Cole Humphus started Cole’s Classroom with the hopes of creating an online space for aspiring photographers to learn and develop their craft. This passion project would turn into a highly profitable online education business that would gain 100,000 customers, 10,000 members, and over $10 Million in sales. Cole successfully exited Cole’s Classroom for 8-Figures and now focuses his time on helping entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses.
In this episode, Cole reveals the strategies and tactics that took Cole’s Classroom to the pinnacle of success. He also shares the aha moments and realizations that surfaced after the sale of his business.
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Joe Troyer 0:51
Hey everybody, it's Joe Troyer, and welcome to show me the nuggets. I'm super excited to have entrepreneur Cole Humphus with us on the podcast today, we're really going to be diving into how Cole built and sold an online education business for eight figures. Cole and I are in the same mastermind kind of running some of the same circles. And when I heard Cole was doing a couple podcasts, man, I gotta get Cole on the line. I want to pick his brain. I want to let all of you guys participate as well. So for those of you guys that don't know Cole, Cole founded a company called Cole's Classroom, and that's where I want to start today is talking a little bit about Cole's classroom, how you obviously built it up, scaled it, and then ultimately, exited in now what the heck you're up to. So without further ado, man, welcome to the show.
Cole Humphus 1:41
Hey, thanks so much for having me, Joe.
Joe Troyer 1:42
So I'm super excited before we get into all the nitty gritty to learn how you fell into Cole's classroom, like how did that how did that become a thing?
Cole Humphus 1:53
Yeah, so I was working in corporate finance for a total of seven years, but about three years into that, I decided to start my own wedding photography business, even though I had never even picked up a camera. And people thought I was crazy when I started telling people Hey, I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna become a photographer and go do weddings, and they're like, but you weren't even a you didn't have a camera like, Yeah, well, and actually, ironically enough, I wasn't tryin to do this. But you see, my shirt says, dude, internet. So I had said, I said, Yeah, but you know, dude, internet, I'll learn, you know, I can teach myself. And this actually came from a different podcast years ago, when somebody loved it so much that quote, that he sent me the shirt, and I still wear it because it's so comfy. But anyways, that's how, I basically became a photographer. And this was around 2008/ 2009. So right in the middle of the Great Recession, the Great Recession, the now we have like the next sort of self imposed induced Great Recession number two, but back then, that whole economic collapse. And all of the sudden I was like, man, like, this is the perfect side hustle because it's on the weekend, I can still do my finance thing. Long story short, it was a very, I was trying to learn online and there wasn't a lot of good resources out there. And I was in these forums and I was asking questions, and I was just getting my butt handed to me with all these just pissed off rude. You know, pro photographers who were upset that sort of, there was always newcomers coming in there, their business had dried up, and it was just a not good situation. So without boring you with that there wasn't a good, safe place. There wasn't a good place to just go and ask questions and get help. So I decided three years into shooting weddings that I wanted to sort of pay it, I guess forward and sort of help, you know, people who are coming up the ranks and sort of make it easy for them. They get hands on experience, even if they couldn't actually go shoot a wedding because that was the next problem that I had was when I was trying to get experience doing weddings. I literally sent out like 20,30 emails to people asking to hold their bags for free, do the whole thing. And I just eat. About 75% of them just ignored me never even responded there. 25% said no. So that was the initial sort of idea for Cole's classroom was, Hey, now that I'm doing this, let me go in and have a safe place. Let me go and have a place that I can sort of give that like field report to help people. And that sort of got started. And of course, I don't I don't want to like jump ahead. But all I will say is, you know, I was under the impression this was going to be easy. You know, I think every online entrepreneur is like oh yeah, this is a great tutorial like, then they're like, hey, why is nobody I only got 10 views on my YouTube video after like a month like so I almost quit in the three times in the first six months because I was juggling full time. Corporate Finance, jobs, still full time, weddings. And then Cole's classroom and I couldn't help it ask myself, why the hell am I doing this? when nobody's coming? You know, it's like when all you want to do is help people and then there's nobody to help. That sort of sucks.
