Online 🌎 With Amr The Internet Guy!
EP8 Education, e-learning Success, WordPress and Entrepreneurship
With Chris Badgett
Online! Episode 8:
Education, e-learning Success, WordPress and Entrepreneurship with Chris Badgett
My guest is Chris Badgett, the founder and CEO of LifterLMS, the No.1 Freemium Learning Management System for WordPress! This episode is for all the educators and course creators who want to see their learners succeed. We discuss learning management, course creation, WordPress, e-commerce, membership sites and Entrepreneurship.
- Use the code “BLACKFRIDAY20” to get 20% off LifterLMS add-ons and bundles.
- Need assistance setting up your LMS? Contact Amr https://humantalents.ca/contact-ht-tech
▬ Contents ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
2:34 Helping Course Creators and Educators
3:55 Transitioning from “Services” to a “Product”
7:19 How to create a good “Learning Experience” for your Audience/Students
9:37 Do I need an LMS? Why can’t I just use a membership site?
13:33 Supporting the users is very important
14:27 The benefits of using a WordPress based LMS
17:26 How to structure your e-learning course
20:03 The Anatomy of a successful Learning Program
22.55 How to motivate your Learners/Students?
28:25 What is social learning?
30:08 Switching from “classroom” in-person learning to online learning
31:43 Adopting the right strategy for Learners’ success
32:58 How to enable “Social Learning” and what’s the best tool to use?
39:27 Building your online community
41:49 The impact of a good learning strategy + a good LMS
44:43 e-learning – the BIG picture
47:21 Can I use LifterLMS with WooCommerce?
49:54 LifterLMS Pricing Explained
52:02 How to get a fully functional LMS for free
55:38 Black Friday 2020 LifterLMS deals 🙂 ▬ End of Contents
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Episode 8 Transcription:
Great to be here.
How’s it going?
It’s going fantastic. Living the dream, as I like to say,
you’ll make me feel cool every time I see you on any of these videos with with all your heavy clothing. Why is this richer? there?
I did. Ah, it is. I mean, it’s snowing. So it’s probably like 25 Fahrenheit. I’m not sure what it is in Celsius.
That’s below zero. I’m not sure as well. I do Celsius. So it’s kind of zero or below. Yeah. Now somebody will, we’ll have to correct our math. So Chris, I would like you to introduce yourself where you live now and and what you do.
Sure. Um, so I live on the coast of Maine. Like you, I used to travel a lot. But the past three years, I finally settled down in Maine. So I live in a small town. I run a business called lifter LMS, which is a learning management system for WordPress. So we help course creators create launch and scale, high value training programs online. And that’s really what I’ve been doing. For the past six year, I transitioned from being an agency owner, building websites for clients to being a WordPress product company. Six years ago, we launched lifter LMS. And we’re one of the leading Learning Management System options in the space. And I love what I do. I also spend a lot of time outside. So it keeps me balanced. Because I’m known as an internet guy do a lot of Internet Marketing, internet business, I have a team all over the world. I have customers in 146 different countries. And but I am also just like an outdoor guy who loves hiking and getting out in nature with my kids and stuff like that. So I’m either all in on the internet or you’re not you can’t find me.
Yeah, you know, in a place with no cell service. Right.
Right. Although cell service, I mean is almost everywhere now. But yeah.
That’s nice. Actually, this brings a question of the transition from an agency, a web design agency to a product based business. What warranted that change when, like what happened that made you think I got to have a product.
A couple of things happened. And first, I’ll just say that I think inside of people, I’m a, I’m a student of people. It’s what makes me a good marketer. I actually have an academic background in cultural anthropology. I love people. I love studying people. I love studying human behavior. I like things like personality types, and all this kind of stuff. But what I found found is that some people have like this more propensity towards being a product person and some people have a propensity being more towards a service type person. And what I realized is I was more of a product person I wasn’t one of these people that like, did not like my clients or couldn’t wait to get out of it. I just liked creating on scalable things and systems and creating And seeing all these patterns with my clients who were building from scratch, custom Learning Management Solutions. Like there’s got to be a better way. At that time, there wasn’t a good tool that combined with a LMS, ecommerce engagement, gamification, all that stuff, so we built it, and essentially, just use the agency to bootstrap the product. So we took no outside funding, I call it customer financing. So literally, our customers, our agency clients, were the first customers of our product.
That’s, that’s a great like, way of doing it. Because number one, you get the finances coming in from the service business. Number two, you’ve got somebody who can test it for you, like and find if there are bugs or anything that you need to work on, or any features that people are asking that you haven’t thought about.
