Creating Courses for Neurodivergent Students with Eman Zabi
Creating and selling courses is just one way to scale or grow your business. But the whole goal is for students to do the work and be successful. It’s hard to do that when only about 10% of buyers actually go through the coursework.

Eman Zabi is trying to shift that narrative through a unique course platform designed specifically to support business owners in starting and growing their businesses. And this week on the podcast, she’s sharing what she’s learned about creating courses and making them easy to consume.

Eman and I discuss breaking down the barriers neurodivergent people have around the current online learning structure, particularly around business courses, what accessibility could look like, why preselling is so important, and where to find the support you need around completing a course and taking action.

About Eman Zabi:
Eman Zabi is the founder of The Scribesmith – a launch copywriting agency that specializes in research-based strategy and conversion copy for digital products. Through her work at the Scribesmith, Eman realized that there were some fundamental flaws in online learning: she created Terrain to help entrepreneurs stop hoarding courses and start building momentum in their businesses.
Eman graduated with a degree in International Politics from Georgetown University (which explains her love for the nerdy stuff) and has been writing for as long as she can remember. When not working, she can be found drinking copious amounts of tea, playing with her cat, Cat, and cooking up new ideas for the Scribesmith team to take on.

Links & Resources:

Time Stamps:

[3:08] – Who is Eman Zabi
[4:32] – How Eman got into this work
[5:24] – The course industry is deeply flawed
[7:10] – You can love your clients and still not feel challenged
[8:47] – If there’s financial pressure, it’s hard to be creative and innovative because we have to make money to pay our bills
[11:15] – Less than 10% of people complete the courses they sign up for
[14:23] – Figure out a system to hand off a VA to implement
[16:54] – Creating an ecosystem that grows with you that doesn’t compromise your revenue
[21:40] – Block out your calendar to build what you want
[23:24] – Helpful (and unhelpful) course creation
[24:35] – Getting the list done is too overwhelming
[25:55] – It’s simple but it feels like you’re climbing Everest
[26:24] – Building in a reward system to get people engaged
[29:34] – UI and UX really does matter when it comes to neurodivergent students
[35:05] – How to grow your business sustainably
[37:41] – What kind of courses you’ll find at Terrain


Amber Hawley 0:01
business owners are increasingly being pulled in so many directions, feeling like they aren’t reaching their full potential in business and life despite their type aways. With my background as a therapist, entrepreneur, and as dropout with ADHD, I interview and coach high achieving business owners like you who want to stop struggling for success by using psychological systems, strategies, and the occasional care for entation. This is the easily distracted entrepreneur, your place to slay overwhelm perfectionism and shiny object syndrome so that you can get done what matters most to you. Hello, hello, welcome back to the podcast, my focus seeking friends, as this episode is coming out, I will just be returning from California where I was basically gone the whole month of September to go and officially close my office, my brick and mortar office in Fremont that I have had since 2011. I’m recording this in advance, and it already feels really bittersweet, like I’m very excited to not be having to pay rent on a place that no one has been in for over a year. But it is the official ending of a chapter of my life for sure. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing a podcast episode where I talk more about kind of the process. And I just know things are coming up I can I feel that in advance of this. And just kind of, you know, the process of going through change in our business and moving on to next steps in a way that honors both the journey we’ve already had and where we are going. So I look forward to recording that episode and sharing it with you all. I do want to mention, if you’re listening on the day that this episode comes out, or maybe even the day after, on Friday, September 30, we are having our quarterly goal planning workshop where we’re going to plan out the one big thing we want to accomplish for q4 in our businesses. And it is a five hour workshop that includes implementation time, because we don’t just want to come up with great ideas. And I have this giant to do list without actually making a plan for it. And you can join the workshop for free as a member of the inner circle. So if you head on over to Amber, forward slash inner circle, you can find out more information of joining. And honestly, even if you’re getting this Friday morning, join the group and come and join us for the workshop. It’s a really wonderful workshop where we actually plot out all the things we need to do in the next 90 days to get down that one big goal we have. So today’s episode I had the pleasure of speaking to among Zabi, who is the founder of the scribe Smith, a launch copywriting agency that specializes in research based strategy and conversion for digital products. She also launched a business called terrain to help entrepreneurs stop hoarding courses and start building momentum in their businesses. And we are going to be talking about that and her approach to courses in this interview, and I was such a pleasure to meet him on and we had a pretty interesting conversation and I think you’re gonna get a lot out of it. Hello, eemaan Welcome to the podcasts.

Eman Zabi 3:48
Hey, Amber. Thanks for having me.

Amber Hawley 3:51
Yes, I was I was just saying right before we started recording that I saw the pitch come through. And as many podcasters will say there are so many bad pitches that we get all the time. I saw the pitch come through and I was like, Oh, this one’s good. This is super interesting. And so I’m really excited to have this conversation today. Especially, you know, you have a really interesting background, but also the business that you have built your business terrain. So I guess you’ll probably do a better job of describing it than me. So I’m gonna let us talk a little bit about the work you’re doing and kind of how you got into that. Yeah, for sure. So

Eman Zabi 4:33
um, let’s start at the beginning. I suppose I graduated from uni 2016 was unemployed and was kind of fumbling online trying to find my footing and I ended up starting lose scribe Smith, which was my copywriting business, I think December 2016. And that kind of grew from there. I built that up and then we got to a point where it’s gonna sound really bad but it got really easy and Ah, and it wasn’t the business side of it wasn’t exciting to me anymore. I still loved my clients. I love the work that was doing. But I, I didn’t feel that like that spark that energy. And I felt like I was being pulled in all of these different directions. And I didn’t, I was fumbling a little bit at that point again. And that’s when I was talking to a client. And I realized that the course part of it because we work through scripts, and we work with so many different course creators, that the course industry, the online course, industry was deeply, deeply flawed. And that to me, kind of was a bit of a revelation, because at that point, I’d spent about 20 grand on bad courses. Right, so it’s not just me, and then I started speaking to more people about it. And then I saw, you know, like, I sucked, I absolutely sucked at traditional education, like I got through university on, I don’t know, I think it was luck. And like, I don’t know, something, something was looking out for me. But it didn’t work for me. And I felt like online education was built almost on the same flawed model. And that’s kind of where terrain started to come about. We wanted to solve for all these different problems, like the fact that horses were not regulated, they’re bad quality, a lot of the time. They’re really long, like, I can’t sit through 42 modules to learn one specific thing, and then just the sheer amount of fluff in them. And then that doesn’t even touch on the learning interface, like, no shade to like the major learning platforms out there. But they’re just selling you intranet, real estate, they don’t care if people actually, you know, have a good learning experience. If they did, they wouldn’t make you scroll away from the video, you’re supposed to be watching to take notes. And things like there’s just so many little things like that, that were grading and that were affecting my ability and other people’s ability to really just learn online, and we create a terrain to solve for all of those.

Amber Hawley 6:52
I love that. I mean, there’s so much about what you said that I think is really important. The first part that it was too easy. i You’re like, Oh, I feel bad. But I think that’s so important. Like, I mean, there’s there’s many layers to that, right. But I think one of them is, even if we start a business, kind of like people who, you know, when I work with clients who are working their way up in corporate or have jobs that they’re doing, where they feel it’s like, unfulfilling. It’s like if you don’t feel challenged, not not negatively challenged. But if you don’t feel a challenge or something, you just feel like if especially if you’re a growth oriented person, like you’re gonna feel stagnant. And so I think it’s important to point that out that sometimes we build businesses, and we’re like, Yeah, I mean, if I only counted making money as the thing, right, or whatever, or like, yes, then you can love your clients but still not feel challenged, then it’s like, it’s not the right model for you. So I love that you could honor that. And then say, Okay, what else can I be doing? Like, I think we need to remember as business owners that that’s okay to do that.

Eman Zabi 7:55
Right? Yeah, I know, for sure. And you’re right. Like, I mean, I think there’s, there’s a part of that that’s also privileged, because like, I got to a point where, you know, I was financially stable, I de risked that next step for myself, because this craftsman still exists, it still pays every bill, not gonna lie, it covers everything. And then anything I do over that is it’s play. It’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s intellectually stimulating. And, you know, terrain, so much of train just goes back into the community, like it is very much a social good model. We pay people for taking courses, so that whatever they pay in our, towards our monthly fees they earn back by actually completing courses and taking action in their business. So

Amber Hawley 8:36
wow, I love that. Well, and I mean, that’s the dream, right? Build something that can give you that financial freedom, because that’s where so much creativity can come from, too. Right? This goes back to something that’s kind of come up on the last couple of podcast episodes, or a few over the last year, I would say where it’s like, if we have so much financial pressure, it’s very hard to be creative and to be innovative, because we’re feeling super stressed out because we have to pay our bills, we have to live we have to eat right. And so to have something that gives you that stability so that you can be playful, full. I mean, that’s where all that innovation comes from. I love that.

Eman Zabi 9:15
Yeah. 100%. Like I think I think there’s so much advice out there that says, you know, you have to be bold and make all of these big moves and all of that. But that’s just not simple if you’re worried about paying your bills and putting food on the table or making rent. So yeah, I think that that initial cushion, and that foundation is the most important step. And that can be something boring that you don’t necessarily enjoy it like it just it needs to it needs to get the job done.

Amber Hawley 9:41
Yes. And so many people that I’ve been talking to, will talk about getting a job like they will talk about having a traditional job or going back to type of work that they had done previously. Because I think it’s very different to when you’re like, I’m here to to get the paycheck or I’m keeping this business to to fund my life, right so that I can be creative and do other things, which is something I’ve talked about that was my group practice, like I wasn’t, I was kind of over having a group practice a long time ago. And, and I mean, it wasn’t like, I hated all of it. I love my clients. I loved some of my employees. Like, it was great in many ways, but it funded my life. And I got to do lots of cool fun things and then start this business because I had something fun to get. Right. Exactly. I love that. I love that part. And then the other piece is, you know, just even the awareness of like, I need to change up this model of courses. I think everyone listening, I can’t imagine anyone listening doesn’t have at least some number. I’m gonna say I can’t imagine less than 5000. But some people aren’t. Don’t buy as much as as maybe we do. But my definitely is over 20,000. I can tell you that. Where you’re like, Yeah, you invest in courses, and then it ends up maybe not being necessarily what you expect, or, you know, these are for the ones that you actually log in and try to do that. I’m just putting that out there. Yeah, people.

Eman Zabi 11:12
Yeah, it’s a while because when you look at course completion stats, it’s like, less than one in 10 people actually complete the courses they sign up for and courses are expensive. They’re not they’re not cheap, like, at least in the b2b marketing kind of space. I mean, going for a course is like $1,700 $2,000. It’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of money if you’re in North America, let alone other parts of the world.

Amber Hawley 11:36
Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Which again, if you get something that’s I have done courses that have been done really well, like as far as like charge base, and you get that information, and then you implement it, you get the ROI. But like you’re saying, like if there’s kind of a flawed structure, or a way that you’re getting that information, then that that’s another barrier, especially for people who are neurodivergent. And I think that was what was the other layer of you know, when I read through the pitch was like that you’re really focused on supporting neurodivergent business owners as well. Yeah.

Eman Zabi 12:13
My dad has ADHD, he was, you know, diagnosed in his 60s. So for him, it was like looking back and like, Oh, my goodness, like, these are all of the places like this has affected my life. For me, we, I think we found out when I was maybe 23. And it was the same thing I’m looking up. Now things make sense. And so when I started kind of exploring that, that side of it with, it was it was extraordinary how many entrepreneurs struggle with ADHD, I was almost like, there’s, like, if you look at that Venn diagram, it’s almost a circle. Yeah, it was kind of wild. So I spoke to as many people kind of fell into that subset as possible. And it didn’t feel like content was being created with them in mind. And then there’s always that thing, like if you, if you cater to folks who are neurodivergent, you’re actually creating better experience for everybody involved. So it’s actually just easier to do it right from the start, rather than kind of making this a, like a little checkbox on your list, like, oh, I need to make things accessible, but like making it part of the design process, making it part of like, your strategy early on, it serves not just in your divergent community, but just the larger community as well.

Amber Hawley 13:29
Absolutely. And that’s something I do talk about, as well that, yeah, when you have that thoughtfulness, like you’ve sat around accessibility, you know, making sure that it serves the needs of anybody who could be participating. I do feel like that bucket that thoughtfulness does, right, you know, like Phil, kind of how neurotypical people would work and so, like it, but it doesn’t the reverse is not true, because that’s always kind of my criticism of stuff, especially around even some like productivity, you know, kind of support. It’s like, oh, well, just because, you know, somebody who’s neurotypical, if you say, this is just how it works, then it can apply to someone with ADHD that may or may not be true, like, often it’s not right. And so but I do find the reverse is often true. But even though we all stylistically have our different things. Yeah, I find like even in my membership, I’m I, some would say, like, my assistants might say, like, it’s overkill. Like, how many ways that I’m like, making sure these are the 15 ways you can make sure that you have all of the meetings and events on your calendar, right? Like I’m, I’m kind of joking, like, it’s literally like three, but it’s maybe three or four. And I’m like, but because I’m trying to, you know, for the person who only checks email for the person who’s only on Facebook for the person who logs in and needs it on their Google calendar like there. You want to have that support, to kind of work the way the different people Like, learn or utilize information, right?

Eman Zabi 15:03
Yeah, for sure. And it’s not hard to do once you kind of figure out a system like it is very easily something that you can strategize and then hand off to a VA to actually go out and implement. So I don’t know why it isn’t done more.

Amber Hawley 15:17
Well, I mean, it really could just be like a lack of awareness, right. Like, and I think that’s where, like, the the work you’re doing is really important to like helping people and kind of, you know, and there’s also the layer of like, I may be an expert in, like therapy and psychology and understanding neuro divergence. But I’m not an expert in how to structure a course. I mean, I can know those elements that like, go together, right, like, I know, short videos are going to be better and but again, having transcripts having different things, so that the way people different people learn, but like so your expertise and understanding the platform or looking at that structurally, I think is really important, because we need all the different industries for all of us to understand and bring our expertise to this, right. Yeah, I’m

Eman Zabi 16:07
gonna just put it out there, there. I’m not an expert at all. Everything that we’ve been doing is just like empirical evidence, like we’ve been in focus groups, we’ve been running, you know, blind tests, we’ve been doing a lot of that, and just looking at what the data presents, and then making tweaks it is, my background is in political science like I, this has all been, I’m a student of this far more than I am an expert.

Amber Hawley 16:31
I appreciate that. Well, okay. But you’re using data. So to me, that’s, that’s Yes. Any kind of evidence based data research, that’s always good. So I love it. There was one thing that was that was kind of talked about is creating an ecosystem that grows with you without compromising stable running revenue. I think that is something that would really speak to the, you know, the listeners out there, in trying to create this sustainable business, but having that stability of revenue, I think it’s such an important aspect. So I guess, can you say more about that?

Eman Zabi 17:08
Yeah, for sure. So, we’ve kind of touched on this a little bit earlier. But I think for me, and I think for a lot of people getting into some sort of service based businesses, your like core foundation is really helpful. Because it is, in terms of risk, it has the lowest risk, because there’s no real capital involved. It is really just your skills of your time. And once you have that foundation built, it kind of gives you a little bit of room to try and experiment for us. Like the the next layer was when we launched, kind of in four or five days before Black Friday, we decided we were going launch a physical product, and we pre sold it. And the way we did that was that it was literally we threw up a landing page with some mocked up images, a brief description of it, and then we pre sold it, and then use that to fund the next part of building out that side of the business. That was the conversion kits. And I think that’s essentially what I mean, when we when we were talking about kind of it was the conversion kits stemmed from the scribe Smith, it was taking our process productizing it and then selling it as a physical product, it was an offshoot, so it was literally just growing from the business, it was allowing me to learn something new. And we de risks that by pre selling it. And that kind of that’s kind of what I really mean, when I talk about ecosystem, it’s that every stage of your business is an offshoot of the previous stage. And because the foundation is still stable, and you still maintain that you can take bigger and bigger risks, the money we got from the current version kits that went into building terrain. And that’s kind of how it goes.

Amber Hawley 18:44
I love that. Yeah. And I think, you know, when you find that people have been in business for a while. That’s the kind of stuff you’ll hear about is like making sure that you do have a stable foundation. And then utilizing that whether that’s from a different business, like you’re showing that you’re growing upon or something within the same business. Yeah, changing up the way that we approach it, because there are so many people and I’m sure you’ve come across them that they will build out something completely. And then never having sold it. Yeah. And then they don’t sell it. Like they really struggle with that. And then that really just not only like does that take time and energy and the financial aspects, but it’s also like energetically I think it just crushes you. Yeah, right. Yeah. Your confidence.

Eman Zabi 19:34
Absolutely. And I mean, I also feel like you kind of just when you have a project of that scale, you also just lose I don’t know about you, but I would lose interest by it. But it’s also just like if this took me six months to create by the end of those six months, I just want to put it away and like I don’t want to sell this anymore. I’m done. Yeah. But ya know, it’s it’s, it’s tricky. It’s tricky because like you also want to make or it’s good quality and there’s a perfection or perfectionism piece that comes into it as well because like, Is this good enough to sell? Or my like, Yeah,

Amber Hawley 20:07
well, then that’s where I think that’s where pre selling can be good because it at a certain point, you have to get over your perfectionism because you have like, deadlines to me. Yeah. Although I have talked about I just, this year pre sold a course. And I was like, that was horrible. And I’ll never do it again. Because I felt so much pressure. And I think it was like a timing thing of when I just happened to do it. But I was like, I know myself. But there are upsides, right? Like, like you’re saying, if you’re like somebody who’s like a quick star, or like most people, we have energy in the beginning, because we have so many ideas. We’re excited. So we start something, and then the excitement wanes and like the, you know, the grunt part of it, the monotony gets in, and then you’re like, uh, because I mean, how many? How many unfinished books do I have? How many unfinished courses do I have? Yes, exactly. That I’ve. Yeah, I mean, but even once I’ve written like, I have started books, written books, like courses that I’ve, I say I’m a solid like, 60%. Or like, I get to about 60%. Done. And then I was like, Oh, I have a new great idea. Even last night, I had, like, I was like, Oh, my gosh, I’m going to do this for this live event. And I get all excited about it. And I used to, like, call somebody up. And then like, let’s put it on the schedule. And then I was like, Oh, wait, no, no, no, Amber, just have fun with the idea and then come back to normal. But like you said, not only does it create stability in your business, sometimes to pre sell, but it does keep you on track, right? Yeah. Yeah. And for sure.

Eman Zabi 21:41
And I just kind of going off of what you just said about having the having fun with that idea. Part of it. One thing that a health coach recommended for me was to have that have a block on my calendar every week. So like, I have this four hour block on Fridays, that is literally called build off. Because I would go off on these tangents with these new business ideas that I wanted to build. And I wouldn’t get actual work.

Amber Hawley 22:06
I mean, that’s the problem, right? And that is why I’m a huge fan of like scheduling. Like, I think our schedule is our foundation. And if you don’t have a space where that can happen, then that’s what you’ll do. And I think we’ve all done this, like we’ve all Oh, I’m supposed to be doing something else. And now I found that I just spent four hours going down like this ADHD spiral of research. And then at the end of the day, like it felt really exciting. And then you’re like, oh, shit, I didn’t get anything done that I needed to do today. Exactly. You know, you could be in that place. I love that, that idea of having that space where you can be creative and do that. Yeah, no, it’s

Eman Zabi 22:45
been, it’s been really good for me, I found that I don’t actually have as many rabbit holes anymore. Because like, I’m like, every time I have an idea, I’m like, oh, that’s for my build block on Friday. So it’s really helped with like, for love.

Amber Hawley 22:56
I love it. Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s the boundary, right? You know, I have space to take, either this is the thing, this is like breaks, you either build in breaks, or your body and mind will take them like that’s why you have to have that space for it. I think that’s fantastic. So I guess, you know, as somebody then who is, you know, get doing all of this work and getting all of this feedback from people around courses and using the data. What is some of the data that you’re seeing in how people are structuring courses that that either isn’t helpful or is

Eman Zabi 23:32
so turn creates the courses in house? And what are our completion rate is 67% rather, rally? Wow, she’s 10%. So we’re really excited about that. And the largest contributing factors that are like the the structure of the courses, the each lesson is really short, like under five minutes, kind of short. And every single one ends with an action item. So like literally go do this right now. And then come back and do the next lesson. And what we found is people are building momentum. So if you’re taking like a 3035 minute course, and you block out a full hour for that you’ve been able to implement what you’ve learned within that one hour. And that is always the goal for us like it is like there is there is there is a place for theoretical knowledge and like deep learning. But I think in business, it’s really more about how do I learn this thing? How do I implement this thing? How do I get the results, and that’s been our focus. So really teaching people how to get the results they’re looking for. And then we found that, you know, just having things like transcripts, templates, swipes, as many resources that make things as easy to implement as possible. That’s been helpful. One thing that actually has been great is, you know, when we recommend these action items for people, I don’t know if you’ve seen trains interface, but like we have, we have like this action item creator on the right side along with your notes. So people can actually go and set deadlines to when they actually want to get things done to and then that syncs with their Asana or their Trello or whatever. So it’s actually on their calendar and they get it done.

Amber Hawley 25:03
Oh, I love that. Yes. Because that’s the thing that, you know, as somebody who’s helping so many business owners, like neurodivergent business owners with their systems, that becomes the thing that gets really overwhelming for people is, you’re like, Okay, I have all these things I need to do. And then it’s just this giant list on paper. And then it’s like, how do you? How do you actually make sure you get that into your task management software, prioritize it to it, but I love that if you’re doing it piece by piece, that’s so much more manageable, right? Yeah.

Eman Zabi 25:35
Yeah. And that was one of the one of the first things that we kind of got from when we were interviewing, during our research phase. Like, it’s just, I know, I have to do these things. And I know, it’s so simple for me to put it into my Trello. But it never gets done.

Amber Hawley 25:48
Yes. Well, that’s, I mean, that’s the paradox of Yeah, like neuro divergence and ADHD, it’s like, we know something is simple. And it feels like you’re climbing Everest to try to do that, because our brain works against us. And we’re in the swirl of it. So Oh, that’s fantastic. I love that. I think that’s so great. Yeah. So I guess our Yeah, I’ll let you keep going. If there are other things. So what are other things that you’ve incorporated into how you guys structure your courses that that you find? Because that is, I mean, that 67% completion rate is like, amazing.

Eman Zabi 26:22
Yeah, um, well, I think a big part of that is our reward system. So when you complete a course you earn peak points, and then we pay out peak points at the end of every month. And so it’s essentially the revenue we make as a company, we take a percentage, and then we pay it back to people who have been active in the community. So it’s not just completing courses, it’s things like asking a really good question in our community space or answering a question. So all of these, like, positive social behaviors that people engage in on on terrain, they get rewarded. And that’s, I mean, it’s not it’s not a massive amount, our membership is like, subscriptions, $49 a month, and people make back about 3738. Some people make back 100 bucks a month, just by being really active in that. So there’s, there’s that little bit of a carrot at the end that gets people to actually follow through and what they’re seeing they will. And yeah, so I think the positive reinforcement part has been really good for us.

Amber Hawley 27:16
Oh, absolutely. I’m thinking, Gosh, how can you? I mean, because yeah, that would really increase community engagement. And, and then anytime you’re like, even if you’re giving a good answer, giving that feedback, we know like, if you’re teaching something, that means you’ve integrated it even more into your learning, right? So that’s really helpful. That’s fascinating. I’m like, Oh, how can how could that be implemented or incorporated in for people and their businesses in a way that would be sustainable for the business owner as well?

Eman Zabi 27:46
I think it would, I mean, because we’re doing it percentage based. So it really is the same amount that we will, like, if we do say it varies a little bit, it’s between three and 5% per month. So that is less than our marketing budget, frankly, but it’s creating so much value, and it reduces churn significantly. So it is it’s a win for us to win for the community. Yeah,

Amber Hawley 28:10
that’s fantastic. I love that. Yeah. And that’s all about that’s also using data, right? Like, yeah, where you make decisions about pricing, you make decisions about Yeah, what the reward they would earn, based on numbers, because that’s the other thing I see sometimes with people is, like, emotionally, they’ll make a decision on something. They’re like, Oh, I’m going to do this, or I’m going to I’ve known people are like, 10% of all profits go to, or they did 10% of revenue, sorry. Like a charity. And it was like, What’s your profit margin? You know, like, those kinds of things where again, gotta use data to kind of support that. I know, when you sometimes when you know, and you’ve seen in person reacts like, oh, wow, like 10% of gross, you’re like, exactly like you. You can’t just arbitrarily make those decisions. He may sound good, right? Hey, I read the go giver to like, you know, but you gotta use numbers. know for sure. I love it. I love it. I guess then, are there other things that you’re seeing in things that you’ve implemented that really do? Because you’ve talked about some of them, like, having really short course materials, having the transcripts, you know, because there are people just prefer to read, having the swipe files, are there things that you think really support people who are neurodivergent in their learning process? I mean, you’ve already touched on a whole bunch.

