Every one of us has at one point or another felt stuck in a humdrum job or endeavor. We’ve been thinking about breaking out of that daily grind and starting our own business. We’re tired of the bureaucracy and we feel the need to express our creativity and spread our message by putting up our own company. We finally summon up the courage and confidence to step out of that quagmire of mediocrity, and we suddenly find ourselves lost and clueless about where to start or how to continue. Let Danny Iny of Business Reimagined Podcast guide and empower you to figure out what you need to succeed. His practical online courses are tailored towards your specific needs and goals to succeed in your business, establish that online authority, and stay ahead of the game.
Thank you to Bailey Richert from BaileyRichert.com for introducing today's episode. What she loves about The Business Building Rockstars Show is how Nicole Holland brings on such a wide variety of guests and they’re always talking about interesting topics that a lot of other podcasts don’t discuss.
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Danny Iny of Business Reimagined Podcast on Establishing Your Authority Online Through Systematic Educational Courses
I’m very excited to have Danny Iny, returning to the podcast. We are going to be talking about something a little bit different. We've talked about Danny's journey story, and now we're going to come a little bit more into the now and discuss one of the ways that he is supporting people. Danny, welcome back to the Business Building Rockstars Show.
Nicole, thank you for having me. I'm really excited to be here.
For people who aren't familiar with you yet, do you want to give us a quick overview of how you are serving and supporting people these days?
Mirasee, my organization, is an education company. We empower entrepreneurs to do more for themselves online. A large part of our focus lately has been on teaching people how to build and sell courses. It's something that we've done very well and very different from the industry.
Let's talk about online education. How did you wind up getting into this area?
In a nutshell back story, I've had a love-hate relationship with education for most of my life. I quit school when I was fifteen to start my first business. I've always thought education was incredibly important. Most of my career has been in the world of education. I just think it's very poorly done traditionally. My personality is the personality of a teacher. I learn something, I get excited about it, I want to teach it to somebody else. The way I built my online business is like many starting out online, trying to figure things out, and eventually hit on some stuff that worked really well. I started to grow a name, a reputation, and a reach in the business, all that stuff. People started asking, “How did you do what you did?” Some of the approaches that I took were novel and innovative, especially for the time. When enough people asked me, I basically said, “I'll teach you.” I stumbled my way into an education company. We built courses and we sold them, we enrolled and worked with our students, and we got them great results. Then they would ask us, “How do you do this other thing?” That would lead to another course. At some point, the “how do I do fill in the blank” became “how do I build a course like yours because I've taken a lot of courses and got no results. Then I take your courses and I do get results.”I want my courses to be like that.
I have been in the back end of your courses and they are so just well thought out there. There's so much support. You're taking it online, but you don't feel alone. It's not like some digital product that’s standing alone that somebody gets and they can just go through. There are all these different things that you put in there to support success and engagement. Can you talk about some of those things that you have found to be paramount in getting people to actually complete and get results from starting a program that usually is lacking in the online course space and even maybe in traditional education in general?
It's interesting that you bring up traditional education because it helps to understand the context of why this is a problem, why it's such a challenge in this area. A lot of the people who build and sell courses online seem to not care about whether people succeed with their courses, which is absurd. It's critically important because as you're selling and marketing your course, over time, you're either contributing to the number of people out there who bought something from you and not had a result which is your torpedoing your business, or you're contributing to the number of people who've bought something from you and had a great result, which is a virtuous cycle of success. It's critically important, but getting people to succeed is very hard. Getting people to even consume and apply what you're teaching them is very hard. I talk a lot in different places about the trends of online education.
