Hi, I’m Ray DelVecchio!
My journey is a little different. I was a good student all my life – following instructions and memorizing was easy for me.
I ranked 2nd in my high school class, graduated near the top of my college class, then went on to get a Master’s degree in Computer & Electrical Engineering.
However, a HUGE problem was developing… I was not passionate about what I was doing.
You might ask, why the heck did you get your Master’s degree if you didn’t enjoy engineering?!?
My current self would say I was a masochist. The truth is I didn’t have any idea what kind of career I wanted.
Instead, I listened to my professor who recommended grad school if I didn’t have a job lined up.
By the time my Master’s thesis was over, I felt burnout and made a decision that SHOCKED my friends and family.
I moved back to my parents’ house and stopped seeking employment.
In a moment of my life that would have delighted Peter Gibbons from “Office Space”, I realized creating time by doing nothing would let me pursue my real interests.
It wasn’t easy, but my motives went beyond money.
Here’s the list I considered:
There is no argument here. After working at a Lone Star Steakhouse, CVS Pharmacy, and a physically demanding job as a mover one summer, I could live quite comfortably with a computer engineer’s yearly income. With my Master’s degree, a $55-70K starting salary wasn’t unreasonable. Check one for getting a job.
40-60 hours in an office weekly. 8 AM every morning, non-negotiable. Not appealing since I was a night owl in my early 20s. Plus, you still trade your time for dollars, albeit at a higher rate. But long-term financial leverage isn’t there with a salary-based income.
In theory, you can switch jobs at any point. In reality, when you make over $50,000/year, it’s difficult to ditch that safety regardless of your dreams to own a business. And I have a lot to accomplish in life other than sitting in a cubicle working for someone else.
💡 Mental Effort
Engineering is brutal. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE technology. But during my days at grad school, it became apparent that everyone around me lit up while talking about their work. Meanwhile, I was struggling to put in enough hours to barely communicate with some brilliant people. Staying current with engineering trends would have sapped every ounce of my brainpower and creative energy.
This was the overall deciding factor and it only took 6 years to figure out! For a period, I was convinced that I was an idiot. Turns out millions of graduates experience that same feeling of indecisiveness when it comes time to take the next step.
There was a huge unknown in front of me, but it was finally exciting.
I started my quest into learning web design as a hobby through HTML/CSS, then created an NFL Sports Blog on WordPress.
This was my way to learn what it took to create a big website from scratch.
I thought it would turn into the next big thing by getting listed high on Google and the money would come pouring in. Ah, the wide-eyed days.
At this time I had no clients and no income. Zilch, zero.
However, I was thoroughly enjoying every moment of the process and was learning at a torrid pace. Even being next to broke, and with some admonishment by friends, my vision was finally clear.
There were nights I worked until 4 AM fixing bugs on the NFL website, and I would get up the next day and continue within 10 minutes of being awake.
I was hustling for a few bucks and graciously accepting free home-cooked meals as often as possible (my mom is the best). If you have that type of support, utilize it to the full extent so you don’t bury yourself in debt!
Within a couple of months, I got my first two paying customers through my personal network.
To this day, those initial customers still pay me monthly.
Through referrals and outreach, I found bigger opportunities.
The barrier to entry to starting your business is much greater in your mind than in reality.
It doesn’t take 4 years of college or $100,000 to learn web design or online marketing.
It takes persistence, determination, and MOST IMPORTANTLY a desire to actually help the people that pay for your services.
Want to learn more about how you can do exactly what I do?
15 Tools To Start Your Web Design Business
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