Jonathan Levi Wants You to Be Super Human and to Launch More Courses | PoP 400

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Jonathan Levi_PoP 400

Can you enhance your memory? What are some of the basics of understanding online learning? How do you launch a course?

In our 400th podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Jonathan Levi about entrepreneurship, enhancing your memory, online learning and launching a course.

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Meet Jonathan Levi

Jonathan Levi_PoPJonathan Levi is a serial entrepreneur, published author, and podcaster born and raised in Silicon Valley.

Jonathan is the face of such products and brands as the award-winning SuperHuman Academy Podcast; the bestselling “Become a SuperLearner®” series; and, most recently, his new venture, SuperHuman AcademyTM️. Jonathan’s media products have been enjoyed by over 250,000 people in 205 countries and territories.

Visit the SuperHuman Academy website, and follow Jonathan on Instagram or Facebook.


In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Jonathan Levi about entrepreneurship, enhancing your memory, online learning and launching a course.

Entrepreurship is ultminately looking at and finding problems and opportunties and solving them in a way that people are willing to pay for.

Speed learning

Don’t underestimate the power of memory. Forcing kids to repeat timetables doesn’t work, but memory is an incredible superpower.

Imagine if you could memorize each one of your clients’ name, condition, and remember fine details. How much better would that make you at your job?

Memory is not genetic, it’s about how you use it. People can change their memory for good with these three things.

  1. Visual mnemonics
  2. Connection
  3. Location

Launching a course

Where do you start when launching a course? Remember that you might be used to looking in someone’s eyes and seeing how they light up or react to what you’re saying. In online learning, you have to remember that you need to predict the user’s needs, wants, and emotions, as well as consider the psychological stage of the user at every point.

Always remember that people have access to all the knowledge you have online, for free so the reason they would pay you is for a curated learning journey. Take the guesswork and confusion out, and ensure they have the best learning experience throughout.


