Business freshman Brennen Bliss created websites as a simple hobby in middle school. Now, his hobby has expanded into a company geared toward increasing sales for small businesses.
Bliss is the founder and CEO of the media company PixelCutLabs and works 40 to 80 hours per week on his business while also attending UT as a full-time student. The company specializes in search engine optimization, or SEO, a method used to make businesses seem more relevant on a web search.
Bliss said he was bullied a lot in middle school, and after spending lunch alone every day, he started making websites.
“I made one for my mom’s company … I made one for her friend’s company and kept doing that,” Bliss said. “Then I learned how to do SEO. About four months later, anytime a business … searched ‘web-design companies in Dallas,’ we came up first. So, one little kid in his bedroom did what a big agency can’t do on their best day.”
Businesses use SEOs in an effort to show up first on Google. They “optimize” a company’s visibility online, increasing the likelihood it will be clicked on by potential customers, which in turn, heightens sales.
Madison Gilcrease, an integrated masters in professional accounting senior, said she learned about SEO in her marketing class and that it is important for a business to use.
“If people are searching for something, you want (your company) to seem relevant to your industry,” Gilgrease said. “You want to come up on the first page so that you’re visible to customers, so you can help your business grow and meet their objectives.”
Marketing junior Jaina Shah said it is impressive that Bliss is managing a company while also being a UT student.
“Even though he is just a freshman, it shows how many opportunities we have at UT,” Shah said. “I know there are a lot of colleges, especially smaller schools, (that) don’t give that chance to do anything outside of school, so the fact that he’s able to do that at such a young age … is really cool.”
Bliss said he started working on SEO simply to make money, and he never expected to create a company such as PixelCutLabs.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Bliss said. “I have more businesses that I’m feeding, I have more businesses who I’m helping grow, I have more people relying on me to deliver. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”