Michelle and I had an interesting experience today. We were participants on a student panel at a Technology Enterprise Summit for the Technical College System of Georgia today at the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta. When I was asked to do this, I let them know that I was no longer a student, but they also wanted “success stories” of recent graduates, and someone had submitted my name. That was very flattering, and I figured why not? There were three other people on the panel who were actually still students. Two were from Atlanta Tech, and one was from Gwinnett Tech, which is where Michelle and I received our web design training. The other three students were pursuing degrees in bio technology.
The Summit was being held for people who worked with technology support for the technical college system. We were there to answer questions from the student perspective. We were told by the moderator Derek, who was the one who had requested that we be on the panel in the first place, that the participants in the summit did not generally get much of a chance to interact with the students, so this was a good opportunity to find out what it was really like to work with the software systems that were in place. Derek had some prewritten questions for us, but the audience was able to text him questions as well. We were in a large ballroom in front of a crowd of people, set up on a stage on tall chairs with spotlights on us, being filmed and given microphones. It looked intense, but was surprisingly relaxed and fun.
One of the first questions that was asked of Michelle and me was why would you want to start your own business? We get asked this question often, and it is easy for us to answer. First, I think that web design is a natural field in which to do this. Many of the firms that hire web designers are already small, so starting one of your own isn’t that big of a stretch. When people suggest that we may be rushing into this because we may not have enough experience, I remind them that I have worked on my church’s site since 2009, I worked on Shiloh High School’s website for a year, and Michelle has worked on her blog since 2011 and spent a lot of time working on it, not only with content, but with development and design as well. I also have owned my own transcription business for the past 15 years, so I am used to having my own business. I think there is a certain type of person who likes to work for themselves, and Michelle and I have felt all along that we are both that type of person. You have to have a certain level of risk-taking personality to take it on. It is not for everyone. There are definitely sleepless nights, but it is also exciting and rewarding, and we are learning so much. I have always wanted to have my own business, and I have always been impressed by people who have started their own businesses. They make their own money, and they create jobs for others. It is not easy, and those that go into it thinking that they will not have to work much are fooling themselves. I especially enjoy talking with other small business owners and sharing similar experiences with them. They get it, and these are the people we really want to work with in helping build or improve their websites.
Supposedly, we will get a copy of the video of today’s event, so we may get to post that on here at a later date.