Personal Websites and the Effects of an Online Resume
I was 24 at the time and living in small town Alabama when it all began. I had a small marketing company servicing a handful of local clients (nothing by today’s standards) when I began taking on outside marketing gigs. One such gig involved promoting a new program for one of the nation’s largest companies, Walmart. My job was to entice local consumers to order their groceries online and then pick them up at the store at their desired time. Personal shoppers at Walmart would then do all the shopping and load the items into the car of the consumer.
I saw this as a brilliant idea that relieved me from the annoyance of what might have been my least favorite task, shopping. Unfortunately, not many others felt the same and the project as a whole began to suffer. There was but one exception to the overall failure of the program, and that was my tiny store in the countryside of Harvest, Alabama. Despite being the smallest of the 6 test stores in the country, my little neighborhood market quickly became the location with the most active users. I was then moved to another store in northern Alabama and I replaced my spot with someone that was working for me in the marketing company. After a few weeks, some decision maker made the call to fly me out to Phoenix, Arizona to attempt to turn around one of the stores out west. At the time, I had never really been much further west than the Mississippi river. Nonetheless, I was ecstatic to travel to this exciting foreign land and I readily agreed to the 3 day trip out west.
My arrival in Phoenix, Arizona was a life changing event for me. I was enthralled with the lifestyle, climate, party scene, and general aura of success and opportunity that this new land was filled with. It tool all of two days for me to fall in love with the Phoenix area, Old Town Scottsdale in particular. When I returned home, I called my best friend and said, “Bro, we need to move to Arizona.” One week later, we booked one-way tickets to Phoenix. Without a job, place to live, car, or written plan, we took a risk and left everything behind to start anew. It took about one hour for the initial excitement of being in a new place to where off before reality first began to set in. “What are we going to do for money? Where are we going to live? And how are we going to get there?” are the questions that began to race through our minds. We decided to tackle the housing concern first and found a few places around town that were fully furnished and available immediately, but for a short time. The first place that got back to us was located in Scottsdale and was, fortunately, within our very limited budget.
Success! Our first obstacle had been overcome and now we just needed to find a way to get there. As it turns out, when you are a male under 24 in Arizona, nobody wants to allow you to rent a car. This was, of course, news to us and we found ourselves in a seemingly unsolvable predicament. After a while of negotiation (not in our favor, I might add) we eventually worked out a deal with someone to rent, what I suspected to be his personal POS car for just over $450 a week. This was outrageous, but we were in a tight spot and beyond exhausted from the headache of securing a foundation in Arizona so we took it. A few hours later, after relishing in our new temporary home just outside of Old Town Scottsdale, we began to brainstorm. Although we weren’t sure about what the exact plan would be, we knew that we wanted to be there and we were willing to do whatever it took. Through connections made from the success of the Walmart Pickup project, I secured us both promo jobs.
One thing we did come equipped with was a fresh new idea about personal branding. We had previously begun to acquire clients and opportunities as a result of our personal website idea. I figured, if having a website for your business was now becoming a vital element of success, then why wouldn’t I brand myself in the same fashion. With this in mind, I built my personal website which you are on right now. The idea was that whatever job I have or services I sell will likely change from time to time; therefore, I should have a website with myself as the focus to provide an always accurate portrayal of what I am currently working on.
I designed business cards that focused on me as the brand, as opposed to whatever company I was starting or with at the time. I begin keeping up a blog and documenting my thoughts, goals, progress, and failures. I passed out business cards to everyone that I met for the first few weeks that we were there. I wasn’t sure if anyone was actually going to my site and reading my writings and updates but I continued to post nonetheless.
As far as life in Scottsdale went, everything was golden. Granted, we were working constantly (60+ hours a week) and driving all over the east valley everyday, but we were so consumed with our new life that time seemed to fly by and before we knew it, our 30 days in the Scottsdale condo was nearing its end. Upon stumbling across this fact and realizing that we had not prepared, we were devastated. On the day before we were to be out of our place, we continued our new weekly ritual of going to our local bar, Giligans, to drown our sorrows in beer and 25 cent wings and beer.
While reminiscing about our soon-to-be over vacation, we were greeted by a fellow that we had met on our first week in town, Jimmy K. We proceeded to tell him the story of our journey out here and its untimely demise and I was astounded to find that he already knew a great deal of it. He told me that he had gone to my personal website when I gave him my card weeks earlier and he had been reading my postings. He said that he loved what we were doing and asked us if we needed anything.
“As a matter of fact, we need a place to live,” I said in a halfway kidding way. “Well I’ve got an open place down the street,” he responded. “You guys want to come take a look at it?” I could hardly believe our luck. In all honesty, part of me assumed that this was some sort of cruel joke the universe was playing on me; raise my hopes one last time for an even more epic disappointment. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and we promptly made the trip around the corner to the Old Town Scottsdale apartment right at Fashion Square. I could not have asked for a better location and the timing of everything was incredible.
For a while, I was amazed at the sudden turn of events, almost to the point of disbelief. All this time, I thought I was updating my personal website for my sake alone; when in fact, the people that I passed my branded business card to were actually going to my personal webpage and getting to know me and my story. Fast forward almost exactly three years, and because of my personal website and online resume, I’ve now been able to start a new life in the town that I love. This particular instance would prove to be the first of many great opportunities that came about as a direct result of me having a personal website.
Up to this point, I’ve only made personal websites for a few of my close friends and family. However, I’ve decided to make a conscience effort to help as many people as possible move closer to achieving their goals by marketing themselves with personal websites to establish an online presence. You wouldn’t believe how many job offers I’ve received as a result of having my online resume posted on my personal website.
I appreciate the fact that you have read my story; and as a show of gratitude, I’d like to offer you a discount on your own personal website for completing this article. Take a couple of minutes and let me know what what your goals are and what features you would like to see on your own personal website and I’ll build your website with an online resume within the week for under $100!
Feel free to share this story with your friends and I wish you good luck in all of your endeavors!
Stan Collins Boyd