dream client

Why I Love Squarespace for My Clients

Why I Love Squarespace for My Clients | Lemon and the Sea

Whenever I talk to people about my website design services, they always ask which platform I use to design. There are so many out there (and I’ve tried quite a few), but I’ve chosen to stick with Squarespace design because it meets the needs of my dream clients – even needs they didn’t know they had.

While some designers and online business owners are supporters of using other platforms, especially as a business grows, I’ve found that Squarespace is the best balance of beautiful design, easy-to-use functions, and integrations.

Here are some of the reasons I love Squarespace websites for my creative entrepreneur and small business clients – and for myself:

Low cost for basic websites

Squarespace offers plans starting at $16/month for up to 20 pages (less if you pay yearly). If that isn’t enough space, it’s easy to upgrade to a plan with unlimited pages for just $26/month. And, if you sell products through your website, you can choose an e-Commerce plan that allows you to pay less in fees when someone purchases.

Easy to update their own website

One of the main reasons my clients come to me for a website design is because they are frustrated with their current website. It’ shard to update – if they can even figure out how to do it on their own – and out of date because of constantly changing templates and versions.

Squarespace makes design easy because it’s a drag and drop platform with lots of different block options to meet all of your needs.

It’s also very easy to edit text on your website – without touching the code – which is important when you want to make a quick change without waiting for a designer or developer to have an opening in their schedule.

Another great feature is that Squarespace is designed to work across every platform and device – which is extrememly important now that most people visit websites on their phones. You can even check the tablet and mobile layouts while designing on your desktop.

Page templates

I’ve heard a few people complain that you can’t have page templates in Squarespace to make designing multiple pages with the same layout easy – but that isn’t actually the case.

You can create your own page templates by adding a design as an unlinked page and then duplicating it and updating the content. To learn more check out this post.

Creating page templates for my clients makes it easy for them to add new projects to the gallery or play around with the layout without worrying about messing up the live website.

Full ownership of their website

Squarespace makes it really easy to both me and my client to have access to the website during design and for me to transfer ownership once the project is completed – and I can remain on the website to make updates in the future. Check out this post to learn how to set permissions for your website.

Can see the design concept live

When designing anything for my clients - brands, websites, or collateral - I always start by designing a concept. This allows my clients to look at the ideas that I have based on their business, questionnaire answers, and our conversations before I finalize anything.

Squarespace makes this really easy for website design because I can create the concepts in Squarespace so clients can see how their website will actually look live instead of imagining a PDF becoming a working site.

We can also collaborated on changes via phone or chat so clients can see updates as they happen, which makes giving feedback and making changes much easier and faster.

Easy SEO

Check out this post for some great ways to increase your SEO with Squarespace’s built-in features and a few tricks.

Customizations are available and can really make the design their own

Great customization options that still allow someone who isn’t’ web-savvy to update their own website. That means that even if I add lots of custom features to a website, my clients can still edit pages and make updates on their own without worrying about messing up the code.

Great tutorials through Squarespace

Squarespace’s tutorials are in-depth on every feature they offer and their customer service is quick to respond to issues, so you can almost always find answers quickly if you can’t – or don’t want to – wait for a designer to help you out.

Easy integrations

Squarespace is set up to easily integrate with MailChimp (for email newsletters), Acuity (for scheduling), social media, and G Suite (for email). While you can certainly use other tools with Squarespace, their integrations make these easy to set up and maintain when you don’t want to mess with code.

Always coming up with new features

Squarespace is always developing new features and fixing bugs that have been reported, but you don’t have to worry that these updates will break your website like on some platforms. They always do beta tests with memebers of the Squarespace Circle (that’s me!), so they know that everything is working correctly.

And if you choose to work with a designer who is a Squarespace Circle member, you can use these beta items on your own website before they are released to the public (no promises they’ll work perfectly right away though).

Security

Because Squarespace creates and manages all of the integrations with their websites, there is little chance that there are loopholes people can exploit to hack a website. This may not seem like a big deal when you’re first starting out, but if you’re hacked and lose your entire website (I had this happen to a client), you know how frustrating and time consuming that can be.

Integrated e-Commerce

When you’re just starting a business, you may not know whether you want to offer products or courses that require e-Commerce capability – and that’s okay. Squarespace allows for e-Commerce on any plan and template, so you can add it at any time.

