Here I sit, writing this the night before our 10 year Birthday at Wealthy Affiliate. I look back and it is hard not to think about what would have happened if I had never connected with Carson, if we had never decided to buy the domain WealthyAffiliate.com, and what we would be doing on this very day if WA didn’t exist.
But it does exist. And today marks the 10th anniversary of the very day WealthyAffiliate.com was brought into existence and the very day that we had our first member join our community.
Looking back, I feel we have been on a relentless mission that hasn’t changed gears in 10 years. A defined motive that has not veered from the initial roots. One that we are proud of and one that stems from the humblisms of our respective upbringings.
This is the reality. What we have done, what are are doing, and what we will continue to do moving forward within the Wealthy Affiliate landscape is based on the premise of helping others.
This is the path we will continue to go down. It is all we know.
Most Businesses Never Make it to 10 Years. How Did We?
Most people live in fear when they create a business. They put themselves on some sort of ticking time bomb assuming that at some point their venture is going to explode. According to statistics, 55% of all businesses started fail by year 5 and an astonishing 71% (some say this number is much closer to 95%) fail by the 10 year mark.
We never even considered this until I looked up these stats today. We knew they existed, but people can fail at anything they do at life. Some people don’t graduate from school. Some people don’t stay in good physical shape. Some people don’t build successful businesses.
But anyone can beat the odds. Anyone.
Be on a mission. Make a difference. Help others. Do something you love.
The rest follows, and all of a sudden you don’t feel as though you are chasing some sort of figurative “success” benchmark. Rather, you are creating your own new hurdles, you are stepping up to them, and after you figure out how to jump over them, you clear them with one big leap.
This happens over and over again. But the odd one will appear as though you cannot leap beyond it.
We didn’t set out at Wealthy Affiliate wondering if we would ever make it to the 10 year mark. Instead, we have put our energy into constantly wondering how we can make things better. We have always strived for perfection knowing very well it never exists. It gives us an endless opportunity to improve.
Looking back, there probably are some really “defined” reasons for our success other than just helping others and making our service better with each day that passes. I have come up with three and I am hoping that they will give you perspective with your business and hopefully help you crack the 10 year mark yourself.
We Didn’t Build it Before it Came.
One of the most famous sports movies of all time, “Field of Dreams” had a statement within it that is contrary to most successful businesses but tends to be the approach people naturally take when starting a business.
“If you build it, they will come”
The problem lies in the fact that new startups try to determine what people actually want before they have real people that are paying customers and that are using their service. You only know what you know… and we have always taken the approach that we don’t know best until we know first what our audience wants.
If you look back at what Wealthy Affiliate started out as 10 years ago, you may have found our service to be laughable. We were a very simplistic keyword list site.
Carson and I sat down when developing the concept for the company and we knew that we could help people succeed within the online space if we showed them exactly what we did. We had very happy customers even in our early days, but we took feedback daily and continued to improve Wealthy Affiliate with each day that passed.
Here we are 3,649 days later. Still building “it” and people will continue to come as a result, one day at a time.
We Didn’t Get Here By Slacking Off.
We live in a world where our success is differentiated by how hard one works versus the other. Look around at anyone that has achieved any level of success around you and they all share one characteristic (hint: it’s not always intelligence).
It is HARD WORK.
I have written a good deal on this topic and I will continue to emphasize this point to those that are looking to accomplish anything of real brilliance in business.
It isn’t uncommon to see us up past midnight working. Pushing new ideas. Making improvements. Helping others. Grinding it out.
Plain and simple. Focused hard work will always pay off if done over a sustained period of time in the business world. The moment when you are ready to “give up” is the same moment when someone else is willing to push forward and they will end up achieving much more success as a result.
We Never Take Anything for Granted.
Anything can wash away. Look at Blackberry (Smartphones), one of the biggest success stories Canada has ever produced. At a point in time they had a market share of over 20% (2009) and within 6 years that had dropped to less than 0.4%. 6 years and the most successful smartphone company in the industry collapsed.
