Lacey O. is Now LIVE + LAUNCHED on Squarespace!

Lacey O | New Squarespace Website Launch!

As you can see just from the photo above, this is an absolute EPIC brand + website launch from Kelsey at Honey Side Up Creative and I for Lacey O. 

It's not often that I have the opportunity to meet my clients in person. But, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet Lacey in-person in March! When Kelsey and I finally met in person (read more about that on The Rising Tide Society!), I had the wonderful opportunity to be welcomed with open arms to my first TuesdaysTogether meeting in Oceanside, CA. This ended up being one of Lacey's last meetings with this awesome group of people, as she was headed out to move to Washington D.C. come June! Talk about fate, right? ;)

It was there that I had the opportunity to meet Lacey in person; just one short day after I met Kelsey for the first time in California. While we didn't have an opportunity to talk much about branding + website design in-person, I knew from the minute we met that her brand would be much different than other brands we've designed in the past. This brand would be fierce, chic, and one that would make jaws drop

As Kelsey began working through Lacey's brand a few weeks later, I was floored as she pieced it all together. The colors and patterns that Lacey chose for her aesthetic were bold, yet chic. Classy, yet show-stopping. Between the aesthetic and knowing Lacey's gorgeous portfolio, I knew that this website had to be different. It had to be one that people would go, "Wait.. THAT'S Squarespace!?"

I'm so lucky and honored to have designed this website for this epic #bossbabe. It was challenging for me in all the best ways, in that I took my expertise in custom coding to a level that I never thought would be possible. It took me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to grow as a creative business owner. And, the best part?! It showcases the true brand of all that is Lacey O. 

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Lacey O. 
  • Template Chosen:  Fulton
  • Why This Template:  We actually started with this template, then knocked it to developer mode to add some custom features in it for Lacey! We love the full-width feel of this template and it really gave us a good starting point.
  • Custom CSS Coding:  Can I say we custom coded everything? Because it was pretty damn close! Seeing this brand come to life is code is absolutely EPIC. Here are a few of the long list of items that were custom coded:  Pattern at the top of the header, pattern inside the navigation, hover-over color in the navigation, transition speed of the gallery, custom fonts installed, custom border around three images on the home page, pattern in the footer of the website. And mobile has a whole set of separate coding!
  • Fonts Chosen:  Crystal Sky and Playfair Display

Lacey - Thank you from the bottom of my heart for challenging me in the best ways. You've made me grow not just as a designer, but as a business owner. Chatting with you over the last few weeks has been something I've truly loved. The fact that we've been able to launch this epic brand and website for you makes me SO incredibly happy. Thank you for trusting us to use our creative eye to bring everything to life here for you. We couldn't be more excited to have worked with you and to put your brand in our portfolios!


Boss Babe Essentials Giveaway!

To celebrate the fabulous brand + website launch for Lacey, Kelsey and I teamed up with Lacey to create this epic giveaway fit for any badass boss babe! Each of us chose an item that we feel is essential to have in your office, whether you work full-time from home, are slaying your side hustle, or anything in between!

WHAT YOU'LL WIN: a @shopbando 17-month agenda , a @livequotable mug to get you feeling fierce with that morning cup of joe (or tea!), and a @katespadeny stationery kit! Each of these fantastic gifts will be awarded to a separate winner, so you have THREE chances to win!!

HOW TO ENTER: You must be following all three of our accounts on Instagram (@homesweethyatt, @honeysideup, @laceyophotography), and tag a fierce friend in the comments on one of our photos! Three winners will be announced this Friday, August 4. Good luck! 🍀 (Instagram is not sponsoring or administering this contest.)


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Marion Moss Floral Design is Now LIVE + LAUNCHED on Squarespace!

Marion Moss Floral Design | New Squarespace Website Launch!

We are so excited to launch the new brand + website (alongside Kelsey at Honey Side Up Creative!) for Susan Kelly at Marion Moss Floral Design!

I vividly remember the day that Kelsey and I hopped on the phone with Susan and "met" her for the first time. We heard all about her story (which you can find on her blog here) and how it was finally time to transform her business to her new brand of Marion Moss Floral Design. When we got off the phone with Susan, Kelsey and I called each other and both said how we wanted nothing more than to be a part of this incredible journey with Susan. We learned not just about her business to-date, but also about how her life transitioned and specifically about a workshop she attended called The Making Things Happen Intensive that changed her mindset on everything. 

"This image was clearly percolating in my brain because one day I simply woke up in my beloved Palo Alto home and thought – what am I waiting for? I can do this NOW. " - Susan Kelly, Marion Moss Floral Design

And, she did. We are so completely honored to have been a part of this new adventure with Susan. Her phone calls and emails always made us smile and her new brand is spot on with her tagline:  Inspired by nature, designed with love.

One of my favorite parts of her website? The fact that she brought in her brand voice in a way that makes it truly feel like you know Susan before even talking to her. From her beautiful About Page, to her personal blog posts, and the fact that she named her blog, "Ranchette Life". It doesn't get any better than that!

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Marion Moss
  • Template Chosen: Hyde
  • Why This Template:  This is actually a newer template from Squarespace and one I've wanted to try out for awhile! I absolutely loved the flexibility with it, especially to add elements to the header/footer. 
  • Custom CSS Coding:  Yes! We custom installed a few fonts, got rid of a few footer blocks, added a border to the navigation, and added the custom fonts to various elements on the website.
  • Fonts Chosen:  Renata, Imprint, and Times

Susan - Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to be a part of this journey with you. From the minute we chatted with you over the phone, we knew it was an instant connection and we wanted to badly to be a part of this. You were so incredible to work with and we're so excited to see the places Marion Moss goes! xoxoxo.


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Five Key Areas on Your Website to Showcase Your Branding

Five Key Areas on Your Website to Showcase Your Branding | Home Sweet Hyatt Studios

If you're not familiar with what a brand is (it's more than just a logo and pretty colors!), make sure to download our FREE WORKBOOK called, "WTF is Branding!?" where we share our seven key elements to a successful brand.

Whether you branded yourself, you had the help of hiring other creative business owners, or a mix of both, it's important to make sure you're showcasing various elements of your brand on your website. This means using the same fonts identified at that time (2-3 max), consistent styles of those fonts (don't go crazy with the bold/italicize, various sizes), exact colors identified during branding, and any other aesthetic elements.

While the aesthetic of your brand is important, there is more to your brand than just that. 

Attracting your ideal clients and making sure your client experience is smooth sailing is key and especially well-represented on your website. Your voice being used throughout your website is incredibly important. Make sure your clients know it's YOU even before the aesthetic comes in to play, simply because they recognize your voice through your website copy. Talk on your website like you'd talk to your clients in person.

Have you ever heard about when one of your senses is taken away, your other senses strengthen to accommodate? Do an exercise with me today and do that same thing for your brand. Take away your voice in your copy; will people recognize it's YOU by the aesthetic? Now, take away your aesthetic; will those people still recognize you by the voice in your copy?

Now, let's chat about where your brand can be REALLY showcased on your website. 

1.  Add a Newsletter Block - Have a freebie or looking to grow your mailing list for future promotions and launches? It's a great way to build confidence in your business to your prospective clients! Add a newsletter block on your website to captured those email addresses! Make sure the wording is swapped out to reflect your voice and add some color to the block. More specifically, use an exact color from your color palette for your brand. Here's an example from one of our clients, Get Wedding Savvy! They have their newsletter block right at the bottom of their page!

2.  Enhance Your About Page - About Pages are my FAVORITE pages on websites I build and design. I not only love reading about each and every one of my clients, but I love knowing that this page is their connection to their clients. Your About Page should not only talk all about you, but about how you can help your client. Make sure your About Page also includes a professional head shot (not a selfie!) that is similar to the feel of your brand. If you're a photographer, get a photo of you with your camera in-hand. If you're an event planner, get a photo of you as you're planning your next event! And, remember, your About Page should have your voice all over it.. When you talk on your website, it should be how you talk to your client when you're in-person or on the phone with them. Ready for a beautiful example of this? Check out Jessica Smith from JesSmith Designs! When I designed this site for her and read her copy, mixed with the aesthetic of her brand, it was PERFECT.

3. Bring In Your Instagram Feed - Did you know you can add your Instagram feed to your website? AND, it will automatically update? It's a great way to bring in more of your brand aesthetic via social media and connect people to your social media for a follow! You can also add a bit of verbiage above the feed to bring your voice into it! Flavi Huff Photography does a great job of doing this on her website. I can tell, even by the little blurb, that this was Flavi's voice when I talked to her on the phone during the design process of her website!

4. Add Unique Brand Design Elements - When your brand is defined from an aesthetic perspective, I encourage you to pull out a specific element that you can use in a subtle way that people will begin to recognize. For example, Lindsay at 1783 Photography uses a leaf element defined in her branding through her website on her headers and in her logo. Her work is elegant, light and airy, and the subtle addition of the leaf elements allows Lindsay's clients to continue to feel the cohesiveness that her portfolio brings about already, but in a unique way.

5.  Define + Add Your Mission Statement - Do you have a mission statement defined for your business? If not, follow the WTF is Branding!? Workbook to figure out how to define one. Your mission statement is SO important to include, as it sets the foundation of who you are, what you do, and who you do it for right there for your clients to read and understand. Making it clear as day on your website will immediately allow your clients to build trust in what you do. An incredible example of this is Bethany at Bethany Melvin Photography. Her home page has her mission statement, along with an easy way for her clients to tap into the various specialties she offers.


Trying to figure out how to bring your brand into your website? Sign up for one of our brand + website consultations for only $100! We'll give you a 10-20 minute recorded video consult, along with everything written out step-by-step, with advice on how to showcase your brand. 

 


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Vintage Oaks Banquet Barn is Now LIVE + LAUNCHED on Squarespace!

Vintage Oaks Banquet Barn | New Squarespace Website Launch!

One of the best parts of my job is learning about the stories of my clients. Some have come from corporate backgrounds, others are stay-at-home moms, others have been in business for years, and others have deep personal connections to their job because it's helped them through some of the toughest times.

Haley from Vintage Oaks Banquet Barn is one of the most positive, resilient people that we've ever come in contact with. We were referred to Haley by the incredible Kara Evans, so we knew that we would fall in love with her from the minute we talked to her.

And we did. And then some. 

By the time we got off the phone with Haley, Kelsey and I both had goosebumps and teary eyes. The story and the journey that Haley and her family went through in order to have their dream come true was something that made our jaws drop the entire phone call.  They faced hardships of sudden loss of close family, legal battles of obtaining their dream wedding venue, and many small battles in-between. For most people, any of these struggles would've made them walk away or give up on their dream.

Not Haley and her family, though. They trusted their faith in God that this journey was meant for them and they would see it through. Kelsey and I hopped on the phone after our call with Haley and felt so inspired, so honored, and we felt our hearts completely, 100% meant for this project with Haley. 

