WHERE IT ALL BEGAN - MY STORY!
Growing up it was very obvious that I was not like many kid’s my age. While the typical 4-6 year olds were building legos and asking their parents for toys, I was tearing apart old computers, VCR’s and stereos, and teaching myself the ins and out of the, at that time, current Windows OS (WINDOWS ME). I could not get enough of it. I could talk for hours about computers to whoever would give me their time. Then, at the age of 6, my parents bought me my first real laptop. It was a Dell Inspiron 13 with the new Windows XP on it. An odd Christmas gift for a 6 year old, but I can tell you that it was an investment that paid unlimited dividends in my future.
Throughout my elementary school years teachers would refer to me as the computer wiz kid. I was always helping them with their computer problems. Eventually the school IT coordinator noticed and asked me if I would like to spend some time during recces learning from him. I will always be thankful for this opportunity.
Being different can be extremely scary. In my young teen years I began to battle with insecurity due to the fact that I was so different compared to my friends. Standing out and being different in life is always a daunting task; but it’s especially hard when you are in middle school. I began to try and hide the fact that I was a computer “nerd” for the sake of fitting in. I never was really into sports, but I started playing them because I did not want to be the outcast. This was a difficult time in my journey. I knew what I wanted to be doing, but because of society’s stereotypes and norms, I felt that I was too young to make a difference. However, my drive for something bigger would not settle.
BUILDING OF AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Though I had temporarily veered away from my Geek side, I began to learn I had a second undeniable trait: entrepreneurship. As funny as it might sound, it all started when I wanted to buy a go-cart- that’s right, a go-cart. My parents never wanted me to have one. So, like any logical parents of a 11 year old, they said, “If you can come up with the $1,000, you can have one”. From there, I teamed up with my best friend, Trevor Cardona, and started selling paracord bracelets. I will spare the details, but I can tell you we got the go-cart we wanted and had some money left over by the time we were done with that venture. Now don’t worry, if you want to know more about Trevor he will come up again in my story.
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS...
On August 6th, 2012 – life decided to hand me some lemons, a.k.a Type 1 Diabetes. It was a normal sunny day, but something was not right. I had not been feeling well for weeks. I finally was going to go to the doctors and it turns out that I was in DKA (Diabetic Keto Acidosis). I had been living with Type 1 Diabetes most of the summer and had no idea. This was a very scary time and truly a whirl wind of a few days. I now had a disease that inevitably will never go away and requires me to pay much more attention to my health than any of my friends. (Here we go again with being different…). Instead of getting down, I had decided it was time to stand up and embrace being different, no matter how hard that may be. So once again, my friend Trevor and I set out to raise money but this time, instead of it being for a go-cart, it was for a cause. Over the next five years, Trevor and I ran a school chapter of The American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk. We raised nearly $15,000 for Diabetes, and I was named The American Diabetes Association’s Northeast Ohio – Red Strider Ambassador for the 2013 Step Out Walk season.
GETTING BACK TO TECHNOLGY
You might be wondering when I got back into technology. That happened my sophomore year of high school. I was offered some “small” opportunities from a member of my church that knew I was tech savvy. He was opening a location of the restaurant franchise, The Simple Greek. He then introduced me to his business partner, who owned Edible Arrangments, who also had some projects for me. They opened my eyes to the fact that there was a need for honest freelance IT workers. This is what lead me to start this company – The Quick Geek, in 2018. Working closely with their companies and other small clients, over the next few years, taught me a lot about technology, business, and life. It made me realize that my passion for being a geek was not something that I should ever try to hide. I finally knew what I wanted to do in life, and I was not ashamed. I spent much of my last two years of high school working to grow my business and to expand my level of expertise of technology. Through the help of those around me I was learning and making new connections every day. I had graduated high school and was ready for the next step in my journey, college – or so I thought.
BEING DIFFERENT AGAIN?
In the fall of 2019 I enrolled at Youngstown State University with a major in Computer Information Systems (of course). I had started classes and all was going right. I had good grades, made a few friends, and was generally enjoying this next milestone in life. But something still did not feel right. No matter how hard I tried to enjoy the college life, I still found my greatest happiness to be working and running my business. Unfortunately, at this time I was not making enough money, or getting enough jobs to warrant thinking about leaving college. I was going to school from 8 A.M. to 1 P.M., then working on all of my side projects and hustles from 2 to 11 P.M. every night. I found myself often praying and asking God if college was for me. I felt like I had no choice, and then I was offered a very unique opportunity. Those same franchise owners I had worked with from The Simple Greek had just became the new managing partners of the corporate brand and needed a IT and digital marketing person to add to the team; But, it would be too much for me to be in college, work this job, and run my company, The Quick Geek, at the same time. I decided to take a step back from college and pursue what I love most, and I was thrilled because I knew this was God answering my prayers.
As I continue to work in my position with The Simple Greek, and work to grow my own brand and team of free lancers, I realize more and more that success in business, and in life, is way more than how much money is made. But rather the variable of success is in the amount of people you impact. This is why I am devoting more time to things like my new blog, and finding unique ways to use technology to give back to our community.
I thank you for reading my story!
-Nick Workman | Owner