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PROFIT

BUSINESSSPOTLIGHT AT A G L A N C E

WEBWIZARD WORKS

W3 Web Design & Hosting

Pioneer

10455 95th Ave. NE, Foley, MN 56329 320-281-9323 webmaster@webwzrd.com WebWizardWorks.com

Brian Laverdiere was a webmaster before being a webmaster was cool. By Gail Ivers

trainings all over the country. I was unhappy with the partnership and I wanted to be on my own, responsible for 100 percent of the decisions, do it all my way. And I really loved being on the computer. I was on the frontier of web development and since I knew how to do seminars, teaching people how to build websites was a natural step. So I opened WebWizard Works in 1996 and I’ve been doing my own thing ever since. BC: It’s a fun name. Laverdiere: I will probably never shave off my beard — it gives me that ’wizard’ appearance, doesn’t it? In 1996 everyone was talking about World Wide Web - WWW. I wanted to play off of that. I created an animated image — a wizard, holding a world and it was spinning. And my long beard adds to the image.

BC: How does that translate into owning a website company? Laverdiere: In 1996 I wanted to break away — do my own thing. When we were at our peak with seminars we had 30 employees doing

BC: Does it ever get boring? Laverdiere: No! Building a website is like playing a computer game for me. I can feel the adrenaline. It’s hard for me to pull away. I have no trouble at all working on the next site.

TIMELINE

Business Central: What’s your background? Laverdiere: It has nothing to do with computers. I did telephone sales out of high school and it turned out I was good at closing the sale. The guy I was working for decided to open a collection agency, and I did that with him as a partner. We expanded to medical debt collections and that really grew. Then we started teaching seminars on how to collect medical debt. I made more money teaching than I did collecting so we dropped the collections and just focused on the seminars. In 1992 the internet went public and in 1994 we added seminars on how to navigate the internet. They didn’t really become a money-maker, but I got the bug.

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1974 Laverdiere graduates from high school and begins telemarketing

BC: Do you think about retirement? Laverdiere: There’s no reason to walk away from this. I started hosting websites in 2000. I was building websites, why not host them, too? Then I get that steady flow of income from hosting and can offer clients that additional service, plus I offer free website edits for any site I host. Who else does that?

Business Description: Website hosting and design, including free website edits for life; search engine optimization (SEO); domain name registration. Owner: Brian Laverdiere Opened: 1996 Number of employees: none Joined the Chamber: 2006 Fun Fact: Laverdiere has done seminars on medical collections in all 50 states. He has done more than 500 seminars, reaching over 30,000 people.

PERSONAL PROFILE

Brian Laverdiere, 65 Hometown: Pontiac, Michigan Education: High School Work History: Telephone sales right out of high school for things like circus tickets and advertising specialties. Partnered with his boss to open a debt collection agency; added medical debt collection. Started teaching seminars on how to collect medical debt, added seminars on how to navigate the internet; left the partnership and started WebWizard Works. Family: Wife Julie Hobbies: Playing the guitar, avid motorcyclist, working on the computer and looking things up on the internet. Fun Fact: Laverdiere is a dedicated guitar player, practicing two-three hours a day.

1982 Laverdiere and a partner start a debt collection agency

1985 The company starts offering debt collection seminars

1994 Laverdiere starts teaching seminars on navigating the web

1984 The partners add medical debt collection

1990 The partners stop collecting debts and focus on seminars

1996 WebWizard Works opens

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2006 Laverdiere and his wife move to Foley, Minn.