Jolie Morello mother of two and creator of Hey Bambini talks to us about how she started her own website which finds and reviews all the child friendly cafes in Melbourne.  Hey Bambini has been online for nearly two years and attracts over 4000 readers a month. Jolie has a brilliant community of mums who follow her site and often they contact her for business and website related advice.

I never dreamed that l would one day run my own website, let alone be the mentor to other mums who want to start their own online business. I’m a make-up artist by trade with a background in retail management – l can create flawless skin with three kinds of foundation, plus merchandise a front window like nobody’s business, but run a website??  My computer skills were basic and l had no idea on how to start a website, let alone run one. My husband used to laugh at how bad my computer skills were – don’t even get me started on Excel spreadsheets! They are truly the bain of my existence!

So l guess l started with an idea, and from that idea l did everything the good old fashioned way – l wrote it all down longhand on paper.

I gathered all my ideas and scribbled everything down in a note book which was purchased from the stationary shop for 64 cents.  I wrote down how l wanted my website to look, what colouring l wanted to use, even right down to the wording and font on my front page. I’m also a big visual person and love being inspired by colour and beautiful images so anything that caught my eye l grabbed and filed away for future reference for use in the site.  I guess my high school years had slightly paid off and as much as l hated do rough drafts for some subjects back then, it’s always the best to go back to basics and do what you know.

Once l had written my ideas down it was time to hit the internet and do some research on building websites and how to host a website. Luckily for me l have a very supportive husband who has some knowledge of running a small business and suggested to me that l should do a basic web design course just to get a solid grounding on what’s involved in running a website.

I enrolled in a course down a CAE in Melbourne’s CDB and each week (heavily pregnant with my first son) l waddled onto the tram and went to my night classes. The classes were great and l was actually surprised on how much l already knew about websites just by visiting them and using the internet for general stuff like ‘surfing’ and email. I learnt about copyright, hyperlinks and typography, I even got a certificate on completion which l was chuffed about!   After my course was completed l was so motivated to get the ball rolling l immediately started looking for a web design company to create my site.

With the creative side covered personally, l just needed someone to build the hard stuff – like the coding, hosting and the entire image uploading business. Because l had completed a basic course I was able to understand all the lingo that went with creating the software for a website. I recommend hiring a web designer you can talk “plain English” to and have an open business relationship with. In the first months l spent hours on the phone to him tweaking this and that, my phone bill was certainly high over this period that’s for sure!

I was so excited when l got to upload my first lot of cafes to my website, it was a nice feeling to see all my hard work come to life on the screen and the months of planning had paid off. It was a strange feeling when it went “live” – l was so nervous. My heart and soul was on display – months of hunching over the laptop, ignoring my family for weeks and there before me lay my creation - Hey Bambini. And then it came to me, what if people don’t like it? What if not one reads it? Is it really a good idea – will it take off?

But it did – it didn’t happen overnight and a lot of hard work went into adding fabulous content and promoting it – but that’s a story for another day.

Hey Bambini is a website that is dedicated to all the mums and dads who want to get out and about with baby for a quick breakfast, lunch or just a simple coffee without the hassle of worrying about parking, changing facilities, kids menus, highchairs, opening hours and most importantly – entertainment for your little ones. Hey Bambini provides a quick and easy guide for busy families to find a suitable child friendly cafe that caters especially for children. It was created by mother of two Jolie Morello back in 2008.