“How did I get here?”
My sales manager and I were on the interstate on the way to visit a prospect who he’d been trying to close for a long, long time.
I stared down the road, knowing it was an exercise in futility. This prospect was a price-driven buyer, and we simply couldn’t compete with the low-ball offers they got from our competitors.
But yet we persisted, because, well, when you’re in sales that’s what you do.
Numbers have to be hit. Targets achieved.
My sales manager said something about sales numbers and it was unsettling. It was yet another threat against my livelihood and my sense of security.
I didn’t say anything in response, I just bit my tongue while that feeling of frustration and fear occupied my mind.
I’d had enough. His words were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I was done. That day I knew my career in sales was over.
You know that feeling you get when you’ve just had enough and you can’t go one step further? Yep – that’s the feeling I had.
Too many things I couldn’t control. Too many ridiculous expectations from those who only cared about hitting targets. Too much pressure.
We visited the prospect, and just as suspected, despite our best efforts and the best pricing we could offer, they weren’t going to close.
We got back in the car and hit the road. We got back on the interstate to head back to Tallahassee with little to no discussion. If he was talking, I didn’t hear him. It was just silence. I drove, lost in thought about what my next steps were going to be, because I knew I was done.
The panic of what was going to happen next set in. I had a daughter who wasn’t even a year old. I spent that ride home figuring out how I ended up here: so far from where I wanted to be, so far from doing work that was creative, that mattered, and so unbelievably miserable.
“How did I end up here?” I thought.
It was the result of following the advice given to so many: “You need to get a good job with a good company.”
We’ve heard that all before, right? But for me, that “good” job with that “good” company was a source of misery.
Tons of pressure to fight off competition, who could easily out-price us.
Tons of pressure to hit sales numbers from managers who were just grateful they weren’t in the field anymore.
Tons of pressure to be able to keep my job and provide for my family all the while, being at the whim of someone who really only cared about whether sales target were being hit. Or not. To them, nothing else mattered.
There was no creativity. There was nothing inspiring about chasing sales numbers. On top of all that pressure, there was the creative part of me that was dying to be expressed.
After the initial feelings of fear and uncertainty overwhelmed me, they gave way to feelings of excitement and anticipation.
I was really good at what I did, but my skills were no fit for this kind of work any longer. I was great at working with people – I loved my customers. I loved finding solutions to their issues that I could help them with. I loved learning about their businesses and what made them tick. I loved the creative part of finding solutions to their biggest challenges.
There had to be a better way.
I’d been preparing for this for a while now, but now it was time to make the change. I knew what I was going to do. It was time to make a career transition to doing web development full time.
You see, I’d learned a LOT about web development. One of the cool things about that job as a sales rep that I hated so much was that I got to spend a lot of time talking to people who were already doing business online.
A couple years earlier I started to learn web development as a hobby, rekindling my interest in coding that I had as a kid. Since I’d already been working web development and had built a few sites already, I was intrigued to see what people were doing, people that were already doing business online and doing well with it.
I talked to people who built 6 and 7 figure businesses by selling online through channels like eBay and Amazon out of their home. I learned from brick and mortar shops who’s online presence added 100-200 additional sales per day. I learned from people who were selling flatware – plates, cups, silverware, etc. I learned how eCommerce worked. I learned how to build business sites. I learned how to build how to plan and build big sites. I learned how to design beautiful sites.
It was time to use all the skills I learned from my time in sales and combine that with what I’d learned about web design & development.
Since that time, I’ve built a ton of sites. I’ve helped launch brands. I’ve helped develop ecommerce strategies. I’ve developed content initiatives to drive membership interest for a health club chain by using new blogging and content creation practices. I’ve helped a ton of businesses get started blogging and I’ve helped a ton of bloggers take their first steps in to the online world. I’ve designed and built all kinds of different websites.
I learned what works, and just as importantly, what doesn’t work when it comes to building websites.
The basics are always the same, whether you’re just starting with a blog, or you’re ready build a site for your brick and mortar business.
There are essential steps that you have to complete in order to make any web project successful.
There is more to building a business online than installing WordPress and cranking out content. I believe that if you want to be taken seriously that you have to come to the game ready to play. I’m convinced that having a great looking blog or website is useless if it doesn’t deliver something sticky and valuable.
That means that your site needs to be awesome on a number of levels and you need to have a plan. My blog is specifically geared to be a resource for those who own, manage and/or want to get started with their own website. Whether it’s a blog, a niche site, an e-commerce store, a company site, or some sort of hybrid you will find help here.
- How do I manage my website?
- Where can I get honest, actionable feedback on my website?
- What do I need to do to make it look great?
- What do I need to know about website hosting?
- How do I find the right tools to help me achieve my goals for my website?
- What do I really need to know about SEO in a language I can understand?
- Who do I need to be listening to and connect with?
- How do I build my website strategy?
- How do I market and promote my website?These are all questions I answer here. So think of this site as a laboratory or a workshop where you’ll learn things that you can do right now to help you grow.
Here are answers to a few questions that I know you’re dying to read:
Who do you work with?
Several years ago I started a web design and development business focused on bloggers, e-commerce merchants, small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. My main goal has been to help people build something of value so they would be able to follow their passion and ship their art.
Why do you do it?
It’s really about solving problems, building cool stuff, helping people, and teaching. I love building stuff. Always have. I started writing code as a kid, forgot about it as a teenager, then rediscovered it as an adult. But it’s not just code. I actively participated in building our house, repaired some of our electronic gadgets, and both of our cars, and have recently built two stand-up desks, among other things. I almost went back to college to become an engineer. Figuring things out and building cool stuff is what gets my blood pumping.
What are other business things you’re interested in?
I have a particular affinity for online entrepreneurship and marketing. I’m intrigued by SEO and internet marketing. But not the sleazy, spammy internet marketing. The good stuff. Delivering real value, and how to do it effectively.
Why should I work with you?
Because I dig in with my clients and make sure we get it right. I become your zealous advocate for building an awesome platform. Bottom line is I care.
What’s your coffee of choice these days?
I’ve switched to the fresh ground stuff from Grassroots Coffee in Thomasville, Georgia. Outstanding coffee and I still drink it black.
What about beer – what’s your favorite?
Innis & Gunn – absolutely outstanding. So good it will make you cry.
Mac or PC?
I’m actually now a Mac guy. I switched to a Mac a few years back and have to say I’ve been nothing but absolutely pleased. My PC finally quit and I was resolved that I wasn’t going to go through the latest attempt to recapture the success of Windows XP. Microsoft may wake up one day and figure out that they’ve been left behind.
What are your skills?
I’m a full-time Web Designer and Developer working primarily with Drupal and WordPress. I also work with Drupal Commerce, Ubercart, and Magento Community Edition along with WooCommerce, and FoxyCart for e-commerce solutions.
I work in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign every day but Fireworks (R.I.P. Fireworks) being by far my favorite. That one is followed closely by Illustrator and I use Sublime Text 3 for my primary coding text editor.
I’m always learning, but I find myself working with PHP, MySQL, HTML5, CSS3 and JQuery depending on the need. Ruby on Rails will be the next one for me to tackle. I’ve got an extensive background in sales from my former life that, oddly enough, I find very useful these days in my work in web development.
How can I get in touch with you to work together?
You can contact me here through my blog, or you can find me on any of the usual social media channels below.