About Collin Stover
I started my first business when I was just 12 years old.
I wanted a drum-set, and my parents, who have been and are huge influencers and inspirations in my life, told me that I could only get one if I paid for it myself.
My mom met my dad in middle school, and he was a drummer too, so she probably thought she was finally rid of the noisy things when they amicably divorced.
She was wrong..I was determined to get those drums no matter the cost.
It turns out, the cost was $600, which was not something I could simply “save my allowance” for if I wanted to get them any time before I was 30.
I had made some money before shoveling snow in our brutal Pittsburgh winters, but it was summer now. I decided that the closest thing to shoveling snow was to cut lawns.
The next problem: We lived in a duplex, and the landlord cut our grass. No lawnmower.
So my stepdad gave me a challenge that changed my life. He told me that if I could get 10 people in the neighborhood to sign a sheet of paper saying that I could come back in a week to cut their grass, that he would front me the money for the lawnmower.
I went out that day and had my very first marketing experience. I don’t think I got quite 10 signatures, but I got enough to impress my stepdad, so he bought me a brand new lawnmower. I was floored about something none of my middle school friends understood — the ability to work and create my own income.
That summer, I woke up early before any of my friends did while it was still cool outside to cut lawns (it didn’t take me too long to decide that pushing a heavy lawnmower and gas can up record-breaking Beechview Pennsylvania hills at 1 PM with the sun beating down and sweat pouring down my face was a terrible idea).
The number one thing I learned from the experience was the value of a customer, and that I would do anything I could to go above and beyond so that they would hire me again.
After all, I really didn’t like knocking on new doors — I much preferred keeping the customers I had and having them introduce me to their neighbors, which is an ideal I hold in every business I have started since.
The amazing thing?
That summer, I purchased the drum set. It was such a great feeling…and I was hooked.
After my lawn care business, I created several businesses based around my passions. I loved to perform magic (that was my step-dads doing), so I wanted to create a Website where people could visit it, see some videos of me performing, and book me.
I remember watching the movie “The Social Network,” which is a great movie that I highly recommend to business owners about how Facebook got started. I was amazed that anyone could just stay up late, create a Website by themselves, and watch the money pour in.
Little did I know…
I bought collinstovermagic.com and logged in, expecting to see al of the tools that I needed to easily create exactly what I had envisioned in my 14-year-old mind. I was very disappointed to find that no such tools existed.
I had two options for getting the Website of my dreams: hire someone to do it, or learn how to do it myself.
Since I definitely didn’t have the money to pay someone to do it at age 14, I decided that just like the marketing and sales skills I learned from cutting lawns, I would learn how to design Websites.
And I am so glad I did.
Two years later by the time I was 16, that Website had transformed into an e-commerce site that sold custom-designed decks of playing cards to other magicians. We had 3 decks, each of them printed in a limited edition run of 2,500 decks with the United States Playing Card Company, and I sold out of them at around $8 a deck.
Now by this point I was a Web Master. I had built so many different versions of this site for myself that I was able to practically do it in my sleep, and people started asking me to work on their sites.
But I was much more passionate about the marketing of my own businesses, primarily my magician business where I was performing close-up magic at corporate and non-profit events.
One of my most proud moments was when I was featured on the front cover of one of my city’s top culture and entertainment magazines, within only 2 months of making the decision to perform full-time.
By this point I was done with the e-commerce business, but I had really perfected this new Website for my bookings. I had people visiting, filling out booking forms, and I was following up with them automatically in a way that pre-sold them so that by the time I actually talked to them I would get the booking just about every time.
I was able to quickly in the span of 12 months increase my prices 500% while still seeing an increase in the amount of business that I was doing.
I was going nowhere but up, and I owed it all to my ability to communicate on the Internet in a way that positioned me as an expert in what I did best.
Those days came and gone, and I became passionate about other things, namely my girlfriend who I wanted to spend more time with on the weekends instead of being at events.
Fortunately, people who saw the work I was doing on my own Websites were still asking me to design their own, so I started to do that. And I was really good at it.
My biggest strength starting out as a Web Designer was having empathy for what it's like to be passionate about a business but know nothing about Websites.
As a result, it’s important to me that I always explain things in a way that anybody could understand.
I was able to break down what I did countless times for myself into a 5-step process that I now take all of my clients through. And because I didn’t go to any kind of school for Web design or didn’t join any groups, I was creating this business from the ground up in a way that was entirely unique from my competitors, because I just didn’t have any clue what they were doing.
What I have done is taken my knowledge and first-hand experience and put it into a step-by-step system that allows me to help passionate business owners create Websites that position themselves as trusted authorities, using tools that allow me to teach them how to edit the content as easily as you would edit a word document.
To Your Business Success Online and Off,