Andrew tells us about the tactics he used to grow Teachable’s monthly revenue from $10,000 to $200,000, and why he is focusing on automating channels to achieve a monthly revenue of $500,000 by the end of 2016.
Today’s guest, Andrew Guttormsen, is Head of Growth at Teachable, which is the easiest and most beautiful way to create and sell online courses. In episode 22, I spoke with freelancer Paul Jarvis about using Teachable to build his online course, Creative Class, which has brought in over $300,000 of revenue for him. So, you know the tool works well.
When Andrew joined Teachable, the company was making about $10,000 per month in recurring revenue. Andrew implemented marketing strategies that increased monthly revenue to over $200,000 per month, in just under a year, and that number continues to grow. The goal is to increase monthly revenue to $500,000 per month by the end of 2016.
We’re going to learn how automating business processes can increase revenue, how businesses need to change as they scale, and tactics to make a goal-oriented growth strategy work for your business.
In this episode, you’ll learn from Andrew:
- How Teachable helps people like you become online instructors who own their own distribution platform
- When growth was slow, Andrew had two ideas to increase the rate of growth:
- Improve customer on boarding email automation
- Convert more site traffic to sales
- Andrew addressed both ideas to improve growth by creating webinars for Teachable instructors, which has helped increase their recurring monthly revenue through percentage-based growth within the platform
- Why Teachable is pursuing aggressive growth – their goal in 2016 is to grow from $90k MMR to $500k MMR
- How Teachable’s goal-oriented growth strategy is drafted every month
- Why Teachable is shifting from event-driven growth to percentage-driven growth
- When Teachable is not on track to reach their monthly goal for growth, one growth strategy they employ is to look at their revenue sources and improve one that takes a large number of direct man hours by automating it
- For example, Teachable’s affiliate program used to be driven by influencers, and now it is self-serve
- Leveraging the value of influencers can be a good way to drive sales, but influencer advertising also has an inherent limit
- What is an influencer? Andrew says, “It’s really anybody who can affect somebody to do something else.”
- Things that worked at $50k monthly recurring revenue just don’t work at $200k monthly recurring revenue – every sales and growth process needs to be automated as the company scales
- When we spend time, money and effort to convert new users, it’s important to have customer service in place to assure they stay around. As Teachable scaled, they had to completely rebuild the entire customer care team. “We had a leaky funnel and we needed to plug it up a little bit.”
- Teachable improved their customer care team by hiring more people and transitioning from direct e-mail as the primary form of support to an automated ticketing system (Freshdesk)
- Teachable’s revenue growth is driven by a 7-10 person growth team with intimate communication processes – everyone knows what everyone else is working on, and it helps the team work towards what’s best for the company
- Andrew’s growth team is shifting from generalized workers to more specialized, technical workers. When he hires someone, he looks for someone who is more skilled than he is, curious and analytical.
- One of the most important metrics for Teachable’s growth is the number of schools with sales per month, or the number of instructors who are continuing to find success making courses with the platform. This reflects how much Teachable is helping their instructors’ businesses grow, which in turn helps Teachable grow.
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Creative Class is a course Paul Jarvis made using Teachable, and you can learn about how he has made more than $300k in revenue through it in Episode 22
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- “The Hard Things About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz (affiliate link)
Answers to Quickfire Q&A:
- If you could chat with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
- Seth Godin, I heard him on Tim Ferris’ podcast, “and I just walked away wish, ‘Man, can I just have coffee with him for like an hour … he also has a big online course business”
- Name a tool, app, or website that you can’t live without and why.
- Slack, “we’re on it all day long, I love it, it’s so delightful to use … it gives me those dopamine hits all day long, I just love it.”
- Tell us something unique and interesting about you that not many may know.
- “I used to play online poker at a pretty high level, and paid through a lot of my college with poker winnings.”
- What is your favorite business book and why?
- “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
- What is the top characteristic or trait that you look for in people you work with?
- Curiosity, “because that’s the level that fuels everything else.”
- What is something you believe, but few others agree with you?
- “I don’t think that you should try getting a job out of college. I think that you should work for free for someone, as long as you can.”
How to contact Andrew:
You can check out the work Andrew is doing over at Teachable.com.
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