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Meet Keith and Holly Berkley of Berkley Construction, The Black Bass Lodge, Watermelon Books, and Holly Berkley Consulting

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keith and Holly Berkley.

Keith and Holly, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Keith graduated with his MBA from SDSU just in time for the recession, where it was tough to get a job. I was laid off from a digital agency. Rather than either of us going to work for a company we didn’t feel passionate about, we decided to carve out our own paths. Working from a home office, Keith got his General Contractors License and started a construction company. I used my journalism and web design background to write my first book and start a Web Design and Internet Marketing Company.

Since we got married in 1999, we started a lot of side businesses along the way – some not so successful, while others (like our construction and Internet Marketing Company) have endured. But each time a business or project may have failed, it was a learning opportunity – lessons about business and the people who you choose as your partners, that we continued to build on.

Today, we live in South Park. We live in a historical house built in 1911 – we converted the entire upstairs to office space where we run our businesses. Other businesses we own include Watermelon Books – a publishing company and home of Jerk Duck (who was a regular comic in the San Diego Reader), and the newest business (which has actually been one we’ve been working on for 20+ years) The Black Bass Lodge – a private, remote fishing (and foodie!) lodge in Baja.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When the housing market crashed + recession hit (again!) Keith’s construction business took a hit. I think there was a 6 month time, where there was no new business.

When we had 2 boys, less than 2 years apart, I was teaching the new Internet Marketing/Social Media course at SDSU, and publishing my 2nd book. It was too much for me. I had to sell my Internet Marketing Company – Vantage Internet, to my partner to take time to balance everything going on. It was too much. Fortunately, I was able to re-start a new Internet Marketing Company under my name Holly Berkley Consulting where I try to keep things much more simple!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about We are entrepreneurs with 4 San Diego Businesses: Berkley Construction, The Black Bass Lodge, Watermelon Books, Holly Berkley Consulting (Internet Marketing Company) – what should we know?
Berkley Construction – San Diego Construction and General Contracting Company. We specialize in room additions, historical rehab projects, hardscape and concrete projects, custom decks and patios, ductless or mini split air conditioning installs, outdoor kitchens, man-caves, custom wine cellars, restaurant build outs and remodels, commercial tenant improvement, custom fresh and saltwater pond construction, sauna and steam room construction and design and much more.

Holly Berkley Consulting – Holly Berkley combines her professional journalism background with search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) to create relevant, useful content that your target audience is seeking right now. She is also the author of 8 Internet Marketing Books, speaker and guest lecturer at SDSU

Black Bass Lodge – Off-the-grid, Remote fishing lodge in Baja California. Designed for surfers, foodies, adventurers!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
We entertain A LOT. Keith loves to cook. We have an open-door policy, neighbors stop by often. Share stories. We are constantly learning – from our friends as well as clients and business associates.

We also don’t take ourselves too seriously (writing Jerk Duck – based on some really, well Jerky ducks we used to have as pets), I also wrote a book about Backyard Chickens (just for fun) – we have several pet chickens.

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