I love entrepreneurial success stories! Today I’ll be interviewing my friend Ron Douglas who found a cooking niche that was all but untapped. And he’s not a trained chef by any means!
You’ll discover how he came up with this brilliant idea and wrote “America’s Most Wanted Recipes” which started as an eBook and became a New York Times Best Seller, selling 1.5 million copies to date. But he didn’t just rest on his laurels – he developed an entire community around his love of cooking which brings in 7 figures annually.
And he now hosts an annual training conference called WebinarCon, the premier networking and educational event for online presentations, which brings together the top online marketers and entrepreneurs in the industry, which has become another million dollar business for him. Prepare to be inspired!
WebinarCon 2022 – Save $1500 with Early Bird Registration
Ron Douglas’ Website
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Hey guys, this is Dr. Mike Woo-Ming. Welcome to another edition of Bootstrap MD. I’m super excited to have on the call. What I consider one of the OGs or involved in internet marketing back in the day. And we’ve been friends for often our many years. We would see each other at different conferences. And I said, Ron, I need to get you on.
This call because you have such an inspirational story. He’s a former wall street, financial analyst who got an MBA. And before realizing he was miserable in the corporate world. And one more time to spend with his family. He started becoming started doing entrepreneur stuff back in the late nineties, started marketing products as early as 2001.
Because he found a niche that he was really, he found a niche that people would want the information that this niche provided. And that was in the recipe arena in, into cooking. And he self published a cookbook called America’s most wanted recipes that became a New York times best seller.
Since then, he’s done such an enormous amount of things from creating information, products and courses. And now he has. A seminar, a program called webinar con we’re gonna find out more about it. That’s coming at the, in the fall of this year. So I’d like to welcome to the program. Ron Douglas, Ron, how are you doing?
Ron Douglas: Doing great. Thank you, Dr. Mike, it’s always great to be with you. Thank you.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I consider you the OGs because we go to these different conferences and we see these let’s say, younger marketers, younger millennials, and they. What I’ve found at least some of the ones that I go to is they’re not necessarily entrepreneurial they’re working for a company or, getting involved in the tech space.
And I think there’s something really maybe I’m romanticizing it a bit about, but those days when we had, we were creating products and courses and just life caution to the wind sometimes and launching the, these big projects. I want to take it back to the late nineties. We talked about it in your bio.
You were in wall street. And then tell me about how you were disenchanted by the corporate world. Because on our program, we have a lot of doctors and healthcare professionals. They’re making good money, but they’re not necessarily excited about the job. And they’re looking for other ways to generate revenue.
One of them in particular is developing your own online business. So let’s talk about it. How did you get started?
Ron Douglas: Yeah, man, the old days back in the late nineties, early two thousands, man, I missed those days too. There was no social media. There was no easy way to find customers. There was no Google.
There was no YouTube and, and we just really had each other, we had online communities like the warrior forum and we had places where our audience would hang out and we’d be able to tap into those audiences. But the good thing, like traffic was a lot cheap. Back then. And then you had people that had traffic already that you could get to be affiliates of yours and promote your product.
And it’s just a matter, it was just a matter of finding a product that sold, but the numbers back then were a lot less. Like I look at the the NBA. I know you’re a fellow NBA fan. You look at some of the salaries that these players are getting in 50 million a year to, come off the bench seems to miss a lot of shot Russell, Westbrook’s getting 47 million and he can’t, he’s shooting 18% from three.
So it’s like Westbrook . Yeah. Westbrook. Yeah. You don’t let him hear you say that. So it’s… the numbers like back then, we were just trying to get… if we can get just $10,000 a month, like I remember Jeff Walker, his claim, the fame he’s like known for the product launch formula. But prior to that, his claim, the fame was, he was Jeff six and seven.
So he had did six figures and seven days, and that blew everybody away. And that was his kind of tagline. So the numbers were a lot less the opportunity was a lot less and than it is now. So someone getting in the game now. You have a huge opportunity and it’s easy to find your marketplace. They’re all hanging out on Facebook or on, on YouTube or on Twitter or on these different places.
