Chris “Swaggy C” Williams gained a large following from his 2018 appearance on Big Brother, and his 2019 appearance on MTV’s show, The Challenge. At the end of 2019, after leaving the show, Chris came to Wabbit looking for a way to leverage his existing audience, and his experience in Forex trading, into a lean e-learning business he could make a living from.
- Build a new brand, and revenue-generating offer, from ground zero.
- Design the business to grow from its own profits, not outside funding.
- Limit investment risk while validating the idea and building the MVP.
Scope of Project
We helped the Swag Academy build up from the idea stage, and ultimately establish itself as an authority in its market. What began with a simple, custom website, and a personal 1-on-1 mentor — ended up becoming an incredible, runaway success.
With Wabbit’s help, Chris’s audience, a killer content strategy, and a whole lot of hustle — the Swag Academy absolutely smashed it’s goals.
The site grew to over 2,000 members before the end of the first year, making the company worth millions.
At the end of 2021 they counted 13,000+ members.
In early 2022, they crossed over 20,000 members.
The quote above is from an article on business insider. In it Chris recalls his life prior to launching Swag Academy.
The fame wasn’t as helpful as most would hope for and it wasn’t long before he’d had enough…
As a fresh entrepreneur, he needed more than a website, he needed someone to show him how to build his company in ways that would allow him to stay nimble and fund it slowly, making the asset pay for it’s own growth.
Chris wasn’t entirely empty-handed, he had a strong existing asset in his social media audience — but, with no website, no customers, and no way to validate his idea, he didn’t have a way to leverage that audience. He didn’t have a business, yet.
That’s where the Wabbits come into the story…
Discovery & Research
We began our process by working with Chris to research his existing audience, through social media surveys, to get a better sense of existing levels of interest — while we implemented observational and direct research methods through other Forex-focused digital communities — as well as a competitive analysis of the Forex-focused e-learning market.
The Big Questions:
What we learned
The overwhelming reason for learning to day-trade Forex was the pursuit of financial freedom. We expected as much.
The critical insight comes from the branching motivations behind the desire for that freedom. What motivates it?
For roughly half of the total audience, the motivations are best summarized by the term “life-change.” This term encompasses external forces of change.
For everyone else, we see a more casual, recreational approach — unencumbered by necessity.
Naturally, there are a number of existing products in the Forex eLearning market. The question is: what pains remain unsolved, or poorly solved, for the audience we aim to serve?
Our research showed opportunities in 3 key areas:
- Community Building
- Production Value
- Access from Mobile Devices
Knowing this, we worked to craft a series of minimum viable offer ideas capable of filling these needs.
The majority of student's primary reason for learning is financial freedom
The secondary most common reason centers around major life changes
There is a strong desire for mobile access to education in this space
Students report being dissatisfied at the production value of other courses
No other products on the market are currently offering a non-forum community solution
Students want to share their journey in real time with a community of like-minded peers
Swag Academy Users Are:
Understanding what the Swag Academy brand is, and who they are a champion for, helped define the positioning statement of the newborn company. This is how we set the tone for everything that follows.
Defining the Brand
Through a series of exercises in our strategy sessions with Chris, we were able to extract and refine the key pillars of the brand. If the company were a person, then here, we aim to understand its personality.
We discovered and built upon these five characteristics:
To better understand the needs of customers, we create unique avatars to represent the range of the target audience. This practice helps paint a clear picture of demographics, psychographics, needs and wants.
Our research showed that outside of quality content, students wanted a community most — so, it began to emerge that the Swag Academy could become an oasis. A place which connects people who are looking to improve their lives through day-trading.
With the mission now clear, we set out to create a sanctuary for this tribe to gather together and learn.
High-quality education, universally available…
Forex education for everyone.
The Build Strategy
Build, Learn, Iterate
A 30,000 foot view of our multi-phase approach, from February 2019 through August 2021, is outlined below:
To keep costs low while we determined market interest in this initial offering, we advised that Swag Academy source its first logo from a budget friendly resource like Fiverr, and build the site on the free WordPress framework.
