101. Scaling and Evergreen Offer to $1 Million with Jacques Hopkins
27 April 2021 | By Salome Schillack
Last week, I shared one of my favourite quotes of all time:
Failure is not a zero-sum game
And it’s so important that I’m bringing it back today.
Let’s get one thing straight - failure is inevitable in business. Those entrepreneurs you follow on Instagram posting their 6-figure sales months? They probably worked years to get there.
Years of finding their way in the dark, of falling down, of pushing forward without fully understanding what they were doing.
Years of failure that all led to something truly beautiful.
And today’s guest, Jacques Hopkins, is the ultimate example of this.
A former engineer, Jacques is now the creator of a highly successful online piano course. Pianoin21days.com has brought in, wait for it, $2.4 million in revenue to date, with over 6,000 students over the world.
The passive income from his course allows him to support his family, take amazing vacations (like a 5-week road trip across the US!), and truly do what he loves.
But, what if I told you that it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Jacques?
In today’s episode, Jacques and I chat about our (multiple!) business failures, what we learned from them, and how they still help us in 2021.
As you listen in today, I sincerely hope this episode can help you rise up from any fear or failure and keep going.
And when you do find your million-dollar idea, I hope you think back to this episode and say ‘I’m glad I listened to Salome!’
So, get listening ASAP! Once you’re done, come over to my Instagram @salome.schillack and share the one thing you learned from your own failures.
When you subscribe and review the podcast not only does that give me the warm and fuzzies all over, it also helps other people to find the show.
When other people find the show they get to learn how to create more freedom in their lives from their online courses too!!
So do a good deed for all womenkind and subscribe and review this show and I will reward you with a shout out on the show!!
Salome Schillack (00:00):
Welcome to episode number 101 of The Shine Show. Oh my gosh, I'm still getting used to saying that, it's 101. And in this episode, I'm going to talk to Jacques Hopkins about how he scaled his Evergreen course to over $1 million. He's going to tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly, the ups, and the downs. But before we dive in, let me tell you a little bit about Jacques. Jacques worked as an engineer for eight years before quitting his job and turning his biggest hobby into a highly successful online piano course. Pianoin21days.com has brought in over $2.3 million in revenue to date, with over 6,000 students all over the world.
Today, Jacques supports his family with the passive income from his course while teaching others to do the same on The Online Course Show Podcast, and I couldn't be happier that he agreed to come on the show today and tell you his story.
Giving up your time and freedom to make money is so 2009. Hi, I'm your host, Salome Schillack, and I help online course creators launch, grow, and scale their businesses with Facebook and Instagram ads so that they can make more money and have an even bigger impact in the world. If you're ready to be inspired, to dream bigger, launch sooner and grow your online business faster, then tune in because you are ready to shine, and this is The Shine Show.
Jacques, thank you so much for being here on The Shine Show. Oh my goodness, I have been waiting for this for a while.
Jacques Hopkins (01:51):
Salome, it's a pleasure to be here. Normally, when I do a podcast, I usually grab a fresh iced coffee, but the time difference, it's pretty late here. I got a nice little glass of red wine here. I'm ready to go.
Salome Schillack (02:01):
Oh, I'm glad. That is good. I have to confess, I'm jealous every time I interview someone, and you're on a times zone and that means you are already having wine and I am still having my coffee because it would just be wrong to have wine this time of the morning. Well, at least it's lunchtime for me now.
Jacques Hopkins (02:20):
Yeah. In fairness, it's about 9:00 PM for me, so I think it's socially acceptable, so here we go.
Salome Schillack (02:25):
I would say. So thank you very much for hopping on at 9:00 PM. I told my business coach this week, "I'm so tired of dealing with time zone challenges." And she looked at me and she said, "Salome, empires deal with time zone challenges." So thank you for being here at 9:00.
Jacques Hopkins (02:25):
Salome Schillack (02:42):
Jacques, you and I were introduced by the guys from Hustle and Flowchart, lovely Joe and Matt. And I heard about your not-so-little piano course, and then I heard about you teaching other online course creators how to be online course creators and make money doing it. So can you take me back please to the days when you were an engineer with stars in your eyes. I'm curious about this online marketing thing, and tell us the whole story, how did you get where you are now?
Jacques Hopkins (03:15):
Oh, the whole story, huh?
Salome Schillack (03:15):
Jacques Hopkins (03:18):
So was I born... No, I'm just kidding. All right. So for me, my entrepreneurial story started... I've actually heard this a lot from people. It started when I read a book called The 4-Hour Work Week. Pretty popular book at this point.
Salome Schillack (03:31):
Jacques Hopkins (03:32):
Tim Ferriss, yeah. It's one of the very few books that I have on my bookshelf behind me because it was so impactful on my life. I read it shortly after it came out, so around 2007, 2008. And all my life up on to that point, I don't know if you've always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn't. That was not my life path. I always wanted to be an engineer, because I thought that being an entrepreneur meant that we had to take out a bunch of debt or venture capital, lots of employees, work a ton, brick-and-mortar store, stuff like that. So none of that appealed to me until I read this book and all the cool things that Tim Ferriss was able to do. Have you read the book?
