Who am I and why should you assume that I’m a reputable and trustworthy guide to geekdom? Put simply, I’m the entrepreneurial manifestation of “geek”. I salivate when I see great design or clean code, and whenever the power goes out I wander my house aimlessly, unsure of what to do with my life until it comes back on. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I really am a geeky guy. Just look at that goofy picture of me! If you want to know about my background and experience, read these next couple of pages. Otherwise, feel free to skip on to the next chapter where we will get started with the guide!

In terms of my training experience, I’ve certainly been around the block – despite my youth! I love teaching people about computers & the web, as it’s something I’m both am good at, and enjoy. Here are a few of the things that I’ve done in the past few years:

  • I’ve conducted tons of one-on-one training sessions – from teaching web design clients how to make simple updates to the site that I built for them, all the way to training a 50-year-old web design newbie on how to design and code his own website from scratch!
  • I once coordinated and hosted a seminar that aimed to teach people that have only ever used typewriters how to use a computer. (You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to familiarize them with the concept of the mouse!)
  • I’ve developed tons of training videos for my clients that are publically available on my website and on YouTube.
  • I’ve written a full-length how-to book on website design called The Two Hour Website.
  • I’ve assembled a website maximization toolkit that shows clients how to get the very most out of their websites.

My interest in web design started back when I was in High School, but my fascination with – and addiction to – technology began when I was a wee little youngster playing Lemmings on the family’s Macintosh computer. Like most people my age, I grew up around computers and technology, and soon enough I was answering all of my parents’ computer questions! And that’s the power of this guidebook, and the power of a geek: 80% of people younger than 30 are probably qualified to help you with at least some of your computer needs – more on this later.

I designed a couple of websites in high school, but it was still a while until I really got into it. I went to college to major in business, and halfway into my freshman year started Websites For Less – my website design business. It was tons of fun and I was learning a lot, but soon enough I was playing a juggling game between school and the business. So I finished my school year off with barely passing marks and promptly dropped out of college to do the business full time.

Initially, I was just ‘that dude designing websites out of his bedroom’. But then things grew and I began to outsource work overseas, until it became more of a hassle than it was worth, at which point I got an office, hired a few employees, and got super stressed out. I had four cold callers, three salespeople, two full-time designers, (including myself) and was still outsourcing a lot of work overseas. And when it really came down to it, I was actually bringing home less money than when I was just designing websites from my bedroom!

I then scaled back a bit ‘til it was just me, one full-time designer, and a couple of part-time designers. Things were going okay; I was enjoying work a lot more, and had more time available. Then, my head designer got an animation job offer from a big company in LA that he’d been working towards for years, and they unfortunately only gave him a few days notice to get out there, so I was left with all of his workload to manage, in addition to my own.

I decided not to continue to deal with the hassle of employees and scaled back even more, and worked for months to bring down the huge workload I was left with, until one day I had a mental breakdown and spent a week in the mountains fishing and hiking. My reason for it was like that Seinfeld episode where Jerry asks Newman why mailmen always go crazy, “…Because the mail never stops. The more you send, the more that comes in!” I felt like whenever I completed one task, there were two new ones waiting for me.

Over that refreshment period, I devised a plan to re-structure my business and have it be more reliant on systems, rather than specific employees. And now I’ve arrived at the present day version of my business – great work turned around quickly at a cheap price that can be done by minimally-trained employees.

Why does this whole life story matter in the context of this book? Because I’ve seen a lot. Over the course of these past few years, I’ve tried a variety of different marketing strategies, business models, and product delivery approaches. (The “product” being a completed website) More importantly, I have worked with lots of different help. I’ve worked with students, professionals, firms, freelancers, outsourced laborers, and hourly employees. Through it all I’ve had the opportunity to learn about what it’s like to work with each of them.

With this guidebook, you get a few big things: the guide itself, an insider’s perspective, and tons of bonus materials for you to actually print out and use on your epic quest to find a geek. In the book, I’ll outline how long it takes me to do various tasks, so you won’t get taken advantage of by your geek. I’ll teach you how to work with your geek to get the best quality work done at the cheapest price. I’ll even hold your hand through the geek interview process. Basically, I’m going to show you how to turbo-charge the technological aspects of your business (and life) at a super-cheap price.

Enjoy!


Zach Swinehart