Greg Smith is the CEO and co-founder of Thinkific, the most trusted platform that makes it easy to create, deliver and sell online courses.
Thinkific – Thinkific is the place for remote education. Join 50,000 entrepreneurs creating and selling their own online courses!
3 Value Bombs
1) If you’re listening to this, it means there is something in you. You wouldn’t be listening to this if there isn’t something in you that you want to share with the world. Recognize that it’s there and go out there and share it with the world!
2) Yes, you need to consider the areas where you can make money, but the first question should be about knowing your passions, or where you have skills, knowledge, or expertise at.
3) It’s about finding the niche, building the community, delivering results, and sharing what you’re good at.
NetSuite: With visibility and control of your financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more – NetSuite is everything you need to grow, all in one place. Visit NetSuite.com/fire to learn more about their special financing!
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Becoming a Knowledge Entrepreneur: Your Next Great Revenue Generator
[1:03] – Greg shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- Success is not about winning, it’s often about failure. It’s during failure that you learn.
[2:35] – Let’s talk about knowledge entrepreneurship.
- It’s an entrepreneur pursuing their passion to share what they’re great at to help others.
- When you’re trying to resonate with everyone, then you’re resonating with no one.
- It’s about finding the niche, building the community, delivering results, and sharing what you’re good at.
[4:47] – How can we monetize our expertise?
- Care about the size of the market you’re going after.
- The opportunity is so massive and it’s growing rapidly.
- Just in case learning is going to the university, getting a business degree, and learning things that you may use one day.
- Just in time learning is learning a skill today – where people will go online and find YOU to teach them that skill.
[6:50] – What types of businesses are creating courses today?
- There are courses on pretty much everything – from teaching pest control, to preparing for nursing exams. There are also people teaching sewing, building fitness centers, corporate finance, painting miniatures…
- You need to consider the areas where you can make money, but the first question should be about knowing your passions, or where you have skills, knowledge, or expertise to share.
[12:39] – What is the future of Thinkific now that it is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock exchange?
- It is to help course creators generate more revenue in the business, build up the community, build more customizable products to deliver to their audience, and most importantly, making it as easy as possible.
[17:14] – Greg talks about the Thinkific App Store.
- The App Store is the next step for Thinkific, and it’s for everyone who wants to build a business and create courses to make everything super easy for their customers and students.
- If you want it, and it’s specific and unique to you, then the App Store is the place where you can find that unique element that you want to add or connect to your business.
[19:03] – How can Fire Nation become a knowledge entrepreneur?
- The first thing is to dive in and start. Get something out. Start showing it to 5 people and then go from there.
[20:39] – Greg’s key takeaway and call to action for Fire Nation!
- If you’re listening to this, it means there is something in you. You wouldn’t be listening to this if there isn’t something in you that you want to share with the world. Recognize that it’s there. Go out there and share it with the world!
- Thinkific – Thinkific is the place for remote education. Join 50,000 entrepreneurs creating and selling their own online courses!
Boom, shake the room, Fire Nation, JLD here. And welcome to Entrepreneurs On Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like the MarTech podcast today, we'll be focusing on becoming a knowledge entrepreneur, your next great revenue generator to drop these value bombs. I have brought Greg Smith into EOFire studios. Greg is the CEO and co-founder of Thinkific, the most trusted platform that makes it easy to create, deliver, and sell online courses. Today, Fire Nation, we talking about knowledge entrepreneurship, how to monetize your expertise in this new economy. We'll also talk about becoming a knowledge entrepreneur and so much more.
When we get back from thinking our sponsors with visibility and control of your financials, inventory, HR e-commerce and more net suite is everything you need to grow all in one place. And right now special financing is back. Net suite is offering a one of a kind financing program today. Head to netsuite.com/fire. To learn more that's special financing at netsuite.com/fire Fire Nation.
Thinkific (1m 5s):
It's time to stop trading time for money and start reaching more clients and making a bigger impact. And you can do just that with online courses, try Thinkific for free today at Thinkific.com/EOF that's T H I N K I F I C.com/EOF.
0 (1m 24s):
Greg say what's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
1 (1m 31s):
What's up Fire Nation. So happy to be here. Something that I think I think differently about success is that it's not about winning. It's often about failure. And I think that way, because the winning is the, it, it comes and goes kind of easily, but it's the failure where you learn. And if you know, you look back on the big moments in your life, I think it's the, you don't want to get to a place where you're looking back on the wins and saying like, oh, that was the best it's ever going to be. It's the failures where you learn. And also when I look around, you know, in my own call them successes, it's the places where I still see failure and things going wrong, where I look at it and I go, that's opportunity.
