My First Post – A Journey to Owning a Business

So I decided to start blogging. Part of the reason is because I’ve been SEOing my website, but then I started to think about what I would post.  I realized that I could talk about all kinds of things in the tech world from how to’s, to current and future technologies, gaming, and random thoughts that I have in my head.  So here it is My First Blog Post…

For the first post I thought I would write about my journey as a business owner.  First of all, growing up I was never one of those people who always knew what they wanted to do.  After graduating high school I went to college and thought I’d figure our what I wanted to do.  But all I figured out is, at that point in my life, I didn’t want to be in school.  So I worked a few jobs waiting tables and eventually decided to give it another go.  This time I got interested in a communications program.  While going to school for Radio and Television Broadcasting & Production, I was working at a Movie Gallery.  I know this dates me but I digress.  While working at the Movie Gallery a local radio morning host came in and we got to talking.  He convinced me to intern for the show.  So I woke up at 4:00 am every morning and learned the radio broadcasting business.  Then I would go to school, then to work, get home at about 10:30 pm, sleep for about 5 hours and then wake up and do it all over again.

After about 3 months it became apparent that this was unsustainable. So, I decided to forgo my next semester in college and take a position in radio doing overnights (12-5:30).  Over the years I moved around the country working my way up the radio ladder until I was co-host of my own morning show.  Things couldn’t be better.  We were #1 in our market and the company threw us a huge party to celebrate…until we got laid off 3 days later.  They explained to us that it was a purely financial decision and they were going with a syndicated show because it was more cost friendly.  It did not feel very friendly to me or my co-host.

So here I am in my 30’s realizing that radio is not the most stable of vocations.  What to do, What to do?  Well I decided to give school one more shot.  I had always been good with fixing computers.  I had built my own, and was kind of the go to guy when there was any kind of computer issue at the previously mentioned radio station.  I took a course in networking and ended up getting my degree in networking.  Next I focused on obtaining some of the industry certifications, and took a job at a local computer repair and support shop. This was both a blessing and a course.

 It gave me some valuable experience and knowledge, but the owner of the company was a bit abrasive (putting it mildly).  I did meet some other great technicians, some of which I’m still friends with to this day.  But there were two very important lessons I learned during my time there. First, I didn’t have to know the answer to everything.  I just needed to know how to find the answer to everything.  Needless to say Google was my best friend.  Second, I never really though about owning my own business.  My father was a company man in the oil and natural gas business.  He did very well for himself.  So in my eyes I would find a job working for someone else, squirrel away my nuts for a few years, and retire in a comfortable fashion.  Hey it worked for him right.  But after the experience with the previously mentioned owner, I decided that I could be my own boss.  And this appealed to me.  

Shortly after I decided to leave at the repair and support shop I was approached by a client that wanted to start a support & repair company but didn’t have anyone to run it.  They offered the position to me and I accepted.  Again this was both a blessing and a curse.  I helped build the company from the ground up, making it profitable within 2 years.  However at that time I knew nothing about equity and as a result I had none.  Once negotiations failed on the equity front I went back to work for the man at a couple of places.  And those went well until one was unable to make payroll for several months, and the next one laid me off due to a merger after about a year and a half.

At this point I had enough of the company politics and various ups and downs of working for someone else.  I felt that it was better to rely on my own skills, knowledge and know-how to decide how the future played out for me.  With a very modest budget I started Butler Computer.  The biggest challenge was getting new customers / clients.  I found out real quick that I needed to educate myself in marketing if I wanted to survive as a business owner.  My first step was the internet side.  I researched pages and pages on how to best optimize my page for search engines (SEO).  Next I taught myself how to create and manage Google and Microsoft advertising campaigns.  Then I focused on grass roots campaigns like mailing out postcards to business’ and putting door hangers on potential residential clients homes.  Then came the out of the box ideas, which I will discuss in another post.  Keeping in mind that my budget was much smaller that several other larger sized companies that service some of the same areas.

As tough as the journey has been, it has been equally rewarding.  There is no satisfaction like building something from the ground up and seeing the fruits of your labor.  And while it is still a work in progress, I am confident that it will be a success. Starting your own business from scratch isn’t for everyone.  There are extreme highs and extreme lows.  But if you can handle the roller coaster ride for a while you to can be the master of your own fate.  If you think you can’t do it, you are probably right.  But if you think you can do it, you are also probably right!