Entrepreneurship

Web Publishing / Advertising Sales 

Over fifteen years ago, while still in high school, I started an online business by designing websites, building traffic, and selling advertising space on the websites.  The wide variety of content included music stars, athletes, jokes, chat rooms and message boards. 

I was able to build traffic to my websites by exchanging links with other similar sites and securing prominent listings on Yahoo, which at the time actually had real people reviewing websites.  When Google came along, I learned effective search engine optimization techniques in order to secure top-of-page listings when users searched for key words that were relevant to my content. 

Once I had the traffic, I realized that I could monetize my hobby by selling advertising space to large ad brokers including Burst Media, ValueClick and Google AdSense.  There were a variety of payment methods, including pay-per-impression, which meant that I was paid every time an ad was shown, in the range of $1 to $5 CPM (cost per thousand impressions), Cost-per-click or “pass-through”, in which I was paid every time a unique visitor clicked on the ad, and in some cases I was paid a commission on orders that were placed by visitors from my websites on other websites like Amazon.com.  

At its peak, my websites were attracting over 11,000 unique visitors per day, which equated to over 50,000 page views (impressions) per day.  Particularly popular, as well as controversial, was the message board that I created in 1999 for students at the high school that I attended as well as more than a dozen other schools throughout Eastern-CT and Rhode Island.  The message boards received an average of over 500 new posts per day and I was interviewed for stories in several newspapers, including The Providence Journal, as this was well before the Facebook era and the first time that many had encountered this kind of Internet gossip. 

After graduating college, I devoted much less time to running the websites and after graduating college, about 10 years after creating the websites, I decided to pull the plug on the websites.  The technology as well as the competitive landscape has changed dramatically and unfortunately it  became too difficult to manage the content with the limited time I had available.  The whole thing was a tremendous learning experience for me and I’m thankful for the success I had at such a young age.

Web Development Services

Following my success in web publishing, the next natural step was to leverage my web design skills by providing my services to small businesses in the area that did not yet have a web presence.  Most new clients came through word-of-mouth referrals.  I consulted with clients to determine their needs and collect advertising materials, then designed the websites and hosted them on my server. 

Video Production Services

 I started to get into videography in 2001 when I decided to create a “video yearbook” for my high school’s graduating class.  It was a ton of work but a great learning experience.  Next, upon referrals from classmates who had seen my work, I was hired to videotape a wedding.  Due to the high cost of weddings and videography in particular, there was high demand for affordable wedding videography service, so I advertised in Craigslist and was hired to produce several more wedding videos.