Creating My Own Web Design Business Helped Me Become A Better Dad
My first foray into the world of WordPress began shortly after my son, Miles, was born in November 2011. I had always been interested in creating webpages for various projects; up until that point this included school assignments, numerous bands and solo music projects I was involved with, as well as work for businesses and other charitable organizations. All of these projects were powered by simple do-it-yourself “website builders” regularly offered by various providers. Moreover, there had also been a recurring theme present in the background of anything that I had been working on: I always felt frustrated by the lack of customization options both in design and functionality parameters. Ultimately, I knew that if I wanted to change the world I was going to have to learn how to code or simply find a better platform that delivered more options.
So, going back to my son’s birth, it was shortly thereafter that I decided to start a dad blog; thus, inspireddad.org was born. The purpose of the site was based on my desire to encourage the sharing of inspired stories about the journey that is fatherhood, while also chronicling my adventures with my son. Originally, I launched the project on Blogger, but it was after a bit of research that I discovered WordPress. Little did I know, this would be a defining moment that would change my career and my life. Inspireddad.org, as a blog, never really took off, and that’s okay since it was never meant to be a commercial project anyway. I still try to post content, but the site has become more of a digital scrapbook for my own family.
The Defining Moment: My Epiphany
One day, as I was in the process of writing a post for inspireddad.org, I had a sudden epiphany. I thought to myself, WordPress is not like any other website builder I have used before. It is powerful, simple, and can be used for almost anything… and I can see myself making a living off of this one day. It was this thought that set me into motion, and I began learning everything I possibly could about WordPress—I became obsessed.
Setting the Wheels in Motion
A few months later I reached out to some of my friends who had existing businesses and offered my services. I ended up creating some websites via this avenue that both put a bit of money in my pocket and enabled me the opportunity to start building my portfolio. Next, I researched local businesses to find ventures that either had poorly designed websites or were lacking an online shingle, so to speak, altogether. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to find companies that fit this criteria. In order to appeal to this group of prospects though, I made use of my previous experience in life insurance sales to cold call these businesses, successfully setting appointments and closing some deals. Yes, this was a start, but I also felt that there had to be a better way to build this side of the business. If I didn’t change my own internal process, this dream would be relegated to a hobby at best.
Introduction to Elegant Themes
If I wanted to make a living selling websites to businesses, I knew that I would need to deliver a quality product while providing relatively quick turnaround. After doing some research on theme subscription sites I decided on Elegant Themes, as the service clearly offered a superior product at an affordable price. I honestly believe I might have given up on this dream if it hadn’t been for the amazing support that the ET team gave to me early on. This support, coupled with my own growing WordPress knowledge, enabled me the opportunity to launch approximately two dozen websites in my first year—which gave me the confidence I needed to take my business to the next level.
The Birth of Creative Click Media
When I founded Creative Click Media, I did so with the intent to grow it into a full-fledged Internet marketing company focused on delivering high-quality services at a reasonable price. Like many entrepreneurs, I too dreamed of a day when I could quit my day job and pursue my life’s passion. Moreover, one of my major motivations behind this was the fear that if I didn’t make this jump that I may miss out on my son’s childhood. I didn’t want to be that “worker bee” who was at work making the boss rich while I missed out on all of the cherished “firsts” and other events important to my family. I was tired of working the 16 hour days that required me to leave the house before Miles woke in the morning, only returning home after he had turned in for the evening. During that period in my professional life, I would work on websites until his 3am feeding—this was done just because I wanted to see him and didn’t have the chance otherwise. Ultimately, it was this insane schedule that propelled me to deliver projects on time—and motivated me for the next step in my career.
From Tragedy Springs Triumph
This was a tough time, and although I thought I might have felt miserable, I did not realize how badly my wife was suffering from postpartum depression. This condition eventually manifested itself in some very self-destructive behavior that caused her to be hospitalized, leaving me to serve as the primary caretaker for Miles. It was then that I decided it was time—I needed to take a leap of faith and quit my job to give Creative Click Media my full-time attention. I wanted to be there for Miles, but more importantly, my son needed me. Working for myself not only proved to be profitable, but extremely fulfilling since I was doing something I loved and was also allowed to be the involved dad that I had dreamed of becoming.
Divi And The Future
When Divi came out it didn’t take long at all to realize it was truly something special. Although I had planned to utilize Divi for my own site, I was very busy work-wise when it launched, so the first site I built with it was for a startup investment company client (www.invessence.com). My client ended up being very pleased with their new website and I eventually did get around to making the switch on my own site—decidedly still a work in progress. Since then, I have also launched an eCommerce store for another client using Divi (www.whatshield.com). Like WordPress itself, the beauty of the platform lies in its simplicity as well as the fact that it can be tailored to fit almost any need, whether it’s a one-page blog or a full-fledged eCommerce site. It amazes me how many beautiful and unique websites have been made with Divi.
The recent release of Divi 2.0 has only bolstered my admiration for the platform. Divi is the perfect theme for creative agencies and freelancers who are looking to build beautiful, responsive websites in an efficient matter. The addition of new modules such as counters and the newsletter signup widget have really made my life much easier as well. Moreover, the websites that I have built in Divi run much faster simply because I don’t need so many additional plugins to achieve my goals. In closing, I am so thankful for the opportunity that Elegant Themes has provided to me. The incredible support and products of ET have enabled me the chance to do what I love—achieving an entrepreneurial lifestyle that has allowed me to truly help my clients, while also giving my family my time and attention as a husband and father.