At SPI, we are big on community-powered courses with our new All-Access Pass. We firmly believe that this is the future of online education!
That said, we have a confession: there's someone on our team for whom the sheer thought of community management on top of course creation is, to put it mildly, the stuff of nightmares. In this episode, we tackle her concerns head-on, so join us to get our best strategies for crafting simple and effective student group experiences.
In her role as senior solutions manager, Mindy Peters is the glue that holds our whole operation together. She also runs MindySolves.com, where her first online course launch has brought her community hesitancy into sharp focus.
Mindy has witnessed the power of group learning first-hand at SPI. She wants to provide her students with the same level of support, but is that too much work for a solopreneur to take on? Is there a way to run a course community without waving goodbye to every second of free time she has left?
Listen in on this fun conversation between Mindy and our host Jillian to discover the tactics that can change the game for overwhelmed entrepreneurs. And, on that note, be sure to check out Mindy's free email course about setting up time-saving automations that are vital for any business!
Mindy is the solutions manager at SPI, overseeing the management of data at the company. She's been working with Matt and Pat for nearly a decade. On the side, she runs Mindy Solves, a resource for helping business owners learn how to use automations in their businesses.
- Learn more at MindySolves.com
In This Episode
- Mindy's experience creating her first online course
- Simple and effective student communities for solopreneurs
- Serving your audience without overcommitting or disappointing
- Why lifetime access to content is a bad idea
- How community-powered courses lead to better student outcomes
- Mistakes made at SPI in the early days of online communities
- Get access to Mindy's free automations worksheets
- Your Brain's Not Broken by Tamara Rosier [Amazon affiliate link]
- Connect with @TeamSPI on Twitter
The CX 072: Failure to Launch, Pushing past Blocks with Mindy Peters
Mindy Peters: I am experienced on the technical side, but I have a lot of trepidation on the community side of creating a course. The unknowns around what will the community element around this be definitely have slowed me down a bit. Of just fear, if I'm honest. Just true fear about how do I keep this from taking over the small amount of business time that I have available to myself?
Jillian Benbow: Well, hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the Community Experience Podcast. You probably know me, but if not, hello. I'm Jillian, and I host this show. Today I'm talking to my colleague, Mindy Peters. She is our senior solutions manager at SPI, and we are talking about a couple things. You get two women with ADD or ADHD in a room together, and watch out. But the main point of this episode is we're talking about the considerations you should have when you're creating something, when you're going to launch something, be that a community, a course, a business, and thinking about how things will continue.
So we often get very excited and we launch something and we promise the world, only to realize that was a mistake, and now we're in a situation. We've all done it in some capacity. So Mindy and I are going to talk about it, both with a course she has been working on, and we get into the blocks that she's having about that, which have to do with what you offer when you're selling something. And we also talk about a few things we've done at SPI that we would do differently; lessons learned. So we'll share all of that with you today on this episode. So stay tuned.
Jillian Benbow: Welcome to this episode of the Community Experience. And buckle in because I've got my work friend Mindy Peters here. Mindy is the senior solutions manager at SPI. AKA, she's the glue that holds everything together. Mindy, welcome to the show.
Mindy Peters: Hi.
Jillian Benbow: Hi.
Mindy Peters: Thank you.
Jillian Benbow: Why don't you introduce yourself in a way that makes sense for you? Who are you? What do you do?
Mindy Peters: Who am I? It's an existential question.
Jillian Benbow: Yes.
Mindy Peters: Who am I, and what am I doing here? I am the solutions manager, and so that means that I manage the platforms that we use. So the email marketing software; I make sure that that is communicating with the course management. Basically, ConvertKit is talking to Teachable is talking to Circle. Make sure that the data is passing between all those things. And then, if we want to set up a new system, my job is to get in there and figure out how it works and then make sure that whoever's going to use it knows how it works.
So right now, a big thing that I'm doing is doing a lot of investigation on options for a new tool that we would like to use in the new year. So stuff like that, that is what I do. I think the reason that I am here is also, over the last year, I have been working slowly, because I'm doing it on the side, on creating my very first course, specifically on automation. So how automations work.
And to figure out how to make my own course, I've been an active team member in the building of all of SPI's courses, but I've never had to come up with the content on my own. So to learn how to do that, in the beginning of last year I took our course bootcamp at SPI, which we don't offer anymore. It was sort of the predecessor to what we now have as the All Access Pass. It was the first v.1 of that, or whatever. I went through that process with a big group of other SPI community members to learn how to build a course. And now, as I am working on this course, I'm really starting to think about what kind of community elements do I want to have in that course? And so I think we just thought that that could make for an interesting discussion for anybody in the audience who is also thinking about creating a course and wondering how community fits into that. Or I guess from the flip side, how do courses fit into community?
