Seniors Bound for Wall Street - Bootstrap Business

From: Bootstrap Business
Published: Mon Dec 15 2008

Miles away from MBAs or MEEs, four high school seniors from Spanish Fork liaise with international team members, navigate website infrastructure, and market Internet assets. Jeff Lewis, John Christiansen, Scott Harward, and Wyatt Ernst are known as the Linkers at a local search engine optimization business, CastleWave, LLC, ( ) both for their job description and for their teamwork. That teamwork centers on setting and achieving goals.

Achieving goals brings rewards. "It keeps us invigorated," says Jeff Lewis. "I am an important contributor." Just recently, the Linkers' hard work paid off again with an all-expenses-paid three-day trip to New York City. Granted, CastleWave has offices there, but in addition to setting new company goals, the Linkers toured the city, getting a feel for life in the Big Apple. In Scott Harward's words, "It's a fantastic, culture-filled city."

A highlight of the trip was a stop by Wall Street, including a photo shoot by the bull on Wall Street. Seeing where their big-name clients live and work puts their own efforts in perspective. Whether training the next generation of Linkers, monetizing websites, managing assets, creating reports, or any number of projects, these four seniors have to drive the search engine rankings up. If they don't, the business gets stuck. That isn't all, though. "Goals encourage me to work harder," John Christiansen comments. "It is a disappointing day when you see no results, [but goals] make me want the company to succeed."

Working in a tech company provides a definite contrast to their peers' money-earning efforts. When asked what they do for work, the Linkers' responses win everything from confused looks to eager referral hunts. Driving up a page's rank on search engines might be vital marketing in today's digital world, but it isn't part of the general teenage lexicon.

Rich Christiansen and Ron Porter, founders and managers of CastleWave, have been the driving force behind the Linkers. "We've had Rich lecture us on pretty much everything," says Harward. "Everything" covers business bootstrapping tips, marketing strategies, and technical work. Rich and Ron both have plenty to say on all of those points. Currently writing a book Bootstrapped! A No-Bull Solution to Business Success these two have finally captured the steps and ideas they have used in starting successful small businesses ( ).

Rich always cites the example of how CastleWave got started. Early in writing Bootstrapped!, Ron challenged Rich on some of the book's principles. To test if the principles worked, Rich and Ron started CastleWave. That was about two years ago. Evidenced by how CastleWave completely financed the trip to New York, the principles in Bootstrapped! look to be passing the test. For the Linkers, this entrepreneurial experience is an educational gold mine. Wyatt Ernst says, "This job really feels like a training course to starting your own business," a sentiment echoed by the other three.

Working in a high-tech company is a goal most high school seniors see floating in the distance, after at least four years at college and several internships. Even then, most can't expect the hands-on experiences that are daily facts for the Linkers. "We have an important part in the company," says Christiansen. All four recognize the tremendous opportunity they have at CastleWave. Their work is the company's work.

The weekend in New York overlapped the BYU-Utah game, almost devastating for any sports fan. However, Lewis says that, both for the sightseeing as well as the business experience, "it was completely worth it to see New York." Hit with the small-business bug, these four keep their sights set on big things before, during, and beyond college. "I can see myself living in New York for a bit when I grow up," Lewis explains. "Everyone is in a hurry and no one will meet your eye but I love it."

About Bootstrap Business
Bootstrap Business is a book currently being written by Rich Christiansen and Ron E. Porter of CastleWave, LLC. Rich and Ron teach through thoughtful storytelling what took them years (and millions of dollars) to learn on their own. Bootstrap Business will teach new entrepreneurs how to bootstrap a business starting with only $5,000 and in one year turn it into a million dollars of revenue; how to avoid the big mistakes that kill most small businesses; and how to create a secure financial future while maintaining a balanced lifestyle. The book can be pre-ordered online at, and the authors can be reached by e-mail at, or by calling 801.375.7500.

Today's market might not give a very good view of the bull on Wall Street, but the Linkers are out to change that by using the straight-shooting approaches to small business they learn at CastleWave.

Peter V.Hilton
Bootstrap Business
PO Box 965
Spanish Fork, UT 84660
Company: Bootstrap Business
Contact Name: Peter V.Hilton
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 801-375-7500

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