How to Rapidly Scale Your Business with Cole Humphus | EU85
Let me hit you with the truth — there is no “easy” button when it comes to scaling your business.
You have to do the work to get value.
Competitor pressures are not gonna go away, so it’s up to you to strengthen yourself against them.
And how do you do that?
You build a solid foundation that will allow you to become immune to all the changes and shifts that this industry will undoubtedly bring.
Cole Humphus is a multi-talented entrepreneur. He started out by transforming an educational course into a membership site, scaled it to multi-7-figures, and sold it. But his story doesn’t end there.
In this episode, we hear from Cole about the caveats of building a membership-based platform, courses vs. tools, and the best ways to package your product offerings to strengthen your foundation and multiply your success.
If you’ve been relying on content or low-ticket offers to drive your business, listen up…this episode is for you.
To connect with Cole and Rapid Scale System, click here.
People want to pay for a tool that helps them get a result faster [7:02]
A unique way to scale memberships - and what not to do [10:42]
What you need to be prepared for when scaling quickly via trials [19:35]
Before you buy ads, you need to build a strong foundation [32:20]
Everything - EVERYTHING - comes down to the question of, “How compelling is your offer?” [35:48]
…and much more!
EU 85 audio
Cole Humphus: [00:00:00]
They never had the necessity to build the business with the proper foundation and the proper strategy to support a paid acquisition strategy.
Joel Erway: [00:00:16]
Hey, welcome back to another very special episode of experts unleashed Joel Erway here, and I am honored and excited to a very special guest Cole Humphus here with us today. Cole is an amazing entrepreneur who has a very unique skillset and a very unique story of going back and forth between entrepreneurship and corporate America.
Today, I’m excited to have Cole on the show. We are going to be talking about his business, how he took an educational course, transformed that into a membership site, scaled that to multi seven figures, sold it, and had a whole other slew of pivots and transitions after that point.
And really, we’re just going to dive into lessons learned through that entire process and how you could apply certain tactics and strategies that we’re going to be discussing today. Well, I’m very excited, very honored to welcome to the show, Cole Humphus, welcome aboard my man.
Cole Humphus: [00:01:16]
What’s up Joel, I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for having me.
Joel Erway: [00:01:18]
We had a nice little chat before we jumped on. We’ve talked about a couple of things. We’ve talked about video quality, audio quality, we’re both webinars guys. We’ve built businesses with webinars and we have expertise with webinars and I’m excited, man.
I’m excited to Explore your journey in much greater detail. I know my audience is going to love it. I have a very inquisitive mind, so I’m probably going to be diving deep and uncovering a lot of rocks. But as we as we get started, why don’t you give us a little bit of background about who is Cole?
What’s your journey up to this point and give us a quick 60 to 120 second intro.
Cole Humphus: [00:01:53]
Let me try and bullet point it out. I mean, basically in bullet form, I went to school for and got a finance degree, was working in corporate finance one day at lunch, decided that I was going to become a photographer and do weddings on the side for some side income.
I never even owned a camera at the time. I figured I’d teach myself. In fact, it just so happens. I’m wearing my dude internet shirt, which was a quote that I told my coworker when she was like, how are you going to, you don’t even know photography. I’m like, dude, internet, I’ll figure it out. And I did figure it out shot weddings for seven years, three years into that launched a company called Cole’s classroom, which was a photography education company six months into that.
Tried to quit three times cause I was juggling three jobs and I’m like, why the heck am I doing this at four 30 in the morning when nobody’s showing up? And luckily I didn’t ended up luckily getting some momentum, which I skilled, as you mentioned from the sort of very low six figures to very mid seven before selling the company and essentially, you know, That at that exit of the business was almost two years ago.
Now in that two years time, I’ve never learned so much about myself. What makes me tick, what I enjoy, what I don’t enjoy. And ultimately I’m pleased to say I’m following my passions again. Right. It’s sort of like almost this like rebirth and restart, and it’s been it’s off to a good start and really enjoyable.
Joel Erway: [00:03:17]
Awesome, man. What was that first product that you got success with? It was in the music space, right?
Cole Humphus: [00:03:23]
Joel Erway: [00:03:24]
I’m sorry. I meant to say the art space. I’m staring at a guitar in your background.
Cole Humphus: [00:03:28]
As I jokingly told you earlier, it was like, when I was going to do photography, I was instantly, it was like, I’m going to do guitar too, because I know both. And. We, you quickly find out to build anything of substance. It takes a lot of time. So I went the photography route. The first course was actually a newborn photography course where we taught people how to not become wedding servers, but become newborn.
Cause that is a niche within a niche. And the reason why was simple, I followed the data. At that, like I said, I almost quit. I wanted to quit. There was nobody showing up. Then suddenly traffic started showing up and the traffic started coming from a free blog post, which was about as you can guess, newborn photography.
So I said, all right, well, our email list has a bunch of newborn people let’s make a course.
Joel Erway: [00:04:16]
Yeah. So that’s interesting, you know when I work with clients and they talk about like selecting a niche or getting started with the right offer. There’s a difference, right? It’s like, Oh, well, I, you know, I love photography.
I can teach people how to be great with a camera or I can teach them how to, you know God, I don’t know. I should know more about this guy just invested like five grand into my Fuji X T3, figure out how to use it. But, you know, I could tell right away, like if we were consulting and you said, Hey, Joel, you know, I’m trying to toss around an idea.
You know, what do you think about how to teach people, teaching people how to become newborn photographers? I’d be like Cole. That’s a fantastic idea because it helps you go, it’s a new opportunity, right? It’s it’s niche specific and it’s like, okay, tangible. Got it. Check off that box. Can I provide value?
Yes. You’re helping them. Launch a business or add a new income stream with this specific niche. Like that resonates with me. Did you know that right away, like aside from that blog posts, traffic, like as you were getting started, what were some of the other ideas that you were exploring in the photography space with launching this business?
Cole Humphus: [00:05:31]
I mean, I can say answer that a couple of ways. Number one, my initial idea and thesis was my, what I was most passionate about, which was wedding photography and business. And, you know, getting clients all that, and really quickly, I realized that people weren’t interested in that. And I think it was, it’s not that they aren’t interested, but like the people I was attracting were more new, they were more beginner.
And they also, ultimately, as we launched the newborn course, we uncovered by accident. Probably the biggest like aha moment, which was people really love photo editing. And I think the reason why I don’t think I know because we’ve sold so many of these kinds of products, people will always want to pay for a tool that helps them get a result faster.
Right? So courses inherently, you learn stuff and learning is hard work and where, you know, tools can become more of the quote unquote easy button. So I’ll just leave or finish that thought by saying. I wasn’t even the one to do the Fatah newborn course because I’m not a newborn Sarber. So I hired somebody to do it, the same person who wrote the free blog post, and I wanted to contribute and sell the course better.
So I came up with newborn photography, editing presets, which for our wishes, for the light, the Adobe Lightroom program, and all of a sudden we started getting people that were buying the course. But they were buying it because they wanted the presets. They wanted the bonus. So all of a sudden, once again, follow the data.
In my opinion, I like to follow the data versus my passion. I want to know what people are telling me. And we started going down the train of making more presets for different niches and all these things. And that opened up. I mean, that really is what scaled us to our first multiple seven figures, to be honest.
Joel Erway: [00:07:21]
So the idea that you had was first launched this launch, this course for newborn photography, right? Was the first initial go around just a standalone course. When did you transition to membership sites? Cause I know that’s, that’s part of the journey.
Cole Humphus: [00:07:33]
Yeah. Great question. So. We did only courses slash products.
And to me, the course was like video stuff. The products were more of these like quick fix tools and eBooks and you know, that kind of stuff. And we did that from let’s see, 2014 to about 2016. So the first two years, all we, there was no membership. And I decided to do the membership for a couple of reasons.
Number one, I thought like most people that start a membership, they think that you’re going to, like, it’s going to be easier to sell and people are going to stay forever. And that is not how it works at all. Unfortunately. But the more tactical reason why I started the membership was a, we were T we got to $3 million a year from just selling these low ticket items.
But I say that to indicate that’s a ton of. Transactions. And that took a lot of energy.
Joel Erway: [00:08:29]
Product base or does that also include membership? Just to be clear.
Cole Humphus: [00:08:33]
No membership yet.
Joel Erway: [00:08:34]
Okay. So just stand-alone low-ticket products.
Cole Humphus: [00:08:36]
Ads to offers to email marketing offers that whole game. And I was burning myself out on product creation. I knew that my email list, I knew that my email list was starting to get burned out. And more importantly from the tactical, from the financial metrics standpoint, since we relied on paid ads so much, I saw our ad costs going up as we scaled, which is normal.
And I saw our LTV was in trouble. We needed to have something that our people were worth more so we can scale faster. And that’s when we decided to do the membership, which we launched five years ago, just about to the day. It was kind of out of necessity.
Joel Erway: [00:09:14]
Yup. Yup. So launching low ticket products. First couple of years in business, got to 3 million a year running ads got burned out, and then you made the transition to recurring memberships. So was that, Hey, now we’re going to put everything that we’ve sold inside this recurring membership site for just a monthly fee.
Was that the gist of it? Or was there any, anything that I’m missing there?
Cole Humphus: [00:09:40]
I mean, I think initially that was the primary just And I say, cause it is a little bit foggy cause we’ve done so many iterations and testing over these past five years. Certainly from the courses. Yes. And I guess what I’ll say is we have uncovered a lot of unique ways to scale memberships.
And I think one of the ways that I am different in my view of memberships and even my view has changed now, compared to then is simply, you don’t have to pick one or the other. In my opinion, especially in the educational membership space, it is a horrible idea. If you literally just bucket everything and then, and then give in, then they get it via the membership only.
And the reason why is, you know, it’s somewhat, somewhat like we aren’t Netflix, you know, w we just aren’t Netflix. There’s not that much content. So unless you’re like lynda.com or, you know, some of these massive libraries. Yeah, sure. Maybe the app where you can do massive content at a low enough price where people do stay forever.
Great. Otherwise, if you’re like a sticky software, like, and any sort of software, like SAS, you know, that they need in their business, that’s a whole different ball game, but for educational MRR recurring revenue, you know, The course creators, coaches, consultants, all that people, this here’s what happens.
I see it time and time again, people think memberships are easier to sell. So they, they ditch the $500 course or the thousand art course. And they’re like, I’m going to put it in the membership because I want people to stay forever and it’s going to be great, but people don’t stay forever and it’s harder for them to, well, let me first say why they don’t stay forever.
They have to actually do work to get value. You have to do work to get value now on the front end, when you try and sell it on the front end, it’s way harder than selling a one-time thing. Why? Because people don’t want more monthly payments and courses inherently are more specific. So. You know, if you, what I am preaching like crazy right now and what I know to be true from this point on, in the future, the Facebook ads game is completely different.
It’s only getting harder. Ad costs are only going up. So all these people that made this migration from course to membership, they’re getting a rude awakening because it’s hard to freaking get members in. And now they’re at a cashflow issue and they don’t know their metrics. They don’t know how long something’s going to stay.