Jillian Benbow: Mindy, you could just be the host of this show. You took all my questions and points and wrapped them into a perfect paragraph. So we're good. No, I'm just kidding.
Mindy Peters: See you next time.
Jillian Benbow: So that was the episode. Yeah, precisely. Precisely. Watching Mindy go through our what's called Heroic Online Courses, at the time a live bootcamp, which was a cohort-based course, very in-person ... well, online in-person, but very live event intensive, which is why we've switched to a different style, which I think we've talked about before on here, so we don't need to get into. But then also just seeing someone you know go through that process of not ... granted, works at SPI and has literally built the foundations of all of our existing courses and whatnot, but then actually come up with course material and flow and all of that, and then now in the steps of, "How do I want to deliver it?" I thought that was super fascinating, so I wanted to get Mindy on here and ask her questions.
Mindy Peters: And it might be worth mentioning that unlike the rest of the team at SPI, I am a little, you might say, community-hesitant, where I am very much a behind the scene person in that I am happiest when I am working with a small group of people on a project. As a person in the world, I have a smallish group of friends. I like to keep my world a little smaller. And I have been part of online communities before, but always very loosely. I am constantly saying to the CX team that they impress the heck out of me, watching them manage a big group of people, which at times can get kind of swirly. To me, that feels very overwhelming.
So now that I am on the side of starting to think about my course and wondering, "How do I put a community element in here without getting completely overwhelmed by that?" Or also, a big part of why this is hard for me is boundaries are a little hard for me in terms of I'm very bad at saying no. And Jillian tries to teach me how to say no to the extent of even just periodically asking me ridiculous questions in Slack, just to make sure that I will say no to them.
Jillian Benbow: You've caught on now that I'm messing with you.
Mindy Peters: Right. I figured it out.
Jillian Benbow: The first few, you were like, "Well. Ah."
Mindy Peters: "I could maybe make that happen."
Jillian Benbow: "I could fly to Colorado and organize your closet, I guess."
Mindy Peters: So I am experienced on the technical side, but I have a lot of trepidation on the community side of creating a course. And so this is an interesting process for me, and I think, very honestly, part of why I've taken quite a bit of time on it. I'm working on it, at most, one day a week, and so it is a very slow process for me. But I think also too, the unknowns around what will the community element around this be definitely have slowed me down a bit. Of just fear, if I'm honest. Just true fear about how do I keep this from taking over the small amount of business time that I have available to myself?
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. And it's so relevant, because I think, one, to get into the psychology, but understanding that that's your block. Two, because this is where I shine, and I help as best I can. There are very few things I'm good at, but this we can talk through. But also, I think it's funny, because I think community builders ... So as courses and communities are coming together in a really nice way, I do see this becoming more of the norm, the next evolution or iteration of courses. Like, "Okay, you purchased a course, you have lifetime access, but you're solo on that journey." That seems to be going away. And what's happening is this concept of community-powered courses. And so there's this bridge of people who know how to do things and share that knowledge, and then people who know how to run community. And we come together in harmony. Or we all have our Achilles heel, and how do you overcome that to have something successful?
And I just want to caveat that. It's so funny, because I hear it from Mindy a lot. You are very apprehensive about community stuff and I get that. And a lot of it is about not having an answer or letting someone down in some way, which tracks. If you know Mindy, you know she cares deeply. And Midwestern politeness, and, "I want to be helpful." But it's hilarious, because her events are always the most popular in our community, and no one is going to be upset if you're like, "I have no idea." But it's kind of funny, the irony there.
Mindy Peters: That is very much it, yeah. Also, I don't think on my feet terribly well. I sometimes can come up with a mediocre answer on the spot, but then if I think about it for an hour, then I come up with a really good answer. But then the event has ended and I'm like, "Well, darn it. How do I get that back to that person?"
So what I've been trying to think about for this course, there's a couple of different things. So I'm coming from the SPI land of far more resources, where we can just very easily say, "You will have forever access to this product, because SPI is going to be here 10 years from now." Whereas if I'm thinking about this from, "This is a thing that I'm doing on the side," I have come and gone from freelancing before. I came into the SPI world as a freelancer 10 years ago, but then eventually we decided to form a company with employees, and then I stopped freelancing. So me telling somebody, "You're going to have forever access to this product," does that mean I'm paying for, say, a platform like Teachable for the rest of my life, but I'm not making more content? So then it just eventually drains all of the money that I ever made off of the product. So that's a question.
Another question that I'm really trying to think about is does a live-based, "Let's get on and do office hours as a part of your course" ... Okay, how long is reasonable to offer office hours as a thing, before that takes over? Or do I want to go for more of an offline community experience, which is more the All Access Pass that we're offering, where you have a place to talk, but then that requires moderation? I'm just feeling sort of overwhelmed at the thought of choosing, and at the thought of, again, letting people down. So if I build, say, a community on a Circle type platform, where people come in and they are all communicating with each other, if there's not forever new content, that is going to fizzle over time, most likely.
So I guess where I'm stuck, and I'm trying to figure it out right now, is what is my commitment to people? What commitment am I making upfront that I know I can fulfill? And with the knowledge that automations are tricky, so it's not a thing that you can necessarily probably master, say in a month. It's something that you will probably want to come back to the materials again and again to review, just to be sure that you've got it right. So how do you manage that? And then throw on that Zapier, which is what a good portion of the content is around. Not all of it, but a good portion of it is how to use Zapier. They are just building new content, new tools, like mad right now. I just logged in yesterday and there's an entirely new alpha testing platform. And I'm like, "Well, cool." And, "Shoot. Does this need to go in the course too? Now I've got a new thing I've got to first learn well enough to be able to teach." So this is where I feel a little stuck in terms of the community element.
So any thoughts you have, I would appreciate.
Jillian Benbow: Oh my gosh, yes. I have so many thoughts.
Mindy Peters: Oh good. Oh good.
Jillian Benbow: And these are just my opinions, so you do what works for you. Okay, so going back to the whole lifetime access, I understand in the late early oughts, like in the 2010 era, that that was the way to do things. We should not be doing that anymore. No one should be doing that, in my opinion, and for the reasons you just pointed out. Also, I think it's become abundantly clear that lifetime access sounded, at the time, like a great benefit. Like, "Oh, you can go back." Nobody even does the courses, let alone goes back to them. So it's like this false sense of security. It doesn't mean anything. And my guess is, because I've thought about this before, my guess is if you decide to just end it or whatever, you would just send everyone a notice and be like, "Download this course content before it goes away forever." But even that, if you get to that point, it's just not fun.
So my opinion is lifetime access to anything is stupid and should be rethunk. And that includes communities. And we never, as far as I know, said that when you purchased a course, you got lifetime access to the Facebook communities that at one time were associated with courses, or any sort of, "You get lifetime access to any sense of community things." I don't know what we said about office hours.
Mindy Peters: Yeah. So the lifetime access guarantee was always around the content. We always said that then with that ... I wrote this, or not wrote, but I built the sales pages. So-
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. You know.
Mindy Peters: Very familiar with the sales pages. But it was just, "And you get access to this Facebook group," which then we turned it into a Circle community. And it was, "And you get access to Pat's weekly office hours." Weekly office hours were never promised to go into perpetuity, but Pat's been doing them now for six, seven years. So it has sort of been that, but it was never promised to be that. I think when we first started it, because we weren't sure how that would go, I think it was a promise of one or two months. But here we are, six years later, and they're still going.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, that's a lot safer.
Mindy Peters: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Right. Interesting. Yeah. So I talk to a lot of people who have either community or courses and have made some sort of offer like this, that are like, "It's not working. I need to roll this back." And examples of that include people who are playing with the cohort style. And in the selling of a community offering to do with a course, or vice versa, they say you get a year access, and it includes weekly office hours and all these things. And then no one's coming. And so then they're like, "Well."
Mindy Peters: Yeah. That's my other fear. Throwing a party and nobody coming.
Jillian Benbow: Right?
Mindy Peters: Or actually, no, that's not it. Throwing a party and one person coming. Which could be really great. That's a great way to build rapport with somebody. But it also feels a little embarrassing.
Jillian Benbow: Totally. Yeah. Yeah. I feel that a lot. Also, it ends up being that same person every week, and you're like, "So I should have just done coaching."
Mindy Peters: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: "I'm really losing any profit." Yeah. So at SPI, most things are quarterly or annual. And granted, we're a big company, so we can swing an annual commitment because we have the resources. But in your situation, if I was doing something, I would probably just do quarterly commitments so that I could change things as I needed to. Because you set an expectation and then you think, "I can do anything for three months if I have to, if it's a flop." And actually, this is funny, I used to teach this fitness class, like an in-person exercise class, and I sold a punch pass, and I gave it a year expiration date, and I regretted it for that entire year. Because it was a pretty small group, and because they had a punch pass-
Mindy Peters: Oh, okay. And they came regularly?
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. And so twice a week, or however I was doing it, I basically had to keep doing this class that I no longer wanted to really do. Also, I injured my hip and all this stuff. So I was kind of like, "I don't want to do this." Yeah, I had to keep doing it, and sometimes one person would show up. And I was like, "This was a great idea. Not." It's like you get paid that one lump sum upfront, and then it's like you're actually making about a dollar an hour at the end. It was like, "Well, this was a lesson."
