I've got a very important lesson to share with you today. A lesson that really hurts me, yet is too important not to share it.
I'm closing SimplyWP. SimplyWP was a spin-off of WP Curve, providing WordPress customization, maintenance and security on a monthly flatrate. When you're reading this, the page will already redirect to this page.
SimplyWP has started only 5 weeks ago and now I have to close it. Why? It's easy looking at it now.
It was wrong to start SimplyWP.
The business opportunity was huge. There are only few huge companies providing WP services like SimplyWP did. I had a team of 40+ world-class developers in place, who could have taken care of ANY customer request.
I even coded a custom WordPress plugin, to smoothly integrate Zendesk into the customer interface. Testing the user interface with several test customers proved the ease of use.
Talking with lots of other entrepreneurs and friends about SimplyWP proved the market was ready for this kind of service. They were eager to see SimplyWP grow. Analyzing the growth of WP Curve also had proved the potential to build a 5-figure business with SimplyWP.
The first clients I had were happy with the service provided.
It all seemed to work out on paper.
Two weeks ago there was a moment I noticed that I couldn't run SimplyWP long-term.
I noticed that I wasn't marketing SimplyWP as heavily as I planned to do. I wasn't talking about it a lot in conversations on social media. The list of subscribers I grew in the pre-launch phase wasn't very responsive and I let that turn off my marketing efforts to them. After all, promotion really isn't my strength in general - but it was really bad for SimplyWP.
The only places I marketed it where on the home page of my blog and in the sidebar of my blog. Both ads are gone by the time you read this post.
Thinking about why I didn't promote SimplyWP showed, that I wasn't fully convinced this project would lead to a future I desired.
It would have meant managing a team of VAs, motivating them, arguing on salaries, basically running a traditional company. That's something I could do, but nothing I desire.
I spent a complete weekend re-constructing the future I want to build for myself. I've done this when I started out, but unfortunately I didn't check whether SimplyWP would align with the goals I've set for myself.
You know, it's easy to start projects that make a little money - but it's hard to align them with your goals. You need to do that constantly.
I got my focus back to what I really want:
Live a life independently from managing a team bigger than 3 - 5 VAs. Being able to spend the time how I want it, instead of being forced to attain meetings that are dictated by other persons. Not waking up with countless emails to respond to.
Nothing of that would have been possible if SimplyWP has grown to a bigger business.
It would have forced me to deal with a big team of WordPress experts. To plan meetings with the project managers and to align those meetings to their schedule. To wake up with countless emails of daily business, client feedback and promotion.
That's not a scenario I desire.
Don't get me wrong here. I love hearing from you! I love getting asked how to build WordPress sites, grow a business online and all these things. I love getting feedback for the work I do.
But I want to be independent with my work.
SimplyWP would have made me dependent on the team of WP experts. And I can't stand being dependent. After all, independence and freedom where the ultimate reasons why I quit my job.
You might know that I run an online training on building online business called Restart Academy. Only a handful of people are enrolled currently, because I didn't promote the Academy after the launch. Remember that my plane had crashed?
I will revamp Restart Academy massively in December! I already started working on new and more extensive learning materials. Important lessons like these obviously will be an in-depth part of it.
Let me share a quick story here:
I'm a member of a local Live Your Legend meetup group in Bremen. Once a month I drive 300km a day to meet with those inspiring people, all of which I offered a free membership in Restart Academy.
The other day one member of that group told me how he had started a blog. He used the materials from Restart Academy to find a topic that really resonates with him, and that fires him up every time he works on his blog.
He came from knowing nothing about the online world to running his own blog.
During the conversation he shared what obstacles he encountered and how Restart Academy and my feedback helped him overcome those.
Tears of joy and pride came into my eyes. They even come now as I'm thinking about the conversation.
It's that special feeling that tells you that you're on the right track.
I was so incredibly proud of him that he took action. Proud that he took a massive step towards reaching his goals. Proud that Restart Academy had contributed to his journey.
That's exactly the reason why Restart Academy will be the major focus for me in 2015!
You also might know that my buddy Navid is running an amazing Branding Summit currently. He interviewed 80+ speakers like John Lee Dumas, Neil Patel, Marissa Murgatroyd and others. Chris Ducker is giving the closing keynote!
And I'm delivering a bonus keynote on WordPress security for all buyers of the All Access Pass.
I've worked with him behind the scenes from the first idea of doing the summit to the point his is know.
He got me fired up to do my own summit in 2015. In fact, he's going to coach me in doing the summit.
We're already in the planning phase and put up a landing page for The WP Summit.
This summit will be a second major project for me in 2015.
As I've told you in one of my latest posts, I'm currently building a prototype for a new social network. The website is currently available in German only.
A friend of mine came to me with the idea of building a network that focuses on connecting it's members to other members that are truly relevant for them.
This means building relationships on a much deeper level than Facebook allows us to.
We're making massive progress with this network and we're looking forward to launch (at least a closed beta version) in early 2015.
I'm not sure how big this can grow in the future and for how long I'll be involved in this project. I only know one thing, I'll make sure it aligns with my goals.
This is the third part of my year 2015.
Yes, it will be a challenge to handle those projects.
That's why I'm focusing on project management more than ever before.
All projects are broken up into milestones, each associated with an ideal date and a serious deadline. I'm not trying to tackle so many projects at once, I've made that mistake before....
There you have it.
I won't run SimplyWP anymore because it doesn't align with my core visions for the future. Instead I will focus on projects that do.
It wasn't easy for me to share these decisions that publicly, because they mean I failed with SimplyWP. I built a platform that I knew (at least deep inside me) wouldn't align with my goals. Yet I took action on it and spent time and money.
However, being an entrepreneur is exactly that. Constantly taking action and constantly checking whether you're on track to meet your expectations. And it's about making these nasty decisions that let you recognize you went in the wrong directions.