Transitioning from courses to just-in-time learning with Joe Casabona

Learn how Joe pivoted based on audience feedback and how his new product not only helps customers but his 1:1 clients, too.

Joe Casabona is a podcast producer and coach who helps people grow their podcasts into five-figure businesses. He does that through expert-tested systems that come with 10 years experience podcasting, 15 years teaching, and over 20 years working the web. You can learn more about him at

On the show, we talk about:

  • Joe’s first (not-so-successful) product — a self-paced, text-based course on how to start a WordPress blog, why it wasn’t successful and what he did with it
  • Creating content — on YouTube, finding a problem and an audience, having good timing, plus why getting feedback from buyers is crucial
  • His playbook — packaging content for “just-in-time learning” as an alternative to a traditional, linear course; how having hands-on work will increase what your customers learn and the playbook being perfect for coaching clients and non-coaching clients alike
  • Product ladders — finding your main product and then creating a product ladder, how he’s working on a book called The Profitable Podcast which will be the bottom rung on his ladder and how each item can have “good, better, best” pricing
  • Thoughts — why you should be careful what you promise in terms of updates and how you shouldn’t promise free updates for life, make sure your update cycle aligns with your pricing method aligns with your messaging and don’t answer questions people aren’t asking because that’s when you start to handcuff yourself
  • Plus Joe’s advice to you (and his past self) on creating your first digital product

Check out Joe’s special offer for listeners of this show and find Joe on LinkedIn.

Continue the conversation in your inbox

[00:00:00] Rene: Hey everyone. Welcome to Your First Digital Product, a show that helps maxed-out service providers create their first digital product so they can gain an additional income stream, grow their impact without increasing one-on-one work and experience more time freedom. On the show, I talk to business owners who have launched digital products and dig deep into how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. I’m your host, Rene Morozowich. Let’s go.

[00:00:28] Hey everyone. It is Rene. I am here with Joe Casabona today, and Joe is a podcast producer and coach who helps people grow their podcast into five figure businesses. Thanks for being here, Joe.

[00:00:40] Joe: Thanks for having me, Rene. I’m really excited.

[00:00:43] Rene: Yay. So let’s talk about your first digital product. I know you have digital products now, but like, let’s take a step back in time.

[00:00:51] I don’t know how far back we’re going, but tell me about your very first digital product.

[00:00:56] Joe: Yeah, my very first digital product was a self-paced text-based course that came out in, I’m gonna say 2016. Maybe 2017. So, not too far back, but, I knew that I wanted to sell online courses, my wife was pregnant with our first child. I did not want to trade time for dollars anymore. Mm-hmm. And after we got married, which those two things happened relatively quickly. We got married, we had our first child. I moved away from the University of Scranton where I was teaching in-person classes and I wanted to keep teaching. And so I thought these self-paced courses would be the way to do it. And so I thought, what’s like an easy course for me to make how to start a WordPress blog. And so I came up with the outline. It was all text-based cuz I didn’t wanna record it. I wanted people to just kind of like read quickly through it.

[00:01:52] And then I released that on a LearnDash site. It was like my first experience with LearnDash. So I am gonna say it was [00:02:00] probably like early 2017 is when that happened.

[00:02:02] Rene: Okay. So people just, like, they signed up, they read the content and they just went to the next module and read some more content.

[00:02:08] Was it sort of like a guided

[00:02:11] Joe: Yeah, that was the idea. Right. So there were like lessons and modules and there was so like, kind of like, what is WordPress? How does it work? Here’s some terminology and then what to consider with hosting a domain name, like you saw, like basically how to start a website with the focus of starting a WordPress blog.

[00:02:29] Rene: Okay. So who was the audience for that? Like who, who in particular were you trying to target for this?

[00:02:35] Joe: Yeah, that’s a great question. 2023 ish, me does not have an answer because 2016 me also did not have an answer because if you knew me back then, I was known very well for WordPress development.

[00:02:50] Rene: Mm-hmm.

[00:02:50] Joe: And so my whole audience already knew how to use WordPress. Ah, okay. So that’s so like, yeah. So I didn’t answer fatal mistake number one. I didn’t answer that question. Spoiler alert, the course didn’t do well. Um, but yeah, well, tell us about that. Mistake number one. Yeah.

[00:03:07] Rene: Well, tell us about that. So, yeah, what happened?

[00:03:09] Did you, well, how long, I guess, did it take to create, like, you know, about how big was it and then Yeah. What happened after you launched it?

[00:03:17] Joe: Yeah, it took way too long. I remember writing like part of it, um, in Disneyland. So this was probably like September of 2016. Um, my brother was running. One of the Disney races out in Disneyland, he wanted to get like the coast to coast medal or something.

[00:03:34] He’s not a runner. He doesn’t even train. Um, he just wanted the medal. He just like does the half marathons. Wow. Which I guess is analogous to kind of what I did here, right? Like I was an in-classroom teacher. Mm-hmm. I had never sold a product before. I had freelanced for many years. And so I just kind of did it.

[00:03:50] I, I picked a topic I thought people wanted to learn about. Mm-hmm. Um, I did not have an audience in mind, and I made a self-paced non-video [00:04:00] course in an age where like, video courses were, it’s not like they were brand new. Mm-hmm. Like they were pretty popular in 2016, 2017. Mm-hmm. And then the, so no audience.

[00:04:12] Um, I didn’t really define learner objectives, which I, I mean, I guess I did, right? The objective was at the end of the course, you’ll have a WordPress blog, right? And, and how to make money with that blog. Um, so fatal mistake number two is I didn’t have authority in the making money blogging space. I made some money.

[00:04:32] Mm-hmm. But all I had was ideas. Um, and I didn’t have social proof for the, any of that. Mm-hmm. Um, and then fatal mistake number three was I made Yeah, that was, this is rule of three, right? There are three, yes. Right. Okay. Um, fatal mistake number three was I made a course that basically just combined a bunch of stuff that people could find for free really easily.

[00:04:54] Okay. So, like I wasn’t solving anybody’s problem. I didn’t have the authority to solve this problem that nobody had, and I was basically repackaging free content. Um, which yeah, like the argument can be made like any video course. Like if you do the work, you can find it on YouTube for free, right? Mm-hmm. But yes, in this case there were like long form blog posts that answered that same exact question.

[00:05:22] Mm-hmm. And I know that because I used them for research. Okay. So like, Like I was selling a self-paced text-based course that you could basically find completely for free, all in one.

[00:05:35] Rene: And maybe not niched or niched enough. That’s exactly right. Cause it was just so general that there was already so much out there.

[00:05:41] Like I’m all for like the free content. And I do think that when people do package things up, it’s not just packaging, you know, you’re putting your own spin on it and you know your own energy and things like that. But yes, there is a line like it, it does have to be valuable, right? For the audience, [00:06:00] you know, and solving a problem for them.

[00:06:02] Joe: Yeah. And, and, and, right. I wasn’t solving it for anybody cuz I didn’t have anybody in mind. It was just like kind of a glorified like keyword ranking headline. Mm-hmm. Right. Um, and so, and again, the biggest problem is that I picked it cuz I thought it would be easy for me Okay. To do. Mm-hmm. I didn’t pick it because my audience was asking that question.

[00:06:24] Mm. Because I had never really in earnest built an audience cuz I just did client work and I was like, one of my clients care about other stuff I’m doing. Mm-hmm. . Um, I was really not good at running a business back then. Yeah. Well so, but you’ve gotten

[00:06:38] Rene: better.

[00:06:38] Joe: Better. Yeah.

[00:06:39] Rene: Well, you got better, largely better today.

[00:06:41] Yeah. So what did you do with that course? Like, did you just get rid of it? Like what, what was the next thing that came after that? Like how have you progressed? You have digital courses now, um, and other offerings so, From, you know, 2017 or whenever it was till, you know, now what has changed for you?

[00:06:59] Joe: Yeah, so I took that course and I basically made it a lead generator.

[00:07:02] So I turned it into an email course and that was kind of my first big optin. Mm-hmm. Um, where I figured like if people wanted to learn how to build a website with Beaver Builder, which was my first successful course, um, then they would need to learn how to like, use WordPress and so, I, I repurposed it into like a 21 day email sequence.

[00:07:22] And it did okay. Right? It did fine. Um, and then I took other bits of that and I made a seven day email course that was like, how to get up and running with WordPress. And that did even better. Right? Because again, that’s like, that’s a question more people are asking. Mm-hmm. Um, and so I, I used those courses as lead generators and I started creating courses more in my wheelhouse that people followed me for, so mm-hmm. Um, I would do like a couple of Beaver Builder tutorials on YouTube, and I was getting a lot of questions about it, and I was like, Hey, Beaver Builder’s pretty new. There’s no course that exists on it. I talked to the guys at Beaver Builder and they [00:08:00] were like, yeah, we get a lot of questions about this stuff but we, you know, we are not making the course.

[00:08:04] And I was like, if I make the course, will you tell your audience about it? And they’re like, yeah. Um, and so yeah, that was like my first, I remember sitting at a, a restaurant or bar in, at Word Camp US 2018. and getting like pings on my phone, like, Hey, somebody bought the course. I’m like, dang, I just made like 90 bucks sitting here.

[00:08:27] Rene: How does that feel? Like, let’s, just pause right there, how does that feel? Like, doesn’t it feel amazing?

[00:08:31] Joe: So good still today. Yes. Yes. Yesterday I had just gotten off a coaching call with somebody, like a, a free 15 minute consulting call. Um, and they went and they bought like my $600 sweet version of my playbook and I got the notification and even though it was pretty clear that he was gonna do it, it was still super exciting to see that money, like, just show up on my phone.

[00:08:53] Rene: It feels so good. And it’s not that you didn’t, I know we’re kind of getting a little detour here. It’s not that you didn’t do the work for that, it wasn’t just like free money. Right. But it does, it, it separates you from the time you, you were maybe at the bus stop yesterday, right? You know, or maybe you were somewhere else. Um, although you just said where you were, but do you know what I mean? Like, you, you could get that ping anytime right. Where you separated yourself.

[00:09:16] Joe: It’s right. I, I’ve been out and you know, oh, somebody. I just got 50 bucks from, what was that for? Oh, somebody renewed their, um, membership to my, my premium podcast or whatever. So yeah, super cool and really rewarding because mm-hmm. It’s not money that’s generated from an invoice that is tied to your hours.

[00:09:34] Rene: Yes. Correct. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. So I forget where we were to go back to, sometimes when I take a detour I’m like, wait.

[00:09:40] Joe: Oh yeah. What did I do with that course? What happened after that?

[00:09:43] So like Beaver Builder was kind of the next course. Oh yeah. Beaver Builder. Yeah. Yeah, that was great. Yeah. Awesome.

[00:09:47] Rene: Um, and so you kind of, that was like a different audience because the people who were already following you were. Were interested in that topic. They already knew how to build a website with WordPress. Right? They just didn’t know much [00:10:00] about Beaver Builder, so that was valuable for them.

[00:10:02] Joe: Yeah, and it was good timing too. So like that was, if we’re talking about like the, the fatal flaws or the fatal errors I made earlier, like some of the things that went right here was my audience was mostly WordPress freelancers, and there was a stigma around using page builders, right? Mm-hmm. Like, why am I gonna use a page builder? I’m gonna code it myself. Mm-hmm. That’s gonna be more efficient. And so, um, I showed people like, Hey, Joe is a successful freelancer. Like he has books on the topic. He works at Crowd Favorite. That’s like a place. Um, I showed them that, hey, we can make like good and efficient sites with Beaver Builder.

