From 0 to 2M followers by teaching online

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Joining me is a Mixergy fan who started teaching on YouTube back in 2012. Since then he has grown his audience to over 2 million followers and a $1.8 million dollar business.

Stan Prokopenko is the founder of Proko.com which teaches artists how to draw and paint.

In this interview I want to find out how he improved from his first video which was so bad he didn’t even publish it to now having a team of 11 full-time employees.

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Stan Prokopenko

Stan Prokopenko

Proko

Stan Prokopenko is the founder of Proko.com which teaches artists how to draw and paint.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs. Joining me is a Mixergy fan who put up this YouTube video that I think your first one just went right viral. Am I right?

Stan: It was viral for me. Cause I mean, it was, yeah, my first video and in a few days it had several thousand views at that point. Yeah.

Andrew: And it just kept going and going and going.

PROKO panko is the creator of the PROKO YouTube channel that has got, what 2.2 million subscribers am I right about that? Killer strong. What he does is he teaches people how to draw online. And he talks to, and studies people who are fantastic artists. And he’s built up this business where in addition to doing it on YouTube, he’s teaching it on his site.

He’s got people taking his courses and now he’s about to launch. I just saw how good it is. I almost don’t want people stand to go check out proco.com because right now it looks okay. It looks like a blog.

Stan: It’s pretty bad.

Andrew: I was so wishing you, let me show people and link them to what you’re about to launch. It is way better looking than what you’ve got onsite.

No,

The thing that I think is brilliant is you went from teaching for free this thing that you love and exploring it on YouTube to then teaching a for fee in a very structured online course actually started with DVDs, right then online course. And now you’re creating this platform where anyone who’s well, not anyone we’re artists who have experience and credibility to teach, have a platform to teach an audience how to become better artists.

We’re going to find out how standard this thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first will host your website, right? The second is it’s called HostGator. And the second, if you’ve got any kind of landing pages, you need to go check out their new report. It’s from Unbounce. I’ll talk about those later, Stan.

I admire what you’ve built. I’m also in the content business. I want to learn from how you did it. the one thing I think that you’re not as, as pleased with is your revenue. Why don’t we start there?

Stan: it’s pretty good. We, last year we did about a 1.8 million.

Andrew: okay. Profitable.

Stan: Yeah. Very profitable.

Andrew: big is your team now?

Stan: 11 employees, and about like 20 subcontractors.

Andrew: Well, you have 11 full-time employees on that revenue and it’s still that profitable.

Stan: Yeah.

Andrew: Let me see how you, how you got here. You decided to you were a teacher, right? Teaching what?

Stan: teaching drawing and painting classical electric art training type of stuff.

Andrew: In school, people would come and sit down for your class and listen to you the way we did our teachers ever since first grade. Am I right?

Stan: Um, well, no, it was, it wasn’t like a middle school, high school type of place. It was

Andrew: I, I mean, it was an in person thing, not an online class. Right.

Stan: you mean. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Andrew: You’re talking about the Watts, a tele aid. That’s an art school where in Los Angeles, right

Stan: San Diego.

Andrew: San Diego. Okay. And then did you get on YouTube? Just for fun?

Stan: Yeah. It was mostly for fun. Back then it was 2012 and back then it was like people were starting to kind of make money off of it, but it was all mostly from ad revenue, right? Like people were just beginning to S to, to kind of start promoting and growing their businesses on YouTube. Um, in fact, when I started telling people after a year of making videos that, uh, I’m going to start selling them and people were like, what?

Nobody’s going to pay for stuff. If you’re putting free stuff on your YouTube channel and everybody doubted it. And then I did it and then like, yeah, it was successful right away. So, um, but yeah, initially for the first year, all the videos I made were for free, just trying to get my name out there. I was still trying to mostly be an artist and promote myself as an artist.

And I was thinking that doing the tutorials would get me. More followers to buy my art. That was the goal.

Andrew: Did that work in the first year?

Stan: No, it

Andrew: It didn’t.

Stan: It didn’t work. I didn’t sell more art. People were following me because I was teaching them. People were wanting to, they wanted to learn from me. Right. But then I started selling more, uh, more classes or actually just selling classes.

And that was way more profitable than being an artist can be. So, so I was like, well, I’ll do, I’ll do both, but this will be, I enjoy both. Like, I, I enjoy creating anything. It doesn’t have to be painting. I could be making a new business. It could be, uh, uh, uh, you know, software, whatever. I enjoy creating stuff.

And so to me, it wasn’t too much of a, like, I, like I was giving up stuff.

Andrew: Usually when I interview people who have YouTube, uh, success, the first videos that they upload are so bad that they delete them. I was wondering if you did that, you didn’t, your first one is how to draw head from any angle or, or was there something else?

Stan: My story is very similar, but just the tiny little difference there. I didn’t end up publishing my first video,

Andrew: What was the

Stan: have to delete it. The first one was about how to take good photo reference and like how to photograph your art. It was just like, all about like art and photos and stuff. And I made it, I was like, Hmm, okay.

This is really, this is really bad. Like, I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to publish it. Like I recognized immediately that it was pretty bad. And so then I spent a few more months redoing and figuring out why this one was bad, and how to improve it.

Andrew: So that video, I think the first one that you did publish how to draw the head from any angle. I think it still has by far the most views of anything that you have. Am I right?

Stan: it does. And

Andrew: million views, maybe not by far, but that’s significant. That’s huge.

Stan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like, I peaked with my first name.

Andrew: Uh, you know what, the next one was 2.6 million. So it’s not like you did poorly at all. You stayed over, over in the millions. Um, and so at some point, this did come from near conversation with our producer. Some of your viewers said we would buy this on DVD that, right. Because why would they just watch it on video?

Stan: remember back then 2012, YouTube wasn’t as normal as it is now. Like people weren’t watching YouTube on their phones. People wanted to get it out on a DVD so they could watch it on their TV. Cause right now you just stream it. You just stream it through your TV. Like every TV is a smart TV and you got Chromecast like back then it wasn’t as easy to do that.

And so people want it, they didn’t want to watch it on YouTube. They wanted to watch it on their TV. They wanted to watch it when they don’t have internet access, whatever it is also, they just maybe want it to support me. There’s a bunch of different reasons, but like, yeah, people wanted it off of YouTube for, for whatever reason.

Yes.

Andrew: I used to get around the same time. I used to get requests from listeners for CD versions of my interviews. And I say no way. And they tell me they want it in the car. And I said, well, no, that’s the past. If I figured that out, I’m figuring out the past this thing, that’s going to be obsolete. You said, this is my aha moment.

This is the moment where you realize what your model could be. It all came together in fulfilling that request, right?

Stan: Yeah. I was exploring at that moment, but yeah, that, wasn’t a hot moment. Or I realized, okay, people do want to buy stuff from me. I tried it, they bought a lot of them and I definitely had an aha moment. But then I went, you know, after a few years I stopped doing DVDs and I was just doing it online through a, more of a, you know, wishlist number.

But I think I learned that from you actually.

Andrew: I remember using wishlist member. It was when it was so hard to create any kind of membership site. The soft even wishlist member was so buggy.

Stan: was pretty

Andrew: It was, so it was a struggle for me to do it. Uh, this outsourcing company ended up doing it for me and surprised me that they were able to actually work through the kinks in it.

And so you put it up and what did you sell on your side? Hey,

Stan: Um, well, the very first thing I sold was pretty much my free YouTube videos. Plus I added two extra videos at the end of like full, like two hour drawing demos. Um, so they weren’t getting just free videos. I added on some premium stuff onto the DVD.

Andrew: I did that. The first thing that I sold on Mixergy were the early interviews. And I did that because people ask for it. And I knew that if I could just learn to sell something, have the infrastructure in place to sell something, then I could sell anything. I just needed that start. And so it worked, people were happy to pay for the earlier interviews.

And I’m assuming the same thing happened for you.

Stan: yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um,

Andrew: It’s just from listening to their requests. They said what the told you that this would be a thing to create.

Stan: they, they were just asking me to make it, put it on a DVD. But that was literally it. I bet. Yeah. Several people asked and then I actually it’s. It was, it’s been, so it’s been like nine or 10 years. I don’t remember the exact Mo like thoughts going through my head at that

Andrew: I remember McLaren, the creator of wishlist member who contacted me and he said, all right. And I could tell that he was, he was thinking he was going to blow my mind. There’s a service that will turn your content into CDs that you could then sell to people. And I said, well, I don’t want that. But I remember that he saw that.

And then Derek, Sivers also the, uh, now he’s a kind of a well-known writer who, uh, sold, uh, a music company. He, he said, you should find a way to make it easier for people to get all your older stuff. And so eventually you, listen, you created, you, you told our producer, you hit $11,000 worth of lessons in one month.

Is that for this where you are selling your pastels, find your own site?

Stan: yes. Yeah. I think that was my first D the DVD, the first

Andrew: Oh, that was from the DVD.

Stan: I’m pretty sure. Yeah. Right. Or, or was it? I don’t even remember anymore, man. It’s been so long.

Andrew: Here’s what I do remember though, you were living with your parents at the time, like a starving artist, like for real, essentially.

Stan: Uh, pretty much. Yeah. I was living with my parents up until I was like 26. Um, and yeah, it just producing these videos in my bedroom. I had to, um, I got rid of the bed and they’d kept just the mattress so that I could put the mattress up against the wall and have space to record. That was, that was the, Oh.

And then my closet was where my desk was because there wasn’t, if I was, if I put it anywhere else, it’d be visible in the shot.

Andrew: You know, I remember living at my parents’ house longer than my friends did. And every once in a while there’d be some TV show where some character was being made fun of for living at home. And boy that hurt. Did you have an equal experience? You didn’t care.

Stan: no, I didn’t care. I liked my parents. I liked my parents still it, yeah, it was my choice. I could have moved out earlier. I had enough money. I mean, like one year later I was making enough money. I mean, 11,000 and like the first month or something that I sold the DVD, I could’ve moved out, got an apartment cheap rent, like, um, but I was saving.

I was, I wanted to reinvest that money into building the company. And I knew if I, if I started renting, like that’s money that I’m not using the build the company. I didn’t mind living with my parents. It w it was not, it

Andrew: Where I think I’m, um, vulnerable on that. Like uncool. Uh, point, you know, there’s a lot that I’m not vulnerable about. That doesn’t bother me. And truthfully the non-core thing, isn’t a big issue anymore, but it was back then it was a real issue. Um, and then it was also a source of motivation. Like I’ll prove to them, my friends who, I don’t even know if they were laughing at me for staying at home, but in my mind, they were laughing at me for staying at home.

I’ll prove to them that they are wrong. I’m making the right investment. When you invested, where did the money go?

Stan: So in the very first person I hired was a contractor who started helping me with 3d animation. So I guess the first, very first thing is just quality of videos. I wanted to put 3d models in my, in my videos and, um, animate them and have, you know, like, cause I was going to, I was teaching figure drawing.

And so I was like, all right, well, let’s have like a skeleton kind of interacting with me and talking to me so I could like point to the skeleton and then we could do little things and he, and I made them into this. Kind of like, uh, my, my sidekick, um, and, and ended up going through six years of anatomy courses as well, where I would end up putting muscles on him.

And it was build up into the full on anatomy model, but he was animated. And so that’s expensive. I mean, 3d modelers, animation, he got texture. So that, that was the very first thing is just like getting people to help me then, um, my first employee, like actual employee was, uh, an editor and he would help me actually edit the videos because I just, I realized that I was spending so much time editing when I was like, well, I’m, I’m actually, I’m a teacher, I’m an artist.

W why am I editing? Like I enjoyed it for awhile. Cause, um, I, I liked making movies as a kid. I liked animation as a kid in high school. And so I already had experience editing, but it’s it. Wasn’t what. I should be focusing on. And so I said, okay, I’m going to delegate this. I hired an editor. Then I hired a second editor.

Then I hired a marketer to help me with social media posts and like, you know, plan out strategies to, to market stuff. Um, and then I just slowly started figuring out what’s the next thing I can delegate. Um, and, and experimenting because like naturally when you have like a personal business like that, where it’s you doing everything it’s difficult to let go of every step, right.

People have that. Um, they would say micromanage and they think that they’re the only ones that can do this thing. Right. And, and it’s usually not the case

Andrew: What was the hardest part to let go of? I’ve noticed that a lot of YouTubers refuse to even let go of editing.

Stan: Yeah. Um, letting go of the belief that you’re the best one to do this

Andrew: Was there someone who blew you away, who you said I could never have done that. I’m glad that I pass it on to them

Stan: Um,

Andrew: early on.

Stan: I mean, yeah, yeah. It was more of the combination of the whole team together. Ended up being way better than I could do individually. Um, because I mean, when I was doing it all on my own, I was not sleeping. You know, I would go like over 48 hours without going to sleep sometimes.

Andrew: Just sitting at your computer working. Bleary-eyed

Stan: Well, I was actually teaching still at the school that called the, um,

Andrew: Oh, wow.

Stan: time. So I would, yeah, I would basically, I would, one day I’d have completely off. And so I would just be sitting at my computer. Uh, I would be drawing, I’d be planning scripts. Um, and then all night I’d probably be editing and then done editing.

Go. I got to go to class and teach. Right. And I didn’t sleep that night. And so I’d have to teach a class while I didn’t have any sleep. Just like, ah, that’s a bad idea. Right. Um, and then come back and then I have to like go on YouTube and answer comments. And sometimes I’d like to get in like a, a little nap in the middle of the day.

And then, and then by the end of that second day, I was like, okay, I obviously have to sleep. Um, but yeah,

Andrew: There are a lot of creators who think this is in there, right? This is the thing that makes me special. I can’t pass it on to others. And there’s this fear of like, didn’t Andy Warhol have this? Like, what do you call it? Didn’t he call it the factory where he was essentially bringing in other people to create his art and other artists throughout history have done that. But unless you make a point of it, it feels like it’s taking away some of your creativity. All right. So you said that was the hardest part letting go of that belief that it has to just be you, you started mentioning your process. I had this sense that you were frankly, just talking casually, comfortably, and you are comfortable in your presentation.

I didn’t realize you script every word you color coded. Somehow you told Ari, our producer, you think about the images is this. This might be a little too granular, but your, your stuff looks phenomenal. It feels comfortable. It doesn’t feel like it’s overproduced. I want to know how you do it. I’m trying to get into more video production.

What, what is it? It’s a script. Tell me what your process for creating a video.

Stan: Yeah. My process for creating a video is actually very long. And I don’t, I don’t necessarily recommend this for everybody. It’s this just, it works with my personality type, but the, basically what I do is I’ll start with a lot of research, a lot of research because I’m teaching, right? And so if I’m teaching somebody, I it’s my responsibility to understand it way better than anybody else.

Who’s going to be watching the

Andrew: What’s a topic that you might spend a long time researching or you had already, for example.

Stan: For example, the last anatomy video I did was the anatomy of the feet, right? I mean, I got to understand everything about feet. I got to understand every bone, every tendon, every muscle at where it connects, how they deformed, what do they do?

Andrew: And so you’re spending what months? Understanding that.

Stan: Well I’m right now, I’m doing so many things at the same time that if you look at the time I spent researching that maybe it would stretch over months because it overlaps with so many other things. But individually, if I just kind of like bring it all together, it’s probably like, I don’t know, three to five days of research.

Andrew: Of sitting down, researching, understanding every muscle, every bone, the whole thing.

Stan: Understanding. And I already know a lot of it. I have a lot of experience drawing the body and learning it, but yes, I have like 10 books that I just, I go through and I look at what does this person say about feet? Well, now what does this person now, how do they draw it? How do they interpret that information?

And put it into a drawing? And, yeah, it’s a long process of just researching. I haven’t even started scripting it. I mean, I take notes and I all like, you know, right. Obviously when you’re, you should take notes,

Andrew: Okay. And then you scripted out how.

Stan: I start with an outline. So the most important part. Is actually I think the outline, because this is how you organize the information and you have to organize it in the way that is the simplest for your students to understand cause your, your role as a teacher is to explain things in a simple way. It’s to teach.

It’s not to show off how much information, you know, and to just like throw it all at them. It’s to actually present it in a way that sticks. Right. So the outline organizes it in a way that makes sense. And then after the outline, then it’s easy. Then I just put it into speech format. Right. Um, and then once I have it and I’ll usually inject some jokes in there while I’m writing the, the, the, the, the script.

I’m always thinking about how can I say it? And when I say it, I say to my own voice, and I always try to say jokes, so they just make it in there. Um, and I’ll, I’ll figure out little skits for Skelly, which is my skeleton dude. Um, and, and then once the script is written, I start highlighting every sentence or sometimes even sentences are broken up and each color is a different type of asset.

So this could be a little animation. This could be me on screen talking. This is me drawing on screen. This is some photograph. This is a model.

Andrew: And you’re thinking about it ahead of time and I’m imagining, do you, do you ever say I’m going to change what I, what I say based on the images that I want, or I don’t have enough reason for images, so I’m going to stick something in here that will bring an image in.

Stan: So. I, I do leave it open to editing at any stage, even when I’m done already finding all my photos, I’m done drawing if I’m recording and I think of something I’m like, ah, crap, let’s stick something else into the script. It any stage, if I have an improvement, I could put it.

Andrew: But I mean, you will change what you say to make sure that you have enough visuals to go along with it, to keep the video visually. Interesting.

Stan: Oh, yes. For sure. While I’m writing the script. I’m I’m I’m I have pictures rolling through my head already. Yes, yes. Yeah. I’m not writing a script. Like I’m writing a book where it’s supposed to only make sense as text. I’m writing a script with a video playing in my head already. Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, my, my goal is to create a really good product. It’s not, to me, it’s not to make a lot of money, but the funny thing is that, that that kind of goes with it, If. People will pay for good products.

Andrew: Yeah. And you know what I feel like, um, one thing that I’ve been missing with Mixergy is the appreciation and. And the love of the craft and the finished product. There’s an entrepreneur who gave me Avantia node’s book. Um, let my people go surfing and to think about the founder of Patagonia spending so much time thinking about little pieces of metal that will help rock climbers and shaping it just right.

And being a craftsman at that degree, there’s he wasn’t doing it because that was going to help the business grow better. He was doing it because he had a love for the design and the product that he was making in the environment he was going into. And

Stan: That’s the artist side of it.

Andrew: I grew up, not caring about that. Thinking of that as a thing that that’s an ingredient, just like anything else, like, I don’t care about the chip that’s in my iPad.

Right? You don’t care about the chip that’s in your computer. We think of it as just part of the process that’s designed to make the money. And at least for me, as an, as a new Yorker growing up, wanting to be, um, uh, an entrepreneur, I thought just about that, the love of the craft and the pride of finishing something is, is something that I’ve had to learn to appreciate as a business, as a, as a business necessity, instead of just, uh, a personal indulgence.

Does that make sense?

Stan: It does, but I think that there’s, there’s so many different parts of the craft that everybody does actually have a love for some part of it. Like I had a love for teaching one, so I spent a lot of time organizing information and to visual, like I’m an artist. And so I have to make sure everything looks good.

Right. So those two things I spent a lot of time on. I’m not a musician though. And so as far as music goes, I just kind of put jazz loops in that I did not spend a lot of time perfecting the music side of it, making sure the background music is good. So it’s what, like I would, I perfect things that I personally want to be good with you, you don’t have to make your background look good.

You could be sitting against the ugly wall. Sorry. I mean,

Andrew: I kind of am, but yes,

Stan: perfectly fine. It’s perfectly fine. You don’t need to, it doesn’t matter. You could be focused on the craft of a good interview, right. Have a good conversation. And you do, you have people pre-interview you make sure that there is a process to make sure that the interview is good.

That’s the part of the craft that you probably love and you

Andrew: I didn’t, I didn’t appreciate that. Until recently, like this last year, I’ve spent a lot of time just thinking through how I interview what the process is, what goes into the craft of interviewing. And it’s been, it’s been really helpful to think about it that way. And, and you’re right. I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t think I have to care about everything.

Like, um, like my wall, like my hair, the question is, did I say

Stan: Andrew. I, I learned business through listening to Mixergy. Okay. I did not care about your wall, right?

Andrew: thanks.

Stan: in fact, I didn’t even watch the videos I listened. I would go on walks every, every morning. I’d go on a walk, listen to Mixergy interview. I did this for like two years straight. This, that was my business education.

And you, you asked good questions. You, you made sure that the people listening learned from you and that’s the part that mattered.

Andrew: That’s frankly, that’s, that’s liberating to think that way, especially since I do see you and every detail of your background is so well cared for every little thing that I’ve seen you create, except I have to say your website right now. proco.com.

Stan: Exactly.

Andrew: it’s not at all in fitting with any part of your style.

Stan: Okay. Yeah. So, Oh man. Okay. So this, this goes down another rabbit hole that’s okay. But it’s this important one. So I started like six or seven other businesses before PROCO and they all failed and they all failed because I would focus on things that are not important. To the business itself. Um, I would start by saying, okay, what’s my business called?

Right. I brainstorm names. And then I’d say, okay, well I need a business card to promote my business. So let’s get a business card, but I need a logo. Okay. Let’s work on a logo. I need a website to put on the, on the business card. Let’s make a website, but I gotta make sure that this website has a really nice flash animation back then flash animation was a thing.

So I would actually animate, I would spend weeks animating the top of my website to make it look cool. And then months later I still didn’t have a business. I still didn’t have a product. I still provided no value to anybody. And after about six times starting businesses doing this, I realized like that what I was doing wrong, that I needed to focus on the things that actually mattered.

The things that risk me failing. Solve those problems. And so with PROCO, what I needed to solve first was making videos that people will love to watch artists, sorry. Artists love to watch and eventually would pay for it. Right. Um, I didn’t have that goal, but like initially it was just like, I want something people would watch and follow me for, and to me, what that meant was it has to look good.

