My Journey from swinging a hammer to clicking a mouse
I thought I would talk about My Journey, since I have numerous visitors ask me how I got started in the "ATV Business", and write it all down, for when the question comes up again. Which is at least once a week... So here are all the details about my journey from contractor to webmaster.
My name is Curtis Dennis, and I am the webmaster here at ATV-411, as well as a couple of other sites. (More on that in a bit.)
How My Journey Began...
I first discovered the great sport of ATVing in 1988. A couple of my buddies had Honda 250R ATCs, and they finally convinced me to go to one of their favorite riding areas, and see what all the excitement was about.
I was living in Moreno Valley, California, and this particular ride spot was about thirty minutes away, just south of Perris, California. There is a lake nearby, Lake Perris, which is the end of the aquaduct system for southern California. Any water not used is eventually deposited there, and then there are a couple of small outlets that feed down into Quail Lake, which is near Temecula.
One of my buddies, Mikey, had arranged for me to ride another friend's Honda 250X quad, all I had to do was supply the fuel. So, I really couldn't say no, so I agreed to spend the day playing on this Honda four wheeler. I already had a pretty good amount of experience under my belt, since I had ridden dirt bikes for several years, including a 125 Kawasaki trail bike.
As many of you can imagine, or probably know, making the conversion from 2 to 4 wheels was more than just a bit trying, to say the least. On bikes, it is important to plant your foot, to square off when making a turn. Of course, planting your foot on an ATV is to break the number one rule of riding an ATV, which is keep your feet on the pegs!
After about an hour of frustration, not to mention great deals of cursing and swearing, both out loud and under my breath, I started getting the hang of it. I was finally adjusting to this red four wheel beast beneath me, and the cursing and swearing stopped, as the smiling and laughing took over. I didn't know it at the time, but this was the first step of My Journey.
I got used to the added weight of the ATV, and even to the pesky thumb throttle! Needless to say, my buds 250 R's had a better power band than the 250X, but I didn't mind too much. I had found the balance point, and began riding wheelies all over the place. Then I figured out how to power slide the ATV, and we began a mud flinging contest that we still talk about to this day. By the way, Mikey and "Spiff", why don't you call so much anymore? Just cause I left California, doesn't mean you can't talk to me!
Step Two of My Journey
The next weekend, I decided to go ATV shopping, to see what a new ATV would set me back...
I ended up at the local Kawasaki dealer, since I had been a Team Green member since...forever. And besides, (almost) everyone else was "Riding Red". I ended up getting a new 89 Mojave. I liked the 4 valves on the single cylinder, the dual overhead cams, water cooling, and the reverse feature. It proved to be an excellent investment, since I still own it. It has changed a bit in appearance since I dumped the red plastic in favor of the green and white Maier plastic, added a Supertrapp exhaust system, ITP wheels, Holeshot tires, and then a K and N filter and jet kit.
I did however, leave that thumb throttle alone. I have thought about going twist, but just never got around to it.
I honestly can't say how much time I have spent in the saddle of my beloved Mojave, but riding soon became my passion. (Another important part of my journey) I have been fortunate enough to ride all over SoCal, from the high desert to the low, Dumont to Glamis, Arizona, and countless tracks and trails all over the place. One of my favorite, and toughest rides was from the Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, all the way to Big Bear. The trails were rutted, rocks to deal with everywhere, and even some snow flurries as we reached Big Bear...
I was never crazy enough to race, always feared I would break something, like an arm or leg, or worse, and be off from work for weeks at a time. I couldn't afford that, since I was a contractor, and had schedules to meet, and jobs to finish. Miss the completion date, and there are damages to pay to the owner, and the job turns into a loser faster than you can say ATV.
My Journey's Secret Wish
I always wanted a job that dealt with ATVs, but found it hard to leave the profitable contracting business behind. I always figured I would get around to it someday, but someday also seemed to be another lifetime from now. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation like this, you would rather do something else, but now we have kids, and a mortgage, and car payments...
You might be in a similar situation, you're established in your present career, and the money is OK to great, but there is something else you would rather be doing. Something that you are passionate about, excited to do as often as possible, and just can't wait to go do it again. That's how I am about ATVing. Just mention loading up the quads and going riding, and I get silly. Say the word Glamis or Dumont, and I can't stop smiling till we get home.
I love everything about ATVing. A motor being revved up is music to my ears. The aroma of high octane fuel being burned tickles my nose. Watching someone land a hundred foot jump makes my heart skip a beat. I even enjoy the looks I get when we stop at the gas station, with the trailer loaded up with our ATVs. And even the stranger looks we get when we hop out of the truck, fully geared up in our riding pants and jerseys. Even if the people gawking at us don't ride themselves, they know that we are heading out for a day filled with excitement, adventure, and fun filled memories.
The Next Step of My Journey
Then in 2004, I was forced to make a change from contracting.
