Lisa, also known as Website Wonder Woman, has run her website business since 2015 and her mission is to help women make the most out of their websites to be able to grow their businesses online. She specialises in WordPress website creation, support, training and strategy focusing on making tech as simple, non scary and as fun as possible!
You started your business in 2007 but you’ve had quite a lot of different things happen then between where you’ve been to where you are now. I’d love to know your story of how that all worked out..
Back in 2007, my daughter was two at the time, my youngest daughter and before she was born I worked in a doctor’s surgery which was great because my eldest daughter who was about six, seven I think at the time – I only used to work in the day, but then what happened was when I went back after maternity they wanted me to work longer. It got to the point where my daughter had a bit of an ongoing illness so I was struggling for childcare all the time and one day I didn’t have childcare, and I remember having to go in because I was practically doing everything and with the help of the other two girls that worked there they said you’ll just have to bring the baby in. She was six or eight months old and I sat there in a busy doctor’s reception with a baby on my lap screaming because she wasn’t well. I just thought – I can’t do this anymore – I didn’t have any child care at all and I was like right, I’m gonna have to leave my job. I love to do loads of different things so I tried selling, I tried Usborne Books, Utility Warehouse you know, all these types of things that you can do to try and work from home and then I found this course and it was teaching you how to create a website and do the SEO type stuff and I was like – oh that sounds really interesting. So this was about six months after I left work and obviously my husband was just providing for us as I wasn’t able to work and I done this course and I was just like “what am I gonna do a website about?” so my eldest daughter had always loved parties so we used to throw massive parties and I was like “I’ll write about girls party ideas that’s what I know “so I ran the blog for about two years and my kids friends used to absolutely love them because we had to throw parties all the time!
It started off as just a blog, I started doing affiliate marketing and things like that on it. I was getting roughly about 40,000 visitors a month globally to this little blog but I wasn’t really monetising it because I didn’t know. You know what it’s like you’ve a baby at home all that type of stuff and she was two at the time then so I was like well, when she goes to school – because they can go to school from three in Wales -I was like when she goes to school I’m gonna sort that out and just before she was gonna go to school my husband got made redundant and he’s like we’ve both got to apply for jobs so I actually got a job first with the NHS and it was only 16 hours a week while the kids were in school but the blog kind of fell to the wayside and I wasn’t doing much from it – affiliate ads were probably about £300 a month but it was giving me that extra income, then I just did not have time to do it and a lot of it was American people so they were like “oh do you want to organise my party in New York?”
That would be amazing!
So I was like, what can I do? Because party planning back then wasn’t a massive thing in the UK. I remember my daughter wanted a Hello Kitty party and I had to have all the stuff imported from America. When they were younger it just wasn’t this massive thing that it is today, and so I thought right – what can I do? Then I saw an ad which led me to my second business – I saw an advert about a franchise for making chocolate wrappers. I thought “oh this looks really fun” they provided it with all these chocolate wrappers and I thought that could tie in with the party stuff and it could be something I could physically sell so I looked into it even though I was working and I’d kind of let the blog go a little bit – but I was like oh.. we’re gonna do chocolates now. I looked into it and it was quite a lot of money for the franchise so I thought why not do it myself? So I went out and bought a printer, I researched a lot – there was a massive group in America at the time that provided you with the software to create the wrappers, they gave all the tips on what to buy – and there was a UK group so I joined and it was really great because I got all the information. It was really popular, but then I always remember I was sat there a week before Christmas with all these millions of tiny little tree chocolates personalised and I’m cutting them all out so people can hang them on a tree and I probably earned about £800 that week, but I was doing them in my sleep practically! They were amazing but there wasn’t a big profit margin on them so I thought – this is great and I enjoy doing it, and I used to go to wedding fairs, we used to do parties, but I was like – this is way too much work for such a small amount of money.
I was still working in the NHS at the time and what happened then was that I so much was going on in my life that I actually had a bit of a breakdown. It got triggered after my daughter was bullied in school and I was off work for six months. They diagnosed me with undiagnosed post-natal depression and also with moderate to severe OCD because I was cleaning my house six hours a day well into the night because I just couldn’t cope with things and that was my way of coping. After six months they said right, we’re going to stop paying you, you’ve got to come back to work. The doctors for a couple of weeks refused to sign me off because I wasn’t ready to go back to work and I’m like – I need to get paid – so I did go back to work. Because I didn’t have a physical ailment they couldn’t see how I’d struggled they thought I was coming back to work because I needed to get paid – that I’d had time off for nothing and stuff like that and I really really struggled with that. I was obsessed in work, all the time I felt like I needed to clean even though I was on medication at the time. I felt like when people were telling me – you can’t go to your kids sports day – I felt like I was the one that was picked on because I’d had that time off and I was like – I don’t know if I can work it anymore, it’s too hard with the kids – and then one day because obviously I’ve done all the party planning my friend told me her friend wanted to do an event management degree so she said “why not go along? You’ll be great at that!” She said, you’ve always said you wanted to go to uni – but I actually had my first daughter when I was nearly 19, so obviously I was pregnant just after I finished school so I didn’t go to university and everyone always said you’ll be the first in our family to go and then I didn’t, but then I actually was! There was an open day so I literally went the next day and signed up. I’d done an HND in college when Saff had been born it was just in the nights doing business administration so I went back to work and I said look, I work three days but this is three days and it’s two days that I don’t have to have, so I want to go down to two days type thing and they said – no, you’re not going to be able to go University, sorry – so I went “well okay. I’ll just leave then.”