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Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK]: When it comes to keeping your practice organized, you want software that’s not only simple but the best. I recommend Therapy Notes. Their platform lets you manage notes, claims, scheduling and more, plus they offer amazing unlimited phone and email support. So, when you have a question, they’re there to help. To get two months free of Therapy Notes today, just use promo code [JOE] when you sign up for a free trial at Again, that’s promo code Joe, [JOE].
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok session number 400. I’m Joe Sanok, your host and welcome to the 400th episode of the Practice of the Practice podcast. Holy cow. I remember my very first podcast doing it in the upstairs of our first house. It sort of has these slanted ceilings and then there’s like that kind of half wall that goes off. So, it’s not even like a full upstairs. I think my wife was probably taking a nap because she was pregnant and I spent so many times being a nap-prenuer where my wife or my kids were sleeping in on a Sunday afternoon, I would podcast or I’d talk about things or an interview people. So many times, that I just f-ed up a podcast. You know, I remember the first time I interviewed Kelly and Miranda from ZynnyMe. I had not clicked the right button to have the right microphone recording and it was just using the regular microphone, and throughout the whole interview there was this high-pitched noise.
And you know, we’re all still learning. There’s things I learn every day. You know, Jonathan on this interview was helping me with my sound and I realized I was standing too far away from my microphone and it was bouncing in a weird way here in my new home office. I’m still working on getting that sound down to just be as good as I want it to be. I may make some more changes, but I’ve tested things out. I have like moved the foam around, I foamed the wall, and I mean, you know, to me, I want to have the best sound for you. I don’t want it to be annoying, but also, I’m not going to be paralyzed by trying to be perfect. I mean, I could spend hours and hours trying to get the perfect sound, but then it’s like I’m not creating content for you. So, I think it’s important to find that balance between kind of content and perfection.
So, these 400 episodes, Holy cow, I think about the people that I’ve got to interview or the doors it has opened up for me. To me, podcasting is still the single biggest way to level up your career. If you want to go beyond kind of your office or you want to go national in any way even if you don’t want to be the next Bernay Brown, maybe you want to be kind of a local mini famous, a podcast is one way to really stand out. Just recently, when the APA conference was going on, I got texts from so many friends that were there that met other people that as they were talking, knew me, and then they’d send me a text of a picture of them together.
It’s just like this world that’s so expansive. Even thinking about Tom and Karen who run interview valet, they send a lot of awesome guests my way. When I went down and did my mini triathlon, my sprint triathlon in August, getting to meet them in person for the first time, we went out for beers and food afterwards and Tom beat me as a triathlete, but I just wanted to finish. And then when his wife came up to do the iron man, they stayed at our house. Like, these are people that I would never have got to meet if I wasn’t doing podcasting. You know, even getting to meet people like Hal Elrod who wrote The Miracle Morning or being on John Lee Dumas’ podcast or getting to know Jamie Masters from the Eventual Millionaire.
Podcasting has given me the opportunity to meet so many influencers and pick so many people’s brains that honestly, I have no business picking their brains. But, over time I get smarter and smarter by doing it. And so, I just want to thank you for being a part of this podcast and community. I know there’s a lot of podcasts out there and there’s more and more in our clinical space, but you listen to this podcast, you make this part of your week, you make it part of your routine, you use it to level up. And you know, I try really hard to have content that’s for people that are just getting, going to know that they can do it, that they can start a practice, but then also for the people that really want to scale and grow and even go beyond just their practice into podcasting and e-courses to see that you don’t have to live the life that may be grad school taught you that was the only way to work in a nonprofit and then maybe eventually get hired by CMH.
There are so many other options out there of how you can impact the world. And the world needs your message. The world needs you to share that message. So, whether it’s Podcast Launch School, which we’re going to be in launching in a few months here; if you go over to, you can jump on that early access email list. And also, I put together a guide that’s going to help you just think through whether or not you even should do a podcast. A lot of the podcasters, when they do a training, they start with, “Order this microphone, do this equipment,” but I back up from that and say, “There are times that it doesn’t make sense to do a podcast. You should just go interview, get interviewed on podcasts and what’s your message you want to get out there?” So, kind of helping with a little bit of the prep so that you can overall have a much better podcast.
So that’s what we’re building kind of in 2020 together, Podcast Launch School. Some more is going to be about that in the future here. But 400 episodes. Holy cannoli. Thank you so much for being a part of this community, especially all of you that are next level practitioners in our NLP group, all of you that have joined our mastermind groups, all of you who have done one on one consulting with me or with Alison or other consultants. Thank you so much for giving us your time and your money and leveling up your practice that way. The reason that we can give away so much free content and resources is because there’s people like you that they decided that they wanted to invest in their business and get to that next level faster.
And you know, I don’t take that lightly. I take it very seriously when people give up their time and their money to work with us. And I only take on people that I think will actually have a strong return on investment for their time and money. Every day that I’m doing pre consulting calls, I turn people down from when they may say, “I want one on one consulting,” and I say, “That’s a bad use of your money. Right now, I want you to go do these things first and then come back.” So, the fact that this is now my full career, that I have sold my counseling practice, I left my full-time job back in 2014, I could not have done it without you. I could not have done this without you the listener, all you people that tell me all the time that you share our resources in the podcast with people, it’s so awesome. So, thank you so much.
You know, we’re headed towards 500 episodes. I think we’re going to tear through that pretty quickly here because we just keep doing more and more episodes. This month, actually in October, we’re going to do 11 episodes this month. So, tons and tons of content coming your way. But today we’ve got Jonathan Levi who wants you to be super human. This guy has a crazy story about learning and entrepreneurship and courses and all sorts of stuff that is going to really, really inspire you. I left so inspired after this interview and just wanted to learn more about Jonathan and this guy is a cool dude who has done some amazing stuff. So, listen up. I hope you enjoy the interview and I’ll talk to you on the other side of the interview.
Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Jonathan Levi. Jonathan is a serial entrepreneur, published author and podcast, born and raised in Silicon Valley. Jonathan is the face of such products and brands as the award winning Superhuman Academy podcast, the bestselling Becoming A Super Learner series, and most recently his new venture, Superhuman Academy. Jonathan’s media products have been enjoyed by over 250,000 people in 205 countries and territories. Jonathan, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[JONATHAN LEVI]: Thanks so much for having me, Joe. I’m really happy to be here.

[JOE]: Well, I got to just thank you right from the get go. We just spent probably five minutes making my sound sound better. So, that right there was worth the price of admission, so thanks for that.

[JONATHAN]: My pleasure.

[JOE]: Awesome. Well, you’ve done so many things, and I think people will see people like yourself and say, “Wow, he just has a knack for it and maybe you do, but there’s usually more of a story behind how you got to where you’re at and when you had realizations that you could do business differently or that you could just do interesting things with your life. So where would you start in regards to where your story begins and how you started to get into this kind of unique area of business?