Eman Zabi 29:40
I mean, besides the thing, those things I think, a lot of I mean, I don’t know how useful this will be for a lot of people. But the UI and the UX of the platform they’re learning on really does matter. One really interesting thing we’ve seen because we run a lot of heat maps on our when we’re doing our testing, so we had this was a really interesting test we did this about four or five months ago, we had, we had two groups. The control was people who are not neurodivergent. And then the experiment was people who were neurodivergent. And then we had them interact with our learning interface. And we were the people who were neurodivergent or clicking at the logo clicking on like all of these, we have a little like, like a little Lego spinner that we added that would just like, like it would, it would spin when you hovered on it. And when we added that in, like some of the the random click, Enos kind of went away. So it’s kind of thinking about how people are kind of using your, your space. And then we would found also that when the neurotypical group would have to take notes, and this was before, we had, like, our note, we were testing without the notepad part of it, they would open up Google Doc, they would take their notes, they would come back, they were like split the screen, they would do all of that, the other group would open up a new tab, and then just go down a YouTube rabbit hole, or just like ended up Googling something that was mentioned, and they would just go off. So trying to keep contain them in that one space, as much as possible was really helpful. So like, anything that you need for your learning processes on screen, you don’t actually have to go, huh?

Amber Hawley 31:15
Yes. And that’s so big, it’s so smart. Because we all know, and that’s why, like, some people will say, I can’t use the Facebook events to like to book you know, the, because we have meetings every week, right? And they’re like, I can’t do that. Because if I go to Facebook, then I’m gonna go down that rabbit hole. And then there are other people are like, I’m only on Facebook. So I’m not gonna go log into, you know, the system that we use because of the same thing. But I think one it’s helpful. Even if somebody’s you know, listening, they’re not a course designer, a lot of people are, are servers based providers, or they are course creators. I think it’s helpful just to be thoughtful about this stuff, but also, as somebody who is neurodivergent, like being aware of that, like, oh, yeah, like, so maybe in that moment is not the best time to go Google that thing. Learning about, it’s like having that space, where you say, like, Okay, I’m gonna write this word down. I’m gonna go Google. I’m like, notorious for that kind of stuff. Like, I mean, I’m sure most people are right, like you’re watching a movie. And then you’re like, when did QUEEN and i or whatever. And then you’re not even paying attention.

Eman Zabi 32:27
But from a content perspective, I think that also brings up an interesting point. And one thing that we really tried to do is like, define things in the content itself. So we prevent people from going off on tangents as well. So like, try and give them enough information. While also like it’s delicate, because you know, you have to know who you’re speaking to. So if you’re speaking to like an advanced audience, you don’t want to start explaining really basic things like what is copywriting? What is conversion and things like that. So there’s like, it’s, it’s tricky, but kind of trying to give everyone what they need in the moment so that they don’t, it means you have to be a lot more intentional with the content you’re creating. But I think it’s worth it.

Amber Hawley 33:04
I love it. I love that you’re doing this, like I think it’s so it’s so needed. And it’s really fascinating, because, you know, this is the thing where people aren’t doing research on this, right? If they’re not, if they’re not really looking at it, and like you said, it’s, you know, course creation is an online regulated industry, not that we’re saying regulation makes something good, necessarily, not all. But I think it’s really great that, you know, you guys are thinking about this and even thinking about like, yeah, me to use my, we’re using neurotypical and neurodivergent as two different two different groups and kind of measuring the difference. I think it’s fascinating. I absolutely love it. Yeah, like, this is so great. And I just love that, you know, here, you, you graduate, and you’re like, find yourself like, Okay, now what, and then you just, I’m going to start creating some businesses, which, yeah, like you said, the estimation is 40% of small business owners are have are either are neurodivergent actually, it’s the stat is about ADHD, specifically, and obviously neurodivergent in incorporates more, but it’s, you know, there’s a lot of reasons why that we would seek that out. And, you know, some of it is that creativity and novelty not being told what to do, not fitting into typical structures of how things work. So there’s a lot of reasons that were drawn to it. But then like you’re saying, as you get into it, and you have to do all the things and you want to learn new skills and you want to grow your business, you know, sometimes the avenues in which to learn that can be really overwhelming.

