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Meet Tony Nguyen of OC Task Runners in Mid Wilshire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tony Nguyen.

Tony, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My journey leading up until today has been quite the experience. Prior to starting my businesses, I worked in the medical field as a CT Technologist and did a lot of medical marketing/sales towards the end of my career. I was content with my profession and liked what I did but due to company mergers and buyouts, I was laid off from the only 3 companies I worked for. I literally thought this was the end of the world back then as I had just bought a condo, had a daughter and was the primary source of income for my family. At that time, I had a little bit of money put away but knew that it would only last for so long. About a month later we found out that we were expecting a second child so needless to say, the stress was starting to become unbearable. I was constantly sending out resumes and going on interviews but had no real success as I needed a full-time job for the insurance benefits. Luckily through the help of government programs like SNAP and WIC, we were able to get by.

During this time, my wife was encouraging me to start a business since my job hunting efforts were going nowhere. With $2500 left to my name, I decided to invest $2000 to import electronics from overseas to sell on my eBay store. With little experience and a whole lot of bad luck, I wired the money to the so called “company” and was pretty much scammed out of my life savings. With no product to sell and barely any money left, I had officially hit rock bottom. With a lot of support from my wife, we decided to gamble the rest of the money and have another go at it. Learning from my mistakes, I was able to find a legitimate company and started importing electronics and other random products. Within 3 months, we were generating more income than my previous salary. About 6 months later just when I thought everything was coming together, I started receiving a series of defective products that resulted in customer returns and complaints. Needless to say, we were kicked off of eBay and were back to square one again.

After getting kicked off of eBay, we decided to stop everything and just take a break for a while so that we could concentrate on the pregnancy. About a week before my son was born, I came home to find out that my dog had passed away. To make things even worse, while we were grieving in the living room, my condo sprung a slab leak and flooded our entire home! Once my son was born, we were forced to live in a hotel for the next 3 months and spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s there. It was one of the most humbling experiences for us as we were pretty much stripped from all of our belongings and forced to let go of everything…literally.

Once we finally moved back into our condo, I decided to start an errand running company that would help people with day to day tasks like grocery shopping, food delivery, taking people to their doctor’s appointments etc. After about 3 months of this, we generated a whopping $300 in total revenue and ended up closing the business down. With back to back failures, I was disappointed but I realized that I was getting good at finding out what didn’t work if that makes sense. Instead of being down on myself, I understood that I was gaining valuable experience and that if I kept trying that eventually something would pan out.

With so much experience in losing, I immersed myself in reading inspirational stories of entrepreneurs to gain more insight into how they built their companies. The thing that struck me most was that I wasn’t alone and that there were a TON of really successful people out there that went through much worse experiences than me and still came out on top. Armed with this knowledge, I started to look at business with a more open mind. I started to ask myself, what do people need out there? What services can I offer to satisfy their needs? That’s when I realized that instead of offering services directly to the consumer, I would cater to startups and business owners. I came to the conclusion that EVERY business regardless of size needed a website and to have an online presence. From there I taught myself how to code and design websites. After I had a good grasp of how the technology worked, I built a team of talented web designers, graphic designers, social media marketers and SEO experts. That’s how OC Task Runners was born. I basically formed a team of people that were much smarter than I was so that I could focus on what I was good at which was sales. Since then, we have grown so much that we started another company called Disruption Media that offers similar services, but much more extensive and is catered to more medium to large sized companies. My vision is to offer something to every aspiring business owner no matter what budget they have.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Hahaha, if you would have asked me this back then I would have a different answer for you, but in all honestly there have been a lot of struggles along the way but most of them have been mental. It’s all a matter of how much of a beating you can take and still remain on the path you set out on. Most of the struggles that I had throughout this process have been from trial and error and just plain ignorance. As with anything new, there’s a learning curve and if you put in the time and effort I think you can’t go wrong. If you look at my previous answer I think you can see how many obstacles I had to go through to get here but by far the biggest struggle was letting go of what I thought I knew, and adapting to how things really are out there in the market. Equally as challenging was trying to be there for my wife and supporting her in raising our kids while trying to run and grow a company.

She definitely understands the long term goals and has been instrumental in how we got here today.

Another everyday struggle along the way was trying to manage the whole work/life balance thing. When you have your own business it’s like being on call 24/7 so there’s never really a “balance”. I think that as long as everyone has the same goal in mind then there is a solution to this and that’s what we did to make things work.

OC Task Runners – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
OC Task Runners was created to help aspiring/current business owners have a solid online presence without breaking the bank. Because of my personal experiences, I wanted to start a company that genuinely helped our customers achieve their goals and not make it all about the price.

We mostly build websites but where we really shine is the fact that we offer everything a new/current business owner would need, all under one roof. We specialize in website design, logo design, branding, printing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization, flyer distribution and direct mail.

We are known for our design and marketing strategies. It’s not enough to just have a pretty website anymore because if it’s not functional and doesn’t help you convert leads, it’s useless. We are also known for our killer customer service. We’re pretty much available around the clock 7 days a week and are always accessible to answer our customer’s questions.

The thing I’m most proud of as a company is the way we interact with our clients. When you take money out of the equation it allows your company to operate with much different intentions. Don’t get me wrong, without revenue, we couldn’t stay in business, but since we don’t focus so much on the bottom line, we are truly able help our clients in a more effective way.

What sets us apart from other companies is that we take on each project as though it was our own business. We analyze and research the market so that we can get a better understanding of the needs and goals of our clients instead of just building a website for them. For us it’s like a game. If we are able to generate a lot of leads for our customers and then build them a website that converts those leads, it’s like hitting the lottery for us. We literally jump up and down at the office when our client’s get new leads LOL.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
In the next 5-10 years, I see our industry getting better and more advanced. With the internet growing at the pace that it has been, I think being online will eventually take over tv, radio etc. (it has already begun) so all the attention is going to websites, social media, online video, audio etc. More than ever before, companies are paying for people’s attention online and that’s where the future is headed. Conventional methods of marketing like tv commercials, billboards, print etc will eventually be taken over by digital. From what we see now 92% of consumers are finding companies on their mobile device and online so that is where I think the market is going. Because of this, we created a new company called Disruption Media. With Disruption Media, we have extended our current services and go more in-depth into online marketing, video creation, ad creation and online marketing. We will be able to really dive deeper into online presence and take advantage of the market shift.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career thus far has to be when we started to grow our team. Going from literally bankrupt to having an office with a group of people that wanted to be a part of our company was one of the most humbling and moving experiences I’ve ever had. Prior to officially starting this company, we did a lot of flyer distribution marketing for local businesses. On our very first job, I went out with my staff to deliver flyers to a really nice office building. While I was on one of the higher floors, I remember closing my eyes and imagining that I had an office there and meeting with clients lol. A year later, we moved into a similar building across the street which became our Headquarters so it was definitely a surreal moment!

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