[JONATHAN]: Oh yes, man. So, I have to admit people give me a lot of credit for being an entrepreneur and forging my own path. I kind of don’t know anything else. My father long ago about when I was four years old, decided that he didn’t want to work for someone else. My mother also left Silicon Valley and some of the world’s largest companies when I was born and then got back into the workforce by doing her own thing, her own side business. My uncles and a lot of the people around me, my best friend’s father and next-door neighbor, you know, there were a lot of entrepreneurs around me. And so, I think that as a child, I just thought if I want money, I should start a business. So, I started my first “business” when I was four years old. It was a marketing company that was going to market my mother’s products and I pitched it to her. I didn’t get the deal.

[JOE]: She wanted a five-year-old.

[JONATHAN]: Exactly. But from there I went on and started a bunch of other little “companies” doing web design when I was 12, doing deejaying when I was 15 and event production. By the time I was 16, I started one that actually had legs and took off and we grew it, took on a couple of partners when I went to college, and we grew it actually to be one of Inc’s 5,000 fastest growing companies in America. But I guess what I would say is that how I got to entrepreneurship, I didn’t really fit in to the kind of mold, academically, very much so, socially, very much so. And also, the only two job interviews I’ve ever had, I couldn’t get the job.
One of them was Jamba Juice and I was an hour and a half late, so that didn’t happen. And the other one was Togo’s and the manager sat me down and told me very earnestly that he just didn’t think I was Togo’s material. So I kind of didn’t have an option, and I think, by the way, one thing my parents did really well, and I give them credit, is I think a lot of parents, and I don’t know if this is the thing anymore with generation Z , but I had an allowance and I had chores, but it was optional. So they kind of set me up with this entrepreneur mentality because they said, “Look, you can wash the car and you can make $7 or you can mow our lawn and we’ll pay you $5, which was a lot of money in the 90s by the way, or, figure it out.”
You want a new bike? Figure out another way. And my friends and I kind of really quickly figured out first that other people were paying better than my parents, but then also that there were other opportunities to make money. So, we figured out we can make all these handmade goods with the craft supplies that my parents buy us and we can sell them around the block and the novelty factor of a little kid having a “business” and selling you handmade crafts. We actually did some product sales. So, they set me up for this mentality of, “Look for opportunities and try to find alternative ways to meet your income needs.”
I think that was really smart as opposed to saying, “This is your job. You will do it every week. It’s a non-negotiable and you will get your $7.” So obviously woven into a big part of this story is the fact that I struggled very much academically and socially and entrepreneurship really saved my life because it was the first time, I realized that I could actually be good at something. I wasn’t good at anything else prior to developing the skill set that I’m now known for, which is accelerated learning, speed reading and memory. And that’s how I, after learning how to learn, was able to learn many other things, including how to be a better entrepreneur.

[JOE]: Wow. So, a lot of us that listen to this podcast went through a lot of formal education. So, master’s degree, PhD and so it’s kind of ingrained in us that you kind of work for somebody else and you came from this family that taught you from the very beginning. But a lot of us I think have moved in this entrepreneurial direction and maybe don’t know how to pass that onto the kids. And I know that kind of parenting isn’t our main focus here, but I’d love to drill in a little bit more. Any other tips for parents that want to help build that kind of business skill in their kids, from your own experience or from kind of what you’ve observed?

[JONATHAN]: Yes. Well, I think first off it is setting an example. And I think most people listening to this episode are setting a great example by showing their kids this new paradigm, which by the way, isn’t that new, but it has changed, I think since the 1980s, very few people that are career employees at the same company, and so that security is gone. If you want that security, you have to make it. And that’s the example that I was taught. When my father just didn’t get the promotion, he said, “You know what, if I’m going to have that level of uncertainty, I might as well have it myself and start my own firm.” So, I think that’s the first thing.
The other thing is, like I said, being careful about the incentive structure you create for children because first off, if they have an allowance and they get that allowance for doing nothing, what does that say? What does that teach? But on top of that, giving them options and having them make these calculated decisions on their own, so, “Okay, you want a new bike? The new bike costs X, and what are the ways that we could do that? Well, you have this offer on the table and that offer on the table and maybe there are some other ways.” So, just, because, what is entrepreneurship? Ultimately it is looking at and finding problems and opportunities and solving those problems in a way that other people are willing to pay for. And I think that that is a crucial skill that someone needs to learn eventually, and it’s better if you learn it at a young age to just see these problems in the world and figure out ways that you can solve them for a profit.

