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2023 Mid-Year Review: How to Know When to Restructure Your Pricing

This week I’m digging into my mid-year results and the data that led me to restructure our pricing for the Web Designer Academy.

In this episode I'm breaking down:

  • The difference between an expense vs. hybrid vs. investment mindset, and how your mindset affects the type of client you attract.
  • The transformation from a hybrid mindset to an investment mindset that our students achieved by investing in a coaching program like the Web Designer Academy.
  • How my decision to charge investment-minded pricing made the hybrid mindset clients I was actually trying to help say no.
  • How I used the data from the last three and a half years to drive my decision to restructure our pricing for the Web Designer Academy.

My top 3 lessons from the first half of 2023:

  • You’ll never be done doing the mindset work. It take practice to cultivate and maintain the mindset that will help you create the results you want… but things WILL happen that will knock you off your game, and that's normal and it's okay.
  • Don't keep trying to find all the answers and make all the decisions on your own! Be open to support, encouragement and advice. You can't always see the problems in your business or the opportunities like other people can.
  • You will have tough times in business if you plan to be in business for any length of time. Nothing has gone wrong… it's how you build resilience during these tough times that determines results going forward.

Episode Transcript

Shannon Mattern: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer, a podcast for web designers who want to work less and make more money. I'm your host Shannon Mattern, founder of the Web Designer Academy where we've helped hundreds of web designers stop undercharging, overworking and create profitable sustainable web design businesses.

Shannon Mattern: Hey there, welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer podcast. And today I have another solo episode for you where I'm gonna break down the first six months of 2023 and what that has looked like in my business so far. I hear from so many of you that you love these behind the scenes episodes and I love that you love them cuz I love doing them. I love reading them from other businesses. I love it when people are transparent and they share the good times and the successes as well as the tough times and the challenges. And if I could sum up the first six months of 2023 in my business, it has been one of the most challenging times ever in my business, I think even harder than right after I quit my day job. And I always say like I'm here to go through it so that you don't have to.

Shannon Mattern: And you know when things are going well, we love to share what's working right, but when things are not going well, I have to share what I've learned for it because if I don't or what I've learned from it, because if I don't, it's like why? Why go through it? I always say like I'm here to go through it so that you don't have to or so that you don't feel so alone if you're going through it too. And this podcast episode has been percolating in my mind for a few months now honestly because just when I thought I'd like come through on the other side to learn the lessons that I needed to learn and I like sat down to write it, writer's block would kick in. And whenever that happens, I realize that like I'm still going through it. Like I'm not ready to synthesize everything that I learned.

Shannon Mattern: I'm not ready to, I haven't fully understood what these challenges and obstacles were here to teach me or what I needed to learn or I was still experiencing too much anxiety and worry to be in a place where I wasn't just trying to protect myself. So from the time that like I started experiencing some challenges, I would say like in early to mid-March until now, which is June 2nd is the time that I'm recording this. And I wrote this like last week, I just couldn't write the episode. So when I wrote it I was having my coffee and snuggling with my dog on the couch and I just felt a sense of clarity for the first time in a long time. This was about a week ago. And so if you've been listening to this podcast for a while back in episodes 24 and 25, I shared with you my 2022 urine review And how I realized that I had a lot of mind trash and money anxiety that was becoming clear to me is I wrote that episode early in February of this year and I thought like, okay, I've cleaned a lot of that mind trash up and I shared how hiring a team of actual like employees was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

Shannon Mattern: And how on the flip side, I started having unhelpful pressury thoughts about money and like this, I don't know how to explain it, this like pressure is the best way I can say it of like making sure I have enough money at all times to pay my team for always and forever, right? I also shared how my husband was laid off, which sent me into overdrive and overworking. And even though I have always wanted him to not have to abide by the rules of a nine to five and have the same freedom and flexibility and financial independence that I had, and I thought that that would come from him not having a job. He didn't love not having a job and apparently my psyche didn't love him not having a job . So I shared all of how all of those situations had reactivated my old money, anxiety, thoughts and behavior patterns that I covered up with overworking.

Shannon Mattern: And I didn't realize it for a long time. And I literally said in that podcast episode I said, but I know now it happened once I thought I solved it, it happened again. I'm in the midst of solving it and now I know it's a pattern I need to watch out for. And then I said, honestly, it will probably happen again. But the goal is to notice it sooner and course correct sooner. Well , here we are my friends, it happened again and the way that it showed up this time is really fascinating and I've learned some valuable lessons in that hindsight like that in hindsight I already knew but somehow I didn't think they applied to me. Like that is probably like one of the biggest lessons that if I could just like get it tattooed somewhere or like painted on my ball or I don't know, it's like whenever I think I already know, like I already know how to do that, I already know that or something that's like I already know, like it should just be a sign that I'm about to just slam into a brick wall .

Shannon Mattern: Anyway, so let me break all of this down for you. Just to give you a little context, one of the most important things we talk about in the Web Designer Academy is pricing mindset and pricing paradigms. And if you haven't signed up for our profitable pricing framework training, go do that right now over at https://webdesigneracademy.com/pricing because it breaks down these concepts. I'm going to share with you, you here like in depth. But in that training I talk about three pricing paradigms, the three pricing paradigms, expense mindset, hybrid mindset and investment mindset. And I talk about how you're like you're walking around with one of these mindsets and your clients are all also walking around with one of these three mindsets and how your thinking drives how you're communicating and acting and your, it drives your messaging and positioning and whatever version of those you're operating in, that's the type of clients that you're going to attract, right?

Shannon Mattern: So if you are walking around with an investment mindset, your messaging is investment minded, your actions reflect that of someone with an investment mindset, you are going to like call in the people who vibe with that and who think the same as you. And I'm not talking about like manifestation or anything like that. I'm literally talking about resonating with your words and I'm also talking about like when you think a certain way, your thoughts drive your feelings, create your actions. And when you think thoughts that create the actions that will put yourself in the right places at the right times and create conversations with the right people and then your words resonate with them. That's what I mean by attract. I don't mean I'm gonna sit in my office and think investment minded thoughts and magically clients will appear because I'm manifesting it. That's not what I mean.

Shannon Mattern: And side note, for those of you who are into manifestation, if you've, if I understand that like it's a deeper concept than how I just just described it, but I just wanna be really clear that like that's not what I mean. If you're walking around and you have an expense mindset and your thoughts, feelings and actions are driven by that, your actions reflect it and your words reflect it and you attract people who think, feel and act the same way. And if you're trying to raise your prices from an expense mindset, that's not gonna be a match, right? So that's the concept in a nutshell. So if you have an investment mindset, which in the simplest terms means that you think of money you spend in your business as an investment, meaning that you part with it today, but it comes back to you and it multiplies, you are more likely more willing to make business decisions based on the money that will come back to you in the future rather than what leaves your bank account today.

Shannon Mattern: You may have also heard people talk about this as an abundance mindset, which is the belief that there's like infinite amounts of money in the world, it can never run out. There's always more where that came from, but I'm literally talking about very practically cause this is, I'm an analytical person like this, like I believe and I trust that when I make this decision to part with this money today, it will enable and empower me to make more tomorrow and down the road like then I could if I did nothing and kept it. So when we're talking about running a profitable web design business and we as web designers wanna attract clients who think that way because it allows us to command higher prices, we attract clients who think I am going to part with this money for our website today, today and because I took that action, it will allow me to make so much more money in the future than if I didn't part with this money for the website today.

Shannon Mattern: That's an investment minded client and that's who we wanna work with, right? So we have to think about about it that way first ourselves and how we operate in our life to even be able to work with clients like that. If you have an expense mindset, which I had for almost all of my life and I slip back into it from time to time when things happen, as you will see in this podcast episode, you tend to think about money you spend as like gone forever. So you try to spend the least amount of money as possible, you probably have a hard time charging more for what you do because you also feel like other people should spend the least amount of money as possible because if they give you money they have less.

