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Have you ever wondered how to set yourself apart from the rest of the super talented designers out there trying to serve your target audience?

In this video, past Square Secrets Business™️ Student Ida Winstead of Hygge Design Co. is sharing how she, as a new web designer, was able to carve out a space for herself in what can feel like a seriously oversaturated market.

Watch this BTS interview to learn what Ida did to stand out from the competition, and how she was able to make her business the obvious choice for the exact type of person she was hoping to book!

Plus, a sneak peak of some of her most recent designs!

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

Before I became a designer, I was working in corporate America. I was working for a grocery store’s corporate office doing communications stuff and I really didn’t like it.

So I started researching…

Before becoming a web designer, I actually started out as a Virtual Assistant. I made my website for my VA business in Squarespace.

Then I ended up redesigning it three or four times within a couple months! And I was like “hey, I actually like this a lot better than the actual VA work!”

And that’s kind of where it all started!

Q: What platform do you use when designing for clients?

So I started out with Squarespace, using it for my clients, for myself…everybody!

Then for the longest time, I was debating whether I should switch my business over to a different platform.

I finally decided to make this switch to Showit, really just because it made sense for my ideal clients and my niche – wedding photographers!

They tend to need a lot of flexibility with how they display their pictures, so that’s really all it came down to for me.

(I still like Squarespace for how easy it is to use and how easy it is for clients to update!)

Q: What inspired you to take Square Secrets Business™️ even though you aren’t currently designing in Squarespace?

So at the time, I thought I wanted to do Squarespace websites.

I’d seen a lot about Paige and I knew that she knew how to run the business side of things, and I was also really inspired by her two-week client design process!

So I took the course and I still use her process to this day!

I’ve modified it a little bit, because things do look a little bit different in Showit and designing does take a little bit longer…

But I found that her process has really worked well for me and my personality to be able to focus on one client at a time. My clients really seem to love that as well!

So that was my my main thing…just figuring out the back-end of running a web design business, figuring out my client process, figuring out how I wanted to serve my clients and how to get that all set up.


Q: How did you land your first client?

So I have a couple that I landed like in Facebook groups.

I wouldn’t really consider them like real clients, because it was like $500…

And looking back, it was all very disorganized because this is before I took Square Secrets Business™️.

It was kind of chaotic. I mean, I made it work. But you probably won’t see those sites anywhere today…

So I would say like my first real client was actually a photographer friend of mine I met through a local ‘Tuesdays Together’ community.

The opportunity presented itself where she was like, “so what do you actually think of my website?”

I didn’t want to be rude, but I was like, “I definitely think there’s room for improvement…”

So that kind of brought up that conversation in a natural way.

For me, it was a lot about just serving her and being open to giving her advice that led to that opportunity to book her as a client.

From there, I got referrals from her and it just kind of snowballed to where I was getting booked-out.

Q: You mentioned in a student survey that you are able to land dream projects just by hanging out where your ideal clients are…how did you decide who you wanted to serve and where are you finding them?

So my ideal clients are wedding industry professionals – more specifically, photographers and videographers.

At first didn’t really have a reason why I thought I wanted to serve them. I just had a feeling.

But once I worked with a couple of them, I was like, “Yep, I love this. I love their pictures” and I find that they give me a lot of trust, because they are also creatives.

They trust me to do my thing.

That helps me because you know, if clients are micromanaging it’s harder to get a good end result. You just feel paralyzed by that.

So that’s how I knew I wanted to work with them.

Then it was figuring out “where are they? Where do they spend their time online?”

I found a lot of them spend a lot of time on Instagram.

So I started just building actual, genuine friendships with photographers on Instagram.

I always joke that I know their industry so well by now that I could easily pass myself off as a professional photographer…up to the point of actually taking the pictures.

(You don’t want me taking your picture.)

I know their terminology, I understand their booking process…and I think that is important, because then they don’t have to explain all of that to me as a web designer. They automatically trust me more as an expert!

There are also some photography education groups that a few of my past clients are in. So anytime somebody is looking for a designer, they all echo my name in there.

When your name is being dropped by multiple people, people automatically see you as a pro and want to hire you!


Q: What did you do to set yourself apart and make yourself the obvious choice for your ideal clients?

Setting my business apart was a lot about connecting with my own story and kind of figuring out “okay, who am I? What do I do differently?” and kind of just owning that.

I actually met Paige at a Creative At Heart conference a couple years ago, and everybody there was like “you have to show up as you! you have to be different!”

So what’s different about me is I grew up in Norway, then I moved to the US after college. (Kind of similar to Paige, I met my husband in high school here as a foreign exchange student, and then we ended up getting married so I moved here!)

And at first I just wanted to blend in and I want people to know I wasn’t from here.

Then I had the realization that blending in doesn’t work in business! You have to stand out! So I figured out how to tell my story, and present it to people in a way that they would want to work with me!

And I preach this same thing to my clients since they are also trying to find ways to stand out and start charging more and working less…and they are also in a super-saturated industry!

And they appreciate it! They’ve told me “you’re very honest without ever being rude.”

They always know they are getting the truth from me whether they like what they are hearing or not.

Sometimes clients want to say what they think people want to hear on their website copy, or they want to look a certain way or pick a certain color…so I’ll be like “okay…but why??”

So I think that has helped me to stand out – people knowing they can trust me to give them what they want, but also what they need.

Q: How did you build your design packages to suit your target clients?

I just want it to be simple.

So I do either brand only, or they can come to me for branding and website design.

And then from there, it’s just kind of all-inclusive – you get whatever you need to finish out the project.