So that’s uh, but you didn’t go from an agency to a product that’s like a small plugin, you went all out on the software, like, I mean, it is a software is still a plugin in the world press in the work. Something’s wrong with me today. I’m pronouncing everything wrong in the WordPress ecosystem. But it’s actually a fully fledged software. So you just went all out? Not? Not better a bit is like, bank. Yeah, we
went all the way. I mean, I’m, some people don’t realize this is like, I can’t write a line of code. I’m, I have a business partner, who’s the engineers, name’s Thomas. And we have a team now. But the way I think about product is I think about solving business problems. And I fell in love with this niche of the education entrepreneur, the coach, the remote school, the continuing education publisher, the training company, the business who needs to train their employees. In order to solve those training problems, they needed an end to end solution to plug into the WordPress site they already have. So we didn’t like try to find like a profitable like software category. We just went into these businesses that we kind of knew the niche, and we loved. And they ended up needing an entire web app to create the, you know, the learning experience on their website. So that’s how we ended up there. If I had known how difficult it would be to build a platform product versus like a utility thing. Yeah, I maybe I wouldn’t have been as ambitious. But you know, that’s the beauty, especially in the early days of entrepreneurship, is if you have a positive attitude, some good partnerships, a little bit of luck, and a problem and a customer segment that you’re you like and enjoy, and you’re passionate about those things can carry you through even in, you know, a difficult venture.
So when you’re in the agency, and you’re working with some of the existing clients, is that how it came to be like they come to you? And they say, hey, like, we want to train partners or employees or customers even? And what’s the best way to do that online learning? Was that like how it came about?
Yeah, I mean, this is 2014 that we launched the product. So back in 2012, and 13, we were doing these this agency work, we were actually somewhat established in the Infusionsoft community if you’ve heard of that. Yeah.
was that there was one called kajabi as well that they had funny names in the past.
Yeah, kajabi still around, but this like whole, marketing automation, and then this digital product industry was kind of growing, growing. And we, we positioned our agency to work in those areas. So our first so our clients, they were spending a lot of money on these marketing tech technology platform. So they had budget for agency work. And we understood it, that niche and that industry and what those people needed, but yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s how we kind of came in through marketing automation. And then used while we learn there to, you know, focus specifically on the learning niche.
I’m interested to know, you know, I as we were talking off camera a little while ago, I come from the corporate part of learning management systems and online learning. Now and for big companies. It’s a no brainer, like you have, even if you have 50 or 100 employees, but for small businesses who have maybe 10 to 20 employees, then you have two 300 customers or maybe a little bit more. Why would somebody need an LMS as opposed to just publishing the stuff on the website, like putting the videos as posts or just having a membership site that they charge for access, but it’s not a fully fledged learning management system? I wanted to make to make it clearer to our audience. What’s the benefit of having a proper learning management system? Even if you’re a small or medium business?
I love that question. I mean, the origin of lifter we started out like people thought of us is like membership site experts. But the problem with membership sites, especially once you get into training, is that, um, there’s got to be a structure to the content. So organizing the content into like courses and lessons. And then you want to do stuff at various points in the learning pathway, whether that’s a quiz or you want to award a certificate, or do some gamification or, or even change some things together like prerequisites, or drip content, that just kind of makes sense. In the early days of membership sites, you know, people just had this idea it was a light bulb moment of, I just need to put up a paywall. And I’m going to put my premium content on the other side. And I’m going to have a membership solution that is going to make that happen, which is fine. But that’s step one. Step two is turning professional and be like that’s the easy part in our view, is let’s make it easier for the creator the expert to on how to create these courses, create multiple courses, organize the content, have a framework to create inside of and, you know, develop this either a simple one course thing or like a multi instructor online school. And then what they want. After that is a membership site, we’ve we’ve heard no mention of reporting or progress tracking. If you’re if you have a membership, your people are likely, you’re likely going to want to know where they’re at Who are your all stars, who’s falling behind who’s doing average. That’s what puts the M in the an acronym learning management system, the management part is about being able to look into your people, and see where they’re at help those that need help, you know, celebrate with the people that are getting great results and, and also you as the creator improve the content over time based on what you’re seeing in the data. So you don’t have to just guess about what you should do next, or what’s working or not working. And then in terms of the scale. I’m the opposite of view. I’ve never had a corporate job. I don’t own a suit. I used to live in Alaska, I used to run sled dogs and stuff. So we’re meeting in the middle here, you’re coming out of corporate I’m coming out of the woods, as a boost as a bootstrapping entrepreneur guy in the truest sense. Who loves teaching and learning. And, um, but we have we have clients that span like we have there’s fortune 500 people using lifter. Yeah, the bit, you know, the hardest thing was selling them. Is there like 1000 bucks. This is way too cheap, like $80,000.
