It was the winter of 2001-2002. I was living right here in Happy Camp – a tiny town of about 1200 souls in the middle of the Klamath National Forest, about 70 miles from the rest of civilization.
I desperately wanted to work from my home so I could be there with my two youngest children who were 11 and 12 at the time. I didn’t have a clue as to how I should earn money as a stay-at-home mom, but felt I had to do something to supplement our income.
A friend nearby, Judy, called one day and told me a workshop on starting a small business was about to be offered in our town. She worried that the event would be canceled if enough people didn’t show up.
Wanting to be a good friend, and slightly intrigued by the topic, I volunteered. “I’ll do it, Judy; I’ll go with you.” I thought it was a one or two day workshop.
The following evening at 6 pm I sat in the classroom – a small portable room behind the local elementary school. It was there I discovered I’d just volunteered for a nine-week video-conferenced class offered by College of the Siskiyous in Weed California – a college about 100 miles away. The instructor, Chris, was an employee of JEDI – the Jefferson Economic Development Institute.
Nine weeks! That was a lot more than I’d bargained for. And the class met twice weekly!
I weighed my options. Should I spend so many hours away from home, commit myself to the effort needed for success in a college class, and totally dedicate myself to it? Or should I flake out and go back to my quiet uninvolved life?
Besides Judy and I, there was one other student – a newcomer to town who wanted to open a clothing distribution website. Judy’s business was writing – she already had a part time job writing columns for a county-wide newspaper. And as for me – I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed to do something. Silently I decided to take the class along with Judy and our new acquaintance, Erik.
The class involved learning all the steps for writing a business plan including cash flow projections and other simple accounting procedures. But I didn’t know that then. We started at the beginning – with simple goal setting.
We were joined via video-conferencing to students in three other Siskiyou County locations. There were about six students in Yreka (population about 7000) and maybe twenty at the main campus in Weed (a much smaller town near Mt. Shasta). And in a tiny town in the north-west corner of our county, Tulelake, there were three other students. Many of the students had businesses already. Others had definite plans about what they wanted to do. And a few were like me: clueless, but willing.
I survived the nine weeks! I got through the class and at the end we were given certificates with our business names on them. I still was unsure what business idea to pursue but the instructor was so enthusiastic with my idea of a web design business, she put “KlamathDesign.Com” on the certificate. And that did it for me. Since she thought I could create a successful web design business, I decided to do it.
I purchased this domain name, and struggled to come up with a site design. I redesigned it three times before I was satisfied. And before I could officially open the business, I got a call from a local business owner who wanted to hire me for her site maintenance projects!
I’m convinced that almost anyone with web design skills can learn to offer their talents to the public. This blog will reveal all the lessons I learned in my journey to becoming a well-paid web designer. I will not only tell you what worked well for me, I’ll reveal my most painful and frustrating mistakes.
If you’re considering a career in web design, this will be a journey worth taking. And if you want to read this blog to glean the web design business tips I have to share, you’re welcome here as well. And as for you who just want to laugh at all my mistakes, go ahead. I’m writing this blog for entertainment as well as for sharing what I’ve learned.
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More stories of my start-up web design business efforts will appear here in days to come.