Why Business owners should be ADA compliant, with Tony Caggiano

Why Business Owners should be ADA Compliant, with Tony Caggiano

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Jake Anderson 0:54
Alright, we are back for yet another episode here on the introspective Podcast. I am your host Jake Anderson here to bring that daily deep dive to help you shift that perspective towards your next breakthrough moment. And today we are going to take a little trip through the entrepreneur journey, talking about the power of giving back and how that can play to your advantage in business, building lasting relationships, and even how you can make the internet accessible to people of all abilities. And to join me in this discussion. I have my good friend Tony Caggiano here to join us in this jam session of awesomeness. Tony is someone you need to have in your network. He is a 30 plus year technology industry veteran and serial entrepreneur who's built several businesses over the past 30 years. Many knows Tony as the ADA comply guy where today he combines his passion for business with philanthropy. I can't say that word I can ever say that word philanthropy to help communicate to help communicate. Yeah, see it already screwed me up here. I've messed up my my intro with that one word, but we're gonna keep rolling with it because he is here to help communities grow stronger by educating businesses of all sizes on how to reach more customers and make more sales by helping them come ADA compliant with an accessible website. With his easy to use and affordable software. Tony is also a fellow podcaster and as the host of his weekly podcast, the entrepreneur journey, where he speaks with other entrepreneurs about their journey, the lessons learned and the obstacles they overcame to find their path to success. Let's give a round of applause for today's special guest Tony Caggiano Whoo. To put the sound effects in there, Tony, how he doing today? Brother?

Tony Caggiano 2:47
be here. Thank you for having me.

Jake Anderson 2:49
Awesome. Awesome. It's good to see you, man. And I'm so happy to have you on the show. And that we were able to get together. And you know, talk about all the things that you've done, I, I find just your whole experience in business to be really fascinating. Because every time I speak with you, I feel like that there's like some business that you were involved in, that I'd never even heard of before. So let's just kind of start there. Like, tell me about like, you've been in business and entrepreneurship for 30 years. So like, let's hear it like what were some of your business ventures? What were some of the lessons you learn through those experiences and like, and we'll we'll get into where you're at today with ADA compliance, but I've just I think your journey is really interesting. So I'd love to bring that to the show.

Tony Caggiano 3:31
Sure, sure. Yeah, I started early on, I was I was a young tyke, when I first started doing, you know, whatever I could to make money. You know, I grew up in a middle class family. But you know, there wasn't an abundance of money for me to be able to do a lot of the things that some of my other friends were able to do. My dad was, you know, a hard working middle class, meat cutter. And so, you know, he was, you know, doing the best he could for us, and my mom was a teacher. So we had what we needed, but all the extra things I just, I learned in a young age, that if I really wanted them, then it was up to me. So I became very motivated to do whatever I could as soon as I could at a young age. And so, you know, my first business, you know, was cutting grass, you know, I would just go to my neighbor's houses and say, Hey, you know, do you need your grass cut, and it started with one and two. And pretty soon before I knew it, and my first summer doing I think I was like 12 years old and my dad used to give me rides to people's houses and I use their lawn mowers to just go cut their grass, and that really got the ball rolling for me. And, you know, through the years when I was in high school, I used to buy used four wheelers and fix them up and I've used them for a while and then I'd sell them for more and buy another one. And you know, I did that with motorcycles. And I didn't know how to do mechanics. I just figured it out. You know, I just I would ask questions. There was no YouTube or anything like that. I'd buy a book at the at the bookstore. And then that kind of led into my first big business was actually my DJ business. Because when I was going off to college, I didn't want to have a regular job where I was making minimum wage and, you know, working my butt off and studying and, you know, just getting by, I kind of fell into DJing because I loved music. And I had a friend whose dad owned a roller skating rink and I started hanging out with him in the DJ booth one night. And he's like, Hey, you want to try it? I was like, sure, you know. And so he taught me the ropes. And he had he had a mobile DJ business. He's like, Hey, I can't make this gig. You know, tomorrow night, can you take my equipment and go do it? I was like, Sure. So I've never backed down from a challenge. I've always tried to say, Okay, I don't know what I'm doing. But I'm gonna go try it anyway. And I used to use the phrase fake it to make it but I as I got older, I really didn't like that. Because, you know, I wanted to be genuine. And I wanted to do you know what I could do, but learn from it as well. So I really didn't want to fake it, I wanted to be genuine and do what I knew I could do and say, This is what I can do. But, you know, but get better at the same time. So, you know, I went into I had my DJ business for about 22 years, and I retired, you know, right before we moved from Massachusetts, down to Rhode Island when my kids were younger. So I did that on the weekends. And in the meantime, I had some other businesses like I had my own IT company, which I ran for about 15 years. And I grew that from building computers as a hobby all the way to a regional managed services provider in New England. And so that kind of transitioned into us moving down to Rhode Island to around to North Carolina. And, you know, when we did that, we had an opportunity to buy of all things a drop in childcare center. And so, you know, I was working full time and my wife was a stay at home mom, and our kids were still, you know, kind of young, but they went to this drop in daycare center all the time, because we use them. And so it was the perfect opportunity for my wife to own something and run and manage something. And you know, with our kids there as well, because they were there all the time anyway. And so, so we purchased a of all things a daycare center. And crazy enough, I did have experience owning, not owning, but being around daycare centers, because my mom had one in our house when I was really young. So it kind of just fit. And one other thing, and I have several, but one of my other big ones is I used to invest in real estate and flip houses, as well, for many years when I was up in Massachusetts. And that was that was the biggest one. That's where I made, you know, my first couple million dollars, but then when the bubble hit, I kind of lost that as well. So the cool thing is, they always say making your first million is the easiest. And then, you know, the rest comes easier. So I was like, Okay, I lost all this money. So I already made my first million The next is going to be much easier. But I haven't found that to be true yet. But it's getting there.

