I am James Swearengin and I am a graphic and web designer. I love learning new things about the world of web design and I try to improve my skills every day.
In August of 1987, I was born in Marietta, Georgia at Kennestone hospital. I am of European and Cherokee descent. My grandmother is full Cherokee, which makes me 1/4 Cherokee.
I lived in Georgia for most of my life until about 2013 when multiple web design jobs didn’t pan out for the long term and I was left unemployed. I relocated to Denver, Colorado for a brief stint and did not like the city or the cold weather, so I decided it was time to move away from the big cities and moved again.
I currently reside in the countryside of Northeast Oklahoma on some land and work from home. After experiencing the freedom of country living, I decided that I’d never live in another big city again.
My first memorable internet experience was when I was about 13 years old. After teaching myself how to make basic websites, I created a skateboarding website called 812 Skateboarding (named after my birthday — super creative, I know) and I recruited a team of skateboarders to post videos, pictures, tricks, reviews and other content on the website.
Once the site started getting more popular, I started emailing any skateboard company I could find on the internet with proposals about placing banner ads on my website. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was already working as an affiliate marketer at the age of 13 by selling advertising space in exchange for free gear such as skateboards, wheels, and clothes. I wrote product reviews when companies sent me gear and I also placed their banners on my website. We released a 30 minute long skate video which garnered a lot of local attention and inspired other teenagers to follow suit by building their own skate crews.
Other than making websites, I’ve had a strong passion for listening to and creating music. I played the baritone in middle school band and didn’t like the conformity of the band, so I quit after a year.
At the end of high school, I installed FL Studio on my computer and started teaching myself how to produce my own music. I learned as much as I could about making beats and eventually used my website skills to create a website and sell my own music. I taught myself how to play guitar and piano to use in my beats.
I primarily used MySpace to market my music by using automated software and pre-written messages. I ended up with over 50,000 MySpace friends to market to and this enabled me to earn several hundred dollars a week on average just from selling my own beats. I sold beats to independent musicians from all around the world. As MySpace died, the beat market became flooded with other producers looking to sell beats, so I eventually moved on.
I operated my own music blog called The Music Tip, and my beat selling website was called Isso Beats. Both of my websites were hacked in 2013 by an unknown hacker from Saudi Arabia because I didn’t keep my WordPress installs up-to-date. I made a major mistake by neglecting the websites because I was working full time at a web agency. My websites being hacked essentially brought my side businesses to a halt. I tried relaunching my beat selling website in 2014 only to come to the conclusion that the beat market is entirely too flooded and that I should just focus primarily on my web skills instead. It was fun while it lasted.
I still make music from time to time for fun, but I’ve changed my alias to Zanderjaz, which is derived from my middle name and my initials. You can check out some of my music at www.soundcloud.com/zanderjaz.