Someone has to do the technical work

Published 10:50 am Monday, June 21, 2010

Two local men saw a need for a business in Freeborn County and took it upon themselves to start that business.

Steve Patten and Chris Jensen started UpStream together, and they both bring unique skills to that business. UpStream is for business owners who want a website but can’t build one on their own.

Patten does the technical side of things like creating the websites and tailoring it to fit the needs of the customer while Jensen works with their customers to help write web content and teach people how to use and update their own websites.

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“We’re helping them find new, innovative ways to promote themselves,” Patten said.

Patten first got into web design while making a website for a church. He found out he really liked to do it and had been wanting to find a job where he could focus more of his time on making websites.

“Now I get to do what I do best every day,” Patten said.

Jensen used to be an English teacher and enjoys helping customers decide what sort of things they want on a website. He also likes helping people learn how to update their own website, which saves the customer money if they don’t have Jensen update it for them.

“They can own the site and feel confident to work on it themselves,” Jensen said.

He said it’s easy to teach someone how to update a website, and if someone can word process then they can easily add content and photos to a website. Patten is always there to help with the more challenging parts of web design as well.

Patten and Jensen sit down with clients at no charge to just talk about what kind of website is needed and try to get a feel for what the customer needs. When they start work on the project or help people learn how to update their own site they charge $50 per hour. Easy to make and smaller websites would cost from $400 to $500, while larger and more complex sites can cost up to $1,000 from project start to finish. Unlike many web designers, after the two make the site they will gladly turn it over to the customer with no continual charges.

“It’s easy to say we want Albert Lea businesses to prosper and then charge them an arm and a leg, but I have a love for my community and neighborhood,” Patten said.

Jensen echoed Patten’s thoughts by adding that they’re “not in this to make some sort of killing — we just want to see businesses grow.”

Though they will gladly continually update content for customers, if a customer wants training they will also do that. After they spend a couple of days training the customer they will leave them will illustrated and written directions that are simple to follow. They also say they’re available to help any customers with future questions or problems.

“Our desire to train comes out of our faith and businesses don’t have a money tree – there’s a limitation in resources,” Jensen said.

Patten said they like to see their customers prosper, and that does help them if they get good word-of-mouth reviews. Jensen and Patten are also looking to use new media and tools for their customers. They mentioned creating Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and other tools like adding feedback sections in websites. They have also helped clients learn how to send their own e-mail newsletters.

Bass Lake Camp Director, Darrel Friar, used UpStream to make a new website for his camp. He said they had an older site but wanted to redo it and make it more attractive.

“I’m very unfamiliar with how to get what I want,” Friar said. “I was really impressed with how they got it done and their knowledge.”

He said he plans to get some training as soon as he’s available to meet with Jensen and Patten. Friar said he was unsure at first if he should make all the suggestions he wanted, but Patten and Jensen were open to ideas and wanted to help him make it the way he wanted.

“I just really appreciate all they’ve done for us,” Friar said.

Patten likes that they can offer training on web design and content, because most other businesses have only one focus.

“Our goal is to develop a product that exceeds their expectations and then train them on how to use it,” Jensen said.

More information can be found at the UpStream website at or by calling 507-391-3080 or 507-440-2659. Their website has a blog feature that will offer different specials and tips every day.