21.8.12

Building A Business Part 4: "Jacob"


Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Sugardevil
Part 3: Groupie

When high school was finally through, my initial idea was to take a year off and think about college later. I absolutely couldn't wait to finish high school and couldn't even dream of going back to another learning facility for another four years.

I already had a job working at Subway... pretty much the only workable place in my town at the time... and though I didn't see my career as a "Sandwich Artist" being anything spectacular, it was good enough for now and provided me with the little cash I needed.

During my time there, a regular customer and brother of a friend of my brother's (still with me?) and I got talking about my web and graphic design "background". He was a web developer but wasn't so savvy with the designing aspect so he asked if I might be interested in doing a little work for him. I said yes obviously, and the first job he gave me was creating a logo for a jewelry company. I took my time on it and used all of my most newly learned skills. I emailed the finished product, and was ecstatic when he came into the sandwich joint the next day.

"You designed that?!" He said. "It's incredible, where did you learn how to do that?!"  He made me smile from ear to ear and was so overjoyed with what I gave him that he started using me for his client's work on a regular basis.

- some of my early work -

At that time, I created my own online portfolio and web design site. It was called Envy Studios and looked like this:


This story wouldn't really go anywhere if I didn't talk about a person that I don't want to talk about.  However, I'm giving you the full path of my career, so I must.

Still being the band-loving now-19 year old that I was, I attended a special event at a bar with a friend. There, I met a guy. Let's call him Jacob because I hate the sound of his real name... and because he still stalks me to this day and I wouldn't be surprised if he somehow found my blog and is reading this. Anyways, Jacob and I started talking about work, and mentioned that he was a website designer and had his own company. "I do that too!" I told him. How strange, I thought this must have been fate.

Jacob and I hit it off, and we started dating. He was my first "real" relationship... although I hate to call it that now because looking back it's not how a relationship should have been. Thanks to Dustin I know now what a "real" relationship is.  I was still working at Subway at this time and would drive 45 minutes to his house whenever I could. He had his "office" set up in his basement and I got to see how he ran his web design business first hand. His design style was more corporate and sporty, and mine was the complete opposite.  He wanted to get me to be more involved with his business so suggested I try some phone calls to clients. He must have been crazy. I hate the phone call side of business so much. I had no idea what to say to these people and he expected me to be able to recruit them and ask important questions. My first call was a mess. I was SO unprofessional and think I ended up passing the phone back to him.

Slowly, from watching him, I learned what questions to ask on the phone and how to write great emails, make invoices, proposals, and other office-type stuff. I was still doing my own design work on the side, but I wanted MORE! I wanted an actual corporate client. I decided to put a link to Jacob's web design business at the bottom of some of my own previously created websites.  In doing that, I received my first legit client. She called his business line and specifically asked for "The girl who did ____'s website". That was me!  Yippee!  I just so happened to be there, so I answered her call and started talking about her needs. She owned an entertainment business that specialized in celebrity impersonators. Long story short, she hired me, I built her website, logo, and branding, and she is still one of my top on-going clients... nearly 10 years later.

It felt great to land a great client all by myself. I began taking things more seriously and really learning about programs, coding, and techniques. I was at a point where I wanted to quit my day job and just concentrate on web design completely, but I knew it was a little unrealistic to do that just yet. So, I would work during the day, come home, and work on web stuff until about 3:00am... until one day I got a call from a friend that really sparked my interest and could have possibly been just the ticket I was looking for...

Stay tuned for part 5!!

What was your job after high school?




By Dana Fox Updated at: 12:59 PM

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22 comments:

  1. These posts are so interesting, mm i'd love to work in subway ahah :)

    Sophierosehearts x

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  2. I'm loving hearing your journey! Hope part five comes quickly.
    Catherine Denton

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  3. oh gosh i worked as a secretary for a small company in a dingy office inside their warehouse. it was boring as heck but in my downtown i did lots of blogging! i guess there was an upside... and here i am still doing office paperwork and blogging and waiting for the day my business does well enough i can quit!

