This article originally appeared on the JuggoPop@V7N Blog, which no longer exists.
Who am I and what to expect…
My real name is Brian Smith. Iâ€™m a 30 year old male from a small town in Arkansas. Now, you may be wondering, â€œWhat would a guy like that have to say that is worth my time?â€ To that I say, â€œOnly what I have learned as a self taught internet professional.â€ (Brainbench Certified Internet Professional, transcript ID 3434206)
A bit of history…
Most people know me as â€œJuggoPopâ€. This is my online handle and has been since 2002. I picked that name (out-of-the-blue) as something that no one else had on AOL and that didnâ€™t require numbers listed behind it. There was no meanings to the name, other then it was available. Today that name means something. To me, it means an effort at quality.
Shortly after making my online handle I bought the domain to go with it. JuggoPop.com became my online home. At this point I worked a regular job and used that domain as a place to have a hobby. A place to do art online, a place to share my love for art with those that needed it.
Early on I thought it would be easy to have an online business where I sold my skills as a designer and artist. I built a crude website and started trying to market it as a design studio. Boy was I wrong about it being easy. I learned the hard way that there is much more to this process then what I had already learned.
With that site going south quickly, I turned the site back into the passion I once had and based it around my love for art. I built â€œJuggoPopâ€™s Artist Communityâ€. The community was a hangout for budding artists, seasoned artists, would-be web designers, and those who just loved digital art in general.
At this point, I was unemployed and spent about 13 hours a day at my forums. I worked on images for the sole purpose of being an artist. I did graphics for anyone that asked. I started with forum rank images at phpBB.com and moved on to doing work solely at JuggoPop.com.
After awhile of being â€œthe adminâ€ of a graphics based forum, people started really wanting my time. And, with demand, came people starting to pay to be at the top of my work load. People where actually paying me to do something I enjoyed. This is when I realized that what I had been doing at this point was more of a design studio then my â€œforced effortâ€ ever had been.
Instead of trying to make people think I was good at something, I let them find out elsewhere and come to me on their own will. From there the story says the same for a while. I did what I did because I loved the work and the people who visited.
Then the day comes that everything changes. A stranger visits the site and offers to combine forces with JuggoPop.com. I take this man up on his offer because he has a webmaster community that is full of information. More information then JuggoPop.com could ever cover alone. I close my forums, tell everyone where to go for the same topics and find myself as the head of the graphics section of a much larger and in demand community.
With this community being administrated by someone else, I now had more time to do actual work. It was a win-win situation for everyone.
At this point I had back logs of people wanting free graphics. Yet, free wasnâ€™t cutting it when there were other people willing to pay. So, with a blank domain left from my old forums, I designed the now infamous JuggoPopâ€™s $10 Graphics site. I thought it would be a great way of doing the â€œWal-Mart Wayâ€ of selling more and sell it cheaper then anyone else.
This worked great for awhile. Each graphic was prepaid through paypal and I just did the work and emailed it to them. These graphics included everything from t-shirt designs, business cards, banner ads, forum ranks, header images, all the way to full un-sliced web layouts. After awhile I had to raise the price just to get rid of the cheapskates. I went to $20 an image. The amount of work slowed down by about 25%, but I was getting twice as much per job. So again I was improving my standing.
At some point, I decided to stop that hobby. (Not really a business by any means). I decided to make it a real business. This brings us to today, where I am the CEO and President of a failed web design studio.
Doesnâ€™t sound very good does it? It failed just recently for poor planning. Unlike the first time I tried, where I couldnâ€™t prove myself and didnâ€™t realize what was involvedâ€¦ this time I took the bull by the horns, opened offices, hired employees, ran marketing campaigns, and developed full blown websites for major companies.
So why did it fail? Because, even with all that I didnâ€™t personally have what it takes to be a CEO. Iâ€™m an artist. Artists produce art, not run companies. Sometimes it takes a long path to understand exactly where you stand.
This is simple. I have none.
Ok, I have a talent inherited by a family of artists. I won many art contests through out my public school years. I took AP art classes in high school (and failed them, for standing my ground on my art)…
But overall, I have never taken a professional course on web design, graphic design, Photoshop, etc. I should, I know. With a degree I could find a high paying job with a large company. But today, I am happy where I am.
I work for a design company. I make banners, images, layouts, and other web based graphics. I have creative license to produce the graphics I enjoy. I get paid an honest wage for an honest job, and it feels like the days of when I just had a hobby.
What to expect…
Iâ€™m a rebel in the traditional way of being a graphic designer. And with that I have had to learn the hard way about the ins and outs of this business. I have succeeded and I have failed. I have learned and I have taught.
I will pass along all that I know. I have no reason to keep it to myself any longer. I donâ€™t care any more about what people think of me and where I stand before my peers. I am just me. I believe in the quality of working hard to produce quality work.
This blog is here as a place for me to share those things of a professional nature. The good, the bad, the rumors, and the truthâ€¦ if you stick around you will be able to learn from them all.