Product launch

The following product launch posts are related to the THRIVE phase of your journey.

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How to Record a Podcast Interview with Zoom.

This video is a free trial from the Podcasting Essentials course. This course will enable you to learn how to create a high-quality podcast on a shoestring budget.

In this video, you will learn how to record a podcast interview with Zoom. Zoom’s conference room meeting feature is WAY more reliable than other tools that I have used. In the Podcasting Essentials course, I cover how I create my podcast using Zoom and Anchor.

  • You will also learn in the Podcasting Essentials course, how to do the following:
  • Learn how to record, edit (remove background noise, noise volume, etc.) and produce audio using Camtasia
  • How to promote your podcast using automation tools

Regardless of whether you are tech savvy, you would be surprised how easy it is for you to start your own podcast. Again, even if you don’t have a “fancy” mic, Zoom is an amazing application that will enable you to conduct high-quality interviews.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to check out

course. You will learn what tools I use to create Starengu and Hustle in Faith’s podcasts.

Take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to create, record, edit and promote your podcast.

If you are interested in being a guest on Starengu’s podcast, be sure to apply by completing the application right here.

I can’t wait to hear your story!

If you enjoy Starengu’s content, please consider donating to help offset the cost of producing these tutorials and show. Thanks for your support!

In case you missed it…Starengu’s latest episode

BONUS Be sure to download your FREE Resource Checklist: http://bit.ly/2rDGU9L

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15 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Entrepreneur

15 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Entrepreneur-Starengu

 

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are finally here!  If you’re a planner like me, I’m sure you are probably working on your shopping list. I’m fairly confident that you have an entrepreneur on that list. There is an increase of people who decided to invest in themselves by starting their own business by creating a blog.

Oftentimes, when you’re starting your own business you have limited funds (I am speaking from experience). Therefore, it would be extremely helpful if someone purchases a gift for you that it is something that they can use to aid in their business endeavor.

In case you’re wondering what type of gift to get your favorite entrepreneur, here are fifteen great gift ideas that your favorite entrepreneur is going to love:

1.) A computer

If you have the cash to spare and REALLY want to freak out your favorite entrepreneur then a new computer will always be the way to go! Every entrepreneur knows that your computer is the lifeline of your business. You will be lost without having one. Regardless of whether you are a Mac or PC user, the below computers should suit your needs.

2.) Wireless Mouse

I love wireless products. I see no point in using cords when you have a wireless option.  I’m a huge fan of Logitech computer accessories. I typically purchase computer accessories from Logitech because I end up keeping them forever.

3.) Online courses

When you decide to invest in yourself, you may not be familiar with or know all of the obstacles that you may face during your online journey. When you’re just starting out, you may not be able to afford outsourcing things like creating your website, creating branded documentation, etc. These courses are going to help your favorite entrepreneur quickly get up to speed.

  • Master Your Niche: Learn how to determine and validate your niche, create new market space and improve your content marketing efforts.
  • Brazen Brand & Design: This course was specifically created for my design challenged friends. Learn how to design like a boss.
  • Slay with WordPress: Learn how to build a website that reflects your personality and conveys your message.
  • Cheers to Your Courcess: Discover how to create a course that your audience will benefit from without going crazy in the process.

 

15 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Entrepreneur

4.) WordPress Theme 

Once your favorite entrepreneur has learned how to create their own self-hosted  WordPress website, they will eventually have a desire to make changes to their site. I truly love purchasing themes from these shops. They are SEO and user-friendly, stylish and cost-effective, so you can’t go wrong with any of these themes.

5.) Content Calendar

Content marketing is one of the best ways to generate leads for your business. Starting a blog can be overwhelming. However, the content calendar I created is going to help you organize your content, create a library, track your progress, etc. This Excel-based custom-made content calendar will help you stay motivated in your quest to create engaging content.

 

Content Calendar Testimonial

 

15 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Entrepreneur

6.) Mic

If you’re going to start making YouTube videos, podcasts or create your own course, then you need to have a good mic. Listen to the video in this post and you will see why it’s important to invest in a good mic-LOL (This is an older video and I was testing out a mic. I plan on retaping this video with my new one). You can have the best information in the world to share, but if your audio is horrible people aren’t going to listen.