I have dealt with epilepsy since I was about two years old. I was in a car accident where a drunk driver hit our car, and I suffered a traumatic bonk on the head. Within a week, I was having seizures daily, and I have been on medication to control the seizures ever since.
In 2004, I had my last seizure which resulted in losing my drivers license for six months. So one of my guys would meet me at my house, and drive us to work in my truck, since all the contracting equipment, and material was on it. This worked for about a few days, until I went in for follow up with my doctor. Another step in my journey...
My Journey Had Hit a Wall
I told him I was feeling fine, but he had a surprise for me. He would not release me to go back to work! He said he couldn't release me because if he did and I had another seizure, he could be held liable. He wasn't really worried about me hurting myself as a result of a fall of the scaffolding, but he was concerned that I could injure another worker if I fell, or that I would cause a huge auto accident while driving to and from work. I used to regularly commute between 35-40,000 miles annually, just for work purposes. He said he was not comfortable releasing me due to the what if's involved...
So, stuck between a rock and a hard place, I decided to see if I could get some retraining from vocational services. Problem was, they wanted to train me to do computer drafting, and then got to work for another company as a draftsman. Before I agreed to do the classes, I checked the positions available, and most of them would require major commuting, once again. I ran this past the doctor, and he said no, he would only release me for local commuting purposes, no more than 60 miles daily. My journey had taken an unexpected turn.
This was a huge setback, and virtually eliminated anything construction related. I needed a job that would pay close to what I was making as a contractor, and there wasn't anything I could find to fit the situation I was in. So I thought about finally starting that ATV business I had always dreamed of. Seemed like a good fit, the shop could be local, which would make my doctor happy, but we really didn't have the funds to do it right. You know rent for a building, tools and machines needed, cost of inventory, etc. Was my journey over?
My Journey Had Lost Direction
But the answer to my problem was much closer than I ever realized, and it seemed like it took forever to figure it out.
To see the answer, we need to rewind just a bit. While I was contracting, several of my friends followed my lead, got their license, and started their own companies. But since I was the first to take that leap of faith, they were always calling me with questions. I need to file a form so and so, where do I get that? This guy isn't paying me, how do I get my money?
Usually, we would just fax them a copy of the form they needed, or answer the question, and they were on their way again. So my wife Diane, saw some potential in all their questions, and started a website for contractors. (A major part of my journey, even though I didn't realize at the time.) I will be totally honest here, I thought it was a huge waste of time. But she kept at it, and had the site up before too long. She created the contracting forms we used everyday, in Word, PDF, Excel, and even Appleworks, and then started selling them to my friends, their friends, and others. Soon, she was making more selling forms on the internet, than I did contracting. So, one day while I was complaining about my situation, not having the money to start my dream ATV business, (I thought my journey was over) not to mention just venting in general, she said,
"Why don't you do the ATV business as a website?"
"Because I can barely use a computer, I type with two fingers, and I don't have the patience to learn that HTML thingie that you have learned!" (I never thought my journey could involve a computer)
"What if there was a program you could use, that didn't require the HTML thingie, and taught you how to do all the stuff I have learned? (Which was basically 4 years of on the job training) I know you can do email, and that's all you need to start."
"That would be great, but it would probably cost a small fortune, if it even existed. And I am not computer literate, so it would be a huge mind numbing, frustrating, and mentally draining undertaking."
"Well, I have been doing some checking and I think I found something that would work for you."
"I don't want to spend our life savings to make up for my lack of computer skills. It would be a huge gamble, and I don't even know if I can do it. We have two kids, one of which is special needs, and I can't put in the time in like you do on your website."
That pretty much ended the conversation, at least I thought so, but she quietly sent me an email, with a link to click on. Then about 30 minutes later, she asked if I had checked my email yet today. Happy for even a minor distraction from things, I checked, and I found her email. I followed the link, and started reading the information it provided. (This was a crossroads moment in my journey)
Can an email change your life? Yes it can!
She had sent me a link to SiteSell, which has a product called Site Build It, among some other very great products. I read, and read, and checked out all their stuff, something clicked in my brain. Their process for building a site made perfect sense. And best of all, they talked about all those things Diane tried to explain to me when I asked what she was doing at her site. (Usually resulted in some head nodding and the occasional "Oh, I see..." comment from me.)
I followed every link, read all the articles, I even made some notes about what they were saying. But, I was a contractor, to say that I had been lied to before would have been an understatement. So, I opened another browser window, which was pushing the computer literacy skills I had at the time, and went straight to the Google search. (A new direction for my journey was beginning to reveal itself)
I typed in a bunch of phrases, "cheap website programs", "easy to build websites", "profitable websites", and a bunch more that I can't even remember now. Most of the results came back with GRQ (Get Rich Quick) nonsense. Talking about how fast I could slap up a site, and then the money would just roll in... Hey, I already knew the internet didn't work that way, since I had seen that it doesn't happen overnight, if it did, we would all have done it already.
