AskPat 187 Episode Transcript
Pat: Yo, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 187 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. Today we have a great question from Craig, but before we get to that, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, the easy-to-use cloud accounting solution to help you with all of your finances for your business.
Money coming in, money going out, invoicing. Everything you need to get organized. A mobile app, actually an award-winning mobile app, so you can also check into your account anywhere on the go. They create professional-looking invoices, they capture and track expenses, plus you can get real time business reports with just a couple of clicks, which will be completely handy come tax season, right around the corner here for us. And yeah, you can get it for free, actually, right now. You can get a free trial if you go to FreshBooks.com/AskPat and enter “AskPat” in the “how did you hear about us?” section. Awesome. Now let's get to today's question from Craig.
Craig: Hi, Pat. Craig Morrison here from UsabilityHour.com. Longtime fan. I've been listening to you for years. Love everything you do. It's fantastic. My question is, since you've written both an ebook and you've also developed an online training course, do you have a preference? And if you do, why? In regards to the ease of writing it, the ease of selling it, the results you got, which did better, which did worse. Yeah, just curious. Going forward, I'm looking at either writing an ebook or developing an online training course, and I'd like to know your thoughts on what you prefer. Thanks.
Pat: Hey, Craig. What's up? Thank you so much for the question and all the support. Ebooks versus training courses. It's interesting because I see them as two completely different things. I think if you're going into it like, “Okay. Which one should I do first, ebook or training course?” It's going to be hard because it's going to depend on your audience, it's going to depend on their problems and their pains and their needs and wants. Some audiences prefer things like ebooks. Some audiences want training courses.
I think, before anything, you should absolutely run surveys or start talking to people in your audience to determine what type of solution would be best, because think about it.
Ebooks is one giant PDF or one giant file that people read, just complete text. And yes, you can train people with that, but the experience is completely different than training courses, where there's videos, there's a certain sequence that people have to go through. You can even get really ninja with how people go through those courses and keep track of how they go through them, send them emails if they haven't gotten the next module or haven't done the next module or task. There's a lot of things you can do.
I'm just going to summarize a lot of this and give you my rundown on what I feel should happen in most brands. And again, it's going to be different for every brand, but both are great solutions. I think if you have an audience with a problem, creating some sort of solution, whether ebook or training course, is a great thing to do. And there's obviously a lot of other things you could do to serve your audience, but these are great things. If you are going to be creating them, I will say that . . . Again, which one is easier to create? It's going to depend on you, because I've written books before that have just been such a hard time for me to write, but I've also done training courses that have been hard to write. I've also done ebooks that were completely easy to do and also done training courses that were very easy to do as well. So that's in terms of ease of writing or ease of creating. And again, like I said, you can make these as hard or as easy as you want, but also what it comes down to is just how much value are you actually going to be providing for your audience down the road?
Now, with something more interactive like a training course, you could potentially, and in most cases be able to charge more, and in some cases, charge even a recurring fee for courses and memberships where there might be a community involved or some additional content that keeps coming in every month or every week or what have you. I think that's the beauty behind training courses. People go in there, they pay, and you can continually update them with modules and have that community aspect involved as well.
An ebook is very one to one, just you and your writing to that person who's consuming it, and it's a little bit harder to keep people up to date with an ebook. When you think about books on Amazon or physical books, obviously, you need to buy a new edition if there is a new edition. With ebooks, yes. On Amazon you can upload new versions, which is completely handy and awesome. You can even sell ebooks on your website like NathanBarry.com, which he does very well and I've done on FoodTruckr.com too. But when you come up with updates, those are things that you have to push out to your audience, but those could be good opportunities to include more information in your ebooks to then sell later on and things like that.
Training courses. Again, you can continually add things over time, and the experience is just completely different between one or the other, and that's why I say it's going to depend on your audience. Some people prefer ebooks. Some people prefer joining training courses. You could, perhaps, create both, and I think that an ebook going into a training course is a great way to go about it. Let's look at John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur On Fire. I don't know what the price is on Amazon, but it's pretty much an introductory guide to setting up your podcast, because he's teaching people how to podcast, how to monetize growth, things like that. Yeah. And that book on Amazon helps people get started.
