Joshua Strebel started a small SEO and website agency in the early 2000s after graduating from university. Joshua and his wife Sally experimented with website hosting using WordPress with low monthly fees while they ran their services business in Scottsdale, Arizona. WordPress became popular and eventually Pagely was formally launched as the first managed WordPress hosting platform in 2009 and they closed their services. business.
Pagely grew steadily until 2013, when dozens of inexpensive managed WordPress hosting competitors entered the market, all backed by big VC funding. Pagely was bootstrapped with no outside funding, so they slowly changed their focus to serve only the biggest companies the largest WordPress sites with the most complex needs. Pagely revenues grew 1000% in just 3 years after focusing on the top 1% of WordPress customers.
Pagely was profitable and sustainable with many big-brand large customers when they sold the company in 2021 to GoDaddy, the huge website hosting company also based in Arizona. With nearly $10 million in ARR, Pagely’s strategic exit created generational wealth for Joshua and Sally and life-changing wealth for multiple key employees.
Best quote from Joshua:
“Sally and I discussed that this opportunity of being entrepreneurs allows us to raise our own children, and that was important to us. ‘Lifestyle business’ was a naughty word to a lot of people. I began to use that term with pride and sarcastically and say, ‘Oh yeah, a lifestyle business sucks…unless your lifestyle is funded by seven-figure profits!’
“We don’t have multiple homes, we don’t have multiple supercars. We have 1 or 2 of those things. But we really love experiences. We did a lot of traveling, even when our kids were still in strollers. Those are the things that we really like doing.
“You find out what you want sooner or later. What I wanted was enough. Enough financially to then have everything else I wanted. And what I want is hanging out with my kids, travel with my wife, build old classic cars, and ride mountain bikes.”
In this episode, Joshua explains:
- How Joshua and his wife Sally ran a digital services business for several years until Pagely became a sustainable recurring revenue business
- Why they changed their strategy to focus on large customers instead of raising outside funding to compete in a crowded low-cost market
- How Pagely revenues grew 1000% in just 3 years after focusing on the top 1% of WordPress customers
- How their unique company culture promoted intense technical innovation, white-glove customer service, and flexible lifestyles for all employees.
- Why they sold Pagely to GoDaddy in 2021 and why he and Sally retired in 2023
- How Joshua and Sally grew Pagely and raised their family and had a life at the same time
- Founded: 2009
- Employees: 45
- Description: Pagely builds, optimizes, and manages scaled WordPress websites for enterprise brands with unique needs
- Funding: Bootstrapped to start and then customer-funded with revenue growth.
- Acquisition: Pagely was acquired by GoDaddy for an undisclosed sum in 2021
- Headquarters: Tucson, Arizona
- Joshua Strebel on LinkedIn
- Joshua Strebel on Twitter
- Pagely on LinkedIn
- Pagely website
- Sally Strebel on Linkedin
- GoDaddy on LinkedIn
- Godaddy website
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