I met Tom Locke from Noughts & Ones (formally Hive Social) via the Squarespace Circle forum and he's a pretty cool guy who runs a top-notch web development agency. Tom seriously knows his Squarespace stuff - he’s always happy to help out, find ways to use technology to improve our overall Squarespace experience and push the boundaries of the platform.
Noughts & Ones recently relaunched their Squarespace Plugin Store which offers some very nifty custom design features. I trialled the Read More plugin and loved it and am looking forward to using it in a future project!
Tom Locke is the founder of Noughts & Ones (formally known as Hive Social), a UK-based Creative Development agency specialising in custom Squarespace design & development, coding support, platform training and custom CSS code and plugins.
1) What is your professional background and how did you get into Squarespace web design?
Noughts & Ones actually started life as my freelance company - Hive Social - in 2014, which focused on social media and digital marketing services. I was familiar with Squarespace through my last agency position(s) and used the platform for my own website when I started out as a freelancer. Within 3 or 4 months of trying to get new clients, I wasn’t making much progress selling social media and digital marketing and having lots of conversations about Squarespace, so I started pursuing that as a specialty service.
In 2017, I incorporated the company and made my first hires and started pursuing my dream of growing my own agency. Last year saw Hive Social have a complete rebrand and we started working with Shopify as well as Squarespace. We are really proud to have grown a number of awesome brand and agency partnerships over the last year or two and look forward to continuing to work on more outstanding projects!!
2) What was your safety net (e.g. a partner, another job, savings etc.) when you first started out and how did that help you?
When I first start out I didn’t actually plan much of a safety net - it felt like such a natural transition for me at the time that I almost didn’t think about it!! I am very lucky in that I have incredibly supportive friends and family, my parents let me use their (rather chilly) shed as my first office and helped out however they could when I first started out.
Not freelancing wasn’t really an option I gave myself (which may have been silly?!) but I simply knew that this is what I wanted to do and worked as hard as I could to make it happen.
3) How many websites did you design during your first year and how did your clients find you? Please share three sites you designed during that time.
Good question!! My first year was made up of a variety of site tweaks, full site builds and other social media bits and pieces. Three of my very early full website builds were:
4) Do you have a niche market, or a speciality, or are you more of a generalist?
Noughts & Ones’ focus is very much on custom Squarespace design and development, we never work on a project that doesn't have some form of custom code! Because of the nature of the platform, we’ve worked with clients of all shapes and sizes, from a wide range of sectors, which is something that we really love.
Having said that, one particular market that we’re really pushing this year is Creative Agencies - we’re forging new strategic partnerships with Creative, PR and Design agencies as their ‘dev guns-for-hire’ to help bring their custom website designs to life on Squarespace.
5) What are your five top tips for starting your own business?
Easier said than done I know, but just go for it!
Network, network, network. Referrals will always be one your most important new business tools.
Be open to collaborations - you never know where it may lead you.
Be prepared to put in the hours.
Seek out support - there is so much (often free) support available for startups and entrepreneurs around. Research and make the most of any local startup mentorship programs, incubator workspaces or workshops that are available!
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