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The 1970s Called And Want Their Logo Back

March 17, 2021

As I’m planning and developing my new course—From WordPress To Webflow—I’ve also very early on been working on ideas for the course branding too.

From WordPress To Webflow logo

What do you think? The 1970s called and want their logo back. 😜

As I’m planning and developing my new course—From WordPress To Webflow—I’ve also very early on been working on ideas for the course branding too.

From WordPress To Webflow logo

What do you think? The 1970s called and want their logo back. 😜

And if you ever saw one of my previous sales pages, you’ll recognise the illustration style at the bottom of the page that I’ve basically stolen from myself. If it ain’t broke, etc.

Yeah, I know that two Ws would likely have been more accurate: one for WordPress and one for Webflow. But this just makes me smile cos its sheer fun.

Here's a selection of ideas we played with, before settling on the final version.

Various logo ideas for From WordPress To Webflow
Various logo ideas before deciding on the final version.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering:

“Dave, my friend—why on earth are you bothering with the course branding when you’ve not even MADE the darned thing yet??”

Obviously, the actual teaching content of any course is waaaay more important than what it looks like.

Understatement of the year.

And when you’re creating your first course - and even beyond that - please (for the love of all that is good and pure) don’t let procrastinating over what it looks like stop you making the course and getting it out there.

(Unless your course is a design course… in which case.. yeah… maybe try and make it look good)

For my first course - No Stress WordPress - I really just threw basic video slides together as I went along, with zero thought for what they looked like.

Tbh, it was my first course, and I had plenty enough already to get my head around.

And no-one complained about the design of the slides, nor the fact the videos looked nothing like the eventual sales page. All they cared about was how well my teaching helped them. End of.

However, when I made my next course - No Fear Funnels - I had a bit more brain space to be able to think about what the course was going to look like, even just briefly.

I’m not talking anything fancy - just a basic logo and deciding on a colour palette.

And I didn’t work on this alone. I actually hired in design help from my friend John Fraskos (of AnalogWP and Style Kits fame).

(Another mantra: if you can... hire in help for the things that someone else can do better and/or faster than you.)

But anyway…

There were a few benefits of taking just a little time upfront to establish a basic brand:

1. It added perceived value

It gave No Fear Funnels much more of a professional look, and therefore added perceived value, both within the course itself and the promotional material for it.

2. It made developing the course quicker and easier

I’d already established the design style, which removed a layer of decision-making each time I needed to create something visual.

3. It reinforced the right buying decision

The presale page, and the eventual final sales page, all featured the same branding as the course itself. So new customers had a seamless experience, from sales page to their course dashboard to the videos themselves. All helpful for reinforcing that someone has made the right decision, at the typical 'buyers remorse' stage, directly after the purchase.

So yeah - if you can quickly create a basic idea of the logo, colours, font and general design style your course will use, upfront, then great. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can always revise and improve the design in later versions.

But again…

None of this is a substitute for killer course content. That’s most important, by far. If your mental brain space is 100% consumed by the process of creating a course (and man... I hear ya there) then please focus on that above all else.

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Thinking of Making the Switch From WordPress to Webflow? Get Notified

March 10, 2021

I'm in the full swing of making my new course, From WordPress to Webflow. If you want me to let you know when it's ready, hop over to this page.

If you’re anything like most of my students, as a non-coder web builder, WordPress and Elementor became your tools of choice. You started every new build full of optimism, expecting to design fully functional, responsive websites with ease.

For a while, life was sweet.

But after a while, cracks began to emerge.

Constant WP plugin updates, a never-ending list of conflicts caused by those plugin updates, and the rapid pace of new buggy Elementor releases have steadily made every aspect of getting a new site live with WordPress and Elementor more frustrating and more time-consuming than ever before.

And let’s not forget the nightmarish, constant maintenance and security issues that annoy you and your clients, not to mention denting the profitability of even your highest level maintenance and care plans.

WordPress and Elementor quickly began to feel less like rock-steady, reliable tools, and more like a pair of naughty, needy children requiring constant maintenance and an ever-watchful eye.

Saddened, frustrated by the grind, and frankly bored of hearing myself mutter, “Oh FFS, what NOW?!” I began to look for alternative solutions.