So you could target right into that marketplace. There’s so many communities and so many people, the opportunities are so much bigger now, but yeah, I got started, I was started out just selling. How to make money online products. And I wasn’t really making a whole lot of money online and that didn’t work out too well.
So I was really looking for something. I was an affiliate on this network called Click Bank. Click Bank is a marketplace where you could find different products to promote, or you could list your product for sale and affiliates that want to promote, wanna find a product to promote, can find you and get what’s called an affiliate link.
Where they can get a commission for promoting your product. And it’s mostly digital products on there, some supplements, but some of these products are doing $40,000 a day. Like these guys are a huge billion dollar network. So I was a click bank affiliate promoting other people’s products. And I was just looking for something to promote.
So I was interested in cooking. So I was like, what can I promote outside of make money online? What can I do? So I did some research and I started to find out that people were always looking for these recipes for their favorite restaurant dishes, like chain restaurants, the popular ones, red lobster, olive garden, cheesecake factory, KFC, all these places.
And then I started doing additional research and a lot of people had published their version of different recipes. And then I did even more research and I found that there’s no real copy. On recipes. You could take, literally take a recipe, try it out, change, switch up some ingredients, and then it becomes your recipe or change the wording.
And, as long as you, you could put your own spin on it and not use someone’s word for word recipe, then recipe is no copyright. So started doing research and I said, okay, this will be a great little niche to create a little ebook about and sell it on ClickBank. And that’s what I did. And I was working at JP Morgan chase at the time.
And one day I just logged in and then it was like, looked at my email account. It was like sale sell. I’m like, oh my God, people are buying this thing. And it was awful. It was… Mike. When I tell you it was awful, it was God awful. It had the sales page had Microsoft clip art on it. As graphics, it was done in front page.
The ebook cover looked real like ghetto the whole thing. And I had no idea, but I was charging $20 for this thing. And people were buying it because it was the angle. It was the offer. People wanted to know how to make secret restaurant recipes. And I had a book with 19 recipes in it for 20 books and it just started selling and then other sites were promoting.
Sending me traffic and I was getting sales and I’m like, wow, I’m onto something. A light bulb went off. And I just started focusing on my time on building that up. I create turned it into a real self-published cookbook, started selling it on Amazon, added like a hundred recipes to it and, hired some outside chefs, to come in.
I started building an email list off of that, built this big community. And by 2004, I was making more from that than I was making from my job. And then I start now, I was always like heavy networking with different marketers, trying to learn what they were doing. And then Tom bill, a fellow friend of ours, he exposed me to the idea that he put the seed.
He planted the seed to say, this is much bigger. And little eBooks on ClickBank are selling this on Amazon. You can actually get some, get publicity from this. At the time he was working with Jim Kelly, the former football player, and he was helping him get marketing and publicity and stuff.
And he told me that and light bulb went off and I’m like, wow. So I hired a publicist. The publicist went out, the publicist introduced me to a literary agent, ended up getting my first. TV interview on Fox business. And this was in 2000. I remember that. Yeah, 2008. And they ran with the story former wall street guy.
By that time I got laid off. I got laid off in 2007, I guess they figured out I had another gig or whatever. And they said former wall street guy leaves his job on wall street to pursue his passion of cooking. And I wasn’t a cook or anything. I was a, just an online,
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I was gonna ask you what you’re passionate about.
Ron Douglas: Yeah. Yeah. So I had started taking cooking lessons just so I wouldn’t embarrass myself on television. So I got that TV interview and we parlayed that into a book proposal. I hire a literary agent, ended up getting a book deal with Simon and shoes to do two books, six figure advance from that. And long story short that took off, I’ve done six books with Simon Schuster got two more book deals from them.
And collectively we sold over 1.5 million copies. Of that wow. Book series. And then from there, naturally people wanted to know like, how did you do this? So I started actually teaching what I did, teaching people how to self-publish teaching people how to get publicity, teaching people, how to build an audience online.
