Earlier this week, WordPress video training site WP101, founded by Shawn Hesketh, turned seven years old. Since launching in 2008, Hesketh’s videos have been viewed more than a million times by over 500k people. He’s also re-recorded the videos that make up the WP101 series 17 times. With seven years of experience under his belt, I asked Hesketh what he would have done differently in the beginning.
“From a technical standpoint, I wish I’d picked a solid membership plugin that would have enabled us to grow. We’re planning a costly migration in the coming months, and a better membership plugin might have saved us the considerable hassle and cost,” Hesketh told the Tavern.
Technical issues aside, Hesketh believes his business’ success is largely due to his focus on serving people, “It’s one thing to create an online course and hope people discover it. But it takes much more dedication to actually engage people on a daily basis, take the time to understand their goals, and then help them get clear on how to accomplish those goals,” he said.
Hesketh doesn’t have any regrets but wishes he launched the question and answer forum on the first day, “Its given me the opportunity to answer questions that may not be covered in our videos. That’s the real value that WP101 brings to the table, real people helping others,” he said.
WP101 launched around the same time as a lot of commercial theme shops such as iThemes, StudioPress, and WooThemes. Although WP101 doesn’t sell commercial themes or plugins, Hesketh has carved out a space in the WordPress ecosystem that enables him to make a living. If you use WP101 or have in the past, I’d love to hear what you think of his videos in the comments.