[00:10:38] Mm-hmm. Beaver Builder loved that because I was using my status as an influencer, which was not a term at the time. Yeah. To, to elevate their product. And so it was a win-win. I was helping my actual audience get more efficient at something, and I was leveraging the audience of beaver Builder, the product that I made mm-hmm.

[00:10:59] And, and it was a quality course. They wouldn’t have recommended it if it was crap. Right. Um, and, and they loved it because it provided an extra layer of support for them. Mm-hmm. , that they didn’t, they didn’t have to. That kind of took the burden off of.

[00:11:13] Rene: Yeah. Yeah. I just wanna go back. You had mentioned about doing some, I, I don’t remember what you call it, workshops, maybe?

[00:11:19] Yeah. Were those like YouTube lives, that kind of thing where you just showed, like before the course was built?

[00:11:25] Joe: Yeah, they were gosh, they, I don’t know if they were YouTube lives, they were like Zoom webinar or something like that. Okay. I recorded it and I put it on YouTube. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Okay. And, um, it was great cuz I did a couple where I just got them sponsored and that’s.

[00:11:38] Rene: Oh nice.

[00:11:39] Joe: That was so like Paid Memberships Pro was my first one. Nice. Um, I think I called that one like no jacket required, like how to start a membership site. Right. Cuz you get the membership jackets or whatever. Yes. Yeah. That’s. and uh, and uh, don’t sue me, Billy Joel right, that’s Billy Joel? No, jacket required.

[00:11:55] Oh, no. Um, uh, and so yeah, like paid memberships [00:12:00] who sponsored that one. And then I approached Beaver Builder. I said, do you wanna sponsor a workshop? Those two were my best viewed YouTube videos for a long time. And like I said, I got a following from that. And people were interested and so then I, I decided to make the jump and make the course.

[00:12:15] Rene: Mm-hmm. Did you do them live at all or did you just record them? Like, was there an opportunity for people to ask questions? I feel like that first round of things, like, it’s, it’s nice to do live so that people can ask all the questions and then you can package it up. You know, maybe you, you put it on YouTube and it’s free, but another thing is, you know, you could package it up and sell it later. Yeah, you know, part of something.

[00:12:37] Joe: The strategy today, older, wiser me would do and which I, I am doing this actually as we record this. I have a, a webinar tomorrow. Um, and that’s gonna be a free webinar for people to, um, come and ask questions. And those questions will be used for my four week bootcamp that I’m gonna do later.

[00:12:56] Um, That is gonna be free for 48 hours. Love the replay will be available. Mm-hmm. And then it’s gonna go into the podcast Liftoff playbook uh, which Rene you’re a member of. Yes. So you’ll be able to watch that at any time. And I think that’s a good, um, I think that’s a good little upsell, right? Like mm-hmm.

[00:13:15] Hey I get it. I get that you couldn’t come, you had 48 hours, right? Which is a reasonable amount of time. Yes. It’s not like it’s 23 hours. Somebody is, is, you know, yes. In the totally wrong time zone, and they can never watch it, right? Um, and then if you, if you wanna get that and everything, you can, you can join the playbook.

[00:13:32] There’ll be a special offer at the end where they can join the playbook at a discount. Um, but then they’re, I’m also doing this four week bootcamp that takes what we talk about in the webinar. and we actually do it together. And each week I talk you through and there’s the accountability aspect of it.

[00:13:49] Rene: So just the live, the live sort of thing.

[00:13:51] Joe: Yeah. So this is the live thing. Mm-hmm. And then I’ll run that a couple of times, probably based on a few questions. I’ll take those videos [00:14:00] and they’ll, they’ll go on the playbook too, and they’ll be a new, um, curriculum, I guess. Mm-hmm. or a new set of plays that is how to launch a mini podcast, right?

[00:14:09] Mm-hmm. and. The great thing about those things, and the reason I did it the playbook way is because I could slot some of those videos in the what to think about when launching a podcast. I can slot some of those in the how to stay consistent. Um, and so, I mean, we’re talking about this is pretty nebulous now if nobody knows what my Podcast Liftoff Playbook is, but.

[00:14:30] The way, that’s the way I would do it today. Right. It’s a lot more modular and proof of concept. I’m not disappearing for six months to develop a course that nobody wants.

[00:14:38] Rene: Yes. Yeah. So take us a step back then. Yeah. So you had the course, the podcast liftoff course that I took and it was very linear, right?

[00:14:45] You start at this one. Yeah. And you, and you you had mentioned, um, to me we had talked that people didn’t go through it in a linear fashion, which just blows my mind because Yeah. But there’s a path.

[00:14:53] Joe: So yeah, there’s a very clear path, right? Yeah.

[00:14:55] Rene: So what is, so, so how did you evolve this course that you did into what you call playbook?

[00:15:01] Like what is a playbook and, and what it, what, what is the whole thing?

[00:15:05] Joe: Yeah. So the way it started, um, was I didn’t wanna compete with the likes of Pat Flynn. Mm-hmm. Who already had a podcasting course. Um, and so I went to Podcast Movement of the, the year it was in Philly. Um, and I was talking to a lot of people and they had like really crappy podcast websites and I thought, well, people know how to launch a podcast, I guess now, but they don’t know how to make a good website.

[00:15:33] And so I, at first I launched the How to Launch a Podcast Website with WordPress. Um, and then the first piece of advice I got was, don’t include WordPress. Like nobody says, like how to build a shed with Black and Decker hammers or whatever. True. Okay. Yeah. Good point. So like that was, shout out to Chris Lema.