Joe Troyer 5:12
Yeah. So So how do you go from that hole struggling getting it off the ground to 150,000 customers and over 10 million in sales?
Cole Humphus 5:25
Well, that's really is the million dollar question.
Joe Troyer 5:29
Success Story, right? Sure. It was just
Cole Humphus 5:32
Yeah, right. It just happened? No, I mean, it's a great question. And I think I have a pretty succinct answer. Now looking back, you know, so I'll basically say what I did, and then what I would do different, because I think both of those together will be very impactful for whoever's listening, but, you know, so what I did back then was the first year I didn't even try or think about making money. It was just content, content, build an audience, which I think is still a good approach. I don't necessary think that's the smartest approach. And I wouldn't do that again now. And I'm not doing that now. But that's what I did. And you know, we ended up getting some traction. And by some traction, I mean, you know, we what actually happened was one of our tutorials got ranked in Google. So then suddenly got some traffic coming in. And then I'm like, Oh, well, that, let's make a course for that topic. And that was our first product. But that was a year in. And before that, you know, we had one of our lead magnets that got a little bit of traction, once again in Google. So we got a little bit lucky. You know, you cast a lot of lines got something that got ranked, we start getting going from zero leads to you know, 10 or 25, and then 50, and then 100 leads a day. So those were the early sort of success stories and quick wins. One year into that. The next sort of year was just selling but organically. No, no paid ads. No, nothing. We ended up making like 130 grand, which was great because I was still side income to our other two gigs. And here in San Diego, it's pretty expensive delivery anyway, but so every little extra helped a lot because I was a new homeowner at the time. Well, the real to answer your question, the real sort of inflection point was, believe it or not, not trying to like plug digital marketer or Ryan Deiss. But we decided that enough was enough that we were going to quit our day jobs. And it just so happened that in February of 2015, traffic and conversion conference was happening in San Diego. And I was like, Oh, this is in my backyard. And I keep getting these freakin ads from this Ryan Deiss guy on every freakin YouTube video I was trying to watch. So I finally said I should go to this. I went and learned a lot but a couple of the biggest takeaways in one statement in particular that I think changed my life was him saying on stage, everyone says they need more traffic. But, you know, nobody has a traffic fund, you just got to go the traffic store and buy it. And the stores are Facebook, Google and YouTube. And I'm like, ah, duh. And at that time I was already selling. And I already was making some money. So I already knew and I come from finance background. So I already was really good with knowing, here's my conversion rate on my page. I know, for every, you know, on average, I'm converting, I think at the time, I still remember, it's like four and a half percent. And this was just random ass traffic hitting the page, four and a half percent buy in, and on average, they're worth about $55. So if I could just get traffic cheaper than what they're worth, it's Game on. And that's what I did. So I went back after the conference, learn Facebook ads, and the rest is history. And then voila, then 150,000 customers showed up on my doorstep. But um, you know, so I guess to close out the thought what I would do now is, it all comes in terms of how do you go from like wanting to quit to $10 million in sales or more, whatever the hell it is nowadays, but a lot of money that I never thought we'd ever be able to sell that much. And it really comes down to having a good offer lets people actually want listening. I think one thing I've done better than most is I have zero. What's the word? I have zero bias. I don't give a shit about my product. Let me say it differently. I don't give a darn about how much I care about my product. Yeah, all I care about is what people think and what they want.
There's no ego in the product. Yeah. It's driven by customer demand and what they want what they need their feedback. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
So you know, the last piece of the puzzle is just knowing how much are they worth and how much can you buy them or traffic for and as soon as those stars align, it's Game on.
Joe Troyer 10:00
I love what you said that basically just grinded it out for the first year. see a lot of people that come up in their first year. And I think it's critical like just if you can't understand the basics and the fundamentals and get that starter catalyst so to speak. I think it's it's hard to ever go anywhere.
