The First Steps to Starting a Freelance Service in Squarespace Website Design
With platforms like Squarespace, Webflow, and similar, web design is quickly becoming a more accessible feat for those with moderate-level technical abilities. And while these platforms are designed to make building a website less complicated for anyone at any level of understanding, there are still so many people that would prefer to have someone else do it. And with every business now practically required to have an online presence, simply learning how to operate Squarespace gives you a marketable and in-demand skill — one that could very easily replace or outgrow your current income if presented correctly.
Although many people seem to believe that starting a freelance business is a super complicated, expensive undertaking, most people can get started with the following:
- Around $100-$500: Generally speaking, you can purchase all of the tools needed for $100-$500.
- At least four hours per week: You will need to spend at least four hours per week actively working towards your goals.
- Embrace Failure: Although these methods are tried and tested, nothing is foolproof. You have to be willing to accept failure and also try again until you succeed.
Step 1: Create a Portfolio
The very first step in this process is creating an attractive portfolio. Starting out you need to have at least three to five websites under your belt. The type of website or its intended use is irrelevant. They can be project websites, your own landing page, they can be built for free for friends and family — the important thing is that these projects not only establish your design style for future clients to review, but will help you acclimate to the process of building. Get familiar with the small hang-ups, the technical complications, the unexpected errors, so that when it comes to writing a contract you know what to include, and most importantly you have more questions to pre-emptively ask your clients.
Step 2: Design Your Landing Page
Along with the website you’ve just built in practice, most important to include is your own. A simple service landing page works in this case so that your design style and brand image are the main focus. In general, it should consist of five pages: the home page, the services page, the about page, the portfolio page, and a contact page.
On the services page, you should be offering three packages to start. A good guideline to start would be: a 3–5-page website package, a 5–8-page website, and one for an 8–12-page eCommerce website.
On your portfolio page, you will post previews and links to the websites you have already designed. This will give your potential clients the chance to review your work and decide whether you are a good fit for their website design needs.
Make sure you include details about why people should hire you. No matter if you provide a fast turnaround, cost-effective services, clean designs, or anything else you can think of, make sure you include it in the about section. You will also want to include details about your professional career and what made you start building websites, to begin with. These are details that will enable your prospects to get a sense of who you are and make your business appear more reputable overall.
Step 3: Establish Your Method For Attracting Clients Consistently
The most difficult, and obviously most important step in creating any given business is finding a way to get clients consistently. As a beginner, you won’t be able to just “get clients” by following the steps above, owning an LLC and everything else you’ve done up to this point. You’ll need to market yourself. This in itself is an entire learning curve — one that will often take the most time to figure out. There are many means of marketing — Fiverr, social media, job boards, cold calls. To have consistent work, you’ll need to find your method.
And while this seems like vague advice — consider the overall appeal of your business. Who are you designing for? Anyone? Maybe at first diversity will seem like the goal — however, over time you may realize you lean toward a specific niche, a specific industry. There may just be more you understand about specific interests that you’ll eventually want to expound on. Maybe you have well-developed opinions about effective shop layouts, or know how to make photography sites engaging. As in anything, eventually, you’ll find your crowd and this will be where you’ll find your consistent clientele. This is where you’ll market yourself the most effectively. In the meantime — here are some tips to help you acquire your initial traffic and client opportunities.
- Join Squarespace Facebook groups, participate, and promote your business.
- Run ads-Facebook, Google, etc.
- Build profiles on gig economy websites- Fiverr, Freelancer.com, Upwork, etc.
- Promote your new business on your social media pages.
- Tell your family and friends about your business and ask them to spread the word.
- Don’t let money get in the way- as you become more established, you will have much more leverage in terms of pricing. (So take opportunities as they come!)
- Once you find a method that works, double down on it.
Step 4: Create a Process for Clients
You will also need to create your own process for negotiating with clients. This involves finding the best way to communicate the details that ensures the client feels safe, secure, and confident in your skill set. Most freelancers use contracts, this can put everything in writing and is the most upfront way to secure your expectations. Other helpful tips to consider:
- Make sure your process allows for revisions. This is the only way new clients will feel comfortable. But be sure to limit the number of revisions you will allow.
- Ask for 50% of the fee upfront and 50% once the site has been launched.
- Use PayPal or QuickBooks to collect payments.
- Always deliver the product ahead of time; if it takes a week, tell them ten days.
- Learn to say no- if you don’t have the time or skills to complete a project, don’t commit to it! Another reason contracts at the beginning are so helpful!
Step 5: Ask for Feedback
Once you have built a few websites, you can begin critiquing your work and asking for feedback. It will take a while before you are truly a professional, and requesting feedback too quickly might kill your spirits and ruin your motivation, so just wait until you’re at the point you feel receptive. Overall, if you are interested in designing websites for a living or as a side-hustle, this goal is well within reach.
For More Information
Spacebar Agency has figured out the tips and tricks that make Squarespace web design a cinch. Whether you’re a website developer designing sites for clients or a business owner trying to optimize your Squarespace site for SEO, we can help. Our premium SEO packages are designed to help you create a beautiful, optimized site quickly and efficiently.
We also offer free resources that Squarespace developers of all levels find useful: