How They Created a 6-Figure Work From Home Business In Under 2 Years
Matt: Hi everyone, it's Matt Raad here. I'm the CEO and co-founder of E-Business Institute where we change, typically, corporates and professionals who are wanting to retrain in digital skills and start their own business working from home. This is why today's interview is so exciting because this amazing couple have not only been able to do that, they've created a work at home business, but what you're going to learn in this interview today is the challenges that they face because they did this whilst they were starting a new family. I know a lot of our community are family people or maybe starting a new family, so if you are a corporate person or someone in a professional role and you're looking to start a new family, you're wondering, "How can I do that and it would be ideal to work from home?" then today's interview is for you. G'day, Mandy and Leigh, thank you so much for coming along to share your amazing and inspiring story with our community.
Guys, you guys have known us for quite a few years, haven't you? Mandy: Yes. Yeah, I was trying to think. It's at least, Matt. Easy eight years that I've been following you guys.
Matt: Yeah. Mandy, how did you start out with us all those years ago? Let's put it in context, because you guys have got a little bit of a different background to most people that come into our community, so how did you find us and what did you start doing with us? Mandy: I'd had a few websites that I'd built myself. Not very great to be honest in retrospect now.
It was seeing you guys speak at an event and it was talking about, I think it's been renamed, right? The Digital... Matt: Digital Investor Program. Mandy: Investor Program, so I signed up for that at the time and bought a couple of websites and got really excited and then life got in the way and then I didn't really do much with it for many, many years. Then COVID hit and we were starting to think about having a family and maybe it's time to start dabbling into this website thing again so we could have some flexibility, work from home like you described. That's where we got back into reaching out and then obviously joining the champions program.
That was what, two years ago? Matt: Awesome. Guys, it is amazing what you've achieved in that time because that's what I want to look at in this interview today because these days I should mention to everyone, Mandy and Leigh are working from home with a six figure online business. What we want to look at guys, is what were some of the key steps that you did to do that? For people listening and as you know, Mandy and Leigh, there are going to be a lot of people like yourselves, younger couples who are just starting out with little ones, starting a new family because that was a big motivator for you. For Leigh, your background, your motivator to start this at home business, explain what your background was and then your motivation here. Leigh: Thanks Matt.
Yeah, I've been working in digital marketing for over 10 years and my most recent job before I left and started working from home and having our own business from home was at the art center on the Gold Coast and COVID had hit and unfortunately the entire staff got scaled back because of our structure and we were part of Council, we actually weren't eligible for job keeper and so there was no government funding. A lot of our staff, including myself, basically laid off. I was pushed down to one day a week and it really put things into perspective and we realized that there's no security in the world and we need to take the opportunities where they lie, utilizing our skills and really go after starting our own business and going from forward from there. Mandy: I think to add to Leigh's story, just as the world was going a bit crazy, we settled on our new home the day that Leigh's hours dropped, so it was like, "Oh wow, okay great, we've got a home. This is amazing.
Awesome," but also at the same time like, "Oh crap, this is a bit of an unknown time and scary time," as it was for so many people at the time. Matt: It was a scary time, wasn't it? Hats off to you both for being so brave, like Leigh, mate. Here you are, made redundant basically, or one day a week. You guys have just settled on a new home and obviously planning a family and you decide to go for this, but like you said, Leigh, there is no security anyway, even if you'd gone out and gotten a job.
Mandy, you mentioned to me before, you've been around the industry for quite a few years as well in terms of the online space and you've seen a lot of our students be incredibly successful with this and yet they're totally beginners online. Mandy: Yep. Yeah, absolutely. I thought for us, and that's why we weren't sure about whether Champions was going to be right for us at the time. I don't know if you remember the conversation, but it was like we've got all these great skills, we know a little bit.
We'd both built some websites over the years, but we thought, "We want to make sure we do it right." We don't want to be one of those people that we've worked with professionally when we've had to go and engage an agency to get a website built and you know that they're just not doing a good job, so we wanted to make sure we got trained the right way and build really successful websites that actually perform for our clients. That was a really great way to get back into the community with you guys and get the right training so that we've got that foundation in place, which we've seen our clients are getting amazing results, which we're super happy about, too. Matt: Which we are going to talk about in just a minute. I love what you guys do.
As you both know, I'm a big fan of the websites that you guys build and how you've been able to help out so many clients. Mandy, you and I have known each other for, like you said, eight years or so, many years and you're yet again one of those typical girls or females in our community, what do you reckon, Leigh, who's an ultra high achiever, a real go getter, what do you call it, professional woman, very driven. You already had your business.
