listen to my latest podcast episode:
Revenue Reset Part 3: Confident Money Conversations EP 78
byShannon Mattern
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2023 Year in Review + December Income Report

Welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast and today I’m bringing you my December Income Report and 2023 Year In Review where I break down what happened behind the scenes of my business, how much money we made, how much we spent, and the lessons learned along the way.

So we’re gonna kick off this episode with my December Income Report and December numbers, and then I’ll talk about 2023 as a whole, and I’ll wrap up with what we have planned for 2024.

Shannon Mattern (00:02.454)

Hey there and welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer podcast. And today I am bringing you my 2023 year in review where I break down what happened behind the scenes of my business this year, how much we made, how much we spent, and all of the lessons learned along the way. And if you are new to the show, I do a monthly income report. And while I no longer do one-on-one client work or freelance web design, I still share

the lessons because looking at the money and your thoughts about the money and all of those things is really pivotal as to how, you know, the actions that you take in your business and how you run it. And I used to do monthly income reports on my previous podcast and everybody loved those. And then when I started this new podcast, I stopped.

doing them and that meant I stopped looking at my numbers and looking at my thoughts about my numbers and that led to some unintended consequences. So I'm going to be bringing you these income reports every single month. So in this episode, it's going to be a long one. I'm going to break down my December income report and my 2023 year in review. So full disclosure.

I am recording this episode in my closet because we are dog sitting for my brother-in-law's dog and she is delightful and she also barks a lot and my dog never barks. So I'm like, okay, well, we'll just roll with it. I'll go set up a makeshift recording studio in my closet. And I'm thinking that it might work out that this is where I do solo episodes because I think the sound quality in here is pretty good.

We'll see. So if you hear some barking in the background, bear with me. We'll just roll with it as I always say, like life happens on and in this podcast. So let's break down the important things that happened in December.

Shannon Mattern (02:13.426)

So if you listen to my November income report, episode 70, you may recall that at the time I wrote that, I was in the middle of our final Web Designer Academy open enrollment of 2023. And the Web Designer Academy is our business coaching program for freelance web designers that I started back in 2016 when I realized that so many skilled and talented web designers were struggling to make a full-time income in their business because they hadn't yet developed the skill of running a profitable, sustainable,

web design business, which is completely different than the skill of building and launching websites. So we run enrollment for the Web Designer Academy on a hybrid evergreen model, meaning you can apply for our coaching program anytime and enroll if you're accepted within a certain timeframe. So for example, let's say you just found this podcast, you've listened to a few episodes, you're like, OMG, this is exactly what I've been looking for.

can apply right now and if accepted you'll have a window of time to decide whether or not you want to enroll. And then we also have open enrollment periods where we do a big promotion to our email list. We're inviting people on our email list to apply. We talk about it on the podcast. We host a live training exclusively for accepted applicants and we offer some incentives if you decide to join us during those open enrollment promotions.

And historically, we get the most applications and the most enrollments in December, which makes total sense. It's when people are reflecting on the past year, thinking about what they really want for the next year and really making decisions about what's most important to them and starting to get ready for change. So for 2023's open enrollment, I put together a training called How to Make 2024 Your Most Profitable Year Yet, and...

I taught about the systems and processes and strategies we walk our clients through when they come to work with us. And then we also invited a panel of our current Web Designer Academy students to come to that training and share what they've been able to create since joining our program. And some of the people, some of our students that came have been in for three to four months and others up to two years. And so we put together...

Shannon Mattern (04:24.962)

That training and all the promotion and all of the moving parts of it. And we started promoting it at the end of November with a series of emails and Instagram Lives talking about the mindset shifts we help our students make, the results that they create, and just inviting people to fill out our application to get their invitation to the training. So that first week in December, most of my time was spent reviewing those applications and our application process is not a gimmick.

I can tell when people fill it out and they think like no human is looking at it because they barely fill it out. But most people are sincere and share lots of great information because I look at your website, I look at your social media if you have it, I look at what you tell me in your application, and I'm looking at all of those things to spot like what are the current gaps in your web design business and how can our program help you. So...

When people fill out the application and they just give me one word answers or don't really give me as much information as I need to make a determination if I can help them, I'll follow up and I'll say, hey, you know, here's what I need to know to make sure that you're a good fit to work with us. And then, you know, other times people apply and they're really like they're at, they're so beginner. You know, they're still

actually like learning the skill of web design. And our program is not for you yet. If that is you stick around, keep listening to the show. Like once you get confident in your web design skills and you know really are like, okay, like I'm ready to like learn the business side and do this. We're here for that, but we don't teach the skill of web design. We teach the skill of running a web design business. So and the reason for that is

Our program is a group coaching program. And I wanna make sure that the people in it are all at similar places in their business where they have similar challenges so that like the group coaching is relevant to everyone. So, December, I spent most of the time processing those applications. I personally review them all. I make you like a personalized Loom video.

Shannon Mattern (06:45.494)

if I think you're a great fit for the program, I invite you, I do all of that stuff. And I also was writing and sending like the promotional emails for the training. And I also had the flu during that first week of December and that first week of, you know, promoting the live training and processing applications. And I've started to notice a pattern that every time I do an open

Like back in March, I was sick during the Simply Profitable Designer Summit and the open enrollment I did then. And I can recall several times during the past few years that I've been sick for almost every Web Designer Academy open enrollment. And you know, sure, I could chalk it up to nature. Like I probably picked up a bug at Thanksgiving or I've been working too much and not taking good enough care of myself and letting my immune system get run down. But have you ever read?

the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendrix. I read it a few times on my entrepreneurial journey and I just recently picked it back up and I'm open to considering that me getting sick before open enrollments is what he calls an upper limit problem. So in the book, the author talks about how we all have upper limits in abundance, success, and love and he talks about it as a thermostat that kicks on.

but I like to think about it as like the end of your comfort zone. So you have a comfort zone in your abundance, like with this much abundance, like money, opportunity or time, I won't feel greedy or guilty, but if I go one step outside of my abundance comfort zone, that greedy guilty switch is tripped and your subconscious will like kick on and cause you to do something to bring you back into your comfort zone so that you don't feel

negative like greedy or guilty or whatever. And the other thing that you might do is sabotage another area of your life in response. So it's like, yeah, well, I might have made all this money, but my relationship's a mess. So see, I'm not perfect. So I don't have to feel greedy and guilty about the money because I don't have it all. So I'll just be over here feeling bad about my relationship and picking fights with my partner. So that's one example of how you kind of trip

Shannon Mattern (09:09.846)

the switch and get back into your comfort zone when you step out of your comfort zone in another area. So the work is to expand your upper limit and eventually dissolve it so that your comfort zone is those ultimate levels of abundance, success, and love and that you feel amazing about all of it. And your comfort zone is that and you're not sabotaging yourself to bring yourself down into what you feel like you're quote unquote allowed to have. And it's

super interesting because I watch our Web Designer Academy students expand their upper limit and then they join our next level mastermind for more advanced web design business owners and they bump up against it in the form of a fear of success. Like they really want to create their next level vision but subconsciously they believe that they can't handle more, that they don't deserve more, or maybe they've gotten over the guilty greedy but now their freedom switch is getting tripped as they bump up against their upper limit.

So they self-sabotage by doing things like not marketing to stay in their current comfort zone, which has definitely expanded, but not expanded as big as their vision. So it's just fascinating because it's like new levels, same devils, right? But in the book, Gay Hendrix talks about how getting sick before important events is an upper limit problem and how it's your subconscious trying to keep you safe in your comfort zone.

And while I'm not entirely sure I'm on board with like, I manifested the flu out of nowhere. Like, I believe that it comes from outside of my body from somewhere else, versus I don't know some other illness that could be caused by stress or other behaviors, but the pattern has repeated enough for me that I'm willing to consider that it's an upper limit problem. And so for me, like, when I get sick, I just keep working. I take a bunch of cold medicine, I just keep working.

and I don't like really rest, which, you know, that's a whole thing to look at. But I was like, okay, so this pattern has happened enough that maybe I should take a look at this. And so I journaled on it and I'm just going to share here verbatim what I wrote in my journal. So I wrote, quote, I noticed that I get sick before and during open enrollments. How could that be an upper limit problem? I don't believe I can reach my goal.

Shannon Mattern (11:33.822)

so I subconsciously get sick so I can say, at least I reached a lower goal in spite of being sick. In minimizing and diminishing my abilities and creating a situation where I don't have to live up to what I know I'm capable of or really want, because deep down, I'm still believing I'm responsible for my students' results, which is something I truly have no control over. Or wait, scratch that, I do have control over it, I'm just not responsible for it. So I still have mind trash.

I'm harming them just by taking their money. So in order to harm less of them and protect my ego, I get sick. The truth is that me believing that I'm responsible for their results is what is actually harmful to them. When I believe I'm responsible for their results, I disempower them. Their success is 100% within their power and 100% within my power as long as we both show up in

Shannon Mattern (12:33.442)

of my end of the agreement is ensuring the program is designed to guide clients to the results that they want. Giving people access to the program for the agreed upon timeframe, being available for the coaching I agreed to, giving the feedback I agreed to upon request, allow them to move at a pace that works for them instead of the pace I would move at personally. That makes me feel like I'm doing a good job. Intervene when mindset goes off the rails, help you get out of your own way and get back on track. And their 100% is

learn the strategies, ask the questions, create the assets, ask for feedback, implement the strategies, gather data, ask for coaching, repeat until they create the result. I know I always give my 100% so there's nothing I need to protect myself from. I'm resilient. I can handle whatever happens as it happens. I don't need to predict it or prevent it. I am not harming people by offering them the opportunity to let me help them create the web design business they deserve.

and they don't need me to protect them. Just like I don't need other people to protect me when I join coaching programs. I don't expect anyone to protect me from my own mistakes or failures or unexpected situations or to give me magic answers or silver bullet solutions because I know those don't exist. I just need those coaches to be there to guide me through those situations when or if they happen to show me what I cannot see about myself and help me get out of my own way.

