Matthew Kesterson is 36 years old and has been working with computers his entire life.
But it wasn't until a few years ago that he decided working with computers was what he wanted to do for a living.
After attending WTI to get his certifications, Kesterson opened Monkey Bytes Computer Repair last year. It's a one-man operation inside a small storefront at 1219 E. Douglas. He's built his operation around flat-fee repairs, charging $60 plus parts for everything he does.
He said he started the business as a "leap of faith," having no business experience. He didn't take out any loans.
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"I just took what I had and started it."
What were your feelings when you decided to open your own business?
"I was obviously nervous. When your future is uncertain, it's one of those things.... I was hoping I don't fall right on my face."
Why did you decide to go with flat-rate pricing model?
"If you go to almost any other shop, it's $50 to look at it to diagnose the problem. If you have a virus, it's more to take it off. Then more to back up the data. It just goes on and on and on. A lot of shops will just start stacking charges on it.... I thought that was just ridiculous. It doesn't take me that long if you know what you're doing. Just charge one flat fee and move on.... Sometimes I get burned, but it evens out.... You know before it gets fixed how much it is going to cost you."
What's the biggest lesson you've learned since opening?
"You can't please everyone, but you can try. A lot of places, they don't even try."
Has anything caught you by surprise?
"Not really. I've been dealing with computers my entire life.
"I'm confident in my skills and abilities. And once word gets out that you can get good, quality repairs, an honest repair at an affordable price, then I should have no problem maintaining business. My biggest advertisement is word of mouth. That's probably where I get 85 percent of my business."
What's one thing about you that people might not know?
"I'm pretty big into sports. I used to play a lot. As I've gotten older, the body doesn't want me to play so much. I used to want to be a professional ball player, baseball, but I wasn't good enough."