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Being better

When we started making software many years ago, I took a look at the industry and decided I wanted to be different.

At the time, the industry was full of self-proclaimed guru’s selling info products for thousands of dollars, or borderline con artists selling hyped up ‘products’ that were usually made in an afternoon, with no thought to quality.

Software in this industry was either badly written, buggy scripts that had been outsourced to the cheapest developer available at the time and never checked, or platforms that decided they never needed to evolve or update because their customers had so little choice, they could save money by ignoring development and solely focus on marketing.

Unfortunately, a lot of this still happens today.. It’s just hidden better behind buzz phrases like “busy over-delivering value” or “crushing it for our customers”

I’ve always felt something was a little off when you hear those phrases more from the business owner than you do from their customers… It says a lot about the reality of the situation and how much ‘value’ they actually give.

Back in those ‘dark days’ we were often told

A) To stop making software and make info products because you get more money for less work and “don’t need to bother with all that customer support hassle that software can create with bugs and stuff”

and B) “Get it out and get it going so you can move on and more more products and focus on releasing more and making more money each year as a result”

I listened to that unsolicited advice from so called guru’s and promptly ignored it…

Whilst I was new to the ‘Internet Marketing’ industry at the time, (This was around ten years ago) I had already built and run successful e-commerce businesses for many years and learnt the ropes about how to do things the RIGHT way by spending time in the trenches.

I knew making a dollar today at the expense of someone else will cost you two dollars sometime down the line.

I knew that ultimately the best kind of marketing was not ‘the sizzle’ or some kind of ‘new’ marketing technique that was doing the rounds (And that changed every week) but was actually quite simple.. to have the best product.

I also knew that I wanted to be different and to do things differently.

I had walked out of my high paying job working for a bank, without any notice.. on a random Monday afternoon because I had finally had enough and couldn’t take working somewhere where ethics and customer needs were not only overlooked but laughed at… Regardless of the financial package I received.

At the time, it was scary… I had no job to go to and had only been selling online in the evenings for around a year. Sure I was already making enough money to pay the bills, but for how long? Would it stay consistent?

At the time I had no idea.

In the years that followed, I set up my first e-commerce company and grew into hiring staff, taking on offices and warehouses and learning how to run a real business.

I did this for years and learnt a lot about the real workings of business. This trial by fire in the ‘real’ world, rather than sat behind a keyboard, later became invaluable to me.

Years later, after I had successfully created my e-commerce businesses, I worked as a consultant, going into businesses and helping them with their structure, business practises and marketing strategy. Saving them money, helping them become more efficient and increasing profits at the same time.

I was paid well for my experience, especially in a world of consultants who talked a big game but had little real world actual experience behind them. (And after a while.. it showed in their lack of results)

But eventually, I got tired of commuting and instilling the same advice into company owners who all too often didn’t care about customers, product quality or integrity anywhere near as much as their bottom line.

At that point, I moved to the ‘internet marketing’ world, and whilst in the beginning I had no idea where that journey would take me (A scary feeling) I knew I had a LOT of experience in business compared to many of the so called experts I saw around me.. and I knew I wanted to be different and put customers first and make the VERY best product we could make, no matter what.

I wanted to be the change I wanted to see in the industry.

And, I’ve stuck steadfast to that goal and mindset no matter what, ever since.

Thankfully, customers in an industry that all too often ripped them off, were thankful for the breath of fresh air we represented and we soon found success.

We quickly became known as making the very best quality products in the industry and became a standard that others held themselves to.

Customer testimonials and success stories poured in and I knew I had found my calling.

I’ve always loved and had a passion for software and UX for as long as I can remember. And I loved making software that not only saved people time and was easier to use than anything else out there, but also helped them succeed and made them money.

It was the most rewarding feeling I had felt in business.

I focused on making sure we could always say that our products returned 10x the value to our customers than what they had cost to purchase. (And in reality, our goal is 100x)

I also said to my team I always wanted to treat every customer like they spent $100,000 with us, regardless of whether they had spent close to that or just $50.

Because of this mindset, word spread and within months we had our first five figure launch of our newest product, within that first year we quickly followed up with our first six figure launch.. then ten months later a seven figure launch… and from then on, we only ever saw seven figure launches for our products.

Again.. the so-called experts in the industry told me to spend less time on my products, get them out quicker.. sell more.. promote more affiliate products.. get on the leaderboards for the latest and greatest widget so other marketers would promote me back… and again, I ignored them.

I didn’t do this to push the latest highly hyped ‘2-minute lifecycle’ product so I could make a quick buck and count on them to ‘have my back’ and promote my product to their uninterested lists..

I wasn’t interested in churning out ‘okay’ products.

And frankly… I burnt a lot of bridges behind the scenes for not ‘playing the game’ and for talking openly to the public about what was wrong with the industry, in a time where nobody wanted to acknowledge it, because it would mean having to admit their own failings.

I wanted to be the Ferrari of the industry.. I wanted to make the VERY best products that other people tried to emulate.

And I was proud that EVP and EVS were not only the most used products in the industry for years, but also most likely the most imitated.. with hundreds of copycat products being released.. a new one almost weekly.

We weren’t interested in cloning the latest fad, but instead wanted to hone our products and make them better and better.. meticulous detail by meticulous detail.

I always think of myself and my team as engineers and craftsmen. Focusing on every fine detail to craft the very best and most well-engineered product available.

And that extra attention to detail pays off.. Not just financially as a company and in the form of recognition, but also for our customers. With robust and powerful products that are easy to use. And we back it up with the very best support we can provide.

Unfortunately, it does mean we sometimes put more work into details that nobody ever even notices, than some people put into entire products… But we know they are there, and they make a difference, so that’s enough for us.

And we have used this philosophy with ThriveCart, right from day one, and we will continue to do so every day.

It may sometimes mean that things take a little longer, but we only ever have your best interests at heart.

With ThriveCart, it’s a platform a love. Something dear to myself and the rest of the team. It has already helped hundreds of people and it was born because of a VERY real need for it in the industry.

We didn’t see an opportunity to make money, we saw an opportunity to create something that needed to exist in an space that had no solution that performed as it should.

I tried everything myself, to see if I could find a solution for my own company and when we saw that there was a complete absence of a platform doing it the right way, we decided to make the platform ourselves and commit a huge amount of money, time and effort into making it a reality and standing by it and evolving it for years to come.

This isn’t a sprint.. It isn’t a launch, it’s not some new hyped product. This is a journey, it’s a passion and a mission for us all and you are all along for the ride.

Unfortunately, recently, we have suffered from one of our key team members (Our lead developer) falling ill. Thankfully he is on the road to recovery, but it has slowed us down slightly at this busy time of year.

We obviously hit some huge unexpected delays working with PayPal.. Frankly, we couldn’t believe how nobody else had even addressed the issues we uncovered. Again, it was a sign of people putting ‘marketing first’ rather than the product.

So we promised to solve it and fight for a solution for everyone, to be the change we wanted to see.

Unfortunately, it took more time, but thankfully we won and created a solution that was dramatically better than anything else out there.

I’ve given estimates publicly to you all about the affiliate platform part of ThriveCart and how I wanted it released before Christmas… And believe me, I really do. We get our door knocked down by affiliates every day asking to promote ThriveCart, and until the affiliate platform is ready, we can’t open our affiliate program for ThriveCart fully.

We have to say, we will let you know… and that’s frustrating.

I know many of you are having to do the same thing, and it’s a detail that isn’t lost on me for a second.

We’re doing everything we can to get the affiliate platform ready as soon as we can.

We can’t wait to see how it’s going to help your businesses and we know you guys need it and want it as soon as possible. (We do too)

We also know it’s frustrating not having an exact answer and personally, I want to thank you all for bearing with myself and the rest of the team while we work hard to get it ready.

Unfortunately, some of the final parts have required more testing than expected. Some of the technology could only be tested after PayPal gave us our approval and access to the new systems we created with them.

As a business owner, I always have to put the integrity and reliability of the platform before anything. Including our own profits or wishlist.

And, With some of our recent delays and the illness of our lead developer in the team, we can’t wholeheartedly and confidently say that rolling out the affiliate platform before Christmas will be the right thing to do.

We hold ourselves to that high standard of quality for a reason, and in the end, it benefits you and is for you.

It sometimes means we have to work more over Christmas, or I have to stand in front of you all and ask for a little more patience when you have already been incredible patient so far..

But it’s for the good of the platform you all invested in, and in the best interests of your businesses overall.

I can promise you this..

We DO know what we are doing. We have an amazing affiliate platform that is inches away from being ready for you all to use and as an experienced business owner with many launches under my belt, and with thousands of active affiliates myself, I KNOW what you guys need and what will make the biggest positive impact on your business when it comes to an affiliate center.

Like everything, it will continue to evolve once it’s released, but the important thing is, it has a rock solid foundation from day one, no matter the size of your promotions or launches. You can rely on it and it WILL be the best affiliate platform you have seen.

We are nearly there, but to be able to properly finish our final stress testing and know that this awesome platform is ready to unleash on you all, I have to give us the time for our final tests.

The end result of this is that we are going to have to release it in January instead of December.

I had hoped (And we have all been working around the clock here, pretty much non-stop) we could get it ready for you by early December, or a little later worst case..

But, ultimately this delay until January will be a big benefit to you all.

It also means I can let some of my team go and spend time with their families over the holidays and have a well-deserved break.

We’ve released no fewer than 36 updates and new features for ThriveCart since September. That’s an average of 3 a week and it’s a blisteringly fast pace of development.

I’m proud to say that my team are the best in the business and they all care about our products and community as much as I do.

They would stay and work throughout Christmas, including Christmas day, without me even asking them..

But, it’s important for us all to find balance. And this time of year is about more than just business. It’s about family and loved ones, and they deserve the time to recharge from a very busy second half to 2016.

We’re going to be working flat out right up until the holidays, and then all take a few days off to go recharge and spend time with loved ones.

Then, when we get back in January, we’re going to hit the ground running with a strong passion to bring you guys the best new years present we can.

We’re going to help empower your businesses and help you succeed more than ever in 2017 and get the affiliate platform rolled out in January.

I can confidently say now that January is the month it’s finally going to happen.

It’s going to be great to finally get this out for you all, and I want to thank you all for your support, faith and kind words as well as your patience for this particular update.

I’m going to do some preview videos in early January to show you the platform before we open it up, so you can begin to see how powerful it is and how easy it is to use, and I promise, we will keep you in the loop between now and then.

As a result of taking this extra care, I’ve actually also pushed our public launch for ThriveCart back. We will plan that after this is done. For me, this is more important than a launch or promotion… This is about making the best product possible, and for me, that’s what it’s always been about.

Thank you again for all your support and I’ll be in touch soon with another update.

Roll on January!

 

 

(P.S. All great business practices were learnt from the business greats. All punctuation issues and spelling mistakes are mine alone)

Edit: Post updated January 5th 2017 to include images.