Exclusive Interview with Jonny Havey – Co-Founder of eLearning Partners
Originally published on entrepreneurialmag.com
- Tell us about yourself?
My name is Jonny Havey and I grew up in a family with three major values.
1) If you do one thing in life you should treat everyone with kindness and respect.
2) Life is about how you spend your time, so having kind and loving people around you to spend time with is paramount.
3) Hard work always pays off.
These 3 values are instilled in me and are even more important to me today. I embrace all 3 in everything that I do – with my family and friends, my business, eLearning Partners, which I founded with my best friend from college, and with my love for health, fitness and the outdoors.
When I am not working with clients or building remarkable eLearning video content to educate people and businesses on our YouTube channel eLearning Simplified, you will find me training. I am constantly pushing the limits of fitness – usually in the elements outside.
You see, along with growing up with the 3 aforementioned values, I was diagnosed with Asthma and told that I would need to take steroids for my lungs. I was also
- Where did the idea of eLearning Partners come from?
My business partner, Hector and I have been entrepreneurs for more than a decade stemming back to when we were in college. The number one thing we have learned from our time as entrepreneurs is that you should continuously gather feedback from your customers. To take this further, you should gain feedback from your ideal customers and your favorite customers. With that in mind, we started VP Legacies back in 2014 and renamed it to eLearning Partners at the beginning of 2021 based on getting feedback from our top customers. They told us that the name eLearning Partners was a very clear and fitting name to who we are as a company so we went with it.
- What makes eLearning Partners different from other companies in the eLearning industry?
eLearning Partners believes that eLearning should actually be called e-learner-ing because it should be all about your learners. The biggest challenge we have seen in the eLearning and online course industry is too big of a focus on technologies like learning management systems, authoring tools and learning experience platforms. eLearning Partners is just that a partner for you and most importantly your learners in the eLearning and online course industry. Everything we do revolves around your learners.
eLearning Partners is a digital learning company that simplifies elearning and online course development for you so that you can focus on the most important part of elearning – your learner.
- What was the most important part of your professional journey?
I have always heard that it is the lows in business and being an entrepreneur that makes you and like a lot of businesses and business owners, we were greatly impacted by the state of the world in 2020 and 20221. However, instead of it being the end of the world for our business, we believe that what we learned from our business going from making $50K+ a month to literally $0/month for 6+ months allowed us to rebuild out business into something we actually wanted.
We were burned out. We built what on paper looked like a successful business, but the business itself was not what we wanted long-term. When we went from making $50K+/month to literally $0/month we learned that what we had built wasn’t sustainable and it gave us the opportunity to rebuild our business how we wanted it. A business that today is making less per month than we were pre-2020, but is making significantly more profit.
This story illustrates that the most important part of being an entrepreneur is creating a company that you love to work for every day. Sometimes this means walking away from large sums of money so you can create more time for yourself. This is how we have built eLearning Partners and you know what, we are shifting how we operate our company once again to simplify things even further. In turn, we are creating an even more sustainable business.
- What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
The best purchase I have ever made was my Australian shepherd. Best investment I have ever made in my life. From a business perspective, the best purchase I have made was very recently. It is an online course all about the challenges and succeeding of building a business from 6 figures to 7-figures and beyond. Absolutely amazing.
The worst purchase I have ever made was on pay-per-click advertising because we had no strategy in place when we did it. Now that we have a proven strategy, pay-per-click advertising is actually a good purchase. The lesson here is just because you have the money doesn’t mean you should spend it without a plan.
- What takes up too much of your time?
Refusing to delegate tasks takes most of my time. Therefore, this year I am 100% focused on delegating everything that I can. This has been a complete game-changer. My goal in life is to help more people while working less so I have more time for myself, family and friends.
- What three pieces of advice would you give to an individual or a company looking to create an eLearning program, online course, or virtual training?
#1 Build what your learners want, not what you want.
What does this mean? This means that when you are looking at building an eLearning program or online course, all you really have to do is build a program that addresses the biggest challenges that your learners have. If you do that you will be successful because your learners will be successful. How do you do that? Ask your learners and be extremely observant of what they need and want.
#2 Your Learning Management System and other eLearning technology really aren’t that important.
Yes, you heard what I said. Your LMS doesn’t matter. Your learners matter. eLearning should really be called e-learner-ing. Even though the “e” in eLearning stands for “electronic” and without it eLearning wouldn’t exist as an industry, this doesn’t mean that technology is the most important part of it.
Without engaged learners who are actually using your online courses and eLearning programs, what is the point in paying for the development or license of an LMS? We actually recommend using a free or lowcost LMS alternative until you actually prove that your learners want the content that you are creating for them.
#3 The majority of eLearning programs fail because they lack a distribution strategy.
Most people go into building an eLearning program or online course without even thinking about how they are going to distribute it to their learners. They select the “perfect” learning management system and build the most “beautiful” content. Then they package is all together and wait to ask what’s next?
Companies employ the “Build it and they will come” strategy with their employees. Sorry, this doesn’t work. And also hope that their customers are ready to buy their new online course product. This also doesn’t work. We recommend that before even building your eLearning program you need to figure out how you are actually going to get your learners to take the program.
What do you need to do to get your employees to engage? And what is your sales and marketing strategy to get your customers to buy?
- Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
My dad went from grinding it out as a car mechanic to running his own green building commissioning company working with the biggest name companies in the country throughout his career. He dealt with a lot of ups and downs in between, but now is one of the biggest if not the biggest name in his respective field, and its because he lives by the motto – “if you helped someone today you did something good” (which is something his grandfather, my great grandfather has always said)
- What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
I don’t want to work a 9-5 job ever. I am lucky I only worked a 9-5 job (well actually a 7-7 job) for less than 6 months of my professional career. Before being an entrepreneur I went and worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as an IT Auditor and Risk Assurance advisor. While I loved the people and the company, I was not too thrilled about the work. So I left and continued my entrepreneurship journey.
There is no other way for me. It's either be an entrepreneur and that’s it. I will make it work and have made it work multiple times at this point from multiple lows.
Also, my business partner, Hector, has literally been my business partner in every business I have started since the beginning of my entrepreneurial career spanning more than a decade.
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