Why What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Sparkle
 

All too often, we become acutely aware of what makes us different from our peers and try to hide it as much as possible. Our loud cackling laugh. Our semi-embarrassing dance moves. Our insatiable curiosity that makes us ask a zillion questions in meetings. Our obsession with an obscure food. Our disdain for something popular. Our loud hiccups. Social media encourages us to conform to feel part of “it.” “It” is just a boring word for “sameness.” There is no glory is being a follower. And only leaders have the guts to be themselves, regardless of what society thinks.

Here’s why you sparkle when you let your differences shine through.

 

You are remembered

If you have one goal, it should be this. You have no control over whether people love you or hate you but you DO have a say in how memorable you are. Being remembered is the pinnacle of sparkling. People, businesses and brands that aren't remembered are not top of mind and take up no brain space. When you're remembered, people think about you. Whether they want to or not. You are permanently engrained in their cranium.

 

You are respected

People who go against the norm have chutzpah.

My unscientific guess is that 99% of the public would rather follow the crowd and hide their differences for fear of standing out. But standing out is a GREAT thing. When you look and sound unlike anything your clients have ever seen, you will strike a chord with the ones who never had the guts to say and do what you do. Don't be afraid to voice your unorthodox opinions. You are your niche. And there's a niche for everyone. 

Your people respect you for being you, and I turn into being a role model for them. Personally, I don't drink. I have never enjoyed alcohol and especially in college, this was kind of odd. While it's become more and more acceptable to say no to alcohol for your health it wasn't so popular back when I decided it wasn't for me. At first I was embarrassed but over time I've come to own my status. So if you feel contrary to something accepted as a social norm, don't cower under society's pressure. 

 

You are iconic

Iris Apfel and her accessories. Anna Wintour and her bob/sunglasses combo. Bill Cunningham and his blue overcoat. Lorde and her dancing. Elle Fanning and her reverberating joy. Miley and her name.

People call you crazy. And then they copy you.

 

You are relatable

Humans are imperfect. When others admit their flaws, or love their differences our ears perk up. Oh! Someone else who does that? Someone else who gets it? 

Every solopreneur’s website has an “About” page where there’s a well meaning bio about them. Unfortunately, instead of telling me why they’re the girl or guy for the job, they talk about their favorite wine, their hobbies, their family, that they love a good nap blah blah blah...

Nobody cares! You need to make what makes you special clear.. as it relates to your business. Talking about how you just love to curl up with your dog in bed and watch All Dogs Go To Heaven isn’t relatable when I’m shopping for a coach. It isn’t cute and it isn’t helpful. If a coach were to talk about how they bucked the status quo in the industry to do XYZ because they believed in XYZ to get their clients XYZ.. I would be more interested. They’re talking about me, a client. THAT’S what I care about. I also care about qualifications. Generic fluff about your everyday life dilutes the potency of your qualifications. Save the puppy stories for your girls night.

On my About page, I talk about my interest and experience in designing websites but also that my purpose is to help other solopreneurs achieve independence and freedom through their business. 

 

You are judged, criticized.

I am unapologetically me. All the time. I don’t like to sugarcoat anything, especially with my clients. No one benefits from beating around the bush. I have strong opinions and am never afraid to voice them. As someone who builds “Online Squarespace Businesses That Razzle and Dazzle Without Making You Frazzled” I have to commit to being me, because I KNOW other people find my brand ridiculous. I KNOW other people don’t take me as seriously as they should. But I also KNOW a ton of people who do. They love my quirkiness. The fact I relate building a successful business to becoming a celebrity. The language I use to inject FUN back into their business.

I wouldn’t feel comfortable advertising myself as a “web designer that builds modern and sleek sites for the innovative company.” Blech. It’s so generic, and so NOT ME. I dance around the kitchen. I skip my way to a carousel. I know so much celeb info I could be working for a tabloid. Pink is my power color. These things make me, me.

Embrace your sass. Embrace your quirks. Then infuse those into your business. It can be the way you provide a service, your visuals, your language. In fact, it should be all three. Every piece of your business should be a drop of you. Like a drug. The more you embrace your difference, the more you sparkle. And the more you sparkle, the more you shine. Soon, people will need to wear sunglasses because you shine so bright. 

Great brands aren’t just brands- they are true to the people behind them. If you have an eye-catching logo, sleek website and monochrome business cards but are struggling to fit yourself into the mold of a suave brand you are doing it wrong. The brand should be built around YOU.

I don’t really do subtle. I have a colorful personality, a colorful design aesthetic and colorful language. Therefore, I design colorful and fun brands. Some people think all my work looks the same, which means I am doing my job. I leave my mark on everything I do, and others can clearly identify it as “mine.”

So don't second guess your natural instincts. And never be afraid to sparkle.

 
Nicole Faith
This One Overlooked Mistake Can Cost You Your Credibility
 

I love making new connections, don’t you?

My favorite part of the exchange is when we swap business cards. As a design-obsessed person, I adore looking at business cards of all shapes and sizes. Business cards are such a great way to make a solid first impression. Heavy card stock, gold foil and other elements scream “I’m too legit to quit!” A flimsy card, on the other hand, shows you couldn’t care less about your business.

We spend so much time making sure our business cards align with our brand so they can make the best impression possible. You show off your new cards on Instagram. Proudly hand them out to your friends and family. Carry them with you all the time.

When you meet me, you confidently hand over your card and I admire the design and weight until….. I see your email is businessname@gmail.com. Or businessname@hotmail.com. Or the best: businessname@aol.com.

I now want to cry. I want to ask you why?? Why did you spend so much time on your brand and your cards and getting the gold foil placement JUSTT right only to not bother setting up a professional email address?

Don’t you realize you just undid all the hard work you put into your business? You thought about your business name, excitedly registered your domain name, built up the design of your brand and then… just said “Screw it!” when it came to a custom domain email.

 

Why You Want A Custom Email

Consistency

business.com

name@business.com

It’s a no brainer! The more consistent you keep your business elements, the closer you are to having a dazzling brand. Not only it is difficult to remember when your emails/handles/urls are different, but it can very well make the process of finding and contacting you so exhausting they just give up. Despite what you think, no one sleeps with your business card under their pillow. Things get lost. People spill coffee. If your email is difficult to remember or just didn’t match the other things on your business card (hint, domain , hint!) then guessing the correct email is a shot in the dark.

 

Professionalism

It shows you aren’t running a hobby or side-hustle. Even if you are side-hustling, you are taking it seriously. 

I judge harshly when I see a business using a non-professional email. In fact, I immediately dismiss them and move on to someone else. Especially if they are calling themselves luxe-anything. A gmail email is anything but luxe.

I know an oral surgeon who runs a booming practice and is highly sought after in his industry. Yet his email address is @aol.com and says otherwise. While this doesn't bother the majority of clients (and certainly doesn’t take away from his stellar skills), I believe the world is catching up to business best practices and eventually everyone will be judged on EVERY element of their business- like their email. Details matter. 

Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, if you can’t set up (or pay someone to set up) a custom email, what else can’t you do?

It communicates you aren’t all that fabulous as you think you are.

 

It’s another opportunity to brand your business

My overarching website for all my businesses is nicole.forsale. While I could have set up an email that was “nicole@nicole.forsale”… that’s pretty boring. And not at all dazzling. So instead, I went with “ceo@nicole.forsale” communicating I’m the (only) boss in a fun and friendly way.

Instead of your main contact email being “contact@domain.com” you can use something that aligns with your business’s tone. hi@ or sup@ might work if you’re casual, while concierge@ might work if you’re formal.

I love Credo Beauty’s Customer Support email: arealperson@credobeauty.com

Who wouldn’t want that? Their email communicates a lot about how they treat their customers.

 

It Demonstrates Competence

Who wants to work with someone who isn’t good at their service/product? Would you want to go to a heart surgeon who takes his or her clients with a grain of a salt, or do you want to go to the surgeon who is going to do everything in their power to help you, down to even referring you out to another provider if he deems your issue out of his scope?

While going to a competent doctor might seem obvious, it’s definitely not the case when you replace “doctor” with manicurist, editor, developer, or even tutor. Providing a product isn’t the same as providing a GOOD product. 

For example, if I find an app developer and his email is name@gmail.com I might question his ability to build a decent app. I might also question his professionalism, how seriously he takes his work and whether he is the right fit for me. Turns out he has a free consult, so I spent half an hour speaking with him. I don’t get any solid information on his process, I still don’t know what to expect when working with him nor do I have a concrete idea of his prices. If I had stopped at judging his email address, I could have saved myself thirty minutes. 

I think this is the future of work, when efficiency overpowers curiosity. At the end of the day, we all need things done. In choosing who we pay to get those things done, we don’t have the luxury of wasting time. Judging a business by their email address is a great way to filter out the people who more likely than not won’t live up to their claims.

I am very much aware it’s possible for people with a custom email address to also be incompetent, uncommunicative and overall just terrible, but I think that likelihood is just slightly less.

 

How To Get A Custom Email

Now that you’re on board with having a custom email address, you are probably thinking to yourself “That’s nice and all.. but how do I get one without tearing my hair out?!”

If you’re tech-savvy.. register one with Google or Zoho. Google is the go-to partner for custom domains because you get a new email that is @domain.com but allows you to use GSuite’s inbox the same as your Gmail. If you build a Squarespace website, they have an integration with GSuite so that you can set it up from right within your website. It’s pretty easy and can be free for the first year depending on your website subscription plan.

If you don’t want to pay for an email, Zoho is the way to go. They offer free email addresses. Yes, they are totally free. No, you don’t need to give a credit card. Caveat? There’s a limit on email storage and the number of addresses you can set up, but you likely won’t exceed any of these limits as a solopreneur. Ever.

Setting up Zoho involves changing MX records for your domain and editing the DNS settings.

If this all sounds like gibberish..

If you’re not tech-savvy.. hire a web designer to do the honors. I set up a custom email for all clients whose business gets RazzleDazzle Ready with me. Most web designers include a custom email in their packages, but if you’re DIY then you could follow the guides.

Registering a custom email address is usually the last hump entrepreneurs never get over.

Yet they parade themselves around as professionals while looking like fools. Be the professional. Be the entrepreneur with a clean address. And then continue impressing the pants off your customers. They will believe you more now.

 
Nicole Faith
5 Ways Service Providers Aren’t Being Valued And What To Do About It
 

Why is it that when shopping for a service, service providers are treated like they aren’t as concrete as a physical product?

A common theme in business I have come across is that solopreneurs who are in business for themselves aren’t treated the same way a corporation or agency is treated. I have seen time and time again that service businesses also don’t hold the value in people’s minds the way a new pair of shoes might. The rules are the same whether you’re buying a computer at Apple, getting your hair cut or scooping up a pastry. A business is a business is a business. 

Here are five ways they aren't valued and what to do about it.

Treated with disrespect

So..I sent a proposal to a job on Upwork. I don’t recommend Upwork at all after dabbling a bit early in my solopreneur career. There’s a reason it has a terrible reputation. However, this isn’t confined to Upwork.

This is an exact conversation between a potential client and myself. I applied to a job asking for a Squarespace expert.

Me:

Hi there!

I spend all day and night editing Squarespace websites as a former employee of Squarespace and now full-time web designer.

I know the platform inside and out as I've helped thousands of people build, edit and maintain their Squarespace website.

I'm comfortable monitoring changes and am overly communicative so that all my clients know how their site is doing.

View my work here:

www.minnieandthemouse.design

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Nicole

Over one month later..

Client:

Hey Nicole,

Hope you're having a great holiday. This is kind of an old posting, but I wanted to check in and see if you are still doing Squarespace work and see what your availability might be over the next couple weeks? Thx!

That day..

Me: Hi Client!

Thanks for reaching out, I'm having a great holiday. 

I am taking on new clients, however I only work with clients that respect my time and process. Given the fact you never responded to my original message, I have no reason to think your communication style will change going forward. As a result, I'm going to wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Nicole

20 minutes later…

Client: Well, apologies for that, I guess. Good luck right back at you :)

They don’t take any responsibility for the fact they blatantly ignored me until the day they needed my assistance. I’m not the one who needs luck- you need some professionalism. If a client can’t even have the courtesy to respond in a timely manner, what makes you think they will do the same when you’re working together? What makes you think they will pay you on time? What makes you think they will provide a glowing testimonial? What makes you think they will brag to their friends about you? What makes you think they will come back?

Notice as soon as I send something that might offend the client they respond quickly? Well, obviously since they can respond in such a timely manner to my rejection, they could have responded to my proposal in the first place?

Seeing this kind of disregard towards freelancers is part of what inspired me to work only with location independent solopreneurs, what I consider a step up from freelancers. By building them a business and dazzling brand from head to toe, they no longer are scrambling to apply for crappy jobs. I give them a tight ship to run and they run it like a queen! Or king. Freelancers ARE seen as disposable, but business owners (even if you’re just one person) shouldn’t be.

