This week’s #kajabihero shares a name with the famous musician James Taylor, but while James isn't headlining concerts around the world, he does help musicians with their marketing so they can make a living doing what they love.
He noticed pretty early on in life how difficult it was for musicians to make a living with their music, and so he decided to become involved in online musician schools.
Musicians who decide to teach online have a steady stream of income sharing something that they love with people who are eager to learn which enables them to have options for what gigs they want to accept or decline.
There are three parts to James’ business, the first being for musicians, the second is for speaker training, and the third is creative training. You can find all of his wonderful products at
his main site here: The Beginning for James and for Kajabi
Back in 2010 James’ full time job was traveling all over the world managing pop and rock stars. Then the music industry started changing. Record sales were declining and musicians were required to be traveling and touring on the road a lot more. James was asked to be a part of a business where they created online subscription-based music schools. James would find Grammy-winning artists who had the heart and attitude for teaching and set them up online, and in the span of 3 years they created 30 online music schools.
The results were incredibly positive. James saw people from all over the world gain access to a great music teacher and have resources available online that weren’t available in their part of the world. Back when he first started, the company was piecing together all these different technology tools to make these classes available and they were using a huge amount of resources to keep it all running.
In 2010, James decided to build one part of his business, called the Musician Business Institute, on this new platform he had found called Kajabi. From there it quickly took off. He was thrilled with how quickly he could get a course up and running. Now he runs several products off Kajabi, including high-end musicians retreats all over the word. Every physical retreat comes with an online component and access to a community of like-minded people.
Another really cool thing they do is to record the sessions at the retreats so that people have access to them online anytime they want when they go home. Considering most people can only remember about 40% of the information they learn, this is a great resource.
James made a great point in saying that the playing field has really been leveled as far as technology is concerned. Most people have access to all the same programs, apps, and platforms. So where someone’s product is really going to stand out is in how creative they can be with it. In his creativity courses James helps people develop creative thinking skills, teaches how to choose the few ideas out of many that are worth pursuing and how to turn them into practical projects.
Something amazing that they tried last year was to host an online summit powered by Kajabi. They chose the topic of guitar, James interviewed 60 of the world’s best guitar players, and they had over 10,000 people sign up to attend the event.
James mentioned that one of the things he loves most about being an online teacher is that he gets to be apart of the learning process, which then enables him to share what he knows with the rest of the world.
With this in mind, James decided to interview 60 of the world’s best keynote speakers in order to better understand the business of it and the techniques behind it. With his new knowledge he decided to launch another summit on keynote speaking and he had over 5,000 people from 118 different countries attend.
James is seeing that more and more companies are willing to sign on with membership sites to offer training to their employees. With regards to keynote speaking, they are willing to pay for someone to come speak for an hour or two, but they also want to know what other resources the person can offer to help. So James sees a huge potential for encouraging keynote speakers to put some of their knowledge and courses online and offer it to people that way.
I came to the conclusion that James may be one of the most experienced Kajabi members that we have, due to the fact that he has been with us from the beginning and that he runs so many courses off our platform.
I asked James to share with us some of the most valuable lessons he has learned throughout his career. Fundamentally it all goes back to who you are as an individual. Knowing yourself, your personality, how you learn, and what your passions are is the key to success. He cautions people to be aware of the ‘bright, shiny thing’ syndrome. Ask yourself these questions:
Why are you doing this? Who are you looking to serve? What will work for me?
Speaking into the technology side James encourages people to keep it as simple as possible, as it is easy to get lost along the way. He says to start with one lead product, figure out how to convert interested parties into clients, and then offer one core product. This could be a membership site, a one-time retreat, or a hybrid of the two.
A huge benefit to running a subscription-based site is the ability to build a community of individuals who share like interests and passions. People may initially join for the content that they need, but the reason that they stay is because of the community and the character.
Regarding the summits, James was sharing that the guest speakers were the ones generating traffic and spreading the word about the event itself. Another avenue he pursues is to bring in partners and affiliates who speak specifically to that event type, and then he also uses paid Facebook ads and the like.
