We all know that we should be giving away free content, to build our audience, but how much should we give away? Jeff Gargas has built an amazing business by giving everything away for free. Find out how, in this episode.
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Jeff, tell us about yourself and what you do.
- How I got here is a little bit weird… I actually dropped out of college three times and the ended up teaching college for two years. I have worked with some amazing teachers that have allowed me to do what I do now.
- I started working with my buddy Chad. Chad was in a tough district and had had a lot of struggle and difficulty. One year things were just not going right for him. He was just sitting and waiting for the bell so he could get out of school and stop teaching. He decided he either needed to quit being a teacher or figure out how to do it well. His research taught him he was doing things not quite right but there were no resources to help him to manage his teaching responsibilities.
- He developed a new method of teaching that turned out to be really effective. He was getting a lot of interest from other teachers since his method was so successful.
- I have a background in marketing and content. Chad told me that he was developing an eBook. I told him that this was too important to keep as just an eBook, so we started creating content and courses to help people streamline their teaching.
- This was the point I told chad we should just give it all away for free…. Quite a shocker! But this meant that the people who needed it most would have access to the content they really need.
How big are these courses? Do you market while they are consuming? How and where do you monetise this?
- The content can take about 12 hours to work through and will provide a solid framework to redesign their teaching strategy.
- I told Chad that if we do it right and build trust, our audience will see that it's better to be with us. We were transparent and gave them everything for free. Chad was a little shocked, but I knew that if we built this trust people would want more from us if they found what we were doing valuable.
- These days we do market other courses but not initially. We have our funnels and we guide people to sales, but we do it all with the mindset of providing our clients with genuinely useful content that they can implement immediately. Then They can come to us for more content
- The reason we don't need to target teachers, who are already overworked and underappreciated, is that we were able to target districts and school administrations. They write the biggest cheques, not the teachers.
- If we truly supported the teachers and were a resource for them, and they knew they could call us or get in touch with us, that eventually a few of these teachers would implement this and have an impact on their teaching and students and school. What happens then is that the administrators want all the classes to have similar results.
How do you guys sit down what information goes where and how your courses are constructed?
- A lot of it comes from our feedback and stuff we hear from the people we work with. We do a lot of blogging which generates a lot of content and the response we get from that lets us know which pieces of the pie to really focus on and develop into a more complete course element.
- Our lead trainers and developers are very hands on and know what really works in the classroom and bring this info back to us.
If we were to give everything away, why would people pay us? I think people pay for speed, for a systemized approach, and to do things for them and troubleshoot problems. Would you agree with that?
- That is exactly what has worked for us. We do have more in-depth courses that really help you master the system and help fine-tune your strategy.
- When a district or administrator sees how well this works they often want to implement it on a massive scale. We provide support. We really thrive on going into schools and helping teachers really make this system work for them by working with them as people and making sure they are trained as well as possible. We provide troubleshooting and support and our team helps teachers through hurdles so they can implement with fidelity.
- We are the people they call when they want to fine-tune this process on a massive scale, and our team gets involved at a personal level to make sure teachers get maximum value.
- For example, I have never spent a penny on entrepreneurs on fire, but I have literally sent hundreds of people to that podcast. Like with us, even though I have implemented their strategies for free. Some of the people I have sent are going to need some help, and that’s where the money comes from.
Are we talking about a fairly long sales cycle then?
- We are looking at a twelve or more moth sales cycle. Some people will be quicker, but if you're just starting out this could be more like 18 months. Some of our clients take a long time to seek a personal relationship with us
- The longest bit is getting the initial content set up. Now on a regular basis, we have new teachers coming in and joining our courses daily. It's a patience game. When Chad and I started we had our own full-time commitments and this was a true side hustle.
- We are really proud of the fact that we are not forcing sales onto people, we let our content speak for itself and our audience grows organically.
- We are not talking about a $7 sale after 18 months. This is a high ticket sales approach. The cheques we get from a district make the waiting worth it.
- Most of our ads are to find out what is working for our audiences, pushing content and our subscription models and really paying attention to the feedback. We just want to get people into our world. We have a ‘surround you everywhere’ model where we use blogs and videos and as much useful content as possible to make sure people feel really connected to us. We are everywhere and support our clients in every aspect rather than selling them.
A book that you would recommend…
Run Like a Pirate… the author tells a lot of stories about his life and in particular his challenge of running a marathon every month. When I read it last summer he said a lot about taking care of myself that no one else could get through to me. I recommend it to anyone in any industry.
What is your top success habit?
Taking care of yourself. Teachers are known for driving themselves so hard… entrepreneurs are the same way we are always trying to push ourselves further. Take some time to take care of yourself. I used to burn myself at every end of the candle
Who do you look up to?
I look up to my amazing team. The way we all push each other is great.
What are your favourite apps right now?
I love MyFitnessPal, and Boxer which is really growing amongst educators, and I love Basecamp.
Here’s the big one… who do you like more, Rob or Kennedy?
I'm going to have to say, Rob… there's a special connection there.
Finally, where can folks go to find out more about you?
My website which is www.teachbetter.com or www.teachbetteracademy.com. I'm also on Instagram _JeffGargas or twitter @JEFFGARGAS. We have a podcast too!