The story begins in the year 2011.
I had facilitated more than 500 meditation workshops and circles over the course of two years and fulfilled a dream of guiding retreats in Peru, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada and more…
But I was burnt out.
I wasn’t fulfilled in my work anymore.
It was time for a change.
And so here I was, sitting in the mountains above Cusco, Peru.
I was in the midst of a personal ceremony with the plant medicine San Pedro.
This experience was a defining moment in my creative and entrepreneurial journey.
My first task was to get clear on what my intentions were for my life moving forward.
Here’s what came through:
My epiphany happened in a single moment. My entire vision and path into the future came to me all at once. I could suddenly see what I was to do with crystal clarity.
The solution was for me to harness the power of the internet and create transformational learning experiences in the digital realm.
In that moment, I had no idea how to do auto-responders, let alone build entire courses or learning pathways.
But this was “IT!” The answer I’d been searching for…
I made a commitment to devote the next 5-years to JUST online courses and education. Truth betold, December of this year will be the 5-year mark since making that commitment…
After getting back from Peru, I scaled my teaching back from 250 workshops per year to about 6-12 per year.
I poured my heart, soul and all my energy into building my meditation courses.
I got started on my new path immediately, while on my retreat in Peru.
In fact, one day while filming a video lesson on site at my retreat space up in the mountains, an American who was staying down the road came by and watched what I was up to.
When I was done recording, he asked what I was filming for.
I told him, I was creating a 40 day meditation course.
He reached into his pocket, pulled out a $100 bill and said he’d like to be my first student.
My jaw dropped.
It was THAT moment, that I knew I was on the right path.
Thank you David, wherever you are!
After getting back from Peru, I spent the next 3-months figuring out how to create videos, make PDFs, set-up auto-responders, build a sales page. It felt like I was learning a foreign language.
My first launch was humble: 16 people and $1600 in sales.
But I was so stoked.
People were actually paying me money and I wasn’t tied down to my workshops.
Launch by launch, my meditation programs started to spread.
Now, nearly 5-years later, my meditation courses and tracks have spread to more than 50 countries around the world.
Still today, I earn residual income from sales of those early programs.
Overall, 80-90% of my income comes from the internet.
I have clients who license my tracks for their companies.
I’m one of the top teachers on Omvana.com, one of the top meditation apps online.
And I am essentially a retired meditation teacher whose work is still growing and spreading around the globe.
It’s truly a dream come true.
With the success of my meditation courses, word started to spread that I knew how to make eCourses.
Over the course of a few months I had about 10 people ask me how I built my courses.
At that time, I took on about 5 personal clients, helping them to build courses of their own.
Working closely with these clients, helped me to reverse engineer my own learning journey of building courses and facilitate that same process for them.
It was really fun for me to help pull out their brilliance and translate that into courses and learning paths for their students. I really enjoyed having the focus be on them and their students, rather than myself for a change.
I feel very proud of the work we did back then, especially for the limited knowledge-base I had to draw from at that time.
One of my first clients, Jannine Murray, has gone on to sell around 100,000 eCourses since!
Another one of my early clients turned her $7 eBook into a $250 multimedia eCourse.
This was my first attempt at building a course on building courses.
It was typical of all the others in the industry; powerpoints, PDFs and a private Facebook group.
It was not a work of art. I didn’t get super lit up about my day-to-day work.
I was hustling for sales and checking things off my to-do list.
Even though I was making money, it didn’t feel like I had “arrived” at my life’s work.
I met Andy on my honeymoon in Hawaii in 2012.
We were both creative, entrepreneurial, conscious-living dudes who loved to geek out on online marketing, transformation and the world of internet businesses.
After meeting, we built a skype friendship over the course of a couple years.
I’d send him clients and hired him to build a couple platforms for me. We also chatted on skype almost weekly.
I was always impressed by his eye for design, knowledge of marketing and his ability to create really cool websites and platforms.
Finally, after 2 years getting to know each other, I asked Andy if he wanted to step in as an equal partner with my eCourse Creation Blueprint membership.
He said yes and came to Canada for what will go down in history as a pinnacle turning point in both of our lives.
Around the 5th day of Andy’s two week trip to Salt Spring Island, BC, we were about to go into production mode for the upgraded eCourse Blueprint course.
However, fate had a different plan for us.