Another way service professionals are treated with disrespect is when the client doesn’t understand or respect their business model. For example, if you are a coach that only works online via video calls but a new client contacts you asking you to visit them in person because they live nearby, they aren’t respecting your process. 

I believe that when you aren't at the mercy of others, and instead have a strong presence and clearly communicated service products you set yourself up to grow professionally and financially.

 

Expecting you to be on call

I’m not on-call. And neither are you. We aren’t nurses or doctors. The whole point of working for ourselves is having the freedom and flexibility that comes with the lifestyle. 

When a client emails you at 10pm on Friday and expects a response, that is a red flag.

It doesn't matter when or how the work gets done, just that it is. This is obviously only an issue for services like writing, editing, accounting etc.. not a service that is performed on the spot like tutoring or coaching.

 

Try to take advantage of you because you don’t have red tape and can do whatever you want

It is unfortunate some people feel they can take advantage of an individual. Service providers are not taken as seriously as business owners.

Think about physical products- you’re cruising the internet and find a handbag you become obsessed with. You are super interested in buying it. You aren’t given a sample of the bag for free to just “try out.” No. You know that if you want the product you need to pay for it. A coupon you found online can be applied, but you still need to shell out the dough. Now, think about services. Why would you think you should ask for a copyright lawyer to do a bit of research for free to prove he’s good enough to hire?

 

Haggling

Let me ask you something: do you work for free? Does your boss say “I can only afford to pay for 50% of your paycheck this week. That’s cool, right?” Uh, NO!! Your paycheck is your “worth” more or less. A solopreneur runs a business, not a charity shop.

Do you ask your hairstylist for a try-out trim before committing to a full cut? No!!! You pay for the service in it’s entirety. And if you aren't satisfied, you usually don't get your money back.

Service providers are treated like puppets: I tell you what to do, when to do it and you oblige. Maybe the uneducated and desperate providers will work this way, but the true experts will take control and you’ll be happy they do.

My client Ilene Miller came to me with this exact problem. She initially set her business up to help and empower the families of special needs children. As an educational consultant and special needs advocate, she stands head and shoulders above others in her field because she is a comprehensive solution to the problems her clients face. While most advocates provide generic advice and carry no credentials other than being a parent of a special needs child themselves, she possesses appropriate degrees and in-the-trenches experience her competition doesn't have.

Unfortunately, she spent most of her time going back and forth with hagglers who were always looking for a bargain. She isn’t new to the industry, she has been an educator for over 20 years! Her premium price is warranted, and yet by giving the cheap clients her time she was missing out on higher quality clients. For her, that meant families who were willing to cooperate, truly valued her advice and acted on it. Her ultimate goal is to help their child thrive, but that can’t happen if they don’t follow through on the therapies, discipline and academic support they are receiving by reinforcing it at home. In this sense, Ilene was spinning her wheels and getting nowhere by serving clients who don’t accept her value and price. 

By cutting off clients who want a bargain price immediately, she is further able to hold her ground and work with families who adore her. I created a concrete process for her business- a productized service MUST be purchased as the first step in working with her. No free consults. No brain picking. Her Open Opportunity session, a one hour deep dive into the child’s life, paves the way for her other services to be purchased once a plan is crafted and the appropriate services are identified. Some children might need tutoring and counseling, some parents might only need consulting. It doesn’t matter, because if you want to work with her, this is how it works. There’s no “I just need five minutes of your time” or “Can I just pay a lower rate?” Having a tangible product and process goes a long way when you need to stand your ground amidst hagglers.

 

Post-Service Shenanigans

You were hired to write five blog posts. You spent a good amount of time of them and are super proud of the final draft. You hand them over to the client, and while you did everything to a T you were supposed to, they refuse to pay or want a refund for some made-up reason. They aren’t happy with the tone of your piece (despite having two rounds of edits to convey that) or they stubbed their toe and now need the money to pay their doctor. Whatever sob story they give you just drags out your partnership and causes undue stress.

You now need to explain your refund policy (no refunds) or that they have had ample opportunity to communicate and as a result you are owed the full amount.

People that do this are cheap, greedy and don’t care about anything but themselves.

Starting out, I did some work on Upwork. You can see how well that went from my above conversation. Most of my clients were gracious enough to write a review, but one in particular didn’t. I was overly communicative, got the work done in a timely fashion and always went above and beyond in clarifying the work to better help him in the future.

Once the job was closed, I reached out and asked for a review to be written since he was happy with my work. He ignored me. A few weeks later, I asked again. Still ignored me. Needless to say, I never got a review which, aside from money, is the only thing that would further my reputation and portfolio. A review is worth a lot more than money in the long-term.

Everyone wants what they want. Once they get it, they push you off to the side. This is NOT the path to a sustainable business.

 

How To Get Clients That Worship The Ground You Stand On and Want Your Autograph

Hangout where they are!

This is a large reason I created the Digital Nomad Business Directory. It’s a directory of location independent service professionals. You want to attract like-minded clients, so you need to consciously choose where your business is seen.

The Digital Nomad Business Directory is seen by other people running an online business, so you never have to worry about someone questioning your online-only service again. 

Listing your business on a directory isn't the only way to score fans. Showing up to events in person is a great way to become known too.

Be your business.

Do this. All the time. When you shift yourself from “service provider” to “business owner” the dynamic changes. YOU run the show. YOU call the shots. And you aren't merely executing what your client wants- you are in charge because you are the expert in your relationship.

Clients don't come to me and dictate they want a website that looks like this, a logo that looks like this and a business model that look like this. They don't do that because I don't allow it. If they want to work with me, it's because I take charge and understand my business better than they do. I have no problem telling clients what works, what doesn't and what is important versus what they assume is important.

For example, a lot of people get wrapped up in SEO when they should be focusing on their content and service instead. I'm quick to dismiss SEO as the end all be all, because it's much simpler than everyone makes it out to be. Instead, I tell them what they need to do and they happily do it! Why? Because they came to me for my expertise.

I know my stuff, just like they know their stuff. I wouldn't dare tell my accountant how to file my taxes, so why would he tell me how to design his website?

I love giving people the freedom having an online business provides, but it's an uncomfortable shift for them to go from freelancer running around like a chicken with it's head cut off to a steadfast business owner.