That's the agreement. We share 200% of the responsibility of the results. I uphold my 100, they uphold their 100, and it's a win-win. So, Shannon, can we let go of this upper limit sabotage of getting sick before open enrollments? Yes. We don't need to temper our expectations or protect ourselves. We, meaning me and my subconscious me. Let's go big, feel big, feel a big win or loss, be proud or be disappointed, but give it our all.

will help way more people that way. My clients are brilliant, responsible, resourceful, ambitious adults who are fully capable of making their own decisions and I will get out of their way and let them. So that's what I wrote in my journal. That's what I was noticing about what might be going on when I get sick before open enrollments. Super curious.

Shannon Mattern (14:52.122)

if I listen to this podcast replay or reread that before our next one, if I will magically catch a cold or not. So I just wanted to share that with you in case you ever feel that way or you notice yourself self-sabotaging when you step out of your comfort zone. And it's so interesting that I still have a fear of harming my clients in spite of so much evidence

And, you know, I think I'm going to stop calling it a fear of harming my clients. It's just that I care so much about helping them get what they want that I put a lot of pressure on myself. And I think that that's unnecessary. We have so much evidence, so much evidence that our clients create amazing results when they come to work with us. So I get to let that go to or work on letting it go. It's definitely something I'm going to continue to get.

getting coaching on from my mastermind groups and my mentorship with mindset and business coach Alicia St. Germain, who is a really good friend of mine because every time I think I have it solved, it pops back up in a new way, like whack-a-mole. So whether or not the illnesses are an upper limit problem, those beliefs are ones that pop up for me often in a lot of different ways.

And it's something I'm continually going to pay attention to. And it's something I get to heal at my core to be able to happily grow into my own next level. And I also tell you all of that because I see web designers doing the same self-sabotage with their own clients. They believe that they have to protect their clients by keeping their prices low or that they're responsible for the success of their clients entire business or that they have to save them from, you know,

bad decisions they've made in the past with hiring web designers that like ghosted them or didn't follow through. And that is a lot of unnecessary pressure to put on yourself. That is not what your client is hiring you to do. Your clients are brilliant, responsible, resourceful, ambitious adults who are fully capable of making their own decisions. So I want you to think about what you are 100% responsible for in your relationship with your clients and what they are 100% responsible for both before.

Shannon Mattern (17:13.858)

during and after your project. You cannot build a website for someone to sell a product that nobody wants, right? Like if there's nothing, no amount of conversion rate optimization you can do to sell a product that hasn't been validated and that people don't want. So just get really clear on what's...

what's 100% your responsibility and only put things in your category that are 100% in your control and only put things in their category that are 100% in their control. Okay so back to December. The first week I spent prepping and approving applications and promoting the training and then I hosted the live training and I gotta say it was like the best one I have ever done truly and I almost said in spite of being sick but like it was regardless of that.

it wasn't even in spite of that. It was just like the best one I've ever done. I taught the concepts in the most powerful way ever. Everything just flowed. Our student panel blew my mind. I mean, I know our students create results. I hear it from them every single week. But to get to hear their experience on that panel, I was like, oh my gosh, this is all I want to do for the rest of my life. I was so in awe of what they created and just so...

like humbled and honored to like have been a part of that. And so we did the training, we did the panel, then we did a Q&A session at the end. And I honestly could not believe how many good questions there were and how long we answered questions, which tells me that people felt safe to ask questions, which is such a gift. And...

the live training is where I invite all the accepted applicants to officially join our program and give all of the program details, answer all the questions, and just honestly make them help them make the decision if they want to work with us or not. And so that's what that's all about. And then after the training is over, we make the replay available to everybody who applied and accepted and couldn't attend live and I send it out to everyone. And then we do a series of...

Shannon Mattern (19:27.714)

post training emails that are really designed to lead applicants through making the decision to work with us. And, you know, I've been doing this a long time and I know like pretty much every obstacle or objection people have to joining. And so each one of those emails is designed to address that objection or provide additional information or really just help people, you know, make the decision.

And I mentioned in my November income report that I worked with one of our web designer academy students, Sarah Geo on those emails. She's an incredible human and an amazing copywriter, saradesigns.com. And so she helped me like draft them and got them to like 95%. And instead of just like putting them all in ConvertKit before the webinar and scheduling them, I prepped and sent one a day.

And that felt so good because maybe I'd edited a little bit to reflect a question that someone asked in the training or a conversation I had with an applicant that made me think, oh, everybody else might want to know that. And then I just made them a little more personal and relevant. And so I sent out those mass emails to all the applicants, but then I also reached out individually to each person who applied and was accepted to make sure that they got the training and give them an opportunity to ask me any direct questions.

private questions about the program. And while plenty of people just completely ghost and never respond to a single communication, like they'll fill out the application. They will not, like I'll see them opening stuff, but they will never respond to a single one of my like outreach attempts. There are a lot of people that I have really great conversations with and I get to see where their mindset's at. And it's what gives me ideas for content for this podcast. Cause I see the things that people...

that people believe that are keeping them stuck through those conversations. And I'm also super interested to understand why people ghost and kind of lurk. I'm curious, and I don't know, this is just me pondering, are they afraid of a pushy sales experience? Is that why they don't respond? I'm just so curious because...

Shannon Mattern (21:47.786)

some and maybe this is a podcast episode for the future, but like the way we feel about sales and react to people selling something to us reflects how we might approach sales in our own business. And that might be something to heal if you are struggling to make offers and book clients. So just notice how you react to other people making offers to you.

And maybe that'll be a podcast episode in the future. Maybe not, but it's just something that has been really fascinating going through that process. So not only did I feel like that was the best live training I've ever done, my nervous system was like so calm about it. And even though I was sick, truly I was just like, whatever. I don't even care that I'm sick.

I think that sense of calmness came from the thought that I shared at the end of my November income report, which was like, no matter what happens with this open enrollment, I'll be fine. Like we're in a good spot to cover all the operating expenses and I'm totally willing to find other ways to cover my personal salary, depending on what happens. And while those thoughts might sound like playing small or giving up to me, they made me feel so common in control.

no matter what happens, I'll be fine. So I can let this play out and enroll people for the right reasons, like for them and their success and not for me and my financial security. And so like for you, if you notice that you're like, oh, I need to make money, so I need to get a client. And then you notice that you're not getting clients it's because your thoughts aren't in a line. Like nobody wants to work with you because you need money.

They want to work with you because they want to accomplish what they want to accomplish. And if it's coming from a place of needing money, you're going to feel pushy and weird and gross following up because it's not for you, because it's not for them, it's for you. And so that's why it's important to like clean up your thoughts about sales and money and all of those things when you're making offers to your clients. So when you truly believe that you don't need the money.

Shannon Mattern (24:05.846)

because you'll be okay no matter what happens, you make the money. That's what happens for me every single time. And it never happens the way I expect for it to happen or plan for it to happen. So that combined with when I truly believe that success ratio is 200%, 100% on me and 100% on them, versus what my scarcity brain likes to think, which is that I need money and that it's 100% on me to like end 0% on my clients. When I believe

opposite of that, I become unstoppable. And just to be clear unstoppable doesn't mean that everyone says yes. It means that I showed up in integrity, like gave my best stuff away in the timeframe that we had. The results happened exactly as they should. And if they weren't, if they didn't match that the goal that I had set for myself, I get to figure out what that is. What it is that I don't know yet or what I'm still believing that's creating this result.

that influenced my actions and, you know, and then make some tweaks and do it again. Right? That's it. So we did the open enrollment live event and I spent the week after that having sales conversations and enrolling new students and I'll share our revenue numbers for December here with you in a minute. But the only thing that was a little wonky with December open enrollment this year that I've never had to address before because I usually raise the price.

the Web Designer Academy every year, but this year we actually rolled back to our original pricing mid-year and I don't plan to increase the price again for the foreseeable future. So where I used to be able to say join before this date to get in at this price, I don't have that lever to pull anymore. So I had a lot of people say awesome, I definitely want to join, but not right now. I want to wait until I feel more ready or I've saved up all the money to pay.

for the enrollment to join. And on one hand, I don't want people to join before they're ready just to get a deal on our pricing for the reasons that I shared above. Like I don't want people to have money drama when they come in because it affects how they make offers and do sales if they don't have that cleaned up. But on the other hand, I want to incentivize people not to wait because the longer you wait, the more the time and money that you're leaving on the table compounds.

