From farm­ers to com­puter won­der kids

How this cou­ple taught them­selves IT

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - Jack Lawrie jack.lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

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.”

PHOTO: JACK LAWRIE

RID­ING THE WAVE: Su­san and Ge­off O'Dea have come a long way from south Queens­land farm­ers to de­sign­ing web­sites.

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