eBusiness Institute

How This Family Built a 6-Figure Online Business From Scratch

How This Family Built a 6-Figure Online Business From Scratch

How did this family build an award winning 6-figure online business completely from scratch? This is their story…

The Anner Family used to trade their time for money.

Today, they run an award winning 6-figure online business that leverages other people’s time.

In this incredible interview, you’re going to hear how they transitioned from teaching to buying websites and building a multiple 6-figure online business – completely from scratch.

You’ll also hear from their daughter who started learning digital skills at 12 and what she has been able to accomplish so far (this will surprise you).

If you’ve been wanting to start a side hustle that can give you a return on your time without you having to be there all the time, click play to see how they did it so you can too…

Matt Raad:  Hello again, everyone. Welcome to the Digital Investor Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Raad.

Today we are speaking to an amazing family who have replaced their incomes by using the digital skills they’ve learned with us. We want to explore how they’ve done that, and how they work together as a family.

It’s great to have you here Rosemary, Stuart and Kristen. Everyone in our community loves hearing your updates in our private Digital Investors community. But today I wanted to share your story with our wider community because it’s an auspicious time. This is your 10-year reunion with us!

Rosemary:   So awesome.

Rosemary & Stuart worked as Teachers trading time for money

Matt:            Can you take us back to when you first started? You’ve done all the strategies that we teach. Today you own a digital agency, and you’re about to complete your third big acquisition of a digital business.

Matt:           Rosemary, what was the driver for joining our program all those years ago?

Rosemary:   Stuart and I were teaching at the time, and Kristen was at school. We were all just trading time for money.

We loved what we did and were very good at it but knew that we didn’t want to do that forever. We wanted to get into something that could give us a return on our time without having to be there all the time.

Matt:           How long were you teachers for?

Rosemary:   I’d been a teacher since I left school, so a lot of years.

Stuart:         I’d only been teaching for five years.

Matt:           So basically, you were career teachers. Did you enjoy teaching at the time?

Rosemary:   We loved it.

Stuart:         It was great, and I still love it. But we were open to the idea of doing something different, and a big criteria of that was not being tied to a location. We didn’t want to have a premise, and we could do it from anywhere. Those were the criteria we were looking for and that’s when we met you and thought, “This is pretty good.”

We also thought Kristen could be interested in something like that and it would be a good skill to know. So that’s how it all started.

Matt:           And look how it’s panned out. 

Kristen started learning her digital skills at 12 years old

Matt: So how old was Kristen at that time?

Kristen:       At the time I was 12 in year seven. I came along to all the events and it was great to be in this environment and take it all in.

Matt:           So Kristen, at the age of 12, did you ever imagine for a minute that you would be doing the legendary things that you are doing today?

Kristen:       Not initially, no. So it’s pretty cool to see how it’s all turned out. I think a couple of years in I started to realise, “Oh, this is really cool. I think I’m going to go in this direction.”

Matt:           Awesome. So at first you were dragged along with mum and dad. You came along to our conferences up on the Gold Coast, and you met all these other amazing people in our community. You would’ve easily been the youngest in our audiences back then.

When you think about it; from a young age, you’ve hung around entrepreneurs (or people looking to change their lives) in a pretty amazing environment.

Kristen:       Yes, it’s been really cool. And just getting to learn from everyone. I picked up so much advice that I can take with me as I grow my own business. And so, it’s a really cool environment to be surrounded by like-minded people.

She’s now an expert at website design and business networking

Matt: So Kristen, let’s look back over these last 10 years. You guys all work together in a digital agency. What’s been some of your big successes? What’s something that you’re really proud about that you’ve done over the last 10 years?

Kristen: I enjoy website design. I’ve become really good at strategizing with clients to make sure their website really represents them. 

“Over the last 10 years I’ve developed the skill of talking with clients, getting a feel for them and how to best represent them in their website.” – Kristen Anner, Parramatta Web Design

I’ve also delved right into the networking side of things too. It’s a skill I’ve developed that’s led to some really cool opportunities.

