My name is Ben Coyour, I've been in the web design & internet marketing field for over 20 years and owned and operated my own successful web design business since 2010.
Over the years many people would express their interest in starting their own business, though they didn't know where to begin. Others would ask me for advice on how to build a website or market their business online. It's those conversations that lead me to create this site.
My goal is to share practical advice from my years of experience to help others start a small business but more importantly, grow it!
My hope is that you can connect with some pieces of this journey and see it's really possible to start a successful online business at home. It may begin as a side hustle, but it can grow beyond that, into a legit, full-time, business that can support you and your family.
Here are some key lessons from my upbringing that gave me the foundation I needed to one day start my own business. Please know, I didn't realize all these lessons when I was young, only after reflecting on how I was raised as an adult.
I don't have an extremely dramatic childhood story. Not to say it wasn't without trials and challenges, but overall I would say that I grew up in a great home with a loving family.
My parents taught me to value faith, family and also modeled a great work ethic. In particular, my Dad was not a complainer – not about work, life, or really anything. I learned that the pursuit of riches will never satisfy your soul, rather put effort into serving others well. These were all valuable lessons that continue to play a key role in being self-employed.
I learned not to be a victim of my past or current circumstances, but rather focus on what I have to be thankful for. Having this mindset was critical in preparing me to operate a small business in the future.
Honest Disclaimer – I don't do these things well at all times, in fact, I fall flat on my face often. Though, I get back up and keep trying to do better and learn from my mistakes. I'm a work in progress.
In the early 2000s, I got my degree in web design and development, married the love of my life (Michelle), had a growing freelance web design career, and our first son (Joshua) was just born, things were going great!
Then in 2005, I got a call from a local internet marketing agency, August Ash, they had seen my work and were interested in hiring me. While my freelance business was gaining traction, I left it for a job with a steady paycheck. Don't get me wrong, I was excited and very appreciative of this new opportunity.
Things were awesome at my new job, I had the opportunity to work with some big companies like Target, 3M, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport (I'm done name-dropping). I was gaining great experience doing web work for businesses of all sizes and got to learn from some very talented and awesome people.
As the years passed, I worked my way up to the senior designer and managed a team of designers. In 2009 my company had made it through the great recession but was going through growing pains. Throw on top of that a massive server failure that affected nearly 100 of our clients and required many late nights and early mornings in the office.
With stress at its peak and Michelle and I expecting our second child (Levi), I did what any rational person would do – I had a massive panic attack one night and ended up in the ER thinking I was having a heart attack.
I spent the next year and a half quietly trying to work (literally kept going to work) through extreme daily anxiety. We're talking constant physical pain, numbness, depression, and more It wasn't good.
As we all know, life doesn't stop when you're hurting, it seems to keep rushing by you. It was my faith, family, and friends that helped me heal during that time, but my perspective on what matters most was changed.
In 2009, we were expecting our third child (Grace), I continued working for the company I was at, but my heart wasn't in it anymore. Work was really busy, I was salaried, and I'm wired to always complete the job, so I was often coming in early and staying late to get the client projects finished.
August of 2009, I still remember it clearly. I was working in the office late, it was around 9 pm, everyone else had gone home and it was just me there.
Life was passing by quickly and I was spending the majority of these 24 hours in an office away from my family. The value of time was finally becoming clear to me. Here are some of the realizations I had that propelled me to start my own business:
It was time to leave my current job, my 9-5, my steady source of income.
Don't get me wrong, I was very grateful for my time at my previous company. I loved my bosses, co-workers, and the wealth of knowledge I learned there, but I was ready to move on.
Before we were even married Michelle and I made the decision together to live on a single income. This would allow her to be at home to raise, teach, and influence our children, the most important job of all.
While this setup was a huge blessing to our whole family, this made it challenging as the sole provider to make a career transition like this. Also, remote work in 2009 was extremely rare.
My stepping stone was a small web design firm based out of Arizona that allowed me to work from home. I took a big pay cut to work remotely, but I was headed in the right direction!
Things were great for a few months until the company I worked for suddenly ran out of money
We were immediately faced with a big decision, I could get another corporate job, or I could start my freelance web design business back up. At the time I had some freelance work going on that would pay our bills for about 2 months. We talked through all the pros and cons, prayed about it, and made our decision…