We caught up recently with Syed Balkhi , a hugely successful young entrepreneur running multiple online ventures. The fact that he was named as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by the United Nations, speaks for itself. You probably known him from his most popular businesses – WPBeginner and OptinMonster. However, what you may not know is , he is also a philanthropist who quietly does his own bit for the underprivileged. WPBeginner ran a funds raising campaign to support Pencils of Promise and raised $25,155.
Syed Balkhi started his entrepreneurial journey really really early in life and while he may be still young in terms of age, he has more real world business experience than a lot of us.
Over to Syed –
WPeka: Did you always know you would be an entrepreneur ? Or did you ever do a 9-to-5 job ?
Syed Balkhi: Yes. I started my first business at age 7 selling holiday greeting cards. At age 9, I started my own snack shop. At age 12, my family moved to U.S., and I got into buying and selling domains. After that, one thing led to another and here I am with several online and offline businesses.
WPeka: You are amongst the youngest people in the “Top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30” by UN. What was your first reaction when you were told about it ?
Syed Balkhi: It was quite an honor. I was definitely excited as I walked in the UN, sat in a chair where the top leaders in the world sit, with my company name showing on the screen, truly surreal moment.
WPeka: WPBeginner is the go-to site for any WordPress newbie, thanks to your much followed tutorials and articles. What is the story behind it?
Syed Balkhi: I started with WordPress in 2006, and there was no resource like WPBeginner
available. In 2008, when I decided to move all our clients to WordPress, I decided to create a resource that I wish I had when I first started. Now it’s been 6 years since I launched the site, and I’m quite pleased with the reputation we have earned in the industry.
WPeka: What are your other entrepreneurial ventures, besides WPBeginner ?
Syed Balkhi: Aside from WPBeginner, I have several online and offline businesses. I own a popular entertainment site, List25, which has over 1.6 million subscribers and 300 million video views on YouTube.
I’m the co-founder of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation software that helps you convert abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers.
My offline businesses involve retail stores and commercial real estate.
WPeka: Managing multiple businesses obviously requires a stellar team – how do you go about building a team like that ? Aligning the team with your vision ?
Syed Balkhi: Yes, I definitely have a great team that works beside me in making the awesomeness happen. We have an extensive interview process, and so far I’ve had very good luck in hiring great people.
In terms of vision, I think the biggest struggle most companies have is that they do not have a clear vision. They think they do. We have a refined vision, and once it’s easy to understand, it’s easy to follow.
WPeka: Your articles are consistently, genuinely useful and interesting – how do you come up with these ideas ?
Syed Balkhi: Majority of our article ideas come from user suggestions through twitter messages, facebook messages, our contact form, and our comments.
WPeka: If you had to contribute your success to any one event, person or attribute – what would that be ?
Syed Balkhi: My mother and grandmother both have played a major role in my early development by encouraging my entrepreneurial ventures. No 7 year old can truly start a business without the help and support from their parents.
My uncle who bought me my first computer also played a huge role because without that computer and my early interest, I wouldn’t be where I’m today.
WPeka: Some rocking advice for our readers ?
Syed Balkhi: Don’t give up, and always keep hustlin’. Remember, it’s hard to beat a person who doesn’t give up.
You can follow Syed Balkhi on Twitter