Your 3-Year Game Plan. Your Tree of Growth.

Last Update: Sep 26, 2023

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Stepping into the world of digital entrepreneurship is akin to imbibing an invigorating blend—intense, exhilarating, and, at times, downright unforgiving. Yet the rewards of succeeding are unparalleled.

And the first essential step on this journey? Understanding market needs.

Everything you are building—the brainchild of countless hours of creativity and tenacity—should be aimed at satisfying an existing demand.

When you get rolling online, you are constantly going to seek feedback, reassess strategy, reiterate, and—if need be—pivot. This process is not only about creating a product; it's about designing an experience that gets people hooked on what you are doing.

This centers around THE experience. The experience you are creating on your website for end users, the relationships that you creating with your audience, and establishing your intial customer base.

Your brand in other words, is taking full shape within the 1st year of your business.

This is not the "leap to massive growth" year, this is the building blocks that ALLOW you to achieve massive success down the road. But it is critical that you put in the effort, and don't stop within this first year.

Trials and error make for reluctant companions in any new venture, but especially so in the digital sphere. But here's the thing—they're not just stumbling blocks but stepping stones too that lead you towards success. Embrace them. Learn from them. And then get back into the game with renewed vigor. They are REQUIRED in order to achieve success.

The first year you can be moving your business towards a "full time" state, but that isn't necessarily the focus. The focus is having your foundational knowledge, and the foundation of your brand in place. That is what puts you in position to succeed.

With your first year checked off, brace yourself for the upcoming leap—from refining and surviving, you're about to shift gears into scaling and thriving. Make no mistake though, challenges will persist, but the fruits at the end?

Worth every bump (or punch lol) on the journey. I promise you.

The Growth Spurt: Years 1-3.

Tuning into the rhythm of success—it indeed has its own rhythm—heralds the onset of a distinct stage in your digital journey: the growth spurt. It flashes onto the scene much akin to a bolt of lightning—bright and intense. And within its dazzling display lie essential tasks that require laser-like focus.

The first of these tasks is ensuring that you've hit the not-so-elusive-if-you-know-where-to-look nail on the head: Product-Market Fit (PMF). Is your product completing a jigsaw loop in the market, fitting snugly within consumer needs and wants to form a complete, complementary picture? If it is, SLOW CLAP—you've stridden into monumental success.

But don’t stop just yet.

Now, your focus must SHIFT towards scaling. Establishing presence and reaping the rewards is one thing, but can your business survive the test of exponential growth? This will form your online evolution. Your ability to take things that you are already doing, and being able to work at scale.

And hand-in-hand with scaling is the optimization of operations. As you grow, there becomes inefficiencies (we know first hand), and you have to be ruthless in optimizing—SLIMMING, REFINING, POLISHING—to ensure a steady climb in your business.

Coming with this, is likely building out a team of competent and passionate helpers. This could be freelancers, personal assistants or full-time employees. Your team is your strength, your spine, the roar to your engine.

Remember that your growth stage is a journey of highs and lows, SWEET SPOTS and SOUR NOTATIONS. Some days you will want to throw in the towel, others you will feel like you are on a huge roll. That is business, in a nutshell and even being 21 years in, that is still the case to this day.

Brace yourself for the ride...and TRUST THE PROCESS.

The Maturity Phase: Year 3 and Beyond.

So you've maneuvered the maze of early-stage growth. You've built competent teams, optimized operations, and scaled your business. Now, it's time to step foot into the maturity phase.

By now, your audience and authority has grown significantly—not just a face in the crowd anymore, but a contender in your niche and the digital world. This IS NOT the stage to kick back and celebrate—there are always going to be battles to fight.

One prominent challenge is maintaining year-on-year growth. Remember, a smaller business may double in size, but it's harder for an already large business to do the same. Suddenly, percentage increases matter—a lot.

You can't just set any goal; you have to be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Staying competitive while adapting to volume is the name of this tricky game.

And then there is diversification.

Diversification may seem risky, but it can serve as insurance in your business. Finding ways to explore new markets or tweaking your current approach can give you that ever-elusive edge...creating fresh revenue streams and reducing dependence on your few core initial ideas.

The maturity phase is a double-edged sword. It comes with its share of challenges, but conquer them, you will truly be a force within your niche/industry...and you have will have the skill set to replicate your success across many different business models.

