesome. It's funny, I actually put a voiceover job on Fiverr. It might even still be up there. I need to go look and see if it's still hanging out there. But I never got any gigs. I don't think anyone wants to listen or hear the voice of a surfer from the south United States. That accent doesn't go too well.

John Colley
No, but you got a really warm voice. They'd always say to me, "Oh, you got a great face for radio." That's my look.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, you never want to hear that at all. Yeah, that's awesome. So that's cool to hear that the Fiverr stuff is doing good for you. Because I never really get to talk to anyone where Fiverr has been successful. I know there's many successful people out there. I just haven't had conversations with them.

John Colley
Fiverr is very simple. It's a slow process. I mean, I've been on Fiverr for five years. And it's a bit extreme because they upped their income. To get various tiers on Fiverr, you want to be a top-rated seller. And I was close to being a top-rated seller and then they shifted the income level from $5,000 to $20,000.

So I'm still just short of that. Not that short, but I'm still short of that. So that's held me back at level two for a few years. But, again, it's a platform that's maturing. And it's finding freelancing ways to adopt and adapt your skills and in a way that suits whatever you want to do.

And again, just get good at one or two things. It's far better than trying to be all things to all men everywhere. If you don't spend a bit of time on it, and you don't respond quickly to things, then you never get that snowball rolling down the hill.

Jeremy Deighan
Right. And I'm glad you brought up the freelancing aspect too because a lot of people who are just coming into business or online business are always trying to figure out what to start with. And sometimes a course might not be the best thing. Because they are very time-intensive.

You have to think of many different things between the tech, outlining the course, what you're going to teach, how you're going to present it. And I believe that one of the best things that people can do, if they haven't done anything, is to just start freelancing. Would you agree?

John Colley
Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. I think you've got to look at the low-hanging fruit, the quick wins. Think about it strategically. You're starting up a business. You want to get some sales. So what can you do to get the ball rolling while you're building your first course, while you're doing other things?

And I think freelancing is a great way to approach it. I mean, yes, you can still have a part-time job. I didn't fancy that. I do take corporate finance consulting work when it comes up. Obviously, for the last few months, now in June 2020, the world's been hit by this virus.

And so that consulting work has disappeared because, basically, there's very little work going on. But yeah, be opportunistic. Think about what skills you've got. Think about who would want to buy them and what value you can add. And then go and work out how you can reach your customers.

And marketplaces, before you start learning how to do your own marketing and build your own audience, is one of the quickest ways to get started. You don't have to stay on them forever. You can transition it to your own website or bring your own audience through marketing to Teachable, Thinkific, whatever it is.

But yes, think about it strategically. Look to see what you can do, where your audience is, how you can reach them, and how you can add value for them. And then get those sales coming in. And then let it evolve. It will take time.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome, John. That's great. I'm so glad I got you on here because you're just a wealth of information. And you obviously have the experience and the knowledge to speak on these things. And I just appreciate you coming on the podcast.

I know one of your main things that you do is business strategy. And I just wanted to talk about that for just a moment. What's some of the main things that you see people doing wrong when starting a business or starting an online business?

John Colley
Well, I think the biggest problem is people don't think about it as a business. Particularly in the freelancing or the courses area. It's one thing if somebody is trying to start up an app or something like that. But a lot of freelancers don't think about it as a business.

They just sort of think, "Oh, well, let me see if I can sell a course." Or, "Let me see if I can take this ability I have for doing Adobe Photoshop and see if I can find anybody who wants to buy it."

But they're not thinking about it as, "Okay, I've got a one-month plan, a three-month plan, a 12-month plan. I'm going to produce five courses this year. And I got to be in a portfolio that's going to be in related topics. I'm going to start on Udemy, I'm going to systematically put them on Skillshare."

They don't think about it with a strategic view. They just start and sort of make it up as they go along. And I think that's a mistake. You can keep flexible. You can keep changing it. If it doesn't work, try something else.

But you need to think, "What am I going to be doing for the next 12 months?" As opposed to just sitting at your desk every morning and thinking, "What should I do today? Oh, okay, I'll make another video for the course. Why not?"

So I've got quite clear goals about what I want to achieve this year. The courses I'm building and working on. The platforms that I want to expand. I'm trying to publish, I haven't achieved it, but I'm trying to publish a new course on Skillshare every week. I've certainly got them lined up now till the end of July, ready to go out.

So you have to approach it as a business.

Jeremy Deighan
That's some valuable information. I started not thinking of it as a business. I just was doing whatever I could do just to try to get something to work. And it ended up working out for me. But I believe you're right.

I believe that you need to think of it like a business. You need a plan. You need to strategize, have specific goals like you said. Even if it's, "I just want to have one course by the end of this year." And just have those plans out. That's brilliant.

I had one more question. And then we're going to have to wrap it up, unfortunately. I love these talks and they always just go so fast. So what is the biggest thing that has been working for you recently? So say, in the past six months to a year, what do you see out there that's really doing well for you or performing well that someone can implement today?

John Colley
Oh, it was easy to do that last bit that someone can implement today. I think just being consistent. And I'm not trying to be vague in that. But if you're going to build a portfolio of courses on Udemy, be consistent. Turn up every day to do it. Be on Udemy. Answer student questions.

If you're going to build your audience on Skillshare, be consistent. Build your courses. Publish one a week. If you're going to build your audience on YouTube, then just gradually publish at least a video a week. If you're making videos for your courses, you can probably publish two or three.

So if you approach this with, "I am going to do this consistently every day, five days a week." I don't believe in working seven days a week. I barely believe in working five days a week these days. But be consistent and turn up.

And that's how you will build audience. And that's how you will build your income. Because people will come to trust you that you are there for them when they need to ask you questions, respond to reviews, that sort of thing.

If you just turn up, dump a course up on Udemy, disappear for a year, and pay no attention to it. Don't be surprised if you come back and you haven't sold any. Because you do have to be present. And if you're going to make this a business, then you have to be present in your business.

Don't think that freelancing or producing this sort of online business is a, "I can do it. And all the work's done online. I never have to be in it." You have to be consistently a part of it and turning up for it and responding to people. And then it will work for you. It will work for you.

Jeremy Deighan
So you're saying The 4-Hour Workweek isn't just one week. We have to keep doing that over and over again?

John Colley
And that's at least every other week.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome, John. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. We really appreciate you and all the information that you've given us today. And I just look forward to your continued success. If people wanted to find out more about you and what you've got going on out there, where can we do that?

John Colley
Well, you can search me by my name, John Colley, anywhere you want to; Facebook, LinkedIn. If you want to find my school, just go to—Six Minute Strategist Academy. And that short link will take you to my Teachable school.

You can obviously find me on Udemy. Those are the two best places. My website's But come and find me where you are. And I'll be there. Come and find me on YouTube or LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever it is.

I wish your audience success. I think it's a very exciting time to be in this market. The market's so much more mature than was six, seven years ago. And if you're starting out, don't be put off. You're lucky because there is a big marketplace there.

The adoption has occurred. It is moving forward at pace. And there's real opportunity. And you just have to be selective, systematic, and strategic, and you will be successful.

Jeremy Deighan
Perfect. John, thank you so much for being here today. And we really appreciate you. Take care.

John Colley
My pleasure. Thank you very much for inviting me. It's been a great pleasure, Jeremy.

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