Small Business Spotlight: The Site Coach

3 min read

Small Business Spotlight: The Site Coach

Small Business Spotlight: The Site Coach
Small Business Spotlight: The Site Coach

When Canadian Mala Webber, founder of boutique digital agency The Site Coach, emigrated to Australia from the Caribbean in 2008, she had already built a thriving destination wedding directory/resource business at a time when today's global digital village was fast taking shape.

SEO and online banking functionality were becoming a key priority for business and by 2009 the budding digital entrepreneur had landed her first digital marketing manager role for one of Australia’s first online insurance aggregators.

“As the digital landscape and economy began to take off,” Mala reflects today, “while I was largely self-taught, I had more and more people asking me to build websites for them and help them build their online presence.

"Through my job, I’d become an AdWords partner, which gave me access to specialist training from the teams at Google and (importantly) made me credible. I quickly realised that my real passion lay in helping and training people, rather than in insurance. So I resigned and…The Site Coach was born! I printed myself some business cards and my previous employer became my very first contract client.”

“My main purpose today is exactly as it was then; helping entrepreneurs build their businesses online.”

We sat down with Mala recently to gain some insight into some of the ins and outs of life as an entrepreneur and small business owner.

What do you love most about working with startups? 

I have worked with a lot of startups and what I love most is watching their journey — often from nothing — to something great; something established and something that is bringing in recurring revenue. It's very gratifying and feels good to know you've been a part of that journey. 

There are so many ideas that I can share based on my experience to help them grow, like how to expand their product offering, for example, or tap into a market they hadn’t considered might help them to grow.

I love knowing that I've played a small role in that success. 

Headshot of smiling brown haired woman wearing hot pink top
My main purpose today is exactly as it was then; helping entrepreneurs build their businesses online.
Mala Webber
Founder, The Site Coach

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to a small business founder?

Don't quit your job until you've replaced your income.

Entrepreneurship is a journey with ups and downs. It's not like being employed where you receive that regular pay cheque every week. Not having funding or money to grow your business is tough and it’s why many people flounder within the first year or two of being in business. 

Adjusting to — and making sure there is money set aside for — all the new additional expenses like web hosting and outsourcing, is a learning experience. I believe that if you can create a side hustle initially and run your business in your spare time, but really dedicate a good number of hours to it, that's the smartest way to do it. 

How has your local community supported or been a part of your small business journey?

Making the most of networking opportunities has played a really important role in my business’ success. When I first arrived in Australia, from my very first networking event, I was able to get my name and my brand out there, and so it’s continued. 

I joined meetup groups for local business owners in the CBD. I became actively involved in the Bondi Chamber of Commerce, which gave me a sense of community and enabled me to meet business owners locally that I could share experiences with and build a network through. I also co-founded the Bondi Businesswomen group that provided me with support — and enabled me to support others and help them ‘find their tribe’, too.

Today, I'm President of the Coogee Chamber of Commerce (my local chamber) for the same reasons. Networking is essential for relationship building, for having conversations, finding new clients, and of course building community, all of which are extra important if you work for yourself.

Can you share a challenging moment or period in your business journey and how you overcame it?

Life as a solopreneur or freelancer is always up and down. Sometimes you'll be super busy, other times things might get slow, so it’s important to be prepared for that. Retainer clients or contracts are great as they give you consistent income.

Let’s talk tech. Any platforms or apps you can’t live without?!

My favourite platform for building websites is WordPress. One of my favourite apps is for dictation and transcription. Canva is a God-send for anyone who needs graphics for their business. Plus of course, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 
What do you like to do to unwind after a long day? How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance, to avoid burnout?

I go salsa dancing! It’s the best thing I've ever done for myself. Dancing is not only my form of exercise; it’s exercise I never want to miss out on. When I’m dancing, I’m having fun. 

Why do you continue to run your small business and what keeps you motivated?

I still have that drive and the passion I need to keep growing and building myself and my business. 

Every time I reach a milestone, I create a new one, which keeps me motivated. Plus, I love being able to help other business owners; to be there to start a project from the beginning, watch it come to life and see it through. To see those [Google] rankings going up and feel that sense of satisfaction knowing ‘Okay, we've done a great job!’.

Connect with Mala:
Phone: +61 414 927 117
IG/FB: @thesitecoach