My name is Sam Mulaim and I’m the founder and CEO of FixRunner WordPress support. I live in Yavne, Israel which is about 20 minutes south of Tel Aviv. Yavne is very close to the beach where I go to hang out quite a lot in the summer.
Up until Covid-19, I was spending most of my time traveling, mainly between Israel and Serbia, where we have an office and a big part of my great team is there.
When I was younger, I spent all of my time playing sports, the main one being Muay Thai. There was a time when I thought that this is what I want to do for a living when I get older… I’m grateful that life took me in a different direction!
The Journey Began
When I was about 24 years old I opened a gift shop in Israel and started thinking about ways to promote my store. I realized that I needed an online store so that anyone can shop there without being limited by our location.
Back then internet shopping was not nearly as popular as it is today and to make matters worse I had no clue about anything related to managing a business online. So after I hired someone to build the website for me and it was ready, I found myself with a very expensive website and 0 traffic.
I started researching how I can get traffic to my website and the world of SEO was revealed to me. I was very eager to learn more about it, so I started working on optimizing my website and within the next 10 months, my website was ranked 1st place on Google for every keyword that was related to my business.
By then, my online store had far more sales than the physical store could ever have. About a year later, I was talking to a friend about building another website, and that is when he told me about WordPress.
I still remember the first time he showed me how easy it was to install WordPress, switch between nice themes and get super-advanced functionalities with WordPress plugins.
I remember that I was thinking to myself about how great this thing is. Now I can build a nice website effortlessly and get it to rank high. My SEO knowledge allowed me to do this for a wide variety of businesses.
It did not take me long to start creating websites in many fields. I catered to affiliate sites and I promoted them. I was making money from selling leads and ranking websites. This was a great learning experience for me.
At some point, I had the opportunity to expand my business so I founded Ilogic with one of my good friends. It was a digital agency that was focused on creating affiliate websites.
Within a few months from the time we started the company we were already generating 6 figures in monthly earnings from leads. At the time, we had a team of only 4 people.
Doing the maintenance on all of those WordPress websites was taking away most of my time, so I decided to hire a remote developer. Very quickly I saw how much time this developer was saving me.
I thought to myself that this type of service can be very useful to other people that need help but cannot afford a full-time developer. So in late 2013, I did some research and found only a couple of companies that did this kind of work.
So we started building FixRunner, but when it was ready, we were just so busy with other affiliate sites that we didn’t put any time into doing any actual marketing for it. So the site was live and we had a few customers (maybe 10 members) but we just didn’t put any time and effort into it back then.
Around the end of 2015, we had some raking difficulties with the affiliate websites of IIogic, due to massive Google updates. Around that time, the co-founder of Ilogic and I decided to go our separate ways and divide the digital assets we had. I took FixRunner as one of the assets that did not generate revenue back then.
It took me a couple of months to decide where I should go after Ilogic. I had many digital assets that generated revenue and I had FixRunner that I liked but it wasn’t very profitable. I remember the struggle, choosing between doing what I liked and thinking about the money.
As a father of 3 young boys, I decided to risk everything and follow my hunch. Now, 6 years later I’m so happy I made this decision. In Feb 2016, I started working on FixRunner full time and by the end of the first month, I landed 15 memberships. That helped me realize that I’m going in the right direction.
Today FixRunner is one of the most successful WordPress support companies in the world, and I’m very proud of the company and the team that I built.
The Need for FixRunner
When I first thought about creating this type of service, WordPress was already popular but the awareness of the need for WP support and maintenance companies was low. Most people were just working with one or a couple of freelancers whenever they needed WordPress help.
When I decided to focus on FixRunner again I saw that the game has changed and there are hundreds of similar services. But I wasn’t too worried about it, because I knew I had good WordPress knowledge and even better marketing skills.
I decided to put customer satisfaction first and create an amazing service, so I made a few thighs different to stand out from other companies:
- We do not take payments until the customer is completely satisfied.
- We always reply to customers fast and we complete their requests promptly. This is probably the one thing our customers appreciate the most.
