After recently tying the knot, Craig and Joy Yerly found themselves buried in their cumulative college loan debt. Wanting to get out from under the monthly payments so they could start a family, the two began brainstorming creative ways to curb spending while boosting their income.
After deciding to make some sacrifices a year ago, the two can now say they hacked away a majority of their debt. But the path back to black meant trading in Craig's car for a black and blue mountain bike.
Fortunately for Craig he and his wife live in Carol Stream along the Prairie Path, about a mile from where he works. While pedaling his way to work his own wheels began to spin, thinking of all the ways he could utilize his new mode of transportation as a source of income. As an advertising and marketing major from Illinois State University, the more miles he logged the more he began to hone his new business plan.
"It was just a creative way to get out of debt and it snowballed into a small side business," said Craig.
The idea? Attaching advertising to his bicycle, and the idea came just in time for summer. Craig was looking to start a new side project, a part from his father's company where he works. Having studied advertising he knew he was onto something unique and aptly named the company Spoke-N-Ads.
"It's doesn't take a huge budget, it takes big ideas," said Craig.
Pedaling throughout downtown Glen Ellyn and Wheaton on his black and blue mountain bike, Craig began attaching advertising for small businesses in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. He's seen success because he says it's all about creating big ideas for small businesses with typically small marketing budgets.
Craig admits he was never the guy to dress up for Halloween but determined to make his clients happy, he gladly got into character on his bike to lure more eyes his way. During Glenbard West home football games he donned a helmet and clutched a football, catching the eyes of bystanders who were quick to smile at his clever business idea. Although he says it embarasses his wife at times, they've knocked out $35,000 of their school loan debt and could be debt free by June.
"It's been a sacrifice, I've been caught in the rain but the fun of it is that a small business, which is kind of a passion of mine of advertising and marketing, blossomed from it."