Shannon Mattern: So you may have also heard this called scarcity mindset where you believe that you can run out of money, that if you have more, it means someone else has less, that you're taking money from them, that they're getting nothing out of it except for like the time that it took you to do the thing for them. So you don't charge as much as you could and you're just working with people that also think the same way as you. Like I'm paying for this person's time, this money's gone forever because I want this thing that I need . Like so it's a shift, right? And so for most of my life, life I've operated from an expense mindset just cuz of how I grew up, like what my family's situation taught me about money, single mom, three kids, like she was a, was worked at a grocery store and then was like a like an administrative assistant.

Shannon Mattern: I can only imagine she was making less than $20,000 a year trying to raise three kids. And so we never had money, we never had enough money, there was never money like, and so I have had to do tons of intentional work to deconstruct that expense. Ma, my paradigm for myself, one, I had to realize that like oh there is, there's not only a different way I can think, there is a different truth out there in the world. So when you're on your way from expense mindset to investment mindset, the messy middle is called a hybrid mindset. And this is the middle ground where it's like you are not necessarily like all in like there's infinite amounts of money like that are available to you at all times. , right? But you're like, okay, making money is in my control. Making money isn't just something that happens to me.

Shannon Mattern: I trust myself that if I decide to part with this money today to let's say go to college or get this certification or enroll in this coaching program or pay this person to build a website for me, I will do everything in my power to make more money from the money that I spent or create a return on my investment. And it might feel stretchy and uncomfortable and it might not be, there might not be like a specific timeline for that money to come back to me, but I trust myself. I'm not gonna wait around for it to come back to me. I'm gonna do my part, I'm persistent, I don't give up after it doesn't work the first time. I won't stop until I do. I don't expect it to come back right away, but I'm gonna work as if it will. I trust and I believe that there's always more money on the way and that I am capable of bringing it to me through my actions, not through my thoughts, through my actions.

Shannon Mattern: So that's the hybrid mindset and depending on who you are and what's going on in your life, you can bounce around between all three. I so naively thought that when I was like, oh my god, I have arrived at an investment mindset, I will be here forever. No like that is not how that works. And you can also operate from one paradigm in your personal life and a completely different paradigm in your business life, right? So I can see differences in how I think about money in my personal life and my business life. So this is a fundamental concept that we teach inside the Web Designer Academy because it guides your marketing, your messaging, your positioning, how you make offers, right? And so we teach and I'll tell, you'll understand why I'm telling you all of this now when I share with you like my first six months of the year , okay?

Shannon Mattern: If you're like why is she talking about like what they teach in the W D A, it is so relevant to this conversation. So we teach our clients to use our irresistible package matrix strategy to have offers for investment minded clients, hybrid minded clients and expense minded clients that are profitable and sustainable for you as the web designer to offer so that no matter what your client chooses, because you never really know who you're talking to, right? You can't tell someone's pricing paradigm by how much actual money they have. And even if your messaging is investment minded, you just never know who you have on the other side of that zoom call, right? So we teach our students how to make empowering offers using that irresistible package matrix. Stay out of their client's wallets, stay out of their pricing paradigm, let them choose the option that aligns with their pricing paradigm.

Shannon Mattern: It's a win-win for both of you. So I tell you all of this to tell you, I led myself astray in my own business by applying this strategy incorrectly. And when I do these year review posts, I'm like, let me list out all the mistakes that I made and share them because it's just part of growing as a business owner. Like if there's no world in which you are gonna run your business and never make a mistake, I make tons of mistakes. This set of mistakes I'm about to tell you about has been a long and painful deviation from the path I guess I would say. And I wish I didn't have to learn by hindsight because it truly is the hard way to learn. But I don't beat myself up too much about it cuz I eventually learn and then I can help our students sidestep it.

Shannon Mattern: Not just the things to do, but like the thought patterns to watch out for the, I already know this, I know how to do this, I can do this on my own, I know what I'm doing. Like those things. So here's how I quote unquote messed up and I even hesitate to say that I messed up because my results absolutely proved this strategy to be true. So I guess a better way to say it was that I just had a huge blind spot getting in the way of me creating the results I wanted to create. That took me a long time to see because I had a lot of cognitive dissonance once the data started showing me something that I didn't want to see and then like it felt like it hurt my brain to even think about it. And then it took me a long time to like have it click.

Shannon Mattern: So here's what happened when I, so the Web Designer Academy started in 2016 and it was just an online course, it was a lifetime access online course. I ha did a coaching c, like a q and a call every single week and it was priced at $2,000. And what I realized was like they need more support I guess in like getting feedback on the things that they're creating in order to implement the strategies. We added some new strategies as we learned all of this stuff. So in December of 2020 we added milestone calls, we added the, the work reviews. So when we look at people's packages, pricing, messaging, all of things and find all like, oh there's some expense mindset going on there, like all of these little nuances and we actually like reviewed their stuff, gave them feedback, told them what to change, et cetera.

Shannon Mattern: So when we made that shift from the online course to the high touch group coaching program, the new program messaging, pricing, everything was positioned for hybrid minded web designers, for web designers who already had a hybrid mindset as a way of being or who had just started to deconstruct that expense mindset and realize, yes, I can trust myself to follow through and do what it takes and like if I enroll in this coaching program, I trust myself to be able to follow through and get what I came for and ask for help and implement. So they were already hybrid mindset and even just the like the act of making the decision to invest in themselves, put them on a path to transforming their belief and their own value. And part of the transformation that people had when they joined us, like in December of 2020 when we had all of that messaging and positioning was that they transitioned from a hybrid mindset to an investment mindset as they started implementing our strategies, as they started making more money than they ever thought possible.

Shannon Mattern: As they started getting their time back, as they started realizing the value of what they did for their clients, they developed the investment mindset as well. And they cultivated that along the way because they're thinking about money change the way they thought about their pricing and what their clients get when they pay them change. But back in 2020, I did not realize that our initial Web Designer Academy course was for expense minded people. Our Web Designer Academy coaching program was for hybrid minded people. And that part of the transformation of working with us was developing the investment mindset. And I didn't realize that because I hadn't even started teaching pricing paradigms as a separate concept outside of the irresistible package matrix. Yet at that time I was just teaching, here's the package matrix, here's the type of client each one of these packages is for, here's what they value, here's what to talk about it.

Shannon Mattern: And I didn't even realize that the Web Designer Academy pricing, positioning and messaging was for the hybrid minded client, right? The group coaching program. But that's how we marketed it in 2020 and in 2021, right? Like speaking to invest or hybrid minded clients. And in my marketing and in our trainings, I called these people the self-taught and savvy web designers, the eager employees and the fearless freelancers. So the self-taught and savvy people are the one who learned web design on their own and then started picking up clients along the way but found themselves undercharging and over-delivering because they felt like they couldn't charge that much cuz they have no formal training, which totally was me. The eager employee was the person who had like a design related day job, highly, highly skilled but wants to freelance and doesn't because they don't wanna have a boss anymore.

Shannon Mattern: But maybe they've never really had a client, they might have had a side gig here or there, but they've never had clients, they've never had to market themselves and they don't know how to run a business. And then the other avatar is like the fearless freelancer who's already in it, like they're doing the thing, but it is a hot mess. Like they're, maybe they're getting clients on a freelancer platform or built clientele randomly through word of mouth and referrals and their web design business is just like running them into the ground and they're overwhelmed, burnt out and not making the amount of money that they wanna make. So at our original pricing positioning and messaging to these three avatars back in 2020 and 2021, we were bringing in these people and we watched as they worked with us over 12 months to become the fourth avatar that we introduced later on and that's called the five Figure Hustler.

Shannon Mattern: And that person selling five figure web design projects having five figure months, they're on track for six figures a year. And so we saw our clients go from being self-taught and savvy, fearless freelancer, eager employee to a five figure hustler who had developed an investment mindset. And so in 2022 I'm like, okay, I'm looking at the results that all of our students are creating and what they're doing, but I'm, and I'm also looking at some of the, the parts of their web design business that they still haven't quite cleaned up yet, like the employee mindset and still overworking and stuff like that. Like they're charging well but they still have these areas of cleaning up and I'm like, oh there are five figure hustlers out there that have the same challenges. So we get to start marketing to them too. So , here's where I start to like make the mistake at the end of 2021 after two years of, or like maybe a year and a half, not even a full year, we have not only added so much content to the program that we hadn't ever had before, we completely revamped the curriculum with Erica and Nash, our coach and our curriculum designer to like help our students get results faster.

Shannon Mattern: We added all these new concepts and tools we brought on Erica onto the team as one of our coaches, our clients are creating incredible results. Here's my thought error. I'm like it's time to raise the price to reflect the additional support and training and just value that we provide. So that was like my decision. I'm like this is worth so much more than what we're charging for. Like I can raise the price and if I'm being really, really honest and transparent, which I like to do because I feel like people need to hear it, like it'll, it'll maybe help you identify some of the things that that you're doing. I also raised the price to protect myself. I did not fully understand at the time that that's what I was doing. But again, in hindsight these podcast episodes are always about hindsight. I should just call this podcast hindsight, but I had a handful of people that joined the program in the first, I would say 14 months cuz it was like December through December.

Shannon Mattern: So whatever, however that's probably 13 months. I had a handful of people that like joined the program and just ghosted stopped paying, decided that like they just didn't wanna be a web designer anymore and stopped paying or they struggled to implement during their time with us due to life circumstances or stopped paying or they were just having a hard time and instead of like asking for help or like persisting through, just decided to disappear. And I talked about that back in episodes 24 and 25 a little bit. But I took it like really personally, like if I were a better coach, if I'd done a better job of vetting applications, if our program were better or our curriculum was better, these people would not have wasted their time and money on my program. And maybe some of them think that like maybe that is their opinion, like if this were better and I were better then they would've done better.

Shannon Mattern: I don't know, I can't really control what other people think, but I had this like deep dark fear that I'm like, or just like thought or belief like oh my god, I just took their money and I gave them nothing in return. And so you can see that expense like mindset popping in there, like I felt like I had harmed them by allowing them to make their own autonomous adult decision to join our program and that I failed them when they again made their own decision to just break their contract and leave. So instead of solving that problem by changing how I think about adults who choose to make their own life decisions, when I know I'm showing up in full integrity and also like objectively asking myself like what do I need to learn from this? Like this situation obviously is a two-way street, what do I need to change as a result of this?

Shannon Mattern: Why am I really changing it? What problem am I fixing and is this the way to fix it? It was just another check on the side of like the pros list to raise the price to make the barrier to entry a little bit higher in a misguided attempt to protect myself from the negative feelings I'd feel with my thought errors around other people's life decisions and making them mean something about myself with also the misguided belief that like, oh, if they pay more they won't ghost . Like that's not true guys just f yi. So I increased the price by 50%. I think there's like this narrative in the online space like the more people pay, the more they'll value it and the more they'll show up. And honestly, I don't think you can make that like correlation. I really don't because I have seen people like pay me in full and like never even log in to the to our program.

Shannon Mattern: And I'm like, that can't be the reason why, right? I think people value what they value, they don't value what they don't value and money is just like one thing of the equation. And then there's also just life that happens also, right? Maybe they value it, they just can't do it right now. Like there's so many reasons. So we cannot make those blanket judgements. But anyway, so at the end of 2021, I decided to increase the price of the program by 50%. What I didn't realize, cuz I just didn't, I don't know, I just was not, I think I kept thinking I'm selling a course like I'm selling a group coaching program, my web designers are selling services, we're using two different strategies here. And I was just like in my own little like selling a coaching program bubble and I did not realize that my new pricing and positioning tipped the scales toward investment minded clients.

Shannon Mattern: So my messaging was still speaking to the investment minded client, but my pricing tipped the scales toward an investment. My new client and I would not have thought of it that way at the time, but upon reflection and reviewing all of the data, all of our sales data, all of our sales data at different price points, that's exactly what happened. We still had all four avatars applying to work with us, right? We had the people who fit our hybrid minded paradigm, but the people who were actually saying. And so we had the three that the self-taught and savvy, the eager employee, the fear, loose freelancer, hybrid minded paradigm, they were applying and we also had five figure hustlers applying to work with us. And I would also get messages from people that are like, your program looks amazing. Part of it I don't need, I have already already have all that figured out, but these are my real challenges.

Shannon Mattern: Is that something you can help me with? And I'm like, oh yeah, that's what we do in our year two next level program. But you have to come through year one in order to be in year two. I'll make a special exception for you if you'd like to move forward. It just come directly into next level, right? So what was happening when I shifted the price, I got way more fearless freelancers and five figure hustlers than I was getting like self-taught and savvy, eager employees actually making the decision to work with us. They were all applying, but when I'd make the offer they would say, I really wanna work with you but I just can't swing that right now. I just need to go get more clients and then I'll be back. And I'm like, no wait, that's gonna just prolong your agony. Just like make the leap to work with us now and we'll help you prevent all the pain you're about to encounter.

Shannon Mattern: And then they'd come back like six months later and they'd apply again and then they'd say no again. And then they'd come back and they'd be like, Ugh, I wish I would've just joined when the price was what it was back in 2020. And I'm just like, why are these people, this is my mistake, my thought error again, why are they not just going for it? I know that if they just go for it that they will make all of their money back and then some like I just know it, but they were still operating in hybrid mindset. But my pricing was for investment minded clients, okay? So the people who were easy yeses were the ones who were already working with lots of clients and really needed to like just get their boundaries in check and even just let go of some clients. The people that were enrolling were already making multiple five figures in their business, even multiple six figures and they were ready to like clean up processes and hire team.

Shannon Mattern: And I'm like, that's what we do in year two. Like after we take you from undercharging over-delivering, you get all that cleaned up, you get your life back, then you're ready to grow. But okay, like I'll let you into year two . So all of this is happening and I am like, I don't realize it. Like I can tell you this in hindsight, this is what's happening. But my mind at the time was this program is so valuable. I see our people coming in who came in in 2020 and 2021, like I don't know, making 20 times more than they paid us. So it is just a no-brainer for me to raise the price because then the people that come in will still make, they'll still make their investment back, they'll still make more money, I'll have more money to invest in like team and tools and more training and all of these different things.

Shannon Mattern: And like in my mind I was just like, duh, it's a no-brainer but I did not realize that this is what was going to happen. And you might be like, well Shannon, like what's wrong with attracting investment minded clients and people on this, on the investment side of the hybrid mindset, if this is a scale and I'm like, well for you as a freelance web designer, absolutely nothing. That's who we want you to attract. We want you to have less clients at a higher price to free up your time and your capacity, right? But my business model, my vision and mission is completely different. I want the most students I can possibly have in a way that is sustainable for us and in a way that is like valuable for them. And when I say valuable for them, I mean like there is a cap because we don't want anyone to ever like get lost in a sea of students like they do in an online course.

Shannon Mattern: That's like a self-study with like no support, right? My business model's completely different. Our program thrives because of our students. The more students we have, the more revenue we create obviously. And the more we can invest in our program and what that benefits our students obviously. But more importantly than that, it's multiple students in that group setting on that live strategy call, asking questions that break open the brains and minds of the other students who didn't even have a question that day but heard me coach someone else on something that changed their whole entire life in business who support each other and help each other out. That is the secret sauce of our program. So what I didn't realize when I changed my pricing and my like, it didn't really change my, I changed my messaging a little bit. I did, when I changed my pricing and my messaging, I started leaving behind the people that I started my business to serve in the first place.

Shannon Mattern: The people who were going to have a pricing paradigm transformation as a result of working with us, not who were coming through the door already with an investment mindset. I shifted from targeting hybrid minded clients and taking them on the transformation to becoming investment minded in their first year with us. And I skipped straight to the investment minded clients and like left most of those hybrid minded people behind. And if you're like, but Shannon, I'm an expense minded person. Like what do you have for me for me? Uh, we have so much free content for you to really help you make that shift on your own. This podcast is for you if you're there. We love our expense minded clients. We wanna chip away at your money mindset because we know that once you chip away at your expense mindset, you'll work with clients who will value you more and pay you more and all of that.

