We love to hear from past students, so nothing makes our week quite like students dropping in to our inbox to share their recent wins.

Whether it’s landing their first client, reaching their first 2, 5, or 10K months, or finally saying adios to their 9-5, you can bet we are poppin’ bubbly right alongside them to celebrate!

With 1,000+ past students of Square Secrets and Square Secrets Business, you can imagine it gets a little tricky keeping track of what ya’ll are up to!

So a few months ago, we sent out a little survey, just to check in, say hi, and see just what life looks like now after taking the courses. We had tonnes of success stories roll in, and we were thankful for every last bit of feedback and encouragement you had to offer.

We were so inspired, we just couldn’t keep it to ourselves!

So today, we will be sharing the story of one fabulously talented past student: Mariana Durst, and the uber-successful web design business she has built for herself. Mariana has found her niche offering Squarespace design, branding strategy, and copywriting for artists.

Yup, you read that right. Brand, Design AND copy, all under one roof (and all done in under 2 weeks!)

Her business Desk & Design is truly a one-stop-shop for artists looking to make a legit business (and a crazy-professional looking online home) for their creative passions, and we couldn’t be more proud!

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

I had just sold my business and was looking for a different way to use my creative talents in a business of my own. I decided that becoming a VA would be a good idea since I would get to support other entrepreneurs like me!

I had a graphic design background and thought it would be fun to reignite my love for it. I had a clear, but very general idea of who I wanted to serve, but no website, and definitely no web design skills.

I’d previously had a WordPress website and I knew that there was no way I wanted to work on WordPress again!

Q: What inspired you to take the courses?

My need to get my Squarespace website looking how I wanted it to led me to Paige. I devoured all of her free content and her blog and learned so much.

When Square Secrets was launching I jumped in, having full confidence that I would be able to make my investment back if I offered Squarespace design to my clients as a service.

I had read pretty much every blog post and downloaded every freebie from Paige and I knew I could trust her. She’s an amazing educator who has a wealth of knowledge!

Even with all the information I had gotten from her website, I knew I’d get so much more if I invested in her course… and boy was I right!!

Q: How did you land your first client?

I landed my first client before I finished Square Secrets… and let me tell you, I was dedicated to the course and not wasting time!

I offered my friends and family a discount on a new Squarespace website design and got my downpayment for my first Squarespace design client! My second client came very shortly after! Essentially, the course paid for itself 2x over and then some and I wasn’t 100% done!

I now use word of mouth referrals and the occasional email pitch to artists I think would be a great fit for my services.

Q: What does a typical day in your work life look like now?

I have a system in place in Asana that keeps me on track for every project! I know what to do and when, and how long it should take.

I have clear boundaries with my clients so when I start on a project I have everything I need to work efficiently and smoothly the entire way!

I work from my cozy home office. Or Starbucks. Or wherever!’

Q: How many hours do you tend to work? How much time off tend to take?

I typically work from 9 to 3pm Monday – Thursdays.

I take 4 months off a year, and I’m working on making it 6 months off in 2020, while still meeting my financial goals!Q: Have you traveled while working? What was that like?

I’ve taken my laptop to Mexico and Niagara Falls!

It’s amazing to be able to work wherever I want! While I plan my travel well in advance so that I don’t have to work, it’s nice to know that I can go on a last-minute getaway when I’m in the middle of a project.

And it only gets better! We recently caught Mariana on the beach when we reached out to ask about featuring her on the blog!

Q: What’s it like being your own boss?

It’s amazing to call the shots. I feel clear in the direction of my business and love the ease of pivoting when I have a new idea!

Q: How is your life different from before?

The level of satisfaction I have with what I’m able to accomplish and how I’m able to serve my clients is through the roof.

I’ve built Desk & Design from the ground up to support MY lifestyle and MY big-picture dreams. Square Secrets and Square Secrets Business were instrumental in making that happen!

I show up to work feeling fully supported and completely confident that I can serve my artist clients from a place that feels more like self-care and less like hustle.

“I’ve reached my first 5k week and my first 9k month in the past months and I am booked quite a few months ahead.”

Q: Can you share some encouraging words for others who want to do the same as you?

If you know a life of flexibility, creativity, and big earning potential is for you, and you have drive, you can do it.

Paige will teach you how. All you have to do is trust her process, and be open to learning all the goodness she’s got to share!

“Having a location-independent future is completely possible, and Paige shows you the roadmap to get there… even if today it seems so out of reach.”

Q: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about taking a PB course?

Don’t overthink it and just do it! Paige has got a proven track record and is extremely generous with her teachings.

I’ve taken other online courses for different topics, and this one is top-notch. Well-organized, well-presented, and easy to flow through and absorb.

You will get so much more than just a gorgeous website! You’ll get a website that works for you, engages your dream clients and delights them all the way to the bank! You will get a thorough and expert guide who presents the materials in such an organized and easily digestible way.

Also, I’d tell you that Paige doesn’t just teach you how to design and make it look gorgeous, but she also provides expert copywriting prompts and exercises on how to write your website. Have you noticed her copy game is 100% on-point? Well, you get to learn how to do it for yourself, and it’s awesome!

Besides her own marketing genius, Paige also features in-depth discussions with experts on marketing, so getting your first client is not going to be an issue. At all. If you’re smart about your pricing, you can make your investment back (and then some) with just one project, like I did!

Psssst. Want to see some of Mariana’s work!? (You’re seriously in for a treat!) Click on any of the Images below to see the full story behind each design!

Kristin Cronic

Squarespace Site Design, Brand, and copywriting by Desk & Design

Katie bramlage

Squarespace Site Design, Brand, and copywriting by Desk & Design

Jamie Corley

Squarespace Site Design, Brand, and copywriting by Desk & Design

Anisa Asakawa

Squarespace Site Design by Desk & Design

Kara Valentino Ffield

Squarespace Site Design by Desk & Design

“Having built four creative businesses from the ground up, I understand completely what it’s like leaving the security of a 9-to-5 and to go all-in on a dream that allows the life you want by design.


– Mariana, Desk & Design

Dreaming of ditching the 9-5 and creating a life and job similar to what Mariana has? I’d love to have you join her in the ranks as a past student of mine!

I have two courses which help you on the way to becoming a Squarespace website designer! If that is your dream, you’ll first want to check out my course Square Secrets.

It’s the most comprehensive, in-depth, and popular Squarespace based course out there.

If you want to learn all the hacks and secrets to creating jaw-droppingly fabulous Squarespace sites, and really feel confident designing websites on the platform, then this is the best course for you!

Next, you’ll want to check out Square Secrets Business.

This one was asked for specifically by past grads of my first course, who wanted to learn how to take their amazing web design skills and turn them into a successful, profitable business!

It’s a customizable, successful Squarespace web design business in a box! We cover setting up your packages, prices, and processes (with a heavy focus on getting clients!) I have some of the biggest names in Squarespace website design in the course as guest experts teaching alllll about how they land clients consistently in their business.

We also cover the legal and financial aspects that you need to know in order to run a legit web design.

I would be over-the-moon pleased to have you kill it, just like Mariana (and then be able to share your success story to the world as well!)



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How Mariana quickly reached her first $9K month as a web designer