So the best of both worlds and what I’m doing now in my own business and what I’m encouraging, all my clients to do is go back to the course, sell the course, niche it down, have a specific result that people can know that they’re going to get from that course, sell it at a fair price, minimum 297, all the way up to 997.
So you can scale that in an automated way. I E webinars. Hey challenges are great. They convert good. Well, you still have to show up all the time. So screw the challenge. I want to sell something around the clock, even when I’m sleeping, but then have the membership be the accountability slash the coaching slash the community slash the, you know what I’m saying?
Like, like people are going to have ongoing. People are going to have ongoing needs for access to you as the expert. They’re going to have a need to go somewhere to get help. So don’t give away the farm in the course have both, but now you have a way to scale the front end and that’ll automatically flow into your backend, the membership.
Joel Erway: [00:13:11]
Awesome. So what you’re seeing is memberships are just too difficult right now with the acquisition method of paid ads, true or false?
Cole Humphus: [00:13:20]
I wouldn’t say they’re too difficult. I think it’s highly dependent upon the offer like most things, I think that scaling anything today is harder than it was three years ago and even two years ago, because essentially the arbitrage of, you know, the sort of Delta that con the competitive edge that someone might have from a marketing tactic.
Is gone cause everyone’s doing it. So if everyone’s doing the same tactics and when you have this influx of new competitors into a space, thanks to all of our friends at click funnels that I know we’ve both made a lot of money with, right? Like, so it’s just simple economics, bare entry comes down, new people come in, ad costs, go up conversions, go down attention.
It’s harder to get. So your margin is less. So when I have people that are like, You just grew Cole’s classroom to 10,000 members with $49 a month. I want to do that. Here’s my thing at 19 a month, like cool. Like let’s quickly run some math and see how that’s going to work out. Because if you know your average cost per click and just do some simple math that you can see that that can be a hard thing to scale in less people stick around and, or you have deep pockets.
Joel Erway: [00:14:32]
What was like, looking back on your days of growing that right. With all the tests that you ran, the shifts that you ran out of curiosity. And just so I’m coming at this from a selfish standpoint, we ran I ran a test for a membership. I’ll throw an air quotes, a membership site. It was actually like a monthly newsletter.
Right. And they got some additional monthly content. I didn’t run, paid traffic to edited. I just did it to my internal audience. Right. And it went over like a fart in church, meaning like, it was really difficult, like a lot more difficult than I expected. And I gave away a lot. I included a lot in that offer and, you know, we enrolled a few people and it was We had some tactical hiccups.
We had some it was probably the worst experience I’ve ever had of launching an offer because there was confusion. And messaging was not as clear as it could have been. Yeah. What was like the top lesson that you’ve learned when you made that shift to, you know, selling memberships like. What was, you know, was there anything that stands out like, Hey, this made the biggest impact to help us scale specifically the membership site.
And again, I know you’re making a shift now, but I’m just kinda curious.
Cole Humphus: [00:15:50]
Yeah. I mean, trust me, it’s near and dear to my heart. I think it was, I mean, essentially the, a couple moments. Similar to you, by the way, you know, I launched it and we had a big enough audience at the time that, that we were able to get to a thousand members fast.
So we essentially got to, we launched to like $25,000 MRR, recurring revenue. And in that I felt that was great. And I was like, alright, great. Like sky’s the limit, let’s keep doing this. And that’s when I realized, Oh, dang, like, This is harder to sell than I expected. And we were doing, I was good on webinars and I’d sell the webinar into the $49 a month.
Actually at the time I presented both price points, 49 a month, that included community or 19 a month for just content. And I remember converting 6% and I was like, that’s it? 6%. So the biggest aha moment was similar to probably you was like there, this is way harder to sell than I expected. But then from an operational standpoint, this is taking 90% of my time and effort for not even 10% of my revenue, I guess is the opposite of 80 20, like this ain’t cool.
And I tried and I tried and I tried that year to figure out what to do to start scaling it. Ultimately, my secret weapon was a webinar to a $1 trial. And people thought I was crazy. Not that I shared this with anyone. Cause I was always sort of this under undercover, like, you know, marketer dude that nobody knew.
And, and I think that was smart because I was able to sort of step on the gas and scale really, really, really fast and get some momentum before anyone, at least in my space knew what the heck was going on. And then they would just see this Cole’s classroom community just skyrocket. But, you know, I was able to literally be okay, going 95% in the red or even more.
On my acquisition cost, but I knew my metrics, right. So I, like, I had the financial modeling figured out to where I was like, Hey, I know that I’m going to get only $1 today, but I’m going to break even by day 40 or whatever it was. And they’re going to, you know, so the overall profitability was there. And the only thing I shifted over time was my break even point, which kept going further to the right.
The other thing from a tactical standpoint, that worked really well for us was selling low ticket funnels and then using the dollar trial, not as its own upsell page, but as an order bump that worked killer. Now I would be a fool if I didn’t also say the bad parts about using trials to scale really fast and That is simply it’s.
You’re going to have to deal with way more customer support, put it bluntly. You’re going to have people that are going to be pissed at you. I can’t tell you how upfront and honest we were. It’s a $1 today. Then on day 11, you’re going to get charged $49. So you can go cancel whenever all from within the portal, blah, blah, blah, blah.
They don’t matter. But we’re also talking, we’re doing 3000 trials a month. So even a small percentage of people who. Had a or didn’t or forgot. Right? They forgot. Yeah, no, we were talking about Amazon. We are in an age that people are used to just being able to complain and get the result that they want.