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  4. My first job was working as a photographer in a night club. I loved it because I made the same in 2 nights that others would make in a week. Great little job!

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  5. My first job out of high school was at a locally owned kitchen store.

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  6. ah that's a lovely story! my first ever job was in a clothes shop. and when i was in college i worked on a Benefit counter. so i actually haven't had any unusual jobs.

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  7. Oh, those men who-shall-not-be-named... anyway. My first job after high school was in retail, I worked for Sears part-time while I attended community college.

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  8. I really like this series Dana - it's great to see how you got to where you are!

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  9. Now you're making me wonder what happened to that guy and why it was such a bad relationship! I respect your privacy though - we've all got awkward guy situations from our past, so I totally get you wanting to keep it under wraps. ;)

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  10. Yay! I was just wondering when you were going to do your next business post. :P I am really enjoying this series Dana. Keep up the great work! :)

    My first job out of high school was working in a pizza shop whilst studying to be a cop, then after I finished my diploma I started working at a bottle shop whilst studying to become a teacher.. in the end I gave up the part time jobs and started focusing on blogging and designing blogs, and I tell you what, I've never been this poor or happy before in my life. :P

    xx

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  11. My first job was washing hair at a salon! It was really fun. I love your blog. xoxo

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  12. I did a week of work experience for a dog walking company when I was 15, so I was nearing the end of high school. Everyone else in my year (about 150 people) all did work experience at all kinds of places, but I was the only one who had a job at the end of it. It lasted for 2 years and was the best job I have ever had, truly, but I quit when I made the foolish decision of moving across the country for the wrong guy. Though, fortunately, that guy led me to the one I'm with now and I honestly couldn't be happier.

    Really enjoying these insights into your business, especially the parts you don't want to talk about like "Jacob" - honesty is always a winner, whether it's happy/sad or anything in between. Looking forward to the next installment ^^

    Kim, A Blackbird's Epiphany x

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  13. Thank you so much for such lovely post. It's very helpful. You know, I'm 21, but for some health reasons I just finished high school and now I should go to University, but I can't cus I don't have enough money. This is why I want to start my own business and earn money for year and then move out to another country and start studying. I don't know how is going my business, but I hope I can continue my education tho..
    http://coeursdefoxes.blogspot.com/
    http://www.facebook.com/CoeursDeFoxes

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  14. oooh gosh this story is so gripping haha I really can't wait for the next part! your early works looks amazing <3

    Mon Cheri

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  15. yeah i really enjoy these posts. love hearing about it!!

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  16. I love your 'building a business' series. It's interresting to see what brought you to where you are today.

    http://littleprettyyou.blogspot.com

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  17. I'm loving hearing about your journey! =)

    My first full-time job out of high school was working at Starbucks =) I liked it well enough, but was thankful when I left!

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  18. Dana, I just have to tell you... you're amazing. As someone who's been following along since I started my own blog, I just can't get over your talent and how you KEEP getting more and more creative :) I am in love with your style! I've been saving up for a makeover of some sort (whether for my blog or my handmade business website) and I've been having a blast looking through all your creations :) This series is great!! Never stop doing what you're doing... you have a real gift! :) xo

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  19. what a great tale. Everyone comes into our lives for a reason and so did "Jacob." He was the gateway to your future and although you seem to cringe at the sound of his name, he was good for you at that time in your life. Can't wait until part 5!

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  20. Nice post,Its sound looks so interesting and informative..I really enjoy to read it..Template Design

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  21. During my final years of High School I worked in Hungry Jacks (Burger King in USA) which got me by, then went to McDonalds and 2 years out I worked at a cafe and im now in retail.

    Up until now I've had jobs that got me by, I could buy pretty clothes, have an iphone and feed my tech habit. Now i'm thinking more future so am in a company that would allow me to grow.

    Your tale is very educational it's great to hear about how successful people get from A to Z xx

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  22. I love reading these :) xxx

    http://jeminixlife.blogspot.com

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