2013 has been an insanely wild ride. In June of this year I decided to leave my full time job June and build something that was all mine, and something that I really believe in. Building WP Site Care has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
It’s also been one of the hardest.
In a short six months of working on this business full time, we’ve grown to a group of four employees and a handful of contract staff. We’ve served over 400 customers, answered over 1400 support tickets (roughly 5,000 emails read and sent), and kept an average response time of less than 2 hours for 96% of our support requests. I feel like we’re doing well, but I also know that there’s plenty of room to improve.
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If you look at our support requests over the course of the year, volume has steadily increased month after month. That’s a great sign for business, but you’ll also notice our response times slowly creeping up, as has our number of replies.
On one hand, I like to think our number of replies is a good indicator of how thorough we are, and that we always follow through to the end. On the other hand, I see it as an area where we can improve efficiency. There’s a good possibility that because of the increase in request volume, we’re not taking the time necessary to give thorough explanations, or include some of our favorite help aides like screenshots or screencasts.
I also know that on a few occasions, we’ve let clients down, by missing a deadline, or having them fall through the cracks completely. I can count them on one hand, and can tell you their names and how we’ve tried to remedy the situations, but the reality is that those types of scenarios have no place in a business like ours. Zero.
Entrepreneurship Will Dominate Your Life
This little failures in business are things that can be remedied. I don’t lose much sleep over them, but there are other areas in my life that have become completely neglected.
In the past year I’d venture to guess I’ve gained 30 or 40 pounds. For a guy who wasn’t small to begin with (read: fat), we’re getting into health concern territory. If I’m honest with myself, I’m probably already beyond that. Bundle that with late nights and too much caffeine (yes I’m writing this at midnight), and there’s a recipe for disaster on the horizon. Building this business is important, and is my passion, but it’ll only last so long at this rate.
I’ve also missed out on time with my family. I’m lucky not to have missed any of the major stuff. I make it to all of the school concerts, parent teacher meetings, and the occasional night at the movies. But I’ve missed out on a lot of the “downtime” with my wife and three awesome boys. Part of it is a necessary evil, but not always. There have been times when I’ve let procrastination of a pending deadline interfere with hearing about Valentine’s Day at preschool. Or “one more email” screw up bedtime stories with the one year old. Date nights just don’t happen often enough.
I’m extremely blessed. I’m not trying to paint a “poor me” scenario by any means. I’ve just noticed some areas where I can make change, and I wanted to get them out in the world for the sake of accountability, and also to invite anyone interested to join me as we move ahead in the New Year.
Family, Health, and Business
I know that some people see the New Year as a terrible time to set goals.
“95% of people quote statistics about how 85% of people who set goals at the New Year never complete them or even carry them out past the blah blah blah…”
My personal opinion is that if someone is committed to change, I’ll support them whenever they choose to start. I hope you have a similar attitude, because there will be days when I need you to carry me, or at least make me feel guilty for not sticking to my goals 🙂
In 2014 I’ll be setting one goal in each of three areas. They’ll be very basic, but measurable and meaningful.
In 2014, I won’t work between 5 and 8pm. We generally eat dinner at 5, and I’m there about half of the time, even though a hot meal and my family are waiting for me literally steps away form my office. This window is the time where I’ll be able to connect with my boys and hear about their days. I’ll watch a trashy reality show with Jac, or play a game. Anything to help me be more involved in their lives.
In 2014, I’ll lose 25% of my body weight. What sounds like a very lofty goal for most, is actually very attainable for me. In fact, at certain points in my life I’ve lost weight much faster than that. I’m not 100% sure, because I don’t have a scale that can weigh me at the moment, but I’d guess I’m currently about 350 lbs. I’ll know for sure soon.
That means, in order to lose 25% of my weight in 2014, I’ll need to lose roughly 88 pounds, or 1.7 pounds per week. I could probably go faster than that, but I really do want this time to be the last time I go through extreme weight loss, and a slower, more methodical approach is the only way to go about it.
My plan to kickstart this health goal involves a lot of you! I’m going to be starting a Diet Bet on January 6th and I’d love for anyone interested to join me. You can see how it works here in this quick video.
Essentially, everyone puts 50 bucks into a pot, and every person who loses 4% of their body weight in 4 weeks splits the pot. This isn’t a Biggest Loser type scenario where it’s winner take all, everyone who meets this one goal gets a piece. The site is actually pretty slick, and they have lots of checks and balances to keep people honest, and to keep your personal info private. There’s an iPhone app too.
I’ve setup a Diet Bet that’s open to anyone who would like to join. It’s simple, the more people who join, the more fun we can have, and the bigger our support pool grows.
There will also be some awesome partnerships and bonuses along the way too for extra motivation and support, so keep an eye out for announcements on that
I want to have 100% of our tickets addressed within an hour. This is a big goal. It seems simple enough, just email faster, but there are actually a lot of moving parts to make this a reality without sacrificing quality. I already have a plan for how we’re going to accomplish this, and it doesn’t involve adding staff, or even unnecessary automated replies. The plan will be in place by the end of January, and hopefully by the end of February we’re hitting this mark. If we aren’t, we’ll tweak the plan and try again.
I can’t let out too many secrets just yet, but WP Site Care has big plans for 2014. On January 6th we’ll unveil our new website, new branding, and a slight shift in business model that will add value for all of our customers, and hopefully show the WordPress community that we’re the real deal, and that we’re here for the long haul.
And just so I’m not too much of a tease, enjoy a quick screenshot from our upcoming site launch.
What are your plans for 2014? How are you going to change something in your life for the better? Are you going to join our Diet Bet?! Did you make it to the bottom of this post?