Today, we're speaking with Jodi Gregory from SeekInfo.com. Jodi helps people with advanced research strategies—way more than just a simple Google search. We're talking really sophisticated stuff, private databases, things like that.
She's been doing this for twenty years now. And recently, she's had an inclination to teach people how to do what she's been doing through a cohort-based course. That means with a group of students at the same time, maybe turning it into a digital course down the road.
But she's feeling stuck with how to get the course up and running—and especially how to find students for it.
She doesn't really have an audience per se, as she's been relying on word of mouth to get clients. Her active-income business has been successful, but also prone to feast-or-famine. So she's excited to start creating some passive income too.
I help Jodi nail down just who this specialized course may be for, and how she can position it.
Jodi's also a member of our latest Heroic Online Courses Bootcamp, and I talk a little in this episode about how the bootcamp gives you the tools and support you need to create a course students will rave about.
AP 1211: How Should I Start and Promote My Specialized Course?
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to episode 1,211. You're about to listen to a coaching call between myself and an entrepreneur just like you.
Pat Flynn: And today, we're speaking with Jodi Gregory from SeekInfo.com. She's been doing this thing for 20 years now. And just recently, she's had this inclination to teach people how to do what she's been doing and do it with a cohort-based course. That means with a group of students at the same time, maybe turning it into a digital course down the road.
Pat Flynn: But you know, she's asking me questions like, "How do I start and promote this thing?" She doesn't really have "an audience", and has only been relying on word of mouth since her start. And her business is successful, but she wants this to be successful and a little bit more passive as well.
Pat Flynn: So, how are we going to do that? Well, sit back, listen in and we'll uncover it all here. Here she is, Jodi Gregory from SeekInfo.com.
Pat Flynn: Jodi, welcome to AskPat. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Jodi Gregory: Hi, it's good to be here.
Pat Flynn: I'm excited that you're here. Why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do, Jodi?
Jodi Gregory: Okay. My name is Jodi Gregory, and I own a company called Seek Information Services. I have had the company for over 20 years, so I've been here a long time doing what I do. And up until now, I have been getting all my business through word of mouth, and that works really well, and I love what I do. But recently, I've had requests from people to have me teach how I do what I do, how make them better searchers, because I do insight as a service, I like to say. So software as a service, I do insight. So, I do research for people who need to answer business questions or make a business decision, and I help them with the support and material to be able to make that with being informed.
Pat Flynn: That's so cool. So, Seek Information Services. Do you have a website that we could point people to who are more curious about it?
Jodi Gregory: Yes. It's SeekInfo.com.
Pat Flynn: SeekInfo.com, that's a great URL by the way. And you said that you've been doing this for 20 years. How did you get into that?
Jodi Gregory: Well, I worked for a company that is a database supplier, LexisNexis, attorneys use a lot, and I did training for them. And when I left, I wanted to stay home with my kids. So, all my clients that I was working with through the company said, "We would love for you to continue to help us," and that launched it.
Pat Flynn: That's great.
Jodi Gregory: A couple times I managed a library for the Air Force for a little bit when I wanted to get back in work, going to a place. But other than that, it's been active, just me working from home.
Pat Flynn: To get into your question with relation to doing this now for other people and not just the word of mouth business that you've but teaching other people how to do this kind of stuff, what's your initial gut reaction to that? I'm curious.
Jodi Gregory: I love it. The times I've done it, people really reacted well to it. And I love teaching. I think it's really successful. I've gotten great testimonials from it when I've done that. But the thing is, getting to why I asked for your help is, I have no audience. The clients that I have come back to me after time after time. So, I don't have a way to start the passive income part of it. Everything has come to me.
Pat Flynn: Now, let's maybe snap our fingers into the future and the business of teaching this to others is the way that you envision it to be. In your perfect situation, what does that look like to you exactly?
Jodi Gregory: Well, I like the cohort-based. It doesn't mean that I couldn't do it in a different way, but I like the interaction. And I already have a community set up to support the courses. I have several course outlines that I have ready to go, but I don't have any way to tell people about it.
Pat Flynn: How are you initially getting people? You said you've taught a few times before. Who are those people and how do they find you?
Jodi Gregory: They found me through people that they know that they have...