- We always try to exceed customer expectations. Many of our customers don’t have a good understanding of the technical side of WordPress, so we always try to help them and give them the advice to make their businesses run better.
These points are what make our service different from others and I believe that this is why FixRunner is doing so well.
Challenges I had while I was building FixRunner
As you can imagine it’s not easy to start a business and especially one that provides support 24/7. When I started I had only one developer. It wasn’t easy to wear that many hats. I was working around the clock doing everything from fixing issues to sales and maintenance tasks.
The most difficult thing was probably to be able to provide fast support with only the two of us. But I’m proud of the work we did then. We were able to still keep a very high level of customer support if I can say so myself.
Building this type of business is full of challenges. It has its fair share of wonderful occasions but also it brings some disappointments along the way.
What I learned from this experience is that it’s really important who you surround yourself with and that you have people that you trust around you.
I feel very grateful for having the team that I do, that I can trust and rely on. It would be impossible to build this business without them. We are constantly making progress and breaking our records, but if I had to choose one beautiful moment to point out, it would be when I opened the office in Belgrade, Serbia.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
About half of my team is working out of Serbia and the other half is working from different places all around the world.
My team in Serbia works mostly from the office, with some part-time employees working from home and the rest of the team is working from home or in shared spaces. Here you can see a picture of me with my team in Serbia.
Advice for Business Owners
When I look back and think about why the success of FixRunner started only in 2016 it’s because before 2016 I was too busy with other projects, and I couldn’t give enough of my time to develop this business.
So I would advise any young entrepreneur who wants to start any kind of business, especially if it’s related to WordPress to focus 100% on it. Every minute you spend improving your product/service will help bring you success faster.
Focus on quality instead of quantity, and work on being the best in your niche.
WordPress & Beyond
I believe that if you are doing things related to WordPress you are moving in the right direction, as we can all see, WordPress is growing faster than any other CMS platform in the World.
The demand for WordPress hosting, themes, plugins, and services keeps growing and I believe that in the next 5 years it will even grow more because the world has experienced (and still is experiencing) Covid-19 which made everyone realize that no matter what they do they must have a presence online.
My 5-year plan involves doing a lot more content marketing and trying to get bigger brand awareness for FixRunner. At this time I don’t think about adding more services or products since I feel like there is a lot more we can do to get more WordPress users to know our services.
When I started FixRunner I did not engage much with the WordPress community. I got most of my traffic from Google ads and some SEO work. Unfortunately, I visited only one WordCamp, and it was the one in Serbia.
I was planning on going to the one in Portugal but it was canceled due to Covid-19. I’m planning on visiting more WordCamps and I started being more involved in the community online summits.
We even sponsored the last Atarim summit. I can already see the benefits of the connections we made since I started being more involved in the community.
Sam Mulaim at WordCamp Serbia
How I Keep Myself Updated
WordPress is moving fast and there are so many newsletters and updates that it’s becoming hard to keep track. So what I try to do is visit the WordPress official blog and learn about the most important updates.
Aside from visiting the blog, I have also signed up for different newsletters of companies like Siteground and WPengine. I also get a lot of updates from my support team.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
The most difficult part of running a business is finding the balance between work and personal life.
In the first 3 years, I build this company it was extremely hard to find time for myself and to be with my family. But when things got more stable, and I hired and trained my team, I was able to get more time with family and myself.
One of the big resolutions I made was to spend weekends with my family, 48 hours, no phone, no work, just family time. I’m very grateful that I have such an amazing team that I can rely upon without having to worry about anything!
When I do get some free time for myself I like to spend it with friends or at the beautiful beach next to my city, Yavne. I also like traveling to different counties and up until Covid-19, I spent a lot of my time traveling.
I like to get to know new places and working at FixRunner allowed me to do that.
Sam Mulaim at Jerusalem
I Reward Myself by
One of the nicest things about this work is that everything can be done remotely, so I try to travel with my family as much as possible. It has been a bit hard during Covid-19 but we are still traveling to different countries and around Israel.
I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to make a living from something I like and I guess that is the real reward.