Cole Humphus 10:21
So I think a lot of people I think a lot of people get so focused on their product, and this is what I think is gonna sell well, or this is my one thing. And there's no you got no other like, you know, irons in the fire you like, you got no more like, you know, bullets to shoot like you gotta to use a fishing analogy because I love fishing like you need to make a lot of casts and learn from each of those to then be able to pivot and sort of optimize and to this day now It's been eight years later. hate to say it but we're still having to wake up every week. Every month and figure out, well what do we have to do now to make things a little bit better? Because in the online world as you I'm sure know, these what was working a month ago or a year ago, sure as hell two or three years ago, is not necessarily working now. And the reason why is everyone in their mom's doing it. So one of the biggest lessons that I've learned in these last couple years in particular is marketing tactics only will ever get you so far. You know, you can't really build a business on a marketing tactic, because the tactics lose their effectiveness as soon as everyone's doing them. And it happens. Everyone just copies everyone anyway.
Joe Troyer 11:45
Yeah, too true. In a mastermind just a couple weeks ago. One of our mutual friends was breaking down his funnel. I don't know if you were there, but was breaking down his funnel and sharing how lunch with you was the breakthrough kind of copying and imitating some of your funnel at Cole's classroom. I'm curious if you would share some of the high level takeaways and what you learned at Cole's classroom that you think were the pivotable, pivotal, fundamental key key components. We don't have to go super deep but what what made it work for you in terms of driving traffic and really scaling? Obviously, finance background I'm sure helps big time really understanding the numbers. But But what were the major keys the two or three things that you think really propelled you?
Cole Humphus 12:35
Yeah, I think it depends on the business. You know, and I say that because you know, we were always a high volume, low ticket, very low ticket, we're talking you know, average ticket is like 30 bucks because we have $7 things we're selling we got $49 thing are selling and not really much more than that. And you know, there was many times when I had to question if that was a real problem and honestly, probably became a problem. But it was a problem I didn't want to I, I knew what I'd have to do to fix it, but didn't want to do that. Because either A, you have a higher ticket thing required more of my time or more, you know, at the end of the day, you know, hate to say it, but it doesn't make sense to try and have a mastermind even if it brought in 100 extra thousand dollars a year when that's like, you know, whatever the percentages and extra 5% right, or it sounds arrogant, but that's sort of how the business got to that stage. So we kind of had to ride or die on our our model. And for us the key to success for our model. It wasn't it was casting a lot of lines. But then having really good end to end funnel metrics, meaning it didn't matter. Like it wasn't good enough if we just had the core product that convert good if none of the other upsells did good or Right, because we, a lot of times couldn't make the math work at high scale, you know. So, the other thing is, like I said, upsells like, absolutely key to success, like having upsells that really, really have a good take rate on them, you know, not just saying not just pulling out of our button being like, Hey, you know, you bought this, come buy this, you know, like, it had to make sense. So, you know, we, and I think we've been really good at writing really good copy. And I say that loosely. I mean, it honestly may not be that good. It's been good enough. But I mean, like, you know, we have really good ads with really good sense of the dollars and the metrics. And us and honestly, the I think the thing that is the hardest for anyone to sort of just take which sort of sucks but like that, especially now in this day and age. You have to have that Like desire, and that motivation for just like total domination. And I don't mean the domination like, oh, screw the competition like I'm gonna win. I mean, like your own internal and self domination, like every day, how can I make this a little bit better? You know, what can I test next? You know, that kind of internal fire. And I think when what we had and still do is that internal fire and especially with the key players in the team that share that, that drive when I removed myself from the business combined with just knowing the data better than anyone, meaning not just what's your LTV, what's your lifetime value and what's your cost to acquire customer but what's your payback period on that? Yeah, because some people might go on day one I need to be breakeven or better and we might go you know, we can go a break even so Six months, and therefore, bye bye competition, because they aren't willing to do that.
Joe Troyer 16:07
Yep. Awesome. That makes perfect sense.What's the thing that you're the most proud of Cole? I'm curious. And all that you accomplish, specifically in Cole's classroom?
