For years, Peter Marshall had been fixing phones and helping people with their tech questions and difficulties. A self-described “nerd”, Marshall was also a technology and Math teacher at Saint Mary’s Catholic School, where he taught everything from 3D modeling to programming, from kindergarten to eight graders.

What began as a hobby helping people, started to become a side business as demand for his services grew. He decided to make it official and start his business, MendoTechNet, which is when he turned to West Business Development Center (WBDC). Says Peter, “If you start a business alone it will either fail or it will be a long hard road. West helped me with everything I needed.”

In addition to the one-on-one consulting with his business advisor, Peter says West’s Profit Mastery workshop has been instrumental in helping him understand the power of math and how to simplify decision making by removing opinion and looking at the facts.

With a natural talent for online marketing, Peter has grown his business using Google and YouTube. He has also connected with Verizon and U.S. Cellular, who he receives referrals from locally. In the spirit of reciprocity, he sometimes brings homemade brownies to their offices to show his appreciation.

Business is doing well. Today, Peter has two locations and four employees and he still connects with his West business advisor one to four times a month with questions or just to brainstorm. Something always comes up, new issues arise and Peter says his consultant either has the answers or finds someone who does.

Peter’s primary motivation for starting his own business was to be able to spend more time with his family. He has been enjoying that freedom and takes active measures to express his gratitude toward employees and clients who make this endeavor and its rewards possible.

Making sure his employees are happy is a top priority and he tries to create a pleasant memory for his clients, beyond just providing a service. He keeps fun toys like light sabers and an arcade game in the office and gives each client a small gift as a token of appreciation. Most notable, though is his choose-your-own-price policy.

“We’re making the money we need to make and when people decide to give more, that’s encouraging. If they can only afford the minimum, we’re grateful to have their business and they receive the same quality of service. We have found people in this area to be very generous and it just lifts the spirits when people are kind.”

Says Peter, “Money is a tool. My end goal was to not work as much and spend more time with my family. It’s important not to get too relaxed, but we think more about the customer than the money. We care. That’s the core of this business.”

To someone who is thinking of going into business for themselves, Peter advises that fear is where failure starts. “Be willing to jump. Don’t be afraid to get started. And definitely ask for West’s help.”