Air-tight policies and procedures

Don’t give someone the chance to finagle their way out of your business or to manipulate you into doing it their way. Have a clear return policy (even better if you have them agree to it at the start of your relationship) and contract. Be clear. Not vague.

Have everything in writing

You can never be too careful. If you speak with a client over the phone and promise them two rounds of edits, don’t be surprised when they come back claiming you promised them five. Anything spoken needs to be documented, even if it’s just a follow-up recap email.

Never negotiate

When you waiver on your policies and process you set a precedent that you’re a doormat. Word gets around and soon you’re the overly nice service professional who will do anything to make a client happy, even if it means hurting your business in the process.

Any client who won’t agree to a contract, complains about your no refunds return policy or consistently tells you how to run your business isn’t your client at all. Let some other poor slob bend over backwards for them and get paid a pittance for it.

If you think any of what I've written is too harsh, you clearly have never worked with clients. Checking all these boxes is the hardest thing you'll ever do. If you do it though, then the payoff includes freedom, clients who respect you and money in the bank.

Just because you are a one person operation doesn’t mean you aren’t running a BUSINESS. For money. Never forget it.

 
Nicole Faith
No More Stupid Customers: A Comprehensive Guide
 

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of stupid customers.

Who you calling stupid?? 

You might say “stupid” is a harsh word to use, and a better one might be something like “needy” but I disagree. By calling a spade a spade we get down to the essence of these customers you never want to grace your doorstep.

When you project a professional and authoritative image, you attract clients who respect you. When you look and sound like everyone else in your industry, you attract the dummies. 

As an intelligent individual, I prefer to work with other solopreneurs of the same caliber. You know, the people who wake up in the morning energized by their day ahead and are genuinely stellar at what they do. They aren’t trying to scam anyone. They aren’t selling marketing. They aren’t trying to be someone they’re not. They are just AWESOME and radiate light. Everyone jumps at the change to work with them.

Sound like you?

Why Stupid People suck

Stupid people on the other hand, aren’t able to understand a clearly communicated process. They always want something for nothing and act confused when you have to clarify your policies or the fifth time. They don’t value your work because they are ignorant and don’t understand value in general- all they care about is the bottom dollar. 

They would take anyone’s work just to call it “done.” For example, some people are perfectly happy paying a cheap lawyer to take on their case because he’s less money than a true standout lawyer. This crappy and cheap lawyer might appear in court with you but not know the right questions to ask, not prepare in full or not get you what you deserve. He isn’t very communicative and doesn’t come across as confident during your first meeting.

On the other hand, the more expensive but credible lawyer might cost more upfront but gives you reason to feel totally confident in his abilities. It usually comes down to someone’s priority- is hiring a smart lawyer more important than my annual Mexico vacation? Is it more important than the BMW in my driveway?

In my experience, people who buy cheap have the money to spend, but choose to spend it somewhere else (like on material things).

While you can’t tell people how to spend their money, you can choose the kinds of clients you attract.

Not only that- but because stupid people are needier, they take up more time than an intelligent client would. Aggravation is a given too of course.

How to avoid stupid people

So how do you minimize the amount of stupid people that come your way? 

Take away all freebies

This has totally happened to you in the last 24 hours: you go to someone’s website and before you even get a chance to scroll down the page a pop-up appears asking for your email in exchange for a FREE did I mention FREE checklist to help you with XYZ!

Multiple in-your-face- freebies reek of desperation. Additionally, you set yourself up as a free advice machine. From then on, they will be on the lookout for everything free from and the idea of giving you a penny doesn’t even cross their mind. Paying clients value your service and are thrilled to pay! They become your raving fans and further your celebrity status brand along. 

 

Make what you do and who you do it for SUPER CLEAR

Oh, so you design ebooks for vegan coaches? Would I know that by looking at your homepage? What about every other page? Your ideal audience should be top of mind when designing your website so that if someone can’t immediately see themselves using your service they click off. Stupid people crisis = averted!

 

Clarify who your clients ARE and are not in a nice way

Magically, this will turn off the stupid customers right away! If you only want to work with coaches who have the book written and ready to go (not a wannabe coach/blogger who is interested in hiring a ghostwriter for the book and wants to outsource every part of their “profession”) then make this clear. You only work with serious coaches who are 100% involved and attached to their product. This brings about quality work and a final product both parties will be proud to show off.

On my website, for example, I clarify I only with entrepreneurs who have a top-notch skill they are confident in and live for. There are a ton of people looking for an easy way out of their 9-5 by faking a skill they learned online through freelancing. Anyone can “learn” how to be a “coach” without ever having actually coached someone. They are putting the dream before the business. I put the business before the dream.

 

Implement an intro product so that you aren’t committing to working with them for long, like a tryout

Productizing services is the easiest way to provide a clear first step to working with you. This just means packaging what you do into a clear product, process and outcome. Unfrazzled is a productized service. For $500, you get a personalized evaluation of your business, brand, and website in addition to specific-to-you guidance on using Squarespace the smartest way possible. You also leave with a brand new beginning of a business that stands out in YOUR industry as well as access to the Dazzling Business Lounge.

In a nutshell, to begin working with me you purchase an Unfrazzled session where your brand and business strategy is solidified. The next step is RazzleDazzle Ready which puts that strategy into action as an all-in-one package.

I don’t offer free consults, free info, or discounts on my services because I am confident in the value I provide. Essentially, I give you a fully formed online business based on your skills in two weeks. If other people can’t tell the difference between me and Susie down the street selling Squarespace websites for $1000 to anyone with an open wallet then I don’t want to work with them because they are ignorant to my service.

Intro products are a turnoff for a lot of people because they are constantly in “shopping around” mode and never fully commit to any product or person. Free advice/work is the ONLY kind of work to them. They try to milk you for all you got.

 

Don’t back down on policies

If your policy is no refunds, stick to it. Just because someone claims they didn’t see the “NO REFUNDS” during checkout doesn’t mean it’s okay to cater to them by providing a refund. 

I’ve encountered stupidity on many levels. I have had potential clients unable to book a simple appointment using my Calendly page because they weren’t able to click the necessary buttons to confirm the appointment. Consequently, they claimed it made them “nervous” and then demanded a refund. My Unfrazzled session was (and still is) non-refundable. This is stated very clearly on the checkout page. So due to their stupidity and inability to simple book an appointment, they threw a temper tantrum. Did I budge? Obviously not. 

Another potential client asked me “Do you know of any graphic designers who can make a logo?” Ummmm.. hello! I’m a designer and brander. Talk about an insulting and ignorant question. He just wasn’t intelligent enough to understand that part of what I do IS logo design. It’s a component in my whole RazzleDazzle Ready package. You would think it goes without saying but it doesn’t.

Ultimately, you want to be the one in control of your business and your life. That’s why you are a solopreneur, right?! Attracting high caliber, intelligent clients who truly value what you do is the only way you’ll achieve your goals.

 

Benefits of working exclusively with smart clients:

⁃ They ask intelligent questions upfront and know what to expect while working with you so they can plan accordingly

⁃ They are reasonable in their requests because they valueyour work

⁃ They pick up on the same things you do-meaning they are “on the ball”

⁃ They are aware enough to know and respect your opinion- you’re the expert after all! They come to you for your expert knowledge, guidance, and judgement and understand that’s what they’re paying you for!

 

The bottom line is: You can’t AFFORD to work with stupid clients.

 

*If you are an intelligent human being, you probably won’t be offended by my use of the word “stupid”, because you most likely are thinking the exact same thing! Like finally, someone gets it!

 
Nicole Faith
What Comes First: The Dream Or The Business?
 

Do you want to work from anywhere so you can travel? Or do you want a business you love with built-in flexibility?

This is a dilemma facing many who are interested in a life full of freedom with no office cubicles in sight. It's been proven travel and work can co-exist.

Who wouldn't want to travel the world while they worked? But if you're still doing work you hate (even in your beach house) then the high you get from traveling will be minimized to nothing. 

This is why it's important to start from a place of "I love my business" first and foremost.

How to determine a business model you love?

Start with what you love doing! But keep in mind just because you love something doesn’t mean you’re good at it. So it’s time for some #truth.

If you’re interested in blogging but it feel likes a chore, you will not be successful. If you love coming up with ideas for stories but hate writing, just forget about it.

What not to do

Be obsessed with traveling the world at all costs and take on work you despise just to fund your life. There are way too many coaches/branders/web designers promising you an online business that let’s you “travel the world!” if you only take their course/buy their package/join their newsletter.

These are scams because no matter how much you WANT to travel the world, you won’t enjoy any of it if you don’t love the work you do. And you won’t do good work because you’re not in love with the mind numbing task of *insert boring remote job here*. Duping people into thinking you’re a pro resume writer when you can barely write your own resume isn’t going to make you successful or bring home the big bucks. I am very much against all these inspirational and aspirational websites that say “If you can just learn a skill by taking a course you can build your business around it”. When you do that, you don’t position yourself as an expert in your field because you’re just meh. You don’t stand out, and as a result will be competing for all the low paying work every other “wannabe” wants.

The way most businesses go about it is backwards.

They start with the dream and work backwards to create a business.. but really you need to start with the business to achieve the dream.

It’s important to have your dream in mind while building your business, but selling everything you own and moving to Thailand is not a plan. It’s foolish to think you’ll “figure it out” because while you might be super motivated/smart/qualified… you aren’t setting yourself up for the pinnacle of success. You want to be so successful that you can live anywhere- not just the cheap countries.

I like to think this is what sets me apart from nearly every “digital nomad” course/designer/wannabe coach: I actually understand the value of an online business and how to build one without gimmicky things like drop-shipping or being a virtual assistant. Next time you come across a person touting the best strategy to build an online business- ask them how many online businesses they have built themselves. Probably none.

Not to mention, finding work on Upwork or other menial jobs are extremely HARD to get. The competition for sub-par talent is hot! Tons of clients are looking for pay someone $100 to set up a Squarespace website. Or $$5 to write a blog post. But really.. is this the best use of your time? While you COULD travel the world (cheap countries only) on a $30,000 income, why would you want to? Don’t you want a thriving business based around your expertise?

Making a “living” this way sets you up to be a disposable service provider. Your time, work, and sanity are not valued. You’re always scrambling to make a buck and then stretch that buck out.

That’s the path to go down if you have no sense of pride and are willing to cow tow to someone else’s whims. Taking charge of your life doesn’t include working for minimum wage so you can sleep in a hostel.. it looks way more like OWNING your skills, earning top dollar for them and working less so you can relax.

The Solution

The solution is to start turning the wheels now with an online business while you continue to work your day job. Or, if you have an established network in your chosen industry, to put all your efforts into your shiny new business.

Now that we have established the business comes first, how do you figure out what that business is?

Ask yourself these questions:

What do I love?
Do you love design? Creating things?

What am I exceptional at?
Maybe you’re really great at designing eye-catching book covers. While you enjoy designing flyers, ads and other things- you really excel at book covers. From here, you can narrow down your focus.

What do I want my daily life to look like?

Maybe you want to wake up by a beach, bike and swim for a few hours and then work for four straight hours until dinner. Or maybe you want to work 5pm-12am, go out and party and sleep all day. The more specific, the better.

Freedom doesn’t come from working few hours. Freedom happens when you are in control of doing work you love.

The online business waters are murky at best, because I would take a bet that half of all online business aren’t making any money. Probably due to the fact they put their dreams in front of a solid business strategy.

Moral of the story? Dream big. But build a business that’s bigger. 

 
Nicole Faith
If you don't know tech: read this about Squarespace Specialists
 

So it seems there's a lack of knowledge surrounding Squarespace Specialists and web designers in general. If you are a newbie to Squarespace or technology, it's easy to think there isn't much of a difference between people who label themselves as "web designers".

Let me break it down:

Squarespace Specialists


This is the term used for designers and developers who signed up for Squarespace's outdated "Specialists" web page. It was meant to be a resource for people not in tech to hire a Squarespace pro to design their website. They were vetted for quality before being added.

As the years went on, this page stopped being updated which gave those already listed an unfair advantage against all the other designers. The truth is, the designers in this directory are usually at capacity or only work on super technical changes. In other words, they aren't interested in editing your Image Block.

As a former employee of the company (with arguably the most experience with the platform) I wasn't listed because it was a conflict of interest and the page ceased to be updated.

Squarespace Circle Member

The new and improved version of being a Squarespace Specialist. The circle is only for professionals who design on Squarespace. I am a member of the Circle.

However, just because someone is a member, doesn't mean they are good at what they do. There is minimal criteria you need to meet to be a part of the Circle (specifically, have three sites on Squarespace). New and seasoned Squarespace designers alike are part of this community.

Additionally, not all Circle members provide a website from A to Z. Most of them only do the design/setup, so you would need to pay someone to write the copy, pay someone to make your logo, pay another person to take your product photos and pay ANOTHER person to provide coaching.

I've made it a point to be full-service, so everything you need I do in-house. You only ever deal with me which makes your life so much easier! Putting together a fabulous website is hard enough on you in the beginning stages, why make it any harder than it needs to be? If you need design assistance for the site, chances are you also need professional copy written and product photos taken. This holds up the website build because most designers won't work with you until you have all the assets in advance, and for good reason. We need to know what we're working with! But if for whatever reason you're starting from 0, it makes the most sense to have everything done by a single person.

Squarespace Web Designer

Anyone who wants to call themselves this can. It's a loosey goosey term. Just because someone set up their own website on Squarespace and feels like they know how to add blocks doesn't mean they are actually a Squarespace web designer- especially when they leave the "Powered by Squarespace" in the footer or don't even change the default style settings (ie it looks exactly like the example template) !!

Anyone can plug content into a Squarespace template, but not everyone knows how to make the platform work for you.

That's what I specialize in. Creating a website is more than just plopping blocks on to a page. It's designing a cohesive "brand" and intentional user experience that makes for a memorable few minutes for your visitors. On average, 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. Crazy, right?! It's my job to make that time count.

This requires out of the box thinking -no cookie cutter solutions here! Having the "technical" skills to set up a website and having the creative skills to personalize the content and design are two very separate things.

I hope this clarifies the mystical "Squarespace Specialist" terminology, but feel free to ask me anything that's confusing about searching for a designer.

 
Nicole Faith
Why I Don't Write Copy That's "Trendy"
 

I don't subscribe to trendy language. 

Copywriting that includes "Join our girl squad", "Make the party lit" or any variation of "on point" minimizes the brand to nothing so that ultimately you look and sound like every other company trying to capitalize on the exact same language by showing you're "with it". After awhile, nothing differentiates you. You're not better than your competitors.

True branding is reflective of you and the brand you have. It should be timeless, and not rely on trends. If you sell funky jewelry for example, you should be focusing on conveying what's special about your jewelry, why they should buy it and maybe what it does for them and others. This can be something like "handmade with seashells hand picked from the shore and painted for a one of a kind oceanic statement" NOT "Get complimenting necklaces for your girl squad."

Feeding into society's "cool" things and words really just makes you lame. 

How many times have you seen a teenager describe a party as lit, their squad on point or this tee-shirt as woke? It all sounds the same. And it's boring. 

True branding is original, classic and means something. It uses words not pulled from an Instagram post or Snapchat story. 

If you want to look, sound and act like everyone else.. you are a follower. 

I only work with leaders.

 
Nicole Faith
Introducing.. Product Photography!
 

I'm so excited to announce I now offer product photography for all your e-commerce needs. Most of my clients are selling something, and if it's a physical product that means you need high quality, professionally photographed images to use on your website, in social media and catalogues.

If you already have a website you're happy with, but think your product photos could use an upgrade you can hire me for a single service.

No matter how great your product is, if the picture your customers see online doesn't convey the details in a visually appealing and impactful way, you can forget about a sale.

Here are some examples of my work.

Like what you see? If you can picture your product looking just as fab, book an Unfrazzled™ session with me to discuss how I can elevate your product photography.

 
Nicole Faith
Why Creativity Matters
 

Let's be real- we like to be entertained. Maybe it's your fave radio station blaring on the way to work or an interactive public art piece- there's no denying the funner something is the more we engage with it and the less our day sucks.

Now, think about how many websites you look at in a day, week, month. Does anything about them stick out to you (besides "her font was kinda pretty")?

If you want to stand out (in a good way) then it's worth chatting with me to jive out ideas on how own your brand image and voice.

There's nothing worse than not changing the default fonts on a template or using a template as an exact execution for your site. Squarespace templates are just the beginning, and when you are creative enough to realize that, the sky is the limit.

Creative websites are more memorable and usually interactive to some degree. Don't be the one with the website your visitors barely remember. Be the one with the website they can't stop talking about.

 
Nicole Faith
Looking for an affordable Squarespace website?
 

Well... sorry to say you won't want to look here ;) I'm pleased to introduce my Etsy shop, where you can hire me on Etsy. I'm offering a free extra hour of support to the first buyer of each listing, so get ready, set, design!

 
Nicole Faith
Humans.net launch!
humans.net-nicole-hoffman

I'm excited to announce I'm part of the brand new Humans.net.

Find service providers, like really great Squarespace web designers, vegan chefs, hairstylists and more! I have some exclusive offers through Humans.net. View my page to check them out!
 

Nicole Faith
Signs of an Incompetent Web Designer
 

1. They don't even spell Squarespace correctly.

They say "SquareSpace" or "Square Space"or any similar combination. 

2. The links on their own site are broken.

This can include links to portfolio sites, an email link that doesn't open a new email etc..

3. Messy URLs

Clean urls are ones that are easy for Google to understand, represent the page content appropriately and aren't ten words long.

For example, minnieandthemouse.design/about is a clean url.

minnieandthemouse.design/about-1-test-page is not.

 If their url is site.com/about-3, just run the other way.

4. They promise they can do everything without questions.

No matter how good you are, there are always going to be limitations when working in Squarespace to a degree. It's important to know the scope of the project upfront before confirming what's possible.

5. They just "fell into designing Squarespace sites".


I'm sorry, but no matter how much you're "self-taught", it doesn't compare to the depth of my knowledge (as a former employee of the company) or someone who's trained in the area. A person who designs for fun isn't a serious web designer.

6. They call you "babe" and say "ya know" in their copy.

Personally, I find it demeaning when so called professionals use lax language. This is especially true for "brand coaches". You shouldn't be talked down to- you're an intelligent person yourself. In the hopes of appearing to relate to you, they use insulting language that insinuates you're totally clueless. I believe my clients are educated consumers and business people. I'm not a #bossbabe, I'm just really good at what I do, can run my own business and don't need a "girl gang" to hold me up. I'm relatable, but not unprofessional. I'm all for supporting women, but in a tasteful manner.

7. They have four million other jobs.

They "coach", they write books, they have a resource library, they do speaking engagements, they have retreats.. When you do more than one thing, it means you're not very good at any of it. Stay clear. My expertise is brand building by designing websites on Squarespace in full. I'm creative which means your customer-catching skills go up tenfold. (I also create beautiful wedding websites for lucky engaged couples) I work in a limited scope: design, content creation and brand strategy. They are all in the same realm. If I started offering piano lessons, I hope you would be skeptical.

 

 
Nicole Faith
How much is too much when it comes to pop-ups?
 

Visit almost any site (e-commerce especially) and you'll be accosted within 10 seconds for a coupon for 10% off your first order.. if you sign up for their newsletter. Who doesn't love a good deal? I love to save money and that initial discount eases the soul. But after you've entered your email you are greeted with a chat window that popped up, share buttons on the side and a call to enter in a contest with #hastag on Instagram.

What happened to the point of the website- to shop?
Some might say all these things enhance the shopping experience but I don't agree.

They detract from a pleasant user experience because the focus is on everything but the merchandise. Deliver a stellar product, shopping experience and customer service and your "tribe" will form organically.

If you are looking to plaster your site with banner ads, accost the customer every five seconds with an opt-in or have a share button on every single page- it's safe to say I'm not the designer for you.

I'm not exactly a minimalist but I do believe less is more when it comes to a visitor's overall experience. If someone likes your site, they will seek out a newsletter to join. You want to make them say "Wow!" to your content, and not "Wow, how annoying" to your pop-ups. Forgoing obtrusive pop-ups goes a long way in building trust and credibility with your customers. You won't reek of desperation by hounding them and instead will allow them to browse peacefully, with a clear mind and give your products their full attention.

If someone doesn't like your products to begin with, they won't like them any more with a 20% off coupon. 

 

 
Nicole Faith
A professional email isn't enough.
 

Getting a jane@janedoe.com email address (when you previously signed up for all newsletters with your bunniesr0ck7896@gmail.com) feels a bit like climbing the ranks from doorman to CEO. A domain? A custom domain email? How fancy schmancy of you! While I'll highlight the ways to obtain a custom domain email in another post, there are some ground rules for when you get yours.

The point of using a professional email for your professional business is because you're a professional! Sites that use a gmail, or heaven knows, a hotmail or yahoo address as the contact or customer service email can be written off as laughable at best. If you're not professional enough to get a custom email, what else can't you do? 

Getting a custom email is the easiest way to make a smooth first impression. Once you have it though, don't forget the reason you got it in the first place- to be seen as a professional. See a pattern here?

Maybe it's because I have a lot of email etiquette pet peeves or because I feel like the world needs a refresher, but here are some of my "Musts" when using email. 

Full Sentences

Don't reply with a one word "thanks" or "k". Conversely, when you send an email, type a cohesive sentence that would make sense if said out loud.

Capital Letters

It's 2016 people! So sad I feel the need to mention this but there is no reason a sentence shouldn't start with a capital letter. Make sure you capitalize the names of companies you mention and have the appropriate spelling. For example, Squarespace is spelled with one capital S. It's not:

  • SquareSpace
  • Square Space
  • squarespace
  • Square (entirely different company)

Imagine if I emailed a client about Squarespace and wrote it wrong. That would make me look like I don't know what I'm talking about. I mean, I worked there! Of course I know what I'm talking about. But with that one booboo, my credibility is out of the window.

Punctuation

If you pause for a breathe, use a period. If you pause for the dramatics of it all, use a comma.

No graphic signatures (but definitely have a signature!)

That little graphic with your company's logo is cute and all... until it doesn't load or takes up space in a marathon long email thread. A good signature has:

My email signature.

My email signature.

 

  • Name*
  • Title
  • Company
  • Website link*

* Required

 
 

 

Read it over. Multiple times. And read it out loud.

You'll catch any mistakes or odd-wordings this way. Better yet if you read it to someone else or have them read it. I know some people who need to read everything they type (email, text) to someone for approval before sending confidently.
 

Avoid "Please Advise" at all costs.

This is my #1 most hated email response. You look dumb. Oh, and don't get me started on how many people say "Please Advice." That isn't even English! Argh. When being all business-y you want to come across as intelligent and aware.  You can eliminate a lot of back and forth email questions if you just ask what you're looking for specifically. Don't dump a bunch of vague questions/problems in an email and say "Let me know!". Be detailed.

Do you already implement these tactics (well, really they're common sense) in your daily emails escapades? Congratulations! Email me and let's have a super fancy conversation that checks all the above bullet points.

 
Nicole Faith
Biggest News Ever! Squarespace Offers PayPal Payment.
 

PayPal has been added to Squarespace stores. This is not a drill- PayPal is (finally!!) an available form of payment on anyone's Squarespace site. If you have a customer base that prefers PayPal, you can easily appeal to them by connecting your PayPal business account.

Some reasons to hop on the PayPal bandwagon..

  1. Your customers are loyal to PayPal for it's reputation, security and convenience
  2. You want to provide options
  3. You want to celebrate this momentous occasion (!!!)

Things to know: it's still in beta, you need a business (and not personal) PayPal account, and the fees are different. 

 

 
Nicole Faith
Service Products now offer quantity.
 

Previously on Squarespace, you couldn't offer "quantity" for Service Products.  "Quantity" was only available to Physical Products. This means if you sold a service (like spots in a class, coaching sessions, housecleaning..), to buy more than one you would need to add it to the cart multiple times instead of selecting a quantity and clicking "Add to Cart" once. 

If you've been on Squarespace and ran into this issue then you know how much a pain it was. It also acted as a huge deterrent to customers who weren't savvy enough to to add more than one to the cart. It created extra work for buyers and it's common sense to provide an easy shopping experience to make the most moolah.

Now, you can add as many of the product as you like in one click. Here's an example from Ilene B. Miller's website:

squarespace-quantity-service-product

Having a quantity option for advocacy, tutoring, or consulting sessions just makes sense! I'm glad Squarespace finally added this option. Get your party pants on because this is one for the ages!

 
Nicole Faith
Don't like Stripe?
 


 

Currently, Squarespace's only integrated payment processor is great for a lot of reasons: it's user-friendly, their rate is the standard 2.9% plus $.30, two day transfers etc...

No Stripe account is needed, just any major credit card. That said, maybe Stripe isn't the payment processor for you. Better to find out sooner rather than later, right?

What are some reasons you shouldn't use Stripe?

  1. If what you sell is prohibited. Their TOS is very strict and specific.
  2. If you need PayPal for your customers.
  3. If Squarespace's commerce platform doesn't have the features you want. For example, customizable downloads, auto variants etc.…
  4. If you require recurring payments (As of November 16th, 2016 this is a non-existent feature. Hopefully this will change soon!)

Don't fret! You can still use Squarespace for your site (ooo la la so pretty!) and have me embed your preferred payment processor if they offer an embed code. 

Some Options (I love options!)

MoonClerk
Ideal for: Subscriptions
While we hope recurring payments are coming down the pike for Squarespace, MoonClerk is a solid super easy to use payment processor for products like subscription boxes, membership to a club, or a monthly service.

Gumroad
Ideal for: Digital Goods
While Squarespace lets you sell digital products, Gumroad is a good alternative if you require a more robust selling experience and certain features (like "pay what you want", license keys, or rentals).

PayPal
Ideal for: Anything! Specifically, a customer base super comfortable and loyal to Paypal.
There is an astounding number of Squarespace customers that require Paypal for their customers. Paypal's reputation precedes itself, as does it's familiarity, security and paying options.


All of these payment processors offer an embed code, which can be dropped into a Squarespace site by me. If you used a third party processor (like the ones above) you would probably bypass the "Products Page" of Squarespace and instead set your products up on Regular Pages. This is entirely unique to your situation- some of you may be able to hide the "Add the Cart" button on Squarespace's Product Pages and plop the third party "Buy" button in there. For others, this wouldn't make sense. During our consultation, we discuss how you expect your customers to pay and your available options.

Edit: PayPal is now an available form of payment on Squarespace sites!

 
Nicole Faith
No question is stupid.
 

It's not uncommon for clients to be intimidated by the techy-ness of what I do and the tools I use. Squarespace can seem like a beast to you when it's more of a fluffy bunny to me. I have the experience, sure, but I also have the explanations to back it up. Which means you shouldn't shy away from asking questions to satisfy your curiosity or understanding of websites, SEO, or Squarespace. If I use a term you don't know, speak up. I guarantee no question is stupid.

You do need to understand how your site works to an extent, and I'll be the first to admit Squarespace is nuanced. You don't need to be familiar with the platform to even have me build your site though- I cover all the basics like editing, making changes, and how you get to XYZ when we work together. I end our three weeks together with a bunch of instructional and educational videos recorded for your site only that you can reference again and again. Watching the general tutorials on Squarespace's Help site can be confusing since the site they use is never yours!

That said, please feel better about yourself right now by knowing (and I know!) there is always someone who knows less than you. I guarantee it. Whether you are just getting comfortable with your smartphone or you went to school for graphic design, there is always opportunity to learn more and so the scariness of the "unknown" shouldn't scare you away from asking questions. Asking questions doesn't make you stupid- but not asking any questions (when you clearly don't understand!) is a dumb move. I regularly explain terms or concepts multiple times in different ways for my clients to feel like they really grasp it. Everyone learns differently, and I personally tend to ask a TON of questions if I'm unfamiliar with a topic. It's not a sign of weakness- it's a sign of strength.

I want you to feel comfortable and confident in your applicable Squarespace and tech knowledge. If you want to bypass having me design your website and instead want to do it yourself, I offer tutoring sessions that allow you to master the platform and make your dream website happen.

Aaaaand breathe.

 
Nicole Faith
How to choose a Squarespace template.
 

So you decided to build a website and hire me for the job. (Thank you by the way!) Your first question is: "What Squarespace template should I use?"

Templates are just framework. Demo content is replaceable. This means if you see a template under the "Business" category with filler content for a fake business but you don't have a business- you can still use it. The Template Police won't knock on your door and cite you for fraud. Templates shouldn't be chosen based on demo content, they should be chosen based on functionality. Any template can be used for any purpose- it's up to the web designer (me) to choose one with the functions you need. For example, if you are creating a blog and must have a sidebar or you'll die, not all templates come with a sidebar. If you really like parallax scrolling, there are a few options. It's not the content that matters, but how you want the content displayed and to work.

The Shibori template shows a painter in the demo content, but that doesn't mean it's the only template an artist can use. A web designer familiar with all the templates is the best person to make the template decision. Because ultimately, you don't want your site looking like the default anyway! While you can change templates as often as you like, design elements like fonts aren't carried over. I don't recommend changing templates often because doing so requires a bit of a re-design.

So you should think about the features you need vs. want. A common misconception is that you can only sell products on the "Commerce" templates- false! All templates comes with the ability to sell. However, not all have an ideal Product Page with quick view, zoom, multiple display options etc..

Depending on what you're selling, you'll want to choose a template with the appropriate features.

Mainly, you'll just want to look at how the site moves. Do you like the flow of it? The placement of navigation? The way galleries work? Don't feel overwhelmed by all the options, because most templates are similar to others in functionality and features. 

Hopefully you don't feel as far down the template rabbit hole as you were before!

 
Nicole Faith
What do you need to build a website?
 

1. Purpose


What is your main goal? Are you..

  • ..selling a product?
  • .. displaying your work to potential clients/employers?
  • .. providing more information on a product/event?
  • .. promoting something?
  • .. blogging?

Having a single goal for your website helps in narrowing the focus so that you never forget the "why". If you're selling jewelry, for example, but also want to have a blog for visitors to read and to be found on Google, you might lose sight of how you want the site to work. Is it a store first or a blog first? Which brings us to the next point..

2. Required Functionality

Once you know why you need a site, think about how it's going to work. If you are selling products you require a site with a payment processor. Do your customers pay via PayPal or credit card? Squarespace has Stripe credit card processing already integrated, but no current PayPal integration. This means you can still use PayPal, but I need to embed each "Add to Cart" button separately and it won't work with the built-in Product Pages. If you're creating a blog, do you want a sidebar that displays recent posts and your bio always visible? Is it really necessary? How important are these things to you? While it's my responsibility as the web designer to advise and implement these kinds of things, it's your responsibility as the client to brainstorm ahead of time and come into our relationship with a somewhat clear idea on what's absolutely necessary and what are just nice extras. Because I know all the templates, I can easily sort out the ones that will or won't work for your purposes by focusing on how the site functions. And as a result of being flexible, you get the opportunity to see the possibilities of your website without staying stuck in a rigid mindset of how it ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT A DOUBT NEEDS to look. I always provide options, but by being open minded and understanding what's not do-or-die you will be happily surprised. 

3. "Brand"

This can mean an existing logo, a few words describing your aesthetic and outlook, or a full blown color scheme. Your look doesn't need to be fleshed out (that's what I do!) but you do need to know what makes you you. This is the angle you want to portray yourself. My brand is immediate upon landing on my site- I'm approachable, relatable and knowledgable (and very fun!). What sets me apart from other web designers is my experience and creativity. Click on any page around here- you can't miss it! I'm unapologetically colorful and honest, which how I come across online.

 
Nicole Faith