The work behind success

There are times when something will cross my mind, I have no idea why, and I cannot let it go. It sits there in my brain until I figure out why it is there.

This time the thing nagging my brain is MMO Champion, one of the leading World of Warcraft information sites. MMO Champion is known for breaking news. WoW Insider informs and educates readers, not necessarily being the first to deliver the news. The two sites complement each other because WoW Insider covers more in-depth articles than MMO Champion, for example How-To Guides or more directly, explaining the changes MMO Champion reports and how it will affect players in the game. MMO Champion fills the gaps in WoW Insider’s news delivery. Two different sites with two very different clear cut goals that complement each other.

Delving further, the founder of MMO Champion is in his early 20s, sold the site and still updates it, and has a very focused updating schedule.

That focus is what led to him being able to sell the site within the first year of its existence.

They want it…but not that bad…

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. – Sam Ewing

I know many people who want a “big” site like MMO Champion (millions of readers per month) but do not want to put in the effort Fabien exerts daily to maintain a quality site. Their expectations are not realistic. Most of the people I know who have successful sites lived and breathed those sites to get them off the ground. Their social lives tanked because the responsibilities of the site took precedence and they have no regrets because they enjoy what they do. Listen to Fabien’s description of his social life:

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison

Note what he said. He did not say he wanted the extra time to go swimming, hang out in the club, etc. He wanted the free time to attend more events or create other projects. The hard work he is putting in now could easily allow him to retire at 30, in plenty of time to have kids, raise a family, and enjoy life. Let’s be real…if that were to happen he earned it. He put in the hours, the effort, and made the sacrifices.

He receives tens of millions of page views per month from the millions of unique people who visits his site. Does he share his stats? Only when asked as he is very humble about it. When he was a rising star, did he publish his stats? Nope. He was too busy working on the site and the results were obvious from the links and interaction on his site. Thinking about it more, the big sites normally do not brag about their stats, even as they are becoming powerhouses. They might state the stats for an advertising page but that is it. I definitely did not when I had my large gaming site. I was too busy scaling the site and dealing with the problems that arise when there is an increase in visitors for the thought to cross my mind (interesting tidbit: I talked more about my stats with the site after I closed it than when I had it. I knew the traffic would come with the effort I was putting in so there was no reason to stress it). Let me be clear, statistics are important but people focused on their stats to the point of posting them online usually are slacking in other areas, because their focus is wrong, that could help grow their site. Especially since most site owners focus on the wrong stats.

Fabien also does not have goals that are out of his reach. He knows the work involved to reach his goals and does not have a problem putting in the effort, or spending the money (if needed). He made improvements in data mining and hired the people needed to create the tools. This investment made it easier for him to update the site and he used the extra time wisely. He reinvested it in the site or other projects. As of the last interview I could find, he no longer plays WoW because he spends so much time mining for news or beta testing. By the time he is done, he feels as though he played the game. That is how he finds balance and continues to enjoy what he does. His enthusiasm shows in his dedication.

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek. – Mario Andretti

This is the part where someone usually says there are many ways to have a successful business. There sure are, so pat yourself on the back. There are many ways to go about it but hard work and dedication is rarely something that can be taken away, be successful and maintain that success. Using MMO Champion as an example, unless something big is going on, he only makes one news update per day. However, he has quite a bit of data to go through daily to make that update as the news and developer updates are made all throughout the day. If he misses something, his audience let’s him know about it. His audience expects the quality to continue.

As far as competition is concerned, he will have minimal competition. There are many WoW sites but very few have the quality content he has. Why? They are not willing to put in the effort Fabien does.

Are you that person?

Are you the person that wants success but not enough to consistently work hard to reach your goals? Are you the person that does not mind hard work and looks forward to challenges that come up? Be honest with yourself. If going to the beach or the club on weeknights or weekends is a priority to you, then you are in conflict with having a “big” successful business. Better to know the truth early on than frustrate yourself trying to achieve something that most likely will not happen (until the focus and dedication changes).