Today’s guest on the Teach & Flourish podcast is Franki Kidd. Franki is a ghostwriter and an indie author. In her search to find new ways to earn extra income & live a freedom lifestyle, she came across online course creation as a great way to help other writers while earning more.
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Kari: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Teach and Flourish podcast. Today we’re talking with Franki Kidd. She’s a writer, an online instructor on Skillshare. Welcome, Franki!
Franki: Thank you for having me, Kari.
Kari: Thank you so much for being here. We’re going to jump right in.
Franki: I’m sorry. Is it Kari? I’m I saying correctly?
Kari: Yep, Kari. Although my friends from New York pronounce it as Cari.
Franki: I just wanted to say your name correctly. I’m sorry.
Kari: That’s okay. I’ll answer to either one. Just tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What’s your professional background?
Franki: I live in the Midwest. I live in Ohio. I graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and also UCLA. If I had to give myself two titles today I would say ghost writer and e-book author.
Kari: Awesome. That’s funny. We have this Ohio connection because I lived in Cincinnati for eight years.
Franki: Are you serious?
Kari: Yes, and I went to Xavier University.
Franki: Xavier! Crosstown shootout!
Kari: Crosstown shootout!
Franki: You went to Xavier? Oh, my. Wow.
Kari: Yes. I feel like there’s an Ohio connection, so we’re going to have to talk about that. We’ll have to talk about that more, and to anyone else who’s listening, if you have that Ohio connection, hello!
Franki: Hello Ohio!
Kari: Ohio! You describe yourself as a ghost writer and e-book writer, so what made you decide to create your first online course? Was it just adding more exposure, more freedom, more money? What was your motivation?
Franki: I would say all of the above. As a ghost writer, as a e-book writer, I wanted to find a way to help reach out to more people, and also everybody is saying, “Create an online course.” I just wanted to dive into it, so I would say all of the above.
Franki: Money, help more people, all of the above.
Kari: That’s what I hear from a lot people. It is the all of the above. Every once in a while someone has one more than the other, but it was same for me. All of the above.
Franki: Of the reason why. Absolutely. Want to help more people. I run an offline writing boot camp. It’s seasonal. When you run that boot camp you have to go there every day, and teach the same thing over, and over again, which is fine because I do like that interaction, but online you can help more people. You can help people all over the world, so that’s the hook for me as well.
Kari: Absolutely. I love that. Tell us a little bit about your first online course. What was it about, and what decision making process did you go through to help you decide to start with that course?
Franki: My first online course on Skillshare was called Write Nonfiction Book Chapter, and I didn’t call a chapter a chapter. I called it a smapter. I don’t know why. They said to give it any interesting name. I’m used to giving straightforward titles, so I’m like, “Well, well what would a small chapter be?” Because I was trying to get that e-book audience. I said, “Maybe a smapter. I don’t know.”
Kari: I love it.
Franki: Skillshare classes, they’re bite sized. That’s what they’re saying. The most successful courses are bite sized course, and so in the beginning I had everybody writing. I wanted everyone to write like 10 pages. I’m like, “Oh, that’s too much.” I’m like, “What if I have them just write a page?” My first class on Skillshare is how to write a nonfiction book smapter. Not chapter, but smapter.
Kari: That is hilarious, and I love it. I feel like I need to get more creative with my class titles now. This is good inspiration.
Franki: The teaching process behind it, because I did the teach challenge, I was really just following their lead. They would send an e-mail and say, “Okay, create an outline.” Prior to that, I don’t know if I can mention this, but I had been working on a creating a course for Udemy, and it was taking a really long time. I was building this mega-course, and I’m still working on getting my course created for that other site. When Skillshare came along it was like, “Oh, God. Bite sized courses.” I thought it would just be something to dive right into.
Kari: I think you’re absolutely right about that, and I wrote blog post about my experience basically with Skillshare, Udemy, and Teachable. Udemy and Skillshare are more of the course market places, but I’m with you. Not to knock it, they have changed their business model some, and I like the changes that they’ve made actually, but it is a-
Kari: Udemy. Yes, Udemy their business model kind of changed, but it is a little more cumbersome.
Franki: It is.
Kari: The process that you have to go through. I feel like, at the end of the day, I end up recommending Skillshare to anyone who’s just getting started. You know?
Franki: Absolutely. Absolutely. I have been working. I have a tweet … not a tweet out. Something I put on Facebook in the Facebook group. You call it Udemy, Udemy, Udemy. I don’t know, but I got a tweet, a Facebook post, and it was in April of 2015.
Franki: It’s not that I’ve been working on it every single day, but throughout the year just planning. I wanted it to be something really special. I just feel like with Skillshare it was something I could just dive right, just go for it. Do a teach challenge, and not be overwhelmed by everything you need to do a class. That’s the reason why I decided-
Kari: Exactly. You get feet wet, and it helps you build your confidence too. Once you get-
Franki: It does help your confidence. Wow. It does.
Kari: Absolutely. That’s good. That’s good. We want people to know that because the whole point of me even doing these interviews and talking to awesome people like you is let people know, “Hey, you can do it. We’re doing it. You can do it too.”
