Hey, I’m Emma.
I teach graphic designers like you how to build websites yourselves — without a web developer!
So you can have more freedom in your biz, more variety in your workday and of course… more moolah.
I provide online training & mentoring as a way to make this happen — but I do it a little differently.
I believe we all have the ability to create our next-level.
And now might be the perfect time…
The moons are aligning
This is a unique time in history, it’s as if the moons are aligning for graphic designers who are looking to learn how to create websites.
1. More and more of the world is coming online every year
And so more and more websites are needed. Yet 50% of Australian small businesses and 30% in the US still don’t have a website (Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, 2018)
2. Website page builders are now available
Making it easier than ever before to create a website. This means graphic designers (like us!) now have the ability to build beautiful and functional websites ourselves, without needing a techy web developer to help out. Heaps of peeps are already jumping on the Page Builder bandwagon with the Divi page builder theme now the most popular premium WordPress theme in the world (Elegant Themes, 2018).
3. Business owners (non designers) are being sold on the fact that they can “do it themselves”
And are trying to create their own websites in droves. They are quickly working out that while they can build a site, they look terrible, and they are not designers! (Duh! We could have told them that.) A poll by ChannelBiz UK found a measly 16% of small business owners have a website they’re proud of (2011).
All of these factors present a unique opportunity for graphic designers to capitalise on their strengths, allowing them to double their service offering, retain more clients and for longer, and dramatically boost their income.
So where do you learn these mad web dev skills?
While this opportunity exists… there is still a huge learning curve in terms of how to learn ALL the techy details around building a website. And there are so many different places to learn from!
A high-end solution
On the high end, traditional side, a University degree in multimedia is a common option, with the ability to learn from multiple teachers, networking and prestige. Often however the financial and time cost is far more than what’s required, and the information can be outdated and generalist.
A common approach
On the lower end of the scale there are courses on sites like Udemy and Linda.com, which can be great in that they are cheap and provide the flexibility of online learning. However, again many of these courses can be generalist — not tailored to graphic designers — and irrelevant and downright boring. Learning things like coding that you don’t need, or even want to learn.
Doing our own research on the Internet is great in that it’s free and limitless in terms of what you can learn. For graphic designers however, this is often also one of it’s biggest frustrations. Conflicting ideas, lack of structure, and no community has us quickly overwhelmed by too many options, and no support, community or accountability specific to graphic designers.
The challenge for graphic designers is getting guidance that has both the structure you crave & understanding from someone who gets your unique situation.
And this is where I come in…
I’ve created a structured, systemised 9 step process specific to my approach to creating a website — a graphic designer’s perspective. This process is based on the three pillars of discovery, creativity, and connection.
These pillars allow graphic designers to forge new ground, think outside the box, and make websites that make deep connections — predictably and easily.
So how did this unique approach come about? Good question! Here’s my story…
All my life I’ve loved learning new skills, making new discoveries and sharing my newfound wisdom with others. To me life is all about new opportunities, knowledge and adventure. The feeling of newness, excitement and inspiration.
To me learning represents discovery.
Another thing I’ve always been inspired by is architecture.
The combination of the creative and the practical. Art and science. Piecing the puzzle together to form something beautiful and functional. Making something new.
To me architecture represents creativity.
And last but certainly not least, I’ve always had a deep love for animals — their innocence, their unconditional love and their purity.
To me animals represent something we all crave and that the world (especially the online world) needs more of — true, honest connection through authenticity.
My (original) tribe
My family had a big impact on me and my learning journey. They taught me about science, about critical thinking, and about spirituality.
They instilled in me the values of enjoying life, appreciating nature, finding meaning in life, as well as problem solving. I still hold strong to these values to this day.
However, I noticed I stood out a little from my original tribe in that I loved all things creative — I was interested in singing (badly!), art, writing, learning and regularly setting myself goals to continually grow and improve.
A great teacher
In school one of my most memorable teachers was my Year 7 maths teacher Mr Mentis.
He taught me about getting to the ‘why’ and going deeper. He instilled in me the value of listening and taking the time to fully explain both the problem and the solution. These values are instrumental in how I now teach and mentor others.
However, while he was passionate about maths and numbers, I was also interested in colours, art, creativity and expression. I love combining both structure and colour to this day in all I do.
The twenty-something entrepreneur
In the professional world, I learned from my past boss Paul, a young architect running his own business, where I worked part time as reception while studying. Paul taught me about running his own business — marketing, admin and all the boring stuff. He also inspired me greatly (unbeknownst to him) — seeing him run his own business at such a young age, witnessing the freedom that came with that as well as the deep sense of purpose and accomplishment.
