Breaking the Mold – and Thriving – with Jason Blumer
Do you work in a field in a field or industry that seems completely set in its ways? Where change seems impossible?
Would you like to shake things up with with new perspectives and new business models – and, of course, generate significant income while doing it?
Then you won’t want to miss this episode of the Learning Revolution.
Visit the Web site for BlumerCPAs and you will know immediately that you are not in the world of traditional accounting. Several years ago Jason Blumer started to transform the CPA firm he took over from his father into a thriving niche business with coaching and education as a key component of its strategy. Jason also founded the Thriveal Network, a membership site for forward thinking accountants, and has seen that effort, well, thrive.
I got connected with Jason through Paul Johnson from Pathwright, who I interviewed back in Episode 15. Jason uses the Pathwright platform for the high-end coaching courses he offers in both live online and on-demand versions.
In short, like most of the people I have interviewed on the show, Jason Blumer is a dyed-in-the-wool learning revolutionary who is using education to transform and grow his business. So, listen in for a mega-dose of inspiration.
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Get the Show Notes
02:39 – Jason gives an overview of the firm he took over from his father. BlumerCPAs has transitioned to a completely virtual, cloud-based model with a very niche focus on the creative industry. That focus has been key to building brand and being in the position to charge premium prices.
04:05 – How the Thriveal CPA Network came about. In the process of building the firm, Jason came across others with similar goals and interests. He started the network in 2010. Education and coaching are a core part of both Thriveal and the CPA firm.
04:57 – How did Jason overcome resistance to the new model? He figured out early on that if they were going to do what they hoped to do, BlumerCPAs would have to serve a very specific type of client. It took about 3 years to warn clients – and keep warning them – that the firm was going to go virtual. Even so, they ended up selling off part of the client base that just wasn’t a fit for the new model. Not everyone is excited about business model innovation!
6:25 – The importance of building a brand. Jason talks about the process. A “journey of messing stuff up.” You have to be willing to experiment and mess things up. He focused on serving people he enjoyed serving – basically being who he is, even if people told him that wasn’t the way it was done. He did the opposite, was contrarian, because that’s what worked for him.
09:05 – Seems like paid membership is on the decline – at least in the world of traditional membership organizations – and continuing education is a commodity in many markets – certainly in the accounting market. How is Jason managing to charge a premium for both membership and education?
09:50 – Jason gives an overview of the “Pioneering the New Firm” 12-part coaching course he offers in both a live online and a self-study version. He doesn’t even offer “CPE” – the continuing education credit that accountants have to earn. “Here’s the thing: we don’t even offer CPE. The CPAs who take it have nothing to gain but new learning.” The people who take it take it purely for the learning. The courses covers concepts like pricing, strategic client selection, business model innovation.
Here’s the thing: we don’t even offer CPE. The CPAs who take it have nothing to gain but new learning.
11:15 – “When you sell things like this, you have to remember you will probably shrink your market very tightly, but when you do that, you’re selling to believers.” Concept of creating a “tribe.”
12:15 – The Thriveal Network – a membership organization – was free for a while. But then the members started wanting more, and this required charging. Moving to a paid model shrunk the membership to about half, but the people who stayed are the ones who are really serious about doing things differently.
13:00 – Is there money to be made in the membership and coaching/teaching side of what Jason Blumer does? Business coaching is actually one of the main things Jason does as part of his role in the CPA firm – and the coaching is the most profitable offering they have. More so than tax, payroll, etc. The same thing is true in Thriveal. The membership fees can create decent income, but it’s the coaching and education that drives the revenue.
If you are really helping create change, you can charge well for it.
15:00 – Jason talks about how he creates and delivers the coaching and education offerings. They use Pathwright for both the live and self-study versions. Uses videos to replace the live component int the on-demand. Uses GoToMeeting / GoToWebinar to deliver live sessions. Also fond of Prezi as presentation tool. And they put a lot of their written content into Scribd to embed into the Pathwright course. (For more tools, check out the tools section of Learning Revolution.)
17:44 – What is Jason excited about for the future? Listen in to find out. (“Integration” will play a big part.)
20:23 – Find Jason Blumer on Twitter @JasonMBlumer or e-mail info @ blumerCPAs or info @ thriveal.com. Also be sure to check out:
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