Salome Schillack (04:10):
I have to confess, I have not read 4-Hour Workweek. I have some favorites that I keep revisiting, but I have never read. I read Habits of Giants. Is that one of his other books, Habits of...
Jacques Hopkins (04:24):
Tools of Titans?
Salome Schillack (04:26):
No, it's the other one. It's the mindset one. There's a very thick one where he interviews very successful people on their mind state. It's not Tools of Titans, it's the other one.
Jacques Hopkins (04:36):
Tribe of Mentors.
Salome Schillack (04:37):
Tribe of Mentors. Tribe of Mentors. I've read that probably three times.
Jacques Hopkins (04:41):
Well, you're probably too young for 4-Hour Workweek anyway. You were probably just a kid when it came out. But I was a senior in college when I came out and it just-
Salome Schillack (04:48):
We're the same age. I'm pretty sure. If there's a four at the front of your age, then we're on the same playing field.
Jacques Hopkins (04:55):
Okay. Well, you look young. So 4-Hour Workweek. It just blew my mind what was possible. So you've not read it, but what really stood out to me about that book was not simply the title. I mean, that's certainly appealing to a then 22-year-old kid about to start his first job, but just all the cool things he was able to do. He was able to go and learn how to kick-box in Japan, and he did dancing in Argentina, and he rode motorcycles. He did all these amazing things, all the while his business was working for him and he's found a way to work on as little as four hours a week. So he opened up this new business model for me just with a lot of automation and outsourcing, utilizing the internet. So it was a totally paradigm shift for me.
Then I went to work, complete overnight success, multimillionaire. No, that's not what happened.
Salome Schillack (05:45):
Yeah, I was just going to say. Well, being an engineer, you probably figured this stuff out pretty fast.
Jacques Hopkins (05:50):
No, actually no. So I went to work in 2008 as an engineer. Worked for the same company for eight years, I had six different failed ventures that never made a single dollar trying to model what was in the-
Salome Schillack (05:50):
Jacques Hopkins (06:02):
Yeah, six. Six different things. And my seventh thing was the piano course, Piano In 21 Days. First thing that ever made me a single dollar that wasn't my paycheck. And that wasn't until 2013. So it took five years and six complete failures to find my thing that worked. But I found it, even that wasn't overnight success on its own, but slow and steady. Eventually, it did find success.
Salome Schillack (06:27):
I am so happy that you're saying that it's six failures, and how many years? Five years.
Jacques Hopkins (06:34):
Salome Schillack (06:35):
I was on business number three and failed for four years. Yeah. So I'm so glad you say that because that is just the journey, isn't it?
Jacques Hopkins (06:45):
Yeah, I think so. I think that's really, really important. If the piano course was my first idea, it probably would have been a failure too.
Salome Schillack (06:51):
Yeah, I was just going to say.
Jacques Hopkins (06:53):
I've learned something from each one along the way and was able to apply some of those lessons learned to the one that did.
Salome Schillack (06:58):
What were some of the biggest lessons you learned?
Jacques Hopkins (07:01):
Well, a lot of it was like learning what I wasn't necessarily good at or wasn't the right thing for me. In the The 4-Hour Workweek, he didn't really even talk about online courses that I know of. There was, you could invent a product, you could like graphic t-shirts. There's a lot of physical stuff. And so that's where I started. I tried to invent a product, maybe get it patented, lots of headaches there, prototypes, inventory, that just wasn't going to be for me. But that's how I learned the tech of like how to build a website, how to put that type of stuff together.
And so by the time that I came up with the idea of the piano course, I knew how to register a domain, get started a little bit. Now, 2013, getting started with a website and a course, lot different than 2021. It's a lot easier today, but those are some of the lessons learned. Another one I tried was, there was two different blogs I tried to create. I don't know why I thought that was a good idea. I've never been a good writer, very left-brain engineer. So I learned I wasn't a good writer. And so now even with the blog today, with Piano In 21 Days, I have a writer on the team, I learn that. A lot of different things that I learned along the way.
Salome Schillack (08:06):
Fantastic. What would you say is the biggest mindset shift you had to make?
Jacques Hopkins (08:10):
Mindset shift that I could do this both from a piano perspective and just from a human perspective. If you saw like the very first video ever put out there in 2013, was awful, awful. It's been unlisted for a while on my YouTube channel, but it's so bad because I had no idea what I was doing, I was very scared, very timid. For the first few years on my piano videos, you would only get the overhead view of my hands on my keyboard, I was scared to put my face even on camera. I'm like, "Who am I to be doing this? What if somebody finds out? What if worst like, one of my coworkers find out? I'm working my job as I'm trying to make this work."
And the mindset shift is like, "Okay, what if they do find out? Awesome, cool. That's something to be proud of, not something to be ashamed of."
Salome Schillack (09:01):
Absolutely. I had the exact same thing. I went back to my day job after three years of failing and I had the same thing. I was putting out videos on YouTube and publishing them on Facebook at the time. I did one day sit down with a colleague and she went, "I see those videos being published at 1:00 PM and we all know you're not working." And I was like, "Oh my goodness, they're scheduled, but thank you for checking me out." But I had the same thing. Oh my goodness. It's a big one that what if they find out? What if my parents find out I'm doing this thing on the internet or my friends?
