Felecia Lastrapes: Web Designer Finds Her Niche
Felecia Lastrapes was a well-paid property manager with eight years of experience under her belt. Without warning, she was canned. Lastrapes didn’t do anything wrong, the property’s board of directors decided that they wanted to hire someone new, at a far cheaper rate.
“They hired another manager, and told me that she was going to be starting in two weeks,” Lastrapes says. “I saw that they paid that person a lot less and that person had less experience than me.”
Losing her job was tough, but a friend would spark an entrepreneurial interest. “After spending some months hiding under the covers and actually believing that I had done something wrong and that I wasn’t good enough, I had a friend who needed me to do some administrative assignments,” she recalls. “He put a check in my hand, and I really liked it. And I realized that I could be doing the same thing that I was doing for the management company for other small businesses that really needed somebody to take that busywork off of their plate.”
The new entrepreneur needed a website to promote her skills and decided to build it herself, with zero understanding of how to do such a thing.
“I learned from books, the Internet, I’m completely self-taught. It always starts out as a goal that I want to achieve, or something that I want to produce online. I just research the methods to do it.”
The clients really appreciated her Web skills, “It was a bonus that I could do graphics and websites.Who has a secretary that could put up your website?” she says.
Lastrapes parlayed her web designing skills into a brand-new business, Flash of Brilliance. Lastrapes’ first website (her own) took about a month to complete because she was researching each step.
“I knew that I could be creative, I have a degree in television producing, so I definitely have a creative background, but my family and friends were just like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that you did this,’ ” Lastrapes says.
They also spread the good word about her work.
Lastrapes, who has mastered search engine optimization techniques, offers her best advice for your website: “Prepare to establish your Internet presence,” she states. “… Be able to identify things that you like, the descriptive words that surround your brand, and how to organize that information on your site. And collect professional photos.”