How to Build Your CBC in Public ~ Kevon Cheung

Building in public is an opportunity to be transparent and gain interest. That's why I interviewed Kevon Cheung to learn how to build in public.

We Covered
  • How Kevon became interested in building in public (01:51)
  • What Kevon would say to someone who feels that building in public could do more harm than good (05:16)
  • How Kevon built his Twitter audience (07:07)
  • The three key pillars of Twitter (15:04)
  • Kevon’s strategy to finding people to befriend (19:24)
  • One aspect of building in public is involving your audience in the product building phase (22:27)
  • The different types of things you can tweet to build in public (24:31)
  • How building in public naturally leads to the pratfall effect to increase your relatability (26:37)
  • An example of how Kevon involved his audience in the building of his cohort-based course (29:12)
  • How building in public can be applied specifically to cohort-based courses (32:13)
  • Closing questions (35:46)
In a Nutshell
  1. Build your audience first. If you don’t have an audience, you can’t build in public, and you won’t have anyone to whom you can sell your cohort-based course.
  2. Share your ups and downs daily. You can either do this by sharing what’s happening currently, or you can recap lessons learned from the past.
  3. Involve your audience in building your cohort-based course with you. Ask questions. Interact.
Full Transcript

[00:00:13] Jonathan: Ahoy, captain! Welcome to this super actionable podcast made for cohort-based course creators. I'm your host, Jonathan Woodruff. And I've royally screwed things up multiple times in my relationships, my work… Sometimes I've just been a straight up moron, like when I was in high school and I stung myself with a dead bee… on purpose... because I thought it'd an interesting thing to do. And my arm swelled up to about twice its normal size, even though I’m not allergic to bees. In short, I'm a human, I'm not perfect. This podcast isn't perfect. If I ever create a cohort-based course, it won't be perfect. And I'd wager it’s the same for you, you know, minus the whole dead bee thing.

And I believe it's better not to hide those imperfections, but to highlight them, even to celebrate them, because it's all part of your epic story. 

That's why my guest today is Kevon Cheung, the creator of Build in Public Mastery, a cohort-based course that walks you through how to build in public. So I've brought him on today right now, so he can explain how it works to transparently and openly build your cohort-based course or anything else you want to build as well in public. 

What's up, Kevon?

[00:01:44] Kevon: Hey, Jonathan. Thanks for having me, so nice to meet you randomly online. And now we're chatting.

[00:01:51] Jonathan: So, so cool. That's what this, this is why I love podcasting so far is just cuz, I mean, I get to meet cool people like you, and I'm super, super excited for this, not only cuz I get to chat with you, but because I get to learn. 

And for my listeners, you know, I want them to be able to learn how to build in public, and for me, selfishly, I also want to learn how to build in public because I want to build this podcast in public. 
And so on behalf of my listeners, you know, I hope I'll be able to ask the types of questions that y’all would want to ask Kevon today if you were here with us, 

But back to you, Kevon.

So what got you into teaching people how to build in public? How did this whole thing kind of get started?

[00:02:34] Kevon: Okay. I'll keep the story short, but good. So about a year ago, I took a break from running a venture-backed startup. So, I was a startup guy all my career. and then the last venture was a software company, a SaaS company building a virtual meeting platform. And about a year ago I decided to stop because on one hand, we didn't hit the growth trajectory that I expected, that the investor expected.

But on the other hand, I just realized it was too much for me to handle like a bunch of investors and then trying to grow like a global product with a team of people around me. So I took a break, and that was the moment when I realized I was a nobody online... you know? I don't know if you feel the same way. You put so much into the company that everything relates to the company, and you yourself only have the LinkedIn profile.

So I had that exact feeling and basically I said, “oh my daughter's arriving Jan 2021.” So, I was like, “oh, maybe I can just take a break and do something I like,” which I didn't know what it is. And I just started writing online, you know, writing about my failures in those startup stories, struggles, teaching people not to do the same thing.

And one day, I think about six to eight weeks in, one day I was thinking, “no, these like individual blog posts, like this is not going to work. I need to write something more epic so that people can share with their friends.” And honestly, I was doing some research, and building in public came up, I don't know where, but out of nowhere I just learned about this term and I was like, “wow, this resonates with me so well, this is like how I want to live my being honest, sharing my knowledge with people.” So immediately I was like, “This is what I need to start doing.” And I looked around, and a lot of people want to do it. A lot of people want to build in public, but no one was actually guiding them. So, I was like, “oh, I'm actually pretty good at putting information together.”

So I decided to write the Building in Public Guide... nine chapters. It took me two months to write the nine chapters, but that was how it all started.

[00:04:54] Jonathan: And it's on your, it's on your website for everyone to see for free. They can just kind of read through it right?

[00:04:59] Kevon: That's right. Yeah. A lot of people ask me Kevon, “I would totally pay for it. Why did you put it out for free?” Honestly, I was a nobody. So my main goal was to like, build some credibility for myself. So yeah, it's just public out there for everyone.

[00:05:16] Jonathan: That's awesome. So, before we really get into the step-by-step, let's kind of debunk maybe a fear because, you know, I can, I can hear my listeners saying, but you know, wouldn't, wouldn't building in public, being totally transparent about everything, be a negative thing? You know, especially if the numbers aren't very good?

You know, what, what do you say to someone who thinks that building in public and being totally transparent about everything in the background... what if they think it'll do more harm than good?

[00:05:46] Kevon: So that's actually the biggest misconception about building in public. Like a lot of people look at the term, the three words, and they immediately think that you have to be transparent about everything, but the truth is you don't have to. It's more like a mindset of like being open-minded, being transparent, but me, myself, like I know everyone has a different line in their, in their heart.

So for myself, I actually share all my online income, online expenses and my net profit margin. But that's just me. Like Jonathan, if you don't feel comfortable doing that, you don't have to share that. Maybe you can share just some daily mistakes that you made along the way, maybe something like you originally priced your course at 99 bucks, but it should really be 299.

And then you reflect on the lesson learned. You can just share that and like, it doesn't really harm you that much, but you don't need to share the numbers. So I think, yeah. I just want people to understand that you draw the line for yourself.

[00:06:49] Jonathan: So, let's say my listener is thinking about building their cohort-based course or their next iteration of their cohort-based course in public. So, how would you advise them to begin that process?

What would be step one?

[00:07:07] Kevon: Okay. So, before we start building the course in public, first of all, you need an audience; otherwise, who is there to listen to you. Right? So, I always tell people that you need to build up the audience. And the easiest way is actually don't think about building an audience. 
I have a free email course called Making Twitter Friends, and the concept is based on my own learning. Like when you just start out, don't think about building an audience, but just make like maybe 30 online friends, and they don't even need to be your potential customer, right? Just like people you enjoy hanging out with, and you surround yourself with these people, and then you get on Twitter every single day, and you are just having a good time and they support your work. You support their work. 

And from there you start like sharing a bit more so that your friends would react to it. So, you don't feel like no one is listening. Someone is listening out there. So, I think this is very important because… to have an audience first, and then you sort of figure out what your audience needs and then build a course around that... is much more effective than if you just say one day, I want to create a course, but I actually don't have an audience.

How should I do it? The first step is actually to have the audience.

[00:08:24] Jonathan: Awesome. And you built your audience from zero, I think to 5600+ from what I saw online, is that right? In terms of...

[00:08:36] Kevon: You mean the Twitter followers?

[00:08:37] Jonathan: Yeah. Twitter followers,

[00:08:40] Kevon: I think it's at 6,300.

[00:08:43] Jonathan: 6,300. And just using that method. So, I'm going to access your email course, because that sounds awesome, but just to get a little bit deeper on that... so getting these 30 friends to begin with, could these potentially be strangers too? Cuz like I'm thinking about myself. and I'm like, well, you know, I do have, you know, I have friends and family and stuff, but they would be like, totally not related to what I'm doing at all.

But I have like you and I have like other people that I'm interviewing and other people I'm kind of meeting in this space. So is it, is it kinda like that, like, I'd reach out to folks like you on Twitter and just send a message and be like, “Hey, let's just, let's like connect and start reading each other's posts” and stuff like that.

Is that, is that kind of how it works?

[00:09:31] Kevon: Yeah. I mean, definitely. If your family and friends are not so active on Twitter, then I don't think they would have a good time on there, but maybe I can share my, my story so that, like, the people listening to this have a better idea of how exactly Kevon did it in 12 months. Of course, my audience is not huge, but at least I feel like I'm, I'm off to the step two at least, so I’m happy about that, grateful about that.

So, okay. Let's rewind to one year ago. I was a nobody online, and I had a Twitter account since 2009. I created it in high school but never used it. So, when I got online, I discovered Twitter is not just for politics; it’s actually quite fun. I decided the first step I need to do is to force myself to have 600 followers.

So I know... Coming from a like authentic person saying you have to force your number to go up to 600 is a bit contradicting, but it's actually true because, the way I think about it is when people look at your profile and you're at a very small number, like let's say 53 followers... I don't think people take you that seriously.

They are thinking, “oh, you might just disappear one day, and then I'm going to lose all my effort interacting with you.” So, in my mind, 600 is sort of that number that people see you as a real person, you're serious about this; you are going to be around, and the relationship is worth it. So how did I do it?

Basically, it's about like going out there getting exposure. So I would find people and I would follow them first. I don't expect them to follow me back, but I would just like interact with their content. If I look at their website and they have a typo or there's like a broken link, I would just like help them out and say that.

So, initially I was using a lot of this like, effort to make a lot of friends. And it took me three months to get to 700. So it was, it was quite brutal. Like it's a lot of hard work, and I was doing it full time. So I spent like two, three hours a day on this. It was painful. But then I got to 600, right?

And that was the time when I really put my effort into building in public. So, the Building in Public guide that you saw, I built it in public. So it's very meta. Like I didn't have a single word written down, but one day I just showed up.... Uh, it was around eight weeks in, I just showed up on Twitter and said, “Hey guys, I'm going to write this Building in Public guide.”

This is the reason why I'm doing this topic because I resonate it with my life principles and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And guess what? I got six likes for that thread. So horrible. Right? I felt disappointed or something, but being an entrepreneur for like a few years now, I knew that it takes time. So, two days later I wrote another thread about my new learnings, and in those two days I got another six likes. So very, very painful.

And then in two days another six likes. So, I was like, oh my God. But then my follower numbers were like growing bit by bit. And guess what? After I think three or four weeks, I had half of the guide done... like three, four chapters and I just tweeted. And guess what? Eight people raised their hands and said they're happy to read it for me and give me feedback.

So that was, that was a big moment because I thought no one cared all along, but then actually they cared, but I just didn't have stuff to show them before that day. 

And the good thing about building in public is that I have been showing them my hard work for four weeks. So, when they raised their hand to say they are willing to help, they know that they can trust me because I'm not just a random person showing up one day trying to like get their help. 

So I think this, this is exactly how I started, and I kept writing. And then after two months, when the guide launched. I think 2,100 people read it in the first three days. And it's because of the whole building in public process, I gathered momentum for two months and then it just like, boom. Right? And then in seven days I got another 700 followers. So I doubled my followers in like a week, just because of all this effort. 

But as you can tell, it's a very painful, slow process. And you just need to kind of trust yourself that you're doing good work and people appreciate that.

[00:14:16] Jonathan: So, you did three months for two to three hours a day. So, during that kind of first initial three months, were you posting anything at all or were you just connecting with people and replying to their threads and things?

[00:14:27] Kevon: Yeah. Yeah. I was definitely posting because if I don't post anything, people are like, “Oh, who are you?” So, in the first like three months, I was mostly focused on talking about my failures and lessons learned from my previous startup experience. So I would post my blog post. I wrote one blog post every single week. I would post it. I would like, post something that I had just learned. 

You know, I'm very value-oriented. So, I understand that people don't follow me because they want to hang out. They follow me because they learned something. So, I just keep trying to make small lessons here and there for them to get.

[00:15:04] Jonathan: So, once you have your audience, what would be step two then? Is it all about posting, or is it more about interacting at that point? Where do you kind of go from there now that you have people in front of you and they're listening to you?

[00:15:21] Kevon: Yeah, so ever since the early days of my Twitter life, I knew that anyone could spend so much time on Twitter and get nothing else done. I'm aware of that. So, I've been quite disciplined to manage my time on Twitter. I have like a rule of three key pillars. I only use Twitter for these three things and nothing else, and I'm not going to spend all day on it.

So the number one thing is of course everyone knows... creating value. So for me, I see a lot of people curating tips, or like listicles... those kinds of content. I didn't feel like I have enough time to do that, even though I'm doing this full time. So, what I focus on is just like sharing my own stories and lessons learned, because those are so easy to, you know, just like I can whip it out in a couple minutes and then write it in like 10 minutes. So, I focus on creating value. 

Second of all, you mentioned it right. It's about interacting with people. If you just tweet, no one can see it. Right? So I understand that logic. And what I do is I just go into people's tweets and I don't repeat… you know, on Twitter a lot of people just repeat what the original author says as a reply. I don't do that. I actually reply only when I have something meaningful to say.

So, I actually open up a conversation, and then they tweet back, and then I have like this public conversation, and then suddenly people jump in. And so it's quite amazing. So, engaging with people where they are is very important. I don't try to bring people to where I am, but I go to where they are. So this is number two.

And number three, I think, yeah… The biggest learning, which is building social capital.. That's the reason why I created the Making Twitter Friends, because I think a lot of people don't understand online relationships. 

Like Jonathan, you and me… We're friends now. It’s exactly the same as offline. Like offline, you need to go out for coffee, you buy each other coffee, you sometimes buy each other drinks or blah, blah, blah. And then somehow people online think that online friendships are very transactional…. very easy… I can just send you a message Jonathan and ask you to help me promote something. No, it doesn't work like that. You still need to like, you know, help people, first, give before you take. So I understand that part as well. 

So, what I did was, I never asked anything in return, but I just go out and make a lot of friends and help people out. And then one day, they would just help me back. So, these are the three key pillars.

So I guess first of all, make friends, and then just follow these three key pillars. And then up until a certain point, when you have enough people around you, I think if you want to create a course, you know, a lot of people come to me and say, “Hey, Kevon, I want to create a course,” but I look at their online presence… they don't even have any following. I would tell them, “You know, it's easy to create a course, but it's really hard to sell, like, because you have no one to sell to.” So, I always advise them to maybe just focus on tweeting amazing things and build up a following. Maybe you don't need a huge following. If you can build it up to like 1000, 1200… I see people do amazing things at that stage.

And then you think about, okay, you have a group of people around you. And you use the tweet to gauge their interest in different things. For example, you can tweet, I am thinking about like creating a short guide on blah, blah, blah. What do you guys think?

And you know what? People would jump in and tell you, “Oh, oh my God, I have this pain so much every single day, please create it and I'll pay you right now.” Once you get those signals, I think that's when you try to create the product. So. Yeah, interact and also gauge interest is the next step.

[00:19:24] Jonathan: When you, so you mentioned going to where your people already are. So, the way I think of that is kind of like, while you are building your own followers, there are already places where they're congregating, and so you go to those places.

And so how do you find those places? Do you just search for a keyword on Twitter? Do you try to find certain people, how does that work to find the places where they're already hanging out?

[00:19:56] Kevon: Great question. Yeah. A lot of people are trying to like figure all this out.
I try not to overcomplicate things. Like, there's just one simple way. I look at who is already an influencer in a certain topic. For example, if we're talking about like bootstrapping, there's a guy called Arvid Kahl. He's like pretty, pretty, popular on Twitter.

But when I knew him a year ago, he was at like maybe 5,000 followers. And then now he's at 40,000, you know? So I knew he's like the go-to for people bootstrapping their business. And if, if I want to surround myself with a bootstrapper founder, then I would look at Arvid’s account, and I would go to the latest tweet that he sent out.

And I would look at who is engaging in those latest tweets, because when you think about it, these people engaging with Arvid’s latest tweet, they're the most active people on Twitter. You know? There's a reason why they're trying so hard to like talk to people because they are also, you know, driving something like driving their own projects.

So, I would actually spend more time interacting with those people and connecting with those people. I actually don't try too hard to connect with those big influencers, like Arvid himself. You know? I actually connect with him much later when he noticed my work or I noticed his work, uh, even more, but yeah.

And then I have another rule when you look at all these people engaging with his latest tweet. There are people who have 600 followers. There are people who have 60 followers. There are people who have 6,000 followers. I only interact with people under 600 followers. That's my own rule. And the reason is people who are already quite big, they're very busy, you know, monetizing their products. They're figuring out the next step.

They don't have time for you. I mean, there are a lot of nice people out there, but in terms of like the rate of success, it's just lower. But if you think about it, people under 600, as I mentioned, that's like a key line for myself. These people are like, just so hungry. They're they're just starting out.

They're so hungry. They will make friends with anyone. So, if you look at these people as peers, as friends, you will grow much faster. So that's something I had in mind back then as well.

[00:22:27] Jonathan: So, when I was a community manager back in the day there was this concept of not building the community for the members, but building the community with the members.
And is there an element of when you're building, let's say your nine chapter, uh, book,.. is there an element of inviting your followers to contribute and kind of build it with you? Or is it not really like that?

[00:23:00] Kevon: Very spot on. so we actually haven't really got into the building in public thing. We have been talking about growing an audience. Building in public is essentially two parts. One part is you're confidently sharing your stories, including the ups and downs, but you point out the right thing, which a lot of people miss.

These people, they follow your journey, they get around you, but you need to interact with them like humans. So I think the real public minded entrepreneurs, what they would do is they don't just focus on tweeting out what they want to say. 

You know, when you're planning a new project, for example, creating a course here, and you're thinking, “okay, should I teach this module?” and you're not sure... you put it out there. You know? You don't just like make the decision yourself, you just tweet quickly out there and say, “I have this thought, what do you guys think?” And then if people trust you already, like from what I just talked about, like over time, they would jump in and offer their raw opinion, and those are super valuable and you listen to it and then you can make your next move.

Like I see a lot of people… they actually ask many, many questions every week, and it's because the feedback can make their product so much better. And guess what? The people who are buying the product are the same people giving you the feedback. So you're not going to have zero sales. So it's, it's interacting with people. That's a big part.

[00:24:31] Jonathan: So, let's dig into part one, a little, a little deeper. So... share your, your ups and downs. So what types of things do you share? What are all the different kind of varieties of things that you post and stuff?

[00:24:41] Kevon: So, in my upcoming course, I actually broke this down into like really small pieces because, honestly, I first ran a course about building public six months ago, and I realized... I thought it is such an easy concept, you know, just be transparent, but it's actually not easy. So, now I'm like being more mindful.

So, to me, I see there are two different ways to be authentic and transparent. There is one way, which is you basically just keep talking about what is happening in your life. And I see a lot of developer-oriented founders - they use this method. For example, they make a change to their landing page, and they would tweet and say, “Hey, I made an improvement on my website. This is the reason why, and I'm getting a better conversion rate,” something like that. Or they will talk about, “oh, maybe I will add a new button to the website,” something like that.

