listen to my latest podcast episode:
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Hi, I'm Shannon Mattern, and I help women web designers stop undercharging and overdelivering.

I founded the Web Designer Academy in 2016 to provide the mentorship and support I wish I would've had!

We teach simple yet powerful marketing tactics combined with innovative and authentic sales strategies to help you create freedom, flexibility, financial independence and impact as a freelance web designer.

There's a better way to run your web design business.

A person with long blonde hair is smiling in a well-lit, modern room with plants and simple, elegant furniture in the background.

Hi, I'm Shannon Mattern, and I help women web designers stop undercharging and overdelivering.

I founded the Web Designer Academy in 2016 to provide the mentorship and support I wish I would've had!

We teach simple yet powerful marketing tactics combined with innovative and authentic sales strategies to help you create freedom, flexibility, financial independence and impact as a freelance web designer.

There's a better way to run your web design business.

Here's how we can help you raise your prices, attract dream clients and work on your own terms.

Shannon is beginning their journey to become a web designer by learning about unique web designer identity, client design, and how to attract clients with messaging and pricing. Full Text: shannon, your journey starts here. start here . Big Picture 1. Unique Web Designer Identity 2. Dreamium Client Design dream Get Your Next Dreamiumgger progrom and how they all W/l uncover your Uniga Web Designer Intentionally design-your wok-design ing groft messaging thot artroch your packages you the obvious choice for your dients. ing DOOCHH FONT AWWW YIA- pricing n and What's in this module: positioning shannon mattern

Web Designer Academy

Business coaching program for mid-stage women web designers

Get the systems, strategies, coaching and support you need to market, sell and run profitable web design projects like a pro so you can make a generous full-time income as a freelance web designer on your own terms.

In this module, there is a workshop strategy for hiring a web designer and setting goals for the next Dreamiumgger client vision planning. Full Text: preframing dream naking Get Your Next Dreamiumgger Client vision nium planning ers next + goals What's in this module; level hiring workshop strategy -- ----- web designer academy academy

Next Level Mastermind

strategy + MINDSET coaching for advanced web design business owners

You have the systems, the strategies, the smarts… and yet something is standing between you and your next level.

That's where the Next Level Mastermind comes in. It's a unique group coaching experience where you'll be guided by Shannon and have access to the wisdom of other advanced web design business owners as you uncover what's in the way of your next level, deconstruct it, and work toward your Next Level business goal.

My business journey started back in 2014 with a panic attack in my beige, windowless office.

One day back in 2014, I was sitting in my beige, windowless office under fluorescent lights for the 2555th day in a row, finishing up a financial report that I dreaded doing every month, when I overhear this conversation outside my office door:

“Have you ever had 7-UP salad? It's got lemon Jell-O, lime Jell-O, marshmallows…”

And I literally started to have a panic attack.

“OMG, I cannot DO this for the rest of my life!!! I'm 35 years old! Is this really all there is? Is this why I got good grades and went to college and got a good corporate job??? So I could waste away in this dungeon doing a job that slowly kills my soul?”

I felt trapped. I wanted freedom. I wanted flexibility. I wanted financial independence.

The image features stylized, colorful lettering stating "BLAZE your own TRAIL" with an arrow graphic, set against a black background. It's motivational.

Places you can hear my story:

Business Success Through Personal DiscoveryDesign Domination Podcast with Colleen Gratzer

Service Providers: Stop Undercharging and OverdeliveringIntrovertPreneur Podcast with Tara Reid

Know Your Worth: Undercharging and Overdelivering in Website Development with Shannon Mattern – Women Wealth WordPress Podcast with Nikki Hamilton

How to Grow a Web Design Business with Shannon Mattern – LifterLMS Podcast

Progress, Not Perfection: Shannon Mattern on Building Her Business – $1M Tipping Point Podcast with Kiri Mohan

