Today we're speaking with Phil Hayes-St Clair, who you can find at PhilHSC.com. He's a girl dad, serial entrepreneur, and educator who owns a huge biotech company. He also has a talent for starting businesses and building relationships—in fact, he's been so successful at making connections that he's had a lot of people asking him how he does it.
So, naturally, he created a course.
He built that course with the help of our Heroic Online Courses course, and he's already got a beta group of students learning from him.
But where does Phil go from here? How does he scale this thing? He wants to acquire his first 100 students, but he doesn't want to compromise his work-life balance or take away from the other important things in his life. We talk about being a guest on podcasts, maybe even lining himself up for a TED-style talk, as well as some strategies he probably doesn't want to try.
AP 1222: How Do I Get More Students for My Online Course?
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to episode 1,222 of AskPat 2.0. Today, we're speaking with an entrepreneur, just like you. I'm here to coach. I'm here to help, and you get to listen in on the side. We're speaking with Phil Hayes-St Clair, who you can find at philhsc.com. He's a girl-dad, serial entrepreneur, educator. He owns a huge biotech company. However, he also wants to help a lot of people form businesses. This is a talent of his. He has been able to through his network, through his connections, be able to really understand how to build relationships and use them for good. And he's got a lot of people asking him how he does this.
Pat Flynn: And so we're going to dive into not only how he's able to manage these things and be a father, be a husband, and do these things. But also he is a recent student of Heroic Online Courses. That's our online course about creating online courses. He didn't even go through the bootcamp version of it. He went through the DIY version of it, and he's already got a beta group in there learning. But how do we grow? How do we scale? You're going to find some answers in here for you, Phil, and hopefully you listening in can find some answers too. So here we go. Phil Hayes-St Clair from Philhsc.com.
Pat Flynn: Phil, welcome to AskPat. Thanks so much for joining me today.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Hi, Pat. Great to be here.
Pat Flynn: I'm excited to learn a little bit about you and what I can do to help, but why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Sure. So I'm Phil Hayes-St Clair. I've been building companies for the last, nearly 20 years. And through that process learned a lot about what it takes to convince people to do things they ordinarily wouldn't do. And for the most part, I spend a lot of time in partnership development. And that's what I wanted to talk to you a little bit about today. But before I started building companies, I was an army soldier here in the Australian army. And I took a lot from that, the way to treat people, the way to engage with people. And it sort of led me ultimately to SPI where I learned a bunch from you and the team. And so now I'm just really grateful to be here.
Pat Flynn: Awesome. What were the biggest things that you picked up from the Australian army that you now include in your business and how you build relationships?
Phil Hayes-St Clair: I think there's a huge number of lessons, but I think the first one that I never forget, which I was taught literally on day one is that your people eat first and you eat last. That you always be clear on your intent. Never forget that "why" is really, really important. And for the most part, as long as people get paid, as long as they receive their mail, as long as they can trust their leader, then most things will turn out pretty good. And so I carry those bits forward every day.
Pat Flynn: I love it. And you said you help a lot with partnerships. Are you dealing with a lot of business formations and people kind of learning what it's like to actually work with another person and determining contracts and all that kind of stuff? Is that the kind of world you're in?
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Yeah. So interestingly, my day job is as a CEO and a co-founder of biotechnology business here in Australia and building a business.
Pat Flynn: Oh wow.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Like that is all about partnerships. It's about very deep technical B2B partnerships that take a long time to develop trust. And I've never found that difficult to do, which is kind of ironic. And people would often say to me like, how is it that you got someone over there to return your call and then you built out this partnership and this relationship? And I just really enjoyed it. Like I have just a deep interest in people, and when it comes to creating value for people, I just think it's really important that everyone gets what they need out of something. And there's no point in trying to shortchange anybody, if you really want to build something with them. When it came down to it, having done this, I don't know, 70, 80, 90 times in my career with really big partnerships, it came down to people saying, well, yeah, can you teach me how to do that?
