Excel Course Development – John Michaloudis of MyExcelOnline.com

John Michaloudis of MyExcelOnline.com joins Excel TV host Rick Grantham and cohost Microsoft Excel MVP Jordan Goldmeier and author and Guest Excel TV Host Oz du Soleil on Excel TV.

Rick: Welcome to our favorite Aussie by way of Spain. Tell us about your website MyExcelOnline.com.

John: My website has pretty much everything. It has an online course called Extreme Pivot Table. I call it “Extreme” because it has over 200 tutorials and10 hours of material. It took me 12 months to create. I do weekly blogs on formulas, pivot tables, charts, and analysis. They are quick blogs animating a screenshot of an Excel workbook and a trick. My website also has instructions geared for beginners. We know 95% of Excel users around the world don’t know how to use Excel. 700,000,000 users. This is why I decided to focus on beginner and intermediate users of Excel. I also have a podcast where I interview fellow Excel experts and MVPs and get their Excel insights. Next will be my new online course on Power Pivot.

I was working at General Electrics and I had an internal Excel blog with 5% of the 300,000 GE employees watching – 10,000 colleagues following – and it made me think that these people don’t know how to use Excel. I needed to do something. I thought, ‘I’m going to be somebody’s guru and I’m going to get rich.’ I created the course but Compliance said I couldn’t sell it because I was an employee. So I used online teaching to sell it to the rest of the world. I saw the need for it. Many professionals need to know how to use Excel, but no one had a pivot table course. I bought Bill Jelen’s Mr. Excel Pivot Table Data Crunching book and used it to structure my Extreme Pivot Table course. [“A great book,” Oz interjects.] Online learning is a $100 billion industry. You guys should get on E-learning! All you need is a microphone and a camera!

Rick: Congratulations on having 10,000 followers around the world. You’ve done something pretty unique, John. And you seem to be doing it in a different order than most everybody else. Most of us start with a blog sharing information and maybe move into a book. However, you have flipped that on its head. You’ve done something different than Oz and his blog and Jordan and his book and what I’m trying to do with Excel TV. You came out with product first and something you could monetize. Am I right? Walk us through that decision.

John: Yes. I came out with the product first because I really wanted to leave my job.  With a blog, you don’t make money straight away so I thought I would create a course. My way out was to create a course and sell it and teach other people. Then if they like it and want to pay for it, I’ll get away from that shitty paying job. I’ve been working for 15 years and I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to make something out of my life and I didn’t think I was going to make it working for someone else. After 6 months, I was making over $4000 a month. I left GE and I haven’t looked back. If you’re not doing it, you have to jump in. It is very easy to get into E-learning now.

Oz: Why are you not keeping E-learning a secret?  Aren’t you concerned that others will jump in and leave you a hobo somewhere?

John:  Why am I not concerned? Because I have an Australian accent and you don’t! Everyone is getting into it now. E-learning is easier to get into than ever before. There are people selling in different markets with different personalities. Once you get a following, they may follow you for life. Go set yourself apart. Oz, you have a great personality and you can have a following for life.

Rick: Jordan pay attention because it’s your perspective. Chandoo said, “Why did you [Jordan] write a dashboard book because they have been done to hell?  But they will pay attention because it is your perspective [they want].”

Jordan: Before the show, we were talking about our different projects, such as my dashboards for Excel book. You said it took 12 months to finish your video course. Can you tell our audience, for people who are thinking about audio courses, what did it take and what have you learned?

John: It took me 12 months because I was working full-time and I was doing this in the evenings. When I got into pivot tables, I was a novice. Now I want to write about all the features I have learned. You can create a course in three months or even a month. It doesn’t have to be an extensive course. I have condensed my 10 hour course into a three hour course and sold it that way.

Jordan: What are some tips so you don’t hit the wall and give up?

John: If you lose the passion, you’re going to give up. Do a shorter course. Hang in there. Good things do take time like wine.  It takes four years in the barrel and when it’s out, people love it.

Jordan: I like the wine analogy. One last question. What technology do you use?

John: You need Camtasia and a microphone and that’s about it. To record the videos, I use Camtasia for Windows. Screenpass is for Apple, but I don’t use Apple. Excel geeks shouldn’t use Apple. [Jordan aside: “Hear that Rick?!”] You record the screen, you talk and you talk, and edit with Camtasia. Then you press a button and you have your tutorial. You do that 200 times.

Oz: You edit, John?

John: Yes, I edit. But just talk and get it down. You can edit it later and do bullet points. Add music, upload as an MP4. I uploaded to Thinkific.com. Thinkific posts your courses and has e-commerce. And it’s cheap. You could also sell it to third-party sites, like Udemy, but you will get a smaller commission. Post it yourself or host on Thinkific.com. I make about 10k a month in sales.

Lesley Davidson
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