While I loved what I was doing in the studio, I quickly learned that making a good living was going to be a challenge. I was struggling to make ends meet and wanted much more for myself so I tried to figure out what I could do to earn extra money.
Around that time, Apple started to release its Macintosh line of computers. I picked up a Macintosh SE computer and immediately fell in love with it. I would stay up night and day learning how to use it, and any software applications I could get my hands on. I started to learn a program called Aldus Pagemaker (now Adobe InDesign) and Adobe Photoshop. In my spare time , I taught myself how to design with these tools.
It got to the point where I felt I was good enough that I could start to market my new talents. Through a friend, I was invited to come to a local Chamber of Commerce breakfast networking meeting. This opened my eyes to the value of networking, and how these people supported each other’s businesses. Through this opportunity I decided to join the Chamber of Commerce and started going to regular meetings. It took a while, but after I showed up every week for several months, people started to feel comfortable giving me leads for potential new business. I finally got some referrals and started designing stationery, flyers, brochures and other materials for all types of companies.
Eventually, this gave me the confidence to set up an official business and start my entrepreneurial journey in earnest. About a year after I began attending these meetings, I met a woman, who changed the course of my life and career direction forever.
Diana was a marketing consultant. One of her clients was a shopping center developer who was building a large shopping center in Burbank, California. She needed someone to design the shopping center’s marketing materials. Diana invited me to a lunch where we discussed what the company needed, and I presented some samples of my work. I was thriilled when I got the project and started on my new journey.
Because of this project, I had so much work that I made the tough decision to leave the recording studio and concentrate 100 percent on serving this client and building my design business.
During the next couple of years, Diana gave me more projects, including developing marketing materials for several shopping centers throughout Southern California. My business grew and grew, and I had to start hiring people to help me. I expanded my services to include not only design, but also marketing. When the Internet became a force in 1994, I added interactive, web design and the hosting of websites.
In a way, my work in the recording studio was my initial foray into entrepreneurship, but I saw this as the initial stepping stone into my true journey.