About Syed Balkhi

Syed BalkhiHello, my name is Syed Balkhi, and I’m a 23 year old entrepreneur. I have a strong marketing background with design and development experience. I have been doing the internet stuff since I was 12 years old. I created my first business when I was 7 years old. My work has been featured in NYTimes, Wired Magazine, Yahoo, AMEX Open Forum, Mashable, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more. I do a lot of public speaking at various technology related events.

My Story

I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. Ever since I can remember, I have been extremely competitive which makes me hustle at everything that I do.

I started my first business when I was 7 years old selling holiday greeting cards for Muslim holiday (Eid). My mom gave me the initial funds to start, and it was a successful venture. I tripled her investment within a month.

I loved the concept, so I replicated it by selling badges and flags for Pakistan’s Independence Day celebration. This too was profitable.

The entrepreneur spirit in me could not stop there. I wanted to expand from doing seasonal sales to doing something more regular. With the help of my mom and grandmother, I started a small snack shop for my street when I was 9 years old. This was extremely profitable.

At age 12, my family immigrated to the United States. I found myself facing some of the biggest challenges of my life. I had to learn a new language while dealing with racial tensions from the 9/11 incident. It was hard for me to make friends when I didn’t know the language. I turned to the internet to find a hobby, and I found myself spending majority of my time playing online games.

On the side, I was searching for something I can do to earn extra money to pay for my Mountain Dew addiction. My cousin pointed me to the domaining industry, and I jumped right in. With little guidance, I was able to buy and sell domains.

I hate wasting time, and I considered lunch breaks in school just that. I wanted to use my time more efficiently by playing games and improving my high score. Sadly, the network admins in the school blocked all gaming websites.

I looked into how to bypass the firewall, and created my first web proxy. When other kids saw me playing games in school, they asked me how I was doing that. The little thing clicked in my head saying there is a demand. I decided to control the entire chain, so I created numerous web proxies along with arcade sites. This way, I could maximize my ad earnings.

I later started creating web directories to promote my proxies and arcade sites. Next thing you know, I found myself deep in the SEO industry working with some very large brands. At the same time, I started my freelance web design business.

Fast forward a few years, I graduated high school and went to attend University of Florida. I further expanded my design business from there, but I couldn’t keep up with the demand. In 2008, I decided to switch all of my clients from static websites over to WordPress. Next thing you know, all of my clients were asking me questions on how to use WordPress.

In 2009, I created WPBeginner which is now one of the largest free WordPress resource site on the web.

In 2011, I created a site called List25 which is an extremely popular site. Within 3 months of launch, the site was receiving 5 million pageviews per month. At the time of writing this page, we have over 700,000 subscribers and 100 Million video views on our Youtube channel.

In 2013, I also launched a product called OptinMonster that helps businesses grow their email list.

Because of my online experience and success, I have had a pleasure of meeting and/or working side by side with some amazing people including Sir Richard Branson, Russell Simmons, Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal), Peter Diamandis (Founder of X Prize Foundation), Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos), Bob McKnight (CEO of QuickSilver), Jessica Jackley (co-founder of Kiva), Tony Conrad (co-founder of About.me), Matt Mullenweg (Founder of WordPress), Charles Best (Donors Choose), Tim Ferris (4 Hour Work Week), Scott Harrison (Charity Water), Gary Vaynerchuk (Wine Library TV), Chip Conley, Sean Stephenson and many others.

My goal with this website is to share my experience with others.

I hope that you enjoyed the story of my life. To stay updated, please follow me on Twitter @syedbalkhi