There are a lot of reasons why the demand for online education and courses, especially the more granular courses, that individuals or small shops would be producing. There's a huge increase in demand for those things, so great rosy the opportunity there. At the same time, it's in a lot of ways harder than it ever has been in human history to deliver a good educational experience, to deliver a transformation through education. That's because for most of the history of human education, it was not optional. Think about most of our educational career. We went to elementary school. We didn't really have a choice. That’s just what you do. It's in many places, it's the law. You go to high school, same deal. You go to college, for a lot of people not really a choice, just something they feel like they have to do. If you're consuming courses as part of what is provided in your workplace, again, not a choice unless you don't want to keep your job. There's no option. In cases where it was optional, it was only optional once. I made a decision to go back to school years ago and get an MBA. That was my choice. I made the decision, wants to invest a very large sum of money into this education. Once I'd done that, whether or not to participate in any individual course was not a choice. It's like I'd made this macro decision, and I was in. Now in this era of volitional education, where people choose to do it, they choose to sign up for each and every course because each and every course is short. The investment is, while not inconsequential, a few thousands of dollars is not a few tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It's not an amount that people don't feel like they can walk away from, unfortunately. There isn't even a structure of delivery. It used to be that you go to school, so you know that you're taking a class, you've got to be in a certain room every Tuesday at [3:00] PM. Now you can do it anytime you want, online, on demand, no expiration. Like every moment of choice to attend a lesson is a choice. That becomes really hard because whereas a lot of traditional education could get away with mostly being preoccupied with transferring information, we are absolutely and completely in the game of behavior change. Behavior change in terms of getting people to implement, understand, and apply what you're teaching them, behavior change in terms of even just getting them to show up and do the work to learn the stuff. Behavior change is hard.
I don't know if your audience is familiar with the paradigm of the rider, the elephant, and the path that said behavior change model. It's a metaphor for the conscious mind which is the rider, the unconscious mind which is the elephant, and the environment which is the path. If the rider and the elephant have a difference of opinion, the elephant wins. Like that's always how it goes. That becomes a real challenge because often you've got the conscious mind, the rider, who says, “I want to take this course. I want to improve, fill in the blank, whatever part of my life.” Then you've either got the elephant or subconscious mind, or the environment, or both, that are working against them. Education online, courses online are more important than they ever have been. The opportunity is greater than they ever have been, but it's also so much harder. You have to do a lot to put things on the table that will help people to be successful. People's movement through your course is a function of two opposing forces, momentum and friction. Somebody signs up for your course, they pay you money, or they just opt in if it's free, but that initial action of “I’m in” carries with it a certain amount of momentum. More so if there's money, if there's investment.
There's a certain amount of momentum, and that momentum does not last very long. The momentum peters out over time, just in and of itself, and it is obliterated when you hit friction points.“I can't figure out how to access the member’s area. This homework assignment is confusing. I'm not sure where to submit. I have a question I don't know who to ask.” These are all friction points. What you need to do as a course creator that wants to get people to the finish line is reduce friction wherever you can by looking at where's that friction happening, “How can I eliminate it? How can I smooth it out? How can I just preempt?”That's something that people forget. We're human beings. We can do things that are difficult, but much more easily when we know that they're going to be difficult. Nobody successfully ran a marathon who signed up for it, thinking it would be like a walk around the block. You sign up because you know it's hard. You're going to train for it, and that's fine. We can gear up for things that are hard. Find those challenging points, smooth them out. You preempt to make it easier for people, but then you also have to build momentum. You have to instill small wins. Give people the opportunities to feel like they’re succeeding. You need to build with them the habits that make them successful as they move forward.
It makes so much sense. I know that myself in courses I've been in, and also in courses I run, as you're talking, I can pinpoint things. I know for myself in my early days where I was desperately seeking the answer. I was buying courses to learn because I'm like, “I'm just starting out here. I don't know how any of this works.” I have to learn how to do webinars. I have to learn how to do this. I have to learn how to do that, because that's what the marketing people are saying, that's what all the messages are. I have to learn this or else I'm going to fail. Coming from that space, I know I wasn't alone. That's how the Business Building Rockstars Summit started because I was finding all these people like me who were trying and motivated, and they had the momentum and the commitment, and they were willing to invest, and they wanted a win. I would buy into these programs with these big promises, and I would be left feeling like, “Now what?” Or I would go through the information, but I really missed how to connect it, and how to create the transformation.
