Europe, Interviews

Cheryl Laidlaw – Founder of Website in a Day

Having more female tech role models is key, we can feature them in programs, podcasts, events and more to highlight women and their achievements within this industry. This will encourage more girls to explore this industry and take it seriously as a career. 

Cheryl Laidlaw is a digital marketer specialising in Website Design and business growth. Cheryl has a big passion in making web design not only interesting, but accessible to all, she prides herself on the Website In A Day service that leaves her clients not only with a fantastic website, but having had a great day learning new skills and new-earned confidence using their website to grow their business. 

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

I run a website agency in London and have done for the past 10 years. My business is called Website in a Day and that’s exactly what I do, Build websites in a day.  I have developed a process so entrepreneurs and businesses can get online efficiently and start making sales.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

When I first started in this industry, I had to work for free to gain experience that all the recruiters required the junior designers to have. I sent my CV on to all of the creative agencies in my area and one company got back to me and asked me to come into the office. They offered me an internship and I accepted. I spent 4 months gaining my experience so I could then apply for jobs as a junior roll.

I got myself a job in the marketing department for a franchise company. I would design all their printed materials but it was the same brand which become very boring.

I needed to challenge myself so after a year I applied for a job in a creative agency in the hope that the variety of work would keep my creative juices flowing which it did for 4 years. I loved working with different businesses and loved that I could wear what I wanted to work.

In 2007 the recession hit us and we were all asked to take a 10% reduction in pay. I was just about to buy my first property but I can to pull out of the purchase. It was too risky.

I knew then that I had to start making my own money and looked into going solo. I networked after hours so I could build up my client base and then after 6 months I handed in my notice and went out alone.

The first few years I hardly earnt a thing but enough to get me by. I was determined to do well. I would offer so many services in the hope that someone would give me a chance. 

That was 10 years ago and now I only offer one service and that’s web creation. It’s better to niche in one! Since doing that in 2015 my business doubled in profits and my reputation has soared as a result.

My alter-ego, London Web Girl, was officially launched in 2017. Originally something I created in my spare time it has, like Website In A Day, grown into its own brand. The idea originally focused on me, a woman in tech and managed to grow my Instagram following to more than 26k.

Through London Web Girl, I have been invited to work with amazing brands and individuals and established myself as a leading light in the tech and web world with a huge passion for helping women in the industry.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

I think it has to be our phones. When I first started in business, we could only use our phones to call someone and send a text but now we can schedule our whole lives on them, send emails, play games, monitor our fitness and much more. When I design and build websites, I look at them on phone firstly and then desktop as 80% of website traffic is now on mobile.

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that, which steps should be done to achieve gender equality in tech?

We definitely need to educate young women that tech doesn’t mean coding. We need to start at home and in primary schools to improve these numbers and influence girls and young women in tech.

Having more female tech role models is key, we can feature them in programs, podcasts, events and more to highlight women and their achievements within this industry. This will intern encourage more girls to explore this industry and take it seriously as a career. 

Which was the best decision in your career?

Starting my own business whilst I was still young.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

I would tell her that nothing is out of her reach. Suffering from dyslexia is something that led me to believe that I was already a failure! I didn’t ask questions because I didn’t want to look stupid but asking questions is so important for growth. As a result of this my confidence was shot to pieces, I used to work hard trying to excel in different subjects but I was bright in so many other ways that I never gave myself credit for.

So I’d say:
• Never be afraid to ask questions
• Nothing is out of your reach
• An exam result doesn’t define you as a person
• Don’t look at what other people are doing, be you
• Always trust your gut and do what makes you happy

Cheryl Laidlaw is a digital marketer specialising in Website Design and business growth. Cheryl has a big passion in making web design not only interesting, but accessible to all, she prides herself on the Website In A Day service that leaves her clients not only with a fantastic website, but having had a great day learning new skills and new-earned confidence using their website to grow their business. 

See more interviews of our amazing Gals.

Meet Our Other Gals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *