Here’s the scenario, mother of four children, BMX champion and successful woman solopreneur. And yes, one woman has all three roles.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably think, ‘How does she do it?’ But that’s exactly what my Page 1 Woman has achieved. You’d think she was one of those ‘Have it all’ women. But she isn’t.
This Page 1 Woman runs a social media and web design business with clients worldwide, and a networking group side hustle. She’s active, focused, determined and incredibly productive.
She’s a role model for women (and men), of how to plan, organise and develop a business over a short period of time and manage a fairly large family simultaneously.
Meet Anita Wong, a former ICU nurse, who transitioned into a stay at home mum, and later reinvented herself by returning to college to sit in a class with youngsters and learn new skills. She now mentors frustrated business owners who aren’t digitally savvy to create their own websites or increase their visibility online.
She’s all about enabling and empowering. She’ll give anything a go and achieves whatever she puts her mind to. And she’s a BMX racing champion to boot.
But how does Anita manage all these roles so effectively? Read on for more.
What do you do?
Anita: Primarily, I help entrepreneurs to become visible online. People come to me wanting to increase their visibility on social media. They understand for example, some of Facebook or Instagram but not all because the rules of engagement keep changing. I also help people to develop their own web-sites.
It's about visibility, presence and messaging. If you're directing your posts to the wrong people on social media, they get missed. I was in a Facebook group and someone said, “I've had my Shopify shop up for a while and I've had few sales”. They were selling masculine beard products using a woman’s image - wrong messaging. So, I help the provider to step into their customers’ shoes and discover what they want.
I've been an entrepreneur for six years. Over the last twelve months I've changed from doing it for you to empowering you to do it yourself through my online courses.
Before that I was a full-time mom of four daughters. After leaving school I went into nursing and eventually became an ICU nurse until my children came along. My husband, a heart surgeon, returns home whenever he finishes. So I stayed at home with the kids. Although I tried to return to nursing, ICU is intense, specialised and involves twelve-hour shifts, which wouldn’t work with four kids.
Starting my business happened by coincidence. We were in Malaysia and one of my girls wanted to try some skates. I saw an opportunity and began selling skates with a friend. I did the creative online part of the business. When we decided to close down after several years, I went back to college to do WordPress website and social media courses.
I got my first client by accident. We were thinking of selling our house and I said to the estate agent, “I couldn’t find you online.” I helped him get online presence and the business started.
My target market is predominantly successful career women, aged 40+, who’ve left their corporate lifestyle to follow a long-standing interest but get stuck. They know what to do, but not how to do it due to the evolution of social media and digital.
My business is called BommieMedia. I’m Australia born, and Bommie is Australian slang for surfing. It linked sea surfing to internet surfing. It’s quirky and suited the agency feel of my business. But now most people search for my name, so it’s easier practising under ‘Anita Wong’. So I'm re-branding to my name.
I switch off and recharge through BMX racing which I’ve been doing for four years, often travelling abroad. It includes a community of diverse women. I used to race BMX when I was a teenager. When my brother and I got a BMX bike for Christmas, I was hooked. And I went to nursing college and stopped racing. When one of the children showed an interest in cycling, I suggested BMX. I was so amazed that many women were racing, that I returned to it. I love the thrill, the team work and the competition.
My productivity is helped by my self-confidence. I see where people lack confidence and create things that help. I set goals and plan my week, working during school hours and breaking between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. That's the kids’ time. I've just joined a co-working space, which will help me avoid domestic distractions and get more efficient. If one of the kids wanted to do something and today is the only day for it, I’d do it. But I'm open with clients about my family situation.
What essential steps got you to where you are now?
Anita: The essential step was determining what I wanted to do. I started off doing social media for people and building websites. It worked well and raised my profile locally. Then I started the networking group to balance people’s online visibility with face to face interaction and make their conversions easier. So, clarifying and establishing what you're about is essential.
What was your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Anita: Running my business alongside managing a family was the biggest challenge. I now realise that my business is doing really well. My family can see what I've achieved too. Doing social media and web design, is ‘fun’ for them. They talk to friends on Snap Chat whilst I'm on Facebook working. And they're like, “How can you be working on Facebook?" So, it's an education for them and a confidence boost for me. They now see what I'm doing as work, which makes money and makes me prominent in my field. It's a good role model for them.
I grew up in a masculine environment with three brothers. I never noticed gender inequality - until I was a teenager and my mom wouldn't let me have a motor bike like my brothers because I was a girl. And then I went into nursing, a predominantly female profession.
I know I have to be strong, stand up, know what's right and wrong for my girls. And they'll see that's how you develop and create something like BommieMedia. I guess I'm a good role model for women in my BMX group too because many of them are at home with kids. Then they see what I'm doing.
Working for big influential companies like Wave.video, shows that I’m doing well. I was really nervous before working on their page but I did it. So, although I'm quite confident, a big challenge is believing in myself sometimes.
What was your greatest light bulb moment?
Anita: Last year I was running my course, “Build me Beautiful” and I recognised this was what I wanted to do. I realised that I could teach everything I knew and make money, although I'm not doing it just for money. That's why I did the certificated coaching course so I could get a better understanding of what might be stopping people from becoming visible online.
I've a 70 something client in California, an artist. We were online chatting, with the camera and I helped her build her video promo and put a little artist emoji on it. And she said, "It's great, I can do this now." I realised that I can articulate and show people how to do it in an easily understood way and that gives me a buzz.
What resource has been crucial to your success?
Anita: My confidence is crucial. It allowed me to return to college and join a web design class of 20 year olds. My confidence comes from having always been encouraged to do things that I wanted to do as I was growing up. I was never told I couldn't do something. My childhood was happy and we were always encouraged to help people and try things out, like BMX racing. At school I wasn't the brainiest, but I was never told that I wasn’t clever. I was sporty and won awards for running. I always had something that developed my confidence.
ICU nurses need confidence because it's an autonomous role. A patient relies solely on you for twelve hours. Although doctors pop in, you work to your plan. And you need confidence to know if the monitor isn't correct, or the drugs aren't working, or the observations are wrong. So, I've always been in an environment where I had to be confident.
And I was confident when I had my first child, because I’d learned from being around my brothers’ children. Some people might say I’m big headed, but I've gone past that because you have to be confident and share your achievements in order to be successful. I know I'm good at what I do. And if I were a man, no-one would question my confidence.
I’ve told my girls to share their wins with the world so that people can see what they’re doing. My eldest, Olivia is doing economics at UCL and she's just been elected the first female president of the Finn Tech Society. And she hadn’t put that on her LinkedIn profile. I said, “That's a massive achievement. You've got to tell everyone.”
What do you understand by leadership?
Anita: It's about guiding rather than taking charge and you’re leading by example. But also, you have to embrace everybody in the environment that you're leading in. You need to be confident, but open to other people's opinions and ways of thinking. And you have to take responsibility for leading and setting the plan, but also take other people’s opinions on board.
I’m obviously leading my social media and web design groups and my workshops. I'm also a leader in BMX of women who are creating something special. And I’m a mother leading my kids into life alongside my husband.
I’m also leading myself. If I want to continue growing my business I have to be motivated and lead myself. It's easy avoiding self-leading and waiting for somebody to do what you can do yourself. To be successful, you must lead in everything you do whether it’s learning a new tool, or planning a holiday.
What are your top three tips for women who want to be leaders in their field?
Anita: First, don't be afraid to learn. If what you're trying to do is flustering you, reach out and learn in whatever way. You’ll get confidence, self-belief and a buzz from learning. And when you action your learning you’ll be rewarded. Learning is useless without application.
Second, don't be afraid to ask for help. You'll see things from different and better angles. So, for instance, if you want to create a lead magnet, (a free piece of giveaway information), and you talk to people about what they need, you’ll create something they want. So, ask people for their opinions. It could make a big difference. When you ask for help, you make people aware that you need support because if you don't ask, people think you're okay.
Third, believe in yourself, and you’ll be a brave and confident ground breaker. You’ll get visibility and get noticed. To be a leader you have to be noticed. Women often sit back and let others do the talking, especially in male dominated fields. But if you believe in yourself and what you want to share, you can do it.
Would you like to learn more about what Anita Wong can do for you and your business? Click here.
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