1 (2m 13s):
That's opportunity to be better because if you look around, if everything's perfect, you're like, well, this is as good as it gets. And I don't ever want it to be as good as it gets, because then it's all downhill from here. I liked
0 (2m 21s):
That quotes. I think it was Earl Nightingale who said success and happiness is the gradual realization of a worthy ideal. So if you think about that, it's not the realization of that worthy ideal. It's not like IPO going with your company or it's not, you know, winning that lottery ticket or it's not, you know, getting to certain milestones is the journey. The gradual realization of that in very key words here, we're the ideal worthy goal. So think about that Fire Nation and in revel on that. So I keep hearing this phrase, Greg knowledge, entrepreneurship, what the heck is knowledge entrepreneurship.
1 (3m 3s):
I guess it's one of those things like the creator, the influencer that that's slowly evolving as people that are like the industry is kind of creating it. But I think it's, it's someone who's got or an entrepreneur who's, they're pursuing their passion. They're trying to make an impact in the world, but they're doing it not necessarily with any business model, but with the idea of sharing what they're great at sharing some area that they have knowledge or passion and trying to help others with that. And, you know, I think it's partly, it's about finding your niche. I mean, a wise, a wise person once said, when you try to resonate with everyone, you'll resonate with no one think that might've been you John from your book, but, but part of it, I think is finding your niche because if you're, if you're educating, why it's even more important to fit with the niche of, of people or community, part of it more and more now there's an evolution in this space of moving towards community.
1 (3m 59s):
And that, you know, long time ago, it used to be okay to have like a, a PayPal button and some downloadables at files. And now we're Mo you know, we've, then we went to more like gamified and engaged. And now I see people are almost starting with the community and, and often even starting with a social account before they go to a website. And then another really big thing about the knowledge entrepreneurship, I think is the best knowledge entrepreneurs are really focused on delivering results. They want to, it's not just about build a business, create revenue. They care about delivering an impact and results. And they realize that that's part of the flywheel that brings people back to work with you again, to work with you more and to tell all their friends to work with you.
1 (4m 39s):
So it's, it's often about finding the niche, building the community, delivering results, and then all around that, sharing what you're good at your knowledge, your passion, to, to have an impact.
0 (4m 48s):
And I do love just that whole concept Fire Nation, that it's not about selling stuff per se, but it's about selling skills. And when you really think about that, now it's about you developing the knowledge, developing the skills you can then turn around and of course provide solutions that people who have real problems. So let's talk reg about monetizing this expertise, these skills that we can acquire and this new world that we live in. I mean, let's be honest, that is post pandemic. We don't really know what's coming ahead in the future, but you know, let's talk about what it can look like for us to monetize our expertise,
1 (5m 24s):
Learn a lot over the years about talking to investors. And it's a good way. What I found is the more I think about talking to an investor or pitching the company, the more I, the company becomes better or our business or our own idea. So I would encourage, you know, Fire Nation out there, whether you're day one of a new venture or you're part way through think about how you would pitch this to others. Even if you're not in sort of a venture capital fundable kind of business. If it's, if it's a lifestyle business for you, if you think about how you would pitch it to, for someone to invest or pitch it for someone to buy the company. One of the big things they care about is, you know, what's the, what's the size of the market you're going after. And the interesting thing in this, in this new economy, this knowledge entrepreneurship, where you're monetizing expertise is the opportunity is so massive and that it's, it hasn't really been easily quantified and it's growing so rapidly.
1 (6m 14s):
And there's so many interesting trends that are pushing it in that direction. One of the big ones is this just in time learning versus just in case, like I went to university that to me, that's just in case learning. I go get a business degree. I learned about how to do a financial statement, just in case one day, I need to do a financial statement just in time is I'm, I'm working or I'm working out and I need a skill today, tomorrow this weekend, and I'm going to go online and I'm going to find someone who's going to teach it to me. And that's your opportunity as a knowledge entrepreneur, that's your opportunity and monetizing expertise is to go. There are millions of people now going online every day saying, I need to learn something. Now I got to get better at this now, and you can go and find them and serve them.
1 (6m 56s):
And that creates a huge opportunity to monetize because you're adding value and you're adding value at the time and the place that they need it to deliver a result. So that, that opportunity is huge right now to be monetizing in this space.
