From farmers to computer wonder kids
How this couple taught themselves IT
A PAIR of middle-aged farmers from a beef property aren’t what you imagine when you think of IT and web design gurus.
As far as Susan and Geoff O’Dea are concerned, however, they’re living the dream.
For 20 years they worked a sheep and cattle property together in Inglewood, southern Queensland.
Now they live in a house in Monto, working from a well-organised study room and making a living from web hosting, web design and selling Private Label Rights content.
“We wanted to work together, we didn’t want to be separated by employment and now it’s perfect,” Geoff said.
Geoff and Susan started building web design skills back in 2007, when times were tough for agriculture.
At the time, neither of them understood the internet or had easy access to it.
The idea of using it for entertainment as many do now was unthinkable.
“We only got internet originally so I could watch the weather,” Geoff said.
“Then we just started playing with it, learnt more and learnt more, and eventually became pretty full on.”
Because they were isolated and didn’t have the money for lessons, everything was self-taught.
Susan likes to tell people she spent a year designing websites to earn 12 cents.
Now, she can share the lessons she learned so others don’t have to go through the same process.
Still rural people at heart, the O’Deas decided they didn’t want to live in a city, and bought a house in Monto, where they have lived for the past two and a half years.
“We nearly bought a Winnebago and went around Australia because we can run our business anywhere there’s internet,” Susan said.
“A lot of people think to be a designer or host, you have to be in the city where there’s lot of people.”
Thanks to Monto’s decent connection, internet access isn’t the scarcity it once was.
When asked what advice they’d give to other people of a similar background looking to use newer technology, the O’Deas said it came down to commitment.
“Unfortunately there seems to be a mindset that somehow you can put up a website and turn on a money tap,” Geoff said.
“But if you’re prepared to make it work, you can make an income, and that’s why we try and show what we’ve done.”
RIDING THE WAVE: Susan and Geoff O'Dea have come a long way from south Queensland farmers to designing websites.