Unlocking Professional Growth Through Focus and Effective Management With Dan Longhouse

Dan Longhouse is the Founder and President of LHT Learning, a professional eLearning consulting firm providing innovative training services to Fortune 500 companies. With over 25 years immersed in the learning industry, Dan has a strong passion for leveraging technology and creativity to enhance organizational learning and impact. Under his leadership, LHT Learning has earned a reputation for its customized eLearning solutions and personal touch, which have garnered the team numerous accolades, including over 100 industry awards. Outside of LHT Learning, Dan co-founded Soundsmack and Compliance Cartoons, expanding his influence in educational technology.

Available_Black copy
Available_Black copy
Available_Black copy

Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [02:29] How a childhood pool table led to early entrepreneurship lessons
  • [05:26] Transitioning from a corporate role to founding a successful eLearning company
  • [08:14] The challenge and triumph of shifting from solo work to building a team
  • [10:55] Navigating the evolution of technology in the eLearning industry
  • [12:21] How the Columbus, Ohio, tech scene has influenced business development
  • [16:50] Learning from the rise and fall of various side ventures
  • [19:22] Embracing the EOS model and the impact of the book ‘Traction’ by Gino Wickman
  • [21:37] Facing the initial impacts of COVID-19 in the eLearning sector
  • [23:15] Overcoming Zoom fatigue and innovating virtual learning post-pandemic
  • [28:14] Preparing for the integration of AI and automation in the future of eLearning

In this episode…

Many entrepreneurs and business leaders face difficulties growing their businesses without compromising their commitment to innovation and learning. The challenge often lies in integrating advanced technologies with traditional business models and finding the right balance between growth and stability. This is especially true in the eLearning industry, where keeping up with technological advancements is crucial for business success.

With extensive experience in corporate training and eLearning, Dan Longhouse emphasizes the importance of implementing professional management systems and fostering a culture of continuous learning within organizations. He shares actionable insights on how books like E-Myth Revisited and Traction have transformed his approach to business management, facilitating the effective growth of his operations while fostering innovation. Dan also discusses his entrepreneurial journey, from childhood ventures to founding LHT Learning, highlighting the pivotal roles of passion, focus, and strategic partnerships.

Tune in to this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast as John Corcoran interviews Dan Longhouse, the Founder and President of LHT Learning, about integrating innovation and technology in corporate learning environments. They also discuss the challenge and triumph of shifting from solo work to building a team, the impact of strategic management literature on his business philosophy, and the importance of customization in eLearning solutions.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Quotable Moments:

  • “You need to bring people in early so that you can work on the business and not get stuck doing it all.”
  • “We can’t be everything for everybody.”

Sponsor: Rise25

At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution. 

We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.

What do you need to start a podcast?

When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.

The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.

We make distribution easy

We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create a copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.

Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

Are you considering launching a podcast to acquire partnerships, clients, and referrals? Would you like to work with a podcast agency that wants you to win? 

Contact us now at [email protected] or book a call at rise25.com/bookcall.

Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 0:00

Today we’re talking about the importance of focus and also implementing professional management in your company in order to keep up the growth in order to have a successful company. My guest today is Dan Longhouse and I’ll tell you more about him in a second. So stay tuned.

Chad Franzen 0:16

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we feature top entrepreneurs, business leaders and thought leaders and ask them how they built the relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:33

Welcome, everyone, John Corcoran here. I’m the host of the show. And you know, every week I get to talk to smart entrepreneurs and founders and, and CEOs from all kinds of companies. We’ve had Netflix and Kinkos, YPO EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, GrubHub, Redfin, and many more. And this week is no exception. Of course, this episode was brought to you by our company Rise25, and podcast copilot where we help b2b businesses Yeah, clients referrals and strategic partnerships are done via podcast and content marketing. And you can email us at support at Rise25.com, or go to Rise25 dot com to learn more about what we do. All right. And first big shout out to the EO Entrepreneurs Organization, entrepreneurial master’s program, which is how I met today’s guest.

His name is Dan Longhouse. We’re both in that program together. He’s the founder and president of LHT Learning, a company that he started over 20 years ago. And they provide training services for Fortune 500 companies. And he had started out doing web development, eventually focused on learning and innovation and has started a couple of different companies along the way. And so we will get to share some of that journey as well and he’s really been really affected by taking the approach of putting in place professionals professional management and management systems, inspired in part by the book The E-Myth Revisited, which is a great book that definitely inspired me as well. And also the book Traction by Gino Wickman, another wonderful book as well. 