When you open up the brand new website for Vintage Oaks Banquet Barn, you instantly feel the elegant, loving, sentimental vibe that Haley portrays for her brand. From the soft colors, to the vintage feel to her logo, and the pineapple to represent hospitality for their event venue, this brand is going down as one of our favorites. It's full of the heart that Haley and her family have for their business. The same heart that has gotten them through the toughest times, together.

Haley worked closely with Kelsey at Honey Side Up with our Home Sweet Honey Package. Kelsey provided her with a custom logo design, alternate logos, a collaborative mood board project, a final brand board, custom business card designs, a Facebook cover photo, and additional marketing materials for Vintage Oaks Banquet Barn. We tied everything together to provide Haley a beautiful website by including the colors in her brand, fonts in her brand board, and unique brand elements to make sure her website stood out with her brand.

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Vintage Oaks Banquet Barn
  • Template Chosen: Pacific
  • Why This Template:  We wanted to have the menu options and the logo all at the top, surrounding each other. This template felt like the best one to start. 
  • CSS Coding:  Yes! We added some color to the form fields on the contact page, added some fun elements to the buttons, changed the width of the website, custom installed the brand fonts, and added custom coding to mobile to make sure mobile looks awesome.
  • Fonts Chosen:  Antoinetta, Ashbury

Haley - From our first conversation, we felt an instant connection with you. We are truly honored and so excited to be a part of this journey with you and your family. The work that you've done on the barn, on your business, and even confidence in yourself as a business owner is something you should be SO proud of. We're so excited to continue seeing the smiles of your family light up Vintage Oaks. We love you!


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Squarespace NEW FEATURES Roundup: What's New in Squarespace!?

Working in a platform like Squarespace has been such a blessing for not only my business, but for my clients and their businesses. It's secure, easy to blog, and super simple to update text and images for portfolios.

If you want to read about our top five reasons why Squarespace is incredible for small businesses, check out that post here!

Squarespace does an incredible job listening to the feedback from their users to work them in to future updates. They have a team of awesome people, a few that I've talked to over the phone to provide my own clients' feedback, that are truly listening to clients in order to implement features to make our day-to-day lives so much easier and efficient.

 

Here's a round-up of a few of the latest + greatest features we love:

1. Image Block Types (Image Block 2.0!):
I cannot get over this super fun feature that Squarespace announced recently. Before Image Block 2.0, the custom coding that I would add in for image captions to look awesome was pretty extensive. Now, there are SIX different ways to display image captions:  Poster (displays the text right over your image), Overlap (one of my favorites - text partially overlaps image on one side), Card (moves the text next to the image), Collage (my super-duper-uber favorite), Stack (places text below image). Each of these styles allow for more editing in the Style Editor for the fonts, colors, styles of each image block type. AND, in addition to this, I've taken advantage of adding custom CSS code to my client sites to take them to even the next level. You can see an example of the collage block type on one of our recent website launches here!

2.  Integration with PayPal for E-Commerce:  
We made a blog post about this feature here. This has since been taken out of beta and fully launched live! We love that Squarespace allow sfor multiple ways for clients to make payments, especially for our e-commerce clients. 

3. Domain Purchasing with Squarespace + Transferring in to Squarespace:
This may not feel like a big deal if you're not a designer, but this has made lives so much easier on my clients. Previously, we've had to take a domain name (www.whatever.com) and keep it where it was purchased originally (GoDaddy, Wordpress, etc.), and point the technical records to "connect" it to Squarespace. Essentially, instead of transferring everything in to one spot for the domain, we were bridging that connection and keeping the domain where it was originally registered. Now, my clients can purchase or transfer their domain in to Squarespace and manage everything all in one spot. SO much easier to manage!

4. Acuity Scheduling Block in Squarespace!
I'm not one to brag... but because of Squarespace, I have a nice new way for my clients to book time with me WITHOUT me paying a monthly fee. Thanks to Squarespace's new partnership with Acuity Scheduling, I have their Emerging Entrepreneur plan for free ($10 a month normally) and my clients are able to easily book time with me for consulting sessions. I simply set my availability, the types of sessions I can book, and voila! Read more information on all of this here!

5. Undo/Redo Feature on Style Editor:
Do you get crazy when playing around with styles in the Style Editor, like me? Well, here comes something that will save your web life:  the undo/redo feature in the Style Editor! Right at the top of the Style Editor, you'll see undo and redo icons. Simply use these to change out anything you've done or need re-done! 

Get a sneak peek below at just how crazy I can get in the Style Editor when building a new website. ;)

 

 

Do you have a favorite Squarespace feature?!
Share in the comments below or email me and I'd LOVE to feature you in an upcoming blog post!

 


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Kristen Clark Photography is Now LIVE + LAUNCHED on Squarespace!

Kristen Clark Photography | New Website Launch!

As a website designer, I have the awesome opportunity to work with creative business owners from across the world. I find it so awesome to be from Cleveland, but to have clients in Chicago, Albuquerque, San Diego, Melbourne, Alberta, and even right here in my home state of Ohio.

The owner of this incredible photography studio for our launch today comes from Columbus, Ohio, only 2 1/2 hours from me here in Cleveland! Columbus has such a supportive creative community (looking at you, Amanda, Beth, and Kristin!), so finding her from the recommendations in their TuesdaysTogether - Columbus Facebook group was such a blessing. I want to introduce you all to the owner of the newest Home Sweet Hyatt Studios website launch:  Kristen Clark of Kristen Clark Photography!