I had the inspiration, I had the information, but now how do I implement and how do I get results from that? There's a lot missing in mainstream online education. I love that you break it down and that you create these opportunities and this experience that takes people through those potential friction points in order to get results. Is there anything else that you want to share about that? What I have seen is having had those experiences a handful of times, people get disheartened and they think, “I'm not going to take an online course because they don't work.”How do you overcome that and help people understand there's a lot of opportunity to learn, this is the way things are going, and you don't have to let your past experience dictate your expectations?
How do you give people hope? How do you give them confidence? That's really a marketing question Marketing has to be supported by substance. You have to actually build your course differently. You have to have the support, the infrastructure, etc. In building that infrastructure and designing what it's going to take to tell people be successful, there are a few things that people can think about in terms of what does it take to make people successful? There are a few distinctions that people usually don't make. One is that there are two layers of learning. The first layer is literacy, right? Going from anything about something, to now I have the basic literacy. For example, you were saying, when you started out you didn't know how to do a webinar.
You could attend a webinar about webinars, and you're going to go to Webinar Zoom, and you're going to have your presentation, and this is your high level narrative arc, and you're going to make an offer at the end, and you've been through two of them now. It's like, “I basically, at a high level, know what webinars are.”It doesn't mean you're ready to do one. There's a big gap between that first layer of learning, which is literacy, which is mostly you just need someone to explain it to you. Then the next layer is fluency, and fluency is about not, “I know what you're talking about,” but “I actually can do it myself.” Fluency is not a function of just explanations, it's a function of experimentation, practice, doing homework, trying things out. That's where people really fall down.
A model that I've been playing with a lot is that every course creator will have three kinds of students who come into their program. You've got the very small percentage, the outliers, who will be successful no matter what. It doesn't matter how much your course sucks, they will extract from it what they need. They will move forward, they’ll be successful. Then you've got the outliers who will be unsuccessful no matter what. You can build the best course in the world, get on a plane, fly to their house, hold their hand, do their homework for them, it doesn't matter. Both of those outliers are extreme minorities. Then you've got the vast majority, the 98%, and that's who you should be building your course for. There are two ways and I've been really thinking about this lately, which is one, how can you support the 98% to perform at the top 1% level? There's research about how to do this. There’s a classic experiment in the world of education that dates back to the eighties where this was done with elementary school kids, but the concept is transfer. They would have the control class, which is the regular classroom, kids just doing what they're doing with their teacher.
Then they have two variations. Variation one was the same content, same class, just a mastery approach to learning. Mastery approach is just an educator’s way of saying, “You don't go to lesson two until you've understood lesson one,” which is how it should be. It's not how it is in a lot of online courses. We just passed the new lessons here, whether you've got the last one or not, but that's the first one, just mastery-based instruction. The second was mastery-based instruction with individual tutoring. Every student had an individual tutor. Now here's the crazy thing that they found with that experiment. The first variation, the mastery-based approach, that class, the average was one standard deviation above the control. The mastery-based instruction with individual tutoring, the average of the class was at the 98th percentile of the control. In other words, two standard deviations. That's looking at what does it take to help most of your students perform at that level? How do you push them up? That's a function of adopting things like mastery-based instruction. Don't drip out your course one lesson a week regardless of the pace people are working at.
We don't do that with pretty much any of our courses anymore. The way we do it usually is you sign up, you get access to a module which is a series of lessons, go through it at your own pace. When you've finished the module, you indicate “I'm done,” and unlocks the whole next set of modules. We have human checkpoints and interaction with coaches, which is the individual instruction, and because of the way you can do digital learning, you can make it scalable. We've known since the 80s how to help every student succeed. We just have not known how to do it cost effectively or how to resource it. In the world of online education you can do that because a lot of the “knucklehead” stuff, you can have machines do, you can have technology do. The first thing that you focus on is how do you create an experience that helps everyone perform a lot better? The other thing that I've been spending a lot of energy and attention on lately, I'm working on my next book which is going to be very much about this is what's different about that top 1%? How is it that they will be successful no matter what?
