Tell us about yourself?
My name is Travis and I’ve been in the web hosting business since 2005. Back then, when I was a teenager, hosting content on the internet was very interesting to me and it became a dream of mine to run a web host. At the time, I was the “computer tech friend” everyone had and people were interested in websites so I was always referring them to Geocities. As I became more educated, I learned that there were better platforms with more features and I could provide these services to my friends and family. So, I started my own web host.
I also have a technical engineering mindset and I’m never satisfied with providing the same services as everyone else. If I can put a spin on a service and make it better than what the competition can offer, I’m happy. And even then, I still like to innovate on the next iteration.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to startups is that every startup is an easy life of talks, conferences, and throwing money into the wind. A lot of this business has been blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of my own personal investment. It’s a lot of hard work.
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
Don’t second guess myself. When a business opportunity came and I questioned it, I lost out because I was too worried about the risk rather than the potential reward. Your gut knows what to do.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
I don’t like to give up and I don’t take no for an answer. I’m very persistent when it comes to solving problems, and I think that’s a quality any entrepreneur needs to have.
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
Time management is a big one. There are only 24 hours in a day, and as much as I’d love to dedicate all 24 to work, you have to dedicate some time to your life outside of work. I’ve also learned that you don’t have to do everything right away.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
I really don’t like how a lot of the larger hosts do business. That is, and has always been, my biggest influence. Even though I got started just providing a place for my friends to put their own website online, I formed the business practices and policies to be everything that the competition isn’t.
We don’t have any hidden pricing, we don’t play mind games with pricing (for example, listing a low monthly rate, but once you get to the checkout you really have to pay for a year or more upfront), and we try to fairly price services.
We’re also transparent and honest. If we have downtime, we’re public about it, the cause, and what we did to fix it and hopefully keep it from happening again. Being honest helps us earn trust.
We’re also big on using as much open-source software as possible.
Where do you see your business in five years?
I see VoxVM being a major hosting provider with more data center locations globally and expanded services. I see us expanding into more niche services that most competitors don’t offer. As much as I’d like to say VoxVM will be a household name, I have to be humble but I think we’ll be an option for people and businesses and their needs.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
Obviously, the hosting business is probably one of the most difficult industries, but there’s a ton of growth happening. I believe if we’re smart with our marketing, our products, and showing people that there are better alternatives out there than some of the other hosts they’re considering, we’ll get there.
Obviously, it’s also building trust. Why would anyone trust us after their last provider ripped them off or shutdown completely without warning? But I think with the growth we’ve been seeing this year and some of our upcoming plans, we’ll definitely be on track.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
We had a client that was facing a lot of issues with their application. They were on a shared hosting plan, but they really should have been on a dedicated server. We had recently launched our dedicated servers and it was like perfect timing.
We got them migrated over to a very powerful server and their application just took off – started performing so much better.
Custom tailoring a server to a customer’s needs is something not too many providers do.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
Being a provider of services, we’re found through mainly SEO, PPC, online directories, and our affiliate and sponsorship programs. We also try to do a lot of social media interactions with people who are fed up with their old service provider.
I cannot say I am much of a salesperson myself. I probably couldn’t sell water in a desert, to be honest. But when the product can’t sell itself, I can usually provide the needed “push.”
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
Don’t give up on your idea. Even if your industry is saturated, you can be creative and find ways to improve and make things better.
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
Personally, all I can ask for is the ability to provide for my family! For my business, all I can hope for are many more successful years!