While standing on a mountain near my house, I turned to Andy and asked him if he would have purchased our course if finding it a few years prior, when he needed the information most.
He said, “NO!” and I said the same.
In that moment, we knew something had to change.
(You can listen to the full audio clip of this story below)
Back down to the house we went, wondering WTF we could create that would inspire us both to pull out our wallets and want to buy.
As an exercise in creativity, we started describing all the qualities of a course that would need to be in place in order to make us want to buy, and keep us around long enough to complete the course.
Here are a few of the points we came up with:
When those words fell out of my mouth, my wife Celeste was upstairs and she yelled down at us, “I love that!”
On a piece of paper, we wrote down “The Great eCourse Adventure” and “eCourse Creation Blueprint” beside each other and asked ourselves, which one would we buy?
In that moment, the eCourse blueprint was dead and we set out to discover what this Great eCourse Adventure was.
The next 10 days were the wildest whirlwind of inspiration, excitement, creativity and sleeplessness I think I’ve ever had.
By choosing, The Great eCourse Adventure, a portal opened up inside of us and the creative channels were fully activated.
Close to everything you see, feel and experience in the GEA came to us in the first 48-hours of conceiving the idea.
Suddenly, instead of building another boring eCourse and online business, we were creating an entire world!
With only ten days to go until Andy was flying back to Hawaii and a deep need for us to generate some cash to bring this idea to life, we got to work.
We wrote, scripted and storyboarded the first 3-checkpoints (16 lessons). Truth be-told, we didn’t even know how to do green screen when we began building the journey. We just knew it was possible!
We also built our online community space, sales page and membership area.
And we launched a 2-month pre-sales experience where people could go through the first 3-checkpoints for free, with the opportunity to buy our beta launch for $300.
We ended up making about $30,000 in pre-sales, which funded us to build the mountain.
If we would have known how much work it would have taken to build the Great eCourse Adventure, we likely would have turned back and sought out an easier path.
We started our group of beta testers in January 2016 and in those next 5-months, Andy came back to Canada three more times for some more 3-week binge work sessions.
In those stints, we would write, film, improve the community, grow the vision, work on branding, marketing and all sorts of other stuff. We would basically work around the clock.
At that same time, my wife was pregnant (and ill), I was training at sunrise everyday for pro golf, AND we just got a puppy named Bonkers. Things were super full on every single day!
The way we found balance from burning out, was by going on these huge hikes with a journal and writing down all of our ideas on paper before we sat in front of the computer. This was so helpful for our creative process.
Nature and movement are winning combinations.
This has been a lifestyle shift that has stuck for us and something we encourage our students to apply to their work flow as well.
When we finally uploaded the final lesson to the platform and all of the version 1 tasks were complete, we realized we were missing one important thing.
We didn’t have a free thing to bring people into the world we built for them.
So back to work we went, brainstorming what we could create as a prequal to arriving at the mountain.
We experimented with green screen webinars and repurposing lessons from the course, but none of it brought people into the story and showed the quality of experience they were enrolling themselves in…
Finally, we had the idea come to us.
We were going to build the eCourse Frontier Starship and fly people on a Star Wars themed adventure to the new world of online learning.
Along the way, we would teach them our philosophies on creating highly engaging, immersive, transformational eLearning experiences.
Originally, we shared the masterclass live via a webinar and had a 90% retention rate.
We knew we created something super special!
In January 2017, we hired Tad Hargrave for a daylong coaching session.
In this session we refined our unique point of view for the sake of communicating on our website, in our marketing materials and with all of the content we create.
Inspired by that session, we wrote an eBook in a week.
After considering publishing the eBook, we asked ourselves, “Would we read an eBook?”
After both of us saying, “Hell no”, we knew it was time to pave another way.
We experimented with interactive eBooks and all sorts of other ideas, but nothing stuck.
Finally, we figured it out.
The purpose of the website was to teach people how to develop online courses that are so good, their students can’t help but tell everyone they know about it.
This website opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the types of courses and learning pathways we could create.
In this present moment, we are building an experience design platform.
This will allow us all to build unique and engaging learning experiences with much more ease, fun and customization capabilities.
It will be the soul solution that so many creators are searching for, allowing you to house your online community, build your courses, automate your digital Universe, and build wildly imaginative pages, websites and learning experiences.
More updates will be coming soon!
Experience designers will be the ones to pave the way in the e-learning industry.