Pat Flynn: More word of mouth.
Jodi Gregory: Right, right. Exactly.
Pat Flynn: That's so cool. So, it seems like word of mouth has always been, been pretty well for you and I would imagine that for doing this for so long, you know quite a few people who maybe they're not perfect to learn from, but they might know people that might be perfect to learn from you.
Pat Flynn: If I were in your position, I would just try to do one cohort-based lesson based plan to start out with that starts on a particular date later this year or whatever you'd like to do it, and it runs for X number of weeks. And you just tell everybody you know that this is something you're doing. And if they're interested, they can sign up. Or if they might know somebody who's interested, they could sign up.
Pat Flynn: And the truth is, you might not need to go out and find an audience right now for this. A lot of people think that you have to have an Instagram of 1000 people, an email list of a thousand people and all, a YouTube channel with 10,000 subscribers.
Pat Flynn: The truth is, you've probably built an extensive database in your past and in a Rolodex that with the people who know people who know people, Kevin Bacon whatever that thing's called, you probably could fill this up and might be quite surprised. And if it doesn't, well then at least you know now that your next step is to find people on the outside of your current network. Does that make sense?
Jodi Gregory: Yes. How much time would you suggest I give it? If I start reaching out to people, how long would you suggest I wait, or until I fill it?
Pat Flynn: Yeah. That's a great question. Actually, let me ask you. When do you think you might be ready to create this thing? If you were comfortable and didn't feel rushed with this, but when during the year do you think you might be able to launch this thing?
Jodi Gregory: Well, I'm in your Heroic Online Courses that starts next week.
Pat Flynn: Oh, there we go. We're talking about it. That's what I'm talking about.
Jodi Gregory: You can tell me I should be ready with this while we're done, right?
Pat Flynn: You're getting a little preview here of what's to come. I like it. So, that's fantastic. We actually meet two days from now with our little sort of a kickoff meeting, which is exciting, and then lessons start next week for us. So, this is great.
Pat Flynn: So, to give you a little bit of a push there, you'll eventually have a deadline by the end of the course in which you will launch this thing. And you will know and get an experience firsthand at a cohort based model and what that might look like, and you're totally allowed to steal from us and pull the things that you like and the pull from the things that you don't like and craft your own sequence with this.
Pat Flynn: But as far as how much time, to go back to your initial question, I was going to reverse engineer, and then we'll figure all that out together live with other people, in fact, and you're going to get a lot of feedback from others who are there with you, which is going to be cool.
Pat Flynn: But in general, I would say that if you knew that you were going to... Let's just pick a date, if it was like April 1st or whatever, right? No April Fools, it was April 1st you were going to launch this thing. Obviously, if you let people know a week ahead of time, that's not enough time, right? Especially for a cohort-based model, because a cohort-based model specifically does require a little bit of time and planning and work around and "Hey, I'm going to be working on this thing. So honey, can you watch the kids during this time, on these days of the week?" That kind of conversation might need to happen.
Pat Flynn: In general, I would say two months ahead of time to let people know that two months from now we're going to start and initiate the course, and then you can just start seeding that as far as an idea of when it's going to happen, and even have a page up for people to sign up if they're interested or at least be able to reach out to you if they have further questions. And questions are good, because that fills in a lot of the gaps that other people are probably thinking too that you can adjust later.
Pat Flynn: But then come a month prior to the launch, you'll want to have a cutoff date eventually. A cutoff date at which point a person is able to sign up before, "Okay, that's the end of it." And yes, you could have that all the way until. We could have continued signups for Heroic Online Courses until Thursday morning. But we didn't want to do that because we want to prep you mentally to get ready for what's to come, right? So, about a week or two in advance of when everything starts, you shut the sales off so you can turn off the sales part of the brain and start going into the, "Okay, here are my students. I see their names now. Let's get them prepared."
Pat Flynn: If there's any workbooks or worksheets or anything that might need to be created ahead of time, you can know who they're for, and then you can do that. So I would say two months, you start letting people know. One month you start to get a little bit more directive or aggressive, not super aggressive, but just, "Hey, there's only a couple weeks left to sign up before we start next month. So, be sure to get in now." And then two weeks before the date of the course beginning, you have your students, you're ready to go and rock and roll with them.