So yeah, I think giving quarterly assessments, sure, you can get people to pay for a year and then you get that financial boost, but then you have to deliver for a year. And is it really worth it in that situation? I'm not sure it is. And both with community and courses, having some sense of urgency, the psychological urgency of, "I have three months," versus a year, versus lifetime, it does make a difference. It does create more emails and potential charges and that side of it. And we see it at SPI with our memberships. We used to do monthly for Pro, and we sunset that because it was a pain, because so many people's cards would change and stuff. We were constantly having to work with people to update cards and things like that. And so our churn was higher, even though now a bunch of people that joined annual might all leave, and it feels bigger, but it's really not. It's a lot less work. I don't know.
Mindy Peters: Yeah. Interesting.
Jillian Benbow: That's my thought on that. But also, yeah, with any course. So in All Access Pass what we're doing, as you know, we've created these kind of sprints, these what we're calling accelerators, which is a much lower lift version of the bootcamps, which is what Mindy went through, which is the cohort-based course. So there's a lot less live learning. It's more asynchronous checkpoints. But then there are live opportunities to get together and discuss things as a group. So it's kind of a hybrid of office hours and co-working, and what it turns into is just people show up and talk about the work that they're doing that week and help each other. And so it's kind of study hall, if you were allowed to talk to your friends at study hall.
Mindy Peters: Which would absolutely accomplish the thing that I personally found most useful, which was just accountability. The idea that there's an assignment due and I need to have my assignment completed on the deadline so that I can move on to the next thing. And that, for me, was really, really helpful. I work very well with deadlines. When there's an open-ended thing, then things take me forever.
Jillian Benbow: I wonder too, and I think this would be helpful for anyone that's considering offering content or anything that would need more support, because when I think of automations, the way you feel about community is how I feel about automations.
Mindy Peters: I know, right?
Jillian Benbow: Like, "No, thank you." To me, it's just like, "Oh, I'm going to try to do something that's going to take five minutes and it's going to take two days. Cool. Can't wait." So having the course set up as more of that cohort style, and I'm saying weekly just because that's what we do at SPI, but it doesn't have to be weekly. Some sort of a scheduled time and place that I can go and say, "Okay, I did all these things. What did I do wrong?" Or, "Help." And whether it's you directly, or it's you and other people, or it's just other people that have done it. You know what I mean? Just being able to have a human being to be like, "Why isn't this working?" Or, "I got it to do this, but I can't do this." You just need that extra touchpoint of someone's expertise. I think that would be super valuable. So if it was me, I would do cohorts with it, also because then you can say, "My family's going on a road trip for three weeks, so we're not going to have a cohort or anything happening."
Mindy Peters: Right. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Right? Or whatever it is. If you're like, "I need a break, because I have a full-time job and whatnot." And then increasingly, I've seen more and more people where they create the community component for their course, and they give people, say a year access to the community. And let's say the course takes three months. Having a lot of trouble, after the course is over, engaging those people in the community. And I think if you don't have the time, just having the ongoing rituals in that community so that people keep coming back, I think it makes sense to make the course and community access the same. So much like All Access.
Mindy Peters: Okay.
Jillian Benbow: When you purchase the course, you're purchasing three months, and again, I'm just using quarterly because it's easy, you're getting three months of access to this course, and you can go through it, and there's a cohort and whatnot. And you're getting three months access to the community. And if you want longer, then you have to buy another quarter.
Mindy Peters: And that keeps you from making a commitment that's hard to keep going, because the flip side is if it's all going really well for this group of people and they just want to keep talking, you can just extend their access to that and just not kick them out. And they could keep talking to each other if they wanted to. Or you can turn that into an add-on product or something.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. That's something I think I was talking to Diane about, and Pro was having an alumni area. So there's the higher price, go through the course, have access to the community. And then, when you're done with the course and you're good, you could downgrade to just the community piece. So I think that's a model too. But again, I think you don't want to over-complicate it before you need to.
Mindy Peters: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: It would make sense to get a cohort through and see what they want. So something we noticed, and I think you experienced in our bootcamps, was we didn't think about what happens when the bootcamp was over. So we had these spaces in our academy, so it's a Circle community, currently All Access Pass, our Learner Community, and then all our course-related spaces. So those course communities. It all lives there in this way that's not worth explaining, because it only makes sense if you're in there and you see it, and then you're like, "Oh, okay. I got it." So that's also where we had our boot camps, and there were these private spaces, and what we didn't think about was, "Okay, the bootcamp has ended. What do we do with all these spaces?" And we'd never said, "This will go away." And we never said, "This will stay." But one thing that happened was we had mastermind groups or study groups in these bootcamps that wanted to keep going. And so we were kind of like, "Ooh, well I guess we should just keep all of these spaces." And you have to keep in mind, in the bootcamps, we had so many spaces in a bootcamp. There was, "Here is the space for week one, week two." It was a little excessive.
Mindy Peters: And then you run into the technical problem that I hit, which is you want to use the same name for each iteration of the bootcamp, but then if you have to go to a list to try to pick the right one off a list, everything has the same name.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. It's like, 'Mastermind'. I was like, "Which one? There's 12."
