Web Design, Work-Life Balance, and Branding with @itsgariele
When I came across @itsgariele on instagram, I was definitely impressed. Not only does she have a beautiful feed that is all perfectly on-brand, but she also shares relatable and informative content about web design, digital marketing, and balancing life & business. When I realized that she also lives in yyj, I was sold! It is so fun to learn from people on the internet, but even more fun when that person is a female business-owner that lives in the same city as you!
I wanted to share Gariele’s story and amazing tips with you. Read on for her take on web design, digital marketing, lifestyle, and branding.
Hey Gariele, tell me a little bit about yourself and your business, Dreamworthy Design.
My name is Gariele Wright and I am a mother, wife, adventure lover, and website designer. I own Dreamworthy Design, a boutique web design studio for bloggers and business owners who are ready to take on the world.
Describe your lifestyle. Has it been consistent or has it changed over the years?
As much as I love a spontaneous adventure, I am very much a creature of habit. I work 2 days a week and spend the rest of the time with my family! We love going to the beach, exploring local attractions, and hanging out at home. I am beyond privileged to be able to be with my family so much.
Before becoming a mom, I travelled internationally multiple times a year. Now of course it’s a bit different given the fact that my daughter is a full-price plane ticket. But we love exploring Vancouver Island in our converted van!
How did you start out in web design and branding?
I’m a self-taught website designer and brand strategist. I got my initial start in 2014 with an adventure blog/instagram called Rad Girls Collective (@radgirlscollective). I even dropped out of my BBA Degree to pursue self-employment.
When it came time to build the Rad Girls website, I decided to give DIY a try. Let’s just say I became a bit obsessed with websites. My unique skills in marketing, writing, coding and photography make me a pretty well-rounded designer.
Was it difficult to start your business? What would you have done differently knowing what you know now?
Starting my business was one thing I never questioned in the early days. I dove right in with both feet, taking on any freelance gig I could get my hands on! For me, starting was easy. The hardest part, though, was getting all my finances/books/taxes in order. I wish I had worked with an accountant at the very beginning.
What are some business systems that have helped you structure your business to be able to work part time?
Let me preface this by saying that before I started my business, I was a highly disorganized person. Some would even say scatterbrained.
Now I know exactly how to manage a project, maintain client expectations, keep deadlines moving, structure my days for success… all thanks to outlining all of my tasks and turning them into repeatable systems.
Here are the key systems that help keep my business going:
- Online scheduler with automated reminders to make booking calls easy
- Intake form that links directly to my client management system so that I can start the sales process without playing email tag
- Prewritten canned emails for a multitude of purposes to keep me from writing from scratch
- Feedback forms & questionnaires for each client so I can keep our projects moving
If you could give one REALLY important piece of advice for branding, what would it be?
Leave your personal opinions behind. Branding is about how your ideal client or customer will experience your offers. Think about what they want to see, learn, and experience. Nothing is more important than getting to know your target audience on a personal level.
What does the word “branding” mean to you now that you have been in this business for a while?
Branding is the intangible presence that comes along with a product, service or business. It’s the set of qualities that make you memorable and unique. Having a brand is more than just a logo or color scheme. It’s the intention, values and personality behind who you are and what you do.
You have a beautiful social media that supports your business, what would you say are your top three social media tips?
Thank you so much! I adore using social media to generate buzz for my business and build relationships with similar audiences.
Here are my 3 tips for social media:
- Dive deep with one platform you actually enjoy using. This will allow you to show up more often, create consistently, and approach social media with excitement.
- Connect with real people. Be open to having real conversations and not just talking about the weather or your latest product. I met my husband on Instagram so you could say I know a thing or two about engagement.
- Plan your posts in advance. I plan out all of my content at least 1-2 months in advance! Everything is ready to go well before I hit publish.
If someone wants to start a business (or maybe already has one) what would you recommend in terms of building a website?
Write your website content first! This may sound counterintuitive because I am a visual designer, but it is paramount to know what you’ll say on each page.
From there, I suggest using the self-hosted version of WordPress (not their .com version) and finding a premade theme that has enough space for the content you’ve written.
When you want to take your business to the next level and expand beyond a template, then I recommend working with a designer like myself for a custom creation.
Which page is the most important to focus on when you first start your website? Why?
If you are a business owner or freelancer, nothing beats having a solid Work With Me page to showcase the services you provide. When done effectively, this page can build credibility and make it easy for visitors to want to purchase from you.
I actually have an upcoming bundle of trainings and resources for creating a Work With Me page that lands your dream clients >> https://dreamworthydesign.com/booked-out-bundle
Do your business and lifestyle flow together easily?
For the most part, yes. I have standard office hours and set clear boundaries with my clients about when I will be available to respond to their questions. Having struggled with anxiety for most of my life, I sometimes feel an internal pressure to “get more done” and be extremely productive. Though it doesn’t happen often, I can neglect my own personal needs to focus on the business, especially during a season of growth.
Do you think it is possible to have a work-life balance? How would one create this balance?
I do! I created my business entirely around my lifestyle as a mom, so I believe it’s possible for others to do too. The important pieces are managing expectations, committing to tasks and setting boundaries.
If you want to work 2 days a week, for instance, you need to hold yourself accountable to ensuring that your work gets done on time, you communicate about your schedule guidelines, and you actively set boundaries when you feel the balance starting to tip. You need to become comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations.
Name a resource that gives you inspiration regularly.
I adore reading fiction novels that have absolutely nothing to do with business or personal development 😅 Last year I made time to read 54 novels. My favourites featured strong female protagonists who “made it work” despite their unique setbacks:
- Where the Crawdads Sing
- The Great Alone
- My Sister the Serial Killer
- Daisy Jones & The Six
What is your top positive mindset tip?
Keep a gratitude journal! I use the Five-Minute Journal app in the morning and evening to share what I am grateful for. The act of showing gratitude spills into all areas of life and I am a happier person because I remind myself of what brings me joy.
Last one — what is a big dream or goal that you are proud to be working towards right now?
Launching my first digital course to help bloggers and business owners land their dream clients! Booked Out Bundle is a collection of resources and trainings to help you create a work with me page that converts >> https://dreamworthydesign.com/booked-out-bundle
I loved getting to hear Gariele’s thoughts on being a business owner, what branding means, and where she finds inspiration. Find her on instagram at @itsgariele and through her website dreamworthydesign.com