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Ready to give yourself a raise? Here are 5 ways to boost your income—Squarespace designer edition! | Squarespace Design Business | Squarespace Web Designer | Become a Squarespace Designer | Squarespace Graphic Designer | Passive Income Ideas for Beg…

Being a Squarespace designer is a pretty sweet job. You get to work from home, set your own hours, and express your creative side every single day. But it’s not all roses.

Web designers often struggle to command the kind of rates we need to live the life we want. And I don’t mean lounging by the pool outside our Bel Air mansion. I just mean being able to afford the insane premiums of a decent healthcare plan and maybe a modest luxury buy now and again.

The truth is that creative work is routinely undervalued. And if you want to start pulling in six figures or more, you need to start by applying your creativity to overcoming the obstacles that keep you stuck making less than $5k per month.

Here are five ideas to get you started.

Raise your prices.

Let’s start with the obvious. 

If you already have a solid client base, rave reviews, and enough projects to easily fill your calendar, it’s probably time to raise your rates. Just do it! It may actually help you book more clients because it will increase the perceived value of your service. 

But what if you’re struggling to book clients or you don’t have a lot of gushing testimonials? Increasing your prices may not be the best idea just yet. There’s some homework you’ll need to do first. 

Repackage unpopular services.

Imagine going to the store to buy new socks. (My example game is not strong today but bear with me.) You see a fabulous set of socks. They’re soft, they fit like a dream. (I’m picky about my socks, okay?) They’re the socks you would wear if you were going to run a marathon. The problem is the package includes three colors: blue, green, and pink. You hate pink. You wouldn’t be caught dead wearing pink socks. So you hem and haw until you finally decide that these socks are too pricey to justify the cost when you’re only going to wear two of the three pairs.

Your web design packages are the same. If they’re not tailored to fit your ideal client, it’s going to be a lot harder to sell your services no matter how talented you are.

Let’s say you have an all-inclusive web design package that costs $2,000 and takes 4-6 weeks to complete. Maybe your clients don’t need all of the features your package includes but they do need a quick turnaround time. You could shave off some features, and repackage it as a two-week website. Bump up your price $500 and if you can book yourself solid, boom! You’re making $5k a month and you no longer have to juggle multiple clients at the same time.

The key here is to figure out how to structure your packages in ways that best serve your unique clientele.

Work on communicating value.

If your design packages cater to the needs of your ideal client, the next step is to communicate the true value of your offering. And that means overhauling your services page. 

The biggest problem I see with service pages is that they list all of the things that are included in a package but fail to communicate their value.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you include SEO optimization in your web design package. That’s great but many people don’t understand the impact SEO can have on visibility and growth. And they won’t know unless you tell them. 

Focus on results instead of features. The truth is, most clients don’t care if you include SEO optimization. They care if potential customers are going to discover them on Google. See the difference here? SEO optimization is a feature. Discoverability (and the revenue growth that comes with it) is a result. 

Increase demand for your service.

It doesn’t matter how amazing your service page is if no one sees it. If your website traffic is low, it’s time to focus your efforts on marketing. Once you’re in high demand, you’ll have the luxury of being able to choose your clients and raise your prices without fear of losing business. 

There are lots of different ways you can boost your traffic. SEO is my favorite strategy but you can also use social media. Here are some guides that can help you hone your marketing strategy and increase your traffic:

Offer a new service.

Sometimes, repackaging and raising the price of an old service isn’t enough and you need to try something new. If selling traditional web design packages isn’t working for you, it might be time to try a new model. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Offer a day rate or half-day rate.

  • Offer one-hour consults for DIYers.

  • Offer a la carte services by the hour.

  • Offer complimentary services like copywriting or brand design.

In January of 2020, I launched my One-Hour Strategy Session. Up until that point, I had struggled to sell full web design packages (my only offering at the time). The strategy sessions were a hit. Lots of people try to DIY their website, only to get bogged down and stuck. Many don’t want to pay for custom design but are more than happy to pay a smaller fee for some professional insight and practical help.

Offering strategy sessions had an unexpected side effect. Many people who booked me for an hour ended up paying for other services later on. In fact, I stopped offering free discovery calls because I found that strategy sessions converted clients at a much higher rate.

Launching a new service can have a huge impact on your business! Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things.

Promote affiliates.

Raising your prices and offering new services will only take you so far. Your income is still capped by the number of hours you work. This is why so many online business gurus talk about scaling your business. 

Scaling your business means that time no longer equals money. Your income is limited not by the amount of time you work but by your creativity and strategic ability. This is called passive income.

One of my favorite ways to dip your toes into passive income is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you promote someone else’s product and earn a commission when a customer purchases that product after clicking on your unique affiliate link.

Here’s an example. I have a blog post on Flodesk, my email marketing platform of choice. That post contains my unique Flodesk affiliate link. Every time someone clicks on that link, signs up for a free trial, and ultimately purchases a paid subscription, I receive a $19 affiliate payout. To date, that blog post has generated over $4,500 in revenue. It took me about one day (eight hours) to write it. That’s over $560 per hour of work. It still generates hundreds of dollars each month and I don’t have to lift a finger. And that’s just from one affiliate. Imagine how much you can earn when you join multiple affiliate programs!

The best way to get started with affiliate marketing is to pick a product or software you love (digital products and software subscriptions tend to offer higher affiliate commissions) and write a blog post about it. If you want that post to perform well, check out these guides:

Contrary to what you might have heard about affiliate marketing, you don’t have to email your subscribers (although you certainly can), spam people with links in Facebook groups, or annoy your friends by sending them product links. You just have to create content that is helpful to people who are trying to decide whether or not to buy the affiliate product. 

Just keep in mind that generating revenue from affiliate marketing takes time. I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for about ten years but the first affiliate payout I received after starting my web design business was only $37.50 and that was three months after I launched. Last month, I received over $3,300 in affiliate payouts. The key is to keep writing affiliate posts and eventually, as you gain steam, the revenue starts to build up over time.

Sell a digital product.

Affiliate marketing is an amazing way of generating passive income but there is one big downside. You’re selling someone else’s product. The affiliate program could be shut down and those monthly PayPal deposits would vanish. The affiliate could lower the commission and you would suddenly lose revenue.

Joining multiple affiliate programs is one way to hedge against these worst-case scenarios but there is another way—selling your own digital products. 

Digital products are a great way to scale your business for a few reasons. 

  1. They’re a million times easier to sell than physical products. No one wants to deal with inventory and shipping!

  2. They’re more profitable than affiliate marketing or physical products. With physical products, you have overhead. And affiliates only pay you a small percentage of each sale.

  3. They cater to people who can’t afford your services. Digital products provide a quick, affordable win to people who don’t have the budget to work with you one-on-one.

What kinds of digital products can you sell as a Squarespace designer? Here are a few ideas:

When I started my Squarespace template business, I had no idea what would happen. What happened, as it turns out, is that I went from struggling to make ends meet to having consistent $5k+ months in less than eight weeks. 

I have a course called Scale with Templates that teaches other Squarespace designers how to do the same thing! It covers everything you need to know to take your Squarespace design skills and use them to build a profitable Squarespace template shop.

Create a course.

Digital products offer a neatly packaged quick win but not everyone wants a pre-built website. Sometimes they want to know how to build a website (or grow their email list, or run Facebook ads, or…) themselves. This is where courses come in. 

Creating an online course is a great way to monetize your knowledge and help more people than you ever could with one-on-one client work.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips:

  1. Start with what you know. Write down all of your best skills. Maybe you’re an Illustrator whiz or you have copywriting skills to rival Brian Clark (of Copyblogger fame).

  2. Ask what your audience will buy. Do you serve e-commerce businesses? Ask yourself which of your skills would benefit this demographic. Do a lot of other designers follow you? Maybe you should market your course to peers instead of clients.

  3. Pay attention to what people say. Do you see people asking questions about your course topic of choice in Facebook groups or other online communities? Have people approached you for help with issues related to your course topic?

Empowering people through education is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a business owner. That’s one of the top reasons why I love blogging so much! And creating a course is just another way to do that. 

Your income goals are achievable!

You do not need to be stuck making paltry freelancer wages. With a little creativity and hard work, there are multiple ways you can grow and scale your Squarespace design business and hit those $5k months (and beyond!) that you’ve been dreaming of. And the financial freedom you gain from doing this will allow you to focus on the things that really matter—family, friends, travel, self-care, and working with clients who light you up.