And then I started doing webinars and actually made more teaching what I know and coaching people than from actually doing it. And I made, a lot of money doing, I still get royalty checks from that. So that’s the short version of long story.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I love that. One thing you mentioned is you weren’t a cook. You were. Passionate about it. So how did you how did you get your first recipes? Were you, did you find stuff online and then had your own take on it? Were you experimenting at home and try to figure out the Colonel Sanders secrets?
Ron Douglas: Yeah, the Colonel Sanders one really took off. Yeah. That was the one I spent the most time on.
I had bunch of different versions of it and. As I mentioned, people were researching these and publishing their results online and these like little message boards and whatnot. So I would just take their results as a base and then say, okay, maybe it needs more of this, less of that.
Me and my wife were just in the kitchen doing that, but not all the recipes we did, we’ve published hundreds of recipes. So not all of them were that process. Some of them would just, research and having some chefs help us out test it out for us and things like that.
When you decided to… You had a conversation with Tom, be I’m curious as to how you decided to go legit because back in the day, I came from the Frank Kern school of creating these little niches. I created these eBooks and a whole bunch of different markets specif specifically in the dog training area.
But I never went and even thought about, going on Fox Business or CNN or wherever, what made you decide? Was it just that one conversation with Tom or did you feel that, You legitimize what you were doing in some way what triggered it? Because most people wouldn’t take it to that arena.
Yeah. Yeah. I was also at that event, I was friends with Mike and he introduced me to his publicist and the publicist was the one that convinced me, like I can get cuz he had, a lot of connections in New York city. I was living in on long island at the time and he convinced me like the media would love this story.
So I just took a blind leap of faith, paid him, let him do his thing. And he started giving me all these interviews. So just a matter of knowing it was possible. And then when the opportunity arose saying yes to it, and then just, sometimes when you’re ex in the room with people doing things that you want to do, opportunities like that come up and it just expands your mind.
That’s why I do my own events now. Like people come to my events. Find different opportunities and make deals and their mind get exp expand minds, get expanded to what’s possible and just creates an environment where, forest is a certain amount of success afterwards. So someone who’s listening to this program, they’re saying, Hey, that sounds great, Ron you stumbled onto a niche.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: You were lucky because you found them something that’s untapped and today there’s so many niches that, that are already exhausted and they’re already being fulfilled. What would you say to someone like that?
Ron Douglas: I would say that you’re not really understanding how big the marketplace is and how big the opportunity is.
They’re a lot of niches, but they’re not, it can’t be enough sellers to saturate it. Cause here’s the thing, if you say you want, you’re an expert in something, and you’re looking at all these other experts and they’re selling their products. Once you start putting your expertise out there, first of all, there are a lot of people that never seen those guys or just didn’t, they didn’t resonate with those folks, but they might like you and your personality and like your, what you’re offering and you’re offering how you’re positioning things in your brand.
So you could build your own tribe of people that are connected. With you no matter who else is out there selling, and it’s never enough sellers to fulfill this huge trend of people, looking for online education, looking for products, looking for an expert to help them achieve their goals, looking for solutions to their problems.
So the other thing I would say is most people are afraid to put their product out there, put themselves out there, put their information out there to stake their claim as an expert in something. So that just gives you an advantage. If it’s wide open, if you’re willing to do it because most people won’t, right.
It creates a natural barrier of entry for people doing that. So if you really believe, and really I got someone once told me, like you, if you have something that can help people. Every day that you don’t put it out, you’re being selfish. You owe it to those people to offer that help, to put your stuff out there, to make a difference in people’s lives.
If you genuinely have a solution that can help people. So it’s the way I look at it and it’s just, put it out there and the people that like you will like you and buy your products!
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: And like it yourself. I like to say if you. If you wanna go into this niche, you should be comfortable getting on stage, and talking about that niche, and then you took it to the nth degree you got on, for millions of people can see you, but even then you had some kind of reservations. You said you took some cooking lessons why don’t you you expand on that? Yeah. Yeah.
