- Who: James Canzanella
- Website: imnights.com and on udemy.com
- Course Topic: Internet marketing
- Interesting Stats: Created over 200 courses
Who are you and what courses have you created?
I started marketing online in late 2012. Since then I've created well over 200 courses and training tutorial videos. My courses have been on a variety of websites, including Udemy.
What market do your online courses serve?
My online courses are best suited for internet marketers and affiliate marketers. There's a lot of sub-topics that go along with these two. These include social media marketing like using YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Then also email marketing, sales funnels, copywriting, and a bunch more.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your courses?
The biggest benefit of taking my courses is simplicity and clarity. I've taken many courses personally, and one thing that I never liked was when the information was discombobulated. It made it harder to take action. For the majority of my courses, I strip down the unnecessary stuff and get right into what you need to do.
How did you get into the market?
I actually started online with a passion for fitness. Back then, I had a big challenge when it came to getting traffic and efficiently marketing my offers. My focus then turned onto internet marketing strategies where I learned a ton in the process.
I soaked up as much information as possible. So much information, that I kept growing my knowledge, testing new strategies and creating courses based upon the success (or lack of success) that I had.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
The first course I remember creating covered how I got a Facebook fan page from 0 to around 70,000 likes (or followers) and how I monetized it with affiliate offers. It was a Facebook fan page in the fitness niche, so you could say that I was pretty excited that the knowledge I had learned paid off. Because of that, I decided to teach the exact steps I used to accomplish my results.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created it?
Haha absolutely! Despite the fact that I created the course many years back, I can still remember the feelings of inadequacy in the back of my mind.
Constant questioning bounced around in my mind. How will others like it? What will they say? Will they even like it or benefit from it?
I think it's natural that creators go through the constant push and pull when it comes to stepping up, leading, and creating a course to help others. Once you tell those thoughts to go pound sand (so to speak), creating the course comes much easier.
What are your online courses like?
For all my courses, I mostly do video since it's easy for me to crank those out. The type of video can differ, though. For example, it might be a talking head video where I sit in front of my super high-tech video camera (an old iPhone 6). Or it might be a screen share of what's on my computer which is my favorite way to create videos. It could even be a video where I go through slides and give information relevant to each slide in the presentation.
For my slide show presentations, I like using Google Drive. It makes it easy to save all of my previous work. I've also utilized PDF files and even audio files for courses, but that's more so when I host the courses myself as opposed to putting them on a third-party platform.
How long does it take you to create your courses?
For the majority of my courses on Udemy, they usually took around 4-6 hours to complete. For those on other platforms, it could be as fast as under an hour.
The night before I would plan out the course, including how I wanted to create it. Then I'd come up with the steps for recording the videos. Once I knew what I needed to record, I simply went through every section like a checklist until I finished it.
Sometimes it was draining, but it all needed to get done so I'd do it. Over time, you get much better at refining the process of both creating and launching courses. Some courses will take much longer than this, obviously, but courses with about one hour of content can be created pretty quickly.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your first course and getting your first sale(s).
I actually chose a few unique ways to start promoting my courses on Udemy. First and foremost, I partnered with someone where we would both split all of the sales 50-50. He was in charge of marketing my courses, and I was in charge of creating the courses. That lasted for a few months.
Aside from that, my biggest strategy included giving away many free copies of my courses when I first launched them. This was beneficial for a few reasons. It provided social proof, I got many solid reviews, and it allowed me to built a student list where I could promote more courses in the future.
Do you have a lead magnet?
I currently have a lead magnet for those interested in affiliate marketing. It is a cheat sheet that showcases some of the best offers to promote as an affiliate featuring recurring or lifetime commissions. At the time, I'm not currently using that to promote any of my online courses but I certainly will in the future when I create my much bigger flagship course.
What's the traffic strategy that works best for you?
When it comes to my Udemy courses, I have found that targeted Facebook groups and relevant forums have been perfect for getting traffic to my courses.
I don't mind giving away free coupons in the beginning because I know that it will pay off in the long-run. Since affiliate marketing is what I put the majority of my focus on nowadays, it wouldn't be fair to leave out my true favorite forms of traffic which include YouTube marketing and blogging. Overall, organic traffic has worked wonders for me.
What online course platform are you using?
For hosting my own courses, I've used and tested out a ton of membership plugins and platforms. These include WishList Member, Membermouse, Kartra, ClickFunnels, Teachable, and many more. I just recently started looking into Heights Platform and there's a good chance that I'll be using that moving forward when it comes to creating my flagship course.
Do you like it?
