Grow Your Business

Business Casual: How an online course is helping build a comedy empire

In this episode of our YouTube series Business Casual, Heather Giannone talks to Dani Zoldan, co-owner of the iconic New York comedy club Stand Up NY. (Plus about 20 other ventures. Kidding. Kind of.)

Stand Up NY recently launched their very first online course, The Tight Five, to help aspiring comics get to their best five minutes of material.

In a lot of ways, the course has been 10 years in the making.

It started in 2008, when Dani and his business partner Gabe Waldman bought the iconic comedy club, which has hosted obscure indie comics such as Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, and Jerry Seinfeld. They completely renovated the place, and 3x’d the revenue it was bringing in (in the middle of the Great Recession, no less).

Then, they turned the space above the comedy club into a recording studio the comics performing at their club could use to record their podcasts, which in turn turned into an incubator for podcasts. They also formed a content creation company and tapped the deep bench of writing talent among their performers to create viral video content for brands and agencies.

Then one day, the club’s long-time bartender Greg said to Dani, “Why don’t you do an online course?”

Why not, indeed?

Dani and Gabe formulated the concept for what became The Tight Five, reached out to a handful of their favorite comics to see if they were interested in being involved (they were). Then they shot the entire course in a single afternoon.

The lesson here: You don’t have to go looking far and wide for your online course idea. The answer is right here, in the world you’re already living in, the knowledge you already have — and the people you already know.

Also in the episode, Dani shares how he got top-tier comedic talent to contribute their knowledge for The Tight Five, how they shot the videos for the course in just one afternoon, and how they landed on a price for what they were offering.

Dani also reveals what happened after that hugely successful launch was over and sales dropped off a cliff — and where The Tight Five goes from here.

Business Casual is our YouTube series featuring real entrepreneurs sharing how they built their online business from the ground up. New episodes every Friday.

And subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos from GrowthLab.

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