Franki: Thank you. One of the first classes I came across was you class because I was looking for writing on Skillshare. I’m like, “Oh, there she is. There’s one.” You know how you put in a search?
Kari: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Franki: I found you. Yes.
Kari: That is awesome. We need more writers on Skillshare. I love Skillshare, but as you know it tends to be more graphic design heavy.
Franki: I noticed that as well, and I don’t think writing course on Skillshare are as popular as on some other sites.
Kari: Right. Not yet. Not yet, at least.
Franki: I think we can do it, huh?
Kari: We can change it. We can change it, so there are more writers coming on. Even with your courses I’m like, “Man, that’s awesome.” I was so excited to see that you were teaching something related to writing too.
Franki: That’s why I said when I found you on Skillshare I found you a long time ago. I was like, “Oh, good.” I just was really excited to find you were doing writing classes on Skillshare, so I knew about you a long time ago.
Kari: Oh, that’s awesome. That’s something else that we’ll put out there to people. When you’re looking at ideas on, what can you even create a class about, search Skillshare. Do what Franki did. Search for writing or writing classes if you’re a writer. If you’re a graphic designer search graphics.
Kari: Just search in there, and see what people are teaching, and don’t be discouraged. If you see someone else teaching what you want to teach, no, that is a good sign. It’s good.
Franki: It’s a good sign. You know what? I tend to think that way as well because I heard a saying a long time ago, and it was saying, “There’s plenty of room at the top. It’s the bottom that’s crowded.” Whatever field you’re going in there’s plenty of room for everybody, so that’s a-
Kari: I love that one. I’m going to have to do a tweet. I’m going to do a tweet on that. I’m going have to put you. “Franki Kidd says this.” You told us a little bit about the creation process. You’ve been following when Skillshare does their challenges, so what tools do you use to create your online courses?
Franki: Well, I use Screencast-O-Matic. I know a lot of people use Camtasia. What is it? Cam-
Kari: Yup, Camtasia. I use Screencast-O-Matic too, so I’m very familiar with that.
Franki: I use Screencast-O-Matic over the years. I went to film school, and I’ve invested in so many tools of the trade. I think it’s so important to invest in yourself, but when I was first starting I was like, “Well, let me give Screencast-O-Matic a try,” and it worked out fine. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, so that’s what I’m using right now.
Kari: Yeah, I’m with you. I actually started on the free version of Screencast-O-Matic, and then ended up moving to the $15.00 a year version.
Franki: Is it $50.00?
Kari: No, $15.00. 1, 5. Yeah
Franki: I was going to say, “Wow. Did I pay that much?”
Franki: I use Screencast-O-Matic. I have a Blue Yeti mic. I started out with a Audiotechnica, but when I was using that mic for that other site the test review wasn’t passing.
Franki: Yeah, I don’t know what it was, but I just went with Blue Yeti. I do PowerPoint. I have started to explore Google Slides, but when I started creating the course I didn’t use PowerPoint. I had that big learning curve just coming down the bend.
Kari: Definitely. I end up using PowerPoint for most of mine, but occasionally I use the templates in Canva.
Franki: Well, that’s the way I can read it. I use Canva to create the graphic, the picture, and then I’ll Jing it. I use Jing. You ever heard of Jing?
Kari: I’ve never heard of Jing, no.
Franki: Oh, my God. I love Jing. You have to check out Jing. I’ll capture the picture. Jing is like a print screen.
Franki: The same company that owns Camtasia, I think they have this free version, it’s called Jing. J-I-N-G. You can just capture a picture. It’s easier to me. Print screen, I never could figure that out.
Kari: Oh, when you do the … Yeah. The screen capture?
Franki: Screen capture. Exactly. I use Jing. Jing is so easy and fun, and whatever picture I create in Canva, I transfer it to PowerPoint.
Kari: Nice. I’m actually getting ready to do a couple classes on this tool. It’s called Visme. V-I-S-M-E. Basically they just have a bunch of different presentation templates that you can use.
Franki: Is it like Graphic River?
Kari: I have heard of Graphic River, but I’ve never actually used Graphic River.
Franki: I have not either. I just heard of it.
Kari: I’m not sure, but Visme, I’ve been in there kind of fadiddling around, teaching myself how to use it, and I really like the different templates that are available. You can basically put it on presentation mode, and then you can do a screencast of your presentation mode. If you don’t use Microsoft products, you don’t use PowerPoint, and you don’t want to learn how to use PowerPoint, it’s a little bit simpler than that, and it’s web based.
Franki: Interesting. I’ll have to enroll in your class when you create it because that’s something to know.
Franki: I’ve been using Microsoft products since forever, so-
Kari: Me too. Me too.
Franki: I want to leave them. I’ve had some kind of issues lately, but that’s a whole other story. I’m happy to learn there’s competition out there.
Kari: Yes, there are definitely other tools we can use.
Franki: Look forward to taking that class of yours.
Kari: Thanks. What made you decide to go with Skillshare as your platform?