Kristen reached out to me looking for a new website to continue to grow her business. She wanted to attract new parents, specifically mothers, who love beautiful images and see the value in photography. With one glance at Kristen's portfolio, you'll instantly see the beautiful galleries she provides to her clients. From newborns, to maternity, to babies and children, and families, Kristen provides it all and loves both meeting new clients and growing relationships with her current clients.

Kristen purchased our Home Sweet Home Package, since she already had branding elements designed previously. We wanted to make sure her website showcased large galleries, was simple to browse, and had enough information for her clients to feel 100% ready to book!

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Kristen Clark Photography
  • Template Chosen: Native
  • Why This Template:  We wanted to showcase Kristen's portfolio in a large gallery on the home page. We also wanted to keep some white space, so the page didn't feel too overwhelming with a gallery that was "too" large.
  • CSS Coding:  Holy moly, yes! We added in custom coding for the hearts in the navigation menu, the entire navigation to be styled the way that it is, borders around the gallery images, borders around the image cards on the session page, we optimized mobile by making sure the slideshow thumbnails weren't too big, and installed a custom font! Can you tell custom code is our favorite thing to do?! :)
  • Fonts Chosen:  Jenna Sue, Futura PT, Poppins
     

Kristen - Our first conversations started around the excitement you had for taking your kiddos to Disney World. I'm going to go ahead and say a new website launch for your business is maybe not AS exciting as Disney (because, I can't compete with Mickey) but it's still pretty freakin' exciting. ;) I'm SO excited to have you in my favorite group of Columbus clients and you should be so proud of yourself for this new website launch and the next step in your business!


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Branded Styled Stock Photography: What Is It + See Ours!

Making investments in your business can be really scary. There have been a few investments I've made in Home Sweet Hyatt Studios that I just did not see the return on. Such is business life, right? Live and learn!

One thing I really struggled with for awhile with my own brand was how to make sure images I was using on my website, blog, and social media stayed consistent and cohesive. My business is very visual with website design; so how could I communicate someone else's brand with my own brand aesthetic?

After tons of research, including posting in one of my favorite groups on Facebook, Savvy Business Owners, I finally found my answer. 

Have you ever seen on Facebook or Instagram feeds where everything on a specific brand website looks SUPER cohesive? Where there are usually similarly colored notebooks, photos, laptops, desk items, and everything just looks very polished and professional? Also, when you see the photos, you instantly recognize what brand is behind it?

This is called branded styled stock photography! I made one of THE best business decisions to partner up with Jenn from Jennifer Kathryn Photography for mine in January 2017. It was SUCH a dream. It was like watching my brand get stepped up to the next level, right before my eyes. When I opened the first sneak peek photos, it felt like Christmas morning. There may or may not have been happy tears. Okay... there was. 


"The most compelling brand stories are authentic ones. When your brand imagery is purpose-focused and guided by your core values, you become irresistible to your dream clients. " - Jennifer Kathryn


Make your second-guessing stop when it comes to showing off your work on your blog in a beautiful and cohesive way and invest in this service. The photos are curated to you and your brand and NOT re-sold to anyone else. When I worked with Jenn, she walked me through a customized questionnaire, a Pinterest Board, and clarifying specifics for all of the photo sets. We talked in detail about items to include in the session. Since this session was completely personalized to me and my brand, I ordered a few items that I really wanted to showcase. During this process, Jenn provided me her expertise of what works really well and even things to avoid because of how the photo would be presented. I trusted her expertise the entire way and I'm SO glad I did. The end-result was something that just completely brought my vision to the next level. A level that I never thought would be able to be communicated visually for Home Sweet Hyatt Studios. 

Jenn not only made this process SUPER easy for me to go through but she also made it fun. I felt like someone finally understood my vision and didn't think I was completely nuts for having crazy patterns and neon colors as the main colors in my brand. I remember feeling this same way when I connected with Kelsey at Honey Side Up Creative for my branding. They both trusted and respected my vision for my business. They also provided their vision, expertise, and perspective that just took my vision far beyond what I ever dreamed possible.

I'm going to show you guys a few of the photos that Jenn provided me for Home Sweet Hyatt Studios and how I used them to date. And, I still have a ton more to choose from that she sent my way. The possibilities are endless!

Get branded styled stock photography added to your short-list of next investments for your business. Take on another client to allow yourself to invest in this service. Do whatever you have to do to make it happen. It's stepped my visual identity of Home Sweet Hyatt Studios up to the next level on my website, social media, and even newsletters/communications to my clients.

Thank you again, Jenn! You're the BEST!

Why We Offer Brand + Website Consultations (+ Why You Should Get One!)

Why I Offer Website Consultations | Home Sweet Hyatt Studios

If you're in the boat of feeling "meh" about your website, this post is for you.

We've had so many creative business owners come to us over the last two years telling us that they're just not in love with their website. Either they DIYed it and just couldn't figure out what it was missing, they hired someone a year or two ago and their business has morphed into something their website just doesn't reflect any longer, or they just need an extra set of eyes on their website to make sure everything makes sense. 

Because of this, in our hearts, we didn't feel it was right to "pitch" them on investing in a brand new website, just because that's what our services offered. Maybe they didn't yet have the budget or that just wasn't what they were looking for. They needed confidence in their brand + website and the roadmap to get them there.