How Networking has exponentially grown the Anners online business

Matt: Kristen inspires everyone in the Champions community, with her legendary networking. Actually, all three of you have inspired people in this area within our community and on our podcast. Has this been a game changer for you?

Rosemary: Yes, it really has because we’ve been able to connect with business people in the area and way beyond. 

We use the digital strategies you teach for our portfolio as well as for our local business. So networking has been a very useful skill for us. We love talking to and helping people, so it’s a win-win.

Matt: Is that how you’ve been able to grow your digital agency? So you came along to the eBusiness Institute, and started to learn all these different digital skills. You started out buying semi-passive websites, but then you went into the digital agency strategy. 

They grew their Digital Agency through networking and were able to quit their jobs

Matt: What was the tipping point? What helped you to be able to quit your jobs and transition fully to the digital agency where you now all work together?

Stuart: It was getting out there networking, meeting businesses and being where people needed what we offer. They needed a good website and website growth for their business. That was the tipping point for us. 

After a while, we were too busy to do our other work. So, we have to stop and just do this now.

Matt: Who quit their job first? Was it Rosemary or Stuart?

Rosemary: I quit my teaching job first.  I gradually refrained from taking on additional work, and responsibilities naturally shifted in that direction. The income from the digital agency replaces that very well.

Matt: So, you were building a digital agency. You started earning more income and getting more and more clients. Did you find it hard at that point in your life? Were you working a lot of hours to get to that point where you could transition?

Rosemary: Yes, moreso for Stuart.

Stuart: There was a little bit of time where I was working quite a lot in my teaching job, and then just doing all this stuff for our online business as well. It got to a point where we said, “Well, I’ve got to make a call on it now.”

Kristen decided not to go to university and instead joined the business

Matt: Is that why you brought Kristen along? For all the parents reading this, how did you get Kristen to join you? What happened there?

Rosemary: She’s just been there all along. 

We did the Digital Investors program for three years before we joined the Champions program. And so, she just came along every year and really enjoyed it. When we started thinking about scaling into the Champions program, Kristen excitedly said, “Yes, we have to do this!”

Kristen was in year 10 at the time and she was one pushing the hardest for us to join Champions. She already had her eyes on not doing HSC or going to university

She could see that there was a path here that she’s already loving that could do what needs to be done without having to do the whole HSE and uni thing. So yes, she was definitely pushing us along that way.

Matt: Kristen, can you share what your decision was in year 11?

Kristen: In year 11, I decided to leave school and focus on the business side of things. By that stage, I already had many years experience in that environment, so I thought, “Well, I know this is what I want to do, I may as well just get started now. I’m going to make this work.” And I haven’t looked back. 

It’s been amazing to get that head start and have those experiences. I now connect with people who I would otherwise never have known. And it’s been an amazing journey so far.

Matt: That’s so good Kristen. So, instead of finishing school and going to university, you’ve instead gone straight into your own business, working with mum and dad to build it up. 

As a mum and dad, was it a scary decision to hear your daughter say, “I just want to build online businesses; I don’t even want to finish school now”?

Stuart: A little bit. We had chats with other members of the Champions community about how she would cope with the group, and how could she remain connected?

And I think that’s where networking and being connected has really been important for Kristen. She wasn’t just leaving school and being on her own. She was connecting with like-minded people and kept learning these important new skills

Networking changed Kristen’s life from a shy and introverted teenager

Stuart: Today, Kristen is awesome at connecting with people, which is very surprising from how quiet she was when she was younger.

Matt: Well, you must be so proud of her. Kristen, we all remember her as a shy, quiet young girl, just coming along to these events with mum and dad.

But over the years we’ve watched you at our events and across social media platforms, and now sharing your story with us in these podcasts.

What are some of the amazing things you’re doing to put yourself out there?

Kristen: I’m very involved in BNI, which is a business networking organisation. I am now the president of my chapter and I’ve taken on pretty much every leadership role that you can have over the last few years. 

This means I now have leadership experience, but I really had to put myself out of my comfort zone regularly to get there. 