Cole Humphus 16:20
Yeah. I mean, that's a great question. And I purposely didn't look at any of your questions, because I like doing things off the cuff script stuff for is just not as fun for me. But I think the, I mean, the thing I'm definitely most proud of is selling the company, because that's just one of those things that I just never even was really on the roadmap. You know, and I also, it's proud to know that I got to that stage because that's like the ultimate like seal of approval, right that somebody wanted something that you built so bad that they're willing to pay a price and you know, a nice price and it's not just, I'm not saying like my deal was a great deal it was but I'm saying Like, in general, when you sell a business, you're getting a nice, you know, multiple on what you're getting otherwise by doing it yourself and that in and of itself is, as you certainly know from in the war room and what Roland loves to preach, that is probably the fastest way to, to wealth creation. So, you know, what I'm proud about is that because I look back, and I know when I wanted to quit three times, and I look back when my I told my mom, I was going to quit my parents, you know, and I was going to quit my, my, my safe finance jobs and they were like, my mom was like, but what are you gonna do for insurance? You know, and I'm like, pay for it on the side, you know? So and when I my first product was going to be a newborn photography course. And my dad was like, newborn photography. How many people how much money can you make doing that? Like, yeah, there's like all these like really cool things and sort of moments that we all have as entrepreneurs where We have to pat ourselves on the back and be like, Good thing I didn't listen to mom or good thing. I didn't listen to dad or good thing. I didn't listen to myself telling me I couldn't do it. Good thing I didn't quit. So definitely the most proud of that, you know, and I think, to take it even further, I remember and even as little as three years ago, times, when I look at the business, we were already doing, like $3 million a year. Very, very profitable. All info products, obviously. And I remember just like feeling so discouraged, and thinking like being at this crossroads, like, do I keep growing this thing? Or do I just like, put on Easy Street and just coast? You know, because it's like, you're always in this battle. And so those moments when I decided, keep growing the damn thing, you know, and quit being a little whiny punk and get out of your head and just like put pedal to the metal and see how far you could take it. So I'm the most proud of that for sure. And you know, when we hit 10,000 members, That was pretty cool. You know, 10,000 people, you know, 150,000 unique customers is cool, but 10,000 monthly paying members was was a cool milestone too.
Joe Troyer 19:11
Yeah, that's amazing. Active customers. Yeah. 10,000 That's crazy. Yeah.
Cole Humphus 19:16
Unfortunately, they don't just stay forever. That's another. That's the hard part.
Joe Troyer 19:21
Unfortunately yeah. So I'm curious, since you mentioned selling Cole's classroom, what did that look like? How did it go down?
Cole Humphus 19:30
That's actually a really good story. I'll keep it brief. But essentially, I first reached out to shoot proof which is the company that ended up acquiring Cole's classroom asking if I could, if they'd be willing for me to invest in them to help grow their company, because I was already in this like this roadmap and knowing myself and knowing like what's next for Cole, and that was a lot of investment in other companies advising Companies helping grow. Because at the end of the day, I realized fairly early on, and it just kept getting more solidified that I don't geek out on teaching photography. Yeah, I did it. And yeah, I could do it. But like, what I geek out on is and what I wake up every day thinking about is growing business. So I reached out to them, and basically after the third call of them kind of grilling me, which I was fine with, because I was like, Well, you know, if we're gonna do business together, and then they're like, Well, you know, we don't need any investment at all, because we actually just raised money through a private equity group. But if anything, we'd be interested in acquiring Cole's classroom. And I was like, on the phone like, and at first I remember like, just my total defense, like, coming up, like, Ah, you know, and then I thought about, I was like, Oh, wait, this could be really good. So that was the initial. That was how it all started. And you know, it's such a good lesson and right reminder and I mean, it probably still would have at some point we would have crossed paths but the fact that it was such a good reminder for me to know, man you just never know or one call could lead you never know where one podcast could lead you never know where what one door could lead to. So, you know, for anyone listening like you have to be I think protective of your time but at the same time be know where to say no, but also be very okay with taking a risk or doing something that might seem crazy. Like the truth is, is even for me to consider investing in another company, I didn't know what their revenue was like and all that they it was most likely so far out of reach, at least for just my own personal capital. But and I sort of knew that but I was like, I'm still gonna just find out and that ended up being my I basically made my own warm intro into talks about you know, then buying me which has turned out to be great.
