Hi! I’m Cindy Cullen, CEO of Cullen Web Services, which began as a hobby in my Living Room in 2003.
I had been programming computers since 1983 when I got my first Vic 20 computer at Target after dropping out of college.
I was working full time in a hospital mainframe computer room as a computer operator on the midnight shift.
I fell in love with computers and programming and decided to go back to school to get a degree in Computer Science. I graduated in 1989 as the top student in Computer Science that year. I had truly found my passion.
I began my professional career working for the American Chemical Society in Columbus, OH and then moved back home to Nashville, TN to work for General Electric Information Systems. I loved my job as an Application Programmer working in the C language on both the mainframe and then the PC. We moved to C++ and Windows when they became available.
In 1993, I gave birth to my first child, Matthew. I thought I would take my maternity leave and go back to work commuting an hour each way back and forth to Nashville.
Little did I know that a baby would change my life! Matthew was a very sick baby and leaving him in child care to go to work each day was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. (We later found out he had food allergies, but because I was breast feeding, he was having a delayed reaction to fruit, of all things!)
I started dreaming and trying to find a way to work from home. General Electric was good to me and let me work from home a couple of days each week. But, the internet was still in it’s infancy and email was just becoming a ‘thing’. It was difficult, at best.
I took a part time job working on the books for his day care in QuickBooks to bring in some extra cash to start paying off school loans, car loans and other debts. In 1995, my second child, Mason, was born. I had paid off all our debts (except our home loan) and was able to quit my job at GE. It was the second hardest thing I had ever done because I loved that job. My last day at work there was the day Mason was born.
While the boys were young, I taught computer classes at a local high school and at some of the homeschool co-ops in town.
In 1998, my daughter, Mallory, was born and we moved to Princeton, KY soon after. In that same year, I started homeschooling Matthew because of his severe allergies, and because I knew he would be bored in public school. As Mason and Mallory got old enough for school, it was just easier to keep homeschooling. We lived on a 300 acre farm several miles from town.
To keep from going stir crazy, I kept learning new programming languages and this new thing called the World Wide Web. I started building my own websites for fun in 1999 and then started building for friends and family in 2003 as the children got older and homeschooling became easier.
Word spread that I was building websites, so I got more ‘clients’. I also started teaching computer and eBay classes at the local Community College. I started an online web development class and ended up with more clients.
Apparently there are two types of people in the world: 1) those who love to code and 2) those who don’t. I found very few people in between.
Before long, I have 400 people in my online class, many of them homsechool Moms who also wanted to teach their children or start businesses of their own so they could continue staying home with their children.
In 2007, the kids and I moved back to Nashville. And in 2008, I started working for Iostudio, LLC, a local agency, as a backend web developer. I started Cullen Web Services as a part time freelance business on the side.
I learned a lot about web development at Iostudio building some amazing small and large sites. We built sites for Roy Orbison, Kimbro Oil, and the National Guard, among many others. It was invaluable experience that I will always cherish. I worked with some amazing people.
By 2010, I missed being at home full time with the kids and missed being my own boss. I decided to quit the agency and work freelance full time.
I started taking college interns from my alma mater, Austin Peay State University, soon after I started freelancing full time. I love mentoring and teaching young men and women who are just starting their career path in computers! I have hired several of them as contractors after they graduated.
Matthew started to college at the University of Tennessee at Martin with a great scholarship in 2011. Mason started college at the same college in 2012 at the age of 16. Mallory and I moved to Bowling Green, KY soon after.
I met Lizabeth Casada in 2012. She worked as a rural mail carrier for the US Post Office but was tired of the long hours and unbearable working conditions in the hot summers and cold winters. She started learning WordPress from me and quit her job later that same year to work for Cullen Web Services as a web developer.
Lizabeth and I got married in 2015. I not only gained a wife and a web developer, but two more wonderful children, Emily and Brady.
My long time dream was to live in an RV and travel the US. Lucky for me, Lizabeth loved the idea! In 2016, Lizabeth and I gave away most of our belongings and moved into our 30 foot bumper pull travel trailer, hooked it to our white Ford F150 truck and hit the road.
Matthew and Mason both graduated with honors in computer related fields. Matthew now works for Cullen Web Services as a web developer and Mason works as a Computer Scientist in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mallory is my Executive Assistant at Cullen Web Services.
In 2017, Todd Bray, started working for Cullen Web Services as an intern from Austin Peay State University. He was such a great addition to our team that we convinced him to start working for us after he graduated. He has become an awesome web developer working on some of our most difficult websites.
In 2018, Jen Stephens joined our team as an operations manager. She’s a valuable asset in helping to grow our team and keep our clients satisfied.
I consider myself a very lucky woman. We have an amazing team that I am very proud to be a part of. We’ve had other team members come and go over the years who have helped us become what we are today. For them, I am grateful and wish them the best of everything in their journeys.
I still remember those days driving back and forth to work crying my eyes out because I was so torn. I wanted to stay home with my baby, but also loved my job. I wanted so bad to be able to work from home and read every book available to help me figure out a way to do so. I vowed then that if I ever figured it out, I would help other women who wanted to work from home.
We have helped many women over the years to build their websites and their businesses so that they could work from home. We are now teaching many women how to start their own freelance businesses or other online businesses so that they can also live their dreams. I hope that we can help you too!
I’m excited to see what the future holds for our team, our students, and our clients!