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.
Many people have come to me over the years and expressed 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 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.
My goal is to share practical advice from my years of experience to help others start a small business but more importantly, grow it!
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.
October 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:
(you may be able to relate to some of these)
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 to pay their employees
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…
There are countless articles, videos, and programs that say you can start a successful online business in 1 day, earn your first $1,000 in an hour, build a website in 30 mins, etc.
The truth is those are just clickbait headlines to help that business make money, and I get it, that's just part of marketing. Though, this leaves so many people disillusioned when they try and fail to start a business.
Most people won't stick with it:
90% of people who start an online business give up in 4 months!
I know I started my web design business in 2010, but these challenges still plague entrepreneurs in 2023. It wasn't all bad, but starting my own business certainly opened the door to new obstacles that took a great effort to work through.
I fully understand why the majority of people give up!
I realize I haven't painted an easy picture of starting a business. Though, I openly share my low points so others can relate and know they're not alone if they struggle or if it's taken longer than they hoped.
Sometimes reading too many success stories can have the opposite effect, it demotivates us if we are hitting roadblocks in our own life.
My first few years trying to grow a business were very challenging, and sometimes the grass looked greener to just go back to being employed.
Writing this page has taken me waaaAAYYY more hours than anything else I have written on this site. Probably because being vulnerable about my story opens me up to criticism and rejection. I recognize some people won't connect with my story, and that's okay, but I leave this all out there for those who will be encouraged, challenged, and blessed by it.
Some Favorite Summer Memories:
The kids and I piled into our 1972 Buick Skylark convertible (it belonged to my Grandpa), country music turned up, heading over to get frozen yogurt at Cherry Berry.
Some Favorite Travel Memories:
Our family working on getting to all of the lower 48 states – this was from Maine.
If you stayed with me this far you're probably wondering when did the business take off, and how did your life change? Here it is – the key to realigning my values with my time and the secret sauce of my successful small business – get ready!
That's it? I understand that's anti-climactic and not what most of us want to hear, but it's the hard truth for any success story we will ever hear.
Steel can only be hardened and tempered with a very specific sequence and set of conditions or it will be brittle and fail prematurely. I have found that most people need similar conditions to be able to start a business and more importantly stick with it!
These were the ingredients that helped properly form me in the furnace – preparing me to grow my business and not give up:
I stayed in the fire a while and here's what came out…
You may have noticed that this story and site are not your typical – here are my monthly income reports, now that you know how much I make, buy my course and you will be equally as rich!
Those articles, videos, and websites are intriguing to read and have a wow factor, but they attempt to motivate you by making you discontent with your financial situation by comparison. In my research and from my own experience, just chasing dollars is a poor long-term motivator that contributes to the 90% of failed online businesses.
Don't get me wrong, you need to earn money, and you should be earning money! Having financial resources greatly reduces stress and opens up options. In fact, much of this site teaches about how to earn money and manage it well, I truly love studying and teaching others that skill!
Though, I don't personally believe success in business or life equates to how much is in your bank account. Having more money will just make you more of what you already are.
I believe success in business or life is better defined by how well it serves those in its sphere of influence. What I mean is, how well do you and your business help others for the better: your family, employees, customers, clients, friends, and even strangers. This will require you to radically change as a person through self-discipline, perseverance, sacrifice, and some good ol' fashioned grit!
That's why I've taken a different approach with this site, still giving the best practical application I can offer while addressing the underlying issues of our human nature. A business and earning money are only a part of the puzzle, we need to discover a greater purpose in life, or our motivations will fail with our willpower.
To get very personal, my deepest motivation and purpose come from my faith. It's my solid foundation, and my clearly defined purpose, peace, and joy in life. I share that not with the expectation that others believe what I do, only to connect with you that we all have something at the deepest level that drives us to action in this life.
This site is about starting a business, earning money, building websites, etc., which can be very exciting pursuits! Though, the journey of working toward those things is really a path for finding your greater purpose, growing as a person, enjoying life, making memories, and loving others well – that's the real goal!
Did this get deeper than starting a business, sorry I just wanted to get to the root of everything, it's the way I roll 🙂
Funny Family Memory:
Surviving Bentleyville, an outdoor Christmas light display in Duluth, MN. This photo was taken in what felt like sub-zero, gale force winds! We still laugh about booking it through there to not freeze to death 😜
Hopefully, you now know me a bit better, and see I've been in the trenches, and I know very well what it takes to grow a business because I'm actively still growing my own!
I'll do my absolute best through this site and its resources to serve you well and get you to where you want to be.
Thank you for being here and allowing me to share my story. I hope it blesses, encourages, or challenges you in some way, but also inspires you to share your story!
Anyone looking to do the following:
If you have DIY in your blood I want to help you have the right mindset, tools, and online presence to make your business grow!
Those who feel trapped at their job, maybe you've been laid off, or you're just burned out. It's possible to make a living from home!
You may have been at this a while, but are struggling with your site design, conversion rates, or branding. That's my specialty!