Mondays and Mornings are MineHorkey HQ Podcast with Gina Horkey

Ohio IT Director Earns $31,000 Setting Up WordPress SitesSide Hustle School Podcast with Chris Guillebeau

From Side Hustle to Self-Employed: How I Turned My Online Business into a Full Time IncomeEntrepreneur's Handbook

Selling an Online Course through an Evergreen 5-Day Challenge with Shannon MatternInspired for Action Podcast with Amanda Genther

How She Built Up Her Biz Enough to Quit Her JobRebel Boss Ladies with Eden Fried

How to Start Your Side HustlePricing is Positioning with Paul Klein

Membership Sites That Scale: From Side Hustle to Full-Time BusinessAccessAlly Blog

Ditching Client Work and Going All-In on Courses with Shannon MatternContent Heroes with Josiah Goff

Shannon Mattern on Lessons on EntrepreneurshipAbundantly Being with Mary Hodges

From Scaling a Design Business to Offering Only Group Programs – without ANY Mass MarketingScaling Deep

But most of all, I wanted to have a bigger impact.

To do something that mattered. Because each day that passed, I felt more and more panicked that I was wasting my life. Going to college, getting a job, making money for someone else and having finite earning potential – all of that’s great if what you are doing excites you. If it’s your passion. If you feel like you’re really making an impact in the world.

But what if it doesn’t? What if you realize that you're made for more?

And I felt so guilty about not being happy. Because I had a good job, made great money and I felt like I should just be satisfied with what I had because so many others aren’t as fortunate. But I just couldn't shake the feeling that I was meant to do something more.

And the one thing I loved about my job was marketing + web design.

So I got the opportunity to start a freelance web design business when one of our vendors at my day job asked me who built our website. 

I started building websites for small businesses and entrepreneurs while still working full time.

My goal was to make enough money to replace my day job income so that I could be my own boss. And so I spent every single evening after work and all day on the weekends working on client websites.

And I quickly burnt myself out.

A person smiles, standing in a modern meeting room, wearing a jean jacket, peach dress, near blue chairs and decorative wall art, with a flip chart.
An open laptop with a black screen sits on a white round table with beige wooden legs, placed on a textured rug, near a couch with pillows.

I wasn't charging enough (thanks, imposter syndrome).

I didn't have good processes or boundaries in place.

I said yes to everyone and everything. I calculated that I was making about $4 an hour from my side hustle, 75 cents less than I'd made at my very first job in high school.

“This isn't worth it…” I thought. “I'm going to wrap up these projects and just forget about owning my own business.

And I truly almost gave up.

But if you know me… you know that when I get my mind on something, I'll make it happen. I won't take no for an answer, even from myself.

So I was listening to Chalene Johnson's Build Your Tribe podcast one day where this random guy was talking about how he earns money by showing people how to set up web hosting… but they didn't pay him to show them how to do it, the web hosting company paid him when people purchased the web hosting he recommended.

That guy is Pat Flynn of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, by the way…

It was one of those record-scratch moments.

Wait, so instead of building websites for people, I can teach them for free how to do it themselves, and when they buy the things they'll have to buy anyway to build their site, I'll make money from those companies?!?! No wonder there are so many “how to build a website” tutorials out there! I can make a waaaay better tutorial, and give it away for free and still make money!

So I recorded a free web design tutorial for online entrepreneurs.

And my tutorials weren't gonna be anything like the other WordPress tutorials out there.

They would assume my students had a knowledge level of 0 about computers, the internet and how to build a website –  with zero judgment.

Because I didn't want anyone else to ever be treated the way I was when I was learning web design. I'd ask questions in WordPress forums and get harassed, belittled.

Duly noted, bro. I'll figure it out myself. 

When I think back on it now, no wonder I had such doubts about my abilities. I probably internalized that stuff more than I realized, and I didn't want to be called dumb for asking questions so I just figured it all out on my own through trial and error.

A person sits on the counter.