By doing that, I’ve become a connector; so I can now confidently say to people, “If there’s anything you need, let me know. I’ll get you in touch with someone.” And that’s a really cool thing to be able to help people like that.

She was able to step into important leadership roles at a very young age…

Matt: This is going to help inspire so many of our readers to know how shy and introverted you were. It was a real challenge for you to step up and do those things, especially as a young person around all these adults. 

Are you the youngest at your business networking groups?

Kristen: Pretty much, yes. There’s a few people around my age now, which is nice, but yes.

Matt: That’s right, but there wasn’t when you started. How old were you when you first started to step into the leadership roles?

Kristen: I started my first leadership role when I was 19.

Matt: Wow! You’ve only just passed 18, and you’re already dealing with much older people who own full-on businesses. 

…Which gave her the confidence to deal with big clients for the Digital Agency

Matt: You are responsible for doing the digital marketing for these businesses. How did that feel? Was that pretty exciting as well?

Kristen: Yes, it was exciting but quite daunting. I wasn’t used to it at first and I was scared to put myself out there, but you’ve just got to do it. And I continue to do that today.

It’s been a really cool opportunity to be able to work with these people. I’ve been able to learn more about their industries and pick up pieces of advice from them.

Matt: This is so cool. Rosemary and Stuart, you must be so proud of Kristen’s journey and how she’s dealt with all this.

I know the three of you now take this for granted, right? But it’s not normal for a 19 year old to be out there, working with their mum and dad 24/7, and being responsible for people’s livelihoods and their businesses. 

How the Anners work together in their Digital Agency

Matt: You guys do an amazing job for your clients with SEO. Also, Kristen has a great eye and builds beautiful looking websites. 

All three of you get right into networking, and you’re all very talented in your digital skills. So, how do you all work together in your award winning digital agency? Let’s start with the top line.

Rosemary: Yes, so the way that we divide it up is: 

  1. Networking: we all do a lot of networking to bring in fresh leads.
  2. Client Onboarding: whoever brought in the client will typically do the initial onboarding meeting (client interview). Sometimes it will be one of us, sometimes it’ll be two or three of us. 
  3. Research: Stuart does a lot of the keyword and competition research, etc. 
  4. Content: I’ll usually sort out the content.
  5. Website Build: once it’s time, Kristen will then build the website.

We also have a team, so I manage the team for a lot of the processes we do. And we are all working together to build SOPs for them.

Matt: So all three of you are actively working on the client side, and you’re extremely hands-on. Each of you are supporting these business owners. 

Is it possible to create a successful Digital Agency business?

The 2 key things that helped the Anners grow a 6-figure online business…

1. Build a team to scale your business

Matt: Are you actively involved in building websites? Or do you collaborate closely with your teammates to do this?

Rosemary: Kristen will usually build the entire site. Otherwise, she will build the main pages first which will be used as a model for the team to follow. That is how it’s working now. 

We are teaching the team to think and act like we do. By doing this, we can evolve and expand beyond our individual capacities.

Matt: Just think, 10 years ago you were teachers, and you’d never hired people before. But here you are now, just casually mentioning this team you’ve grown.

Can you tell us more about your team?

Rosemary: We have techies and support staff, mostly from the Philippines. We also have a team of writers who are based all around the world, such as Egypt, South Africa, America and here in Australia. 

2. Create standard processes for your team to follow

Stuart: Over time we’ve built up a really capable team. We have training that we go through with them, and we write our SOP’s (standard operating procedures) so they know what it is they need to do.

We’ve trained our team using our portfolio sites. We get them renovating the sites and doing jobs on them, so they get used to what it is we’re trying to achieve.

By doing this, when it comes time to work on our clients’ sites, they already understand exactly what we’re trying to do for them and what they need to do.

Matt: Is it easy to make that transition from portfolio over to the digital agency for all your team members? Are you using the team members on both portfolio and digital agency sites?

Rosemary: Yes, we train them in the portfolio sites first. Then we get the good ones to work on the client’s site.