We’re all beginning to wake up to the fact that we must focus on designing the student’ experience with the student fully in mind and heart.
We encourage you to immerse yourself fully into the world and content we have created here at eCourse Adventures, because there is magic being cultivated in this community and you will want to be a part of it if you’re interested in experience design.
This is not about six figure incomes. This is not about “building your list.”
This is about creating immensely valuable experiences that educate, inspire and entertain.
If there is anything I’ve learned on my entrepreneurial path, it is that we are always where we should be, no matter how much we want something else.
We must be like a sponge and soak in all the goodness, the gifts, the lessons and the wisdom that’s available here and now.
There is no CEO in shining armour who can save you. There is no marketing maven who is coming to your rescue.
You must pull forth from the depths of your being, the work that you are meant to do.
This will require courage, growth and becoming the YOU you’re truly meant to be.
Are you here? Are you with us? Do you feel me?
Share your thoughts below. I’d love to meet you.
I look around at my life and everything I’ve created and I should be happier. I should feel more alive, more grateful, more joyful, more love in my heart.
Waiting, thinking, procrastinating, fearing.
Not moving forward.
Waiting for the perfect moment.
The perfect idea.
The perfect plan.
On the journey to the top of the mountain, we shall stumble and we shall fall.
It is inevitable. There is no escaping that fate.
Instead of looking at our stumbles as failures, we must simply look at them for what they are; stumbles.
We sleep 1/3rd of our life and we work about 1/3rd of our life.
Most people I’ve met work a job that they either hate or simply just don’t enjoy.
That means they spend 33% of their life hating their life, or at the very least not enjoying it.
Now if you ask me, that doesn’t really seem worth the paycheque no matter how much it is…
Life’s too short.
Hating your job, means hating your life. At least 1/3rd of the time.
That will catch up on you eventually and bleed into the rest of your life, causing one to become bitter, resentful or worn down.
It essentially means you feel like you’re in jail or sleeping 2/3’s of your life and chances are, you’re recovering or numbing the fact that you dislike your reality the other third.
If that’s your situation, you do have a choice in the matter you know.
You could quit.
You could start a business.
You could move somewhere else.
You could work online, or do art, or make things, or fix things, or get creative.
You could simplify your life, need less, and retire on your savings for a while.
You could do so much!!
You are not a victim, you are not helpless, you are not powerless.
You do have a choice.
And everyday you go to the job you hate, you are saying, “I don’t love myself enough to find another way.”
So I guess the question is, at the end of your life when you look back, will you be satisfied with your human existence and how you spent the 2/3’s of your life where you weren’t sleeping?
Hopefully the answer is a big, fat yes with a smile on your face and sparkle in your eyes…
It’s been a hell of a struggle for me, but those struggles were all mine.
The blood, sweat and tears I shed were for my cause, my vision and my purpose. Not somebody else’s.
That has made all the difference. That has made the pain, heartache, risk and disappointment worth it.
It’s made it an adventure!
What is your cause? What do you feel you’re here to create? What do you stand for in your life? Share in the comments below.
Better get crackin’. Time’s a ticking and that end of life review is coming up sooner than we can imagine.
If there is one thing that the last 13 years of entrepreneurship (and life) have taught me is, we only get good if we’re consistent.
With everyone searching for the hack or shortcut, we should be focused on putting the time in. Sure, getting a tip will make us more efficient and better, but 10,000 hours to mastery is 10,000 hours to mastery.
When we first start out doing something, we’re usually pretty terrible.
I love schedules. I think they are fantastic inventions!
I didn’t always like them though.
I used to think they prevented me from being in the flow and allowing the spark of spontaneity.
But as my life becomes more full and my time more precious, I realize how important my schedule is for allowing me to stay present with what’s in front of me.
When I block off chunks of time for specific tasks or to-do’s, it gives me a creative container to focus on that ONE thing, rather than many things.
These creative windows of time allow me to really GSD (get shit done).
My days don’t ‘just happen,’ I design them with intention.
For example: I generally wake up at 4AM these days. My first two hours of waking time I usually devote to my creative writing (like right now as I write this). This is a non-email time for me. I sit, I stretch and breathe, I sip my coffee and I write, based on what comes up or what I need to complete for the week and day ahead.
Then my next creative container is sunrise golf. Usually from 6:30-9ish these days.
