WELD Artist of the Week: Matt Alexander
We’re all web-obsessed, but what made you obsessed with re-designing the web? Why this career path?
I stumbled into design out of boredom. I was living with my brother out in Texas country, with only my computer and a tireless brain. It was then that I discovered some web development blogs and had an idea about a website (rockmosh.com) where rock fans could gather together. I basically fumbled my way through the coding to set it up. Once it was live, I started wondering if I could get paid to do this as a living . . . So I tried. A month after setting up my own site, I found an ad on Craigslist looking for a web designer. I was hired, and for a year-and-a-half the head developer taught me Wordpress, and I dabbled in design and Photoshop. The startup eventually went under and I diverted my attention to design after I discovered the need for cleaner, simpler styled themes. I’ve been making a living at that for the last five years.
Owning and maintaining your own website is a new concept for you. How did you manage that whilst running a successful web design company?
For the past few years, I’ve focused on utilizing my online connections to promote my business, as opposed to focusing on a personal website. Given the nature of my work, I don’t really have “clients”—I have a product, and a customer base that consumes that product. And since I have vendors selling my work, it has worked out well. Also, I’ve found that in this business, word of mouth has a much greater impact on my success. So when I launch something new, my product enthusiasts faithfully promote my work . . . I’m just now working on my own site to establish personal branding, teach others how to do what I do, offer tips, etcetera.
Share with me one of the strongest truths that you cling to on a daily basis.
I didn’t have the easiest of upbringings. That being said, I find a great deal of motivation in making sure I don’t find myself in that position again. Every time I think about giving up, I’m reminded of those moments . . . I want to be able to provide for my family in big ways, and that’s what keeps me going. As an entrepreneur you have a great opportunity/responsibility to make a difference, AND take awesome, random road trips.
Tell me about your pup and how it has influenced your web presence.
I come up with these random ideas all the time, and occasionally I’ll act on them. I kept coming across these dog/cute animal websites, and decided I wanted to get in on it. I bought mypuppyiscuter.com and started posting pictures. I’m trying to get into the market of people who like cute stuff. Eventually, I’ll have spinoff’s of this site as soon as traffic picks up . . . So far, so good.
What was life like pre-WELD? What brought you here? How has it shaped you?
It all started when I wanted to break away from the suburbs. So I took a risk and moved to Dallas. I realized very quickly that I needed a place to call “home” amongst a group of creatives. I went online looking for a co-working space in Dallas, found WELD, checked it out and joined the same day. Before coming here, I never took pictures. Now I do. I’ve also partnered with other WELDERS to develop design themes, and am now transitioning to an office with Zencash (a business I truly believe in). Doors keep opening all around me and I’m just grateful to be a part.
I hear you used to race cars? Did you build them as well? I feel like that’s a rare known fact about you given your choice of transportation at the moment, yes?
At age 16, I was working crazy hours at Walmart to buy my own car. I saved up $1,000, went to a junkyard, and bought my first car for $900. A friend of mine owned a body shop and helped me restore the car. Once it was repaired, I started dabbling in the motorsport, drifting. I did that for a few years semi-professionally. Unfortunately, my car wasn’t practical for Dallas driving, so I ended up with my current car, where I can still off road and play! But don’t worry—Racing will be back soon enough!
Do you have an end goal in mind professionally you’re trying to get to? How can others help you get there?
I’ve just now reached a point in my life where I’ve started thinking and planning ahead. Essentially, my end goal is to be the sole proprietor of a business that allows creatives to work, create freely, and excel in their fields—That’s as far as I’ve gotten at the moment . . . And I want to be able to buy my mom a house—all that kind of good stuff.
When you’re not at work, where are you at play?
Have you heard of Wine Wednesday’s at my place?! . . . If you haven’t been, don’t miss the chance to come again!