Jacques Hopkins (09:40):
Yeah. I think it's a lot of ego, and that's what I had to get through. It's like, I'm not that special, I'm not that cool to have to worry about that. And a lot of times we think other people are thinking things about us that aren't necessarily true. We give ourselves too much credit there, it's like, well, you made this thing, but 2013, 2014, even most of 2015, it was barely making any sales. It wasn't doing a whole lot anyway. So there wasn't much to look at for the first few years anyway.
Salome Schillack (10:07):
And being in that phase often doesn't help with the imposter syndrome, it doesn't help with the who am I to do it because if you're walking around with the question, who am I to do this, and it's not working, then who are you to do this? That was something that came up for me.
Jacques Hopkins (10:22):
So for you, was it like once you really started to see some sales roll in, is that when you got pumped up?
Salome Schillack (10:28):
Yeah. I need the external validation before... I need a lot of external validation before I learn to hold onto the internal validation, and then I go bad-ass on the internal validation after that, but I definitely need, and that's why I tell my students as well is you need both. If you just have internal validation, but you have not yet sold a thing, then you're just being arrogant. But if you have external validation and then you've got to match that with an internal belief that you can do this. I don't know, what do you think about?
Jacques Hopkins (11:03):
Yeah. That's well said. And I personally, I really needed the external validation. The first sale I ever made was a huge, huge deal. I was in line at Starbucks when I got the notification, my very first sale, I literally started dancing in line at Starbucks back in 2013, huge moment. My first $1,000 a month, my first $10,000 a month, my first $100,000 a month, all those were huge, huge milestones that just were signs that we just took things to the next level and extreme validation. Now, we don't want to take that too far, we don't want to get too cocky or anything and think we're just, I don't know if we can curse on the podcast, hot stuff.
Salome Schillack (11:41):
Yeah, you can.
Jacques Hopkins (11:41):
You don't want to take it too far, but personally I really needed the external validation.
Salome Schillack (11:45):
Yeah, it does give you confidence. I want us to unpack the Piano In 21 Days funnel a little bit. Let me first start here. Did you first live launch it? Did you launch it live before you turned it? Because it's a very successful evergreen funnel right now. Did you launch it live?
Jacques Hopkins (12:02):
Yes. I had no idea what I was doing.
Salome Schillack (12:04):
Did you use a webinar or how did you launch it?
Jacques Hopkins (12:07):
Goodness. Were you in this world in 2013? I feel like it's such a different world, eight years ago.
Salome Schillack (12:12):
I started my coaching business on the 1st of July, 2014 and I was a very unsuccessful sales coach because I couldn't sell my services as a sales coach. So I was not in this world yet. My first taste of this world came in 2015 when I purchased Amy Porterfield's webinars that convert. So 2015, Amy introduced me to the whole world of webinars, changed my life completely, and I'm still working on webinars. That's exactly what I'm still doing. So I'm a little bit behind you, but tell me, how did you start with the live launch?
Jacques Hopkins (12:51):
Yeah. I remember when Amy's course came out. 2015 is probably when webinars got really big, but 2013, I didn't know what a webinar was. Honestly, I hate to admit it, but I didn't know what a funnel was for the first couple of years. I did not know what I was doing, I did not. I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. So when you say, when I live launched, that meant that I had a small email list and I sent out a couple of emails, and I had either a cart close or a discount that was ending. It went horribly, I sold maybe one or two copies. I was just very thankful that it wasn't zero. I talked about how big that first sale was, but it didn't go great, and it took a while. It took a while really until I learned about funnels themselves is when I really finally found success overall with it.
Salome Schillack (13:36):
Great. Where did you host your course back in 2013?
Jacques Hopkins (13:40):
Even things like that were just so much harder than they are today.
Salome Schillack (13:43):
Yeah. In 2015, I put mine on YouTube, and I was just like unlisted videos on YouTube
Jacques Hopkins (13:50):
I can work. I actually know, my good friend of mine brings in like $50,000 a month from his course and he still does unlisted YouTube videos. Now, they're in like a ClickFunnels course, but he's definitely a penny pincher. But back in 2013, I used a WordPress plugin, it was called Sensei, I think it was made by WooCommerce. Eventually, I think in 2016, I actually moved it over to ClickFunnels. And about two weeks ago, I moved it off of ClickFunnels.
Salome Schillack (14:17):
Okay. Is there a story?
Jacques Hopkins (14:19):
I think that ClickFunnels is really good at sales funnels, being funnel software, that's what they're good at. And in 2016, they were also good at sales funnels, but I was like, "Oh my goodness, I could host my course there as well for no additional costs." But they haven't done any development on their course side, literally since then. And so it's just been passed up by so many great pieces of software. And so I was just about to cross the 7,000 students for Piano In 21 Days and nobody's really ever complained about it, but it was time to move on to something with more features, more things we can do.
Salome Schillack (14:52):
What are you using now?
Jacques Hopkins (14:53):
Well, I'm back to a WordPress solution, and I don't advise the most people do it, but I've got a technical background and the sky's the limit when you go with more of a WordPress solution, and I'm using BuddyBoss and LearnDash, combination of those two things, because I wanted the community and the course all in one place. Right now, I've got the course in ClickFunnels, I've got a Facebook group. That's how a lot of people do it. You got the course, you have a Facebook group. I wanted to have everything wrapped in one place, and then I want to take all of that and have that available in a mobile app as well, which we're just about to launch that too.
