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Tom's Story

How President and CEO of EZSolution, Tom Malesic, started EZSolution

If you're like me, you're fascinated by the stories of how people started their business. So here's my story.

photo of tom malesic

A Beginning in Sales

By nature, I'm an extrovert, which meant a career in sales was right up my alley. In college, I found a job selling (of all things) Kirby Vacuum cleaners door-to-door. Talk about a hard sell: you have 45 minutes to get a husband and wife to know, like, and trust you... and then give you $1,300. It wasn't easy, but this was real selling. I was good at it! I had the job for four years.

After a few different sales ventures, I took a job as a giftware sales representative in 1993. It wasn't "selling" so much as a small step above order taking. I didn't make much money, and I drove about 50,000 miles a year. However, I loved the client interaction.

"What's a Website?"

One day in 1996, I was selling to a local gift shop. I knew the son of the owner from my days at Penn State. He pulled me aside and said, "A buddy and I are starting a website business and we need someone to sell for us."

I looked him straight in the eye and said, "What's a website?"

Now, I was always computer-savvy. I grew up with the Radio Shack series of home computers, and I was one of the few kids in college to have a PC in my dorm room. Yet this was the first time I'd ever heard of the Internet. It took about a week of discussion for me to quit my job and start on this new exciting path. This was more like real selling again. I also learned some graphics programs and basic HTML. It was a blast.

But then things took an ugly turn. The owner of the web development company, my college pal, became discriminatory toward potential clients. I had the opportunity to sell two websites to a local jewelry store. He refused to do business with them.

I understand that all business owners draw a line at what types of companies they‘ll work with, but his attitude was unacceptable to me. Doing business with people regardless of ethnicity, orientation, gender, religion—people from all walks of life - is a value I hold dear.

I asked if he wanted two weeks' notice, or if he wanted my laptop now. He took my immediate resignation.

After this interaction, I did what most 28-year-olds would do: I called my Mom and asked her for $2,000 to buy a laptop and a scanner to start my new nameless company. I was in business, and I had two websites to build!

Starting Off On My Own

The early days were filled with conversations with prominent Lancaster business owners that went like this. "Tom, you seem like a bright young man. But no one is going to look for my business on the computer. Maybe you should consider starting another venture."

I'm glad I didn't listen to these "visionaries," all of whom have websites now. (If I asked them about our conversations, I'm sure they'd deny them.)

In about two years, I was busier than I could stand to be. I knew I couldn't sell this many websites and design them myself. It was time to start hiring people to do the things that I couldn't.

It was also time to start finding office space. An attorney friend (and client) of mine rented me a room. I literally had one desk, one computer, and one employee named Fred. He and I shared a desk and a computer for the first several months. I worked out the timing so that he could be programming while I was out selling. A few months later, I hired a web designer and internet marketer.

We grew some more and ultimately moved into our own office space.

Years of Growth

We also continued to grow the amount of servers and technology that we used. Finding a company to support my computer network wasn't an easy task, but I did, and eventually began referring business to them. At one point, I figured that I referred at least $50,000 a year to them in business, so why not start my own IT firm? They could support my network and refer clients to me instead of another company.

Within a year, the company supporting my network gave me a great offer to buy the business. On April 1, 2006, I signed the deal. Supporting my network and a few clients was one thing, but supporting 50 clients was quite another. And what did I know about running a computer business?

Absolutely nothing.

I figured, why not just learn on the job? It turned out to be a winning strategy. The business model has radically changed since the beginning of this acquisition. I now attend regular educational seminars to stay on top of the ever-changing IT industry. (I'll learn to be a geek, really I will.)

Our IT department has more than doubled in size and quadrupled in sales since EZSolution's acquisition. I can honestly say that we're our own toughest client, pushing the limits of technology and using it in-house before recommending it to our customers.

Branching Out

We've always provided some level of search engine optimization (SEO). At times, we did the work in-house; other times, we referred out the service. In 2009, I hired an additional web programmer who came with a unique skill set for SEO. We started taking on a few more clients. Within a year's time, this department grew from one employee to five. Today, my SEO team can help you improve the number of targeted visitors to your website and increase the profitability of your business.

As our service offerings grew, so did my knowledge. In just 15 years I went from not knowing what a website was to operating an integrated web marketing company! One of my proudest achievements came in 2011, when world-famous IT Marketing Consultant Robin Robins named me her Marketing Spokesperson of the Year.

Internet marketing moves rapidly. It seems like every few months, there's a new shiny penny waiting to be picked up. In 2010, Facebook was that penny. What a wonderful opportunity for businesses to connect with their raving fans and make money!

Over the past several years, we've added services based on the needs of our clients. "Can you make me a logo?" "Can you print a brochure for our next trade show?" "Will you help us develop a social media strategy?" Our team has always looked for a way to provide the additional services our client's request, both professionally and affordably. I know first-hand what it's like to run a business on a shoestring, and the last thing I want to do is to lose the "small business" connection EZSolution has had since the beginning.

My team and I love helping other companies grow their business. We look forward to helping you.

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