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Digital Independence

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This post is loosely based, and also loosely based off of our 4th of July live stream on digital independence. We encourage you to give it a view:

Yes, we’re doing live streams on holidays, and weekends, now 😅


There are two important parts to this post, there’s your digital independence and our own.

But first, Let’s talk about Bill

We’ll talk about our digital independence first, but before that I want to say that in addition to this article being based off one of our live streams, it’s actually an overdub of an old post I wrote about a guy named Bill who wanted to hire me, Tony, as his company’s full-time Jr Web Designer.

The original post dove into the topic and concluded that Bill didn’t actually need a full-time web developer, nor did I want to try to account for 40 hours a week at a measly salary of $35k/yr.

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Not Bill
How I saved Bill lots of money

Instead of going down the traditional route of hiring a full-time web developer, I offered our web development services at 75% less than what Bill would have spent on an employee’s salary. Less stress and commitment, right?

We both win, and most importantly both parties are happy with the honesty and beneficial transactions that are taking place.


Tony & Reina’s digital independence

Okay let’s get based, as I boldly stated in the first sentence of this post!

Like I’ve stated in a previous post, up until a a couple months ago I had a full-time job 🫨. It was based in Germany, but it was fully remote (save a few global retreats). I was sad to have been laid off from a great team within a good company, but the obligatory decline of the hospitality industry post-COVID did a number on their numbers.

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Tony, in Germany

Although 3tone Digital was officially formed as an LLC in 2022, my wife and I made the true unofficial full jump into our own combined digital independence since the second half of last year. There were already three different department layoffs, it was only time.

I mean, my wife has been doing her own thing for a bit now and honestly was, has been, and is an inspiration to me.

Throwing caution to the wind and truly believing in yourself, especially in regard to your own set of skills, is an admirable trait. It’s also a remarkable feat to accomplish for those of us who suffer from imposter syndrome haha

But, once I saw the big picture of how we could become the business, instead of trying to appease a manager’s manager’s manager(s), I realized my wife was right, as always.

Have you ever seen the show “I Think You Should Leave”? It’s hysterical and you should if you haven’t.

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for reference: https://www.netflix.com/watch/81212178?t=200
Nonobligatory overly-personal section

Fun fact: I brought myself out of years of homelessness by learning how to code. From reading a PHP/MySQL book in a shelter in Providence, Rhode Island to working as a web developer at eBay/PayPal (and tech startups) in Silicon Valley, CA.

With that info, it’s no wonder I believed that a 9-5 was the last stop on the train of success and happiness 🚂. See, I was under the impression that owning your own business was for another class of people, other than the one I came from at least.

From digital and IRL networking to doing live streams to cold-designing web design concepts for local business – which I’ll admit, usually doesn’t work – Reina and I have drawn and crossed over a line in the sand that spells out the word “freedom”, in cursive. And we’re very determined to organically grow and evolve our web design, web development, and digital marketing business. It’s a learning process and neither of us have ever been one to remain static.

Ultimately, my two decades of experience from working in the code/tech field have taught me a few things:

  • Just about anything is possible if you put your mind to it, especially post-GPT AI
  • A full-time web developer can have a lot of free time, even pre-GPT AI
  • Time is a very valuable thing (watch it fly by as the pendulum swings)
  • Maybe employees of companies should never put all of their eggs in one basket
  • It’s okay to become unemployable if you know your worth and are willing to take risks

This type of mindset is becoming much more prevalent out in the wild, some call it fractional; like a fractional CFO or fractional HR.

In our case we’d be a fractional web team.. look at your new fractional web team..

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The 3tone Digital Team // Tony & Reina Ciccarone

As a person who strives for efficiency (if not just for the sake of carpal tunnel syndrome), I am here to assure you that there are almost always better, quicker, and more affordable ways.


Your own digital independence

The world is changing before our eyes. Is it not?

In contrast to what many of the experts say, I believe that Generative AI is too good to not inevitably disrupt the entire US job market.

It’s funny, I can’t count the times that I didn’t really know what someone did at companies I worked for, only later to find out their role had something to do with the organization of data or reviewing someone else’s work or being the middleman.

At the time, I didn’t know how companies justified some of these jobs. But, in retrospect I can see the forest through the trees and recognize that many of these mystery roles were specialized.

Be it, the expertise of a software that produces reports or a college-taught skill that churns out product papers with content, images, and/or video.

Well, ring the alarm like Beyoncé, because those are precisely the things that GenAI continues to excel (no pun intended) at best. And we haven’t even yet reached AGI 😳

Do you know what most companies love more than their employees? They love to save, and in turn make more, money. If you can be replaced with a prompt, you’d better learn how to write script code or begin to think out of the box because that meme of the grim reaper is knocking at the door of the B2B industry, and trickling down to B2C.

Freeeeedom!

And, like Rage Against the Machine also says, “What better time than now?to establish your own independent digital presence!

We work with businesses on a budget and can have a simple WordPress website up and running, hosted, and indexed in under 10 hours of purchased ad-hoc service time.

Consider some of the next steps as a better way for you to distribute your eggs:

  • Stand out with your own personal name domain (e.g. tonyciccarone.com) like a resume. I believe it’s a no-brainer if you’re job hunting, applicants with websites are taken more seriously.
  • Make a website for a side hustle, or passion project. Besides, it’s never been easier to run an online storefront selling products or even digital services (like consulting) and accept all major forms of payment – without Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, or other subscription-based propriety systems.
  • Write a blog and publicly divulge your innermost thoughts, revelations, poetry, and secrets (or not).
  • Just host a big beautiful contact form that your public can use to send you an email.
  • Display a simple hub/portal linking to your network of social profiles.
  • A living obituary or tribute page, for your future self or a loved one.

You might say, “well Tony, some of those are weird and my business is already on Facebook, and um TikTok, and Instagram, and maybe Twitter I mean 𝕏, and Google Business I think, and Yelp or Reddit anyways..”

What would I see if I googled you right now? Probably a conglomeration of platforms that make money off your data.

Day by day, the algorithm moves more towards a pay to play system:

  • LinkedIn Premium Business: $59.99/month
  • X Premium: $17/month
  • Meta Verified: $14.99/month
  • Snapchat+: $3.99/month
  • Reddit Premium: $5.99/month
  • YouTube Premium: $11.99/month

That’s over $1,300/year, and you still don’t own your own data. If you’re adding something like Wix or Squarespace into the mix we’re talking another $1,900/year.

Back to Bill

After explaining to Bill how we could help, it turned out that he didn’t need a Jr. Web Designer.  He just needed someone to manage his website, keep it up-to-date, format and optimize blog posts, and create featured images once or twice a week.

There are probably a lot more business owners like Bill out there.

Do you have your own domain name and website? Do you have your own story to tell? Contact us to learn more about how we can help you get up and running by tomorrow.


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