So if somebody comments on a lesson over on the mobile app, it's fully synced over on the web app. That's past six months I have been working on.
Salome Schillack (15:40):
Yeah. It takes six months to do something like that. I agree with you. I have the same issue with Kajabi. Kajabi is a right course hosting platform, but now they're trying to be email service providers and they're trying to be this, that and the other, and that's when it falls flat for me. They're all trying to be the best at everything and ends up forgetting what they were really good at in the first place, why we'll start using it. I think WordPress is going to make a giant comeback, especially now with how Facebook ads stuff is changing, and for us needing to verify domains and only being allowed to create events from one domain. So WordPress, watch out. WordPress is on the Y up again.
Jacques Hopkins (16:23):
I'll be ready. We'll be ready.
Salome Schillack (16:25):
Yeah. WordPress is so good, and it's so affordable as well. Back to your funnels, you did this live launch, how did you build your email list back in 2013?
Jacques Hopkins (16:35):
Well, I did a lot of things wrong, but the one thing that looking back I mostly did right was one of the first things I did was I started a YouTube channel and I bought the domain name and I put a little lead magnet on the domain and started putting some YouTube videos up and made sure I had a good call to action at the end of all my videos. So if somebody found them, they liked what they had to hear, they wanted to learn more, they might be interested to click over and download that lead magnet, I was a big fan and still am of Pat Flynn at the time. That's one of the places early on I was learning a lot of marketing stuff from was his podcast Smart Passive Income.
So that was like Smart Passive Income one-on-one, make sure you have a lead magnet, call to action, and so on, build an email list. So I knew to do that. By the time, this is probably April, 2013, didn't launch because I'm working on a demanding job the whole time, didn't launch until late 2013, built up an email list of maybe a couple of hundred people at the time for my "live" launch then.
Salome Schillack (17:32):
Okay. What iterations did you go through from there?
Jacques Hopkins (17:36):
Lots of just pulling out my hair, just trying different things, trying to learn from different people. Really, it wasn't until like 2016 that I really found success with it. And thank goodness I did because I actually quit my job the last day of 2015 and I was making about $1,000 a month from the course, about six months prior, we had our first kid, first daughter and my wife quit her job as well. So it wasn't the best timing to quit your job, but we had been planning for a while and I kept telling my wife, "Look, I need the time to be able to make it successful. It's kind of catch-22."
I was like, "Look, I don't think I can make it work while I'm working this full-time job." Fortunately, we had enough savings to live very, very frugally for about a year if it didn't work out. I quit my job last day of 2015 going into 2016, making about $1,000 a month as a family, six-month-old baby, and about a year to make it work worst case scenario. Well, we're like seven, eight months in to the 2016 and I still was about $1,000 a month, I hadn't made it work yet. And that's when I discovered funnels and specifically evergreen funnels. And that's when I implemented my first evergreen funnel.
And it was listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast, Pat Flynn had a guest on by the name of David Siteman Garland, who is a course creator coach.
Salome Schillack (18:56):
I bought David's webinars course.
Jacques Hopkins (18:59):
Yeah. There you go. Create awesome webinars insurance, whatever. He's got an online course program called Create Awesome Online courses. But in that particular podcast episode, he walked the audience through exactly the way his evergreen funnel works. Exactly, the pre-launch video... It's a very much like a product launch formula style, pre-launch, launch, open cart, close cart, but I hadn't really heard of it up to that point. So I listened to that episode like three or four times and implemented exactly what he was talking about and literally same course, same traffic sources, but drop in a really good evergreen funnel, took me from about $1,000 to $10,000 overnight, like 10X with that.
And so I think it was probably October or November of 2016, first five-figure month, and then by January of 2017, the course brought in $22,000 and has not brought in less than that ever since. And evergreen funnels is awesome. Love them.
Salome Schillack (19:59):
That is just amazing. Congratulations. That is phenomenal. And I've gone through your funnel a little bit, tiny a little bit, downloaded your lead magnet. Yeah, I was playing the piano. I have gone through it and it's beautifully built and it just works, it's just lovely. So congratulations. That is really, really cool. Break down the funnel for us. I've gone through it, so I have an idea. It starts with-
Jacques Hopkins (20:26):
Salome Schillack (20:27):
Okay. A lead magnet. Are you running ads to it? Because I think I opted in from your website, but are you running ads?
Jacques Hopkins (20:34):
Sure. Yeah. We are running ads. We do a lot of Google ads because there's a lot of search traffic for how to play piano, learn piano fast, so work with a lot of people who aren't in niches where people are searching for it as much, maybe Facebook, Instagram ads are a much better fit. We do some of that as well, and we get a lot of traffic from Google, Bing ads, YouTube ads, YouTube Organic, Google Organic, SEO. We have a pretty good diversified traffic stream at this point. So I guess technically, it starts there, and then once somebody gets to the site, everything points to this one, I have one lead magnet.