Shannon Mattern (26:31.102)

So it's like this balance of helping you believe that you can create the results that you want to create, but also respecting that you have real reasons that you might want to wait to join us, and that's okay. I'm not all about the conventional sales wisdom that's like, oh no, your money objection is not really a money objection. I'm like,

yeah, it's fine if it is and that's okay. Right? Like, I'm not here to, I don't know, there's just some weird gross sales stuff out there that says, if the first thing is I can't afford it, that they're lying. And I've done a podcast episode on this. And, you know, it's, there's so many layers to it, but at the end of the day, you get to respect.

your clients' decisions. You get to try to incentivize them to make a decision that's in their best interest. But at the end of the day, they're going to make their own decision and you get to trust that they're making the right decision for them. So I'm looking at other ways to incentivize the decision to join us that are sustainable for us and compelling for our applicants. And I'm sure I'll test out a few different things in 2024. So

I'll get into December's numbers in a second, but the best thing about this December is that we're closed from December 22nd to January 3rd every year. And it's something that I do because I always hated having to take vacation time during the holidays when I was in corporate. And I'm like, I structured my company from the start so that everybody gets paid time off the week between Christmas and New Year's. And also,

that we don't come back on January 2nd, the day after New Year's Day. We have an extra day to, you know, get settled in and prepare for the year. And so we did that. And honestly, I'm not super great at taking time off. Like I get bored. My husband and all my friends have corporate jobs and don't really take time off during the holidays. So I usually end up working and I did a little bit, but

Shannon Mattern (28:48.234)

I didn't feel like I had to and I just kind of did a few creative things and it was my first break in a long time that I didn't have some crazy project that I assigned myself and I just, I didn't have any anxiety about not working and that's as you'll see in the 2023 year in review portion of this podcast, that is a new phenomenon for me. So let's dive in.

to the December 2023 numbers. So our total revenue in December was $35,950. And that was all Web Designer Academy enrollments, payment plans, next level payment plans. It was renewals. It was people, I made an offer to our current students who were on a payment plan and said, hey, if you want to pay...

off your payment plan before the end of the year for tax purposes, I'll give you a bonus month and a bonus call. And several people took me up on that. So I just got really creative at the end of December to create $35,000 in revenue, which was really fun. And our expenses, AKA investments, because they will, every dollar I spend should be creating more revenue for my business.

were $15,051.52. And that's our maximum baseline monthly expenses that I wanted to get down to that's going to be sustainable for us going forward. And that includes payroll. So that's my full-time salary and our part-time client success coordinator salary plus all of our payroll taxes is $10,344.02.

All the tools and software I used to run my business, $1,172.11. Didn't have anything in the line item for education and training as an out go because I financed my education and training this year, which I'll talk about in my 2020 or three year in review numbers. But our marketing investments totaled

Shannon Mattern (31:09.222)

$2,155.23. So our conversion rate optimization with Zainattain Consulting is $1,500. Our podcast production $5.65. Ads, we're testing out some Facebook ads, which I would be happy to share the results when we have them $64.78. Web Designer Academy, Retention and Engagement, we send out some fun swag when people join.

$25.38. Next level retreat zero. So we had paid all of the expenses for that. So that's complete. Line of credit and interest $269.35. So I'm sure that there was more interest that accrued in December. I just think the way that it fell, it didn't hit my income reports.

that month. So it'll probably be a lot higher in January. Professional services, that's legal accounting, bookkeeping, HR, business insurance for $61.63 and $148 in office expenses. So our net profit was positive for the first time in a long time, $20,898.48. And if you go to webd

Shannon Mattern (32:34.082)

the income expenses and net profit month by month, year by year since I started my business if you are nerdy like that and want to check that out. So that was December. So let's dive into the 2023 overall year in review as a whole. And honestly, I had a really hard time writing this podcast episode because I'm so over talking about how 2023.

was a tough year and telling that story and talking about all the mistakes I personally made and the things that happened that were out of my control and how just tough it was. And yes, it was tough. It was a tough year for me. It was a tough year for a lot of other business owners I know. So it's not just me, but like I said, like I'm over telling the story that way. Like it was hard for me and like it happened to me. 2023 happened for me, not to me.

I wanted to, my goal, my revenue goal going into 2023 was $500,000. I was like, I've done it before. Back in 2020, I can do it again. And spoiler alert, I did not reach that goal, not even close. The world had some mental and emotional growth in store for me this year instead of business and revenue growth. And something my business coach really said, like said, really resonated with me this year

she didn't say like this word for word, but this is how I processed about what she said about like setting big goals because I was so resistant to just setting that $500,000 revenue goal because whenever I set an outcome goal, like a certain revenue number in a certain time, I just always feel like it's not in my control somehow. And so the way that she

business coach in 2023, Stacey Bayman, talked about this is that when you set an outcome goal, like a certain revenue number in a certain timeframe, you'll either reach it or you won't. And if you do, great. That shows you that you had everything that you needed to make it happen. You had the mindset, the strategy, the resources, the support, whatever. And if you don't, it's because the goal was there to expose

Shannon Mattern (34:58.386)

what you didn't have to be able to create the goal, all the leaks, the cracks, the gaps, the things that needed to be fixed, the knowledge that you didn't know you needed to have, the areas that you didn't know you needed to grow in order to... So you set the goal, you don't meet it, that exposes, it gives you information.

and then you take that information and you implement what you learned from it and you try again and you try again and you try again. And I've never thought about setting goals that way before because it's like, oh, if I set a goal for $500,000 and then I don't reach it, I've failed and it's not possible or something's wrong with me or I'm broken. And this way, it's like

Oh, no, you just picked the number. You decide what you want, but then you don't make not reaching it mean that something is inherently wrong with you. You figure out what you need to change to make it happen. And so It's just, it's, I don't know. Maybe it sounds super obvious and it kind of sounds super obvious to me now. But it took me a minute.

to integrate that. And I think I went into 2023 with some really shiny, candy-coated thoughts about that $500,000 goal that weren't realistic, I guess. Like, you know.

and a little bit of entitlement also. It's like just because you've set a goal doesn't mean you're entitled to achieve it. Just because you've done it before doesn't mean you're entitled to do it again in the future. And I made a lot of changes to my business in 2023, which I'll talk about, that I didn't even like take into account when I set that $500,000 goal. So that goal exposed.

Shannon Mattern (37:12.866)

all of the areas I needed to grow in 2023. And for me, those were patience versus instant gratification and hustle, positive self-talk versus negative self-talk, addressing things head-on versus avoiding uncomfortable conversations or discomfort, making data-driven decisions versus emotion-driven decisions, abundance mindset versus scarcity mindset, and experimentation

Shannon Mattern (37:43.87)

I grew in every single one of those areas this year and I just didn't know I needed to. When I set that goal, I just didn't have a clue that is what was in store for me. And that's okay. Like I said, it all happened for me, not to me, and I'm taking all of the lessons and integrating them as I go through 2024. So let's dive in.

to the December 2023 numbers. And then I'll share with you all of the lessons learned along the way. So full disclosure, when I was pulling together these numbers a few weeks ago, preparing for this podcast episode, I just saw the net profit and that big old negative number and I had lots of anxious thoughts, almost panic attack level, which shows me that there's absolutely still work to be done on my money mindset.

And for me, I think it goes like a lot deeper than that. It's a security thing wrapped up in an autonomy thing. So I'm definitely like working on that in 2024. Once I calmed my brain down, though, I realized that these numbers simply reveal the places where my business was leaking time and money and all of my growth areas and I can reflect on them and see that like I've already

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They reveal what my opportunities are for changing things or thoughts that I need to notice. And when I look at the numbers that way, they tell an entirely different story than what my scarcity brain wants to tell me. So if you avoid looking at your numbers, like I did in 2023, I didn't every other year, but in 2023 I did, tell yourself a different story.

like the first story your brain wants to offer you usually isn't the full story. So you get to analyze what those numbers mean in whatever way you want and I suggest you do it in a way that creates wanted results for you in the future. And that's why I'm so, so glad that I'm writing these income reports again, because in 2023 I was not looking at my numbers nearly as closely as I have in previous years because I'd look, I'd see a negative, I would just...

like want to avoid it and hustle, trying to like make it go away, like try to raise the revenue. And I was only wanting to look at the revenue side and not the expense side. And that's part of the reason why these numbers look at the way that they look. I knew there was a problem brewing on the expense side, but I wanted to avoid it and put all my attention on the revenue side in a really hustling and anxious way. And guess what? It didn't work.

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My total revenue in 2023, remember I said my goal was 500,000. Our total revenue in 2023 was $178,661.83 and 125,000 of that came in the second six months of the year. We only created 53,000 in the first half of the year. Most of that was payment plans.

sold from Web Designer Academies sold in 2022. So with all of the lessons I learned in 2023, if that ever happens again, I'll make, I will make decisions on cutting expenses back way sooner than I did in 2023. I mean, the writing was on the wall in the first half of a year that I could not

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but I just kept thinking I could recover and avoid tough decisions instead of making the tough decisions to recover. And it's not fun and it doesn't feel good, but I'm willing to do it. And like I said in my November income report, I already have a plan in place to cover my own salary.

if I need to and that's the next thing, the next place that I will cut expenses is to cut my payroll and replace it in different ways. So I already have the plan. I know what I'm going to do. I don't have to avoid it. And I might not even ever have to use the backup plan because just having the plan makes me so much calmer. So our revenue was 178,661.83. We spent

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$306,564.96. Our net profit was negative $127,903.13. I had money in reserves to cover the loss, so I'll talk about that in a second. Our payroll expenses were $178,272.70.

