[Ep#294] The First Pancake Method: Creating an Online Course with Dan Harvey

The First Pancake Method: Creating an Online Course with Dan Harvey

When we start building something for ourselves, we want it to be perfect. From creating an online course to managing a team, we aim for spotless and spot-on. However, this perfectionism blocks our path to learning and innovation.

Just like when making pancakes, the first one’s never perfect. Sometimes not even the second. We have to go through the process of change, adjustment and improvement to reach our best versions. We have to evolve with the times. For instance, creating an online course used to mean making a website, but now it’s much more than that.

In this episode, Annemarie interviews Dan Harvey, the co-founder of passion.io. He shares with us how they overcame their bankruptcy within just 30 days. Dan also describes how they employ The First Pancake Method in coaching their clients. More importantly, he tells us his vision of the future where mobile applications will be the mammoths of marketing.

If you want to know more about The First Pancake Method, then tune in to the full episode.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn why creating an online course on mobile is the future of knowledge delivery.
  2. Discover how The First Pancake Method leads to continuous improvement in your field.
  3. Recognise the value of each of your team members to foster a creative and innovative environment.


LISTEN NOW: (and check out the Resources and Episode Highlights below): 

WATCH NOW (and check out the Resources and Episode Highlights below): 


Episode Highlights

[02:12] How to Go from Bankruptcy to a Boom in 30 Days

  • When Passion.io started, they experienced bankruptcy.
  • His business partner told him that if they didn’t solve their problem within 30 days, they would be financially insolvent and they'd be
  • While Dan was hesitant, his co-founder was adamant and optimistic that they’d be able to find a way to save their company.
  • Dan and his co-founder met a bunch of creators in the United State There, they pitched their platform on how they can help them make an impact in their field.
  • Luckily, they were able to meet someone. Within a week after meeting that creator, they made $30K and continue to sell very well until today.

[07:10] Key Insights into Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy

  • For Dan, one of the important things he learned was that perfection is the killer of progress.
  • He also shares this insight with the experts on their platform who are having a hard time progressing in their business journey.
  • Perfectionism and the First Pancake Principle are connected.
  • Aside from perfectionism, Dan mentions the importance of timing in launching your business. Your business should be the right product that the world needs.
  • The people and the world are constantly changing, so the language of your marketing should also evolve. Otherwise, you'll be left behind.

[12:06] The Importance of Building a Great Team

  • For a company to be agile, everyone in the company must have autonomy.
  • If everyone in a company waits for the people at the top to hand down ideas, it impedes the business' growth. Innovation becomes difficult or even impossible.
  • Giving the people in your team the right tools to be successful and empowered is also vital.
  • Dan believes that you should celebrate your team even if they fail because that means they tried something new.

[14:06] Dan as a Leader

  • Their team is clear about their duties and what they are accountable for.
  • They also value the importance of fostering an environment where everyone can share their insights and opinions. An environment like this creates a pool of the ideas they can implement and use.
  • Dan stresses that he and his team learn and improve themselves every day.

[17:57] Creating an Environment to Innovate

  • Dan shares that there is a leadership principle that transformed him.
  • Status plays a considerable role in our culture today. However, Dan believes that it's just as important to consistently reduce your status and be able to apologise when you screw up.
  • In an environment that allows people to share their ideas regardless of their status, people don't have to be tense and guarded.
  • Dan’s goal is to build a working environment where people can speak their hearts and freely share their ideas.

[22:54] The First Pancake Method

  • The First Pancake Method is a high-level principle that focuses on progress rather than perfection.
  • Most of the time, creators want to launch the perfect product right away, much like aiming to get that perfect pancake on the first try.
  • Their team helps creators learn more about the creator's target market
  • and what they want to offer.
  • This method aims to constantly evolve and innovate your content — just like cooking perfect pancakes.

