You are only as good as your customers say

Oana Filip

We live in a world where suc­cess keeps being the hottest top­ic. From star­tups to huge com­pa­nies, from dig­i­tal mak­ers to Word­Press authors, every­one has writ­ten at least one line of what suc­cess means in their par­tic­u­lar indus­try or how impor­tant it is to touch the peak of the ice­berg.

Just type ‘’suc­cess in Word­Press’’ on Google and you’ll get 72,200,000 results in 0,36 sec­onds. Mag­ic, right?

A bunch of inspir­ing quotes are post­ed online every sin­gle day. Some of them remind you that fail­ing is ok (do it like a PRO!). Oth­ers try to con­vince you that work-life bal­ance means hav­ing a clear desk and a love­ly job. You can either pro­cras­ti­nate or work hard. You can be the cool dig­i­tal nomad trav­el­ing around the world or a super ded­i­cat­ed employ­ee. You can live with lit­tle mon­ey, or you must aim to raise bil­lions from VCs.

Your cus­tomers shape your image through their lens and way of under­stand­ing the whole con­text.

It’s all there. Every sin­gle pos­si­ble sce­nario is cov­ered.

Peo­ple spread opin­ions about how you should act to achieve a par­tic­u­lar lev­el of suc­cess.

Don’t fake it

At Pix­el­Grade we strug­gle to stay away from this kind of approach and focus on what mat­ters to us. And that changes as we change and our set of core val­ues evolve. There are con­texts when spend­ing time with our fam­i­lies comes first place. There are moments when we want to dig deep­er into our work and dis­cov­er rare dia­monds. There are peri­ods when we want to sign out of every­thing and con­nect with our inner selves.

We don’t say it’s good or wrong. In fact, no one should pre­tend to pos­sess the uni­ver­sal truth. We just say that we’re human, and we have our set of goals, desires, dis­ap­point­ments, chal­lenges, ups and downs. And we’re not afraid to show up with the full pack­age. We don’t fake it.

Not in front of our cowork­ers, nor in front of our clients. Of course, we give our best to deliv­er the best pos­si­ble solu­tions to their prob­lems and to make it hap­pen with­out com­plain­ing about our pri­vate lives. But if we’ve bad days, we will not feel ashamed. Deep down, we’re con­vinced it’s ok to be vul­ner­a­ble.

Enjoy the present and make sure you invest in what’s now on your plate.

See beyond today and tomorrow

Speak­ing of suc­cess, for us, it’s far more impor­tant to keep our minds healthy and to avoid these kinds of dig­i­tal dis­trac­tions. You could call them recipes or 10-steps-to-achieve-what­ev­er but we don’t res­onate with this approach. At least not in the long run. Some­times we tend to skim through this gar­den of wis­dom, but we for­get about it by the blink of an eye.

Instead, we have a strong focus on the present. On the peo­ple who love to buy and use our hand­craft­ed Word­Press themes. On those who are now on board and ask for our atten­tion and involve­ment. On those who are already in this puz­zle. And yes, cus­tomer sup­port is a cru­cial part of our busi­ness. We already wrote an entire sto­ry about our Hap­pi­ness Heroes and how they suc­ceed to keep every­one hap­py.

At the end of the spec­trum, we avoid mak­ing men­tal exer­cis­es and search­ing for answers to these kinds of sil­ly ques­tions:

— What would it be like to have bil­lions of cus­tomers?

— What if we’d man­aged to sell this spe­cif­ic theme and make some seri­ous mon­ey in a cou­ple of hours?

— How should we change our mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy so that we con­vert an amount of cus­tomers each hour?

That’s not our dream, nor our focus.

“Thank you” means so much more than a social­ly polite expres­sion.

Create a habit of being grateful

We pre­fer to be aware of what hap­pens today and to get the job done in a way we’re proud of that lasts. Not just mark­ing them down from a to-do list. In a min­i­mal­is­tic way, that could be trans­lat­ed into cre­at­ing WP themes tai­lored to cre­ative doers’ needs by putting all our expe­ri­ence, know-how, cre­ativ­i­ty and courage into this beau­ti­ful jour­ney.

You might be tempt­ed to say that every sin­gle Word­Press Author does the exact­ly same thing, but you’d be wrong. And you know why? Because — as Jason Friend (@Basecamp) wrote, “you play like you prac­tice”. And some of them skip the gym with­out hes­i­ta­tion.

That’s why we tru­ly believe that we’re only as good as our cus­tomers say. If they pro­vide neg­a­tive feed­back it’s most like­ly because they have a point. It’s not a mat­ter of right, wrong or just want­i­ng to have a debate, it’s our respon­si­bil­i­ty to active­ly lis­ten to what­ev­er they have to say and to take it from there.

On the oth­er hand, if they send us huge tes­ti­mo­ni­als regard­ing our com­mon work expe­ri­ence, this is most like­ly because we gave them some­thing they deeply need­ed at a cer­tain moment in time.

It has noth­ing to do with mon­ey per se, with the num­ber of cus­tomers which con­tin­ues to increase from one day to anoth­er. Yes, they help us pay the bills and have a love­ly life, but the mean­ing goes beyond this.

For the time being, we have more than 3K rat­ings and more than 33K peo­ple tak­ing mon­ey out of their wal­lets to spend on our Word­Press themes port­fo­lio. Thanks to their con­struc­tive feed­back we have man­aged to evolve and cre­ate bet­ter dig­i­tal prod­ucts. So why not keep an open eye on them and dream of how Sil­i­con Val­ley would be the best thing that can hap­pen to us? At the end of the day, tak­ing good care of our cus­tomers will get us clos­er to what­ev­er we deserve. There’s no oth­er way around.

Perfection comes over time (after intense work)

We’ve giv­en it our best shot to attract and main­tain clients that are hap­py with the over­all expe­ri­ence. Who are eager to use our themes in cre­atives ways. Who appre­ci­ate the great effort we put into trans­form­ing an idea into a beau­ti­ful Word­Press prod­uct.

No growth hack­er, no investor, no suc­cess coach, nobody can make it hap­pen for you. It’s your fight. Recon­sid­er for your­self. Or for the sake of your busi­ness, cowork­ers, dear ones. You will thank us lat­er.

This arti­cle was first pub­lished on

Oana Filip
Oana Filip

Digital storyteller @Pixelgrade and community builder for creative industries. A true believer in the power of making the world a better place.