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Andy Black

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I had coffee with a friend this morning. He said he’d need to get up to speed with Excel if he gets a job he’s in the running for.

Hmmm...

1) Excel features in the top 5 best-selling courses online if I’m to believe this:

2) I’d very much like to sell a course teaching non-media buying skills *using* my media buying skills (rather than just sell a course *teaching* media buying skills).

By default, people assume I’m a snake oil salesman because I do online marketing. It’s tiring.

3) I’ve been using Excel almost every day since 1993 and even did a stint in a college teaching Excel to complete computer newbies in 1994.

4) I did weekly Excel classes when I was the analyst and head of a team of 35 Google Ads specialists spending €120k/day. Those classes were always standing room only - because everyone knew the top 10% of that team were those best at Excel.

5) Lots of people over complicate Excel and use too many functions when probably 80% of what most people need can be done with 20% of Excel’s functionality - and the right way of thinking about Excel.


Sooo... is anyone currently considering purchasing an Excel course?

If so, what do you hope to get from taking it?


To be clear, if I go ahead with this then I plan on selling the course using Google Ads, YouTube Ads, and maybe even Facebook Ads. I’m only asking in the forum in case there’s people here who are struggling with Excel.

Regardless, it could be an interesting progress thread.
 

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I've done a couple of Excel courses on Udemy.

My big takeaway from those, is that you can easily do a sub section of excel and teach that. Nobody needs to know all the features. So maybe work out what you know, and how and why it's applicable, then package that.
 
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I've done a couple of Excel courses on Udemy.

My big takeaway from those, is that you can easily do a sub section of excel and teach that. Nobody needs to know all the features. So maybe work out what you know, and how and why it's applicable, then package that.
Yeah. Years ago I had the too-smart-for-its-own-good domain of www.excelwithadwords.com, but I don’t want to necessarily focus on the Google Ads angle. (Although that could be an excellent angle dammit...)

What prompted you to buy a couple of Excel courses @Roli, and why those particular Excel courses out of the millions available online?
 
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I'd be interested in a Google Sheets course.
I thought of that too. I use Google Sheets a lot in my business and personal life.

What are you using Google Sheets for currently @Sebastya?

What would you want to use Google Sheets for?
 

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Yeah... I thought of that too. I use Google Sheets a lot in my business, and personal life.

What are you using sheets for currently? What would you want to use it for?
Scraping data. SERP analysis. Project management. Mainly SEO stuff though.
 

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I use excel for my work but not so deep. But I know I am missing out in dept of the MS Excel overall in.

Will it be any kind of tier/level like beginner/mid or intermediate depending on people/Audience?
 
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Scraping data. SERP analysis. Project management. Mainly SEO stuff though.
Ooo. Interesting.

What kind of SERP analysis?

I wouldn’t be into data scraping myself.

I wonder how different the SEO stuff you do is from the Google Ads analysis I do...


We mostly use Basecamp for project management.

We use Google Sheets for the following though:
  • A Customer Dashboard that I always have open. From there I can click links to each client’s Google Ads account, Weekly Trading (Google) Sheet, and Basecamp Project.
    We also have various columns with dates we’ve performed various actions for each client.
  • Our Asset Register where we link to SOPs (typically more Google Docs).
  • Various simple business and personal cashflow forecasters, and various scenarios / business models that I can play with when thinking about pricing and upsells/downsells etc.
 

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I had coffee with a friend this morning. He said he’d need to get up to speed with Excel if he gets a job he’s in the running for.

Hmmm...

1) Excel features in the top 5 best-selling courses online if I’m to believe this:
2) I’d very much like sell a course teaching non-media buying skills *using* my media buying skills (rather than just sell a course *teaching* media buying skills).

3) I’ve been using Excel almost every day since 1993 and even did a stint in a college teaching Excel to complete computer newbies in 1994.

4) I did weekly Excel classes when I was the analyst and head of a team of 35 Google Ads specialists spending €120k/day. Those classes were always standing room only - because everyone knew the top 10% of that team were those best at Excel.

5) Lots of people over complicate Excel and use too many functions when probably 80% of what most people need can be done with 20% of Excel’s functionality - and the right way of thinking about Excel.


Sooo... is anyone currently considering purchasing an Excel course?

If so, what do you hope to get from taking it?


To be clear, if I go ahead with this then I plan on selling the course using Google Ads, YouTube Ads, and maybe even Facebook Ads. I’m only asking in the forum in case there’s people here who are struggling with Excel.

Regardless, it could be an interesting progress thread.
When I was looking to get a position in financial services, I spent time looking at what companies were asking for in their job postings as far as Excel skills, and I found that pivot tables and vlookups were commonly stated. You probably already know this, but those were my findings.

