I'm Dickie. I bootstrapped a cohort-based course from idea to 1,400 students in 6 months. AMA 🔥

Dickie Bush
55 replies
I've built Ship 30 for 30 - a cohort-based writing course - from idea to over 1,400 students in six months. I've learned a ton along the way about marketing, scaling, building community, iterating and improving a course, and made just about every mistake there is to make. I did all this while having a full-time job! I'd love to answer any questions you have on bootstrapping demand for your course, marketing, building, scaling, and everything in-between as well as how to manage side projects. AMA 🔥

Replies

Founder, CrowdfundingHacks
What gave you the idea for Ship 30 for 30? What prompted it?
Share
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@clayhebert Ship 30 is the writing program I wish I had when I started writing online in 2020. I had been following the class playbook of "owning your platform," with a weekly blog post and newsletter. But the feedback loops were so slow. I was spinning my wheels with too many ideas to explore but no good medium to do so. So I started writing and publishing small screenshot essays on Twitter (which helped me clear the backlog of ideas in my head faster). 10 days in, I knew I needed an accountability community to do it with me. And so I spun up a quick Typeform, tweeted out an interest question (I had ~1400 followers at the time), and the response was huge. Long story short, Ship 30 was a solution to my own problem (that it turned out quite a few others had as well).
Share
Distributing atomic essays via the image vs repurposing it in a thread. What works better for you on Twitter (since you do both) and why do you think that is the case?
Share
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@rohan_mendiratta1 I think both have their merits. Threads will get better engagement, but require a certain style of writing (lists or stories really). Atomic Essays are a good way to explore one single idea that you would ideally put in one tweet if Twitter allowed them to be that long.
Share
Entrepreneur
@rohan_mendiratta1 @dickiebush - what is an "atomic essay"
Who has been the brightest writer you've encountered in Ship 30 for 30 from all cohorts? Reaons: I try to follow all the alumni, and do not want to miss on the greatest :)
Share
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@rajat_kapoor There have been so many! Can't choose just one (that's like picking children). We are working on creating an alumni directory that will showcase what every alumni is working on and writing about after completing the program, so stay tuned!
Share
@dickiebush That's fair. I will be looking forward to that directory. Keep up the great work
PM turned no-coder.
What's the biggest challenge you face when building a cohort-based learning course? How do you control the the quality of each cohort?
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@andrew_tsao The number one problem is the endless treadmill of improvements you *could* make when creating a course. Literally everything could be better. So finding that balance of "good enough" is a tough game. And failing to set those boundaries is a one-way ticket to burnout. Developing the skill of identifying "is this an incremental improvement or a 10x improvement?" has been both my biggest struggle and biggest point of success. Since I do this as a side project, I have no choice but to spend my time on the big things that move the needle.
Share
First of all, congratulations! :) How did you market and build your community for this project? Especially if you were working on a full-time job at the same time?
Share
museumlover x startuplife @InfinityMaps
@rubenwolff Was about to ask a similiar question
Relationship Happiness For Everyone!
@rubenwolff same here! want to know how did you market and build your community!
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@rubenwolff The marketing comes almost 100% from my Twitter threads. The landing page of our website has a free 10-day email course that converts quite a bit as well. There is also some built-in viral marketing that aligns incentives between us and every writer. The better they write, the more attention they gain, and the more attention Ship 30 gets for helping them get there. Very win-win. But by far the most marketing is done via word-of-mouth from members who love the program and share how much they love it with others.
Share
Multi-skilled Marketer, Writer, Tweeter.
What do you believe to be Ship 30 For 30's #1 driver of success? What would it be in one word?
Share
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@dylan_redekop Hard to choose one word. But the #1 driver of success is the shared community struggle in building a habit and skill that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Share
Founder at REACTIVE LIONS INC.
How did you get your first student?
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@eugenehp The first cohort was 50 people and came from me tweeting out asking if anyone would be interested, spinning up a quick Typeform to capture emails, then inviting everyone to a Slack channel to get things off and running before I felt ready.
Share
Founder at REACTIVE LIONS INC.
@dickiebush Thanks, makes sense! When you invited them over to slack, with the experience you've now, what would you do differently back then, when you invited first 50 people to slack?
CEO UpViral
What platform do you use for the cohort-based training?
Share
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@emarky We use Podia/Zoom/Slack. But my due diligence on this was literally 0. I googled "course platform with referral program" and clicked the first one. I think course creators spend 10x too much time thinking which community platform, tool, or tactic they should use. The truth it, the tools do not matter. A good community will thrive with any tool.
Hey! I'm digital marketer
Bootstrap is nice to use
Inventor, Innovator, Undergrad Senior
How did you manage your time, having a full time job and hustling to build this course?
Share
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@neeltron I've been fortunate to be a 25-year-old without much to do on the weekend over the last year with how things have been shut down. I don't like to praise "hustle culture" but I just worked early mornings and all weekend on it for the last six months.
Share
Teacher
This idea looks so good.keep it up.
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@charles_perry Thanks my friend!
Honesty is best.
thanks dickie, For this important Course info. 6 months course is very good to learn like image editing, Graphic Design. Then its easy to give image cutout service like: https://clippingway.com/image-cu...
Nama is an edible hemp-infused
nice ! great keep it on
@maythongdichcom
Điều gì đã cho bạn ý tưởng về Ship 30 for 30? Điều gì đã thúc đẩy nó?
You gotta be a beauty and a beast!
Hope I can catch up
CSE final year student.
Wow
Founder, Wager Games
Congratulations! Feel like I need to get on this to improve my writing!
Share
Best advice for marketing the class?
Founder of Ship 30 for 30
@nico_medellin Create content that identifies and points out the problem you are solving, then position yourself as the clear solution.
I am James my sigh Sagittarius
Simply the best