0 (7m 7s):
So I want to talk about Thinkific specifically now, because in 2020 alone, you helped over 50,000 creators craft and launch their courses. And what's mind blowing too, is that there's over 21 million students that benefited from that. So right now, what are you seeing? Because your finger is on the pulse. Like, what are the trends? What types of businesses are creating courses today?
1 (7m 33s):
The thing that's really wild is the breadth is I am constantly shocked by the breadth. We really cut across every horizontal. So the thing I encourage people to think about is like, it's, you can get out there and find your, your niche or your specialty or your avatar. I'm, I'm like literally, I think quoting from your book, keep
0 (7m 55s):
Doing it, keep doing it Fire Nation. That's the common path to uncommon success. Keep going back.
1 (8m 0s):
Sorry. Yeah, there's the plug there and John's not paying me to do that, but I love it. It's a great, it's an awesome way to look at building this out. And, and like, there are opportunities everywhere. Like I see people teaching courses on pest control or, you know, preparing for a nursing exam. Those might seem a little more intuitive, but there's also people teaching stuff on sewing. Like, so can she a whole business around teaching people, sewing or online math courses for curious minds from a potion low or building a fitness business for physical trainers and fitness professionals. So you've got someone who's good at something and good at teaching. And now they're saying I'm going to go train the trainer. And then the ones I love to talk about like hula hooping or even, you know, more conventional stuff like, like corporate finance or painting miniatures.
1 (8m 48s):
And it's just, I think if there's an area w w the mistake I think would be to ask where's the, and I can make money, and yes, you need to consider that. But the first question is like, where's my, where's my passion, right? Where, where do I actually have some skill, knowledge expertise? I've gone through a challenge and you don't have to be the best in the world at it by no means at all, do you have to be the best in the world at it? You, you just have to, to, to be, have your own passion in that area and, and create a way to find people that you can help.
0 (9m 23s):
And I do love that Fire Nation , the quote, you don't have to be the best at it because listen, you just need to be more of an expert than the people that are going to be consuming. The content that people that you will be teaching the people whose problems you will be solving. Like when I launched podcast is paradise, I was not the most knowledgeable podcast in the world. I was pretty darn knowledgeable, but I wasn't the, the top for sure. I probably wasn't in the top 10% back then. But the way that I taught things, the way that I connected, the way that I promoted it, and with live webinars and all these different things, I've now brought in over 7,000 people in a podcast is paradise. And for the past four years, of course, we've been using the best course platform in the world, Thinkific, obviously.
0 (10m 8s):
So you can see where you don't need to be the best it, especially when you start, hopefully you grow towards being the best because you're, you're picking a niche that you can grow and expand in and really dominate, but does not to start that place. You just have to start, take action, learn along the way. And we have so much coming up. As soon as we get back Fire Nation from thanking our sponsors. One of the number one challenges, entrepreneurs face is figuring out how to scale. You don't want to trade your time for money, because eventually you run out of time. And when you master your time working one-to-one with clients, what do you do here at entrepreneurs on fire? We've been using Thinkific since 2017 to solve this challenge by delivering knowledge to thousands of entrepreneurs around the world, with online courses, as a result, we've seen a huge lift in revenue without needing to trade time for money, but don't just take our word for it.
Thinkific (10m 57s):
Sarah Cordiner, CEO of Main Training was also max out, delivering work for her clients. Her options were that she could hire more people, raise prices or introduce online courses to her business. With Thinkific, she has educated over 9,000 students in 131 countries and has increased her profit margin 100% from previous years, all that without trading her precious time, it's time to take your business to the next level, by creating an online course on Thinkific. Visit Thinkific.com/EOF that's T H I N K I F I C.com/EOF
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1 (12m 33s):
So Greg Thinkific is now a publicly traded company. Congratulations on the Toronto stock exchange. What does this mean for the future of Thinkific? And I would love you also to kind of move into a pre-interview kind of conversation that you and I have when we were catching up about your happiness hangover. First, what it means for the future. I think if it can, and for others is we, it is massive investment by us now in the success of our course creators. So everything we did around the IPO is about raising money and raising brand awareness and Thinkific so that we can go out and help more course creators and help you as a potential course, creator knowledge, entrepreneur, someone who's building a business to, you know, generate more revenue in your business, build up your community, build more customizable products to deliver to your audience.