[00:15:49] Um, people don’t care about the tool, they care about the results. Right. That was like the first time I learned that. And I think that’s like a thing. We both come from the WordPress space. Mm-hmm. um, [00:16:00] that’s like a thing, right? For a long time. Like plugins would say, like made with React or whatever, like, and like modular.

[00:16:07] Object oriented and like no one cares. Yeah. Nobody cares. Yeah. Nobody care about that. Like you’re all Yeah. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So same thing. Nobody cared that it was with WordPress. They just wanted a good podcast website. Yeah. And a few people bought it. And the, the number one piece of feedback I got from my students was, Hey, this is great, but like, how do I launch a podcast?

[00:16:27] And I’m like, Oh, wait, what? What? Yeah, um, so I built, built that. Built that. Yeah. Right. So I built that course and like it did. Okay. Um, and then I started to learn that most people, I mean, and this was like again, 2017, 2018, 2019. Anchor launched in like 2019, I think. Um, and so people didn’t really need the how to start a podcast bit anymore, like the people who started following me already had a podcast. Mm-hmm. And so they would register for podcast liftoff, but they didn’t really want the how to launch part. Mm-hmm. they wanted the how to make money part, specifically the how to make money with sponsors part. Right. Um, or the, how to say consistent part. Yes. How to automate part. Yeah. Right. So, yes.

[00:17:17] Rene: Yeah, that’s a good one too. Mm-hmm.

[00:17:18] Joe: Yeah. So people started and I thought, maybe I’ll just break up these courses. It’ll be like four discrete courses and then you could buy the bundle. And then I thought, ah, I mean, it’s a self-paced course, but people can jump around anyway. Mm-hmm. Um, and then I, and then I noticed that people were doing what I think Chris Badget calls, I think a lot of people call it this, but I heard it from Chris uh, Badgett.

[00:17:41] He said, just in time learning, people wanna learn something when they need to know it, right? Mm-hmm. because otherwise it’s not gonna stick. Like you hear something, yeah. 5% of it sticks. You see something, 15%. These are like rough numbers that I’m trying to [00:18:00] remember here. You do it, um, you do it, I think like 70% sticks, right?

[00:18:05] Mm-hmm. And then you teach it. 90% sticks. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. So, um, the doing it part is the thing. That sticks. And so a lot of people are starting to say like, oh, I wanna, I, I wanna learn how to automate my guest onboarding process. Does Joe have a video on that? Um, and so I moved over to this playbook AR architecture where all the courses, the course is still pretty self-paced.

[00:18:31] Like I organized it that way. There’s like a start here. If you wanna just go through, like start here, go through, um, mostly thanks to like WordPress and, and their ability to show posts in order. Mm-hmm. Yes. Yeah. Or reverse order and. But search was a really important part for me, and these collections were a really important part for me.

[00:18:52] So now I have like the consistency collection, the automation collection. Mm-hmm. Yeah, the sponsorship collection. Um, and so those are for the, just in time learning people. So it’s like, um, I’m kind trying to have a, a little bit best of both worlds. Mm-hmm. I got the idea from Masterclass, right? Cuz they do have these discrete courses but then they also have these like mixes for you, right? Like, Hey, I think you would really like these five videos on leadership. Mm-hmm. from Bob Iger and Daniel Pink or whatever. Um, and so I really like that. And so the other part of the playbook, and one of the reasons I went this way is, um, I have coaching clients.

[00:19:33] I can make them a member of the playbook and then they get a page and we talk about things. I can upload our recordings there. Ooh. but then I can, if I reference any of the plays in the playbook, I can just embed those right on their coaching page, right? Mm-hmm. instead of saying like, oh yeah, go to this module and this lesson in this course.

[00:19:54] Mm-hmm. I just put that play right on their resource dashboard.

[00:19:59] Rene: Yeah, that makes sense. [00:20:00] Yeah, that’s very cool. I love that. Um, so kind of like an alternative to a, to the course. Um, and I guess like a question just about courses, so like, my kind of stance is that people shouldn’t create a course as their first thing because I think as you mentioned, you know, it takes too long and you really have to put a lot of work into it.

[00:20:17] Like, do you have anything else for sale that’s not a course, or is everything that you’ve done so far , just all kind of course based and video based.

[00:20:26] Joe: Yeah, that’s a good question. I’ve tried a few things. Mm-hmm. Um, but uh, the self-paced courses have definitely been, um, Where I’ve spent the most time. I’m not gonna say the best for me, but it’s definitely where I’ve spent the most time.

[00:20:43] Mm-hmm. um, I’m, I’m currently writing, maybe by the time this episode comes out, it’ll be done, fingers crossed, but probably not cuz I know how long it takes to write a book. Um, I am writing a new book about podcasting. I have a bunch of books. Okay. I guess like that is another part.

[00:20:59] Rene: Yeah. I was gonna say, do you consider those digital products?

[00:21:02] Like, do you sell the like. So you have a physical book, is it all just through Amazon? Like can they just download the Kindle version? Do you call that a digital product? Like how does that work in your own?

[00:21:12] Joe: Yeah, so three outta my four books were published by a publisher. Okay. So like they’re, they’re like the, um, whatever the publisher wants to do.

[00:21:21] Mm-hmm. that they’re not my digital products. Okay. Essentially. Um, and then I have a book called WP Review that I pre-sold in 2020. Like afterward WordCamp US got yeah. Um, got cancelled. I said, Hey since we’re not getting like a WordCamp US that would like basically recap the year in WordPress for us, why don’t I write this book about it?

[00:21:45] And so I like, I pre-sold it. I got a couple of sponsors. Um, and then that was on sale for a while. But as you could imagine uh, what happened in WordPress is in 2020 get gets pretty dated. Um, yes. So [00:22:00] very quickly. Yes. Yeah. Always. that was, um, you know, that was one digital project that had a sh a pretty clear shelf life.

[00:22:08] Mm-hmm. I sold an e-book called PHP for WordPress for a while where it was like, you don’t need to learn all of PHP to like, start making WordPress themes. Here’s the stuff you need to know. Mm-hmm. I eventually turned that into a course, um, and then I turned it into a LinkedIn learning course. So I guess the short answer is right now it’s really the playbook um, is the main digital product. Mm-hmm. I sell, and while there is a course feature to it, I don’t, I don’t really consider it a course anymore. Okay. I consider it more of a membership because, um, not a subscription. Right. There’s like the difference between membership and subscription. Mm-hmm. this is a one time fee for the time being.

[00:22:55] and then you, you’ll always have access to these videos, and then if you pay for the advanced one, you get like a couple of more things. A live event, one-on-one hour long coaching with me, stuff like that.

[00:23:05] Rene: Yes, yes. Yeah. I love this, this whole ladder concept, like you’re having, you know, especially the, the repurposing of some of the things that you’ve already created that maybe didn’t sell, and using those as kind of lead magnets to get people in and then upselling them.

[00:23:18] And you, you seem to have a lot of things. So like, can I say that your, your top level. Do give more access to you at a premium rate so people can consume your content at, at lower rates. Not lower value, but lower rates. Yeah. But then when they want you too, it costs more. Mm-hmm.

[00:23:35] Joe: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Right. Chris Lema has this, um, this concept called the product ladder. Right. And it’s, you have your main offering. If I’m uh, if I’m applying my stuff to the product ladder mm-hmm. my main offering is, Core podcast liftoff playbook. So you get access to all of my videos. Self-paced for one price. I’m not guaranteeing, I’m gonna add more to it.

[00:23:59] I’m not [00:24:00] guaranteeing you’re gonna get access to me, but here’s what I know. Here’s everything I know about podcasting and you’re gonna get that at one price. Maybe as I add more, I increase the price, but at at this time, it’s a price. I don’t foresee adding a higher price to it. Mm-hmm. One tiny rung up there’s the extended playbook, and then there you get more access to me, you get a priority inbox that I’ll respond to within 72 hours, except for when I’m on vacation or there’s a holiday and I’ll let you know, right? Hey, mm-hmm. Shop’s closed. Um, but then you get this one-on-one call with me and you get these other like live events or office hours.

[00:24:35] So like the workshop is gonna be for extended playbook. People, well, this first one’s gonna be for everybody because I want to, this is the first one, but mm-hmm. in the future, right? The extended playbook it’s gonna be for, for those people. Um, and for a year only, right? So that there’s a expiration date there.

[00:24:52] Next, drawing up is one-on-one coaching, right? So if, if you took the extended playbook and you’re like, Joe, I, I really need help. Mm-hmm. Hmm. let’s talk about a three month program for one-on-one coaching, right? And then the top rung is done for you, right? Hey, I wanna launch a podcast. I don’t care about any of your videos.

[00:25:10] Just do it for me. Yeah. Right? Yes, yes. Do it for me. Tell me when I need to record and, and do it that way, right? Mm-hmm. so that’s like people who wanna pay the most to save the most time. Yes. Going downstream from the from the core playbook. Um, there is, I would probably say like, um, you can pay for like one off consulting for me, that’s slightly cheaper than the playbook.

[00:25:33] Um, and that’s like at a half hour or an hour. Mm-hmm. And then below that are the boot camps. Right? You could just buy them separately. But the thing is like if you buy them separately, you might as well buy the extended playbook. Mm-hmm. it’s kind of if you’re gonna buy two of them. Right. Um, and then below that is workshops.

[00:25:51] And those are like 50 bucks, right? Mm-hmm. and those mm-hmm. Those have not worked for me at all. All, okay. Interesting. Um, yeah, and I don’t know if it’s just my audience isn’t [00:26:00] big enough or, um, or it, that’s not quite what, what maybe I, I haven’t found the right groove for the difference between a workshop and a webinar. Mm-hmm. right?

[00:26:12] Rene: Like, yeah. What is the difference?

[00:26:14] Joe: Yeah. Yeah. I would say mm-hmm. and again, I’m I just told you maybe I haven’t figured it out. Mm-hmm. but mm-hmm. to me a webinar is, I’m telling you, um, What three things to think about. Three. Yeah. Like these three things to think about when you’re doing whatever.

[00:26:28] Mm-hmm. right? And then you could take that information. It’s basically like an hour long advice session. Mm-hmm. A workshop I imagine is at the end of it, you will have X. Right? At the end of this workshop, you are going to have your sponsorship pitch.

[00:26:45] Rene: Oh, I see. So it’s kind of like a how deliverable like the, they’re doing the work while you are talking, kind of like that.

[00:26:52] Joe: Right.

[00:26:52] Okay. Yeah, exactly. So like in, in. Maybe math class is more like a webinar, right? Mm-hmm. where the teacher is telling you how to I don’t know, figure out differential equations or whatever. Mm-hmm. I was bad at math. I don’t know why. Yeah. What, whatever those are. Whereas in art class, all right, today we’re gonna be painting a bowl of fruit.

[00:27:11] At the end of the class, you are gonna take your canvas with your painted bowl of fruit. Mm-hmm. that’s, you have that right? Yes. I think that’s the difference. Like you’re told how to do something versus you do something.

[00:27:20] Rene: And the lengths maybe because it may be, you know, in a webinar like, you know, maybe half an hour, maybe an hour. Yeah. But in a workshop, maybe two hours, something like that.