Phil Hayes-St Clair: And I said, sure, but my day job didn't really allow me to go and do consulting and do things because it was just, I didn't have the time. And when I started to take some of your courses, it was maybe I could do this, but it took me a while to get the confidence, I guess, to try and work out well, how do you teach, what are you going to teach? Then I took Heroic Online Courses, and that was the start of how I was able to bring all that together and create a course, which is being beta tested right now. And I'm sort of equally nervous, equally excited, and people seem to be really enjoying it, but it's sort of like a byproduct of all that experience.
Pat Flynn: That's amazing. Well, thank you for mentioning Heroic Online Courses. I'm glad you're in the beta phase already, and that's definitely an exciting and nervous time. So where can I help you? What is going on that I can provide some value to you for?
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Some time ago, you really helped me through another relationship to sort of realize that you can do two things at once. Being a CEO and a co-founder, that's a really large part of my life outside of my daughters and my wife and family. And I suppose the thing was trying to help these things coexist. So when I say to somebody that I'm a girl dad, and I'm a company builder, and I'm an educator, I love that group of things, but sometimes practically, it's hard to pull all those things off.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: And so when it comes to saying to somebody or trying to sell this course, I don't want that really to be at the expense of all the great work we're doing in healthcare, because that's really important to me. At the same time, I know that people are able to really benefit from that education that I can provide. And so I guess my key question to you is what would be the best way to have, or acquire my first 100 students so that they can get some real value out of it and I'm able to feel comfortable that this has actually been worthwhile?
Pat Flynn: My question back to you would be, how did you get the people who are in your beta group?
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Yeah, so they were people who, friends and colleagues who were actually asked for this in the first place. And they came into it pretty quickly. It was actually quite surprised about how short it took me to sort of get them on board, but they were close to me. They've known me for a long time.
Pat Flynn: Well, that's good. I mean, that's typically where you want to start. And so, first things first, biggest obligation, help them get results, right? When you get those results and you help them get through all the things that you are teaching them and they start to see some transformation, I mean, that's really what this is about, because then you can take those case studies and use that as support for whenever you go to other places where maybe you don't have that strong relationship and still yet quickly earned that trust, right? You've already spent the time to earn this trust with your friends and your colleagues. We're going to need to somehow fast forward that earning of trust with other people and other audiences and other places we get in front of, and the best way to do that is through the actual student success that you create. Right.
Pat Flynn: So that's great that you are already in the works with that. And that's kind of the number one priority, but it's always good to think ahead and go, okay, well, where are we going to find these new people? And there's many ways where you can go and share these stories and that's the approach I would take. How would you get in front of people to then share these stories that you're creating here? Because all these stories which relate to your own story can create a really nice narrative to have other people go, oh, I want that too. Where do I go to get that? Or how do I get the same transformation, right? When you... This is very much Donald Miller, who wrote a book called StoryBrand, it's making your students the hero of the story and when you share that story, number one, it's compelling, it's relatable, people can imagine themselves in that story. They want the same guidance that those people had from their before to after transformation.
Pat Flynn: So then this begs the question, okay, well, okay, if I pull these great stories out, where do I put them? Well, there's a number of places you can put them. You could potentially try to gain an organic audience through a place like YouTube and you tell these stories, or you could become a guest on another person's podcast and tell the story there. You could go on stages. What if you just said to yourself, you know what, I'm going to, once a month, I'm going to try to get on a stage or speak somewhere, or I can do this and talk about it. And then that just kind of will be in front of hundreds, maybe thousands of people. And then over the course of the year, likely I'll be able to get 100 students from that by following up with those people at those events and networking and such, which you seem to have a really good, powerful understanding of, which is why that in-person stuff may be a good tactic for you versus maybe like creating an Instagram account about this.
