How I Help People
Create And Grow Online Businesses
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Ron Stefanski, and I’m the founder of OneHourProfessor.com, which helps people create and grow online businesses.
Beyond that, I’m an 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 and own a media company which consists of a portfolio of websites ranging from 250,000 visitors to a couple of thousand visitors monthly.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
For a long time, my professional career was meandering along a sales path that I wasn’t interested in. In total, I spent around seven years in sales and though I always did a decent job, it wasn’t something that I enjoyed.
In 2008, right before the housing crisis, I voluntarily left my position in sales to collect a small severance and move to another employer.
Looking back, this was a big mistake at the time because I couldn’t find someone else to employ me but it was also a blessing in disguise. It was during this time that I tried to create my first website, which was focused on helping people who were unemployed and was ultimately a failure.
But, there was a lot of good that came out of that because it got me involved with the idea of building websites for a living, and although the site wasn’t successful, I was interested in understanding how to get people to view the website.
Due to my curiosity, I decided to make a career change and focus on internet marketing. In order to get that job, I lied about my experience in internet marketing to make myself seem like more of a specialist that I really was (I had to get an “in” somehow!) and ended up getting a position as an Internet marketing coordinator.
For me, this was my opportunity to learn more about the subject on someone else’s dime. I dove into Internet marketing as deeply as I could. At this time, I was also in school to get my MBA with a focus in marketing so I was completely immersed in the topic.
After getting my MBA, I left my position and started to work at a digital marketing agency that helped brands with their Google Adwords accounts. From there, I went to a startup as a marketing manager and left that position to eventually get to a corporate digital marketing manager level for a large family of private schools.
The idea for the One Hour Professor website came to me while I was working as a corporate digital marketing manager. The idea was pretty simple, I had a lot of knowledge about Internet marketing as a whole and wanted to try to create one hour long courses to sell to people.
The reason why I created this brand is that I felt that most of the people teaching this stuff weren’t necessarily qualified like I was. I had years of experience at an agency and was also teaching Internet marketing at a few different colleges.
This was ultimately a huge failure because I didn’t have any credibility in the space and no connections- coming out of nowhere, I was largely ignored. I stopped working on that project and instead focused on creating successful websites that were completely unrelated to the online business niche. I was able to create one, and then another, and then another, and eventually had a full portfolio of multiple successful websites and a staff to support my efforts.
In early 2020, my wife reminded me that I should try to relaunch the One Hour Professor brand, and here we are today.
The difference now is that I have a very successful portfolio of websites that drives revenue somewhere between $20,000 – $30,000 every single month, so I have some credibility.
Something that’s unique about me is that my business was built on transparency. If you have an interest in seeing how much money I’m making (and investing) every month you should check out my blog income reports.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
For me, the biggest problem that I faced with my blog when I first launched is that I wasn’t successful in the things I was trying to give advice about. My goal was to help other people create and grow successful online businesses, but I hadn’t even created one myself.
I didn’t have the feeling that I was completely clueless on this stuff because I spent so many years in digital marketing with my career, but I realized that in order for other people to trust me I needed to be successful myself.
When you compared me to other people, they all had testimonials and case studies indicating that they were successful at their craft and I didn’t. The competition in online business is pretty difficult and I just wasn’t established or successful.
Who is your target market?
My target market for my brand is individuals who are looking to leave their full-time job and want to start a blog on the side while they’re still employed. The truth is, I know exactly how this feels and spent years in corporate positions that didn’t fulfil me. In fact, one of the biggest motivations for me to work for myself was to get away from my daily commute.
I’d say that the characteristics of my customer are that they have always been entrepreneurial in nature, are located within the United States, and are willing to work their butt off to achieve their goals.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
For me, the name of the game is SEO. Every single website in my portfolio has had a focus on finding ways to get search engines to like the content that I create.
This is definitely easier said than done, but my years of experience in online marketing have allowed me to understand exactly what I need to do in order to get near the top of search results.
Aside from that, I also use Facebook groups quite a bit and utilize email marketing as well. While all of these different marketing tactics are important, I definitely say that SEO is the biggest factor for me.
I should also note that I started a YouTube channel this year as well which has been a difficult but fun project. It’s definitely increased my audience size and has led to more opportunities than I would’ve had without it.For anyone out there looking to create a YouTube channel, realize that it’s a big challenge but totally worth it. For me, the biggest challenge was finding a decent youtube video editing software, but once I figured that out I was good.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
In order to keep people in my ecosystem, I try to sign them up for my email list and make an effort to publish three different YouTube videos every single week. Every time I publish a YouTube video, I push a notification to my email list as well.
