If you had told me five years ago that today I would be a Squarespace designer, I would have thought you were crazy.
I was not an artistic child. I mean, I was definitely a creative kid. I was active in musical theater and enjoyed writing but I could barely draw a convincing stick figure to save my life. Visual arts were not me. Any career with the word “designer” in it seemed like a poor fit.
So many web, brand, and graphic designers I know have had the artistic bug since they were kids–sketching, crafting, playing around with Microsoft Paint. But it wasn’t until my mid-teens that I discovered my artistic side.
The Years of Discovery
I started playing around with an ancient version of Photoshop Elements and taught myself HTML when I was sixteen. When I first started, I didn’t know there were free resources like W3Schools that could help me, so I literally just took bits of code and picked them apart until I understood how they worked. I remember it took me four hours to figure out how to embed an image into a webpage having never seen a single line of HTML before. It was exhilarating when I finally got it to work!
Two years later, I discovered a wonderful online community of book lovers and launched Parchment Girl, the book blog that would be my primary creative outlet for seven years. During this time I honed my copywriting, marketing, coding, and graphic design skills–learning CSS, customizing premade Wordpress themes, and upgrading to the latest version of Photoshop.
I’ll be honest, I thought about becoming a web designer a lot during that time. I enjoyed the technical aspects of blogging and I discovered, much to my surprise, that I was actually a pretty good graphic designer. (It’s a lot easier than drawing!)
But I knew that to be a Wordpress designer, I would have to learn PHP and have a firm grasp on the structure of Wordpress themes so I could build them from scratch. The learning curve for Wordpress designers is steep and I was too overwhelmed to go that route. And besides, I may enjoy solving technical problems, but Wordpress can be a bear to deal with even for the most technologically proficient person.
From Content Creator to Marketing Expert
Eventually, I felt like I had outgrown my blog. I had harnessed the power of Pinterest and SEO to build it into a popular online destination for book lovers and I knew it was time for the next big thing. So I decided to start a marketing company focused on helping bloggers build their online presence.
The first decision I had to make was whether to go with Wordpress or Squarespace when I built the website for my new company. Ultimately, my overwhelming need to try ALL THE THINGS won out and I chose Squarespace purely because I had never tried it before and I thought it would be, at the very least, an educational experience.
Creating my first Squarespace website design was pure joy. After Wordpress, everything seemed a thousand times easier and the results were beautiful. It only took me a week to understand the ins and outs of the Squarespace platform (what a difference!) and a few months later, I launched my new marketing company.
How I Became a Squarespace Web Designer
Within a few weeks of launching, I landed my first client but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I billed myself as an online marketing expert but my first client asked me to build a website for her service-based business. She was not tech-savvy and would be ill-equipped to deal with the plugin and theme updates that are part and parcel of owning a Wordpress website. I knew Squarespace was the perfect platform for her.
I had no portfolio, no testimonials, nothing. Just a referral from the manager of my local bank and a drive to succeed. So I set about building my client the best Squarespace website I could.
Going through that process made me realize that I actually had the stuff to be a good web designer and, just as importantly, I loved it. I found my calling and now it was time to reorient my business and website to reflect my new career path.
After wrapping things up with my clients, I took some time off to get my house in order. I took a leap and signed up for the Square Design Mastermind, an intensive 7-week Squarespace design course that grew my knowledge and boosted my confidence in ways I could never have imagined. Then, I started the long process of rebuilding my website and relaunched on May 1, 2019.
For the first time in my life, I feel completely aligned with my work and I’m confident that my business will continue to grow with me.
I realize that every step in my path has led to this point. I needed all those years of writing experience so I can more effectively guide clients through the process of writing their own website copy. I needed to become an expert in online marketing so I can build websites that don’t just look good but convert visitors to paying clients and customers. And I needed to go through the messy process of finding clarity in my own business so I can better help clients find clarity in theirs.
So that’s how I found my creative bliss as a Squarespace designer. It all worked out in the end.
What’s your story? How did you find your creative bliss? Leave a comment below!