Then I get a big 3-hour window of time to enjoy breakfast, coffee and hangout time with Celeste and our son Sauryn.
Then I block off from noon – 5pm for my specific business projects. Each day of the week has a theme for the kinds of projects I focus on within that 5-hour block of time, so that I’m not scattered all over the place everyday. This is key for me.
Within the creative containers I’m scheduling, I allow myself to be in flow with the creative process.
Sometimes I’m not inspired to sit at my desk, so I’ll go for a hike or chip golf balls in the yard while thinking about something.
Other times I’m not inspired to sit on Skype for hours on end, so I do my conference meetings on my cell phone so I can be outside, or sometimes I’m even cleaning the house while on meetings.
The freedom is in the schedule for me.
When I am with Sauryn, I am WITH him.
When I am working on a specific task, I am in it fully.
Whereas, when I let my schedule stay loose, I find myself just floating around, never really accomplishing anything satisfying. Usually at the end of the day, I’ll feel like I didn’t do enough and go to bed kind of disappointed.
I also take real weekends now, which for an at home entrepreneur can be hard because my business mind is always fifty steps ahead of the game.
But I find having that space on weekends to simply be, flow with family and have fun really helps me be more focused and efficient in my week days.
We also do wifi-free Sundays, where we unplug the internet. Those are our favourites!
Schedules give me focus, freedom and a space to be present. I love them!
AND sometimes, my scheduled plan falls apart and something better comes up. I’m always 100% open and flexible to that happening too…
How do schedules support or hinder your creative process? Share below.
We are so boxed in and suppressed in our culture this day and age.
Which is silly if you ask me.
Never before have we had more creative freedom to be fully expressed in our lives, to explore any number of paths and to stand fully rooted in our authentic, true-to-ourselves nature.
So why do we stay in this little box we’ve been given?
Just get out of it.
Just punch the ceiling, kick down the walls, climb out and start making new choices.
We are like robots, going through our lives on autopilot.
Doing the same things day in and day out without ever really questioning them.
Never really stopping to ask ourselves, “Is this what I want? Is this how I want to be remembered? Is this who I really am?”
What do you want for yourself and your life?
Who do you want to be in the world and in your relationships?
Are the habits you have and choices you make creating the kind of life and world you want to be living in?
These questions are important and if we don’t give ourselves SPACE in our life to ask them and answer them honestly, then we may remain on autopilot forever.
I was once a very asleep human being.
It wasn’t until I decided to start building my life around my dreams, desires, aspirations and terms that I finally felt like I was alive and living.
Here’s a cool story about saying yes…
The other day, my wife, Celeste and our son, Sauryn and I were on our way back from a couple week adventure in Mexico.
We were exhausted on the final leg of our journey home; a 30 minute ferry ride to Salt Spring Island.
On the boat, we met this sweet lady named Beverly. We struck up a conversation with her and learned that she was just about to begin a lifelong dream journey of her’s; a 9-month pilgrimage around the world.
I also want to say, Beverly is about 76 years old and traveling alone.
Her desire is to experience the world and learn about herself.
She says she feels like a kid and as though her life is only just beginning!
How freaking cool is that!?
After chatting for 30-minutes and really enjoying the connection, Beverly asked us where her and her friend should go eat dinner.
My immediate answer was, “come have dinner at our place.”
She was clearly surprised by my answer, because this is not something too many North Americans do this day and age. But she accepted the invitation and her and her friend Deborah came over around 5:30 for a feast and celebration.
With Celeste’s mom already at our house taking care of our pup while we were away, the 6 of us had an incredibly magical, hilarious and awe-inspiring evening eating great food, drinking wine and sharing many stories from each of our lives.
Saying YES to this experience created an incredible new friendship and a magical memory for all of us.
I can only imagine the adventures Beverley’s yes will take her on over the course of these next 9-months and where your YES will take you, as you cultivate more courage to fully step into everything you want out of life.
Your power is in your presence.
Think about it.
When you are projecting outwards into the future, where are you?
Are you in your body?
Are you grounded in what is real?
Are you present to your surroundings.
Are you bringing everything you’ve got to the task at hand?
Everyday I go through the same battle as the alarm goes off at that ungodly hour, well before the sun comes up.
“Stay in bed. Sleep longer.”
“Get up.” “Nooo, just sleep a couple more hours.”
“Get up, this is what you want.”