Kelsey Christine at Honey Side Up and I have tag-teamed up and have started offering branding + website consultations for $100. In each of these consultations, we record a 10-20 minute video where we walk through the entire website, record our recommendations, and show the website on the video as we walk through it. The recommendations span from content placement, to content tone, site structure, SEO best practices, and overall branding. Each of these recommendations are provided in the video and also in an email to the client, bulleted, step-by-step. From there, we've had clients either take care of some of those items themselves or hire us hourly to complete it for them!

So, why should you get a website consultation? When do you know it's the right time? How do you know that it's right for you? After reviewing my previous website consultation clients and their "why" for their website consultation, here's why they did it:

1.  New DIY Website About to Launch - One of the best things about creative business owners is right in their title; they're creative! Many business owners design their website themselves, especially in the first few months of business. We all have to save money and spend wisely, especially in the beginning. Before you hit publish, it's a great idea to have a neutral expert review everything to provide actionable feedback. This is especially helpful if your ideal website client is not a creative business owner!

2.  Client Inquiries Are Low + Questions Are High - If you're not seeing as many inquiries as you'd like, or your clients are asking you every question in the book about your services, it's time to see how you can address that on your website. If your prospective clients feel overwhelmed and can't easily navigate your website, they'll either leave or ask you tons of questions. Make your job easier by making their experience that much better!

3.  Website Created Years Ago +  Never Updated - If you hired a designer a few years back, but you're not sure how to update your website, listen up. You should always, always, always know how to update the content on your website. As prices change, your services change, processes change, even if your portfolio changes, you need to make sure that stays up to date. Make sure the best of the best of the BEST of your work is showcased, always.

4.  Not Attracting Ideal Client - Let's say right now, you're looking to book higher-budget clients. Maybe you want to up your pricing, but you're scared to do it. But, your inquiries that you are getting, if any, are only people on a very limited budget. I've had clients come to me telling me that this is the case for their business and they couldn't figure out why, other than it "had to be their portfolio was bad". That's not necessarily true or even close to it. It could be the presentation of your portfolio, how it looks on mobile, how your services are outlined, how your copy reads, it could be SO MANY THINGS. Let's attract your ideal client that has not only the budget for your services, but the trust and confidence in you to deliver.'

5.  You're Just Not Feeling It - There's no other way to say this, really. You have a website, no matter how it got there, and you have some inquiries, and things are "fine". But... YOU are not in love with it. You may even be attracting clients, but you're feeling yourself fall out of love with your business, and you can't quite figure out why. Let's figure this out together. Keep in mind, this is also a very common reason for not just a website overhaul, but a new brand. You should never fall out of love with your business.

So, what's next!? If you fall in to any of those five descriptors, let's chat about a brand + website consultation. We'll provide you with a 10-20 minute video consultation and step-by-step written out recommendations about your brand + website. 


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Bethany Melvin Photography is Now LIVE + LAUNCHED on Squarespace!

Get ready for one of our most absolute favorite brand transformations. Her new brand exemplifies the client experience she provides; compassion, care, and true elegance. She provides a true connection with her clients and learns their individual stories. She took her business through an ENTIRE re-brand, all the way from a name transformation to a brand new website launch on Squarespace. Her name is Bethany Buitenbos and she is the incredible business owner behind the brand new Bethany Melvin Photography in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

You'll notice as you step through Bethany's new website just how classic and beautiful her brand is. From the aesthetic of the teals and grays, to the subtle touch of gold, and the gemstones that bring everything together perfectly.

One of my favorite features of Bethany's new website is the copy. This was all provided by her and I felt like as I read it, I understood her even more as a person and a business owner. She is one of the most genuine, caring business owners I've ever had the pleasure of working with. She has a true passion for her work and each and every story she is able to tell by her beautiful talent.

Bethany purchased our Home Sweet Honey Package, which included her brand being designed by the awesome Kelsey of Honey Side Up Creative. When Bethany's new brand was communicated to me, I absolutely fell in love.

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Bethany Melvin Photography
  • Template Chosen: Fulton 
  • Why This Template:  We wanted to make sure Bethany's website had statement images on each and every page. Her work is so beautiful and having the images from side-to-side was a great way to bring her work to life.
  • CSS Coding:  Yes! We adjusted some spacing around certain areas of the website. We also adjusted the blog page to expand it a bit. We made the page width bigger for all other pages and made the footer smaller. We also added a custom font in to match Bethany's branding. 
  • Fonts Chosen:  Corbert (custom installation) and Cormorant (SS font)

Bethany - I know Kelsey and I have told you a thousand times each, but we couldn't be more excited to launch your new brand and website. We loved working with you, learning more about you and the passion you have for making your client experience the absolute best. Congratulations on everything!


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Laura Ball is Now LIVE + LAUNCHED on Squarespace!

Squarespace Website Launch | Laura Ball - Facebook Strategist | Home Sweet Hyatt Studios

The time has come. Someone who has branding JUST as bold as Home Sweet Hyatt Studios! WOOHOO! Let me introduce you to your new favorite Facebook expert, Laura Ball!

Laura originally started working with me to simply improve her current Squarespace website and find some new stock images that just felt better than what she had previously. As we started working together, we started leaning more and more towards a bold color palette. Finally, when designing her new website, I threw out the colors of purple, navy, orange, and yellow all at once. Which, normally, I would never, ever do.... but for some reason with Laura, it just felt right. And, it was. She LOVED it.

As we started revamping things for Laura, she expressed the need for a new logo. Of course, we brought in the incredible Kelsey Christine at Honey Side Up Creative to design a logo and a brand board that Laura LOVED. See the new logo and the fun squiggles on Laura's website? Super kudos to Kelsey for those!