Jodi Gregory: Sounds like a good plan.
Pat Flynn: Good, good. That's exciting. And the reason I asked you initially, "What does your gut feeling say?" is because a lot of people will make a decision to go down this path simply because other people are doing it too, without necessarily thinking about, "Does this fit into what I like to do or not?" It's just a decision based on the shiny object syndrome, right, that we often fall in into.
Pat Flynn: But it sounds like you're really excited about this. So, tell me about the course structure. What might that look like in your head a little bit? I know we're going to extrapolate that together in the next coming weeks, but tell me the process by which a person who signs up will run with you.
Jodi Gregory: Well, it's interesting that you ask that because I just read something on Twitter about how PowerPoint is dead and you shouldn't use PowerPoint for storytelling. And that was, of course, just a few people's opinion. But what was successful is when I did the webinars was I had a PowerPoint that had all the links that they needed and images of what they would see when they were searching, and everybody really liked it. So, I might still stick with that even though I've heard otherwise because it really worked, and I just spoke over it. I walked them through what I was showing them, and then I had kinds of handouts and things to go along with it.
Pat Flynn: Right, right. Well, you're going to see when we start Heroic Online Courses that we are using a presentation software and speaking over it. We will be switching to cameras if I'm telling a story and I don't need to show that slide the whole time, I'll switch back to cameras so we can be personal. And then I'll switch back if there's bullet points or other things to share too.
Pat Flynn: So, it's hard because oftentimes people will make these blanket statements, right? It's like, "Here's the diet of the year that everybody's going to use.' And yes, maybe it works for some, but everybody's body is different much like everybody's audience is different. And if you've already pressure tested this, do it. They haven't pressured tested this with you and your audience. You have. So, you know this already.
Pat Flynn: I would go full force with it. I find that PowerPoint presentations or PowerPoint type presentations, whether it's Keynote or even Canva now has their own PowerPoint situation going on. I think there are good ways to use it and there are not so good ways to use it, right?
Pat Flynn: If you're just literally listing bullet points for the entire two hours. Well then maybe, yeah, okay, it's not maybe doing the best that it could. But if you show an amazing picture that relates to this story you're about to tell, it really provides a visual for people. And then of course, any resources and links, having a huge paragraph of that is not going to be helpful, but having them bullet point listed out for people is helpful.
Pat Flynn: Again, I think that you should follow your gut here with regards to how you might teach this. And also again, you'll get a lot of ideas from us, Team SPI, when you're running through this next week. So, I'm excited for that.
Pat Flynn: What else is of concern to you with relation to courses and going down this path? How are you imagining it to be with relation to the work that you're already doing, the thing that you've done for 20 years and now adding on courses? Are you hoping to go all time with courses and eventually let go of everything that you're doing now. What's a perfect balance for you in your mind?
Jodi Gregory: Well, I like a balance. I would like to do both. One thing is what... And this has happened for all 20 years is, there's no, nothing I've ever been able to do to figure out how to avoid this, but it's sometimes feast or famine. So, I will have four projects all at once, and I do subcontract and get help. So, I'm not taking out all on my own all the time. I've got resources for that, but still. I can go a whole month and not have anything. And even after 20 years, I'll start to panic. "Oh, maybe I'm not going to have any more work." So, the passive part of this course helps me think I'll have a balance.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. It can definitely help because it's up to you now, in terms of when you want to decide to launch this thing. I will say, a cohort-based course, like you'll see that we do it is definitely not "passive". I mean, it is something that we control when it happens and we know exactly when we're going to show up and you know when you're going to show up and, and we know how long it's going to take, that's great because it's controlled and it's within our schedule and we can build for that.
Pat Flynn: The optimal passive way to create something like this would be to turn that cohort-based course, which I still recommend you would do many people start out... In fact, we started out with a cohort-based version, so we can get that feedback and see people's reactions and get their testimonials and get those wins, and then we turn it into a digital course. And the digital course is nice. Although it doesn't have the interaction, which is really helpful and whatnot, there are people, many people out there obviously, who purchase digital courses and run through them, and I don't have to be there for that to happen, right?