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And that was for myself, my salary, a full-time marketing and operations coordinator, and our part-time client success coordinator. And it is fascinating to me that payroll number pretty much matches our revenue exactly. And it's the difficult decision that I wanted to avoid. I did not want to have to lay someone off and I'll talk about that a little bit later. But that was our

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about 23,000. You know, we can cut things here and there, but pretty much everything that we, you know, have we need to run the business. So that number is not super changeable. Education and training, I spent $40,000 in 2023. And I'll talk more about that. Like, I'm really, really glad that I spent that money.

even though I have a negative net profit because I don't know that I'd like be here right now. I might have let myself make a different decision about this business if I didn't have the mentorship that I have in place. So when I signed up for that, I had no idea of what my year was going to look like. I was going to 10X that investment in my mind for sure. But

I guess I needed to have a mental and emotional growth year versus a revenue growth year. Yeah, I'll talk more about that in a second. Marketing expenses, $32,845.31. We're definitely revising that down for 2024 and doing a lot more organic marketing. We spent almost $14,000 on the Next Level retreat. The Simply Profitable Designer Summit cost us $4,000.

about $6,000 to put on professional services. We spent $15,000. There was legal fees in there. There was a lot of stuff in there that wouldn't have normally been in there because of what happened in episode 43 of this podcast. And then our office expenses were pretty reasonable, just over $1,000. So our net profit was negative 127 to...

thousand dollars, nine hundred three thirteen cents. I had money in reserves to cover the loss plus 2022 Shannon went ahead and secured a line of credit from my bank. So before my finances started to shift in the direction I didn't want them to go, I heard from

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a friend in my local mastermind, she was like, I have a business banker, you know, you can get an SBA line of credit just to have in case you need it. And I was like, awesome, I'm going to do that. And I'm sure I will never need it. Well, I needed it. So well, it was just like really good to have it there because I did finance my some of my business coaching and kept some cash on hand. So

Experiencing a year like this was a first for me. And I think it's just another box to check off in terms of what I'm here to navigate as the CEO of my business. Because 2023 was the first time I ever considered going and getting a day job and winding down my business. But that thought was totally coming from like, this woe is me, this is hard, blah, blah place. And honestly, in hindsight, I think I might've been experiencing a mild depression as well.

I've had that happen a few times in my life, but I don't realize that's what it is until I'm out of it. And I remember thinking the same thing several months ago and thinking I was on the other side of it, but it wasn't until November of this year where I was like, oh no, I wasn't out of it. I was just like, uh, Pollyannaing over it. And it's like, now I'm on the other side of it. Like

I think when I thought I was out of it, I was having a lot of positive mental thoughts, but still a lot of physical anxiety. And now I don't have the physical anxiety anymore. And I totally see a therapist and it's something I'm going to bring up with her to see if I can figure out a way to like notice that sooner. And if there are any interventions we should consider taking or if I just need to be aware of it and not make big decisions when I'm in it.

But I'm thinking about that version of me that was considering quitting. And I'm like, girl, you would hate your life. You know you can't go back to that. And it's interesting that I didn't take those thoughts to any of my coaches either. So I don't know what that means. But typically when I'm avoiding something, I don't want to talk to anybody else about it.

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because I think I was indulging in wanting to keep that as an option. And I know if I would have talked to anybody else about it, they would have totally talked me out of it. And I kind of wish I would have because then I could have just put that aside. And like I said, going and getting a day job is like no shame in that. I'm totally still willing to do whatever I need to do to make sure my bills are paid, but not to give up on my business.

just to make sure that my business can weather any storms. And that is a totally different thing to me. I just can't ever give up my autonomy. And being willing to do whatever I need to do just makes me feel so empowered and calm. And while I also felt like I worked a lot and worked really hard last year, a lot of the things I was working on were things like presentations and webinars and trainings and workshops and scripts and slides and emails, stuff that takes a long time.

to create and produce and like writing podcast episodes, but that not that many people see or reading and journaling from a place of anxiousness, searching for something that would help me make sense of what was happening or help me feel some relief. But what I was not doing was getting out there more, promoting the business in a bigger way, building our audience, getting more eyeballs on our podcasts and our program and building relationships like we talk about in the Web Designer Academy. So that's something I'm being really intentional about changing.

in 2024 and I can see in hindsight that the way I felt about myself and my business was so crappy that why would I want to have more people look at it? And it makes total sense that I did not do that in 2023, but I'm ready for it in 2024. So, you know, like I said, I was having a hard time writing this episode because I was just like, I'm tired of the story of it being a hard year.

So I want to talk, I was like trying to think of like, what's the lens through which I want to tell the story of what I learned in 2023? And I wanted to tell it in terms of like CEO decisions. So I talk about like, you know, there's the whole move from like employee to entrepreneur, solopreneur to CEO and

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you know, I made some CEO decisions this year. And so I'm going to talk about those, talk about those next. So the first one that we made in 2023 was to retire the very first course that we ever created, the free five day website challenge and all of the related templates and courses I sold as part of it, like our site and snap templates and our subscriber to sale blueprint, because I was running two completely separate businesses and

the free five day website challenge site in a snap subscriber to sale was not creating nearly as much revenue as the web designer academy. And so when I made the decision to shut it down, I had a few mentors say to me, well, doesn't the free five day website challenge teach web design and prepare people to come into the web designer academy and get business coaching? And I'm like, well, yeah, technically it teaches how to build a WordPress website with Elementor and all the automations.

but it was targeted towards online business owners who were DIYing. And while yes, there were absolutely people that came out of that training and loved the process so much that they wanted to start a web design business, it was a very small minority of that audience. And it wasn't really where the customer base of the Web Designer Academy came from. And keeping that free five day website challenge up to date with all of the changes and all of the tech that I recommended in it, answering questions in the free Facebook group, providing customer service for a free course.

It was all costing me way more money and lost time than it was making up for in affiliate commissions and core sales. And I felt like I could have a bigger impact going all in on the Web Designer Academy. And I was so afraid to make that announcement. I was afraid of the negative reaction I might have gotten, which is something that I know many web designers struggle with, making decisions or setting boundaries for fear that they might disappoint people.

or open themselves up to negative responses. And for the most part, people were very understanding. I got some people that were extremely upset and mad, and I got to practice letting them feel their feelings while continuing to do what I know was right for me. So we did that in January of 2023. The second CEO decision that we made in 2023 was taking over the Simply Profitable Designer Summit from its creator, Krista Miller, of Summit in a Box.

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And she had decided to retire her, like retire running her summit for designers. And I'd spoken at so many of them and sponsored it in 2022 to great success. And I told her if she ever wanted to sell it, I'd love to buy it from her. So we agreed on a price and then I'd pay her 50% of our ticket sales annually until that price was fulfilled.

and we kept the summit a little smaller my first year since it was my first time running that specific summit and I also wanted to make sure that like I properly introduced myself to that email list and built a relationship with those subscribers and nurtured them. And I'd say a third, about a third of that email list has unsubscribed or gone cold, but I feel like we did a really good job nurturing that list and retaining subscribers over the past year. But honestly, again in

maybe what this podcast should be called. But I had a totally weird scarcity mindset around the summit. I was weird about inviting colleagues who were also business coaches for web designers to speak. It was like, I was trying to hoard all of the people for myself and I overthought the invite list and I overthought the topics. And all of that is just normally not me. I am all about collaboration and relationships. And again, I guess I was just going through something, but...

I'm out on the other side of it. I've completely shut all of that nonsense right now. We're planning the 2024 Summit. I've got over 40 incredible speakers confirmed for this year Um, and a lot of web design business coaches sharing their strategies as well So save the date because it's going to be happening march 18th through 22nd And it's going to be so jam-packed with valuable topics and speaker bonuses. You're not going to believe it

So tickets will go on sale the last week of February, and you know it'll be all over this podcast when they do. So CEO decision number three, I changed how the Web Designer Academy enrollment worked and the price structure, and then I changed it back, which just goes to show you no decision is ever permanent. So the way enrollment works right now is how I talked about it at the beginning of the podcast episode.

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But in January, I decided to move in January of 2023, like a year ago, I decided we're doing a closed enrollment model. We're only opening up two or three times a year. That's your only chance to get in. I'm going to do a public training, talking all about the program. And then if you want in, you fill out an application. And then I'll approve it. And then you have a certain amount of time to pay. And I also took away the payment plan.

So I did all of that a year ago. And notice I said, like, in my mind, I was like, we're going to do this and it's going to work. I had no mindset of testing. I had no mindset of validating. I had no mindset of experimenting or gathering data. I was just like, we're doing this and it's gonna work. And in hindsight, it's just coming from a very, very scarce protectivy place.

I'd hired my two employees nine months before, and I'd had these subconscious deep-seated thoughts that I need to make all the money up front now so that I'll never ever run out of money to pay them because if I run out and I can't pay them then I will be harming them and their children and they'll be homeless living in a van down by the river. And I don't think I was fully aware of these thoughts at the time, but I made the decision to change the price and the payment plan and the way enrollment works all in one fell swoop

without an intention to test it, but just with like in my mind, it's going to work and this is how it's going to go. And getting all of the enrollment fees upfront will help me feel better about my cash flow paying employees. And it didn't work. I've talked about it on this podcast before it did not work. And I've thought a lot about why it didn't work. And I've already talked about

that analysis on this podcast, but the biggest lesson I want to take away from that experience and integrate into my core and never forget is that it didn't work because I was making decisions from a place of fear and scarcity. And when you make decisions from a place of fear and scarcity, you're going to create unwanted results. I never needed to change any of that. I never needed to change any of that. So

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the decision to roll back all of those changes and bring back the payment plan and go back to our old price. It was such a relief and I was like, oh, nothing is permanent. I can always make a different decision. And just even being willing to make that decision came from a place in me of abundance and generosity and gratitude and acceptance.

and just trusting myself and letting go of trying to protect myself from negative things I'd experienced at the previous price point and conflating the price with those negative experiences. But by trying to prevent discomfort, I put up a wall that was so high that it prevented the bad and the good. And so I feel so good about our pricing right now. To me, it feels like we're giving the Web Designer Academy away.

And that's because I see the results our students create and how quickly they typically create them and how they go on to make many, many times more than what they invest in their program during their first year with us and then beyond that. And while I felt that our program was totally worth the increased price when I did it, I didn't feel as amazing about that price as I do at this price. And it makes all the difference in the world for selling it. So no decision is most decisions are not permanent, I should say.