Shannon Mattern: So we have all of this, this for you, but our program is really for hybrid minded clients who are like, okay, this is something that like, it feels like a stretch and I'm here for it. Like I'm getting what I came for and I believe that I'm capable of like I'm just parting with this money for a little bit. I'm coming back for it. And then so right. So I mistakenly thought that because I believed in the value of the price increase and I knew that it was absolutely worth it that everyone would just come along because they wanted the outcome. That was my huge, huge blind spot. Not thinking about the pricing paradigm of my best clients when making decisions on my pricing and positioning. I was just thinking about the value of our program, the results I'd seen people create when they came to work with us.

Shannon Mattern: I was seeing the five figure hustlers wanting to come in and work with us in the year two program next level and thinking that I would just be able to make the same amount of money to continue paying the team, building up reserves and whatever. And like it's such flawed thinking. And even as I was writing my episode, this episode, I just was like, what was I thinking? Like this is, I wasn't thinking, I was just like acting right? I just made the decisions. My reasons sounded good to me. I can always find ways to justify my flawed logic in my own mind because I was subconsciously protecting myself with my pricing. So the problem for me became, we were getting lots of great applications but less people enrolling in our program. We were getting less yeses and I would just be like, this application is perfect.

Shannon Mattern: This person needs our program. And they were saying no. And I'm like, well that's too bad. I, I'm bummed for them but I gotta keep moving forward, right? And so I was still operating from this blind spot even at the end of 2022 cuz I'm like, okay, I crack myself up sometimes. I'm like okay, in order to make up for this lost revenue for the less people enrolling, it's time to raise our price. Again, I know our program's worth it. There's no question out there. We have incredible testimonials. I know people that like join us will make 10 times their investment back. This is a no-brainer in my mind. And I was like all in, but now my pricing and positioning was full on pointed at investment minded clients. I might as well be like no hybrid minded clients need apply. And I didn't realize that at the time that like was, I only see that in hindsight now and I really just thought that like, uh, like I had so many case studies, so many testimonials, so many stories, I just thought that everyone would see the value the way I saw it because I could show result after result after result.

Shannon Mattern: So at the end of 2022 I announced this another price increase. So if you're counting at the end of 2021, so we launched in December of 2020. So basically at 2021, at the end of 2021, we increased the price end of 2022, we increased the price. So we've done it twice. Not only that, if that wasn't enough, I changed our enrollment process from Evergreen enroll anytime to a wait list launch model. And again, in my mind it made perfect sense to do this. I changed the application process from a more casual like, Hey, fill out this application if I think I can help you. I'll send you more information about our programs and invite you to work with us and answer all your questions before you make your decision to hey, here's everything you need to know. You're either in or out. Fill out this application.

Shannon Mattern: If you're accepted, then go ahead and enroll. And we're excited to work with you. And I also, I'm just laugh. I'm like, I wrote this podcast episode and I'm like reading the script as I'm recording this episode and I'm just like a laughing at myself like in the only way that I can can because I'm just like, what were you thinking? And I don't know, again, this podcast should be called hindsight actually. I do know, I do know what I was thinking and a lot of times because I don't slow down enough to actually like think before I do stuff sometimes, like when I'm feeling anxiety and and whatnot, um, I just do it. And so I took away our 12 month payment plan with the thought of like, oh, okay. Like I want people to just like go all in and be like fully committed and if they have to pay up front, they're gonna be all in and fully committed.

Shannon Mattern: And again, it was to like protect myself from people coming in and like ghosting or leaving. I mean, and it does cost us money when people commit to pay and then they leave and they don't pay. We lose money on that. We, our business structure isn't set up. That's a tax writeoff for us. Like it's literally just like money that I was planning to use to like pay the team or whatever that we don't have anymore. And that's just a cost of doing business. But like I felt like solving like the solution that problem was to make our students pay upfront. So not only did I raise the price, I was like, and you have to pay it all up front, just laughing at myself right now. I would never tell our Web Designer Academy students to make their clients painful for a web design project.

Shannon Mattern: Like, I don't know what I was thinking. Can you just forgive me for going astray in my business for like, like a few months and learning all of the lessons and then coming on this podcast to declare to you all of the mistakes that I made and the thought errors and mind trash driving it. Hopefully it helps you. If it makes you think like I'm super flaky and that you'd never wanna work with me, that's cool too. But I can, I can promise you that that's not the case. Anyway. So I totally miss the fact that the transformation from hybrid mindset to investment mindset is part of what happens when you come to work with us. You typically don't bring it into our program with you. And I went against the fundamentals of the concepts that I teach to our Web Designer Academy students about allowing their clients to make an empowered choice from a set of options rather than just giving people yes or no choice.

Shannon Mattern: And I gave them like a yes or no choice. It was like you're either in it or you're out or you're paying in full and that's it. Like who like invaded my, I feel like, I don't know. Anyway, I'm like, who am I? Who was that girl? So anyway, the majority of the audience that I have cultivated on this podcast and on my email list are either hybrid mindset, working on their investment mindset or expense mindset, actively working on their hybrid mindset. And we have a handful of investment minded clients in our audience, but that's not who I've been speaking to since 2016 as I've been building this audience for the Web Designer Academy. So I made a lot of changes at once that in hindsight created exactly what they should have created. I just thought I had way more investment minded clients in our audience than we do.

Shannon Mattern: And my blind spot was that I just like didn't realize that our program creates the transformation from hybrid to investment so that I would be excluding more and more and more hybrid minded declines with every single price increase. I'm just like, oh, I know it's worth it. I know I can sell it at this price and my goal is this number of spots at this price. My business coach would call this line of thinking success expectancy by the way. Like, oh I believe it. So of course it's gonna happen. And if you're just like Shannon, but don't you tell us to raise our prices and to charge more and all of these things. And I'm like, absolutely, but not the way I did it. Like the strategies that I teach, it cracks me up. I'm like, the strategies I teach you guys inside the Web Designer Academy would actually have prevented all of this from happening.

Shannon Mattern: If I just used my own dang irresistible package matrix, none of this would've ever happened. But again, I'm like, well I'm selling like a group coaching program, not a service. So anyway, whatever. So my plan for 2023 was to do exactly what I did in 2021 to market sell the Web Designer Academy kickoff with a promotion for it off the back end of the Simply Profitable Designer Summit. I did that in 2021 as a speaker in 2022 as a sponsor. And in 2023 as the host, I was like, I'm gonna enroll 20 pay in full students at my new price will be fully funded for the year for payroll and expenses, close the doors, get 'em onboarded and boom, boom, everything else for the rest of the years gravy. And I'm like, I've done this before. I can do it again. And armed with all the belief in the world, all of our awesome client results and testimonials, I launched my price increase to about 300 web designers who are on our wait list and who signed up to attend the masterclass that I hosted off the back end of the Simply Profitable Designer Summit.

Shannon Mattern: And oh my gosh, let's talk about how I got two applications and one enrollment at my new prices . And I love her. She's amazing. She was the perfect client. Like when I looked at her application, I'm like, oh my gosh, it's working. I called in exactly who my marketing and messaging was designed to call in and I think she submitted her application on the first day. And I was like, so sweet. This is working 20 more of these are on the way. Like that's amazing. And the rest of the week was crickets. My friends crickets. And like I said, I love, like I called her in, she was like my perfect client. I spoke directly to her. I just thought there was gonna be like 20 more of her in my audience and there weren't. And to be fully transparent again, cause I really just don't know any other way to be, it rocked my psyche.

Shannon Mattern: It didn't just trigger me. I experienced what Dr. Lee Cordell of the Institute for Trauma and Psychological Safety calls a rupture in my psychological safety by the way. She teaches a course called the Trauma-Informed Entrepreneur, the Trauma-Informed Coach. She's amazing. And I was just like, this feels like more than just a trigger. This feels like everything is falling apart. My expense minded paradigm came roaring back full force. So if you've taken that profitable pricing training, you know I talk about paradigm, the analogy I use like that game Jenga, it's a tower of blocks and like you pull blocks out and like you're supposed to try to pull as many out and stack 'em again on top without the whole thing crumbling down. So I talk about paradigms is like this Jenga tower of blocks and they're super, super sturdy. And to deconstruct it, it's like you gotta pull out those blocks to make the tower weaker and you stack 'em up to make a sturdier tower.

Shannon Mattern: Well, like when the enrollment deadline closed and we had only gotten one application, we've gotten two applications. One was like not even qualified at all. I don't even think they were running a web design business. So we got one application and one enrollment hundred percent conversion like my investment minded Jenga tower just toppled. Truly when that happened, my anxiety kicked in full force. And it's like I picked up all those blocks and I built a fear-based expense minded paradigm and I was just like, I just like went snapped right back there. And I'm telling you this because I don't think we hear enough people talking publicly about when they have big fails, when things aren't going well in their business when we think that something has gone wrong or that we're doing something wrong and that everything's falling apart. And so that is how I felt after that.

Shannon Mattern: I was just like, what the heck? Like this isn't working. What did I do? What did I do wrong? So I just felt really compelled to share the story on the podcast cuz I'm like, there's someone out there that needs to hear this, that even if things have been going well for a really long time, they just don't stay that way forever. And I could absolutely blame the economy and I could say yes, of course, that's why. And that would like the economy is weird right now. And that would be a really easy answer and it probably is a factor for sure. But like if I looked at my thinking and the decisions I made and the reasons that I made those decisions and picked up the economy and set it aside, I can absolutely see how my thinking and my actions and my choices created the outcome of shifting my whole business model to focusing only on investment minded clients, not having as many in my audience as I thought that I did and therefore not having as many sales, right?

Shannon Mattern: So economy aside, maybe that would affect the numbers, but still that didn't mean I had a whole audience full of investment minded clients ready to pay me in full. And this person opted for a four month, uh, four month payment plan. Even so at the time my brain was just like so full of fear. Like after that happened I was just like ruminating on worst case scenario. Like, oh crap, that didn't work the way I expected to. I have a team and expenses and payroll to pay and the sky is falling and I'm gonna lose everything. And my, and if you listen to last week's podcast, you're like, oh my gosh, like you felt that way when the Stripe thing happened too. But my body was truly so flooded with anxiety that I just didn't even have the mental clarity to see what that like what I actually did worked, which is that I called in my investment minded clients, but I called in the people who were ready to join our year two next level program. Like after they'd worked with us for year one and yes they had some gaps to fill in our year one curriculum, but mostly they're ready to like be in the room with the people who came into our program in 2020 and 2021 with a hybrid mindset and grew their business into the success that it is today. So I couldn't see the forest for the trees at that time. I was like just mentally like rocked.

Shannon Mattern: And then something else happened that like put the cherry on top and that's my Stripe account got hacked. So I did this whole episode last week, episode 43, you can go back and listen to that. And I also talked about it in detail in episode 41 and my conversation with Josh Hall, long story short, my Stripe account got hacked. A hacker charged $70,000 in fraudulent charges and Stripe started taking money out of my bank account that they never paid me to repay the people whose credit card numbers were stolen and run through by Stripe account money that they never paid me in the first place. And after many attempts to get support with them, they're like, no, sorry. You're liable for happening for anything that happens on your account. You owe $70,000. And they started clawing the money back outta my bank account. And you can go listen to that episode for the full details of all of that.

Shannon Mattern: I will say if you use Stripe for your payments processor, go check that connect tab. You have to log into your Stripe dashboard. Don't do it in the app. You can't see this stuff there. Make sure that there are no accounts there that you don't expect to see. This was a fake company called netflix.com that was set up by the name Albert Dawkins charging these people and all apparent and Stripe said that this can all happen if someone gets ahold of your a p I key and you'll never know it until your account gets shut down and Stripe starts taking money from you. And they will, their policy is that you're responsible for all of the, all of the fraud. So at this point, I have not heard back from Stripe after sending them a cease and desist letter telling them to stop trying to take this money from me, give back the money that they held from me to pay back these people.

Shannon Mattern: And anyway, so that happened. And like if I didn't already think I was gonna lose everything after my promotion at my new prices didn't create the results I expected due to my own success expectancy, the stripe situation set me back even further. Like the point where I was so wracked with anxiety and worry that I would just like break down into tears. Like that was the only way that I could like let the anxiety out and if, if you know me, I'm not, I don't cry , but I just couldn't hold in the feelings. It was like the universe was saying like, hello Shannon, I'm trying to tell you something if you're not gonna pay attention, I'm gonna make you pay attention. If you wanna have the business you say you wanna have, you have to grow your capacity for failure and unexpected results. And you can't make all of your decisions based on your own thoughts and emotions without data and outside perspectives.

Shannon Mattern: And you have to develop the resiliency to maintain your investment mindset no matter what is happening in your business. I'm trying to tell you this, but you're just not getting it. like I feel like this was the univer like, it's like, hey, if you're not gonna pay attention, I'm gonna make you pay attention. So listen, I'm telling you all of this not to feel sorry for me or anything. I am telling you this to say I responded in this way because I hadn't created the capacity or resilience for failure. And when I say failure, all I mean is unmet expectations or unrealized results. There have been many, many times in the past couple months since all of this has happened that my anxiety brain wants to tell me that I've screwed this all up, that it's beyond repair, that I've made too many mistakes that my business won't recover.

Shannon Mattern: And at the same time I'm coaching our students through things that are going on in their business. It's like there's two different people living inside of me. If one of my students came to me and said, any of this, I would h be able to like help them like get out of that line of thinking. We call it doing a mind trash makeover and move forward to get results. But like I just couldn't do it for myself. Like I had so much like I just, I was stuck in that place of mind trash. But there was also this version of me like living inside my brain. So there's like this part of me that's like, you've ruined everything. You'll never recover. There's the other part of me that's like, but I'm still showing up for my students because I'm here for them and they're amazing.

Shannon Mattern: And then there's this like middle version inside of me that's like, Hey Shannon, it's okay. You're supposed to be going through this right now. You need to experience this, grow your capacity for resilience so that you can help other people through their tough times of business because they will have tough times. You cannot avoid it no matter how hard you try. You can't prevent other people's tough times either. You're not that like you don't have that much control over the whole world that if someone comes into your program that they will never have a tough time. You cannot prevent that for them. You can just be there to guide them through it. So there's that calm, rational person in there, but like my anxiety version of me just like made her sit over in the corner so it could have its temper tantrum, right? So I had a vacation scheduled that ended up being canceled cuz my husband started a new job that week, which oh my gosh, thank God.

Shannon Mattern: Like I think he was starting his new job, like the whole stripe thing happened on a Monday and he was starting his new job on a Friday. And I was like, oh my God, thank God you have a new job because like my business is just gonna completely fail and thank God there'll be like one paycheck coming into this house and like all of that. And so we had a road trip scheduled to visit family down in Florida and we couldn't go because he was starting this new job. And I was like, I'm just gonna keep my schedule clear. I'm gonna take the week to just try to get, to get myself together mentally and physically. The the, the unmet launch results happened, I don't even wanna say failed because it succeeded. Like it succeeded in calling in exactly who it was supposed to, just not the number, the stripe thing happened.

Shannon Mattern: So I just rested, I read books on a failure and money mindset. I listened to Dr. Lee's course on trauma and psychological safety and business. I got coaching from my mentor, talked to my team, talked to my therapist, and just started little by little, started putting a plan together to move forward. And if you think that I had realized at that moment that I had overshot my best clients, nope, I didn't have that realization yet. like still hadn't realized it. I think like an inkling was trying to start, like was coming together and listen, like I'm, I'm sitting here like thinking about how I'm telling this story and I'm like, this all happened in March and April. It's not like I let this go on for years before I figured it out. So I need to have some compassion with myself that like, I hadn't realized it yet, but like we can't always control the timeline of that stuff.

