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By: Jennifer Devitt on April 24th, 2011

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From Gas Money to Full-time Success: A Guest Post...


The following is our guest post on "Entrepreneurs Journey". Entrepreneurs Journey is a wonderful series by our new friend Troy Claus. You can also follow Troy on Twitter @Troyclaus. Hope you enjoy our story!

I remember the day Dave Devitt (Founder & President of SYDCON Web Development & my husband) got our first home computer, determined to learn everything and anything about it.

I can see him sitting at the table in what was then our spare bedroom playing around with this program and that, with a stack of computer books nearby.

If you are lucky enough to know Dave, you also know that when he gets an idea in his head, there is no stopping him! So, knowing Dave, I knew he would master that computer and all that goes with it!

After countless hours, days and months, Dave taught himself to program. And, program damn well too! See, the thing is, Dave is a 100% self-taught programmer.

When he taught himself to code all those years ago, I never thought that one day we would be owners of a successful web development company. I never thought about it, because it just didn't occur to me, but it did to Dave. Looking back, if someone had told me that then, I never would have doubted it either.

So, I guess you can say we started in a spare bedroom with a now obsolete computer, drive, and determination.

Working for "The Man"

But, learning to code was only the beginning. It took some trial and error, but Dave landed a job in a computer department at a food supplier as an EDI Coordinator but wasn't satisfied in that arena, so he kept learning the latest programming languages. He learned on the job and taught himself more and more. Dave had varying positions in computer departments, each with greater responsibility and requiring greater skill.

One day, he finally moved into the role of sole Web Developer for a health care company, firmly planted in the marketing department. The health care firm was a large firm, in our community.

The owner of the firm believed in helping the community and sometimes that meant a donation in the form of "loaning" out Dave to develop websites. No matter the project, no matter the firm, Dave never said no and could always deliver.

Gas Money

After a few years of taking his web development skills to new levels, Dave started to grow a nice little freelance business from his work in the community. He likes to say that SYDCON "started out as gas money, escalated to vacations, then to what I do to support my family."

It was starting to become clear that we were reaching a point where we could make a go of this full-time. It was an exciting but scary prospect. You see, while Dave was developing his programming skills and gaining experience we had also started a family, had a mortgage and responsibilities. It was a scary thought to walk away from a secure environment with a steady paycheck, outstanding benefits and all that goes with it.

Did I mention that during this time I was a full-time stay at home Mom to three? To top it off, it was during the early stages of this economic meltdown.

Our dilemma was this, we had developed a good-sized client base and we were making more money freelancing then we were from Dave's well-paid, full-time position. But, Dave was working non-stop, and something had to give. We needed to decide if this was what we wanted to do. So, we socked away money, and then some more money (you see, SYDCON is 100% self-funded) and then jumped off a cliff!

When Dave gave his resignation, I guess you can say no one was really shocked, although many thought he was stupid! See, only a few people knew just how much SYDCON had grown, so the naysayers thought we were "starting a new business" in an economic downturn.

In reality, we started the business years before. We had grown from a few local clients to a firm with clients throughout the US and even overseas!

Full-Time Success

So, in 2008, Dave quit his job, we rented an office, went on a vacation and dove in headfirst. It's been a wonderful ride! Turns out, Dave left his old job just in time, we only got busier and busier and busier.

Today, SYDCON is a partner firm to many.

With Dave's experience working as a programmer in a marketing department, dealing with marketing firms was no big change. Day in and day out we are trusted to do programming work for many other firms clients. We have helped some of our non-marketing firm clients become industry leaders in software development and internet business.

We have grown from Dave being the sole programmer, with me handling daytime calls while he worked full-time, to Dave being the President & Project Manager, me being the VP of Business Development and a nice group of stellar programmers backing us up. It's come a long way from that sole computer in the spare bedroom.

So, what started out as gas money, and grew to vacations, developed into a business that has weathered the storm of the economy all with the focus of developing a better life for our children, enjoying the freedom of being our own boss and the pleasure of interacting with great people day in and day out.