I'd like to keep things as simple as we possibly can keep it, and it's basically been the same lead magnet ever since 2013. I've updated it, for sure, but it's basically been the same thing. So even those videos that I made back in 2013 that say, "Hey guys, if you enjoyed this," and I was really timid Jacques back then, like those videos, I was like, "Hey, if you enjoyed this, maybe you want to go check out this workbook over here." But that workbook, it's still there and people can still click on the link and get the workbook. And then now I have your email, you have the workbook, and that's when the real fun begins of the evergreen funnel.
Basically a Product Launch Formula, Jeff Walker, basically what David Siteman Garland walked us through on that episode, style of evergreen funnel. However, I've tweaked it one way in that the biggest weakness of that type of funnel that I've found is for the first like seven days, you can't buy, you can't buy for the first seven days until the cart opens. And then we've got a five-day period where it's open and then it closes. So my course is either it's available or it's not. I know some people do evergreen funnels where they offer a discount that goes away, but mine's available or not.
Salome Schillack (22:19):
I love that. You need that scarcity.
Jacques Hopkins (22:22):
Yeah. Well, I think so. And the only difference with mine is that over the first three to four days, I implemented an evergreen webinar into the existing funnel so that the people that are really are hot, really hot leads have the ability to buy. And that's probably the most sales come from the first few days of it now and not actually during the technical open-close cart period, I would say the first couple of days of the funnel, and then the very last day, the cart's closing day are the biggest days of it right now.
Salome Schillack (22:54):
I'm glad you say that because when I went through it as well, I was thinking those first couple of days right after downloading the lead magnet, sitting there with the piano, going through your lessons, like, "I'm ready to buy, give it to me now." So I'm glad that you've got that there. That's great.
Jacques Hopkins (23:11):
Why didn't you, Salome? Maybe you did and I didn't notice.
Salome Schillack (23:12):
Because you know I already fight for your competition. You know that already, I told you, but I will. My renewal expires at some point and then I'll come back and we'll do Piano In 21 Days. That's fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing that. I love it when I hear people talk about other sources of paid traffic, because I live in such a bubble of Facebook and Instagram ads. And my whole world is this interruption marketing, it's interrupt what people are doing on their news feeds, but that's not right for everybody. Not everybody needs to do that. And YouTube ads and Google ads and search ads are really good for the other type of, "Oh I have a need now, let me go and search for something." So that is wonderful. Now tell me, where's your horse at now? Just remind us revenue you've made.
Jacques Hopkins (24:10):
All time, 2.4 million. It sounds really sexy, but that doesn't give you the whole story. It doesn't give you all the struggle, it doesn't give you all the expenses, it doesn't give you the ups and downs, the wondering if this is going to work, last month was really good and this month, it's like, "Ah, maybe it's on the way down now." I'm very blessed that that's how much it's brought in over the past eight years, but it's consistently going up year to year, if we look at a whole year perspective. And my particular business was pretty good during the pandemic, a lot of people were staying home, wanting to learn piano. So 1 million of that, just over a million dollars in 2020 from 2020.
Salome Schillack (24:51):
That's phenomenal. Congratulations. That is really, really good. really, really good. I'm glad you bring up that you're looking at it year to year because a lot of people look at their evergreen funnels day-to-day, which is really scary, even week to week, which I don't recommend. We look at that month to month and try to make decisions month to month. But I'm glad, you're looking at a year to year and going, "Yeah, we're still going up. We're still doing well." Because it can be scary when you go through a whole month of, it's not looking the way it did last month.
Jacques Hopkins (25:25):
Yeah. A normal day, and I'm not perfect by any means, literally a week ago, we made zero sales in the day, which is very rare and normal is between $1,500 and $3,000. That's a normal day. And when I see we made zero sales, I'm freaking out like, "What's going on? Let me figure out what's breaking," but a broader perspective is much better.
Salome Schillack (25:46):
How many people do you have on your team?
Jacques Hopkins (25:49):
We have eight people including me, and I have no full-time employees. Two people on the team are basically full-time, they don't have any other clients, but I've got eight people overall. I've got a director of operations, I've got an executive assistant, another virtual assistant, graphic designer, video editor. Actually, my most recent hire, I'm really excited about, for the first time, we have another person on the team that actually plays piano. And so jeez, we brought her on board to help support the students from our piano perspective. So if anybody has technical piano questions, then I don't have to be the one answering those questions. So trying to really just do the things that I have to do and let the team handle the rest.
Salome Schillack (25:49):
Yeah, Absolutely. And you grow into that, don't you?
Jacques Hopkins (26:34):
Yeah. And you're always discovering new things that like, "Oh, maybe I could outsource this." I didn't want to let go of that piano thing for a while, but I was like, "Despite the ego thing get in the way, other people get answered these things for the students and probably do it better, a lot of things could be better."
Salome Schillack (26:51):
Yeah. And then you outsource it and two, three months later you go, :Why didn't I do this years ago?" How many hours a week do you work now?
Jacques Hopkins (27:01):
I would like to say four hours a week, but that certainly was one of the appeals to me when I first read that book, it's like, "Oh, I could only work four hours a week and make a full-time living." But once you find what you actually like to do, who wants to only work four hours a week on it?
Salome Schillack (27:15):
Yeah, I agree. I agree.
