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Caring for Individual Students When You Have a Large Community with Julia Taylor


Erica Nash 0:00

Today I have the privilege of sitting down with Julia Taylor, the founder and CEO of GeekPack and the creator of WP Rockstar, we're diving into the topic of caring for individual clients. When you have a large community, the process of making clients feel like they're more than just a number, and how hiring a professional curriculum designer made a difference in her business and the confidence she felt in her program. If you've got a large community or your program is heading in that direction, definitely listen in for some of Julia's insight on navigating the large community experience.


Welcome to next level course creator, my name is Erica. And this is a podcast about creating premium online programs that participants never want to leave. If you want a program that serves the whole person satisfies participant needs, and creates brand ambassadors who tell all their friends about how awesome you are. This is for you. Listen, and as we go beyond conversion numbers, sold out launches and five figure months to get to the heart of the matter. Taking care of the people who have already said yes, let's go.




All right, I am with Julia Taylor. Today. She is the founder of GeekPack and the creator of WP Rockstar and he or she is the kindest, most generous person on the internet. Julia, thank you so much for saying yes. And for coming on the show. For people that are maybe not familiar with you or what you do, please tell us a little bit about yourself your program, just what you bring to the world.


Julia Taylor 1:37

Awesome. Well, thank you so much. It's a it's an honor, it's a privilege to be here. Really excited. And thank you for that intro. So I'm the founder of GeekPack. And over at GeekPack we effectively we empower women to learn tech skills. That's kind of at the heart of everything that we do. We focus really on on women, adult learners and women who want to either get back into the workforce, they want to start their own business, they want location, independence, they want to work from home, but they have a bigger why as to where they want to go and grow in their personal life and professional life. And we believe strongly that tech skills is the way forward and that's that's exactly what we want to provide with a very supportive community because that's something that women really thrive in is when they have that supportive and encouraging community. So that's what we do.


Erica Nash 2:29

Yes, I love that so much. And so kind of in that vein, tell us a little bit about ... about your ... so your program is WP Rockstar and GeekPack is connected to that. So when you count your students are you counting total WP Rockstar and geek pack or you can just WP Rockstar.


Julia Taylor 2:50

Sure so it's interesting. At the time of this recording the we're we're going through a bit of a transition phase and right now WP Rockstar and geek pack are kind of intertwined. But in the next month or so we're actually going to be kind of separating those apart and then being two separate products. So right now WP Rockstar is our ... we focus on WordPress development. So we go at it from the quote unquote kind of hard angle of learning to code and getting dirty in the in the back end and when when you have malware or if you know something breaks because websites break all the time and how do you make it look good on a phone custom code that solves people's problems in a more custom manner that that's really what we teach in WP Rockstar so we focus on WordPress, but also we cover how to start a business how to find clients how to market yourself all the systems and processes for onboarding and offboarding so it's it is a business in a box for someone who wants to have like real tangible in demand skills with building websites.


So that that's that's WP Rockstar kind of in a in a nutshell. And it comes with a very supportive private community as well that it kind of adds to that and we also have a coaching angle so for any of our students who want that extra bit of help from from coaches in the coaching program, be it on finding clients or systems or SEO which is a big you know, hugely in demand and you can you can make good money for offering SEO services and even just kind of extra tech help we have that coaching program for that. And that's kind of all encompassing in in WP Rockstar, the curriculum, the business in a box, go from learning tech skills to starting your own profitable web design business. That's what that's what that is and geek pack going forward. Is going to be a bit wider not just coding and websites but all things tech any any kind of tech skill you could have or imagine wanting to learn.


We have partnered with Udemy to to be able to offer the best of the best of their content, 17,000 courses that my students are going to get access to. So that's a much broader. You want, say you want recurring revenue. Okay, cool. So if you want recurring revenue, maybe you could offer SEO Services, maybe you could offer website maintenance, maybe you could offer. Of course, now I'm coming up with a blank, but that we try and pair skills, tech skills to the dream that people want. It's not starting your own business. It's not finding clients, and it's not marketing. It's solely skills based. And that's what GeekPack is going to be going forward.


Erica Nash 5:45

Oh, my gosh, that's amazing. That's seriously so cool. I'm so excited for you guys. And for anybody that's going to be going into and like through that, that ... what an incredible addition to what you already offer. That's that is awesome. So right now, how many students do you have in your program?