You know how I always tell you guys that sometimes projects don't go as planned? Well, usually Kelsey works on a brand and logo design first, then I swoop in from a website perspective. This time, we did it a bit backwards unexpectedly. Sometimes when going through the journey of re-designing a website, new ideas and fun ideas and fresh ideas start making their way in. And, when you didn't initially go in to the project thinking about a full re-brand and launch of a new name, a new logo, a new brand, new services, etc.... sometimes, it happens! We made it work for Laura and we are LOVING the end result. 

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Laura Ball - Facebook Ad Strategist
  • Template Chosen: Alex
  • Why This Template:  We all fell in love with the parallax scrolling. While we've used it before in website designs, it just felt like it really worked with Laura's bold and fun branding/colors + her images + copy. It flowed really well - better than other templates we tried!
  • CSS Coding:  Yes! We made the header a bit bigger to show off Laura's new logo. We also shortened up the footer because it was a little too big based on the design we had going. We also expanded the width of the website and changed each heading to its own color.
  • Fonts Chosen:  Open Sans, Brandon Grotesque

Laura - I've had SO much fun working with you! This is my first website design for a social media strategist, let alone someone who is SO knowledgeable in Facebook Ads. I'm so excited to watch how your business continues to grow and how you continue to expand your new fun, fresh, and modern brand!


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NEW Squarespace Feature! - Acuity Scheduling Block

Squarespace and Acuity Scheduling have partnered up to provide you with a SUPER easy way to allow clients to schedule time with you right from your website!

They're also offering a few incredible offers when you use the new Squarespace Acuity Block when you add in your Acuity Scheduling calendar:

  • A free Emerging Entrepreneur plan ($10/month value)
  • 25% off Acuity Scheduling's higher-priced annual plans. Limited-time offer until May 31, 2017.

Once your account is created with Acuity Scheduling and your block is added in to Squarespace, you can change the design of it from your Acuity Scheduling account! If you already have an Acuity Scheduling account and you'd like a discount, contact Acuity Scheduling and let them know you're a Squarespace customer. 

SO excited for this new feature from Squarespace! This is a great feature if you offer free consultations with clients before they sign on to your services. Make it easy and skip the steps of multiple emails trying to find availability!


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Celebrating ONE YEAR as a Full-Time Business Owner!

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It was one year ago today that I walked out of my 9-5 job for the last time. I remember walking in the side door of our house, staring at my husband from across the room, and simply saying the words:

"I'm done. I'm finally, finally done."

For the next few weeks, I kind of started to feel a bit of an identity crisis. Nobody "needed" me all the time. My phone wasn't constantly going off with something being wrong or a fire needing to be put out. It was... quiet.

Don't get me wrong, I had some clients lined up for work and I had work to do. But, it didn't feel like work. It felt like a few days off... which was also weird. My days off up until that point included being sick, a toddler being sick, and maybe a few days of vacation, if I was lucky.

So, what's my year been like?! Let's check it out... 

Now, of course, there are no celebrations without a few bummed moments along the way. I definitely had my fair share of, "what if I NEVER book another website contract?!" moments. Also a few situations where I way underpriced my work given the amount of work being put into it. I've had a few people tell me "no" due to hiring another designer, not having enough social media followers for speaking gigs, or not having the "look" they wanted for the opportunity I was after. 

That's okay, though. There's one number that I do care about. It's not how many Instagram followers I have, or even my mailing list. It's my referral rate. My referral rate is how many of the websites I launched were as a result of that person being referred to me by another customer. With OVER HALF of the client websites I launched in 2016-2017 being referrals, I couldn't be happier. I truly have the best clients I could ever dream of. Thank you times a million.

I'm excited to think about the opportunities that my second year as a FULL TIME business owner will hold. I already have a few INCREDIBLE projects and opportunities in the works. I'm already working with some pretty amazing clients that will be launching over the next few weeks. I feel like I have a really great support group of women surrounding me, providing me advice, a virtual shoulder to cry on, and laughter each and every day. 

More, and most, importantly, though.... I was able to spend one more day per week with my son and have SUCH a better work/life balance with my husband than when I was at my 9-5 gig. My little guy goes to preschool Tuesday through Friday and is home with me on Mondays. My goal when launching Home Sweet Hyatt Studios was that I would be able to walk him to school in Kindergarten and be here with him when he gets home from school. Little did I know that I would be able to go full-time within six months of launching my business - before he even turned 3. 

I want year two to bring more excitement, more smiles, more friendships, more balance, more learning, more hugs, and to still stay grounded in it all. At the end of the day, when I can lay my head on my husband's shoulder and hold the hand of my son, life is good. But, getting to wake up and literally live my dream each and every day is pretty damn cool, too. ;)

I'm so ready for year two. Let's do this.

5 (Of the Many) Reasons Dubsado Will Improve Your Business Life

5 (of the many) Reasons Dubsado Will Improve Your Business Life

Are you ready to hear about how one simple product has changed my life as a solo business owner?

Before we get to the amazingness that is Dubsado, let's talk about a huge #entrepreneurfail that I had about two years ago. Before Dubsado was even created, I invested my money in to a LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP with an unnamed client management system, that only three months later, I was about to throw out the window.

I was spending more time putting together contracts, custom payment plans, trying to figure out the bookkeeping system, only to have my customers come back to say they never received the contract, payment plan, and invoice. It was lost in the world of the Internet, with nothing in their spam folder, and nothing indicating it "didn't" send. I would contact their team, to either no response, or virtual shoulder shrugs. I would even have to reserve time on my calendar JUST to send out a contract, because it was so involved. My stomach turned at the thought of hiring a virtual assistant one day, because to have to teach them the assbackwards ways of creating a contract to fit my services, it was going to be quite the task.

