Marketplace FAQ — Squarespace Circle: Build your web design business

EXPERT Resources

Marketplace guides

Friday, July 5, 2019

Marketplace FAQ

Squarespace Circle helps creative professionals build their own web design businesses. Since its launch in 2016, Circle has provided members with perks, early access to product releases and beta tests, advanced resources, and a vibrant community. Our members have, in turn, delighted clients and launched or scaled thousands of successful businesses.

Now, we’ve partnered with 99designs to create the Squarespace Marketplace to help our most experienced and active Circle members connect with and delight even more clients.


What is the Squarespace Marketplace?

Powered by 99designs, the Squarespace Marketplace is a place where experienced Circle members can connect with clients who want help with their websites and online presence.

How will the Marketplace connect me to prospective clients?

There are two ways a potential client will find an Expert:

Choose an Expert:

  1. The client will visit the Squarespace Marketplace and browse the Expert directory. For each Expert, the client can see their past projects, as well as ratings and reviews from other clients.

  2. When the client finds an Expert they like, they’ll send an invitation to work on their project. You’ll review the project brief and either request more information, provide a quote, or decline the project.

Get matched with an Expert:

  1. The client will visit the Squarespace Marketplace and answer questions about their website needs and goals. This becomes the project brief.

  2. After submitting the project brief, the client will be taken to 99designs. From there, they’ll create an account and browse a curated list of Experts who best fit the needs of the project.

  3. The client can select up to five Experts they’d like to work with and send invitations. Invited Experts should review the project brief and either request more information, provide a quote, or decline the project.

  4. The client will review quotes and select an Expert to work with.

To learn more about the process, visit 99designs’ guide on working in 1:1 projects.

I think freelance or creative marketplaces cause a “race to the bottom.” How are you preventing that?

As clients complete their project brief, we’ll provide them with a potential price range based on data from current Circle members. That guidance will help them understand the potential costs for projects of their type.

Additionally, only qualified Circle members can offer quotes for Squarespace projects. This means that the pool of potential designers is level compared with other creative marketplaces, mitigating the risk of a race to the bottom.

Who manages the Marketplace?

Potential clients will begin on Squarespace, where they’ll complete a project brief. From there, they’ll be transferred to the 99designs platform to be matched with Circle members. All quotes, communications, file storage, and payments will then be handled through 99designs.

What designation will Circle members who participate in the Marketplace be given?

Participants in the Marketplace are designated Squarespace Experts and can use the Squarespace Expert badge on their websites, in their email signatures, and elsewhere in accordance with the Circle Terms of Participation.


What are the eligibility requirements to participate in the Squarespace Marketplace?

Circle members who have built at least eight paid Squarespace websites in the last 12 months are invited to participate. Only websites that began with a trial started by a Circle member count toward the eligibility requirement. Circle members can’t combine their website totals to meet the eligibility requirement, even if they’re affiliated or work together in an official capacity.

What happens when I become eligible?

We’re scaling the Marketplace designer roster slowly and thoughtfully to maintain balance with the demand side. When we're ready to onboard a new group of Experts, we send an email to qualified Experts in order of their eligibility date.


What is 99designs?

99designs is a creative platform that makes it easy to find qualified clients and work on projects in a safe, secure workspace.

Unlike other categories on the platform, the Squarespace Marketplace doesn’t support design contests. All work will be completed one-on-one with your client, with work beginning only after the client has agreed to terms with their chosen designer.

What if I already have a 99designs account?

If you’re already on 99designs and are invited to participate in the Squarespace Marketplace, contact They’ll work with you directly to get you onboarded.

I don’t see Squarespace as a category in 99designs. How will this work?

The Squarespace category is a new offering on 99designs that is exclusive to eligible Circle members.

Potential clients will begin on Squarespace’s website, where they will complete a project brief. From there, they will be transferred to the 99designs platform to be matched with potential designers. All quotes, communications, file storage, and payments will be handled through the 99designs platform.

Expert onboarding and profiles

What should I do to optimize my portfolio?

This help article from 99designs has some useful tips on showcasing your work. Make sure you have permission from your clients to include screenshots and links to their sites in your portfolio.

Why can I only add 12 samples of Squarespace projects?

As a general rule, only projects that are booked and completed through 99designs can be included in a designer’s profile. 99designs is making an exception to this rule for Circle members who are invited to the Marketplace. Circle members are allowed to provide up to 12 Squarespace projects.

Does it matter that I haven’t won any contests?

At this point, contests have no influence on your ability to get clients. The majority of Circle members participating in the Marketplace will also start with zero contests won since they’re also new to 99designs. Additionally, the number of contests won isn’t a dimension that’s shared with clients when selecting Circle members to request quotes from.

Can I change my email address?

You must sign up using the email address associated with your Circle membership (the same email address that your invitation is sent to). While it helps to keep both email addresses the same, you can change your preferred email address later in your 99designs account settings.  

Working with clients

How will potential clients find me?

Potential clients will complete a project brief by answering a series of questions. Once a client has completed their project brief, they will be directed to 99designs where they’ll see some recommended Circle members who may be a good fit based on their project. The client will then request a quote from any designers they’re interested in working with.

Learn more about the one-to-one project process.

What happens if I have a conflict or disagreement with a client?

If you have a disagreement with a client that can’t be resolved on your own, 99designs’ dedicated Designer Support team can help.

To minimize the chance of conflict, make sure you and your client are on the same page from the beginning. Learn more about setting prices and expectations.

Payments, terms, agreements, and contracts

Do I have to pay to bid on a project?

No, you won’t have to pay to submit a quote or bid on a project.

Who owns custom intellectual property (IP) created in the process of a website project?

Before any project begins, the designer and client must agree on the terms. You can agree to add additional terms that supersede or supplement 99designs’ default terms. Therefore, if you want to specifically address ownership of IP, you’re able to do so.

Please note: We can’t provide legal advice, and you should consider consulting with a lawyer with any other questions.

Can I collect a deposit at the beginning of the project?

Yes, by setting up payment releases, you can break up your quote into meaningful tasks that you can deliver to your client. You can also include an upfront deposit to begin work. Learn more about getting paid on 99designs.

Will I have to work on spec to get clients?

No. The Squarespace Marketplace only supports one-on-one projects, which means your Squarespace projects will only start after the terms have been agreed upon.

Learn more about how Squarespace projects work in 99designs.

Are designers required to use the terms on the 99designs website?

Before work begins on any project, the designer and client must agree on 99designs’ standard terms. They can agree to add additional terms that supersede or supplement 99designs’ default terms.

Do clients propose the scope of a project?

The client will complete the initial project brief, and you’ll respond with a quote that includes the full scope of the project (including any special terms or payment milestones). For instance, if you typically request that clients pay a deposit upfront and the remainder at the end, you’re able to build that into the agreement.

Learn more about payment releases.

Can designers direct a lead we get through the Marketplace to our own website to contact us?

No. Directing leads from the Marketplace to your own website with instructions to contact you separately goes against 99designs’ Terms of Use (Section 4: Exclusivity & Non-Circumvention).

Completing projects on the platform boosts your 99designs ranking, which means more client visibility and, potentially, more projects. Keeping work on the 99designs platform also alleviates many of the headaches freelancers and agencies often face. 99designs holds client payments upfront to ensure you’ll be paid fairly for your work—and you won’t need to chase down any invoices. If disputes arise with a client, the 99designs Support team will try to resolve it on your behalf.

Is the 99designs fee the same for every project, regardless of the cost?

Learn about the 99designs fee.

Written by Tony Syros

Take your next creative step

Have three
Squarespace sites?

You're eligible to join. Claim your membership.

Join now

Not quite there yet?

Receive our free guide for website design and get email updates from Circle by subscribing below.

Circle Homepage Intro Background