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Who I Am

Lea Jovy-Ford

Hello, I’m Lea Jovy-Ford (pronounced Lee-UH and not Lee) and I’m a multi-passionate, home-educating, mother of four. I’m also the COO and co-founder of Beyond School, as well as being the pioneer of the Location Independent movement – the concept that spawned the digital nomad lifestyle and came long before the current rise of remote work.

Some of the things I’ve achieved in almost two decades of entrepreneurship:

  • Created a global, life-changing movement (which inspired the likes of Dell to jump on the bandwagon) and garnered international press.
  • Since 2006, built and lead several remote teams for my own companies, of between 5-15 people, creating cultures based on loyalty and trust before ‘remote’ was even a thing.
  • Built a 6-figure business in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which grew from a team of 2 to 15 within 3 months, and from zero to 6 figures in 6 months.

I can take you behind the scenes of my brain and my businesses to give you an insight into the nuts and bolts of what it takes to do great things, while also living life, raising kids AND being in a conscious relationship with my wife…

In The Press

As Seen In

Behind The Scenes Of My Brain

Do Something Great

First, there’s knowing WHAT to do, then there’s knowing HOW to do it. I am a rare breed who is great at both. I am a self-taught online technical whizz and a strategic thinker who rarely does things in the way others do them. You can see all of my ‘great’ things below, built over the past two decades of entrepreneurship with many hard-won lessons and skills gained. 

Here’s What I Can Help You Do:

  • Understand exactly how to bring something to life from nothing, with just an idea in your head and not much money in your pocket.
  • Figure out how to do it differently so you essentially have NO competition. Ever.
  • Gain the skills you need to do the absolute essentials yourself, before you’re earning enough to get help.
  • Build your great thing while also juggling kids, love, relationships and everything else life throws at you.
  • Take you behind the scenes of my brain and my businesses to give you an insight into the nuts and bolts of what it takes to do great things, whatever they may be for you.

    Why Subscribe?

    I’m a BIG thinker. I’ve been at the forefront of various movements and I’ve achieved BIG things in my life. I have superpowers that don’t always come naturally to others but that can be cultivated and honed. It’s essentially down to your thoughts – what you think and the way you think.  

    Subscribing to Great Things will give you an insight into the way I think which has allowed me to do the things I’ve done, including several ‘firsts’ both in the UK and globally…the UK’s first national conference for professional illustrators, the global movement that pioneered digital nomadism, the first global online event to help 1,000 women build their own WordPress websites in just one day, and much much more.

    Subscribing to Great Things will give you not only the mindset needed to do great things, but the skills, tools and resources you’ll need to do them too.

    What You’ll Get:

    • A weekly “Doing Great Things” email for premium subscribers only; this breaks down the most impactful things I’ve been thinking about, researching and then sometimes actioned for my own ventures each week. 
    • Daily “Great Stuff” whatsapp messages directly from me in a private WhatsApp group where I’ll share the stuff I come across as I find it, along with regular prompts to help you think bigger, move faster and overcome the chronic over-thinking that stops most people from doing something truly great plus my own thoughts/questions which are helping me move forwards. 
    • A monthly “Great Skills” session – we will hop on a live group call for a skillshare session, during which you’ll learn a new skill designed to help you move forwards. This may be technical, it may be practical, or it may be something else entirely!

    Terms:

    • You may cancel at any time and there’s no minimum duration required.
    • Please do not send replies to the Whatsapp messages you receive; I won’t reply to any of them and will delete them from the group message.
    • The weekly emails will be archived and the archives made available to you online, for as long as you have an active subscription.
    • The Great Skills sessions are scheduled for the 4th Friday of every month at 5pm UK time; they will be recorded for you to access at a later date, for as long as you still have an active subscription.

    ***This begins December 1st. Registration closes December 31st 2020 and will reopen in the Spring ***

    A subscription costs £50 per month.

    Greatest Hits Of The Past

    Past Projects

    Below are several of the ventures and projects I’ve brought to life since 2004. Not all of them have been great successes but each one has been great in its own special way!

    Rescue Desk
    (2014-2018)

    Sometimes it’s time to call the professionals! I ran the Rescue Desk, with a small team of 4, as an online technology helpdesk for complementary health practitioners. The team kept clients websites up to date, troubleshot all their online tech woes, and helped set them up and use online tools more effectively.

    Better Business Boundaries (2016-2017)

    Frustrated by the cost of useful  legal documents such as Terms & Conditions for small businesses, I created this short-lived but hugely insightful joint venture with a UK lawyer. We produced customisable contracts to provide a range of businesses with decent legal documentation which could be tailored to their business.

    Pioneer Collective
    (2012-2015)

    Long before the millions of groups currently on Facebook, I ran a mentoring group, the Pioneer Collective. This was possibly my most successful offering ever, in terms of the relationships formed and the progress made. We had a number of meet-ups with members travelling cross country (and globally!) to join us.

    zero2illo
    (2010-2014)

    With my then-husband, Jonathan – at the time an aspiring illustrator – we organised the first UK conference for illustrators in 2012.

    We hosted almost 100 illustrators and some of the biggest names in the illustration industry at a very successful inaugural event, followed up by an even bigger and better conference a year later (then with a 4 year old and 5 month old baby in tow!).

    Startup Training School (2011-2014)

    Outraged at the exorbitant fees charged by most web development agencies and having taught myself all the online tech I needed, I decided it might be useful to teach others how to do it too.

    So I started an online tech school to teach everything I’d learned; which included holding an event to teach almost 1,000 women how to get a WordPress website up and running in just one day.

    Dot Net Connector
    (2011)

    I spent an entire year writing About pages for other solopreneurs, small businesses & a couple of fairly large businesses). By the end of the year, I was pretty good at writing about pages and capturing the unique essence of the folk I wrote for.

    Why focus on About pages? Because they’re usually the 2nd most visited page on a website so they’re pretty important. How is yours currently looking?

    Then There Were None  (2010-2011)

    As a first foray into running an ecommerce store, we sourced and sold custom-branded goods that were eco-consciously produced and branded with custom wildlife illustrations. We donated 50% of the profits to charitable eco causes.

    Shine & Glue
    (2007-2010)

    A web design and development agency (with personality!) that I founded with my then-husband as we travelled the world, providing affordable branding and websites to freelancers and small businesses, globally.

    FitProToolbox
    (2008)

    I founded and ran an online marketing agency for wellness practitioners, providing white-labelled animated exercise graphics, self publishing support services, branding and websites for my fellow health professionals.

    Location Independent (2007-Ongoing)

    After embarking upon  a digital nomad lifestyle in 2005, I blogged about our adventures, coined the phrase and grew the blog into a 25k-strong community. The site has been featured on the BBC, in the Guardian and other worldwide media.

    Get Better Abs
    (2006)

    My first experience of self-publishing was producing this co-written ebook on how to get a flat stomach, the healthy (read: long!) way. The ebook came bundled with access to a range of tailored online workout programs illustrated with animated graphics.

    ActivOne
    (2005-2007)

    This was my first and only ‘offline’ business located in Nottingham (UK) – providing fitness training, holistic health coaching and corporate wellness programs to 3 of the main law firms in the city, as well as individual support to their partners and solicitors.

    What People Have Said About My Great Things

    Testimonials

    Talking about working directly with me…

    You know you’ve been given some good advice when you get off the call and immediately start plotting the changes you want to make in your business.

    It was such a joy to be able to talk through the systems and plans I’ve been working on and get more clarity around what I need and what I can let go of.

    Lea really knows her stuff and if you’re a solopreneur like I am, no doubt you often wish you had someone to brainstorm with — Lea is that person. Recommended!

    Susannah Conway

    Author, photographer and teacher, Susannah Conway

    Talking about working with me directly…

    I’ve followed Lea for more than 10 years and have worked with her several times in a few different ways. She is always insightful, understanding and full of ideas and inspiration, while at the same time striking just the right balance between pushing me out of my comfort zone and supporting me to take the next step.

    My business has progressed immeasurably over the last 10 years, and crucially, it is now a great fit for the real me. I wouldn’t be where I am and have the lifestyle I have (and love) without Lea‘s help and encouragement.

    There is still a lot I want to do and I hope Lea will continue to be part of my journey for many years to come.

    Ali Marsland

    Director, The Effective English Company – talking about working directly with me.

    Talking about being a member of The Pioneer Collective…

    I can say without a doubt, that the monthly cost doesn’t come close to the actual value I’d put on what I’ve learned.

    I started unsure of what I wanted and with the general feeling that I’m just not a business person. By the end of my first month, I felt far more sure of myself than I’ve ever been.

    Skip two months later: I have prioritized and have a clear plan of what I want for my business. Oh, and I designed, launched and marketed a new product that already has customers. That was the first three months.

    What I love about Lea’s approach is that she takes personal and work into equal account. We not only talk business but all parts of our lives and how they fit together. It’s about creating a life with all the elements that are most important, and becoming a successful entrepreneur is one part of that.

    Leigh Shulman

    Writing Coach, The Future Is Red

    Talking about the launch of Location Independent Business Course…

    This is the first joint venture I’ve done in 14 months of publishing AONC. The reason I decided to do this now is because Lea’s awesome project (the Location Independent Business course) is directly related to what a lot of people want to do. If you’re one of those people, I feel very good about recommending this to you.

    I can easily say that it offers great value. I give it four stars out of four. If there were five stars, I’d give it five. You know what I mean – it’s not really about stars, it’s about creating a life of freedom that allows you to work anywhere. This will help.

    Chris Guillebeau

    Author, Speaker, Traveller, The Art of Non-Conformity

    Talking about working with me directly..