Julia Taylor 6:05

In WP Rockstar, we have maybe 3500? I believe.


Erica Nash 6:10

Okay, okay. And so, Julia and I worked together, at the time that this recording will come out, it will have been about a year ago we worked together on the WP Rockstar curriculum. So I've seen you know, some of the way that you go about doing all of these things that that you're talking about, and like teaching these women and it's so incredible, and it's so obvious that you really, really care about, about your students and about, you know, who they are and what they want and, and help them achieve that. And so with you having so many students, and so obviously, you know, like that is a factor in how you're able ... not just like that you want to but just like how you're able to go through, you know, that process and, and so you have things going on throughout the year, Geek Week, and then I think you said Geek Fest is in the fall, is that correct? And so you're paying attention, like really special attention to, you know, sales and marketing and, you know, putting this promo out Geek Week or geek fest, and really like doing a fantastic job of like hyping people up and getting people excited. And I know that that takes a lot of energy. So how do you continue to sort of follow through in the program so that clients feel that same sort of special attention that you were giving, you know, during the promo carried on through. And I say that in a like logistical kind of way, but also in kind of an emotional way. Because I know that that definitely takes an emotional toll on you and your team.


Julia Taylor 7:48

Yeah, so we've tried a lot of different things over the years. And we keep kind of adding and seeing what works. And we the biggest thing that we have is our is the private community that comes along with it. And that's where all the support is. And as soon as someone joins WP Rockstar, they're invited into this private community, previously called Geek Pack, but we're going to be changing the name because of the some of the changes that we're going through. And it is, it's just where you can go and ask any questions. So we put a very high importance on student success, on customer support, on answering questions. We have interns that help out in that group, I have multiple paid team members that are in that group to answer questions. We are quick to reply an email to any customer support related things. So kind of at a base level, we have that. So when someone joins, it's not just access to the curriculum. It's it's the support that comes along with the community and also just in the inbox, that that exists. And we've had that for since the beginning. And that's always worked really well. A lot of people say they joined WP Rockstar for the curriculum, but they stick around for the community. So we do know how kind of important that is.


Now that being said, we have implemented a number of things recently, we have onboarding emails that kind of happen in the two weeks after they join that are you know, making sure they have all their questions answered because not everyone is comfortable going into a group and and asking for help. So we reach out via email to say, hey, you know, how's everything going? Are you getting through? Where are you stuck? What can we help you with that sort of thing to kind of further engage them in the in the couple of weeks following them joining. We have events going on in the group all the time. There's always a lot of stuff going on to to keep them involved. We have a weekly newsletter called the Geekly Weekly that all students get so they're constantly hearing from us.


We've also started sending out personalized postcards. So I use a company called Handwritten and they're handwritten notes. And we have you know postcard welcoming them to WP Rockstar. And what's really cool is we--and this is something we learned from you--which is how can we get them to have their their their first win very quickly. And none of these things have to do with what we actually do in the curriculum, which I can chat about as well, which is everything that you helped us with. But in this postcard, we welcome them, tell them how excited we are. And then we challenge them to turn the postcard over and write down their why, because this is something that is a really big thing for us is, if we can get our students to identify their why, why do they want to learn this skill to start a new business, I guess it's it's got to be something bigger than just, I want to have my own business. It's they don't want to boss they don't want to commute, they want to work from home, they want to homeschool their kids, they have elderly parents, they want to take to the doctor like there is a bigger why for everyone.


And we want them to identify that immediately. So on this postcard one side is the welcome letter and then saying, turn this card over, write that. And on the other side, it's just blank lines. And it says your why. And we want them to write that down and then stick it on their fridge or in their office or somewhere where they will be they will see it and they will be reminded because they are going to have tough times they are going to get frustrated, they're going to not be able to figure something out, they're going to want to throw their computer out the window. So how can we make sure that they have a visual reminder of why they're doing it, that's bigger than just the thing in front of them at the at the minute.


So we've got the onboarding emails we've got, we've got that as well. And those are things we just recently implemented in between Geek Week and Geek Fest. And that's where we saw that massive reduced refund rate, lower than we've ever had before, within the actual curriculum, which is something that you worked with us and we completely revamped the entire curriculum. And if anyone out there is like going, oh, I want to do this and I want to work with someone, Erica is amazing. You know, plug there.


