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Quitting the 9-5, becoming your own boss, and working from wherever there is wifi is more appealing than ever these days.

And when you’re in a hurry to say ‘adios’ to your day job and ‘hello’ to earning an income online as a web designer, it can be pretty tempting to skip over the basic foundations and head straight for the sexy money-making part.

Many new designers will hear about other people charging $5K+ a website, or how they can earn a passive income selling Squarespace templates, and they want to know the quickest way to hop on board that gravy train…

But what they are forgetting is that there were probably quite a few prettyyyy important steps those other designers had to take along the way to get where they are.

So if your business has been feeling less like the cash cow you were dreaming about and more like a very expensive hobby, then it may be time to circle the wagons and revisit the 3 areas many new designers tend to overlook when setting up shop!


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3 mistakes you’re making in your web design business

Mistake #1

Trying to fake-it-til-you-make-it with your web design skills

Platforms like Squarespace makes it so easy to drag-and-drop that pretty much anyone can learn how to build a website these days.

But that’s the problem…anyone can do it.

So if you are going to call yourself a designer, and charge pro-designer rates for this service, you need to be able to do more than just plug your client’s photos and text into some pre-built template or layout.

Otherwise they may as well have just saved a couple thousand dollars and DIY’ed the thing themselves.

You may be thinking:

“But Paige, my clients don’t have time to DIY a site. That’s where my service come in!”

And that’s great! But trading hours for dollars is not an enticing enough reason to hire you.

You’re not just selling your time.

You’re selling your expertise and understanding of the site-building best practices, online buyer psychology, and conversion strategy it takes to make sure that your client’s website is actually set up to sell.

You’re selling the skill of being able to take any website, no matter what niche or industry your client is in, and make it their ideal customer’s happy place, a perfect reflection of their business and brand…not a perfect reflection of some random template.

Nailing these foundational design skills is something I see so many designers skipping right over in their race to start landing clients to pay those bills.

But faking it until you make it isn’t going to work if you want to build a profitable business, no matter the type of creative service you provide.

Let me give you an example…

Say you are looking to have family photos done.

You saved up long and hard for this investment, and you are super excited to finally have a beautiful, professional portrait of all the people you love.

You mention your excitement to a friend and she tells you that her sister in law is actually starting a photography business and that you should totally check her out.

So you crack open Instagram to check out her work…

But before her feed can even finish loading you’ve already made your decision.

There’s no. way. you are hiring this lady with her photos looking like that.

Yes, she’s just learning, and you feel bad saying no, but no matter how cheap her prices are, you know you would never be proud to hang that on your wall.

So if you, as a web designer, have not invested the time & resources into developing your skills, and gaining the understanding you need to build a killer website (no matter the niche) then I promise you your potential clients are doing the same THING.

You deserve to make a killer living selling your services online, but your clients also deserve a website worthy of those designer rates!

So if you are currently having trouble filling your calendar, this is the first place I would look!

My favorite way to quickly master a skill is to look for the expert on that topic, and find a way to learn from them directly.

Whether that’s taking their course, joining their group coaching program, reading their book, whatever!

You can skip over all the expensive trial and error and those fraudy, fake-it-til-you-make-it feelings, because you’ll have access to that person’s entire lifetime of hard-earned wisdom and insider secrets all wrapped up in one pretty little package.

Mistake #2

Skipping out on learning the business foundations that lead to long term success

Back when I first launched my Square Secrets™️ course and started hosting regular live Q+A with students inside the course, I was expecting all the questions to be:

Paige, how do I change the color of this one button?”

Or….

How do I do XYZ thing in Squarespace?”

But what actually ended up happening was that I was spent every single call answering question after question about how to turn their new Squarespace skills into a business!

I realized that there really wasn’t anywhere you could go to learn how to run a web design business, or how to deal with clients, package and price your services, manage your finances, handle client contracts, or even something as simple as how much you should be paying yourself each month.

Every single newbie designer out there wanting to start a business basically had to reinvent the wheel, costing them time, money, and major headaches that could have honestly been avoided if they just had someone to show them the ropes.

So I got to work creating my Square Secrets Business™️ course to teach them just that!

To this day, it’s one of the biggest reasons I see that businesses wind up staying small and struggling.

They never bothered to invest the time or resources into learning how to create the processes, tools, and templates their business is begging them for.

So every time it comes time to respond to an inquiry, jump on a consult call, gather content from their client, or even just get paid for their work, they are just winging it, making it up as they go along.

And their clients notice.

Being able to offer a seamless, professional client experience is just as important as being able to deliver a top-notch website.

They may love their finished site, but if the road to getting there was filled with chaos and confusion, you can guarantee you will never see a referral or 5-star review from that client.

I’ve seen too many talented designers get burnt out trying to reinvent the wheel and be left scratching their head as to why they can’t seem to get their business off the ground, even though they feel like all they do is work.

Mistake #3

No marketing game plan & no audience

When I was first getting started as a designer, I decided I was going to host this big birthday sale, where if you booked a web design package with me during the week of my birthday, you’d get a sick discount on your site.

So I sat down and poured my heart and soul into writing the best dang blog post you’ve ever seen to let people know about the sale and hopefully drum up some business.

Do you now how many people read that blog post?

Zero.

I’m pretty sure not even my mom knew about it.

To be fair, I had only just launched my own website and so at that point I had zero site traffic.

But it’s no wonder I couldn’t land any clients. I was shouting out about my services to an empty room.

So this is mistake #3 I see even seasoned designers making!

They may be a killer designer, and many have nailed the business systems and client management part, but they lack the solid marketing plan needed to build up an actual audience of people to sell to.

Without a focused strategy, they end up just doing whatever they see other designers doing.

They may post a few Instagram posts here, write a blog post or two there, lurk in a handful Facebook groups waiting for an opportunity to land in their feed…

They may start to see a few inquiries trickle in, but they are usually super random, and not from the clients they were hoping for.

Even if they do start to see some site traffic from ideal clients, if they aren’t able to make a sale then and there the very first time that person visit’s their site, they have zero plan or way to reach out to that person ever again.

It’s possible to spend hours and hours a week dabbling in a bunch of different marketing techniques and never see results, or land clients consistently.

It wasn’t until I chose one clear focus for marketing and did it with actual dedication and consistency that I started to see the dreamy client inquiries roll in.

For me, that one thing was blogging.

For you, it might be something entirely different.

But whatever you do, it has to be done consistently, and with your exact ideal client in mind, otherwise you’re just adding unnecessary work, and in the meantime you’re speaking to no one.

If you need help discovering which marketing focus makes sense for your business, then my QUIZ: Which client-finding method matches your personality type?”was created just for you!

Take the 45 second quiz, and I’ll send you personalized results along with the clear next steps and resources you need to get started implementing your strategy so you can start attracting clients with ease.

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So those are the 3 mistakes I see web designers make that keep them from earning money in their business: skipping over the foundations of design, business, and marketing and heading straight for the thing that will quickly make them the most money.

But the designers you see out there killing it today are the ones who invested in their businesses early on, and developed their skills, business knowledge, and marketing expertise to where clients happily line up to pay the premium prices they are charging today!


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