ron-stefanski

Start. For years I worked in corporate America and was too hesitant. I made the leap to self-employment in 2014 and have never looked back. My biggest regret is I didn’t try sooner.

Ron Stefanski is an internet marketing consultant, college marketing professor, and runs a portfolio of successful websites focused on helping people and building communities. He spent 8+ years in the corporate marketing space until he became self-employed in 2014. He is the co-founder of GoodNewsGum.com.

Where did the idea for your website, GoodNewsGum.com come from?

The idea for this website was pretty simple really. I couldn’t handle all of the negative news that mainstream media reports on every day. I knew there had to be good news out there, but I definitely wasn’t hearing about it. After researching for others in the “Good News” niche, I discovered that many existed but I had never heard of any of them. At that point I realized that there is no leader in “Good News” for the internet and I decided that I was going t work with my co-founder to out-market everyone else and make us the #1 source for good news.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

To be honest, my typical day is pretty scattered because I am always working on two or three projects at a time. Most days I wake up at around 8:00am, exercise at 2:00pm, and stop at 5:00pm. I always take a three to four hour break at that time and then before bed I will review what was accomplished that day and plans for the next day. To me, spending this time to recap what was done and what needs to be done next is a pretty good productivity hack. This way, I tell myself what I have to do that next day and I wake up knowing exactly what needs to be done instead of scrambling to figure it out.

How do you bring ideas to life?

When I have any idea for a website, the first thing I do is find out how big of a market there is. Many people overthink this in my opinion. To really quickly find out if there is a demand for something, all that you need to do is complete some keyword research and if keywords related to your idea are over 10,000 per month, I think that’s a good indication that a demand exists. From there, I figure out how the business venture could make money. Because I focus exclusively on websites, this can sometimes be a challenge and you need to be creative. After that is done, I’ll look at who the competition is and figure out what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. If there is some competition, I consider that a good thing as it shows the market for my product/service/website exists. If there is no competition, I’m either being really creative or not looking hard enough. I don’t really like when I don’t find any competition, that may mean that the idea is a bad one as most ideas aren’t original anymore.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Mobile device usage is a positive trend for websites in my opinion. The fact that we as entrepreneurs can contact them within a specific geographic area is a huge advantage and one that can provide enormous benefits if done correctly.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am extremely competitive. When I look at someone else’s website on a similar topic that I’m working on, I have a killer instinct of sorts. I don’t want to think about “there’s plenty of fish in the pond for everyone”. Instead, I think about how I want all of the fish and to make a superior platform that they pale in comparison to.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Start. For years I worked in corporate America and was too hesitant. I made the leap to self-employment in 2014 and have never looked back. My biggest regret is I didn’t try sooner.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Data always wins. I wouldn’t say “nobody” agrees with me, but I feel strongly that people rely on intuition far too much. Your own opinion or thoughts mean absolutely nothing, what matters is the thoughts of those you are serving. In order to succeed in the digital world, you need to collect data, analyze it, and understand the story that it’s telling. One you know that, adjust your business to accommodate and you will be successful.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Whenever someone starts as an entrepreneur they want everything to happen overnight. Entrepreneurship is NOT an overnight thing, especially when you build website communities. It make take months or even a year for something to begin to succeed, you must have patience during this time.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

One of the strategies that have helped me succeed in the website space is working on things that I’m passionate about. My first website was created to help ex-felons find jobs after leaving prison (JobsForFelonsHub.com) and Good News Gum is focused on delivering positive news to people that makes them smile. In both cases I didn’t start it because I wanted to be super rich. I started it because I saw a need and was frustrated with the way things were being done, so I wanted to change it.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

You’re looking for just one failure?! To be honest, I have had too many failures to count. I guess one was when I created a website about pictures of babies in the womb. Yes, this actually happened. I did it because, well, there was money to be made and after spending around ten hours on it I realized how ridiculous it was and stopped. To overcome a failure like this, I analyze what went wrong and learn a lesson. In my opinion, there is no such thing as failure as long as you learn a lesson and avoid making the same mistake again.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I personally feel like there are so many websites out there that need to be created that it’s staggering. A really easy one is a news outlet focused on bizarre news. In my opinion, all that people need to do is niche down from a large topic and find something that interests them and start.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

For me, it’s been Facebook ads on Good News Gum. For a long time, I loathed Facebook ads as I couldn’t seem to get them to work, but we’ve found a way to really focus our ad budget and $100 recently got us about 500 page likes and our stories have been shared hundreds of time because of that money.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

For me, Todoist. It’s a to-do list application that I have on my smartphone ad computer that syncs in the cloud. I am a big fan of to-do lists and this app is what I refer to every single day to understand what I have to do and what is coming up in the future.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I’m sure many people have said this before, but Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris is still my favorite. It’s what started me down my path and I’m really glad a friend recommended it to me.

What is your favorite quote?

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up” – Babe Ruth I’m a fan of this one because even when I fail, I still learn and move forward and won’t quit. I may quit on a specific business venture if it’s a miserable failure, but I won’t stop trying new ones.

Key learnings:

• If you aren’t driven by data and analytics with your business, you aren’t listening to your customers.
• Niche websites and business ideas are easy to create and so many possibilities are out there to those that are paying attention.
• You’re going to fail over and over again as an entrepreneur. The key thing to remember is that nothing is a failure if you learn a lesson and never make the same mistake again.
• Having patience as an entrepreneur is an absolute necessity. Nothing happens overnight and you may need to wait months or even years until you begin to see success in what you do.

Connect:

https://www.goodnewsgum.com/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronstefanski
Twitter: @rstefanski
GoodNewsGum on Twitter: @GoodNewsGum

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