It has to be entertaining and it has to be clearly presented to me. Somebody else could have very different objectives with theirs and they could still be very successful and they’ll find their own audience

Andrew: Let me take a moment. I think that makes total, I think that makes total sense. Let me talk about my first sponsor, um, for anyone who doesn’t know how to create great landing pages, unbalanced makes wonderful landing pages. These are pages that people hit with a single goal. In mind, it’s often to convert them into email subscribers, but it could be into getting them to buy something, getting them to take some kind of action.

Anyway, these landing pages are so good when they work because it takes traffic that you pay for and makes it profitable. It takes audience that comes in and lets them know what your business is about. It takes someone who doesn’t know where to get started and directly funnels into the first step, which as I said, often, it’s just collecting an email address.

The problem with it is that every one of us is doing this alone. We don’t know what’s working for other people. I didn’t become a better runner until I started signing up for these programs where I would run with other people and I’d see how they were running and little things that they did like as a runner, they had these a long distance runners would have pants with lots of little pockets so they could put little gels and things in there.

Right. That was a huge help. It meant I could go for longer distance runs without having to carry a backpack already. I think I improved. Anyway. The reason that I’m bringing this up with unbalances, they have got their annual report, their conversion bench, Mark report. It is up an outright now where you can see what other businesses like yours are doing to increase conversions.

You can see what’s working for businesses. You can see what we think is supposed to work and we’re all doing. But in reality, if you look at the data, it does not work. They’re going to show you what the right percentage should be. Maybe you’re really not doing as well with your conversion rate, because you don’t know that you could be doing better.

They’re going to show you those numbers. They’re going to give you a lot of advice based on what’s actually working for all the businesses that are using Unbounce to create landing pages. If you want it. Right now, go get it. It’s at unbound.com/cbr that’s conversion, benchmark report, CBR unbounced.com/c B R.

Um, all right, let’s come back to the business side of PROCO. You had the, the DVD, then you started taking them the sessions that you are already posting on YouTube, and you made them available on your site for purchase with a couple of hours extras in there. What’s the next evolution of the business after that?

Stan: Um, wait, so, so we had the DVDs then the, then people buy yeah. People. I would, I started my next course, which was figure drawing and that was going off of a similar model. But now I learned from portrait. From my portrait course, which was the free one completely. Uh, and I thought, okay, the free videos that are really good job of marketing, my course, and people bought it in any way.

I don’t need to just like have some kind of advertisement that says, Hey, I got a course, go buy it. So I, with my figure drawing course, I thought, okay, for every lesson I make, I’m going to have a free version of it. I want my audience that has been supporting the on YouTube to be able to keep learning from me without buying anything.

And so I made sure that every, every part of the lesson that I released for free works on its own, they don’t need to be like, I don’t stop halfway and be like, ha, and now you must go by the rest of it. You know, it was like, it was a complete lesson, but now if you want more, if you want, you want to continue going down this path, There’s a premium version while I have like an assignment for you.

I’ll have, I’ll show you how to do the assignment and then I’ll, I’ll do some critiques. Uh, and I would actually even release one of the critiques for free. Um, but the lesson, most of the information was presented free.

Andrew: The lesson was free. The additions were the part that members got. The people who want to go more intense, can get assignments, can see how the assignments are done, can see critiques so that they learn from other people.

Stan: eBooks,

Andrew: way to do it.

Stan: Yeah. I gave them, I gave them a bunch of stuff in the premium for, for sure. So it was, I mean, who’s going to be buying my course. It’s, it’s the serious students that want to study. And so those are the students that want the assignments and see how to do it and how to, and they want to see critiques and they want to rotate the 3d models of the anatomy of the muscle so they can draw from it.

Um, and I made my, my, my stuff cheap. I mean, it took me six years to finish the anatomy course and it’s under 300 bucks.

Andrew: Yeah. Tell me about that. That’s because you pre-sold the anatomy course. It seems like you’re still working on it now

Stan: almost done.

Andrew: you’re almost done, right?

Stan: almost done.

Andrew: You said I’m going to do the anatomy course. If you want to buy it, that’s actually a great way to do it. Because when you have outside pressure, you have to finish, right.

As opposed to saying, you’re going to do it to yourself and then nobody nobody’s holding you accountable. Did you know how long do you think he was going to take you?

Stan: I was gonna take two years.

Andrew: Okay. That’s still a long commitment.

Stan: Oh yeah. Well, I mean, it ended up in, ended up being about 360 lessons. That’s a lot of lessons.

Andrew: What’s an example of something that you wouldn’t have thought would need to be included, but as you go through the body, realize we need to talk about how to do that. Yeah.

Stan: Well, I mean, just hands alone, I ended up doing, uh, it was a four-part thing and each part had like 10 videos in it and it, I mean, it was insane. Like. I thought I was going to have one lesson on, on hands here’s the anatomy. Here’s how you try. But I ended up splitting it up into all these different categories because hands are just so complex.

Andrew: Like what what’s, what goes into the hand that I wouldn’t pay attention to until I had

Stan: Um, well, I, I added a cartoon hands and how to stylize, right? How to, how to take hands and stylize it to express in a different, you know, to show expression. Um, um, and I also added a video on how to invent hands, so how to draw hands from imagination. And so I actually started giving them tools of like, here’s how you could simplify hands so that you can build them up in, in steps.

You start with these very basic forms and here’s how these forms work with each other. Then here’s how you can take these forms and add some more complexity to them to make them look more believable, like real hands. So it was another lesson of how to actually do it without looking at a photograph. And, and that kind of stuff I didn’t think about until I actually started teaching hands and be like, this is the problem people are having with hands.

Yeah.

Andrew: How do you talk to your audience to understand what problems they’re having? What’s your feedback mechanism?

Stan: Hmm. Um, well they let me know in the comments already. Like they, they let me know. Um, but also, I mean, I was teaching at the school. I taught at the school for six years, so I worked directly with students, uh, and that helps for sure. Um, online now it’s more difficult when my I’m separated by a screen. Um, it’s, it’s more difficult to see how my, how students are reacting when people will comment and that’s helpful, but seeing their reaction as I’m explaining something, if I’m like, if I see that they’re confused, I’ll continue to explain it.

I’ll say it in a different way, but when you’re making a video, you have to imagine.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I would do before teaching something. I would teach it to someone on zoom. Actually, I would teach to multiple people on zoom because I wanted to see where their eyes would light up, where that magic was that I wouldn’t have anticipated because I’ve been doing it for so long.

And then that’s what I would make sure to keep in and where they were confused. Um, so teaching it on zoom one-on-one helps me, but your method doesn’t, doesn’t lend itself to that. The other thing that helped me is just doing free coaching. People can’t believe that I do free coaching, but I want to do free coaching to open myself up to random people who wouldn’t otherwise respond.

So I could see their problems. You know what I mean?

Stan: yeah, absolutely. Right. So my next course, after that dummy is drawing fundamentals, drawing basics. So going back, yeah, I went from advanced anatomy to, Hey, you’ve never drawn before. Here’s the course drawing basics. And in order to. Really understand the student here. I was teaching all of the, my planned lessons to my wife because she’s never drawn before.