Ron Douglas: Yeah. They told me I had a live cooking demonstration on Wendy Williams. Yeah. and I was like, oh my God, I’m gonna get embarrassed if I don’t have my stuff together. So I just, prepared. I had the opportunity. I said yes, but I made sure I prepared for it, by taking some cooking lessons by practicing ahead of time, things like that. So you don’t wanna just go in there blind, you wanna say yes, but give yourself an opportunity to prepare.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: So tell me, what’s a typical day. You don’t have you don’t working for anybody else.
You’re your own boss? Sometimes I hate my boss because I love my boss. Cause I’m my own boss. How does that work for you? And you had mentioned that this business help put your kids through college and living the lifestyle that you’re leading.
Ron Douglas: Yeah, absolutely. Typical day is I usually generally work from maybe 8 to about 3 or 4. And I just try to focus on working, offer a to-do list of things I need to get done. I have several different companies going on. One is a startup right now that I’m trying to get off the ground.
So that’s taking up some of my time. Another one is the webinar con event. Where I mentioned alluded to earlier where all the webinar people come and that, that really heats up as we get closer to the event, date November, but right now we’re selling sponsorships. So I have my partners on that and, it takes a certain amount of discipline and you really have to be focused on, setting a goal and saying, I’m gonna take these steps to get it.
I’m gonna work through this checklist. I usually try to make a checklist the night before of what I want to get done. I try to knock it out and then I go reward myself. I go for a run or I go to the gym or go get some food or go get, hang out with my wife or something like that. But it’s a lot different than working in a corporate type of environment or working in a nine to five where, you have that accountability there, like having your own boss, you have to be accountable to yourself.
So I’m also, I have some assistants that work with me and I’m always Making sure that I have them doing something. So I’m not just paying them for nothing. So that keeps me, with something on the, to do list that needs to get done as well.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I’ve been there and done that with an assistant. So they’re like, okay, now what else can I get her to do? \
Ron Douglas: And having partners works too, like having partners that you keep each other accountable and focused on certain. And I like what I do. It’s just, it’s fun. I’m building stuff. I’m my own boss.
And, it’s a fun thing. It’s like kind of building a Treehouse, when you’re building a Treehouse, you’re not really counting the hours, you’re just looking at it. And at the end of it, you see this thing you created and it’s just a good feeling. So I do that over and over again.
I’m building, treehouses, I’m building, different products. I’m doing online events, like summits and different things like that. So it. It’s, it’s always something new and exciting and webinars too. Give me a certain amount of, doing a webinar online, having an audience that’s there to listen to you and being able to give value and sell something right in front of that audience, where they vote, they vote to say, I like you, they vote with their wallets, right? At the end of that presentation, you see a bunch of people buying and, it feels great to be able to just create something out of thin air, like create an information product just off of the knowledge that you have and record videos and put it in a members area and selling people, access, selling logins to it.
And then they like your presentation and like what you’re selling and see how it can help. See, they see how it can help them. And then they buy. It’s wow that worked. I just created something from nothing. So it’s a good feeling always to do.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: So let’s talk about a webinar as a sales tool. I’ve been involved in business for a long time. We’re using webinars, at the beginning early, I would say, 2008, 2009, 2010 doing really well with webinars and then. My perception or maybe other perceptions, other people’s perception, webinars was dead. People say you can no long lo longer do them. What is the status of webinars today?
Obviously you have an event called Webinar Concierge. You’re obviously, still feel that it’s an important tool. Talk about that.
Ron Douglas: Yeah. Yeah. The people that were saying webinars were dead, were doing webinars over and over again, and more and more webinars were coming on the market being presented to the same people.
So we’re people were still making money with it, but not as much money as before cuz these folks, the same little pocket of customers were getting saturated with seeing the same type of sales presentations. And originally they thought a webinar was gonna be this. Where they were gonna learn X, Y, Z.
And it was gonna be transformative and all that stuff. And then they were like all of these webinars, they’re teaching a little bit, but then they’re pitching their offers. So that audience got jaded, but the Internet’s a big place, and there’s people out there now, like webinars are still doing well because there’s people out there like my partner with webinar called Onyx, Andal just bringing new blood into the marketplace, running a tremendous amount of ads, mass market, just bringing new people in.
