My name is James Mercer, and I was born in the 1950’s. Being smack in the middle of the original baby-boom generation, I have ridden the bubble through life like the proverbial rat swallowed by the snake. My work history is the epitome of “Jack of all trades and master of none”. When it comes to experience, I’ve had five distinct and very diverse careers up to now. Some say that one’s previous life experience has a purpose to prepare you for what’s to come and in my case I believe that to be true. So why did I choose to embark on this business venture? Well, here’s the long answer:
In my younger days (post high school) I decided to forego college for education in the “real world”. I spent many years in the Food Service industry, doing everything from dishwasher, cook (fast food, Mexican, sautee/gourmet, grill, banquet, etc.), waiter, host, bartender, assistant manager, flight attendant and various other activities. Interspersed throughout this period were brief stints in the areas of real estate, construction, factory work, handyman, tour guide, multi-level marketing and occasionally even making money playing pool and as a street musician. All of this can be summed up in a few words: a lot of hard, dirty, boring work for very little money. But, it served an important purpose in helping me figure out what I did and didn’t want out of life, leading me to my next career:
I was initially led to an airline career by my love of travel, but quickly became immersed in the culture. This phase spanned nearly twenty years and focused mainly on Customer Service and Operations. From this vantage point I had the opportunity to witness the birth of the computer industry and observe how it infiltrated and permeated every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally. I was in a position to take advantage of this new technology and spent many years writing large, complex programs crunching databases for staffing, forecasting, and scheduling. I did this for the fun and challenge of it but learned just enough to know that I didn’t want to become a professional programmer.
By the late 90’s, a lack of opportunity for advancement in the corporate world led me to a sudden, radical change in career path. Despite a lack of experience, I was offered a unique chance to manage a small city south of Seattle, Washington. I ran the day to day operations and quickly became deeply involved in government regulations, municipal projects, public service and small-town politics. Being a smaller, low budget municipality we didn’t have a large staff to carry the workload so I had my hand in everything. Fortunately, the Mayor was a great mentor and helped me learn the ropes (albeit by the seat of the pants!) This foray into Executive Management taught me how to prioritize and manage a huge workload and was a great boost to my self-confidence.
A move from Washington to Las Vegas resulted in another abrupt career change. I had planned to continue my career in the area of Corporate or Executive Management, either public or private, but a twist of fate led me (entirely by accident) into sales. I got a job selling advertising for a major internet marketing company, intending it to be just a temporary fix to make some money. Surprisingly, I found I was quite good at it and quickly became one of the leaders of over 800 salespeople nationwide. Equally surprising was how lucrative it could be, and I began making more than triple my previous earnings. I built a large portfolio and was able to help hundreds of small and large businesses increase their visibility on the internet.
Unfortunately, the economic downturn caused the sales opportunity to dry up and I saw the writing on the wall. My wife and I hated Las Vegas so we chose to uproot once again and settle in Southern Utah to be near our grandchildren. We decided to use our savings to buy a piece of property and design and build our dream house for retirement. Me being a “Jack of all trades”, we decided we would do it all ourselves. Little did we know, there’s much more to being an “owner/builder” than first meets the eye. The most important lesson we learned is that everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you thought it would. Then you double that again! But, with every change comes opportunity. During the past five years I have been very fortunate to learn a tremendous amount about many aspects of construction and the related trades.
…which leads me to my next and (hopefully) final career, that of a business owner. But not just any business. As a serial internet surfer, I have found there to be a tremendous need for small local businesses to become more visible on the internet. More specifically, to provide relevant, up-to-date information about their products and services to a local audience and more importantly to be found where people are looking!
My strong background in customer service gives me a great perspective and understanding of the customer experience as it relates to both small and large businesses. My endless frustration in trying to find relevant information on the internet about local products and services shows a definite opportunity in this area. My years in management and sales provide me with the tools I need to grow and operate a successful business. And finally, my programming experience gives me the confidence to tackle this enormous, complex beast of an internet which so thoroughly pervades our lives and affects everything we do.