Mindy Peters: So I'm constantly sending you a message saying, "I'm going to add an exclamation mark to the end of this group name, just for the next 20 minutes so that I can pick it off a list, and then I'll take it away."
Jillian Benbow: Oh, that's funny, because I went in and put asterisks next to everything. And I just have left them. I put asterisks so that when I'm looking, I don't ... and then honestly, it's still a problem I'm grappling with, because I'm like, "Okay, this one group, like the first Power-Up Podcasting bootcamp, no one's in there that I can tell. Nothing has been posted for two years in anything." But we never said you'll lose access, so I'm like, do I make a post and say, "Hey, I'm" ... and you can't archive. So I'm like, "I'm going to delete all this. Bye." So learn from us, everyone. Think ahead on how things end.
Mindy Peters: And I do know that from the cohort I went through last year, there is a small group that's still meeting weekly, because I see those posts pop up of every week they're meeting for a mastermind. Yeah. It's an interesting puzzle.
Jillian Benbow: I'm tempted to post in all of them and say exactly what I just said. "We didn't think this through, so what we're going to do is move all the mastermind groups to one space group and have a bootcamp alumni thing. And so you'll still have this space, but we're going to get rid of all the other stuff." Especially the, "Here's the calendar." That kind of stuff. And I would assume everyone will be fine with that. I can't imagine anybody's digging through old posts to find some tip someone posted two years ago. But again, because we didn't think it through, we didn't promise it, but we also didn't not promise it. So it's just one of those messy things that I think a lot of people I talk to right now are in a different pickle, but in the same jar. It's like this, "Oh, I didn't think about that." You know?
Mindy Peters: In the end, we've consistently done well with just being really honest when we have to deal with those things, of saying, "Here's the problem. Here's what our solution is going to be. Either you've got this amount of time to give us commentary on that, or it's happening. Sorry." But for the most part, when we explain why we're doing something, it's well received.
Jillian Benbow: Well, and that's a very common community tactic, Mindy. It's like you're a pro community manager. Look at you. Transparency and a heads up. You just say, "Here's the situation. Here's what we're going to do." Whether or not you want comment or not, you can insert here on posts, like, "We're looking for feedback," or, "We are doing this," and ask questions. We did that with the Facebook groups; put a post in and pinned it and said, "Hey. This group is being moved off of Facebook and it's going here. If you would like to join, here is how you do it. You have until this day, and then we're closing this group. So if there's any contact info from other members, et cetera that you want to get before we close it, please do." We ended up just archiving those groups. So if you were in it, you can still go in there and you'll see now the final pinned post that's like, "This group is no longer active. You need to join the academy. Here's how you do it."
But it's funny, because every once in a while we get an email in the help inbox that's like, "What happened to the Facebook group? Where is it? I tried to go in and it's shut down." It's like, "Yep. If you saw it, you saw the post that told you what to do." So we just either help them get into Circle, or I think we mentioned, "There's a gazillion groups on Facebook you can join if you want to stay on Facebook, but we're out."
Mindy Peters: We actually had this experience with our very, very first community group at SPI. I'm just thinking back to the year. I think 2014 is when we closed it. It was called Breakthrough Blogging. It was a mix of a bunch of lessons. So it was lessons on blogging, video lessons on blogging, and it was in a forum, a community forum space on a separate WordPress installation.
Jillian Benbow: That makes sense.
Mindy Peters: It was sold through a sale that I don't think exists anymore, called Only 72, where it was a bundle of a bunch of different creators would come and they would contribute a thing, and it was only available for 72 hours. You paid a flat rate, it was $99 or something, and you got all of these different things. And this community existed and it was open for about a year. Pat would film new content, and we would hold live Google Hangouts. I was trying to remember, what was the name of it even? We'd hold live Google Hangouts, and I would be the MC and Pat would have a guest on. He'd ask questions and stuff. But the ultimate problem of that community was there was one influx of members, and then there was no opportunity to grow the membership. So obviously attrition happened. And it took us a while before we were like, "Hey, we should have a place where people could ask each other questions." So an enthusiastic group had already diminished, plus half the people who bought the thing bought the thing because they wanted the thing that somebody else contributed.