Franki: The main reason why I went with Skillshare was because of the teach challenge. I know that if I enter a competition or a challenge I will complete it. How good I’ll complete it? I don’t know, but I really needed that push. Then they have the incentives, like the free premium, and the bonus, and the prizes. It was just really, really fun connecting with other instructors. That was the main reason, the teach challenge. I thought, “Wow. They said bite sized classes. Classes can be as short as 10 to 25 minutes,” and it was something I knew I could do. It’s like running a baby marathon. It was like, “I can do that one. I can do a half a mile,” so that’s the reason.
Kari: I agree with you. Especially the part about being able to connect with other instructors. Clearly that’s how you and I met, was from the summer challenge that we’re both enrolled in. I love, love, love that about Skillshare, that we get to have this community feel.
Franki: Absolutely. It’s a lot of people. I know my friends, and family, a lot of people don’t get online entrepreneurship. At least in the circle of people I know. Being able to connect with people who get what you do, who understand you must get up at 6:00 in the morning and go to bed at … I love connecting with people who get it because if somebody works just a job, go to their every day job, which is great, but they don’t get that. They don’t get that drive. You’re creating e-books, and you’re creating classes, so it’s wonderful to connect with people who understand that it takes a lot of time away from everything you’re doing to create a class. I don’t know about you, but it’s not easy for me.
Kari: No. It’s not. Once you get in the swing of things, but I feel like there’s always a monkey wrench thrown in there even once you get in the swing of things.
Franki: It’ll have a little technical issue. Planning them out, and, I think, not so much just creating the class, but just everything that you’re doing that goes along with being an online entrepreneur. It’s just a lot of work trying to figure everything out.
Franki: New technology, and all that kind of stuff.
Kari: What is your favorite part about creating online courses?
Franki: My favorite part about creating online courses? I think it’s a different way you can help a lot of people because it’s on-demand, so you’re getting your message out. I like getting my message out to a lot of people, and I think with creating an online course you have the opportunity to do that. In Ohio, where I’m at, I’m able to teach a writing boot camp offline, but I have my 15, 20 students, which is wonderful. I love the in-person interaction, but I also like the thought of somebody in another part of the world being able to take my class and learn something because that’s the way I feel when I take somebody’s class. I’m like, “Wow.” I’m very thankful that I was able to do it, and I didn’t have to go way across the world to learn Photoshop. You know what I’m saying?
Franki: I think that’s the favorite part about it.
Kari: It’s definitely fun being able to talk to different people, and like you just said, if you’re doing it in-person, which is great, but there’s only so many people you can help when you’re in-person.
Franki: That’s right. That’s the fun. I think that’s what’s so fun, and then just being creative. Being able to teach what you absolutely love. My mom says I’ve been writing since I was 4 years old. I don’t remember any of my literary works from back then, but to be able to do what you absolutely love. Love, love, love. That’s the fun part. It’s like you’re teaching your passion.
Kari: Exactly. Teaching passion, sharing it with others, and making some income from it.
Kari: You can’t beat that deal.
Franki: You can’t beat it. I agree.
Kari: What advice can you give to other people out there who have been thinking, and I always say this, over thinking about creating a course? What advice can you give them?
Franki: My advice would be, and I know this sounds easier said than done, but to let go of fear, and to just do it. If I had let the fact that I didn’t want to show my face on camera, or that I’d never used PowerPoint, or I felt like I was technically challenged, if I let all those things stop me I wouldn’t have a course. I would say just let go of fear. Again, I do know that’s easier said than done, but if you can just dive right in and do it. Don’t worry about perfection. You can always go in, and tweak your class. You can always practice the way you speak. There’s so many different things. Just go for. I would just say, “Just go for it. Let go of fear. Take the time to invest in learning,” because it is a process, learning how to create an online course, if you’ve never done it before. There are going to be unexpected things that you need to know, but that you didn’t think you needed to know. Take the time to invest in learning, let go of fear, and go for it.
Kari: Oh, I totally love that, and I totally agree. There’s a quote by Les Brown that always comes to my mind. It’s stuck in there, and it says, “Sometimes you just have to jump and grow your wings on the way down.”
Franki: I love it. I didn’t know that he said. Okay, now that’s a tweet I’ll steal from you. Grow your wings on the way down. I love it.
Kari: Yes. Whenever I’m feeling that fear or that hesitation I think about that. I’m like, “Oh, I just got to do it. Just go.”
Franki: Just go for it. Absolutely.
Kari: We’re going to wrap up here. Is there anything else that you want to share with those listening to this podcast episode?
Franki: I want to just say always be doing what you’re passionate about. I just want to say, go for it. Let go of fear and go for it. I don’t know if there’s anything I want to say. If anybody wants to find me I’m FBKwrites.com, but other than that, I just want to wish everybody good luck, and to tell them to go for it. I’m looking forward to seeing new instructors, and enrolling in their classes, and connecting with everybody. Just good luck, and let go of fear.
Kari: Awesome. You heard Franki. You can find her at FBKwrites.com. There will be links to her website and her Skillshare classes below this episode. Franki, I want to thank you for coming on. I really, really appreciate it. Thanks for all the great advice.
Franki: Thank you for being an inspiration because I saw you first, so I just love it. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Kari: Well, thank you all for listening in. We’ll talk with you next time.
Franki: Take care.