[Note: In case you’re wondering, this post is a follow up to this (which received more email replies than I’ve ever received on this blog). I try my best to respond to each and every Facebook comment, email, and blog comment]. Ok… I received a LOT of comments from readers calling me a “tease” and “punk” in my last email… And our awesome LifterLMS VIP Paul said… Sorry about that. I’ve been reading a book on screenwriting, and I think I might have taken “cliffhanger” thing a bit far. Anyway, I’ve been feeling reluctant to talk about all of this. But this is long overdue, so here goes… As many of you know LifterLMS has grown so much over the last year and has exceeded my wildest expectations. Our small team has created something that now supports thousands of teachers and students all over the world. And we are just getting started! When we first dreamed up LifterLMS in June of 2014 … I never in a million years DREAMED I’d have the opportunity to have the impact I’ve had. I’ve been blessed to have helped tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of educators transform their lives for the better. And I’ve been deeply touched — and so many times moved to tears — by all the beautiful emails, letters, gifts, and hugs you’ve sent over the years (and from all over the world). On one touching occasion, a LifterLMS VIP called me to tell me that she was making money from home by teaching. This was huge for her, because prior to finding LifterLMS and our LMScast podcast she had been on welfare and not able to get a job because a chronic autoimmune disorder caused her to be bedridden. It’s calls like that make everything worth it. Or another time when I received an email from a lady who was teaching basket weaving from a remote location in Africa allowing her to create a better life by teaching students all over the globe. So here is what I have been holding out on for years…. I’ve been: Nicely asked Strongly encouraged Begged Pleaded with… To share the accumulation of what I have learned over the last 5 years from presenting and researching in Knowledge Management to creating the first profitable MBA program at Azusa Pacific University (while I was an undergrad), and eventually creating LifterLMS with my good friends Chris, Thomas, and Mark. For YEARS I’ve resisted teaching this stuff in a formal training. I made the usual mundane excuses like “I don’t have enough time” and “I’m too busy with building LifterLMS to actually teach others.” And I’m embarrassed to admit that, as LifterLMS grew bigger and bigger (and blessed me and my team more and more)… I wondered if sharing my teaching techniques would actually HURT LifterLMS and result in fewer clients. That I would help people learn how to teach online, and they would choose another platform other than LifterLMS… (In hindsight I realize how small my thinking was.) I also wondered if I was even capable of teaching everything I’d learned… Oh. And I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. (Just ask the LifterLMS team, and they’ll tell you how bad it can get.) Ok “a bit” is a understatement . . . I’m a FULL BLOWN perfectionist. And because I’ve given up all hope of fixing this, I realized that I simply cannot go halfway with this. As far as I am concerned, it’s **all the way** or not at all. Here is what I am going to do: Despite my fears, hesitancies, …


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Getting Personal . . . And FINALLY Doing What You’ve Told Us To Do

Most weeks we send out helpful eLearning advice. Well … today is a bit different. I want to pull back the curtain a little bit and share something more personal. Here goes. I was recently talking to my co-host of LMScast, Chris Badgett, about my goals for 2016. For those of you who know Chris, he is wise and incredible at asking questions that cause me to drill deep into the inner parts of my brain. Chris asked… “What are the things you do for LifterLMS that you are really excited about?” Chris hit me right in my heart. This question put me into a bit of a tailspin. (You’ll see why as you read further.) All my closest friends know that December is a very important month for me. To name a few reasons why … My birthday is this month, I always fly home to Indiana for the Holidays, and I take a lot of time to decompress my entire life from a mental, emotional, professional, and spiritual level. I also consider the month of December as a time of letting go, changing gears, and expanding. This year the usual decompression was painful for me. Don’t get me wrong. This year was AWESOME, and I had amazing growth in all areas of my life. But something has been missing… I’ve found myself having BIG paradigm shifts in my life and the way I look at our business. And I don’t think it’s a quarterlife/midlife crisis. ( I had that a few years ago when I contracted E. coli in China. That’s probably more info that you wanted. ) Maybe it’s my younger brother recently moving in with me to get his feet on the ground while he creates a life in California. He’s always talking about his life and career and what he is passionate about. I think it’s really started to rub off on me. — You may be asking, “Joshua, I don’t care about your drama. What does it have to do with ME!” I’m glad you asked… Because it has everything to do with you! I’m serious. As many of you have noticed, we are revamping the way we do business, and we are really focusing on what YOU have told us over the years that you would like to see us offer and address. Hence, the weekly LMScast episodes, semi-regular “expert interviews,” and mini-courses we’ve created. There’s still more to come! And I am always interested to know what you wish for me to provide, so keep the ideas coming! But… (the infamous “but”)… There is one REALLY BIG request you have made that I’ve been holding back on for over a year – despite pleading and outcries from many of you. I’m contemplating changing my mind and giving you what you’ve been asking for since we launched LifterLMS a year or so ago. But I’m nervous, because it means sharing with you more of myself and my business than I have in the past. And I’m also going to need your help. Anyway, that REALLY BIG request is… (Stay tuned until next time.) – Joshua Millage