I wasn’t happy and I just said – okay, I’m just gonna do it” and my husband went absolutely mental. He said “what are you gonna do?” and I was like it’s ,OK I’ll get grants and stuff now, don’t worry about it” but because I’d done the business administration before, I was only allowed two years of funding so I spoke to the people and they said they could only fund it for two years, I’d have to pay the first year and I was like “where am I going to get nine grand to pay for a course, let alone anything else? I’m gonna have to go back to work. I can’t do the course..” and then they rang me and said actually because you’ve got a business HND you can go straight down to the second year – we’re going to skip the first year! So I doid my degree in two years.
I was still working then, I worked doing weddings and all that type of stuff and I really enjoyed my degree. I found loads of people and I felt like I started to get better in myself which I wanted to for my children, so then what happened was once I finished my degree I was like “what do I do now?” I was working in a pub at the time, loads of money worries and me and my husband split up in 2015 and I was like “what am I’m going to do now? I earn under £100 a week working in a pub while the kids are in school, what do I do? Because I when I was doing my degree I was working in hospitality, I would go to uni all day, pick them up from school, take them to my friends to give them food, I’d go to work for four o’clock and wouldn’t come until three o’clock in the morning.. so I was just working in a pub in the day with £100 pound a week tax credits – it’s not enough to live on. So someone said to me “oh, didn’t you do a website before? I’m gonna do this new business can you make me a website? What do you charge?” I went – I don’t know! – she went “well if I give him £50” I was like – yeah, really?!
Wow that’s such a small amount!
I know, I was like I can do that – I’ve made chocolate designed chocolate bars before, I’d made a website for my husband with a template Builder but my husband coded all the website for me so it looked how I wanted it to look and it kind of coincided with I was on Facebook, and I entered a competition to win a WordPress course which I won and completed. I can try that out now making a website. Then she referred me and then they referred me, and eight years later I’m still here and people are still referring me and asking me to create websites!
I think the biggest thing for me in that time is the impact it’s had on my children. They’ve had me home with them for the majority of their lives. They are 17 and 24 now and my step daughter who’s 20 actually lives with us now as well, they’ve had mam at home for most of their lives and I don’t think they’re ever going to move out. I remember when I got nominated for my first award and it was South Wales Business Awards Female Entrepreneur I become a finalist and I took my daughter with me because me and my husband was still at the time we split up for five years and then we got back together in covid which is a whole other story
But a good one I know.
Yeah, a good one. So I took my daughter with me because she’d been helping me out and she went and she said to me “Mam, you’ve tried loads of ways to make money because you you were one of those people who can’t just sit around doing nothing. I can see how you’ve tried to provide for us. You’ve made a success of this in this awards now. I’m so proud to you.” For me I was like, from someone asking me to do a website it’s led to this and I didn’t actually win that award but I have won two Awards since then. When my daughter was in uni she was doing a history degree and then training to be a teacher and I think for her she was like, all right, okay, all my friends are working at McDonald’s and pubs and stuff they were bored and they haven’t got time so she was like – I’ll just set up a VA business – she had those choices.
I think – to get back to the brand – is because my brand was so strong and I know that I always remember I’d done lots of networking and my business it was previously called Website Wonder Woman – I am still a website wonder woman
Everyone can I refer to me in groups and I don’t think I could have grown my business without it. As soon as someone said “websites” people say “oh my God Website Wonder Woman, you need her, she’s a Website Wonder Woman”. I remember walking into a networking meeting that I hadn’t been to before and they asked my name – I was like “oh Lisa”, and they’re like – have you been here before? No-one had a clue who I was and then I sat there and everyone went around the table and I was like “oh I’m Lisa, I’m also known as Website Wonder Woman” and they were like “oh! You’ve done my website.” One lady said “oh my God, I’m like proper fangirling now, I see you all over social media” and she’s now my accountant. This happened to me last week as well, this woman said to me “I recognise your face… she said it was from years ago… don’t tell me what you do yet I’ll wait till the introductions” and then someone said oh she does websites – “you did my website!”
Hahaha great feeling isn’t it?
I feel like that I’ve gone through all this stuff like I went through the OCD, I’m not on my medication anymore but I feel like having that other persona which was the brand of my business allowed me to be a different person to do that, does that make sense?