know. They’re like, What’s going on here? Oh, yeah, in the course, can be a real minimum. I think. I think what I worked, we had a minimum of $15,000 engagement. Okay. Yeah, it was it’s not just the software, it comes with the support as well. So there’s the implementation part. in the corporate world, you do your like, we do the implementation for the client. Yeah. And even to the point of uploading their students, for them, like we we kind of take care of it manage the whole thing. In the WordPress world, most of us in the WordPress world, most of us would like to tinker a bit here and there. So it gives you having certainly having a learning management system that’s on top of WordPress, gives you the ability of learning new things, and at the same time being in full control. So I did have a question, but I think we kind of answered it. It’s kind of there are some other solutions for medium and small businesses that are hosted solutions. Yeah, and they’re not on WordPress. And, you know, like, maybe Thinkific teachable are famous too. And when I think of them, I think of the same questions that people ask when they venture into e commerce, should I use Shopify? or build my own shop on top of WordPress? And my answer is always it depends how much control All you want to have because you Shopify, and it’s a great solution, it’s all hosted for you, you don’t have to worry about anything, you don’t have to manage anything apart from just uploading your content. And it’s the same thing. If you think if ik, or teachable, or kajabi, or one of those non WordPress based ones, they all work. But it depends how much control you want to have. And if you want to move it, this is the thing that people always forget. What if you want to move, like, for any reason, like if you go with a hosted solution, I always call it an Airbnb. It’s like renting an Airbnb, you have no control. Like, you can use it, it’s beautiful. But if you move, you can’t take anything with you.
Yeah, I mean, it’s an asset that then people if you just kind of go nonchalant and just ease into like a hosted illness. Next thing, you know, you’ve built your entire company on somebody else’s asset, which is, yep. I mean, there’s a place for it. But if you’re, you know, building a company, that’s you want to potentially be able to sell one day or just have ultimate ownership over WordPress, and tools, like left are a great fit for that.
Yeah, you own your stuff like you can go, what you need is good hosting. And then hosting companies evolve, like, I kind of used to change my hosting company, almost every year, because they always the best deal is always for the new customer, not the existing one. So you go in right, where you get the deal. Now, I mean, that’s stable, I’ve been using the same company for four years or so. But I’ve always taken all my stuff with me, like, there was no issue. It worked once you do the migration and whatever. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, but maybe that’s me being the techie. And I’ve always felt like the need to be in control of my online world. And I’m a small business. I’m like a very small business, a sole entrepreneur, I get some help sometimes from, you know, some of my virtual partners in different places in the world, but I don’t have full time employees. And I can manage everything myself. And I think the best way to go about it is to think how much control do you want to have? And this brings me to a good question. And you’ve mentioned it during your answer, structured way to build content. So I assume you have some kinds of templates that people can use instead of having to learn instructional design.
Yeah, we have some course templates that people can use to create like a signature program, or like a small course small free courses, all different types of courses. We also have some training, just simple concepts, really to help people think through it. Like there’s, there’s different types of courses. There’s the, what I call a resource course, which is just like a collection of material. There’s a learner process course, there’s a behavior change course, there’s a case study course, there’s the hybrid course that kind of mix, it matches that stuff. But yeah, you need to have a teaching framework. And the big challenge of it all is what I call the five hats problem where if you’re going to be an education entrepreneur, as a small business owner, or experts, subject matter expert, or teacher, you got to wear five hats, which are you have to be a technologist, you have to be a subject matter expert, you have to be an instructional designer, you have to be a community builder, and you have to be an entrepreneur. Now that’s very hard to wear all five of those hats, it can definitely be done. The most important thing is to be honest with your strengths and weaknesses. And then either fill in the gaps with team members, or just develop yourself as a person like if you’re an expert, but you don’t have teaching ability. Use our templates and study the basics of instructional design. If you’re a business owner, and you’re pretty strong on entrepreneurship and marketing and business building and stuff, maybe you might want to outsource the technology part to a WordPress professional. If you’re a WordPress professional, but you’re not really the expert maybe you could build a education company and the educated or a service offering in the education niche and get a bunch of clients who are experts and do that kind of thing. So when we get clear on what’s our five hats, where are we strong Where are we weak it kind of helps get through that but it’s not easy it because there’s um you know, you got to do a lot of a lot of things need to come together in addition to each other. Just building one of these websites,
it’s I think sometimes it’s scary when you think about how much there is in order to have a successful online training or online learning business. Because it’s not just the business part, we have the information in our heads, getting it out is sometimes what’s keeping us from moving forward. So any help in that department, like a template, or a course, or doesn’t have to be like a complicated course. But most companies, and I’m sure you do that as well, most companies have, like Customer Success managers who work with the client, and onboard them, and show them all the works, and the easiest path to getting things done. But of course, this is just the starting point. It’s not, you know, like, they’re not no one will teach you instructional design end to end, but at least they can help you get your first course online and getting your first enrollment and you know, the first cohort and so on. Totally,
totally, yeah, it’s a customer success is a little bit meta, like, if you’re your students need to be successful, but then you need help like being successful, just delivering the learning experience. So, and no, a learning site is not like a typical website, where it’s like a brochure for a business, or even an e commerce site where, you know, it’s still not the the business like these products are the business and the site helps facilitate a transaction. But LMS is the entire thing. It’s the marketing, it’s the product, it’s the delivery, it’s all of it. So it’s a it’s a huge asset that you put together. And, you know, you build this learning experience
in the corporate world, usually elearning happens because of the need for compliance. Most of the most of the banks, for example, they had at some point, to have everybody, every single employee goes through an anti money laundering course, that’s approved by the regulator wherever they are, depending on the country. And in most cases, there was no other way to deliver this, like, if you’re gonna bring 500 employees to a classroom course it will take you two or three years to finish. So that here goes there’s a need to actually deliver this training online, but not only deliver it, track, make sure that everyone has gone through the material, and make sure that everyone is actually certified that you have proof, because it’s a regulatory requirement. Now, in the non corporate world, you may think that if I put the course out there, and some students pay me and enroll, that it’s a done deal, but it’s not you still have to motivate them to you know, finish the course. Like I personally, I bought so many courses that I haven’t finished ever. Yeah, some of them. I did, but kudos to Josh whole teams trust Striffler, and something’s wrong with my mouth today. The instructor, and David Blackman, I finished your courses, guys, but there are some other courses that I haven’t finished. And I don’t know, what could have been a lack of motivation could have been a lack of something else. Like I’m not really sure. And I’m working on my own courses. Now. I haven’t yet published any. It’s a little the part that scares me personally is the instructional design part. And I think I’m procrastinating there. But also, I want to be able to motivate the learners to finish. So things you’ve mentioned many things like gamification, for example, would you care to share a little bit of light on how to use that to motivate learners? Sure, yeah. This
is a great question. Um, so first off, there’s two types of motivation. There’s intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, which just means it’s either coming from the inside, like, I want to take a course to meet my soulmate. I’m very motivated for that. It’s intrinsically motivating. I just got pulled over by the police. And now I have to take this safe driving course. That is extrinsic motivation. So these are very different, like the commands and you can, but both are possible. So for the first step is to know where we’re starting. And maybe it’s a little bit of both on its own harder when it’s outside pressure to complete a course. But if you have something like the law, requiring it, they’re gonna have pretty high completion rates. But, and we’ve got tools for that, like, even video tracking to make sure people watch entire videos and stuff like that. But for the intrinsically motivated people I call it results based learning. And the first thing you have to do is you got to have a clear customer. Like we have to know who we’re serving, it’s not about us as the expert. It’s about like, Who am I helping specifically? And what result? Can I get that person? Mike, even in challenging circumstances in my course, is the mechanism to help that type of person get that result, even if they’re in less than ideal circumstances. And then what we do is we break it down into the mini milestones in elearning. This is called chunking. Where, what are the milestones along the way that we need to accomplish that are going to cause increased motivation and happiness as we cross these moments in time? You know, like, I don’t know, there’s so many different types of courses, whether it’s in health and fitness, or business or in relationships, there’s, there’s always these milestones, but just like writing a book, if you spend, you should spend significant time on like the table of contents and the planning, even if it’s not perfect, let’s at least map out Oh, I love that approach the path. And then, in terms of gamification, there’s you mentioned customer success as a concept, there’s some very important things that need to happen right away. So when they the moment of right after they buy the course, if it’s a paid course, their very first experience inside lesson one, they need to have what we call and software design a mic drop moment, they need that’s going to cause motivation, not buyer’s remorse that happen. So, you know, there’s different words for that, like low hanging fruit or early wins, and things like that. But, you know, if I was going to teach somebody about trying to get them into hiking and backpacking, as soon as we get out of the car, I’m gonna take him somewhere like in a beautiful area, like where you live, where we’re just going to get out, I’m going to make sure the weather’s perfect, they’re going to see like this beautiful, like, temperate rain forest and snow capped mountains. And it’s going to be perfect, like, so that the motivation actually increases. That’s what we want to do in the first run the first day, in the first week, and we really want to get him hooked. There’s some other things we can do for gamification, like around earning achievement badges. We can add certification, even if it’s not like, like a graduate degree certificate, you can even have just like fun certificates. Like, I’m a certified like, as an example, like IPA, beer connoisseur. Like, it’s not, I that’s not going to help me get a job. But like, it’s cool, like if that’s what you’re into, or whatever. Um, and then the other thing is the social component, we call that social learning. So when you’re in a strong community, like you mentioned, the Divi community like Josh and Aspen Grove studios and stuff like this, like when you experience community
is very motivating especially, this goes back to what I said earlier about having a clear customer that they’re so those people when you get like with like together and you’re on a path together, that can increase motivation and follow through and stick rate, even when, you know, things aren’t always going well if there’s that community support, and then just community involvement that can help. And I just like to challenge people to think back, if you’re old enough, or if you happen to get outside of internet or whatever, and you you had like a profound learning experience in your life. There was probably other people present. And you it wasn’t like you were just alone. So think about not necessarily designing your learning program as like this solo experience where there’s no even virtual contact with anybody else. Even just adding an instructor element like a weekly or a monthly office hour or even like a one
yeah, kickoff call or something. Something alive is not good. Don’t feel the left alone company. to their own devices. And it’s very important because many of the businesses now are forced to go online. And if your business was based on getting people in a room, something that you haven’t been able to do, and I think even after COVID goes away, hopefully. But I think the digital transformation that happened because of COVID would stay, like many people wouldn’t want to go back and work in an office anymore, since working remote works for them, and for their companies. Why go back to paying high rent downtown Vancouver, for example, or whatever. And the other part is, if you’re, let’s say, a life coach, or a yoga coach, or something like that, and and you know, you are getting people in a classroom, or outside in the open, and you couldn’t do it now. And you started to do online classes, and they’re working. So the idea is, you still need to nurture your, your learners, you still have to be there for them. So it’s not like, hey, the content is there, and it’s structured in a good way, just leave it there and forget about it. And that’s important. This brings me back to when you were saying, you know, the benefits of having a learning management system is to actually be able to focus on your learners, treated like a regular court or a classroom or, you know, I’m married to a teacher, and she was forced to do online classes, I think in April, when schools closed, and most of the teachers were scrambling, because it’s a big change to how they’re used to do it, but they did it and it was a success. So now, what’s next like that, we have to continue looking for ways to make this learning experience better, and adopt the customer success mentality, like I am interested, not in my client success only. But in the success of my clients client. Like the final in the software business, we call it the user. Because usually you get a, you got someone who pays the bill, like the company, foots the bill, but the person who paid you is not necessarily the one who’s going to benefit from whatever the company bought. And you needed to link and make sure that they’re taking care of like they’re, you know, they’re happy. There’s a little bit of change management that happens in there to make sure that the end user is happy. And as you rightfully mentioned, is not buyer’s remorse, it’s Wow, I’m really glad I’m here. The social part, the social learning part, got a question like a little bulb that lit up in our head, many of the educators, my colleagues, and almost everybody now they have like a Facebook group. It’s kind of they want to create that social learning part, or the social learning aspect. By using Facebook, and I’ve always hated it, because Facebook is a distraction on its own. Like you go there with one intention, you end up spending, maybe hours doing other stuff and maybe not catering to that one intention that made you open Facebook for that and I was thinking like as an educator, why would I send my students somewhere was it get lost and there wouldn’t be focused on what I want them to focus on for in that specific time. I mean, they’re free to use Facebook for anything else whenever they like, but for learning and for the social learning part in connecting so this brings the question Do you have any plans or is it already there to have the social learning as part of lifter LMS Yeah, we already there or are you
already there? Sorry,
we have a we have one of our add on plugins called social learning that brings a Facebook like experience to your website. And if I may just say like the the social learning can mean a lot of different things. It can be as simple as in a lesson video asking your students to comment in the comment thread below. And they start interacting with each other in the comments. You can have like in WordPress there’s forum plugins like BB press. Yeah, add a forum, buddy. Yeah. lifter has social learning. There’s buddy press, which you’re mentioning. There’s another one that’s becoming popular called buddy boss, the
There’s a new SAS one that our buddy Josh uses called circle,
circle. Yes and circle which is Oh, yeah. And they have like a,
they have a WordPress Single Sign On thing that just rolled out. Um, I have a Facebook group for course creators, there’s like 1000 people in there. I think I’ve got a slack community.
Yeah, but like to manage, right? Like, everything is where the courses live.
it’d be so much easier, right?
Totally. And then the other thing is on is actually the social part. That’s not a synchronous, like what we’re doing here. We’re together so you can have like, accountability partners or masterminding. You can do webinars, you can do office hours, you can do like in person training or retreats. There’s just I mean, humans are social animals. So I like your point, though. The key is, don’t do it all. Like, yeah,
don’t get them lost in the like,
yeah, and where are they already? Like, if I’m doing a if I’m gonna be like, super in the super techie group, I might use actually this tool called slacks, it’s very popular.
Yeah, if you’re a techie, you use like,
yeah, like, it’s a totally different thing. Or, you know, if I’m more in like a b2c group, where people are like, super busy, and I’m, like, let’s say, like, if I did a course with a for stay at home parents, or something, and they’re there on Facebook a lot, I may intentionally use the Facebook group to try to help keep their in the feed, if you will. So that like, but I may have like some super sensitive course and community about some medical issue I help people with. I don’t want to touch Facebook with a 10 foot pole, I’m going to use like lifter social learning or an app like circle and just have a completely private, isolated group that’s like rock solid with rock solid walls around it. So it just depends on on the goal, and what the people are using.
You’re absolutely right. I mean, there are some things like if you’re a, I don’t know, if you’re in counseling, or psychology, for example, you don’t want to put these issues out in the public. Right, you may want to keep them within the study group. And maybe even within a specific cohort, set, the group of people working together that just discussing these issues and finding solutions or learning together without it being seen by somebody else outside that specific group. It’s certainly a good thing to have a social learning group and some kind of social interaction and experience where the courses live and I’m glad that lifter does it on its own. Like, it doesn’t need the help of Facebook, although if you have it fair enough, just continue or slack or whatever, but but you can have it all within WordPress and lifter, everything would be you know, I kind of love circle because it brings slack and a face book group like environment together in one.
And it’s really fast. I like I just noticed how like, snappy
you can spin it out in men. Yeah, yeah,
it’s pretty cool. I love seeing software entrepreneurs like work on problems. I’m
thinking that it could replace membership website sometime soon, because it’s so easy to use and to you know, to produce like you just do some changes colors logo, bang, you’re there like you don’t need weeks. Yeah, develop a membership group on WordPress and put all the working and all the payment gateways and whatever it’s like it’s an all in one. I’m certainly considering using this for my clients like giving them the option to you know, build their stuff on on circle and the SSO like you know, the single sign on thing that it’s an add on it’s a great because you can have your courses on lifter and WordPress and you can have your social learning on circle and they’re connected and they will look and feel kind of the same. Yeah, I don’t know I just have to play around with stuff.
And my one piece of advice if you’re watching this or listening and you you want to build a community once you you got to have a plan like the community will not build a self like you got to like like the first steps are helping people understand what you expect, or what you would like them to do to like make an introduce themselves, you know the rules of the group or whatever and how to get let them know how to get the most value. And have like regular things happening in the group that they they can use, you have to like, like you have to design a community intentionally. The way you design course content to get the most results. And yes, some things will happen that you don’t expect. And yeah, but it is not. I just see a lot of people just build it and they do not come like you got to have you there’s got to be some planning into the community and the social learning if you’re gonna do that.
That’s great advice, Chris. Like, yeah, it’s not, it’s not going to build itself. I mean, we use the word build for a reason. Yeah. Build is not software builders, building the relationships.
And it’s like anything, guys. It’s like, I don’t know, it’s like dating or having new friends. When you when you move to a new country, certainly, like many people migrate to Canada, and you’re in a new community, it takes you some time to build those relationships. So the same thing happens. The medium is the only thing that’s different. Now you’re building them online, but you’re still building them as a it’s funny, because I’ve always thought of technology as a tool. Even though I’m a techie. I’m kind of an extrovert techie, not, not your, your average introvert techie who doesn’t like to work with people or, you know, being the face of the company or whatever. But generally speaking, many people think that when we talk about software, or WordPress, or anything lifter, LMS, we’re talking tech, like the implementation port and which menu you go to in order to do this and that. But usually, I’m not, I’m talking about how to use this as a tool to make things better for your business, for your clients, for yourself, for your community, whatever I’ve seen. You’ve mentioned something about, I don’t know, if it wasn’t on the Josh hole interview, maybe it was in one of your videos. Africa, you’ve mentioned some schools in Africa or some learning communities in Africa, would you? Would you please tell us what that was? How lifter is working in Africa?
