17 Years Later. We Are At Our Best.
Last Update: Sep 10, 2022
Lucky number 17, as they say!
Today marks our 17th Birthday here at Wealthy Affiliate, and I still look back to the day we pressed the “publish” button on our seemingly innocuous website, WealthyAffiliate.com.
In the business world, every year is a big milestone and this is no different. We are proud of the place we call “home” within the online world, and the place that millions of others have called “home” over the years.
But we are not done. We are far from it. Each year it feels like we are just getting rolling because we continually look forward to our new objectives and the road map ahead of us. I can honestly say we have never been more excited about what we see in front of us, and what we will be bringing to the community in terms of innovation & evolution.
Leading the industry has never been “good enough”, as we know we can always improve our service and this is going to become more evident than ever with what we will be rolling out within the next 12 months (starting with some big updates just a few days from now).
Anyways, unlike past posts I am going to take a bit of a different approach with this WA Birthday post. I want to run with the number “17” and discuss the 17 most critical things that Carson and I have learned over the past 17 years running the platform here at Wealthy Affiliate.
So here we go.
#1: Lead by example. If you want people to act a certain way, you have to act that way first. Positivity is contagious, so is negativity. Take the ego out of anything you do, and act in the way that you want to see others act.
#2: You are never too good for any customer. Through time in business, you will have all sorts of people that become your customers. Everyone has a story, everyone has good days and bad days. But at the end of the day, you have to treat everyone the way you would want to be treated in their situation. That is something that we pride ourselves on, and we are never too good.
#3: Your customers are usually right. Sure, there are some people out there will ulterior motives or that are ill-willed. But that is not the 99%. People tend to give you feedback, or speak out when there is something that needs to be improved upon. If you listen to your customers (and in our case, community), you will get the most valuable information in the world to improve your business
#4: Remain humble. Whether you have $100 in your bank, or $100M, you are still a person just like anyone else. If you don’t remain modest and appreciate where you came from, you are going to quickly lose respect from your audience…and lose control of your business
#5: Don’t take complaints personally, improve from them. There is constructive feedback, and there are complaints. Complaints are usually like “this thing sucks”, whereas constructive criticism is usually more thorough and insightful. The key is working with both types of consumers to learn how you can better improve your platform or service. People are annoyed for a reason, and if you can mitigate that for a future customer you are going to improve your service for the masses.
#6: Learn from your mistakes fast. We all make mistakes. If we habitually make the same mistake over and over again, that is not good. But at the same time, making mistakes eliminates one way not to do something, and will naturally lead to better proficiency and efficiency. Make mistakes, but learn from them quickly.
#7: Try new things, you never know until you try. This could also be deemed as thinking outside of the box, but in reality you need to constantly try new things in business. You cannot make assumptions that something won’t work, until you have empirical data telling you so. Push yourself, your service, and your ideas outside of their conventional boundaries. It will lead to growth.
#8: If you hate doing a task, it’s usually because you haven’t learned it. There are lots of things that I really dislike doing, and there are lots of things that I am comfortable doing. Why do we dislike doing something? Naturally, this is usually because you aren’t highly skilled in that area yet. So just do it. Video used to be this way for me, until I started doing it with regularity, now it has become a skill set that I can lead with.
#9: Build technology so your computer illiterate mom can use it. You want to build technology and build content for the lowest common denominator. This doesn’t mean my mom lacks intelligence, quite the contrary. But when she is learning something new, the topics need to assume “no knowledge”, which will simplify the processes and make sure you have created an environment, or content that will make sense for everyone.
#10: Don’t sweat the small stuff. It is easy to get caught up in the small frustrations that happen on a day to day basis, but you have to move on. If you dwell on something that holds you up, or that is insignificant to the broader vision of your business, you are only going to do harm. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t sweat small stuff (and things that are often times outside of your control)
#11: If you feel pain, know that this is a time for growth. As they say, “no pain, no gain”. There are painful, stressful times in all businesses. This is what is required to help us become more resilient, and to build bigger businesses. The reality is this is the pain point, where most entrepreneurs simply give up. If you don’t give up, and you learn from the painful moments in business you are going to have a true competitive advantage over others in your industry.
#12: Don’t try to become great at everything. Less is sometimes more. We have fallen into this trap many times over the years, trying to add more and more to the platform here, without focusing on being great at a few key things. Adding something “new” doesn’t mean that it will necessarily make your service better, making your service better will make your service better. There are often times a big difference between the two.
#13: Hire people that are better than you at something. You can’t be good at everything, and it is not worthwhile for you to try to become an expert at everything (in particular as you grow). To scale a business, you need to scale out particular components of it and you do this by hiring people that are more talented than you at those positions.
#14: It’s OK to take breaks. Breaks are good for productivity, and good for creativity. If you are feeling burnt out, take a break. If you are feeling like you are not at the top of your game in terms of productivity, take a break. Your business will thank you, and at the end of the day, there are lots of hours in the day.
#15: You can do a day’s work in 4 hours. Most people think they are being productive in business, but if they actually sat down and calculated their true moments of productivity during an entire day it could likely be summed up in less than 4 hours of heads down work. When you realize that most people are even less efficient than this, you realize that you can out compete your competitors through actual productivity.
#16: Help everyone as though they are your last customer. You are never too good for people. Over the years we have discussed the notion that we are the owners of the company, and yet we are completely available to everyone regardless of whether they are looking to join WA, or they are a 15-year member. We treat everyone the same, and we'll never be “too good” for the people that help us run our business, YOU!
#17: Quitting is never an option. The only way to truly fail is to quit. It is actually impossible to fail at something if you don’t give up on it. We have been at this for 17 years, and we will be at this for many years to come. We don’t quit, though we still make lots of mistakes, our focus is being better every day and that is the motivation that has taken us this far and will continue to drive improvements in the future.
So there you have it, year 17 is a wrap. Onto big in year 18, bring it on!
As with every other year, YOU are our focus. We make updates and improvements to the platform at WA on the basis of what will make your online journey easier, more efficient, and more successful.
That is how Wealthy Affiliate started, that is how we grew, and that is what motivates us to get up every morning and continue to extend our lead within this industry. The more people we can help, the better job we have done.
We are pumped for the future of Wealthy Affiliate!