115 minutes | Dec 22nd 2020

160: One Hour a Day to Run a $2 Million Online Course Business with 14 Employees (featuring Abbey Ashley)

It’s time to catch up with another course creator friend! Abbey Ashley is no stranger to this show, but it’s been a while since we’ve heard what she’s up to. And she does not disappoint: Abbey’s been killing it this year! We chatted about how her business is evolving, where she sees herself focusing her energy in the future, and much more. Enjoy!

“You will pivot. Things will shift, and that’s totally okay.”

-Abbey Ashley

In This Episode, We Talked About:
    • (0:39) Why I’m excited about today’s episode + a teaser for next week!
    • (3:07) Thoughts on lead magnets and “getting to know” course creators
    • (5:18) Working out in 2020
    • (8:36) Talking Facebook ads and group interaction
    • (10:03) Setting the stage for today’s interview
    • (11:09) Welcoming Abbey back and hearing her online course business update
    • (14:07) Keeping the train rolling in 2020
    • (16:33) Abbey’s growing team
    • (18:24) How she’s making an impact on students’ lives (including my own team)
    • (21:17) Charting metrics and looking for areas to improve
    • (26:41) Project management tools
    • (28:38) “Extreme ownership” and applying common leadership principles
    • (30:12) What it takes to succeed
    • (31:55) The evolution of Abbey’s funnel and how learning from others has influenced it
    • (38:46) The importance of finding your audience
    • (42:00) Abbey’s Facebook groups and the importance of honesty
    • (44:44) Thoughts on leaving Facebook – or not
    • (47:39) Course platform decisions
    • (49:54) The importance of listening to your audience
    • (52:49) Why Abbey’s enjoying learning from a new mentor
    • (55:55) Hiring and running a team
    • (58:53) Thinking about team culture and efficiency
    • (1:03:36) Making the transition from contractors to employees
    • (1:07:55) Surprise, delight, and… shots?
    • (1:12:45) Handling hiring in the U.S.
    • (1:13:44) Delegating and getting out of day-to-day operations
    • (1:17:12) Lynch-pin redundancy
    • (1:20:56) What’s next for Abbey
    • (1:26:13) Is a podcast in the works for Abbey?
    • (1:27:42) Where to find her online and why it’s okay to copy
    • (1:30:23) How much fun it would be to be on Abbey’s team? + How we first connected
    • (1:33:04) Emotions and shareable moments
    • (1:34:52) Updates and differences in teams
    • (1:37:48) How things are going with my OBM + David’s singing solo
    • (1:39:02) Upsells vs. downsells, tortoises vs. hares
    • (1:41:41) A high-ticket program without a sales call?
    • (1:44:10) Funnel hacking and evolving with the times
    • (1:46:40) “There is no secret sauce” + Pinterest myth-busting
    • (1:49:00) The importance of a learning mindset
    • (1:50:54) Wrapping up with a plug for next week’s episode

That’s all for now, folks! See you on the next episode of The Online Course Show.


Links Offers and Tools: Guest Links: Resources and Recommendations: Jacques’ Courses: David’s Courses: Transcript Email Download New Tab

Jacques Hopkins   00:02

Regular people are taking their knowledge and content, packaging it up in an online course, and they're making a living doing it.


Jacques Hopkins   00:12

But not everyone is successful with online courses. There's a right way and there's a wrong way. And I'm here to help course creators actually succeed with online courses. Hi, I'm Jacques Hopkins, and this is the Online Course Show. 


Jacques Hopkins   00:32

And off we go, welcome aboard. Glad you're with us. I'm your host, Jacques Hopkins. And over there is our cohost. What's going on Dr. K?


David Krohse   00:40

Not too much. I'm doing fantastic here.


Jacques Hopkins   00:42

I am ready for another episode. This is 160. And in just a little bit, we're going to hear from a returning guest. This will be her third time on and she is such an inspiration. Abbey Ashley. Her business is up to about 2 million a year. She's got like 14 or 15 full time employees. Doing very little into the business now. Really excited to share that conversation with you and with the audience, but I would like to tease something. I would like to tease something to next week.


David Krohse   00:53

All right. What?


Jacques Hopkins   01:12

I don't do this often. So, what's the big thing that you keep asking me about, and everybody keeps asking me about?


David Krohse   01:18

Yeah, I think we want to know what the best course platform in the world is.


Jacques Hopkins   01:23

Best course platform in the world is. Yeah. So, past, what, six months probably, I've been doing a deep dive on a lot of different course platforms. It's probably impossible to evaluate all of them because there's new ones cropping up every day. And so, I've looked at the big ones, I've looked at some smaller ones as well, and I have made a decision on where I'm going to be hosting my course - my piano course - going forward. And so next week, I'm going to reveal what I've picked, if you should pick the same thing, and we're going to talk about a lot of other platforms, as well. Pros and cons of each, and kind of what which one would be a good fit for certain types of people. Because I promise, the one that I have selected is not the right fit for everyone. It's going to be the right fit for a lot of people, but not for everyone. And we'll talk about that next week. How does that sound?


David Krohse   02:19

Got it. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that conversation.


Jacques Hopkins   02:21

Cool. So, it'll just be me and you. No interview next week. And I'll kind of walk you through my process and you can ask questions and whatnot. So that's what's coming up next week. So, everybody stay tuned for 161 next week, which will be our last episode of the year.  Last episode of December.


David Krohse   02:41

Nice. Yeah, we got a lot in this year. We didn't quite get one every week but pretty close.


Jacques Hopkins   02:47

It'll probably end up at like 49. We probably missed two or three weeks. We didn't release one on Thanksgiving week. There was one or two other times throughout the year. And you say we like if it were up to you, you would release them every week. It's definitely on me that we missed a couple. So, you do your part. You show up every week and I really appreciate that.


David Krohse   03:05



Jacques Hopkins   03:06

So that's what's going on next week with platforms. Before we get into the conversation with Abbey, you got any updates for us? Anything of note that seems off the wall, but somehow you magically tie it in the courses like you do every week?


David Krohse   03:18

Yeah, I do. So, I started a new workout program. And you know, one of the common questions for course creators is what should my lead magnet be? And also, a question, how much should you give away before people actually join your course or join a community? And so, I have started doing a workout called The Betty Rocker. And I actually invited you to join it. I don't know. You turned me down. But this Betty Rocker it's, I mean, I think it's a huge, huge membership. A huge community of people that do these workouts. But she has a 30-day challenge. And so, what attracted me to it, I mean, first off, I have a female chiropractor friend that posted this picture of herself with these biceps that were just popping huge. And I knew that her only workout was doing Betty Rocker. So, number one, I mean, it was just seeing visual proof of what that could do for a female friend. But ultimately, the workouts are 15 minutes a day. All bodyweight, no tools, nothing needed, except for a mat on the floor. And so, I'm like five days into it. And you know, I mean, she's given away a ton of value. So far, the only thing I've been pitched is a meal plan for like, $39 or there's like a smaller meal planning a little info product for $9. But other than that, I mean, heck of a huge lead magnet. And yeah, we should get her on the podcast at some point.


Jacques Hopkins   04:41

There you go.

David Krohse   04:42

The Betty Rocker.


Jacques Hopkins   04:43

There's always an upsell, man.


David Krohse   04:45

Oh, yeah.


Jacques Hopkins   04:45

There's always an upsell.


David Krohse   04:47

By the end of it I'm going to feel like friends with Betty. So...


Jacques Hopkins   04:50

Yeah, I bet you are. I'm sure a lot of people feel like they know me so well, you know, going through my course or heck, even listening to this podcast. It's like they're spending so much time with you when you have a platform like this, but you're not necessarily spending time with them. It's a very interesting relationship. I mean, listeners of this feel like they know you so well. But you don't know all the thousands of people that are listening to this podcast. You know a few of them, but you certainly don't know everybody.


David Krohse   05:18

Right? So, did you look into the workout at all? Did you consider doing it all with me?