In addition to that, I also use an exclusive Facebook group to get people who have taken my course into a community of people that are on the same path. I found that doing this is a great way to build a community around the business that I’m developing.
On a side note for anyone looking to make a course yourself, you may want to check out my guide to find the right online course platform.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
My company is pretty unique in that it’s 100% remote.
I have one full-time employee and the rest of my employees work somewhere between 10 to 30 hours a week part-time. I have some employees in the United States, and I have other employees located elsewhere throughout the world.
To be honest, I haven’t done the greatest job of creating a company culture which I find difficult because of the fact that everyone is working remotely. But, I do feel that I have a very good relationship with all of my employees and while they may not be conversing with each other, they do converse with me often and I always make a point to tell them how much I appreciate their hard work.
I do think I’m a little bit unique in that I’ve been able to retain many of my employees for multiple years and that’s because I give them yearly reviews and also consistently praise them for the work that they do. I think that just telling someone that you appreciate everything they’re doing is a tactic that many businesses don’t do and something that they should do more of.
I’ve had many of my employees tell me that they love working with me and they’ve actually left higher-paying opportunities to work more on my projects because they like the way that I manage. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
I have quite a few different platforms that I used to keep my business running smoothly.
- Thrive Themes: This platform helps me give all of my websites a professional look with a drag-and-drop builder and other tools to give my business some really great functionality. ( I made a Thrive Themes review here)
- Active Campaign: This is my preferred email solution. It’s a little bit more costly than some other platforms out there, but at this point, with my business, I need a lot of different functionality than many of the simple email marketing tools don’t offer.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking: One of the secret weapons of my online business is this tool. It helps me dictate all of my blog posts when I create them and allows me to create 150 WPM or more. This post about writing blog posts fast shows the tool in action. Fun fact, I wrote this whole interview in 20 minutes and, you guessed it, I used this tool to dictate it.
- Siteground: I’m a big fan of Siteground hosting for all of my website hosting needs. I’ve had them for years and have been able to scale with them significantly over time.
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
I think that one of the biggest mistakes I ever made was taking too long to get started. I really began my online business journey when I was 30 years old and I can only imagine where I would be now if I would’ve started this when I was 20. The truth is, the interest was always there but I was too intimidated by the idea of having to code to create a website!
Nowadays, there are plenty of tools out there that make it so you don’t even need to code to make an amazing website and this has made it much easier for me.
Another big mistake is the fact that I’ve consistently gotten shiny object syndrome and bounced from one project to another. This is definitely a very common issue with most entrepreneurs and the easiest way to avoid it is to have discipline and focus.For a very long time, I didn’t have that and I wasted many hours on dumb projects that I never should’ve decided to create. I’ve gotten better with this and now I’m much more productive.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
For me, my favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is freedom. I have the freedom to work from wherever I want in the world as long as I have a computer and an Internet connection.I have the freedom to work on whatever project I’m passionate about and not have to answer to anybody on whether or not it’s a good idea.
Lastly, I have financial freedom because my business has grown large and every hour I put into my business rewards me directly when it’s productive.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I’d say that my least favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is the risk. Ideally, my business would have absolutely no risk at all, but that’s not realistic. Every entrepreneur has some level of risk that they’re faced with every day and I’m no different.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
The one book that I did read which really made a lasting impression on me was The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris.
I’m not much of a reader aside from a blog post once in a while but I am a huge fan of podcasts. In terms of the podcasts that I enjoy, I’d have to say :
- My First Million
- Hotboxin with Mike Tyson
- Authority Hacker Podcast
- Smart Passive Income
- This is Success.
You’ll notice that only one of my podcasts isn’t business-related and that’s because I genuinely have an interest in business as a whole. These podcasts have helped me think outside the box and allowed me to navigate the issues associated with entrepreneurship.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
At this point, I’m trying to reduce the number of websites that I have in my overall portfolio. I did a very good job of building a huge website portfolio of successful websites and although that’s gone well, I’d like to reduce the number of websites that I manage to around 2-3 total.
My goal is to put a team in place at each of the websites so that I’m barely involved in the day to day management and just meet with my site managers once per week to discuss projects and future plans.
I’m working hard on my personal brand right now (OneHourProfessor.com) to further diversify my risk and income streams.
I don’t really set revenue goals, as crazy as that sounds, I just focus on creating value for my audiences and revenue typically follows. If I had to throw out a number, in three years I’d like to be making at least $40,000 every single month.