And Dan, such a pleasure to have you here today. And I love to start people off by going back to their childhood and focusing on any entrepreneurial ventures or side hustles they had as a kid. I think this is a first for me. You were actually hustling kids at the pool and depriving them of their candy. You ruthless ruthless bastard. So tell us a little bit about how that worked?

Dan Longhouse 2:29

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, we had a pool table growing up. And so that’s something that I guess gave me an advantage because people always came to our house, right. So I always had a chance to practice before they came over. And I would always get them to bet more and more candy. And then, you know, eventually just keep keep winning, but they kept they kept that in? 

John Corcoran 2:49

Yeah. Did you ever, like, go into a pool hall and like, imagine that you’ve never played pool before and hustle people there?

Dan Longhouse 2:55

No, We thought about it. But we were too young. would have been ideal. 

John Corcoran 2:59

But yeah, yeah, I was like that, as a kid, we didn’t have a pool table. But we had a ping pong table for a while. So I was pretty good at ping pong. And we’d go and hustle people. And then we also had, like, I grew up like, you know, and till into the 80s when video games were kind of starting to phase out, and my dad went to an auction and then bought a full scale video, like those arcade games, right? That, you know, was a massive type of thing. Zaxxon is what it was called. And, and I remember my brother and I just played it for hours and got so good at it. 

And then one time, this I don’t know, a vendor, you know, or electrician or something came to the house and was like, oh, Zaxxon I’m pretty good at that. My dad was like, oh, yeah, you want to play my seven year old? And the guy plays My brother. My brother just creamed him, of course. So I love those types of hustles. But um, you see you after you’re hustling other kids for their candy. You got into business with web development College, and you had a friend who had a connection to a pool. And you set up a pool camera to watch the pool? 

Dan Longhouse 4:03

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So college was really one that sort of entrepreneur spirit came into play. So I had a buddy that knew the poor really well, and they needed a website. And I was an engineering major, but I loved doing web development. And so we sort of paired up, went to the pool, got all the information, he set up a video camera, and then we had a live feed on the website. So you could see if the pool was busy, what the weather was like, and we built it and I think they paid us. I don’t know if 1000 bucks, which was a college kid, was fantastic. 

Yeah. And I’ll never forget, we were down on campus and I said, Hey, this is great. Let’s go build websites for some other pools. There’s a bunch of pools around. And he just kind of looked at me like yeah, I don’t know if I want to do that. And like what do you mean, we could start a company? And he just kind of looked at me and shrugged and was like, Well, I’d rather just eat pizza and drink beer. And I said, Well, why don’t we eat pizza, drink beer, and start a company and he just kind of shrugged and was like, I don’t really want to do that. So we didn’t get as far as we wanted, because he had all the connections. But he wanted to just kind of chill.

John Corcoran 5:07

I guess the lesson there is the importance of founder alignment.

Dan Longhouse 5:11

Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.

John Corcoran 5:15

So you, you move on and and you actually end up working for IBM’s company, the pet food company doing web development for them. So kind of experience in the corporate world. Tell us about that.

Dan Longhouse 5:26

Yeah, yeah. So I moved on from the web development piece, and then had a friend who was talking about how he didn’t really like his job. And I said, Well, what kind of work do you do? And he said, ” I do web development and build learning courses. And I said, Well, I love doing that. He said, Okay, we’ll give you your resume. And I’ll send it over to our bosses because we need to, we need to replace my role. And I sent it in and went in for an interview. And they had three bosses. So the first boss went in, and his name was Dan, like, okay, great.

Well, this is gonna go really well. And it went, well, he said, Yeah, that seems like a good fit. So he sent me over to the second boss and walked in, his name was Dan. Okay, oh, this is interesting. And the interview went well. And then he said, Alright, let me take you over to the third boss. And his name was Scott, I kind of laughed, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. And sat down, had a great interview, and he said, Look, you know, we want to hire you. But we can’t call you Dan, What’s your middle name? So you’re not blue. But my name is Scott. 