Jake Anderson 7:54
Wow. So real estate daycare center DJing it man like that is that is some serious diversity in your experience in business, which is amazing. Because, you know, each one of those businesses gave you a gift and helped you innovate to to that next level to the next one to the next one. And, and I can tell I mean, I it's funny, you're telling me the story about how you got into DJing because I used to DJ was very short. It wasn't 22 years, it was more like, gosh, it was probably a year. I think it was something like that. I actually I didn't enjoy it very much. At first, it was awesome. And then I which is actually kind of what's the word? It's a little ironic that I'm in podcasting because that was one of the things that I was so afraid of is a DJ was speaking through a microphone in front of people. And that's why I didn't like him. I guess it was like the whole wedding thing because he's like messing up somebody's name was just a nightmare.

Tony Caggiano 8:51
Oh, that was probably the biggest stressful part of being because the week before I did a wedding, and especially if I had two weddings on a weekend I was learning, you know, the whole all the names phonetically for the whole wedding party. Yeah. And then if I did two of them, I was learning two sets of them. So I had to make sure I kept them apart. And the great stories.

Jake Anderson 9:13
Yeah, it was just that and just I don't know, there was something about it. Like that whole part of it was was kind of stressful. But you know, it definitely you learn something I want to ask you because I know your experience you come from a lot of it is from the brick and mortar side of things right with like DJing and it and, and just this whole journey and now you're online and which is really similar to my journey as well, because I was in the lighting and special events and everything was brick and mortar. And one thing that I've really noticed about you specifically just as something that really stands out is that you're really into the relationships and the human connection and like building those relationships and I find that to be a common trait among people who is Especially people who've come from that brick and mortar space. But like, what are some of the things like having a business in brick and mortar, that you've really learned that you feel like is giving you, I guess, in a way kind of an edge, I feel like in the online space, because I think you do kind of get a little bit of an edge when it comes to that local business, like being right there within the market, physically within the market that's just different than when you're online. And you're not that you're not physically in that market. So what are some of the lessons that you learn from brick and mortar that you feel like it really giving you some some strong value and skill? And just, I guess, the edge and what you're what you're doing today online? Yeah,

Tony Caggiano 10:42
I think, you know, all the years, because, you know, the online world wasn't around early on for me when I was in my 20s and 30s. When, you know, I did run my brick and mortar businesses. So I was always going to networking events and meeting with people one on one, but in, you know, in, in in larger groups, so that way you can kind of do what we're doing online, but in a physical sense, getting in a room with 4050 people getting to know them on a weekly basis at these meetings. I was involved in in DNI, which is business network international for about 15 years. And that was one of the best things that I ever did. And I learned how to network, it wasn't in the beginning, it was just like, Hey, I'm Tony, here's my business card, you know, do you want, you want to buy a computer or something like that. But as I went, as I evolved, you know, in my career and learning, not only my own craft, but learning how to network and build relationships, and leverage those relationships, because, you know, building the relationship wasn't just a one on one, it was really a one to many, because everybody in business that is doing networking usually has a sphere of influence of about 200 people. And that's what that's what the number was back then. Now we have the internet, I'm sure that sphere of influence has grown, you know, dramatically. Oh, yeah. So when you're building this relationship with people, and you can show them, you know, and, and create a, you know, business bond, which I like to call it, you know, that you know, you can be they'll, you'll be there for them whenever they need you, you know, and whether you sell directly to them or not, they're going to think of you when they're talking to either a client of theirs, or a friend of theirs, or whenever something comes up, and you think of, you know, back then it was computers, every time somebody mentioned the word computer, they would think of my name because I built that trust and bond with them that they would be like, Hey, you got to talk to Tony, you can trust him. I can vouch for him, you know, and that's it. And so I've taken that into the digital realm. And that's what I started doing early on. Because, you know, I know you and I met right before funnel hacking live, yes, last year, because I started getting online and trying to find people in the same, you know, group of people of where I was going, and it just so happened that, you know, the clickfunnels community, the funnel, hacking live community is a very giving community and a very close knit community. And, you know, you and I started watching your early lives that used to do and I immediately connected to him, because you were doing by being a dad and such. I'm like, this is a guy I'd like to get to know. And as I got to know, you is really, we created that relationship. And here we are over a year later. And I consider you as one of my inner circle the people that I can call or connect with, you know, any day of the week and be like, hey, Jake, I need help with this. Or hey, Jake, I saw that you're doing this Can I help you? Yeah. So it's a real connection that I've built over the years.

Jake Anderson 13:39
Yeah, I agree. I mean, the thing about like, when you're and this is something as you're talking, I'm like thinking about the 200 people, right? Like you're saying there's like the sphere of influence of 200 people and, and then you start thinking about like, the inner circle, sphere of influence. It's almost like it's this, you know, I think of like the earth's core, where you've got like, the different layers of of earth that goes all the way down to the core here. And what's really fascinating about it, and not just fascinating, but something I think that a lot of us should shit on this question sometimes is thinking about who is in that sphere of influence, because there's only so much space, right? Like think about like the people that you're going to really bond with. And when I say bond, I mean not like hey, we get along well, but like truly like take intentional action to to have that relationship and actually create that bond, you only have so much time and energy to spend, you know, in that, that effort. So, right so like what like when it comes to like that inner circle, like what are things that you look for in a relationship specifically like that, that makes it go You know what, that somebody that I feel like is worth, you know, worth it from the standpoint of the mutual exchange to have that relationship. Ship where they're going to be at the core, like, they're going to be closer to that core to me. And, and that's the kind of relationship that I'm looking for.

Tony Caggiano 15:09
Um, for me, I think, you know, it takes time to really, to see what it is that I'm looking to, you know, connect with people, but like mindedness and you know, Jen, I don't know if it's a word genuine ality here, you know, being genuine. Yeah, if you're gonna do what you say you're gonna do, or are you just gonna say, Oh, yeah, I'll do that, or, you know, yeah, I'll do I'll, you know, join the group or whatever it is, you know, and see how the follow through is. And sometimes, you know, it's just a matter of time, or once in a while, somebody might not be able to do something, they say, but if they continue to do that, or, you know, they're just saying things just to say them, you can genuinely tell, within a certain amount of time, whether they're really genuine or not. And, you know, it's not that I dislike people for that, it's just that, like you said, there are only so many people you can really have in your inner circle, and that you can really connect with, and they may, they may connect with somebody else, they just may not connect with me personally. And that's, like you said, you know, it's important to know who you have in your inner circle, because those are the type of people that, you know, you can, you know, rely on when you really need them. So, it's, um, you know, I think, and I've met people like that, that I thought were, hey, this this guy's really cool is really giving in the beginning, and then it gets to the point where it's like, take take, take, take take, you know, for me, I'm just the type of person I like to give all the time, I have a hard time receiving or taking, but, you know, I know, that has to happen for reciprocity, but you know, it's, it's something that I try to make sure that, you know, if you don't fall into that criteria for my inner circle, I still want to be connected with you just in a different way.

Jake Anderson 16:57
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And you start seeing this patterns too, right? Like with people in their, in their behavior, it's like, you start off and it's like, okay, maybe this is a facade. And, and maybe it's not, maybe it's really who they are, then over time, you know, the truth always comes out about anybody that you're connected with, if you spend enough time with them, I think it's important to kind of pay attention to patterns of behavior. And, you know, as somebody cuz, like, I think to be genuine is to be consistent. Like, if you're consistent with who you are, that means you're always genuine, because it's hard to be fake all the time, consistently. Right.

Tony Caggiano 17:34
And it may just be that they're, you know, I've seen a lot of people in this space, where they're trying new things to figure out where they belong, and it just may be that they're in that part of their journey, where they're still learning. And they just, I just don't connect with them personally. But there's still there are a lot of great people out there that are still learning how to navigate this whole digital world, and what are the rules and what's the right way to do it, and whatnot, and it's not that they're bad people, they just may not connect with me now, and but maybe later on when, you know, I've evolved a lot in the past year and a half, and I've seen a lot of other people evolve. And so it may be that, you know, we'll connect again, you know, down the road, or, hey, I may be able to help them by introducing them to somebody or, you know, maybe one of my lives will just say something else sparked them to figure something out. So it's not about you know, outing people it's about just finding the right people for your inner circle now and then keeping you know, a large network of people available for different things as well.

