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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 1021: How Do I Stay Organized with Multiple Websites and Courses?

AP 1021: How Do I Stay Organized with Multiple Websites and Courses?

By Pat Flynn on

About This Episode

On this week’s episode I’m coaching Guy Hauptman, a science teacher who has built several different online courses on several different websites and hosting accounts—now he needs help managing all of them. This blows my mind, but Guy was actually featured in Episode 45 of AskPat, back in 2014. A lot has happened since then, and now Guy needs help managing his online business before he burns out. I’m going to coach him through that today. You can check out Guy at ChemVideoTutor.com, BioVideoTutor.com, PhysicsVideoTutor.com, AlgebraVideoTutor.com, and GeometryVideoTutor.com.

During the coaching session, we start by pinpointing Guy’s biggest pain point around managing his sites. We discuss his current management strategy for his courses, and I offer some organizational tactics for managing and optimizing his multiple sites. I encourage Guy to explore outsourcing for his business, we explore some of his hangups around hiring, and he creates a game plan and next steps.

What You’ll Learn:
Learn how to manage your growing online business and outsource help so you don’t burn out.

AskPat 1021 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 1021 of AskPat 2.0. This is a podcast where I coach an entrepreneur like you through a specific problem, pain, or issue that they’re having. Today we’re talking with Guy Hauptman, who is a teacher who has now built several online courses across several different websites, and several different hosting accounts, and now needs help managing all those things. He’s actually done really well, and I didn’t know this until we started recording earlier today in this coaching session, but he was actually featured in AskPat Episode 45, nearly 1,000 episodes ago. A lot has happened since then. We talk a little bit, but then we get into, “How can we manage all this?” It really comes down to why are you managing this all yourself, because I found out that he was doing this all by himself, which is commendable, but almost to the point at burnout, and it would get there soon unless we do something about that. So, we’re going to do something about it today.

Let’s get to that right after I mention today’s sponsor, which is FreshBooks, as always, just a killer software that you can use to help you manage your business finances from income to expenses, invoices. Actually, it’s really cool, with the invoice thing really quick. Two things. Number one, you can create an invoice, a super-professional invoice that you can send out if you’re a coach, or you do any consulting, or you have clients that you bill. Less than thirty seconds to do that. Super quick. Not only that, they help you keep track of not only who has yet to pay you, but who has yet to even open those invoices, which is super cool because then you can understand, “Who do I follow up with?” and “How do I follow up with them?”

If you want to get paid on time, and you want to get it done in a professional way, check out FreshBooks. You can check it out for thirty days for free if you go to FreshBooks.com/askpat. Just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section, just to make sure that they know that you’re coming from here, and that’s awesome. Everybody wins. So, hey guys, thanks for allowing me to do that.

Thank you to FreshBooks, and thank you to Guy, who’s the guy who we’re talking to today, to coach through these problems. Let’s get to that session right now. Here he is.

Hey, Guy. Thanks for joining me on AskPat 2.0. How are you today?

Guy Hauptman: I’m doing great, thank you.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, it’s great to have you back on the show. I just realized that you were way back in Episode 45 of AskPat, when I was taking those voicemail questions, which was . . . I think you said four years ago. I’m sure a lot has happened since then, yes?

Guy Hauptman: Yes, it’s been a rollercoaster ride.

Pat Flynn: Good, well let’s talk about it. Kind of, if you can update people who hadn’t listened to that episode, or things have changed, what do you do now?

Guy Hauptman: Well, I’m a New York City high school teacher. I teach science, particularly chemistry. I’m still doing that since the last time, but at the same time I also . . . I used to do tutoring on the side, and then I had kids. I was like, “How can I still tutor and make some money?” So I started tutoring online. I have a few online courses that I pretty much also—test prep, kind of like what you do with the LEED exam, but more for like science and other subject areas.

Pat Flynn: That’s cool. Are you tutoring at the high school level as well?

Guy Hauptman: I don’t do in-home tutoring, or one-on-one tutoring anymore. It’s all strictly . . .

Pat Flynn: It’s just courses and stuff?

Guy Hauptman: Yeah, online courses.

Pat Flynn: Awesome. Sweet. What’s on your mind? What can I help you with?

Guy Hauptman: Since the last time I called in, I had just one course, and I’m up to five courses now.

Pat Flynn: Congrats.

Guy Hauptman: Yeah, it’s pretty much like one course a year. It’s kind of worked out at that pace. I’ve gotten good feedback from customers and students alike, and they just keep saying, “Hey, do you have a course for this? Do you have a course for that?” And that’s pretty much how I knew to create the next course. It’s gotten to the point where I have five courses now, I have five different websites, five different sets of emails that I’m sending out, and my biggest, I guess pain point right now, is I’m just managing everything myself.