Pat Flynn: And you could create a version of this cohort-based course that's that is digital that could run all the time. I mean, 24/7, 365, it's in the background. And if you have a website or start creating content, then that's how and find it. But I think with what you have available to you now, which is your network and your experience and skills, I think that you'll be able to run a successful cohort-based course to start with. And you might just want to keep it that way. You might fall in love with it and not imagine it as a digital course from there. You have options, of course.
Jodi Gregory: Well, that sounds good because I think eventually I might want to have more passive part of it so that more people can experience it, but that sounds great to me. Because for a while, I'd still like to do what I've been doing with my regular clients too.
Pat Flynn: Of course. Let's think even bigger. How else might you make this passive? Let's imagine that you train in some of these people and they now become coaches who lead the cohort-based stuff on your behalf. This is exactly what Dave Ramsey does. I mean, he has thousands of people who have learned his process and now teach it and have a revenue share along with that.
Pat Flynn: Even one of our cohort-based courses, which was the podcasting course, the Power of Podcasting Bootcamp. The last one that we did, I was not at all involved. I just showed up in the beginning to welcome people, and I showed up at the end. With HOC, I'm going to be in there every Tuesday teaching and I'll be in there with you the whole time.
Pat Flynn: But just to show you, you could get to a point where you have other team members who make it passive for you. Even though there's still human interaction required, you can just be there to find those right people and train them and then they're running the groups and you split the costs with them, and then it's just about managing people at that point, and that's another option. There's so many things you can do, but all that being said, bringing it down to next steps, it's going to be outlining this course, really getting the positioning and the marketing correct, and then it's feeding people into it. And that's really exciting, Jodi. I'm excited to work with you.
Jodi Gregory: Well, I am too. I've taken a look at what's there and I've gotten excited about it, started working a few things, so...
Pat Flynn: Nice. I love it. A go-getter. That's exactly the kind of person we want. So, that's fantastic. Do you have a name for the course, perhaps?
Jodi Gregory: Yes. It's Super Searcher Studio. I like alliteration for this week, but also I was profiled in a book called Super Searchers Make It On Their Own, and it was all about people that do what I do, that work on their own instead of for a service or something like that. And so, that's where I got that from.
Pat Flynn: I imagine that you'd be very useful for crime scenes and stuff too. You just know how to get in there and figure out the puzzles.
Jodi Gregory: Yeah. That is something I love about it. For example, I do work for patent attorneys, and the work is usually to find something that existed 20 years ago or 10 or 15 years ago, and things change online so much. It takes some detective work too. First, I've been around that long. So, I know what things looked like then. So, that helps a little bit.
Jodi Gregory: Also, knowing what sources to look at. And it's a funny thing, but intuition plays a big part in it too. So, there'll be times when I'm asleep and all of a sudden I'll wake up and I'll go, "I know right where to find that." One source that's never been a good source all of a sudden has this particular document we're looking for.
Pat Flynn: That sounds really fun.
Jodi Gregory: But it can also be helping someone who, for example, a school system wanted to convert their buses to nitrogen, and they had heard that they blow up, there was all these problems with them. And so, part of what I do too is to interact with of people, not only find the online information that I can through the databases I have access to, but talking to people. So, I found a mechanic who helped a school system convert all their buses. He was really phenomenal. I mean, we're still LinkedIn friends because we got to really know each other, me asking him questions that would help the school system make the decision whether they wanted to convert or not. So, that's what I love about it.
Pat Flynn: Phone calls and conversations like that?
Jodi Gregory: Yep. I'll reach out to them online and say what I'm doing and...
Pat Flynn: You know who else uses? I remember watching a show on Discovery/Science Channel called MythBusters. You've probably heard of it before, with Jamie and Adam and they do these really cool myths. But there was an episode where they shared who was working to help them. And they had this huge team of researchers who were helping them uncover these myths and science. Of course they're the hosts and you think that they're doing it all, but it's actually the people under the hood who are doing the calls and the discoveries to find the venue to explode this thing, or go deep into the research to find the scientists from who knows where who is an unknown person who actually was responsible for this thing.
Pat Flynn: That's such important work. So, what would be the transformation for somebody who takes your course? You'll hear me talk about that word a lot when we work together, it's this idea of transformation. So, a person comes into your course, what are you helping them uncover? Here's the thing. Nobody wakes up and says, "I want to buy a course today," right? They want the result of what the course gives them. What is ultimately your student, after they take your course, what is now available in their life that they can do?