Um, well, there’s a couple I’m thinking of that we had a one of our case studies, her name is Cheryl gillihan. She runs a agency, a web design agency for nonprofits. But they built they use lifter to build a job training portal that basically allowed women and others in rural areas to in Kenya to get trade jobs scale training, which then gave them upward mobility in terms of earning potential and just ability to raise their standard of living and stuff like that. And they were able to deploy lifter LMS even with in areas that had low were there, as you mentioned, the users the actual students were had low bandwidth. So they did a lot with they did not do a lot with video because of that constraint. Um, but they, they were able to build some training there. There was another there’s another recent podcast episode that just came out with another gentleman who is doing a really a, it was quite a large scale training platform in Africa, the details of it, we’re working on a case study for it right now, but lifter, I mean, lifters used all over the world and like whether there’s so many different types of elearning like as an example, I think there’s a statistic, something like by 2025, the E learning industry is going to be a 320 $5 billion industry, that’s probably actually low now because of the acceleration because of the pandemic. But um, you know, there’s adult learning, there’s continuing education, there’s K through 12, there’s university level, there’s trades, there’s, like internal training and companies, there’s so many slices in this pie, that there’s just so many different ways to use it and really learning is what makes us human. And the internet should not necessarily replace everything that we do in person or our ability to learn like in a room with somebody but it sure opens up a lot of opportunity. And I think about something like masterclass which is like a popular subscription to learning training. Where you can like learn comedy from Steve Martin, you can learn negotiation from Chris Voss, you can learn about entrepreneurship. From Sara Blakely of space, it’s only $15 a month. But the reason it’s so cheap, even though you’re learning from the best in the world is the lack of access, Steve Martin’s not gonna jump on a zoom call and help you improve your jokes. Exactly, or the contents good,
we’re gonna do in person to teach you comedy.
Yeah, but that’s the cool thing about this is like, if you’re thinking about getting into it, or you want to serve clients, if you’re a web designer, and you want to serve clients in this niche, which is exploding right now, um, there’s just so much opportunity. But if you’re getting into it for yourself, you don’t have to have like a million students, you can build a huge business with like 100 coaching clients in the right niche, with the right amount of access to you and support resources and whatever. So it’s, there’s so many different ways to slice and dice.
What a learning management system that sits on top of WordPress gives you is the ease of deployment, it’s like you can have this up and running in a few hours if you wanted to
the text not the hurdle. Excellent. No, but like,
generally speaking, if you do this outside the WordPress realm, it will take you it will take you a little bit more time. Like, you know, the implementations we used to do for companies, I know that most of it was because you have to abide by certain rules. Specifically, like, you know, data security access rules, who has access to what and who doesn’t, who’s, who becomes an administrator, within the group of people from the company, maybe HR is in charge of, they are the ones to give access to certain courses, and so on. But in smaller medium businesses, you don’t have that, like usually, any student who registers gets access, and that’s it. So it makes the job a lot easier, you don’t have to abide by certain, I don’t know, like the marketing, oh, this degree of this green, but not that degree of the green, the logo should not be extended, because it should be whatever, you don’t have that, like you have bits of it, but it’s all it all can be taken care of in a few hours. Um, this brings me to something the WooCommerce so I see that it looks like when you were building lifter, LMS you’re thinking about people who have never done WooCommerce some of them who have never done WooCommerce. And you’ve included payment gateways and like, sort of the other things that people would need in order to sell courses online.
What if somebody already has WooCommerce? Would? Would it still work like with the payment goes through WooCommerce to lifter or, like, yeah, how does it work?
So lifter, what we wanted to solve? Remember, the original problem we wanted to solve was that people thought they needed a membership site and a paywall. And then when somebody get over the wall The problem was what I call the software Frankenstein, where you had to get a membership plugin like structure content, you got to get all this like payment gateway stuff, these e commerce stuff, this shopping cart, all this stuff that just exploded I call it the the software Frankenstein. So we wanted to build an all in one solution so that you could get in get going, you didn’t go have to go shopping at 10 different companies to put this thing together. So that’s where so lifter has its own credit card processing through stripe. It’s free, you just pay stripe 3% of your transaction, we also have that for PayPal, we know that a lot of people use WooCommerce. So we also created a WooCommerce integration. So if you’re using WooCommerce, to sell, or in whoo subscriptions for recurring payments, or whatever liftr integrates seamlessly with that. So both options, if you want to keep it simple, don’t use WooCommerce. If you’re already using WooCommerce, or there’s a reason to like you have physical products,
or something else they’re in Yeah.
Then just use those tools together so lifter can get you to first sale, or to full scale with a bunch of other tools too. We just wanted to be with the education entrepreneur. From the simplest valid I need to validate my course for as little money as possible to someone who’s building some like giant online university with a lot of other tools and stuff too. So
and I’m sure you get this question a lot. Can you shed some light on the pricing because sometimes People don’t understand. I think you have one that has all the plugins and another one where you get the core and then you pay per plugin. And people can get confused in the middle.