Jacques Hopkins (27:17):
The way I do things is I work like a normal 40-hour week when things are normal, but I take a lot of vacations, and trips, and adventures, and so on. In July and August, we took a five-week road trip around the United States, different national parks and so on. We've taken a three month stint to France before, so normal 40 hours, but lots of vacation weeks during the year.
Salome Schillack (27:44):
I love that. I love that. I love to do that too. This is one of the reasons I love my business too, is because I can take a six-week holiday in December. I can take two weeks in April, I can take two weeks in September and we can just have fun as a family. I love that. That's awesome. You've got the Piano In 21 Days, that's cruising, it's doing super well. Tell us about business number two, and how did you come about that?
Jacques Hopkins (28:12):
Piano In 21 Days is still my main thing for sure. The other thing is just something I like to do more than anything. Back in 2017, for the first time, I'd really automated and outsourced things to where I wasn't necessarily working the 40 hours. I was making a good income and I didn't have to go back to work or anything, so I was like, "I've got some extra time on my hands, what could I do now?" And so I decided to start a podcast about online courses because I had struggled with it for so long, and I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I learned some cool stuff, cool evergreen funnels and traffic strategies and how to build courses, and all kinds of cool stuff that a lot of people don't necessarily know about, I struggled with it for years.
And so I started a podcast called The Online Course Show, very original.
Salome Schillack (29:03):
I love it. It's great.
Jacques Hopkins (29:04):
Yeah. And it's been so much fun, we're getting close to 200 episodes now. And most of the time I'll interview other course creators. I hope we can have you on the show soon talk about online courses.
Salome Schillack (29:13):
I'd love that.
Jacques Hopkins (29:15):
Sometimes I'll do solo shows, but it's all things online courses. And I spend way more time on the Piano In 21 Days side of things. And the main thing on the other business we'll call it, is the podcast, but it's fun. At this point, I only want to be doing things I find fun.
Salome Schillack (29:30):
Yeah. I agree with you. I agree with you. I've decided the point of life is joy. So find myself doing something that doesn't bring me joy, I start going, "How can I not do this?"
Jacques Hopkins (29:39):
Yeah. There's certainly times in life where we have to do that, but once you reach a certain level in your business, that should certainly be the goal.
Salome Schillack (29:48):
I agree. And it's easy to get habitually caught up in doing the hustle stuff. And then if you go, "Well, hang on. If the point of life is joy, what am I doing here? And how can I change it?" It's life changing
Jacques Hopkins (30:00):
And it's hard to do that if you don't have a good team.
Salome Schillack (30:02):
Well, you've got to build a good team. You've got to build a good team. I'm very lucky, I have a great team. The podcast is that the Online Courses Guy?
Jacques Hopkins (30:12):
It's The Online Course Show.
Salome Schillack (30:13):
Oh, sorry. The Online Course Show. It is just a podcast at this stage, are you monetizing it in any way?
Jacques Hopkins (30:19):
Yeah. We've had sponsors for sure. I've historically offered various programs and memberships. The doors are currently closed because I have been doing so much with Piano In 21 Days, we completely revamped the platform, moved everything to a new platform, lots of custom development. I redid my whole course at the same time, and now we're about to launch the app. So while all that has been going on, I just closed the programs. The podcast is still happening. And then in a few months, once things settle with Piano In 21 Days, then maybe I'll open some more programs.
I like to just take a seasonal approach. Sometimes I'm really big into Piano In 21 Days, and other times I may be more heavy into the other side of things. And they're so different than each other, that helps keep things interesting for me as well.
Salome Schillack (31:04):
I love that. And you can do that with the podcast because you can batch the shows and have someone else take care of the publishing and the promotion. And that frees up your brain space to focus on something that you want to make better or do bigger, or better, or brighter, or shinier, or different. So that's one of my favorite things of having the podcast is that you can do that.
Jacques Hopkins (31:28):
It's a lot better than Clubhouse, it's got to be live. I had somebody on the podcast I was interviewing the other day and he was like, "Hey, when's this going to come out?" I was like, "Oh, four months from now." And he's like, "What?" He couldn't believe it, but it's like, "No, that's how I work. That's how I've got to work because I've got to get these things." And so if I do want to take like two months off, everything's going to keep rolling.
Salome Schillack (31:47):
So done. We love the library of prerecorded shows. What's next for you what's next?
Jacques Hopkins (32:01):
Well, that's an interesting question for sure. Right at the beginning of 2020, I watched a video that really, really resonated with me from a guy named Alex Becker. And he was talking online courses specifically, and he's like, "Here's where I see the direction of online courses going." And what he talked about in that video was because of all the tools, because of all the information out there, creating an online course is getting easier and easier and easier, and so it's going to be harder and harder to be successful with online courses, and there's going to be a lot more people that are in it, but a lot more people not successful. And so what this means is you've got to just be the best. You got to have the best, you got to have the best funnel, you got to have to the best course.
And only the people that have the best everything are really going to succeed because it's just a such a saturated market. And let me tell you, piano courses is a saturated market. You mentioned already, you've literally signed up with one of my competitors and that really resonated with me. And that's one of the reasons that I spent a long time evaluating all the course platforms, trying to figure out the best place for my course, redoing my whole course. And so that's really my focus right now is just making Piano In 21 Days as good as it can possibly be for those exact reasons.
