Karl is a web developer, graphic designer, and Circle Forum leader based in Ottawa, Ontario. He founded Minimist Web Design and helps brands showcase their passions and stories through thoughtful website design.
Circle: How did you first get involved with Squarespace and Circle?
Karl: I first built a website for my own catering company with Squarespace, then ended up creating a couple more websites as a favour for friends. After that, I was invited to join the Circle community. At the time, I didn't fully realize what it was, but I'm not one to turn down an opportunity.
C: When did you realize that Squarespace web design is a viable business?
K: I've been a freelance graphic designer for years, and have a background in print media and desktop publishing. I had built a website for a friend’s mom and she refused to pay my invoice, insisting that I had not charged enough and demanding that I double my invoice. She later gave me a stern talking-to about valuing my time and talent. After creating websites for friends in a small amount of time and at an enormous profit, I realized this could be a lucrative business model.
C: Why do you work with Squarespace over some other website building platforms?
K: After doing a small amount of research and using the platform for my own purposes, it was clear that Squarespace was ahead of the competition with respect to SEO and mobile responsiveness. Additionally, the clean, modern back-end interface aligns perfectly with my own aesthetic preferences which makes it an easy sell.
C: What advice would you give to someone who’s considering joining Squarespace Circle?
K: Circle is a community that offers a lot of resources, but like anything, you get out of it what you put in. I've used the Circle community to learn CSS and how to build a business. There are a lot of smart people in the Circle community. Absorb all the information you can. If you're looking for Squarespace-specific answers, the Circle Forum is the place to be.
C: How has your personal life changed since joining Squarespace Circle?
K: I find myself working a lot more now. I still have my full-time corporate job, but when I'm working on my own business I lose track of time because I love what I'm doing.
C: What kind of business results have you seen over your time in Circle?
K: I've noticed that there is an impressive amount of referral traffic to my website just from the Circle Forum. This is especially true when I actively participate in conversations and problem solving. Moreover, helping solve coding and customization questions on the Circle forum has helped me learn, grow, and do more impressive work for my own clients.
C: How is Squarespace Circle helping you?
K: Circle puts so many helpful resources all in one place. Additionally, most of the people in the Circle Forum are other professionals doing the same thing. It is helpful to have a group of like-minded professionals to share ideas with, and it's motivating to know that there are others making a successful go at building a business entirely around Squarespace.
C: What work are you most proud of?
K: I'm proud of any project that addresses a problem for my client, but with each project I get a little better at design, execution, and problem solving. For that reason, my most recent project is typically the one I feel the most pride in. I recently finished a website for a talent management agency in Arizona. It's simple and clean, it solved a lot of problems for the client, it was my first international project, and they were ecstatic about the finished product.
C: Were there any roadblocks that Squarespace Circle removed for your business?
K: At first I found it difficult to confidently explain the merits of hiring a professional to create websites on what is largely known as a 'drag-and-drop' or 'DIY' website builder. The Circle program helped me sweeten the deal by offering discounts and and extended trials.
C: How does Squarespace help you stand out in your field?
K: Web designers in my area quote relatively simple websites at five to ten thousand dollars using other platforms. There are also a couple agencies building with other editors and their product is not very impressive, in my opinion. With Squarespace, I am able to complete web projects that I can be proud of in as little as one week—even while I work my full-time job—for a fraction of the price of my competitors.
C: What’s been the biggest change you’ve experienced since joining Circle?
K: The most noticeable change I've experienced is the confidence I have in my own work and the ability to charge a fair price for that work.
C: What would you tell your former self to do differently?
K: I did not take full advantage of Circle and its resources for a long time after being granted access. If I could, I would tell my former self to get started sooner. I would be so much further ahead now.
Special thanks to Karl for sharing his story.
Find out more about Karl’s work on his website.