Yes absolutely, I think when I look at everything that you’ve just said I’m just looking at my notes and I can see all of these moments where you have been brave in order to build your brand – when you’ve stepped up and done the next thing, you’ve taken the the opportunity or looked into something to see if it’ll work and then dived onto it in order to get you to where you are now. You could say you’ve fallen into it but actually you haven’t because at every moment you have the opportunity to do this or forget about it and you’re always gone “I want to do this, I want to try this, I want to push harder” and I think that’s so inspiring. There were things in there I’ve never heard before.
I think for me like you’ve said about talking about being brave, when I say my story, I’ve done parties and then I’ve done chocolates and then I just fell into the websites – but I think I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t have got ill and my daughter was ill, it would have been a totally different path… because they will lead you to where you are now which could be a much better life, you know my husband and I splitting up, if we hadn’t split up I wouldn’t be looking for extra money, you know what I mean?
I think when you run a business you have to be brave and you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to grow it and like you’re saying you know we’ve won these Awards you’ve had to go to these award ceremonies and people have had to know who you are in order to buy from you and to nominate you and for you to win and in order to get to that point, you have to do things don’t you that might not feel particularly comfortable – like networking but I don’t know how you feel about networking but I used to be quite scared of networking.
I love it, it’s one of those things that you have to get over how you feel and it’s it’s all about being brave and putting it on video and sharing things and getting in front of people. It’s all different things that you have to do to be brave for you and for your brand to get it to where you want it to be and I think sometimes I’m not brave and I think I did have the episode when I hid behind and I was like oh yeah that’s just Website Wonder Woman but now the last year or so I’ve been more Lisa. Look that’s Lisa now – and people actually know my name now. I wouldn’t stop, so it has been that I’ve had to do that as well and just be me and not have to try and be this other person, even though that was still me. You know what I mean?
You are the Website Wonder Woman, you still are but it’s a different persona and I think also you know that’s quite an interesting story too isn’t it about how you were the Website Wonder Woman and you had to change your business name – so you’ve changed your business name but keep your W’s which I think was very clever.
That was the issue, because I was Website Wonder Woman but the business was too much about me – people only wanted to work with me they didn’t want to work with other people, so I’m still a Website Wonder Woman in my business but obviously then we changed it to the Wonderful World of Websites because I needed the www. For my birthday everyone bought me a number plate that says Lisa WWW, so nothing else was gonna work.
I was hoping that you could share some words of wisdom or some tips or something to help us all step into our own brand bravery and be more successful or create really great websites.
The biggest thing for me, and I would never ever have got even anywhere near where I am, is support – not just family and friends. My mother supports me by liking my Facebook posts and going well done love, do you know what I mean? She kind of knows I run a business but she doesn’t really understand what I am but doing. Networking, finding those people that I now know in business that I can be like “oh my god I’ve had a really rubbish month this month, I’m gonna give up, I can’t do it anymore” and they’re like “no, you’re not giving up” I think that is the key to success of any business especially an online business because it’s kind of lonely if you’re just one person. I’m a very people person, I’ve worked in events and hospitality for a long time sot people not understanding what I do and they give their support – but the people who understand what I do give a completely different type of support and I think that is the biggest thing that I could tell anyone, whatever type of business that they’re in, specifically a tip about websites.
I would say plan what you want first. I’m a rubbish planner and I try and stay away but it saves so much time – the amount of people that come to me and say they don’t know what they want – they do know what they want. They know what they don’t want and then we kind of flip that over which is obviously a lot easier for lots of people, but the amount of people I see on Facebook that say “I’m not happy with my website it’s the developers fault” and I’m like “oh, did you actually give them a brief for what you wanted?” and they’re like “yeah… I just told them to do something” and I’m like “well, but I get really involved…”
I think it’s important to be really involved – what you said just there about knowing what you don’t want and flipping it to help find you what you do want that seems like a really good idea to make that work, and I think support is critical. Obviously we know each other because we are both in the same ‘container’ for want of a better word, which has definitely been very helpful for me and I can tell it’s obviously been very helpful for you because we’ve been in it for so long so that’s brilliant. Thank you very much I found this really interesting.
Where do people go to find out more about you?
I have a website obviously it is wonderfulworldofwebsites.com My contact details and what I do is obviously all on the website.
It’ll be in the show notes as well so people can go and check you out on there and then you can make wonderful websites for them.
Yeah that’d be great.
OK, thank you very much Lisa
Find Lisa: https://wonderfulworldofwebsites.com
Amy Purdie, The Brand Explorer takes you on an Adventure to discover what your brand is all about, helping you with your brand strategy, brand visuals and content ideas. You can join Amy’s Brand Success Club or join her in your very own Private Brand Adventure.
Amy has been enjoying designing logos, brand identities, illustration, print work and websites – since 2007 fuelled mainly by tea and chocolate.