Is there a way to consolidate into maybe just one website . . . I guess just to give you background, the websites are . . . So, I do chemistry, biology, physics, algebra I, and now geometry. It’s like a little bit of math and science.

Pat Flynn: Nice.

Guy Hauptman: I do plan on going into some of the social studies subjects, and maybe English as well, but I’m not at that point yet. The problem that I have now is only going to get worse.

Pat Flynn: Right. What is really the real challenge here for you, amongst all these courses and the organization of all this?

Guy Hauptman: It’s pretty much . . . I feel like I’m updating . . . Each course is like its own business, so I feel like I’m running five different businesses simultaneously on five different sites. The more courses I add—it’s just adding a sixth and a seventh, and I just want to know if it’s smart to create one hub-site, and then branch out from there, I guess on the same site, to the different subject areas.

Pat Flynn: I mean, essentially if you were to create a hub-site, I mean these other sites and other courses, and their respective email lists, would likely just still exist, right? How do you feel a hub-site like that would help you?

Guy Hauptman: I think with the hub-site, it would still be like one login to manage from the admin side, and then I would just go to the necessary pages that I would need to update. I honestly don’t have that many pages that I update, but when I do need to update, I just feel like I’m logging in to five different accounts, and managing five different pages. I guess from your perspective, the email itself, I would still be sending out subject-specific email, so on that end, it wouldn’t really change.

Pat Flynn: It’s kind of like an administration sort of issue, in terms of just how these courses are laid out. What platform are you using to serve these courses?

Guy Hauptman: I’m on Thinkific.

Pat Flynn: Okay.

Guy Hauptman: I used to be on several, but it changed. I was on Udemy for a while, and then I had to switch out of that.

Pat Flynn: Good move.

Guy Hauptman: I was actually going between Teachable and Thinkific. I know you work with Teachable. That was actually another question of mine: I almost switched over to Teachable, but because I had so many courses and things like that, and it was during one of my launches and seasons, I just never made it over.

Pat Flynn: Sure. I’m a fan of both. I like Teachable, obviously. I’m an advisor to the company, but I love Thinkific. Craig over there, the CEO, amazing guy. Really helpful. I like both platforms. I don’t know feature-wise on Thinkific—do they not have a one login for each student, for all the courses? They’re all kind of separate? [Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for Teachable.]

Guy Hauptman: Well, no. I think if it actually is not so much the issue, it is one login. I do manage all the courses there, but I have separate domains. Through you, I have several BlueHost accounts to host each individual subject course matter. So, that’s more . . . Actually, my first one, the chemistry one that I made first is on HostGator, and then I have four others on BlueHost.

Pat Flynn: On those websites, what do you have on those websites? Is it a sales page, or are there other content that’s on there?

Guy Hauptman: It’s my homepage where people come in, they fill out their form, they get a freebie, and it takes them to a sales page where I have an evergreen webinar up there. One of the other things that I have is other pages that I made for schools, and I can talk about that separately, but one of the things that I kind of learned from the prior AskPat episode was how to reach out to parents. One of the things that I do is I deal with the PTA organizations, and I create their own dedicated pages for them, for each subject, where they could go to that, and they have a dedicated discount and things like that. Those are other pages that I manage. Not so much as I do the other pages, but they’re still pages that exist on each individual site that I manage.

Pat Flynn: Are they all WordPress sites?

Guy Hauptman: Yes.

Pat Flynn: I’m trying to think of a tool . . . There was a tool that I remember that I didn’t use personally, but it’s a WordPress website manager tool that would allow you to kind of really easily integrate between different . . . I think it’s called ManageWP, I think it is? Yeah, here it is. Okay, this may be the solution. This is ManageWP.com, and from what I know about this, it’s a WordPress website management dashboard where you can quickly and easily kind of switch between different websites that are all on WordPress in one dashboard. So, this could be a potential solution. I don’t know for sure, but it could be something that you could look into to see if you can do that, and kind of streamline that process for you.

One-click admin access to all those sites, it’s unlimited sites for all of them, and you can actually have a team and client collaboration kind of along with that. So, that could be a good way to start organizing this. I wouldn’t look for a brand new website where then you could move all these websites into one, because I think that you have built a lot of credibility over time with each of these individual courses, which are for individual students, who have these individual problems, or these individual sets of information that they need to learn.