So it was just a masterclass in what not to do with community, but it was really good for us to learn about what are the things you need to keep things going? And ultimately, we did close that down. We made a PDF with, "Here's a link to all of the videos," and we just hosted all the videos on Wistia and we said, "Here's a PDF with all of the content. Thanks for trying this experiment with me." And I believe that Pat even offered people, even though it was 18 months after the thing, he was like, "If you really want a refund, I will give you a refund." I think we had one person who was like, "I need that refund." But it was a good experience, but also, to me, I think is part of why I have a little fear of community, because I was involved in this thing that just didn't work from the start, from the community element.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. It's so funny. Even just that whole, "Here's a bundle of six million courses for a dollar." That used to be such a thing, and even now it's just like, "No." No one's going to go through that stuff. They might go through the one that they bought it for. It's a dated model. It's a tired model. And the whole, "Oh, you get X hours of content." That used to be a selling point, and now it's a drag. Now I'm like, "I want to get this done in three hours. It can be lighter on video, and I want to actually do work instead of listen to a lecture and then go off on my own for hours." And in All Access, that's something we're working on with the pathways, is saying, "Okay, we're taking existing courses, because we have them, and adding supplemental worksheets and activities to do while you're going through the course to make it more engaging and more of a workshop instead of a lecture, if that makes sense.
Mindy Peters: That's some really good advice for me as I am starting to film things now too. I'm trying to keep everything in very manageable chunks, so short lessons. But even to just think of if I'm planning a community element from the jump, I maybe need to film less of it, because that will be the content that then happens live.
Jillian Benbow: Possibly.
Mindy Peters: "I'm going to go through this topic and give you some examples, but then know that at this particular time, we will go through many more examples together." Or, "We will go through your examples together," is I think good for me to think about.
Jillian Benbow: I think too, and something we're running into at SPI that is something else to consider for anyone looking into adding courses or into community, is how quickly things get dated. And to your point of you logged into Zapier and it's like, "Oh." Anyone using Notion right now is like, "Cool, so they're launching AI. What? Canva's launching AI? I don't even understand." But it's just all these things. And so when you think about if you build this big, big course with long videos and whatnot, thinking about, "How will I update this when the tech inevitably changes?" And a lot of, I think, the bigger foundational concepts do not ... like Power-Up Podcasting, for example, the actual bigger picture, what a lot of the video content is is still relevant, because that stuff's all about how to launch a podcast. It's not editing, per se. So it's more theoretical and thinking about what are your episodes going to be. That kind of stuff. That's pretty solid.
But yeah, then you get to the tutorial on Audacity, and it's like, "Does anybody use Audacity anymore? Should we have a Descript tutorial?" It's those things. So thinking about even constructing your course in a way where maybe there's a library of tutorials. And it's not necessarily in the course structure per se, but it's a supplement. And then those are super easy to update. That's something I've been thinking about a lot.
Mindy Peters: I've been thinking about that, yeah. So in the email marketing course that we have, Email Marketing Magic, there's something called the automations bank or something, or the ABC bank. I forget what it's called. There's a bank of various email templates that you can use. And I've been working on that concept for this automations course in terms of also just because ... so to use Zapier as the example too; they're the big company, and now lots of little companies that are similar but more niche, or similar but cheaper, are springing up. The recipe works. Maybe the step-by-step instructions don't work, but the overall recipe works. And so creating this idea of, "Here's your automation recipe," and then, "Here's advice for figuring out how to make that fit into the tool that you are using."
Jillian Benbow: Totally.
Mindy Peters: So that-
Jillian Benbow: It's teaching the person to fish.
Mindy Peters: Right. Right.
Jillian Benbow: It's like, "Here's how you problem-solve this." Yeah.
Mindy Peters: Right. Yeah. Yeah. So it's very interesting for me. And so the fun part, just for me, has been making worksheets and starting to think about those things as well. And I will have some automations worksheets that I can share with people listening, even if you're not interested in automations, but you just want to see, "What does a worksheet that goes with the course look like?" I'll have those available for people listening, so they could download that and take a look at it.
Jillian Benbow: Mindy committed on the air, so now she's got to do it.
Mindy Peters: I did. Oh, they have been created. I'm very proud of myself. Yes.
Jillian Benbow: Oh. Yes. Look at that stress-free offer. That's great.
Mindy Peters: That's right. That's right. I have very much learned both from the working on the podcast side and then going to the podcast guest a week before the podcast goes up and says, "You promised this thing was going to be ready." But then also just from me being very much a yes person and over-committing myself.
Jillian Benbow: I feel that.
Mindy Peters: Don't make promises unless they're ready to go. So yes, I do have those though. So if you want to check them out, you can go to mindysolves.com/cx, and then you can download those.
Jillian Benbow: Oh, Mindy, thank you. I feel like we covered a lot of very relevant topics today, just surrounding the think about it. And the power of an expiration date, both psychologically, which we tapped on a little bit, but there is proven science behind it. It's kind of like sales sense of urgency. Like, "Oh, you've got to buy it by this time to get the deal." But it's also that limited access is good, because people will do the thing. They're more likely to do it.