So when I decided I'd teach people how to DIY with WordPress instead of doing it for them, I put in place some core values that had my past-self in mind:

  • There will be a safe space for people who are not techie to learn so that they aren't eviscerated online when they ask questions.
  • No jargon, no trying to explain how it all works behind the scenes. No one cares. They're not trying to be a web developer, they're just trying to get their website up so they can move on to getting clients and making money.
  • There are NO stupid questions.
  • There are several key things that online business owners need to have set up on their website to be successful beyond just the design. Teach them how to do it all in one place. Don't make them figure it all out themselves.
  • When someone asks a question, answer it with the exact steps they need to take to do what they're trying to do. Don't just tell them what to do, tell them how to do it too because chances are they won't know how to do it.

What I didn't realize is that my approach created trust, and a line of customers who just wanted to pay me to do it for them – but I needed to fix my broken web design business first to be able to make it profitable and sustainable for me… and there was I lot I had to unlearn…

But I did the work. It wasn't easy, there was a lot of discomfort, setting boundaries, raising prices, trial and error, ending relationships with clients, but ultimately I got to the place where I was making it work.

In 2016, I started mentoring other web designers, teaching them how to market themselves online, how to get clients, and how to run projects in what ultimately became the Web Designer Academy, which has helped hundreds of web designers work less and make more money.

And by the end of 2017, I was  FINALLY earning enough money from affiliate commissions, courses + 1:1 client work to replace my 6-figure day job salary.

I quit my day job on January 2, 2018 and I spent the next 2 years doing 1:1 web design projects for clients, mentoring web designers inside the Web Designer Academy, and teaching entrepreneurs how to DIY their websites and market themselves online.

I offboarded my 1:1 clients at the end of 2019 to go all in on teaching entrepreneurs and web designers how to create freedom, flexibility and financial independence, and in 2020 we re-launched our Web Designer Academy course as a high-touch, high-impact group coaching program for ambitious women web designers.

Now, in 2023, I run a half-million dollar company with 2 employees that works with hundreds of web designers inside the Web Designer Academy to market and sell 5-figure web design services to their dream clients.

If I can go from employee to entrepreneur to CEO, anyone can do it.

I want to empower and show you that you CAN understand it, that you CAN do it, and that if you commit to taking the action, you can make a huge change in your life.

It is totally possible to turn your side hustle into your full time job. I know because I've done it, and it's changed my life. It takes a major commitment, massive action and willingness to try things that don't work, and make mistakes and keep iterating. It's not gonna happen as fast as you want it to.

There are enough obstacles to overcome, and the one thing that I don't ever want to stand in your way is the tech.

Imagine going to bed on Sunday night and not dreading Monday morning. (It's an amazing feeling, by the way…)

Imagine being able to wear whatever you want every day and not have someone telling you where to be every second of the day.

Imagine being so excited to open up your laptop, jump online (from anywhere that has internet) and help people transform their lives that work doesn’t even feel like work anymore.

I hope my journey inspires you to create a life where you can design your own schedule, help others achieve their goals and experience the financial freedom that comes with not being just another employee ID on the payroll sheet.

Since we're about to become BFFs, here's more about me!


chips and salsa

What has been your favorite vacation ever?

winter beach vacay with my husband, our bffs and doggo!

what keeps you motivated in business?

seeing the transformations our students go through and the results they create... how different they are now vs. when they joined.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

I'm doing it. I absolutely love seeing our students change their businesses and lives.


aunt, dog mom to Scarlett, wife to Floyd, daughter, middle sister, bff, mentor, ceo (in no particular order)...

besides working on your business, what do you love to do?

cooking, camping, atvs, boating, kayaking, bonfires, chill at my bff's pool, go to the mountains or the ocean, naps, puppy snuggles, netflix binges...

if you could only watch one tv show the rest of your life, what would it be?

friends, obviously.

what's the best business advice you've ever received?

there's profit in your pain. every challenge, failure or obstacle teaches something valuable that you'll reap the benefit of later.