1 (13m 26s):
But most importantly, we want to make this as easy as possible. So all of that goes back into research and develop and building out the product to make everything easier and easier for you to go and build your business. So that's, that's where we're kind of investing in growing. And then, yeah, this happiness hanging over, it was a weird thing. It was my wife who actually finally put her finger on it for me. And I went, it was a a month and a half or so after the IPO month or so after, and I had a week or two of just the closest thing, I could describe it as depression, and I've never experienced anything like that in my life. I've been really lucky to be pretty well equipped, to deal with stress and things. And I was, I had this almost like two minds where I would, I had a couple of days, I walked to the end of my driveway.
1 (14m 9s):
I stood on the threshold of my driveway in the road. I looked up the road and down the road and I couldn't come up with a reason to just go for a walk. I'm like, there's nothing out there worth walking to. And then the other voice in my head was saying, what is wrong with this guy? Because that's not me, but it was this weird phenomenon. And my wife sent me this article from a psychology magazine of that. After highs, there are often these lows and it was this just, I'd experienced this high of going through an IPO and having this billion dollar company. And, and for me, it was just a, it was a milestone and continue the journey we're just getting started.
1 (14m 49s):
But something about that triggered something even biologically in me, that was okay. Now you need to come down and, and, and take your beats and, and almost experienced this low afterwards. It was a, it was a weird thing to explain,
0 (14m 60s):
Talked a little bit with you as well about things that I've experienced similar ends, the example that I actually gave you on our pre-interview chat, isn't even as good as the one that just came off from you when you were sharing that. But for me, wow, this was a doozy I will say. So I was an officer in the U S army for eight years, and I came back and went to law school and I can remember being so listless during my first semester of law school. So apathetic and what really was the moment for me, Greg, like your moment of being at the threshold of that driveway and not even thinking there's a place to walk too worthy of walking to. I was watching my favorite team in the world of any sports, the new England Patriots. I grew up in new England.
0 (15m 41s):
And I, I used to live and die with this team. Like every first down was a touchdown. You know, every loss was devastating and the highs and the lows were amazing. And I loved it and I was watching the game and I could just care less. I couldn't care if we won or lost. I didn't even understand what people saw in sports anymore. And it was just like, what is even happening? Why did I even use to care about this stuff? Who cares? This is so stupid. And then I was like, whoa, whoa, something something's up with you. And then I was like 27 years old at the time. And it took time. But over time I identified it as PTSD. Like I was identified with PTSD and I was going through depression because of that because of my time and Iraq in a war for a 13 month tour of duty.
0 (16m 26s):
And so I resonate man, with that feeling of apathy, you know, being apathetic and listless and just like, not even understanding like, like why you're feeling that way. Cause I didn't understand at the time. And so this is real Fire Nation. Some people are gonna experience this. You know, we kind of mentioned briefly, you know, women experiencing postpartum depression and not understanding why, because they're so they were so excited to have a baby and there's like, there's things out there. So, you know, emotions are real. So if you're dealing with something right now or you have in the past or you do in the future, just realize that likely almost everybody who you've looked up to and admired who has achieved success as gone through this because it is just the rollercoaster of emotions that we have as human beings.
0 (17m 7s):
So Greg let's move on. Cause we have some of the things that I do want to talk about today, but you recently launched the Thinkific app store. What the heck is that in Washington Fire Nation care?
1 (17m 17s):
So the app store is it's the next step in a long journey of what we've been working on at Thinkific of being two things for a couple of things for you and for anyone who's looking to create courses or build their business. And one of those is we want everything to be super easy and we want to give you everything in one place that you need to create and grow a business around your knowledge or expertise or passion. But also recognizing that as we see the successful course, creators, the ones who care about this, the one who start to grow their business, the next step for them, once they got that easy mode up and running, they want to start connecting to other tools. They want to start customizing as they scale, they have a vision for their product and we don't want to in any way constrain that.
1 (17m 59s):
And so we've always been about having a very open platform, open API APIs, which allow you to connect to other tools. And now the app store, which makes it sort of one-click to connect to other tools. And that's just getting started. We're going to add a lot more to it, but really it's about saying, look, you can get everything you need here to get up and running and get going and build a business. And then anything you want to connect to any niche functionality that you need. You can connect to that through the app store and add in new functionality. We even see some clients building their own functionality and then selling it through the app store. So it really allows you to do some, really some really niche things like special ways of gamifying things or special ways of engaging with your community or special ways as that unique ways of marketing.