And that was one that I just, I reflect on as like, that was a lesson learned that I will take with me for a long time. CEO decision number four, hiring an attorney to help me deal with the fraud that happened with my previous payment processor that I talked about in episode 43. I tried to navigate that on my own for about a week before...

I was like, oh, this is like way above my ability. And I'm so happy to report that my attorney Ann Capuza, who's also been a guest on this podcast, not only helped us reach an amicable resolution, but that hiring an expert to handle something that serious took a huge weight off my shoulders, which allowed me to focus on rolling out that price restructure and just...

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me experiencing how good it felt to just hire someone who was like you don't even need to think about this anymore I'll handle it like that's what your clients feel when they work with you. Like that to me was worth a hundred thousand times more than what I paid her and I think that that's something that we discount when we think about our clients and how they feel working with us.

And now I can just truly speak to that in a very visceral way because I know how it feels to have someone swoop in and just take care of something for me so I could focus on what was important to me. That's what you do for your clients. That is invaluable. And also, you know, that whole situation, there's a silver lining to it. Like I had to rebuild my e-commerce. And while I...

didn't love that I had to do it. I have a better way of reporting on recurring revenue and just finances in that with how I had to rebuild it than I did before. So it's so much easier for me to pull together numbers and look at numbers. So there's a silver lining in all of this. So decision, CEO decision number five, laying off a team member. That one was tough, but

Web Designer Academy to make money. I do it because I want to empower other women to have the freedom, flexibility and financial independence and autonomy that I've created for myself through entrepreneurship. And that mission is bigger than any one person. Like, and so even though it really, really sucked to have to lay off a team member.

and make that tough decision. It was absolutely necessary to do it in order to continue our mission because I truly, truly believe that when women are empowered, families, communities are stronger when we make more money, when we value ourselves, when we're honest and direct. We set an example for our kids, our nieces and nephews.

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all the people around us when we believe in ourselves, we set an example and there's just a huge, huge ripple effect. And so my business coach always talks about making decisions that protect the profit. And I totally agree with that. But I think the missing part of that sentence is that protect the profit so that you can further the mission and vision. And my decision to lay off a team member.

was not about just like protecting the profit and keeping money. It was about making sure that the Web Designer Academy was here to serve our future clients. And it's not just about making sure I have a paycheck. Like there are way easier ways to make money than running a company. And so I talk more about like that whole thing in my October income report and I take full responsibility for making the decisions that led

us to get to the place where I had to make a decision between an employee or the mission. And that lesson is a burned into me. But my friend and business mindset coach, Alicia St. Germain, once said to me, leaders go first and it has stuck with me. I always say I'm a stove toucher and I'm trying not to be. I'm definitely trying to be more receptive to advice and let go of my need to find out for myself, but I should learn those lessons the fastest.

when I experience the pain and then I can like impart them into our students by not saying like, I'm not up on my high horse over here saying like, I've, I've always done all the right things. I'm over here saying I've made some decisions I wish I would have made differently and I recommend you do it differently than I did. I think that I just feel more in integrity when

I'm speaking from experience rather than theory, I guess. So CEO decision number six was enrolling and re-enrolling in my high level business coaching program in 2023 that I mentioned earlier that I chose to finance my enrollment for that program. And while I went into 2023, absolutely intending to reach that $500,000 revenue goal and 10x my return on my investment with the help of that program.

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didn't happen that way. And I'm also so glad I was in that program during this season of my business because it was massively instrumental in helping me get out of the situation that I was in and to help me get out of my own way and to help me see how my thinking about what was happening was compounding the issues and causing, causing them to persist and fester. And you know, I

recouped my investment in the program for sure. But I didn't create the return on my investment in the timeframe that I expected to. And I haven't paid off what I financed yet because I'd rather keep the cash that I have on hand and have that available to me. And that's okay, but I've had to deal with a lot of mind trash around having quote unquote business debt and having those thoughts like putting me into scarcity mode and just dealing with that. But the truth is like when I think about it, all I did

was buy some money and make a decision to pay for something over time, just like I do with my house and my car. And I don't make that a big huge deal. And the thing that I chose to pay for over time is something that actually helps me make more money on like my car payment. Although my Jeep totally brings me tons of joy and my dog tons of joy and I'll be driving around in one when I'm 80 and probably need like a ladder to get up into it. So I know with what I learned and experienced.

like our thoughts are so powerful. Our thoughts are so powerful and they can send us into what my business coach calls low value cycles or they can help us create high value cycles and I 2023 was absolutely a low value cycle for me but it's also where I was like learning all of the things I needed to learn to bring into 2024 and I can't predict.

what's going to happen. I don't, but I just know I'm like, Oh, here were all my blind spots in 2023 that I get to shine a light on. And, you know, I know with what I learned and experienced last year that if I continue to apply that advice and those lessons and looking at the dark spots and looking at what I'm avoiding and leaning into the things that I'm avoiding and being willing to feel uncomfortable, like without that program, who knows?

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I'd even be writing this income report right now. I might not have started steering the ship in another direction soon enough to avoid the iceberg. So I think it's a CEO decision to consider not reaching your goals a massive success because what I learned from things not going the way I wanted them to go in 2023 is so much more valuable than what I'd learned if they had not just for me but for

every single person that is that is learning from me because how you think and act when things aren't going as well can have a much bigger impact than just things going well and you know what I learned is that you've never truly arrived like there are no guarantees that you'll create this year what you created last year that you'll create this month what you created last month there's never a magic place where it's

always just goes exactly how you want it to, that there's not some magic strategy out there that always works forever and you never have to deal with any discomfort or disappointment or inconsistency. If you are searching for that in business, I wish you well on your quest, but I don't think it exists. And so it's the support system that we build around us that we lean on in those times when the things aren't going the way we want them to. With people who

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and who you trust enough to hear them anyway, that's the magic solution. Not some strategy, not some new tool, it's that. And that's why it's so important to know why you are pursuing entrepreneurship and being your own boss, because it's that drive that will get you through the tough times. And mine's agency and autonomy, and not just for me, for our students too. And that's what drives me.

my own agency and autonomy and yours too, and not just from corporate constraints, but with your clients too, because there is zero point in building a business that you feel trapped and beholden to. So when you have agency and autonomy and you're committed to growth, whether it's revenue growth or personal growth, even when it's uncomfortable, the discomfort is worth more, more than worth the rewards. And so I'm still noticing and incorporating and learning the lessons of 2023, but I'm definitely done.

thinking that it was a tough year and a hard year. And I'm all in on like, oh, this is exactly what needed to happen. And I'm ready to move forward into 2024 with the lessons. Patience, positive self-talk, addressing issues head on, making data-driven decisions, an abundance mindset and experimentation. But instead of doing new things all the time, which takes a ton of time and effort, which I noticed I spent a lot of time doing.

There's an opportunity cost to a lot of that, which I also experienced in 2023, to really lean into the things that we've already done, to stop telling myself the story that they didn't work because they did just not in the timeframe that I expected them to work. Hello, instant gratification, right? Training that for patience. Continue to use them and just get more and more eyeballs on them, which means I just get to very intentionally put myself out there more. It's the same marketing strategy we preach and teach in the Web Designer Academy.

It's outreach and relationship building and that is my focus for 2024. I get to do the exact same thing our students do to book new clients and create consistent revenue and it works you guys. One of our students set a goal for herself to create $10,000 just by the end of Q1 2024 and she focused exclusively on outreach warm and cold. So to people she knows and people she doesn't know.

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starting just a few weeks ago and she already booked a $15,000 client and has three other proposals out. Another one of our students joined the first week of January and in her first week she booked a client with our package matrix strategy or her new prices in one week. So I get to do it too and instead of spending all my time creating new trainings, which is probably like a whole month's worth of work.

The ones we currently have are awesome and they work and I get to promote those. And you know, so my word of the year for 2024 is patience. And my goal is to pitch myself for one new opportunity a week. And so far I've done it. And that will be end up being 52 times more than I did in 2023. So only good things can come from that. So we're keeping our pricing the same in 2024, the enrollment process the same in 2024. And if the next six months look anything like the last six months.

things are on the upswing and I am here for it. Here for it. So that was a long podcast episode. That is all I got for you for this one. Thank you so much for listening and I'll be back next week with a brand new episode for you to help you do less and make more in 2024. Bye.

Important Things That Happened in December

If you listened to my November Income Report – Episode 70, you may recall that at the time I wrote that income report I was in the middle of our final Web Designer Academy Open Enrollment of 2023.

If you’re new to the show, the Web Designer Academy is our business coaching program for web designers that I started back in 2016 when I realized that so many skilled and talented web designers were struggling to make a full-time income in their business because they hadn’t yet developed the skill of running a profitable, sustainable web design business.

And we run enrollment on a hybrid evergreen model – meaning, you can apply for our coaching program any time and enroll if you’re accepted – for example, let’s say you just found this podcast, you listen to a few episodes and you’re like OMG, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for… you can apply right now, and if accepted you’ll have a window of time to decide on whether or not you want to enroll.

And we also have Open Enrollment periods, where we do a big promotion, we’re inviting people on our email list to apply, we host a live training exclusively for accepted applicants, and we offer some incentives if you decide to join us during those open enrollment promotions.

And historically, we get the most applications and the most enrollments in December, which makes total sense. It’s when people are reflecting on the past year, thinking about what they really want for the next year, and making decisions about what’s most important to them and starting to get ready for change.

So for 2023’s open enrollment, I put together a training called “How to Make 2024 Your Most Profitable Year Yet” where I break down the systems, processes and strategies we walk our clients through during their time in our program, and then we also invited a panel of current Web Designer Academy students to come to the training and share the results they’ve created since joining our program – some having been in for 3-4 months and others up to 2 years.