Then I googled SiteSell and SiteBuildIt, and 98% of the results (I guess you really can't please everyone!) talked about how it was a complete system, how anyone (if you can type an email, like me) was able to use it. So I went back to the link Diane had sent me, and clicked again. This time I went all the way to the order page. I really expected to be slammed in the head with some price that would require me to sell all of my important worldly possessions (like my ATV and my truck) to afford.
But that isn't what happened, instead of blowing a gasket, I just sat there kind of stunned. Surely I was reading it wrong, my eyes must be blind to a couple of zeroes that are certainly sitting there, but for some unknown reason, I just can't see them there... (Another key moment in my journey)
I won't tell you the cost right now, I would like for you to have the same experience that I did. :o) But here is the Order Page. You will be pleasantly surprised!
If you have passion about a hobby, business, or life skill, and would like to generate a solid income from it, SBI can help you achieve that goal. I have done it, and I am a retired (at age 45) contractor who was more familiar with power tools than a computer...
But I have taken my passion for cracking the throttle, and blazing in the dirt or in the dunes, and turned it into a successful business. (My journey has a very happy conclusion) My success is not unique for an SBIer, if you would like to see some others who have succeeded thanks to SiteBuildIt, Just Click Here.
I repeat that this not a GRQ (Get Rich Quick) system, you do have to put in the time, and the BAM (Brains And Motivation), but it the most all-inclusive suite of easy to use tools ever assembled for building a successful website. (Essential for those of you starting a my journey of your own) If fact we have been so happy with this program that Dr. Ken Envoy has created, that we now own multiple sites. (A lot of SBIers have more than just one site) All of our sites were built by using the SBI program. Even though they were all built using the same program, they are all unique and different from one another.
To see the work that we have done, please check out our sites. They all open in a new window, so you won't lose your place...
History of the Titantic.com All about the mysteries and the history of the great oceanliner. Diane is just getting started on this one!
Due to the economic downturn, the funding for these programs was canceled for the following non-profit groups, whose sites I also built.
www.trip-ns.com - Training Resources In Partnership
www.washingtondads.com - Washington Dads (WADADS)
www.safewashington.org - Statewide Action for Family Empowerment Washington (SAFE WA)
All of our sites, were built following the Action Guide that is provided when you purchase the program. It breaks the online business building process into 10 days. There is a goal to accomplish each day, before you move forward. Each section does not have to be completed in a day, I spent 3 weeks trying to get past Day 1, the basics. I told you I wasn't very computer savvy, and although I have made some major improvements, I still only type with two fingers...
If you would like to see what the Action Guide has to offer, Just Click Here. It is very intuitive, and talks to you in plain english, no Geekease, just plain english. And if you are one of those visual learning types, you can access the Action Guide in a Video Format.
So, no matter what type of business, career, hobby, or life skill that you are knowledgeable about, it can be turned into a stream of income. Extra money for Retirees, Work at Home Moms (WAHMs), and for Students. Our daughter Shelby had a site for a while, and she started it when she was 11 years old. If you have any
Questions About SBI please, feel free to email me via the contact us page, and I will answer any questions you may have about SiteSell and SiteBuildIt...
One last announcement, thanks to SBI, my main site, ATV-411.com, has reached a very important goal, it is now in the top 1% of all websites on the planet, thanks to SBI, and some work from yours truly. SBI has more sites in the top 1% than any other web hosting, or site building system, to read more about this Check Out the Traffic Test.
Ride Safe. Ride Legal. Ride Again...Curtis
And if there is anything you might need in the way of parts, accessories, apparel, or anything else ATV related, you can find it here at ATV-411. You should find what you're looking for by following one of the following links:
ATV Apparel for the best choices in helmets, motocross boots, jerseys, riding pants, goggles, gloves, and even motocross socks, be sure to check out our selection from the best vendors available.
ATV Repair Manuals be sure to get a repair manual for your quad, it will allow you to keep your ATV in top running condition, which translates into more time on the trail. We have a large selection that covers most popular makes and models.
ATV Laws be sure you are in compliance with all title, registration, and ORV licensing requirements, before you hit the trail. Click through to see the ATV laws for all 50 states, what a handy resource to have.
ATV magazines unfortunately we can't ride every day, so having a few ATV/motorsport mags to read is a good thing. These also make a great Christmas or birthday gift for you favorite ATV nut or gearhead.
ATV insurance let's face it, ATVs aren't exactly cheap. And most homeowners or renter's policies don't cover your favorite toy. Be sure you, and your pride and joy, are protected. Learn about theft, property damage, comprehensive, and liability policies available.
ATV clubs riding is definitely more fun when you have a couple of friends on the trail with you. So, here is an easy way to find an ATV club in your area, we have listings for almost every state, and Canada too.
ATV video games ever wish you could go riding, and not leave the couch or your recliner? No matter what gaming system you have, you can choose from a great selection of the most popular games available.
Not what you were looking for? Try our search feature!