Finally, I had enough. I couldn't run my business with my first impression with my customer being that they thought I never sent them a contract/invoice. I felt like it made it look like my shit wasn't together or that I forgot about them. When, in reality, I was thinking they received everything and just maybe didn't get to my email just yet. 

I decided that I couldn't continue to let my customer experience suffer just because I invested in a lifetime membership. I think I was so floored by the demo of this system, since it was the first one that I had ever seen from start to finish, and I was so scared to commit to "another" monthly fee.

I decided to suck up my pride and to make a change to better my customer experience. The experience my customers have working with me is an absolute, #1 priority in my business. My goal when choosing a client management system was to make sure everything was super easy for my customers. I wanted to make sure they could easily review their contract, make their invoice payment, and review forms that I send them through our experience working together. 

No more taking 30 minutes to build out a simple contract. No more being bummed WHEN I GOT A NEW CUSTOMER just because I had to put together that damn contract. And no more emails from my clients asking where their contact/invoice disappeared to.

Most of all, I wanted this system to have an incredible team behind it. A team that listened to their customers, implemented features important to their customers, and quickly resolved any bugs or glitches in the system. I would have loved for that team to have started from a dream from one or two people. One that they optimized the talents from one another, and their love for happy customers, to design a client management system that was for creatives, by creatives.

I couldn't tell you how many client management systems I tried. Some for a few days, some through their trials, some even just for a few minutes before I knew the user-experience wouldn't be something I (or my customers) loved. I was beginning to feel afraid that this system just didn't exist. I was feeling defeated, like maybe something was wrong with my services or client experience that it just didn't fit.... anywhere.

Then, one sweet day, I found one. The one that EVERYONE was bragging about. It was simple to use, but full of amazing features. It was secure and mobile-friendly. It was customizable, but also provided me with a starting point for everything. It was AWESOME from the client side, as it was very easy for them to navigate. And... it was started by two wonderful (and married!) creatives, Becca and Jake Berg. 

I want to introduce you all to Dubsado!

There are SO MANY REASONS to be in love with this system. I'm going to give you five that I'm absolutely in love with because I'm using them in my current state of business. I guarantee you, depending your business, other creatives may have other "top five" features because there is SO FREAKIN' MUCH TO LOVE. Let's get to it!

  1. Lead Capture Form - What does lead capture mean? It means that if there is someone who is interested in working with you and they fill out a form, that is the "capture" and they are the "lead." It means you're getting their information pulled in to you by them filling out "this" form. 

    How I Use This Feature - I have my lead capture form right on my "Get In Touch" page! Once my customer completes this form, I'm notified via email from Dubsado that I have a new lead. From there, I can view the lead capture information right in Dubsado (or my email!), and reach out for more info!
     
  2. Canned Emails - Now, this may not seem like a huge deal, but HOLY TIME SAVER. Think about how many emails you may send out on a weekly business. Introducing yourself to your client, sending a contract, sending an invoice, sending process information, sending proofs to clients, etc. 

    How I Use This Feature - Even though I have canned emails, I still personalize each and every one of them. But, the nuts and bolts are all there. It helps me to get things started, make sure EVERYTHING is addressed, and I fill in the fun details to make sure it's customized to my customers' needs. I have canned emails for invoices, contracts, website proofs, questionnaires, and content requests. SUCH a time saver.
     
  3. Bookkeeping- This feature absolutely SOLD ME on Dubsado. I hate everything about bookkeeping. It scared me, it intimidated me, and I just wanted nothing to do with it. However, the charts they provide and way to log expenses is incredible. 

    How I Use This Feature - While Dubsado is only in phase one of bookkeeping, it's absolutely enough to make me understand what parts of my business are bringing in the most income, most often, and where I should focus my marketing efforts. Logging expenses is also SO easy to do. Seeing everything all together in the reporting/charting area of Dubsado sets my little non-math-mind at ease. 
     
  4. Calendar - Dubsado allows you to input start and end dates for your clients in each and every job. Not only do they do this and bring it into a BEAUTIFUL calendar, they also let you bring in your own calendar to the system! Very easy to keep track of everything going on in your business, from client appointments, to project start dates, and even time off!

    How I Use This Feature - I have each of my jobs added in with a start date but NO end date. The reason being is that, as much as I like to make sure my clients follow a time frame for our project, sometimes things go slower or quicker for various reasons. I don't want that ENTIRE time frame logged on the calendar. I simply have a start date, an end date when the work is completed, and any client meetings come in from my Google calendar. Also, one of their new features coming in the next few months will be for clients to be able to book meetings with you! Pretty cool, right!?
     
  5. Custom Forms - From contracts, to sub-agreements, to questionnaires and proposals, Dubsado has you covered. There are tons of creative business owners using these form types in incredible ways, too! I've seen calligraphers and brand designers sending proofs for sign off to clients with a sub-agreement and it's GORGEOUS. You can also have multiple types of each of these form types, too!

    How I Use This Feature - I have contracts for each and every one of my clients. No matter what the work is being done, I make sure the scope of it all is signed off my both myself and my client. VERY easy to do in Dubsado! I also send questionnaires to each of my web design clients to make sure to get as much information from them up front as possible!


As you can see, there are TONS of features that can be helpful for any business owner. And, the Dubsado Team is constantly adding new features for their clients. I'm so excited to see what's to come (hello, Trello-like to-do boards and an online scheduling system!)

