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Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi is a serial entrepreneur, investor and blogger.

He is the founder and CEO of Awesome Motive.


Syed Moiz Balkhi was born on 2 October 1990 into a poor family in Karachi, Pakistan; he grew up in Pakistan.

At 12, he along with his family immigrated to the United States.

His father, had a mechanical engineering degree which didn’t validate in the U.S., used to work at a couple of jobs, one of which included working as a gas station attendant for 16 hours daily and on the weekends, he did a third job.

Syed is the eldest of four siblings.

BornSyed Moiz Balkhi; 2 October 1990, Karachi, Pakistan
EducationBachelors in anthropology and religion
OccupationSerial entrepreneur and investor
PartnerAmanda Balkhi
Syed Balkhi information


After finishing seventh grade in Pakistan, he moved to the U.S. and joined Palm Beach Lakes Community High School at 12.

After completing his schooling in 2007, at 16, Syed joined University of Florida to study for bachelors in anthropology and religion; he graduated in 2011.

Entrepreneurship starts early-

He has been an entrepreneur since 7.

At 7, with the financial help of his mother, Syed started his first business of selling holiday greeting cards for Eid; later, he started selling Pakistan flags; these were successful ventures.

Then, at 9, he started a small snack shop in his neighbourhood with the help of his mother and grandmother; this too turned out profitable.

Syed also had little lemonade and postcard businesses.

At 12, in 2002, after moving to the U.S., he faced racial tensions post the 9/11 incident and as his spoken English skills weren’t great, he couldn’t communicate with his fellow students; so, he started spending most of his free and lunch time in the library.

Here, Syed wanted to play computer games but as the game sites were blocked by the firewall, he started researching to unblock it; he learnt coding and created a proxy to get around the firewall and started selling proxy websites to other kids and in the process, he made friends and some money.

At the time, he wanted to earn money to support his father who used to work long hours at the gas station; also, he wanted to earn money to buy junk food.

In addition to coding, Syed learnt about monetizing websites with advertisements, and driving traffic.

So, he created a large proxy network and monetized it with ads; also, he developed some flash game websites and a network of web directories to promote his websites.

At the time, Syed started helping small local businesses to set up their websites; he used to develop websites at an affordable price range of $250-300.

He used to get clients through family friends and forums like DNForum, Digital Point, NamePros; his cousin got him into one of these forums.

On the forums, Syed used to find work like forum posting, directory submission, data-entry, etc.; he invested this money to buy and sell domains and later, he started flipping websites and also learnt to grow the sites.

At 13, he tried developing his own CMS with PHP.

A life-changing, rich & humble mentor-

Syed used to play cricket at South Florida Cricket League; here, he met the sponsor of his team, a Pakistani gentleman.

He noticed his humble sponsor driving a Mercedes-Benz S-Class; out of curiosity, he enquired about his profession; the sponsor replied that he wasn’t born into a rich family and immigrated to the U.S. with just $100 in pocket and became rich with real estate.

Syed was inspired by his story as he learnt that it was possible to become rich despite hailing from a poor background; previously, he couldn’t dream of becoming rich as most of his family members were working at gas stations and a few smart ones as bank tellers.

After his cricket team would win the matches, their sponsor used to take them out to eat and sometimes, invite them to his house — a big 18,000 sq ft mansion — to watch the international cricket matches.

While watching the matches, in between the breaks, Syed used to take interest in his sponsor’s businesses and listen to his business stories and working mechanisms; he learnt early business, finance and hustle lessons from him.

Also, his sponsor used to enquire about his ventures and encourage him.

Later, the sponsor became Syed’s mentor and family friend.

Discovering WordPress; starting WPBeginner & making his first million-

He started a small agency and started offering SEO, consulting and web development services to businesses of all sizes.

In addition to building websites, Syed used to build CRMs for them; in 2006, he discovered WordPress and felt it to be very useful.

At the time, he had directories and affiliate sites and used to drive traffic to them through Myspace profiles; as he wanted even more traffic, he went down the rabbit hole of SEO and discovered WordPress.

While studying at college, Syed felt it difficult to run the maintenance part of his business as his clients would always rely on him to make changes to their websites; so, he started migrating them to WordPress.

After he migrated his clients to WordPress, they started repeatedly asking him similar WordPress questions.

At the time, there was no WordPress website for beginners; every WordPress website was by developers, for developers.

So, on 4 July 2009, Syed started WPBeginner, a site for WordPress beginners.

Later, this website used to continuously get on the front page of Digg and get lots of traffic, this popularised WPBeginner.

Syed writes articles on WPBeginner and has a team for helping him with the site; currently, WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site.

In a year and a half, in 2012, WPBeginner and his listicle business crossed a million in revenue; this was his first million.

Syed started many brands like List25, MonsterInsights, WPForms, OptinMonster, etc.; all his projects are under his company, Awesome Motive, Inc., which was started in January 2011 and currently, its products are used by over 25 million websites.

Awesome Motive mainly has WordPress products and some products in the SAS space.

In addition to building products, Syed also acquired a few brands.

By 32, he bootstrapped a unicorn (a billion-dollar company).

Syed got recognised as the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the United Nations; he was honoured as an Outstanding Young Alumni by University of Florida and is a three-time recipient of the Gator 100 award for rapid business growth.

He has a personal website.

Importance of work ethic; buying a gas station for baby shower-

By 26, Syed was well-settled and was expecting his son.

At the time, some VC firms reached out to him to acquire OptinMonster, WPForms, analytics and gallery solutions; he could have made two high 8-figure exits.

He thought about accepting the offers, but he didn’t, as he felt that he would stop working afterwards and his son would see him not working which wouldn’t teach him good work ethic.

While growing up, Syed watched his father working and this instilled his work ethic; so, he decided to continue working to instill work ethic in his son.

Later, he bought a gas station for the baby shower as it was an appreciating asset which would cover his son’s expenses.

Syed learnt about appreciating assets from his mentor who used to buy appreciating assets like real estate properties and with the income generated from them, buy things like Mercedes cars.

Now, he owns many gas stations and in 2017, he bought a Wells Fargo building.

Syed sold a YouTube channel business and a photography software business, both for 7-figure exits.


On the birthday of WPBeginner, he does donation campaigns; he along with his team raised money and supported charities like Pencils of Promise and Cambodian Village Fund.

Syed founded Balkhi Foundation and through this foundation, he provides education scholarships and training grants.

He helped in building schools in Guatemala and Cambodia.

Personal life-

Syed is married to Amanda Balkhi.

They met in high school.

Amanda is an author and executive director of the Balkhi Foundation.

This couple has a son, Solomon Balkhi; they live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Syed is a polyglot as he knows English, Hindi and Urdu.

Some interesting facts about Syed Balkhi-

  • He loves cricket and was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame in 2017 for his role in bringing the sport to the U.S.
  • Syed’s favourite books are: The Power of Habit, Atomic Habits, The Psychology of Money, and The Dhandho Investor.
  • His favourite entrepreneurs are Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger; he read their books, biographies and annual newsletters.
  • Syed had been frugal; while in college, he didn’t buy furniture and used to sleep on the floor on a blanket like he did in Pakistan. In his early days, he saved most of his earnings and didn’t buy a bed until he got married.
  • He worked in his apartment on a desk that he got from Goodwill.
  • Syed loves travelling and it helps him to be creative.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Syed Balkhi?

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