Jacques Hopkins   05:22

I looked at it briefly, but I recently started something myself, as well, that I don't want to get off. I don't want to get off that train. What I succumb to... So, I'm a Crossfitter. I've been doing CrossFit for like three plus years, but I haven't... that kind of stopped when the first lockdowns came in middle of March. And I supported my gym, I still paid my membership for several months. And then they open back up and I went like two or three times, but it just wasn't the same. It was it felt weird being there. And to be honest with you, they kind of for some reason fired my favorite coach that was there as well. So, I decided to just okay, now's the time for me to just back out for now. And so, I stopped going completely. And all the while just kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do, as far as working out goes, because resistance training is important to me. And my brother-in-law recommended something to me that I've been using and really, really digging. It's called the X3 System. Have you heard of that?


David Krohse   06:24

I have not.


Jacques Hopkins   06:26

So, let me... this is we're getting a little off tangent here, but you know, health and wellness goes along with success in online business, for sure. And this system was created by a guy named  Dr. John Jaquish, and he's been in the wellness space for a long time. He's got some sort of partnership or business with Tony Robbins. He invented some sort of bone density medical device that was like his big claim to fame. And through that research, he discovered that variable resistance training was actually incredibly effective, meaning that it's not the same amount of tension or force the whole movement while you're pushing or pulling weights. And so, he invented a product that could - for most bang for the buck - help you accomplish that variable resistance training. And that's bands. Right? But he had to invent these really, really powerful bands that don't break ever. And the unique thing about the system too, is its bands with like an Olympic bar. So, you're not just holding the band, you're holding the bar, and then the weight is the bands.


Jacques Hopkins   07:34

So, it's really cool. I've been doing it for probably six weeks now. My brother-in-law actually bought it about a year ago, because he succumbed to these Facebook ads. And every time we talk about it, he's like, "I can't believe I gave in to those ads." But he loves it. And if anybody's listening to this, like not just in your headphones and your phone is listening to you, you might start getting advertised to buy X3 because we keep saying X3, X3, or I keep saying it, but I've been enjoying it. It's about 10 minutes a day. The guy recently wrote a book, also, called Weightlifting Is a Waste of Time. And it's clickbaity title but it goes into the science. It's very, very good. As a chiropractor, you might really enjoy the science behind it. But it just talks about why variable resistance training is so much more superior to constant resistance training. I don't know when the opposite of that would be. So that's what I've been doing. And I'm sure your program is great, too. But I wanted to stick with mine.


David Krohse   08:27

Nice. Well, yeah, I'm sure I'll see those Facebook ads shortly here and I'll probably interact with one and then I'll see it for the next 30 years or whatever. But yeah, and regarding courses, I mean, there was actually a question in your Next Level Courses this morning with somebody that just started running Facebook ads, and was disappointed in their results one week in and you know, I got in there and I just said, "Hey, like retargeting is the biggest thing. Like you have to have those touch points multiple times before people make a decision." So, there's lessons there.


Jacques Hopkins   08:59

Definitely. And you know, speaking of courses, once again, I think there's room for X3 to have a course. When you buy it, they send you a link to a collection of videos on how to use the product but there's no login, there's no, they're not updating the information. What I would love to see is a little area inside of a member portal where other extra users are giving their best tips and tricks on how to use it instead of just the creator because he's obviously very biased. And that's actually something that I would love to have as a part of my course. Now that I say that. You know, every video pretty much except for the ones that have outsourced to other piano teachers is the expert. But I would love to have a section of like students who have been through the program, offering tips and tricks and advice. It's a totally different perspective and I think that a lot of courses could be doing something like.


David Krohse   09:55

Yeah, that sounds awesome.


Jacques Hopkins   09:56

Well, let's get back on the train tracks and not just about our working out goals. So, like I said, this was an excellent conversation with Abbey Ashley. She is killing it as usual. She's been in business since like 2016 and has basically doubled every year. She's going to be doing over $2 million in sales this year in 2020. And, of course, this is one of the businesses like mine, that has done really well with the pandemic. Right? More people are staying home, more people are looking to work from home, and that's exactly what she promises with her course. But like mine, you know,  it actually produces results. And the goodwill associated with her course; I know several people that have been through her program, including my new OBM/Director of Operations. She started out as a VA and took Abbey's course years ago. And then I've got a newer VA on the team who also took Abbey's course, and they speak very highly of Abbey and the course.


Jacques Hopkins   11:00

So, this was a true delight. So, without further ado, let's go ahead and play the full conversation with Abbey Ashley right now.


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