Growing a Million Dollar Online Course Institution with School of Motion founder Joey Korenman

Growing a Million Dollar Online Course Institution with School of Motion founder Joey Korenman

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The Nitty Gritty:

  • How it’s possible even when you’re successful to change direction and create something that works better for your life
  • What signals of success let Joey know he was on to something
  • How building a team allows you to focus on what matters most to allow for company’s growth

A few years ago, School of Motion founder Joey Korenman, my guest on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast, had achieved what he thought would mean true business success and happiness. Instead he realized he was so busy climbing the mountain of success he thought he should be on, he forgot to summit the mountain of success he wanted to be on. We talk about the path Joey took to build a $1 million online course institution for motion designers in less than 3 years and some of the lessons he learned along the way.

If at first you don’t find happiness; try, try again

It was a little bit of strategy and a little bit of naivety.

– Joey Korenman

Joey seemed to be living the dream. He had opened his own studio with two business partners. His office was in the heart of downtown Boston with a client list that included ad agencies for some of America’s biggest brands. About two years in, a daily 3-hour commute, all-nighters and client pressure to perform regardless of what it did to his work/life balance, Joey looked up and realized he was depressed and needed to “figure out an escape hatch.”

When he started to consider the possibilities, he didn’t know his new business would be selling training. Joey started a blog (even though he knew nothing about digital marketing) to teach people motion design after seeing Greyscalegorilla, a business in his space, was blogging. At the time he built his website, he had no idea how he was going to make money. After a trial period developing and selling plug-ins for animation tools, Joey realized what he really wanted to do was teach.

The moment he knew he was on to something

If you can bring someone from their head space into yours they will follow you anywhere.

– Joey Korenman

While blogging, Joey was honing his entrepreneurial skills and learning through resources from Pat Flynn, Tim Ferriss and Jaime Masters. He knew there was a need in his niche for an intent 6-week long course for intermediate motion designers where humans would review the work. The only problem? It would take 3 months to create the course he imagined; in the meantime, he had to keep paying the bills.

So, he took a bit of advice from Jaime and he decided to pre-sell a course (yes, a course he hadn’t even created). He sent an email (the email content is included as a case study in Pat Flynn’s book, Will It Fly?) out to a list of approximately 4,000 he built and very authentically told them he was going to build the animation course he wished he would have had coming up and he was going to explain more in a webinar. The webinar sold out in 5 minutes. At the end of the webinar the beta version of the course sold out in 5 minutes, and he made $5 grand in 5 minutes. These were clear signs Joey was onto something.

Building a team

Joey took it slow when building his team by first hiring a part-time contractor in part due to his fear of “having another mouth to feed.” However, every time he’s unable to focus on the work that he should do to build the company—content production and products—he realizes it’s time to hire another resource. Once the right person has joined the team in the right role, their collective productivity soars. And as Joey becomes better at learning to let go, he is finding ways to manage quality control in a different way rather than being involved in every aspect of the business. 

There’s a lot more in the full episode including a conversation about confidence and authenticity, customer acquisition and how Joey’s team is focused on creating systems that will catapult them to a $3 or $4 million-revenue company.

Become a subscriber of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast on iTunes to get insights from today’s creative entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, made money and found work/life balance.

Navigate a Slow & Steady Business Brand Transition with Racheal Cook

Navigate a Slow & Steady Business Brand Transition with Racheal Cook

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The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why a slow-and-steady approach to change can still lead to success
  • How Racheal’s business evolved naturally and her brand was built intentionally
  • How publishing her last book helped her further grow her business

There’s nothing wrong with a slow-and-steady approach to change as Racheal Cook, my guest on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast and author of Your Business Sweet Spot, reminds us.

In 2008 she started The Yogipreneur, her first business, by accident as she was recovering from a career in corporate consulting that had left her unhealthy and unhappy. While The Yogipreneur still exists, Racheal embraced a full brand change in 2014 and you can now find all her resources for entrepreneurs of holistic and service-oriented businesses, including the Sweet Spot Strategy, at


I like to test things A LOT before I bring them forward.

– Racheal Cook

Rachael doesn’t rush things. When she left the corporate world, she took her time to figure out her next move. It ended up being entrepreneurship. When it was time to reorganize her business around the Sweet Spot methodology, she started testing ideas out within her program and on her alumni students who receive lifetime access to coursework. The evolution took more than 3 years. As a slow-and-steady girl, her vision right now is to stay focused on growing the program and strategy she has in place now rather than add other elements to it.