The marketplace platforms (like Udemy) are great because they come along with a lot of great organic traffic which can help you get many more sales without doing any extra work. As I recently mentioned, Heights Platform is much newer but I love the features they have and I will most likely use that for my big course in the future.
Are there any features you wish it had?
At the time, there aren't any that I can think of as they offer a lot of what I'm interested in when it comes to hosting courses. However, since they haven't been around for too long, I'm expecting that they will keep adding more great features to their platform (which is always a plus).
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
Since I've spent a lot of time testing out and using software, I have the unique ability to see what a lot of tools have to offer.
Many years back when I was creating my courses I went with plugins like WishList Member and Membermouse. After experiences with those plugins, I wanted something simpler to set up.
All of the other options work pretty well, but Heights Platform has a lot of the features I need.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
I've used many tools in the time I've been online, but here are a few that have had a big impact when it comes to selling my courses on my own. Keep in mind, many of these tools can sometimes be found in all-in-one solutions. Sales funnels, landing pages, checkout pages, one-click upsell and downsell pages, email marketing, live webinar presentations, automated webinar presentation, video hosting, tracking, membership plugins, and I'm sure there's many more.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable by Tim Grover. Tim was the trainer to some of the greatest athletes including Michael Jordan and even Kobe Bryant (may he rest in peace).
Despite the fact the book is about the mindset of elite athletes, everything he talks about can be used when it comes to creating a successful business. I've lost track of how many times I've read this book. But the more I read it, the more I get out of it and the better it gets.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
I've certainly made many mistakes over the years. The biggest ones usually come from a lack of focus or not having my mind in the right spot (the book I mentioned helps with that).
Creating courses, building an online business, or doing anything online can come with many distractions.Most times it's not what you say yes to that matters the most, it's what you say no to. So make sure you know exactly what you want and focus only on that. -James Canzanella Click To Tweet
In fact, whatever it is that you want to accomplish, strive to do it 100 times. It could be 100 days of something or 100 emails, 100 blog posts, 100 social media posts, 100 videos, or 100 courses/training videos (I've even done all of these myself personally).
This will give you a much better assessment of where you're at and you'll also easily surpass the majority of people who stop after doing something only once. Again, it comes down to your mindset.
Please share some idea of revenue.
The numbers fluctuate heavily since I've created many courses in the past. I earned a total of at least $10,000 by launching a course through a webinar presentation.
At the peak of my courses on platforms such as Udemy and Skillshare, my best months were around $5,000-$6,000 per month. That has changed since there were either algorithm changes or terms and conditions updates. In some cases, specific courses are no longer available.
Lastly, and more recently, creating courses is only a small fraction of my income. It fluctuates anywhere between $500 and $1,000 per month. Sometimes it can be less, sometimes it can be more, but that's just a good ballpark range.
Please tell us a little about what the money you've earned from your courses has done for you.
My income allowed me to transition from doing product launches to creating more courses on platforms (like Udemy) while building up the affiliate marketing side of my online business. That by itself, and the peace of mind that came with it, was easily the greatest impact for me. Now, it's simply nice to have an extra little passive income stream.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
When it comes to numbers, I have a strategy that allows you to create an online course in under 60 minutes flat. I created a course on this, but I'll give you an overview of the main strategy here.
First, pick a topic. Then open up a note pad and write down how you want to segment your course. You want to try and condense your course into 3 or 4 big steps.
For example, let's say you want to create a course on YouTube marketing. Here's what your template will look like:
- Step 1) Keyword Research
- Step 2) Creating and Recording
- Step 3) Uploading, Optimizing, and Thumbnails
So that's an example of an outline. What you do next is open up an audio recording program (like Audacity, which is free).
Start running through each section by talking about what someone needs to do first. Break it down like this and you can easily create a course in under an hour. After the audio is recorded all you have to do is just delete a few of the audio mistakes where you slip-up or sneeze or something related.
Who says all courses needed to be video?
This was a great way for me to gain more confidence and create more courses earlier in my online business. Plus, you can always add on to your course later in the future (whether it be through PDF files, videos, or anything else you had in mind).
What has creating your training done for you personally?
Confidence is a big one, and I'm always talking about how confidence is one of the best traits that you need in order to be successful online.Once you create your first course, the confidence snowballs. That's when the process becomes much quicker and many times easier. -James Canzanella Click To Tweet
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
Yeah, his name is Jonas, and I remember personally helping and coaching him when he launched his first product online. I don't remember the numbers exactly. I do remember the feeling of excitement and happiness that he had as the sales rolled in. It felt great to know that I helped someone out in that way.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
Do some research, take a little time, and figure out exactly what you want to do. When you find out what that is, commit to it 100%. I never really did this when I first got started many years ago. Because of that, I found myself jumping around way too much.