Eman Zabi 34:40
For sure, for sure. I know it was for me, but yeah,

Amber Hawley 34:44
I love it. I love it. I guess, you know, for people who are trying to grow their business because you do talk about kind of, you know, de risking business growth and making sure that you have built something that kind of supports you in that? Do you have any last bits of advice for people around how to do that in a sustainable way?

Eman Zabi 35:08
I mean, the very first step, and we’ve talked about this so much, it’s really just making sure like your financial bases are covered. But beyond that, I think, surrounding yourself with people who are totally different from you, so people with, you know, different different, like, economic classes, people from different cultural backgrounds, different industries, just because their lived experience is so different from your own, that there’s just, I think the best ideas stem from like interesting conversations and like exposing yourself to different things read outside of your industry as much as you can. Yeah, I think that’s essentially it like on being really conscious of the content that you’re consuming. Like, I’m all for a Netflix binge watch. But it’s also about, like, what what is I’m also really careful about the kind of content I consume, like, is this serving me some kind of purpose? Like, am I learning something? Or is this spring like for entertainment? And, like, it’s one of the reasons I will absolutely avoid for because I can’t handle it. I can’t deal with it. I don’t know what that makes me. But

Amber Hawley 36:12
just kind of human. I mean, no, because there’s some people just love horror. And there’s some people like it’s way overwhelming for them. Right?

Eman Zabi 36:22
Yeah. So just like being really conscious with the content you’re consuming and how that affects your mental state and your like, creativity levels and optimizing for that.

Amber Hawley 36:31
I love that. Yeah. And I think kind of what you’re talking about, too, it’s like protecting your energy, like, some of that is being really thoughtful about your energy. The same with having that dedicated time for going through Ideas and Brainstorming. It’s like, I’m going to be really intentional about how I’m spending my time and how I’m using my energy. And the other piece of that, that I really love, too, is like, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of creativity and innovation that comes from having a diverse environment of people that you’re talking to and, and ideas that you’re sharing. So I do love that. I mean, I think there’s value, you know, with, with connecting with people in your same industry, but actually being connecting with people that have nothing to do with my industry is one of my favorite things. Because I do think that’s where it does spark these amazing ideas. Right? Yeah. I love that. Yeah. Wonderful. Well, obviously, I feel like people are going to be super intrigued about going check heading on over and checking out all of the courses. So what are the what are generally the kind of courses that you guys are offering on terrain? Yeah, so we are

Eman Zabi 37:41
trying to help anybody who’s trying to start a freelance business online. So any sort of service providers, if you’re a copywriter, content writer, graphic designer, any of those kinds of things of train is a good place for you. Generally, for folks who haven’t hit the six figure mark yet because it is very much about like building that core foundation and learning core skills. And yeah, I love it.

Amber Hawley 38:02
I love it. So obviously heading on over to rain, but if people wanted to connect with you or find out more information, where else can they go? Well, I’m

Eman Zabi 38:11
most active personally on Twitter, so Imani underscore Xavi, that if you want to connect with our team, and we’re on tick tock, were so great. They’re so funny, my team fantastic.

Amber Hawley 38:24
That’s awesome. I’m like, I’m gonna go there, then. Well, in a dedicated time slot. I love that. I love it. I love it. So what I’m sorry, what was the Tick Tock handle? Okay, perfect. I’ll get that to you. Yeah, it’ll be I’m sure it’ll Yeah, we’ll put it in the show notes. Of course, too. Which is? Yeah, I think it probably is because your Instagram is Right. So

Eman Zabi 38:50
everything is trained. i Okay.

Amber Hawley 38:53
I think we’re right on this. Awesome. Well, thank you again, it was so awesome to talk to you. And I’m really excited about the work you’re doing.

Eman Zabi 39:02
Thank you. Thank you so much. It was great being here. Thank you.

Transcribed by

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