Ronnie Royston was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and attended Tulane University with a full paid scholarship and graduated with a degree in Philosophy. Ronnie started a skydiving club while he was at Tulane and that was still a great love of his. For a time after college he enjoyed himself, jumping out of airplanes every weekend and painting houses, but began to realize his Philosophy degree did not provide him with a lot of earning power.
But when he was exposed to people working in the telecommunications field, he decided to get industry certifications in the computer field. His study of Philosophy was a helpful foundation, particularly since writing computer code has so much to do with logic. Studying Philosophy also taught him to be a good communicator and to be accurate and precise with words, a skill that has also been helpful in working with people but getting to work in the field of telecommunications was a good move for him.
Ronnie is a Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE). Cisco is a large telecommunications company out of California that makes telecommunications equipment and is the company that offers that certification. Ronnie did not have a computer science background, but he saw that telecommunications potentially was a good industry to be in. He studied the relevant materials for 16 months while working a night job and passed the exam. This was a difficult certification to obtain but it opened doors for him to much better opportunities. He relocated to Houston, Texas and became Senior Systems Engineer for Avnet. He subsequently spent many years as a Consulting Engineer and Technician for Datavox and as a Senior Solutions Architect for Onepath LLC.
His work as computer network engineer included installation and configuration of telecommunications equipment and computer networking systems.
After years of working with large corporate companies, Ronnie began working for himself and is now available to work with individuals and smaller companies. His business is called High Tekk and can be found at hightekk.com. He sells computer hardware and computer networking equipment and also provides web app development services to clients.
Always looking to improve and add to the services he provides to his clients, Ronnie is currently working on Google certification and adding to his skillset so he can begin working in the areas of application development, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.
How did you get started in your industry?
I have been self-employed and providing professional web services to clients since 2014. I’m really glad to be working for myself. It makes all the difference in terms of the pride I take in the operation of the business. The sense of ownership is key and a real motivator for me. When you are working for someone else all the work you are doing is for someone else’s dream, so I’m glad to be building my own dream now. It is much more rewarding.
How do you make money in your field?
In my business I make money by selling computer hardware and computer networking equipment as well as providing web app development services to my clients. I’m working less in the network engineering and computer networking arena than I used to. I am also getting into a new set of skills relating to application development, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. I am hoping it will open up new opportunities to provide additional services to clients. I am working on several certifications, including Google Certified Professional Cloud Developer.
How long did it take for you to become profitable? When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I was profitable right from the beginning, but there were definitely some tough times. A lot of times it is job to job. There is always fear, uncertainty, and doubt. That is how it goes. You climb a wall of worry. That is the nature of being self-employed. I have learned to keep one foot in front of the other and keep plenty in the pipeline. Soldier on and keep going. I try to always stay productive. When you are in between jobs, spend your time sharpening your skills and picking up new skills. Always learn. I am always online learning.
Do you remember how you got your first customer?
I got my first customer through a referral.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
My marketing strategies include SEO, craigslist, and social media. Word of mouth is really key and attending groups that meet up around technologies also helps with networking.
I create content online that is specific to my niche. I put helpful information on my website and sharing my expertise works really well. You have to tailor the messaging to who it is you’re targeting. I often have to reach the individual within an organization that makes buying decisions for the company. You have to provide value with your content.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your professional life?
The decision to leave one company and go to another was always tough for me. There was risk involved in that. It was an easier decision when I decided to begin working for myself because I was glad to be working on my own goals. Time is precious, and I am glad to have my own business now.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My ability to focus and identify problems has made me successful. I don’t allow myself to get distracted. I identify a problem and then I work hard and stay engaged in figuring out solutions.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Getting praise from a customer has always meant a lot to me. Whenever it has been time for me to transition myself off a project and put a different team member in, there have been customers that have said, “No, we only want Ronnie.” That makes you feel pretty good. There is something about having a customer really appreciate what you do for them.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
There are a lot of possibilities. We want to grow. I want to be able to provide additional services to my clients. I would have more projects than I can handle so I can expand my team and grow the business. There is a lot of opportunity in cloud application development, and that is what I am focused on right now as a way to grow my business.
What business books have inspired you?
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is a book about business that I enjoyed. It is a book that shows the behavior of humans and human nature. Timing is a key point that is made in the book. When you are trying to make a profit, timing is everything.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun. I don’t regret skydiving and being a little adventurous when I was younger.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes. I am willing to be a mentor. The best way to contact me is through my email at Ron@HighTekk.com.