A Step Forward…
In the first week of September I received a message from my business partner Stu McLaren. He wanted to make sure that both Mike Lopez and I would be on our weekly partner meeting. Stu said that he and his wife had been making some major life decisions that would affect his future both personally and professionally.
Initially, I replied that I planned to be on the regularly scheduled Friday meeting, but I quickly realized that something just seemed different. We then pushed the meeting up a day early.
It was an extremely tough decision for Stu, but he let us know that he was planning to step down from his role in WishList Products and sell his interests back to the company.
Initially, the decision came as a bit of a shock to us. Stu isn’t just a business partner; he’s a close friend as well.
My history with Stu is a long one.
We met at a seminar over 11 years ago when I was giving a presentation. I had given many seminar presentations but this particular one was different. This was the first time I ever sold a product that I had completely created on my own. I was a bit nervous. I had no idea if anyone would find value in what I was teaching, much less purchase the product I created.
Stu was fresh out of college and was just getting started in the Information Marketing Business. He didn’t have a lot of discretionary income. I don’t believe he intended to spend any money purchasing products at this event but somehow I managed to convince him that what I was teaching and offering would provide value in his future. Lo and behold, Stu McLaren became my first customer.
Shortly after the event, Stu and I touched base to follow up directly on the phone. I could tell right from the beginning that there was something very different about him. He was full of energy, creativity and he was ready to take on the world. Who couldn’t love a guy like that?
Stu and I were both fascinated with the world of Internet Marketing and started developing our careers in the online space at the same time. We attended all the same conferences as students and really cut our teeth together. I was focused on creating software and he was focused on teaching and creating information. We continued to develop our friendship as we both developed our own online careers on two similar yet different paths.
In 2006, I took a shift in my career. I decided to take a position as an employee for a company. It wasn’t just any company. It was a company that was completely dedicated to online marketing. I remember talking it through with Stu. I told him I was looking at it as a learning experience. He gave me some great advice. He said, “if you’re looking at this as a learning experience, make sure you recognize what the biggest lessons are that you can apply for yourself when the time comes.”
Well, the time came for me to take a step forward and get back out on my own. I really did learn a lot in the time I worked with that company. I took Stu’s advice and I recognized the biggest lesson I learned was that to do anything significant you really need a solid team. That became my focus.
In 2008, Stu and I were at another conference. This time he was the speaker and I was the student. As I sat and watched him deliver his presentation I was thoroughly impressed with what a great presenter and teacher he had become.
While we were at that conference Stu and I had some time to talk. I shared with him how I’d built a software development team (AKA Mike Lopez) that could create anything. As usual, you could see the wheels in Stu’s mind starting to spin.
While I had extreme confidence in building a solid product, he had just as much confidence in his abilities to market something that he truly believed in.
During that same conversation, he explained how hard it was to build a membership site with WordPress and at that very moment the idea to create WishList Member was born.
When I met Stu McLaren, he was a bachelor with great visions of where he wanted to go with his life both personally and professionally. Since we had been good friends for such a long time, we decided to take a new direction for both of us and start a new company that would utilize and require the best of our talents.
Wow, what a great ride and great decision it has been for both of us. Over the past 6 years, our friends, business associates and customers have watched us build a tremendous company together. We turned an idea into a product that is now trusted by well over 50,000 membership sites and online communities every day.
Not only did we create a fantastic product, we’ve also assembled an amazing team, dedicated to seeing WishList Member continue to grow and serve the thousands and thousands of customers that have put their trust in us.
Stu is probably one of the most creative and likable guys anyone could ever meet. As he moves forward on his own, we will miss his creativity, energy, enthusiasm and passion to help others.
Stu’s first day in his new step forward was October 1st, 2014. Since that time he and his wife have raised nearly $200,000 for their non-profit charity called World Teacher Aid. You can learn more about their work of building schools in Africa at http://worldteacheraid.org
Our team has been quite busy in our new step forward as well. We recently released WishList Member version 2.9, which is our most powerful version yet.
We will certainly miss Stu but we will continue to move forward and develop WishList Member as the premiere membership software.
To learn more about Stu and his future plans to train entrepreneurs to Work Less, Make More and Love Life you can check out http://stu.me/
On behalf of the entire WishList Products team, we wish him all the best as we both take our next step forward.