- Who: James Rose
- Website: jimmyrose.me
- Course Topic: Zapier automation
- Interesting Stats: Course sales are just over $2k per month and automated
Who are you and what course have you created?
My name is James Rose. Most people call me Jimmy though. I’m a software developer turned marketer and a co-founder of Content Snare – a software platform that helps companies collect content & documents from clients.
On my personal site, I help people automate their business and become more productive. My main course is called Zapier Mastery.
What market does your online course serve?
The course is for two different audiences. First, business owners or operations staff that want to better leverage workflow automation in their business. Automation is one of those things that everyone knows they need to do more of, but there are barriers to getting started.
Second, it's for freelancers and digital agencies who want to begin offering workflow automation with Zapier as a service to their clients.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
Ultimately the big benefit is cutting a huge amount of work out of your business or job role, by automating it. A previous student eliminated his immediate need to hire a virtual assistant using what he learned in the course.
People know that they’d like to automate things, but the biggest barrier to automation is that even knowing where to start. There are so many possibilities, tools, and workflows that it can be overwhelming. That’s why Zapier Mastery starts with an extremely simple workflow and builds students up to knowing advanced tactics that many Zapier experts don’t even know.
How did you get into the market?
I’ve been using Zapier since around 2013. It’s become a large part of our business operations, and it’s something I talk to people about frequently. When you talk about something a lot and people realize it can help them, they start asking questions.
Eventually, those questions turned into “can you teach me?”
And that’s really all there was to it.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Absolutely. I had never taught something in such a structured way before. I wasn’t sure if people would like how it was delivered or if they would even learn anything. Of course, there’s also the worry that no one would buy it.
If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?
The main reason I pushed on was that there were so many people asking me about it.To squash some of my fears, I ran a pre-launch email list and then eventually a pre-launch sale that gave a significant discount on the final price in exchange for signing up before the course existed. - James Rose Click To Tweet
The take up on that made me realize this was something people wanted to learn.
What's your online course like?
It’s really simple. The course is a series of videos with occasional text notes to go along with them. Because it can get technical, all of the videos bar a couple are live-action inside the Zapier interface. There are a couple of talking-head videos in the beginning to communicate the benefits of automation.
How long did it take you to create your course?
I borrowed quite a lot from my friend Josh Hall’s behind the scenes video. The process was pretty simple:
- Outline the lessons – each lesson would focus on only one new concept
- Take notes on what would be in each
- Write a “script” for each lesson – this wasn’t word for word, just an idea of what needed to be covered in more detail
- Refine the order – now that I had a better idea of the workflow, it made sense to move lessons around to introduce them earlier or push them back
- Record the videos
It took me around a month to record around 54 videos. I set aside Monday, Wednesday & Friday mornings from 7 am-12 pm for recording and editing using Camtasia.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
Through my software business Content Snare, I had built up an audience in the form of a Facebook group and email list. This was the first piece. I promoted the course to all my social channels as well as these to get some initial traction.
But most of the early students came from relationships. I’ve always been a huge advocate of building relationships in business. Those come mostly from real-world events or getting to know people within communities, predominantly Facebook. I’d also have people on my podcast and get their message in front of my own audience. When you do things like this for people, they will often help you out promoting your own stuff – even without you asking. Plus, making business friends is loads of fun, especially when it’s at events at the bar.
Do you have a lead magnet?
Against all popular advice, I only created a lead magnet about 8 months after launching the course. That wasn’t on purpose – I just had other things to do.
As I write this my lead magnet is only 2 months old so I don’t have a great gauge on how well it is working yet, but I can see that people are signing up to get it. It’s definitely something I should have done sooner.
It’s a PDF, downloaded, or online if they choose. It covers 5 of the productivity techniques that work amazingly well for me. One of those is, of course, workflow automation.
What's the traffic strategy that works best for you?
I’ve always been an SEO guy. It’s hard to go past traffic that continues to come through long after you put in the work. SEO is a high time leverage activity – by that, I meant the time you put in has a lot of benefits.
The process for that is simply creating content that people search for, optimizing it, and trying to generate links to it. That last part is made a lot easier when you have relationships with people that can link to your content.
Until now, it’s referrals and previous audience that has resulted in the most sales, but SEO is starting to pick up momentum – through both blog posts and YouTube videos around things that my audience is searching for.
What online course platform are you using?
Are there any features you wish it had?
Not at this point.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
It 100% came down to control. I would actually prefer to use a SaaS style system like Thinkific but there were things I wanted to do in the future that I knew wouldn’t be possible. WordPress is a lot more flexible but there are a lot of opportunities to mess things up and for site downtime.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
This would be an essay. I use a LOT of tools.
Right now some of the things I use the most:
- Slack (of course)
- ClickUp – personal task management
- Notion – notetaking
- Jira – software development project management
- Canva – designs
- TextExpander – I also have a course on this that comes as a bonus with Zapier Mastery
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
This is always a hard question because it depends where people are in their journey. I haven’t read this in a while but I remember it being big for me: Getting Everything You Can out of All You've Got by Jay Abraham.
I’d say most of what I learn comes from events and masterminds. My favorite one right now is anything run by the Dynamite Circle.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
I’m making mistakes all the time. None of them seem all that catastrophic. With the course, I think the biggest thing was not spending enough time building an email list and funnel for my main JimmyRose.me site. I relied on my previous audience a bit too much.
Please share some idea of revenue.
The pre-launch was around 80 students and just below $8000. Monthly it’s only doing just over $2k per month, but that is almost without marketing it. Still, it’s not bad for a side business and I plan on ramping up efforts in marketing this year. It also feeds some consulting work that can add several thousand a month, but that varies.
Please tell us a little about what the money you've earned from your course has done for you.
It enabled us to say no to client projects sooner.
With Content Snare, we were injecting almost all of its revenue back into product development and marketing. So to support ourselves (I have a business partner, Mark) we needed to take on click projects. This has helped tipped the balance over to the point where we don’t need web development projects anymore.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
I did just hit 1k subscribers on my YouTube channel. Its taken 2 years to get there but I only got serious about it in the last 6-8 months.The main thing I’ve noticed with YouTube is that you have to find what people are searching for. - James Rose Click To Tweet
If you’re new, no one is going to see random videos you make. You have to get in front of keywords that people are actually looking for answers to. This is really obvious in my videos – one has 27 views and one has almost 30,000.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
It’s something I have wanted to do for a long time, so there’s definitely some aspect of ticking off a big goal there. The feedback that comes in inspires more confidence that I can in fact teach. Many students comment on how well the progression flows from simple to advanced.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
Actually that’s my video with 27 views haha. Gabe was able to eliminate 1-2 hours from his daily tasks right after taking the course.
Stephen avoided needing to hire a VA based on what he automated.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
Run a pre-launch!
You won’t know if anyone is truly interested in what you’re offering until you ask for money. Write up the course outline, tell them what the benefits are, and see if anyone will pay you.
I wish I also didn’t take on so much in one go. 54 videos was a bit much. You can launch with a much smaller course than that.
Learn more about James Rose of jimmyrose.me: