I met Tom Locke from Hive Social via the Squarespace Circle forum and he's a pretty cool guy with a top notch design studio. Tom knows his Squarespace stuff and is always happy to help out and find ways to use technology to improve our overall Squarespace experience. Hive Social recently launched their Squarespace Plugin Store which offers some very nifty design features. I trialed the Read More plugin and loved it and am looking forward to using it in a future project!
Next Interview → Thursday, January 4, 2018: Max Pete
Tom Locke is the founder of Hive Social, a UK-based Web Design & Development Studio specialising in custom Squarespace design & development projects, coding support, training and plugins to help get you rocking your Squarespace site!
→ Check out Hive Social’s new Squarespace Plugin Store and use code HIVE20 for a 20% discount
1) What is your professional background and how did you get into Squarespace web design?
Before setting up Hive Social I worked at a number of Digital Marketing Agencies as a Social Media Manager and Content Manager. During this time I learnt a great deal about the importance of online content for businesses and my passion for all things digital grew very quickly! With the skills that I had picked up, I actually intended to set up Hive Social as a company that offered social media focused services (hence the name!). During my last working role I was responsible to managing the agency website (built on Squarespace) content and blog - this is where I learnt how to use the platform! I have always wanted to work for myself and after a few years of working professionally, I decided to have a stab as freelancing under the company name Hive Social. I knew that I needed a website and Squarespace was a natural choice for me at the time. Very early on in my freelance business, I found that my skills as a Squarespace website designer were fast becoming the main asset and made a conscious decision to hone my skills on the platform and focus on that as my main service. And that was that! Over the years I've developed my skills and worked with a number of awesome people that have helped grow Hive Social to what it is today!
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 didn’t exactly map out a safety net as such, it felt like a very natural transition for me at the time - I almost didn’t think about it!! I’m very lucky in that I have an incredibly supportive family, my parents let me use their shed as my first ‘office’ and helped out however they could int he early days. I didn’t really let myself think about 'not doing it' as an option, which may have been silly, but I simply knew that this is what I wanted to do and worked as hard as I could to make it happen.
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.
Good question!! My first year was made up of a variety of site tweaks, full site builds and other social media bits and pieces.
Three of my very early full website builds were:
http://www.juelconsulting.com (actually still working with these guys on and off!!)
http://www.calcuttamercy.org/ (this was the first large scale project that involved using subcontractors, which was a big learning curve!)
http://www.lockeconsult.com (my uncle’s architecture studio)
4) Do you have a niche market, or a speciality, or are you more of a generalist?
Over the years I have always focused on the custom side of Squarespace design and this is definitely a big part of my growth plans for Hive Social in 2018. We’ve been building up our design & development teams one rate last few months, so keep an eye out for loads of exciting things!!
5) What are your five top tips for starting your own business?
- Easier said than done, but just go for it! It is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
- Network and meet as many people as you can – dish out those business cards!
- Be open to collaborations and skill swapping, you never know where it may lead you.
- Be prepared to put in the hours.
- Always strive to exceed expectations – clients will always appreciate you going above and beyond for them and it can only lead to good things!
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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