Mandy, can you explain to everyone a little bit about what you've done previously because digital agency is quite different to what you'd done before. Whilst you got experience online, what were you doing before you were doing this digital agency full time? Mandy: I'm a Keap certified partner. Since 2014 I've had an agency specifically around getting people up to speed with setting up a CRM and then marketing automation in their business, so mainly service based businesses. A lot of that work was obviously set up but training one on one training, which was hourly base training, I needed to be available at a set period of time to meet with clients. I love it. I think about how I'm going to solve these problems, how are we going to automate this workflow for a client? I'm such a geek, but I absolutely love it, but at the same time it was quite restrictive of, okay, we're planning a family and how can we leverage our time more effectively so it's not so hands on for me to do a lot of that one on one consulting work.
I still do it and still love it, but this has created another agency for us to be able to do more websites and have an income that way as well. Matt: For you two, and I think we speak for all our community who are planning a family or just starting with a newborn, that idea of swapping time for money, billing on an hourly rate was a major anchor around your neck, wasn't it? That's a big challenging part of it and I guess that's the attraction. Mandy, I know you've seen all our clients over the years, again, these beginners just coming in and creating these amazing businesses where they're working from home. You know Liz and my story as well, that's how we started online, too. When our two babies came along, that's when Liz just took off with her online business as well.
You guys obviously made that decision, you knew it was going to work for you because, let's put it in perspective, too. Whilst you had digital skills and you've obviously worked online in digital marketing, so anyone listening, Mandy and Leigh would probably be our most advanced students we've ever taken on to the course. You'd be up there but you'd never built websites for people before and Mandy, as you just admitted, you'd never bought websites either. Mandy: I bought a couple early on when I started with the other program, but nothing since. Matt: Nothing since. Yeah, you didn't do a lot with them.
Once you got into the program though, for the two of you, obviously your back's against the wall, so you had to make it work. There's a lot of pressure. What strategy did you decide to mainly go for? Mandy: Yeah, do you want to talk this? Leigh: Yeah, with our agency, the agency side of things? Yeah, that's right Matt.
I had some experience building websites but not for clients. I'd built some hobby websites and was pretty familiar with WordPress before joining the program, but never had sold websites really to people. I'd built websites for people, myself and family members who have got businesses, again, more as a hobby and to try things out.
It wasn't until we started with the program and went down this route of starting the agency that we were selling to clients. That was a really big part of the course. Mandy: I think it was, as we described, we just settled a home. His income was..., we were planning a family, cash flow was important for us. We listened to Matt, we went down...
That's what you wanted to hear, Matt. I know. Matt: For you two, it was a no brainer from my point to recommend that because it just fit in with your skill sets.
Although Leigh, I do remember, like you just said and it just came back to me now. I remember it's been two years but you'd never sold before. You were a bit uncomfortable about that and hats off to you, like we find with a lot of our Shire members, it's really helped you get out there and now you're selling like a legend.
You do most of the sales work, don't you, for the websites? Leigh: Yeah, that's right. That's right. I'm out there meeting clients, talking to them about their needs, what they need, understanding who their customers are and then obviously building based on that and really trying to deliver results for them. Matt: Guys, let's look at your story so far because a lot of our community have seen you at our three day event talking about your experience and Mandy, hearing just how successful you are with it. We all know you build amazing sites, which we will talk about in a minute, but very quickly you guys got very successful with this and you were charging typically what sort of rates for website builds? Mandy: I was having a look at it because I couldn't remember, but our first one was $2,200 I think for our first site and then we had some Queensland grants that were $5,000 so we did websites for $5,000. Matt: Nice one.
Mandy: We way over delivered. Matt: Yes, you did. That's good.
Mandy: We seem to always do. We really care about our clients and we want them to win and we just can go a bit crazy sometimes. Typically, our websites start from five grand now we have different packages depending on what people need.
It's been great obviously to have that as an additional source of income. Matt: You've been with us, you've trained with us for two years, you did Champions the first year and then you came on in the second year. Was it in the second year where you replaced your incomes? Mandy: Yeah, the first year being, obviously we focused a lot on gaining knowledge and Leigh was doing some other consulting work with lead generation, that sort of thing, and then Ruby came along, which is our daughter at the end of the first year and our world... Matt: Congratulations. Mandy: ...changed as any young parent knows. My gosh.
