Client Spotlight – Sydney Davis
This month on the WESST blog, we are featuring WESST client Sydney Davis, Owner of Elder Tech.
Elder Tech serves the Senior community of Santa Fe by providing individual solutions and strategies for personal computer challenges. Elder Tech makes home visits and can facilitate upgrades and technology tutoring on both Mac & PC platforms.
Sydney Davis, Owner Elder Tech
Where did the “big idea” for your business come from? What made you decide to move forward with it?
When the plan to get a teaching degree did not work out, and I became unemployed suddenly in 2009, I had to think of something. In 2011 I was required to take a business class as part of the IAIA New Media Arts BFA Program. It was during the Entrepreneurship class, as we had to write parts of a real business plan, that I learned what a demographic was and became focused on how technology and aging were going to evolve. Results of my research helped me to understand and see that I wanted to be involved as much as possible in providing technology support for elders. Specifically, much of PEW Internet studies that are available convinced me that if this demographic existed across our entire country, then it must exist in my area. It turns out that aging boomers are a large market for ongoing technology support.
What’s the most satisfying part of being an entrepreneur? What’s the most challenging?
I prefer the feeling of Independence without a boss. To manage my health challenges it works the best if I make my own schedule so that I do not over extend myself. Flexibility is necessary to manage a sudden influx of clients who demand time and energy, while simultaneously servicing regular or repeat clients. Managing financially when there are no bookings for long spells is hard. It is so satisfying to see it all working, clients adapting to technology, and knowing I am providing a needed service to my community.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Read, garden, meditate, yoga, listen to music/radio, watch movies, go to library, enjoy friends, write, sit in nature, draw, and walk or solitaire.
Would you do anything differently, if you could start your business over again? If so, what?
Stop trying to do it all. It doesn’t work and the truth is we do better when we work with people who may be better in different areas or have other expertise. Additionally, I would have had more capital or some form of investment going into the venture. I almost lost my financial footing in 2014 during a summer when I had very few bookings and due to inadequate capital I chose to sell an item I had hoped I would not have to. This paved the way for 2015 which has been the best year yet. I can act more confidently and am able to manage calculated risk better. I am poised to take out a business loan, since I now need new computers to fully support my needs and those of my clients.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own business?
Be sure that your business plan includes capital investment of some sort, so you can manage the difficult times. Prime the pump. See people like WESST or SCORE, and take classes at local business schools, too. It is important to stay informed in your area, read journals or stay up to date via online resources, etc. And, contrary to current opinions, not all business models require or benefit from social media. Mine has not required it so far. Most of my clients are not using it so they would not find me there. Naturally, every business has its marketing strategies to fit the business model. Mine has used a rack card and word of mouth.