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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

A Story of Luck & Hard Work

I've met quite a few people in the last couple of years that admire me for the huge success that WooThemes has been.

Often in these interactions though, I find myself being very humble and almost coy about WooThemes' (and my own) success. Whilst I know and feel that I deserve it, I always play it down by saying I just got lucky.

That is however only one part of the truth.

I speak about luck in the same vein as WooThemes, because there was definitely a sense of being at the right place at the right time about how WooThemes came about.

Throughout 2006 & 2007, I was teaching myself how to design and code for WordPress. During this time, I also did quite a bit of writing mostly about WordPress, which lead to me creating quite an audience on my blog.

I doubled-down on that by starting to release free WordPress themes, which put my incoming traffic figures off the chart. To give you a sense of how significant that was: years later and a lot of success down-the-line, I've never been able to replicate that kind of traffic on any blog of mine.

Eventually this lead to me building and releasing one of the very first premium WordPress themes, which ultimately lead to the creation of WooThemes.

And it's at that point where I feel like I got lucky. At the time, it was literally like the Biblical story of Noah's ark: the storm was coming and to ride it out, Noah just had to build the ark.

WordPress was the storm and that first theme became the ark, which I used to ride the wave.

I got lucky though, because I had absolutely no idea how big WordPress would become. I knew there was something, but never imagined building a business of the magnitude of WooThemes based on those early signs.

The second part of this story is however the part that I will take credit for...

The very definition of being an entrepreneur is: a) the ability to spot a gap / oppportunity; and b) the willingness to exploit that. And once you are executing that opportunity, you work harder than anybody else.

I had the guts, optimism and belief to do just that.

I sacrificed much of my final two years at university to instead sit in front of a computer screen to teach myself WordPress. And I built an audience doing that. When it came to taking a corporate job after university, I quit my job after only 6 weeks to the sheer disbelief from my friends who were just to happy to be climbing the corporate ladder.

I did this, because I wanted to pursue this opportunity full-time and with everything I had.

That's why I have been successful as an entrepreneur; not because I'm incredibly talented, intelligent or I just got lucky.

I merely saw an opportunity and then worked my ass off to execute on that.


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