Shannon Mattern: I wish I could, I wish I could be like, oh yeah, I know exactly what went wrong with my brain and then I can fix it and whatever. I think an inkling was starting to come together, but honestly it's, I'm still having so much anxiety, which is driving me to like fix things quickly. Like the expense minded, I'm gonna lose everything. The launch didn't create the results I wanted. My Stripe account was hacked. I have to fix this quickly. Like I just wasn't ready to see the full picture. And honestly, again, in hindsight, I don't think I would've done this any differently. I still think it makes a logical sense. I just would've looked at it differently. Not in a, like how I was feeling at the time was like this must work because the future of my business is at stake versus I'm gonna test this out one more time and gather data and then make a decision.

Shannon Mattern: Because like I had done the launch to just the people on the wait list and it had signed up for my workshop, but I have a an email list way like bigger than that, right? So I was telling myself I'm gonna just make the second pancake, right? We talk about in the Web Designer Academy, your first attempt at something, it's the first pancake. Our client success coordinator Eric Nash, made up that analogy like the first pancakes never good. It's always weird or burnt or bubbly or raw. But the next pancake turns out a little better and then the next one a little better. So I'm telling myself like, I'm just gonna make the second pancake and see what happens. And that was like, you know, the calm, logical version of me sitting in the corner. But like my true honest thought and feeling was like, this has to work .

Shannon Mattern: Like that's how I was feeling. So this time we had like rolled back a few of the changes that we made back. Not all of them but a few of them. I kept the price the same premium pricing, but I added a monthly payment plan back in and I was like, oh for sure it's the payment plan. I shouldn't have taken away the payment plan. Hybrid mindset needs the payment plan. I still wasn't willing to see what the data was trying to show me. So I invited my list to a webinar that up until that year I'd only sent to people whose applications were accepted because it detailed like the strategies that we teach in the program. But this time I was like, you know what, listen, I'm gonna invite my whole entire list of this webinar whether they applied or not. I'm gonna send the replay to my whole list whether they registered or not. And then I'm gonna tell the whole list about the Web Designer Academy, the results they can create working with us, the investment to work with us, tell them about the payment plan cuz that's for sure gonna be the thing that gets them to say yes, invite them to apply. Then if they're accepted, we'll talk and I'll review their application. I'll tell them like how I envision helping them to reach their goals. And then they'll have some time to make the decision and then they'll have the payment plan. Like it's the payment plan.

Shannon Mattern: So instead of promoting the W D A to 300 people, like for my first pancake, I was promoting it to about 10,000 and a few thousand of those people actually opened emails. About 500 of them actually watched the webinar and checked out the application. A handful of them filled out the application and again, one amazing five figure hustler joined and she didn't even want the payment plan. She wanted painful and get that bonus call. And I was like, the thing was, it's like yes, it worked exactly like how it was designed to work, but I'm getting all these other applications from fearless freelancers and self-taught savvy and eager employees and I'm like, oh my gosh, you are who this program is for. I see exactly how we can help you. Here's my vision. I see exactly how to solve these problems you're having. I can't wait to work with you.

Shannon Mattern: And they're like, I really, really want to. I cannot make that work with where my business is right now. Even with your payment plan. I'm like attracting the people who are like making multiple six figures and they're like, oh, you're paying full price is like fine. Like let me in, please help me. But that's like a small fraction of the applications that I'm getting. So I'm six months into the year of 2023. I have proven that I can sell the Web Designer Academy at my highest price ever to my most investment minded clients, which is fantastic. But I'm two launches in to the year that did not meet my financial expectations. I had a bunch of unexpected legal fees and a whole situation that like cost my business significant amount of money. And I'm getting all these fantastic applicants who I'm like, you remind me of Lee who joined us and now she's hired team.

Shannon Mattern: You remind me of Rachel, you remind me of Angela, you remind me of Caitlin. And they're like, they are that person who I've seen like create incredible results. And they're telling me no. Like they can't work with us , I hope you listener by now are like, duh Shannon like you, you price them out, you price them out. And when are you gonna realize it? I realized that 20 minutes ago in this podcast episode. So that's when my brain let that light bulb come on just a little bit brighter. Like my most successful clients were hybrid minded when they joined and they became investment minded on their journey. My new pricing and positioning is attracting investment minded clients who are coming in to where our best clients are after working with us and they're coming up to plug in a few holes in their business and then plop right into our year two next level mastermind and scale from there with hiring and team and systems and whatever.

Shannon Mattern: And I'm like, oh, I think I might see what's happening here. And I think I was able to see it because if you listened to episode 43 when I talked about the stripes situation and one of the things that came out of it was like I just surrendered and let people help me and through that situation. And so I found an attorney who's amazing, who was just like, listen, I got you. You don't have to think about this anymore. I'm gonna handle everything. And so some of like a lot of my anxiety was like able to calm down and then that breaking, like just the surrender of that situation allowed me to surrender in other ways and talk not just to my business coaches about like, hey, like I didn't meet my results, but like other colleagues other just even talking to like Josh Hall and saying like, yeah, like how'd your launch go?

Shannon Mattern: Not well like talking to, we work with like a YouTube ads company to test out messaging and things like that. And I was talking, we meet every Monday and I was talking to them and I was like, yeah, I'm really struggling with sales. And they suggested some things to me talking to my mastermind and just like talking to so many people and just like surrendering to the fact that like maybe I don't know how to solve this and I need to seek counsel and I need outside opinions and people to help me figure it out. And so there were many things like suggested to me and opinions and advice and questions, really beautiful questions that were asked that like helped the cognitive dissonance in my mind start to dissipate and, and help me get some clarity. So that's like I didn't just have this realization on my own at all by any stretch.

Shannon Mattern: I had this realization because I surrendered to the idea that like, I don't know, I don't know what to do now everything I've tried has not created the result I want. There's something I'm doing that's something I'm thinking or doing or believing that's in my way. I don't have the capacity to figure it out or the presence of mind or the, I don't know, the awareness or the foresight to know what this is. I'm going to have to let other people help me and I'm gonna tell as many people as I can possibly tell what is going on and see what comes out of that. And so that's what I did and that's when I had the realization of like, okay, I think I see what is happening here. And that's when I had the realization that like, oh I had a thought error that my best client was investment minded.

Shannon Mattern: My best client is a hybrid minded client. And so I found myself at a crossroads. Like I have proven that I can sell the Web Designer Academy to the investment minded client that I've done it twice, right? So do I continue trying to, and it's because like one of the lessons that like I think I like I teach this to our students but I didn't realize it to myself. Your messaging is not going to make an expense minded client turn into an investment minded client. So if we go back to what I was saying at the beginning of this podcast, your messaging resonates with who you're talking to if they're already a match. What I was not realizing is that most of my listeners probably weren't a match for the messaging, but I had this misguided thought or belief that like they would come along, that they would have the transformation and then do it.

Shannon Mattern: And that could be possible, but it might take like a couple years of listening to this podcast and doing their own inner money work and integrating all of that to then be like, okay, like I'm there, I'm ready, let's go. But it's not gonna happen in one launch, right? I mean it could but like it's just not. And so I was at a crossroads and I'm like, do I continue to build the audience who's just all in at this new price painful, no questions asked cuz that's a possibility. I can do that. I can continue to, I create messaging and webinars and programs and and all of those things to speak to those people and go on those podcasts and I can like build this new audience. But is that who I even started the Web Designer Academy for in the first place? Is that who our be best client is?

Shannon Mattern: It's who our next level client is, which is that that second year mastermind after you've gone through the first year with us, that's who you become. But our best clients are the fearless freelancer, the self-taught and savvy, the eager employee and they were enrolling like crazy back in 20 20, 20 21. That's who the Web Designer Academy was made for. And it was made to help them transform into the investment minded client. That next level client, and I love next level, don't get me wrong, but next level came out of people going through year one of the Web Designer Academy and be like, cool, I've blown my own mind. I love this. I'm not ready to leave. I want to get to the next level in my business. And that's why I'm like, okay well like I'm a few steps ahead of where you wanna go in my business, why don't we like put this together?