So there’s more people than ever. And, webinar is just a meeting room, a online meeting room. So people saying webinars are dead. That would be just like saying, selling from the stage is dead. Like it’s not, it’s just a tool for delivering your message and your offer.
It’s nothing more than that. So a webinar can never be dead. Webinar is just a tool to get people in a room to listen to you. What’s always gonna be alive, is The message that the people that you’re targeting the offer, how you can help people, people are still buying information products like the e-learning market.
For instance, I think it’s already a scheduled to be a billion dollar a day market. So it’s huge out there. So I don’t think webinar is a debtor. I don’t think they can be dead. It’s just a matter. What are you selling? How are you positioning it? How you are you actually helping people and do people have a good experience on your webinar if they do they’ll come back.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: So you’ve got webinar con coming in November. Tell us what was the Genesis of this this seminar and what can we hope to expect if we would like to attend to this.
Ron Douglas: Yeah. So webinar con actually bought the domain webinar con.com in 2017 and sat on the idea. I was becoming a webinar expert that was like my wheelhouse doing webinars.
And webinars were an easy way to get people to promote you, right? Because people are willing to promote a presentation because they can position it to their audiences, not just another sales pitch. This is a presentation with these experts coming on to teach you X, Y, Z. So it’s much easier to get someone to promote your webinar usually than to say, just send your customers to my sales page and, we’ll make money that way.
So it’s webinars a scene still seeing as a content event, if you do it right. And if you market it… that was one of my things. I would get people to promote my webinar and I would give them a commission and I became good at doing that. And I would take some of that money reinvested into ads, YouTube ads, Facebook ads, and, I had, what’s called an evergreen webinar that would play just in time, every 15 or 30 minutes, and people could watch the on-dem presentation.
And that was like my sales system that was going on and I got pretty good at. And I started teaching people how to do it, started doing like little mastermind events. So we would piggyback off of other events, like the big event in San Diego, Traffic And Conversion summit, their event would be like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
We would come in, do a weekend prior to that, like the weekend before and have our mastermind event because we knew a lot of people were gonna be there and they could come to our mastermind event. So we would piggyback off of big events and do it that way. And I was teaching webinars and traffic. And then they made a post one day. He has this big thing called the learn center in Maryland 26,000 square foot facility where I’ve been there. yeah, but in an event room it’s huge. He could fit like 125 people in this event room. So he made a post saying that asking if anyone wanted to rent out his event room.
To do an event. And I was just getting no on it, getting in good with him. And I said, sure, I’d love to do an event there. And he’s what kind of event? And I was like I do these masterminds, weekend masterminds, teaching people, webinars. He’s oh, I love webinars. I made a lot of money with webinars, you.
And he said Andy has song also approached me with that potential idea of doing a webinar. And Andy was brokering webinars. So he was the guy that would match people up. Like you promote his webinar, he’ll promote your webinar. You both make money. I’ll take, he takes a commission, like a referral fee from both sides.
So usually 10% from both sides. So that was his business. So I approached Andy and I was friends with Andy because he had brokered a few of my webinars and I said, Hey, you wanna partner up and do this. He was like, sure. Let’s do it. So we approached on with the idea. How much is it two nights at your place?
Two days he was like… 25 grand or something like, whoa, dude. so it was more than we were looking to pay. So we were like, we’re all friends here, but honestly that was more than we were looking to pay. He was like here’s what I’ll do. I like it so much. I’ll partner with you guys on it.
And that became, and I was like let’s name it… webinarcon already have the domain. And they loved it. And that became the first webinar con. So we were able to do that event six days before the building shut down, like literally 20, 26 days before the building shut down for the pandemic. And we squeezed it in and it was a great success.
We had a whole lot of cause. The topic of webinars, it attracts high level people. Because most people, like I mentioned are afraid to put the, put themselves out there to speak to a group of people, to come on a webinar and present, or to speak from a stage it’s like a huge fear that people have.
But the people that do that are usually high level people. So we started getting all these high level people signing up for webinar con. They came to the event and it became the event for webinar marketers and the event that you go to, where there’s all high level people like you don’t have to, worry about.
