What’s my story?
I’ve been an independent web host, web developer, and occasional marketing consultant since graduating from American University in 2010 with a BA in Literature. The job market essentially looked like this in 2010 and my initial prospects were slim pickings. I spent two years volunteering at AmeriCares in Stamford as a community manager on their web team, which I parlayed into social media marketing with small businesses.
Referrals kept coming in as I grew more experienced and expanded my list of services, and eventually I made a full time thing out of this after turning down a job offer at a PR agency that had – eighteen months prior – told me I didn’t make the cut. That was a really good day (for me, at least; for the recruiter it must have been awkward even we’re on good terms).
Circa 2013-2014 my break into the “big leagues” was less impressive than I expected; I signed a fairly large tech company and expected to turn into one of those million-dollar consultants. Instead I missed working with a lot of the small businesses I started out with and was unhappy working with this larger company. This coincided with my discovery of the biggest weakness of the consultant model: My time was tied to my money. I had set myself up to hit a roof and was tasked to capacity, and didn’t see this going anywhere.
I mulled over taking a full time position but I wasn’t willing to abandon my business quite yet. At this point it became an issue of reconciling small businesses’ needs with their means and divorcing that from what a lot of marketing agencies and bigger companies thought they needed.
I pondered for a long time on how to provide web-based services to Main Street businesses in a way that wasn’t stressful, overwhelming bank-breaking, obnoxious or just too “corporatey” (client’s term, not mine). There was no real eureka moment; the concept of web hosting in exchange for basic but essential services seemed like the perfect sweet spot between extravagantly high end web design and “DIY” website builders. So in October of 2015 I placed the order and started approaching all of my old business contacts. 175 customers and counting and I definitely seem to be onto something, and the business let me invest in my more sophisticated dedicated server in June of 2017.
What do I actually do, though?
There are three main components of my work.
Web Hosting and Development Plans: I lease a dedicated server with InMotion Hosting, which allows me to host websites. What makes a dedicated server different than most web hosting (and what you likely have right now) is that dedicated server websites don’t share space with thousands of other websites. As a result the websites I host are faster and fully encrypted for free, both of which makes them more search engine friendly. As of this writing I host 80 websites.
Additionally, I develop professional websites for free in exchange for hosting with me, in addition to providing complimentary website maintenance, marketing consulting, backups and security scans. As a result I make an effort to be a proactive website that brings more personalized customer service to the table for one flat fee without constant attempts at upselling. This is currently the bulk of my work.
So even if you have a great website already, I can probably make yours faster, more secure, more search engine friendly, and provide better service. All for roughly the same as what you’re paying your current web host.
Web Development: By request I can still do custom web design and development on a case by case basis. I work almost exclusively with WordPress but I’ve also used Drupal and Magento. Design-wise I mostly use Adobe Creative Cloud, specifically Photoshop and Illustrator.
Digital Marketing Consulting: In addition to doing this as part of my web hosting business plans I haven’t quite left my old career behind and I can still do standalone consultations for digital marketing.
What will you get working with me?
Beyond the benefits of having a website developed for free, I mentioned this earlier, but hosting your website on on a dedicated server as opposed to a shared one (where most small business websites are currently hosted) makes your website faster, enables you to encrypt your website and makes it more reliable and less prone to downtime or slowdown. This all makes your website more search engine friendly and provides an overall experience for visitors.
I’m also aiming to bring a bit of personalized service back to web hosting. You’ll be able to call on me at any time if you need help. I even have a network of specialists for areas beyond my focus (such as law, hardware IT or accounting) if you need referrals or help with something else.
You’ll also be paying a single flat fee. I do not charge extra for website security or backups and I believe this to be an unethical practice.
On a more thoughtful level I will honestly and transparently advise you on what you actually need. I’ve politely turned down projects involving websites, mobile apps and marketing because it’s been clear that people don’t understand why they want them or are just trying to throw money at a problem. There’s nothing worse than trying to solve a problem and blowing a big hole in your budget in the process. Everyone loses when you do that, including your consultant. Let’s actually solve problems.
I also do not wear kid gloves when giving criticism and feedback. It’s because I care; constructive criticism is designed to help.
What are my technical skills?
The list of technical things I’m notably really good at is below.
Web Analytics: Expertise with Google Analytics.
PPC Platforms: Experienced with Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and Twitter Ads.
Newsletter Software: Experienced with iContact, MailChimp and Constant Contact.
CMS Platforms: Expertise with WordPress.org. Experienced with Drupal and Magento.
Design: Experienced with Adobe Creative Cloud including Photoshop, Illustrator, and inDesign.
Wait, you’re still reading?
What are you interested in at this point, my personal life?
When I’m not at my desk you’ll probably find me weightlifting at the gym or running trails. I’m also a huge gaming aficionado. I also trade stocks and I spend a fair amount of time cooking.