And so I was like, all right, you’re going to be my Guinea pig. I’m going to teach these to you. Yeah. She wa I taught, I went through every lesson with her, um, and I would take notes. She would tell me what she would ask me questions while I was giving her this, that my outline, I present it to her, but he should be asking me questions and be like, Oh, okay, well, I gotta add that to my

Andrew: Uh, yeah.

Stan: I mean, just that alone is just so priceless, uh, to, to get a question specifically from a student who is hearing me present that information.

Andrew: Looking down is because I’m looking at your page as we’re talking to try to see all these things that we’re talking about, including this, um, including the photo of Skelly. Of course, right there.

Stan: Oh, yeah. The Skelly app.

Andrew: touch my screen, it goes away. Um, yeah.

Stan: app. Yeah. That was, that was fun. Yeah. That’s actually an app where you can pose a skeleton and draw from, from that.

Andrew: Yeah. I never thought that somebody would need that, but it makes a lot of sense, right. To be able to just see what you’re drawing and move it to the place, to the way that you want it to be. How did you even think of that to create the app?

Stan: I wanted it myself. Right. I mean, and I also, as I was trying to figure out assignments for my students, I was thinking, well, it would be really helpful if they could have a skeleton that they could, they could draw from and add the muscles on top. And so I thought, okay, well, I’ll make that well. So I partnered with some people that, some coders that, that made it and, um, and there it is, and it worked great.

Still get, it’s been like five years and we haven’t updated and it still gets. Thousands of dollars per month in revenue.

Andrew: I used to think that what one person needs is not enough to build a business on or create an Oh, by the way that the app isn’t linking in the app store.

Stan: God, you caught me. You catch me at the wrong moment for everything. yeah, we, um, I don’t know for some reason, so my assistant, my assistant was on maternity leave for the past two months. She got back like on Monday, um, two days ago. And during that time of course is when we missed our Apple payment.

Andrew: Oh, and so

Stan: And so they

Andrew: Oh, that’s so painful.

Stan: and of course I’m that keeping track of that stuff.

So yeah, we didn’t pay for our Apple account. I don’t even, I didn’t even know we were paying.

Andrew: Is the Skelly stickers your thing or is that somebody else? No, that is your thing. You guys have

Stan: Oh yeah, that was an experiment. That was something we were just doing for free. That was an experiment. My

Andrew: like the chat stickers, I guess. So has there ever been anything that failed?

Stan: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: a big failure.

Stan: Oh, very, very recently. Um, I, so trying to get into more like physical products. Um, and so I’m, I’m making sketchbooks for people so that if they want to do their assignments, they could, they can get their own PROCO sketchbook and do their assignments in the sketchbook. And we, uh, we went through this whole process.

We, we, we found really good, really good manufacturer in China. We, we, we kept going back and forth. They’re sending us all this different paper. Um, w we finally got to a point where we decided on all these different elements for it, and they sent us the product. I tested it out. Great. Let’s do it. We made 2000 copies of it.

They sent it to us. It’s filling up one of my, one of my rooms here at the office, like boxes, completely filling the room of 2000 sketchbooks. Because the paper is not archival. It’s got acid in it. It’s, it’s not acid free, which is very important for artists so that, because if you leave the paper page in the sun, it becomes yellow because it’s got acid and it’ll turn the page yellow.

And so I realized that because I left the, one of the sketch books on my desk at home for like a week. And then I looked over and I was like, it was bright yellow. I mean, it was like, it was like cardboard, like light cardboard. And it, I was like, well, that’s a fail. Can’t sell those. So we got to, basically, we got to just donate those to, to people that don’t care that it’s going to not archival.

Andrew: Because you didn’t think to ask about acid or because they didn’t give you what you were looking.

Stan: Well, I asked them and they said all of their papers archival and I didn’t check. I didn’t check.

Andrew: right, right. And, and you know what it makes sense in retrospect, but how many things do you need to check? You’ve got

Stan: Yeah. Yeah. I, I

Andrew: of everything.

Stan: I thought that, uh, I didn’t need to check because I was busy. It was a side project, right. It wasn’t like, I knew I wasn’t going to make a lot of money off of this. It was just the thing. It was more for branding. Right? Like getting people more loyal to the brand. Cause they got a PROCO sketchbook and they’re watching PROCO videos.

You know, they go sketching with their friends and they, they, their friends see the PROCO logo. It’s just, it’s a more of a marketing thing. It’s more just getting new customers rather than making money off the sales of the sketchbooks. And so it was a side project that I didn’t put in that much effort into it.

Um, I did put a lot of effort in designing it to make it look awesome and feel good. And do you know, have it to be a sketch book that I wanted to actually use, but that all those little details were extra that I just didn’t check.

Andrew: Do you ever have a failure where, where people didn’t buy from you because you were out of touch with what they wanted or you misunderstood it, or you created something just for yourself. What’s that.

Stan: absolutely. So, and it’s not a complete failure, but it wasn’t as successful as we thought it would be. Um, we started making like masterpiece demos. That’s what we call them where I would travel to different artists studios. I went to New York and I went to three different artists studios, and I recorded them for, for like three to eight days of making one piece.

Right. And it was like, the concept was you get to be a fly on the wall and see an artist, create a, a drawing or a painting that they would do, even if you weren’t watching. So it’s not like they’re teaching you, they’re not doing a demo of that. They would do in class. They’re actually creating a piece that they would sell in a gallery.

Right. So you get to see the creation of a real drawing or painting and. We, you know, we, we spent a lot of money on the, on traveling, renting gear. I had to get my, you know, my production crew over there as well. Um, and we, we also went to Miami and did that. We, we did this for like five different artists and, and then it just didn’t sell very well because people want courses.

They don’t want to just watch somebody draw. They want to learn, um, they still sold, but it was like kind of a little over breaking, even sort of thing. And, um, for the artists, it was definitely worth it for the artists that we collaborate with. Cause, cause it was like three to five days of work for them to, to do this piece and we were there to record them.

Uh, and then the, and they made a bunch of, you know, several thousands of dollars over a week,

Andrew: Because you split the revenue with them

Stan: yeah, we split it 50 50. And, but for us we spent, you know, a few months editing. All this footage and that’s much way more expensive for us than for them. And so, yeah, for us, it was kind of, eh, so we, we learned from that, that people want courses.

Andrew: Oh, okay. So wasn’t like a change in the way that you create. It was just an understanding of what people want that that happened. And that makes sense. I think that, um, what I’ve discovered too, for me is people are willing to an eager to listen to stories of how other people do. It’s something, but when it comes time to pay, Hey, they want to pay for a result that they could get themselves, at least in my world.

Right. Which is why the courses are what we sell at Mixergy. And the interviews ended up being non. They, they weren’t the big lore for getting customers. They want the ability, that’s what they’re signing up for. Um, but you know what, there was this one, one interview yeah. That you did with the South Korean artist.

I don’t know his name, but he was wearing that.

Stan: Kim junkie.

Andrew: Yeah. Was he didn’t even speak English, but you had, was that your voiceover artist that you brought in to do the translation and his voice.

Stan: we hired someone on Upwork, right? Is that what it’s called now? I

Andrew: So that’s what you did. I just love that because you was showing him you’re cutting to the audience so that you can see how people are watching him create. Then you showed yourself, sitting down with them in a quiet room, the way that you even brought up childhood. When I bring up childhood in interviews, it’s because I’m trying to get to know the person, but if you listeners have called me out and said, Andrew, it’s kind of awkward that you bring up someone’s childhood.