[JOE]: Yes. You know, I remember in second grade I wanted a skateboard because I saw Tony Hawk and I went to this like private Catholic school and they were all into football and I’m like, “That’s not going to be my jam.” And I think it was like 30 or $40 for the skateboard, and I mean when you’re in second grade it’s like, that might as well be $1 million. And I remember my parents said, “Well, then the neighbors are going out of town. Maybe if you go over and offer to fill their bird bath each day, they’ll pay you.”
And now in retrospect, I’m pretty sure my parents just gave them like $20 because a bird bath doesn’t really need to get filled every single day with water. But,

[JONATHAN]: Yes, that’s pretty true.

[JOE]: Yes. But as a second grader, that sense of responsibility of for a long weekend, you know, I have to go next door and put the water in there and make sure there’s some bird seed outside and then going and buying that skateboard. My parents, they said that they would match whatever I was able to earn just as kind of a way to, I think help me earn. But that’s something I still remember of, of figuring out how do I get the money for the thing that I want that my parents just aren’t going to buy me?

[JONATHAN]: Love that. I really love that.

[JOE]: Now how did you make the transition into struggling academically and then saying, “I want to learn faster?”

[JONATHAN]: Yes. So essentially, as I said, I struggled academically and I knew that I was a smart kid because I could learn things that I wanted to learn outside of school. But in academics I struggled, and socially I struggled, which I today equate really to just another form of learning challenge. I wasn’t learning the kind of social skills, you know, talking to the opposite sex, how to behave in groups, how to kind of conduct myself, social norms. I wasn’t learning those things as well as other kids were. And it was cute up into a point, I mean, my parents got me tested when I was, I think eight years old and decided “He’s got some ADD kind of stuff going on, but it’s not bad enough to medicate.” By the time I was 15, it wasn’t cute anymore and they were starting to worry about my future.
So, I ended up going on medication and that’s how I managed to get through high school and college. I had a trick that I developed, a coping mechanism as so many people with learning disabilities do, and one of my coping mechanisms was I knew that I couldn’t pay attention in class and I couldn’t understand what the teacher was talking about. I couldn’t make that connection, but what I could do is go home, lock myself in my bedroom, take my medication so I could sit still and catch up with everyone else. It just took me longer to learn and this got me through high school. It got me through college but after college and I had sold my business and I got accepted to this MBA program, which was going to be 10 months, but 80% of the content of a two year program in addition to the important stuff in something like an MBA, which is networking, going to events, traveling, meeting people, building connections.
I, just the prereading that I was supposed to do in the week before school started with 1500 pages and something had to give. So, I actually, you know, the universe gave me this perfect mentor and I met someone who, he and his wife had spent like a decade teaching kids accelerated learning, speed reading, and memory techniques. I immediately hired them obviously and they trained me in this methodology, and I guess that was a real jumping off point because you know, if you’re someone who has struggled socially or had all kinds of issues learning and then you were given the, essentially this goose that lays golden eggs, like, “Here’s how you can learn faster and read faster.” I just went wild for the rest of that summer before school started and I read a 660-page book on body language.
I read books on conversation dynamics, on speaking to the opposite sex. I read some books on fixing some of the physiological problems that I had. I had all this knee pain and shoulder problems. I just went crazy. It’s like finally I had this power that I could fix all these problems that had lingered within me for so long. Went to business school, and really raised a lot of eyebrows. A lot of people started asking me, “Why did you leave the exam room 30 minutes early?” Or, “Aren’t you going to read the case study with the rest of us?” “Oh, what do you mean you’re already done reading the case study?” So, after business school, I was looking for a business opportunity and decided that as a side project I would build an online course. I didn’t know anything about building an online course.
My last business was selling luxury car parts. So, I also didn’t know too much about marketing, video production, video editing, and knew nothing about how to create curriculums or design courses. But I had this skill in my back pocket and I remember sitting there one day and just literally punching into Google like, ‘How do you build online courses?’ And so, I took some courses and I read some books and over the course of a week or two figured out what it takes to do this successfully. And the proof was in the pudding. We launched the course and within the first two weeks it had already exceeded my expectations. Within the first couple of months, it was one of those popular courses on the platform that I was teaching on and it just exploded from there. The success of this program, teaching these things that I had been taught on accelerated learning, speed reading, and also a lot of things that I had used that skill set to learn.
So I went deeper and further than what I had been taught in one on one coaching, and you know, the rest, I hate it when people say the rest is history because it’s not in any history book, but the rest is really a crazy story of how our audience grew bigger and bigger. And so, we released more courses and then a podcast and then a book and now my third book and now we have this whole platform where we help other thought leaders create online courses using the knowhow that we have about learning and online education. And it’s just been this like crazy whirlwind. Sometimes I think like I literally never set out to go down this path, but it’s been so incredibly rewarding.

