It is difficult to say when the story begins, perhaps it started in my fifties when a boss said to me,
“One day you will find out you are not worth as much as you think.”
I never forgot those words and from that day on the chip on my shoulder grew like a snowball rolling down a mountain. From that day on I knew it was time to move on from the comfort of a corporate job, the security of knowing you always had a paycheck coming in, and the medical benefits my family depended on.
Introduction to a New Path
At the time I worked in the home entertainment business which was going through a rapid consolidation. Many of my good friends who worked for movie studios were being laid off as the number of accounts they sold movies to were disappearing as fast as milk during a winter storm.
As my friends lost their jobs, they searched fervently for sales jobs, insurance sales, real estate sales, and car sales. They were salespeople at heart. Some went years before finding work as they learned fifty-plus-year-old salespeople making six figures were being replaced by thirty-year-old salespeople making half that.
I admired salespeople. Their skills were impressive, but my only foray into sales showed me how hard it was and the thought of having to close a deal to feed my family was petrifying.
Sniffing Out the Wix Platform
As the companies I worked for were sold or went out of business I started my search for a new comfy corporate career. Quickly, I discovered what my good friends already experienced, I was either too old or too expensive for the corporate world. Maybe I was not worth what I thought, but old? I had the physical and mental energy of a twenty-year-old and my creativity and technology savvy were as sharp as they ever were. It was time to “rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”
A great friend encouraged me to start my company. I was petrified, but knew I had no choice as an elementary school teacher once wrote about me,
“Steve likes to daydream.”
Dream I did and built my first website for my new company, Starting Gate Marketing.
I built my first site on Squarespace, which at the time was more popular than Wix. The experience was painful, time-consuming, and frustrating. I was always the type that when I need help, I need it now, and exchanging emails for two or three days to solve a problem was a horrendous experience.
Then, while working for a non-profit and managing their WordPress website that incurred big fees when we needed an update, I suggested we move the website to a new platform that I could manage myself for less money. Having tried Squarespace, I decided to sniff around to see what other platforms were available, and most importantly, offered phone support.
My Nose Led Me to Build with WIX
The journey began with my first website migration. With each passing hour, I found myself immersed in the WIX website builder like a game of chess, thinking through all the possible moves and seeing the game develop. If I made a mistake, I could take back a move and try something else. It did not dawn on me then, but it does now, that my lifelong passion for chess was a key driver in falling in love with WIX.
When I completed the new site, the Board of Directors was impressed, and that instant gratification was an adrenaline rush. It felt like building my first Lego and seeing my creation come to life without any prior skills.
And then someone asked if I could build a website for them, and I did. And it was rewarding. And I did another, and the adrenaline kept pumping. And then I saw an ad to become a Wix Partner which filled my nose with scents of hope and excitement.
When the WIX Partner Program accepted me into their program, it was like the first day of walking into a new job. I was nervous and excited, and there was so much to learn. But perhaps everything I needed to learn I had already been taught without ever realizing it. The countless hours of playing chess, my years with Blockbuster Entertainment, and delivering customer service at the highest levels. My years in marketing and advertising perhaps were the foundations to a successful career as a Wix Agency Partner.
The Dog Learns New Tricks
One of the first things I learned about running my agency was that if I could not sell clients on how I could help them, I would be stuck in a pile of doo. Yikes, I am not a salesman I thought. I have never been good at it and was petrified at the thought of having to sell someone on my services. But sell I must, and I spent countless hours honing my pitch letter. Turns out my degree in creative writing would be another key driver in selling myself, my services, and the WIX platform.
My dad used to say,
“You get out of it, what you put into it”
And as hours turned into days, days into weeks, and weeks into months, my confidence and client base grew, and before I knew it, I became more than a Web Designer. I was now a salesman and problem solver, hellbent on doing whatever I needed to do to earn five-star reviews from my clients.
Now, at sixty-five, five years since designing my first website, I have become a Top 10 Reviewed Wix Agency.
My passion for helping customers from all walks of life, and every type of business, no matter how small or big, is like my first passion for movies and chess.
My sister always asks me, “How did you learn this,” and I reply, “You can always teach an old dog new tricks.”
Since originally writing this story, I decided I wanted to focus on helping others with a special web design for retiree’s service and those like me, that are searching for a new career later in life or starting the business they always dreamed of.
About the Author: Steve Crayne
Steve Crayne’s first love affair began with movies when his mom let him play hooky from school to watch The Lost Horizon when he was six years old. This passion led him to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from SUNY at Oswego.
He moved to Los Angeles after college and negotiated a deal for the re-release of In Search of Paradise: The Nordhoff and Hall Story and wrote a foreword for the book and a theatrical outline for producer Bernard Schwartz, known for Coal Miner’s Daughter.
When the deal fell through, Steve’s passion led him to a long, successful career with a then-start-up company, Blockbuster Entertainment. Said, Rich Ungaro, Executive VP, of Domestic Retail for Blockbuster Entertainment, “Steve Crayne played a major role in our success of building a national retail brand because of his tenacity and dedication to getting the job done. He brings an unbridled passion for getting things done and is a terrific influence on his co-workers with his positive “we can get this done” attitude. Steve is a pleasure to work with and I deeply appreciate his effort and contribution to our success.”
In his spare time, Steve is an avid chess player and beagle lover. Learn more about Steve and Starting Gate Marketing