Great for any small business owner

Squarespace’s versatile templates and functions make it a great platform for any small business owner including wedding professionals, instructors, virtual assistants, designers, authors, bloggers, physical businesses, interior designers, and podcasts. If you can create a business, you can use Squarespace to design your website.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Why Customer Service Always Matters

Why Customer Service Always Matters | Lemon and the Sea

I looked long and hard for a client management software that fit my needs and was within my price range. For two years of my business, I did without because I couldn’t find something that worked with my process. Then I found Dubsado and I fell in love.

Now this post isn’t about Dubsado – although you should check it out – but about why I decided to sign up with them so quickly. Because it wasn’t the normal reasons I choose a service – I had a system that was working for me and my clients – but because when I signed up for an introduction webinar to walk me through setting up my account, it was led by Becca Berg, one of the creators of Dubsado.

And not only did she lead the webinar, but Becca and her husband Jake are also the people you hear from when you ask for help (in their Facebook group or the Help Center). It was the amazing customer service that I received right from the start that sold me – and reminded me how important serving my clients well really is.

Your Clients are the Basis of Your Business

Whether you’re running a service- or product-based business, your clients are the reason you’re in business. They are the ones who see your talent and recognize that they need you to help them. And they’re the ones how will help your business grow – through referrals, reviews, testimonials, and just sharing about you.

But that means that your clients are also the ones who can bring your business down if you aren’t delivering what you promised. (That sounds ominous, but it doesn’t have to scare you.)

Of course, you will never be able to please everyone. We all have customers who won’t be happy no matter what we do, but if you have a solid base of fans, those few negative voices won’t have nearly the impact you’re afraid they will.

Serving Well Comes before Making Money

My clients are important to me – which is why I’m so passionate that serving them well is more important than making a huge profit. (Plus, clients who enjoy working with you will be happy to pay you.)

Yes, there are those who make lots of revenue with not-so-good customer service, but those are usually short-term gains, especially online where there are so many services to choose from. When a business gets a reputation for treating their clients badly, it spreads quickly and can ruin a small business.

The good news is that great customer service will lead to profitability in your business – but it shouldn’t be your main focus.

Balancing Serving Well and Setting Boundaries

Here’s the problem that most small business have when it comes to providing great customer service – we don’t know where (or how) to draw the line between going above and beyond for a client and being taken advantage of.

Good customer services sets boundaries so that you can do your best work and your client knows what to expect. You can start by setting these boundaries early and continue to reinforce them throughout your time with a client so that you can avoid issues down the road. Consider making your boundaries clear in these areas:

  • On your website
  • In your welcome documents
  • In your contract
  • In your emails (signatures are great for this)

Not sure what kinds of boundaries you should be setting with clients? This is a good place to start:

  • Hours of availability
  • Types of communication (don't give out your cell phone number unless you want clients to text you)
  • Number of revisions
  • Non-refundable deposits
  • Consequences for client not following through
  • Consequences for you not following through
  • How and when you get paid
  • Scope of work
  • How to hire you for additional work

You’ll add your own boundaries as you work with clients and find areas in your business that need to be protected. (For more about setting boundaries, check out this episode of the Being Boss podcast.)

Find a Service Focus

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to be the best at every part of customer service (don’t you wish that was possible), so choose what areas of customer service you will focus on (this will depend on how you like to work and who your dream client is).

  • Extras and gifts
  • Working hand-in-hand with clients
  • Education
  • Becoming friends with clients
  • Connecting people

Your service focus is how you’re going to stand out from the crowd and find your dream clients – because they need exactly what it is that you’re going to help them with.

But remember that even if you focus on serving in one area of business, there are still things that must be done well, no matter the client or business. Efficiency, communication, knowledge, leading your clients, and meeting your commitments are the basis of great customer service and are non-negotiables. (You wouldn’t believe the number of clients who tell me that their previous designer took their money and totally disappeared on them.)

As you become known for your customer service, people will want to share your work to their friends. And when difficult times come – when you might fall behind or miss an email – clients are more likely to be understanding because they know it’s out of character.

To-Do for You: Evaluate your current customer service and see what areas you could improve. Then find ways - like automation and templates - to make that as easy as possible.