And he said, All right, well, we’re just gonna call you the intern. And so it ended up being and they would basically call me the intern for two years, and they would walk over and go into and you’re fired. And it was kind of a running joke for a while.

John Corcoran 6:37

You guys, you have a good relationship with them to not get freaked out by triggers. So that kind of role, eventually, you graduated from college and tell me how you turned that into a contract, which allowed you to start your company? 

Dan Longhouse 6:59

Yeah. So, they were bought out by Procter and Gamble. So there was a hiring freeze at that time. And so they said, Hey, we have all this work that we want you to do. But we can’t hire you. I said, Okay, well, perfect. Well, why don’t we? Why don’t we do some sort of contract? And so you know, they were kind enough to do that. And so I started the company. And then initially, it was just me doing contractor work for the first part of the first year or so.

John Corcoran 7:22

And you picked up some other contracts through networking. Do you remember the early days of how you got those initial clients? I did?

Dan Longhouse 7:31

Yeah. Yeah, one of them was a connection through college, they had reached out and said, Hey, we’re, you know, we’re learning company, and we’re looking for folks. And I sat down with him and, and got set up as a consultant for them. And then another one was, it was a friend’s father, who had a small two to three person consulting company. And so I just randomly approached him at a party and said, Hey, I want to introduce myself, here’s what I do. And I ended up doing some work with him as well.

John Corcoran 8:00

How did you make that transition from? Is it just you, who sells the business and fulfills the business, builds the website or whatever, to transition into actually building a company and hiring employees?

Dan Longhouse 8:14

Yeah, so there was a larger role that we landed with a motor oil company. And so their challenge was, they were trying to figure out how to build training for the folks that were selling motor oil, right. So if you walk into a store, there’s a bunch of motor oil, they have to train that person that doesn’t work for them, how to sell it, and why their products are better. And so as we were building that there was another vendor. And when I say we, it’s me at that time, right. And there was another vendor that was also building courses. And they just, they didn’t do a very good job. And, they were let go. And so I went into the folks that ran and said, Look, you’re already happy with me building these courses.

Why don’t you let me bring on a couple people. And we’ll take over the work that they were doing. And they just kind of said, sure. Yeah. I mean, you’re doing a good job. We’ll give that a try. And so that was when I hired the first set of people and the relationship was really, you know, me kind of managing it, and then them doing the work. But then I was also continuing to do the work as well.

John Corcoran 9:13

Yeah. And now 20 years ago, 2003 2004 2005, there weren’t many don’t believe elearning platforms out there. I’ve watched it more closely because it started creating my own online courses, maybe around I want to say 2009, maybe 2010. But even now, to this day, there’s been so much evolution. Were you creating things from scratch in the early days when you started to do elearning?

Dan Longhouse 9:43

We were Yeah, somebody would meet with a subject matter expert to build out content and then we would develop it in an authoring tool. The main authoring tool back then was Adobe Flash, if you remember flash.

John Corcoran 9:55

Wow, that was what you used for building an elearning course. Now we’ve got Thinkific. We’ve got all these different amazing software products out there.

Dan Longhouse 10:05

Yeah, that was it. And then Macromedia had products. I’m forgetting the name of it, I got certified. And then it went away. Flash kind of took it over after that, but yeah, it was all Adobe Flash, mainly, and then some basic web development on top of that, so that you could publish our courses and put them out on learning management systems. But yeah, you’re right. There weren’t a lot of companies that were doing it at the time. And that was, I mean, that was where we were able to bring, like, my passion was always around learning, technology, innovation. And that was where I saw an opportunity to bring that into the field, because it just was not really wasn’t there, you didn’t have a lot of tech folks that were heavily involved.

John Corcoran 10:44

What was it that, you know, you started with web development, but what drew you to kind of a niche down into elearning.

Dan Longhouse 10:53

It just kind of happened, honestly. I mean, my sort of at that time, it was all about, you know, going to the west coast and working for startups. And so that was sort of the idea. But then I kept getting pulled into learning. And eventually I just want, hey, there’s a huge opportunity here. And I love space. So I’m really going to start to focus on this because even while I was building these courses, we were still building web applications on the side. So that was really it. We just kept getting pulled back into it. And finally, we just sort of accepted it. And what yeah, this is a great space, there’s a lot of opportunity. And we have a lot that we can bring to the table around kind of innovation and creativity.