So you can share a lot of small snippets of what's happening and those are really just casual, but me, myself, maybe because of the time zone difference, I often need to tweet at my night time which means most of the time my brain is already dead. So my style is the second way which is I usually like to just recap what I'm learning lately or what I'm struggling with lately, and I put together a story so that I tell it to people and say, for example, I think a couple months back then I was being super honest and said, “This is the first iteration of the course. This is why I think it went bad.” It didn't go that bad. Some people enjoyed it, but I think it could be a lot better. So, I was like saying it out loud, but this is like, after the fact. It's like a retrospective. So, two ways... You can do it on the go, or you can do it as a recap. And I consider both of these to be building in public.

[00:26:37] Jonathan: Super cool. And what you're talking about reminds me of something that I've learned along the way. So, I do part-time work at Everyone Hates Marketers, and one of the articles that Louis, the founder, wrote was about the pratfall effect. Have you ever heard of that?

[00:26:54] Kevon: No, please tell me more.

[00:26:56] Jonathan: Cool. So basically the illustration is that there's a study where half the audience is listening to this guy's recording where he sounds amazing. He's like articulate, he's smart. And they ask the audience at the end what they thought of him. 

And there's the other half of the audience that watches the same recording... super smart, super articulate. But at the very end, after the guy gets up, he spills mustard on his shirt. 

And they asked both audiences what they thought of the guy, and the audience who saw him spill mustard on his shirt thought of him more favorably. And so it just kind of goes to show that, you know, we connect on, on a human level on mustard, but more specifically that, you know, we connect with each other's flaws, you know, we like to see the imperfections and the little things like that.

And so, you know, the pratfall effect is, is all about not making yourself look so perfect, but, yeah, just, just the fact that if you're honest and you're open about, even just the little things that don't go so right all the time, then yeah, you're really more trusted. 

And it goes in deeper too. Like, um, people who have five-star ratings are trusted a bit less than people who have like a 4.3 star rating because it's just more believable. You know, if you have 10,000 people, and they all give you five stars... It's like, really? I don't know. Like there's gotta be something wrong somewhere. Especially in today's age where there's like bots that can give you reviews and stuff.

But, but anyway, the pratfall effect I think just reminds me a lot of, of what we're talking about here and everything that you're saying.

[00:28:38] Kevon: I totally agree, because I talked about how offline relationships are exactly the same as online, right? Like when we look at the friends that we like to hang out with, if there's like a know-it-all who is always trying to say some kind of theories, never make any mistakes. We don't hang out with these people.

We hang out with people because we can grab a beer and we can talk about, “oh my God, like we did something bad last week at the job, blah, blah, blah. Right?” 

So, exactly the same, like we just need to really look at the online world like an offline world.

[00:29:12] Jonathan: So, let's dig into part two, a little bit. Part two is, interact. So, what's an example of how you've done that in the past?

How does that work exactly?

[00:29:22] Kevon: Yeah, so I think actually just yesterday. I tweeted a tweet, like someone came to me and said, “I'm afraid to build in public because my ideas will get stolen.” So, I was like, “okay, that's interesting.” Maybe I can use it in my upcoming book or upcoming course. But the thing is I have a single perspective about how people feel about ideas being stolen. What I really don't know is how people out there are thinking. So, guess what? I tweeted about it. You can see it on my wall. And I think, oh my God, I got like 60 replies. And a lot of people actually said, “execution is the key, ideas are nothing, blah, blah, blah.”

And guess what? Now I understand what most people think. So when I'm using these examples, in my course, I can be very sure that this is a valid, like, sharing to my students because it's not just from a single perspective. It’s actually coming from 60 people. So I always think about how my opinion might be wrong, and I just stopped relying on my brain.