A lot of that comes down to habits and patterns of behavior that tie back to positive psychology research. It's the people who have grits, the people who have resilience, the people who have the ability to self-regulate their emotions to withstand the test of time on the marshmallow test. It's all that stuff. What's really interesting is that all those things are learnable. IQ is incredibly static. You cannot change how smart you are, but these things you can get better at. The great news is that these things are much better predictors of success then straight up IQ or intelligence or anything like that. The other thing that I've been really focusing on like what the cutting edge of educators are doing, is how do you bake in this layer of helping people build the emotional and cognitive habits that help them to be successful? How do you engineer student success? The second is, how do you support more students to become people who will be more successful? Again, tangents, but it’s how I think.
I love tangents because they really take us to places that we can't plan for otherwise, and there's always the magic there. I want to bring up something that you're doing. It's called Lift. It's happening in Montreal. This is the second year you're doing it. This is a live in-person experience versus what you've been doing for so long, which is having this huge transformation for people online through your courses. Why did you decide to also create this in-person, immersive experience?
We're talking about a different kind of transformation. Online courses, the way people usually do them, are very good. If you do a good job with the online courses, they have the potential to be very good at facilitating the acquisition of tactical or strategic skills. You can build really good online courses that help you learn how to, fill in the blank. I've got great courses if you want to learn how to build and sell an online course, how to craft a compelling offer, how to, fill in the blank. There's something interesting that happens when you look at building a business overall, achieving success overall, which is it's not just about those tactical how-to. A great course is not the same as a great business. There are a whole bunch of things that have to be done to be successful in business.
Being successful in business is partially knowing what to do, but partially doing those things. I'm sure you've had the experience. I've had the experience. Everyone has had the experience of knowing exactly what they need to work on, but just not doing it. There's this fascinating study where they interviewed 500 executives and they asked them, “What are the three to five most important issues or problems in your company?”They got this list and then they said, “Let's look at your calendar. How much of the last two weeks were dedicated to working on these problems?”The average was zero. Zero time was spent working on these most important things. Being successful is about directing your energy and attention to working on the right things. That's what we're getting more into the realm of behavior change. An online course is just not the best tool for doing that. In looking at how do we build something to support people through this kind of transformation? I looked at analogs, I look at parallels, I looked at what are the things that are doing the next best job.
The next best version I found high dollar masterminds, $20,000, $30,000, $50,000 for a mastermind. You're in a room with a lot of high achieving people, and it's very true that we are the average of the five people that we hang out with. It's not some power of positive thinking. Their success magnetizes our success, that's nonsense. You get a lot of things from the people you hang out with. You get guidance, you get accountability informally, you get expertise, you get just reality checks. There's a lot that you get there. I understand why these groups can be effective, but they also have a lot of downsides, besides the fact they're just very expensive, which is also a downside. It's very much luck of the draw in terms of do get the right people. The content, the strategies you need, you might get lucky and it's the right stuff, but just as often it's shiny objects.
The accountability that you need to get from that experience is something that you only really get when you've really developed strong relationships. That's like you're in your $50,000, $70,000, $100,000 and, you've been doing it for years. To me, that's unacceptable. I've been in enough of these groups and seen enough people who spend so much money year after year, and they’re stuck. We've got to do better, and so we designed Lift. We designed this experience to really address this problem. How do we get people unstuck? How do we give them the expertise, the training, the framework to work through the accountability, the community, the individual coaching? Every person who comes to Lift works one on one with a coach. We put a lot into the way we've designed this experience, and the results have been transformational. In order to do it this way, and in order to just serve our long term business goals, there are a few things that we've done very differently with this event.