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LifterLMS Roadmap Details This Week’s 1.4.4 Release

Membership Levels and the LifterLMS Learner Dashboard As the membership site market continues to mature into more evolved learning management systems here in the WordPress community, we continue to bring the best parts of “membership sites” to the LMS experience. A traditional membership site has what are called membership levels. At LifterLMS, you’ve always been able to restrict access to a course, multiple courses, and non-LMS content to one or multiple membership levels. In this week’s LifterLMS release 1.4.4, the membership levels that a learner has access to can now display automatically on their My Account page. To activate this feature, just click the check box in the LifterLMS settings. By checking this box to display memberships to students, they can see a list of the memberships, along with when they joined and their current status (see image below). LifterLMS Analytics and Student Management Updates You now have more data on your LifterLMS course analytics and student management panel. Learner progress on courses and enrollment status Learner memberships We still have much much more coming to the LifterLMS student analytics and management area. Keep an eye on the LifterLMS roadmap and changelog. And thank you again for all the feedback from the community for your ideal analytics and student management needs. What are Custom Taxonomy Archive Templates? and Why You Should Care In WordPress speak, the definition of a custom taxonomy archive template are pages that display the content in a specific area like in a specific course category. If you are building a lot of courses, you will start to care about course categories as a way to get organized and create a good user experience in your course catalog. If you are a university or larger certification institution and you’re looking to organize your degree programs (course tracks), you’re going to enjoy the power of the LifterLMS course tracks & their associated custom taxonomy. If you haven’t heard it yet, check out this LifterLMS podcast episode about how to build an online certification program. But Wait. There’s More … There’s more detail about what’s available in today’s LifterLMS release 1.4.4 here in the changelog. Click here to purchase LifterLMS. If you are an existing LifterLMS customer and wish to download the most recent version or check the status of your account, you can login here.

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LifterLMS Stripe Extension Release 1.1.0

Today’s release of a new and improved LifterLMS Stripe Extension (which allows you to accept credit cards directly on your WordPress LMS website) embraces the concept of Kaizen. Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen was originally introduced to the West by Masaaki Imai in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success in 1986. Today Kaizen is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organization’s long-term competitive strategy. An issue came to our attention with the LifterLMS to Stripe API connection where amounts with coupons present were not always correct in Stripe. This issue has been resolved. We know how important eCommerce is to your business, and we are here for you. We also stand behind Stripe as our #1 recommendation as a payment gateway for you to work with to collect money from credit cards directly on your web property.

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How To Create A Successful Online Course In 5 Easy Steps

As entrepreneurs we all dream of a passive income… …perhaps from creating an online course or product to share our expertise: to boost authority and impact grow revenue work for us while we sleep… But where do we even start? And how come others seem to manage it so easily? The trick to a successful online course is honestly quite simple…but it’s often missed How do you get the knowledge you have out into the world in a way that makes sense? And more importantly: Make sure it doesn’t flop? Keep reading to learn how…

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How to Sell Courses Alongside Memberships and More! – LifterLMS 1.4.1

