If you’re an OG reader of the blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about the early days of my business, back when I was known as The Paige Studio.

New around here? Welcome! You can find that story about how I started my web design business journey here: How my Squarespace website design business started, in a Mississippi swamp!

But if you want the SparkNotes version it went a little something like this…

  • Wanted to start a travel blog but didn’t know how to build a website.

  • Discovered Squarespace, fell in love, and redesigned said travel blog a bajillion times just for fun.

  • Met a cute German guy.

  • Moved across the world to be with cute German guy.

  • Realized I knew 0 people in my new country, understood 0 German words, and therefore had 0 job prospects open to me.

  • Decided to turn my blogging/web design hobby into a way to pay the bills.

  • Became fully booked out as a designer, with no possible way to serve all the people who were wanting my help.

And so my idea for Square Secrets™️ was born!

An online course teaching online business owners and aspiring web designers everything they need to know about using Squarespace to design killer custom DIY websites, without having to hire someone like me. ‍♀️

And my second course, Square Secrets Business™️ basically wrote itself when students of my first course kept asking how to take their fancy new design skills and turn them into a profitable, fully booked out business as I had done.

Curious to know how I made the switch from 1:1 designer to serving thousands of students through a digital passive income product?

3 steps I took before making the switch from services to passive income products

Step #1

Built up a savings to live off while I created my course

I don’t know about you, but I do my best work when I don’t have a million other things fighting for my attention.

So I knew that if I was going to create a bomb digital product that would truly benefit my audience, that I would need to hit pause on all other projects in my business and give this thing the focus it deserved.

But since those other projects were currently the only thing keeping the lights on, before I could drop everything I was doing, I needed to make sure I had a solid plan for how I would continue to pay my bills while taking a break from 1:1 client work to build out my course.

So my first step to was to save up at least 3 months worth of living expenses.

Having this savings tucked away freed me up to focus 100% on the execution on my new idea (which in the end totally sped up my timeline for creating the thing!)

I could have chosen to keep offering 1:1 services during this time, but we tend to prioritize the things we know will give us a quick win or ‘safe’ results, and since it would be a while before my course would start to generate actual revenue, my idea would have likely ended up taking a back seat.

So knowing my finances were taking care of for at least 3 months made switching from services to products a heck of a lot easier, and probably saved me a year of just puttering away at it ‘here and there’ as I found time.

So that’s tip #1 for making the switch!

Have a plan to pay your bills while you focus on creating your product.

Suggested reading:


Step #2

Changed my messaging to reflect my new target audience

So even though I had already been consistently blogging for a while, every bit of content I had been creating was made with 1:1 clients in mind.

All my marketing pretty much spoke to one person up to that point: the client with a healthy $5,000-$10,000+ budget, looking to completely hand off the task of designing a site to a pro.

But my new product idea called for a different audience…

An audience full of people who knew they needed a website, but didn’t necessarily have the budget to fork out for a pro designer, and therefore needed someone to show them the way to DIY’ing that killer custom website for themselves! ‍

So I got to work rewriting my home and about page, and starting focusing all my content around this new type of person.

Suggested reading:

Step #3

Built a decent-sized email list

Speaking of audiences, right around the time that I was building up my savings, and reworking my whole marketing message, I was also doing the work of building up my email list!

Yes, even before I had my product created!!!

Why was this step so important?

When you offer 1:1 services, you are usually offering something at a higher price point (ie. a $5,000+ web design package).

So even though you are limited on how many projects you can reasonably take on in a month, you really only need a handful of clients to pay the bills.

And when a project ends, all it takes is finding one client to fill that slot in your books!

But when you offer a passive income product, it is usually offered at a much lower price point, and therefore you need a greater number of sales in order to hit that same monthly revenue goal.

So unlike 1:1 services, you can’t just run out and try to hand pick customers one by one every time you want to make a sale.

If you want to build a profitable business selling passive income products, you need to have a whole list of interested people already waiting in the wings to buy when you finally press publish on your big product idea.

How big does my email list need to be before launching my passive income product?

I go over some basic email list conversion math in this post.

How do I start building an email list of people who actually want to buy?

Figure out who it is you hope to target with your new product, and find a way to provide real valuable help to them for free.

By consistently being the most genuinely helpful person your ideal client knows on the internet, you will effectively be doing 3 things:

  • proving to them you know what you’re talking about when it comes to your topic

  • demonstrating you are truly passionate about serving them, and can be trusted with their precious when the time comes to invest in leveling up their skill or expertise in that area

  • making them thing, “Wow! If her free content is THIS amazing, I can’t even imagine what her paid products will do for me!”

My favorite way to provide valuable free help to my audience is through creating consistent content.

And while they are watching that YouTube video or reading that blog post, I mention a super relevant freebie or opt-in gift.

Something simple, but that provides a real answer to a question or problem they are likely to be having at that stage in their journey. Something so useful, that they probably would have had to pay someone else for that same info.

Suggested reading:


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What should I do with my email list before my product is ready to sell?

I wrote down all my best tips and ideas for how to keep your email list subscribers engaged while you put the finishing touches on your product idea!

My services > products timeline:

How long did it take me from start to finish?

So from brainstorming to being launch-ready, Square Secrets™️ took me exactly 3 months to create.

Like I said, I chose not to offer 1:1 custom web design services during that time so I could focus 100% on getting this beast of a resource built.

Now, once it was ready, I didn’t just stop offering custom websites cold turkey.

Typically with something like a course, you only launch it once every few months, so continuing to take on a few clients meant I could still bring in revenue during the months I wasn’t live launching.

So in terms of when I actually said goodbye to serving 1:1 clients and went all in on serving students of my courses, it was about a year-ish.

So whether you are looking to create a small passive income product to compliment your current 1:1 offerings, or you are ready to say ‘sayonara’ to services and replace your income altogether, I hope this gives you a little insight into what to expect, and just what’s possible with a little careful planning!


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How I made the switch from services to products