My Interest in Web Design
My first moment of intrigue and fascination with the internet was on a grade 8 trip to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario. At the time, computers were almost everywhere, but the internet was just starting to approach main stream.
Do you remember where you were when you first ‘felt’ the internet? here’s mine:
On the computer station, an internet browser was open. One you may remember, called Netscape Navigator. There, the Yahoo search engine was able to answer your every quest or query, well, to some degree.
The ability to just ask and find resonated with me, huge.
How did YOU first turn a curiosity into something constructive?
Making My First Web Page
Not that it actually made it on to the internet, but I used Microsoft Publisher (installed by 20 floppy discs) to make a very rough wrestling website. At this time, I was heavily into the WWF, and Bret the Hit Man Hart. Naturally, you build and make what you love.
With Microsoft Publisher’s web page creator, I made an offline encyclopedia of the Wrestlers of the era, and even managed to make a brick wall repeating JPG background – OUTSTANDING.
Publishing to the web proved difficult for an under funded teenager (try NO funding). Though the idea of providing information in a nicely arranged and easy to navigate structure never failed to leave my future projects.
Talk about old school software… Microsoft Publisher was one of the two original software I remember shaping my early craft. The other was Jasc Paint Shop Pro – Later acquired by Corel. (I’ve only recently moved on to use a Mac software called Pixelmator, as a very very good Photoshop alternative).
The Great Domain Game
Do you recall the idea, that led to an idea, that led to THE idea that shaped you?? Well, read on for mine:
There was an article in Wired Magazine many years ago that described the business of reselling domain names. An individual or business could make bets on domain names in hopes that someone else may find them valuable and then resell them at a profit.
This article was very influential on a great friend of mine, who took the article to heart and followed this business model and invested heavily. I was all to eager to be inquisitive in the project and even offered assistance to speculate at domain names that might one day be desired by some other person.
Hearing about 6 figure domain sales can definitely inspire some big dreams.
Though I didn’t get financially invested in this adventure, it was the turning point for my own business adventure. Seeing how easy it was to register a domain name brought back the old memories of making little web pages. Perhaps with this new insight, it could be possible to pursue!
Trying to Sell Email Addresses
Before I figured out how to connect the registered domains and the real world wide web, a spark of selling custom email addresses to businesses had filled my aspirations.
With the good friend mentioned above, we sought to upgrade small businesses who advertised themselves with email addresses that were @gmail.com or @hotmail.com…
Even for us youngsters, it seem oddly unprofessional to not have a branded email address to match one’s business.
It never really caught on, but it did lead to a realization, connection, and revelation…
Web Designing in the Real World
In the quest to sell small businesses custom branded email addresses, we had to find a platform to facilitate the email domains and addresses. This led to a search for the best bang for your buck. At the time I recall it being a toss up between blue host, and hostgator. Hostgator won by price, and having various unlimited options.
Hostgator, is a whole other chapter altogether… However, they were instrumental in the transition from failed email venture to successful local web design and website manager.
On a whim, (and knowing that similarly aged folks were venturing off into their own businesses) I had called out to an old aquaintance who had become a Real Estate Agent. By offering my services free, but with a residual monthly managing fee, I claimed my first client.
One. Leads to Two.
It’s funny how word of mouth can be so effective. Every so often you need to remind yourself how true it is that word of mouth can be the difference between a success and a flop. From this first success story came a set of referrals that I still deal with to this day.
By doing right by someone, and going above and beyond – You can set a precedent for yourself.
You can probably look back on your own history and recognize a few key individuals that led to explosions in business/clients. I can definitely remember those who helped advocate for me, and it is always appreciated.
What Intrigues You as a Kid can Come Back to Haunt You.
The ultimate takeaway here is that the things you relate to, and are attracted to as a kid, can sometimes be a sign or a marker of what you might want to do with your life in the long run.
Computers, the internet, and helping people understand these things, have always been of great interest to me. I can see and share the value in being able to find any information just by knowing ‘where to go’.
I have come across many folks who may not be aware of such roads to take. In life, and in business, it’s important to know what road you’re on, and which to take next. From the simple, to the complex, I am always happy to hold the door open for others to pass through.
Helping you towards success, or merely helping to understand what door I am holding open are reward enough in itself.
If you were to pause, and think about what you are doing for people to help them, you can really feel great about it. At this point, it becomes less of a ‘rat race’ and more of a true humanitarian effort.
I love helping people.
Maybe you need help with the murky online world, and don’t yet realize how it can help your business.
Maybe you’ve been there, and done that.
Maybe we’ll all be better off… Realizing that using our strengths and passions to help others – CAN – be the model for a successful and diverse economy, where everyone has a part to play.
What part will you play?