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Interview with David Geer

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Today we are talking to David Geer, the founder and president of GeerCom.
David, until a couple of years ago you were an employee with a regular job. What made you take on the risk of setting up your own company?

David Geer:
Necessity, desire, the need for job security. I was working as a technician for an ISP. I also wrote for a company newsletter, the technical support database, and a technical training manual while I was there. Some months after another company bought us we were all laid off. As the dot-com economic slump was settling in at the time, about three-and-a-half years ago, it was difficult to find another technology job, and nearly impossible to find one that paid a living wage.

I had been writing online and for a small (music) magazine while employed. When I got laid off, I got by on savings and severance pay and started writing article proposals (pitches) to consumer magazines, business magazines, trade publications, websites and online publications in an attempt to get writing assignments. As time went by, I was more and more determined to make a living as a full-time freelance writer. I also had to pay the bills and the longer I was off work, the harder it would be to be re-employed.

I was writing mostly about technology because of my previous work, which helped establish me as an expert, a specialist in technology writing and technical journalism. I occasionally did some light technical writing as well. It's much the same today, with the occasional unique writing project, like research writing for example. The need for income, the desire to be my own guarantee of steady work and all the pride and emotional rewards of business ownership kept me going. I'd say that there was definitely a strong push and pull going on, moving me in the direction of business ownership.
Can you name three advantages and three disadvantages of being your own boss as opposed to being employed?

David Geer:
Advantages include cutting out the middleman. There is one paycheck and it goes to me. What I earn I get and after taking care of taxes and expenses, which I can really determine to a great degree, the rest is mine. If I want to make more, I can decide to work longer, harder, faster, better, improve the quality of my work, charge higher rates, find customers who will pay it, you name it.

I really feel more secure and in control of my destiny too. I can work weekends or not, take off a little early or work late. I can take a vacation, take a working vacation (I have yet to do either but I know the opportunity is there); as long as the customer is taken care of, all is well.

There are really more than three advantages but the pride and power of business ownership. People respect it as an accomplishment, admire it as a way of life, and you get to meet people you might not otherwise and see a different side of so many people too.

Disadvantages? Anymore, I can't think of a one. I have no regrets and miss absolutely nothing about being an employee. Believe me, if there were any disadvantages to my mind, this would be my chance to share it with someone who would listen, and I'd gladly tell you.

Others may feel differently, complaining about having to pay their own medical premiums, not feeling as secure as they would with a regular job, not counting on the same paycheck at the same time every pay period. Not me. I'm where I want to be and well on the way to more of the same and even better.
When it comes to Internet Business and Online Promotion you can often hear the phrase "content is king". You are a freelance writer in the field of technology. What do you like most about writing articles for magazines and periodicals?

David Geer:
I can introduce my thoughts and my talents to hundreds of thousands. I can carry something in hand to demonstrate my accomplishments. I can go to Google anywhere, anytime and type in my name and produce online samples (also called clips or clippings) of over a hundred articles, as well as many other references to my work. I provide important input. I make a difference.
What would you describe as the hardest part in your current business situation?

David Geer:
No matter how hard or long you work or how established you get, some risk will always be there.
Did you create your website yourself or did you outsource this job?

David Geer:
My most recent Web site design was outsourced to Pamela Sinclair, who did a wonderful job. I wrote the content and she provided an appealing, professional design. I'm very happy with it.
Where and when did you obtain the technical knowledge and skills and to run a website?

David Geer:
I started designing my own site working off of a template of a design by a friend named Carl Rief. Picked up skills and code from him, from others I had worked with at the last tech job, off the Web and by using Arachnophilia's html editor.
The other tech knowledge I got from being a tech at that ISP, from working on my home computer and friends' computers, by reading and by using my computer, problem solving and personal interest.
How do you make prospects find your website?

David Geer:
I get into as many business directories as I can. I got into ODP, the Open Directory Project. That gave me placement in Google. I use search engine submission services. Sites have linked to my site. My site listing is automatically included in many new directories and search engines that appear as those often repeat what you can already find in ODP ( or Google. I place a link to my site within a brief bio at the end of any articles that appear online when I get the opportunity. I proactively contact people for work and as part of assessing my skills they often visit my site, which is linked in my e-mail signature. I have also been quoted in a few books on writing. Some of my articles about writing have been used in college coursework as well. Others have quoted me online or used my articles to promote their corporations.

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