To find out more information about Dubsado, here's their pricing and feature guide! Remember, you can sign up for an unlimited time trial for up to three clients to test things out! Pssst, use coupon code of homesweethyatt for 20% off!

Becca, Jake, and Dubsado Team - THANK YOU for making my life as a business owner SO much easier for not just me, but for my clients. I'm so grateful that you all continue to work hard and provide so many wonderful features to better our workflows and client experiences!


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Heather Mills Photography is LIVE + LAUNCHED with Squarespace!

Heather Mills Photography is now officially live on Squarespace!

When Heather reached out to me for a new website, she wanted to make sure she had two things more than anything else: Good SEO and a great website design.

Bring in the awesomeness that is Squarespace and we were able to accomplish both! We also talked about how easy it is to create and manage a blog on Squarespace, as Heather documents so many of her sessions in beautiful detail in her blog. She also wanted to make sure people stayed on her website as long as possible - and ultimately book!

We took a unique approach with Heather's website in that we didn't include a contact page. Say what?! But, here's what we did! We actually brought a contact form in to each and every page. Each page has a consistent workflow - each ending with a contact page at the bottom. It's cohesive, it's elegant, and very user-friendly to her clients.

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Heather Mills Photography
  • Template Chosen: Fulton
  • Why This Template:  We wanted to show off the BEAUTIFUL statement image on the home page and also have gallery slideshows that touched on both sides of the website.
  • CSS Coding:  Yes! We hid some of the meta tags on the blog, made the background color on the galleries white, added lines above/below the navigation menu, and changed the width of the website for more emphasis.
  • Fonts Chosen:  Raleway, King's Caslon Display

Heather - I am SO excited to launch this website with you. Your work is absolutely exquisite and I'm so excited to watch your business continue to grow!

Penny Dinn is Now LIVE + LAUNCHED on Squarespace!

Are you ready for a portfolio that will absolutely blow your mind?! If so, meet the amazing Penny Dinn and her brand new website

Penny contacted me a few weeks back looking for a new website to help expand her work into the California area. She wanted to make sure everything was SEO-friendly and easy to update as her portfolio grew. She was also looking for a way to sell gorgeous prints on her website to ship to her clients. (Pssst, make sure to check out her print shop. I cannot WAIT to fill my studio with these. Absolutely breathtaking...)

When I began the design of Penny's website, I kept in mind her desire to keep things simple and allow her portfolio to do the talking. And, it SO does. As I loaded each of these images in to Penny's website, I could truly feel the passion she has for her work. Can we also talk about the incredible surfing video on her About page?!

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Penny Dinn
  • Template Chosen: Wells
  • Why This Template:  Penny fell in love, love, love with the sidebar navigation! This was the best template based on the sidebar navigation setup and the way she wanted her portfolio displayed.
  • CSS Coding:  Yes! We added in a footer at the bottom of the website (default is on the left side by the navigation). We also added in tons of CSS to hide the image tags, center everything on mobile in shop, and to tighten up the white space on mobile.
  • Fonts Chosen:  Century Old Style, Adobe Caslon Pro

Penny - You are one of the most wonderful, beautiful souls I've ever met along this journey as a business owner. I absolutely admire and love the work that you do and the work ethic you have! I'm so honored and blessed to have been a part of this journey with you! <3 


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Studio Belle Photography is Now LIVE + LAUNCHED with Squarespace!

It's Friday! And, what better way to celebrate Friday than to launch a new website!? Especially this one. Holy moly, wait until you all see the work from the amazing Minh Doan-Lin of Studio Belle Photography

Minh contacted me a few weeks back after seeing recommendations on The Rising Tide Society. She was looking to take her business to the next level by having her website designed to show off her growing portfolio. She also wanted to make sure SEO was addressed, too (as it ALWAYS should be when working with a website designer!) And, it was even her New Years Resolution! We're all about making business wishes come true.  ;)

When I began the design of this website, I kept in mind Minh's wishes of having her portfolio pop off the page. As soon as I looked through her portfolio, I instantly knew why. Minh's work is full of beautiful, rich colors. These images feel imaginative, creative, and full of life. I knew exactly what Minh meant by keeping everything else black and white, because any other color added to her website would instantly clash. By keeping everything black and white, and fairly simple from an aesthetic perspective, Minh's customer would instantly be drawn to any images on her website. And after the design was complete, this rang true instantly. 

While Minh's website is very easy to navigate, we built in some fun features like featuring blog posts on the home page. We also added some fun little elements, like the spacers in the navigation menu and brought the font from her logo into the website design sporadically.

SQUARESPACE DESIGN WORK DETAILS

  • Website: Studio Belle Photography
  • Template Chosen: Montauk 
  • Why This Template:  I knew Minh wanted a website design that was very easy for her customers to use. Very straightforward and easy to navigate. This template is very popular among photographers because it's very clean to start with!
  • CSS Coding:  Yes! We changed the width of the site and added in the navigation spacers. We also added the custom font from Minh's logo into the site!
  • Fonts Chosen:  Bougenville, Mrs Eaves XL Serif, Merriweather

Minh - I'm so incredibly honored to have worked on this website with you. Your work is absolutely exceptional and I'm so excited to watch and your business goes to the next level with your brand new website. You are so sweet, so gracious, and every single email of yours made me smile. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you and to launch your beautiful portfolio to the world! <3 


CHECK OUT OUR RECENT WEBSITE LAUNCHES!