Your world changes. Matt: Yeah. She's only just recently gone into care so we've had a bunch of health issues as you know, Matt, with her that we've got under control now thankfully. It was a pretty tough period of time there, us even trying to work, to be honest, because we still had to have her home because she wasn't ready to go to care yet because we needed to get her health under control. I think she's been in care now for a couple of... Leigh: Yeah, daycare for a few months.
Mandy: A few months. It was the first 12 months of her life that we were both juggling having her at home and obviously it's all worked out, of course. Matt: You're very humble, Mandy, you make it sound very easy. Mandy, I want this to be inspirational to the mums there.
As a high performing female, you start a new family, it's not a walk in the park. It's in fact turned into quite the opposite to what the two of you expected. You've got this added pressure, Leigh, there's no job so you've got to make this work. You've got a young one with some pretty serious health issues there so it was a pretty challenging time for the two of you, but you pulled through it. What can you offer as advice to women who are either finding it tough or looking at quitting their corporate role, Mandy? Instead of having to swap time for money, what did you find the difference as you two were building this business together in that very challenging time for you? What insights or inspiration can you share there for us? Mandy: Yeah, I think just being open to what's possible out there. For me, as much as I said before, I would be doing training for people to use Keap as a system so I would regularly be scheduling time.
When you've got a newborn and you're breastfeeding and you're on this crazy schedule, I was saying to you before, Matt, if I had an 11 o'clock meeting, I'd be planning from 4.30, five o'clock in the morning just so I could make an hour of time available. It was just insane. It was just crazy. I knew there had to be a better way of just creating income. It doesn't have to be that way at all.
We'd already been on the Champions journey and we knew that it was going to be lot more leverage. Yes, we work very closely with our clients, we still meet with them, don't get me wrong, we still have those meetings, but a lot of the bulk of the work we can do at different times of the day. Mandy: For me, it was at night because during the day was pretty busy and then just trying to change your schedule to work around what our lives required at the time, what our daughter required at the time.
That's something that if people are listening and thinking about a family and if you are working in a job or doing consulting work like I was doing, if that's something that you want to change and look at another way, then building websites and going with that local website strategy and there's obviously different strategies that you guys teach, but for us, it was a cash flow play and it also worked around our lifestyle. Matt: It very quickly got you back to the cash flow that you needed and Leigh, for you, replaced your income and most importantly though, when you're raising a young family, working online helped give you the flexibility in terms of hours, Mandy, because it was, like you said, you just can't commit to set hours when you've got a little one with health issues. Life revolves around the little one, not you doing client appointments and stuff, so the two of you would have been undergoing a bit of stress at that time.
Leigh: Yeah, Ruby was a bit of a football that we'd handball to each other across the course of a day as we were both taking meetings and doing work. Matt: Leigh, it's lucky for you too, that you didn't have to do the commute anymore either. I remember you saying to me, just being able to have that ability as a new dad to be at home and supporting Mandy while you're not only building your business but your new family, but for you not having to go onto that big commute down to the Gold Coast each day and you can spend more, let's call it, do we say quality time, dare I say it with little Ruby, but you do get to spend time with the family at a very tricky point in your lives.
Leigh: Game changer. Yeah, that commute is hard enough first of all, but you can't value enough that first 12 months that we both got to spend with Ruby and just see her grow from this tiny little thing to a slightly bigger tiny little thing and see her personality change. We're really blessed that we've been able to make that happen and Mandy's just an amazing mother and business person. I know my strengths in our agency and they're not the organizational and the record keeping and the diligence that she shows on the business side of things. They're not my strengths and so having a partner like her in life and in business is something that I couldn't be happier about.
I'm a very, very lucky man, first to admit it and I wouldn't want to do this with anyone else. The fact that I get to do that with my partner in life and we are raising our daughter and it's just been unbelievably special, Matt. Yeah, truly blessed. Matt: That's unreal and we hear that through the community and it is unreal, isn't it, to build a business together along with your family and have that flexibility so you share the same visions and the same goals. Actually, Mandy, that makes me wonder, here's a question I'm sure everyone's wondering, what do you do in the business then because you need that flexibility of time? How have you split up your roles in this digital agency? Mandy: Yeah, it's a good question. With Leigh being more available, he goes out and does all the networking and meeting prospects and then typically I will do the project management in case you hadn't all worked that out.
I'm probably a little bit better organized, so I'll do usually the onboarding calls and the project management and the SEO work and then I'll work with the client to organize content and if any content needs writing or organizing, then I'll organize that. Leigh is the builder. I don't build websites. Matt: Leigh does the website's building. All right.
Okay. Leigh: Yep. Mandy: I don't do that. Leigh: I'm the build side of things.
As Mandy said, with her background and her personality type, which is similar to mine, but Mandy's very, very great at the detail and the analytical side of things. The keyword research and SEO, the amount of work that she puts into these client websites that they don't see is ridiculous. Using the resources from the Champions program, the ultimate keyword spreadsheet, Mandy goes to town and spends hours upon hours on that stuff. Matt: Tell us some of the amazing results, Mandy.
We have to mention my favorite site. It's the one that you won our best website builder, put it up to this screen. Yeah, the best website builder.
Mandy and Leigh are the best website builders at our annual three day workshop because they've built this amazing site. Tell us the result. Mandy: Yeah. Gosh, so many things. I think the main thing for this particular client was she's no longer spending $1,200 a month on paid advertising.
Matt: All right. Mandy: Which is huge, right? To put it into context, she was already ranking for the site, but her site was, it was on Joomla I think that one, yeah, Joomla. She couldn't update it. It needed some love, let's say.
We did a heap of work, we did a bunch of content for her and built out what we think is a really beautiful site. That's just one thing. Her inquiries went up. You might have the stats there, Matt. Matt: You said the client is now saving $1,200 a month. The website users are up 99 percent.
Mandy: Yep. Matt: Organic search up 97 percent and page views up over a hundred percent and most important, where the money hits a road is the inquiry and booking forms are up by 64% and now attracting more of their ideal client due to the professional site. Guys, you should mention what the site is because we should... Mandy: Yes. Give it a plug.
Matt: Give it a plug. Mandy: Yeah. Cherishcherubs.com.au. It's a Perth based babysitting agency and they're phenomenal. They're so great. If they were here I would be getting them to look after Ruby.
What's really great is these results were when the Perth border had just opened up and COVID had just only started hitting Western Australia. The fact that she's been able to get the inquiries that she got, the increase in inquiries when a lot of people weren't going out as much, no doubt, obviously experiencing COVID and all that sort of stuff. The fact that she got these results and this was within the first three months of the new site going live.
We had a feeling it would go well, but to have the data and the stats to say these are amazing results and she's still kicking goals, she's getting media opportunities. She was on an SBS program, they found her on the website, inquired through her form. If she had had her old site, would that have transpired? Matt: No.
No chance. Mandy: You don't know, but you probably don't think so. Matt: It didn't look that professional and I think it's safe to say seriously, besides well done and you've won our top award for it and that's why you are a multi award-winning agency. I think you hit the ball out of the park on this one and on all your sites, but this one particularly you've transformed her life.
Here's some inspiration, guys. If you are at home thinking, "Should I be doing this digital agency idea?" As you can see, Mandy and Leigh, in the background whilst they're building this amazing site, they've got a challenging situation with a baby, with some serious health challenges. They're able to build this site, but not only that, you might not realize Perth is on the opposite side of Australia to where Mandy and Leigh live. You never even met her, did you? Mandy: No, I had. I'd done some Keap work with her actually and she had been severely burnt by another agency.
Matt: To build the site though, during this whole process, you didn't get on a plane and go over there or anything, did you? Mandy: No. Gosh, no. Matt: You built all this remotely in your own hours at home and Perth is so far away, it's like a five hour flight, it's a three hour time difference, so you just built this in whatever time you had and you're able to still get her an amazing result. Within three months you started hitting those results, didn't you? Mandy: Yep.
Matt: Seriously, well done, guys on that one. Is she an ongoing client now for you? I'm presuming she should be. Mandy: I'm doing some other stuff with her to help her with saving a bunch of time with her booking process.
Matt: That is awesome. Mandy: The fact that she's getting these results and there's only more stuff to come for her, which is amazing. She deserves it. Lisa's been amazing to work with. Matt: With your agency and with little Ruby settled into school and everything, we're through COVID and you guys have got yourself stable.
How does life look now for the agency? Mandy: Yeah, good. We've got time now, Matt. Matt: You look relieved. Leigh: Yeah.
Mandy: We say to clients, you've got to do content marketing, you've got to do content marketing. Here we are, we haven't updated our site for however long and we actually redid our site not long ago, but the fact that she's in daycare, which is a big relief. We can really go out there and have time to go out and sell more but also deliver faster because with juggling a little one, yes, you can work at night, but we want to deliver to our clients faster as well. Matt: You think about what you guys are doing, it's only been two years. It's nothing in business as a whole.