I was slightly different to Paul in my approach. I wanted to run my own business, but I didn’t want to do it by leasing the fancy office and employing a roster of staff. I wanted to grow on my own, and in a way that suited my naturally introverted nature (one of my superpowers!).
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing though — I’ve had my skills and values tested more than once. Ok, a lot more than once!
One challenge that really stands out is when I was first faced with the prospect of breaking up with a client that wasn’t a great fit for me.
I was concerned I’d hurt his feelings and he’d be disappointed in me. (yep, such a people pleaser!) But my biggest fear was appearing unprofessional. It made me question whether I was suited to even being in business in the first place. Maybe I wasn’t the hard-ass entrepreneurial type?!
But in the end, I’m so proud to say, I trusted in myself and I chose my direction. I broke up with my client in the ingenious ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ way (thanks Seinfeld!) and passed him on to someone else who could help. Much to my delight, this worked out better for everyone. He completed his project with another designer and to top it off we are still friends to this day.
I learned it was up to me to trust myself and make the move to take myself to the place where I wanted to be.
My first time
The first time I created a website on my own was another huge challenge.
For years I’d endured the problems that inevitably come from communicating with and relying on a web developer to meet deadlines… and I was well over it.
Over the years I’d learned — through late nights researching, watching YouTube videos, reading tutorials and a whole lotta trial and error — about hosting, domains, SSL, WordPress, themes and plugins, and now with access to powerful WordPress Page Builders, I knew it was time to put on my big girl pants and harness these skills to create websites all on my own.
The main fear I had was that I wouldn’t do as good a job, and that I would let my clients down as the quality wouldn’t be up to par with using a skilled WordPress developer.
I decided to go for it.
It took some time learning the ins and outs of my chosen builder, and man there were some technical WordPress things that caught me off guard. But in the end I had created the first ever ‘100% Emma Made’ website. And I have to say… it looked AWESOME and my client was over the moon.
I learned that once I begin, I actually have the ability to surprise myself and create far more than I think. I also re-learned that it’s up to me to trust myself, choose my direction, and create my next level.
A big challenge…
And one of my biggest most recent challenges…
Standing up at WordCamp 2018 as a graphic designer — in front of a huge crowd including a bunch of hardcore web developers (Eeek!) — and delivering a presentation on my specific 9 step process on how to create beautiful websites, from a graphic designer’s perspective.
As you can expect… MANY fears came up for me.
Could what I have to say really be of value to these hardcore WordPress devs?
Could I really have what it takes as a graphic designer to have a relevant and useful perspective here?
Do graphic designers have any place creating websites?
The answer was a resounding YES!
I did my presentation, I showcased my process, I stood there for 30 minutes and put myself — and the ins and outs of my website process — out there.
When I finished, I got a huge round of applause, heaps of questions and people coming up to me after telling me how much they loved my approach and the information I shared. A bunch of people also joined my mailing list, Facebook Group and contacted me about mentoring.
I got a huge high. I LOVED IT. I loved sharing what I’ve learned, connecting with others and genuinely helping people design better websites.
I learned that as a graphic designer I have developed strong web design skills that really stand out in the marketplace.
And again that if I trust myself and go for it, amazing things happen, and I can create my next level.
And this is the gift, the core message that I now teach my clients. The message to create your next level.
A process and program that combines structure and understanding specifically for graphic designers — from someone who’s been there.
A process that that is based on the three pillars of discovery, creativity and connection, which allows designers to forge new ground, think outside the box, and make websites that make deep connections — predictably and easily.
All for the purpose of helping graphic designers learn how to build websites themselves (without a web developer) so they can have more income, more choice, and more freedom in their business.
I welcome you to my site, and encourage you to check out the list of resources below to help you on your journey.
Here’s to making the web a more beautiful, authentic place.
Psst… Here’s how we can work together.
More Resources & Free Stuff
Free website building tips, checklists, worksheets and more — for graphic designers wanting to say sayonara to their web developer.
Plugins can take your humble WordPress website and hurl it into a whole new level of awesomeness. Here are my favourites.read more
Start learning the lingo — like what the heck CSS, SSL and a sitemap are — and you’ll be speaking web geek like a native in no time!read more
Why ditching my web developer was honestly, hand-on-heart, the best move for my freelance career.read more