Joe Troyer 22:01
That's crazy. Just imagining being in your shoes, having that conversation and having that role reversal happen. I can imagine what you said like the inner , but But wait, that's not like what we're talking about. No, I want to buy you. And that gut reaction just going Wait, what? Like a No, no. Get it? Yeah. To have the wherewithal to go, oh
Cole Humphus 22:30
Yeah, it happened pretty fast just to give a timeline. I think that phone call was around like a September October. And then they didn't even close yet on their private equity thing. So that was like, way, way, way early, not early in that but like, there was still a couple months till that was closing. So we were basically like, they hadn't enclosed their deal. And they were already like, basically starting to say like this could work for us. So I had to go for like a few months of just Like, playing it cool waiting, which was nerve racking. And then once they closed basically then there was like a January, not this past one, the one before. They basically were already coming out to San Diego and I was presenting basically pitching myself to them. And basically six months later it was closed. There was some pretty good negotiating in there. Some of which was happening during we were in the thick of it during a war room event in Mexico. And it was pretty, pretty good memories looking back and, you know, sitting down with Ryan Deiss and Roland and, and them helping me with, you know, here's their offer. Here's what we think we should come back with and, you know, I don't want I wouldn't say proud. I guess I could say proud just to piggyback on that, like another proud moment is like, going from looking at the whole journey is like I was looking at people like Ryan Deiss on stage look at Roland and being like, dang that guy, smart as shit, you know? And now it's like we're sitting down in Mexico thinking, and inking together a freaking deal, you know? So those are definitely cool moments I'll remeber
Joe Troyer 24:13
You can't leave the amazing resort. You weren't just like at some random crappy place, Mexico.
Cole Humphus 24:20
Oh, No, yeah. I don't know if you were at that trip or not. But have you been? Yeah, quite. I've had the luxury of being three times the four seasons in Punta Mita for anyone listening. Add it to your list. It's amazing. It is amazing.
Joe Troyer 24:39
Yeah, that's awesome. getting their feedback and their advice on a deal is is utterly amazing. We were when we joined War Room, specifically, I've been in War Room a couple of times. Now three times when we joined the last time though was when Roland really started getting a lot more involved than he had been in the past. That's why whe ended up joining. we were looking at closing on a deal. And I asked him for his advice and it was just like, okay, yeah, we gotta we gotta chill. He's like, here's my cell phone number and yeah, whatever you need, I'll help you close the deal. And he gave me a couple points that I made where I could have make made or break that deal. And I was like, yeah, we can't we can't keep going down this path. Without You know, this, this investment.
Cole Humphus 25:24
Yeah, the, the level of generosity that Roland and Ryan and the whole team has had has been just so appreciated, but also so helpful. You know, and I can't say enough good things about them. I love how they're always iterating and trying to make it better for all of us, too. So, there you go. There you go. Ryan and Roland and War Room Team. There's your unsolicited plug.
Joe Troyer 25:49
There's beta bad inside the digital triggers podcast. That's so great I'm curious like looking back obviously, hindsight is always 20/20 patience was a big key learning, it seems like in that in that process, right, in the exit and selling the business, what were the other two? Or three things that you said I would say? were key learnings as we went through that exit.
Cole Humphus 26:15
Um, yeah, I had some really good ones actually, in turn, you're saying specific like, aha moments during the selling of the business? Yeah, for sure. Now, one, one thing. Yeah. One thing was, go ahead.
Joe Troyer 26:29
I think it's just such a unique perspective. I know. So many people never go through that ever in their lifetime. I think you you grew you scale the company, that's a feat by itself. Then you have the exit and I think most people will never see that. But if they do, hindsight is always 20/20. And you had some great mentors and advisors. I'm curious, you know, what your what your takeaways or aha moments were?