I'm in the full swing of making my new course, From WordPress to Webflow.

If you’re anything like most of my students, as a non-coder web builder, WordPress and Elementor became your tools of choice. You started every new build full of optimism, expecting to design fully functional, responsive websites with ease.

For a while, life was sweet.

But after a while, cracks began to emerge.

Constant WP plugin updates, a never-ending list of conflicts caused by those plugin updates, and the rapid pace of new buggy Elementor releases have steadily made every aspect of getting a new site live with WordPress and Elementor more frustrating and more time-consuming than ever before.

And let’s not forget the nightmarish, constant maintenance and security issues that annoy you and your clients, not to mention denting the profitability of even your highest level maintenance and care plans.

WordPress and Elementor quickly began to feel less like rock-steady, reliable tools, and more like a pair of naughty, needy children requiring constant maintenance and an ever-watchful eye.

Saddened, frustrated by the grind, and frankly bored of hearing myself mutter, “Oh FFS, what NOW?!” I began to look for alternative solutions.

I’d heard over and over again from people who’d tried Webflow and never turned back.

Turns out there is another way

As I began to play around with it myself, I discovered Webflow is a beautifully elegant web design platform with all the power you could ever need to build highly complex, dynamic websites.

What’s more, it’s completely hassle-free.

There are no plugins to update, no security concerns to worry about, no hosting to choose and configure, and no stressing about what might randomly break while your back is turned!

There’s zero bloat, just beautifully clean code, making it ridiculously simple to hand sites over to clients knowing they’ll find editing their content an absolute breeze.

And instead of the pseudo-promise of full control of global styles that actually left you stuck with only the options and controls Elementor provides, Webflow genuinely gives you completely unrestricted global styling control and the freedom to create literally anything you can imagine.

As cheesy as it might sound, I can honestly say the process of building and designing my new website in Webflow gave me my mojo back.

So my new course—From WordPress To Webflow—is all about helping you make the transition, from frustration and stress to the pleasure of a secure, stress-free, bug-free platform with lightning-fast load speeds and total design freedom.

It's not just another 'how to use Webflow' training—there's plenty of that already, although the course will take you step-by-step. But it's more than that—I’m sharing the tried-and-tested methodology and complete system I developed for myself. And it's aimed specifically at the needs of peeps stuck with a WordPress mindset.

Interested? Get notified

I'm busy making the course at the moment, through March and April 2021.

If you want me to let you know when it's ready, hop over to this page. You'll be the first to know when it's ready to rock.

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The Making of an Online Tech Course

March 5, 2021

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be heads-down making a brand new Webflow course—think No Stress WordPress, but not as epic.

And while I’m planning, making, and launching the new course... I wondered if you want to follow along with me?

From Monday 8th March, I’m starting an ‘email list only’ Making Of An Online Tech Course series. Probably 2-3 emails a week.

I’ll be sharing and documenting all the important decisions I make along the way, as they happen:

From the first steps of defining the niche...

...to getting clarity on the specific problem this course will be solving (hint: this course is not the same as any other Webflow training out there)…

...right through the planning, structuring and creation of the course itself…

...and the eventual launch.

Want to receive my Making Of An Online Tech Course email series?

Go here and pop in your email address. That's it.

It all kicks off this Monday, though you can hop in at any time you like.

It’s a bit of an experiment…. but who knows? It could be fun!

Let's do this.

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Make It Real

March 1, 2021

The other day I posted a quick outtake, where you see the realisation slowly dawning on my face that I’d completely lost the plot during a recording.

A few people got in touch after seeing that, concerned I was having some kind of breakdown or existential crisis.

Heh heh. No, no! It was meant to be funny.

Well, I found it amusing anyway.

Actually, I posted that clip—for budding course creators, like you—for a couple of reasons...

The other day I posted a quick outtake, where you see the realisation slowly dawning on my face that I’d completely lost the plot during a recording.

A few people got in touch after seeing that, concerned I was having some kind of breakdown or existential crisis.

Heh heh. No, no! It was meant to be funny.

Well, I found it amusing anyway.