I used the crowdsourcing power out there to help me out. So yeah, always asking questions about that, and then don't just stop there. I actually take notes of all those replies and see what I can do with it.

[00:30:46] Jonathan: It's interesting because I hear a lot about, like, saying very polarizing opinions and throwing them out there. and sometimes to me, it almost feels as if, if you say those kind of polarizing opinions, then all of a sudden, you very much own those as if they're facts to you.

But to me, you know, I don't really have too many opinions in general because I like the whole question everything standpoint, and always question yourself and be skeptical of your own opinions. I think what you're talking about is really attractive to me, because that's a whole new perspective about it.

Like, I don't have to go out saying these outlandish crazy things just to get more eyeballs on my post. And all of a sudden I have these crazy like strong opinions, but it's more like I can really get out there and maybe share some things, but mostly just ask people what they think. Right? And, kind of feed off of, of, of what they say?

[00:31:41] Kevon: Of course, I think we still need to have our stand about something. For example, like I stand for not caring about follower count. I stand for making friends, treating everyone like friends. That's my, that's my stand. And, but, but yeah, just be respectful about everyone's opinion. There's no need to like force everyone to be on the one side.

Like the world is so big. Everyone has different background experiences. Just be respectful online, and then people would actually want to hear more from you.

[00:32:13] Jonathan: So, is there anything specific about building in public... like, if I'm building a cohort-based course in public, is there anything specific that I should know about doing that?

[00:32:24] Kevon: Yeah. So, I'm actually, iterating on my course all the time. So, naturally, I really want to just like shut myself down and just finish a whole curriculum, building every single detail, and then once I'm done, I would start recruiting students, but I realize that might not be the most effective way to build a course because the course is a product as well.

So, what I'm doing more now these days is like, I would talk about why I make certain decisions about the course, for example, why am I setting the course size to 20? Why am I making it three weeks instead of six weeks or one day? All these little things that you think no one cares, but think about the people who are signing up to your cohort-based course, they're paying a lot of money, and they're not going to see your course once and then buy it.

So, in a way, you are talking about different decision making points to kind of show up in their mind once again, but more importantly, is that, okay now they understand, “oh, Kevon designed Build in Public Mastery for three weeks is because of this.” So, over time that trust is like getting higher and higher.

And then one day they're like, “oh my God, I really need to grow a loyal audience.” And they think about Kevon has been talking about that. Right? So it has two benefits. So, I guess my, my tips it's, let's just break down every single decision that you have made about your course and think about which are the ones that people would like to hear. You don't have to talk about every single thing.

[00:33:58] Jonathan: How much time do you spend on, on this every day, these days building in public?

[00:34:03] Kevon: So, because I'm the second style, right? I like to recap my lessons as a whole. I don't do a lot of like, live tweeting about my lessons over on the day. So, normally what I would do is I would write down my ideas or any inspiration. Anything in my head, I'll write it down. And then every Monday I would spend about two hours just like expanding on those ideas into tweets or threads, and then I would schedule them for the rest of the week.

So, and then throughout the week, when I'm really getting on Twitter, I don't worry about posting. I just worry about engaging with people who actually replied to me and actually sending messages to people to keep talking privately. I worry about those things when I'm live, but you can see, because most of my business, you know, most of my students or whoever buy my products, I think I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I, I would say 90% come from Twitter.

So, because of this heavy weight on Twitter, I definitely spend more time, like I think on average, including creating the content, I think two, three hours a day is pretty normal.

[00:35:19] Jonathan: What, what software do you use to schedule your tweets?

[00:35:23] Kevon: I use a tool called hypefury. So, I know there are many tools out there. They all have pretty similar features. I use them because, you know, I, I used to be a software founder, so I have a lot of feedback about this and that. And they take it seriously. You know, they, they listen to me, even though they cannot do it.

They are like, they are very respectful of my feedback. So, I just like that. So, I keep using them.

