#25. From Clients to Courses: The First $100K w/ Rob Howard

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This week on the Modern Consultant, I have the honor of hosting Rob Howard.
Rob is founder of HDC (Howard Development and Consulting) – a high-end, full-service web design and development firm for the world’s largest organizations, ambitious entrepreneurs, and creative agencies.What makes HDC even more unique is their expansion into digital products: online courses, workshops, and training programs. In short, they don’t just do the work, they teach it as well.

Full disclosure, Rob has been a client for several years and through our work together, he’s launched multiple online courses, which has grossed well over $100K in product-based revenue.

Topics We Cover:

1. It’s Not For Everyone: Scaling up and delegating course content creation can be more challenging than expected, requiring a unique skill set and understanding of individual strengths within the team.2. Know Your Team: Building a team to create workshops and courses can be a stressful experience, especially when the project is more nebulous compared to typical client work.

3. Market and Sell: Enjoying content creation and having a liking for it is crucial in the online course world, but it’s equally important to be good at marketing and selling.

4. Service + Product Business: It is possible to have a healthy client services business while also offering courses, subscriptions, or even software, providing multiple revenue streams.

5. Test In 10 Hours: Transitioning from client services to building products involves a different mindset and upfront investment, but both can be profitable and complement each other.

6. The First $100K: The importance of validating and launching products or services using a Kickstarter-like approach to minimize risks and gather valuable feedback from potential customers.


[00:00:17] Rob Howard, founder of Howard Development and Consulting, offers web design and development services along with education on AI and building a digital agency.[00:03:33] The fallacy of needing to choose between client work and other products. Continual evolution is necessary in a 30-year career.

[00:06:45] Diversify business with courses and client services. Courses offer potential for infinite upside, while client projects have strict ceiling. Reframe courses as self-directed projects for psychological benefits.

[00:12:49] There is a significant difference in profitability between client services and self-directed projects. Client services offer more certainty, but there are psychological hurdles to overcome when transitioning to self-directed work. Both can be profitable and complement each other.

[00:15:58] Traditional jobs have perceived security but also involve risk. Just like flying is safer than driving, client services are not necessarily safer than products. Use a Kickstarter-like approach by selling the table of contents of a product or service before building it. This allows for instant validation and reduces the risk of investing time and money into something that may not be successful.

[00:23:43] Rob recommends Marc’s template to gather feedback on potential products through surveys. The survey asks questions about pricing and preferences, which helps identify the ideal price for a product.

[00:28:34] Creating and delegating course content was more difficult than expected due to stress and differing preferences among team members. Content creation requires a unique style and is not easily assigned to those skilled in other areas.

[00:31:44] Transitioning to new roles can have unexpected effects on the brain, and not everyone is suited for certain skills or tasks. Rob regrets not considering this when assigning live webinars and recording courses, as it caused more stress than anticipated.

[00:35:46] Helping people transition from conscious incompetence to conscious competence is valuable.

[00:37:21] Being able to move between stages of learning is essential for effective teaching. Empathy and understanding one’s own challenges are key.

[00:40:56] Importance of selling and marketing in courses.

[00:44:08] Reframing sales as a service that improves lives, not sleazy.

About The Guest:

Since 2009, they’ve partnered with over 150 creative agencies to deliver high-end, pixel-perfect web projects to their clients.Find out more at: https://hdc.dev/

About The Host:

Marc helps experts scale their impact in the form of high-ticket courses, programs, VIP days, and masterminds (without losing the deep impact of their 1-on-1 work).After helping over 1,000 entrepreneurs, he created his Product Flywheel Framework to help the next 1,000 do it faster. Learn more at: https://8020solutions.co.


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