1 (18m 42s):
And it's kind of thing that maybe not all of our customers want it, but if you want it and it's specific and unique to you, then the app store is a place where you can often go and find that special, unique element that you want to add to your business or connect to your business.
0 (18m 57s):
So let's end with a bang, Greg, because I want to talk about how Fire Nation specifically can start becoming a knowledge entrepreneur. Like what would you just recommend in general for our listeners to take that first step?
1 (19m 11s):
The first thing really is to dive in and start. And this goes back to the point even where we started around success and failure in that gradual journey is you got to get on the journey to, to see that. So if you are, even if you're, you know, most, most of you probably have some kind of a business or something going, but if you're looking to add that knowledge entrepreneurship, if you're looking to take something you're good at, or you have a skill at, or you're passionate about or your skills and start selling them, or building that around your business, then dive in and get out there and start delivering it. The best entrepreneurs I've seen in this space, the one that are most long-term successful and really build something. They dove in quickly at the beginning and they started offering something and it was a little bit scary and it was a little bit uncertain and there were some failures along the way, as opposed to the ones who said, you know, I'm going to go and work on this privately for a year before I launch something.
1 (19m 60s):
I think the big thing is just dive in, get something out, start showing it to even five people. And then you can build it from
Thinkific (20m 7s):
Greg's courted me a couple of times Fire Nation, which I, of course I appreciate. So I want to end this with a MLK quote, Martin Luther King Jr. You don't have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. In fact, if you think you see the whole staircase, you're just kidding yourself because life will always adjust and you need to pivot and you'll need to figure new things out. So just take that first step and Greg.
1 (20m 33s):
What's the one takeaway that you want to make sure a foundation really gets from everything that we talked about here today. And then we're going to give a call to action Fire Nation, which is Thinkific.com/EOF. And I'll tell you more about that in a second. And then we'll say goodbye. The one takeaway think is that if you're listening to this, if you've been listening to two EOFire for awhile, there is something in you. You wouldn't be listening to this. If there wasn't something in you that you want to share with the world. And so I would just encourage you to recognize that it's there and to go and get it out there and share it with the word, Oh, it's there Fire Nation. And one thing you know, that I love is number one, I've known Greg for years and years and years now he's been to my place in San Diego.
1 (21m 13s):
I've been to his place in Vancouver. I mean, it's, it's, we've built a friendship up over the years. And then that friendship turned into a partnership when Thinkific said we want to come in and sponsor entrepreneurs on fire in a major way. Cause we know Fire Nation is the perfect audience for what we're doing. And so we just finished our first one year together as sponsors and now as partners. And now we've just entered into a second year, a full year of this. So you'll be hearing a lot more from Thinkific in the upcoming years, Fire Nation. Cause it's a fantastic partnership. We are proud not only to use Thinkific for our courses, but to recommend the, you do as well because they're simply the best and they're to continue to be the best. Kate has so much fun using all the Thinkific tools that have recently come out.
0 (21m 56s):
And now that they're her poetry at a company, there's going to be no shortage of funds for them making their products better and better and better for you Fire Nation for your customers, clients, and students. So make sure you visit Thinkific.com/EOF support us Fire Nation by supporting our sponsor think ethic. T H I N K I F I C.com/EOF get over there, sign up, check it out. It's free for you to sign up and look around for a little while. You'll be blown away by their awesomeness. And Greg, thank you for sharing your truth brother with Fire Nation today, for that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
0 (22m 38s):
Thank you so much. Hey, Fire Nation today's value bomb content was brought to you by Gregg and Fire Nation. What can 3000 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs teach you? How about how to achieve financial freedom and fulfillment? My first traditionally published book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success, is a revolutionary 17 step roadmap that will lead you to the lifestyle that you've been dreaming about. This book took me 10 years of accumulating the genius of the world's top entrepreneurs. And you can get it all in one place. When you visit UncommonSuccessBook.com, I'll catch you there, or I'll catch you on the flip side
NetSuite (23m 15s):
With visibility and control of your financials, inventory, HR e-commerce and more net suite is everything you need to grow all in one place. And right now special financing is back. NetSuite is offering a one of a kind financing program today. Head to netsuite.com/fire to learn more that's special financing at netsuite.com/fire
0 (23m 33s):
Fire Nation is time to stop trading time for money and start reaching more clients and making a bigger impact. And you can do just that with online courses, try Thinkific for free today at Thinkific.com/EOF. That's Thinkific.com/EOF.
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