One thing that will be immediately apparent to anyone who's been to internet marketing type events is it's not a pitch fest. You're used to going to an event, every time someone gets on stage they're trying to sell you something. At Lift there is a grand total of one thing people can opt to do if they want to continue working with us. Less than 10% of the overall agenda is dedicated to talking about that. That's really not what the event is about, and no one is presenting an offer onstage or elsewhere for that matter. It is all about supporting you to be successful. I believe that people who come to me achieve success and have a great experience that's good for my brand. It's good for my business. It's my investment in the long-term relationship that I have with people. Some of them will come to the events, “This is awesome, I want to keep working with you right now.” Many won’t, and I care that a year, two years, three years, five years down the line, they still might. This event is a vehicle for transformation, but it's also one of the big investments that my organization makes in relationships with our community.
We've taken the same approach that we do, too. If we do a webinar, our webinars are fantastic. They run two to three hours, tons of content, tons of trainings. People have told us that you get more out of our free webinars than you do from stuff you've paid for. We don't charge you for that webinar because I want you to get a sense of what we're about. I want to invest in that relationship. We're actually taking that same approach with Lift this year, which is a huge gamble. Whereas where can you get such a transformation? It's not the $25,000cost of these high expensive masterminds. It's not a thousand dollars. We're offering free tickets to Lift only to our community, and to the community of people that I really like and trust like Nicole. You have to pay for your flights, you have to pay for your hotel because I'm not made of money. The ticket to Lift does not cost anything, and there's two ways you can reserve it. You can put down a $200 deposit so I know that you're coming, because I'm spending money on the venue and all that, and you get that back at the event. Or because I don't really want your deposit, I just want to know that you're coming so I'm not prepping a spot, you can register with $0 down. You just have seven days to send us your flight information. If we have that, then you're booked, you're good. We're all set.
I've never heard you talk about your thoughts on these high-level masterminds. I can say from experience that when I was a little bit further back, and I was looking at “I want to be in a high level mastermind because this is like that next level. It's out of a group thing, but it's in with these opportunities.” What I have found as I am now invited to these high level masterminds and have invested in high level masterminds, is it's something I've never spoken about before, and I've never heard people speak about before publicly, because I think that's really taboo. The fact that you just talked about it on the show really opens the door even for me to express that I've had that experience, but I've thought, “I'm going to this person's mastermind, who is somebody I hugely respect, and I really value.” I'm in room with people who some are a good fit, some not so much, and so I feel like I actually hold back more than I would in another kind of situation and I've committed.”
Then there's the decision. I've had times where I've had to sit there and go, “Is it worth it?”Even though I've already invested in this mastermind, is it worth it now for me take time off, away from my business to go somewhere that I have to fly to? I have to get a hotel, I've got to do all of that stuff, when I don't feel like I'm getting really supported or the value I expected in the first place. I’m honestly just even more fired up about Lift and so honored that you are opening this to people without that thousand-dollar price tag. Because they can really have that experience, that transformational relationship building and opportunity to be around people who are looking to support them to go to the next level, rather than just looking to get paid at something that is not done in our industry. It's very rare in the industry, and in the years that I've known you, Danny, the amount that you invest in your partners, in your students, in everyone you deal with, the things that you do always blow me away. I'm just super honored and excited to be able to welcome, invite, and encourage my community to join me at Lift next month.
I hope people are going to come. We've done it once so far. It was one of the best things we've ever done. I can share about masterminds. I've had the exact same experience. I won't name names or point fingers, but I've spent many tens of thousands of dollars to join these groups. Gone to one meeting and literally sent them an email and said, “I'm not coming back.” I know I'm entitled to come to more meetings. I've done this with multiple masterminds now that I think that I've spent geez that’s lot of money. That I just told him, “I'm better served staying home than getting on a plane and spending three days in a room, like it just doesn't make sense. It all comes down to there's something really broken about the mastermind model, which is that all these high-dollar masterminds are profit centers for the people who run them. Their incentive is to pack the room, which means as much as they talk about we only take the very best, the very best means people can write a check. When you have too many people in the room, the quality of the experience just decline. It's not really a mastermind. It's like a mini-conference.
