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Brian started Visiture in 2008. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Visiture?
I was a serial entrepreneur for many years before I got involved with what would become Visiture. It dates back to my elementary school years when I developed a serious baseball card addiction.
I started washing cars, cutting grass, and pulling t-shirts off of the dryer conveyor belt in my family’s screenprinting business. Basically, anything I could do to raise funds to buy the next Sandy Koufax, Mickey Mantle or Don Mattingly baseball card! That hustle continued through high school years, where I worked nights and weekends as a barista at a coffee cart (pre-Starbucks but a similar concept) in the local shopping mall in Atlanta, GA.
After high school, I attended the University of Georgia on the Hope scholarship. Unfortunately, due to some administrative issues, I lost the scholarship and was left trying to figure out how to pay for college.
As luck would have it, one of my childhood friends, knowing my family connection to t-shirts and screenprinting, called me and asked if I could print 800 Greek Life shirts. He was the head of Greek Life at UGA and had the authority to choose the vendor.
I called my father, and he agreed to help me handle the design and printing. I just had to put up the money for the shirts. I ended up making thousands of dollars off of that initial Greek Life order. So, I decided to open a t-shirt company in Athens, GA.
The business was a hit from the start, and we ended up producing most of the shirts for UGA sororities and fraternities. We then expanded to corporate clients and before I knew it, I was doing over $2MM in annual sales at 20 years old! The company was called Swerve.
> Forget the instant gratification and focus on long term decision making. If you’re an agency, figure out a way to work with well-known brands that you’re confident you can deliver great results
At 21 years old, I sold Swerve to a larger promotional products company for 7 figures, and I went to work for one of my corporate clients in the steel industry. It went well, but corporate life wasn’t for me. After two years, I “retired” and went traveling through South and Central America.
During these travels, I became obsessed with fishing. While I was traveling, the company that acquired Swerve went bankrupt, and since I financed the sale (a bit of advice, don’t finance a sale… you aren’t a bank), the money dried up.
On a shoestring budget, I came home and started an online fishing tackle business. It went okay, but I ended up selling the business to a local fishing tackle chain. Honestly, it wasn’t a great experience, but it introduced me to eCommerce and online marketing - in the very early days in 2002.
Once I sold the online tackle company, I called up the owner of the small SEO company that had helped me get to the number one spot in Google for “Fishing Tackle.” The timing was perfect as the owner had recently started an online degree directory, and he was printing money hand over fist.
At this point, the SEO company didn’t have any clients, but he agreed to sell me the website and train me on the services. In the early days, I was doing everything: sales, content writing, backlinking, etc.
This SEO service evolved into Visiture which, at the time, was focused 80% on PPC, and I was personally managing the Google Adwords accounts for our clients. I had recently gotten married and had a baby on the way, and we didn’t have much money. This forced me to hustle and grow the business. There’s nothing like needing milk money to drive innovation and creativity.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder of Starter Story