[00:27:28] Joe: And I think, I think that’s really where my fatal flaw is. Right. Okay. Um, or, or where my, my switch in thinking wasn’t great. When I first ran these workshops. I made everything an hour. Right. Okay. And this hour. So maybe people say, how are we gonna do this in just an hour?

[00:27:45] Right. So maybe the workshop should be to three hours. Mm-hmm. and then at, oh, at 60 bucks for three hours. Like, yeah, that, that sounds good. Yeah, exactly. And then they’ll get access to, to the replay too, so mm-hmm. the workshops are where I’m trying to [00:28:00] figure it out. And then again, the bottom rung for my product ladder is the thing.

[00:28:03] I’m working on a book called The Profitable Podcast. Ooh, nice. Um, and so that, that’ll be, hopefully available on Amazon and sold directly through my site. Um mm-hmm. and if I’m feeling really adventurous, an audiobook, but like, that’ll have, love that, that’ll have good, better, best pricing too. It’ll be like, mm-hmm.

[00:28:20] All right. Well, if you just want the ebook, that’s 10 bucks. Um mm-hmm. if you want the audiobook workbook, worksheets or something. Yeah. Worksheets. That’s right. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Um, you know, that’s gonna be 50 bucks if you want the audio. or if you join the, the podcast Liftoff Playbook, you get that book?

[00:28:37] Mm-hmm. and all of the videos, right? Mm-hmm. like. So that’s, yeah. So like you see the product ladder in action there. Mm-hmm.

[00:28:44] Rene: and your Ladder then maybe has some other things too. Those free email courses and so on. Yeah, yeah. You know, that maybe aren’t, aren’t product specifically, but they, they lead in and so maybe what I’m hearing too, or what I’m guessing is that you didn’t just come up with this overnight.

[00:28:58] Like this is an ongoing. Iterative thing where you experimenting, you’re trying something and you’re saying, okay, does it work? Did it not work? And yeah, and maybe it, it’s not black and white like that. Maybe you’re like, okay, well this part of this worked and this part of that worked, and then what are you gonna do next?

[00:29:13] So, you know, I I, I want people to kind of take away that, you know, creating a digital product isn’t just like, no course one day, course the next day, and then right the end. Um, and then the other thing I, I was thinking about whenever you mentioned, um, technology being out of date. How do you kind of work with that?

[00:29:32] Because these, some of the concepts I’m sure are evergreen, but some of them, you know, like, do, do you rerecord some modules sometimes? Like how do you kind of, keep an eye on those sort of things that need to be, I guess, I don’t know, redone or, or revamped, refreshed.

[00:29:50] Joe: Yeah. I used to be really concerned about that, especially like when I launched, like my full site editing course or like my Guten, my intro to Guttenberg course is maybe my most popular course ever.

[00:29:59] [00:30:00] Right. Um, right. Cuz it was the first one to market. and time. Yes. Timely. Okay, great. Yeah, very timely. I guaranteed I’d update it like every other major version, which that’s dumb. Don’t do that. Okay. And so I was like really concerned with keeping that up to date. Mm-hmm, here’s the thing, most people don’t care, right?

[00:30:20] Because a piece of software is not gonna change so dramatically from version to version. If they see the old one, they’re gonna be completely confused, right? Mm-hmm. Now this is a little bit contextual. Sean Hesketh, good friend of mine, I consider him a mentor even if he is a Houston Astros fan, um, he I’m a big Yankee fan.

[00:30:41] Everybody listening, um, I’m from New York. Um, he runs WP101. He thinks it is of the utmost importance to have his videos up to date with every major WordPress version, and it’s cuz his target audience is people who have never used WordPress before. Mm-hmm. Okay. And so if there is a disconnect between what he’s saying in his video and what these very green users see on the screen, that’s gonna create confusion.

[00:31:12] Mm-hmm. So for Sean, super important. Mm-hmm. for me, where my users are more experienced, they’re gonna figure out. Hey, I’m seeing this, but it’s not where it’s supposed to be, but I, okay. I know what to look for now. Mm-hmm, my, my Beaver Builder course launched like six months before 2.0, which was a huge redesign.

[00:31:32] Um, and I never updated the course and no one ever asked. Hmm. Interesting. Because I was modules, pages, rows. Yeah. It’s still the same. Mm-hmm. It’s all, yeah. It’s all the same language, even if things look slightly different. Mm-hmm, um, my advice is when people start asking, right? Mm-hmm. Um, and what I would do, like, what I would do for full site editing or the guttenberg course is if [00:32:00] something changed dramatically, I would do almost like a, a, like a pickup video or supplement

[00:32:05] Rene: or something at the end, like slotted addendum. Okay.

[00:32:08] Joe: Oh yeah, that’s good. Yeah. Or, or like, even throw it at the beginning, like, Hey. Mm-hmm, we’re going through this course. This course was recorded on version 1.5. Um, here are some of the important changes to look for. The concepts are the same, the terminology is the same. Here are some of the important things to look for.

[00:32:22] Mm-hmm. Um, and then if a bunch of people start asking, well, okay, so now it’s time to update the course. And then ask, is this update and update I’m gonna charge for

[00:32:33] Rene: mm-hmm. Oh, true. Good point. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . Yeah, which probably depends on what you said at the beginning. Right? Like if you told them when they paid that they would get forever free updates. You know, so it’s, it’s something to take into consideration. Uh, Don’t say that if you don’t want to do that later.

