What you need to know to succeed with your small business.
Prosper and grow as a person and professional
The way we do business is ever changing. New technology, tools, methods, strategies. It can all become completely overwhelming and frustrating. I have been there, through all of it. It wasn’t until I finally took a step back, to think and observe, that everything changed.
Welcome to my website. My name is Chris and I have a passion for small business and marketing. I want to share with you what I have learned and applied to my business to begin moving you forward, a step at a time, until you are running with your own small business.
Be The Experience.
We all play a character in a story. Here is how mine starts…
A journey through time
Summer of ’97
When I was 14, a neighborhood kid invited me over to see a project he was working on. In his room, was a computer, and on it was a website. He proceeded to show me how he was earning money from this simple website. At that moment, I was hooked.
- During high school, I spent most of my free time playing video games and messing with websites. I built quite a few websites about video games, as well. During my junior year, I got the bright idea of creating an web forum for my friends to have open discussions. I built it, gave it the name “Coolishous” (because it was cool). It quickly became a popular online hangout, not only for my friends, but it also spread to students from across the school, county, and region.
Coolishous 1999 – 2001
- When I left for college, I quickly gave up the idea of an online high school hangout. I was ready to do something else. AOL instant messenger was popular at the time and so were the buddy icons that you could use as your avatar. Not to copy the many buddy icon websites, I decided to make a website and the icons, however I created smiley faces based upon the emoticons of AIM. In only a few months, the website was earning revenue beyond my imagination.
AimFace 2002 – 2004
When life got serious…
I enjoyed the life of generating an online income as a student. Regretfully, I was also very unprepared to have that type of income. I was very wasteful, purchasing many electronics, computers, and more that I did not need. I had virtually no expenses, so my income went completely to waste.
A couple of years later, my student life had changed. I had given up going to class, and spent most of my time working on my online business. My grades were suffering greatly, to the point where my parents got involved. Going off of the advice that I needed to “Grow up and start a career”, I sold my online business and got back into studying. Eventually, I graduated, proposed to my girlfriend, got a job and an a apartment.
Working for the man
Life seemed to be OK. I was happily married, my wife had given birth to my beautiful baby son, we had purchased a house, and I was gainfully employed. About 2 years into this part of my life, a problem started to develop. This problem I did not understand and I could not recognize it. Unknown to me, I was slowly creating a rut in my life. I was neither happy, nor sad. Things just seemed to mellow and all of the passion and excitement left me.
The life of having a job was killing me. I gained a lot of weight and began taking my family for granted. This period seemed so dark, like there was no future.
It wasn’t until a random encounter began to stir my mind and heart. A local photographer reached out to me to talk about websites, knowing that I had experience with making them. This was the opportunity to get my life back. I quickly made a beautiful website for his business and released it to his customers and clients. The feedback he received was amazing, and his business grew substantially. He was so grateful for the website and marketing knowledge I shared with him. I not only had my first client, I had also made a great friend.
Starting my own business… again.
- A new energy was alive in me and my whole outlook had changed. Before, as a kid, I had a business. I just didn’t know it at the time – because I did what I enjoyed doing. My new business was going to bring back the excitement I had felt before, and deliver the satisfaction and security I had in the past. This was very wishful thinking, but it was often what got me through long days at my job. Slowly, I began getting interest from other local business owners to help them with their websites and online marketing. I had a business that was growing through word of mouth alone.
Mediaryte 2007 – Present
An imperfect, hard, and broken road to success
I was made aware early in 2010 that my job was being removed at year’s end. The organization offered me another position, but I declined. I sought out employment with another organization at the request for those who care about me, but I knew well what my next steps were – to go full time with my budding side business. When the end of the year came, I was done with my job and was now a full time business owner. This brought on a great deal of pressure to perform. On top of that, my family had elected to vacate our house and move 100+ miles to be near my in-laws, hoping our house would sell shortly there after.
Several months into the new year, I had no new work coming in and started to get desperate – to the point of cold calling (it was awful). Our house hadn’t sold and I was in an area where I knew no one. Debt was climbing, bills kept coming, and my income was at a standstill. We burned through our small savings quickly. I considered getting a job again, even applying and getting an interview. My confidence and ambition were still very strong, as I was convinced I needed to be on my own. I began getting into business networking and exploring the region to find work. Then it finally happened.
The Big One
My first project as a full time business owner was small, but I was thrilled to have it. The company was a startup and was exploring its marketing options. My business was 1 of 4 working with the company to promote its products online. I gave the project my best and got paid – life was grand! I had a few more small projects come in and quickly got through them as well. Finally, I got a call back from the startup. They were so happy with the work and guidance I had given, they wanted to work with my business and only my business. I was over the moon.
There was so much work, I could not take on any other projects. I even began reaching out to other professionals to build a team to accomplish all of the project tasks. I was learning how to manage people and accomplish tasks like clock work. Everything was great and I could see my business going places.
Then it all changed…
After 6 months, I received dreadful news. The company, my major client, had ran out of funding and had to cease all marketing immediately. The plan was to gain more investment funding and get back into action. Unfortunately, this did not happen quickly, or ever. The startup shrank to only a handful of people and my business shrank back to my lonely self again. The income to my business shrank as well, to 10% of what it had been. It wasn’t even enough to pay myself or cover my bills.
Adventures in business networking
All good things come to an end, but for half a year, I had tasted the life I wanted. My family and I were back in our house, since it would not sell, and I was back to getting small projects to make sure bills were getting paid. It was hard work and I was cleaning up the small town we lived in. I began to travel to the nearest city to find more project work. I sought out business networking groups and hopped around to each a number of times, eventually finding a great group to be a part of.
I learned so much from this group, about handling business, people, and connecting. Luckily for me, many of my group members used the marketing services of my business as well. My business was doing modestly well and I had made a great group of friends.
The house finally sells
While business was good, my home life was still in need of a change. Our house was an anchor, keeping us locked to a place that represented our past frustrations. We put the house on the market again and my wife and son moved back up to be near the in-laws once more. I spent that summer doing a great deal of traveling back and forth, living in 2 places. Eventually the house sold. Sweet relief!
The Return of the Rut
After moving, saying my goodbyes to all of my business friends, I settled into a new life in an area where I knew very few people. Life was fine as my business income from my existing client base was enough to cover our bills and then some. New work continued to come in regularly, but I was still mostly on my own to accomplish project tasks and provide customer support.
It did not take long for my business to become just another job. Yes, I was the owner, but I was also sitting in every position of the business, again. It was becoming overwhelming and ruining the experience of being self employed. My weight shot up again, I never left my desk, and the passion was waning.
This time, I took charge. I started working out to control my weight. I got back out into the world to meet people by joining a business networking group. I brought more people into my business to free up my time for more important things, such as this website and my family.
Moving forward, getting ahead
Through all of these experiences, I have gained more than I could have ever learned through a book, formal education, or from working for someone else. I look back at my life and see where I made mistakes, but also see where I had major success and overcame major obstacles.
I share this story with you to relate to, to see that you can accomplish your passion, through determination and guidance. If I can do it, so can you.