And it’s not that we wouldn’t even do it. People come and they’re like, what the heck, man, you charged me. I just thought I was giving you $1. I didn’t authorize this. I’m like, actually you did, but Hey, it’s cool, man. Here’s your money back. So without going down and being sort of a bearer of bad news, all I will say is.
Scaling really fast via trials. You have to be prepared for the customer support, headaches that it will cause. And, and that is also part of the reason why I’m doing this new shift. Because I think that there’s just a better way to sell online and, and do the best of both worlds, because I would be silly if I didn’t acknowledge some of the positives membership.
The best part of membership is impact. People will. I mean, we have people that have been with us for the last five years and we’ve changed their lives. We were not having that level of impact selling little eBooks and trinkets. We were not having that with the quick fix, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still have that and still sell the thing without the tech headaches.
So that’s why I’m convinced that that is sort of the way of the future. And I don’t think many people are going to be talking about it. Which I’m happy about because I’m planning to.
Joel Erway: [00:20:22]
There’s a couple of things that I want to unpack there a little bit. I think looking back, it seems now a little bit more obvious than when you’re neck deep going through, going through the journey.
Right. First of all, so I’ll, I’ll, I’ll just for my own recollection. Like the first thing I want to say is you went from 6% Webinar conversion selling the full flawlessly, the full price, right? And then you switched to web, you switched to two different conversions, which was the $1 trial and then a $1 trial off of all of your other kind of like trip wires or low ticket, low ticket products.
When you went from full price to $1 trial, specifically on the webinar, what did that do for your conversions, your front-end conversions?
Cole Humphus: [00:21:04]
I mean at that initial test back then, it was, we were North of 20% on the trial and, and, and we’d have 55 to 65% roll over into a full price member. So the net number was basically, we were to Exene.
Right. So if we were at 20 percent trial, but then 60% rolled over. We were kind of at that like 12% versus six.
Joel Erway: [00:21:28]
Cool. So you doubled your double on your conversion with that. And so that’s awesome. Right? Those are tests that like you don’t really get, unless you’re, you’re, you’re deep in the weeds.
And that leads me to the second point, which is memberships. In general, I think are for a very specific type of business owner and from my own experience. And I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I think memberships are more for the nurturing type of business owner because it is kind of I think it’s, hands-on on community, right?
It’s one of the things that you kind of talked about and it’s like, you know, building that tribe, right. Yep. How it’s, it’s it’s for that nurturing type, but it’s also, it’s funny. Cause actually yesterday I’m in this mastermind with a couple of guys we’re in the high ticket space, right. So we primarily push like, you know, promote and launch like three to 10 to 15 to $20,000 programs.
And we had this conversation about. Recurring I’ll throw in air quotes because it’s not really recurring revenue, but some people call it recurring revenue, but it’s basically like payment plans. Right? So instead of selling a $24,000 program, they’ll break it up 12 payments of $2,000. Right.
And one of my buddies was talking about it and he goes, you know, I just could never get around that model because it requires. Me to have to go in the red early on, like even at $2,000 a month, because it’s not, we’re not selling it directly from an order form. You have to go application strategy sessions, et cetera.
Right. He goes, I, that makes me really nervous. Cause I have to go in the red a couple of months for acquisition costs. And there’s that big question, Mark. And you talked about that with your membership model. It’s like, okay, well I know my lifetime value numbers, right? My LTVs. And I think that requires somebody who is willing to learn that and willing to put in that effort.
And that’s not everybody, I mean, like willing to number one, like you have to become a marketer. Number two, you have to be good at marketing. And number three, you have to be willing to get deep into your numbers, know your LTV, run. These stats re you know launch different offers.
So, you know, okay. And you have to prove great content to keep these people to stick. To get all of this stuff to work. That’s a big ask for many people who are wanting to make a side income or full-time income with online revenue. I think that’s something that’s not really talked about. And, you know, we have this big idea of like memberships and recurring revenue and what not, but like the one thing that’s always not really sold me on it is like, man, that seems like it’s like four times as much work and a lot more risk than the model that you’re talking about going to right now. I mean, what are your thoughts about that?
Cole Humphus: [00:24:26]
Yeah, I mean, I agree. I mean, I think that, I mean, it is more work. I mean, I used to, I mean, in those first days of when we were, you know you know, I mean, when we were really kicking butt, I had many, a people close to me who were seeing what we were doing.
And they’ve all considered, right. Everyone thinks the grass is greener. You know, they’re like, Hey man, like, do you think I should do a membership? And I’m like, I know you’re going to think. I’m just telling you no, because you’re my competitor. But the truth is, is like you’re killing it with a one-time product on a webinar right now.
Keep that going. Cause, cause literally the membership, I told so many people this, as soon as you go to membership your business got 10 times as complex. Yeah. You have to have payment decline, followups. You’re chasing people’s credit cards are declining. You. I mean, at one point, Joel, our payment declines were 30 to $50,000 a month.
These are people that did not want to quit. It’s just so happened. That visa is trying to look out for them and S and didn’t, didn’t get you know, didn’t let the payment go through. So, yeah, it’s a headache for sure. For me back then, it was out of necessity and I’m right there now being on the other side, coaching my clients.
And they’re like, yeah, yeah. Membership. And I’m like, You know, like yes, with these caveats and yes, but why don’t we try this first? You know, I’m an 80, 20 guy, you know, like what is the, the path of least resistance to earning the most money? That’s also, you know, so my program is called the rapid scale system, but what I came up with the other day on the fly, which I really liked, some I keep talking about it is before you can rapidly scale, you need to rapidly create.
