How I accidentally ended up in digital marketing

I’m passionate about our company, what we do, how we help clients, and marketing and design in general. However, it may surprise you to know that even though I own a digital marketing company, this was never my plan.

In fact, at one point in college, I thought, “Well, there’s no way I’m ever running my own business.”

Little did I know what the future would hold!

Attending Oklahoma Christian University

Leann and her college roommate Kim

In 1993, I made the long drive from Norman, Oklahoma, up to Oklahoma Christian University in the very north part of Oklahoma City just outside of Edmond, Oklahoma. And by “long drive,” I really mean thirty minutes.

I decided to major in business and minor in accounting. In high school, I did some volunteering at a hospital. I think my original thought was some sort of hospital billing job after graduation. That never happened, for the record.

One of the many classes I took during that time was a Human Resources course. I remember learning all the ins and outs of human resources, and at one point, my professor commented on how if you owned your own business, this was just one of many things you had to take care of yourself.

That’s when I immediately decided I was never running my own business! Of course, it would be less than a decade later that I would eat my words.

Meeting Tim 

Confession time for those who don’t already know: I’m a cradle robber. When Tim and I met, I was a senior, and he was a freshman. I’ll let you do the math.

In the year and nearly two months we dated, Tim’s mom introduced me to other people as “Tim’s older friend.” People still give me a hard time about the age difference to this day. Our friends at church joke that we met while I was babysitting him.

Tim and I started dating on November 3, 1996. A few weeks later, after Tim finished his finals, he pulled an all-nighter and built his first website. Nothing about his Superman website on Geocities made me think that eventually, we would turn it into a business.

In the summer of 1997, I graduated. I had a few temporary jobs before finally starting my first stint working at Oklahoma Christian University in the Physical Plant. I was the office manager, telling the maintenance guys where to go and what to do on campus.

Leann and Tim dating during 1996 and 1997

Starting a marketing agency 

Leann with her oldest, Josh, and her cat, Simon, next to a box of comic book merchandise in 2004

In 2003, Tim was still going to college. He went with the 7-year option, with a year off in the middle working full time. But I continued to work at OC that entire time.

Tim had changed to a Computer Science major, a far cry from the Bible degree he was initially pursuing. He had started a hobby website for comic books where he posted articles and graphics. He also sold aftermarket collectibles and comic books. It was our first foray into content marketing.

Besides the occasional trip to the post office to mail merchandise and some basic financial work, I was supportive but wasn’t very involved.

In the middle of that year, Tim and a friend decided to start a business. They roped my best friend and me into helping. She and I headed down to the capitol, took a mandatory class together, filed the paperwork, got the bank accounts, and what was originally called T&S Web Design was born.

Around October of 2004, we bought Tim’s original partner out. He was just looking for a side income, and Tim and I decided we wanted to build T&S into a bigger business. We wanted to reinvest the money back into growing the business.

Going full-time 

In April 2004, I left my full-time job at OC to be a stay-at-home mom and work off and on at T&S. Over the years, I always ran the financial side of the business, including bookkeeping, billing, payroll, and more.

In 2012, Tim and I were working on our debt snowball, and I decided to return to work full time. I ended up at OC again, this time as a Personal Financial Counselor. I loved helping students and parents get their finances squared away for college.

In 2015, we were looking to fill a full-time position at T&S. As I looked through the job description and duties Tim had put together, I realized that while I didn’t have a background in marketing, I could do 90% of the work outlined in the job description.

In the summer of 2015, I switched to working full-time at T&S. Now, I perform other tasks in addition to financial duties, like communicating with clients, running content interviews, scheduling content, and more.

In 2016, Leann poses with a WordPress mug while wearing a WordPress shirt

What I like about digital marketing

I’ll let you do the math if you really want to, but here we are a few decades after I sat in that class at OC and decided never to run my own business. And I’m so glad I changed my mind!

There have been obstacles along the way. But I love that we’ve developed expertise and relationships that allow us to help our clients. Our solutions aren’t cookie-cutter, but our approach lets us customize the marketing for each client. Some just need website maintenance, while others have us help with logo design, print design, social media, SEO, email marketing, blogging, online video, and more.

Maybe I didn’t mean to end up in digital marketing, but I’m glad I did!

Comments

  1. Proud of you my friend! You never know where God may lead you! You are exactly where you need to be! 😀

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