Jodi Gregory: I'm worried about this messaging, because it doesn't seem to convert well when I even hire people to copyright for me.
Pat Flynn: We'll work through it together. Yeah.
Jodi Gregory: One thing is that a lot of people just will do... There are statistics that say, "People will not search more than one or two times on Google," for example, for an answer. They just give up. Primarily, I'm not searching on Google. Or if I am, I'm using very advanced search techniques to find what I'm looking for fast.
Jodi Gregory: For example, a lot of people don't know there's a date restriction. So if I'm looking for a document that was available before 2006, I can say to the search engine, even Google or Duck Duck Go, doesn't matter, "I only want results of things that were indexed for a certain time." So, those skills of knowing how to search will change on what to show other people how to search that way. So, they're not just doing a quick Google search.
Jodi Gregory: Or the other thing is where to find the information that's behind a firewall or paywall, because 75% of information is not even indexed on Google. That's a big number. A lot of people don't realize that. But even today, if you go to New York Times, they don't let you see their content unless you sign up and a lot of times if you pay.
Jodi Gregory: So, we know how to not only find those, and we subscribe to databases where we can get to that information for people, but also I can share with people how you find it. There are private libraries that you can subscribe to where you can search through databases. A lot of people in college have fantastic access to databases through their colleges, but they lose that once they become an alumni. So, having those sources available like a dissertation, for example, if you're a PhD candidate and you want to see what other people have written, that kind of thing.
Jodi Gregory: It's hard to do the messaging to show the transformation. But if you read my testimonials, you'll see that once people get the information... And people still want to do it on their own, and that's fine. I love to teach people so we have people being better at searching, saving themselves time and having the best information to make decisions. And it's getting harder than ever to figure out. And even for us, the experts in it, what's real, what's not biased. That takes a lot of skill and knowledge and experience, quite frankly, to figure out what's real information that you can rely on because even something like the AP newswire, which all of us thought was very reliable, has made mistakes before.
Pat Flynn: Fantastic. I mean, a lot of that should end up on a sales page at some point, right? However, I heard a lot of what I need. I need skills to search faster, right? And that's what you're going to teach me, and you're giving me what I need. But there is a huge difference between what people need. And then again, what people want, and you have to lead with that carrot first, right? And that carrot in this case, and this is great because we can talk, we're already untangling some things before we get into it later this week.
Pat Flynn: But the carrot, for example, would be if you were working for a newspaper and you want to dig in and find the best research as quickly as possible, because time is money. Well, you're going to have that. How? Well, I'll show you how to do all the super advanced search stuff, right?
Pat Flynn: Because people, again, they wake up in the morning and they don't want super advanced search techniques. They want what those super advanced search techniques will give them. If I am an investigative reporter, for example, I'm going to want all this stuff because it'll help me boost my career, right? It's a career boosting situation. It's a time saving thing.
Pat Flynn: The thing is, what is Uber? If you ask people, "Well, what is Uber?" "Oh, it's a app that cars to your home, or wherever you're at, you can just call a car and it can get you." But when you bring it down to, well, the human need of what people want and why they use it. They want now. They want cars on demand. They want to save time.
Pat Flynn: So, you'll hear me talk about in Heroic Online Courses, down to the root level, what does a human want, and how your course can help them get that thing, right? Because your search capabilities could probably help people in their careers, it can help them make a lot more money. All these little things that that's what people wake up and want, but they don't know that they need this yet, but you'll show them that. And that's where they go, "Oh, my gosh. You've just given me the key to the door to all this stuff that I'm looking for."
Pat Flynn: So anyway, hopefully you're getting excited and that's helping out a little bit, but we'll talk more about that later.
Jodi Gregory: Well, I saw this quote that said, "Great copy tells people how cool they can be, not how cool you are."
Pat Flynn: Yeah, that's right.
Jodi Gregory: So, I've kept that about how... I had an example where I was in a group and they were teaching how to make funnel pages. And there was a gentleman in there who installed showers. So, a lot of people, you would think, "Oh gosh, how would we teach him?" But I happened to be in a bunch Facebook groups for fun, or for information. And one is this giant laundry and cleaning Facebook group with thousands of people in it.