The uphill struggle is worth it, the view from the perch of the mountain is a thing of beauty...but after a quick glance, you have to move forward as there are more mountains to climb. They never end, and that is part of the fun of it.

My Personal Missteps, to Success.

And there you have it---the road to digital success, traced through three distinct yet interconnected stages: the tender InitialStage, the transformational Growth Stage, the stabilizing Maturity Stage.

But to give you some perspective, I turn to a real-world success story---mine.

In the online world, businesses are born in clusters, disappearing in droves before their 1st birthday. Yet, there I was---incubating my business, learning by tripping, fumbling to eventually set a very strong foothold. The first year was indeed frantic... fraught with bout after bout of frustration and failure. But when you look beyond all of this "drama"it's the testing ground for tenacity and creativity.

The transition from year one to the next two...

It was a fusion of steady growth in revenue, rise in traffic and buyers, the delicate interplay of sensibly scaling based on doing more of what I already knew was working. This is what I call "getting the formula for success down". I was no longer merely surviving, I was beginning to soar.

Beyond year three? It brought the calm, and the confidence. Growth continued, now with the additional dash of diversification dynamism and a fortified market stronghold.

This is also when I connected with Carson, and we started Wealthy Affiliate (back in 2005). I was still learning lots, but I had confidence knowing that if everything was somehow taken away (which is always a fear), I could rebuild and probably rebuild better.

And now fast forward 21 years later.

I know more than ever, but still feel like there days where I know very little (comapred to what there is to know). That is OK, and that is what makes this business so exciting. There is always going to be opportunity to evolve, grow, and get better.

No journey succumbs to stagnation, so don't let yours. It evolves, it learns, it grows with every misstep, every triumph. Each stage of the journey has its unique charm and challenge. Embrace it. Fail, fall, and learn. Newfound and greater success is always around the corner.

And remember, every journey is different. Yours will be different from mine, yours will operate on your own timeline, but at the end of the day being conscious of the journey itself is going to lead you to future growth and success.

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Recent Comments


Thanks for the words full of encouragement. Like a tree it has to be nourished for it to grow. Pests and harsh weather will come and pass. The rainy season will also come but at the end you will be surprised at the height of your tree. Must not give up.

Yes, absolutely and there will be pests (in business) and you just have to ride it out, or find ways to overcome them. ;)

This is deep Kyle! ~

This blog is truly inspiring! It emphasizes the essential steps in the digital entrepreneurship journey, and beautifully outlines the stages of growth from initial phase to maturity

Your personal success reminds us that perseverance and adaptability are key in this ever-evolving field.

It encourages us to embrace challenges and keep learning on our unique journeys.

Maria 🌹

That is exactly it. There is perseverance, and there is the ability to always remain flexible and open to change. The digital world around us is changing, and we have to all have to embrace that.

On the journey, there will be bumps in the road, but those are followed by successes and then new "bumps" in the road. The journey is never linear, and always will come with surprises, some good and some frustrating. It is keeping with it, and pushing forward that will determine at the end of the day who is successful, and who isn't though.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts here Maria, it sounds like you totally get it!

This is what it is with your blog Kyle ~ I have to set a good time to digest your every message, as it is always profound!

I want to understand and process how your mind works!

Thank you for this !

I am really glad you enjoyed this Maria, and I will keep it coming!

That’s awesome Kyle! Keep motivating us with your fascinating endeavors. It inspires us to keep working and forging something although at times the outcome may not be what we expect.

Least you forget ~ we look up to you!

Maria 🌹

My 3-Year Game plan just got kicked in the guts by Google's unhelpful content update, now I'm outranked by direct scrapes of my site, even using my own photos!

7 years of work just spaffed up the wall, hard to think about longterm success when Google can just ake it from you and give it to the robots.

That has to be frustrating, and the worst thing you can do is panic here and make a bunch of changes...or completely stop creating the quality content that got you where you are at right now. Google often times doesn't get things "right" with the first attempt at an update, and I am hearing rumblings of a lot of sites impacted by the latest "helpful content" update.

This is where I mention "diversification" as well, as that is key to your business an longevity moving forward. Never put all of your eggs in one basket, in particular when that basket (Google) is something that you don't have much control over.