Plus, with SEO, I’m assuming that you’re benefiting from that as well. I worry about consolidation and the fact that it would potentially hurt the authority of each of these sites that you’ve built. Each of these sites is a business, you are absolutely right about that. I can feel your pain here in the organization of it. Perhaps it’s just being able to easily log into all of them at once and be able to click around that might solve that particular problem.

Although, I do want to ask you a question. Are you alone in doing this?

Guy Hauptman: I am, yeah.

Pat Flynn: Have you ever considered potentially having somebody else come on board to help you with some of this?

Guy Hauptman: Yes . . .

Pat Flynn: Yes, but?

Guy Hauptman: Let’s see, where do I go with that one. I’m definitely feeling like I’m at the point . . . There’s definitely other tasks that I’m considering outsourcing and things like that. I guess to add to it, this is a very seasonable business because the courses that I created are for tests that happen only three times a year. June actually is the biggest, so right now I’m entering my biggest season.

Pat Flynn: I was going to say, you’re about to get loaded right now, right?

Guy Hauptman: Yeah, so April, May, June are my biggest months. Then, August is another test, and then again in January. That’s the seasonality of it. In the off months . . . Obviously, I could do something part-time to help out and things like that, but it really comes down to the . . . Let me guess the last month of the season, because basically what I do is I have bonuses, and the bonuses expire, and I’ve got to go in and change pricing and things like that, and I’m doing it across the board on each site. Really, it only comes down to several weeks in a year when its crazy management, and other times it’s pretty lax.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean this ManageWP answer could be really helpful for that. I would actually challenge you . . . Just because it’s seasonal doesn’t mean that you cannot get help. I’m sure you’re just not leaving these things dormant throughout the year. You’re likely creating content, or coming up with new ideas for bonuses and stuff.

The fact that you have the six businesses, you’re the CEO of this company, and you are still going in and manually changing things like that is . . . I mean, eventually, if you continue down this route and you add more courses, you’re going to get burned out or something is going to break, or you might . . . The more there are, the more potential there is for mistakes, right?

Guy Hauptman: Right.

Pat Flynn: I would encourage you to at least consider what it might be like to work with somebody. I’m not saying you have to go and hire somebody now, and obviously you’re right in the season right now, so you’re doing that. I would hopefully suggest that you’re also kind of optimizing your process down the road, so that the more you do this, the easier it becomes such that even a person could come in and do these things for you.

I would imagine that you’re doing a lot of the same things over and over again each season. Perhaps it’s different in terms of input, but the same process over and over and over again. Those are great opportunities for you to create SOPs, or what’s called Standard Operating Procedures so that, “Okay, guys this test is coming up so four weeks before, this is the checklist that needs to happen. Three weeks before, these are the things that need to happen,” so that anybody can go in and literally follow your process.

I know for me, it took me six years to finally open up to the idea of letting somebody else in to do these things for me, because I didn’t trust anybody. I was like, “This is my baby. Why would I do that? I can do it myself.” But I mean, you’re either going to get burnt out, it’s a true reality, or you’re not going to grow as much as you can if you don’t get some help.

Guy Hauptman: That’s exactly how I feel right now. It’s also a trust issue. I feel like someone logs in, and they can delete something accidentally and not realize it, or add something without realizing it. How did you overcome those trust issues?

Pat Flynn: Number one, for that specific example there, you just make sure you have good backup so that you know that if somebody were to make a mistake, you could always sort of rewind time and go back to where you were. That actually for me was a huge deal, having backups just in case, because I just literally didn’t trust anybody.

Number two, I started with small tasks that were very simple. I worked with people who I trusted. I’m not saying just go find a random person on Craigslist; there’s likely people you already know, or maybe some people in your network who are even friends that can help you on certain seasons, or in certain time periods to help relieve you from some of the stuff, or to implement some of these operating procedures that you might create.

Start small, and just try a mini trial. I mean, that’s what got me started. I hired somebody to help me edit my podcasts, which was something I never thought I would let anybody else ever touch, and once I felt what it was like to have that extra two hours in a week, I was like, “All right, let’s get more, let’s outsource as much as I can,” because I finally realized that A, This person did it just as good, actually better, than I could do it, but also faster. It also gave me two additional hours that you could use wherever: Relationship-building, marketing, or more time with your kids. Things like that.

I think one thing that inspired me, Guy, was the idea that if I am spending two hours doing something that I shouldn’t be doing, that’s taking two hours away from my kids. I don’t know if you feel that way, too. Maybe it’s just kind of a mind-hack that I gave myself to really encourage me to open up to letting other people do things for me, but that was a huge deal for me. What could an extra . . . I mean, you could probably calculate, based on all the things that needed to be done, how much time you would save. How much do you guess that time would be?

