Mini-Courses and Online Courses will be a Billion Dollar Industry

Donna BlevinsWelcome, everyone, to Hello Hump Day, my favorite day of the week, because we are halfway through, and if you made a goal on Monday, hopefully, you’re halfway through to that goal that you’ll reach by Friday. Today, we are interviewing Miss Donna Blevins. And as Zig Ziglar said, “Donna Blevins is someone we can all look up to, both professionally and physically.

As an international professional poker player and a six-foot-five powerhouse, Donna Blevins candidly shares her intimate story of turning losses into wins by accessing the wisdom within her mistakes. Mind shift coach and world-class speaker Donna uses her authentic voice to take the woo-woo out of mind shifting and guide people to win their game in seven seconds. Welcome, Donna.

Donna: Oh God, it is so much fun to be here. I love you. I enjoy this group. I know it’s a new group, but I am so proud of you for getting up and doing the group. Congratulations.

Dotty: Thank you. My first question for you, Donna, is something I have always wanted to know about you. And that is: Why are you self-employed? How did that whole thing happen for you?

Donna: I was thinking about that this morning. It comes from my training because my mother bought a credit bureau from a woman in her church in 1961. My mother had no money; she paid $5,000 for the credit bureau on time, she agreed to pay that off. I was raised in a credit bureau because the credit bureau – the files and the desk were put in my brother’s bedroom. So I was raised as an entrepreneur. I didn’t even know what the word entrepreneur meant, by the way. Because when I was trying to find a job in the ’70s, I went to IBM in Austin, Texas, and I got up to six levels of interviews to get to the hiring guy. My scores were just off the chart. He said, “You’re an amazing person,” he said, “But you don’t belong here at all.” He said, “You’re an entrepreneur,” and I thought he just slapped me in the face. I had no idea what that word meant. I went to a library because there was no internet in those days, and I went to the library to look up the word entrepreneur, and I said, “Oh, okay, I’ll own that.”

Dotty: How old were you when this happened?

Donna: I was in my mid-20s, and I had no idea what the word meant.

Dotty: After that interview, did you jump into figuring out how to be an entrepreneur or what happened?

Donna: Well, I needed to make some money. I was bartending because I could make a lot of money bartending. I mean, imagine if a bartender is in hot pants and hooker boots? I mean, hey, I could make so much money, and I would.

I was a bartender, a cocktail waitress and worked in the Dallas Fort Worth airport. That was the first time I went into really cocktail serving, and it was, it was a fantastic way to make money. But my mother kept saying, “Ah, get out of the bar. You got to get a job.” And it wasn’t perfect because when I finally got a job — a J-O-B, it was outside my background.

My background had to do with credit investigation, so I started looking for jobs like that. I worked for a big leasing company that would lease massive equipment, like construction equipment. It was a huge, huge step. I worked with them as the credit manager, and it was the worst thing to do because – to punch a clock – I mean, I wake up in the morning at four or five, six, depending on what time zone I’m in, and I will be doing something that I love. I’m excited to jump into it and do it, but for somebody to say that, I have to punch a time clock – that was just completely against my grain.

Dotty: I agree with you now, but back in my 20’s, I had no clue that there was another way. What’s the best thing you like about what you do now?

Donna: Man, that’s an easy answer. I love working with people. I love being in a position where I can be my authentic self. Because I’ve been now termed the Chief Simplifier because I simplify things. I’m pragmatic, logical, and even when things are woo-woo – that’s why I say take the woo-woo out of mind shifting because I have to understand things on a basic definable level. I think that being able to do that, people will come to me, and they’ll say, “What do you see here?” and it’s like, I have to get to be in a calm place. I call it neutral. It’s evident what is essential to shift for them to shine. So that’s what I love about it is interacting with people in a pure, accepting way.

Dotty: What was the very first thing that you did that you would consider yourself self-employed? So you went from being a bartender and a cocktail waitress to doing something with a leasing company?

Donna: After I graduated from college, it took me ten years to get my undergraduate degree because I would go to school for a couple of years and get married for a few years. Get divorced, and then go back to work to get money for school. So it took me ten years to get my degree. I got a job with a publishing company, as their advertising sales manager.

Dotty: That sounds like fun.

Donna: But I was fired because I was working with a graphic designer and I was telling him, “Look, you have to change this because our client, the advertisers, they’re not getting what it is they need, you’re not listening to them and creating the graphic that they need.”

Dotty: So you already had the self-employment mindset.

Donna: I guess I did…

Dotty: …and didn’t know it.

Donna: I guess so, and I was fired – and I mean, that I was FIRED? That’s like, “Oh!” and then I thought, “Okay.”

Dotty: Rejection.