The needed to rapidly test and the need to rapidly measure, and then you get to the rapid scale part and and yeah, we had to test a lot. Yeah. We had to be really good at marketing and it just so happens. I’m pretty damn good at business and metrics and spreadsheets and all that. Now, once again, let me give the positive spin to it.
There’s a lot of tools out there that, that make it easy to get this data that before I didn’t have, I was doing everything in spreadsheets before and Infusionsoft. Now I run everything through Stripe Stripe already gives me all those metrics I need. So all is not lost. ClickFunnels has amazing analytics at a funnel level, which is super important when you’re running traffic back then when I joined in 2015, they didn’t.
So, you know, and back to your nurture comment, I mean, Yes, absolutely. But you also could have a team do that, right? So it’s like high ticket. You still have op op op ex you’ve got operational support. You have salespeople, you have, so it just takes different form. And so that’s less of the concern.
It’s more of the business logistics and the headache factor for me. And you know, I want people to be able to come out of the gate swinging and what’s, so I’m always looking at for my clients. Like what’s the, yeah, I know that you can help a lot of people. What’s the best way we can package all of everything?
And, and I’ve been really obsessive about that. My clients, ladies, this idea of what’s your product suite, because if you just have one product and it’s like a $24,000 a year coaching program, You’re probably good. Seriously, go run some ads as a matter of ad cost triple you’re going to be okay. But for those that aren’t doing that now, you know who you’re trying to sell a nine 97 with ads on output.
Now we have to really make sure that that’s going to scale. Even if ads double.
Joel Erway: [00:28:08]
I couldn’t repeat that any better myself, you know?
Cole Humphus: [00:28:11]
I knew we’d be friends, joel.
Joel Erway: [00:28:12]
Yeah. You know what I mean? So running the webinar agency since 2014, I mean, we’ve done hundreds of webinars and you know, it takes there, there was the dream that was sold early on and webinars were a lot more effective back then. And when I say webinars, I, I talk like direct selling webinars. Cause there’s also the webinars that go to strategy sessions and mini webinars that we create. They go to phone calls and whatnot, but you know, your product webinars that’s sell 997 or $2,000.
They are like, Number one, they are so like anything, like I’m not even talking just webinars, I’m talking. Anything is Oh, dependent on your offer.
Cole Humphus: [00:28:53]
That word because that’s, that’s everything, that’s it.
Joel Erway: [00:28:57]
Absolutely is. It absolutely is. Mike Dillard it was a friend of mine wrote a blog post about his. List-Grow offer, which was fantastic webinar. I’ve studied it. It’s in my swipe file and he was doing something like, I want to say like 8% of all webinar registrants were purchasing his $1,500 offer on an auto webinar. Now this is three, four or five years ago, right? Yeah. Yeah. And if you break that down, like number one, those numbers are astronomical.
I mean, those like. Yeah, our baseline metrics, like one to 2% conversion of all registrants to convert into a 997 or a $2,000 product, like we’re gold. Like you take that to seven figures right now, Mike. One of the most brilliant guys in this space. And he like the reason why he was able to get that offer that that webinar converts a well was because his offer was just, it was ridiculous.
Now he also wrote about this offer because it came back to bite him in the, I don’t know if it bit him in the butt, but man, he has so much good will in the space that I know that he will be able to cash in on this. And he has been able to cash in on it. But because offer was, if you complete the program and you record a testimonial, I’ll refund a hundred percent of your of your investment.
And so who’s not going to take them up on that. Right. That’s what a compelling offer can do. And you know, it was, it was just like when I saw it, I’m just like, Holy hell.
Cole Humphus: [00:30:27]
Literally if you do the work and obviously, he wants them to get results, but then give a testimonial, he’s getting your money back.
Joel Erway: [00:30:35]
A hundred percent of your money and you have a year to complete the program.
Cole Humphus: [00:30:38]
Why would it, why wouldn’t the conversion rate be higher?
Joel Erway: [00:30:41]
8 percent on a $1,500 offer? I think he went to like 250 grand a month, like instantly.
Cole Humphus: [00:30:47]
Yeah. But you know what I mean, though? Right. But I mean, but my point is simply to play devil’s advocate. That shows you even three to five years ago, how sensitive the market is and how hard it is to get people to make that commitment. Because technically, if they’re given, I always say, people are paying you with your time or money. That’s why I like webinars. You, they pay you with both time and money. Like, so why wouldn’t it be even higher?
Because literally everyone that’s sitting there should go. Okay. We put it on the credit card. I’m going to go do the work. Here’s my testimonial. Woo. I just got this for free.
Joel Erway: [00:31:23]
Yup. Yeah. I mean, it is it’s pretty incredible. I mean, because he entered a very, very saturated market. Like it was. Launch a business, right.
Internet marketing. And there’s tons of those offers, but he knew how do I stand out? Well, you know, all my unique mechanisms and whatnot, like that’s going to take me so far. I need to create the best offer that I possibly can. And that’s how he, that’s how he killed it. And so yeah, it’s just, I love talking about this stuff, man.
I really do. So tell me now, like, okay. When your, like, what’s your methodology now for, you know, helping people. Grow their businesses and launch courses and launch programs like go through your belief system and your, your process.
Cole Humphus: [00:32:03]
Yeah. Well, I’ve been finding fine tuning that, you know, cause like I have eight years of everything in my brain and it’s sometimes it’s like, it’s a challenge just to unpack it all in a more systematic approach.
But you know, where I’m at is essentially you know, a lot of there’s a lot of people out there that are making. Some money online. And I say it like that, it might be 50 K a year might be 250 K a year. And a lot of people have been doing so in an organic way, they’re led to believe that they have to be everywhere.
They, everyone does the same thing, right? Like, like I’m going to start a business and then I’m going to go and make social media pages. I’m going to start posting on social media. And then when I post enough and I have enough people that follow me, some of them will buy something. So people go down that path.
And then what happens though is they don’t know any alternate path. So then they think, Oh, let me just go run some ads. And then it doesn’t work. Well, one of the reasons why it doesn’t work is they may not have ever, they never had the necessity to build the business with the proper foundation and the proper strategy to support a paid acquisition strategy.
And I know I threw a lot of strategies out there, but let me say it differently. If you’re making $250,000 a year because you’ve hustled and made a Instagram page to, you know, a a hundred thousand people that follow you. It doesn’t matter if the Instagram email list does the point’s the same. You have a hundred thousand people that have been listening to you for five years.
There’s so many people that already know, like, and trust you. You could literally release anything and you’re going to make some money. Now is that same person there. They think they got a false, positive thinking that their, their product is killing it. And all they need to do is go buy traffic and they’re off to the races, but it doesn’t work that way because now you’re starting with a clean slate.
People that don’t know you at all. And just, what did we just talk about? You need to have a good offer. And, and, and one of the byproducts of having a good offer is, is really re taking a different look into your. Your offerings and coming up and breaking away from maybe just having the one signature program to what is the best sort of way to package and to multiply your product offerings?
Because one thing that I believe is there’s some customers that want to learn, I E will buy a course. There’s some people that want it done for them done for you services. There’s some people that want coaching, there’s coaching. There’s some people that want the best price, there’s lower ticket. So. What I do is I’ve been helping my clients get clarity around that because you have to have the right foundation.
And part of it comes down to having a compelling offer. But part of it also is expanding your product suite so that you can sort of take your knowledge and re productize it in multiple facets that give you essentially more tools in the tool belt to ultimately sell. Cause the ultimate where I want to take somebody is I want to take them to autopilot profits.
I want people to be able to scale their business, there’s their sales and their profits, because I’ve seen a lot of people that are doing some really big sales numbers, but have not really crap leftover for profits because they hire like crazy. And there’s, there’s better ways to do it operationally, but it all starts with having being able to sell to strangers.
I don’t know you and I see too many people that never get out of that sort of organic hustle mindset. They want the other side, but they don’t, they may think that the ads don’t work for them, but you and I both know, it’s not that the ads aren’t working, you just don’t have the proper foundation and strategy to allow the ads to work.
Joel Erway: [00:35:48]
Yeah. The key as you and I know, right. And anyone listening right now, hopefully you will figure out making ads work all comes down to how compelling is your offer, right. And that might not be the offer that you’re selling down the road in your sales process. Right. The thing I talk about is like, you have to have an offer on your ad.
Okay. So. Think about it. A webinar is an offer. Like, Hey, sign up for my webinars. I don’t put my free training. That’s an offer like that first step is an offer. Then they go in there, they, they watch your webinar at the end, you have another offer, right? And people get this confused all the time is you need to create hand-raisers as fast as possible.
And that’s, you know, that’s from when they click on your ad to giving you their email address or their credit card for a low-end offer, whatever it is. But. You have to have a compelling offer every step of the process. I mean, it’s like every commitment that somebody makes inside of your customer journey is another offer that they’re essentially essentially buying and It’s so important with ads.
It’s so important with ads because people will come to me and they’ll, and I’m sure you understand that it’s too cold. It’s like, like, Hey Cole, I’ve got this amazing. I think I have this amazing offer, this amazing product. And then you listen to it. It’s like, Oh my God, like you probably, you might not say something like do it’s garbage.
Like you’d probably say to it, you know, in a much lighter, friendlier way, but you know, it’s all about offer creation, especially with paid ads, especially with paid ads.
Cole Humphus: [00:37:20]
Well, one interesting note on that yesterday, a colleague of mine or peer, I should say a fellow war room member, the mastermind in, she wrote me and wanted me to take a look because she’s been having a hard time struggling one of her events virtual event, it was like a $95, like bootcamp kind of thing. And I looked, you know, so I just want to be nice. So I peeked under the hood and essentially the ad suck and the conversion page sucked.
And I told her that, and I didn’t. She didn’t take it the wrong way. Cause it confirmed everything that she said, and she’s been using a third party agency and this on the other and they were, she was like, yeah, but they were saying that the way we were doing as before was no good.
And we need to do dynamic and all this I’m like, none of that shit matters. Like, like, look at your click-through rate 0.3% people that’s to your point, the first offer you’re making is getting them to freaking click the ad. So if you didn’t, if you write a shitty ad, they aren’t clicking, you’re paying this astronomical CPC and then they get to this page and the page has no compelling copy.
So your conversion rate there is in the garbage. There’s the problem. So, you know, one thing, Joel, that I’m sure you would agree with that I am trying desperately to bridge the gap for people is, is this whole idea of people know how to package their knowledge, right? Like, like there’s so many guru S kind of courses out there, but those don’t really solve the real problem.
Right? There’s there can be a course to teach you how to run Facebook ads. There can be a, there’s a course to grow an email list. There’s a course to make a good course. Do webinars, all those things, but what’s missing is that middle component that it’s the rapid testing, the rapid measurement and the rapid, like, it’s basically like the, Oh shit.
Like I did all the things I thought I was going to do and it’s not working now what? And, and, and agencies get blamed. It’s not their fault. Right. And so, anyways, I think that’s the biggest challenge for people is, is what is the path forward? And what do they does that mean that everyone has to be a marketer?