They will be focused on trying to look for a way to close your page. Don’t let this happen to your favorite entrepreneur!  The below mics will do the trick for the majority of your favorite entrepreneur’s audio needs.

7.) Webcam

We live in a world where you can put a face to a client’s name without ever meeting them in real life. We can easily conduct meetings via Skype or via some other video conferencing platform. In order to ensure a pleasant video conferencing experience, I highly suggest that you do not rely on your computer’s webcam.

Everyone knows that computer webcams are horrible (it would be nice if someone addressed this issue, just saying…). Therefore, you can count on these webcams to make sure that everyone can truly see each other.

 

8.) Camera

I know a lot of people use commercial use sites like UnSplash, Pixabay, etc. when they need to create content. There’s nothing wrong with doing this (provided you are 100% that those images truly are commercial use and aren’t stolen), but when you take your own pictures or flatlay arrangement then you know for a fact that your pictures won’t be seen on other websites.

Many of the smartphones can take decent pictures, but if you know that you’re going to be using a lot of photography on your site then you should look into getting a professional camera. This camera is one of the most popular professional cameras for beginners.

9.) Recording software like Camtasia or Screencast-O-Matic

Somewhere along the way your favorite entrepreneur is going to get tired of writing blog posts. It’s inevitable. When it comes to trying to show someone how to use a tool it’s a lot easier to use video than print screens.

ScreencastOMatic

If you’re looking for recording software then check out one of these. In case you’re wondering Camtasia is my favorite, but I actually teach a course on how to use all three of them in our Cheers to Your Courcess which teach you how to create your own course, record and edit video, etc.

10.) Disk storage space

Many of the laptops don’t come with a ton of storage because it’s assumed that you’re going to use the cloud. I ran out of disk space pretty quick because I really do prefer to save my information to my laptop.  You can secure your data using these storage spaces.

11.) Headphones

If you like working in coworking spaces, coffee shops, etc. you’re going to want to invest in a good pair of headphones. I love listening to music or practicing my Spanish while I’m working.

12.) Custom Calendar

I love my Google Calendar, but I still love creating customer calendars using Shutterfly. I thoroughly enjoy making a calendar every year (I even give them away as gifts). Life is full of ups and downs. When I’m having a bad day, they serve as a reminder of all the good times that I had throughout my life. Seeing those memories keeps me motivated to keep going and to never give up.

13.) Business Cards

I realize that everything has gone digital, but let’s face it, there are moments when technology fails us. It’s a lot more impressive to hand someone a business card than your contact information written on a scrap of paper. I truly enjoy ordering my cards from Moo because their printing quality is consistent (unlike Vistaprint) and they have fantastic customer service.

14.) Standing desk

As someone who has worked from home for the past 6 years, it’s not good to sit at a table all day long. If you don’t have a table high enough to place your computer on then you should invest in a Varidesk. Not only will you help your posture but you will also be able to burn off some extra calories.

15.) Fitbit

It is so EASY to gain weight when you’re striving to build your empire. I know from experience. The 30lbs I gained seem to have come out of nowhere… I lost the weight and I’m going to be sharing my journey on a new blog that I am in the process of creating.  A Fitbit can help motivate your favorite entrepreneur to stay in shape.

 

BONUS: Books

Your favorite entrepreneur is going to go through ups and downs throughout their journey. Here is a list of business and Christian books to help them stay motivated:

 

 

What else should be on this list?  Are you looking for an opportunity to share your content with others? Check out our brand new group called Goal Slayers!

Starengu

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Do you know how to choose an online course platform?

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

Passive income. It’s something that everyone wants, but it’s a feat that many aren’t necessarily sure how to achieve. The first suggestion that people offer is to start a blog and join affiliate networks. There’s nothing wrong with this idea, but what if I don’t have aspirations of becoming a blogger? Does this mean that I’m doomed? Absolutely not!

One of the best passive income avenues that you should consider pursuing is creating a course. Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking either “I don’t know enough to create a course” or “Everyone and their mother have probably already created a course about (insert topic).” Before we go any further, I’m going to need you to change the channel on this negative mindset because I guarantee that there is a course buried deep inside of you.

