by Lindsay Odom
Communications Manager, Endeavor
1. How did you get started in your careers?
Erick: I started my web design company in 2010. I was a golf professional at the time and working at a golf course. I didn’t like the boss I was working for, so I said to myself that I wasn’t going to work for a boss ever again. While working at a private golf course, I realized I wanted to be a member myself instead of working for them. So, I started my own business, and it was a natural synergy between my business partner and I.
We started building websites for golf professionals and then expanded our services for anyone who needed a website. I dove deeper into the golf industry and my knowledge of web development in general, and today we’ve expanded into digital marketing, print design, custom website development, software, and more. While one half of our business is still Golf Web Design, the other half is custom work for small to medium sized businesses under our recent rebrand as Arbé Digital.
Danielle: I also started my career in the service industry working at resorts in sales and marketing, including the concierge position for Pinehurst Resort. A member encouraged me to sell title insurance in Southern California, so Erick and I moved there for two years. While I did learn about sales, I also learned that was not what I wanted to do for forever, so I decided to go back to school. I googled English-speaking schools abroad and got my MBA in Thailand, while Erick played on the Korean PGA Tour. After moving to Austria, Maryland, and St. Simon’s Island, I was recruited to Greenville to continue my Ad Agency career, even though I had never heard of this city. After almost nine years with Cargo working in traffic and account management for Lenovo, Mercedes-Benz, and 3M, I joined Erick to launch Arbé Digital.
2. What inspired you to start your own business?
Erick: I simply wanted to do it. I couldn’t see it any other way, so I found a way, and Danielle was able to support me. We eventually grew to the point that I felt comfortable enough leaving ‘stability,’ and I learned a lot along the way. We had an online mattress company that we ran for four years, we started two mini-tours in the U.S. – one in California and one in Georgia, got Toyota to sponsor the first one for $25,000, and eventually sold both tours. We launched a specialty tape company called ‘Bully Bond’. All that being said, we learned a ton about everything that goes into starting a business and raising capital.
Danielle: Now, when companies come to us with an idea for an application or a business, we’re able to really help them come up with a plan. We don’t just tell them what they need, but ask them about the things they may not have thought about. People don’t realize that it’s not just the website or the app that’s going to make your business a success. The idea is not always a success, you have to know how to get customers. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.
3. What projects are you working on right now?
Erick: My role is to lead design and development and bring in contractors when necessary. Right now, we’re helping one pretty large agency here locally and one in Chicago. We’re helping them to build their digital presence, which falls under our white-label work, but we also serve as their design and development arm.
Another client we’re working with is in the defense contracting sector. I’m working with a local lawyer to help develop a software platform that will allow users to create their Last Testament and Will online. We’ve also been doing numerous projects with the University of Maryland, and our golf portfolio is always growing at any given time.
Danielle: I am involved with the ‘people side’ of the business – relationship building, project and account management, monitoring our timelines, and communicating with clients to make sure we do what we say. It’s important to note that we’re not just a web development company – we’re truly a design, programming, consulting, and software development team. We continue to get clients whose agencies or vendors had not done what they said they would do or have underdelivered. We’re nimble, but realistic about expectations and the final product we can deliver.
4. What is the best part about Endeavor?
Erick: The free coffee and the water cooler is amazing – you can get cold and super-hot water at the same time! In all seriousness, after being here for almost two years, the best part about Endeavor is the professionalism of the space. When people come in, it makes you and your business seem very legit. It gives off the vibe that you want, especially compared to other coworking spaces in town.
Danielle: It’s also nice to see some familiar faces, even if you haven’t worked directly with the people here, they can always help you with connections. The staff is helpful if you need anything, and they also add to the professionalism of the space when you host clients. Plus, Caper is the best office dog!
5. What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Erick: If I could go back, I’d give myself a whole book of advice! This is a hard question to answer because I don’t even know where to begin. I made so many mistakes, but that’s what makes you better. Find and seek advice. While it is good to learn things on your own, I realize that I could have gotten to places faster with help from credible sources who got there before I did.
Danielle: Believe in what you’re doing enough to take a leap of faith. You have to trust yourself enough to make the side hustle the main hustle. With the rebrand of our company as our latest project, we’ve had to treat ourselves like we treat our clients. While it’s hard to make your own business the priority, it’s necessary to continue to grow.