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Byteing into the tech support industry

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Byteing into the tech support industry

Avery Cooper, Staff Writer

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When you think of a high school business, most people think of bracelet-making or other crafty projects at low prices. The average high schooler wouldn’t think of creating a tech support business that charges $40 an hour. But senior Sam Benoist is not your average high schooler.

“I never really enjoyed working a typical, normal job and I was able to combine two of my passions when I created Sharkbyte; helping others and technology,” Benoist said.

Benoist’s business, Sharkbyte, is not only a tech business that will help you with general computer issues and online identity protection, but he can also teach you how to work different software and devices.

“I searched business name generator, clicked on the first link and typed in ‘byte’ and when it suggested ‘Sharkbyte’ and I thought it sounded cool,” Benoist said.

Starting with just in-home visits, Sharkbyte has evolved into helping assisted living homes and creating contracts with them. Mari De Villa and Sherdian are some of places he has contacts and he does things such as help elderly people with any computer issues to teaching them the basics of modern technology such as Facetime and Alexa. Working with these clients requires more social interaction, which has helped him find new groups to work with.

“I think it’s paid dividends financially and for the sake of networking with industry leaders,” Benoist said.

However, starting a business like this isn’t as easy as just making a website and hoping people contact you.

“Legally I had to apply for an LLC, I had to sign an operating agreement and all that stuff,” Benoist said.

He also had to create a business banking account, and all these expenditures were necessary in order to create a legitimate business. After that, he was able to easily connect with customers since his prices are much lower than big brand tech support companies and still make more than the average high schooler.

“When you think about it, $40 an hour is a lot more than what I would be making if I worked at some other job, so it’s nice,” Benoist said. “Plus, I get to make my own hours.”

Since Benoist is the CEO and founder of the business, he has projected that he will make $25,000 in net profit by next August after expenses.

In regards to employees, Benoist is unsure if he wants to hire workers to help him. He has thought about bringing in one or two people but has begun to question that decision due to legal issues and wages for workers. “I’d be looking for people my age just so I can keep it manageable and not have to go through the legal stuff like payroll service,” Benoist said.

As a senior, Benoist is also looking into his future and his current business is reflective of his future career. His current top choice is to go into the U.S. Naval Academy in order to study cyber operations. With an acceptance rate of 7%, tuition would be $400,000, however the governments cover all costs, making it an amazing opportunity for driven, young adults to excel for free.

”It offers me the opportunity to lead and serve my county as well get the best education for my major,” Benoist said. “I am confident that this work will mold me into the honorable, courageous, and committed man I hope to become.”

If the USNA doesn’t work out, he still plans on majoring in engineering and ultimately go into cybersecurity, as well as pursue a masters in business. “I think cybersecurity is something that has always kind of captivated me,” Benoist said. “I almost see it as a puzzle and I’ve taken online courses to learn more about.”

His family and friends have been incredibly supportive and are proud of his ambition. “They’re happy, they like the entrepreneurial spirit, but my mom sometimes wishes I would just work a regular job,” Benoist said. “But I think she sees the benefit to it.”

Many may think that Benoist’s ambition is something they can’t replicate, but he wants everyone to know that they can do the same thing. “Know there’s gonna be one time someone’s going to tell you it’s not going to work, and since you’re so committed to it, it’s going to crush your dreams,” Benoist said. “But I think that’s the point where if you can get over that, then you’re just about to turn the corner and really spark some imperative growth.” So if you’re looking for someone to fix your printer, teach you how to use Adobe software or design a website, look no further than the local business ‘Sharkbyte’.

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