And so we've done a lot, we've accomplished a lot over the past few months, but we still have ways to go. There's still videos inside of my funnel that are three years old that need updating, the app is not launched yet. So the next like three to four months probably are still just making every single little piece of Piano In 21 Days as good as it can possibly be. And what's after that, I'm not sure yet.
Salome Schillack (33:37):
I love that. I agree with you, I think it is more about going deeper and creating better, more engaged communities and creating better and more all the tech system, all the stuff that we use to provide the course and deliver the content, looking at it from a psychology perspective, and an educator's perspective, and an entertainment perspective, and all of that, and making sure you're taking care of the whole humans needs in your course, you're not just delivering content.
Jacques Hopkins (34:10):
I like to say transformation over information, what do you like more, making a sale or getting an email like Salome, "Oh my gosh, you changed my life, what you did." Which one do you like more?
Salome Schillack (34:22):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I don't know if you've seen some of my A-lister branding. I'm like full on Andre stopping 1920s flapper gear. And people ask me why I do that and I say, "Because people love it, they come in and they just love that I'm willing to do that to build energy, and just to build engagement, and just to bring them into something that's a little bit more engaging and entertaining. And then if by chance they learn Facebook ads from it, right.
Jacques Hopkins (34:53):
Yeah. I love it. I couldn't agree more. And I think that's where we're going for the most part too, I think even when I got into this, my main motivation was the money. It's like, "Oh, I can go to sleep and when I wake up in the morning, I made a sale, yeah, sign me up. That sounds amazing." But now, I just can't get enough of the videos people send me of them actually and what that means for them in their life. That's really where it's at, and that's the reason I want to work 40 hours a week and not four.
Salome Schillack (35:23):
Yeah. And that gets you up. And that makes that 40 hours feel like it went by like this.
Jacques Hopkins (35:30):
Yes. I agree. Completely.
Salome Schillack (35:33):
Yeah. I get to Friday afternoon and I go, "How did we get here? How is it already Friday afternoon?" And I guess there's, to touch on what you said that initially when you started, it was about the money, I will say the same thing. Initially when I started for me, it was about the money, it was about not working in a job because I am not a good employee. I didn't know this whole entrepreneur thing either, but I knew that working for a boss doesn't do it for me, but the money was. But if you think about even just like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, once those physical needs are made, once we feel we have enough money in the bank, once this business thing is working and we're making money, it is so good to go, "Actually, it's not the money that's driving me. Actually, the money is a beautiful side benefit." I want to say, side thing of the impact that we can make and getting those videos and getting those messages are amazing.
Jacques Hopkins (36:32):
Yeah. That's really well said. It's easy for us to say, the impact is more important or means more now, but we are making sales too. You mentioned the hierarchy of need, are you familiar with Mike Michalowicz The Business Hierarchy of Needs?
Salome Schillack (36:47):
No. Tell me.
Jacques Hopkins (36:47):
You've never heard that concept?
Salome Schillack (36:47):
Jacques Hopkins (36:49):
It sounds right up your alley because you brought up the hierarchy of needs, but Mike Michalowicz, he wrote Profit First, big and small business author. His latest book is called, Fix This Next. And he walks you through his business hierarchy of needs, there's five of them. And the bottom most one is sales. He's like, "If you don't have sales, you don't need to be worrying about anything else." That's the most important thing. I think the next one is profit. I don't remember all of them, but at the very, very top, the last one, I'm pretty sure it's legacy, which you can't really worry about until all the other needs are taken care of.
Salome Schillack (37:27):
I love that. I'm going to buy that book right now. I listened too to Profit First on audio and loved it so much that I bought the physical books. And when I buy the physical book, you know I love a book because I work through audio books very quickly. So I am going to go out and buy that new book, Mike Michalowicz. I'm going to buy his new book and figure out my hierarchy of needs because you are so right, it is sales and then profit. I love that. That's great. Thanks.
Jacques Hopkins (37:54):
It's so good. He's definitely one of the guys I look up to most. And these like six or seven books that are behind me, those are my only physical books. I'm with you, I do a lot of Audible, a lot of Kindle, but The 4-Hour Work Week is up there and Profit First is back there as well. That's one of them.
Salome Schillack (38:09):
I love it. I love it. Tell us if you can share one thing, if someone's listening now and they're going, "Holy cow, I want 2.4 million automated evergreen funnel as well. And I want a successful podcast, and I want to be able to travel and take big adventures with my family." what is one piece of advice that you would leave us with that you would say, if you hold onto it... If someone had told you this thing when you started, it would have made all the difference for you?
Jacques Hopkins (38:38):
I feel like you might agree with me, but the most important thing is building an audience. That's so, so ridiculously important. And when I got started, I was like, "Okay, I got to make this thing and then just put it out there. And once it's out there, it'll figure out how to find it success." But I had no market validation, I had nobody asking me for that. And I've seen just interviewing so many course creators on the podcast and just seeing people and hearing various stories, most of the success stories, they really focused on building an audience and then ask that audience what they needed most and then build products around those needs. So that is, to me, the most important thing, build the audience, build it the right way.
Salome Schillack (39:27):
I totally 100% agree with you. Totally, 100%. It's the one thing I see when the students get sidetracked and they want to figure out what's this new fancy funnel, what's that? And my question is always, "Are you building your list? Are you building your list?" And if the answer is no, forget about anything else, build your email list.