Maybe to some extent. I mean, I do believe that I, like I told her, nobody’s going to trust your care about your dollars as much and conversions as much as you do. You have to be at least dangerous enough to know like how to get us in the right direction before you hand it off to somebody else. There’s no easy button for this stuff.
Joel Erway: [00:39:43]
Are you seeing webinars? How are you seeing webinars working nowadays? Like with paid ads, like for. Any type of offer, whether it’s product offer direct to sale. What are you seeing behind the, behind this, you know, in the trenches, I should say.
Cole Humphus: [00:39:57]
You know, you have more visibility into this than I do. Because with my newest venture we haven’t got onto the webinar stage yet. I will be doing that. Absolutely. What I can say on the photography side, I mean, we have seen you know, degrading conversions, But then again, it’s also a very old offer. Like, like we have literally spent multiple six figures on the same webinar. So there’s a lot of variables, I think, but in general, it’s not just webinars.
I think it’s across the board. It’s, we’ve seen it with wire, you know, low ticket funnels. We’ve seen it with webinars and it comes down to, I’ve been preaching about this for so long not to you, but to other people. And I just think it’s, it’s literally just like. When people hear it, it’s like, it should be a well, duh, that makes sense.
And that is that we were saying earlier, the free stuff that everyone’s putting out has better production quality. So they got more people in the markets. You’ve got more competition, which drives ad costs up. You have more people that are doing and offering and giving away more for free. It’s essentially just harder to get attention.
You got all these people that already know that they’re going to get pitched on a webinar that already know that they’re going to have four upsells on the low ticket. Like, so what do you do when all of the tricks don’t work anymore or not? As they used to? Does that mean email’s dead? No. Does that mean webinar’s dead?
Hell no. Doesn’t mean they don’t work as good. Yes. So once again, that’s why, that’s why I’m passionate and happy to be doing my current thing, because it all comes down to building the right business foundation and strategy and principles so that you become immune to these competitive pressures that are not going to go away.
They’re only going to get worse. And I do think that that does mean everyone should have some kind of high-ish ticket thing. Yep. You know, there’s a lot people that I don’t want to coach. Cause that takes work. I’m like, dude, do you know how much work it was for me to sell $49?
Joel Erway: [00:42:01]
Yeah, you’re in the wrong business, man. It’s like, if you’re looking for push button easy, like you’re not
Cole Humphus: [00:42:08]
go clock in and clock out somewhere, that’s it that’ll be as easy as it gets.
Joel Erway: [00:42:11]
Yeah. You know, it’s. It’s a rude awakening for these people who think that, Oh, I’m just going to go online, sit behind a computer and nobody’s going to know who I am and I’m gonna make a, make a million dollars or whatever.
Cole Humphus: [00:42:23]
Yeah. I mean, trust me, I love ClickFunnels, but, and you might be one funnel away, but you also might be like a hundred funnels away. But then when one hits, you might have yourself, a three, $4 million business that you can sell and really make some cash. So it’s interesting times. And I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming.
I sold my business for a reason. And it was a good move, but also I am confident in what I’m doing now and everyone who’s listening. If you already own higher ticket things, like you have some built in immunity right there. And that’s a good thing. If you’re solely trying to do low ticket, I think you’re going to be in for a rude awakening, for sure.
Joel Erway: [00:43:03]
Low ticket has its place. Right? It’s but it has to be part of a business model. It has to be part of it
Cole Humphus: [00:43:09]
can be solely low ticket and trust me. Right? This is coming from the low, the Walmart of photography education online, seriously. I mean, I’ve sold over 200, I think, thousand unique customers.
And you know, the interesting thing, Joel is when I launched my newest. The rapid scale system. You know, I’m enjoying just being the only one right now. It’s me. There’s no customer support. It’s me. There’s, you know, in 30 days I basically outlined the course created the course had no Instagram at all, made one just to literally talk to people from clubhouse because Kevin conversations closed deals.
I was getting on these sales calls and it was remark one of the first sort of aha moments I had was like, wow. This is way easier than I thought to get $3,000. Like, like, wow. And I’m not talking. Yeah, no, like multi-month thing, like this was like three grand. The initial offers three grand for 30 days.
And I closed like 90% and some of which people don’t even know me, they just met, we talked on the phone and they’re like, yeah, let’s and I’m like, Holy crap. I spent all these years, like literally having to your point, making ridiculously good offers. For $7 for 49, like, wow. And to your point earlier, when you had the sort of flop of a membership launch the biggest, I think misconception people have is, is always going to be more, more content equals amazing value that you know, it honestly, I think has the opposite effect, many times more content equals.
That’s a lot of work. That’s a lot of overwhelm. I don’t want that.
Joel Erway: [00:44:46]
We’ve spent the past year and a half. So the year 2020 was like our best year in business. It was the least amount of work that I also put into the business and what and I want, I don’t want people to get the wrong impression with that.
Right. It took five and a half to six years to build up to that. And it also created this weird situation of like, Am I doing something wrong or it, like, I went into this weird funk of yeah, made a bunch of money and I built the team. I built the systems in place. And as an entrepreneur who is not a managerial type, like I’m that opportunities.
Right. So I love going after new opportunities. You and me not, not an operations guy. Like we have operations, but it’s been a long time to get there. Right. And It was all based on the fact of easy sales. Yep. Now, when I say easy sales, it’s reflecting exactly what you just talked about with your $3,000 offer, right?
Easy sales and low maintenance. Now you still have to bring the value. So you have to deliver, you have to have something that people want to learn, and that takes work to develop, but. When you’re able to develop a unique selling system with a unique offer that provides value. These sales conversations, these enrollment conversations are super simple, and it provides a lot of, a lot lower stress, a lot lower customer service.