Shannon Mattern: I've hired a team at this point, I've done these things. I've like made big bold moves and taken big risks. I can help you do that and that's what we do in next level. But the core Web Designer Academy curriculum was made for self-taught savvy web designers who have had a handful of clients but tons of imposter syndrome, keeping them undercharging and overdelivering and why I say clients probably not paying clients probably like people they've worked for for free, maybe some paying clients but like probably pretty low paying. It was made for like the eager employee who maybe has had a few side gigs. They know they can build a website in their sleep, but they need to learn the business side of running a business and how not to do it with an employee mindset. And they're just like, I don't, I don't even know how to start marketing myself, get clients like I need someone to help me with that.

Shannon Mattern: And I haven't had AC actually managed the projects right? Or deal with the people. So, and it's also for the fearless freelancers who have clients, but their business is just running them into the ground and they're working too much and not making the amount of money that they wanna make. And then I'm like, I think I might have a new theory as to why the people who used to just be a straight up yes are enrolling. So I did a survey after the last launch and uh, like every overwhelmingly there responses were like, yes, I love this. I know this is exactly what I need, but even with the payment plan I just can't make it work. And I'm like, okay, it's not like they're not interested And then it's like, oh could it be the economy? Like again, probably a factor but I know it's not the only factor. So at this point, and I'm gonna be like totally honest again at this point when I'm starting to have this realization of like I overshot my best clients with my pricing and my positioning and my messaging, our program is really for exactly how we were marketing and pricing it and positioning it back in 2020.

Shannon Mattern: I start to have the realization but I didn't really trust myself to make the right decisions for my own business at that point. Like I'm gonna be totally honest, I was still feeling tons of anxiety, which I know clouds my judgment. It makes me wanna make like snap decisions that create relief in the moment. It makes it so that I don't actually look at data, I just have like a hunch and then I make a decision based on the hunch and then I ultimately like don't solve the problem I'm really trying to solve. Or sometimes I make it worse. I, I was just like, I think I'm onto something but I just don't trust myself to make this decision. This is not a problem I can solve on my own. There's something going on here that I cannot see and I know all this fear in mind, trash and anxiety is clouding my judgment and listen like it's like I'm so glad we have this curriculum and like a method for coaching our own clients and it is so much like I can see their blind spots from a mile away and I hilariously give them the advice that I know I should be taking for myself sometimes, but I just can't quite see it yet.

Shannon Mattern: Like I still have cognitive dissonance and I have so much compassion for them when they're going through something hard or when I can see like you can see on someone's face when they are experiencing cognitive dissident and I have so much compassion for them when they're going through that and where they're having like the old idea must break down for the new idea to be able to form and for me to take action on it. And I have compassion when they're going through that. And I don't always have that compassion for myself. I can be like, I can beat myself up and like even when I laugh at myself on this podcast, I'm like, oh you're so dumb. You should have figured that out. Like you are smart, you shouldn't have known better, you shouldn't have made all these mistakes. That's something that I get to work on of like having compassion for myself when I'm going through something really normal, which is like having, trying something, having it not work, trying to figure it out and not make it mean that I'm a failure or that I'm gonna lose everything, right?

Shannon Mattern: But because I can't see my own stuff sometimes that's why I have like my own coaches and friends and mentors and team and I use all of them as a sounding board when I remember to, or I'll use all of them as a sounding board, but I don't always take their advice cuz I'm like hardheaded and then I have to go make them mistake and then I have to come back and then they'll be like, I've been trying to tell you that for like months and I'm, and then I say like, why are you still my friend? Like I've gotta be like the most annoying person to be friends with when you're like she asks for advice and then she doesn't take it and then she comes back and says that she figured it out. But like really I was the one that told her what to do , right?

Shannon Mattern: So sometimes I think I have to be the one to have it all figured out, but situations like this remind me like no you don't. You don't have to have it all figured out. You have a support system, surrender, use it. You surround yourself with smart people, you're allowed to fail, you're allowed to screw up. You're allowed to be a mess about it too. And you're not burdening other people by asking for help. And Ally, our client success or not, she's our operations and marketing coordinator, she lovingly always tries to point out to me when I'm hanging out and expense mindset land, I don't always hear her right away, but it eventually sinks in. Erica always tries to point out when I'm making decisions based on emotion to create relief instead of data driven decisions to create results. And so like they constantly point the same things out to me.

Shannon Mattern: And so I'm starting to have this inkling of a theory, pose it to Ally and Erica and then I talk to my mindset coach and my business coaching program about it and she's like, you get to sell yourself on both of these ideas and then make a decision because whatever you choose will work. If you see it all the way through, your only variable is time. You don't get to control the timeline. And I'm like, yeah, you're right. And then I hear Erica's voice asking me for like data to support my theory. Shocking. So I pulled together all of our sales numbers for the past three and a half years, the number of enrollments revenue at each price point, what the price was, how many people ghosted us at each price point, what the default rate was at each price point, how many applications we got at each price point.

Shannon Mattern: And I pulled all of that together and I started looking at and I'm like, yeah, this data is supporting my theory. And then I just so happen to have been invited to a mastermind by Josh Hall, fellow web design business coach that also lives here in Columbus, Ohio. And who I think of as my brother from another mother, one of the people who has been so supportive of my business helped me find the attorney for the Stripe stuff. And so I had rescheduled this mastermind, he, I was like, yeah, yeah, I'll come to your mastermind. And then I'd rescheduled it once before and then I was like, okay, this time I'm going and I feel like I'm a hot mess. I feel like my business is a hot mess and I'm just gonna go into this room full of strangers and just lay it all out there and just get their perspective because I felt like I really needed an outside perspective on the numbers because I know I can look at numbers and like massage them to justify whatever narrative will create relief and certainty in my brain.

Shannon Mattern: And that is not what I needed to do right now. So I took this data to this mastermind. It was me, Josh Hall and Jason Gracia, which I will have on the podcast very soon because not only is he a brilliant business owner and brilliant web designer, he is just like the most generous human in the world. And he had reached out to me a couple of times to connect and invite me to this thing. And I'm like, okay, so I'm finally here and we kick off and they say to me, okay, so do you wanna go first? And I'm like, not really cause I'm kind of embarrassed, but okay, here's what happened with my last two promotions. Here's all the data from those. Like I increased the price. Here's what happened. Here's all the data from the last three years. Here's how many applications we got when it was this price.

Shannon Mattern: Here's how many we sold, here's the total revenue, here's what I'm trying to create. Here's my theory of what's going on. If you guys were running my business, what would you do ? I'm just like, please help me, please help me. And they saw the exact same thing I saw and I cannot even tell you that was the moment that like I just not only felt relieved like I had been walking around for almost three months with just a ball of anxiety in my chest, it melted away. Not only did I feel relieved, I felt excited, I felt like I was getting back to like my roots, my vision, my mission. And I was like, okay, I'm starting to trust myself again. Like I needed external validation. I straight up did. I'm always about like trusting myself, but I just, I needed it. And so I took that conversation to my team, we talked about it, I took it to my business coach, she led me through a process for like evaluating my theory on uh, like sure the numbers support it, but is this coming from a mind trashy place or a really empowered place?

Shannon Mattern: You get to make whatever decision you want as long as it comes from like clean, empowered thinking, not fear-based, anxious thinking. And so we like my team and I, especially me and like the other two people living in my head, , we're all in agreement about testing out our new theory. And I have to still be really, really careful about saying testing, testing, testing. I have to be just so careful about thinking like, oh, I know what the result's gonna be. I literally cannot see the future. I also can't go back in time and get my time machine and think that like 2023 is gonna be the same as 2020. I don't know. We're testing it And what we're testing and if you have been wanting to work with us inside of the Web Designer Academy at all in the past three years, we're testing out a restructure of our pricing.

