I love the freedom of working for myself! Freedom has always been something that is SO important to me, and the notion of a 9-5 and having to ask permission to take a vacation – well, it never sat well with me! - Alison Andrews, SBI! member since 2009

Entrepreneur Spotlight: The Life-Changing Power of an Online Business, Times Two


By Laura Gawne and Susan Bain, cheap-chic-weddings.com

Tell us about your website, www.cheap-chic-weddings.com. When and why did you start your site?

My sister Susan and I, Laura, started cheap-chic-weddings.com in August of 2003. I hated my job at the phone company and had to put my son in daycare…two things that made me very unhappy. I wanted to change my life, do something I enjoyed and be able to be home with my son. Susan was looking to do something she really loved as well and still be able to be around for her teenage sons. Our mom Roxie had the desire to work with us and earn extra money for herself.

We brainstormed about things we enjoyed doing and loved the idea of doing it online.  Although at the time, we knew nothing about building a website. After a little research we discovered SBI! (which was back then still called Solo Build It!). Which was amazing because we had a site up and running pretty quickly. With the help of SBI’s guidance, we came up with our website concept combining all of our strengths and experience in planning our own weddings, working in business, catering, and organizing events and parties.

What do you enjoy most about being an online business owner?

Being an online business owner has given us so much freedom. By the time my son entered Pre K, I was free from my job and have never worked a J O B since. My son is now 15!!!  We pretty much can do whatever we want…when we want.

So far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?

The biggest challenge has been keeping up with all the changes on the Internet over the years. It used to be simple. The search engine changes have been the toughest so far. We have dealt with this by always being willing to learn and adapt.

Why did you choose SBI! to build your website / online business??

We chose SBI! to build our business because we knew absolutely nothing when we started. SBI! helped us with every single aspect of our business. It has been the best decision we ever made.

With the rise of mobile traffic, what steps have you done to give your visitors the best experience on their smart phones and tablets?

When mobile got huge, we hired a company to build our mobile site. It was expensive and it was a failure. Then SBI! came to the rescue and made it possible to turn our site into a mobile friendly site right from our SBI! dashboard. No extra cost and push button easy! Yes…. and better than what the other company did for us!

Editor’s Note: Laura refers to Mobilize It!, one of the many tools that come with every SBI! subscription. It enables you to optimize your website for proper viewing on a variety of mobile devices. Alternatively, you can choose from one of the beautiful, fully responsive website templates that SBI! offers for free.

Has your life changed since you started your site? Can you describe these changes for us?

Our lives have taken a completely different course for the better thanks to SBI!  We have enjoyed financial freedom and time freedom!!!! We work on our own terms and have not had to answer to anyone. Which if you have ever had a mean boss, you can appreciate. We have both been available for our families and can vacation whenever we choose. None of which could have been possible for two women with ZERO knowledge of the Internet or having an online business.

We have recommended SBI! to many friends and family members over the years and many people have used it with success. We will forever recommend and be grateful for SBI!

Editor’s Note: Thank you Laura and Susan for sharing your SBI! review. Your story highlights the life-changing power of an online business, with the two of you evolving from zero website knowledge to savvy business owners, who are even being featured in the press. No wonder with such original ideas like your Toilet Paper Wedding Gowns contest!

What do you enjoy doing? Have you ever considered that there could be a business in your hobby, skill or passion?

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  • Hundreds of the “Top 0.5%.” Every one of these SBI! businesses (hundreds of them) rank in the top 1 million active websites (out of approximately 200 million!). That’s all the more impressive because 1) we are such a small community and 2) many Top 0.5% sites are mid-sized or large companies.

Solopreneurs fail at astronomical rates. SBI! makes you 100x more likely to succeed (that’s not a typo!). It will never be easy, but we do make it way more doable.

Scan the wide variety of solopreneurs who are winning in real niches. Use it to get a feeling for what SBIers do, as well as to generate ideas. What do you know? Turn it into a business.

Susan Bain and Laura Gawne

Susan Bain and Laura Gawne

Laura Gawne and Susan Bain are sisters who share a love for doing their own weddings and for all things beautiful. Their combined experience in catering, restaurant ownership and event planning made cheap-chic-weddings.com a natural progression for them. Not coming from privilege has never stopped them from having or creating beautiful things (especially weddings). As they say, necessity is the mother of invention! At one of their weddings, the restaurant even wanted to hire them because they were so impressed with the beautiful work they had done. By sharing their personal experiences on their site, Laura and Susan have helped many brides save money on their dream weddings.
Susan Bain and Laura Gawne

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