    Startup Training School has been invaluable in the process of starting my website – every time I had a question about anything related to bringing a business online I only had to ask and the answer came usually within minutes. It has been magic!

    The training videos are clear, short enough that I don’t feel overwhelmed with the information and complete enough that it gets things right the first time.

    It feels a bit like having Lea sitting beside me at the desk.

    Catherine Cabrol-Schulz

    Energy Practitioner

    Talking about Startup Training School…

    When I launched my business, I decided to go all out with an online marketing plan to reach my market. I thought of delegating the website design to an outside agency.  The costs would have been thousand of dollars in a start up year. I tried to learn how to create websites alone and with online materials. The cost in time was frustrating.

    Then one day, a noted web entrepreneur suggested I register for one of Lea’s classes. The formula was perfect. I enjoyed the course so much that I registered for the inaugural Startup Training School Course.

    The future of business is evolving so rapidly and technical skills are a must to stay relevant tomorrow. As a lawyer, I now know to actively manage my online marketing. If you know this as well, look no further than StartUp Training School to get ahead.

    Suzanne Leclair

    Lawyer, Connect Counsel

    Talking about the Location Independent Lifestyle Guide…

    I found this book to be incredibly inspiring.

    While I’ve been working towards similar goals myself, reading just the first two chapters of this book caused me to take a couple of hours out of my day to really look at my life, what I want out of it, and what I can do differently to achieve that.

    In fact, I called my wife and we had a great discussion about it! It’s well written, interesting, informative and beautiful.

    Leo Babauta

    Writer, Zen Habits – talking about the Location Independent Lifestyle Guide I self-published.

    Talking about working with me directly…

    Lea has the ability to wade through all my objections, hidden fears and gaps in knowledge to get to the heart of where I truly want to go and crystallise a plan immediately.

    She knows when to prod, when to be firm and when to just be still. Sessions with her are considered, nuanced, strategic, fun, intuitive and future focused. There is no time to sit it the ‘I don’t know how/I can’t/But I’m not sure I have…’ state.

    One of my biggest hurdles is maintaining my location independence goals. Whilst I love my work, I felt like recently I’d compromised myself and my desires somehow and couldn’t see what to do next.

    Our last session completely rectified this. I left with structured key directional goals, methodical steps to achieve them, a peace of mind and lightness in my mindset and a warmth in my heart that comes from having a good conversation with a friend.

    Samantha Clarke

    Founder & Happiness Consultant, Samantha &

    Talking about Values-Based Business Planning…

    Lea’s secret strategic planning weapon is brilliant in its simplicity but really forces you to get clear on your strategy and future planning for your business.

    If you’re struggling to generate a sustainable income from your work, this is a “must have” to hone your focus and turn things around.

    Marion Harrington

    Entrepreneur

    Talking about Values-Based Business Planning and working directly with me…

    Using Lea’s approach has made one of the biggest goals for my business suddenly feel achievable. And I don’t need to feel afraid of not being able to do it.

    I found Lea’s way of asking questions and conversing very useful for stretching my boundaries and overcoming a fear of presenting my ideas to others.

    The value of Lea’s experience really shone through for me, and receiving personalised business advice at an affordable cost has been invaluable.

    Anne-Marie Springer

    Founder, House To Hold

    Talking about working with me directly..

    Lea offers a powerful combination of personal and professional guidance.

    Her intuitive nature means she gets to the bottom of mental blocks and limiting beliefs.

    I’ve experienced immediate results and I always leave our sessions enlightened and energised.

    Keith McGuinness

    Investment Writer

    Talking about Startup Training School…

    I knew just enough about building a WordPress website to get myself in trouble! Since I’m building a business on a shoestring budget, I figured I could read articles and figure out how to do my own site. But the pitfalls of building a website from scratch were many – and I was exhausting my resources trying to find solutions. The result was hours wasted and a website that fell flat and lacked the design elements I wanted.

    Enter Startup Training School. A godsend that offered a solution to all of my tech conundrums! I wanted to design the look of my site, rather than use a pre-designed theme – and the Startup Training School course offered all the training and references I needed to customize my branding and the site itself.

    The training materials are clear and concise, but best of all is the personal support I received when stuck on some little problem. Those ‘little’ problems can hold you up for hours if you don’t have the skills and experience in website design!

    Lea is brilliant, and she really knows her stuff! Being a member of Start Up Training School is like having your own personal web design consultant – one that truly cares about your business and your success.

    Without Startup Training School I would have had to resort to shelling out thousands of dollars for someone else to create the site I envisioned. And then I wouldn’t have known how to make updates and changes.

    Instead I have a site I can be proud of and I have a working knowledge of the underpinnings of what makes it all tick. I am so thrilled that I discovered Lea and Startup Training School. Can’t recommend this enough!!

    Sarah O'Leary

    Coach, Holistic Hot Sauce