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Milestones and Moments last 3 years

By Jason Wolfe | Published January 29, 2013 | Google+

At GiftCards.com we try hard to set goals, and reach them. Sometimes the goals get moved (Google doesn’t tell us their algorithm so we have no choice but to bow to the Google god (small g) at this point). And with the moving of the goals and moving of the priorities we are faced with anxiety and fear. Fear, though, is the biggest motivator but also the biggest limiter in our lives. The reality is that once we learn to overcome the fear, then we can accomplish anything really. But it’s a choice, most are ‘afraid’ to make.

That being said, for the last 3 years we have set goals and then did something ceremonial to represent a concurring of fear, if we hit the goal.

In 2010, I was managing day to day at one of our sister companies MyCoupons.com. The goal was to generate $1m in revenue from MyCoupons.com in the month of December 2010. If we did $1m in revenue in Dec 2010, I was going to run up to our Foster Plaza office then back down to our Mansfield Ave building in January in shorts. Well as the month went on, we got closer and closer to $1m. I honestly wasn’t 100% sure we would do it. The prior December we did $440k in December so this was a 225% increase in revenue over the prior December. Well, we did hit it. We did $1,102,892. Beat it by 10%. We grow by 260% over the prior year. What a great feat. So myself, and a handful of other folks like Doug Blasiman, Mike Tchirkow, Dave Deter, Kevin Flynn, and others jogged roughly 2 miles in our shorts. It was freezing that day, maybe 25 degrees.

Doug and Jason

In 2011, the goal was to survive the Panda release that Google put out that hammered us and forced us to lay off about 20 people, and shut down 2 offices. Where we were #1 for many search terms, we all of a sudden were not found. Our site traffic plummeted to 35% of our former traffic. Having the oldest coupon site in the world did not matter. And after dozens of emails and calls to Google, we never recovered. Eventually we did speak to Matt Cutts, and we figured out our issue and slowly came back – but the devastation had occurred…. If was fearful to have to shut down 2 offices, lay off 20+ people and hold our breathe to survive – but we did. And because of that, I committed to do Tough Mudder (12 mile run through Mud and over obstacles). So in April 2011, as a symbol of overcoming our fear – myself and a bunch of team mates like Doug, Steve, Ray, Peter, Mark, John, Mike, ran the event in Michigan.

Tough Mudder 2012

And finally in 2012, we had to grow our GiftCards sales. In 2010 we sold 824,000 cards, but in 2011 during the Panda attack, laying off employees, and shutting office we dropped to 790,000 cards sold. We hired new leadership, scaled back the team, and focused. The goal was to hit 1,000,000 cards sold. This would be a 30% increase over 2011. A big number, but an important milestone to overcome. So, we said it we hit 1m gift cards sold, then we’d jump into the Allegheny River in January. By early December it didn’t look possible. But a hard push at the end of the year got us to 1,000,200 cards sold. We barely beat the goal. And we beat it by 200 cards which ironically is the HTTP status code for ‘SUCCESS’. So off we went to jump into the water (although with regulations and permits to jump into the River we decided to take my RV and drive to Deep Creek. We did, and here is the video clip:

In 2013, we are striving to do 2,000,000 gift cards sold. Should we reach this number, I have said I will jump out of an airplane. Scary – yes – but it’s a fear to overcome. Just as the fear to hit this goal. Its fear that limits us, but facing the fear and overcoming the fear enables us to grow….and we are growing. Stay tuned.

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