And it’s a very, very cool way to make a living. Whereas, you know, last year I was just like, am I really like, I’m sure I’m doing something right, but this is weird. Cause I’m trying to figure out like, what do I do next? Like revenue is awesome. Life is awesome. I’m working 16 hours a week. Friday is off like it’s, it was just a very weird situation to be in.
But That’s what, that’s, what I enjoy doing, you know? And that was, that was the lifestyle that I wanted to build for the business. And it finally kind of like clicked all last year and many people are seeing it. You were seeing it as well. And you know, there’s, there’s a growing trend of people who realize like, okay, I needed to develop a high value, high ticket offer.
I’m okay with getting on the phone. I’m a professional, right? I’m a consultant. I’m a coach. A lot of course, creators hate getting on the phone because they want to be behind the scenes and just like, Oh, just buy my stuff. And I’ll never talk to you. It’s like, you’re not really my ideal customer and that’s totally fine, but there are lots of people who want that one to two person business, you know, Elaine, God, I hope I’m getting her, her name Wilder.
No, I know, I know Elaine Wilder, but Elaine Poe felt created this book called the million dollar one person business. And it’s like, that’s kind of the dream of most of my you know, of most people that I speak with. It’s like, okay, like how do we package and how do we give you proper positioning, create a great offer and make it super simple to sell and super simple to deliver.
Now that’s oversimplifying everything. There’s a lot of work that goes into that, but it’s completely possible. And you know, I think you’re seeing a lot of people move in that direction as well.
Cole Humphus: [00:48:04]
I think, I mean, you know, once again, before we can rapidly scale, you got to rapidly create rapidly test. And part of that is being diligent with like how to best utilize your time.
So I’m right there with you. Like in fact, near and dear and very recent with my. My group of students I’m working with right now, time and time again, I’m having to remind them, what’s the path of least resistance to test, do your first test. Like it doesn’t have to be this low. Why are you going to try and do a low ticket thing?
Then you need four different, you need the upsells, you need this, that, and the other, why don’t we just create a webinar? And instead of even trying to sell the $19 a month, let’s try and sell it as a one-time product. First for four 97. Let’s just see, you know, get that initial data point. But Yeah, I’m glad that you, it’s interesting when you’re talking about sort of having this, like what’s next and almost this like confusion and these weird feelings, you know, since selling my business, I have never had so many weird feelings and I think what it comes down to is it’s, it’s, it’s a little bit of that question of like, what’s next, right?
You just can’t help feel a little bit lost. And I think the reason why. Correct me this sort of a question for you, but I think the reason why is we always are used to like, always having that like next, like goal when you’re like a goal-driven person. And then when he hit the goal, then it truly is what’s next.
And when you don’t know what’s next or in your case, maybe you’re like, I don’t want to double the business. Cause then that’s going to mean more operational headaches. It’s going to be in less product, a profit, all these things. It becomes weird. And all I can say is to what you had mentioned about people.
It’s a really cool job, I think is what you said. It is like I am cause cause you can structure the coaching in a way that it doesn’t rule your life. Like if I could literally. Hang out and really have massive impact with my, with people by coaching them one time a week and have this Epic community with they’re brought together.
And I have a coach or two that helps take the day-to-day workload. What more could I want? Right. But the point is, is impact. And that’s what brought me back out of jokingly semi-retirement you know, is because. I realize that’s kind of what was missing for me. I already sold the company. I already have enough money and really quickly you realize it’s not about the money.
And I know you probably feel the same way. Like, like even if you had your best of your last year and I’m sure a few years prior, you already got to the point that you didn’t need more money. So you don’t, you aren’t continuing to grow because you need to double your business. Joel, you’re growing it because you love this stuff.
And then if I were to ask, why do you love it? You’re going to say, Oh, I get to really have a big impact on people. You’re changing people’s lives. And that’s what I want to start doing more of. So it’s, it’s, it’s really cool to retrospectively, you know, when you’re in it, it sort of sucks. But when you look back and you get on the other end, you have clarity.
It’s really cool to be able to be like, yep, I’m doing exactly what I want to do.
Joel Erway: [00:51:12]
Okay. Yeah. It’s a, it’s a great, it’s a great feeling when you’re able to have that reflection point and Inexperienced on like any other so cool. Where can people, I mean, this has been an awesome conversation. I mean, I love talking about this, you know, you’ve had massive success with low ticket and selling your, we didn’t even talk about you exiting and selling your site and and then, and then going to work for corporate then.
Yeah. Not, I mean, so I think that’s, we can probably have a follow-up conversation with that, but this has been extremely valuable. We’re going to be, we’ll go connect with you and follow your stuff.
Cole Humphus: [00:51:45]
Yeah, I mean our website rapidscalegroup.com. That would be the great place to start. And, you know, aside from that find me on Facebook or Instagram.
If you just want to message me and say hello or email me, I just I just enjoy these kinds of conversations, not just with you, Joel, but anyone who’s listening. And if there’s any way I can help you guys, I would, I I’d love to have the opportunity. This is really cool stuff that you and I get to do to help people. I can’t think of any better way to spend my days.
Joel Erway: [00:52:14]
Awesome. Cool. Appreciate it, man. It’s been a blast chatting with you and talking about business and life and offers and marketing and membership sites and all things, internet marketing, obviously I geek out on it. So to you if you’re listening right now and you resonate with Cole, go check them out, let them know you heard them on experts unleashed, and we’ll see you on the next episode.
Cole Humphus: [00:52:36]