This is a brand new business that you started working from home during COVID. You've got to pat yourselves on the back. Look at what you've achieved and that's why, and I should give you guys a big plug too, if anyone's looking for a really good website build with, as you heard, amazing attention to detail on the on page SEO and the background that Mandy loves doing, make sure you reach out to these guys because you are an award-winning agency, especially from us here at E-Business Institute. What's your agency called, guys? Mandy: Onsite Online? Matt: Yep. Award-winning digital agency, Onsite Online in South Brisbane.
As you've just heard, you can service clients all around Australia, can't you? Mandy: Yep, absolutely. Matt: Where are most of your clients actually, out of interest? Are they spread all around? Are you mainly Queensland focused? What have you found now over the last two years? Leigh: Doing networking locally in the South Brisbane area so picking up a lot of clients that way. I'm out there meeting people on a weekly basis and a lot of service based businesses, plumbers, electricians, pool maintenance. Those service based businesses are the ones that have typically been our clients.
Dance schools. Mandy: NDIS. We're doing another NDIS client at the moment. Matt: NDIS client, yeah.
Mandy: We've been mainly in the Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan sort of area, but yeah, we can help clients anywhere. Matt: I would say your specialty, you've got a real eye to detail, but you build classy looking sites, so you tend to go for the businesses that want a classier looking image online and that seems to be a really good niche set. I'm sure that's just subconsciously reflected through both your values and it's just funny, isn't it? You can see a lot when you look at how people build websites. That's one of the things I've noticed, but it stands out to me just how classy all your websites are that you build, and I'm presuming that's who you're networking with, those businesses that want to step up a bit or have a bit of a better online presence, like Cherish Cherubs. Mandy: Cherish Cherubs. Matt: Cherish Cherubs, yes.
The child minding website. Look at the new branding and image that you've been able to help her with. It's just phenomenal, so it goes way beyond just building them a website.
You guys are actually helping these local businesses with their branding as well and the image that they're portraying, which is just absolutely fantastic. Leigh: It's a testament to you guys and what you guys teach, Matt. It's the learnings that we've taken from the Champions program that help us build those sites and we take those philosophies into every site that we build. It's a testament to you guys, so no, thank you. Mandy: Yeah, absolutely.
As you said, we've doubled in websites, but the fact that we can produce these professional sites that are performing, as I'm sure many people out there following you guys will know, a pretty site is great, but we want one that actually does rank and perform. Otherwise, a pretty site is just a pretty site. Yes, absolutely agree with Leigh. We've learned so much to get the foundations right and then put our little flavor to it. Leigh: The support from the community as well, Matt.
Both your staff that you have that we interact with for any questions that we've had, but then the rest of the community that's part of the Business institute, leaning on that knowledge and is just so helpful. Everyone's there when you need it and when you've got a question, you've got peers there that you can ask and get really high quality feedback and answers. Matt: You've learnt off the experience of some of the other Champion members and I know you guys are very active in our Champions graduate community as well. You're all helping each other and everyone looks up to you two because you're building. No pressure or anything, but you guys have done so well in light of all the challenges that you've had over the last couple of years and I just want to say a big congratulations.
Seriously, it's only been two years and I think to see you both building this business together as a young couple with a young family and little Ruby there. Now things seem to have stabilized a lot, but I do want to say a big congratulations for what you guys have achieved over the last two years. It's been fantastic working with you both and seeing what you've achieved, so guys, thank you so much for sharing...
Mandy: Thanks Matt. Thank you so much for all the help and support. Matt: ...your story. Yeah, and we'd love to have you back on in another year's time because I want to see how... Everyone is going to want to see what you're up to next.
Guys, thank you so much for sharing your story and Mandy, particularly for you, hopefully you've helped inspire a lot of women out there who are new moms that this can be done, that you can work from home. Whilst you both already had online experience, it still shows where you can go with this in a very short amount of time and starting a new family, in my opinion, working online. Obviously this is what Liz and I did as well as we see in a lot of people in our community. I think it's the perfect thing to do if you are starting a new family and you want to work from home and raise your little ones very closely for mum and dad.
Guys, if you're interested in learning more about this, then make sure you sign up for our free masterclass and go through the training there. That'll outline exactly where Mandy first started with us all those years ago, but thank you so much guys for coming along today. Mandy: Thanks Matt.
Thank you so much for everything. Leigh: Yeah, thanks for everything, Matt. Appreciate it.