[00:32:49] Joe: Yeah. I would say don’t say that. Okay. Um, because you really handcuff yourself there. Mm-hmm, um, and I mean, even pe like David Sparks, he, he makes these really cool like Mac application based field guides, and he’ll, like he said, oh, if you buy my shortcuts course, like it’s one price forever. and then the new version was so dramatically different that he charged for it. Mm-hmm. And he gave all the old students a discount and I’m gonna guess he didn’t see that much backlash, right? Mm-hmm. So like, yeah, communicate it the right way. Like, Hey, yes, I’ve gotta charge for this cuz it’s big. But I would say the less handcuffing of, of your future self you can do mm-hmm. the better. If someone says, Hey, will there be updates? Like, will I get free updates forever for this? Um, I would say, yeah, you’ll get updates as long as it makes sense for me to give you updates. Right? Um, yeah, that sounds good. But like if I have to scrap the whole course, that’s a whole course. That’s a new course.

[00:33:46] Yes. Yes. You’re not gonna get free updates for that because I have to put in a hundred percent effort, right? Mm-hmm, I’m not just adding in stuff. It’s not like a new feature just came. Right? Um, that’s where membership helps, right? Like WP [00:34:00] 101 is a membership. Um, and that’s why Sean can make sure he keeps those videos up to date.

[00:34:05] I mean, he also licenses his videos, um, to hosting companies and stuff like that. Hmm. But uh, you wanna make sure that your update cycle right, um, aligns with your pricing method. Mm-hmm. aligns with your messaging, right? Mm-hmm, this is the hardest lesson I’ve learned cuz even when I made the full site editing course, I had Gutenberg, like intro to Gutenberg and then Gutenberg for freelancers. Um, and so both courses included the how to use Gutenberg and then Gutenberg for freelancers. But uh, that had like a whole section on here’s how to deal with upgrading the 5.0 with your clients.

[00:34:45] And, and so I thought, great. There’s, there’s obviously more value here. Mm-hmm, and so I was able to charge more for that. When I rolled out the full site editing course, I just changed the name of Gutenberg for freelancers to the full site editing course because I was like, well, I gave these people lifetime access to something.

[00:35:04] What a dumb, like, that was such a dumb move on my part. I just gave them my new flagship course for free cuz I felt bad. Yeah. Ooh. And some people were super nice and bought it again because they were super nice. Mm-hmm, but most people didn’t. And then the people who didn’t like complain, they’re like, Hey, you haven’t updated this course in a year.

[00:35:23] Mm-hmm. I’m like, do you know? Like, yeah. It’s never gonna get updated again. Like, full site editing is just too capricious. Mm-hmm. right now for me to want to keep updating this course. Mm-hmm, so like it is a lot. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s about messaging, pricing. Mm-hmm and like, don’t shoot yourself in the foot or back yourself in new corner.

[00:35:40] Mm-hmm, you know what, it’s, keep it open. Yeah. Keep it open ended. Yeah. And un I, yes, I would say don’t answer questions people aren’t asking because that’s when you really start to handcuff. Answer the questions people are asking. Mm-hmm, because you know, they wanna know that.

[00:35:56] Rene: Well, yes. Yeah, that’s super important. You know, getting that feedback from people and, and [00:36:00] addressing their specific, you know, questions and pain points. Like, I think that’s super valuable.

[00:36:04] Um, so just to kind of recap, so what do you recommend to someone who is starting at the beginning? Like they’re very, for they, they have no history of digital products. Like what is, you know, one or two or however many things you wanna say about the advice, and maybe this is advice to your past self. Yeah, for sure. What would you, what do you recommend?

[00:36:23] Joe: I think the first thing is the thing we just said, right? Answer questions people are asking. Right? Don’t answer questions people aren’t asking cuz nobody cares about those questions. Mm-hmm, at least at this point for you, right? Mm-hmm. So look at your audience.

[00:36:34] Look at your current audience. Look at the thing you’re known for, and create a product around that. Make it low, not low effort in the sense that you can do it quickly and like poorly, low effort in the fact that, hey, I know so much about this topic that I could totally write a 20 page mm-hmm. ebook and sell it for nine bucks, right?

[00:36:58] Or whatever. Like, yes. That’s like the first thing that you should do. Um, since I’m mostly in the course space, I’ll say the the best advice I’ve gotten and the advice I’m trying to implement, right, is webinar on the course topic, and then sell into. Drip course, ma. It could be live, it could be self-paced.

[00:37:20] Either way, make it a drip course because here’s what you get from a drip course that you don’t get from a fully released self-paced course. Um, well you have a week buffer to do each lesson, first of all, right? Mm-hmm. So you don’t have to do the whole course all at once. But also people take module one, week one.

[00:37:39] Hey Joe, I noticed that you talked about, um, like coming up with the mission statement for your podcast. What if you want to start a podcast outside of your area of expertise? Mm-hmm. Oh, well that’s a great question that I didn’t address. So now I’ll know to address that in week two. Mm-hmm. And I know that when I record, [00:38:00] like the full self-paced course, that’s not dripped out address that question in week one as well. Right, right. Um, so you get that real time feedback. The other thing you get from doing a drip course is essentially that pre-sale effect right? Yes. So yes, this is the other thing, right? Again, don’t answer questions. People aren’t asking, Hey, I think I should make a course on this, so I’m gonna go in a hole and do it for six months, and then be really sad when no one buys it.

[00:38:25] Yes, that’s exactly right. Um, yeah, so I think like, don’t do that. You’re gonna, yeah, don’t do that. If you’re gonna create your first digital product, again, I’m in the information space. If you’re like a, a plugin developer, My advice is probably not great for you. Maybe it is, right? Maybe it’s like the top five ways, but it’s to optimize your theme or whatever.

[00:38:43] Rene: It’s MVP, right? Like it’s the idea of an MVP is actually getting something out there, which is I think what we all kind of live by. Like let’s get something out there and then we can iterate on it. We can make it better. We can see if it’s actually what people want, so, right. That’s correct.