The same is always a possibility for your business. If you rest on your laurels and are constantly “celebrating” your success, you can get sideswiped and open yourself up to a slow leak in your business.
One thing that we have learned a good deal about over the years is that complacency creates a stale business. You may not feel the effects of slacking off right this second, but it will always come back to haunt you.
But also, don’t work to MAINTAIN. Work on your business to build. To grow.
Focus on becoming better and make it an active goal to get better at something with each day that passes and naturally, the milestones you achieve will only become greater and greater.
Never take your success for granted. If you do, it won’t be sustainable.
The Past Year. One of MORE Positive Change Than Ever.
If you look at just a few of the changes that we have rolled out in the last year, you will see the emphasis on making our service a more helpful one, versus making money our focus.
We added SiteFeedback. A unique platform that allows people to get unique perspective on their website from REAL visitors. There is no other website platform in the world that offers this sort of insight so quickly and in such an easy to understand way.
We added SiteComments. People can now achieve interaction and engagement on their website in a way that has never been done before.
We improved the SiteRubix platform vastly by improving security, removing the need for manually logging in, we re-invented the way people manage sites and people can now determine their SiteHealth using this unique to WA system.
We vastly beefed up the technology behind the platform at WA, moving it to a completely new and far more distributed environment. In non-techy terms, this means that Wealthy Affiliate as a platform is far more scalable than ever in terms of supporting high usage volumes while retaining fast loading speeds.
We made many improvements to Live Chat, making it more efficient to communicate and get instant help from the community.
We streamlined and improved the way people are notified within WA.
We focused a great deal on website security. We have advanced the way in which Wordpress websites are hosted and secured from many different angles and I can affirmatively say we are doing things in the hosting industry that NO other company is doing.
We increased the number of hosting experts and availability to them to 24/7/365. Average response time for any hosting requests is MINUTES.
We made continual, ongoing and often times daily improvements to the training at WA. The training is current and geared towards helping people succeed in 2016 and far beyond.
We offered the community 52 new Live Classes that covered a brand new topic each and every week.
We continued to offer the same level of support we did on day 1, in fact, the support and help people receive within the community is quicker than it ever has been as we have continued to improve the support channels within WA.
The Last 10 Years Are NOT the Focus. The Next 10 Are.
We have learned A LOT in the last 10 years. Not just about ourselves, but about business, about other people, and about relationships.
When you go into business with no experience, everything is a NEW experience. You have to shift quickly and you have to truly succeed at anything you do, you need to remain flexible to change.
That is sometimes why it can be better to have no business experience prior to getting into business.
You don’t have baggage and you don’t have “rigid” ideas and processes that you think are the best. Your audience and the people that you work with will naturally teach you what is best… and that goes for absolutely any industry, any niche, and any audience.
Your audience is your business. Your customers are your business. That is something that we continue to learn about as each day passes and something that we promise everyone here that we will never lose sight of.
We will keep moving forward. We will keep pushing the envelope. And we will continue to learn about business with each day that passes.
The Best is Yet to Come. Period.
Although we have made it to 10 years, we are not going to sit back and celebrate. Today is just another day, another day in a much bigger vision and gameplan and we can’t wait to see where the Wealthy Affiliate community is next year… let alone the next 10 years.
Wealthy Affiliate has never been a stronger, more engaging, more established (yet innovative) and helpful place to create and grow a business online. It is only going to move in this direction with the new platforms, features, and support systems we implement.
What we have planned is going to blow your mind and we are months away from some of the biggest releases in our history. 2016 is already completely slated for new and exciting projects that will continue to benefit YOU! Many of these projects are already in motion and far beyond the “idea” stage and well within the “development” stage.
The most exciting times are yet to arrive. But when they do, get ready to embrace them because YOU are the reason we push forward, and YOU are the reason we continue to strive for perfection.
And today’s 10 year milestone is as much about YOU as it is about us. We couldn’t and wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the folks here within the Wealthy Affiliate community. We want to thank each and every one of you for being such an important part of our lives and cheers to an exciting journey into the sheer awesomeness that lies ahead.
Kyle & Carson