From Helicopters to Online Courses: How a Flight Instructor Earned Millions on Kajabi
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In 2012, 58-year old certified helicopter flight instructor Kenny Keller was on the brink of losing his brick-and-mortar helicopter business because of the high expenses required to keep it open.
So naturally, he searched for other possible revenue streams. Keller decided to join Kajabi, an online video education platform for content creators to sell, manage and market their online courses. A day after launching, Keller made close to $1,000 on the platform.
“My whole livelihood is Kajabi and I started with nothing,” Keller told dot.LA. “I’ve bought a home on a lake, I bought this hangar, I've got a Corvette sitting outside. You know I've rebuilt my whole entire life 100% with Kajabi.”
According to Keller, his video series, “Helicopter Online Ground School (HOGS)” aims to help members around the world learn the knowledge areas to become a helicopter pilot. Prior to HOGS, if a person wanted to become a pilot, Keller said the only options were to study through textbooks or pay an instructor to teach them to you.
To date, Keller has uploaded over 650 videos, has a community of 5,000 followers who have purchased his courses, and has generated two million dollars in revenue.
The platform offers users a basic ($149), growth ($199) and pro ($399) monthly subscription. In addition, creators have access to a toolkit that includes a website builder, email marketing software, sales funnel software, a payment gateway, as well as analytical tools to help them determine the best sales strategy. And unlike other social media platforms that take a cut, Kajabi creators keep 100% of their earnings.
“We have over 60,000 customers and they come in all different shapes and sizes,” said Kajabi Vice President of Product Marketing Tamara Grominsky. “Some of them are coaches, some of them are marketers who are teaching marketing skills, some of them are helping people learn how to knit and so the types of businesses they have are really reflective in our packages. And so that's why we offer three different packages so that they can really find one that works for them.”
Wendy Conklin, another successful creator on the platform created “DIY Upholstery”—a series of courses to help artists and beginners learn how to upholster their own chair. Conklin, 53, is a former educator turned Etsy seller and content creator.
“It took me about six years to be able to quit my day job,” Conklin told dot.LA. “It was a hard journey because I didn't charge enough for my chairs which is something that a lot of creatives have problems with.”
Since starting in 2019, Conklin has added other courses on fabrics, pattern mixing, the use of color and business and she earned $32,000 in her first week. Unlike Keller who has uploaded hundreds of videos, Conklin has 9 courses on her feed.
Still, Conklin has reached over 7,000 followers and has earned $1.5 million on the platform. Conklin’s work has been featured in various publications such as Forbes, HGTV Magazine, and Apartment Therapy.
“I knew of some other platforms like Teachable and Thinkific,” Conklin said, “but I really chose Kajabi because I didn't want to deal with any tech issues. I just wanted to do content.”
Last Month, Kajabi launched a beta version of its AI-powered Creator Studio which transcribes video and identifies key sentences in a script to help creators build a summary of their potential video or course.
Grominsky said the Kajabi team found that it takes over 80 hours to create one online course. But with the addition of this new feature she hopes to help minimize the time it takes for creators like Conklin and Keller to brainstorm and focus on making more content.
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