* If you're interested in trying Dubsado, you can get started for free. Then, if you love it, get 20% off your first month or year using the code lemon (and I get a free month as well)! I wouldn't recommend it, if I didn't love it.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


How to Tailor Your Packages to Your Ideal Client

How to Tailor Your Packages to Your Ideal Client | Lemon and the Sea

When I started offering design services through Lemon and the Sea, I had no idea where to start. I would work for anyone who was willing to pay me (or would trade with me) and every time I would create a design proposal from scratch based on what my client said they needed. Some projects were great and I built close relationships with my clients, but others were draining and time consuming.

I would get on a call with a potential client and let them tell me what items they needed designed. And even when I knew that they needed something different or would be better served by starting somewhere else first, I took on the project. I didn't speak up as the expert to tell people what I knew would serve them best because I was afraid to lose their business.

Over time, I started to learn that I needed to be the expert in my own business - and that people who really wanted to work with me would listen to my recommendations (in fact, they craved them) - but it wasn't easy to transition away from that a la carte mindset. I had to really dig who I wanted to work with and how I could best serve them - and I had to let go of other potential clients that might come along.

Create packages people want to buy

If you're feeling stuck in an a la carte mindset where you're taking on every project that comes your way, it's time to create packages that will serve the people who want to work with and will attract your dream client.

Find your dream client

Of course, the first step to serving your dream client is figuring out exactly who that is. If you're lucky, you've already worked with a dream client and you can dig into what made them so dreamy. But if you haven't experienced that yet, it's okay too - just imagine your most ideal project and the person that allows you to do your best work.

In order to narrow in on how you can help your dream client (because that's what our goal is), ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your dream client?
  • How old is your dream client and where does she live?
  • What does she do for a living?
  • Where is she in her business and what are her goals?
  • What is she struggling with? Why would she hire you?
  • What is the next thing she wants to achieve? What will help her get there?
  • What problems can you help her solve?

Create a package that meets needs

Once you know who your dream client is and how you can serve her (or him), you need to create a package that meets her needs. This can be scary at first if you're used to tailoring each offering to what the client says she needs, but you're the expert here. Your client may not know the value she could gain from other services you offer - especially if she's trying to grow her business - so it's your job to create a package that meets her needs now and helps her reach those big goals she has for the future.

  • What services can you offer to meet your dream clients needs?
  • What services do you not want to offer?

Depending on the clients you serve and your industry, you may need to create packages that have a few levels of service, but be clear for each exactly what you'll include and how long it will take.

Demonstrate your expertise

In your business, you're the expert (even if you're still learning). You know who you serve and how you can help them, so you need to make that clear. Find your dream client's pain points and create packages that solve those problems.

  • What are your client's pain points? What is she struggling with?
  • What benefits will she get from working with you?
  • What are the actual deliverables that she'll get?
  • How will this help her meet her short-term and long-term goals?

If someone comes to your website, but doesn't know what it is that you offer, you're going to lose potential clients. Of course, you don't have to spell out every detail right away, but you do need to hit the highlights. For example, I work with creative entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses through branding and website design.

Stick to your guns

This can be the scariest part of creating packages because it means that you're no longer offering anything else. In order to work with you, a potential client needs to pick a package and stick with it. This means saying no sometimes. And it also means that you have to explain the benefits of your packaged services over hiring someone to do things one at a time.

Of course, once someone has already purchased your package and gone through it with them, you can keep working for them on your own terms - a la carte, retainer, or whatever works best for you.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


What You Can Learn from Past Clients

What You Can Learn from Past Clients | Lemon and the Sea: How your previous clients can help shape your business and brand.

When you run a client-centered business, it's important to really know and connect with your clients (past, present, and future). These are the people who can tell you the most about your business.

I love learning from my previous and current clients - not just about their businesses, but also about how I can improve my own. I've learned quite few things since starting Lemon and the Sea, some through direct questions and others through client comments, but every one of them was useful. These are some of the things you can learn from your past clients if you're willing to listen.

Who Your Brand Attracts

When I start a new branding project, I always ask about the target audience. It's important from a design standpoint to know who I'm designing for - not just my client, but for the people they are trying to reach. But sometimes you can put out a design that doesn't quite fit the target you were going for and that's often reflected in your past clients.