Say Hello to LifterLMS 1.4.1 After working with LifterLMS for a while, people often comment on how powerful LifterLMS is as an eCommerce-for-online-courses and membership site tool. LifterLMS gives you a lot of power right out of the box with one time and recurring payments for courses and memberships. You can sell a course by itself. You can sell a course only through a membership that contains it. Courses and memberships can have one-time single pricing and/or recurring pricing. You can even offer a course at a price on it’s own AND through one or multiple membership levels that contain it. In LifterLMS version 1.4.1, you now have even more control over how your prospective learner experiences that path to join a course or gain access to it through a membership. The video below shows the new options you now have to control pricing messages and what the enrollment buttons say based on the course and/or membership options you have selected: Do You Have a Love/Hate Relationship with PayPal? I do. I’ve grown a lot with PayPal over the years. There are things I love … like having them handle international transactions 24 hours per day worldwide. There are things I don’t love … like their complex admin panel. I like options, but sometimes especially in my early web days, PayPal was difficult for me to navigate and figure out as a beginner. At LifterLMS, we want your PayPal experience to be as easy as possible, that’s why with LifterLMS 1.4.1 we gave you: Optional debug mode so you get error messages from PayPal that can tell you what’s not right with your setup PayPal error messages that your customer will see if their transaction has issues so you can better help them pay you A resolution to a checkout issue where no default price was selected at checkout when only recurring payment option existed Thank You and More … I’d like to thank all the members of the LifterLMS community who make contact. Thank you for helping guide the direction of the product and also helping us identify and eliminate bugs. If you’d like to see more details of what’s included in LifterLMS version 1.4.1, head on over to the product roadmap. If you are an existing LifterLMS plugin owner, all you need to do is update your LifterLMS plugin version in WordPress just like you would any other plugin. After that, you’ll be able to enjoy all the new features, updates to existing features, and bug fixes. If you do not see an update available, simply head on over to LifterLMS.com, log into your account, and check the status of your license key and the website or websites that you have associated with your license. Enjoy LifterLMS 1.4.1!

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A Process Driven Approach To Keep Your Learning Community Engaged Without Burning Out

I’ve been asked about the “machine” we’ve built at LifterLMS to keep engaged with our current and prospective customers. You know the great thing about that question? It’s the word machine. Personally I prefer the word system over machine. It sounds less mechanical and more human to me. You’re in luck that this question about the system we use to keep engagement levels high in our business has been asked, because you’re going to get to leverage years decades of experience condensed down into nuggets of wisdom. You have to to do the work to get going, but I promise you will experience relief in your state of overwhelm or uncertainty about how to engage your learners online or market effectively at scale. Please don’t just read what I’m about to share. Take notes and take action! It’s okay to start with one small step. Just keep going. At the end of this post I’ll give you a specific daily action plan. To get the most out of the action plan, be sure to read the full post. How to Accelerate Engagement with Your Current Learning Community Members 1) Leverage the Power of One-To-Many – This is a philosophical critical first step. If most of your communications are one-on-one, you will never be able to scale past a certain point. If your communications mostly consist of emails, phone calls, and/or personal meetings, you don’t have communication leverage. You’re just really busy. You need to be able to communicate one-to-many. This doesn’t mean you have to be on a podium and broadcasting with no feedback allowed. You can absolutely have group discussions. If you create a situation where you answer one question for one person and someone with the same problem hears that, you are on the road to scale. 2) Leverage the Power of Community – You need to get in a position where other people are having conversations about your course without your direct involvement. There are only so many hours in a day. You can’t scale your own time and voice past a certain point. The most important thing about creating an active community is to to have a GREAT course. You can’t force people to talk about your material if your course content, course experience, or value is low or average. So you have an awesome course … How do you actually build a community around it? There are so many different ways to build a community. What’s important is that you pick the method that works best for you and your audience. Here are a few ideas: Regularly scheduled Google Hangouts or Zoom group calls or webinars (We talk about Zoom here) Private Facebook group A live event or regular in person meetup of some kind If you and your audience are more technically savvy, perhaps try an invitation only Slack channel Encourage conversation in your LifterLMS lessons comments 3) Leverage Video Marketing – If you’re not using video in your communications, you might be seriously missing out. According to a study by Cisco, by 2019, online video will be responsible for four-fifths of global Internet traffic. The statistics for the U.S. are even more impressive, coming in at 85%. I highly recommend you leverage video in your lessons. Focus on the content before you get obsessed with the production quality. As you’ve seen on our podcast for education entrepreneurs, LMScast, sometimes we engage with our customers on video and then share the episode with our community. The most important reason for doing this is that as education entrepreneurs ourselves, we do not believe that we have all the answers. …