Pat Flynn: Right. Which is maybe not the best route. And especially when you think about who is it on the other end and where do they go? I mean, LinkedIn might be the best social media platform to maybe run ads versus like interrupting people on Facebook through an ad or Instagram. So these are just some like high level thoughts, but what's your initial reaction to the approach to take these stories that you're creating and then share them to then attract? This is how I recommend most people to do business today is to share the stories of the success that they're creating.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Yeah. I agree. I think that the key thing that I was trying to work out is, where on social media should this live and if it should, what would that look like versus just doing the in person piece? It was interesting recently when I had a chance to speak at a conference, somebody asked me about this and I think they knew that I was working on something and it became something a little bit awkward, but actually the same time it was quite useful because a lot of people asked afterwards. So that in person piece is really, really important. And now that we're getting back to some degree of COVID normal, I think it's a bit easier as well.
Pat Flynn: Right. And even if it's not in person, in person, I mean, you can still scale this out by doing virtual stuff or doing workshops for other audiences, right, where you show up at a specific time, but you're still right here in your home. And you're able to provide some amazing value, tell these before or after transformation stories and get in front of those audiences that way. I think that yes, social media can help, but social media to me, amplifies things that exist. Doesn't really start like there. Right.
Pat Flynn: And so I think that you could take this relationship building status that you have and how great you are at that online now. You could build relationships with other podcasters, for example, and just tell these really amazing stories. What if you did it to TED Talk, right? I mean, Australia hosts TED Talks and millions of people watch those. If you crafted a really amazing transformational story that relates to, I mean, you also have some amazing credentials with the several companies that you've helped build plus your own. I mean, you can likely get your way into a door that could help you get in front of larger audiences like that.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Yeah. It makes sense. And it was funny, when I first went to my first TED sort of event it was, I wonder if one day there'll be a chance to jump on that stage. Because it looks like a really fantastic thing where people can have a massive impact.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. One of my, actually, my book coach, Azul Terronez, who helped me with my book Will It Fly? He got on a TED stage, he's a teacher, and he was talking about education. I mean, a million and a half people saw that and are now just like flooding his inbox with questions and stuff. Like just simply from that one event that he spoke at. And that to me, especially for somebody like you with your caliber and your abilities would likely be more successful and easier for you than, okay, let's start a website, then we're going to work on search engine optimization.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Right.
Pat Flynn: And then we're going to run these ads to get in front of these people. And we're going to like use the, like gamify this in a way that brings people in. But I think that would be doing yourself a disservice because you already have access to this ability and likely these avenues and people.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: And with, I mean, can I ask you a question about the way that you've done your coursework? Because,
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Yeah.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: There's been some fantastic lessons that I've just picked up in the way that you've delivered education.
Pat Flynn: Sure, sure.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: How have you found it to do the classic build an email list, bring people in, nurture them and then move them into a webinar-style sales format to get people started and then move into a deeper relation? Are there any sort of lessons that you would sort of share for someone doing this for the first time? Having seen you do it and sort of go actually, that makes a lot of sense, but it feels as though that could be a little bit, a step away from what I would be used to doing. What would you suggest for someone trying to do that?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, there's definitely a balance because on one hand, it's like, I'm trying to speed the relationship building process up through a thing, like a webinar or an email list. And it feels very disconnected often, which is why I do like the webinar because I can be there live and actually teach. I mean, I can take this one step further and do an evergreen webinar where it's prerecorded and I'm not there live, but it's still me. And then it's more automated, but I truly feel like we can't and shouldn't automate everything, but emails are a great way to continue to provide value after an initial start somewhere. And a webinar is a great way to put a cap on, yes, this is the person I want to learn from. And that's the big reason why I do the webinar. It's not just here's information. The information proves that I know what I'm talking about, but it's, here's how I teach and here's how I can make these really difficult things a lot easier for you. If you want to go deeper, well I have a course that allows you to do that.