[JOE]: Yes. So, I want to hear about kind of techniques of speed learning, but I also am really interested in talking about courses because we have Podcast Launch School coming up, we’ve got a few other courses we offer. And I feel like just for my own learning, it’s great to pick your brain, but I think a lot of the audience also, they might be a therapist that you know really helps people with trauma, but they have this idea of something they could do outside of that. That’s a course. So first let’s start with kind of speed learning. What are a couple of takeaways that people should know around that that could just help them today?

[JONATHAN]: Yes, there’s a lot, there’s quite a few. The first one that I want to impress upon people is the power of memory.
Memory gets such a bad rap. We think of memory as this, you know, we don’t want memory. We want learning. But at the end of the day, you can’t learn something if it’s not stored in your memory. And low memorization, I agree, is this awful thing, you know, forcing kids to repeat times tables. That’s really boring and it doesn’t work. But memory is this incredible superpower. And I’ll tell you the difference for me, and a lot of your people are in industries where they work with people.
Imagine if you bring on 20 new clients a week and you spend absolutely zero time memorizing their name, their story, their condition, all their kind of medical history, and you remember every single time what you did. You don’t need to consult a chart. You look them in the eye and you go, “Hey Thomas. So last time we worked on the inside of your left knee. Is that still causing pain for you? I remember we did a little bit of the foam rolling…” I mean, how powerful is that? How much time would that save? And also, how much better would that make you at your job? And that’s just one thing. But —

[JOE]: Yes, for a counselor, to be able to say, “Here’s what was going on in your marriage last week,” or, “Here’s what was happening with your kids.” I mean that emotional side for sure.

[JONATHAN]: Ain’t that incredible? So, I want really to impress upon people a couple of things. First memory is not genetic. It very little has to do with the wetware and more has to do with how you use it. There’ve been studies done at [inaudible 00:22:49] University among others where in just a few weeks of teaching these techniques, and they are techniques that you can do, people are able to 10 X their memory and that’s a permanent change in their brain. They studied them, six months later, changes are still there. And it doesn’t mean that we change the way your brain works, it’s just we change the way that you use it and we change the way that it creates networks. And there is a couple of key fundamentals to doing this. One visual mnemonics. So, picturing everything that you need to remember creating bizarre visual imagery, whether or not you think you are a visual learner.
You know, we all love to say, “Gosh, I wish I had a photographic memory.” Well I have really good news for everyone in your audience. You do have a visual memory, you have an identic memory, so to speak. You just don’t know how to use it. And naturally we are wired up and research backs this up time and time again. We are wired up to remember pictures. We have that kind of bred out of us by the way that we learn today. But essentially what we do is we teach people to discover their natural photographic memory. And I don’t like using the term photographic or identic because it’s one of these terms that’s clouded in a lot of, you know, misconceptions. But we all have a visual memory.
And the second thing is connection, connection, connection. Too many times when we learn something new, we treat it as someone new. We look at someone and we say, “This is Thomas and I know nothing about him.” But by simply changing the way that we relate to a piece of information and connecting Thomas and the visualization that reminds us that his name is Thomas and saying, “What does Thomas have in common? How can I remember Thomas? How does he relate to other things that I know?” Because a really interesting fact of neuroscience is that our brains work a lot like Google’s search algorithm in order to determine something’s importance and therefore the value in remembering it, our brains go, how many connections are there and how valued or important are those connections?
So, the more we can connect things and say, “Oh Thomas, you remind me of X and you have this condition, which reminds me of this picture and I’ll create this connection. And your wife’s name is Sarah. So, I can remember you that way.” Creating these dense connections gives you more and more anchor points to then trace your way back to that memory. So, visualization and connection. And then at the higher levels location creating, if you need to memorize things, say in order or you need 100% perfect recall, then you use a technique called the memory palace, which we can get into but it’s essentially creating a real world library stored in your mind, in organizing your memories in a way that they’re linked together so you never forget them.

[JOE]: Yes, I remember in eighth grade we were talking about different kinds of commercials and I don’t know why we were talking about that, but we had to memorize like repetition or having a sponsored I don’t know, having like a famous person do it. And I read, my dad’s a psychologist, so he said, “Okay, imagine we walk into the dining room and in the dining room is president George Bush and he’s speaking about —,” and it’s like, I still remember walking through my house visually and thinking about all these different types of commercials. And it’s crazy.