We have we broke our curriculum of WP Rockstar up into three phases. And each video is very short, we have three phases. Each phase has modules, each module has lessons, there's a lot of content, but all the videos are short, they follow on from each other. And at the end of each phase, there is a celebratory, you know, submit your work, submit your milestone project and get Geek Pack swag. And that has worked really well. People are so excited when they submit their first, you know, phase one milestone project. And they all talk about it in the group. So that as well, giving them small wins, but then a something to celebrate at the end when they complete phase one, phase two, phase three. So all of those things together, it's taken us four years to kind of figure all these things out. And we will continue to will will continue to kind of come up with new ideas and how can we make things better and improve our students experience, but that's kind of where we are now. And it's worked very well for us.


Erica Nash 13:06

Oh my gosh, such good stuff. It sounds like communication is really like top priority for you guys, and just making sure that they know that you're there, and that you're listening and that you see and hear them. And I that's what people want, right? Like that's what we all want is to know that we're seen and we're heard and we're loved, and that people are there that can help us through the tough times that we might be going through and that we get to, you know, kind of return that favor and kind of reciprocate some of that.


And so I love so much what you are doing with a handwritten card that is so fun. And so like what a great way to, again, like let them know that, you know, they are a person to you not just kind of another client or whatever. And for them to have that constant reminder of I'm gonna keep going like when today's a really sucky day, but here's this postcard ... like I'm gonna keep going. So I love that so much and that actually kind of what you said, talking about the the milestones that you've put together, kind of leads me into my next question.


And just really talking about those milestones and how they, how they impacted the way that your students interacted with the curriculum. Because, you know, a lot of times and that's kind of the challenge, right, of being an educator, regardless of in what industry or whatever is keeping students engaged with the curriculum so that they move forward. One of the things that we talked about, you know, is was kind of how can we give them those wins, and how can we give them those, you know, those things that they can engage with so that they're motivated to move on to the next thing? And I think it's so fantastic, that it's not necessarily not necessarily only a financial win, because I think that's what we see a lot in the online space is like, Oh, I had my first $10,000 month, which is fantastic and absolutely something to be celebrated. But when we have somebody who's doing everything right, and they haven't made a dime yet, like, that can be so discouraging.


And so for them to be able to celebrate with the community and be so excited about like, you know, I did this thing, or I did this project or whatever, and it's skills related or time related, like maybe they were, like really struggling with, like, the time it took to get it done. And they finally got it done, you know, and getting to celebrate that, I think is so fantastic. And so would you say that students are, are really connecting with celebrating things other than financial wins in your community?


Julia Taylor 15:48

Yes, we see more. We do see financial wins, but it's more of the other, we just had a post in the group the other day where someone said, I had my first client website that was broken, and I fixed it. That's awesome, you know, those sorts of wins, that really kind of stand out. And we have plenty of people are, you know, my first ... my first client or, you know, got my first you know, 5k website, or, you know, whatever it is we have, we have plenty of those, but we also have lots of non monetary wins that people love to celebrate.


Erica Nash 16:24

I love that. And it really just speaks to the kind of community that you created, that they're comfortable, you know, celebrating those other things that are that are just that are not just financial. So how do you create that kind of space for individual clients? Whenever you have a large community, you know, in terms of, you know, we've kind of already talked about how you're making them feel seen and heard and all of that, but how do you how have you cultivated this community to be so supportive of one another, and creating a safe space?


Julia Taylor 17:05

Lots and lots of time spent in the community early on, like at the end of the day, people ask me all the time about you know, what's the secret to building, building a community like that, it's it's time and effort, it's grit. For the first I'd say two years of WP Rockstar and the and the community, I was in it every day for hours. And so it's just a lot of time, a lot of you know, there's, there's no kind of, there's no magic thing, like to all of a sudden have a great community. And I I put everything into the community that I wished I'd had when I was learning. So it's very much more of a personal experience, because I learned to code and build websites in a vacuum without a community without a curriculum. And it was crap. So I just didn't want other people to go through that in a similar position. So it was very much it was a personal experience.