Pat Flynn: However, I will say that most of the students who come in are result of whether it's a month or sometimes longer of relationship building through the means of the blog and the podcast and social media, or a person hearing me somewhere else, or being on stage. And again, being on stage or showing up virtually in a webinar or another person's workshop, I mean, I think that's like six months advancement in the relationship building process versus like writing a blog post, or even creating a podcast sometimes, maybe a podcast like three months behind. But again, it's like the ability for you to when people ask questions during webinars, or when you're in another person's workshop, or you get featured somewhere and you are able to really prove that you understand this thing and people have been looking for this information. It's like, ah, that's who I want to learn from, that's who I want to invest in. Right. So that's how those mechanisms can support that. I don't think it replaces anything. I think it amplifies the relationship-building process, speeds it up, but also can do that asynchronously.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Got it. No, that makes a lot of sense. I have a huge amount of respect for people that sort of put themselves out there to try and do this kind of work. And I wonder if, when you look at somebody starting from scratch who is looking to come in and build out their core sort of profile. I took your advice and went with Teachable as the place to sort of host my course. It's been very useful, all the tools are there. In order to sort of help promote that school and that course through Teachable, I'm thinking about email marketing. I have a small list, four or 500 people, and also just sort of sharing that as people come to it. Are there any other tactics beyond speaking on stage, doing that email marketing that you would suggest might be a good additional step to test and learn as I'm sort of stepping that course out for the first time out of beta before it goes, maybe into that larger audience?
Pat Flynn: Again, guest podcasting, I think again, and when you pull these stories out, it almost becomes like a stage in and of itself. Somebody else's podcast is a stage that they put together. They've spent the time, perhaps years even earning trust with that audience and now you are not only able to get on that stage, but you're also getting endorsed by the person who's spent the years earning the trust with that particular audience. I mean, that's a fast forward right there for sure. And so even two a month, people are succeeding massively with, because we're able to speed up that again, relationship building process, you're getting endorsed by that host. And those things also create back links back to your website, where you can get more emails. When you get on those podcasts, however, you can create a unique lead magnet or something that is somewhat tailored to that particular audience, or at least a landing page that's particularly customized to that audience.
Pat Flynn: So that on that show, you can tell people, Hey, go to this website, everything we talked about is going to be there plus some other free goodies or here's my worksheet or my whatever tool that you might be able to offer for free there to get people onto your email list. And now when they're on your email list, it's not from some ad that interrupted them. It's not even from a Google search, which can be helpful, but it's literally from a conversation that they've already listened to. And now you're just continuing that conversation. So that's one way to do it, especially for the type of thing that you offer. I mean, there's so much potential ROI in understanding what it is that they're learning from you. There's likely even higher groups, higher call them masterminds or communities that exist that would largely benefit from what it is that you have to offer.
Pat Flynn: I'm thinking of, for example, Russell Brunson's Two Comma Club, which is a particular segment of his audience that has earned over a million dollars, like the Two Comma Club. These people are likely the ones who are forming partnerships, who are consolidating businesses, who are forming relationships in this way, who can largely benefit with an ROI attached to it from what it is you have to offer. So getting in perhaps that community and showing up and providing value in their forums and to a point where they go, whoa, yo, Phil is like ridiculously smart in here and he's got some stuff we've never heard before. Like you might get invited on this podcast, you might be invited to their stage. You might just be the example and then of course they might do a JV or joint venture partnership with you. And that's just a hypothetical example, but there are places where people with money exist that could largely benefit from what you have to offer.
Pat Flynn: In which case, I mean, the course is one thing. You could potentially take on clients and charge way more to offer the same kinds of things. So now you have the sort of tiers of different ways that they can work with you. And maybe you charge an exorbitantly large amount for that so that only those large clients come in, but that again, price anchors your course. You can hire Phil for $20,000 to do this for you and work through a contract with a partner, or here's a course for $499. Wow. That's super valuable, especially because I don't have $20K to spend on Phil or something. So I'm just kind of jamming with you here, but that's like, what could eventually happen if you want to do that. Again, you don't have to, you make the rules. And as a father and husband, like it's very important that you need to also not just take every opportunity that comes your way too. You can design it any way, which way you want.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Super helpful, Pat. And look, one question, because you just touched on pricing and that was one thing that you really teach and I've heard you on this podcast and others sort of say, look, it's important that you try and err on the edge of premium as opposed to the cheaper courses. That's the message I took on. And so this course is priced at $499.
