The White Coat Investor turns 10 years old today, so we’re going to be celebrating this milestone for the rest of the month. Happy Birthday to us! What a long, crazy journey it has been! None of this would be possible without you, the White Coat Investor community, so thank you today for your trust, loyalty, and support.
Early Days of the White Coat Investor
Here are the first words that showed up on this site:
“Welcome to The White Coat Investor. The blog and site are just getting off the ground. I want the site to have quality static pages independent of any future blog posts, so I’ve really been working hard on those for now. I’ve been learning a lot about blog software, widgets, plug-ins, affiliate agreements, advertising, and PayPal as I assemble the various pieces of what I hope will become a successful blog for busy physicians interested in managing their financial affairs well. I’ve finished the about page, contact page, books page, and websites page. I hope to work on the various static tax and investment pages over the next week. So take a look around and see if you can find anything useful.”
That was pretty much it. The entire first post. As you can see from the first post, it was a business from day one. Didn’t make any money in 2011, though, and hardly any in 2012. It probably wasn’t worth the time and effort I was putting into it until at least 2014 or 2015 and didn’t surpass my clinical income until 2016, the year I went from full-time to 3/4 time. The “static pages” were a dumb idea, too. I think the blog got a little better after that first post, and its readership grew and grew. Here’s what the first five years looked like:
Many of you have never seen what the site looked like originally. Here’s an example from its first week:
Just for fun, I went back to find our first subscriber. Dr. Josh Laird subscribed on May 19, 2011, two days after the blog started. That’s a full four days before my mother even subscribed. (Funny story, if you fell for the 4/1/21 story about “My New Tesla“, don’t feel bad. My parents didn’t realize I hadn’t really bought one until a phone call a week later.) I asked Josh to share a few words about his relationship with The White Coat Investor over the last decade:
“Back when I first subscribed to WCI I was about to finish medical school. At that point in time I had over $230K in school loan debt. I was highly stressed over this amount of debt and sought sources other than what was available at my medical school to have a plan of attack to discharge this debt. I had joined the Bogleheads forum which was an incredible tool but also very intimidating. I came across several of Jim’s posts which seemed to resonate with me.
Once WCI was started, I immediately jumped ship in preference of a website with curated content and easily searchable topics. WCI helped me to build my financial knowledge tremendously. I was able to knock out that debt in 2 years after residency. By following the principles of WCI, I have been able to build my net worth to close to 7 figures easily and reduce my financial stress. I was also able to knowledgeably pick disability insurance and avoid high fee financial advisors. I even avoided buying a whole life policy!
After reading the website posts for years I’m still surprised that Jim is able to find topics that are relevant to me and keep us on the right track. I’m also shocked at how large the empire has become. Thanks to Jim and all of the WCI team for everything you guys do. Keep up the amazing work.”
For those who are relatively new to The White Coat Investor, let’s go over a timeline of all the fun stuff that has happened with it over the last decade.
- May 2011: Blog is Born!
- December 2011: Started Twitter and Facebook page
- January 2012: First made >$1,000 in a single month
- January 2012: First speaking gig (Detroit), made $500 for 2+ days of time
- January 2012: Mentioned on CNN– 28,000 pageviews in a single day, not exceeded for 6 more years
- February 2012: First Newsletter sent out
- September 2012: Clinical partners aware of WCI and supportive
- March 2013: Formed an LLC
- October 2013: Attended FinCon and learned how online entrepreneurship works
- November 2013: First made > $5,000 in a single month
- January 2014: The White Coat Investor book published
- September 2014: Hired Cindy (Business Manager)
- January 2015: Gave half the business away to Katie
- February 2015: Hired kids as models
- May 2015: Started the WCI Scholarship
- June 2015: Afton (model # 4) born
- September 2015: First had 100,000 users on the site in a single month
- October 2015: Major Site Redesign
- October 2015: WCI Forum started
- January 2016: Dropped night shifts, a major motivation for me to work, save, and invest
- August 2016: Cut back to 3/4 time clinically
- January 2017: Incorporated
- January 2017: Started the WCI Podcast
- March 2017: Youtube channel started
