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My Background (and it's not Roses!)

While I do love roses and enjoy growing tending and propagating them, I don't have any formal qualifications in the field. I'm not a horticulturalist, I don't have any degrees or certifications... I just happen to be somebody that likes roses. Perhaps much like you, I'm not an expert, though having grown and propagated them for many years, I'm not a novice either.

My background is actually in web and graphic design. I created this site from scratch at the end of 2006, sold it in 2010, and have recently purchased it back. I had missed the site ever since I sold it, and when the chance came along to buy it back in mid 2015, I decided to do it.

So while you might find the site doesn't look as great as you would hope, or that the content isn't as good as you might like, please bear with me. This is an ongoing project to lift the site back to it's former glory, and it will take months if not years to revise and overhaul all of the content.

My web design background

I first began to get an interest in website design, back in the 1990s. It fascinated me... how you could write something in a text file, and have it display as a webpage! I won't show you my early examples, as they are quite frankly, embarrassing. But we all have to start somewhere, don't we?

At about that time, I started a new job with a large company...and computers were a big part of their business. Everything ran by computer: the finances, inventory, stock ordering, labeling, finances. You name it, there was a computer and software behind it.

So I decided if I were going to get anywhere, I needed to learn all I could about how this worked. I enrolled myself in night school, to take computer classes. I would stay through my lunchbreak to watch the I.T staff making changes to our programs, asking questions, and taking note of how everything meshed together.

Within a year, I probably knew more about the internal workings of our systems than anyone else. So when the national head office was looking for people to work on a large software project, I applied for a position, and was chosen as one of the team members.

The next step

I began to work with a group of technical people who had far more experience than I did. That might seem intimidating to some. Perhaps it was, but it was also inspiring as well. Rubbing shoulders with some of the best software developers in the business on a daily basis, gave me an insight into how software actually functions...the code that does all the work in behind the scenes. I'm sure everyone got sick of my endless questions, but asking questions is the quickest way to learn.

I didn't have a lot of free time, but what little I did have was spent studying for my certifications. (That stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Designer for dot Net). After 12 months working on the project which involved intergrating S.A.P with lab, inventory and other peripheral programs, I moved on to training the end users with the new software setup.

Hello (online)World

In 2001, my job became obsolete. I did have the option to take up another position, but I also had the choice of redundancy. By this time, I was sick of working a "normal" job anyway, so the redundancy seemed a great solution to me. Constant red tape and inefficiencies wears you down after a while.

It's a big step really...leaving a more or less secure job and stable income, for the unknown. Many of my friends said that I would go crawling back for my old job after six months. Well, that was 15 years ago, more or less. And here I am, still earning my living online.

Yes, it was pretty tough for the first 18 months. I quickly realized that making an online living involved a lot more than throwing a website together and expecting it to make money in the first few weeks. So while my websites were establishing themselves, I needed to earn QUICK money. That's when I got into ebook cover designing.

There is not a lot of money to be made in this field, but it paid the bills, and I began to get more work than I could actually handle.

From 2006-present

Finding ways to do things better has been one of my driving forces. Particularly when it applies to web design. In 2006 I developed a new type of website template, the "fluid capped width". You can google to find information on this, if it interests you.

This was marketed for around 3 years, and was extremly far exceeded my expectations. Over time, it was refined, revised, and the last version was released in Sept 2009. I was honored when I was asked if a national university could use it in their level 6 web design course to demonstrate innovative uses of HTML and CSS in the web design environment.

I continued with my web design business, until mid 2009, when I was hired by SBI to work on development for their upcoming css template. This culminated in the release of the "SBI CSS Template", and is currently being used by a fair majority of their 40,000 customers.

Since that time, I have developed a template quite different from any of my previous ones. This is the template I wish I could have designed for SBI. However, there were strict design parameters that had to be kept to, so it wasn't to be.If you have ever heard of the "960 grid" system, then think of that - this is based on the idea of reusable "modules" to make up the columns of a webpage, although I approach it in a very different way.

These days, my time is mainly spent doing web design, which is my core income. I also own and run other websites, and do contract html/css work.

I have this website hosted with SBI! If you are interested in reading about how I found SBI! then I have written a SBI! review page. Anyone even considering starting their own e-business would do well to give this a once over.

Regards, AJ
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