City of Austin Small Business Development Program helps Darryl Stevens reach his professional goals
2/14/2012Last year, Darryl Stevens was a new college graduate, punching the clock at one of Austin’s many high tech companies. To help his company expand their marketing reach, Darryl enrolled in the High Impact Marketing class offered by the City of Austin Small Business Development Program in partnership with the Professional Development Center. As soon as the class got underway, Darryl was able to objectively assess his own professional potential, leading him to branch out and start his own business, digITech Web Design. As a result, Darryl often tells people the course “changed his life.”
When you say this course helped “change your life,” what exactly are you referring to?
Well I have always been a self-proclaimed techie, but I really didn’t know how to take my technical skills and use them outside of a standard corporate environment. When I took the High Impact Marketing Class, they showed me how I can use my existing skills and apply them in a way that would help me generate revenue on my own and be successful. This class really helped me build confidence and gain insight on how to focus my skills in the marketplace.
How did you put the principles you learned into practical application?
For about 6 months prior to taking this course, I had been doing Web design as a side business while working fulltime during the day. After taking the course and listening to the instructors, I learned what I needed to learn to make a business—my business—successful. Two weeks after the class, I said to myself: “You have the skills, and now you know how to apply them.” I filed for a LLC with the State of Texas and I have been working fulltime for myself ever since.
Can you list a few of the strategies you learned and implemented in your business?
There was a lot of talk about having an online presence, which was right up my alley! The first thing I did was build a very clean Web site with a clear call to action for customers to take. We learned that you have an average of 5 seconds to catch a potential clients’ attention, and that if you have too many options they will look and never buy, so I kept it simple with 3 main options. Another huge factor was search engine optimization. By using a bunch of different techniques, I got my Web site to rank on the First page of Google for Austin Web Design which has provided a steady stream of phone calls. There was also a heavy emphasis on social media which keeps customers engaged and is great for brand recognition. The end result is that I am now my own boss, making my own hours, and I am totally happy! I will be forever grateful to The University of Texas at Austin and the City of Austin Small Business Development Program for offering such amazing, helpful courses!