If my clients have questions about their business, they have my full attention for those two weeks. And people really like that!

My clients always comment that they feel like I’m not just somebody they hired, but somebody who’s actually coming alongside them, and wanting them to succeed just as much as they want to succeed.

So I try to structure packages in that way makes it feel more of like a relationship and partnership, rather than a transaction.

Q: How do you market your business and find clients today?

So I’ve actually been consistently booked out this entire year!

So I feel like I don’t focus as much on marketing anymore, which obviously is such a luxury position to be in, and a year ago, this is what I would have dreamed of, right?

Things can change very quickly!

[But in terms of marketing] I am very diligent in posting to Pinterest and my blog.

Whenever I launch a new project, I will share about it on my blog, then the blog post gets shared to Pinterest and social media.

I always provide my clients with launch graphics, so that they end up sharing about their project, which always brings me good traction for my own business when they tag me in them!

And going back to what I was saying earlier, my clients hang out on Instagram. And photographers have a community amongst themselves as well where a lot of them follow each other.

So it is very likely that some other photographer or videographer will see that launch graphic my client posted and it’ll come back to me!

I have done referrals in the past as well, but I don’t do them anymore because I just don’t need to!

Q: What’s it like for clients to work with you? Do you do anything differently than other designers?

My clients book me for two weeks, and we kick it off on a Monday and end the next Friday.

I present them with a brand presentation on the first Wednesday…95% of clients just say yes to that presentation and are ready to rock and roll – no real revisions are needed.

Then I’ll design their website Thursday, Friday, and the following Monday.

It’s a bit different than how Paige teaches because designing in Showit just takes more time.

The rest of the second week, we do the rest…edits and stuff like that.

My clients really appreciate that, because I know in the Showit community, not as many people work that fast.

Clients are busy and they don’t want to wait around three to six months while I work on their website and have to be super interactive with the design process that whole time.

[With a two-week process] most of my clients just have to check in once every night. And that works really well for them.

A lot of them have kids or families or other things that they’re focusing on during the day. So that’s what sets me apart as well is that my client design process is also different.


Q: What did you do to reach your first $50K as a new web designer?

It’s really just focusing and putting your head down and actually doing the work!

I was very ‘pro’ saying no to projects…which might sound counterintuitive.

But saying yes to the right projects leaves more room to grow your business in a more strategic way.

So I’m very like particular with taking on specific projects. [And when it comes to pricing] I also do an incremental rate raise with every single project.

It has helped me a lot with imposter syndrome and confidence!

So every time I book a project, I raise my rates by a couple hundred dollars, and that’s helped me to get there faster than if I had just stayed at one rate the whole time.

I just make my “starting at” price on my site whatever I’m looking to make with that next project. So if a client reaches out, my “starting at” price is what I’m going to quote them.

But sometimes I’ll have multiple people reach out at the same time.

So in that case I do first-come-first-serve, and the next person will have to pay $200 more.

Q: Do you think design skills are the #1 most important skill to succeed as a web designer?

Oh, absolutely not.

I think design skills matter. But honestly, like I tell people…

My job isn’t about design. It’s about believing in people and helping people chase their dreams!

Yeah, design is the tool I use to do that, but it’s more about how I show up in my business.

It’s how I serve my clients, and really make them feel like seen and heard and then translate that into design.

You obviously can’t be horrible designer, but you also don’t have to be the best. There are a lot of people out there, and there’s always going to be someone better than you.

Sometimes it’s just about finding ‘your people’ and finding what they really need.

All of us [including your clients] just want to be heard and seen.

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

It depends!

I know that Paige used to like to book back-to-back projects – but I’ve actually put myself on a limit.

So I only do two back to back, then I take a week off where I allow myself to work on things in my own business.

It’s so easy when you’ve got your head down doing client work to forget about your own business.

So this way, I figured I don’t have to feel guilty or like I’m behind on anything. It allows me to fully serve my clients AND fully serve my business.

So if I’m working on client work, I literally just work on that all day – sometimes it’s a 6 hour day, sometimes 8.

I also love going out to coffee with friends during the week. I don’t want to feel like I’m chained to my computer, so that’s important!

So I set up my business to work with that too.

Q: How is your life different after taking Square Secrets Business™️ vs. before?

Oh, mean…it’s night and day!

Because now I work for myself full-time, so I have a lot more flexibility!

Obviously, COVID is a little weird…but I can travel more if I wanted to if COVID wasn’t here.

And I also just have more time to do what I want to do.

I’m not answering to anybody else. So if I don’t love something, I get rid of it. Or I change it. I have all the flexibility in the world!


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

It’s so easy to look around, and see all these other people succeeding and think “oh man I wish that was me.”

I remember feeling like that…like, “there’s no way I’ll ever be booked out,” or “there’s no way I’ll ever be able to charge that much for a project.”

And honestly, if you just put your head down and do the work, it will happen!

It’s all about slow and steady.

We hear so much about those people who open their business and then they’re like “I’ve been in business 3 months, and I’m fully booked and I don’t know what to do because I’m so busy!”

That’s awesome! But for a lot of us, that’s not necessarily the story.

But you just gotta keep going at it and it will happen. And I think that’s important to keep in mind.

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

I would say do it!

You can go figure it all out on your own but it will take you so much longer.

So if you really know that this is your dream and you want to work for yourself, and you want to be a website designer, you really have nothing to lose!

Square Secrets Business™️ will give you those tools that you need so you can show up more confidently and feel like you’re not so much of an imposter!

And THAT will allow you to grow your business faster, and really chase after those dreams!

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