Matt: So, you get to see how good they are, or if they need some gentle training sessions.

This has worked really well for you guys, because I remember when you started with us, it was all about portfolio sites. You were buying and selling websites and then building up to buying some bigger sites over the years. 

The Anners now have an award-winning Digital Agency in Parramatta

Matt: Now you’ve morphed into this digital agency. It’s been a 10 year journey for the three of you and you’ve built up your team. What’s your award-winning digital agency here?

Stuart: We have an award winning digital agency called Parramatta Web Design.

Matt: And I remember you guys had one of the first sites that ranked number one for web design in Parramatta. Then in the same year, we had our other students, Nathan Alexa, also had their agency website ranking for Parramatta!

It was really cool that even today, you are still ranking number one for web design Parramatta. That’s seriously impressive when ranking for SEO terms is very challenging. So well done there.

Stuart: Yes, it’s a keyword that the world really competes for! We didn’t really know that when we started.

Rosemary: We thought, “Oh yes, that’s awesome.” But nobody could find us because it’s such a good keyword. But today, we rank up the top which is awesome and people can easily find us.

Parramatta Award Winning Website Design
Parramatta Web Design was a finalist in 2024 at the Australian Small Business Awards

Kristen has developed her leadership skills to oversee the business’ team

Matt: You’ve all had some really big wins along the way.

Kristen, you’re obviously a lot more confident now than what you were. But just 5 years ago you weren’t nearly as confident.

What was it like for you when you first started dealing with these overseas outsourcers? Did mum and dad let you deal with them yourself? And was it scary for you, or easy?

Kristen: I didn’t do much of that in the beginning. Mum would take care of the team management.

…she overcame the fear of managing a team, which has helped leverage the business’ growth

Kristen: More recently, I’ve started working with the team. If there’s a tech issue, or something design-related, then I would message them and tell them what needs fixing.

Now I am working on becoming someone who oversees the design team. We are building this up a little bit more now so that I have processes in place that they can follow. 

That’s all in progress now, and it’s been a great opportunity to be able to do that. It also develops my leadership skills more, which I can transfer into other areas of the business. That’s what I’m working on developing more at the moment.

Matt: Great work, Kristen. I know it’s a scary step for a lot of people if they’ve never hired staff before. Even if it’s a virtual assistant (VA), this can be a roadblock for them. But you have embraced it, and it’s nowhere as scary as it used to be.

Stuart: Our team is very good. We’ve got some awesome people on our team and we get to help train them and help build their skills as well, which is great.

Rosemary: There’s some amazing people on our team. They’re really high quality people.

Matt: It’s awesome. Well, your team has been super important in your strategy as well. I know you guys are legends at networking for the digital agency side, but the team has allowed you to think about the leverage that you guys have.

See how networking can lead to massive business opportunities!

How the Anners are acquiring other agency businesses to exponentially grow theirs…

Matt: The Anners have bought quite a few big sites plus built sites from scratch that are ranking really well. They’ve done a lot of content marketing, creating lots and lots of quality content. That’s where they’ve refined their digital skills so well.

They’re now about to go into a potentially big acquisition, which you guys must be super excited about?

Stuart: Yes, it’s pretty cool. Hopefully this will progress to the outcome we’re looking for.

Matt: We can’t say too much at this point, so we’ll have to get another update from the Anners later on. But it’s very exciting to think of the skills you have now compared to 10 years ago which has led to this opportunity.

The acquisition strategy that these guys are about to do emerges just like the big corporations do, where they’re adding extra businesses to their existing one to get the growth. This is absolutely fantastic!

You’ve found really nice people to work with and it’s a very exciting opportunity for you. But I think this is one of those instances where opportunity meets preparation. 

You guys have put in the hard yards, and you’ve done the reps as we talk about here at e-Business Institute. It makes it a lot easier to facilitate these sorts of deals when they come up. How did you get this amazing opportunity?

Kristen: This one happened fairly recently, through networking at BNI.