The only mission critical function of the site (other than payment processing) was for specific content to be locked for non-members — so, we opted to run our first test with an exclusive blog behind a membership paywall.
When the first version of Swag Academy’s eLearning site launched in February of 2020, the total out-of-pocket development cost was a humble $250.
We enrolled sixty-six students, each paying well over $100 each in the first month after launch.
That’s an ROI of over 2,000%!
In the second phase, we advised Swag Academy to reinvest 25% of its profits back into the brand, and the site/platform. We updated the brand to better reflect the desired vibe, and updated the site’s design to compliment the new visual direction.
For functionality, we researched what features Swag Academy customers wanted most. We chose, based on what we learned, to add a more robust community element which allowed students to interact with one another with more immediacy.
By April, less than 3 months after initial launch, academy membership grew to over 300 students despite the enrollment price nearly doubling.
Read more on the brand refresh here
Based again on feedback from students, we upgraded the platform from a paid blog format into a full-featured eLearning platform which allowed for courses, lesson tracking, quizzes, enhanced social interaction, and so much more…
In the quest to consistently improve while caring for their bottom-line, The Swag Academy decided to pivot and migrate operations to a new option, choosing an out-of-the-box membership & EMS solution on the popular Kajabi platform.
Wabbits will often encourage pivots like this because they can be much more cost-effective than bespoke, hand-coded web development. However, given growth rate of their user base, it became clear after a few months that a custom solution was still an absolute necessity.
Phase 5: Domain Dominance
After aggregating data on the challenges and opportunities of the previous phases, we began to envision what a modern Forex education platform could look like when given no restrictions.
What did users really want to see from the Swag Academy?
To answer this, we began the fifth and final phase with a new round of deep user research. This time, we focused on usability, page flow, and functionality. Heatmapping and traffic analytics allowed us to see how users interacted with key elements of the site, giving us priceless information on usage.
We combined the insights from this research with surveys of current users to gain a clear understanding of their persistent needs — and their desires for the platform.
Finally, we translated all of this insight into a complete redesign of every single visual element of the website.
But that’s not all…
In order to support the continued growth of the Swag Academy, we built a robust administrative back-end complete with traffic analytics, enrollment data, student progress metrics, and a breakdown of the most popular lessons across the entire site.
It is important for administrators to be able to see this data at a glance, and quickly interpret any successes, or opportunities for improvement. These stats are updated dynamically, allowing key stakeholders can get the information they need at a moment’s notice.
Staff Training Resources
As the Swag Academy grows, it is important they are able to onboard new staff with ease, regardless of which role they fill. To address this need, we created an extensive series of custom training modules to get new, and existing employees, up to speed quickly.
This guided feature displays dynamic content specific to the role of the team member, allowing training to be tailored to the needs of each role.
Custom Mobile App
Users consistently reported a desire for the ability to take their education with them as they traveled throughout their day. In our final step, we answered this need fully, by building a branded e-learning app from the ground up.
Now, Swag Academy students can access their courses from their phones, anywhere in the world!
What Does Chris Say About the Results?
In 2022, The Swag Academy achieved an incredible milestone of 20,000 members. The company generated millions in revenue in the blink of an eye. That is why we do what we do. We love watching how success changes the lives of everyone involved, and there’s even more to the story, but, we have to acknowledge something crucial….
Growing at the blistering pace Swag Academy was able to achieve is no easy feat. Don’t overlook that point. On top of a clear, dynamic strategy, It took tremendous effort from the entire team.
Chris came to us with an unmatched work ethic, and a deeply engaged audience, and had near-limitless access to counsel from our founders — and it still wasn’t an easy road. Entrepreneurship never is.
The iterative engine powering his breakout success is the same one we preach all over this site. This story, and others like it, are the reason we are so confident in concepts we discuss here.
As one of a handful of Wabbit EDU’s first students, our experience with Chris dramatically shaped our approach to Wabbit’s flagship course for the better. This case study is a peek behind the curtain.
We are thrilled to see this company take off into the stratosphere, and it has been our honor to take part in the journey.