Thoughts from 5 years of running an online business

ClickWP turns 5 years old today. Here are some random, not very organized thoughts in conjunction with the occasion.

5 years is a small milestone, but I’m proud of it anyway because I’m still in business when many don’t even survive the first year. And it feels like it’s just hitting its stride.

ClickWP is my 3rd business – my previous businesses were a freelance web design agency and then an online marketing consultancy. 3rd time lucky right? In retrospect it took me several years to figure out my strengths and develop a compelling business offer.

There is no substitute for hard work to make money online. You need a business model where an exchange of value to happen. “Internet marketing” and other get-rich-quick programs are not legitimate business models.

ClickWP is one of the earliest companies offering support and maintenance for WordPress. We opened for business earlier than market leaders WP Sitecare (2012) and WP Curve (2013).

Being an introvert has been a speed bump in ClickWP’s marketing. We don’t blog or send out emails regularly, don’t have a podcast, have not done guest posts or interviews, so ClickWP is not top of mind when people think of WordPress support companies.

I’ve intentionally kept ClickWP small and flexible. In some cases this has caused me to leave money on the table, but the benefits far outweigh that. Besides, ClickWP has provided for me, my family and my team well enough. I can’t complain about my financial position.

But to be honest, it’s been difficult to grow as well. I’m not very good at managing people and good help has been hard to find and expensive. This means I still do most of the heavy lifting in my business, and there’s only so much I can do myself.

Despite all this, I’m really happy with where ClickWP currently is. I’m not really bothered about ClickWP not being more popular or bigger than it currently is. It serves the needs of our customers well, and most importantly of my family*

Operating an online service business is a great way to make friends around the world. I am blessed to have made new friends in Australia, both East & West coasts of USA, Europe and even way out there in Hawaii.

I started my own business because I wanted to avoid having to work on projects or with clients that I didn’t agree with. This has been a big success. Many ClickWP customers have become personal friends of mine.

But the number one reason why I started my own business was so I could be present and involved in my children’s lives. I’m proud to say that I’ve been working from home since before my eldest was born, and see my 2 boys every day. And my awesome wife too.

The past 5 years have been an awesome ride. I’m looking forward to many more.

ClickWP celebrates our 5th birthday with the new Foundations Plan and our first ever sale

* Paul Jarvis articulates this in a much better way than I ever could – I don’t actually care about growth

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