Have you ever felt like you’ve had an income ceiling as a website designer? ♀️
Maybe you’ve already raised your prices several times, but you still have higher revenue goals and no clear way to get there!
That is what Sydney Williams of XXV Agency felt like when she first got her start.
She was bringing in about $3,000 a month.
But this girl had AMBITIONS!
Want to know how she did it? Here’s that interview!!
So we don’t just do web design…we kind of do a whole bunch of stuff, but the Square Secrets™️ & Square Secrets Business™️ course truly helped me lay the foundation to be able to scale!
At first I was like “yeah, we’ll do your website, and then we will manage your social media…”
It was so mom and pop….
But after taking the courses, it was like “No! Let’s get this thing automated. We need a welcome package. We are a legit business. We can charge more for this!”
So actually, I’ve been a website designer for years.
I was an art major in college, so I just designed my first Squarespace website because I wanted to sell my own art online.
And then I was like, “No! I know how to do this.”
So I rebuilt the whole thing.
This time it took way less time, and I kind of got it to how I wanted it.
I thought “this is kind of fun. Maybe I could do this for other people!”
So I started finding people with really bad websites, and building them entire websites, and then being like “here, I built your website. Do you want this website?”
(Which was kind of stupid, because I should have been asking “do you want me to build your website?” and then having them actually pay me to do it.)
So I kind of did that throughout college. Then I graduated, and I moved to LA and didn’t have a job.
Randomly enough, I had put on my LinkedIn bio that I knew how to design in Squarespace. Not even a day into my job search someone on LinkedIn messaged me saying “You design in Squarespace? Can you work for our media company?”
And I had a job like later that day.
And after about a year of doing that, I was like, “wait a second, why don’t I do this on my own?”
I was like “what am I doing?? This is a poor business model!”
So in January of 2020 (right before the pandemic), I incorporated and started this endeavor.
I started researching how to start a web design business and so many of the answers have been on your blog!
I actually knew back in college I wanted to take the courses and when I finally took them, not even like two lessons in, I was like “this is so worth it!”
I took it like slowly, like in kind of piecemeal.
I was like, “Oh, I need to know more about this… and more about taxes…and more about legal…”
So I kind of took it on an as needed, prescription basis!
If I had gone through it straight it probably would have taken me two weeks.
I was working in tandem with learning…because when the pandemic hit and we all went into lockdown, people were like “I need a website RIGHT NOW.”
All word of mouth!
At the bottom of every website I built, I put “built by XXV Agency.”
Then I’d link to our services page where people can book a consultation.
I see so many consultations through one website we built at the beginning of quarantine and from there it’s just grown!
October of 2020.
We were working like 15 hours a day…me and my partner/roommate.
Sidenote: We were just two girls who grew up in Texas…it was never a career path for me to like start my own businesses and become our my own boss or create my own hours!
I get to take on whichever clients I want to work with, and in a way, I’ve shaped a little micro chasm of the world based off of who I choose to work with, and what I choose to do with them.
Following Paige, I was like “ok, so not only can you do this, but you can be really successful doing this!”
I had kind of been watching from afar, thinking “ok…she’s a badass! That’s so cool! I can do this. Women can do this!”
Being able to do projects that I care about.
We’ve even at this point had to turn people away…we haven’t had the bandwidth to take everything on.
Or it’s not in alignment with what we want to do.
Which is crazy! [Without marketing] to be able to have that caliber of inquiries!
And I’m set up to take on inquiries because of something I learned inside the courses (hint: using an CRM–or client relations management software–to streamline your inquiry and onboarding process!)
Honeybook (20% off your first year! Yep that’s an affiliate link!)
I was doing everything through Square before and it was just not automatic. It didn’t have contracts, proposals, questionnaires etc. like Honeybook does, so implementing a CRM like Honeybook really just changed everything.
Before, there was so much legwork that went into book a client that I sometimes felt so exhausted by the time it actually came to actually design their site.
I don’t want to sit and send invoices. I want to design. And Honeybook was just like “Click. Boom. There you go.”
After we took on our first client, we were making like $1000 bucks a month.
Before the pandemic happened and things got terrifying, it was just sort of “this will grow and be whatever it is.”
But then when lockdown hit, suddenly we had to find a way to make money. We weren’t going to find enough clients by just randomly running into them which is kind of how we had done it before.
We actually found one of our bigger clients we work with now at a coffee shop. And we were charging like $300 a month for social media management services (where now we charge like $3,000 a month!)