Shannon Mattern: So if this is something that has been on your mind to do and you're like, oh, I'm totally that hybrid minded person that got left behind with the pricing, we're rolling back to our 2020 pricing. So we're testing this restructure out and that includes making our next level program available to enroll directly into, which was who we were calling into our regular Web Designer Academy anyway, without having to be in the W D A for a year first. And that's the perfect fit for our five figure hustlers who already creating consistent revenue and wanna grow. So if you are the person who is like, yes, that's me, I need help with that, you can come straight into our next level program for the same price that we were charging for W D A this year without having to be in W D A for year first.

Shannon Mattern: And then for all of you hybrid mindsets, you're self-taught and savvy, your employees, you fearless freelancers out there, we're rolling W D A back to its 2020 pricing. And so if you're like, why aren't you saying numbers here? It's because this podcast is gonna be around for a while and I don't wanna like say prices that might not be prices in two, three years when someone's listening to this. But for now we're testing that out. And if it is something that you have been wanting to do and you're just like, I would do this but it's too much of a stretch, I want you to come and fill out our application, book a discovery call with me, let's get on the phone and talk about it and I'll tell you all about the new pricing and what it looks like to work with us. Because I think you're absolutely gonna love it.

Shannon Mattern: Like I feel so amazing about this that it's like such the right move and it's the right move because our mission is to truly help those self-taught and savvy's who are like, I can't charge that much because I'm self-taught or that people are like, I know I'm so highly skilled but I cannot work for this job another day. Or for those people that are already like doing the thing and they're just so burnt out like we are for you. We are for you and we will help you on the path to becoming the web designer who's like, I can totally pay in full for that. No questions asked, like just help me, but you're not there now and we get it and we wanna help you come in. And that's who I started for , that's who our best clients were when they came to work with us.

Shannon Mattern: And I know you're out there too and so we wanna work with you. So definitely go fill out the application book a discovery call, you can get all the links at https://webdesigneracademy.com to do that. But I wanna leave you with this because I get asked a lot like how do I know when it's time to lower my prices? And I'm very like careful to say that like while this is like technically a price, like straight up, technically we're lowering the price of the Web Designer Academy, we're restructuring our pricing. And so when you're thinking about this for your business, I want you to think about like who is your best client? Who is your best client? Who do you love working with the most? Do you have an offer for an investment minded client? Do you have an offer for a hybrid minded client? Do you have an offer for an expense minded client so that no matter who you're talking to, when you talk about the ways that you can work with you and who it's for and who it's perfect for and why, why it's perfect for that person that whoever's on the other side of that zoom screen for you will see an offer that matches with them.

Shannon Mattern: Because if that's not the case for you in your business, then whether you're raising your price or lowering your price, if you're just like raising your price for the same thing, you've changed your target audience. Even if you leave your messaging the same. And that's why maybe you're not creating sales like I experienced.

Shannon Mattern: So maybe you don't need to lower your price, maybe you need to change your messaging, maybe you do need to lower your price because you priced out your best client. We don't know until we actually like look at your business and your messaging and the full picture of everything you're doing altogether to figure out what lever you need to pull to create the revenue that you wanna create in your business. So that's what I had to look at. I had to look at not my price in a vacuum. I had to look at the full picture of like what is the pricing paradigm of my best client? What's the transformation that happens when they work? I had to look at all of those pieces. So for you, if you're like, I'm afraid my like I'm not getting clients, it must be that my price is too high.

Shannon Mattern: We need to look at all of the data. We need to look at like how many consultations are you creating? How many of those people are telling you explicitly that they did not book with you because your price was too high? Did people just ghost and never respond and you're making an assumption that your price was too high? Who does your marketing speak to? Investment minded, expense minded or hybrid minded clients? Do you have something for each of those levels? And does your messaging align with that when you're making offers? Are you making an offer that has an option for all three of those and letting people decide, are you making enough offers to even make a determination if your pricing is a problem? Do you have your pricing listed on your website and you're just making an assumption that a people are going to your website, seeing your prices, thinking you're too expensive and not booking a consultation with you? Do you have proof of that? Do you have data to show that? Do you have like hot jar installed and you're able to actually like look at what people are doing on your website and C that they're leaving when they get to the price?

Shannon Mattern: It may very well be that you need to change your price, but that decision comes from a broader analysis of actual data, not thoughts. Like the economy is bad, nobody can afford anything or thoughts that I'm not good enough for people to pay this price or people don't value this. Or why would they pay this much to me when they could go pay this to someone else? So if you are considering a price restructure increase or decrease increases the same way, that's the mistake that I made. You know that what you do is so, so valuable and you know that it's worth so much and all the things we talk about pricing and the rule of 10 and all the things we talk about, but raising your price, the way we teach it in the Web Designer Academy is like part of a bigger system where we teach you how to raise your prices in a way that like is safe and still gives people an option to choose a price that works for them that's sustainable for you.

Shannon Mattern: You have way less risk the way we teach it in raising a price and overshooting your best clients the way we teach it. Like the way that I was doing it, I was doing it the way most web designers do it, which is why , why it doesn't work, right? So if that's something that you wanna learn about and wanna analyze, like that's something that we do when you work with us inside of the Web Designer Academy. So like I said, we've restructured our pricing, there is no better time for you to come in and work with us. Yes, the price is absolutely lower significantly than it has been in the past 18 months. And we're testing that, we're testing it out. And I'm not saying this to be like get in now cuz I don't know how long, but like I truly dunno how long like we're testing it, we're gathering data.

Shannon Mattern: So go to our website, fill out that application, book a discovery call with me. I would be more than happy to have a conversation with you to see if you're a good fit and we would love to work with you. So that is my q1 Q2 year in review. I'll do like at the end of the year, I'll do like a full on like profit and loss like revenue report like I've done in the past, past couple years, but I don't have like not ready to do that right now. But I wanted to share like the, just the things that happened and the lessons learned, and I literally feel like I'm on the other side of one of the most significant challenges in my business. That's gonna be the thing that I point back to in two to three years and say that's what needed to happen to get me where I am today.

Shannon Mattern: And I'm so glad I can think about it in that way because it feels so much more empowering. So that's everything I have for you this week. If you wanna chat about this, you can just DM me on Instagram at Profitable Web Designer. I'm definitely making a dedicated effort to be there more. I, I think the other thing that kind of came out of 2023 was like I spend so much time creating content by myself and I'm like, I love getting to connect with people one-on-one. I love the energy of a live event with a q and a and I'm like, well, I can do that in like a very micro way on Instagram. So I won't ghost you if you DM me. So if you follow me at Profitable Web Designer DM me, I'm happy to answer any questions. So that's everything I have for you this week.

Shannon Mattern: I cannot wait to see your application. We would love to work with you. We would love to take you from self-taught Unsavvy to five Figure Hustler. So I can't wait to see your application and I'll see you back here on the podcast next week. Bye. Hey, so if you're ready to stop undercharging and overworking, if you wanna take back control of your time, work only with the dreamiest of clients and make more money as a web designer than you ever thought possible, get started now by going to https://webdesigneracademy.com and joining our wait list. We'll send you exclusive teachings from the current Web Designer Academy so you can start applying our concepts now. And you'll be first to know when enrollment opens up again so that you can work with us to completely transform your web design business.

Speaker 2: This podcast is part of the sound advice FM network. Sound advice FM Women's Voices amplified.

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Shannon Mattern
Web Designer Academy

ABOUT YOUR HOST, SHANNON MATTERN

I help ambitious women web designers reclaim their time, book web design projects they love, and make more as a freelance web designer than they ever thought possible.

I created the Web Designer Academy to give you everything I wished I would have had when I started freelancing:  step-by-step processes and fill-in-the-blank templates for your messaging, marketing, packages, consultations, sales and project management combined with next-level support so that you have everything you need to create a consistently profitable web design business doing work you love for clients you love.