How this ‘AI whisperer’ made $500,000 in 11 months selling courses and memberships using unicorn startup Kajabi

  • Kajabi is a platform that offers creators tools to sell courses and memberships.
  • The platform shared that creators using it have now earned over $6 billion.
  • One of those creators is Rob Lennon, who uses Kajabi to sell courses about AI.

Having hundreds of thousands of followers on a major social-media platform, such as Instagram, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), or LinkedIn, isn’t always enough to sustain a career as a creator these days.

Rather, many content creators are turning to third-party platforms to convert their most devoted fans into paying subscribers.

Kajabi, an online course platform, is one of a few startups assisting creators in breaking into this market. The startup, which told TechCrunch in March that it was worth more than $2 billion, revealed that creators on its platform have now earned more than $6 billion in revenue.

That means Kajabi creators have earned an extra $1 billion since March, when the company announced $5 billion in earnings.

Rob Lennon, a self-described “AI whisperer” and entrepreneur, is one of those creators who uses Kajabi to host his courses and manage his paywalled membership called “Lennon Labs.” Lennon’s membership, which costs around $30 per month, grants access to classes, AI bots, office hours, and an online community on Discord that Lennon manages.

“I chose that because it felt like the cost of me and you going out to lunch once a month,” Lennon said of his subscription’s price point.

While Lennon has 117,000 followers on X and 23,000 on LinkedIn, he claims to have converted about 3,000 of them into paying customers.

“I’ll do promotions and specials and things to create urgency and scarcity and try and bring them into a paid product,” Lennon said at the time.

Lennon reaped the benefits of being an early adopter of ChatGPT by promoting his course on his social-media platforms, riding the wave of AI buzz.

According to Kajabi and Lennon, Lennon earned approximately $500,000 in the first 11 months of launching his Kajabi offerings. According to Kajabi, he earned around $200,000 in the first two months of selling his courses.

However, Lennon described the initial success as “lightning in a bottle,” adding that he had not been able to replicate the virality and influx of new sign-ups since ChatGPT’s “heyday.”

This is why Lennon has shifted to a subscription model, which provides followers with more tools at a lower cost — as well as a sense of community.

Because they are generally recurring payments, subscriptions have been hailed as a relatively stable income model for creators. It’s why platforms like Instagram and Facebook have launched their own subscription tools for creators, and why third-party platforms like Teachable and Discord have followed suit.

Lennon wants to test whether his membership model will drive more people to his paywalled content and community rather than running a more “bespoke course business.”

Starting a course and membership company

According to Lennon, running courses and a subscription service accounts for roughly 95% of his income. He does consulting work in addition to his Kajabi business.

According to Lennon, his monthly recurring costs for running his business total around $300. This includes his Kajabi “Growth Plan” subscription, which costs creators $159 per month.

“In terms of labor, it’s kind of the amount of effort that you want to put into it, provided that you can pay your rent and support yourself while you’re building stuff,” he said. “You have periods of building and creating, and you have periods of more making money and marketing.”

Kajabi is also not Lennon’s first rodeo. He’s used course and community platforms such as Maven and Mighty Networks, but says Kajabi provides a more “straightforward” experience.

“I use a combination of Kajabi and Discord,” explained Lennon. “I enjoy Kajabi, especially the courses.” It’s very straightforward. It’s a great experience with not too much going on. So, when someone is learning, you want them to be able to focus on the material without being distracted. And then we have Discord, which has lots of channels for different things, some forum-style areas for organizing information in a different way, for things that are more conversational, or updates that are too small to create an entire course out of.”

When considering the plethora of subscription platforms for creators — from Patreon to Substack to Kajabi — Lennon stated that what creators really need are tools that allow them “to create a world.”

“The ones that are doing this best allow you to create not just a single product, but an ecosystem,” he said.

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