Just stumbling upon our featured student series?

My team and I have been super busy BTS rounding up insider tips and success stories from past Square Secrets™️ & Square Secrets Business™️ students to hopefully encourage and inspire you on your own journey to building a web design business you love!

And this next guest is sure to do just that!

In today’s post, guest blogger and talented past student Danae Bloise of danaebloise.com is sharing exactly what happened when she decided to niche very early on in her career as a web designer and why she recommends you do the same!

How niching early as a web designer transformed my business & my confidence

By Danae Bloise

Shout out to all the people who’re tryin to learn new skills and transition out of jobs that aren’t serving them anymore!

I used to be a full-time teacher, but over the past few years, I started to resent the fact that everything revolved around my work.

I had to take holidays within a certain time frame. I couldn’t take off work when I wanted to, and the list goes on.

Fast-forward to the present and I’m now a web designer part-time.

I still take on teaching jobs because I’m still fairly new to the web design field.

But now it’s on my terms which is a really nice way to live.

I didn’t become a web designer overnight and there were so many obstacles and challenges that I was faced with.

It’s not an easy endeavor to embark on a new journey.

I’m almost in the 50’s club, so I had so much hesitation about starting something completely new. Especially in a field that I wasn’t one bit familiar with.

On top of all that, It can be super tough and discouraging because it takes time to grow your skills and get known, especially if you haven’t gone to design school.

And to circle it back…. that was exactly my situation.

I didn’t go to design school and I was learning web design in my spare time while I still had my teaching job.

I really had no idea what I was signing up for and how much work it was going to be until I started reaching certain milestones.

My first milestone was learning design fundamentals.

I was basically just dipping my toes in at this point to get a feel for the industry.

Next, I was deciding what platform I wanted to use for designing websites, and that’s when I came across Paige Brunton and learned all I could from her blog and her Square Secrets™️ & Square Secrets Business™️ courses.

Then It was time to implement everything I had learned about web design and business, and that was the most challenging part that hands down took me the most time to execute.

It was so tough for me in the beginning, to put myself out there and offer web design as a service because I didn’t feel like I could actually do it. 

It was mostly a confidence problem though because I already had the skills and then some to deliver quality designs and websites.

I had taken all the courses.

I knew the Squarespace platform inside and out.

I had an awesome portfolio because I had worked my butt off creating it, but I still found it really hard to just do the thing. 

What really helped me boost my confidence and up my game was niching down into an industry that I was already familiar with. 

I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20 years and I used to be an organic farmer as well, so I’m very familiar with sustainability, healthy living, and trying to contribute to making the world a better place.

So I thought it would be a no-brainer for me to start designing websites for plant-based/eco-conscious folks because I already had a background in that area, so it just felt like the right thing to do!

I believe that having a particular niche gave me more opportunities when it came to getting clients than it would have than just being a generalist web designer.

If you already have an established web design business where you are booked out and getting lots of referrals, it really isn’t necessary to have a particular niche.

But it’s super helpful and almost necessary if you’re just starting because it can really help you get the ball rolling, gain experience, and begin to feel more confident in your new role as a web designer.

6 reasons to niche early as a web designer

1. You’re more likely to get found on google

I was able to become number 2 in the google search results for web design in my niche because I was developing blog content around niche keywords.

If I didn’t have a niche I would’ve totally gotten lost in the google search results for Squarespace designer.

I was developing blog content around topics I was already familiar with and tied it back to helping my target audience.

For example; some of my blog post topics were. “7 ways to brand a vegan business”, “How to start a vegan catering business from home”, “26 amazing vegan website examples” and so on.

It made it much easier for me to write and share topics that I was passionate about to attract my ideal clients.

Using the skills you already have can help you reach new audiences and book more of your ideal clients.

Designers come from and have all different types of backgrounds and strengths that they can use to their advantage when working with clients. 

It’s not all about the design deliverables these days!! Say it louder for people in the back!

2. If you know an industry really well, you’ll have a more competitive edge, stand out, and begin to get known for being an expert in that field. 

For example, If you have experience being a teacher, there are plenty of teachers who are wanting to get out of the 9-5 grind to start their own business.

When it comes time to reach out for help with their website, they’re going to want to work with someone who “gets their business” more than someone who doesn’t really understand them.

