Yian is a visual creative, web designer, and the founder of House Digital, a design company that builds visual brands for interior designers. Yian helps his clients build a better business by building a better website.
Circle: How did you first get involved with Circle?
Yian: I was actually one of the early joiners of Squarespace Circle. I was doing photography and working as a visual creative for a while. A friend of a friend invited me to work building websites for small businesses. At first I was coming up with the conceptual framework and then handing that over to a developer. But I realized it was feasible for me to bring a website to life myself. I’ve always been a student of language and a student of how to present an argument—a website is a presentation of a company in a way that can compel someone to take action. I eventually found Squarespace and felt it was a great fit for the visual work I was doing because of the focus on visuals and design.
C: How did it first occur to you that this was a viable business channel?
Y: I saw other small companies selling websites to small businesses, and I realized I could do the same. There’s a real need in the world for a one-stop shop of people who have a handle on branding and have a handle on design and all of that.
C: Why do you work with Squarespace over some other website building platforms?
Y: The stability and organization of the platform, the speed I can build with, and the culture of the company are the main reasons I work with Squarespace. In this industry, there’s a huge exodus of designers moving their sites from other platforms to Squarespace.
C: How did you find your niche in your industry?
Y: It started as a hypothesis that interior designers would be a good fit because of many factors, including the fact that their websites are visual and succinct by nature and they are small businesses. 2017 was a year of testing this hypothesis by immersing myself in the community. For example, I started going to industry events where these creative professionals were.
C: How has your personal life changed since joining Squarespace Circle?
Y: I’ve actually hung out with a Squarespace circle member after we met at a recent Circle event! We took a walk and shared ideas.
C: What’s the most unique website you’ve built?
Y: I recently built a site for a luxury designer that stretched me further than any website I’ve built to date. This client told me she wanted her website to feel truly unique. Therefore, I chose the Brine template for its flexibility and power. Through a combination of custom backgrounds and photo editing, the website now feels branded from start to finish. There are even little surprise areas of the site such as an introduction to her dog that pops up when you click the little doggy icon at the bottom of each page. In the end, the site turned into the most out-of-the-box design concept I've created thus far.
C: What does work-life balance look like for you?
Y: Pretty good these days. One thing that helped was to productize my services and offer limited spots. By "productizing my services" I mean that I created specific website services complete with project parameters and pricing. This has been a game changer for me. Now, clients are able to get a very clear idea right from the start what a project together could look like. This has led to higher quality leads and a higher conversion. Of course, I am able to offer custom quotes to those whose needs fall outside my standard package.
I also started offering limited project spots. Currently I take on two new clients per month. Not only has this allowed me to better budget my time, I have felt a higher level of respect from clients I work with. I attribute this to the fact that they view me as a sought-after designer, and this improves the relationship through the project from start to finish.
C: How does Squarespace help you stand out in your field, especially in a competitive place like New York?
Y: It allows me to offer my services at a relatively affordable rate because of how independently and quickly I’m able to work.
Special thanks to Yian for sharing his story.
Find out more about Yian’s work on his website.