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How Ron Stefanski of the OneHourProfessor.com Grew His Portfolio of Websites Then Created a Course Showing Others How to Build Authority Sites
- Who: Ron Stefanski
- Website: onehourprofessor.com
- Course Topic: Authority site
- Interesting Stats: 65,000 students on Udemy
Who are you and what course have you created?
I’m an online entrepreneur and college marketing professor who has a passion for helping people and creating communities. I spent 8+ years in the corporate marketing space until I became self-employed in 2014. I teach internet marketing and business courses at three different colleges. My media company consists of a portfolio of websites ranging from 250,000 visitors to a couple of thousand visitors monthly. This includes OneHourProfessor.com, which is focused on helping people create and grow their own online business.
The course that I’ve created is focused on helping beginners understand all of the different steps it takes to create an authority website. To me, this is a website that’s a full-fledged business and the true leader in their respective niche.
What market does your online course serve?
My online course serves a lot of beginners looking to start a website but aren’t sure where to start. I like to focus on serving beginning bloggers. They are typically looking to have a side-gig outside of their full-time job.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
I think the biggest benefit is that people gain an understanding of the foundational knowledge around creating a website. They also learn how to build a small business of their own to (eventually) have the freedom and financial means to leave their full-time job.
How did you get into the market?
I’ve been in the “online business” niche for roughly five years. Most of that time has been spent building my own portfolio of successful websites. After I built my first successful site, I decided it was a good idea to make a complimentary course showing others what I had learned.
The funny thing is, for so many years I had my head down and focused on building my media business (a portfolio of websites). Then, after numerous inquiries, I decided to start this course to help people who were asking questions.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
Outside of the “online business” industry, I’m a college professor and legitimately enjoy teaching other people skills. For me, my primary driver is to help people (hopefully) leave their full-time jobs and provide for their families. I was able to do this myself through online business and knowing I can do this for other people is a great feeling. My secondary driver is to earn additional income to support the growth of my YouTube channel and blog to help even more people.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Yes, of course. I think my biggest doubt as to whether or not it would be worth all of the efforts I put into the course and if anyone would buy it. I feel like this is a very common issue that most people worry about when they launch.
To combat this, I trusted the process and didn’t give myself the ability to quit. I focused my success on finishing the course and funnel. By doing this, I could control my “successful outcomes” and it allowed me to feel like I succeeded even if I didn’t sell any courses. The good news is I did end up selling my course many times!
What’s your online course like?
My course is a mix of all different types of content. I always have videos, some modules have text content for resources as it makes sense to include at times, and I also include worksheets/exercises to help people progress with each step.
How long did it take you to create your course?
I’d say that my course took about 15 hours to complete. I spent my own time creating scripts and reading, and then I hired an editor to create animations that go with the video using Powtoon. For me, this was ideal because, at the time, I wasn’t comfortable being in front of the camera and this allowed me to get the information out there without being in front of a lens.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I was lucky in that I already had an email list of about 300 people from my website (OneHourProfessor.com) prior to launching. I had created this email list by creating free helpful content and people were subscribing sporadically. When I finally launched my course, I did so at a discount and charged $79 per purchase as a discount from $99. On that first day, I was able to sell 7 courses total and it was a pretty awesome feeling to know that I could succeed with course sales.
Do you have a lead magnet?
Yes, I have a free mini-course that people can take Once the free course is over, people get pitched to purchase the full course. The full course has everything the first course does but significantly more content to help them understand every step of creating an online business.This email mini-course is working really well as it trains people to open my emails first, gives them value, and then pitches them on a course they already have a lot of interest in based on their opt-in to get the mini-course. -Ron… Click To Tweet
What is the traffic strategy you use?
For me, I’ve focused 100% on organic traffic from Google and YouTube. I create content that’s focused on helping beginning bloggers and through that content, if they like what I do, they end up getting the mini-course and (possibly) converting to a paid student. As I’ve fine-tuned my content strategy over time, my conversion rate has increased, and generally speaking, this has worked really well for me. There is practically no investment needed other than the initial content I create.
What online course platform are you using?
I personally use Thinkific for my course and absolutely love it. It’s a great platform for what I need to do and it’s never let me down. I also have a number of courses on Udemy that I created a couple of years ago, but Thinkific is where my main course is.
Take a Look at Thinkific!