Yeah, so lifter is similar to WooCommerce and that we have a free core plugin. So if you want to get started for as little money as possible, get a $10 domain name, a $10 a month hosting account install WordPress install a free theme, install the free lifter LMS plugin and use the lifter manual payment gateway which is included in your up and running for almost nothing. Then lifter has like 20 or so different add ons that do different things like the credit card processing, or the integration with MailChimp. You can buy these things one off, or you can get some or all of them in one of either in one bundle or get everything in our big bundle. And that’s really how it works. And if you want to just start small and upgrade later, you can do that. So we’re big fans of the just helping somebody start any scale, you know from free to, you know, ready to roll if somebody like money’s no object. I want the Infinity bundle. I want everything which is currently priced just under $1,000 a year. They can get that and we have a shortlist of lifter LMS experts that are
held third with implementation. Yeah,
yeah, third party companies. We don’t do it ourselves anymore, but it’s a need. I know you’re in the a lot of Divi folks, Divi community, there’s a lot of Divi experts out there that can help build out these sites and whatnot. So we got some for everybody at every price point. The most important thing though, I would say is, if you’re going to do a course for sale, just get lifter and a $99. stripe add on or get the WooCommerce add on and start there. You can always add later.
So lifter, it’s like a freemium right. So there is Yeah, the free version of lifter. So this gives you some of the learning management functionality, right, like the almost all of it. So we’re so kind of lifter is free are only charging for the other stuff, payment gateways, and, you know, linking to MailChimp and linking to this and linking to that, but the actual learning management system is kind of almost free.
Yeah, I mean, we have some advanced features like the social learning we talked about.
We have a group savers.
Yeah, that’s not in the free version, then we have the group’s add on, which is like if you’re going to sell let’s say you have $1,000 course, and you want to sell it to a company who has like 100 people, and they’re gonna pay $100,000. And they’re the HR manager there needs to keep tabs on the employees and their from their own interface and everything. That’s what our groups add on does. So we have some advanced add ons like that, but a lot of lifters free.
Oh, so like this is great. And I don’t think I don’t think I’ve seen this anywhere because I googled, I think what are the limitations of the free version of lifter and I couldn’t find any article that spoke about it. And I wasn’t sure so let’s let’s make it short for let’s make sure that people understand what we’re saying here. So if I am I web designer, for example, who’s going to teach other web designers some back end how to optimize your website and make it faster. And that’s a one course and only have a one course. And I’m probably expecting somewhere around 100 students and maybe I’m going to be selling good cheap, like, I don’t know, $90 or something like that. Can I just install the free version of lifter since I already have WooCommerce and maybe just need the WooCommerce link plugin. And that’s
99 bucks, you’re good to go.
That’s it. That’s a and then if those people if the course itself is free, or people are paying me offline, I don’t even need the WooCommerce plugin, just the free version of lifter. And I’m going to correct
So I stole it and use it. That’s it.
Yeah, I mean, where we have two missions, one is to lift up others through education. And then another is to be a model of how to do freemium and WordPress, because we believe that we can give away an incredible amount of for free and still build a viable business which we’ve demonstrated and we want to show other software companies how in the WordPress space you know, it’s a lot of there’s a lot about contribution and giving back. So we’re just trying to model that and how we design our business and and really the world needs right now. Um, Innovation in the education department and, you know, education, entrepreneurship in many forms at many levels all over the world. And we want to be a part of the solution. So that’s, that’s kind of why we roll this way.
And it’s certainly the WordPress ecosystem as well, WordPress itself being an open source. So here we go, guys, if you are making the transition from offline training or learning to online, and definitely if you have free courses or free material, then lifter LMS is also free for you. And WordPress is free. And like you can have the whole thing just free of charge, the only thing you need is your hosting, which is 910 dollars a month. And then as you grow, and you want to add things like paid for courses, or linked to your newsletter software like MailChimp, or you know, processing payments through stripe and PayPal, you can add these add ons and buy them from lifter as you go on, and as you grow as your business grows. So I can’t think of anything better than that. And I think Chris, you have a black friday going on right now. Right?
We do. Yeah, if you’re, if you’re watching this, or listening before, Monday, November 30. Use the coupon code blackfriday 20. And you’ll save 20% we also have a bunch of bonuses that we’re giving people who sign up during that period.
So you go guys go to lifter lms.com and check all these freebies as well as all the bonuses and the Black Friday discounts. You thank us later. Thank you, Chris for being here with me today. It’s been an honor to actually, you know, meet you in person. Oh, Bates. We’re not in the same location. Next time you’re around in the West, please come and visit.
Yeah, that sounds great. Well, Amir, thanks for having me. And thanks for digging in. These are this is some of my favorite stuff to talk about education software, WordPress entrepreneurship. I love you. You had some great questions and happy to help and serve and it’s great to connect with you.
Thank you very much. Have a great day, man.
All right. See you
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