Today we’d like to introduce you to Caleb Jost.
Caleb, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I had a string of jobs over the course of two years after college graduation. Every single one ended for unexpected reasons: layoffs, or business closure, or unhealthy work environments. At one point, things got so tough that I was living out of my car and sleeping on friends’ couches. Adulthood wasn’t exactly off to a great start.
After I was laid off from the last job I had, I realized traditional employment was just not stable enough for me. I was giving away too much control to unpredictable outside factors, and others were profiting from my hard work. I decided to start my own business and settled on web design because it’s creative work that can be performed remotely. This was appealing because I like to travel and wanted the option to pick up and spend a few months wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
The start was rocky – I was learning both how to run a business and how to design websites as I went. I certainly made a lot of mistakes, but I was always dedicated to ensuring the successful completion of any project, which helped grow a loyal clientele. It took over a year of 50-60 hour weeks before I was really making a decent living again, but I think someone with more experience and connections could have got there a lot faster.
I also worked a second job as a teaching assistant and then substitute instructor for a digital marketing bootcamp ran by UT Austin. The money wasn’t great and the hours were tough (7-10pm after work and Saturday mornings) but it really accelerated my skill development and knowledge acquisition in the digital marketing industry.
Now, three years in, Parrot Digital Marketing pulls in low six figures a year, we offer a range of digital marketing services in addition to web design, and we have three employees (including myself) and a network of partner contractors and creatives we can count on. I work part-time and have the rest of my days free to pursue various hobbies. Starting a business was far more difficult than I expected but also far more rewarding. I’ve been able to work remotely from Mexico and Colombia and am headed to Brazil at the end of the year (depending on COVID). I wouldn’t change a thing.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has not been easy. Some challenges include:
1. Learning to run a business.
2. Learning to actually perform the work we sell – web design and digital marketing.
3. Living out of my car at one point.
4. Working two jobs, 60-80 hour weeks, and the resultant burnout.
5. Failing to make rent once and having to get a loan from my brother.
6. Difficulties finding reliable employees and contractors.
Personal challenges, including:
2. Struggle with alcoholism
As you know, we’re big fans of Parrot Digital Marketing. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Parrot Digital is a thriving group of digital strategists and creatives in Austin, Texas. We enjoy nothing more than pushing the limits of what’s possible in design and marketing. Our clients tend to be local service businesses, startups, and other businesses of various kinds ready for the next level but without a plan to get there.
First, we focus on ensuring you have a strong brand and marketing strategy in place. Then we leverage web and graphic design, search engine optimization, social media, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, and whatever else it takes to generate new leads and sales and boost your revenue.
We specialize in web design and digital marketing, with a focus on PPC ads.
Our personal approach, dedication to our client’s success, and accessibility. As a small business, every client is important to us. As the owner, every client has my personal cell phone number and is free to contact me at any time.
We manage over 60 websites and build 5-10 a month, as well as run a range of marketing services (social media posts, PPC ads, etc.) with a team of just three people.
If it’s on the internet, we can take care of it or know someone that can. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us about your situation – we’re always happy to listen and give our thoughts even if we don’t work together.
What do you like best about our city?
Austin has been a beautiful place to live, learn, and grow. The people are warm, friendly, and kind. The city is beautiful and vibrant. I’ve lived in a lot of places on four different continents and Austin has a certain energy and feeling that is electric. It’s really incomparable. I also have deep ties to this place, as I’ve lived all over town, worked a lot of different jobs here, went to UT, have family here, and have friends all over the city.
What do you like least about our city?
The traffic. Thank God I work from home now.
- Web design from $749
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://parrotdm.com
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/parrotdigital
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/parrotdm
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/parrotdigital1
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt3NLLuZvUJZiRe-G1B2Xug/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/parrot-digital-marketing-austin
Image credit for headshot: Erica Dee Photography (ericadeephotography.com)