I’m Richard Hogan, Owner of Hogan Design Group LLC. Hogan Design Group provides website design, hosting, and graphics for its customers. The goals of HDG are to help small businesses in Sterling and Logan County to grow and prosper. Affordable pricing and the ability to build professional responsive websites on our own hosting platform was my goal three years ago when I escaped Denver’s rising rent and settled in Sterling. Building a website for Elements Roofing had allowed me to make the move to Sterling. I found hope and guidance by wandering into the offices of Vocational Rehabilitation and SBDC.
Getting started with the East CO SBDC
Being a Disabled Veteran I found that Vocational Rehabilitation would help fund my new business. They got me started and said I should walk upstairs and see the SBDC people. That same day I met Laurie Jones ( East CO SBDC ) and Trey Miller (Logan County Economic Development). Laurie is actually a very good website designer too and found out that I knew what I was talking about. Her spirit and guidance in developing the initial business plan that was needed for the funding from Voc Rehab got me off to the right start. The humble Trey who took the time out to listen to my story provided inspiration and purpose to the huge task I was about to embark upon. They had seen who I was and my confidence grew that I had found my calling in this good city.
SBDC had set up a workshop at Northeastern Junior College. The seminar was very enlightening. I’m a lousy salesman but enjoy helping people with my talents. The summary of this workshop showed me that helping businesses was what I needed to be doing. No more sales for me, just help them if I could. Everything else would fall in place.
Building a Business
Meeting with Laurie Jones kept me working on the Voc Rehab project. The business plan grew slowly but really helped me solidify the ideas of what was needed to make Hogan Design Group a success.
I set off to help the local addiction recovery community. This resulted in an events calendar that recovering people could use to find meetings or help at any time they needed it. My first real Pro-Bono work. PTSD, depression and my other disabilities became a struggle but working on the Recovery Girls website kept me going. Today, we are working together to turn it into a new website.
Times got very rough financially. Trey Miller announced an SBDC Freelancer Fair. There I meet other freelancers who could help in other areas of my business. Also, Better Electric, a top-notch electrical company based in Sterling asked about my services. We ended in upgrading their existing website BetterElectric.com. The job was finished just in time for me to have a heart attack. I was taking the phrase “Got to start somewhere” to new levels.
Five days in the hospital and I was back to work when I got home. I felt blessed that I was able to do this and was able to work on long term client projects which helped keep me afloat.
Logan County and Trey Miller had gotten very serious about having a coworking space. Having my ideas heard and attending meetings brought me closer to the community of Sterling. With the grant obtained through the Certified Small Business Community, “The Annex,” was opened. This is where I prefer to hold meetings with clients. Soon I will be paying a year in advance for its services. It is yet another inspiration that allows small business owners to feel that they make a difference.
Perseverance – the key to any business model
The true heroes here are those from SBDC, Vocational Rehabilitation, Tarren Riley and Amy Willams who provided the last push on my business plan. After two years and resubmitting it twice though Voc Rehab, it was finally accepted. That allowed me to finalize my website, go LLC, get updated office equipment and start advertising in The South Plate and Journal-Advocate.
Blessings to Callie Jones for writing this story and the newspapers for publishing it. I have already been able to help others because of the article. Because of the help SBDC gave me, my gifts will be allowed to shine on others.