- March 2017: WCI Network started– Physician on FIRE joins
- May 2017: Dahles pay off their mortgage
- November 2017: WCI earns > $1 million in a single year
- November 2017: Passive Income MD joins WCI Network
- January 2018: Hired Jill (Content)
- January 2018: Fire Your Financial Advisor online course launched
- February 2018: Dahles achieve financial independence
- March 2018: First WCICON in Park City
- June 2018: WCI Subreddit started
- July 2018: Hired Michelle (Social Media)
- August 2018: WCI Facebook Group Started
- August 2018: Cut back to 1/2 time clinically
- October 2018: Started Pinterest and Instagram accounts
- January 2019: First hit 1 million pageviews in a single month
- February 2019: Financial Boot Camp book published
- April 2019: Financial Educator Award begun
- April 2019: The Physician Philosopher joins the WCI Network
- May 2019: Hired Wendel (audio/video)
- November 2019: Episode of severe blogger burnout, almost quit
- March 2020: Hired Brett (COO), first full-time staff member
- March 2020: WCICON Las Vegas
- March 2020: CFE 2020 online course launched
- May 2020: Hired Chrislyn (Conferences)
- July 2020: Hired James (CTO)
- September 2020: Hired Emily (Books, Content)
- October 2020: White Coat Investor pre-med scholarship fund endowed
- January 2021: New WCI 401(k)
- January 2021: Guide for Students book published
- January 2021: Hired Andrew (Student Loans)
- February 2021: Financial Wellness and Burnout Prevention Course launched (CME for FYFA)
- February 2021: Milestones to Millionaire Podcast
- March 2021: WCICON21 is a smashing success as a virtual conference
- March 2021: > $1 million in books given away to medical students
- March 2021: CFE 2021 online course launched
- April 2021: Launched StudentLoanAdvice.com
- April 2021: Hired Lauren (SEO)
- May 2021: Launched the White Coat Investor Store
- May 2021: 10 Year Anniversary
Whew! I’m exhausted just putting that all together. It’s been a wild ride for sure. We also wanted to take a moment to say thank you to our longest-term advertisers:
All three of them have been with us for over 9 of our 10 years of existence! Thanks for your support. You know a company has top-notch products and services when it can span a decade serving thousands of White Coat Investors who continue to refer them to friends, colleagues, and family.
Free WCI Swag!
As part of our celebration this week, we’re going to be doing some giveaways and some special promotions. There will be some great WCI swag from the WCI Store given away every day across all of our platforms, and one grand prize winner will even receive a WCI online course of their choice. Winners will all be announced on this blog on Tuesday, May 25th.
If you want more chances to win, be sure to participate across all of our platforms.
- Today’s contest is super easy to enter. All you have to do is leave a comment below this post talking about how WCI has helped you over the years. We’ll select three winners to get a free WCI T-shirt.
- Tuesday: We’ll select three winners from among those who sign up for the free WCI Newsletter on Tuesday. They will each get a WCI Journal, WCI Pen, and WCI Sticker of their choice.
- Wednesday: Post on Instagram describing how WCI has helped you over the years. Include the tag #wcianniversary and you’ll be entered to win one of three sets of all three WCI books.
- Thursday: We’ll be giving away a WCI Yeti Tumbler to three people who leave a review of the WCI Podcast on Apple Podcasts on Thursday.
- Friday: We’ll be giving away a free WCI T-shirt to three people on Twitter. All you have to do to enter is post how WCI has helped you over the years and include the hashtag #wcianniversary.
- Saturday: Lest those who prefer Facebook to Twitter feel left out, it’s the same deal. Post on Facebook (not in the WCI Facebook group) how WCI has helped you over the years and include the hashtag #wcianniversary to enter to win one of three WCI T-shirts.
- Sunday: This is Forum Day. There will be one thread on the WCI Forum, one thread on the WCI Subreddit, and one thread in the WCI Facebook Group. Post how WCI has helped you over the years in that thread and you’ll be entered to win a WCI T-shirt.
- Monday: Watch the Milestones to Millionaire video posted on Youtube this day, subscribe to the WCI Youtube channel, and leave a comment on that video to enter to win one of three WCI T-shirts.
The grand prize winner (WCI online course of your choice) will be chosen from all of the other winners. 8 Contests to enter. 24 chances to win. Enter them all to maximize your opportunities, then watch the blog next week to see if you won.
What do you think? Want some free swag? How long have you been reading The White Coat Investor? How has WCI helped you over the years? What has been the biggest surprise to you? Comment below and enter the contest for a free T-shirt!