Actually, I posted that clip—for budding course creators, like you—for a couple of reasons:

1. Share your bloopers

It’s a sobering fact that if I post/share a picture of me sat at my messy desk (with tea cup stain by my keyboard and a million wires spilling out everywhere)…

…or a screenshot of a half-finished mind map in the process of planning out a new course…

…I get far more likes/shares/comments/replies than when I publish a “proper” piece of educational and valuable content I’ve spent weeks creating.

Sigh.

The fact is: people love glimpses at your behind-the-scenes, your bloopers, your work-in-progress.

Why is that?

Maybe it’s because it’s easy to feel disheartened, forever looking at what seems like the whole world’s polished finished product? It’s good to see the stumbling mess everyone else is making of all this along the way.

Or maybe it’s because, while the online world connects us all more easily, it can also dehumanise us? The behind-the-scenes stuff adds the element of humanity we all crave.

I dunno really.

What I do know is, I used to hide those moments for sure. I used to think no-one could possibly care about anything but the slick, perfect, finished product, and please don't waste my time, thank you.

But as you’re building your own audience for your own online training, I’d strongly advise:

Take the time to share your work and journey along the way—mistakes and bloopers and all.

It's a great way to document your journey as you go along...

It's a marvellous antidote to any perfectionist streak you may be cursed with (I should know)...

And it brings you closer to your audience, as a real person they can relate to.

All the wins.

2. You can plan and plan and plan…

In the clip, I clearly only realised that what I was saying was a terrible idea while actually recording.

And it’s not like I hadn’t carefully planned what to say beforehand.

In fact, like all my pre-recorded videos, it was pre-planned, pre-structured, even pre-scripted (yep, I was reading off my trusty Glide Gear teleprompter).

One key factor in outstanding online tutorial videos is careful planning and scripting the important teaching points beforehand.

(My biggest bugbear in online tutorial videos is where they've clearly just hit 'record screen' and made it up as they went along... errrr... umm.... errrmm...)

So yes - plan. Script the teaching points you need to clearly and concisely explain. Don't wing it, please.

But planning only gets you so far. It’s taken me years (too many years) to realise this.

Before you fully commit to making a video/course, you first just have to have a go. Just do a trial run. Don’t worry about it being perfect or ‘right’—in fact, you won’t be using this version of the thing at all. Think of it as the quick MVP version.

What you’ll find (if you’re anything like me—and I suspect we’re similar on this) is that even the most careful planning will come undone at the seams when you actually say it out loud and make it real.

Realising this has made a big impact on my attitude and approach to making online courses and tutorial videos.

I now plan/agonise/fret for only about 75% of the time. Hey, that’s a reduction of 25% on my previous form. And then I just get on and give it a go.

I soon get to discover what ‘real life’ thinks about my careful planning. In fact, it turns out that 'real life' often scoffs out loud at my careful planning.

Of course, once I know what real life thinks about my plan, I go back and improve the plan, amend the structure, and edit the script accordingly.

But the MVP trial-run absolutely results in a much better end product....

The end product is produced much faster than if I’d have procrastinated and ‘perfectionised’ for even longer. Yes that's a word - I just invented it...

And most importantly, it gives me the valuable sense of momentum and forward motion I need when making courses—also known where I come from as 'a good kick up the arse'. And we all need one of those occasionally.

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Everything Is Pointless

February 26, 2021

This is that moment when you're recording a tutorial video... and realise that everything is pointless.

Update: a couple of reasons why I posted this little blooper outtake.

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Nothing Personal

February 9, 2021

No—digital minimalism isn't a manifesto to delete your social media accounts, burn your mobile devices, and head off to live on a remote farm where the internet will never find you. It's about being mindful of spending your precious time on what's truly valuable, and dropping what's probably not.

I wrote last week about how reading Cal Newport’s books Deep Work and Digital Minimalism had inspired me—well, that and nearly carking it over Christmas—to think carefully about how I’m using my time every day.

I asked the good folks on my email list the questions:

What high-value activity, that only YOU can do, could you focus on for a block of time every day?

And also, what lower-value activities can you drop?

I spent an enjoyable couple of hours over the weekend reading their ideas and replying. A lot of people coming to similar realisations at the same time, it seems.