Pat Flynn: I nailed it. Didn't I?
Phil Hayes-St Clair: You did. Right there. Straight away, you nailed it. One of the things that I was trying to think about was when it comes to office hours, which are really important to get that, sort of that human connection, I've attended a number of yours in the past, what is the tempo that seems to work best for office hours for a course that is on that premium side where there's not going to be coaching, right? It's not going to punch into like the $700, $800, $1,000 sort of level where more intimate sort of relationships are going to be there. What would you recommend as being a good tempo for the office hours?
Pat Flynn: So here's what I would do if I were you to start out with. I would have it be once a week for one hour to start, and I would only have it available for a certain period of time before they stop. So when you launch a course, you would say, Hey, you get these things and all this other stuff plus you get access to me once a week during office hours where you can come in and ask questions. You don't have to attend, but they're always going to be there for you for the first two months. And then they're done because I want you to show up and ask questions and I need you to get the work done because you can get some amazing results, right? So now you are controlling how, because for me, it's not a mistake, but I did basically say every week, as long as the course still exists, right?
Pat Flynn: So now I'm sort of forced into that. And it does give people the ability to go, oh, well I'll wait until next month to do it because Pat's always going to be there, which there's pros and cons. But if you want ultimate control, especially on that first go, have a certain period of time where those office hours will exist and then you're done with them and then you can make a decision from there. Oh, I like that. That was great. Oh, that wasn't enough. Let's add two hours. Oh, nobody showed up after one month. So let's just keep it for one month every time we launch. And then of course, if you decide to make it an evergreen course down the road, well then people aren't coming in cohorts anymore and you'll have to reassess like how you do office hours and maybe it's once every other week or once a month. And you can kind of assess from there.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Amazing. Look, I only have one other thing to say. It's not really a question, but through the process of going into Heroic Online Courses and joining the community, we had the chance to meet people in that community who I would never have met. The interesting thing is that we developed, so I developed a number of relationships with people who became sort of accountability partners through this process and went through the cohort based one, I just went through the normal sort of self-paced one. It ended up being some really amazing relationships and we're now helping each other launch at the same time. So it's turned out to be super cool. So thank you very much.
Pat Flynn: See, I didn't even have to ask you for that testimonial. That was just incredible. Thank you, Phil for that. That was awesome. And I'm glad to be of help for you today. I'm also grateful that you woke up super early, because I know in Australia, it's what you said 4:00 AM right now and the family's asleep. So I appreciate you sneaking this in for me and I hope I was able to give you something in return.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: It was unreal. Pat, great to see you.
Pat Flynn: Cool. Thank you. Really quick, where can people go to follow you and learn more about this program or what else you have going on?
Phil Hayes-St Clair: Sure. Look, my website is Philhsc.com. You'll find all the details of courses there and you can also find me on LinkedIn.
Pat Flynn: Amazing. Thank you, Phil. Good luck. And we'll talk soon.
Phil Hayes-St Clair: All right. Thanks, Pat.
Pat Flynn: Awesome. That was amazing. Thank you so much, Phil, for coming on and asking questions and for allowing us to share this with others too. I think hopefully those of you listening have gotten some value from this and I love it. If you all want to check out Phil, you can check him out at Philhsc.com. His podcast is there, his information about his biotech company and all this stuff, just so, so cool. But I love that we were able to discover the ways that Phil would be best to serve an audience and to get the word out there. And I can definitely imagine him on a TED stage. And actually when I'm at Philhsc.com, I already see him on a stage. It looks like he knows how to work it. So hopefully that's in his future and you can all support him there. So again, Philhsc.com.
Pat Flynn: Thank you so much for listening in. I appreciate you. If you do want to check out our courses and things like that, all that stuff is available at smartpassiveincome.com. Phil again, is a student of Heroic Online Courses, but we have a number of offerings there for you that you might be able to take advantage of as well. But again, thank you so much. I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in the next episode. Until then cheers, peace out, 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.