How Deidre Alves Started ExuLab’s Online Course for Leadership Development

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Who are you and what course have you created?

I’m obsessed with learning and the learner. And … I’m obsessed with leadership development and the leader!

I’m Chief Leadership Officer of ExuLAB. We specialize in inspired executive learning and leadership development. Our purpose is to inspire learning and leadership as a force for good in our world. I hold a Master’s Degree in Education – Multicultural- Multilingual Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed.)

I’ve been in the world of learning and leadership development for almost 2 decades and have led organizational learning and leadership transformation across the globe. I’ve seen the best and the worst of what learning and leadership development can be and do in this world.

What I discovered is that the common thread to success across the board is establishing trust with your teams. Trust happens when real empathy is activated. - Deidre Alves Click To Tweet

I set out to develop an online course for executive leaders (including school leaders, administrators, and superintendents) that teaches what real empathy is, the misconceptions of empathy, how to create an empathy awareness, and a helpful tool to utilize to activate empathy in building trust with your teams.

The course name is Executive Empathy – Powering Empathy and it’s Professional Development for Executive Leaders.

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What market does your online course serve?

Our course is designed for global executive leaders including profit, non-profit, school leaders, administrators, and superintendents. It is as applicable to new leaders as it is to leaders who are experienced and want to keep fresh and top of their game.

What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?

I love the digital badge you get at the end that can be posted on your professional websites and related social media. This digital badge demonstrates leader competency- it tells the world that this person has that extra knowledge and skill to build and lead great teams to success!

How did you get into the market?

This is an extension of ExuLAB’s signature in-person course. I have had a ton of success and positive feedback from the in-person version so I knew the topic was relevant, helpful, and very needed in the executive space.

Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?

I always wanted to create an online university for ExuLAB- but was looking for the right platform. When I found the right partner platform, I was able to then build our university ExuLAB U. and our first course was a no brainer- I decided to do an online version of our in-person signature course Executive Empathy- Powering Empathy Development for Executive Leaders!

Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?

Yes, I did struggle in the beginning to out the course together. In fact, the final version you see is completely different from the first iteration I designed. The topic and content are the same but the method I used is completely different. I literally had to redesign the entire course to really speak to and engage an online audience.

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What’s your online course like?

We have a little bit of everything! The course is completely learner-centered meaning that every part of it was meticulously designed for the learner to connect to the material and feel a part of our world-wide classroom atmosphere that ExuLAB specializes in- There are 5 modules with 23 lessons total. We have micro-videos that introduce or teach a concept- I think our longest one is only 6 minutes.

Micro-videoing is so helpful to our learners, but it isn’t easy to create- we had many tries to get it just right and maintain quality. - - Deidre Alves Click To Tweet

You will also find knowledge check quizzes throughout, a really cool “Challenge” and some exciting and thought-provoking deep dive reflections!

How long did it take you to create your course?

It took about 3 months working @10 hours each day. I first designed the goal that I wanted students to achieve, then what would demonstrate that goal, then the detailed outline followed.

Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).

We launched when we had a 100% finished product. We are now working with companies for licensing deals and building a flipped model where a company can bulk purchase and/or license our course and then ExuLAB holds live sessions to build upon and apply the content learned in a customized way that directly aligns with the objectives of the business.

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Do you have a lead magnet?

Yes, you get to preview a couple of lessons of our course for free and when you sign up at ExuLAB, you receive a free i-Graphic on the 10 Secrets of Inspirational Leaders.

What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?

What we have been doing is contacting businesses, associations, and schools personally. We want ExuLAB to be a leader’s best friend and value that personal touch. We also have a published blog on leadership and enterprise learning on our website and encourage partnering with guest writers.

What online course platform are you using?

We use Thinkific as our online course platform and we like it!

What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?

I liked that it was very geared toward learning and not selling- while selling is very important- we believe the learning and the learner come first.

What other tools do you use to run your online course business?

We also use GoDaddy.com.

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What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?

John Naisbett’s High Tech High Touch.

Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?

While I didn’t do this, I see it a lot- do not just throw your content up there- in order to be successful, you must thoughtfully re-design your content to fit the learner and the platform. Every detail must be considered.

Please share some idea of revenue.

We are currently projecting gross monthly sales as we speak and will finalize once we close our licensing deals. We are just launching and things are looking good!

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In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?

We are just launching but our model is personal contact for now with the intention of building a true community through this process and have organic exponential growth flow from there.

What has creating your course done for you personally?

It is helping to bring to life our purpose at ExuLAB- which is to inspire the growth of global executive leaders- to lead empathetically and perform successfully- as a force for good in our world- even when it seems impossible. To me, that is one of the highest rewards.

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Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?

Yes, after one of my leadership programs, I received the highest professional compliment- “because of you and this program I finally feel I belong.” To this day, it is in my heart, I have never forgotten that and it means something to me, that I used my power as a leader for good and helped better someone’s world. And that is what ExuLAB is all about, developing leaders to use their power as a force for good in our world and to make it better and brighter.

What advice do you have for people just starting out?

Go slow! Do not rush! If you get stuck, find a motivation to keep going. Also, take time to learn the tech of the platform you are going to use. Get very familiar with it.

Learn more about Deidre Alves M.Ed. of exulab.com:

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