Jake Anderson 18:34
Yeah, I can think of some times where I've like broken one of those unspoken rules of an oven industry. I got there was a time when I first got started share a little story when I first got started in business a friend of mine gave me this like huge directory of all these event planners all over the country. He's like, yeah, I hear you know, since here's directors names and email addresses on my Alright, cool. And I sent out I mean, it's really spammy email. That was all it was all of the ones like asking for business. And I didn't be I didn't blind copy anybody. I put them all into two. And it was like 107 email addresses and I sent it out. And, and I have never been cussed out so much in my life. I mean, these people probably thought I was just a scum of the earth. And, but it's just like, I didn't know I didn't know any better. I didn't even know what the purpose of the BCC was. I thought it was just some weird tech thing that we just ignored. And I just didn't I didn't really think about like, it's like, oh, I thought this is how you're supposed to get business and this is how you do sales. And this is how you market and so I do think I think you're right man like and I think that's really important for people to think about whenever, whenever you like, see somebody and they're not really they don't really have it together. Maybe they're doing some things that come off the wrong way. We all know how how Facebook Messenger can get a little slimy sometimes and and sometimes I think like and I've actually had conversations with people. It's like sometimes I think that they just have been maybe led the wrong way, or they're just not thinking about it clearly, and they're just making one of those. Those mistakes, you know, early on that that we all do. You know, we all I think we all we've all been there at some point. Yeah,

Tony Caggiano 20:18
I've seen them come through mine as well. And I don't, you know, some people are like, Oh, yeah, I've just blocked them or whatever, I usually respond to them and say, Hey, you know, I really appreciate you trying to reach out to me, you know, and try to guide them along, you know, something that I learned about messenger when I first started is, you know, you don't try to sell directly right away. And, you know, if you're going to go on a date, you don't ask them to marry you, your first date, you know, get to know them, try to build that relationship. And I usually say, tell me a little bit about you tell me, and in the entrepreneurial journey, in my facebook group, I usually tell people, post about yourself, but don't sell to one another. Right? Tell me about who you are, post, you know, a live video and tell us about yourself. Because I want to know about you, I want other people to know who you are, you know, but don't try to sell us right away. So you know, sell me you not your product. That's Yeah, right, and tell them

Jake Anderson 21:11
and that's, you know, that's the best way to do it. I've done that before, too. It's like, it is easy to just immediately go and hit the block button, but or you could turn it into a learning experience for them. Exactly.

Tony Caggiano 21:22
Yeah. And and, and if they don't learn from it, then you know, that's, that's, that's their ball in their court, you know, they have to take that and do what they want. But, you know, if I can do something to help somebody, every chance I get throughout the day, whether I'm on a phone call or whatever, I'm always looking at ways that I can give some kind of knowledge and help others in some way or

Jake Anderson 21:44
another. Oh, absolutely. It's a beautiful way of approaching just relationships and people and, and it doesn't have to always be nasty, you don't have to hang up on everybody, you know, just having conversation or at least giving them you know, I've done that before where, you know, somebody sent sent me that message is very spammy, and kind of nothing but sales. And I've and I've replied with, hey, you know, just just as an FYI, this isn't, you know, this, I'm just letting you know how this comes across. And I just kind of gave an explanation. And it ended up being this, they responded very positively. And they were very grateful. And they said, Thank you. And it was in in a turning into this really amazing conversation. And we're still Facebook friends, just one specific person. And you know what, maybe maybe he didn't, maybe he stopped, maybe you stopped doing it, maybe it was, that was enough, nobody had actually taken the time to say, Hey, I don't know if you got the memo or not. But this is actually stuff that people don't like, I don't know, you don't need to do this, we probably shouldn't do this anymore. And you end up turning around in a beautiful relationship can come from that, you know, just being honest, and being upfront and being positive and being professional. Yeah.

Tony Caggiano 22:59
So a quick little story on that, you know, it didn't turn into a long term relationship. But I actually did that to a scammer, you know, the other scam calls that they call you and say, Hey, you know, you know, you have to do this to your computer, and you know, one of those crazy computer calls that your computer's broken, and I just I just said to him, I said, Hey, buddy, I know that this isn't real. I know that you're being hired to try to scam me. And at first he was all, you know, No, I'm not. No, I'm not. But you know, I just talked to I said, Is this really what you want to do? There are better ways, you know, to to help people instead of trying to scam them. By the end of the call. He's like, you're right, this is a scam, I gotta go.

Jake Anderson 23:45
At least he admitted to it.

Tony Caggiano 23:49
Maybe it broke through a little bit there. And maybe, you know, he'll go on and make a different choice for his life. And, you know, he was a great salesman, he could probably do some really good with what he was right?

Jake Anderson 24:00
Right. You know, that's, like when I see these people who are computer hackers, I'm like, you're so smart. Like computers? Why Why just not go use it for something good and positive. Why do you got to hack somebody's computer and, and mess up people's lives? I mean, just use that for something good. And it blows my mind. But it you know, that's the world we live in, sometimes with the internet and everything's global, you're going to have that. And, and I think, you know, I think this is a great segue into talking about what you're doing now, you know, because we are on like, everybody's online, you know, and everybody has some sort of a web presence. But there's this thing that I think like, especially, you know, for myself, and I can speak for myself because, you know, I don't you know, I've got two good eyes, I've got ears like I don't have any kind of a disability. So it's it's nothing for me to go online and go to the website and get the information I need. But that's the thing like the world we live in today is It's, it is critical to have this tool to be able to go on to Google to go on these networks and be able to participate. But there are people out there with disabilities that don't, that that need, I guess, some some things and some tools. And this is really where you come in, and you're in your journey. And what you're doing now is helping people of all abilities have the accessibility to these tools and things that we have online. So tell me a little bit more about what you're doing with Ada comply guy, and ADA compliance and helping in this mission?

Tony Caggiano 25:37
Yeah, so so just to start off, I want people to realize that, you know, there are so many people that you know, today that have disabilities that are invisible, you know, there are people who are colorblind, that they're not going to just say, Hey, I'm colorblind. I know, there are people with, you know, seeing, you know, disabilities, auditory disabilities, physical disabilities, and even a lot of the aging popularity in the population. You know, they didn't always, you know, have the vision that they have today. And so maybe as you get older, you know, you may be healthy today, but who knows what may happen tomorrow, you know, God forbid something were to happen. And, you know, a an accident may cause a disability, there are so many people in this world that need a little extra assistance with different with living. And one of the big things these days is the internet. And the statistic is almost one quarter of the population of internet users worldwide have some kind of disability that hinders their use of websites, one one quarter, almost one quarter. Yeah, really. Yes. So it's huge, is a huge population, I was gonna say humongous, but I said that is

Jake Anderson 26:51
that isn't I didn't realize it was that much, it's 25 percents a big, that's a big chunk.

Tony Caggiano 26:56
So right off the bat, if you are, you know, marketing your business, and you know, somebody comes to your website from, you know, your, your ad or whatnot, and they can't use your website, it's like having a brick and mortar business with a big sign up front that says, your businesses and welcome here. Because if they're going to go to your website, and they can't use it, then they're going to go somewhere else. And if there's no other no government, there's no other website that says the same service that you do, they can't go to your competitor, because they don't have it. Because right now, less than 2% of the entire internet has accessible websites available. So that's where this mission of mine came about. You know, being in the IT industry for many years, I was aware of, you know, the ABA and web accessibility years ago, but I just thought the internet is still in its infancy. And, you know, there are people that are making ABA websites, and you know, it's not a huge need, but you know, I do have a son on the autism spectrum. And over the years, he's had some learning issues that we've been able to, you know, help him with along the way and get him the right tools. And one of the things that he relies on today, even you know, he's been able to, you know, do well in regular ed classrooms, but he still gets some accommodations, like, he's able to have things read to him. And one of the big things, you know, in our tools, and we'll get to that is a screen reader. So when he's looking at a website, if it's really long, and he, he comprehends things better that read to him, so he could use a screen reader to have the screen read to him. And then he can, you know, comprehend what's being read to him better than reading it. And then thinking about it, and then understanding it. So those are the types of things that we really, My mission is to make people aware of, you know, the large, disabled community, as well as the need to make the internet more accessible utilizing tools like my ADA compliant guy software, but also, in addition to the software, other services, you know, like, adding alternate text for describing pictures on a website, as well as closed captioning, which a lot of people are familiar with putting words to videos and such. So there's a lot that goes into having an accessible website along with one that's compliant with the ADA here in the US, there are certain factors that need to be met. And so, you know, when I, when I realized that this was an opportunity, and I, you know, an opportunity just opened itself up to me running into a developer that I was talking to in my journey. He was creating the software and I said, Hey, you know, that is a mission that I would really like to be involved with, because, you know, being involved in different types of philanthropy over the years, you know, I would always give back, you know, having a business that I would help my customers within, you know, using some of my profits or giving some of my time to give back and help others, where this opportunity was a win win win situation for all parties involved. Not only am I an advocate now for the disabled community, making more people aware of accessibility on websites is necessary. But I'm helping the business owner become accessible and protecting themselves against Ada lawsuits as well. So on both sides, you know, you have the disabled community winning because we're helping make the internet accessible and, and on the other side, I'm helping the business owner, grow their business utilizing these tools and ADA accessibility as well. So,

Jake Anderson 30:24
so 98% of websites don't have it. Correct. And 25% of the users online need it.