[JONATHAN]: And you can’t help it.

[JOE]: I can’t help it. And I think one thing that I’ve noticed is, for example, when I first meet someone at a party, if I say, “Jonathan, nice to meet you, Jonathan,” even though it’s weird that I just said your name twice it, then I’m intentionally saying to myself, “I want to remember his name.” And then what I try to do, and you can tell me if this is right or wrong, is I try to then connect you with another Jonathan I know. So, I have a friend Jonathan that lives in Kalamazoo, and then, so now it’s like, “Okay, so later on in the evening, why am I thinking of Jonathan? Oh, because new Jonathan is in my life.” So, a lot of times I’ve found that if in just those social situations, if I’m not paying attention and saying, “I need to remember this person’s name,” then it’s like it comes in and it leaves right away.

[JONATHAN]: Totally, yes. Repetition is really valuable, especially spaced repetition and, as you said, if you use these techniques properly, they’re not a replacement for repetition because you do need to use things if you want to remember them. But it just brings the burden down so much and makes it so much easier when you do need to remember them.

[JOE]: So, when you realized that this was a skill that you wanted to kind of share with the world through a course, what were some of your first steps in maybe testing that out before you put too much time into the course?

[JONATHAN]: Yes, great question. So first I did some market research and I looked around and saw what is available in the market. I discovered that there were speed reading courses and memory courses. There were very few courses that approached learning holistically and really tackled this problem of how do I connect all these disparate techniques of speed reading and prereading and self-testing and notetaking and how do I create a unique and comprehensive learning methodology? Because at the end of the day, people don’t want the hole, they want the drill. Oh, I’m sorry, they don’t want the drill, they want the hole. The drill is learn speed reading techniques. The hole is, “I just want to learn Spanish,” or “I want to get my master’s degree faster,” or “I want to pass the bar.”
So that was the first thing, and then I, at that time I didn’t have an audience. I couldn’t send out a survey to 100,000 people like I can today. But I pulled my Facebook audience, you know, friends on Facebook and I put up a post and I said, “Here’s what I’m thinking of doing and here’s what I’m thinking of charging and what are the things that would make this a hell yes for you?” And people wrote back, “I would want lifetime access. I would want to know that it’s backed by science.” And they essentially told me what they needed in order to spend. So even though my Facebook friends were not maybe the perfect audience to pull, they were pretty close, and to this day, a lot of my students are people like me and are people that I pulled. You know, just got out of an MBA degree as about 500 of my Facebook friends did and looking for a certain leveling up. And I think that helped a lot because I just went right off of what they told me and implemented.

[JOE]: And then when you implemented after that, did you do a soft launch, did you, like how did you get that first cohort of people that went through it?

[JONATHAN]: Yes, so I got friends to purchase the course. I gave them a discount and a lot of friends bought it, and I remember in our launch weekend we made like $500 and I was like, “Wow, this is fantastic.” And then, you know, the beauty of it is with a lot of these websites, Amazon, Udemy, iTunes, that volume then bumps you up and if your product is high enough quality, it’s the same with podcasts. If your product is high enough quality, that initial bump will continue as more people discover it and start enjoying it and using it.
So that initial launch to my group of friends and family and asking them, “Hey, can you pick up a copy of this course? Here’s a discount coupon,” or whatever it may be, kind of catapulted me to the front page where things just took off from there. And then, you know, the platform took notice and featured me on their front page and then things took off even more. And then at some point our course became such an institution that it was just fixed on the front page of search results and things like that.

[JOE]: Wow. And do you recommend doing kind of time-limited launches or kind of an ongoing course that people can always have access to?

[JONATHAN]: Well, there’s two schools of thought in this and I know people who do very well in each model. For me, I think of entrepreneurship, and you put it really elegantly, at the beginning of the podcast like entrepreneurship is a decision that you make to improve your quality of life, the quality of life of your family, the quality of life of your customers, whatever it may be, you make this decision. To me, that’s a choice that I make. I am not the kind of person who wants to live my life thinking about six months from now, we’re finally going to be cashflow-positive when we relaunch the course. It makes me really nervous, it makes me really uncomfortable. I would much rather have everyday sales coming, in every day, I’m impacting lives, every day, you know, it’s just a constant flow.
Even if that means fewer people buy because I’m not using pressure sales tactics, I still prefer to do it that way. And I’m the same way in my real estate investments. If you were to offer me two different deals, one of which will double in value in three years and the other one, which will just pay me a nice cash flow every single month, I’m much more interested in that every single month cashflow. I just, because at the end of the day that’s what’s going to improve my quality of life, my family’s quality of life, and also my ability to kind of leverage forward.