We started promoting it at the end of November with a series of emails and Instagram lives talking about the mindset shifts we help our students make, and inviting people to fill out our application to get their invitation to the training.

So that first week in December, most of my time was spent reviewing those applications.

And our application process is not a gimmick, you guys. I look at your website, your social media if you have it. What you tell me in your application… and I’m looking for exactly how I can help you.

If you don’t give me enough information in your application, I’ll ask you for the information I need – and honestly, most people ghost me when I ask for follow up information, probably because they either weren’t serious in the first place, or they didn’t really think a human would be involved in the application process… or sometimes I get applications from people who are new to web design and they’re looking to learn skills – we don’t accept those applications either, and I’ll refer them to colleagues who also teach how to build a website.

We only work with established web designers in our program since it’s a group coaching program – I want to make sure that the people in it are at a place in there business where they have similar challenges so that the coaching is relevant to everyone.

So the majority of applications I receive are legit, and I personally review and respond to all of them, and invite them to the live private training.

So that’s what I did the first week of December – write and send promotional emails, review the applications and make personal Loom video invitations for accepted applicants, set up the reminder emails for the training and work on honing my presentation.

I also had the flu during that first week… and I started to notice a pattern that every time I do an open enrollment event, I’m sick.

Back in March, I was sick during the Simply Profitable Designer Summit and open enrollment I did then, and I can recall several times during the past few years that I’ve been sick for Web Designer Academy open enrollments.

And sure, I could chalk it up to nature – like, I probably picked up a bug at Thanksgiving… or, I’ve been working too much and not taking good enough care of myself and letting my immune system get run down…

But have you ever read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks? I’ve read it a few times on my entrepreneurial journey, and I just recently picked it back up, and I’m open to considering that me getting sick before open enrollments is an Upper Limit Problem.

In the book, he talks about how we all have Upper Limits in abundance, success and love… and Gay talks about it as a thermostat that kicks on… but I like to think of your Upper Limit as your the end of your Comfort Zone.

You have a comfort zone in your abundance – like, with this much abundance, like money, or opportunity, or time – you won’t feel greedy or guilty… but if you go over that, your guilty greedy switch is tripped, and your subconscious will kick on and cause you to do something to bring you back into your comfort zone – and you might also sabotage another area of your life in response, so it’s like “Yeah, well, I might have made all this money, but my relationship’s a mess, so see? I’m not perfect, so I don’t have to feel greedy or guilty about the money… I’ll just be over here feeling bad about my relationship and picking fights with my partner.”

So the work is to EXPAND your Upper Limit and eventually dissolve it so that your comfort zone IS the ultimate level of abundance, success and love, and that you feel amazing about all of it, and your not sabotaging yourself to bring yourself down into what you feel like you’re “allowed” to have.

And it’s super interesting, because I watch our Web Designer Academy students expand their upper limit, and then they join our Next Level Mastermind for more advanced web design business owners, and they bump up against it again in the form of a fear of success. They really want to create their Next Level Vision, but subconsciously they believe they can’t handle MORE, and maybe they’ve gotten over the guilty greedy, but now their freedom switch is getting tripped as they bump up against their upper limit, so they self-sabotage by doing things like not marketing to try to stay in their current comfort zone – which has definitely expanded, sure, but hasn’t yet expanded as big as their vision.

In the book, Gay talks about how getting sick before important events as an Upper Limit Problem – how it’s your subconscious trying to keep you safe in your comfort zone. And while I’m not sure I’m entirely on board with me manifesting the flu, which comes from outside of your body from someone else vs. I don’t know, some other illness that could be caused by stress or other behaviors, the pattern has repeated enough for me that I’m willing to consider that it’s an Upper Limit Problem.

And so I journaled on it, and I’ll just share here verbatim what I wrote in my journal:

“I notice that I get sick before/during open enrollments. How could that be an upper limit problem?

I don’t believe I can reach my goal so I subconsciously get sick so I can say “At least I reached a lower goal in spite of being sick.”

In minimizing and diminishing my abilities and creating a situation whereI don’t have to live up to what I know I’m capable of or really want. Because deep down, I’m still believing I’m responsible for my students’ results, which is something I truly have no control over… scratch that, I do “have control” over it, I’m just not RESPONSIBLE FOR it.

So I still have mindtrash I’m harming them just by taking their money. So in order to “harm” less of them and protect my ego, I get sick.

The TRUTH is that me believing I’m responsible for their results is what is ACTUALLY harmful to them! When I believe I’m responsible for their results, I disempower them. Their success is 100% within their power, and 100% within my power, as long as we both show up in integrity and fulfill our ends of the agreement.

My 100% is:

  • Ensure the program is designed to guide clients to the results that they want.
  • Give access to the program for the agreed-upon timeframe.
  • Be available for the coaching I agreed to.
  • Give the feedback I agreed to upon request.
  • Allow them to move at a pace that works for them instead of the pace I would move at personally.
  • Intervene when mindset goes off the rails, help you get out of your own way and back on track.

Their 100% is:

  • Learn the strategies.
  • Ask questions.
  • Create the assets.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Implement the strategies + gather data.
  • Ask for coaching.
  • Repeat until you create the result.

I know I always give my 100%, so there’s nothing to protect myself from. I’m resilient. I can handle whatever happens as it happens. I don’t need to predict or prevent it.

I am not harming people by offering them the opportunity to let me help them create the web design business they deserve, and they don’t need me to protect them.

Just like I don’t need other people to protect me when I join coaching programs. I don’t expect anyone to protect me from mistakes or failure or unexpected situations or to give me magic answers or silver bullet solutions, because I know those don’t exist. I just need them to be there to guide me through them when or if they happen, to show me what I cannot see about myself, and help me get out of my own way.

That’s the agreement. We share 200% of the responsibility of the results. I uphold my 100%, they uphold their 100%, and its a win-win.

So can we let go of this upper limit sabotage of getting sick before open enrollments? YES

We don’t need to temper our expectations or protect ourselves (we meaning me and subconscious me). Let’s go big, and FEEL big, feel a big win or loss, be proud or be disappointed, but give it our all. We’ll help way more people that way. My clients are brilliant, responsible, resourceful ambitious ADULTS who are fully capable of making their own decisions and I will get out of their way and let them.”

So that’s what I was noticing about what MIGHT be going on when I get sick before open enrollments…

That I STILL have a fear of harming my clients – despite SO much evidence to the contrary.

It’s definitely something that I’ll get some coaching on, because every time I think I have it solved, it pops back up in a new way like whack-a-mole.

So whether or not the illnesses are an Upper Limit Problem or not… those beliefs pop up for me often in lots of different ways, and it’s something I’m continually working on – and it’s something I get to heal at my CORE to be able to happily grow to my next level.

And I tell you all of that ALSO to tell you that I see web designers doing the same self-sabotage with their clients.

They believe that they have to protect their clients with their price, or that their responsible for the success of their clients’ business or that they have to save them… and that’s a lot of unnecessary pressure to put on yourself. That’s not what your client is hiring you to do. YOUR clients are brilliant, responsible, resourceful ambitious ADULTS who are fully capable of making their own decisions.

Think about what YOU are 100% responsible for in your relationship with your clients, and what your clients are 100% responsible for – both during and after your project. Get really clear on it. And only put things in your category that are 100% in your control. And only put things in their category that are 100% in their control.

Okay, so back to December…

The first week was spent prepping and approving applications and promoting the training – and then we hosted the live training, and I gotta say… it truly was the BEST one I’ve ever done. EVER.

I taught the concepts in a more powerful way, everything just FLOWED. Our student panel just blew my freaking mind, I mean, I know our students create results, I hear it from them every week, but to get to hear their experience on that panel, I was like WOW, this is all I want to do for the rest of my life – I was so in awe of them.

And then we did a Q&A session at the end and I truly couldn’t believe how many GOOD questions there were, which tells me that people felt safe to ask them, which is such a gift.

The live training is where I invite all the accepted applicants to officially join our program and give all the details and answer all their questions and really just help them make the decision to work with us or not.

So after the live training is over, we make the replay available and I send it out to all the accepted applicants, and then we also send a series of emails that are designed to lead applicants through making the decision to work with us or not – and like I mentioned in the November income report, I worked with one of our Web Designer Academy students Sarah Guilliot on those emails, and then this time, instead of just putting them all in ConvertKit and scheduling them, I prepped and sent one a day. Maybe I’d edit it a little bit to reflect a question asked in the training or a conversation I had with an applicant, but I made them just a little more personal and relevant, and I sent out one a day.

So I send out the mass emails to all the applicants, but I also reach out to each person individually to make sure they got the training and see if they have any questions about the program – and while plenty of people just completely ghost and never respond to a single communication – I usually have lots of great conversations with people – I get to see where there mindset is at, and honestly, it’s what gives me ideas for content for this podcast because I see the things people believe that’s keeping them stuck through those conversations.

So not only did I feel like it was the best live training I’ve ever done… my nervous system was so calm about it… and I think that sense of calmness came from the thought that I shared at the end of my November income report, was “No matter what happens with this open enrollment, I’ll be fine. We’re in a good spot to cover all the operating expenses, and I’m totally willing to find other creative ways to cover my personal salary depending on what happens.”

And while those thoughts might sound like playing small or giving up… to me they made me feel super calm and in control. Like, no matter what happens, I’ll be fine, so I can let this play out and enroll people for the right reasons – for THEM and their success, not for me and my security.

I don’t feel pushy or gross or weird following up, because it’s not FOR ME, it’s for them and all the reasons they told me in their application that they want to make a change.