Also, I took Lynda courses a few years back on Excel and found that I use 20% of the features 80% of the time, just like you stated.

Also I remember the instructor covered graphs which I found to be helpful.
 

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Ooo. Interesting. What kind of SERP analysis?

We have a Customer Dashboard that I always have open. From there I can click links to each client’s Google Ads account, Weekly Trading (Google) Sheet, and Basecamp Project. We also have various columns with dates we’ve performed various actions for each client.

We’ve also got a Google Sheet as our Asset Register, where we link to SOPs (typically more Google Docs).

I have various simple business and personal cashflow forecasters, and various scenarios / business models that I can play with when thinking about pricing and upsells/downsells etc.
Not as complex as that lol.

Mainly analyzing competing domains for any term we input.
 
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When I was looking to get a position in financial services, I spent time looking at what companies were asking for in their job postings as far as Excel skills, and I found that pivot tables and vlookups were commonly stated. You probably already know this, but those were my findings.

Also, I took Lynda courses a few years back on Excel and found that I use 20% of the features 80% of the time, just like you stated.

Also I remember the instructor covered graphs which I found to be helpful.
I love vlookups and pivot-tables / pivot-charts!

Text manipulation and processing is over complicated and underused. I find most people don’t know how simply they could do some of their repetitive tasks - so long as they get their data into sensible columns and format.

Ha... I think I’d have a getting started quickly course. Maybe “The Excel Jumpstart”?
 

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5) Lots of people over complicate Excel and use too many functions when probably 80% of what most people need can be done with 20% of Excel’s functionality - and the right way of thinking about Excel.
Agreed on the above; I work with Excel almost daily, and have coached a number of people in this area as well. These are some of my thoughts (they work for me, but may not work for you):

1. Know what you're trying to solve before you start putting anything in Excel. If you don't know where you're going when you start, you'll end up anywhere.

2. Never adulterate your base data. Do not delete columns, rows or otherwise touch base data.

3. Nearly everything you do should be limited to simple formulas, nested formulas and/or PivotTables. I have 5-10 formulas I use and they work with nearly every business requirement I need. Getting into macros and VBA is nearly a guarantee that most people can't support, and you can end up with process that doesn't scale.

4. The focus should always be on plug and play. Reduce manual touches, and you should be able to refresh (excluding getting source date) in under 2 minutes.

5. Don't mix datasets. Try to use specific tabs for each dataset; you can tie them with formulas and Pivots.

6. Expect that your datasets will expand and collapse. If it's 100 rows today, plan that it could be 1,000 tomorrow. Long-term mindset.

I know I'm forgetting some other thoughts, but I've tried to use these as limiters; I've personally found that this makes the process scalable and usable for long periods of time. I still have files I created 5-10 years ago that my old teams are using.

That was a lot of rambling. Ultimately, I think mindset is a very important thing to touch upon. It's Excel and spreadsheets, but design rules and methodology plays a big part in the process. Good luck!
 

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We use Google Sheets for the following though:
  • A Customer Dashboard that I always have open. From there I can click links to each client’s Google Ads account, Weekly Trading (Google) Sheet, and Basecamp Project.
    We also have various columns with dates we’ve performed various actions for each client.
  • Our Asset Register where we link to SOPs (typically more Google Docs).
  • Various simple business and personal cashflow forecasters, and various scenarios / business models that I can play with when thinking about pricing and upsells/downsells etc.
I think this would be quite a good angle. I would purchase a Google Sheets course about building a dashboard that could help me manage my business more easily. Currently I'm using Trello to run my agency.

In the past year, I did buy an excel course: Microsoft Excel - Excel from Beginner to Advanced

However, I only used the lectures on Pivot Tables, Macros and VBA, skipped the rest because I was already quite familiar. Why did I buy this course? It was the first one my eyes landed on which addressed a bunch of the topics I wanted, and it was cheap: $10.

The tough thing with things like Excel courses is that it's HARD to get your money's worth from it. You have a ton of competitors, and just learning excel by itself very rarely translates directly into $$. So the price you can charge is relatively little. But maybe you can make up for that through volume. Not sure.
 
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Agreed on the above; I work with Excel almost daily, and have coached a number of people in this area as well. These are some of my thoughts (they work for me, but may not work for you):

1. Know what you're trying to solve before you start putting anything in Excel. If you don't know where you're going when you start, you'll end up anywhere.
2. Never adulterate your base data. Do not delete columns, rows or otherwise touch base data.
3. Nearly everything you do should be limited to simple formulas, nested formulas and/or PivotTables. I have 5-10 formulas I use and they work with nearly every business requirement I need. Getting into macros and VBA is nearly a guarantee that most people can't support, and you can end up with process that doesn't scale.
4. The focus should always be on plug and play. Reduce manual touches, and you should be able to refresh (excluding getting source date) in under 2 minutes.
5. Don't mix datasets. Try to use specific tabs for each dataset; you can tie them with formulas and Pivots.
6. Expect that your datasets will expand and collapse. If it's 100 rows today, plan that it could be 1,000 tomorrow. Long-term mindset.

I know I'm forgetting some other thoughts, but I've tried to use these as limiters; I've personally found that this makes the process scalable and usable for long periods of time. I still have files I created 5-10 years ago that my old teams are using.

That was a lot of rambling. Ultimately, I think mindset is a very important thing to touch upon. It's Excel and spreadsheets, but design rules and methodology plays a big part in the process. Good luck!
Agreed.
  • I don’t use macros or VBA.
  • I don’t edit base data.
  • I split different datasets into different tabs.
  • It’s about getting the right mindset first before making a mess on the sheet that no-one can follow (including yourself in two weeks time).
 

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Agreed.
  • I don’t use macros or VBA.
  • I don’t edit base data.
  • I split different datasets into different tabs.
  • It’s about getting the right mindset first before making a mess on the sheet that no-one can follow (including yourself in two weeks time).
I've seen a lot of spreadsheets from people who know the techniques of Excell, but it's unorganized, sloppy, and hard to maintain. So perhaps you could gear your course around Excell best practices. Then introduce the more "advanced" features you need to accomplish those best practices.

For instance, instead of teaching:
  1. Excell has these great formulas
  2. Let's see how we can use then
Start off by showing the process:
  1. Here's what we need
    1. Here's how you can define future problems you may get
  2. Here's how you can organize the data
    1. Here are the best practices for organizing data
  3. Here are the formulas we need
    1. Here's how you can find formulas you might need in the future.
It's the "teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime" approach, rather than "give a man a fish, you feed him for a day".

I agree, it's the mindset and thinking through the problem first. Excel is a tool, not a solution. You use the tool to find the solution.
 

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lol what? People still take Excel courses?
 

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As someone who manages a small staff that heavily uses excel, here is what I'd be willing to pay for:
  • Quality excel training in spanish
  • Training that includes "How will the recipient of this sheet interpret it?" Analysis. i.e., how to present data in ways that is clear and self explanatory to third parties
 
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lol what? People still take Excel courses?
100%. It’s massive.

Excel is handy for pretty much any office job, and a lot of professions that need to do X number of training hours a year to stay qualified will take Excel courses too.
 
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As someone who manages a small staff that heavily uses excel, here is what I'd be willing to pay for:
  • Quality excel training in spanish
  • Training that includes "How will the recipient of this sheet interpret it?" Analysis. i.e., how to present data in ways that is clear and self explanatory to third parties
Interesting. I’ve taught Spanish speakers Excel (in English). Maybe they could translate or do a Spanish version of whatever I come up with.

Yes. Making your sheet and reports self-explanatory is an art form in itself.
 

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lol that's so funny. I mean I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I have had to learn excel better over the last few years for work too. But I'd just bing what I needed and I usually found it pretty quickly.

Though I recently realized Excel supports VBA. Which is nuts.
 
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I use excel for my work but not so deep. But I know I am missing out in dept of the MS Excel overall in.

Will it be any kind of tier/level like beginner/mid or intermediate depending on people/Audience?
I’d like to model it on my AdWords Jumpstart course where the core is an hour long and takes beginners to the point they’re able to get started and then learn independently - while also teaching intermediate and advanced folks the right way to build spreadsheets to solve problems in the first place.

I could then have additional bonus modules that people could take depending on what they want to dip in and out of.

I’ve not decided, but I’m considering making it a membership site where I add courses and modules for many other subjects too.
 

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I’d like to model it on my AdWords Jumpstart course where the core is an hour long and takes beginners to the point they’re able to get started and then learn independently - while also teaching intermediate and advanced folks the right way to build spreadsheets to solve problems in the first place.

I could then have additional bonus modules that people could take depending on what they want to dip in and out of.

I’ve not decided, but I’m considering making it a membership site where I add courses and modules for many other subjects too.
I see. It sounds great. I understand it is under construction.
Thanks Andy. I appreciate you.
 

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What prompted you to buy a couple of Excel courses @Roli, and why those particular Excel courses out of the millions available online?
I think it was the fact that I found myself using Excel more and more, and weird stuff kept happening, and I would always have to scrap my sheets and start again. It was around the time I was doing a lot of adword stuff funnily enough.

Anyway, I just thought to myself that it was about time I knew how to use it, seeing as so many people found it easy.

What prompted me to buy those particular courses, well the first one Online Courses - Anytime, Anywhere | Udemy said it was from beginner to advanced.