[JOE]: Yes. So, when people are thinking through launching a course, because I think that’s one of the most common questions I get from folks that have a private practice. They’re in the chair, they may have a group practice, maybe they’re finding that they’re doing less clinical work, but they have these immense skills. I mean we’re talking masters or PhD in a specific area of psychology or counseling or PT, depending on the listener, where would you have them start and maybe share with them kind of the opportunity of e-courses, because I think sometimes we’ve been trained in traditional education and don’t even understand how people are doing it and what’s out there and the potential for growth financially or even just expanding ideas to the rest of the world.

[JONATHAN]: Yes. Well, so it’s a big question and I think the first thing to remember with online learning is it’s asynchronous. Unless you really want to kind of do online coaching, zoom calls, whatever it may be. But I can’t stress the importance of considering that as you build your content. Because a lot of people who have all this knowledge, they are used to, whether that means they’re a public speaker or they’ve taught courses or they’re a university professor or whatever it may be, they’re used to looking in people’s eyes and seeing their eyes light up or seeing people kind of make the confused, furrowed brow.
And in online learning, that doesn’t happen. You have to predict the user’s needs, one’s emotions, you really have to be a couple steps ahead of them. And I find that my best work and when I know that I’m doing this well is when I’m saying things like, now that you understand X, I want to tell you about the next most important thing for you to understand, which is ‘why’; or make a statement and then say, “Now you might be wondering why it is I say that and you might not be sure that that’s true for you, but here’s why.” So, I’m really considering the psychological state of the learner at every single point because I have to eliminate guesswork, uncertainty, and confusion from their learning experience. Otherwise, what good am I?
The whole value prop of online learning is learn from people you normally would not have access to any time of day anywhere in the world. And if you don’t predict the learners needs, then you’re not honoring your end of the contract. In addition to that just remember one of the most important things I can tell people, always remember that people can learn everything that you know and more online for free. So, you have to remember that the reason that they’re paying you is not for the knowledge, so to speak. They’re paying you for what I call, and I’m trademarking this phrase, a curated learning journey. Meaning you take the guesswork out, you take the confusion out, you take all the legwork of running around and finding the best sources, best ideas, best materials, what’s the right order to learn them and what exercises should I do to verify that I’ve learned?
You take all that guesswork out. That’s actually what they are paying you for. And a nice analogy for this is you can go to a museum for free. Many, many museums are free. Why do people pay? And historic sites for that matter. You can go to the Taj Mahal for free. There’s no entrance price. Why did I pay a tour guide? Well, he makes sure that I don’t miss anything, that I see things in the right order and he’s ensuring that I have the best possible experience as I go through this learning journey. And the same is true for online courses because otherwise without that people that are better off just going and buying YouTube courses, taking, you know, free videos on YouTube in whatever order.

[JOE]: Yes. I mean it’s almost like you’re selling speed, but you’re also selling a depth or even just a certain modality because I imagine that if I wanted to learn quicker and I’m kind of in your flow of content, once I’m in that flow, it kind of enhances the things before and after that as well because you’re kind of following that one coach that’s going to walk you through it rather than having this hodgepodge of what YouTube is going to serve to you.

[JONATHAN]: Bingo. Bingo.

[JOE]: So as people think through learning and courses, what else, I think especially once people have launched one, they feel like, “Okay, it’s launched and it’s out there,” and then it’s sold to, like there’s a tough ongoing marketing side to it. Where do webinars, ongoing content, all the stuff that you do to attract new customers, once you’ve launched the course, like where do people put or where should people put their time in in regards to that? What are you seeing that are trends in acquiring new leads?

[JONATHAN]: Oh my. Yes, you know, it’s a full-time job just that it’s more than a full-time job. Most of my staff is involved in marketing SEO ads. You know, customer service is like a small part of our business compared to that, and even content creation. It’s so much work, and just when you think you have it figured out, you know, we had a funnel that was doing really well on Facebook and then Cambridge Analytica happened and all of a sudden our targeting isn’t as good and Facebook is pulling a lot of the controls that I have that I can’t use psychographics to find my customers. And you know, all of these other things, and so webinars work and then sometimes don’t work and sometimes they get tired and sometimes email funnels don’t work. It’s really hard. And even when I produce courses for other thought leaders, that’s where we draw the line and do a hand off.
It’s like, “Here’s your ready finished course. Your team or your marketing agency is going to have to market it because it is such a full-time job and there are so many different ways to skin the cat.” You can have a podcast which upsells to online courses. You can have entry level online courses on platforms like Udemy that upsell, you can do SEO, you can build your email list, you can do webinars, do paid ads. I mean there’s a million ways to do it, and learning that, to come back to the topic of learning has been my biggest and most in depth learning challenge over the last half decade; is just learning all the different ways my team and I can engage customers, find customers move customers along the journey of becoming a better and better customer. It’s a lot of work.

