Back to Podcast

10 Years Ago THIS Happened

Brief Overview

Ten years ago, something very significant happened in my business (and life), that completely changed the trajectory of my career. Today I’m going to give you the behind-the-scenes of what happened, why it’s so meaningful to me, and what it means for you and the growth of your business!

Big Ideas

Burning The Candle at Both Ends [01:51]

Yesterday marked the 10-year anniversary of something that sent my career on a whole different path. Here’s the story of what happened…

In August of 2008 I was trying to redefine my business. At that time, I had an affiliate management company. So basically, I was managing affiliates for a variety of top world-class entrepreneurs and it was a great business. While I loved what I got to do, I didn’t like the business model because it required me to be at the beck and call of all of my clients and so my calendar was never my own. For instance, if a client was looking to do a launch in October and I wanted to take time off in October, too bad! Every month I was involved in some big launch, behind-the-scenes, helping manage and run the affiliate programs. Although it was very profitable, a whole lot of fun, and I was learning a ton, it was also very stressful. One year into my marriage and I could see the writing on the wall. If I didn’t change the business or the business model then there were going to be some things that would be sacrificed and most likely that would be my relationships, because I was working all hours of the day.

A friend of mine, who happened to be leading a mastermind group I was a part of, said to me, “Stu, why don’t you start a membership site and share with other people all the things that you’re learning behind the scenes? People would pay for that every single month. I know I would.” So, that became the initial seed for something much greater to come…

Overcoming a BIG Roadblock [04:42]

How amazing would it be if I could do that? I could share what I’m doing with a whole lot more people, there’s way more leverage, and I could slowly let go of some of the clients in order to create more space and freedom in my life. So, I start planning it all out and I’ve got all these ideas of what I’m going to share and how I’m going to share it. And then I come to the biggest roadblock that I’ve ever faced, which was the tech.

I’m a fairly technical person, but the reality of it was that the membership software at the time was so technical. You would have to be able to change .htaccess files and mess with all the server settings, and it was a nightmare. I was way over my head. It was overwhelming, I was frustrated, and nothing was moving forward.

And so, one day I was on the phone with my friend Tracy. I said to him “Dude, all I want to do is teach what I know. I just want to create content. I don’t want to have to mess with all of this technical stuff. It’s a nightmare.” As I’m sharing this with him, he says to me, “Well, why don’t you just create your own solution?” I was like, “Did you not hear the issue that I’m having? I’m not a programmer. How the heck would I ever create my own solution?” And then he said something right there and then that forever changed the trajectory of my career.

What if we create one together? I have a great developer who works with me. Why don’t we just team up and we’ll create a solution? You’re pretty clear on what you want. I know that you’re familiar with Photoshop, so why don’t you go and do some mockups and then we’ll team up and we’ll create our own solution?” So, I was like, “Okay. Let’s go for it!

The Launch of WishList Member [06:55]

One month later we had our first beta version. I decided to take it to my mastermind and we offered it to everybody in the group. Everybody bought and I was like “Oh my goodness!” There was that energy you get when you know that you’re on the cusp of something big. Well, that’s what I felt. So, then we prepared it to be able to sell it to the public. And so, on October 22, 2008, we launched what is now known as WishList Member.

It was a crazy surreal feeling because we literally put the website up and within a few hours we had our first order. And it wasn’t like we had a big audience. In fact, we weren’t doing any real marketing, but word started to spread and in that first month we collected over $6,000 in orders. The next month it grew to $13,000 and the month after that we collected $21,000. And so, at that moment I started letting my clients go and I started to focus 100% of my energy in growing this company. I did that for six years. I just poured everything I had into growing that company with Tracy and Mike and our whole WishList team. Within several months we were serving tens of thousands and by the end of my time with WishList Member, when I sold my shares in 2014, we were serving over 70,000 online communities and membership sites.

Teaming Up with Michael Hyatt & The Launch of Tribe [08:33]

Everything that I learned during my time with WishList Member ultimately led to my partnership with Michael Hyatt. We took a business where he was predominantly out on the road speaking all the time and we transformed it into a business that had way more leverage. He went from 100 days on the road, down to less than 15. Meanwhile, growing his income from a high six-figure to high seven-figure. In the first week for Michael, we had grown his membership to 1,100 members. After the first year it was 2,500, after the second it was 4,500 and after the third, it was 6,000. People started asking, “How are you doing this?” And so, I started sharing and coaching and consulting. Before I knew it, I just didn’t have the capacity to help everybody that wanted help. As a result, I ended up creating Tribe, which was born in August of 2016. Things just took off! For that very first launch of Tribe, we did $3.35 million in sales. But what was even more amazing was the thousands of people that we were now helping to grow their online communities and membership sites.

How to Make Huge Leaps with Your Business! [11:20]

As our Tribe has grown, it has led to other initiatives which is ultimately led to what’s coming up next ( which gives me that same feeling I got 10 years ago. This is really like the evolution of where it was, where it’s all come from, and where it’s all going. will be the premier platform for anybody who is selling courses, and/or membership sites. It is going to be the most beautiful experience for your members and I’m super pumped and excited for it to launch in the months ahead.

I wanted to share all of this with you because it all started from that first sale back in October 22, 2008. I had no idea that this was going to be the lead domino. I had no vision of running a software company. Are you kidding me? Like I’m not a programmer! That’s the last thing that was on my radar, but I was open to the possibility and after that first sale, one thing led to the next, which led to the next, which led to the next. Oftentimes you don’t know where an opportunity is going to lead, but you have to get started somewhere. You just have to keep moving forward.

We all have to start somewhere, right? I don’t know what project you’re working on right now. I don’t know what’s on the horizon for you, but I’m willing to bet that there’s something that you have wanted to do or know you should do, but for whatever reason you’ve procrastinated. Maybe you’re trying to make it too perfect or maybe there’s a little bit of fear or doubt because you just haven’t pushed it out yet. Maybe there’s this apprehension like, “Will people buy?” I can’t answer any of those questions. I don’t know if people are going to buy, but you never know unless you put it out there and you never know where it’s going to lead. That’s the message of today. It’s about these big leaps that we end up taking in our lives and our careers and our businesses. They only happen if you take that first step.

And so, my message to you today is identify your next step and just strip it down. Make it super simple and easy for you to move forward today. What can you do today? And if it didn’t have to be perfect, what could you release today? Get it moving! Keep moving forward, my friends, because you never know how the step today is going to lead to huge leaps tomorrow.

Memorable Quotes

I was working all hours of the day. I was burning the candle at both ends and I wasn’t spending time with the people that I cared for the most. I also wasn’t doing the things that I enjoyed the most. And so, something had to change. – Stu McLaren

Keep moving forward, because you never know how the step today is going to lead to huge leaps tomorrow.” – Stu McLaren


WishList Member

Rate & Review the Podcast

Reviews for the podcast on iTunes and greatly appreciated! They help us build awareness for the show, which in turn allows us to bring value to more listeners like you. Not only that, but they help us better understand what matters the most to you so that we can constantly improve. If you received value from this episode, it would mean the world if you could take a moment and leave your honest rating and review. You can do that by clicking here.