Also, in the course blurb, he said that he didn't expect anyone to go through the course from start to finish, rather to just find out what they needed to know, and to use the course more like a reference guide. I liked that, so thought, why not?

The second one: Online Courses - Anytime, Anywhere | Udemy, sounded interesting, as I thought that it would be cool to be able to do some smart chart and graphs in Excel.

However, I have to admit, that I have never even opened this course, but at £9.99 it's hardly going to hurt...

I did enough of the first one to help me out with what I needed at the time, and now and again I reference it when I need.

For you, maybe you could concentrate on formulas? I know that's a big one, and I know there's a lot you can do with clever formulas ... In fact, I now remember that was a big motivation for me. I learned a few, forgotten them all now, don't really need them at the mo though.

I think with you Andy, you're very good at imparting aha! moments, so think about what you know surrounding Excel, and think about what is simple that few people are doing or get right, kind of like your Holy Trinity in adwords.
 

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Sounds good. In my new day job as an Analyst I'm using excel a lot and I've been thinking about getting the company to pay for a more advanced course.

I recommend creating a guide that shows how to solve particular problems by going through a project. The typical youtube guides that just go through every formula imaginable don't really stick for daily problems. I only learned to use VLOOKUP when I applied it to solve a recurring problem.

Problems I still deal with daily :
- Having to manually insert/remove new rows in order to update data. A pain.
- Copying and pasting links from different sheets/files. The definition of repetitive.
- How to structure a complicated financial model in a way that makes sense to clients

Are you thinking of using your own platform or setting something up on Udemy or similar?
 
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However, I have to admit, that I have never even opened this course, but at £9.99 it's hardly going to hurt...
It's interesting how that price point is almost a throwaway price point.

I recommend creating a guide that shows how to solve particular problems by going through a project.
Yeah, that's how I prefer to teach stuff. Real-life stories and scenarios.

Are you thinking of using your own platform or setting something up on Udemy or similar?
Both? Haha. I'm thinking of setting up my own simple version of Udemy, where I'll do the courses initially and then get other courses created that are actionable and to the point. No fluff allowed unless it's in bonus sections.

I like how Masterclass.com have an annual subscription of only $200/year. I like how it's an all-you-can-eat service (much like Netflix), but it's an annual price to deter the smash-and-grabs. I also like how it doesn't give off the smell of internet marketing bs.

Problems I still deal with daily :
- Having to manually insert/remove new rows in order to update data. A pain.
How do you mean?

- Copying and pasting links from different sheets/files. The definition of repetitive.
That does sound tedious. I can't visualise what you're doing.

- How to structure a complicated financial model in a way that makes sense to clients
Which part? The input part, or the output/report part? Do the clients use the model, or just look at the output?
 
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Looking on Udemy:
  • That's a heck of a lot of results!
  • That's a heck of a lot of ratings!
  • Who the heck wants to sit through 16 hours of Excel video? FML...
  • I'd like my core course to be *one* hour long. The same way I've positioned my Google Ads course, I'd like to price it higher because it has LESS hours.
  • I feel these courses are for people who want to "learn excel". I want my course to be for people who want to get sh*t done with Excel.

29984



Here's the blurb for that 16 hour course:

29985
 
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I've done a couple of Excel courses on Udemy.

My big takeaway from those, is that you can easily do a sub section of excel and teach that. Nobody needs to know all the features. So maybe work out what you know, and how and why it's applicable, then package that.
I second this... what does your friend need? Is he at like a upper management level where he needs to use advanced formulas? Because otherwise I feel 95% of the jobs stop at the "know sort and filter" and you're good, people overestimate what they are really going to be doing lol. Speaking from experience here. I feel Excel can make a spaceship take off but everyone just uses like 10% of its capabilities. Maybe I've never been in a field where they manage obnoxious amounts of data, idk.

I love vlookups and pivot-tables / pivot-charts!
That sounded so nerdy, Andy! :p

Interesting. I’ve taught Spanish speakers Excel (in English). Maybe they could translate or do a Spanish version of whatever I come up with.

Yes. Making your sheet and reports self-explanatory is an art form in itself.
I'll translate for you if you need, just putting it out there. Free.99
 
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Shoot me now...

I went on YouTube and clicked the top video after searching "excel" (which has nearly 7m views btw).

29988

I'm 6 minutes in and I've learned *nothing* useful. This is an example of the kind of training I can't stand. In that 6 minutes I'd want to teach something *useful* to both beginners and advanced folks.

I didn't know the top menu items were called tabs, and the options below are the ribbon. Who the feck cares?!?

Sheesh.

I have some accounts to do this evening and may just knock up a quick Excel video to show you what I had in mind.


Here's the video that’s putting me to sleep. Let me know what you think of the first 6 minutes. I lost the will to live at that stage.

View: https://youtu.be/rwbho0CgEAE
 
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