[JOE]: Well, I mean I hearing from thought leaders like yourself that it’s a lot of work and there’s no clear answer because it just makes, when someone like myself feels confused about what’s happening or like, “Why didn’t that work,” or “This seems like it’s more work than it should be.” To hear people like yourself say, “Yes, that’s how it is. Yes, welcome to the journey.

[JONATHAN]: And it was a hard period. It was a hard period in my life like, and continues to be. Most of my difficulties, knock onward, recently have been around marketing and hiring a new marketing agency, firing a new marketing agency. It was a hard decision to go from just cashing the checks and having a passive business that generated royalties from all my books and assets to actually building my own business that does this, that is a marketing engine to sell our own courses because, you know, it’s hard work. Yes. There’s no other way around it. It’s hard work and there’s always going to be something new that you have to try to figure out, and nothing is going to work indefinitely.
So, it’s hard. I guess a good place to start for people is just really to learn the fundamentals of marketing. I started listening to I Love Marketing with Joe Polish and eventually joined his genius network group so that I could just learn more. I read a ton of books on marketing, I befriended marketers, and I’ve really become a student of marketing because you really, as a business owner, you have to know how to market.

[JOE]: Awesome. We’ll put a link to that podcast in the show notes too. Jonathan, the last question I always ask is if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?

[JONATHAN]: That learning is the ultimate skill, the only skill that matters, whether as an individual or as an entrepreneur. Your competitive advantage is your ability to learn whatever it is you need to get to the next stage of your life. Whether that is in your personal life, your professional life, and learning is that mastery of skill. So, I encourage people to invest in their ability to learn.

[JOE]: Oh, that’s so awesome. And you’re offering a free trial to the audience. Maybe talk a little bit about that, and if people want to connect with you, how they can best connect with you.

[JONATHAN]: Yes, absolutely. So, we have this program, we have many programs and we have a free trial that you can unlock our entire library of all of our courses for seven days. Check them out, see if you like them. If you don’t like them, I won’t take it personally, but we have a course in there that I think your audience might really love. It’s called Five-Day Memory Mastery, and in five days it will teach you the skills being used by the world’s top memory champions and experts; skills that are being used to memorize a deck of cards in under a minute, memorize 250 people’s faces in an hour.
I mean, you will learn some really incredibly powerful stuff and you can finish that whole course in five days and check it out. So, I would love for people to go to and they can check that out. And on top of that my new book just came out, published by Lion’s Crest on September 3rd of 2019. It’s called The Only Skill That Matters and it goes into a lot of depth on my story, examples from my life, the lives of my students and teaching you in a really fun and engaging way how to implement these skills and many, many more than we’ve had the chance to talk about today in your own life so you can grow to the level you should grow to and deserve to grow to.

[JOE]: Wow. I feel like we could go on forever. There’s so many different areas that you have expertise. Thank you so much for sharing all of this today with the Practice of the Practice audience.

[JONATHAN]: It’s my pleasure, Joe. Thanks for having me.

[JOE]: So, go take some action from what you learned today. Find one thing from this interview that you can take action on. Imagine if you did that all month, after all 11 episodes this month, you say, “I’m going to take action on that.” Imagine if you spent your time doing that, how much farther you’d be ahead by next month. We’ve got a whole sprint of different episodes coming up this month. We’ve got 10 more episodes coming your way, so make sure you tune into all of them, check them out, share them with your friends.
Again, thank you so much to Therapy Notes is the best electronic health records out there. Promo code

[Joe]: I have so many clinicians that are using Therapy Notes and just recently I was talking to Caroline Thomas here in Traverse City, Michigan, who I hope you’re listening and she was just bragging about Therapy Notes as we had lunch together and it’s just so awesome to have these products that I know, that I stand behind, but to have real users that are using them every day saying, “This has helped my team stay organized, get billing done and get paid.” It’s so awesome to hear. So, thanks so, so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome day. I’ll talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guest are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one. And thanks to the band, Silence the Sexy for your intro music. We love it.