On Christmas 2003, I was gifted my first computer from my parents at 13 (I know, spoiled). I have always had an obsession with gaming and photography with one of those self printing cameras, and anything visual that I had some type of control over. Of course, the first thing I did with the computer was start gaming. I spent a majority (if not all) of my time after school on that computer, playing video games and saying no to my friends who had come over to get me outside. To the point where my brother and I became quite good at it and joined a team that I wish I remembered the name of. After that experience, I moved onto a new game called Call of Duty 2. Now, for you young folk (as if I'm old and feeble), I'm talking about the originals. Not the ones where you get fancy killstreaks and perks. You couldn't even sprint in this game. I became very, very good. I was involved in forums and competitions and started using Adobe Photoshop to create images to represent myself and or my team at the age of 14/15.
At 15 years old, I attempted to build my first website for a team that had a not so uniquely made name, 101st airborne. We sucked, and so did the website I built. But.. I tried. That team quickly fell apart and I moved into other teams eventually helping form LiquidC4, where we competed pretty well. It was with this team, that I actually built the first website I was proud of.
I became obsessed. I would rebuild the website every other week, watch YouTube videos on programs such as Dreamweaver and Photoshop to learn more and educate myself. Eventually, a lightbulb went off and I realized I could turn my passion into a business. I started with the company name Infer Media. I built websites for gaming teams and didn't really market myself well. I didn't know how to. It failed within two years. As a kid trying to find work, my first "real" job was canvassing. Now, that job title was confusing to me. I had thought I was about to learn how to paint pictures or build canvasses. This was door to door sales. I learned how to market and sell face to face in rain, snow and sleet. Remember that October storm when we all lost power? I was out knocking on doors so late into the day that we had to sleep in my bosses apartment because we were stranded. Guess what we did when we woke up the next day? Knock, knock.
While doing this, I formed Creative Solutions.
I finished that commercial on Christmas Eve of a year I can't put my finger on. At the time I was currently working as an inside sales rep for Scotts Lawn Service. After that commercial and some marketing, I started selling clients. My first big one was Northern Lights out of Enfield, CT and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. About a week after that, I got up out of my desk and walked out of my job. I know, not the best way to quit but I had a mission and a goal that I was confident in. Keep in mind, I walked out on a $60k+ a year job to risk it all for this passion.
IT. DIDN'T. WORK. I couldn't stay afloat, I had ran out of the money I saved for this leap of faith and ultimately had to find another job and lost focus of my dream again. Do you think I stopped there? No. In the jobs I had, I grew into management and eventually training individuals on how to sell over the phone. I knew I had the talent to talk and the talent to design, now it was time to combine the two. That's where Riley Web Design & Marketing came into play, and I haven't stopped since. As Riley Web Design, I've built over 150 websites, have 70+ five star reviews across platforms and I still consume content that is going to educate me on my passion of designing and also on how to grow as a business and as a person. Yes, there was a few bumpy roads, But there always will be. The important message I am trying to convey in this post is DO NOT GIVE UP. If you have a passion, something you truly love to do, turn it into a way of working because let's be honest when you're doing something you love it is not working. I was lucky to have people in my life and great parents that pushed me towards this goal every time I doubted myself over a long span of 15 years. A supporting cast is always helpful to have. If you have kids, push them towards their passion. They'll thank you one day. If you claim you don't have time to develop your passions, put the tv remote down and sleep faster.
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, it's a matter of how you choose to use it.