My background is in marketing and communication and I’ve spent the majority of my career training and supporting other company’s  endeavors. I truly love helping people which is why I’m passionate about teaching (in my spare time, I am an online English tutor).

However, last year, if someone would have said to me, “Tosha, you’re going to create 6 online courses,” I would have laughed and immediately assumed that they were a couple fries short of a happy meal! So imagine my surprise that by the end of this year, this is exactly what I will achieve.

Creating an online course has been an amazing journey. It’s definitely one that I don’t want you to miss, so here are six things that you should consider when you’re looking for an online course platform to host your courses.

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

I chose the following course companies based on the ones that I felt would be relevant to most people:

Third Party Sites

Thinkific

Teachable

Udemy

Self-hosted platforms

Memberhouse

WP Courseware

LearnDash

Security

This should go without saying, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating an awesome course only to have it hosted on a shady website. You need to make sure that your course platform has an SSL certificate applied to the site in order to ensure that you secure your data. If you don’t feel safe uploading your courses to the course platform, you can only imagine how your student will feel trying to pay for them…

User-friendly

I’m a patient person. Yet, for some reason, all of that seems to fade away when it comes to navigating a website. If you can’t stand slow loading websites, broken links, etc. then don’t place your future student in this situation. Whatever course platform you choose to host your course on should be easy for both you and the student to use. Here’s how to accomplish this feat from both perspectives:

Student perspective

  1. Is the online course platform secure? It should have an SSL certificate applied to the platform. If it does the url will start with https:// indicating that the link is secure.
  2. Is the online course platform cloud-based?
  3. What is the speed of the course landing page (does it load quickly)?
  4. Can I easily see the terms of service on the website?
  5. How do I communicate with the instructor if I have questions?
  6. What options do I have to pay for the course?
  7. How easy is it to go through the payment process?
  8. How quickly can I access the course (immediately or drip feed)?
  9. Can I easily track my progress throughout the course?
  10. Can I download the course material without running into issues?
  11. How great is the audio?
  12. Is there a forum where I can go to ask questions?
  13. Is it difficult to take quizzes?
  14. Do I have an opportunity to provide feedback for the course?

Instructor’s perspective

As an instructor, I share the same concerns as my students, so the below questions are in addition to the aforementioned. Self-hosted course platforms will allow you a lot more freedom, but with that freedom comes A LOT more responsibility. You will need to decide how much responsibility you are willing to bear.

  1. Can I figure out how to use the majority of the course platform WITHOUT reading the online course platform manual? I know this sounds crazy, but if I have to go searching through layers and layers of instructions on your site to figure out how to use the site, you are essentially telling me that you don’t want me to use your course platform.
  2. Does the site own my course content and can I export my information?
  3. How responsive is the course platform’s support team?
  4. Can I offer free trials to my students?
  5. Can I bundle my courses?
  6. Can I communicate DIRECTLY with my students?
  7. Do I have COMPLETE control over my terms and service policy?
  8. Do I have the ability to customize the course platform with my brand?
  9. Can you charge your students on a monthly basis (i.e. subscription service model)?
  10. Can I set up an affiliate program for my courses?
  11. Do I have the option to provide the students instant access to my material or drip feed the content?

When you keep all of these questions top of mind, you’re going to save yourself and your students the hassle of having an unpleasant online learning experience. Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

Support

At some point in time, regardless of how good you are at technology, you will need to speak to tech support. Before I invest my time and energy into a product I always make sure that I contact support (especially if it’s a big ticket item). The amount of time and how you respond to my questions is a good indicator of the level of support I can expect to receive after I purchase the product.

As a course creator, you definitely want to make sure that you get your questions answered in a timely manner. I’m all about anticipation. I really don’t want to have to learn on the spot.  I always try to make sure that I have the answers to any questions that my students may ask before they ask them.

Terms of Service

It is extremely important that you read through the course platform’s terms of service for a variety of reasons. Many of questions we already addressed above, but the main one is to ensure that you retain the rights to your content.

However, one that many people don’t think about until it is too late is the ability to create their own refund policies. Digital products can be delivered and used immediately after they are purchased, so you may want to consider having an ‘All Sales are Final’ type of refund policy. You worked hard on your course, so it should be up to you to determine what type of refund policy you decide to offer.  