Matt: Yes, that’s how some of the best deals come together. So this is, again, I want to say congratulations to you guys for going on this journey, this 10 year journey, and now you’re getting these amazing opportunities through networking and also through your digital skills. 

Kristen Anner speaks with Matt and Liz Raad
Kristen spoke on stage with Matt and Liz Raad at the 2024 Champions Bootcamp event in the Gold Coast

Any advice for people starting out on their digital journey?

Rosemary’s advice for young parents

Matt: Rosemary and Stuart, thinking about a parent who is starting out on their digital journey. Do you have any advice for parents who are just starting out? Perhaps they want to get their children interested in this as an alternative career choice. Do you have any advice on that after watching Kristen grow so much over the last decade?

Rosemary: I don’t know the advice for that, other than to say, “Do it for yourself.” 

“You can’t force a child to do anything because they’re going to take their own path. But, if you are doing this thing and loving it, then that’s going to be an example for them.” – Rosemary Anner, Parramatta Web Design

Now they might go, “Oh, can I be part of that?” like Kristen did. Or they might go, “Oh, I don’t want to do that.” But if you are there and you are doing it for you, then that’s going to be the key I think. 

Just be an example for your children. Wherever we could, we took Kristen along to events, so she’s in that environment and exposed to that mindset. She now thinks very differently to most people her age, and I think she always has. 

Communicating with your kids is so important and doing stuff as a family is the adventure. We’ve just taken an adventure together and this is where we’ve ended up so far.

Matt: I think that’s a really good point, Rosemary. As you know, that’s what we’ve done in our family too. We share that with everyone. And our kids used to come to the same events as well. 

But I like what you just said, do things as a family. And that’s what I love about you three. It’s obvious you’re very close, you do things as a family to the point where you’re sharing, you’re in business together for you. 

Kristen’s advice for young students

Matt: Kristen, is there any advice to young people wanting to start out? Is it a good thing to work with mum and dad? Do you think parents should encourage their kids to work with them for a while?

Kristen: I think everyone’s got a different experience, but I really enjoyed it. Getting to go on those adventures together has its moments, but it’s lots of fun and very rewarding to get to share that. 

I would say to someone wanting to start out, just take action and start

You’re not necessarily going to know the way, but you’ve got to start somewhere. So if you decide that you want to give it a go, then go all in because the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.

Matt: Well done. Kristen, you went all in, just like mum and dad.

Can you imagine yourself quitting your job and building an award-winning online business?

Matt: We’re so proud of you, Kristen. You’ve  won many awards now. And your business is also up for The Small Business Awards?

Kristen: Yes, we’re the finalist in the Small Business Champion Awards.

Matt: Great! Well, you’ve already won the Ultimate Champions Award, so that’s cool. Seriously, well done on your journey over these last 10 years, it has been amazing. 

I’m really glad that we’re able to speak today. It’s a moment in time when you’re about to go to the next big level within your business. You’ve got some amazing portfolio sites, and a really cool directory site that we all know and love. That’s going to be something big one day!

But in particular with your new opportunity for a big acquisition for your agency. We can’t wait to see what happens there. So, thank you for coming along and sharing your story.

Rosemary: Thank you so much for having us. It’s been an awesome time being part of your community for all these years. We love being around the community. It’s one of the reasons we stayed in Champions for so long, and for Kristen to grow up in.

Matt: Well, Kristen’s helped inspire the community. Look at the last conference we ran. Everyone was so inspired, Kristen, by hearing your story on stage.

You are also very active on our Facebook page and have helped inspire everyone, plus you’ve got a lot of knowledge to share now. It puts all us adults on the spot! If Kristen’s doing it, then we need to get out there and network as well. 

So thank you Kristen, for coming along and helping inspire everyone.

Kristen: Thanks for having me. That was a lot of fun. Yes.

Learn how to create your own 6-figure online business like the Anners…

Matt: If you’re interested in starting out, like the Anners did, get in there and do our masterclass where we teach you how to buy and sell websites. We go through the whole strategy, which is where it all started for the Anner family.