Another great piece of advice from James is to be as specific as you can. For example, he wouldn’t put on a leadership summit, but instead he would choose to do a ‘Leadership in the Pharmaceutical Industry’ summit. You will draw the right kind of clients for what you are selling by being more specific.
James’ typical summit business model is as follows: They announce and advertise for the specific online summit that usually covers a two-week time period. The draw is a free summit pass and people have access to all the amazing information and some interviews, but then they have the option to upgrade to the VIP pass which includes a lifetime access to all the interviews and bonus courses. James explains here that the goal is not necessarily to generate revenue, but instead to generate lists. You gain an extremely large amount of emails and specific information about what people are interested in by offering a free, high-value lead product.
The bottom line here is that everyone is interested in something, and if you have a niche, then you can put together a summit and by finding the right people who are interested in what you are offering, you can generate a successful course.
Looking to the Future
I asked James what he sees for his company for the future. James admits that with his love of learning about new industries there can be a little bit of a danger, in that you are very eager to jump ahead to what’s new instead of sticking with what you’ve already established. He says his challenge his actually ‘sitting still’ a little bit and working on making what he has already built even better. It’s even important to consider killing off the products or programs that aren’t working.
Another great outcome from meeting other people in businesses and being apart of a community is that you can talk numbers and strategies with them. James says this often makes him realize that he is playing it too small and is encouraged to focus on optimizing what he has. Whether you hear a story about someone experiencing several small wins or a successful 6-figure launch, it can inspire you to try something different or take a chance on a marketing strategy.
I asked James what branch of his business is his favorite and he said it’s the part that makes no money! He enjoys the one-on-one conversations, recording the podcasts, and learning how others are using their human creativity to come up with new ideas.
James referred to a statistic that only 50% of people in the world would call themselves creative, and knowing that it is an incredibly important skill to have, he loves helping people discover that side of themselves. Life’s circumstances, school, or people can sort of ‘force’ the creativity out of us as we grow, so much so that we reach a point in our lives where we no longer believe we are capable of being creative. However, everyone was born with the capacity to create and to imagine, and sometimes we have to rediscover it.
A lot of the people that come to James’ retreats are doctors, teachers, small business owners, and others who don’t typically get to explore their creative side. There is usually a turning point in their life, such as a big birthday or life-changing event, that inspires them and motivates them to try and learn a new instrument. Really what James is teaching at these retreats is creative thinking processes.
The hard part is unraveling that part of your mind, the part that believes in possibilities and can imagine something greater.
As an entrepreneur, it’s imperative that you are able to open yourself up and to not always be looking in. Some of the techniques to do this that James shared with me were drinking moderate amounts of coffee or wine, being outside in nature, yoga, and meditation. You don’t want to be the guy (or girl) that’s doing the same thing as everyone else in your business, and that’s why it’s important to gain some perspective. Make sure to take the time to be quiet and to settle your mind.
Here at Kajabi we have a saying that we don’t want to just be better, but we want to be different. Being better is just competing with other businesses on your playing field, but being different is what sets you apart.
There are a million excuses to not move forward with an idea. Self doubt is a huge stumbling block that holds the majority of people back, and if you can overcome the negative, fearful voice in your head your potential will be endless. The inner voice that you should listen to will not be judgemental, but it will simply guide you in the way you should go.
You might be thinking, “Well, someone has already done that idea or that course,’ but you haven’t done it yet, and there are so many people in the world who will resonate with you, your personality, and your teaching style. Not only will it change your life and give you more freedom, but you’ll change other people’s lives. What if you didn’t start your own business? What if you don’t share you knowledge, ideas, passions, and giftings with others? Think about the void you’ll be leaving by not trying.
Being creative doesn’t mean coming up with something that’s never been done before. It is simply looking at solving a problem a different way, or thinking of a different solution than the one that has already been presented. It’s really all about becoming an observer.
You have the potential to do what you dream about, to share what you know, and to change this world for the better. You can be a powerful force that changes lives.
Kajabi is just the platform that helps you to communicate and reach the world with your knowledge and passions.
Try us for free today and take the first step in changing your life.
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