Cole Humphus 26:54
Yeah, definitely. I probably got a good little list on here. So we'll bulletize them out. You know, from the natural like financial standpoint, I think the big takeaway, I sort of knew this, but I really was cemented in during the the all the numbers stuff. One good takeaway was, you know, just because your business may be more profitable, it doesn't mean you're going to get a better multiple, you know, because that's really just, it really depends on sort of the end game for the acquiring company. So, obviously, my business was online education info product, the client company with software, software is better in terms of retention in terms of, you know, so, yeah, and speaking of retention, that sort of like, that's a good segue into like, aha, moment number two is, you know, retention is everything, you know, you know, so I didn't actually expect to get the same multiple as software. I mean, I didn't. But even though close classroom may have been more profitable, right? So that was sort of a some time some of that that element was a little tough to swallow. And certainly a real key point that we tried our best with negotiations. The other thing is, is just just because you have recurring revenue doesn't mean it's good recurring revenue. So you know, quality of recurring revenue is certainly, I think, number one, compared to quantity, we had a ton of it. But our retention, once again, I'll just compare to software. Our retention is not nearly as good as software because it's just two different things. So, you know, if you are not software, that's okay. That doesn't mean don't do recurring revenue, but that will, let's just put it this way. The business didn't exactly get valuate value, value or evaluation based on a strong recurring revenue profile. . From the financial stuff, you know, well, I guess I'll let me touch on negotiations. I mean, definitely, you got to sort of stick to your guns and know that be okay to discuss and be flexible, but at the same time, don't just like, take the very first offer. Don't just, you know, but at the same time be reasonable, right? Like, just like, there's course creators that might think like, Oh, my products amazing. So therefore, it's gonna be $3,000 no matter what, and if you don't want it eff off, like, you know, cool, but you might not get any customers. Same thing with the deal, like, you know, so where we started was here, and where I wanted was here, and we ended up of course, somewhere in the middle like, duh, like, but at the same time, I had to say no. And they said, No, and I had to have the confidence to say see you later. And I did. And I had to hope that when we revisited things We still had a deal. And when we did
we did, you know, but but that was a scary month, right of like, Did I just throw that away? Aside from the financial stuff? You know, I think the biggest thing is is, is to be really clear on what you want. Like, what do you want your next step to be? And I don't mean like, like, I'm a good example. I still don't really know what I want. I mean, I know what I want, but I don't know. I'm still building the bridge to get there. Right? I absolutely know what I want. But I don't know what to what length I'm willing to go to get that if that makes sense. Because it gets weird when you're in a position that you know if it's it's so weird to say but if you're in a position that you sold your company and you have enough cash in the bank that you don't need to go and continue to grind every single day. Should you so you know, and every and I've gone through my own sort of like round about figuring out what Where I fall in that spectrum and where I know is I'm what I care about most is freedom, freedom and flexibility of my schedule. To be honest, that's why I don't do many podcasts. That's why nobody probably heard of me outside of our circles. Because when I'm not working on my business, I'm going out there fishing, or I'm spending time with my, my wife and my, and my girl Lacey. And as soon as we're done with this, I'm taking them to the zoo. So that being said, tying it back to the exit, you know, some people listening, they may get an opportunity to sell their business, but it may come with terms that tie you to the business for the next three years. Well, you're gonna have to figure out like, yeah, that's a nice payday, but do I really want to work for somebody else for that long. So being very clear on that before, as you're going through the process, I think is super, super important. Because that could like that. You could very well find yourself in the middle. Like, feeling like you're on top of the world to completely miserable. And no, I don't want to say, I've been there, but you know, it's, it's, and I'm not there Now to be clear for anyone who's listening. But I've had to do a lot of good understanding of what, what fires me up What do I want? What does life look like now and what do I want life to look like in the future? And, and I also I think had the like lightbulb moment of like, wow. So that's man you really do like being your own boss. And what I learned is it's not what the joy that I get from being my own boss is less about not having to answer to someone that's not it at all. It's a matter of being able to implement ideas and decisions. Right rather than have great ideas that just go into thin air Never get, you know. And that has happened. So that's been the biggest sort of takeaway for me, and hopefully is insightful for others who might be in the same position.
Joe Troyer 33:11
No man, I think that's great. Some really good wisdom there. I've been fortunate enough to exit a couple of businesses not quite as big as your exits. But yeah, they always leave you in weird circumstances. I always feel like, I've always felt like I'm free. And this is the greatest thing ever. And then the next day, as soon as that happens, it's like, dude, I'm like, in the gutter.
