I designed my first website when I was 11 years old, in 1996. It showcased what I thought was cool at the time; amateur science experiments, fighter jets, video game cheat codes, and tigers, apparently. I remember it looking glorious on Netscape. Points to you if you were on the internet in the days of Netscape!
In 2006, I became an entrepreneur when I turned my saltwater aquarium hobby into a business. I was 21 years old, and had just moved into an apartment with my future-wife Angela. It was tiny, but that six hundred square feet was all ours! That one-bedroom apartment started to seem even smaller after I had set up 8 aquariums in it. As for Angela, I guess it served as a test to make sure she could tolerate the years of startup shenanigans to come. I set up my first online store to sell my corals across Canada. It looked great, and I had a few thousand dollars in sales, but ultimately the market was too small for what I had to offer. I chalk it up to experience.
I went to work for another local business that knew the importance of online presence. I built three more online stores and ran them with great success, as well as managed a retail store. I took my experience and set off on my own again with a few professional web design contracts.
In 2010, I opened my first brick-and-mortar retail store in Victoria BC. It was a saltwater aquarium store, and my business partner and I called it Blue World Aquariums. This was my first experience really building a brand. We focused on educating new hobbyists so they could be successful. I realized that their long-term success not only made us feel good, but it was essential for our own success. Sure, if I was a different type of person, I could have told our staff to push sales on the newbies for our short-term gains. Instead, we nurtured relationships with our customers and used our experience to help them grow, and at the same time; build our business into the future.
Of course, our website was paramount to building our brand. This was an online store, a project portfolio for our custom aquarium designs, and a popular blog for hobby news. I experimented with viral marketing, by turning an Xbox 360 into a reef aquarium. It was covered by tech blogs, hobby websites, and social media…and it drove a ton of traffic to our website. Over the next few months, and as a direct result of my online marketing efforts, we gained design contracts that would be worth over a million dollars. In fact, one of those new clients happened to be Microsoft.
It was a busy time. To put it bluntly, I worked my ass off. At one point I was working over a hundred hours a week for I don’t know how long…it’s just a blur really. Then came the house and two kids. If I ever say to you, as another small business owner, that I know your time is valuable: I mean it.
In recent years, I’ve designed and launched my own successful electronics brand for the aquarium and lighting industry. I’ve worked in web development, SEO and marketing for a military defense contractor and a manufacturer of scientific instruments. Additionally, I’ve helped many friends, family, and business acquaintances to build their brands and websites for their own established businesses and startups. I’ve developed dozens of websites and ecommerce shops, built many new brands, and implemented custom software and web solutions to solve problems and save time.
So here we are in the summer of 2022, and I’ve just launched Electrik Design Lab; providing websites and online marketing as a monthly service. I’ve met many entrepreneurs and small business owners who are passionate about what they do and what they’ve created, but they lack the time or tech savvy to really bring their business to the next level. We look to solve this problem in a way that is easy for our clients and painless for their cash flow.
My entire business model for Electrik Design Lab is built on the long-term success of our clients. We turn the idea of investing in a website on its head. Instead of you investing a large amount of capital into a website upfront, and hoping for good results; we invest in you by providing our services upfront.
We do this because we are confident in the value we can provide, and we know you will see the results for yourself. We’re not here just to sell you a website. We’re here to be a partner in your success, and help you take your business to the next level.
Now I want to talk about your business. What are your goals, and what are your challenges? How can we help you to overcome those challenges so you can focus on doing what you do best? I look forward to speaking with you.
Principal Owner, Electrik Design Lab
Victoria, BC Canada