I recently sent out a little survey to check in on how past students are doing since taking Square Secrets™️ & Square Secrets Business™️

(Gets a little tricky keeping tabs on everyone now that I’ve had 3,000+ students join me inside the courses!)

Anyhoo, we’ve had some pretty incredible stories pour in!

And now that my team is growing and we have a little more bandwidth for following up on those amazing stories, you may have noticed a handful of past students being featured on the blog!

Well, our next lovely student is no exception with her inspiring story! If you’ve ever felt late to the party, or like starting something new at this point in your life is just not possible for you, then you are going to LOVE hearing from Lucy O’Reilly of Lucy Designs!

(Seriously, if her first response below doesn’t scream #relatable, I don’t know what does!)

Oh, and you can peep just a sample of her recent client designs below!

Q: What were you doing before you became a designer?

Well, to be frank, I was kind of at an all time low in my life at that point.

Things were pretty crappy.

I had been at home raising my 3 boys and hadn’t had a paid job in 10 years. My marriage split up, my mother had died…everything was like really, really tough.

I was trying to get back into the workforce as a returner, finding it pretty difficult with such a big gap in my CV (that’s “resume” for U.S. folks!)

I basically taught myself Squarespace over the space of a weekend…

I was involved in various non-organizations and was always putting my hand up to set up their website or do event flyers.

Then everything went belly up, and I was like, “Okay, I need to start working.”

So I got a job in a financial services firm to pay the rent.

Q: What made you want to become a web designer? What inspired you to take the courses?

I went back to college to do a degree in digital technology and design…thinking that maybe I could manage social media for small businesses.

By the end of that degree, I realized that actually, I knew an awful lot about a lot of things…that I actually had a really broad knowledge of the whole space.

I was able to throw together landing pages in Squarespace, and have people be like “that looks really good!”

So I thought “maybe I am kind of good at this!” And that gave me great confidence!

At that point, the financial services role came to an end, so I thought “how can I turn this into something?”

It was around that time that Paige was offering one of her free webinars.

I thought, “Wow! This sounds great! She does Squarespace AND she’s going to teach me how to run it as a business?? How do I pay!!??”

It was like manna from heaven! It was perfect timing and Paige spoke directly to my pain points!

Q: How did you land your first client?

My very first web design clients through my volunteering (choir, school parent’s association…basically anywhere that I was involved!)

This was around the time that everybody wanted to start getting online, so they were not paid gigs…just me going “this is great fun! I’ll do it!”

When I decided I could actually make a business out of designing websites, an old school friend contacted me saying she knew of a business consultant who wanted branding and a website.

So this was my first client where I had no personal connection to them, but I went and did it and he loved the work that I did!

I thought, “If he loves it, there are others out there who will love it as well!”

After that, I just started putting myself out there on social media and I got involved in lots of Facebook groups of women in business in Ireland.

And I think it was Paige who said this in her course…but I got involved and started being helpful and contributing, not being salesy (that’s not my vibe anyway).

And because of that, I got into this ecosystem of women all just starting out, trying to help each other and refer each other.

I also started blogging at that time.

Q: What are some of the ways you market your business and find clients today?

I try to create a lot of content on my website for SEO purposes.

And that does work! It just does!

Even if you only blog once a month, it makes a huge difference compared to not blogging at all.

So I try to create blogs on my website, which I then repurpose on social media. I’m still active in some online networks in Ireland…and then referrals, obviously.

So I would say it’s kind of 50:50 referrals and Google, which is great!

I would say don’t worry about the social media.

Yes, you need to be out there, but you can get plenty of business without it!

I would say content creation…if you want to get found on Google, you got to have content on your website!

Just write about what you know, and write about how you can help your clients and share your knowledge and your expertise.

Wear an educator hat rather than a sales hat!

Fun fact! Lucy believes so much in content creation for getting found on Google that she actually gifts each of her new web design clients a copy of her favorite book on the topic: Marcus Sheridan’s They Ask You Answer.

So if you’re ever stuck for what to give as a client gift, your favorite book for helping them succeed in business is a fabulous idea for letting them know how much you care about them!


Q: You recently shared that you had already passed the $100K mark in your web design business! How did you make that happen?

I would say I reached it through a combination of my two-week web design process (the one Paige teaches in Square Secrets Business™️), but then also offering branding and visual identity as well…it just made the scope of projects that much bigger!

And then also a shift to setting up online courses for people! (Interesting niche idea! )

I’ve also had more and work from people who did a DIY Squarespace website, and now want to level up!

But I would say by being out there and being first and foremost helpful, you get a reputation for being someone who’s easy to work with and just wants to help!

Q: Have you ever dealt with imposter syndrome as a new designer? How did you overcome that?

Yes, I think I think a lot of designers suffer from imposter syndrome!

When I hear that little voice in the back of my head…or when I’m on social media and I see all these other beautiful websites, and I’m like “Oh, my god! They’re just so beautiful!”…

That’s when I go back and look at my testimonials from my clients! And I’m like “they love what I do!”

I’m not designing for other designers…

So you just have to listen to your client’s feedback and believe in yourself!

If no one was buying from you, or you were getting complaints, or people were asking for their money back…well then maybe you’ve got a problem.

So if I look at other websites for inspiration and go “well, that’s beautiful” do I let it stop me? No! Absolutely not!

Q: Do you feel you do anything different than other designers?

I just know from speaking to my clients that they really appreciate me! Not just the design but the fact that I explain everything to them, and that I take a very holistic approach to web design.

What are their goals for their business, you know? Strategy, as well as something that looks good….

Some designers out there don’t really care if their clients are going to make money or get more leads from the website they just built…their job is to make it look good.

But it’s so much more than that!

So some designers just take the client’s content, put it up, and there you go.

But if I see something come in that doesn’t [serve their business], maybe the pictures aren’t good enough, or the copy…I can’t just go “Great! You’ll have your website by next week!”

I’m going to be putting my name in their footer! So I couldn’t put something out there that I didn’t think was going to work for them!

Sometimes clients also just come to me too soon!

Maybe they don’t even know who their ideal customer is, or they don’t even know what their product is or how to price it. That’s when I’ll say “you’ve put the cart before the horse!

So I’ll recommend them to a strategic marketer, or someone who can help them prepare a brand brief to really represent their mission, their vision, what they’re about, and who they want to sell to.

THEN, we can design something that they are going to love and that (as Paige says in the courses) their ideal client is going to see it and go “YES! This person gets me!”

If they don’t do that work first, no matter how much fairy dust I put on their website, it’s not going to build a business for them!

Q: What’s it like to be your own boss?

It’s amazing being my own boss. Like, amazing!

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to working for somebody else.

I never thought about running my own business, it just never occurred to me until everything in my life turned upside down.

It wasn’t even that I had some nice desire to run my own business. At that point it honestly was a necessity!

I look back at that 9-5, 50 hour work week and think “why do we impose this on ourselves and on each other?”

I’d have to ask someone’s permission to take two hours off to take my son to the dentist or to go have my car fixed…what a way to live!

But just this morning I took the whole morning off and went swimming in the sea because there was no one in particular waiting on anything from me! I was just able to do that!

And that’s the way life should be.

When I’m working, I work hard! I’m super productive!

But the freedom to manage my time, whether it’s work, personal, family, or whatever I need to do is worth its weight in gold.

Once you’ve had a taste of that, and if you can make money out of it, you would never go back to working for somebody else (especially when you give your all only to make somebody else money!)

Yes, you have guaranteed income, but you also have a cap on your income.

The sky is the limit when you work for yourself! You can decide “I’m earning xyz now and that suits me just fine” or if you decide “Maybe I need to earn more,” or “Hey! I can earn serious money!” then you have that possibility!

And at that point in my life, I was way too experienced to put up with being told what to do or having to run everything by somebody else!

Q: Any words of encouragement for new & aspiring web designers?

Yes!

There’s room for all of us.

There is a big, wide world out there of people in business who need websites so don’t feel that “oh, there’s already too many people already doing this!”

If you’re thinking about doing one of Paige’s courses, absolutely do it! They are worth their weight in gold!

And if you need a hand with how to run web design as a business, Paige shares everything! Her entire process!

There’s also an amazing world out there of other designers who are super supportive, and encouraging. And if you don’t know what to do, there’s somebody online who has the answer.

There are Facebook groups (like the ones inside the courses!), there’s forums…just full of really, really nice people across the planet, and they’re all helping each other!

So you won’t be alone! We’re all here to help each other out, and it’s really a rewarding business to be in.

Q: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about taking Square Secrets™️ or Square Secrets Business™️?

If you’re on the fence, get off the fence now!

I mean, honestly, I’ve taken both courses (the business one was the one that helped me the most, because that’s where I needed the most support) and I still rave about it to people!

Paige is so generous with her expertise and her time and you just learn so much.

It’s just a no brainer. So yeah, you won’t regret it. I promise.

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