Help.com was founded in 2014 in Austin, Texas. Their goal is to create positive experiences for both businesses and customers. Under the leadership of CEO, Adam Farrar, Help.com has continued to grow, innovate, and effect change across industries. With a team of talented engineers, designers, and thought leaders from around the globe, the Help.com platform has evolved to become a powerful system that makes running your business simple and enjoyable.
Mike: Adam, one of the first things I found on you in my research was a “Happy Birthday” page dedicated to you on Help.com. That speaks volumes to your character. Tell me about your reaction when you first saw this?
Adam: I was definitely surprised. It’s not something I’d ever expect or encourage from my team; it’s just not my leadership style. I prefer to shine light on the team and encourage others, but I appreciated the thoughtfulness. Plus my mom loved it.
Mike: You joined Help.com in February of last year. How did you come to Help.com and know it was the right fit?
Adam: I’ve worked with our investor Brent Oxley, previously at Host Gator. Through our time together, we put a lot of effort into building customer support systems and tools to help improve customer service. So the idea for Help.com had been brewing for a long time. Eventually there came an opportunity for me to join the Help.com team, and I decided to take it.
Mike: You started as a customer service rep at HostGator and became the CEO within three years. Seriously, WOW!! I could break this question into 20 questions, but…. How did you do it?
Adam: When I started as a live chat and phone technician, the pay wasn’t great, but I knew there was a huge potential for growth in the company. Lo and behold, two months in, I was promoted. A month later, I was promoted again. I got promoted a few more times within the next few months, eventually becoming the director of billing and sales. After that I was moved to director of operations. As the company grew, I was eventually named the CEO. I think it all boils down to perseverance, commitment, and enjoying what you do.
Mike: What advice could you give others to achieve a similar level of success?
Adam: Hard work. Read a lot. Learn as much as you can. And have someone in your corner somewhere to mentor and advocate for you. With enough blood, sweat, and tears, you’ll eventually get lucky and hit your stride.
Mike: Help.com is an incredible, four-letter, descriptive, keyword, domain name. What advantages has that given Help.com as a business?
Adam: We’re still pre-launch, but I’d say what we’ve really got going for us is brandability. Help.com is easy to recall. While some of our competitors’ names don’t have an immediate correlation to their services, Help.com is about as close as you can get: our software helps businesses help their customers. Plus, it’s short and to the point—and that always helps.
Mike: Can you share any traffic details? If not specific numbers, what percent of traffic to the site is on from type in visitors?
Adam: Pretty much all of our traffic is organic. As we’ve grown our content (blog), we’ve certainly seen a rise in traffic from social as well.
Mike: How does running a company like Help.com differ from running a company like HostGator.com?
Adam: HostGator was and is a large company. There are a lot of moving parts and people all over the world use it. Help.com is a small startup with a flat organizational structure. There’s only about 20 of us here. We’re like a small, nerdy family. Running a smaller organization means you really have to maintain focus more tightly.
Mike: Are there any books that you have read that you would recommend to the readers to develop as a successful leader and/or entrepreneur? Which books and why?
Adam: There’s a lot. I’m a big fan of Daniel Pink’s Drive; First, Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham; First Things First by Steven Covey; The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz. I’m a fairly active reader and these are just a few of the books that have stuck with me. I’d say most have given me perspective that helped during a challenging time or decision.