Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Allie Astell, Founder of Manage My Website, located in Bath, Somerset, UK.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Manage My Website is a specialist web design, web development, and training agency, and we focus purely on the Squarespace platform. Our customers can be anyone at all, from yoga teachers to management consultants or jewellery retailers to investment businesses. We also work with a lot of charities, non-profits, and public sector clients.

Tell us about yourself

When I was made redundant from a publishing company in 2008 due to the recession, I decided to set up on my own as a project manager for website builds. Our name was devised in 2009 when I came up with it during a call with my sister. At that time, the aim was to help people to maintain their websites (whatever the platform). But the niche that I found, project managing the build of WordPress websites while maintaining existing ones, shifted dramatically. Soon a friend casually asked me if I had heard of a relatively new, unknown platform called Squarespace, and that moment changed everything. Curious, I built my own website, learning about web design as I went along. Since then, the team and I have built hundreds more over the 14 years that we've been in business.

I absolutely love the freedom that running my own business gives me. I was lucky enough to spend 7 years working from South Sinai in Egypt in the early days, working from beach cafes on most days. It was idyllic! I also enjoy the range of different people I meet on a daily basis. Each website we build demands that we get to know the industry that we're dealing with so we learn a lot from our customers. It can sometimes be stressful when we have a tight deadline, but it's so rewarding. I wouldn't change it for the world.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I'm proud to have founded a successful female-run business, and when I think back to the fear I had at the beginning, it makes me happy to know that my idea worked out and that we now have hundreds of delighted clients, many of which come back to us when they need further help. I'm also lucky to be working with some of the best people in the business, so I have a solid team around me. Manage My Website has an excellent reputation and over 60 five-star Google reviews. It's all I ever dreamed of when I set up the business.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

I think it's the unpredictability of the work that comes in. For that reason, we make sure that we work with maintenance clients who use us on a monthly basis to keep their websites updated/developed. We're also focusing on generating revenue from training videos that anyone can subscribe to, learning to build their own websites (with our support when needed). The more ideas we can come up with to cover those quiet months, the better.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. When looking for a niche, try to choose something you're passionate about and knowledgeable about.
  2. While doing your research, don't just tune in to direct answers to your questions - a conversational 'red herring' could be the key to finding your niche.
  3. Your business may develop, but don't forget that serving your niche enables you to specialise, which gives you a unique selling proposition. Keep it at the forefront of your marketing efforts.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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