What I Do
I'm a marketing and sales professional and filmmaker. I have leveraged the Internet to generate revenue since 1998. I first learned how to generate website traffic and convert it into sales as an affiliate marketer. I also thought myself how to hand-code HTML to create web pages, and later learned how to work with web design software. This was the foundation for the rest of my education and training in digital marketing. I also became proficient in SEO, SEM, WordPress, email marketing, sales and marketing copywriting, PPC and generating video-based marketing content.
I had the opportunity to learn how to shoot, edit and manage film projects with several friends that worked professionally in the film industry. Something magical happens when you pull a group of people together to make a film. I have witnessed friends, colleagues and complete strangers working harmoniously as a team, while any friction and challenges we sometimes experience in group endeavors were either non-existent or fell away quickly if ignited. Most everyone loves movies, and for those that get to have a hand in producing one, the rewards can be many.
I believe effective vocational rehabilitation that employ pursuits that focus on creative expression can help individuals find purpose, joy and meaning in their lives, as well as potentially be instrumental in shifting a person's general demeanor and outlook on life in a positive manner.
In 1969, two years after my birth, my parents and I immigrated from Communist Czechoslovakia to the United States. In the 70's and 80's, I spent most of my youth across the Hudson River from Manhattan, in the rough-and-tumble blue-collar havens of Jersey City and Bayonne, New Jersey. I credit my business pursuits that began at age 19 as one of my saving graces. I was too restless for college and perhaps too much of a non-conformist for the military.
In 1987 vertical blinds were all the rave. Housewives were buying them up like hotcakes. My father decided to get into the window covering business with a friend of the family. Not long after my return from a short stint in the military, the partners hired me to install custom blinds and shades, and I soon learned how to also sell them through the company's shop at home service.
Previous to this, at age 16, I earned an hourly wage and commission selling newspaper subscriptions door to door for the Bergen Record in Hackensack, New Jersey. Because of that experience, I possessed the confidence to quickly become proficient at selling window coverings with little training.
Six months after getting hired by my father's fledgling company, I started my own window covering business, at first, on a part-time basis. A year later at age 20, it became a full-time endeavor, and I soon began making more money than I would have with a college degree and a full-time job in corporate America. Being in command of how much money I could earn greatly appealed to me.
I first employed very basic marketing in 1987. I had no budget for advertising, so I created many handwritten flyers with tear-off tabs with my phone number. I posted them near the exit doors of every supermarket within a 20-mile radius. I also did this at hi-rise apartment buildings after figuring out how to get past security personnel. After making a few sales in my new endeavor, I simply mimicked what my father's partner did to generate more business—I ran print ads in the Sunday paper. Back then, the newspaper and the Yellow Pages were the only game in town. There was no Internet the way we know it now. It's much easier to start a new business venture today. Anyone with some savvy and an eagerness to learn can figure out.
Five years after I stopped selling window coverings due to market saturation and a downturn in the economy, I launched a successful pest control company based in Bergen County, New Jersey. That year, I also created one of the first small business websites in the pest control industry. I later leased a warehouse built an eCommerce website that sold rare and vintage foreign films in VHS and DVD formats to retail customers globally. I later sold my share of both ventures to my business partners. Learning how to effectively sell products and services online proved to be very valuable and quite lucrative as well.
Several years later in 2004, I married into the restaurant business and through effective marketing and management enjoyed 10 years of success in what many label the toughest business of them all. My now former wife and I sold our restaurant in 2015. In 2012 we purchased a franchise, the Northern New Jersey edition of Natural Awakenings Magazine, the premiere alternative health publication in America. We published the monthly print and digital magazine for over 7 years.
We sold the magazine franchise in January of 2020, which was a blessing. Distribution of the magazine was dependent on local businesses being open. Through a series of events beginning in April 2020, I decided not to renew my apartment lease, sell my possessions and pack some clothes, computers, printer and several boxes of memorabilia into my car and relocate from New Jersey to coastal Los Angeles county. Not long after my arrival, everything began to disconnect and it was beginning to appear as though I didn't come to LA to stay, but instead to be redirected to a place where I could "deprogram" from the fast, toxic city pace I was accustomed to for many years. I had a dear friend with an vacant house on the coast of Washington State. She suggested that I stay there for a while to regroup. The slower-paced, enchanting environment of the Washington Coast soon began to grow on me and I decided to remain. I stayed for 34 months and came back to Bergen County, New Jersey on June 1, 2023 to continue my life's adventure. Stay tuned!
Jerry Dean Hocek
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