*** SPOILER ALERT! ***
I have been geek all my life.
(...What? You're not shocked? )
Yes, I love Batman, Star Trek, stories about wizards, and I can solve a Rubik's Cube.
I was on the internet before it was even the internet!
You see, in the late 80s to very early 90s, you would use your "modem" to dial up another computer called a "Bulletin Board System". This is how we exchanged messages (email!), chatted on forums and played text-based games together. (That dragon didn't have a chance!)
When the internet craze hit in 1995, I was in high school. A friend's dad owned a small computer company in La Mesa and hired me and my two best friends to be his internet team. We learned the mystical world of HTML and the importance of optimizing a photo to download quickly.
It was there I first starting helping small business owners in San Diego with their websites.
I finished high school, studying music and German, pre-med and anatomy. I helped in numerous churches and kids' camps as a counselor and musician, attended music writing and conducting workshops in San Diego and Indianapolis, and then went to live in Moscow, Russia for ~8 months where I worked in local hospitals and studied medicine with several brilliant American doctors. (And washed A LOT of dishes!)
During my early college years, I worked as a server at a local Steakhouse. (Talk about learning customer service!) I tried out the banking industry for a few months, and quickly moved over into insurance. (And studying sales and reading and learning from sales masters like Tom Hopkins!)
Geico Direct hired me as a sales agent and helped me get licensed in several states. I worked for them for about a year, selling auto insurance by phone. (15 minutes could save you 15%!) And then, I went to work for the Auto Club of Southern California (AAA).
They always say you remember exactly where you were during certain major events...
On September 11, 2001, I was in the middle of my first week of training at the Auto Club's main facility in Orange County. I can still remember all the people gathered around the TV's set up in the cafeteria, as we all watched the terrible events that unfolded that day.
Fast-forward about a year and a half... I really enjoyed working at the Auto Club helping people with their auto and home insurance policies, and yet I didn't like the constant pressure of sales goals and performance reviews.
So I was very excited when I was invited to join Advanced Field Services as an insurance inspector. Instead of selling the insurance, now I got to drive all over San Diego looking at cars and boats and houses; taking pictures and measurements, drawing floor plans, and filling out lots of reports.
One bright, sunny day, I was inspecting a house in La Mesa. I had just finished checking out the interior and went outside to inspect the foundation. I crossed the back deck, and as I was heading down the stairs, I heard a large crack and fell right through...
...And that's how I fell out of the insurance business.
After many, many months of physical therapy and chiropractic visits, I was finally ready to get back to work. They asked, "So, what else can you do?" And when I said, "I can build websites" they enrolled me at Foundation College in Mission Valley to get a refresher in multimedia technology and website design.
In Feb 2006, I "hung up my shingle" and officially opened GilbertStudios.
Since then, I've become a "web safari guide" for business owners trying to survive in the modern jungle that is the World Wide Web. Over the last 20+ years, I've learned an awful lot about sales, customer service and running a small business.
The internet is a jungle!
It's just too easy to be distracted, or fall into hidden traps.
It is my absolute pleasure and privilege to support and guide you through, and help you get to where you want to go!
And Stay Hydrated!
Let's dive deeper into the jungle...together!