I was at an event recently where he was talking about that book with his audience, and that's a great way to get people into his brand, completely and easily and cheaply delivering value to that audience. And then, if they like his stuff, he promotes his training course, which is going into PodcastersParadise.com, which is obviously a much higher-priced item, but the ebook is there to warm people up to that training course. So I think both can go definitely hand in hand, and from there, you get into your level three stuff. So level one, for example: ebook. Level two: Training courses and membership sites. And level three: You get into even more access to you. Coaching and things that you can charge even more for but you'd be talking to or working with less people.
Which one do I prefer? Again, I prefer them all. I think they're all fantastic ways of providing value. You just have to understand which one is the best way to provide value for your audience. Which one requires more work? Again, it's up to you and how much work you want to put into these. So, Craig, I'm sorry if I'm beating around the bush here, but the truth is all these are great solutions. You should have them all in your arsenal at some point. If you need to start, I think an ebook is a great way to go about it. It just seems like on the surface it might be much easier to create, especially if it's an introductory course or introductory lesson, if you will, for other things that are to come, and this is the approach that I've taken with FoodTruckr.com, my latest niche site.
And if you want to know the progression of that website, which was built publicly off of SmartPassiveIncome.com in a completely new niche showing people how I built that business, just last month it grossed over $3,000. It's doing really well this month as well, so it's definitely gone a long over the past year. But the first product that we sold is an ebook, and it's an ebook that comes with bonuses and worksheets and things like that to help sell it. But it's just an ebook, and most of it is made up of the content that was published already on the site in a number of different blog posts. And a lot of people do that, but as long as you know that you're providing value and making it convenient for people, an ebook is a great way to do that.
The next level is, perhaps, a training course where people can sign on and download lessons. However, you have to understand that for my particular audience there, this is one of those cases where I say it's dependent on your audience. A training course doesn't really make sense. A lot of people who are in this industry don't have time or they don't believe they have time for a training course because they're in a truck all day long. They're on their food truck for 16 hours a day, so to give some lessons in that format wouldn't work. But they do like audio and they will also read or listen to the audiobooks as well, which is why that was the first platform or format of training that we offered, was through that ebook. So, again, you want to talk to people in your audience.
And to finish up here, Craig, I remember a discussion just now, talking about this, that I had with someone a long time ago, and I can't remember who this was, but the conversation went something like this: “Hey, person. I'm thinking of writing an ebook for GreenExamAcademy.com.” So this was a long time ago. And that person came back and they said, “Okay. Well, what's after that? What does that ebook lead to?” And I wasn't really thinking about that. I thought the ebook was the thing. And so this person's mindset, and again, I can't remember who it was, but they were like, “Okay. The ebook is a great level one introduction to your brand and what you have to offer, but that's also an opportunity to warm people up into something a little bit bigger like a training course, or even access or coaching.”
So think about that as you're moving forward, and if you need to start out, an ebook is a great way to do it. EbookstheSmartway.com will get you to a landing page where you can download my free ebook, all about how to create, publish, market, and automate an ebook if you enter your email address there. So again, that's EbookstheSmartway.com. And even just the beginning parts of it in terms of how to structure your book will make it so much easier to write. So go ahead and check that out.
Craig, thank you so much for the question. I hope my answers were useful and interesting to you and for everybody else out there. For those of you out there who have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com, and I will check out all those questions. And so many are coming in now so I'm not able to answer all of them, but I do answer the ones that are good and that haven't been asked before. So check that out. Again, that's AskPat.com.
I'd also like to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks. Again, if you go to FreshBooks.com/AskPat and enter “AskPat” in the “how did you hear about us?” section, you can get a free trial of the best online accounting solution that you can have. Just a great tool to have in your arsenal. You need to do this. I remember when I first started out an online business, luckily I had less income streams than I do now, but I had Excel to help me with my accounting. It was a huge headache. You can solve all those problems right away by using a tool like FreshBooks. Again, if you go to FreshBooks.com/AskPat and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us” section, you'll get that free trial.
And as always, I love to end it with a quote, and today's quote is from John Eggen, and he says, “The absolute fundamental aim is to make money out of satisfying customers.” Love that. It goes perfectly with today's episode. Satisfy customers. Serve your audience. The byproduct of that is making money. Cheers. Thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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