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LifterLMS New Features and Online Course Marketing Ideas

We are surrounded by free samples. They are at the grocery store, in the mailbox, advertisements, and so many places. Free samples are a powerful marketing tool. They allow the prospective customer to inspect and even build an emotional attachment to a product. In the release of LifterLMS version 1.4.0, thanks to some feedback from a customer, we added a frictionless free sample lesson feature. When you mark a lesson as free in either a paid or free course, you are allowing a visitor to access a lesson without having to register or anything. They click the lesson tile that has the free icon on it, and they’re in. We recommend you mark a couple of your best lessons as free to help drive interest in your course. More Updates in the Release of LifterLMS 1.4.0 Did you know you can now randomize your quiz questions? Remember that annoying issue where a user would have to back out to the course level to navigate into a new section. That’s gone now. There’s a lot more that happened in LifterLMS 1.4.0. You can see the full list in the product roadmap. Scroll down to the Changelog so you can see the details of the most release … and all the ones that came before that if you’re interested. To update your LifterLMS version, you can do so from the normal WordPress plugin updates panel as long as you have a valid license key set up in your LifterLMS general settings. If you need to check the status of your LifterLMS account to grab your license key or renew for another year of updates and support, simply log into your account here: https://lifterlms.com/my-account/  

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Why LifterLMS a WordPress LMS Plugin Business went to CaboPress

I was winding down after a long day feature planning, handling support, and executing on marketing for our WordPress LMS product, LifterLMS. It all started with a tweet, that led to a blog post, that led to a marketing page. It was for a mastermind event called CaboPress, put on by Chris Lema. I remember standing there looking at the webpage seeing the picture of the beach and the resort. I work standing up, and boy did those poolside chairs overlooking the infinity pool, overlooking the ocean, overlooking the sunset, look appealing. We see that kind of luxury imagery all the time in advertising and media. That’s not what got me. I’m a client communicator, a marketer, a strategist, a crafter of messaging, and a leader of teams. That means I have a super sensitive BS meter. But then it happened. I love good copywriting. As those of you who appreciate the art of good copywriting can attest, the holy grail of influence started happening to me… The words on the page came alive and entered into the conversation I was already having in my head. Finally, I was on the receiving end of that art I do all day at codeBOX for our WordPress LMS clients and LifterLMS customers. This time the tables were turned, and I was the target. It was kind of fun actually to be the hunted … to appreciate that experience from the other side, while simultaneously admiring the skill of the marketer. I’m over simplifying and being dramatic here, because it’s obvious Chris cares about much much more than writing copy to sell mastermind tickets. Chris has given so much to the WordPress community. It’s obvious how much he genuinely cares about helping other entrepreneurs grow and helping them create first class products and services. What It’s Like to Work with Chris Lema You see Chris Lema always resonated with me, even before I first met him in person on a call when we hired him for some 1-on-1 consulting. I think the main reason I feel virtually simpatico with him is the strategy strength we share. In a popular strength finder test, I tested out at just about a true strategist from the strengths perspective. I feel we share that strategic element at a deep level. Like Karim Marucchi says, “People don’t fully grasp how strategic Chris (Lema) is. I love that about him and count on it all the time.” You know the other thing I relate to Chris on is the obsession with elearning, memberships, selling online courses, business leadership, and the quest for the perfect tools to serve these ends. When I first noticed Chris online and how obsessed he was on these topics, I felt a little less lonely in the world. It’s comforting when you discover a fellow person for the first time in a micro-niche who shares not only your passion, but also a similar intensity level. My obsession (with the help of a great team) evolved into LifterLMS. It’s a powerful WordPress LMS plugin that makes it easy to create, sell and protect engaging online courses. The main problems it solves are two-fold.  First LifterLMS makes it so you don’t have to string together a frankenstein of plugins to make a paid online course website with WordPress. Second we’ve taken our experience from Infusionsoft and other marketing automation work to solve what we call “the dirty little secret of membership sites” through built in engagement tools. I’m so obsessed with democratizing online education with WordPress, I even created a podcast with my business partner Joshua Millage specifically for the WordPress LMS niche called LMScast. As …

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114 Profitable Niche Online Course Platform Business Ideas for Education Entrepreneurs

Niche Online Education Platforms Having a specific subject matter expertise is not the only way to approach building your online course or LMS (learning management system) platform. If you have more of a publisher’s mindset, you may want to start with a niche that has a solid market size and demand behind it. Perhaps you’re not planning on teaching on your platform at all. Rather you’re building an online school or learning management system for others to teach inside of. The Hedgehog Concept for your Learning Management System Niche Wether you are more of a subject matter expert or online education publisher style entrepreneur, Jim Collins’ classic hedgehog strategy is important to consider as you evaluate your niche. Your niche needs to have an overlap of these 3 things: Passion What can you or your platform be the best in the world at What drives your economic engine (Profit per x) Success Leaves Clues Smart entrepreneurs know how to leverage the depth of already existing knowledge. If we’re looking at niches, we can leverage the existing category architecture at Amazon’s bestsellers for books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/ Arts & Photography Biographies and Memoirs Business & Money Calendars Children’s Books Christian Books & Bibles Comics and Graphic Novels Computers & Technology Cookbooks, Food & Wine Crafts, Hobbies, and Home Education & Teaching Engineering & Transportation Gay & Lesbian Health, Fitness & Dieting History Humor & Entertainment Law Literature & Fiction Medical Books Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Parenting & Relationships Politics & Social Science Reference Religion & Spirituality Science & Math Science Fiction & Fantasy Self Help Sports & Outdoors Teens Travel This category structure at Amazon, reveals some organization around the demand for what the world’s population is looking for in terms of knowledge and/or entertainment. This is fertile ground for online courses. Now the categories are way to general by themselves. We need to go out the long tail a bit in these parent categories to find some true niches. I’m going to provide some long tail niche online courses/ learning management system platform ideas inside each category. Profitable Niche Ideas for Online Courses Arts & Photography Boudoir Photography Selfie Photography Grafitti Art Biographies and Memoirs Startup Biography Writing Career Development How to Write Your Own Memoir Condensed Biographies and Key Takeaway Lessons for Entrepreneurs Business & Money Black Swan Investing Strategy Leadership and Management for Remote Teams Crowdfunding for Education Entrepreneurs Extreme Frugality Calendars Calendar Entrepreneurship for Mass Distribution Calendars for Radical Social Change Calendar Entrepreneurship for Healthy Body Transformations Children’s Books Children’s Book Entrepreneurship for Unschoolers The Parent – Child Book CoCreation Method Children’s Book Entrepreneurship to Fight Nature Deficit Disorder Christian Books & Bibles Modern Church Leadership Spiritual but Not Religious Learning from Saints Comics and Graphic Novels Manga Art New Superhero Creation Graphic Novels Story Development Computers & Technology Raspberry Pi projects for kids WordPress Application Development Digital Nomad Freelance Career Development Integrated User Experience Design Cookbooks, Food & Wine Vegan Athlete Cooking and Nutrition Detox, Juice Cleanse, Water Fasting Organic Distillery Local Food Based on Region Crafts, Hobbies, and Home Drones Micro Farming Homebuilding Basics for Young Adults Tiny House Deign Education & Teaching Unschooling World Schooling Interdisciplinary Learning Track Design Engineering & Transportation Bicycle Only Lifestyle 3-D Printing Zero Carbon Home Design Gay & Lesbian Gay & Lesbian Parenting Gay & Lesbian Travel Entrepreneurship Gay & Lesbian Philosophy Health, Fitness & Dieting Raw Vegan Lifestyle Ultra Endurance Work from Home Healthy Lifestyle History Recent Startup History Exponential Technology History Obesity and Diabetes History Social Media History Humor & Entertainment Magic Tricks Low Budget Movie Making with iPhone Only How to …

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