Donna: Yeah. So I went back to see the man whose advertising had the most significant contract, but it was like, a double-page spread in the print magazine, and it was costly for the publication. I went back to see him and explained that I wouldn’t be able to take care of him. And this is the magic. He said, “Oh, I like how you care for me. Can you do this for me?” “I said, What do you want me to do?” He said, “Well, I want to have a publication for our company. Would you please design and publish that?” I said, “Well, I’m not a publisher,” he said, “But you can figure it out,” and I said, “Okay,” so he said, “What do you charge?” And, by the way, in those days…

Dotty: Was this the 70’s?

Donna: This was 1978. It would have been 12 years after I graduated from high school. And, I mean, if you got $800 a month, that would be good pay.

Dotty: Oh, okay.

Donna: Yeah, $200 a week. That would be good pay in those days. And he said, “What do you charge?” I said, “$2000 a month, and he said, “Okay.”

Dotty: Did you think about that, or did it just come off the top of your head?”

Donna: It’s my mouth, and I’m going, “Okay, let it come out. And just sit there. And wait. Don’t apologize,” and he thought in a minute. And he said, “Well, we’ll have to bring in the artists, the graphic designer who wants to work with you,” and I said, “Oh, never mind. That’s not possible. It’d be $3000 if I worked with him,” and he said, “Okay, you can do it yourself for $2000,” and I said, “Alright, fine.”

Sometimes, I think a lot of it has to do with undervaluing ourselves, and if you want to step out there, raise the price. That’s what I’ve learned over the years when in doubt, raise the price and see what happens because if it continually reduces the cost, something happens to us. We begin feeling like we’re worthless, I think,

Dotty: Yeah, I’ve always bought into the idea of giving more value instead of lowering the price.

Donna: When I did my first online training in 2009, 12 years ago, my site was meager. I was able to get a registration page up; that was just dreadful. I thought, “Well, I’ll put a page up. People will come in.” It’s going to be an eight-week program for $497. Nobody bought in, and I was so sad. I had not marketed it. I just figured people would find me. Nobody did. I told my husband, who is, by the way, the master craftsman in relationship to sales. I said, “Oh, nobody bought in. And he said, “Fine.” He said, “So put up a sign that says closed and sold out.”

Dotty: Oh!

Donna: I said, Why? He said, “Because it’s closed, and it’s sold out, right?” And I said, “Well, yeah. He said, “Now raise the price.”

“Raise it to $697 because this is a $2,000 program that you’re doing. And at $497, it’s ridiculous because of what you’re offering about individual attention during this group,” It’s a group session. Still, I was offering individual attention to everyone in a massive amount. He said, “It’s got to be $697,” and I said, “Okay,” and he said, “Go to some forums and talk about it.” It was before Facebook was super active, and I tried Twitter. So I went ta a few forums and just would, you know, I didn’t say, “Hey, this is what I’ve got.” I started talking to people. I found out that there’s a fact of today that when you’re dealing with something other than an absolute minimal amount, it’s going to take personal attention. I need to talk with people.

Four people ended up being involved with that, and I thought, “Only four!?” And I thought, “Now wait a minute,” most people would start in those days with a $7 or a $9 something. How many people do I have to get $2400 or $2800? I went, “Oh, wait a minute, that’s good.” Still, now I’m coming back into it from another standpoint because of the plethora of the massive number of freebies that are out there. I want to give more for a minimal amount, and I know for a fact that the way today to massive passive income is by creating a suite of mini-courses, of tiny courses that give people the flavor of who you are, that teaches them something that you know, that is something within your skillset. You did your first one based on what I recommended to you, right?

Dotty: I did. Thank you so much.

Donna: You’re welcome. Now tell people what that is.

Dotty: That is how to use video in social media. I’ve got my second one coming out later today as well.

Donna: And what is that?

Dotty: Google My Business Made Easy.

Donna: See. That’s it. It’s like that mini-course. I believe that that is the core. That is the key to creating massive passive income because Forbes research, done before the pandemic, said that by 2025 – only four years from now – the revenue generated in online courses will be 325 billion dollars.

Dotty: I saw that, and when I saw the “B” in front of that, I thought, “Wow, now is the time to get into it,” and with COVID coming in, people are now used to doing a lot more online than they used to be. So it’s becoming more of just a regular thing for them, so that barrier is coming down.

I think it’s beautiful because it is a big blessing globally, with the pandemic. It has trained people to connect virtually, which means that we now have our student body, our mentees out there who are hungry, and they’re thirsting, and I want everyone that hears this, I want you to think about what is your passion? What do you like to share? What’s important to you? Think about that about a mini-course. And if they’re straightforward to do, we tend to stomp ourselves because we think they have to be perfect before they get out there. I know for a fact that’s not the case. It’s getting them out there messy.

Mine isn’t perfect, but that’s okay.

Donna: That’s right.

Dotty: The other thing that the pandemic has done for this entire online course is that you’re not limited to where you live – even what country you’re in. You know, I’m noticing I’m now an international website designer because I have a client in another country. Those walls aren’t so big anymore. So the whole world is now your playground. Isn’t that awesome?