[00:35:46] Jonathan: Well, sadly, I feel like we could keep talking all day, but we are nearing the end here. So, I do have four more, kind of quicker questions for you before we take off. So. Number one, what's the biggest challenge you've faced as a cohort-based course creator so far. And how did you solve it?

[00:36:05] Kevon: I'm a solopreneur and a solo creator. I don't have partners doing this together. So, actually like people might look at a course like, “oh, it's so easy to make,” but especially cohort-based courses, it's very hard because there's a fixed date. There's a start date, end date. And then there is like curriculum. There is community part. There's the operational part. There's the communication. And I just do all of this myself. 

So. It's it's tough. It's very tough. Like when I'm working on a curriculum, I might not talk enough to recruit students. Definitely cannot do it every month. Like, that's why I think CBC, you can only do it like once every quarter or something.

So, I really hope that if this goes well, I can bring in someone to help.

[00:36:56] Jonathan: What are the top three resources you recommend for listeners to learn more?

[00:37:02] Kevon: About CBC or in general?

[00:37:04] Jonathan: Uh, in general it could be about building in public. It could be a CBC. It could be anything you think would be helpful?

[00:37:10] Kevon: Okay. uh, first thing is, Arvid Kahl that I mentioned earlier. So he's also another voice in building in public, and he's actually writing a building in public book. So, I'm running courses, he's writing a book. So this is awesome because we are teaching people in different ways. He is just yeah, very good at growing an audience. So, I think you learn a lot from him. 

Talking about being transparent. I have another person, uh, her name is Monica Lent, so she's a developer, but she runs a developer community. But what, you know, what got my attention is that she started writing income reports on her blog, and she showed all the revenue and expenses and net profit.

So, when I read her blog, I was like, “oh my God, I love this person. She's so transparent. She's there to help people out.” And I emailed her, and she's like very helpful writing me back a long reply. And that's exactly why I started writing those income reports as well, because if I can like, like someone so much by reading that, I think maybe people would like me a lot more if they read mine, and she inspired me to do it. So, this is the second person. 

I think because now I'm creating a cohort-based course, right... So I learn a ton about courses. And I think Wes Kao from Maven is a great person to learn from, especially her blog post about spiky point of view. I love it so much. Like a lot of people, including myself, when I create a course, I'm like, oh, I would teach building in public, growing an audience, but it's not unique enough and it's not controversy enough.

So she actually shared that it's actually good to be controversy. You know, some people might not like what you do, but that's exactly why you do it. So these three people, yeah. Go follow them, check out their work.

[00:39:04] Jonathan: And speaking of people, who else would you like to see on the show and listen to? Or is there a, it could be a person or it could be a topic too, that you'd like to learn more about.

[00:39:15] Kevon: So because I'm right in the heart of this process. So I definitely want to learn more about how we can do the marketing for cohort-based courses. Like, what are different ways? I know a lot of people do sponsorship, scholarships, but how do you actually structure those conversations and stuff? I think those would be very interesting.

And I don't think a lot of people talk about that.

[00:39:40] Jonathan: And last question for you. Where can people find you and keep in touch with you?

[00:39:47] Kevon: Obviously I'm most active on Twitter. You can find me on MeetKevon, M E E T K E V O N. And then most of my time these days I'm running Build in Public Mastery, a cohort-based course, three weeks long, very intensive to guide you through how to build in public and grow a loyal audience.

So yeah, find me on Twitter and then we can chat more.

[00:40:09] Jonathan: Super excited for that course as well. I think it's going to be amazing. I think a lot of people are going to benefit from it a lot.

[00:40:15] Kevon: Thank you, Jonathan.

[00:40:22] Jonathan: Thanks for listening. If you'd like to listen to more episodes, hop aboard If you'd like to be my matey, I would love for you to message me on LinkedIn or Twitter. And remember, always captain yer cohort, always be my matey, and never lick an iceberg while your ship is passing by.

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