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From a very young age I witnessed my parents strive to create their businesses so they could work for themselves. My father badly wanted to stop dragging others luggage up and down Miami International Airport as a Skycap; and my mom wanted out of the corporate job that left her unhappy and unfulfilled. They went on to succesfully open a local grocery store and a tax preparation business respectively. Witnessing my parents quit their jobs multiple times and become the masters of their financial destinies has only made being an entrepreneur more alluring and manageable for me.

Garnering a top notch education and then becoming an entrepreneur is something I’ve been planning for from a young age. Silicon Valley is the home of the best entrepreneurs in my lifetime so moving here has been in my sights for a while. And I finally acted upon it in September of 2010. I am now working relentlessly to network and educate myself about the technology community here in Silicon Valley which has been quite manageable. Within two weeks of arriving here, I attended over eight networking events and parties with the likes of Keith Rabois, Mike Arrington, John Doerr, and countless other high profile internet executives.

It is through the same type of networking events that I met Arrel Gray and Edward Robertshaw, with whom I am starting Central.ly here in San Francisco. It took five months and a couple of failed efforts to get Central.ly started and we were lucky to form the ideal hacker, hustler, designer trio.

With Central.ly we are giving small business owners the things they all need, an easy to build beautiful website to share their brand with their customers. We are taking a leap further than the traditional website builder —  to allow small businesses to discover the best web tools that integrate into their website — and the best offline services to help their businesses.

Between Arrel, Ed, and I we either come from small business owning families or have designed web tools specific to small business owners. With that experience, we are very familiar with the needs and pain points of small business owners which is why we are excited about the opportunity to build Central.ly.

If you know anyone with a small business or you own one, make sure to visit Central.ly for your business so we can make your marketing efforts easier.

Chris Bennett is the CEO and co-founder of Central.ly, a co-founder of Black Founders, and a member of the NewMe Accelerator. He will be blogging about his experiences in Silicon Valley for the next month to share what he is learning out in the Wild Wild West.

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