POMEROY – A Meigs County teenager does not let all the talk of high unemployment around the country bother him.
John M. Stuart, 16, of Pomeroy, started his own home-based business when he was 14 offering web site building services to the public, and has since branched out to include graphic design and computer tech support services to his growing clientele. “I noticed so many small businesses around here that didn’t have any web site at all, and I read that 56% of consumers don’t trust a business without a web site.” observed Stuart. “It’s sort of like not having a phone for your business-every business should have one. I like working on web sites, so I just started asking around.”
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His first client in 2011 was a custom tee shirt and screen printing firm in downtown Pomeroy, T-Shirts Etc., which has since grown larger and moved the shop to another location. Stuart approached the owner in person to offer his help, and they quickly struck a deal. Stuart then purchased a domain name for the site, photographed the products, and designed the layout with special web authoring software. Once it was green-lighted, he launched the site to a global audience. “That was exciting,” noted Stuart. “It felt good to know that I helped someone in the local community get a bigger presence out there in the world.” While volunteering design work on a new touring poster for a national Christian rock band, Stuart next designed multiple sites commissioned by one of the band members, Todd Waites, a professional musician and motivational speaker from Columbus who tours nationally (see www.toddwaites.com). Waites liked Stuart’s work so well he decided to keep him on a retainer, paying him a regular fee to this day to host and maintain his sites. Stuart later went on to design web sites and custom Facebook pages for his local Boy Scout Troop 299, his Bethel Worship Center “Revolution” church youth group under the direction of youth pastor Kris Butcher, and an Ohio full service marketing and media research firm, Triune Research & Marketing, among others. Stuart even designed a custom site just last week for his granddad, an Exxon retired consulting geologist-but that one was a Christmas gift.
Doing business as his own sole proprietorship, JMS Designs (a.k.a. Stuart Digital), Stuart says he offers cutting edge web site design at very reasonable prices, which includes a mobile version for display on smartphones. He cited a supporting statistic that “60% of consumers are frustrated by sites that don’t work well on phones and tablets” (weebly.com, 2013). He notes that he can do simple, inexpensive, one-page “billboard” designs if clients just want an internet presence with their contact info, or more complex designs with multiple pages and features. Stuart said he also does ongoing web site maintenance for clients wanting to keep content fresh, as well as domain name acquisition, site hosting, and technical support. He said he found it helpful to read reviews such as this web hosting ubc blog review to become more familiar and grasp a better understanding of the aspects he would be maintaining. He revealed that his business was also recently hired under contract to provide part-time support and design services for a local computer and networking services firm. Stuart mentioned that he has a new startup in the works, StuartDigital.net, where he has combined his services and is developing new ones.
He works from home but sometimes from other places as well, often toting his laptop, tablet or iPod along with him wherever he goes. “It can get a little intense,” remarked Stuart, “staying on top of all my school work, scouts, church, and the web site stuff, but I really enjoy it.” He thinks his business has plenty of room to grow as he pointed out, “studies have shown that 54% of small businesses in Ohio have no web site.” From the looks of the marketplace and his early business achievements, this intrepid young entrepreneur seems well positioned for future success. He encourages other young people to work hard and not settle for flipping burgers the rest of their lives, or giving up if they can’t find a job. “Find something you like to do and figure out a way to make it valuable so you can get paid for it,” suggests Stuart. For more information on John Stuart and his work visit www.JohnStuart.org or www.StuartDigital.net.