Guy Hauptman: Yeah no, it’s definitely a good question. I do try to get all the stuff done when my kids are sleeping, so I would definitely maybe get more sleep out of it.

Pat Flynn: Oh, yeah, that’s important, too.

Guy Hauptman: Yeah. For sure, definitely a good way to look at it. I’d have to really think about that.

Pat Flynn: What would be one small task that you could have a person do that could help alleviate some time and some stress during this season? I’m just brainstorming and jamming with you here.

Guy Hauptman: No, that’s actually a good question. I have given that a lot of thought. One thing, I guess, before I give them access to my website is . . . The first online course I did was back in 2013, so it’s been five years already. One of the objections I get is the content. They’re like, “Are you going to update your course, because I see—” You know, I have exam dates in the videos and they ask me, “Are you going to update the course?” I say, “It actually doesn’t need to be updated, because the content is still the same. They just change the test questions around.” I don’t know if they’re satisfied with that answer, so what I started doing to solve, actually multiple issues, is I take more recent exams that come out and I turn that into content. I show them how the concepts can be applied to more recent exams, and I send that out . . . Right now, I’m sending out a daily email called The Way of the Day, and it basically shows them how, despite the videos being old, the concepts still apply now. That gives people more confidence about investing in my program. On top of that is when I combine all those ways, it could be like on fifty or sixty little slides that I created, I also turn that into a downsell product, and I also include it as a bonus when people buy.

So it’s solved several problems, but it’s also created a new problem in that is more content than I’m creating.

So, that’s something that I thought I could start outsourcing, and have those people create those recent exam content materials. If I see that they do well with that, I can start giving them more tasks, because that’s like a very low level task that I’m sure somebody, anybody, could handle.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, that will make you more money. That, you said, is giving people more confidence. There’s true value in that, and if you’re worried about paying, I mean, you’re going to get that money back through that process alone.

That’s a big objection that people have, and maybe that is—or maybe that isn’t one of yours, but a lot of people are like, “Well, I can do it myself. Why would I pay somebody to do it?” Well, you’re getting that time back, and people can’t connect what they’re having their VA, or assistant, or person do with something that’s making them money. But that one is very clear to me.

Guy Hauptman: Yeah. I think I’m kind of getting to the point of overcoming the pain part. It’s more of the perfectionist in me. It’s, they can’t . . . They might not be able to do it as good as me.

Pat Flynn: Well number one, you don’t know that for sure until you try, and of course everybody is different. Number two, part of that responsibility is yours to tell them the exact way to do it. It’s essentially like you’re programming them to do it the way that you want to do it in which case, you’re essentially cloning yourself and getting more time back.

Like I said, I thought I was the only one who could edit my podcasts in the way that I wanted it to be. Man, what’s really cool is if you get that person who doesn’t just do the work that you tell them to in the way that you want to do it, but also goes and offers some suggestions to make it even better from an outside perspective. I mean, you’ve struck gold.

Guy Hauptman: Right.

Pat Flynn: That could potentially happen, too. It doesn’t always happen, but it can. You can start small, you could to a test trial run. You can go, “Hey, for one month, I’ll pay you this many dollars to do this many of these things. Here’s the instructions on how to do it. Here’s all the material you need for this first one. Deliver it to me by next week,” or whenever.

It’s going to be tough. I will tell you, you’re going to be trying to micromanage the whole process. Don’t do that, because then it defeats the whole purpose. But at least explore this. I would encourage you to do that because it is going to get to that point where, especially with all these new opportunities for other courses coming out—I mean the quality is going to degrade, or you’re going to miss things, or things will grow old. I don’t want that to happen.

Guy Hauptman: Right. It’s definitely … I think I’m pretty much done with the last exam that came out. I think I’m going to try it out this summer, after the June exams are done with. I’m actually off in the summer, so while I’m off and I have the time to do it, I think it’s also a good time to try different people out. I even thought about trying multiple people out at the same time, because I could assign each person one subject area.

Pat Flynn: Oh, yeah, That’s a great idea.

Guy Hauptman: And then go . . . You know?

Pat Flynn: Then you can pick your favorite one and go, “You know what? You’re the person that’s going to do this for me from now on.” That’s a great idea. What else was I going to say? Start small, definitely. You could do it for a trial period, and yeah, I think that’s it.

Guy Hauptman: Yeah, I think that’s some good ideas. I’m glad I got to talk it out with you.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, no, thank you. What would you say, out of all this, is your biggest takeaway?

