Fifty-four year-old Rick Cano mulls over the online consulting business he established nearly 12 years ago and is proud of the growth it has achieved. He anticipates that Cano Consulting will grow even further at the hands of his son, Jared, who will take over the reins three years from now. Much of the success the company is currently enjoying is an offshoot of Rick’s membership at Freelancer.com since 2009. “I’ve been a member for five years and it’s thanks to Freelancer.com that I’ve achieved such success,” Rick, a custom WordPress designer, attested.
“I also like the idea that Freelancer was more ‘international’ so I could get business from other parts of the world and not only be dependent on my local economy or US economy,” he added. “I’m glad I chose Freelancer because as our US economy faltered I was less affected by local business.”
From doing WordPress designs, they now offer full service website maintenance and security, SEO, Google Adwords, and Backlinks. From designing and providing service to 12 sites per month, they scaled up to 27. Most of that business comes from clients who have hired him at Freelancer.com and from their referrals. The portfolio that he built from all of his work at the site also helped bring in more clients.
“Part of my strategy is to provide excellent customer service because I have found that providing service over and above what my clients expect often turns into referrals. Every client I have worked with on Freelancer has referred me a family member, a co-worker, a girlfriend, a grandmother…the list goes on.” To support this strategy he provides additional work at no extra charge. “To prove to them that I’m an excellent designer and more importantly, an excellent business partner.”
What started out as a one-man team eventually turned into a family business: he hired his son as a junior Web developer and his wife as graphic designer. Two more employees came aboard, a Junior Web Designer, and an SEO Specialist.
“My son struggled to find a job for a year after he graduated from college and I really needed an assistant. With his computer science degree, he fit right in. My wife, who has a full-time job, wanted to explore her creative side; so, I hired her on a part-time basis to do graphic work.”
Walking away from a 25-year job, in an industry that was extremely high stress and that took lots of time away from home to set up a business, proved to be the right decision. “Now I have the freedom to work really, really hard or take some time off….and I do it all from my home.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Rick set his sights on the next phase for his business: incorporation. “The paperwork is already completed. In three years, I’m going to be able to pass on this business to my son and he’ll be full owner while I work for him until I retire.”