Branding Evolution

True to Racheal’s nature of slow and steady, the first steps to evolve her brand began in 2014. While she credits sticking to yogis in her early years with giving her “big breaks” quickly because she was seen as an expert, she noticed that she was attracting a more diverse clientele by 2014—doulas, midwifes, healthcare practitioners. The tip was happening naturally. Her ultimate brand evolution took many steps and several years.

The Sweet Spot, based on the Hedgehog Concept from Jim Collins’ Good to Great, but modified by Racheal to resonate with solopreneurs, was a concept that had always been part of her philosophy. As Racheal began to envision how her brand would evolve beyond yogis, The Sweet Spot was a natural focus. This time, rather than bootstrapping her branding, she hired a professional branding company, Public Persona and set out to update and modify her programs, rewrite her materials and website content, update photography and all the other things involved with rebranding, on the side—all while the business continued to hum along and make money.

As long as you’re helping people they will forgive a lot of imperfections in how it looks.

– Racheal Cook

Book Helps Drive Business

If they like the content, they will love the support.

– Racheal Cook

Racheal was motivated to write her second book, Your Business Sweet Spot, because she needed to create a resource that was easily digestible for her students to pick up. Rather than write it from scratch, she pulled together all her coaching calls, transcripts, worksheets and more, and edited them into a book. While it only covers about 1/8 of what she does with her students, it gives the most foundational pieces of information. It also gives prospective clients a taste of what is to come when working with her. They can “try you out” very inexpensively to see if investing in classes makes sense.

You don’t want to miss a word of my interview with Racheal. Listen to the full episode at Profit. Power. Pursuit. to delve deeper into her brand transition, why she was initially hesitant to write her book and more.

Next week, we will have another interview with one of today’s most inspiring business owners. Don’t miss a single episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit and subscribe on iTunes.

let’s talk about change, baby. let’s talk about you & me.

I started by business to be a work at home mom. You know, the kind that goes to play group, teaches their 18 month old to read, and then works for an hour or two in the afternoon while the little one naps.


But I changed my mind. I got a taste for entrepreneurship, passion-filled work, and truly stepping into my potential and I changed my mind. Suddenly, when posed with a choice between full-time motherhood and full-time mother-of-business-hood. I chose to mother my business.

It was a big change, done gradually. Yet the transformation as I see it today is startling.

I often catch my breath realizing just how different things are – how little I see my little girl, how routines have evolved, how my husband has changed.

When I started my business, nearly 2 and a half years ago, I set out blogging about craft culture in Pennsylvania. I wrote & created for other blogs. Then I learned as much about web design as I could. I bought a business and changed my focus again. I changed and evolved. Changed and evolved.

I’ve changed my editorial style at Scoutie Girl more times than I can count.

I’ve changed how frequently and about what I blog here.

I’ve changed my job title so many times that I have about a thousand unusable business cards in my office.

My only constant is that a new change is right around the corner.

I’m unapologetic about the number of times I’ve changed course in the last 5 years. Let alone the last 28.

The first paradox is that growing up is about rejecting the past and then promptly reclaiming it.
— Courtney Martin, TED talk

We are always rejecting & reclaiming, in what is often both a beautiful & ugly cycle. We resist change and then embrace it. We are open to possibility and then make up our minds.

Change is inevitable.

But how do you know when to change?

You don’t and you do.

A change is always a gamble. It can go right and it can go wrong. But you don’t know until you pull the lever.

A change will always feel like an abandonment and a warm embrace. You will always be letting go of one thing while birthing another.

It’s time to change when what you’re doing isn’t meeting your goals, when you can envision a different path getting you closer to your destination. It’s time to change when your heart or life throws you a curve ball.

It’s time to change, well, when you want to.

Changing your [mind, business, life, circumstances] doesn’t mean you’ve failed.

It’s not a sign of personal weakness.

It takes courage to do something different. To turn the corner.

What really matters when you make a change is that you are stripping away one – tiny, even – piece of what doesn’t work for you. That’s how you know you’re making a “right” decision.

The thing about change is that you can [almost] always change back.

What have you been dying to change? What’s keeping you from doing the deed?