Guy Hauptman: I need to start getting comfortable outsourcing things, and it will free up time for me, and could potentially boost the income at the same time. The main thing is free up time for me, and overcome some trust issues. Yeah, figure out how to streamline things and get people to do things a certain way, I guess. Like you said, create those standard operating procedures; anybody could come in and just do it.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. In terms of passwords, I use a tool called 1Password that has a team vault. Essentially, if I hire people, I give them access to my vault, and they get the password. But they don’t get access to my WordPress passwords or anything. The tool allows them to log into all my things with just a master password, and I can at any time disable them from going in there, and they have no ability to change things on the individual sites. That allows me to feel a little bit more comfortable with having them get access to things without knowing those exact passwords. 1Password is what it’s called. There’s also another one called LastPass that works really well for that.

Guy Hauptman: Okay, very good.

Pat Flynn: I’m just thinking of other things that I struggled with when I was hiring people out. The last thing is when sharing with others how to do something, an easy way to do it is just to simply record yourself doing it on video. A screen recording—even QuickTime has screen recording capabilities. You can just record a video to show them how to do something. I mean, there’s no room for interpretation when you literally show them step-by-step through video. It’s just easier to learn that way.

Guy Hauptman: Yeah, no for sure, all my courses are basically screen captured so I’m pretty familiar with that, and I can just do that for that. Kind of create my own course on how to handle my admin stuff.

Pat Flynn: Cool, man.

Guy Hauptman: Very good.

Pat Flynn: Well, awesome. Thank you for taking the time, Guy. I’d be very curious to connect with you in four to five months from now, after a few more courses have gone through, just to see how things are, if that’s okay?

Guy Hauptman: Yeah, for sure.

Pat Flynn: Awesome, man. Good luck to you. Really quick, if people are interested in all the courses that you have, or maybe a couple of the top ones, where should they go?

Guy Hauptman: Well, basically the first one is Chem, like Chemistry, ChemVideoTutor.com. There’s BioVideoTutor.com, PhysicsVideoTutor.com, AlgebraVideoTutor.com, and GeometryVideoTutor.com.

Pat Flynn: I love the branding. Super easy to remember.

Guy Hauptman: Yep, and hopefully there will be other subjects, too.

Pat Flynn: Cool, man. Thank you so much, and actually a really quick question for you. I really love this topic—do you cross promote courses with each other?

Guy Hauptman: Absolutely. In fact, the whole reason why I created the multiple courses is because I have students who take Bio and Algebra at the same time. I’m like lateral and vertical. When they complete those exams, then they take Chemistry and Geometry. One other thing is I became an affiliate with an SAT prep course; it was actually on Shark Tank backed by Mark Cuban, and I promote that as well. I have a lot of overlap. In every email that goes out I have at the bottom, “If you’re interested in this course, go to this site. This course, go to that site.”

Pat Flynn: Nice. It sounds awesome. Keep up the good work, and we’ll talk soon.

Guy Hauptman: Very good. Thanks, Pat. Take care.

Pat Flynn: Thanks, bye.

All right. I hope you enjoyed that coaching session with Guy. Man, just my brain is going crazy with all the different things that he can do to make things more efficient, and I really think that with hiring VAs, just like I mentioned with Guy, for me it was a very, very tough thing to do.

I was somebody who only wanted to do things myself, because I had that pride and I just didn’t trust anybody. But I mean, after trying it just a little bit—and that’s what I would recommend to all of you. If you’re struggling and you know that you can hand stuff off, hand off some really small things first. Get a taste of what it’s like and I promise you, you’re going to be like, “Okay, what else can I hand off?” And you’re going to have so much more time to do the things that you love, or the things that you know that you need to do, versus what other people can do.

Likely, you’re going to find that other people . . . I mean, there’s so much great talent out there. You’re going to find that some of these people that you find to either work for you part-time or temporarily, or per project, or full-time perhaps, they can do things a lot better and more efficiently and faster than you can. Open yourself up to that possibility and you will see that cool things can happen.

Thank you, Guy. I appreciate you being vulnerable, talking about the things that you’re going through right now. Hopefully this is helpful for all of you listening, too. If this was helpful for you, please, one thing that you can do to help me, and that is literally just subscribe to the show. Pull out that device from your pocket. You’re probably scrolling through something else right now. Go back to iTunes, hit Subscribe, or hit Subscribe on whatever app you’re listening on.

I cannot wait to serve you next week. Every Thursday, AskPat 2.0 comes out. We have another great episode coming out for you next week. Until then, keep crushing it. Keep opening up those possibilities and opportunities for yourself, and I just want to say I love you guys. Cheers. Thanks so much, and I’ll see you in the next episode. Bye.

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