Your Name: Amanda Aitken

Business Name: The Girl’s Guide to Web Design, a service offering courses in web design and building

Type of Business: Coaching & Consulting/Design/High Tech/Marketing & PR

Business Location: Montreal, Canada

Reason for starting
I wanted to empower women to wake up to magical new possibilities through learning web design. My goal is to smash a few key beliefs: that web design can’t be learned, that you need to pay thousands to a pro to get a site or blog designed, and that coding is boring and only for geeky men.

How do you define success?
Hearing about the change I have helped to create in my students’ lives! Several of our students have been able to ditch their jobs to start creating websites full time, and we have tons of other students who are now making a nice supplemental income designing sites in addition to their main gigs – all thanks to the skills they picked up in the course. It’s been so gratifying to see these women start with zero coding knowledge and graduate from the course just a few weeks later telling me ”I’m so excited about what the future holds for me now. I was in such a rut, but now I see that anything is possible”. Our students often ”confess” to me that they’ve started passing up invitations to go out on Friday nights because they’d rather stay in and work on their sites – which I absolutely LOVE to hear!

Biggest Success
It was very exciting to find out that I was picked as one of Forbes’ Top 20 Inspiring Young Female Founders to Follow on Twitter. And I was pretty pumped to win Bronze in Ali Brown’s “Entrepreneurs Who Thrive” contest, too!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My biggest challenge in creating and running the course has probably been letting it completely take over my life! I get so invested in our students that it’s sometimes hard to remember that I need to take the odd day when I completely unplug. It’s very exciting to me to witness these women mastering skills that will empower them to make their dreams a reality online, so it’s very tempting to want to be there with them every step of the way. I guess it’s a bit of ”mother hen” syndrome!

Who is your most important role model?
My coach and energy healer, Renee Airya. She inspires me to live more lovingly, creatively, and spiritually every day.