I recently interviewed 19 year old Joey Preston, CEO of Digital Performance, a digital agency based out of Chicago, Illinois.
- Hey Joey, tell me what you do, where you’re from, and how old you are?
Joey Preston: I run a full service digital marketing agency that specializes in Web Design and Search Engine Optimization called Digital Performance. I am from a town about an hour west of Chicago called Oswego. I am 19 years old.
- After graduating high school did you further education?
Joey Preston: No I did not. I knew about my junior year of high school that college was not for me. I wasn’t a bad student or anything, kept a 3.7 GPA but school just was not it for me. I knew I wanted more out of life than sitting in a classroom for 4 more years. I believed with my work ethic and my passion for my business, I could succeed without getting a college degree. I also had some help because two of my older brothers dropped out after a year and found themselves doing very well without a degree so this laid a foundation for me to follow. The college debt aspect was also a big factor to me as well. I knew I could do what I wanted to do without a college degree so why put myself into debt to do the same thing I am doing now but debt free.
- When and why did you start Digital Performance?
Joey Preston: I started Digital Performance in October of 2018 but prior I had been freelancing for about 4 years. My why is because I have always known that I wanted to work for myself and digital marketing is a passion of mine. The idea of being able to work when you want is a dream of most people but I wanted that to be my reality. With digital marketing, I have been able to work any hours that I want and work from wherever I want and this has allowed to me to travel a lot more than I used to. I love what I do and I wouldn’t trade it for any other job. Most of all though, its the passion to create and succeed doing what I love. There is no better feeling than hearing how much of an impact I have on someone’s business with Digital Performance. My goal is to provide the customer service you would find with a small business but the results that you would find with the top agencies in the world. That is rare to find today with all of the chat bots and automated responses people get. People crave the human interaction and I think my business does a fantastic job of providing that connection and really understanding our clients needs.
- How important has self education been for you?
Joey Preston: Self education has been a major impact in my life. Everything I know is pretty much from me educating myself about it. School, like I said, really didn’t do much for me. I was always learning way more outside of the classroom than in. I read maybe 2 books from my 12 years of school. I’ve read probably 100+ in the last 9 months about everything I am interested in. Anything from entrepreneurship to golf, I have taught myself and will continue to find ways to educate myself in order to stay on top of things. School doesn’t teach you about doing taxes, starting a business, sales, etc. That is all stuff you have to find on your own and I am glad I did. My favorite book is The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen and it is a book that can be applied to all aspects of life such as business, relationships, mental health, physical health and so on. It is a fantastic book that I read once or twice a year to refresh myself. Anything that people are interested in, there is probably a book on it and I encourage everyone to self educate because our current education system is failing a lot of people, in my opinion.
- What motivated you to do website design?
Joey Preston: It all started with graphic design actually. I picked up on it in about 8th grade and started to take design classes where I fell in love with it. I learned everything I could, started designing at home, watched hours and hours of Youtube tutorials. Graphic design had become my passion. About sophomore year, one of my family friends needed a logo which I designed for them and they had mentioned needing a website redesign. I had never done a website or even known how to do one but they offered to pay me and that was all I needed to dive into it. Once I started, I knew that this was something that impacted my life deeply. It was all I could think about every day was learning how to create bigger and better websites. It took my two favorite things, design and computers, and it was the perfect combination. I started reading every web design forum, watched countless hours of Youtube again, found as many books/articles as I could and began my journey. I wanted to know how to do everything and anything on websites. That hasn’t changed either. I still read articles daily about design and find the new trends each year and figure out what I can do to improve my own skills.
- Have you always been into tech?
Joey Preston: I would say so. I got my first Xbox at 3 and was instantly hooked. So video games have always been apart of my life and thats where everything sort of stems from. I always wanted to know how to get my games to run the best and be the best at them so just hours of research about TV’s, controllers, computers, HDMI Cables, everything and anything. Then at about 13 I wanted to build my own computer so first I took apart an extra one my family had lying around. Learned all the parts, how they connected, what each one did, and then built my own. Technology has always been apart of my life and my generation was right between being obsessed with it and not so it was a good mixture.
- What are your future plans with your company?
Joey Preston: Eventually I want to scale to a top agency in the world with employees that share as much of a passion for digital marketing as I do. With a team, nothing becomes impossible and that is where I hope to be. Right now, my goal is to find clients and build killer websites that benefit the client and help their businesses scale.