Cole Humphus 33:33
Like, you're like, What now? What now? What?
Joe Troyer 33:36
Yeah, it's like, I feel like, the the thing is, I feel like a kid like, what am I going to be like, or what am I going to do when I grow up? And like, if you don't know, man, that's it's it's haunting. It's troubling.
Cole Humphus 33:50
It really is. I mean, I luckily kind of got clear on my situation before it could have got bad and I'll mean likein dramatically but like from a, I mean, I was genuinely unhappy for, you know, months after the exit. And you know, it's in that's where I realized a lot of those things like, and to be clear, I'm still involved with the company. You know, and that's what I'm saying. So it's like, that's I'm saying, like, if you know that you are meant to be an entrepreneur, if you know that, and what interests me now I know for the future, like, it's just cleaner to just sever and then start a new whatever that is. And if you want to take a year off, you want to take two years off a couple months, whatever. But when you're still tied to it, and it just and inevitably, especially for me being involved in a larger company, right? And then it's like, now it's you can't help but sometimes think like, Man, this is why I left corporate finance. You know what I'm saying? So like, and to be clear, where I'm at now is It's a great gig and it's a great group of people. But it's, it's just a bit that bit. It's not the entrepreneur lifestyle. It's not that entrepreneur, drive and spirit and edge and ability to have total control of your destiny. And I think that is the hardest thing for people like you or I and other people who hopefully can relate. It's a weird thing. And I don't think I wouldn't expect anyone to ever understand it unless you've gone through it. For sure.
Joe Troyer 35:33
For sure, with all that being said that I'm curious, any regrets or anything that you would do different if you could talk to yourself, right and share with yourself kind of your takeaways going through that journey?
Cole Humphus 35:47
Yeah, well, I actually asked myself that a lot. And luckily, the answer is no. Every time I mean, you know with hundred percent conviction I'm like it was the right is the right move. The right time. And, and I'm learning a lot to be honest, like, you know, being now having ownership in the larger thing and the things that we're doing, which I can't say here. But you know, there's a, we're learning, we're doing a lot of looking at more acquisitions. And that is that that's a whole nother realm of business that I haven't been exposed to, you know, and I knew that I was going to be involved in that and have an active role in that. And, and I do, and so I'm learning a lot. And so No, I wouldn't do anything different. I think it's been great. It's better now than ever before. It just I needed some time to settle into the new reality. And so I think the only thing I would do different next time, it's just, you know, it's just knowing what fires me up and what doesn't, and that's what I didn't know. That's when you're doing When you're your own boss forever, you're just an autopilot, because that's all you do. But when that goes away, then suddenly you're like, well, what was it about all that that actually enjoyed? Because it's cool to talk about eight figures, this and all this and hundred million dollar customers. But the truth is, is I live the same way that I've lived for years. Like, like, that's not exactly what fires me up. What does fire me up is hitting new milestones. But that's because it's my own personal growth. And and you realize when that when your own thing is gone? how important that is. The cash in the bank, that's just a safety net. That's not it's not like, Oh, now I got a Lamborghini in the frickin driveway. Like, I don't. I'd love to drive on one day, but I don't need to buy one. So, I don't know. I'm probably rambling, but I know you can. I know you appreciate where I'm going.
Joe Troyer 37:54
It's good. It's great feedback. I'm curious. We've talked now cool about Building Cole's classroom and how it all started and you know, built up to this, you know, large scale and then you exiting what's what's the What can you share with us about what's happening right now and what the future looks like for Cole? And and are there any resources or help that we can point you in the right direction?