Mindy Peters: I am a bit of a contrarian in that I'm a very big fan of having a product always available, because when your person, your audience member is ready to do the thing, you want to be there to support them, and not tell them, "Oh, you want to start that business? Well, you can get advice from us when we reopen this course in three months." Nobody's just going to sit around and wait three months. They're going to move on to a different audience. They're going to go somewhere else for the advice. And so I am a big fan of having stuff always available, but I have seen, time and again, that what moves sales are when something's going away, or when a discount is going away or something. Then people buy, and they buy 10 minutes before that thing goes away.
Jillian Benbow: Oh my gosh.
Mindy Peters: Or they send you an email and say, "I missed it," the next day. "Can I get in?" And so that part is really hard, but I think this is very good for me. I feel a little bit better about the idea of saying, just personally, as somebody who's doing this project on the side, I don't want to commit to forever, but I can commit to three months. I can commit to be available to help people for three months. That sounds exciting to me. That sounds like something that I do want to do. Whereas me guaranteeing that I'm going to be here forever, my life has changed so much, so many times, I know I don't want to do that. And so you've made me feel better. You've made me feel better about the whole project.
Jillian Benbow: That was so easy.
Mindy Peters: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: That was so easy. See, now you come organize my closet, because you'll have time.
Mindy Peters: Ha. Then I'll have time, because the thing will end and then I can come. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. No, you're supposed to say, "No, I'm not organizing your closet."
Mindy Peters: The problem is I like organizing closets.
Jillian Benbow: I know. I know.
Mindy Peters: But it's because it's a nice contained space and there is an end, as opposed to a garage, where ...
Jillian Benbow: My idea of organizing a closet is take everything out and never put it back. Done. Oh, I hate it. I hate it. Or my problem is take everything out, get overwhelmed and quit when you've just gotten to the messy part.
Mindy Peters: And then it's time to go to bed.
Jillian Benbow: Cue husband coming home.
Mindy Peters: Yeah. And there's no room on the bed. And then you come to bed an hour after your husband and he's just moved everything to your side of the bed.
Jillian Benbow: Legitimately, yes. Okay. So Mindy, I don't know if you've heard the rapid fire before, but I'm bad at it, because what I'm supposed to do is ask you a question, you're supposed to answer it quickly, and then we move on. I have a hard time with that.
Mindy Peters: We never do well with that.
Jillian Benbow: No. The two of us together is a disaster waiting to happen, so we will do our best, also knowing that we can talk later and I can grill you with followup questions.
Okay. Mindy Peters, when you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Mindy Peters: Ooh. The very first thing I told people I was going to be was a jeweler. And that is because my next door neighbor lady was a jeweler, and I thought she was really cool, so I wanted to be a jeweler too.
Jillian Benbow: I still want to be a jeweler.
Mindy Peters: Right? I love sparkly things. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Mindy, how do you define community?
Mindy Peters: I think community is a group of people coming together for a shared purpose, whether it's social, or whether it's around some kind of work or project. Or I was in marching band in college, and so that was a big community. That is really what defines my sense of community, is this big group of different people coming together to achieve a specific thing.
Jillian Benbow: Love it. Okay, the next two questions have to do with bucket lists. So maybe you have a literal one, maybe you don't, but just humor me. What is something on your bucket list that you have done?
Mindy Peters: Oh, that I have done? Something on my bucket list that I have done? Oh, I know. A really great thing on my bucket list that I did was I went to Stonehenge on the Equinox. And if you go to Stonehenge, all of the year, except from on a solstice or an Equinox, you're basically back quite a ways from it, behind a rope. You get to look at it. But if you go on a solstice or an Equinox, very early in the morning, and I went organized through a tour group, you can go inside the circle and participate, because they have it open for Druidic worship, as well as just open for people who want to. It was a very cool experience to be with this crazy mix of people who were all there for different purposes, but it was very respectful. It was just very, very cool. It was six o'clock in the morning. It was wonderful.
Jillian Benbow: That is such a good tip. That's fantastic. Okay, flip side; what's something on your bucket list that you have not done yet?
Mindy Peters: Oh. I mean, that was the obvious next question, right? I think something I would really like to do ... you know what? I would like to go to Hudson Bay. I would like to go north into Canada. I would just really like to go to Churchill, Manitoba. It just seems very cool. It's basically straight north from where I live. I live in Minnesota. And it's a town where it's just like, "Yeah, polar bears walk down the street and we keep our doors unlocked in case you need to seek refuge from a polar bear." It just seems kind of awesome, and I would like to see it.
Jillian Benbow: It seems dangerous.
Mindy Peters: It seems dangerous. It also, I'm sure, is one of those very small towns where you make your own fun, but I'm very much into that.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. No, that sounds fun. And taking the train there.
Mindy Peters: Ooh, and I'm looking on Google Maps and there's something called the Miss Piggy plane wreck. What is that? I don't know. I need to find out.
Jillian Benbow: Got to go and find out. Tragic yet intriguing. Well, okay, I have something to think about now. Mindy Peters, what is a book you love?
