Dan Western founded Wealthy Gorilla to help people improve their lives, whether they want to start a business, are struggling to cope with their emotions, or are even on the verge of giving up on their dreams. Since September 2015, Dan’s been on a personal journey traveling the world, traveling through countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Bali and Australia.
In this interview, my good friend Dan tells us why he started Wealthy Gorilla and why he left his stable situation to live life on his own terms. No matter who you are or where you are, Dan's entrepreneurial/life journey is extremely inspiring.
After you finish absorbing his interview, be sure to give Dan a follow him on Twitter for daily motivation!
Can you tell me a little about Wealthy Gorilla? What motivated you to start a motivation website?
Wealthy Gorilla is a self-improvement blog. I started just over 2 years ago, to try and help inspire people to improve themselves, to change their lives, to go after their dreams; whether that be starting a business, traveling the world, who knows.
I was inspired originally because I was a guy who was in a stable situation early on in life. I had a 9-5 job, was still living with my parents, had a girlfriend who lived nearby, some savings in the bank, and bought myself a pretty decent car. All the ‘normal’ stuff you’d expect most people to be doing after they leave school.
Yet, after a while, I got to the point where it kind of just felt stupid. I wasn’t doing any of this stuff out of passion, drive, goals, dreams… I was just doing it because it was the normal thing to do, and it felt safe.
So, long story short… I started the site, broke up with my girlfriend, quit my job, went traveling, and haven’t looked back. I basically got rid of everything that was STABLE. I want to share this story with other people and make them realize that we’re all capable of much, much more than we think we are.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
Ever since I was thirteen, I’ve wanted to live abroad permanently. More recently, I’ve wanted to travel to so many different places, and I’ve began to do so, but this is always my #1 source of motivation.
I think also just the fact that I love what I do, and I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else in the future. Like, if I was to go back to a 9-5 job like I had before, I just think I’d never feel a true sense of fulfillment.
You can’t get much more motivation than that!
What is unique about the way you run Wealthy Gorilla? Is there a competitive advantage that you have over the rest?
To be honest, I don’t know there’s any particular way, or style if you like; just my own. In the beginning, I would try and copy successful websites, and it didn’t go down too well.
Now, I just carry out everything to how I would like it. The name, the logo, the design, the way everything is done. It’s all my personal style, and if people like it that way then that’s what’ll keep them coming back!
What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?
Hard work, patience, vision and the decision to go after what I want.
There’s not really much more to it than that. People are so set on finding some sort of ‘secret’ or ‘key’. If everybody just set a vision for their life, made the decision to act on it, then worked hard every day towards it, and had the patience to not quit after 3 months, or 6 months… they’d be successful.
Anybody who’s looking for a ‘key’ to success, is looking for a way to get out of doing the work. Simple.
Is there any resource that helped you write a solid plan for your business?
I’m very bad and messy at planning, so I’m probably not the best person to give advice on this particular topic.
When comes to researching stuff, I’ll usually find the resources on Google and go from there! (But I hear LivePlan’s a good online business plan software.)
How do you keep your business finances under control? We see a lot of entrepreneurs who ignore this until it’s too late.
When you make a living online there’s a lot of different sources of income, for me anyway! It can get confusing if you’re not careful. I try and minimize the amount of transactions I’m making every month, paying yearly for services if I can, only spending money on the stuff I need.
Laying all my monthly expenses/revenues out clearly, and I’m shortly hiring an accountant to make the process a whole lot easier on myself! Keep everything organized & minimalistic.
What was your biggest business mistake and how you did you come out stronger at the end of the day?
My biggest mistake was trying to copy what other people had done too much. As I mentioned above briefly, I had role models, and I would try hard to copy their style, rather than develop my own. Wealthy Gorilla is now my own style, and that’s made all the difference!
Are you using any Apps that help run and manage your business?
Sure, I use Buffer for social media automation and management, that’s a huge one! I also use Zoho for all my emails, which is great.
Google Analytics is another obvious one for website traffic management. There are so many different apps available, but I try to limit the amount that are on my phone, and just stick to the web versions when I need them.
What attitude/habits helped make you successful while starting Wealthy Gorilla?
I think just consistency, and having a big vision, has made Wealthy Gorilla become what it is today.
It’s hard to put the work in for a couple of years before you actually start seeing results. So discipline is a huge thing. Having the discipline to keep putting in the work when you can’t see any return is so important.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business? What do they need to know from the very beginning?
Three pieces of advice? Hmm…
1) It’s a lot of work, so base your business on something you’re incredibly passionate about, and don’t chase the money. You probably won’t last long when things aren’t going your way, if you’re only about the money.
2) Things don’t have to be perfect before you start. Before I started Wealthy Gorilla, there were people I knew who were in the process of launching their online businesses.
They are still in the process of launching those online businesses…
Waiting for the right moment, or for things to be perfect. It’s ridiculous. People love progression, so just start, and let the progression happen naturally. Seeing the same ‘coming soon’ pages up for two years straight is just depressing.
3) Don’t have a scarcity mindset. Once you start making money from your business, don’t be afraid to re-invest the majority of it. You’ll grow a lot quicker that way. Sure, it’s nice to have money, but they’ll always be more to be made. So don’t be afraid to re-invest.