[27:37] The Future of Creating an Online Course

  • Phones are people’s primary devices.
  • Mobile applications make the lives of people easier and more comfortable.
  • Dan believes that a mobile app is a much better medium to deliver knowledge than a website.
  • Unfortunately, online courses have only a 6% completion rate. Creating an online course accessible via mobile apps will increase their completion rate.
  • He sees that in the future, creating an online course and accessing these courses will be done through mobile apps.

[32:43] Features and Functions of Applications

  • Social media taps into the psychology of how people form habits and addictions. Social media platforms are designed to trigger certain behaviours.
  • Similarly, mobile applications have tapped into a behavioural design that makes them more effective than websites.
  • Dan's goal is to use similar mechanisms to do something positive. Creating an online course accessible via phone lets people learn new skills, rather than scrolling for five more hours on social media.

[34:29] Using Apps and Websites

  • Their company uses a mobile app and a website for their business.
  • They are creating an online course and other resources accessible through both mediums.
  • This methodology is similar to Netflix, where you can go to their website or their mobile app.

[36:29] Dan’s Ideal Clients

  • They work with clients who were running offline businesses but now want to move online.
  • Some of their clients are creators and influencers looking for ways to monetise their social media, blog or email list.
  • They work with service software owners, e-commerce owners and other professionals who want to progress with their business using an app.

10 Powerful Quotes

[02:18] ‘The goal of the company, the vision, is to make the world more confident and passionate. And we always knew that we couldn't do that alone. And so our goal has always been to empower inspiring people to share their message with more people in a more impactful way.’

[10:13] ‘Something we've learned through the last year, year and a half, as we've been going through this global pandemic is: we've needed to continuously — like almost on a week to week basis — evolve. Because the zeitgeist is changing; the problems people have are changing. And if we use the same language in our marketing, if we solve the problem in the same way, we don't evolve, then we get left behind.'

[12:33] ‘The only way to be agile that I've experienced is if everyone in the company has autonomy.’

[16:16] ‘One of our values is speak your heart. So we think a lot about how to provide an environment where everyone, we can get diverse opinions on the table. And the goal is to create a meritocracy. . . it's just all about how can we create an environment where the best ideas win.’

[19:09] ‘The most counterintuitive thing as a leader, but something I think is very important is to consistently reduce your status. Consistently apologise when you screw up. Consistently say, “I don't have the answer”.’

[21:11] ‘How often have you spoken to someone who said like, “My boss is an idiot. He doesn't realise that X, Y, Z”? But they've never told us that because it's like they can't. There's not an environment where they can.’

[24:41] ‘It doesn't need to be millions. Once you've spoken to five, ten people, what you'll learn is the themes are the same. They'll start to use the same language.’

[29:10] ‘You wouldn't go to your phone and pull up facebook.com to scroll your newsfeed, right. It's all apps, it's all like one click, I've got access. And there are a number of features that are only available within apps that also just make sense.’

[30:21] ‘In two years from now if you play this podcast to people and say like you know it'll be like the most obvious things like, “Yeah of course online courses are running apps. How else would you do it?” But it's just not there yet.’

[38:40] ‘Essentially, if you have knowledge that you want to share with people that's going to help them take action and make progress, then your own app can help you do that.’

About Dan

Dan Harvey is the co-founder and CRO of Passion.io. His personal goal is to inspire the people surrounding him with confidence. He believes that inspirational people deserve a platform to share their skills with the world, thus the creation of Passion.io.

The goal of Passion.io is to enable experts to monetise their skills through mobile apps. With the help of Passion.io, Dan and his team have helped over 100 passion businesses become successful brands. With his expertise, he has helped many clients launch their passion businesses.

You can reach out to Dan by following his Instagram account at @passion.dan. Feel free to leave him a message about your goals and passion.

Enjoy This Podcast?

To build a successful business, you must be able to adapt to the changes in society. Focus on your development, just like how Dan Harvey uses the First Pancake Method to help his clients innovate their brands.

Growth is a process, and constant innovation and change will bring about success in your business. If you enjoyed today's episode of Ambitious Entrepreneur Podcast, then hit subscribe now!

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