Becky Davis Joins The Re-Invention Connection

Hello Boomers,

Last week we announced our Re-Invention Connection initiative.  Here is our first Baby Boomer entrepreneur’s story.  Becky Davis Design is listed on www.myboomer2boomer.com under our Products and Services tab, in the Web Design/Marketing Service category.  

We hope that Becky’s story will inspire you to seek your passion too, and to uncover the knowledge and skills that you possess that may be the seeds of your own future business.  

How I Started My Business

By Becky Davis

Starting my business all started with a very simple question – “So, what do I really want to do now?” After 20+ years of taking care of kids and working for someone else, this question was thrilling, exciting and totally terrifying. I was at a crossroads; my youngest was going to go to college soon, my last unfulfilling contract job had come to an end and the fear and horror of going on one more job interview made me sick to my stomach. I had sold a house at the height of the market a couple of years earlier and was a happy renter, so with enough savings tucked away to get me by for a while I was able to really ask the question. I was 48 and starting from scratch.

Unfortunately, I had no ideas on what to do and for several months sunk into the black hole of nowhere to go and nothing to do. While out riding my bike one afternoon, I passed my local city college and stopped on a whim to see if there might be some interesting classes. To my great interest I found a “web design certificate” program in the continuing education section. I was a theater design major back in the day, built a site in Notepad in 1996 and have been working in IT for over 10 years. Web design seemed like the perfect fit for me; combining my creative and tech sides.

I jumped into the classes and really enjoyed it. I had worked with most of the software before, but this was a great way to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. So much to learn! Even after 3 years, I still feel that way; which is probably why I still love doing this. Every new project brings a new challenge to my design sense and coding capabilities.

My first few clients were family and friends; a good place to make mistakes and expand my newly minted skills. The decision to take it to prime time and make it a full-time business was a complete leap of faith. My desire to control my own career was strong enough to take the leap and my belief in myself was strong enough to know that I would create a soft landing. The passion I had for the work and the desire to educate my clients was the air that filled the parachute.

I did two smart things at the beginning that really kick started my business. The first was going to SCORE to get counseling. I have to admit that the counseling itself was not that great due to the older counselors not really understanding web design as a business. But what it did do was get me on their mailing list for workshops. I got an invitation to one called “Taking Your Business Online”. My first thought was “I don’t really need this, but I want to meet the people in the room who do.”

I did not find a client that day, but I did talk SCORE into doing my own seminar; “Small Business Web Design: Everything Business Owners Need to Know”. I now teach this seminar 4 or more times a year at SCORE and for the city of Chicago Department of Business Affairs. While I almost never walk away with clients from these seminars right away, people from them often come to me months later and the credibility it gives to my business is invaluable.

The second was going to a local meetup for webmasters. (Go to meetup.com to find groups in your area.) I work out of my house, so going to a meeting where I could meet fellow professionals in person and come home with a page full of notes and ideas was just what I needed. I went initially to learn and meet people. I still do that and am now an assistant organizer for two web related meetups in my area and I often attend others. The surprise came when I started getting business out of these meetings. I am now often tapped to help with other projects and I if I run across things I can’t do, I have a dozen people who I can call to help me. It’s really quite wonderful and a great way to get a lot of tips and to keep up with all the changes in my industry.

My business has grown like a new flower bed. The first year slept, the second year crept and the third year has leaped. I’m at the end of my third year and each year has grown by 50%. I was tapping into savings all the time at the beginning and now I’m paying my bills and even have enough extra for some fun. Next year’s goal is to make enough to fund my retirement as well.

I also believe that Becky Davis Design has been so successful because of my commitment to customer service and transparency. Unfortunately in many tech industries there is a big knowledge gap between the client and the vendor. This fosters a client attitude of “I don’t want to know, just create it or fix it” and a vendor attitude of “I’m not going to tell you anything because you won’t understand.” What I teach in my seminar and preach with my clients is that web design is a collaborative process. My design and coding skills can build your website but not without your input and content. Sometimes my clients complain about the amount of homework I’ve given them but I’m building something that is about their business and expertise. Shouldn’t it be their passion/experience/product that shines through on their site and not mine?

If there is anything that building this business has taught me it’s this:

  • Passion and commitment to my clients is what will get me the work
  • There is always enough work; so it’s OK to share, learn and mentor
  • Never underestimate the power of networking

—————

Becky Davis, owner of Becky Davis Design is a web designer and developer specializing in WordPress theme development, training, consulting and site maintenance for small businesses.

Advertisements

One Response to “Becky Davis Joins The Re-Invention Connection”

  1. Tweets that mention Becky Davis Joins The Re-Invention Connection -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by myboomer2boomer, myboomer2boomer. myboomer2boomer said: Becky Davis Joins The Re-Invention Connection http://wp.me/pSsW0-9O […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: