Elwyn is a Wales-based web designer and founder of PixelHaze. He builds sites for rural businesses on a budget, and uses workshops to empower those clients to continue growing their online presence.
Circle: Tell us about PixelHaze.
Elwyn: In 2015, I decided to use my agency experience to launch PixelHaze with the mission of bringing website development to small businesses in rural areas for an affordable price. Since then, I have also launched PixelHaze Academy, which provides online training resources for my clients and others wanting to learn Squarespace basics.
C: And what were you doing before you started PixelHaze?
E: I was a founding director at one of Wales' fast-growth digital media agencies, based in Cardiff. After 11 years, I sold my shares in the business and moved back to my family farm in Mid Wales. This was due to family reasons but has allowed me to finally get that work-life balance that I hadn't realised I needed beforehand.
C: When did you realize you could use Squarespace to build sites for clients?
E: When on holiday 6 years ago, I was listening to the Big Web Show podcast and Squarespace 5 was being advertised. I was intrigued and the rest is history! It was the perfect software to bridge the gap between being at an agency and starting PixelHaze.
C: Why do you work with Squarespace over some other website building platforms?
E: Squarespace is very easy to use, but takes time to fully master. My expertise allows me to bridge the technical gap between building a website for a client and training that client to maintain their new website.
C: How has Squarespace Circle helped you build this business?
E: I couldn’t have set up a viable rural web design consultancy without Squarespace. It gave me the freedom to both work from home and meet with clients in person. Without Squarespace, I would have either needed a head office in the Cardiff area an hour and a half away or solely relied on remote working to make a profit on projects. When meeting clients in person, I can read their initial reactions during wireframing or design sessions, which allows me to seize the initiative on projects. I feel there is no substitute for face-to-face communication and always lean towards a hands-on approach.
C: What’s been your biggest challenge since starting this business?
E: Setting up PixelHaze Academy has proven to be a massive undertaking but a project that I am really passionate about. After becoming a Squarespace Authorized Trainer in 2018, I spent a long time thinking about how I wanted to move the business forward over the next 5-10 years. I have always enjoyed training, and PixelHaze Academy allows me to move further into training without venturing away from web design projects. There have been a lot of late nights this year but it has been well worth it.
C: What work are you most proud of?
E: I’m a trustee at a local dance charity, not for my dancing skills as sadly I have two left feet. They recently needed to revamp their website to reflect their brand and, with a little help from the content and training videos I am collating at PixelHaze Academy, I was able to donate four half-day training sessions and save the charity £8,000 in development costs. It is still a work in progress, however, I am really happy with the progress and we have received fantastic feedback.
C: How does Squarespace Customer Care support you and your clients?
E: As a sole-trader consultant, I no longer have the safety net of an in-house support team. Squarespace’s customer care has filled this role perfectly and I always recommend that clients make use of the Squarespace training content or the live chat feature. I have never had a bad experience with the live chat.
C: What’s your favorite Circle perk, and why?
E: Can I have two? The 20% discount or the first 12 months of an annual plan is a major incentive and helps to build good will with clients. My workshop days can also be split over multiple weeks or even months so the 6-month trial window allows for this to happen with little fuss. Before joining Circle, I needed to contact Squarespace support to ask for an extension.
C: What advice would you give to someone considering Squarespace Circle as a professional endeavor?
E: I'd recommend finding your niche. Squarespace is a perfect fit for my business because it allows me to build websites with a unique feel far more quickly than if I was to work with other platforms. I can also deliver full projects and workshops with clients present. This has served me very well and has provided an ideal framework for my business.
Special thanks to Elwyn for sharing his story.
Find out more about Elwyn’s work on his website.