The fake job

Burgerflipping. Lawnmowing. Grocerybagging. Those are "real jobs". I've always looked on them with a mixture of envy and curiosity, because I've never had one.

When I was 15 years old, my sister (who was then 16) and I started a business designing and building web sites. I can't for the life of me recall why we did it. Maybe it was visions of dollar signs dancing in our heads, or the idea that "this will be a great learning experience", or a fit of temporary insanity. I don't know. But at any rate, we decided to go into business together. I've always been a techie, and Jamie's always been a great visual designer, so we figured we'd be a great team.

Alas! We were two teenagers with no experience and no references. So how do you drum up business in a situation like that? By ambushing it, of course. We started searching for web sites of local businesses, and making a list of ones that looked really bad. We finally picked out one particularly hideous one (for a local real estate agency), and set to work on giving it a makeover. After innumerable hours of designing, fiddling, grumbling, arguing, and starting over, we produced a mock up that was... well, at least it was a small improvement over the old site. ;-)

Armed with our mildly improved mockup, we paid a visit to the real estate agent. We explained that we'd stumbled across his website, and noticed it could use some improvement, and offered to fix it and give him our super duper new look for $250.

He bought it. I was amazed!

When all was said and done, I think we made about $2 an hour on that first project. But we had landed a client on our very first attempt, and we were thrilled.

Over the next four years, we worked with dozens more clients. The work was stressful (there were many occasions where I wanted to pull my hair out -- or Jamie's), but our little joint venture opened up all sorts of doors for both of us, and it gave me a chance to see what an awesome sister I have. We stopped officially working together last summer because of time constraints, but Jamie still occasionally does some design work or consulting, and I do contract web programming and system administration work for several other web design firms scattered around the United States.

Last week, though, she got a "real job", working in the writing center at Kennesaw State University. I'm curiously envious.


At 10:23 PM , Blogger Brett Harris said...

Hey Tyler, this is Brett Harris from The Rebelution. I just wanted to let you know that I responded to your comment regarding the odds of Christianity being true. You can read it here.

God bless!


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