So when I truly believe that I don’t NEED the money (because I believe I’ll be okay no matter what happens)… I make the money – and it never happens in the way I expect or plan for it to happen.

Combined with when I truly believe that the success ratio is 200% – 100% on me and 100% on them, vs. what my scarcity brain thinks which is 100% on me and 0% on them…

Well, then I become unstoppable. And just to be clear, unstoppable doesn’t mean that everyone says yes.

It means that I showed up in integrity, left everything on the field, and that the results happened as they should, and if they weren’t what I wanted, I get to figure out what is it that I don’t know yet, or what am I still believing that’s creating this result that I didn’t want, and do it again.

So we did the open enrollment live event and I spent the week after that havings sales convos and enrolling our new students, and I’ll share our revenue numbers for December here with you in a minute…

But the only thing that was a little wonky with December open enrollment that I’ve never had to address before is usually I raise the price on the Web Designer Academy every year… but this year, we actually rolled back to our original pricing, and I don’t plan to increase the price again for the foreseeable future… so where I used to be able to say “join before this date to get in at this rate” – I don’t have that anymore…

So people are like “Awesome, I want to join, but not right now. I want to wait until I feel more ready or I’ve saved up all the money to join.”

And on one hand, I don’t want people to join before they’re ready just to get a deal on our pricing… but I want to incentivize people not to wait, because the longer you wait, the time and money you’re leaving on the table compounds.

So I’m looking at other ways to incentivize the decision that are sustainable for me, and compelling for our applicants, and I’m sure I’ll test a few different things out in 2024.

but the best thing about this December is that we’re closed from December 22nd – January 3rd every year, and it’s something that I do because I always hated having to take vacation time during the holidays when I was in corporate, and I’m like, my company, I get to structure it how I want, so that is paid time off for our employees – which I am one of two – and I’m not super great at taking time off – I get bored, my husband and friends have corporate jobs and don’t have time off during that time, so I usually end up working, and I did a little bit – just on creative stuff, but mostly I didn’t, and it was the first break in a LONG time that I didn’t have some crazy project that I assigned myself – and had zero anxiety about it.

December 2023 Numbers

TOTAL REVENUE: $35,950

      • Web Designer Academy (Includes WDA, Next Level): $35,950
      • Affiliates + Partnerships: $000

TOTAL REVENUE: $15,051.52

    • Team: $10,344.02
      (includes my full-time salary + our part-time client success coach salary, plus payroll taxes )
    • Tools I use to run my business: $1172.11
    • Education + Training: $0.00
    • Marketing: $2155.23
      • CRO Consulting: $1500.00
      • Podcast Production: $565
      • Ads $64.78
      • WDA Engagement + Retention $25.38
    • WDA Next Level Retreat: $0
    • Line of Credit + CC Interest: $269.35
    • Professional Services: $461.63
      • Legal $0
      • Accounting $0
      • Bookkeeping $230.00
      • HR $83.20
      • Biz Insurance $148.43
      • Office Expenses: $148.00

NET PROFIT: $20,898.48

Get the full breakdown of income, expenses and net profit month by month here.

2023 Year In Review

Okay, so that was December, let’s talk about 2023 as a whole… and I could sit here and talk about what a tough year 2023 was for my business, and how I made mistakes and how some things were out of my control, and the year was tough too for so many other business owners I know so it’s not just me, but honestly… I’m kinda over it, like, over talking about it like it was hard and like it happened TO me.

2023 happened FOR me, not TO me.

I wanted to make $500K in 2023. I’m like, I’ve done it before – in 2020, I can do it again

And spoiler alert. I did NOT reach that goal. Not even close.

I had some mental and emotional growth to do this year instead of business and revenue growth.

And something my business coach said really resonated with me this year, and it wasn’t word for word, but this is how I processed what she said about setting big goals.

When you set an OUTCOME goal, like a certain revenue number in a certain time frame, you’ll either reach it or you won’t – and if you do, great, you had everything you needed to make it happen – and if you don’t, it’s because the goal was there to expose all the leaks and cracks and things that need fixed and areas of opportunity for growth in order to reach the goal in the future.

Just because you set a goal doesn’t mean you’re entitled to achieve it.

Just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you’re entitled to it in the future.

For me, my areas of growth in 2023 were:

  • patience vs. instant gratification and hustle;
  • positive self-talk vs. negative self-talk
  • addressing head on vs. avoiding discomfort;
  • making data driven decisions vs. emotion-driven decisions;
  • abundance mindset vs. scarcity mindset
  • and experimentation vs. success expectancy

I grew in every single one of those areas this year, and I didn’t know I needed to.

So let’s get straight into the numbers for 2023, and then I’ll get into all the lessons I learned along the way.

2023 Numbers

Full disclosure, when I was first pulling these together a couple weeks ago, I had lots of anxious thoughts about them, like almost panic attack level which shows me that there’s absolutely work still to be done on my money mindset – and for me I think it goes deeper than that, it’s like, a security thing wrapped in an autonomy thing… so I’m definitely going to be working on that in 2024.

But once I calmed down, I realized that these numbers simply reveal the places where my business was leaking time and money, and I’ve already solved many of them going forward for 2024 – and they also reveal to me opportunities for changing things in 2024. And when I look at it that way, they tell an entirely different story than what my scarcity brain wants to tell me.

And I’m so, so glad I’m writing income reports again, because in 2023, I was not looking at my numbers as closely as I have in previous years – and not looking it, avoiding it, is part of the reason why they look the way they look. It’s like, I knew there was a problem brewing on the expense side, but I wanted to avoid it and put all my attention on the revenue side.

So my revenue goal was $500k, and like I said earlier, that did NOT happen.

TOTAL REVENUE: $178,661.83

And $125,000 of that came in in the second six months of the year… we only created $53,000 in the first half of the year.

So with all the lessons I learned in 2023, if that ever happens again, I’ll make decisions on cutting expenses WAY sooner than I did in 2023.

The writing was on the wall in the first half of the year that I couldn’t maintain my current expenses, but I just keep thinking I could “recover” and avoid tough decisions instead of making the tough decisions TO recover.

Lesson learned – Make the tough decisions sooner rather than later.

Total INVESTMENTS: $306,564.96

    • Payroll: $178.272.70 (includes my full-time salary + our part-time client success coach salary, plus payroll taxes. Fascinating that this number pretty much matches our revenue exactly… and was the difficult decision that I wanted to avoid).
    • Tools I use to run my business: $22,893.92 (this number is pretty much unchangeable)
    • Education + Training: $40,552.90 (this is something that I value, but should have made decisions in other areas if I wanted to keep this).
    • Marketing: $32,845.31 (Most of this was YT ads that generated leads, but not clients.)
    • WDA Next Level Retreat: $13,474.71
    • SPD Summit $5814.00
    • Professional Services: $15,146.15
    • Office Expenses: $1165.10

NET PROFIT: $-127,903.13

I had money in reserves to cover this loss, plus, I’m really glad that 2022 Shannon went ahead and secured a line of credit from my bank that she was SURE I’d never need to dip into but wanted to have just in case – and I’m so glad I did.

But experiencing a year like this was a first for me, and I think it’s just another box to check off in terms of what I’m here to navigate as the CEO of my business.

2023 was the first time I ever considered going and getting a day job and winding down my business – but that thought was totally coming from a woe is me place, and in hindsight I think I may have been experiencing a mild depression.

I’ve had that happen a few times in my life, but I don’t realize that’s what it was until I’m out of it? And I remember thinking the same thing several months ago and thinking I was on the other side of it, but it wasn’t until November of this year where I was like, oh, nope, I wasn’t out of it, but NOW I’m on the other side of it. But I totally see a therapist, and it’s something I’m going to bring up with her to see if I can figure out a way to notice it sooner, and if there are any interventions or if I just need to be aware of it and not make big decisions when I’m in it.

And I’m thinking about that version of me that wanted to quit my business and I’m like, girl… you would hate your life. You know you can’t go back to that!

But I’m also still totally willing to do whatever I need to make sure my bills are paid and weather any business storms, and just being willing makes me feel really empowered and calm.

And while I also felt like I worked a lot and worked really hard last year… A lot of the work was on things like presentations and webinars and trainings and workshops and scripts and slides and emails – stuff that takes a LONG time to create, but that not that many people see… or reading and journaling from a place of anxiousness, searching for something that would help me make sense of what was happening or feel some relief…

But what I was NOT doing was getting out there, promoting the business in a bigger way and building our audience and getting more eyeballs on our podcast and our program.

So that’s something I’m being really intentional about changing in 2024.

So I wanna talk about the lessons learned from 2023 in terms of the CEO decisions I had to

I’m the CEO of this business, and 2023 gave me lots of opportunities to step into that role and make CEO decisions.

CEO Decision #1 – The first CEO decision I made in 2023 was to retire the very first course I ever created – the Free 5 Day Website Challenge, and all the related templates and courses I sold as part of it, like our Site in a Snap templates and our Subscriber to Sale Blueprint.

I was running two completely separate businesses – and I had several mentors say to me, well, doesn’t the Free 5 Day Website Challenge teach web design so that they can then come join the Web Designer Academy and get business coaching?

And I’m like yes, it did teach how to build a WordPress website with Elementor and all the automations, etc. but it was targeted towards online business owners who were DIYing, and while yes, absolutely there were people that came out of that training and loved the process so much that they decided they wanted to start a web design business – that was a very, very small minority of that audience and not really where the customer base for the Web Designer Academy came from.

Keeping the free training up to date, answering the questions in the free facebook group, providing customer service for a free course – it was all costing me way more money and lost time than it was making in affiliate commissions and course sales, and I felt like I could have a bigger impact going all in on the Web Designer Academy.

And I was afraid to make the announcement because I was afraid of the negative reaction I might get – which is something I know many web designers struggle with – making decisions or setting boundaries that they fear might disappoint people or invite a negative response… and for the most part people were very understanding. I got some people that were extremely upset, and I got to practice letting them feel their feelings while continuing to do what I know was right for me.

CEO Decision #2 – We also took over the Simply Profitable Designer Summit in 2023 from its creator, Krista Miller of Summit in a Box. She decided to let go of running her summit for designers, and I’d spoken at many of them and sponsored the event in 2022 to great success – and I told her if she ever wanted to sell it I’d love to buy it from her – so we agreed on a price, and that I’d pay her 50% of our ticket sales annually until our agreement was fulfilled.

We kept the Summit a little smaller last year since it was our first time running that summit, and I also wanted to make sure I introduced myself to that email list and built a relationship with all those subscribers and nurture them. I’d say about a third of that list has unsubscribed or gone cold, but I feel like we did a good job nurturing that list and retaining subscribers.

But honestly, I totally had a weird scarcity mindset around the Summit. I was weird about inviting colleagues who were also business coaches for web designers to speak – it’s like I was trying to hoard all the people for myself. I overthought the invite list, just all this stuff that is not normally ME – and I’ve completely shed all of that nonsense.

Right now we’re planning the 2024 Simply Profitable Designer Summit, and I’ve got 40 speakers confirmed for this year! Save the date because it’ll be happening March 18th-22nd, and it’s going to be so jam-packed with valuable topics and speaker bonuses you won’t believe it. Tickets will be going on sale the last week of February.

CEO Decision #3 – I changed how Web Designer Academy enrollment worked and the price structure… and then I changed it back.

So the way Web Designer Academy enrollment works right now – and how it’s always worked except for the first 6 months of 2023 – is that you can fill out our application any time, if accepted I’ll send you an in-depth training on our strategies that includes all the program details, and then you’ll have a window of time to decide if you want to enroll or not.

But in January of 2023, I decided to move to a closed enrollment enrollment model, where I did a public training, and then invited you to fill out the application ONLY IF you had already decided to enroll – and I also took away the payment plan.

And noticed I said “I decided to move to that model” because in my mind, it wasn’t like I’m testing this out and gathering data, I’m like, we’re doing this… and in hindsight, it was coming from a very, very scarce place.

I’d hired my 2 employees 9 months before, and I had these deep-seated thoughts that “I need to make all the money up front now so that I’ll never ever run out of money to pay them because if I run out and can’t pay them then I will be harming them and their children and they will be homeless living in a van down by the river.”

I don’t think I was fully aware of these thoughts at the time I made the decision to change the price, the payment plan, and the way enrollment works all in one fell swoop without an intention to test it, but with the belief that this is how it’s gonna and I just expected it to work.

And it did NOT work.

I’ve thought a lot about why it didn’t work, and I have lots of business answers as to why it didn’t work that I’ve already talked about on this podcast…

…but the biggest lesson I want to take away from that experience and integrate into my core and never forget is that it didn’t work because I was making decisions from a place of fear and scarcity.

And when you make decisions from a place of fear and scarcity, you’re going to create unwanted results.

The decision to roll back our price increases, bring back the payment plan and go back to our stepping-stone decision-making approach with our applicants?

That came from a place of abundance, generosity, gratitude, acceptance and just trusting myself and letting go.

I was trying to protect myself from some negative things I’d experienced at my previous price point… but by trying to prevent discomfort, I put up a wall that was so high it prevented the bad and the good.

I feel so good about our pricing right now – to me it feels like we’re giving the web designer academy away because I see the results our students create and how quickly they typically create them, and how they go on to make many, many times more than they invest in the program during their year with us and beyond… And while I felt that our program was totally WORTH the increased price when I did it… I didn’t feel as amazing about the price as do at this price, and it makes all the difference in the world for selling it.

CEO Decision #4 – Hiring an attorney to help me deal with the fraud that happened with my previous payment processor that I talked about back in Epsiode 43. Normally that’s something I would have tried to navigate on my own… and I’m happy to report that she not only helped us reach an amicable resolution, but that hiring an expert to handle something that serious took a huge weight off my shoulders which allowed me to focus on rolling out the price restructure.

And being forced to rebuild my e-commerce – I have way better reporting on upcoming recurring revenue now that I used to, so there’s a silver lining in all of this.

CEO Decision #5 – Laying off a team member. That was a tough decision… But I don’t just run the Web Designer Academy to make money… I do it because I want to empower other women to have the freedom, flexibility, financial independence, fulfillment and autonomy that I’ve created for myself through entrepreneurship – and that mission is bigger than any one person.

I truly believe that when women are empowered, families and communities are stronger. When women make more money, families and communities are stronger. When women value themselves and are honest and direct, they set an example for their children and those around them. When women believe in themselves, they set an example for their children and the women around them. There’s a huge ripple effect.

My business coach talks about making decisions that protect the profit – and I wholeheartedly agree, but there’s also the part about making decisions that protect the mission and vision, and my decision to lay off a team member was not about protecting the profit – it was about making sure the Web Designer Academy was here to serve our current and future clients. It’s not just about making sure I have a paycheck – there’s way easier ways to make money.

And I take full responsibility for making decisions that led to our finances get to the point where I had to decide to lay off an employee to preserve the mission – and that lesson is burned into me.

My friend and business/mindset coach Alecia St. Germain once told me “Leaders go first” and it’s stuck with me. I always say I’m a stove toucher… and I’m trying not to be, I’m trying to be more receptive to advice and let go of my need to find out for myself… but I sure do learn those lessons the fastest when I experience the pain.

CEO Decision #6 – I enrolled and re-enrolled in a super high-level business coaching program in 2023, and I chose to finance my enrollment in that program… and while I absolutely went into 2023 intending to reach that $500k revenue goal with the help of this program – it didn’t happen that way… and I’m SO GLAD I was in that program during this season of my business, because it helped me see where I was getting in my own way, and how my thinking about what was happening was compounding the issues and causing me to move slower.

I recouped my investment in the program for sure… but didn’t create the return on my investment in the timeframe I expected to, and I haven’t paid off what I financed yet because I’d rather keep the cash available to me… and that’s okay – but I had to deal with a lot of mindtrash about having “business debt” and having those thoughts put me into scarcity mode… but the truth is that all I did was buy some money and make a decision to pay for something over time – just like I do with my house and my car – and I don’t make that a big huge deal – and the thing I chose to pay for over time is something that actually helps me make more money – unlike my car payment, although my Jeep totally brings me tons of joy and I’ll be driving one when I’m 80.

So I know with what I learned and experienced last year, that I will continue to apply that advice and those lessons for years to come, and without it, who knows if I’d even be writing this income report right now. I may not have started steering the ship in another direction soon enough to avoid the iceberg…

It’s a CEO decision to consider not reaching your goals a massive success – because what I learned from things not going the way I wanted them to go in 2023 is SO much more valuable than what I’d have learned if they had.

And what I learned is that you’ve never truly arrived, and there are no guarantees that you’ll create this year what you created last year.

There’s never a place where it always just goes exactly as you want it to, that there’s some magic strategy out there that always works forever and you never have to deal with any discomfort or disappointment. If you’re searching for that, I wish you well on your quest, but I don’t think it exists.

And so it’s the support system we build around us, that we lean on in those times when things aren’t going the way we want them to, with people who respect you enough to tell you things your ego might not want to hear and who you trust enough to hear them anyway – that’s the “magic solution”.

And that’s why its so important to know WHY you are pursuing entrepreneurship, and being your own boss… because it’s that drive that will get you through the tough times.

Mine is agency and autonomy – and not just for me, for our students too. That’s what drives me. My own agency and autonomy, and yours too – and not just from corporate constraints, but with your clients too. There’s zero point in building a business that you feel trapped and beholden to.

When you have agency and autonomy, and you’re committed to growth, even when it’s uncomfortable, the discomfort is more than worth the rewards.

So, I’m still noticing and incorporating the lessons of 2023, I’m sure there’s more… AND I’m ready to move forward into 2024 with the lessons:

  • Patience
  • positive self-talk
  • addressing issues head on
  • and making data driven decisions
  • abundance mindset
  • and experimentation

But instead of doing new things all the time, which takes a TON of time and effort and there’s a lot of opportunity cost to that which I experienced in 2023 – to really lean into the things we’ve already done, continue to use them and just get more eyeballs on them – which means I get to very intentionally put myself out there more.

It’s the marketing strategy we preach and teach in the Web Designer Academy is outreach and relationship building – and that’s my focus for 2024.

I get to do the exact same thing our students do to book new clients… and it works, you guys. One of our students set a goal for herself to create $10K by the end of Q1 – and she focused exclusively on outreach starting a few weeks ago, and she already booked a $15k client and has 3 other proposals out there.

Another one of our students joined the first week of January, and within the first WEEK booked a client with our Package Matrix strategy at her new prices. In ONE WEEK.

So I get to do it too instead of spending all my time creating new trainings for my email list. The ones we currently have are awesome and they work.

So my word of the year is PATIENCE.

My goal is to pitch myself for one new opportunity each week, and so far I’ve done that – and it will end up being 52 times more than I did in 2023… so only good things can come from that.

We’re keeping our pricing the same, the enrollment process the same, and if the next 6 months looks anything like the last 6 months, things are on the upswing and I’m here for it.

That’s all I got for you… thank you SO MUCH for listening, and I’ll be back next week with a brand new episode for you to help you do less and make more in 2024!

A smiling person with a tooth showing on their chin is looking indoors.

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.