I'll share with you, this is something that I've done in the last couple of years that your audience can do too. This is how I do masterminding these days. There are a few events that I go to. We hold Lift and stuff like that. Other than that, I basically say this is the amount of money that I would earmark for professional development, for high dollar masterminds, such as it were. Instead of spending that on some of these masterminds, I will just organize a few pop up masterminds, where basically I reach out to the people I want in the room. I'm like, “I'm paying for everything. I'm paying for the hotel, paying for the venue, and paying for the food. Just come, you're invited.” I just want ten people around the table. It costs me less. I get so much more out of it, much better experience, much better learning. Even if none of that was true, the social capital relationship is totally worth it. It costs less, so for anyone who's thinking about spending substantial amounts of money on mastermind, this is an alternative to consider.
I was the recipient of one of your pop up masterminds. This was so wonderful and amazing. The connections that I made in that room have continued and I've built relationships with the people that I met there, and deepened relationship with you, for example. It really was so powerful and it's something that I personally have looked at. I want to do something like that. The way you just described it for my audience, how you can do that, it just really clicked. Thanks, that is going to be replacing some stuff on my calendar for this year and definitely next, so thank you for that.
You’re very welcome.
Any audience who are interested in joining me and Danny at Lift and experiencing what this is like. Even if you're curious to read a little bit about it, Danny's got a great video where he shares some more about the experience and what you can expect, as well as you get the full agenda and all the info. You can go to BBRShow.com/Lift and that will hook you up with all the info. You can go ahead and grab a ticket from there for free because you're a member of my community and I just value this opportunity so much. I'm so excited to share it with you. It’s in Montreal, which lights me up. I used to live in Montreal. Come visit Canada, come hangout with me, come hang out with Danny, come really build relationships and understand new ways to take your business to the next level with actual takeaways. You will not be disappointed.
I just want to add, for everyone who's listening to this, the fact that you have the good taste to follow Nicole and her work, means I want to meet you and that's why I'm very happy to share this opportunity. I also know that light attracts light, so if you know someone and you're like,” I would love for them to come with me, or I think they'd really benefit from that,” feel free to share the link. This is not a public opportunity. Please don't post this on social media or stuff like that, because I only want the right people in the room. If you're listening to this, you're the right people, and people you trust and respect are the right people, but let's not extend the circle further than that.
I appreciate you saying that and amazing. I think too, that just, again, just speaks to who you are, Danny, and the value that you put into the people who are the right people. It's so true. It's like I know that if somebody is connected with you, then I'm more likely to have a good fit with them, than somebody who's connected to another thought leader or industry expert. Thank you so much again guys. That's BBRShow.com/Lift. I hope to see you there. Bring a friend if you know that they are also a business builder who cares about relationships, who cares about quality, who is looking to change the world by doing things in a way that lights them up and supports others to do great things as well. Until next time, this is Nicole Holland signing off.
- Business Reimagined
- Engagement from Scratch!
- The Audience Revolution
- Teach and Grown Rich
- Audience Business Masterclass
- Course Builder's Laboratory
- @DannyIny Twitter
- Mirasee’s Facebook page
About Danny Iny
Danny Iny is the founder of Mirasee, host of the Business Reimagined podcast, best-selling author of multiple books and creator of the acclaimed Audience Business Masterclass and Course Builder’s Laboratory training programs, which have together graduated over 5,000 value-driven online entrepreneurs.
All of this grew out of humble beginnings; and in just a few short years, he’s grown his current business, Mirasee, to multiple-seven figures in revenue and a team of 30+ people spread all over the world who are on a mission to support a very special global community of over 50,000 loyal and inspired entrepreneurs.
Thanks to Bailey Richert from BaileyRichert.com for supporting the Business Building Rockstars Show.