At RYZ we interview creative and motivated people who are actively pursuing their dreams and achieving great things. Today we interview Chuck Hardwick, an entrepreneur from San Diego, California:
Chuck Hardwick is a self-employed WordPress and SEO consultant that works from his home office in Ocean Beach, San Diego. Chuck was born in Florida and attended Florida State University in Tallahassee where he studied Computer Science and Economics but has lived in San Diego County for more than 20 years. Chuck began his career as a database programmer and network manager but has been involved in internet marketing since 2003. In 2014 Chuck founded his own company at https://dancingpandamarketing.com/ as well as the Ocean Beach Networking Group https://obnetworking.com/. In his downtime, Chuck enjoys tennis, cycling, snow skiing, and surfing.
What was your background before you became an entrepreneur?
I started studying computer science in high school and have made my living by understanding how to leverage technology my entire career, In 2003, I was hired by LawInfo.com and got very interested in internet marketing. Because I moved to San Diego from Oceanside in 2007 for personal reasons, I started working for Internet Matrix in 2007 and continued to learn about Internet marketing. I left Internet Matrix in 2014 to form my own company at https://dancingpandamarketing.com/ and I love it! I work from home, so I set my own schedule and don’t have to commute anymore. Also, I can work when traveling ( as long as I have WiFi ), which is a bonus!
Was there any defining moment that led you to pursue your current path?
Actually I was inspired in elementary school to learn about computers and programming by my teacher Ms. Jankowski who mentioned that the computer field was exploding and there would be many opportunities by the time we graduated college. As I studied programming, I really loved it. Getting a program to work was like solving a puzzle it felt good. When I got into SEO later, I remember getting a chiropractic client in Maryland to the top of Google to the number one spot. Shortly after I got that number one ranking for him, he told me he was starting to get phone calls from new patients. I solved the Google puzzle and got paid for it and it felt great!
Tell us a little about some of the projects/works that you have created?
I have created websites for chiropractors, massage therapists, lawyers, software developers, window cleaners, sales coaches, stand up comedians, and the Ocean Beach Networking Group. You can see samples of my work at https://dancingpandamarketing.com/portfolio/ .
What projects are you working on now?
Currently working on a website for a psychic at http://izabelledoucet.com/, a chiropractor at http://chiropractorinoxonhill.com/, a massage therapist at https://ascendwell.com/, and a landscaper in Florida. I am also continuing an online push for the Ocean Beach Networking Group with Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and MailChimp.
Who would you say are the entrepreneurs that have influenced you the most?
My parents definitely did a good job of encouraging me as a kid. I started hustling as a young kid by cutting lawns, raking leaves, babysitting, etc. I even drove a Taxi in high school. My Dad always used to tell me I could be whatever I wanted and supported me, although he really wanted me to go to Law School and I ended up as a computer geek. He has supported me my entire life and still continues to do so even though he has been retired for a while. I learned a lot from some of the entrepreneurs I worked for in office jobs I have had, but I don’t think anyone reading this would recognize their names. They all had one thing in common, A strong work ethic.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced and how do you face new challenges?
When I started my own company in 2014, I only had one client who is a chiropractor in New York. I knew that I needed to do some networking to get more clients, so I started the Ocean Beach Networking Group. I worked my ass off to get the group established and after about 6 months, I did not garner any clients from all of this effort and nearly gave up. Then in one week, I got 3 new clients, so I continued on. The Networking Group has continued to provide me with a steady stream of leads ever since. It’s a true labor of Love, but it did not happen as quickly as I would have hoped.
What work are you most proud of?
I am proud to have successfully started my own company and that I get so many referrals from happy customers. I have some great reviews from happy customers on portals like Google Maps, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Do you have any advice for an aspiring entrepreneur?
Focus on cash flow. When you are self-employed there many tasks that you have to do that don’t generate and money. Focus on the tasks that are going to generate money for your company. Also, watch your expenses. I try to not to spend any money unless it is absolutely necessary. Never stop networking. You can’t know too many people and you don’t have to spend much money to network effectively.
Where can people go to learn more about your work?