However, one of the replies was different:

“Not trying to be funny, but soliciting replies like this seems like the absolute antithesis to the spirit of your epiphany. I’m really lost how to reconcile digital minimalism with a broadcast call for people to tell you about themselves.”

For context, he wasn’t having a personal dig.

But it got me thinking.

First, if you haven’t read Digital Minimalism, you might think it’s a manifesto to delete your social media accounts, burn your mobile devices, and head off to live on a remote farm where the internet will never find you.

I admit, I did before I read it.

But no, that’s not it.

The point of Newport's book isn't to stop using digital technology.

It's more about being mindful of spending your precious time on what's truly valuable, and dropping what's probably not.

For me:

Not very valuable: hours of distracting social media; mindlessly consuming rather than creating.

Highly valuable: direct, personal relationships with my audience and customers (priceless, in fact).

In fact, the latter has been the case since I first started my online teaching business four years ago.

Of course, I’m not saying that what’s valuable to me should be the same for you.

Nor am I saying that I’ve decided on only one valuable focus: for me, it’s also creating content and products.

But it’s worth pointing out that the spirit of both of Newport’s books is not about being anti-social or cutting yourself off.

And it’s not even about deleting your social media accounts. If you get a ton of value from the time you spend on them, and it consistently moves you towards your most important goals, have at it.

But whatever your own situation and business model, I’d take a guess that focusing on building and nurturing an engaged audience is worthy of consideration as being pretty high on the list.

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Words I Didn’t Expect To Hear

February 5, 2021

I nearly died over Christmas. And that experience, coupled with reading two inspiring books, has made me reassess how I'll spend my time each day.

“You’re incredibly fortunate, Mr Foy. If you hadn’t have come into the hospital when you did, your life could have been seriously at risk.”

I’ve got to be honest…

There’s nothing quite like hearing these words from a serious-looking chap in a white coat while laying in a hospital bed at 3.30 in the morning, to bring your priorities into sharp focus.

And yet, there I was on December 23rd 2020, in Hull Royal Infirmary with an infected and ruptured colon, realising just how close I’d come to waving goodbye.

Needless to say, my family and I didn’t have quite the Christmas we planned.

Instead of tucking into the scrumptious food we'd planned, I was struggling to eat, well, anything at all. And I'd already spent 10 days at home before this in serious pain, not really eating anything, losing nearly 12 kilos in weight in the process.

Thankfully, by December 31st, after a massive dose of intravenous antibiotics and narrowly avoiding an emergency operation, I was safely back home, and under strict instructions to rest completely.

Having already watched all of The Mandolorian season two on Disney+, that meant cosying up with a pile of books, two of which were Deep Work and Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.

If you’ve ever questioned your productivity or wondered how your daily life might be different without the distractions of a growing swathe of social media platforms and a million other things, these books are must reads. I highly recommend you check out both.

Newport’s arguments are compelling….

It might seem trite, but I don’t doubt that he, and, let’s face it, my recent brush with death, made me realise I absolutely have to make the most of every day.

And so, I decided that in 2021 and beyond, the most important thing I can do to make the absolute most of life is to focus and remove any unnecessary distractions.

For me, that means carving out large chunks of time to focus on high-value activities that only I can do.

In practice, what does that mean?

For me, that's two non-negotiable 90 minute ‘deep work’ sessions every single work day, where I focus solely on creating content and products to support aspiring course creators who want to teach online.

It's amazing how much of my work day was typically not dedicated to this essential value that only I can provide!

But it's not just about what I’m going to do—it's also about what I’m not going to do.

That means resolving to remove shallow, low value, easy 'busy work' activities that suck my time and don’t serve me as well as I think they do.

My own starting point? Dropping social media like Facebook and Instagram and the alarming amount of time I was spending each day, worrying about finding stuff to post and share, and addictively checking for new 'likes', and before I know it hours have gone by and.... woah, what day is it again??

I also ditched many other easy 'busy work' activities that were giving me the false sense of achieving important things. I'm feeling much happier and focused and fulfilled at the end of the day. Result.

And so, as I bring this more sombre than usual email to close, I have some questions for you:

What are the high-value activities in your business and life that only YOU can do?

Are you intentionally organising your day to ensure they get done?

And what low value activities can you lose?

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