Charlie’s Reflections on the First 10 Years

In May of 2009 I left my job to start building websites full time. My first business was called “CSS Online.” This was the start of what would become Boom Visibility today.

I had been building websites alongside my full time job for a few months, but I had no idea how to run a business and my history degree wasn’t very relevant experience. Not happy with my current job and having the desire to own my own business, I built myself a website, and walked up and down Eagle Road in Havertown with business cards in hand.

I hope you will enjoy these screenshots of some of our first projects in 2009.

Pretty terrible, right?  These projects did not cost more than a few hundred dollars, and we were providing value to our clients.  As time went on I gained more experience and was able to hire my first part-time employee in 2011. Today, we have 5 full-time employees and hopefully a 6th later this year. I’m not sure if Boom Visibility would be what it is today without some people I have met along the way.

Thanks to Mike Who Told Me to Charge Him More

Mike owns a body shop, was one of my first 5 customers, and is still a customer today. He was the first client who pushed me to spend money and really apply myself to his marketing efforts. I started working for his shop for $20 per hour.  About a year later during a meeting he asked me to come outside and talk away from the rest of his staff.  He told me that I wasn’t charging enough money and that I should charge him $50 an hour going forward.  His act of kindness, and business knowledge helped open my eyes to the value we were providing, and it had a trickle-down effect to the rest of the early clients.

Thanks to Larry Who Taught Me Digital Marketing

Larry owned an SEO firm in Havertown, and in order to learn how SEO works I sought out his company to do work for one of the websites I built.  In one of those crazy coincidences, it turned out that on the same day I contacted his company, he had also reached out to my company to ask for a web design quote. I started working as a subcontractor for their digital marketing business where I gained valuable knowledge and experience.

Thanks to Drew & Matt Who Taught Me the Importance of Design

Drew was a fellow freelancer who drastically improved our designs. Check out the before and afters below. He helped improve design at a price my current clients could afford.

Matt became our designer after Drew and is responsible for almost every design in our portfolio.

Thanks To Trevor Who Taught Me About Branding

The problem with the name “CSS Online” was that CSS is a coding language, so if you Googled “CSS Online,” our website was on page 8 and basically impossible to find.  My next idea was called “Web SBZ,” which came as a result of looking up abbreviations for “small business.” I quickly realized that the SBZ part was not memorable or a common abbreviation for small business.  I also got tired of trying to spell it out on the phone by saying, “sam, boy, zebra.”

I met Trevor at a networking event, and soon after, we began to discuss a partnership under his firm, Boom Venture.  Wanting to name our SEO company underneath his brand,  Boom Visibility was born.  While our partnership didn’t last, I don’t know if I ever would have found the business name without him, and am grateful that our paths crossed.  We both found it amusing that we discovered we both attended Ithaca College about 3 months after we started working together.

Thanks To Brittany Who Taught Me I Need Help

Brittany came on in 2012, which was another big step forward for the business. She brought a new level of organization that really helped us take things to the next level.  Brittany was the first employee I had that I felt I could really trust and lean on, which has led to her holding a variety of titles at the company. It’s no joke that we call her the HR manager, chief editor, copywriter, project manager, office manager, account manager and manager of other account managers.  She seriously does all of these things.

Thanks to My Family

I owe a huge thank you to my parents for paying my college education. It’s a privilege not many get to feel and I am continually grateful. I never would have been able to leave a full time job at age 24 with student loans to pay, while trying to start a small business.  I knew that if things didn’t work out they would welcome me back to the house, but luckily it never had to come to that.

Shortly after renting office space here in Media, I met my wife, Natalie, at a nearby cafe she owned with her family. I am thankful that she understands small business and can always be good support and have advice when needed. She and her family recently sold the cafe, in part, so that she could stay home with our daughter who is now over a year old. As a father and husband, I am deeply appreciative.

Thanks to Everyone Else Who Helped Me Along the Way

My friend Tom of Tommy’s Automotive deserves a thank you for being my first and longest client.  His campaign has always been our guinea pig when we want to try new things. There are many others who deserve thanks for helping me out on this journey.  Hopefully they know who they are. I’m looking forward to the next 10 years.

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