Jodi Gregory: But what I discovered, and I actually put this into a little course just for myself of outlining how I would do it, was that people talk all the time about how hard showers are to clean, that they want shelves in their showers for their products, but they don't want them seen through their glass shower doors. I mean, it was amazing how much people were talking about these things that he could use either to sell his product and messaging, or upsell.
Pat Flynn: Right, right.
Jodi Gregory: A lot of people said they want a bench built in to their showers. So, he could use that as an upsell. So, that was somebody that is just trying to find language for a landing page to figure out how his thing can be sold, and I had all these sources. I was so excited because there were about 20 different things that he could use.
Pat Flynn: So to zoom out, you could help anybody who does marketing, for any company essentially, sell more products, find more product ideas, based on the advanced research techniques that you potentially have, right?
Jodi Gregory: Right.
Pat Flynn: So, this leads me to the fact that, well, when we talked about, "Well, I don't have an audience yet," you can pick and choose who you want to help, right? Niche down. I'm going to help entry level marketing teams, and I'm going to help them save time and help companies make more money and discover more ideas and listen to their customers much easier and do reconnaissance in their industry through these techniques I'm going to teach you. I mean, any smart business would want to take advantage of that, right? Maybe another campaign down the road is you help authors, authors who are doing research for their books.
Pat Flynn: Okay, authors, let's do a special promo for you. And then you connect with other authors. You maybe help an author yourself live on their YouTube channel. And now, their YouTube channel is stoked because learning a couple techniques from you, but they want to go deeper and their whole audience are authors, and now they're going into your course teaching the same stuff that you would teach anybody else, but now with this boundary of, "Oh, this is for authors and this is what this will do for you, you author, who is trying to get your message and write a great book."
Pat Flynn: So, there's a lot of possibilities there with what you do. So, I'm excited for you, Jodi. I hope you're excited to work with us, and I just want to thank you for coming on. And I hope this was helpful and at least got the gears going for what's to come.
Jodi Gregory: Very much so, thank you.
Pat Flynn: Good. You're welcome. Where, one more time, can people go to find you and your work?
Jodi Gregory: They can go to the website. There's a contact link there. There's also SeekInfo.com/ContactMe. So, that would be a way to get all the different ways through Instagram and Facebook they can find me online. So, SeekInfo.com/ContactMe.
Pat Flynn: All right. There you go. That's where you can find Jodi. And Jodi, I'll see you soon. Thank you so much for today and look forward to seeing you again soon.
Jodi Gregory: Thank you. Same to you.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Jodi. So, so excited to be working with Jodi. She will be a part of the Heroic Online courses bootcamp. Every few months we offer a bootcamp, what we call our cohort-based styled programming. And we take a lot of our digital courses, we turn them into live sessions that people work with us for for six to eight weeks to make sure people get the result.
Pat Flynn: And Jodi, I cannot wait to have you back on, and maybe on the Smart Passive Income podcast one day to talk about your success and how you went from here to there, and that goes for everybody else in HOC as well. Really excited to be working with you if you're there, and you're probably already in the middle of your coursework by the time you're listening to this. So, good luck. Keep going, appreciate you.
Pat Flynn: If you'd like to get involved with something that's similar to a cohort right now, you can apply to SPI Pro. SPI Pro is a premium community with entrepreneurs, just like you. And this is where we connect, we mastermind. There's events, there's challenges, and there's obviously spaces within our circle programming that allows you to connect with each other based on different topics and subjects. And by far, it's been the best feedback we've ever gotten from anything we've ever produced ever since SPI started has been from SPI Pro.
Pat Flynn: And all you have to do is go to SPIPro.com and you can apply there. See if it's right fit for you, because we only want to work with you if it's the right fit for you, and we'll let you know if it's not. So, SPIPro.com is where you'll want ahead.
Pat Flynn: And again, thank you to Jodi. You can find her again at SeekInfo.com. And make sure you hit subscribe, because we got another great conversation happening next week. Until then peace out, take care, and as always, Team Flynn for the win.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to AskPat at AskPat.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess, our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. AskPat is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.