Thinkific is the most popular online course platform used by successful course creators interviewed on coursemethod.com. It’s a complete solution for creating sales pages, uploading all course content, taking payments, and more.
- Price Range: Free to $499/month
- Most Popular Plan: Pro Plan at $99/month
- Annual Discount: Yes, take 20% off!
- Free Trial: Try out Thinkific’s core features for free.
Are there any features you wish it had?
I have not yet found a feature that I wish it had that it didn’t.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
I did a lot of research on course platforms. The fact that Thinkific offered a free solution was a great start. I wasn’t sure if the course would sell, so I wanted to avoid paying a monthly cost if I could.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
Outside of the course I sell, I have quite a few tools that I use to run my 8 different websites. I’m a huge fan of Thrive Architect and Thrive Themes as they’ve helped me grow my websites without having a ton of coding knowledge.
Outside of that, I use Active Campaign to help me with my email list and I’ve tried a few different A/B testing tools to make sure that I have the highest possible converting pages for whatever I’m trying to sell.
The last thing I’ve used quite a bit of is landing page builders to attempt to get more people to sign up for my email list. These tools have helped me quite a bit. That’s because they’ve been able to grow my email list which, ultimately, leads to additional course sales.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
For me, the best training program I’ve joined is the Authority Hacker Pro training program. This particular course is pricey when they release it, but it’s been immensely helpful in growing my portfolio of websites as it includes a lot of actionable. “over the shoulder” videos that give great tutorials. I’m not a big book reader, though I do listen to audiobooks here and there. The most recent one I liked is “Call Me Ted”, which is the autobiography of Ted Turner.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
So many, I don’t think there are any successful entrepreneurs who don’t have a list.The biggest mistake I’ve ever made is thinking about the money as opposed to thinking about serving a community of people. -Ron Stefanski Click To Tweet
I’ve made countless websites that I thought would be profitable, but I never stopped to focus on who I was helping and why my website would be ideal for them.
Please share some idea of revenue.
My first launch made me about $550. I’ve since revised my course and adjusted the pricing. I’ve become more confident in the pricing and consistently sell 3-4 courses a month for about $450-$600 in total revenue.
Interestingly though, I’ve also been writing blogger income reports on my website since I started in 2014 every single month, so that’s a great place to look if you’re wondering how my path has evolved from spending $500/month to making over $20,000 per month with my portfolio of blogs/websites.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
My wife and I have used the proceeds from my course sales and portfolio of websites to purchase a house. We’re very strongly considering purchasing another property in Puerto Rico very soon. We’d like to spend half of the year there and half of the year in Illinois, my home state.
Aside from that, I’m a very big believer in reinvesting business profits to continually grow and for us. The course sales and overall revenue help us continually grow the business larger each year.
I didn’t get to quit my job due to the funds. That’s because I didn’t (quickly) make a lot of revenue from what I was doing. In my first year, I lost $1,500 and in my second year, I made $5500. In my third year, I earned a more meaningful income of $34,000. So I was not an overnight success. A lot of hard work led me to where I am today.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
I have a few other numbers that I think are notable.
First, I have over 65,000 students on Udemy. A big reason for this is that I’ve created a number of mini-course that I give away for free. These people then sign up for the courses. Once a week I give them free content leading to my YouTube videos and website. This typically leads to them learning more about me. It also results in additional email subscribers and ultimately, more purchases of my paid course.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
I’m a pretty simple guy. I just love the fact that people are willing to hear me talk about online business for 3-4 hours. It’s grown my confidence and allowed me to be comfortable with creating more courses in the future.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
I basically told a student of mine they were completely on the wrong path and told them to adjust their strategy. Thankfully, they listened! They adjusted their strategy and focused on a completely different strategy/website. Last I heard they were making between $3000 – $4000 per month. They haven’t quit their job yet, but they’re growing very quickly in their niche. They continue to impress me with their dedication and hard work.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
The advice I give to every single person who starts this is that they need to understand that success takes time.
When they start any project, they need to be willing to work an entire year on the project with little to no expectations of income. If they are willing to do this for an entire year and continue to push and work hard, I’ve found that they typically find some level of success by the end of that first year. But the key is for people to work hard the entire year and if they do that, they’ll see success.
Learn More about Ron Stefanski of One Hour Professor:
- Website: onehourprofessor.com