Tony Caggiano 30:32
And that's, that relates into, in the US alone with an average of 330 million people in the US, you know, about 20 to 25% of those can't use the internet. And that's just in the US. So it's a huge multi billion dollar market that people are missing out on. And, you know, people with disabilities are having a hard time really utilizing the web with all that has available to it.

Jake Anderson 30:59
Yeah, that's amazing. There's the disparity in those two ratios just blows my mind that it's that large of a gap that hasn't been filled. So well, kudos to you for recognizing that and having that heart of gold to like, really want to go in and, and you're right, it is something that you are giving back, you are also taking this mission to a place where you can build a real business around, you're able to give back, there's just so many winds that kind of orbit around this whole mission. So it's really cool that you found that or it found you It sounds like and

Tony Caggiano 31:35
it it really did you know when I when it, it came about, you know, and I can talk for hours about it. But you know, when 2020 hit and COVID, you know, shut down everything. I was actually working on a fundraising app for our local schools. Yeah, I put together an app to connect local businesses with schools and kind of a coupon digital coupon fundraising app. But when the school started shutting down, and nobody was going to restaurants or local businesses, I was like, Okay, I have to shelf this. But I had been in touch with a developer to help me with the, with the app and found that, you know, he was working on this project. And I said, you know, what, my shelf this and this opportunity, staring me right in the face, I have to do something and see if I can, I can do something. And it just turned out that this was the time to make that move. So

Jake Anderson 32:26
So let's talk about ADA compliance. And because I know the people listening right now, business owners or entrepreneurs, and they're thinking to themselves like, Okay, I understand, you know, the, I understand to a degree, like, what are how this is serving, right? There's a lot of people out there who need, you know, this ADA, accessibility, this compliance, the burden of compliance, let's just call accessibility to ADA accessibility. Yep. To be able to, you know, actually experience you know, the places online that they are that they are visiting the way they should the way they can. But as the business owner, like, what are some of the benefits? Or like, why would a business owner take the time and money to make their site and their digital presence ADA compliant?

Tony Caggiano 33:21
The benefits for the business are, there's a number of them, I mean, the main one being is, you know, they're going to be now being able to reach a lot more customers, because, again, we just talked about it right now, almost 25% of internet users can't use their website. So that's a huge chunk right there. But also, when you do all the steps that are necessary, like our software provides tools that you know, will allow people to change contrasts to black and white to high contrast, highlight links, screen readers, magnify things, there's, there's about 15 or so tools that we have in the software right now that can help people dynamically adjust their website on the fly so that they can use it. But when you go the step further, and one of the services that we offer is to help you put in alternate text, which means, you know, if you would hover over a picture, it would actually either read it to you and say this picture is of a woman in a green bathing suit. And then this one is woman in a red bathing suit or something like that. So people would be able to understand what those pictures are. If somebody is, you know, legally blind or fully blind, then that would help them a lot. So when you put an alternate text, it helps your website SEO better with Google. So not only now, are you going to be able to reach more people in the disabled community, but you're going to be reaching more people all over the internet, because if they go to do a Google search, you're going to rank much higher. So that in itself is a quick way to help your SEO ranking and reach more customers. But you know, you're also You're gonna stand out as being a pioneer of somebody, you know, business that wants to do business ethically, and help others. And then, you know, I mean, the list goes on. I mean, there's and there's a huge tax credit as well. So, you know, not only is our services relatively inexpensive, you know, they come up to about $1 a day, you know, to do all this to reach more customers to build your business. But there are also, you know, large tax credits that are available to help pay for these, these types of services as well. So the government wants to help people become accessible, and help their businesses add accessibility tools to their business by offering these tax credits that a lot of people don't even know about. So, you know, that's one of the things I'm trying to bring to light is, Hey, this is an actual opportunity for tax credit that you have available. And you can also it's like the government helping you pay for part of your marketing, you know, budget, it really is because you're going to be able to reach more people and let the government pay back. And then lastly, you know, with ADA compliance being more and more prevalent over the past four or five years, there are more and more lawsuits actually being brought against businesses all over the country. You know, they started out with the larger businesses, the very first one being Winn Dixie, which is a supermarket down in the south, that in a court of law, the judge deemed that they needed to adjust their website to help a gentleman who was, you know, legally blind be able to utilize their site. And so that started a wave of things going through companies like Home Depot and chick fil a and Domino's, even Beyonce, and Kylie Jenner, and Hooters. And, you know, there's a whole list of the large corporations that went through this, but they were able to say, Okay, yeah, we can pay a $50,000 fine, which is actually the average fine for all sizes of businesses getting sued. They're like, Okay, well, we have a web staff guys go fix all this stuff. They went and they fixed it statically. And I can go into a little bit about what the difference between statically and dynamically adjusting your website to be compliant as, but then they started going after all the small to medium sized businesses, and really putting, putting them in a tough spot, because small businesses don't have a large budget to pay an attorney to go to court to, you know, to fight for them against us. And even if you did win, you know, even if you lost you did when you have all these legal fees, but you also have the fines that come along with it. And if you don't fix it, you can get sued multiple times. So those are the things that are happening that I'm trying to make people aware of. And last year, there were about 11,000 lawsuits that were filed, compared to the year before, which were about 3500. So every year, more and more companies are being hit with with more and more lawsuits. So that's why I'm trying to really I think 2021 is going to be the year where a lot of people are going to hear more and more about this, and hopefully do something about it as well, you know, for $1 a

Jake Anderson 38:09
day, I think it's worth it to, to not have to go through something like that, exactly, in the trend from 3500 to 11,000 a year shows you that when attorneys find opportunity to sue and make money they they go forth. And so clearly they have the pattern, the pattern speaks for itself, right. I mean, among the other things, I mean, it's it's, um, thank you for for going through those because it's important for people understand as the business owner, you know, we understand the ethical side of it right and doing the deed that you should do and making it accessible for everybody is super important too. But also, understanding this from a business standpoint, I think is also important to understand. And I think you did a really good job of explaining that very clearly. One, one thing I want to ask you, and I'm glad you brought up the alt text, because I'm in the process of building out my website, and I am using is a platform that's built on WordPress, and I would I would upload a photo. And then I saw all these little fields that I had to fill in one of them was all tax. And I'm just filling them all in. I'm just like, I'm gonna fill them all in. I'm gonna take that little extra step because I feel like by doing this, and I was thinking about it, mainly from an SEO standpoint, like I think this is probably going to help me with SEO in some way. Yeah, but I didn't really like when I saw alt text I didn't really I just like labeled the photo just described it, basically. And that's that's what you're supposed to do when you see that alt text is just describe the image. So is there anything like else that like anybody because I think in this day of time, especially with the platforms that we have, a lot of people are using, what am I trying to say they're there, they're able to build their own sites using they don't have to you don't have to it's not The days of having no HTML and CSS, you know, we don't have to worry about that anymore. So you got a lot of people doing their own sites. But is there anything else that people might need to be aware of as they're building their sites, like things like alt text, is there anything else that they should consider when, when building their site to make it compliant and front end accessibility?

Tony Caggiano 40:20
Well, if they want to go through the steps themselves, and there are quite a few of them, of making your site, you know, if you're looking when you're building your site, if you're using WordPress, or some other platform that allows you to customize things in in this way, then there is a list put together that the guidelines from the WCAG, and the WCAG is the worldwide Consortium for accessible web design. And that is the standard that the ADA uses for their standards of being compliant. And a lot of other countries also have their own governing bodies around accessibility. And they also go by the WCAG. So it's a long list of things to make your website statically accessible to people, like making sure your colors are certain, you know, shades and contrasts and making sure there's no links that are, you know, not accessible. And, you know, not a lot of blinking text for people with epilepsy, and just a whole list of different things, including closed captioning. And some of those things you can build. If you're using WordPress, or even HTML, you can put, you know, go change the code a little bit. If you know what you're doing, then you can do it, it is time consuming. And if you're, if you're having a web developer do it, you know, statically, it could be very time consuming as well as expensive. But that's doing it statically. The two ways like I was mentioning before is you can statically do it like some of the big guys have done it where they can go and just go by the guidelines. And basically, bare minimum, get your site accessible and compliant, because what you're doing is you're making your website in a certain way that conforms to a small portion of people that are in the disabled community, because it'll be a certain contrast, it'll be a certain color set, it'll be certain ways of building your site. But then that also limits you on your design. If somebody really wants to put some really cool design into their website, or things like that, then you're limited because in order to conform to static ways of making it accessible, it really limits your design ability. So by dynamically offering tools like they they comply guys software, along with other things like adding close captioning, you're able to still build your website the way you want it, and then have a toolbar, some people call them overlays, some people call them widgets, and interlace that dynamic portion with some of the static things that you can do, like adding all text and post captioning and kind of molding the two. So you're still able to have a really awesome looking website. But giving the dynamic ability for somebody, you know, say with colorblindness, if they go to a website with static accessibility, they can't change the website to black and white easily, you know, they may have to have a third party tool or something else that they may use. But if they go to a website, and it's right on the website, they can click a button, boom, it's in black and white, and they're able to decipher, you know, between green and red a little bit better, you know, so. So that's, that's really the difference between having static and dynamic type of accessibility and changes into your website. So I guess to answer your question, you know, if if you want it to do something, you can, you know, it is time consuming and the tools that are available now, with new software, it's making it much easier for people to be able to offer more quicker and easier for people.

Jake Anderson 44:01
Well, that's, that's, that's awesome. And knowing that the difference between static and dynamic, and as you explain, it makes a lot of sense. And for anybody listening right now, we're getting near the end here. But Tony and I after we kind of end this episode, Tony is going to do just a quick like recorded, just overview of the software, just something like five minute overview just to kind of show you what it is and what it looks like. And I'm going to take that clip and it's going to go into our highlight reel that we're going to put on my YouTube channel. So make sure to go to YouTube and find that video. I'm gonna link it up in the show notes just so you have an easy place to find it. And that way you can see the video you'll get again, we're going to take the snip of of the very important reasons why you need to have this in your business. And then we're going to give you a little quick just overview as well of the software. So make sure to go to YouTube to check that out. Tony it's been great man. I really appreciate everything you've brought into this. interview, you're such an inspiration. Your journey is just incredible. Just like everything you've done for here is just it's it's mind blowing. And you truly are the entrepreneur pioneer who's been through through a lot of different battles in business and in different, explore different areas. And it's just amazing. But listen for people, people listening right now and they want to connect with you, where can they find you online.

Tony Caggiano 45:25
I'm very, I'm a big user of Facebook. So you can find me all over Facebook at just search for the ADA comply guy, Tony cassiano, I'm also on Instagram. But I also have my entrepreneurial journey Facebook group, you know, if you are an entrepreneur and you want to come and collaborate with others, and you know, I usually do my podcast live in there so that way I can bring other entrepreneurs directly into the group. So you know, you can learn from others who have, you know, succeeded and failed, you know, along the same way a lot of us do, and so we can learn from others and how they do it. So you know, Facebook is really where they can find me and then also my website if they want to learn more about ADA compliance at Ada comply guy calm, so

Jake Anderson 46:11
perfect. Well, we'll make sure to link that up in the show notes as well so people know where to connect with you. And Tony has been great. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

For our today’s Introspective Interview, let’s immerse ourselves into knowing more about Americans with Disabilities (ADA) compliance and we have Tony Caggiano, the ADA Comply Guy, here to tell us more about it!

As a 30+ year technology industry veteran, a serial entrepreneur and a dedicated husband and father, Tony has built and owned several businesses combined with his dedication to look for ways to give back and help those with a true need as a philanthropist. Also known to many as The ADA Comply Guy, Tony devotes his time on educating businesses of all sizes on how to reach more customers and make more sales by helping them become ADA Compliant with an Accessible website by using his easy, simple, and affordable software.

His mission to help others to become ADA compliant on their websites stemmed from a very personal experience. Aside from helping others, Tony’s online presence can be seen through his weekly podcast ‘The Entrepreneurial Journey’ and a Facebook group with the same name focusing on connecting entrepreneurs to help build communities of business owners that can help one another become successful on their own journey.

What You'll Learn

  • The perils and disadvantages of businesses who don't comply with ADA
  • Benefits that you can get from setting up your website and funnels to be ADA compliant
  • Learning more about Tony’s ADA compliance software

“If I can do something to help somebody, every chance I get throughout the day, whether I'm on a phone call or whatever, I'm always looking at ways that I can give some kind of knowledge and help others in some way.”

-Tony Caggiano

The 5 Benefits for the Business owners who choose to make their websites ADA compliant.

Overview of the ADA Comply Guy Software

Connect with Tony Caggiano

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tony.ADAComplyGuy

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adacomplyguy/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adacomplyguy/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/adacomplyguy

Check out Tony’s Facebook Group - The Entrepreneurial Journey: http://bit.ly/EntrepJourneyFB

Facebook Group - Clubhouse Collaborations: https://www.facebook.com/groups/427308855305154

Tony’s Podcast ‘The Entrepreneurial Journey’ is available here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-entrepreneurial-journey/id1539369170

Meet The ​ADAComply Guy - Tap into a new unrealized client source, rank higher on search engines and avoid non compliance legal issues all in a single day: https://adacomplyguy.com/ada-comply-intro

ADA Comply Guy Software

Get the ADA Comply Guy software today!

Follow this Podcast

Thank you for taking a deep dive on today’s episode of the Introspective Podcast.  If you found this episode to be interesting, valuable, and provided some fresh perspective for your entrepreneur journey - then head on over to Itunes to subscribe and leave a review with your feedback.  If you’re not an Apple user, then feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.  Your feedback is paramount to the success of this show, and provides direction for how I can best serve you.

-Your friendly Podcast Host, Jake Anderson 

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