I am so happy that I started this new interview series, I love learning more about these amazing designers and their journeys. It is fascinating to me how different everyone is yet we all share the same passion for Squarespace. It also tickles me that I set out to interview "experienced" web designers and the first two I choose are still in their first year! Just like with Paige this really shows that you can start up a professional web design business and establish yourself relatively quickly - with the right mindset, tools and confidence! Erin's journey is quite fascinating, like me she has chosen a rather unconventional path and I love her thirst for learning and wanting to be the best version of herself. I felt very inspired reading this and I am sure you will, too!
Next Interview → Thursday, December 21, 2017: Tom Locke at Hive Social
Hi! I'm Erin. My life purpose is to empower others to live out their dreams. I’m not just a web designer––I’m a cheerleader for my clients’ businesses, a mentor, a friend and a coach.
I believe we would live in a better world if we all owned and supported small businesses. I feel it is a great contribution to this world that I get to support my clients on their entrepreneurial journey. → Visit Be Aligned Web Design
1) What is your professional background and how did you get into Squarespace web design?
I graduated from West Point and have my Masters in Business Administration. After serving five years in the Army I moved back home to St. Louis, MO and took a job with the Army Corps of Engineers. It was a rough transition to go from the Army to a desk job. The floor I worked on had no windows and sitting in a cubicle all day was a bit soul-crushing to say the least. I quit working for the Corps after I had my daughter and decided to follow my dreams of starting my own Professional Organizing business. After paying a designer to build my PO site I was not happy with the results and *thankfully* found the Squarespace platform. I was immediately drawn to it because at the time I had no coding knowledge but could still produce a stunning site. Sacred Space Organizing was the first website I designed on Squarespace and to this day it is still one of my favorites.
2) What was your safety net (e.g. a partner, another job, savings etc.) when you first started out and how did that help you?
I’m a Veteran and receive a monthly stipend for my service-connected disabilities. Between that and saving money before I quit my job I had enough to cover my bills so I could pursue my dream of being a small business owner.
3) How many websites did you design during your first year and how did your clients find you? Please share three sites you designed during that time.
I’m still in my first year! I launched my Web Design business, Be Aligned Web Design, in April 2017––just six months ago as I write this. Since then I’ve designed 18 sites and have “fixed” countless others. In the beginning almost 100% of my clients found me through Facebook. Today, 50% find me through Facebook and 50% are referrals. My plan is to be a 100% referral based by my one year anniversary date. My top three websites are:
Interiors with Intentions
Natural Looks by Victoria
Sacred Space Organizing
4) Do you have a niche market, or a speciality, or are you more of a generalist?
I have not “niched down” yet. My target market is creative entrepreneurs and the majority are women. My ideal clients are fire starters who are making a difference in the world by living their truth and and following their passion + purpose.
5) What are your five top tips for starting your own business?
Ahhh, I have so many. Here’s my top five:
1. Believe in yourself
Before you even think about going into business for yourself you have to know you are worthy and deserving to. your. core. The surest way to get over “imposter syndrome” is knowing that you have a gift only you can offer the world and believing that you are deserving of creating a life you love.
When I first started my business I would repeat over and over in my head before going to bed, and anytime I would wake up in the middle of the night, what I call my “I AM’s.” I AM worthy, I AM deserving, I AM valued, I AM abundant, etc. Through this personal development phase (which never ends) I had an internal shift about who I AM and what I have to offer the world. Since then I’ve been unstoppable.
2. Find your gift and align your purpose with it
When my clients work with me they get a Copywriter and a Web Designer. Writing has always come naturally to me. I love the process and the feeling of words flowing effortlessly through my fingertips as I create.
I have aligned my gift of writing with my passion of supporting other small business owners on their journey. By following my heart, using my gifts, and aligning my purpose, I feel accomplished and fulfilled every time I design a site and deliver it my clients.
3. Never stop learning
You absolutely do not need to know any code to start your own web design business (I sure as heck didn’t when I first started). But I have a drive to be the best version of myself every day and to be a master of my craft. In order to be one of the best web designers in the industry I knew I needed to step up my game and learn how to code.
4. Be of service to others
Always, always, always be of service to everyone you work with. That’s it.
5. Follow your golden nuggets
Never in a million years did I ever dream I’d be a web designer. We were required to take a coding class at West Point and I almost flunked out because of it. I don’t use the word “hate” in my vocabulary but let’s just say my distaste for coding was strong.
My advice to anyone still reading is to follow your golden nuggets. We all have a purpose for being here, in this life. My journey has taken me from the Army, to a desk job with no windows, to being a Professional Organizer and now a web designer.
No doubt people think I’m “flighty” but by detaching from the specifics and attaching to the end result (being happy, fulfilled, and successful—which has a different meaning for each of us) I have manifested my dream “job” and I know my dream life is unfolding with it.
I don’t know if I’ll still be building websites 5 years from now but I do know I absolutely relish in the creativity process and love what I do, in this moment. If you are thinking of starting your own business I want to encourage you to move though fear because there is a world of magic on the other side.
How to run a heart-centered and profitable business as a Squarespace Web Designer
You can make a great living as a Squarespace Web Designer and in this course I show you how by providing an exclusive look into my own web design business. Here I share all the processes and tools that have helped me get started and triple my income within three years.
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