Taking the courses helped me to see the value of what we offer and to know what it was actually worth! It helped me realize “you are the expert. Your designs are unlike anyone else’s.”
Instead of “oh, you’re just in college and you are designing on Squarespace.”
People kind of judge Squarespace thinking “oh anyone can use a template and build a website.”
But so much more goes into my designs now!
In the course you teach us to delete everything in the template and start from scratch. And how you do your design research using Pinterest boards where you take [and adapt] the elements you love most from the inspiration you are seeing.
[After taking Square Secrets™️] I’m designing from a user interface standpoint, which is game-changing!
I’ve realized “I know what I’m doing now!” and my services are worth a lot and we go the extra mile.
We’re sitting at $30K, because that’s where our bandwidth is right now.
We have some clients where we do monthly social media management, run ads etc. We do branding, we do website design… we’ve been doing a lot of online course core setup. Basically a six month launch package.
And that’s where the money is for us, is in consistent month to month services.
We already need to hire more people.
It’s getting super exciting because like, at first I just needed another Squarespace designer and social media manager.
But now I need a copywriter, I need someone who does hashtag strategy. Someone to do design.
I’ll creatively direct, and be like “this is how I want this design to look” but now I can step away and be like, “make this happen.”
It felt right because it was what was already coming to us.
So it felt right going in the direction of doing monthly services.
Doing blog management, that’s been so fun! And it’s something we want to start marketing for. I’ve looked online and there’s no one who does RewardStyle integration…do they expect bloggers to do this themselves??
So that’s the next step is to do some of the marketing strategies you talked about in your course and get clients that we have really been wanting to work with but haven’t had the bandwidth to go for.
Especially now that everyone needs a website.
Like, EVERYBODY needs a website.
Then after, if they have a really old website, they might need you to redesign their website.
At first I had a friend who was like, “I can like do stuff for you.”
And I said “sure, you can help!”
But that didn’t really work. It was short lived.
Now, when we go through the hiring process, we are looking for a very specific skillset. Like, I need to fill a role. Finding and onboarding the right person is definitely a process.
But it’s worth it. And the second you have someone else to outsource things to, you can take on so much more.
My advice to people who are hesitant is that yah, you’re having to pay someone, but you’re also being able to maximize what you can do.
So you can take on more clients, or enjoy your life more.
And you don’t have to pay someone as much as you pay yourself, or even have them do what you do. Hire for the things you don’t want to do anymore!
The hiring module of Square Secrets Business™️ does such a good job of explaining how to do this. You write down what you do all the time, and then decide from that list what someone else could do.
Maybe you need a virtual assistant, or an assistant designer.
Find out what you need to have in your business and get that help!
Well, we moved in the middle of quarantine (that was a really weird thing).
I now live in the Hollywood Hills, right underneath Hollywood sign.
I wake up and take my German Shepherd out for a long walk through the hills, and I come home and I make my coffee and then I sit down and check emails and kind of get into my rhythm.
I check in with my Asana and see what I have to do for the day.
And kind of just start working! I touch base with my team members, make sure that everyone has what they need for me and like make sure that everything is moving and I have what I need from what I need from them.
The two week website process you teach inside the course was so inspiring! And I wanted to do it just like that!
But I found that the clients we were working with weren’t quite so quick because of how much we are doing for them [not just websites.]
So all of our packages are a little bit lengthier.
So we tell our clients “this is going to be a six month period of development where we’re working in tandem with developing your social media and your brand and your logo.
It just kind of falls into place…if a client doesn’t do their homework, it’s gonna take a lot longer than if they do, obviously.
But that’s something I’ve been able to say to my clients to is like, “I need to hold you to a deadline because I have to be able to wrap this up so that I move on to the next thing in your project.”
I should have taken your course the second I thought I wanted to be a web designer. I truly wish I had!
The rate we are growing at now, if I had done this years ago, it would have been such a game changer! I’m so glad I took it when I did, but to hold off would have just prolonged this period of flailing around.
I took the Square Secrets™️ & Square Secrets Business™️ course bundle and I actually took the business course first and was like “cool. I know what I need to do business-wise.”
But then I was like “okay, let’s go back and figure out if I’m doing everything right Squarespace-wise…no, I’m not!”
There was a wayyyy easier way to do things that I was like, coding things to try to do.
I love lazy hacks, and you do such a good job inside the course of portraying like all the capabilities of this platform in ways that even though I’ve been designing for years, I didn’t know.
Trust your gut!
You came here for a reason. Take the dive, you’re not going to regret it at all.