We would love to thank Dallas Voyage Magazine for featuring Adam Schultz, Owner of IOMMI Designs, in their magazine. You can view the Q&A Below:
Today we’d like to introduce you to Adam Schultz.
Adam, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It started off when I was 12 years old. I was lucky enough to have a father who was obsessed with computers in the late 80’s and he had me help him build them. I built my first computer around the age of 9 or 10. I then got introduced to the internet in the mid-1990s and built my first HTML website at age 13. I was exposed to computers and technology at a young age. Fast forward to 2007 when I received my first paying gig as a web designer. Beforehand I just dabbled in personal websites for my bands and my friends. I worked for a general contractor and they wanted a new website so I offered to give it a shot. They payed me 40 hours of pay for it and it came out great. Shortly after this, I realized working for someone just wasn’t for me. I do not do well having a boss and I decided to go off on my own and become an entrepreneur.
My first business I started was a music equipment selling company. I had huge dreams and thought just like every person who is NOT an entrepreneur that if I started a business it would be an overnight success. I spent hours and hours a day making my e-commerce website that had over 1000 products of music equipment perfect, I went to meetings with local schools, venues, clubs etc. to try and land their business. To my surprise, becoming successful was not just an overnight thing. It took hard work and dedication.
As business was steady, but a lot slower than I anticipated and being broke for quite some time, I started posting on craigslist to build websites. I got a hit from a man here in Dallas that needed some help designing his LED company’s website. I took the offer and after meeting with me, he liked me so much he asked me if I wanted a job with him handling his company. I hated to accept defeat and get a job but seeing my bank account head further south, I accepted. He taught me the business, introduced me to all of his suppliers and contractors. I worked 12 hours a day, and some days 14-16 hours a day to try and make it big in this business. In the end, he ended up being a total con artist and screwing me out of money. After all of the hard work I told myself, I can start an LED company, I know all the ropes now, so I ventured out to start my own LED company.
First off, I needed a website for my new venture. So, I built one and started getting calls fairly quick. Not knowing I had very little knowledge in the business I received contracts from pretty large corporations. A popular Hotel Chain, a prestigious Texas University, local restaurants and venues. While I would send quotes out it seemed that I would land most projects, finding out during each project my quotes were too low and I would either break even or end up in the negative on the jobs. The stress was high because we dealt with large contracts with zero room for error. About a year into this I was flat broke, I remember scrounging for change in my truck to buy food, and then it happened, I came home and had an eviction notice on my door. I remember that night when I laid in bed and it felt as if my heart was going to jump out of my chest, it was a stress that I’ve never felt before. This was the night IOMMI Designs was created.
The next day, I woke up and started advertising for web design and development hoping that I could do a few quick projects to get my bills paid. I needed a catchy “techy” name. I am a big musician and guitar player at heart so I took the last name of my favorite guitar player, Tony Iommi, guitarist for Black Sabbath. It was different, edgy and decided to give it a shot. I landed a job that day. Then I landed a job the next day, and if I remember correctly, I landed 4 jobs the first week. So while I am at the office for the LED company, I build my first website for iommidesigns.com and started marketing more. I believe I landed 10 projects my first month, so I decided, why not stick to what I know, I’ve been doing this my whole life, let’s give web design a shot. This was the beginning of IOMMI Designs. The LED company went under shortly after this.
Fast forward to the present, I have a team of developers and IOMMI Designs has grown drastically every year. We have worked on fortune 500 companies’ websites, public companies, companies in all industries from large to small, bands, restaurants and everything in between.
My mentor once told me “You take one step forward on the path to wisdom with every one of your failures”. I heard this when I was 19 and it stuck with me. There were times where I was on the verge of giving up, closing shop and getting a job. Times, I have cried at night because the stress was too much to handle, times I didn’t have 1$ to buy food to eat, times I had no choice but to write hot checks hoping business would come in to handle the check, but looking back, it was all worth it. This company has changed my life and who I am as a person. After overcoming all of the adversity, you come out a changed person, with a different outlook on life.
I am thankful for all I have gone through to get to where I am.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
From the day I became an entrepreneur, it has been a roller coaster, I’ve seen all-time highs and all-time lows, with business and stress.
But that’s what I love about owning my own business. It is exhilarating and gets my adrenaline going. There are some days I work until 2am and wake up at 5am the next morning and put in another 15 hours, I do what I have to do to keep going and growing as a company and a person. I would not change the rocky times for the life of me.
Please tell us about IOMMI Designs.
IOMMI Designs is a web design/development & graphic design company. We specialize in design and development and SEO. Time after time I have given out quotes, and the client has gone with someone else due to a lower price, and 9 times out of the 10 they end up calling us back and going with us because the other guy couldn’t get the job done. We haven’t received a review under 5 stars, and my first client back in 2007 is still doing business with us today. My biggest and most important aspect of IOMMI Designs is taking care of the client.
You give them what they pay for and always go above and beyond.
Web design is a tricky business. With all of the DIY web builders out there, templates and people thinking they can call themselves developers when using a template and advertising that they are developers. I have talked to more clients than I can think of who complain about these people who promise they can deliver a product the client is wanting for a price way under market value, and in the end not being able to because they really do not know their trade, they use a template and get stuck, running away with the client’s deposit. This is what sets us apart, we ARE developers, we CAN get ANY project done. We can customize any template if the client is asking for this, we can add ANY functionality to any website. We ALWAYS deliver and always will. We live in exciting times for this industry and I take pride in our customer service, we aim to build long lasting relationships with every client, large and small, and this is what I am most proud of. I am proud to say we have never had a client leave us for another company.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Taken a crash course in website security. You wouldn’t realize that hackers target even the smallest website out there, and I have been burned more times than I can count. Luckily, now I have basically a PhD in website security, after one of our servers got hacked and brought down 15 websites in 1 day on one of our busiest weeks in business, while having a due date for one of our biggest clients that week (That week I was introduced to the 18-hour work day). Like always, we got through it and handled the issue. It is safe to say that all of our websites we host are safe and sound.