Cole Humphus 38:18
Yeah, I appreciate that. Yeah, you know, it's been over a year past the acquisition. So I've had that time to like, figure out what do I really want? And so I'm back to that big picture plan of I like business. I like helping people grow. And quite honestly, I think I have a knack for being able to unlock sort of leverage in people's businesses. And what I mean by that is being able to scale but do it smartly, right. I'm not going to be the Gary Vaynerchuk guy who's, you know, says in order to get to, you know, this this dream place that everyone has You have to work, you know, 14 hours a day. I don't believe that. Not at all. In fact, that's just gonna burn people out in my opinion or even burn out relationships, which I think is the worst thing you could do. So being able to sort of use leverage leveraging, in sort of leverage both time and money to get big results. That's that's really what I was able to do with Cole's Classroom. So now I'm looking to do that with other people as well. So I'm involved with another company right now in the online education space, not in photography. That ship has sailed. I'm fully on board with my you know, with shoot proof and all that but and we're helping scale that business up. Where I'm part owner, I'm basically when good opportunities come where I can help somebody. I'm open ears and I'm willing to do so. I have a free guide that I have at the website for anyone listening is rapidly Scale system.com and I know that'll be in the show notes too. But I have like a, I forget what it is. It's like 40 or 50 page PDF that was kind of my brain dump of everything for basically not just to get to a million dollars a year in sales, because that's not that hard. The hard part is doing it in profit. So that's what that'll help. So anyone who's listening can go and pick my brain there for free. And then I'm just looking for good opportunities to build more companies, whether that's via partnership, whether that's startup although I'm trying not to do startups and and also my own acquisitions where I see you know, good potential that somebody just wiping their hands off and that I could take over and sort of build you know, to keep the wheels turning, but I will say, I know my my webcam isn't over here, but I got a Marshall half stack with Les Paul. And you know, when I first started close classroom, you see behind me that image I actually took of Sum 41 at a concert. But when I first started close classroom, at the same time, I was thinking about doing photography, I said, I'm gonna teach guitar too. So I might do that now as sort of a little passion project, and just see what I can do. Because I've always wanted to do that. And I just taught myself piano earlier this year as a new hobby. So I might I'm trying to get into music. So if you're out there, and you're really good guitarist that you maybe want to team up with me to make some courses. definitely let me know. That way I don't really do it off.
Joe Troyer 41:41
you don't have to go through the entire learning curve again, right?
Cole Humphus 41:45
Joe Troyer 41:47
That's awesome, man. I just want to say thanks. It's been an awesome interview time is frickin flown by we're getting close to the top of the hour here. So I do want to wrap it up. Be respectful of your time and the audience's time as well. I want to ask you one more question that we do to wrap up the podcast. I'd like to, instead of asking you to recommend three books, I want to do something a little different. I feel like that's what like every podcast and does want to ask you based upon like your life right now. What's the one book that you that you would say? What's the most like your life right now that you've taken the biggest takeaways from and that most represent your life currently? Cole 2020
Cole Humphus 42:32
Oh, man, that's tough because I'm not much of a reader..I will still answer it with the book that probably had one of the bigger takeaways on me when I read it. And to an extent I think, I absolutely live my life but which is Ready, Fire, Aim. which is essentially I forget the author, I'm sure you know it and I'm sure we'll link to it but it's really just all about growing fast testing, you know, just go for it. ask for permission later. And I think that's that's exactly how Cole's classroom has always, always been. I think that's how one of the keys to our success was just trying stuff. iterate on it, make it better. Don't wait for it to be perfect. And that's pretty much always been my life too. So,
Joe Troyer 43:31
Michael Masterson Yeah
Cole Humphus 43:34
That's a great book. Have you read it?
Joe Troyer 43:36
I've read it, but it's been a long time probably due for another read. Very good one. Yeah, build a parachute on the way down is all that I remember basically from reading books, which means I probably need to revisit it. But we'll make sure to link up to everything in the show notes will link up to a closed classroom on your current projects right now. Obviously with shoot proof, and then that lead magnet that you gave away, what was the URL one more time?
Cole Humphus 44:07
rapid scale system.com
Joe Troyer 44:11
All right, awesome. So I'll be checking that out out of all my reading list for this weekend. definitely excited to check those out after after we got to catch up today. And Cole man, just want to say thank you. It's been awesome. So much wisdom share, and I know the audience is absolutely gonna love it. We'll see you guys on the next episode. Thanks so
Cole Humphus 44:29
much for having me. See you guys later.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai