Be unique, be creative, and be passionate. You won’t get anywhere by cutting corners or jumping in blindly. You’ll need to create a vision and carve out your niche by force. Learn to take failure as a learning experience. No one is successful 100% of the time, so learning to let go and treat failures as a stepping stone is the best way to move forward.
- For those who do not know you; can you please introduce yourself? My name is Andrew Knight, and I run a front-end web development company called Andrew Knight New Canaan.
- Brand name? Andrew Knight New Canaan
- You’re a seasoned front-end developer. Tell us a little bit about your background. I’ve been passionate about the various STEM fields since I was a student in high school, but it wasn’t until college that I really narrowed my focus to programming and design. The digital marketing side of my company came from the natural growth of a web design firm. When developing a website to help a client market their business and generate leads, it became necessary to learn these marketing tools myself.
My ComeUp Story
- What initially drew you to the world of creating graphic user interfaces for customers? I appreciate the creative challenge, first and foremost. It’s one thing to make a visually appealing website, but it’s a completely different challenge to make that same website functional and user friendly.
- Growing up, what movies or stories inspired your creative passion? I was a big fan of The Sandlot. I know that movie doesn’t have too much to do with my creativity, but it was certainly a great life lesson to recognize what you want in life and pursue it unapologetically.
- How did your journey get started? After college I started working for an established firm, and that decision paid dividends in the long run. College is great for learning the skills you will need on the job, but perhaps more important is finding a mentor and colleagues that share your interest and can provide constructive feedback.
- How did you start believing in your own work? What made you really to want launch and to carve a career out of the “front-facing web development”? I immediately saw success while working with my former agency, but I didn’t enjoy handing clients over as soon as my task was done and not being involved with their long term success. That made me want to branch out and develop my own agency where I could learn a more complete set of skills and be fully involved with my clients.
- What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started out? Learn to take failure as a learning experience. No one is successful 100% of the time, so learning to let go and treat failures as a stepping stone is the best way to move forward.
- Breaking into the creative & web development industry isn’t an easy feat. What advice would you give young people looking to form their own companies? Marketing tips? Be unique, be creative, and be passionate. You won’t get anywhere by cutting corners or jumping in blindly. You’ll need to create a vision and carve out your niche by force.
- Tell us about a time you were faced with insurmountable odds, yet persevered to overcome? Being a new agency meant I started with a shortage of funds. I remember my first major client who came to me with a project that normally would have been outside the scale of anything I would touch. But, I knew I wanted to break into the big leagues, and I devoted myself to spending every waking moment working for that client until I was able to deliver on my promises.
My Daily Behind the Scenes
- Where do you find your inspiration? I take inspiration from the random collection of websites that I stumble across on any given week. Because of search engines like Google and Bing, web design tends to follow trends, so a good way to stay engaged with the market trends is to browse the internet at random and see what you find.
- What is your role in the company now? And how involved are you in the day-to-day and overall operations? I own the company, and I’m also our head developer. While I don’t sit down and code or design as intently as I did when first starting out, I still like to roll up my sleeves and tackle the more challenging problems in between dealing with clients directly.
- What is one thing you do when you’re feeling stuck creatively? I like to listen to meditative music on YouTube. There are a few channels I follow that regularly release long videos with peaceful, meditative background music that helps eliminate the noise and focus on the task at hand.
- People are getting on board with responsive web design, but the number of different types and sizes of device continues to grow. How are you able to deal with this? Luckily most formats are somewhat similar and studying market trends can be extremely helpful. It’s useful to know, for example, what portion of the mobile market is using iPhones vs Android phones and focus my efforts accordingly.
- Is it easy to sell your services to potential clients? It’s easy to sell the need, but not always to sell the value. Everyone needs a website, and businesses that want to grow know how important it is to have a quality website. However, those same companies are often looking to reduce cost to be more competitive, so pitching my value can require some finesse.
- Who do you think is doing good things in the web & tech industry right now? I think there are a number of startups that are doing really revolutionary work, particularly in security and payment processing. I’ve felt for years that payment processing is a critical weak point in many websites, and it’s reassuring to see this as the focal point for many of the brightest minds in tech.
- What is going to change in the next ten years on the web? I think cryptocurrency will play a major role, but not necessarily as we see it now. It will be interesting to see how the technology adapts as regulations continue to tighten and adoption grows.
- What would you like to achieve before the end of 2018? I’d like to continue to grow my agency and my own skills. The more web development and digital marketing advance, the more creative control I’m given over the tools at my disposal.
- What’s one dream you’ve achieved that you’re most proud of and why? Successfully starting my own agency, Andrew Knight New Canaan, has been a dream come true for me. It’s given me the creative outlet I was craving and let me do real meaningful work for numerous clients. I’m a part of helping these clients reach their dreams of their own successful businesses.
- If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your teenage self? Keep going, don’t look back, and don’t fear failure. Use it all as motivation and keep your eyes on the prize.