Internet Explorer doesn’t work well with our website. We recommend using a different browser like Google Chrome.

Theresa O’Leary, the ear nurse consultant, believes nurses and doctors don’t know enough about ears, and the information on how to troubleshoot ear problems isn’t worldwide.

A young woman came into Theresa’s clinic angry and frustrated. Once she saw Theresa, the woman yelled, “I just saw your sign. And I’m going through all these feelings because I woke up this morning, and my ears are blocked. I went to a medical center for someone to examine it, and they said there’s nothing wrong. But why can’t I hear?

This encounter spiraled Theresa into running her own brick-and-mortar ear clinic for the last 21 years—a nurse-led medical center with over 67,000 clients. And as for the woman with the blocked ear, Theresa removed the long and thick log of wax that clogged her canal that caused the hearing impairment. Not too long ago, health professionals told the woman there was nothing wrong…sending her into a tailspin. But Theresa didn’t stop there. She viewed this woman’s success story as a marketing tool to teach more people locally on how to care for ears. 

This teaching tactic garnered more customers, established Theresa’s credibility and birthed her business, Ears Made Easy.

Skip ahead:

How did Theresa get her $15K launch, having never been online before?

There are a few steps in between that brick-and-mortar businesses who want to leap into the online education space should do.

Step 1: From Fax machines to landing pages “Do your staff know enough about ears?”

In the early days, Theresa’s marketing strategy consisted of phone book listings and faxing health clinics to ask, “Do your staff know enough about ears?”. She went to every post office to buy every phone book in New Zealand. She contacted anybody with a profession in ears, including occupational health companies, pharmacists, nurses, and doctors. 

It was a steady start (and hours and hours of typing and faxing letters) to grow her initial audience and client base. Still, even though this has been the most effective strategy for Theresa (she had expanded her practice to over 67,000 clients), she still knew she needed to embrace the digital frontier. So she also built her online presence through a dedicated website and a newsletter with 2,000 subscribers—back then, people viewed their email like they did their phone number—private! You can only imagine how Theresa had to earn every email address to help her build a more global audience.

Step 2: The first step to online prosperity and a $15K breakthrough: one to many

Leveraging the same system of tapping into any profession connected to ears and health. Theresa sourced boards, associations and industry papers to build her database further. By now, teaching had become second nature, so making it more accessible to her medical colleagues drove Theresa to expand into the online space. 

She set the price of her first course at $357 New Zealand dollars. She then sent out a newsletter with the dates and links to her website with the course information, which includes a demo course to trial. It has been the culmination of Theresa’s gritty approach, dedication to the subject matter, and overstanding her audience’s needs, but she also leveraged another advantage…

Step 3: Harnessing Thinkific for expedited growth

Now, this isn’t the part where I sell you on the Thinkific platform and how The Accelerator played a role in Theresa’s accelerated success. We can’t tell the story properly without mentioning the tools and resources that could convert eight months into eight weeks to launch to a waitlist of 200 nurses. 

Once Theresa sold her business to branch out into the online education space, she took six months off (she earned it!), then thought critically through how to shorten the timeframe of creating, marketing, and managing her courses effectively online. 

Step 4: Access insiders, “You don’t have to get ready if you stay ready” 

Theresa will boldly say she had help along the way. She wasn’t about to struggle to learn a new tool or become a savant in website design. Instead, she hired Thinkific experts

This approach helped Theresa improve her skills in using and building her landing page on Thinkific. She got her branding right on her website and set up access to her live courses and Q&A. As well as, establishing automations on ActiveCampaign to send emails to the right people at the right time. Theresa never wants to spam her subscribers by sending 13 emails a week. 

And these Thinkific experts offered valuable guidance and transformed her journey into a streamlined process—from suggesting modules to use and marketing strategies to execute. However, she advises other business owners no matter who you hire, they’re still operating on your behalf and always maintain your communication style in your newsletter and branding.

Step 5: Leave a mark, creating a legacy in online education

As Theresa reflected on her journey thus far, her vision for impact (and income) shone through. She’s already aware of her future funnels and eventually pre-selling self-paced courses. 

So I asked Theresa what advice she would give creators starting out to increase their course sales—given she’s right at that stage of starting out online herself. It was a simple yet important one: “What do you have to offer and to whom?”. In business, we use the terms TAM (Total Addressable Market) and SAM (Serviceable Available Market). Who else might your target market be? You may have more than one target group than you realize. 

And when I asked how Theresa wanted to be remembered, with a brief pause, she answered, “As someone who helped countless people have their healthiest ears and best hearing”. 

It’s a reminder that, beyond profits, the real legacy lies in the transformation in your learners’ lives.

Want to join the same Accelerator program that Theresa participated in and duplicate the success of Ears Made Easy? Check that out here.