[00:38:57] Joe: Perfectionism will kill your business, right? Mm-hmm, yes. Here’s the the absolute best example of like launching and iterating. Disneyland. Walt Disney created Disneyland because he was frustrated by amusement parks. They were dirty and not family friendly, and he, he thought he could do better. So he made a theme park and he put it in downtown ish, Anaheim, but he didn’t buy enough land.

[00:39:31] And so, what happened around surrounding Disneyland hotels and sketchy places and, and bottom feeders who wanted to attach themselves to the tourism part of Disneyland. Uh, Started going up around Disneyland and Walt thought, oh, okay, so if I do this again, I’m gonna buy just a gross amount of land somewhere so that people can’t put up their crummy hotel.

[00:39:59] Mm-hmm. or [00:40:00] motel right next to my beautiful castle. And that’s what he did with Disney World.

[00:40:05] Rene: So Orlando. Yeah. So he was like, I just bought all of Orlando.

[00:40:09] Joe: He basically did buy all of Orlando. Here’s how, you know, he bought so much of Orlando. Um, Disney World is huge. Like if you look at a map, you know how big it is.

[00:40:20] They’re effectively using less than 40% of the land that they own. Wow. Yeah. So like that’s crazy. Yeah. Right, um, Walt iterated mm-hmm. on something very much in the real space. Right. So yeah. If you’re making a digital product, mvp, Brennan Dunn is a really good example of that too, right? He just finally released Palladio, which is like this email template maker for ConvertKit.

[00:40:44] Ooh, version one. Yeah. Right. Version one was like an HTML generator. and he said you didn’t need technical know-how. But then he also had instructions on how to like open terminal. Ooh. And like, if you’re telling people to open terminal, like you need to be technical, right? Yeah. So, but he released it. A bunch of people love what he do, so they bought it.

[00:41:05] He got a ton of feedback. And like within weeks, like within two weeks maybe he built the, the online based dashboard. That’s awesome. So like, and then he built out this beautiful product. Mm-hmm. so, iterate. If you’re really into what you’re doing, release something, get feedback, iterate quickly.

[00:41:24] Rene: Mm-hmm. that way.

[00:41:25] Yeah. You don’t spend so much time and then you’ve made a thing that nobody wants and you’ve wasted all this time and, right. Yeah. It just, yeah. Quicker,

[00:41:31] Joe: seriously, quickly. Mm-hmm. , take it from me. I made that mistake a lot of times. Like, I think we all do. I’ve, I’ve mentioned like three courses that have done really well so far.

[00:41:40] Mm-hmm, I’ve made dozens of courses. Mm-hmm, so I finally have settled my niche, and have my messaging right, and I know who I serve mm-hmm, and now I’m doing it the right way.

[00:41:53] Rene: It takes time. It, it, it definitely takes time. Yeah. Like, it’s just, it’s not an overnight thing.

[00:41:58] Joe: Like Yeah. And, and the thing that, [00:42:00] the thing that works for other people might not work for you.

[00:42:01] Right. The workshop thing, like Jay Clouse. Yes. Like, I follow Jay Clouse, he’s great. I’m in this community. Like that’s the highest ticket community that I’m in, that I pay for. Um, cuz it’s, it’s really valuable, but like, he’s like, yeah, I always do like these low ticket workshops. Mm-hmm. and then I just sell them and then I can upsell people into my membership from there.

[00:42:19] Mm-hmm, but they’re always on sale. And I’m like, oh yeah, that’s a great idea. So I just stole that verbatim. But the difference between me and Jay is his audience is about three times or four times the size of mine. Mm-hmm. And so, um, he can experiment a little more at that than I can. Right, right. Um, and. I realized that that didn’t work for me.

[00:42:39] The, the webinar mm-hmm. to like four week boot camp thing. That’s the thing I’m experimenting with right now. I’m really confident cuz way more people have signed up for my webinar than, than all of my workshops, all of my paid workshops combined. Love it. That’s great. So, yeah. So. . Awesome. Well, thank you.

[00:42:54] It’s all about what works for

[00:42:55] Rene: you. Yes. Yeah. Yes, yes. That’s absolutely right. Definitely. So, like, I hope that people take from this, you know, podcast in this show that like, don’t just take all the advice that we are giving you, although take the good advice, but you know, yes. You have to find something that works for you and your audience and you know, your specific personality.

[00:43:11] Like, it’s, it’s not just kind of a blanket, um, like, here, do this exact thing. Like you, it’s, it’s iterative.

[00:43:18] Joe: Yeah. For short, learn on this show. Learn from people’s experiences. Mm-hmm, and then take that and turn it into something that works for you. Yes, absolutely. Um, don’t just cuz like copying other people, that’s not gonna work.

[00:43:31] Right. Um Right, right. If I like just. Did what Shaq did. I’d be like the least successful basketball player in the world.

[00:43:39] Rene: Exactly. Awesome. Well let’s wrap up. Thank you so much for being here and coming on and sharing all of your experiences. Where can we find you? Where can the audience, um, go and uh, learn more about you and connect with you?

[00:43:52] Joe: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. If you wanna learn more about me and everything I do, you can go to, r [00:44:00] e n e. There will be all of the resources and things that I talk about, and then there’s also gonna be a special offer for you for the Podcast Liftoff Playbook. If you want to launch and monetize your own podcast.

[00:44:11] So that’ll be for listeners of this show only.

[00:44:15] Rene: Yay. Thank you so much. Yeah, and I’ll talk to you soon.

[00:44:18] Joe: Yeah, thanks so much, Rene. You too. Have a good day. Thanks.

[00:44:21] Rene: Hey, thanks for listening. I’d love to continue the conversation in your inbox. Email SUBSCRIBE to hey at or sign up in the show notes to get bimonthly emails about how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. Can’t wait to see you there.

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