Something to consider as you move forward, but don't get down on yourself Steve, you will bounce back!

Honestly, I am not sure I will bounce back from this one, it feels different this time, more deliberate, and intentional, google doesn't want content creators like us anymore.

We are not Helpful, only Big Corps and AI are, it doesn't feel like they got it wrong, infact they think they got it right.

They want us out, I guess we just don't make them money.

My only hope is it will bite them as people realize just how unusable the SERPS are at the minute. But still, I think this is the end for me.

I'm not panicking, still producing content and looking at Diversification, but Just not sure of the overall intent of Google and it seems intentional to kill off creators.

I kind of knew this was coming the first time I opened Chap GPT ...its the death of the internet...

Good morning Kyle,

It's always good to learn from someone like yourself who is highly successful! I'm sure you must have had many struggles in the early days, but at least you kept pushing through! Which is absolutely fantastic; it's always great to hear a success story!

On another note, Kyle, you know that I have reservations about AI, but the Wealthy Affiliate training has also opened my eyes in a good way to AI! Personally and no offence intended, I think your post has far too much AI content in that it's not really your style of writing. To me, it doesn't really seem like you, it just has a classic AI feel! I normally find your blog post really easy to follow, but this post was more difficult!

Just being honest, thoughts are appreciated!

Have a fantastic day and thank you for what you do.


There are many struggles, and there will always be struggles at any point in your business. There is a good chance if you are not feeling any pressure at all, you are going to see a decline in business at some point in the near future. You have to continue pushing yourself, and there likely will always be changes and evolution that continue to change around you that lead to you having to improve.

Great to hear you are slowly starting to adopt AI, those that are not learning it, are those that are going to be left behind in my opinion. It is not going to wait for anyone, and you are going to have a competitive edge in the "new world" if you comprehend it as a tool that can help you out in many ways (not just business, but in your personal life as well).

And thanks for your feedback RE: my content, my writing style is evolving based on AI. I review, edit, and change ALL of my content and that is how AI should be used. All of us can be "better" writers, and AI affords us the capability to do this.

Good morning Kyle,

Thank you for your very comprehensive and detailed reply to my comment, it's appreciated!

Yes, I agree, if we are not under any pressure regarding our business, I would definitely expect to see a decline in the results. I actually think that the Wealthy Affiliate platform helps to keep me going, especially when I read encouraging blog posts! And of course, the up-to-date training helps to keep me moving forward!

AI is a very interesting subject and as I have mentioned before, I know that I would have not even touched it if it wasn't for the Wealthy Affiliate training.

AI is certainly great for ideas etc., but it's nice to have a personal touch when we write. I know where you are coming from, Kyle, a great reply, thank you.

I appreciate learning from someone who has been there big time and been highly successful, thank you!

Have a fantastic day.


A great explanation of what can really be expected and it's encouraging to see that the most successful started in the same fumbling way as all of us do in the beginning. What I got particularly is it's the grit to continue being probably 90% of the success for most of the online successes. I have put that in my saved section so I can access it and read it again every time I get the "this is to hard" blues.

And not just fumbled when I started out, continue to fumble all the time. It comes with the territory of running a business, and wanting to constantly improve and grow. That is the approach we all need to take within the business world, and it is required to advance our skill set and to evolve our business to new heights. ;)

Hi there, Fearless leader, Kyle.

Thank you for this timely post. In approximately 3 months I'll be hitting my second year at Wealthy Affiliate. I am more focused and more determined than ever.

The journey isn't easy and there may be uncertainty. However, once I realized how far I've come and how deep I am invested in the goal to succeed, there is a surge of confidence that comes over me and there's no turning back.

I am definitely anticipating continued growth in year two, and I know year 3 will be a monumental milestone. I am in for the long haul as I shift into high-gear, preparing for the next chapter of affiliate marketing. Bam! Bring it on!

TheRachele of WA

Exactly, look at how far you have come, and your skill set you have established in these few years. You are skilled, and these are high value skills. Let's make year 3 your biggest yet Rachele, I really do look forward to seeing your progress. ;)

Thank you so much, Kyle.
I have come a long way. I will certainly do my level best.
You have provided all the tools needed for success and I thank you.


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