Jacques Hopkins (39:47):
Do you mind if I ask you a question?
Salome Schillack (39:48):
Yeah. Go ahead.
Jacques Hopkins (39:49):
As a Facebook and Instagram ads expert, if somebody is like, "Okay, I'm getting started and I want to do it the right way, I want to build my audience," if I don't have a product yet, does it make sense to run ads yet?
Salome Schillack (40:03):
Here's my answer to this, what I teach my students is... I'm so glad you asked that because I can hear my students go, "Oh, I have the answer, I have the answer." I teach people to use engagement ads, which are cheap ads that you can run for $5 a day before they sign up to any fancy software, before they pay $100 a month, or $200, or $300 a month for any fancy software, you use engagement ads to get your engagement content, your social media content out into the world, to start building your warm audiences who are going to be the people you're going to retarget with your list building ads later, or you use engagement ads to bring people into your world, and then just organically, put call to actions for list-building, for download my lead magnet. But you have to start that conversation.
Unfortunately, Facebook and Instagram organic algorithm is dead. So if you're going to choose Facebook and Instagram, then you are going to need to pay-to-play. But the benefit of paying to play early on is if you think about what Mark Zuckerberg wants for marketers, it is engagement, because engagement is the currency of social media. If I engage with something, if I click, or I comment, or I like it, that means my eyeballs are staying here. So they actually rank our ad accounts according to the engagement we have. And if you're just starting out, you're going to feel like you're walking through mud if you're trying to do it without adding engagement ads onto that.
And then when you have a little bit more budget, when you've built your email list to, let's say 1,000 people, then you can start running ads to build your list as well. And then when you do build your email list from there, your conversion costs are a lot lower because your account has engagement on it, because it's woken up because Facebook sees it as a quality account because you're already have engagement linked to your account. So that's why I teach my students to start small, start before you invest in any fancy software, and start with engagement ads, and start waking your digital assets up because engagement also means that people are now clicking to your website, and then they're finding your lead magnet there. So it just wakes everything up. That's my soap box about that?
Jacques Hopkins (42:34):
I love that. I figured you did have a soap box on that topic, and it's easy for me to say, "Okay, build an audience." But a lot of times people will say, "Okay, Jacques, but how? How do we do that?" And my typical recommendation for course creators is a YouTube channel. One that worked really well for me, it's worked for a lot of people that have come on the podcast, but I really was curious to hear your take on just the audience building piece when we don't necessarily have a product to sell yet. It sounds like you can still very much do that with even as small as $5 a day on Facebook. That's awesome.
Salome Schillack (43:05):
Yeah. I love your suggestion of YouTube. I agree with you, I think YouTube has consistently been one of the easiest platforms to build an audience on. And I use the word easy with caution because I know that it's a lot easier to use Facebook and Instagram than YouTube, but I still think YouTube, the algorithm still works, we're not subjected to the same type of stuff that we are on Facebook. So I agree with you, I think YouTube is a brilliant place. When I started and I didn't have an audience, I used Periscope, which was then the hot thing, just like Clubhouse is now, Periscope was the thing to be on. And I spent three, four hours on live broadcasts on Periscope, way back when.
And what happened was then Facebook Live launched, and as soon as Facebook Live launched, I was so broadcasting fit, I was the first person on Facebook Live, and that's how I created my first course. My first course was called Facebook Live Superstar, and it was because my audience was saying, "How are you going live?" And I had just done it so much that it was turned into my first online course. So I agree with you, build your audience, and if it has to be Clubhouse for you right now, because you're getting started now and that's what's hot now, that's great. But as soon as you've made $100,000 stop being on everything, stop being everywhere, stop trying to pimp yourself out on social media and just use ads. That's my point of view.
Jacques Hopkins (44:41):
I love it.
Salome Schillack (44:42):
Where can people go to learn more about Piano In 21 Days and about The Online Course Show, please?
Jacques Hopkins (44:49):
Excellent. So pianoin21days.com. And actually theonlinecourseguy.com is where you'll find The Online Course Show. So you were so close early, I should've given you credit
Salome Schillack (44:58):
Oh that's right. I knew I got it somewhere, theonlinecourseguy.
Jacques Hopkins (45:03):
Salome Schillack (45:04):
That is fantastic. Jacques, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. I look forward to learning even more from you, and I will be in that Piano In 21 Days Course. And thank you very much for sharing your podcast and everything you give back to us online course creators.
Jacques Hopkins (45:22):
Excellent. Yes, it's been a true pleasure. Thank you for the invitation, Salome.
Salome Schillack (45:25):
You're welcome. Take care.
Well, there you have it. Now, I want to ask you a favor, if you loved anything that Jacques shared on this podcast today, I want you to find me on Instagram, I'm @salome.schillack and send me a DM. Tell me exactly what it is that you loved about what Jacques shared, or if there's something you've taken away from this show that you are going to implement in your online course, whether it'll be live or evergreen. Go to Instagram, find me, @salome.schillack, and send me a DM, let me know what is working for you. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a lovely week. See you next week. Bye.
Thank you so much for listening. If you had fun, please come back next week and remember to hit that Subscribe button, so you never miss a thing.