Donna: Yes, it is. I’m glad you said that because I am also an international best-selling author. I’m an international poker mindset coach because I had clients and individual private clients in Germany, Scotland, and Australia during my first two years of coaching.

Dotty: Wow, I didn’t know that about you. Can you tell me, Donna, your biggest challenge or obstacle you had to overcome?

Donna: My biggest obstacle has to do with stopping giving it away for free.

Dotty: Yes, that is a big one.

Donna: To put the value on it and to value me. I mean, we undermine ourselves by the sticker price we put on it, by the tuition we put on it. People get so stuck on sales, but I’m blessed because my husband guided me and taught me about sales. By the way, I have to tell everybody, I’m six foot five, he’s five foot three, and one of the few people that I look up to because he’s brilliant. He’s big-hearted. I can show him a registration page, and he’ll go, “Okay, that’s fine. That’s not. Strike that.” and when he says, “Strike that.” It’s gone because he can look at something and go, “That doesn’t work.” So it’s lovely to have that skill set in the house as well.

Dotty: Awesome. Is there something you want the audience to know about being self-employed? Like, what’s that one burning thing, that message you want to get out there?

Donna: Let me think about that. It has to do with working on your business rather than working in your industry. It’s figuring out how to expand rather than – the multiple hats we have – everything from the janitor to the bookkeeper. I love my bookkeeper, by the way. You know, the janitor and the bookkeeper, it’s okay to spend money and find the proper fit in relationship to people helping you. But, it’s working ON your business rather than IN your business because when you go through a day of events, it’s like you look up and you sit the computer too long, “Now get your butt up.”

One thing I want you to know, my mama, Peggy is 95, and her motto is to stay above the grass – you got to get your butt up.

Dotty: She is still a spitfire; I will tell you that. I know that you have something that you are launching, I think today. Something that lots of people in this group could take advantage of. Can you give us the sweet little tidbits of what you’re doing?

Donna: I can. I’m so excited because since I was on Wow Wednesday, Women’s Prosperity Network, last June the 10th, I did my first mini-course – a little two-hour mini-course. The response was so tremendous, I’m going, “This is amazing!” And I’ve done it eight times since then. Everybody kept coming to me going, “How did you do that? Please tell me how you’re going to do that.” I said, “Well, I’ll get around to it.” “No! Tell me how you’re going to do that.”

I’ve made a mini-course on how to do a mini-course: The simple way to create a mini-course. I called it Course Creation Simplify. It is a whopping 11 bucks for a two-hour masterclass, but you have access to it three times – that means three times live. The registration page is

Dotty: We’ll be sure to put that in the comments after we’re done going live so that everybody has that.

Donna: It’s going to be the first whole week in May. The reason I’ve made it a three week lead time is that I know how busy you are, I know how your calendar is booked, I wanted to give you enough time to reserve the time, and I’ve made it odd times during three days so that you can find the time where you can come. If you cannot come to live, you will have full access to the recordings, videos, and downloadable assets because I will put together a checklist of what you can do. I’ve been told I had someone look at the syllabus of what I’m putting together and say, “You’re giving too much!” That’s my job. I’m going to give more in less time. I’m going to turn on the fire hose.

Dotty: One thing that stops people from creating online courses, classes, or whatever you want to call them is that it’s never done. You know, it’s never good enough. It’s never whatever that is in their mind. I happen to have heard that you created it as you did it on your first course.

Donna: That’s exactly right.

Dotty: You’re creating it first, having it done, and then moving forward. So how did that work for you? That’s a different twist on how to do things.

Donna: That’s the way that I do things. I mean, granted, I have a rough draft of what I want to do, and I put together a slide deck because I’m a visual learner. I think it’s vital that you change the screen all the time during internet training. It’s not like you want somebody to watch you talk because they get bored. I want to keep people’s attention.

Since my undergraduate degree in graphic design, I have had some beautiful slide decks, but I have stories. I have pictures that go with that story when I’m telling a story, rather than seeing me talk. So I had those put together, and I did it eight times. Every time it evolved. I thought I knew what it was going to be, but I would stop and say, “Okay, tell me,” and I would ask a question. Based on what they said, it would send me off on a tangent – that was the excellent tangent based on what they wanted and needed at that time. So I think when you allow yourself to evolve and listen and communicate with your students without having to have it perfect, do not have a script. I want you to think about talking to one particular person, just like I am talking to you now.

Dotty: That works for me; I’ve never been a script person. Well, we’ve got just a few minutes left. Anything else you want to add?

Donna: Tt’s just simple. It’s a bit of me…you know… stop procrastinating, take your finger off the hold button and create! Shifting mental gears and creating courses can be simple.

Dotty: Our guest for next week will be Miss Debra Morrison, and she is an author, a TEDx speaker, and a financial Maven.