If you’re creating content around what they need help with, they’re going to find you, and you’ll stand out because you’re speaking directly to them. 

Maybe in your previous job, you were a hairstylist.

You can utilize all the knowledge you already have from that industry and develop a niche around that industry by designing websites for Salons.

3. I found it much easier to interact with and book clients after I had a niche because I felt like we already knew each other. 

My biggest fear was to speak with potential clients about their projects because I thought that If they knew I was new then they wouldn’t want to work with me.

It was a huge obstacle for me, so I knew I had to figure something out if I wanted to be successful and start making money.

Let’s face it, It can be super scary to get on the phone with potential clients when you don’t have years of experience under your belt yet.

l felt 100 percent more at ease talking and pitching to clients after I decided to niche because I felt like I understood their industry and had some sort of common ground with them that I could use to relate with them better!

I stopped fixating on trying to book clients and put more attention and focus on having a conversation with them to see If and how I could help them.

As a web designer, you’re basically a creative problem solver, so understanding your client’s problems and pain points is half the battle. 

 I heard one of my fellow designer friends say that their approach to design was 80% strategy and 20% design.

I really resonated with her process because from my experience it takes mad time talking to clients and strategizing upfront before you even begin to implement the design part.

So if you’re able to meet potential clients where they’re at, listen and relate to them on a personal level……they can sense that you really care about their business and delivering quality work and they’ll want to work with you.

4. How you talk to your client is a skill in itself.

Remember, you’re not selling what you do (web design).

Instead, you’re letting your clients know you have a system and process that will provide them with the outcome and transformation they’re looking for.

You’ll be able to get them from point A (where they are at now) to point B (where they want to go).

It takes a good amount of communication with clients during the web design process. From sales calls to kick-off calls, and everything in between.

So If you’re building a relationship with your clients from day one, and leaning in on your skills,  it won’t be such an overwhelming process and instead, it will feel more natural like you’re working with a friend.

Clients want to be assured that there’s an extremely low risk of something going wrong during the project like getting ghosted after they’ve already paid, or something along those lines…

So if you’ve spent time cultivating a relationship upfront they’ll feel more comfortable working with you and trust that you’ll have their backs.

This brings me to my next point…

5. You can be a new designer and still be very valuable to clients.

You don’t necessarily have to have a lot of experience in order to be successful out the gate.

Let’s face it there’s ALOT of ugly websites out there, which means a lot of businesses DIY’d their site.

So the fact that you have taken the time to learn web design fundamentals and have the know-how under your belt to design great websites, it’s one step above what they already have going for them.

Folks who’ve DIY’d their websites don’t understand UX design, conversion psychology, strategy, and all of the other integral parts of web design that make a good website, that’s why they’re reaching out to you!

The transformation you’ll be providing them is light years beyond what they could’ve done themselves, so remember that when you’re taking on those first couple of clients.

Because you’ve already flexed your design muscles, by building portfolio sites, and practicing with friends, etc…

There’s no reason why you can’t get in the ring right away, charge industry standards, and deliver something that’s going to really help someone’s business.

If I haven’t convinced you already of all the great reasons to pick a niche…….Here’s one more.

6. You have a greater opportunity to land clients in niche Facebook groups than in general ones. 

If you’re looking to gain experience and start getting referrals, those first few clients can be the toughest to get!

If you develop an Instagram and Facebook profile around a niche, it’s such an easy way to meet potential clients you’d like to work with.

It’s almost impossible these days to land clients in a general Facebook group because the competition is through the roof.

If you are in a Facebook group for something really broad like “women entrepreneurs” then when an opportunity comes along and someone reaches out that needs help with their website, there’re going to be hundreds of responses!

No joke, I’ve witnessed it first hand! So to be quite frank the chances of getting the job is extremely low.

Whereas if you’re part of a niche group then there will only be a handful of competitors which really increases your chances of landing the project.

Web design is more in demand than ever!

The reality is there are so many people wanting to get their business online nowadays, so web designers are in demand, and there’s plenty of work to go around!

Having a niche will help you become the expert in your field, and you’ll be the go-to person for fixing a particular problem, which will help bring in more clients!

I hope this article was able to give you some insight into some of the challenges I had when first starting out and how niching put me on a fast track to working with more clients and how it can help you too! Aloha!




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How niching early as a web designer transformed my business & my confidence by Danae Bloise