My life and my business have changed - in a positive way - beyond all recognition. I've moved back to my country of origin and I no longer have a paid job. I choose when and where to work, and when and where to spend my leisure time.
Here's my story….
I managed to cobble together a brochure with the help of MS Publisher to advertise my business.
Many years down the line, in 2001, when I had a well-established private counselling practice, I realised that I needed a website (these days you need one before you start!). I used MS Publisher again to set up a very simple site.
Though this might sound straightforward, know that it took me FOREVER to get it sorted! I persisted...
I hoped to be of service even if someone didn't make an appointment for a what is known as a "face-to-face" counselling session. I soon discovered that I could help people immediately by publishing quality articles online containing professional advice about relationships.
Over the following years I therefore made a deliberate effort to develop my website and published more and more relationship articles, self-help articles about mental health, and the connection between the two. I was delighted when I discovered how many people were visiting my pages and clearly staying long enough to absorb the information I provided.
By about 2008 I had outgrown my 'brochure' website. I needed a professional looking site with more capabilities.
Not very - is the answer! I asked a few what they could do with my original site….
"How much does that cost?"
"HOW MUCH did you say?"
I soon realised that I'd have to hand over a small fortune, but I'd still have to supply all the content. I also had to provide the right keywords - ideally those that were in demand with a winnable supply - so that my site would be found.
How and where was I supposed to discover that?
If I wanted anything else added later down the line - such as newsletter sign ups, a blog, a forum, a contact form, etc., they'd be happy to work out a 'favourable' price for me. Oh, and by the way, I would subsequently have to pay each time I wanted a single letter or word changed.
Oh please... I may as well do it myself!
I spent endless hours searching... although I didn't have a clue what I should be searching for in the first place. I lurked endlessly on forums, trying to understand what contributors were on about.
What did this and that word or phrase mean?
What did I actually need to know?
I didn't know what the 'right' programme to build a website ought to look like, other than 'as simple as they come'. I aimlessly searched for whatever it was I might need.
I also wanted trustworthy information on ways to develop not only my website, but also an online business with some kind of an income. At that time, just 30 quid a month would have been great - we were always overdrawn half-way through the month.
I tried Wordpress twice, Squarespace, build your online shop stuff, Weebly, Wix, an adult education course at my local college on using Dreamweaver, and so on. Hours and days were wasted trying to get things to work and look OK-ish, let alone look professional and form the basis of an online business.
Getting the look and feel of the site right wasn't even the most challenging part. I had more and more questions...
You get my drift.
If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead to anywhere."
Frank A. Clark
At one point I had support tickets running with three different companies for various reasons I won't bore you with. Two of them took days to answer, didn't read my questions properly and made assumptions... SIGH...
Cue more endlessly trying to figure things out myself, endless frustrations and late nights AGAIN.
This process took all of 2 years(!) and what did I have to show for it? Nothing but my old website cobbled together in MS Publisher.
Eventually I found one companies that hit all the right buttons...
In 2010 I found SBI (it was called Site Build It then). When reading (real) reviews and checking out their landing pages, I knew I had finally found what I was looking for.
What you're seeing on this site is due to all that SBI has made available.
If you are now comparing reviews, know that this is no ordinary website.
I've found everything I ever wanted and needed (and soooo much more) to build a successful business with Solo Build It. If only I had found it before - it would have saved me most of the above hassle, the wasted time, the wasted money, a tonne of frustration, lonely battles, lost opportunities and a sore head.
Mind you - it still takes a lot of Brain, Attitude and Motivation (BAM) to become successful. Building an online business is NOT easy - just in case you're tempted by the likes of Wix, Weebly or even Wealthy Affiliates.
Many a time I was ready to chuck my laptop not just out of the window - but through it! Fortunately, SBI, with its step-by-step process, all its features and the superb support made it ultimately 'doable' alongside a community of like-minded people.
I could have had the site built for me if I'd wanted that - for less than quoted elsewhere. However, I could see how I could achieve success all by myself - by following SBI's Action Guide. I thought success was getting people to find my site, but it turned out that 'success' with SBI meant changing my life.
I was immediately reassured by SBI's requirement to do some thorough research first. Great for anyone like me with the motto normally: "When all else fails, read the instructions"!
I had to ensure that my then already chosen niche was actually viable. It was - and I was chuffed. Remember? I had wasted too much time already! So now I was going to get it right from the start. I thoroughly enjoyed using their one-of-a-kind Brainstorm It keyword/niche choosing tool, which enable me to sharpen my niche over time.
Their step-by-step video Action Guide detailed every aspect of an online business clearly (and it gets updated regularly - not with every new fad, but with trustworthy info).
There's very friendly forum with on-subject discussions only. There's also a support pop-up for immediate help for several hours every day. When you email support they respond quickly and sort out problems efficiently. They let you know if there is going to bit of a delay and why. Sooo much more professional than any of the outfits I had dealt with before.
You can have a forum, newsletters, blog, all sorts of forms (all are included) with the all the help, explanation and hand-holding if you need it.
Due to my unfortunate previous experiences, I realised quickly how many pitfalls (read "time-wasters") I had already successfully circumvented with all that I had learned so far.
I was now ready to build my first pages. The accompanying information did not only tell me what to do in terms of SEO, but why I had to do it that way. Not only that - at the click of a button it checked all the relevant SEO aspects for me automatically, reporting any errors with why and how I had to correct them.
I also learned how to develop my 'Voice' - which was really important for me as my primary aim was, and still is, to share professional relationship advice. No academic stuff, but easily accessible information for as many people as possible.
I followed the advice to always put visitors first - to be of service at all times and to over-deliver. I learned that for people to ever want to follow your advice (including buying extra services or products where needed) they need to know, like and trust you.
In the meantime I had started using the SBI forums too and found people to be hugely helpful, encouraging and inspiring. Many a time, particularly in the beginning, I was able to get an answer to questions within a few hours. Oh, and the CEO - Ken Evoy - a man with great integrity, energy, know-how and experience, can be found in the forums too. His posts are a lesson in solopreneurship all by themselves.
I can't tell you how satisfying it feels to have been able to build, and continue to build, an online business that attracts many thousands of visitors from all over the world.
By offering additional, carefully chosen or developed services and products for those visitors who need further help, I earn an income that has enabled me remigrate from the UK to my home country. I now have a great quality of life - working from home and spending plenty of leisure time with family and friends. No stress, no hassle.
I'm so glad I gave up on Wordpress and the ill-chosen plug-ins that may or may not work with the next update (SBI makes sure their WP package works - always!), the lack of support and the missing business building information.
I'm so pleased too that I no longer have to trawl the internet to find quality, trustworthy information when the latest 'best of' and 'must do' hits the headlines. No longer am I easy prey for money-grabbing Get Rich Quick Schemes like Wealthy Affiliates which teach you only to write fake reviews. I'd hate to think I had (unwittingly) compromised my values and beliefs by writing stuff that would line other people's pockets whilst leaving me out of pocket, and not be of any help to anyone else.
Just in case you're not sure whether to choose Wealthy Affiliates or SBI, make sure you choose wisely by first having a look at this study (spoiler: you're 33x more likely to be successful with SBI than with WA... that is, unless you're keen to spend your time learning to write fake reviews).
I know from personal experience that it is possible to escape the commute, the difficult colleagues or boss and the exhausting 9 to 5 (or 7 to 7!) lifestyle.
Need some encouragement and motivation? Just watch this video...
I would love it if you found that too, and successfully changed your life and that of your family. Do your research and make your decision based on that research - not on fake reviews.
Whichever system you choose, I wish you all the best for your success. :-)