And, and I found that, you know, that it really resonated with so many women, and it was working, and they would see me showing up and they would show up for each other. And it's been completely organic, the way it's happened the way it has. And in the last two years, I've hired team members who were students first, every single woman who's on my team was a student first. And that's that's how they're on the team. They they shined as a student, helping everyone else in the community. And we recognize that I had a call with a woman this morning. And she's, we have two new team members starting tomorrow. And they are handpicked to be employees of my business. Because they're there. They're going above and beyond in the community. So there's there's people out there that just exist and they love it. And they want to be a part of this community that helped them achieve their dream. And we have posts all the time where they say, you know, I can't wait to be the one that is giving back. And not you know, just the one asking all the questions. And those are the stars that rise above and they're the you know, the A players that join my team. And I How lucky am I that they want to and that, you know, I get to bring them on. So the in the last couple years, I've not been as involved in the community because I've hired women from the community who believe in the mission and the vision as much as I do, and have kind of continued to grow that.


So that's kind of how I've done it. It's not it's not an easy thing. It doesn't happen overnight. If you want to a tribe and a community of people that believe in what you're doing and want to be a part of it. In my experience, it's just a lot of work.


Erica Nash 19:51

That's so beautiful, though too, in talking about you know how the people in your community get to be on your team and give back and that that's their heart posture about the whole thing is that it's they get to give back. That is incredible and really speaks highly of the kind of people that you have in your community.


So I have one final question. If you could go back and chat with course creator, Julia from a year ago, what advice would you give her?


Julia Taylor 20:24

Well, course creator Julia year ago hired a professional, she made a great decision.


Let's see, course creator, I think, see, everything is so easy in hindsight. And I'm actually really pleased with the progression that we have made over the years. And the pace that we've done it in, in the online business world, my pace is slow, but it's worked. So I'm actually pretty okay with that. And I think doing a revamp was scary, of the, of the curriculum, because it was going to be so time intensive. And I didn't even know where to begin. And I know that hiring you to develop the the outline of the actual curriculum was, was one of the best decisions I made last year. Because it meant that we were so much more confident in the content that we were creating, because we were following a proven outline a proven curriculum, that, you know, we knew was going to work, we would not have been able to come up with that on our own.


And investing in outside experts for things that I'm not an expert in, would have been valuable to do sooner. But again, you know, hindsight, is 20/20. And then we put a lot of emphasis on the sales and marketing for years, because it was it was constantly kind of like, you know, the next launch and getting enough people in and, and having enough to last until the next launch. And who do we hire. And so we had a lot of emphasis on the marketing for the number of years. And it's only been this year, since we revamped the curriculum, since we doubled and tripled the price of the curriculum by revamping it, that we've had the capacity to say, Okay, this program is awesome, we know that it gets great results, but how can we optimize and tweak small things to improve our students success, their experience, but also, you know, all of our KPIs and, and things like that, because at the end of the day, we are running a business. So the investing in professionals who, who are way better at things than I am sooner, has meant a lot more money out immediately. But it comes back tenfold. And it gives us that freedom to tweak and optimize for long term success. So I would say investing in professionals earlier would probably be the biggest thing.


Erica Nash 23:05

Okay. I mean, thank you so much for those kind words ... that was ... getting to work on WP Rockstar, it was so fun. And I also just kind of want to go back and touch on something that you said about the online business world moves really fast, and that you like to move slow, and that's okay. And that's something that really resonates with me because I also move slow. And I'm coming to terms with like, that's okay, it doesn't have to move at the speed that everybody else is moving. Because sometimes, I don't know, I just ... education, it's worth taking the time to do it slowly, if that's what it needs, you know. And so I really love that you pointed that out.


I knew this episode was going to be amazing. Thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdom. I'm so excited to be able to you know, kind of talk about what we've done together and share this with the world. If people are not in your world already, please share with them where they can find you how they can work with you all that stuff.


Julia Taylor 24:10

Yep, the easiest thing is geekpack.com. So if you just Google geek pack, it'll it'll come up and we've got all the information there from social profiles to freebies to you know, everything is there.


Erica Nash 24:23

Amazing. Guys, if you're not already in Julia's world, you need to be. Please go check her out. You won't regret it.


Julia, thanks so much. This has been fun.


Julia Taylor 24:34

Thank you. My pleasure. Thank you for having me.


Erica Nash 24:39

Well, I hope today's episode brought a little clarity and community to your next level course journey. If you enjoyed listening, please consider subscribing and leaving a review. And if you'd like to connect, be sure to find me over on Instagram at Erica Nash design or on my website at Erica nash.com I would love to hear from you


All right, you guys, go forth educate and change lives. I'll see you next time.


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