Finding the people you wanna talk to, they’re all there for you. And they’re all interested in doing deals and webinars and topics. And we have great speakers. It’s no, it’s a no pitch event, just all content. And it’s a $5,000 event, but we have people that come there and make deals and product launches off of those deals.
And, make Joel Peterson’s a fellow friend of. You can ask Joel, he’s like literally made a million over a million dollars off of the people that the contacts he met at webinar con we have several stories like that. And we have scores of people that have made hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There’s people that are making more off the event than we do. And it feels good to bring them together like that. So that’s webinar con it’s an event where you learn about webinars. It’s an event where we have some facilitated networking components to it, where we can match you up with the people you want to meet.
You can do deals. If you’re an agency, you run an agency like an ad agency, you can come find clients, different things like that. So everybody has a benefit from it and it makes the, amount that they pay for the ticket. And it’s all, it’s a small event. It’s like a hundred to 150. We’re respecting 150 people this year.
We keep it intimate and we keep it just high level people.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: And what are the dates and where do they go and find out more information.
Ron Douglas: It’s November 18th through the 20th. If you’re watching this, I don’t know when you’ll be watching this, but right now we actually have an early bird page set up. If you go to webinarcon.com, you can just put your name on the waiting list, but if you want to get the early bird offer, it’s actually $1,500 off. You can go to webinarcon.com and you could see all the details and get your early bird ticket for $1,500 off.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: That’s obviously it sounds like it’s great. It’s for it’s for high end marketers, right? Is that would be the best candidate for someone to come like this.
Ron Douglas: Yeah.High end marketers, anyone, looking to learn webinars on a high level, like we’re just looking for high level people. You don’t necessarily have to be a marketer.
You could actually find someone there that’s a marketer that maybe you wanna partner with to do your marketing. There’s people like that, agencies like that there, just someone that just looking to get themselves out there to reach a market of people to build their tribe, to, help people on a higher level.
People that are professionals would be great, have something to share. We don’t frown on anybody, but those are the type of people that usually come to webinar.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: And do you have to be a Celtic fan or a Laker fan? .
Ron Douglas: You gotta be a Knicks fan that narrows a like thousand unfortunate people.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: That’s wonderful. Thanks Ron. Again also, you’ve got your website too. Ron douglas.com, where they can find out more information about your courses. You do a lot in terms of tell me about other stuff that you teach. You. You talk a lot about information products, correct?
Ron Douglas: Yeah. Yeah. We teach how to do online courses, how to put that together.
That’s like we do these private trainings for that. If anybody’s interested, you could reach out to me. We do coaching for that as well. I’m actually rolling out a new program called course agents. So course agents is gonna be the call center for people who sell courses. So we’re gonna have people that do live chat, people that pick up the phone and take orders right over the phone.
Most people. Or just selling online and missing out on a huge opportunity. Cuz some folks just wanna talk to somebody over the phone and some folks that they see a phone number and it legitimizes what you’re doing. So we’re offering these type of call center and VA services specifically for the course market at the course agents that’s actually launching in another two weeks or so.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: So I’m looking forward to that. All right. You’re here to hear first. Thanks Ron. I know you’re busy. You got lot of. Lot of lot of businesses. You gotta ride lot of fingers in lots of different jars. Thank you again. Is there any last minute thoughts before we end the call?
Ron Douglas: I just wanna say thank you. And guys watching this, you should be encouraged. You guys are following Dr. Mike, this guy’s a legend. I know he is very humble, but Mike, Dr. Mike was one of the people I followed when I first got started. He was one of the big gurus. And he’s found his niche with you guys now and helping you guys.
So you guys are doing the right thing and just stick with it. The market is huge. It’s bigger than you think it is. And if you want to get involved just one step at a time. If you put three things on a list and knock those things out every day, that’s 90 things done every month and you’re on your way.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Ron, thank you so much. Thanks everybody for listening. As Ron says, you have ups and downs as an entrepreneur, you’ll have great days and you’ll have kind of sucky days, but as long as you do something, get your goals accomplished and keep moving forward.