Mindy Peters: So maybe going a little far to say love, because I'm only about three quarters of the way through it, but as you mentioned ADHD, I'm 42 now, I was diagnosed when I was 36. And I found getting that diagnosis to be incredibly helpful, because it basically helps me recognize what advice in terms of productivity organization is for me. It makes it acceptable to say, "This type of advice just does not work for how my brain works." And so I picked up the book, Your Brain Is Not Broken, by Tamara Rosier, PhD. R-O-S-I-E-R is the last name. And I've read a lot of different books, but this one so far has been the most specifically useful, with very actionable advice for, "Okay, this is the problem. What do you do about it? How do you help yourself in this particular time?"
And also, she really brought up a concept that I hadn't thought about a whole lot. She calls it malicious motivation. It's the unhealthy things that you do that help you get motivated to do the thing that you need to do; maybe like negative self-talk or things, or getting mad. If you get really mad about a situation, then that gives you the fire you need to get that thing done. And so to make me pay attention to those scenarios in my life where maybe I find myself always complaining about this thing, but not realizing that I'm using the complaining to help propel me over the finish line. And starting to think, "Okay, what can I do to replace that complaining with something that would be more healthy?" And it's been very useful, and I really like it. I bought it first as an audiobook, and then I was like, "I need the physical book."
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. Sometimes you just need the paper. Yeah, totally.
Mindy Peters: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Ooh, well, I'm going to have to add that to my never-ending list of books. Related.
Mindy Peters: Yes.
Jillian Benbow: Okay. So you did say you live in Minnesota.
Mindy Peters: I do.
Jillian Benbow: Don't know what that accent was. It wasn't Minnesota. If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
Mindy Peters: Ooh. I think Ireland. A little more temperate, but similar. It's just beautiful. It's just very, very beautiful there. But I generally like places where the weather is slightly miserable most of the year. I prefer cold. I hate hot weather. Even though it gets quite hot in the summer here, it's for a short period of time. Yeah. So otherwise, just northward onto Canada. Maybe Winnipeg or something like that. I like it cold. It just snowed a whole bunch outside, and that's great. I love it. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Okay. Final question, Mindy. How do you want to be remembered?
Mindy Peters: Oh. I think about that a lot, because I have a three-year-old, and I wonder about these things. What are the things he's going to remember about mommy when she's gone? I think the thing that I most want to be remembered for is being game to try anything, and for making the process of doing work fun. So just being up to give whatever it is a go, but then also just that we had a good time while we were doing it, whatever that thing was.
Jillian Benbow: I love that. Actually enjoy the moments of life. What a revolutionary way of thinking.
Mindy Peters: Because it's hard. It's hard to stay in the moment. I'm very bad at staying present. I am a very much a future-focused person, and so it's hard for me to stay in the moment. But when I can, I have a great time.
Jillian Benbow: I love that.
Mindy Peters: Also, I've told my husband that my obituary must include that I built really great blanket forts for cats and toddlers. Cats love blanket forts. If you have a cat, build your cat a blanket fort. They will love it.
Jillian Benbow: I don't want to say I'll hold him to it, because then that implies that you're going to pass. You know what I mean? But should it come to that. I'm also not worried. I have every confidence that will be there.
Well, Mindy, thank you so much for joining me on this fantastic voyage of podcasting. Appreciate it. Hopefully have you back again. We can talk more solutions. But in the meantime, one more time, let people know where they can find you on the interwebs.
Mindy Peters: Sure. So if you go to mindysolves.com/cx, I'll have those worksheets for you. And what these worksheets are are just how you would think through building in automation. And yeah, mindysolves.com is probably the best place to find me.
Jillian Benbow: And that's also where they can sign up for your email list, right? The course has not launched and there is no specific date, but if you're interested, sign up for the-
Mindy Peters: But it's coming. It's coming soon. I am making good progress, so it's coming soon.
Jillian Benbow: We solved all the problems just now, so.
Mindy Peters: You did.
Jillian Benbow: Just kidding. Awesome. Well, thanks again, Mindy.
Mindy Peters: Thank you.
Jillian Benbow: Have a great rest of your day, and I'll see you on Slack in about 10 seconds.
Mindy Peters: Sounds good.
Jillian Benbow: And that's a wrap. Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode. I hope you learned something from our mistakes and our blocks. Maybe you have a block that you can work through, or maybe you just enjoyed two silly gals talking and jibber-jabbering about the things we are working on. We'll be back next week. In the meantime, have a great day and we'll see you next Tuesday.
Learn more about Mindy at mindysolves.com, or smartpassiveincome.com. Your lead host for the Community Experience is me, Jillian Benbow. Our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. And our editor is Paul Grigoras. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Theme music by David Grabowski. See you next Tuesday.