Methods of Payment

Once I have determined that a website is secure, I want to make sure that my payment option is available. You need to be sure that the payment gateway is one that my students are accustomed to using (i.e. Stripe, PayPal, etc.). If applicable, your course platform should offer the ability to make one time payments, monthly subscriptions and offer a payment plan.

Affiliate programs

If you plan on using affiliates to help promote your course, then your course platform should be able to easily generate affiliate links. You will also need to make sure that you have access to user-friendly financial reports so you can keep track of your affiliate sales and payouts.

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

 

My recommendation

So you’re probably wondering, “Ok, what course platform should I use?” I thoroughly research everything that I buy, sometimes to the point where I come down with a case of analysis paralysis.

I definitely knew I was NOT going to self-host my course. That is an awful lot of responsibility that I’m not willing to take. I just want to create my courses. I don’t want to worry about fixing security issues, setting up payment gateways, hosting my videos,  etc. Ain’t nobody got time for that…Needless to say, I went the third party route.

My decision on which course platform I should choose was an extremely easy one. I already knew that I was not going to go the Udemy route. This site is not truly looking out for the course creators best interest. Udemy runs numerous promotions which provide students with deep discounts. If you decide not to participate in these promotions, your courses will often time be subject to further scrutiny for not participating in their promotions.

Imagine working on your course for almost half a year. It’s jam-packed with value providing your students with a shortcut to help them gain a skill that otherwise would have taken them years to learn. How dare you not participate in Udemy’s promotion and sell your $197 course for $10! Shame on you! I truly hope you can sense my sarcasm because quite frankly this is the type of atmosphere you will most likely encounter the majority of your time on Udemy.

Students are conditioned to wait for the deep discount sales so they don’t have to pay full price. To add further insult to injury, they determine the frequency in which you are able to promote to your students. This along with reading all the other negative reviews from other course creators that used Udemy, was enough to immediately cross them off of my list.

So my remaining course platform options are Teachable and Thinkific. Both platforms have a free starter plan, but Thinkific offers a lot more features than Teachable.  I decided to create my courses with Thinkific and can honestly say it was one of the best decisions that I have made.

When I was doing my homework, the deciding factors that prompted me to choose Thinkific were the following situations:

1.I already knew that Teachable was not an option for me once I found out that they did not offer telephone support. I’m not saying that if I needed support that I would call versus email, but I at least want to have the option. If I can’t get anywhere by email, then I want to be able to speak to someone about my situation.

The situation that alerted me to the fact that Teachable does not offer phone support was when I had a simple question that I needed to have answered before making my final decision on which course platform I would use.

I emailed Thinkific and Teachable literally on the same day. Thinkific responded to me the very next day. I went searching for a phone number for Teachable. I discovered that they didn’t have one. I was at the mercy of waiting for Teachable to respond, but this also allowed me to test their response time. I had given up on Teachable after not hearing back from them after three days. Teachable eventually responded to my question almost two weeks later, but obviously, I had already moved on to Thinkific.

 

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

2. The other reason why I decided to go with Thinkific is that their course creators receive immediate payment for their course. Teachable pays their course creators 30 days later. Why wouldn’t I get paid right away? What possible excuse could you have for unnecessarily holding my money?

This has never made sense to me. The only other reason I believe Teachable does this is because if you use their platform to accept payments you must agree to Teachable’s terms of service. Therefore, offering an All Sales are Final type of policy is not possible with Teachable. I did not want to give up the right to create my own terms of service, so that pretty much sealed the deal for me and I went with Thinkific.

If you’re looking for an online course platform, now is a great time to check out ThinkificI really like Thinkific’s drag and drop course builder because it’s easy to use. You have the flexibility to brand your course player, create your own landing pages, set the terms of service, etc.

They generally care about their customers and support typically responds in a timely manner. I never thought in a million years, that I would be creating courses.  I’m literally in the process of creating my fifth course using Thinkific. I’m super grateful that the Thinkific platform has enabled me to share my message. Take advantage of the opportunity to share your talent with us.

Be sure to download your Course Creation Game plan by clicking right here.

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase with the link, I may receive a commission from it. Please note that I would never advocate a product that I don’t love. I’m all about making sure that the products I recommend will benefit my audience. You can learn more here. 🙂

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