It’s a random time. It’s not random. It’s it’s it makes sense to me. You, you are doing a better job of it and I’m working on improving to what you said was something like you tied in what he was doing now drawing a lot too. Did it come from childhood where he felt the need to constantly draw or something?

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is you did spend a lot of time thinking through the structure of the conversation, thinking through how to put that together. No,

Stan: After the fact

Andrew: that’s why. Oh, after the fact for editing, yes. Okay.

Stan: it was a little bit of both. I did plan a lot of questions, but I planned. Oh, way more questions that I needed. And I, I, I recorded several days worth of stuff that video that you’re referring to as Kim junkie probably had to become a master. Right. It was, it was that one.

Um, and so what I did was one, I went to his presentation and I recorded him drawing and presenting, you know, doing a demo of a drawing. Then I did an interview with him and those two things, I think I might’ve also even done some other things. I forgot. I forget. But then what I did was we w we got it transcribed.

Both of those demos. One of them was like three hours worth of, of, of him presenting. And another one was like an hour and a half of me interviewing him. And I had it all transcribed. And I said, okay, here’s all the texts I have to work with. How do we restructure this into something that makes sense? And I started telling a story.

From these little elements and I would copy from one, put it over here from another over here. So the order that you watch it, and it’s completely not what happened in real, in real, it’s not. And I also added in my own narration in between to kind of tie things in. Um, yeah. Yeah, it was, it was the story.

Part of it came afterwards. The planning I did before was more about let’s let’s cover everything so that we have enough ingredients afterwards to tell us.

Andrew: Um, I was wondering if you did that because you wanted to use, this is where I want to get into a little bit of your marketing. I was wondering, did you do that? Because you said he’s got a big following. People are coming and watching him draw on a wall, right? For our three hours of time, they’re sitting there and watching him.

This is me. I was wondering if that was you Stan thinking, that’s our marketing. We had, do you Mark it? If not, that is that

Stan: My goal was let’s make the best video on Kim junkie that’s ever been made.

Andrew: so that anyone who cares about him, that’s the one that they go to. And so you invested, I imagine a lot of money. What did you invest in that whole thing? 10,000.

Stan: no, no, no, not, not even close way. It was less than that for sure.

Andrew: Well, I mean, because of the, the amount of time that you and your team put in there, right. That’s

Stan: Yeah. I mean, if you, if you count my time then yeah. It’s it’s in the thousands, because most of it was me going to these things, interviewing him. Uh, and then actually most of the time was spent on me afterwards, trying to fit, restructure the interview into something that looks good or sounds good.

That was most of the time spent the editing. Part of it was like done. It was like, I was like, take this little clip clip from this interview, put it here, this little clip from this interview, put it here and then go get, we, we bought a bunch of his books and then we filled in a bunch, you know, all the visuals with this, like the camera panning through the book.

Andrew: yeah. Ken burns effect.

Stan: yeah, exactly. And that’s for the editors that it was only last a few days at work. Uh, it was not very expensive

Andrew: What else did then is working for growing your audience? Because it’s a YouTube audience largely, right. I see. You’re on Pinterest. I see you’re on the platforms.

Stan: collaborations right now are the biggest thing. I’m doing a lot of collaborations because I mean, think about it with Kim junkie. A lot of people search for stuff. And if my video is the one that they fall on, if then that amount of time and effort I put into it is worth it exponentially worth it.

But if I make the like fifth best video on him, they’re not that they’re not going to even get to it. So it’s just a complete waste of time. So you might as well get and make the very, very

Andrew: the very best. What’s the next, when you say collaboration, what’s another example of a collaboration.

Stan: um, Oh, I mean, know, let me just go to my current feed. So just like the past, uh, how many videos? So I did one with, uh, with box on metal, Dory Stevens, Zapata. Um,

Andrew: Oh, so this is other creators the year going and saying we’re going to teach together. And it’s you teaching on your, on your channel and on their channel that you’re both teaching on both your channels.

Stan: so yeah, what we do now is we invite artists that. One, I either teach really, really well or draw or paint really, really well. And, and then we help them with the other element. If they’re really good artists, we will help them structure the thoughts to teach it well. Right. We’ll help them produce it.

Um, we’ll send them cameras to their house. We’ll send them microphones, we’ll help them set up their lighting. We basically, we help them get their production quality up to our standard. And then we make a video with them and that becomes the best video that that artist has done. And so their fans now go to that video.

Um, and my fans love all this content from other creators as well, but that’s one thing I found out that it wasn’t really about me. It was the quality.

Andrew: Uh, so it’s, it’s, you’re bringing so Stevens apart. I don’t know him actually, but he, he he’s an artist. He hasn’t uploaded as much as you have. His videos are maybe like a two hour video of him just sketching, right. Him drying. And so what you’re doing is saying, how do we get him to help teach we’ll work with him to become a better teacher.

Anyone wants to learn from him, we’ll discover, discover him on our platform.

Stan: So with Stephen, he’s actually already a good teacher. We didn’t have to help him become a better teacher. He he’s a great teacher. He’s a great artist, but we did help him make better videos, you know? Cause yeah. It’s like, I don’t know, you go on his channel. Maybe I don’t remember anymore, but it’s probably, yeah, like you said, long videos, not edited very much.

Probably just, you know, re press record. Here’s the video, here’s the, you know, watch this with us. It’s a lot more presentable to the audience. It’s something that people will actually want to watch because you can take a two hour drawing, condense it into 15 minutes and keep all that information.

Andrew: So then what else do you do too? You edit for him and for other creators who you’re, who you’re partnering up with, right. You edit, you also guide them beforehand with an outline. Do you have producers the way that we do

Stan: absolutely. We will guide them with whatever they need guidance on. Right. Cause we we’ve figured out everything, the whole process, the teaching, how to make it look good, how to make it sound good. Every everything, how to make it entertaining. And then we’ll, we’ll go to a, an artist or an instructor and we’ll see what’s missing we’ll partner with them and we’ll fill in those gaps for them.

And then we use their strengths, we lift up their strengths

Andrew: okay. Uh, I want to go to PROCO lab next, but before we do one other thing, that’s helped you with a marketing promotion growing your channel, growing your sales, any of that.

Stan: and that

Andrew: Yeah. I just want to get a sense of like, how are you getting beyond making great product? What else is doing? What else are you doing to draw people in?

And I understand the, um, the collaboration. Well,

Stan: okay.

Andrew: it’s, it’s that not part of a, if you don’t have a growth team or growth person,

Stan: We do we, I have a marketing guy. I mean, recently we started doing challenges and that I feel like that has been pretty,

Andrew: how does

Stan: pretty good on community growth. So we’ll launch a challenge on Instagram where we say, okay, um, everybody draw like cute, but deadly was one of them recently where, um, you have to design a character.

That’s cute, but deadly. And we always have like a celebrity judge. So an artist that’s pretty, really well known in the community. Uh, that one specifically was Bobby Chu. He’s he he’s very well-known artists. He does Lightbox convention, um, and lots of other things, but, and so they bring in their followers.

I bring in ours and then people participate. They post on Instagram with our hashtag. They have, they have to post on Instagram, their hashtag, they have to, they have to basically tell their followers that, Hey, I’m participating in this challenge that kind of spreads the growth. Um, and then we, uh, we also have sponsors for all the challenges as well.

So the winners get, they win these, you know, uh Santiq, which is, uh, like a digital tablet, like drawn. You probably have heard a walk them. Um, and now we recently got, um, clip studio paint, which has some software, so they give away a few years worth of free membership. Uh, we give away free courses. The guest judge gives away free drawings, lots of prizes, lots of stuff to do, to encourage people to participate.

Um, so that’s one really

Andrew: What does that from it? Are you watching other people do challenges? I’ve noticed some of the video, um, the video instructors have been doing that. You do, you just keep an eye on, what’s working for other others and you see, can this work for us?

Stan: yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’m always trying to come up with new ideas for stuff. Um, But actually one of the things that comes to mind though, as far as, um, increasing sales, one thing that really worked for us, this was huge, um, was packaged deals. It sounds really good, weird, but like we use SamCart, I think I probably learned some crap from you as well.

Right. Did you have,

Andrew: Mixergy listener too. Yeah. Beautiful shopping cart

Stan: Yeah, I think I th the, the founder of the crater was on, on mixer G announcing the product before it launched on your, and I learned about it through, through Mixergy and I signed up for it before it launched, and I got the like, special, like really cheap deal. And I still have that plan.

It’s amazing.

Andrew: I love, that’s why I love being an early customer of someone you’re supporting them, but also it’s great to be grandfathered in.

Stan: Yes, absolutely. But so my point is, but Sam cart doesn’t allow you to put multiple products into the car. It’s not a shopping cart, right. Or maybe it is now, I don’t know, but, um, you can sell one thing at a time. And what we noticed is that when we bundle things together, when we say, Hey, you can buy all five of my courses together and you can get 15% off that people will spend way more money.

Our sales increased by like 30 or 40% the month that we added bundles. And we have a special page on, on the website where it’s like package deals and you go there and we show everything you get are like splayed out. Right. And you can see the cross out number. And it was incredible. It was like, well, they could have just bought these individually, but when we put it together and we presented it to them as a package, well, now they’re just going to buy the whole package

Andrew: Yeah, I have to say, when I was going through your site, I felt like it would be stupid not to get the package partially because your prices are so low anyway, you know, considering what’s in there. Um, alright.

Stan: Yeah.

Andrew: me to the new, the new site. By the way, I was looking at SEMrush, you’re doing a million and a million visitors a month.

I think SCM rush SEMrush, March 20, 21, a million visitors a month on the, on your site. Yeah.

Stan: really. So nice. Okay. That’s awesome. Are you sure?

Andrew: that’s what I’m seeing over here. A million, uh, okay. Let’s look at unique visitors, 547,000 unique visitors up 1% from the month before Pedro’s per visit 2.9. Anyway, basically you’re doing

Stan: Yeah, but it’s all because of the YouTube content it’s I provide so much for free.

Andrew: that’s it? Yeah. I feel like you’re, you’re big on Instagram too, but YouTube is I’m teaching. I’m teaching intensely. If you want to come to my site, you can see there’s no flash, no enough. The new site though, fricking beautiful, not just from a design point of view. And I like how, like the clouds move is, um, as I’m scrolling up, I got the little details, make a lot of impact, but what I’m noticing is you now have lots of other teachers on the platform.

Stan: Yup.

Andrew: you now selling a membership where all these teachers know it’s not like lynda.com was.

Stan: No, it’s not a membership. It’s you, you still go on and you can still buy individual courses. But now the only difference is now that we’re, we’re letting other creators come on and use our platform to sell and to teach. And so, uh, we’re launching with, I don’t remember, I don’t know how many instructors are gonna be on there, like 20 to 30, maybe instructors going to be selling on there, going from like three to 20 or 30.

Um, and. We’re going to be launching features that allow people to get paid critiques. So if you want to submit your drawing and get a critique, you get paid, you can get a critique and advanced students can become approved. Critiquers so like advanced students can now start making a living while they’re still like in college and studying, but they can help people below them.

Right. And so they can, they can get paid a few bucks for, for writing a little critique. Um, and so it’s, it’s going to be a much more community driven learning because you know, everybody’s going online for education now. And one of the biggest things that’s missing is feedback and community. You can’t get that as well as you could, when you are actually at a physical college, when you go there, like the community, you got friends around you, um, and you got, your teacher gives you feedback.

Every time you go to class, all that stuff online,

Andrew: it going to, so Mike  is one of the teachers, so Mike can have free classes on this platform, but also paid classes. And if he has free classes, he could charge for the critiques that you make available. Is that right?

Stan: could charge for critiques as well if he wants to. But, um, what I’ve found is that is that’s probably not, what’s going to happen. It’s the instructors are gonna produce courses and they’re not going to have time to critique the thousands of students that they get. Right? Because online is different.

You, you make a video course and you get thousands of students. If you’re teaching at a college, you get like 20, 30 students in the class and you can give each one individual attention. It’s a completely different dynamic online. And that’s why I think critiques will need to be more community driven where advanced artists who aren’t, even teachers are helping

Andrew: Yeah,

Stan: people under them and still get rewarded for it.

Andrew: so, but if he offers a free class, he can also offer the critiques from his students and then charge for that.

Stan: He, yeah, he could teach workshops. He could do private mentorships. We’re going to have every aspect, every type of business model that a, an instructor would want to have and, and have those as different options on there.

Andrew: And then is it a commission? Where are you splitting the revenue? Kind of like a credit card processor and service provider would, or more like, um, a marketing company would meaning take more.

Stan: So we have, yeah. So what we have set up is some courses we’re going to produce for the instructors, right? Where it’s actually like a PROCO original course. It’s, it’s, it’s a PR it’s gonna be branded PROCO that we’re doing 50 50, which is actually pretty incredible. If you look at how publishers usually give their, you know, create is like 10%, maybe, maybe less.

I don’t know, but yeah, we’re giving them 50%. Um, and then if they create their own content and they put it up on their platform and they send their audience. They, they, they promote and they send their audience to kind of use us as pretty much just like a shopping cart. Then they get 95%. If we send students to their course that they produce, we take, we take 30%.

Andrew: Got it. Okay. Wow. So you could end up promoting your own courses on your YouTube channel, which you’ve now been doing for eight years, plus. Get them from YouTube channel to someone else’s course. And instead of selling one of your bundles, sell someone else’s course and collect 30%, and that’s what you’re giving up to fund this business. You’re giving up the fact that somebody could come from your YouTube channel and buy your full course, and you keep a hundred percent of the revenue you’re giving that up, replacing it with potentially 30% of someone else’s course, because that’s your investment in this new book

Stan: Yeah, well, I’m still going to have my own courses on there and I get a hundred percent from

Andrew: I get. Yeah, I get it. But, um, now they’re competing with all these other courses.

Stan: that’s true. But come on. I mean, if I’m thinking of revenue that there’s going to be much more revenue of taking chunks off of, you know, hundreds of others instructors then selling my own.

Andrew: no, I think you’re right to do this. I think this is just the next big.

Stan: Yeah, but I’m not thinking of revenue when I’m doing this. I’m thinking of how can I innovate and how can I improve education online? You can’t like if you, if your goal is to make more money, you’re probably not going to make a good enough product to make a lot of money. You have to be focused on innovation, making a change and, and actually solving problems for people.

And the problem solving is ha making it plausible for artists to actually study online without going to college at all, and still get all the benefits of going to college. Um, cause that’s what’s happening right now. And part of

Andrew: Competing with college, because with, with, because art degrees don’t matter as much as an accountant degree accounting degree.

Stan: If you’re a doctor or a lawyer, you need a degree, please, please go to college.

Andrew: soft things that we don’t think about when we go online, like community like feedback, interaction that does matter. And that’s what you’re going to be spending your time.

Got it. All

Stan: that’s what we’re going to be fixing version one that we’re launching the MVP is just like the very beginning of that. It doesn’t solve it yet, but that’s what we need to launch something. And we need to start now collecting, you know, seeing what the audience needs most and going towards that direction.

Um, but yeah, feedback and community is the biggest thing that we’re

Andrew: why didn’t you decide to go with the Skillshare model? The way the Skillshare says, pay ones, get everything,

Stan: Um, uh, I don’t know. I did a little bit of research on that and I what’s the other one. Um,

Andrew: or even own the whole thing yourself, where you crew, where you hire all the creators and

Stan: Oh, like the Netflix or not well known

Andrew: yeah, let’s call it the Netflix version, right? Because next flicks doesn’t split revenue in any way. Yeah. Why did you pick this model? I I’m wondering if I pick the right model. That’s why I’m asking.

Stan: Well, I also want to empower. Uh, creator instructors to be able to monetize their content. And I feel like it’s just, it’s really messy to be able to have to split it up with everybody else. You know, I’m an instructor I put up my course and I’m just going to get revenue based on watch time. Right. Or number of videos watched.

And then it’s kind of weird. It’s like, well now I’m just going to compete with other instructors based on how many videos I put out. So instead of making w you know, one video, that’s really nice, that’s 20 minutes long. I’m just going to split it up into five videos, just cause I’m going to make more money that way.

It just, it seems like a really messy model that doesn’t promote a healthy behavior. I’d rather have everybody sell their product, um, individually and make money off of what they sell.

Andrew: As a customer I’m I love the. The model of a Skillshare. I enjoy that. I don’t have to think before taking a course in my, about to pay for this as worth it or not. But I have to say that lately, a lot of the courses that are fed to me on that platform are from celebrities who are just giving you an inside look of their background of the, behind the scenes of how they do it.

I don’t know that MKBHD is working this way. I don’t know what his situation is, but he’s a tech YouTuber and it’s behind the scenes of how he does it. I would watch that just like, I’d watch any other tech YouTubers video, but I don’t know that I’m learning. I know I’m not learning from a lot of these people.

Dan maze created a video about how to tell stories using video, but it’s basically just Dan mace talking into the camera and I watched the whole thing cause I liked Dan cause I’ve been watching his YouTube videos. I’m not learning that much. And I wonder if they’re rewarding watch times, which then is a disincentive to create these really methodical how to videos.

Stan: Right. So you either reward watch time, which rewards longer videos, which sucks because shorter, if you, if you. Make the video more, uh, shorter and more precise. That’s better than a long video. That’s unedited, right? I mean, so you’re, you’re actually incentivizing people to not edit and just put the whole thing as it is, and have bad content.

Or if you reward the number of views, then you’re just rewarding people to just like split them up into like two minute videos. So it’s like either, I don’t know. And you’re just rewarding people too for, uh, like just making click baity titles and all their stuff, instead of just making quality content that sells people want to buy that specific thing because that’s good.

They heard from someone else that that’s the course that’s worth buying. It just makes a little more sense to me. It’s more of the Amazon model

Andrew: It is, it does though mean that there’s a barrier to sample, but I guess you could solve that by saying, well, the first, yeah, right? The free content that maybe even, I hate when people, when core sites will say the intro video is free, but the intro video, you do nothing. It’s just a, it’s an ad. Show me how to do something.

So I see how you teach. Let me do it so that I see that I can master what you’re teaching me. And then I want to go in and do as much as possible.

Stan: Yeah. That’s why more than just an intro video, you know, every

Andrew: You’re not bouncing off the walls. Excited about what you’re about to launch with. PROCO I feel like I’m more excited. I, I can’t believe that you wouldn’t say Andrew, you should tell your audience, just go see this link that I just shared with you privately, but I get it. You’ve disciplined. My, no, no, no, wait, wait, I don’t, I don’t want you to screw up your business.

I like you, Stan, but if you want to go ahead.

Stan: we’ll we can figure it out. We’ll just block the, we’ll put a password on it later if we don’t after we don’t want people to access it anymore.

Andrew: Idea right. If they want to go see it now that will. Even after the interview, if you change your mind, you can get rid of it. Do you want to give the,

Stan: Yeah. PROCO lab.com is the temporary domain where we currently just like developing it when we launch it’ll go to  dot com. But if you want to see the, the, the current version, just yeah, go to PROCO lab.

Andrew: I’m not even going to link to it. If anyone discovers it at the very end of the video. Great for them. If not, totally fine.

Stan: fine. And, but the, the beta code, if you, if you want to register, it’s a free registration.

Uh, Skelly, S K E L L Y

Andrew: S K E L L Y double L Y like skeleton.

Stan: Skelly. Yeah. Uh, and then you’ll be able to register it, go in there and just see what it’s, what it’s all about.

Andrew: All right. Damn dude. So freaking impressive. Thanks so much for doing this. If you notice, I gave up revenue for this, I was going to do a HostGator ad and then I said, screw it. I’m not interrupting the conversation yet again. So host now. It’s okay. It’s worth it for me. HostGator. We’ll get another ad instead.

Um, I will say at the end, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. If you want to sign up for HostGator, but we’ll get, we’re not charging them for this. I’ll do more. I just, I just love your story. I’m excited to have you on here. Thanks so much for doing this, Stan.

Stan: Thank you, Andrew. It’s really a privilege to be on here. Like yeah, you, you were, you were a huge part of my education, so it’s really awesome to be on here now.

Andrew: right on. Thanks. I’m so excited about what you’re launching. I’m so excited about what you’re doing. You’ve got to be proud. You know, like I dated this woman whose dad, whose grandfather made these, you ever see the Hasidic hats. Hasidic Jews wear hats, right? Like these, he made the fancy hats, right? That I don’t know enough about this, but we were in New York.

And so people knew, it knew the hats knew the business years after nobody was wearing these hats anymore. She was just proud that he created these hats. That meant something to this community. That little thing that he created with pride is so impactful. His daughter in a world that doesn’t care about fricking hats in any way, except for baseball caps still cares about and still carries on as pride of craftsmanship, pride of creation.

The bottom line. What I’m trying to say is you’ve got to be so proud of what you do, creating here and the, the family long impact of it. Think about Steve jobs. Maybe this would have been a better example talking forever about how his dad told him to paint both sides of the fence. Right? Those little attention to detail that you have is.

It’s moving and it’s impactful. Anyway, it’s one of the best parts of, of studying you for this interview.

Stan: It makes it, yeah. I want to be proud of the stuff I create. I don’t. I don’t create things to make money. I create things because I want to enjoy the process of creating it. And I want to be proud of it afterwards. I want to, I want to be able to tell people to go look at it without feeling embarrassed, you know? Um, I I’m an artist, so I enjoy the creation of the thing more than the rewards that come afterwards.

Andrew: get it. I’m getting it now is what I’m saying. All right. Thanks so much, Sam, for doing this interview, the website for anyone who wants to go check it out, the current version is@proco.com and of course it will be updated very soon with what I’ve been looking at and, uh, and the new business model. Thanks so much, Dan.

Thank you all for listening.

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