If your target audience is a 20-something starting a side-hustle, but all your clients are moms trying to get started online so they can work from home, it's probably because your design and messaging speaks more to those moms. And that's okay! When I first started my design business, I thought I wanted to serve young bloggers who would turn over all the design decisions. Through my messaging, luck, or God's plan, most of my client are older, more established in business, and want to be involved throughout the design process - and I love it! I learned from my past clients who my brand was reaching and that it's actually perfect for me.

Who you enjoy working with

When you first start a business, you're probably going to take on a lot of clients that aren't exactly ideal. (Don't feel bad about that - it's all about learning and growing.) Some may be great to work with and others may not be the right fit for you. You may even get hired my your "ideal client" only to find out that you're style of working just doesn't gel with theirs.

It's only through doing the work that you'll learn the type of people who enjoy working with. Then you can start focusing on those types of clients and recognizing the people that won't be a good fit for your business.

Which types of projects are easy and which challenge you

As you work with clients, you're going to learn which things are easy for you and which take more time and energy. This will help you pick which projects to take on, how to schedule them, and when to walk away because you can't give a client your best work.

Because I'm running a service-based business, I have to be careful about how many and what types of projects I can take on at once. For me, that meant learning which projects are easy for me and which are more challenging and take up more time. I still work on both, but I've learned to adjust my pricing based on what's involved in a project and how to schedule my deadlines so that I'm not trying to finish three challenging projects in the same week.

how to communicate with clients

There is lots of advice out there about how to communicate with your clients to make things run smoothly - email, project management software, welcome packets, goodbye packets, DropBox, Google Drive, etc. - but it's not until you get to know your clients and how they work that you can choose something that will work for you.

It's okay to use a software that you're clients haven't used before - as long as you explain how to use it - but you also need to meet them where they are. Some people will just always want to send emails, even if you think you have a better way. You need to learn about what works best (and makes the most sense) to your clients so that you can create an experience that is super simple and easy to follow.

the best way to find new clients

This one is pretty simple - you need to know where your clients found you in order to network in those places. My business comes mostly by referral, so I know that following up with past clients and having a referral system (coming soon!) will benefit my business. If most of your clients find you on social media, you need to know which platform so that you can concentrate your efforts where they have the most impact.

how your process works and how it needs to be improved

Don't stick with a process that doesn't work for your clients, even if it sounds great on paper. In a service-based business, your clients are your business, so you need to make adjustments to meet their needs.

At the end of every project, I ask my clients to fill out a survey about working with me. I take their feedback seriously because I want my design process to be the best it can be. And each time I get feedback, I take a look at my process and see where it's working and how it could be improved to make things easier for my clients.

ways you can automate your process

You past working experiences are also a great way to learn about how you can automate your business. Maybe you can set up email responses to answers common questions, set up software that on-boards your clients without sending emails back and forth, or find an invoicing program that lets you automatically bill in installments. It's only through working with clients that you'll find where automation makes sense and where it's best to do things yourself.

what types of packages to offer

Do your clients all need the same things? You should offer a package for that.

By evaluating what your clients are hiring you for, you can better design services and packages that meet their needs instead of having to customize something each time you quote a project. I'm currently in the process of setting up an easy way to continue working with me on an hourly basis so that my clients don't have to worry about booking me for a big project when they just need small tweaks. I only knew to include that option after my past clients had requested it.

how people see you based on your website, social media, communication, etc.

It's important to make sure that the online face of your business - your website, social media presence, newsletter emails, products, etc. - match your personality. You want your clients to jump on a call with you already knowing what to expect - how you talk and interact - because they're seen it already. And your past clients can tell you if everything matches or not! 

how your business and process are unique

When I first started my business, I didn't know how my design process could stand out from all the others online. It wasn't until I started hearing from past clients about how they loved certain little things I included that I began to see that just by virtue of being myself and running my business the way I believed it should be handled that I was creating something unique.

Your business and process are unique as well, even if you don't recognize it yet. And your clients are the people who can share the things that made them hire you over someone else. It may be the way you respond to emails or your willingness to be flexible with your offerings. But even one little thing that makes you different is a great way to stand out.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


How to Work with Difficult Clients

How to Work with Difficult Clients | Lemon and the Sea: Dealing with people who drive you crazy, even though you have to work with them every day.

We all have them - those clients who drive us absolutely crazy, but we can't seem to let go of. It may be that you need the money or that you started working together before you realized how difficult it would be. Maybe your client expects you to answer emails at 10 pm or wants to control every aspect of a design. No matter why it happens, you will eventually have to deal with a difficult client and it's better to be prepared before it happens than try to deal with it on the fly (trust me on this).

Why are they difficult?

Sometimes dealing with a difficult client is as easy as making sure you're communicating clearly. Start with figuring out if there is something that wasn't set up at the beginning of your process or if the person has unrealistic expectations.

  • Your client doesn't understand your boundaries. Maybe they call or text at all hours. Maybe they expect to be involved in every little decision. No matter what boundaries are being tested, be sure to be firm and remind them of your policies.
  • Your client doesn't contact you. If you have a client who hires you and then disappears, try emailing a few times to see if they simply missed your first email. If they continue not to answer, stop working on their project and let them know that you won't be continuing until you hear from them.
  • Your client nit-picks all your decisions. Some clients want to be involved in everything, even things they don't understand. Try reminding them of why they hired you - because of your expertise - and make it clear that you will keep them updated with progress reports.
  • Your client is inconsistent. Maybe your client just can't seem to make up their mind about the direction they want to take in their project. In this case, it can be helpful to jump on a video call and discuss what issues they're seeing and try to resolve them by talking it through.
  • Your client expects you to do work you didn't agree to. This one can be tricky because we always want to keep our clients happy, but sometimes their requests just get out of hand. Refer them back to your contract and make it clear what you will and will not be doing. It can help to mention that you don't do certain work because it's not in your field of expertise. Many people just don't understand that you can't do everything.

Try going with easy fixes first - talk to them, be open and honest, and see what they have to say. Sometimes clients are just uninformed or don't realize that they are making your job difficult. Starting with conversation can help clear things up quickly and keep the relationship positive for the remainder of the project.

Tips to Fight Through

If you need to continue working with a difficult client, that's okay. Not everyone is in a position to fire clients that don't fit their desired feelings (despite what Facebook may lead you to believe). There are ways that you can make a tough situation more bearable.

  • Be clear about expectations and boundaries up front. Welcome packets are especially useful for this. You can include information about your work hours, your method of contact, and when you expect your client to be available. Be sure to stick to the guidelines you set up at the beginning of a project - don't answer that email at 10 pm if it's outside of your business hours - this is one time where it pays to be firm.
  • Take time off - with advanced notice. This is great for long-term or ongoing projects and can really help you get back into the work. Take a week off from your client and give yourself some breathing room. Just be sure to give them plenty of notice and get anything urgent finished ahead of time.
  • Turn off your email alerts. I'm sure you've heard this one before, but it is truly a business changer. Set your client emails up so they go directly into a folder instead of coming into your inbox or turn your email notifications off altogether. That way, you won't be tempted to work on something when you should be taking time to yourself.
  • Come back to your values. This is often where I get lost in difficult client situations. I find that when I'm stressed, I tend to forget about taking care of myself. I don't exercise or eat healthy, I may forget to turn to God for help, all because I'm "too busy" trying to handle a client. Remember to make your values a priority. That email can wait until tomorrow. Other things may not be able to.

Calling Off a Project

As difficult as it may be, sometimes you can't resolve the issues you're having with your client. There are times where it is appropriate (and healthy) to fire a client. But, before you throw in the towel after a frustrating day, make sure you evaluate what calling off the project will mean.

  • What does your contract say? If you don't have a clause in your contract about calling off a project once it's begun, you need one. You should include information about who can call off a project, how that needs to be done, how much money is owed/refunded, and how the work already done is handled. That way, you can refer to that section of the contract when stopping work.
  • Is what you're getting out of it worth the stress? There can be a lot of benefits to working with certain clients - money, experience, networking, exposure - and you need to take the time to figure out what you get out of the project. It may be that with just a few more stressful days you can get a lot of exposure in your field, so you keep working. But if your reward isn't worth the stress you're experiencing, it's probably time to walk away.
  • How can you end the project gracefully? Firing a client is never going to be easy, but sometimes the situation can be salvaged so you don't get bad reviews or word of mouth. If you are going to stop work, make sure to let your client know and then follow the steps laid out in your contract. You can even suggest someone else that might be a better fit for them.

Anytime you're dealing with a difficult client, it can really wear on you and cause you to doubt yourself. Don't. They hired you because of your skills and your ability to help. You need to value what you do, even when someone else doesn't seem to.

How do you deal with difficult clients?