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The image features a person wearing red glasses with a thoughtful expression, promoting a podcast titled "Profitable Web Designer" with the text "#97 - Amy Posner."

#97 – Attracting Higher-Quality Web Design Clients with Amy Posner

Today I'm chatting with Amy Posner, a seasoned entrepreneur and business coach who empowers digital creatives to attract the right clients and build successful businesses.

She's the creator of the Complete Breakthrough Freelancer course and co-host of the Business Badassery podcast – and today she's sharing her journey of launching six successful businesses and how she transitioned into coaching freelancers to find high-paying clients, break free of the “freelancer's dilemma” that leads talented creatives to undercharge and over-deliver (leading to burnout and financial stress) and achieve the success they deserve.

If you've ever felt like you're working too hard for too little or that your business skills are holding you back, you’re not gonna want to miss this episode.


  • The importance of identifying your ideal client profile (vs. niching).
  • How to set and communicate boundaries with clients
  • The value of specializing in your freelance business
  • Strategies for creating a steady flow of high-paying clients
  • How to shift your mindset to see yourself as an expert


  • [00:02] Introduction to Amy Posner and her journey as an entrepreneur
  • [06:33] Common challenges freelancers face and why they struggle to find high-paying clients
  • [12:29] The importance of client fit and understanding different market segments
  • [18:57] How to ask the right questions and establish your expertise from the start
  • [24:08] Shifting your mindset from order taker to expert and taking control of client interactions


Shannon Mattern (00:02.562)

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer podcast. And I'm so excited to introduce you to today's guest, Amy Posner. Amy is a seasoned online entrepreneur and business coach who helps digital creative freelancers build breakthrough businesses. And we've been chit chatting before I pressed record and I am just so excited to dig into some of these juicy topics with you. But before we do,

Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?

Amy (00:37.627)

Yeah, absolutely. So I've been a serial entrepreneur for 30 years. So I'll give you the long story kind of short. I've run six businesses. I never set out to be a business owner. I grew up in a family business and so I wanted to be the creative one, you know. I got into business really accidentally and found out it was really creative and really, really interesting and kind of never looked back. And so...

I've always, I've been a small business owner and over the last decade plus, I've been coaching small business owners, primarily freelancers of all different stripes, mostly people who are digital creatives for lack of a better term. And it's been really interesting because I've also had a career as a copywriter. So I coached copywriters for a long time. And what I discovered, what was true for copywriters was true across the board for freelancers and tell me if this is what you see too.

The creatives who are really good at their craft but don't have business skills just don't eat as well as somebody who might be mediocre but has biz jobs. And it's a really tough differentiator, but it is one. And people are intimidated by the business side. So I've set out to make this whole thing approachable and manageable and digestible and palatable for people who are really creatives at heart. But like,

want to profit from this thing they're passionate about and do well and not be struggling and stressed out. So that's sort of the long story short.

Shannon Mattern (02:06.882)

That is why I was, yeah, that's why I was so excited to talk to you because I feel like we are so aligned there in terms of, you know, we put all of this time, effort and energy into learning the skill of the craft that we're doing. And we don't necessarily think about that. We, you know, also get to learn the skill of running the business side of the business. I know when I first started freelance web designing, I was just.

I had no clue how to run a business. So many of the things that came up, I was wholly unprepared for. I handled them the way I would have thought my employer would want me to handle them. And it just was not a profitable or sustainable way to run a business. So I'm so glad there are people out there like you who are helping people like our listeners.

hone the skill of running a business. So I want to circle back, like, how did you go from being a copywriter to like moving into coaching creatives and online service providers?

Amy (03:22.235)

Well, interestingly, before I started my full -time copywriting business, I was a partner in a coaching practice. And I'm not a coach. I just want to be really clear. I'm not a certified coach. I think of myself more as a mentor. I've got a lot of gray hairs. I've earned every one of them. So I've been through a lot in terms of business.

Amy (03:56.091)

Did I just, did you miss that? Were we missing something?

Shannon Mattern (03:58.818)

I think I may have frozen. I think I might have frozen, but I'll edit this out. But just keep going. If I freeze, just keep going because you are, you're independently like being recorded from me. So even if I freeze, it'll all come out fine in the end.

Amy (04:14.043)


Amy (04:20.219)

Okay, super. Okay, can you prompt me? Where were we? I'm sorry.

Shannon Mattern (04:24.802)

I asked you, I asked you, how did you go from, copywriting to, and you said you were, in a coaching practice, but you weren't, you're not a certified coach. You think of yourself more as a mentor. That's what you said.

Amy (04:44.859)

Okay, so let me just pick it up from there. So, and I am not a certified coach. I think of myself more as a mentor, but I was a partner in this coaching practice. And then I was always a copywriter. I was always a copywriter slash marketer. I always did that for all my businesses. And as this coaching business was sort of cycling out, I started doing more and more copy. But then what happened was people in the copy space started coming to me and saying like, could you show me how to do X or?

How do you do why? And all these questions kept coming up. And so my theory in business is when somebody is asking you for something over and over and over, it's probably something you should offer. Like it's like your audience knocking on the door saying, hello, here's what we need to learn that you know. And so it was that. It was just, it was a kind of a natural progression. And then I ended up working in a couple of other people's coaching programs. People, I got known a little bit and people asked me to coach in their programs. And so I just, it just sort of took off that way.

that morphed into masterminds and group coaching and various other things. So it was just, it was sort of a, it wasn't something I set out to do, but there was a call for it. And I started doing it and I was, I didn't know, like were my skills transferable? And it turned out that they were. And so, you know, once I discovered I could help other people do it, I sort of systematized it and made it into something that was, you know, ideally usable by most people at least.

Shannon Mattern (06:08.898)

So what are some of the common challenges or things that you see with someone who is just like really, really good at their craft, but is like you said earlier, just like not eating well. Like what are some of the common characteristics of like why they're having those challenges, I guess.

Amy (06:33.595)

You know, it's what you talk about. It's the undercharging and over -delivering, usually. That's a piece of it. Also, you know, there's a really interesting sort of stratification inside of the world that we serve, the kinds of clients that we serve as freelancers. So there are people who have different needs and there are people who are at different levels of their business sophistication. And so...

Like I'm sure, I'm sure people in your audience have seen this. Like, why does somebody pay 3000 for a website over here and somebody over here is paying 30 ,000 for one, right? Is it the client? Is it the contractor? Is it the project? Is it the coding? Is it the soft? And like, what is it? And I think what it takes a long time to discover in the marketplace is what it is. Is there just different clients with different needs and for whom what you offer drives a different like.

department or different thing, if you will, in their business. Like when you're driving, when you're doing something that's close to revenue, for example, people tend to pay more for that. They also tend to understand that it drives revenue. And so they understand the value of it more where you might have somebody else say who, you know, they're starting a business and they know they need a website because you have to have one now, but, but they see you as a necessary evil. It's like a one and done. Right. And they may not see you as an evil.

but they see you as something they need, not necessarily something they want. And so, and they have a different budget and they have a different goal in mind. And so they're really, I may be going a little further on this rabbit trail, but there are really different types of clients with different needs for what appears to be the same service. But inside that service, there may be very different things happening.

Shannon Mattern (08:18.85)

I love that you said that and I wrote down the word stratification while you were talking, because I'm like, that is such a beautiful way to say that. And I think what I see, and I'm curious if you see this as well, is that our web designers in our audience, make it mean something about them that a client...

wouldn't be willing to pay their price. So let's say they put forward a proposal that's like 15 ,000 at the high end, right? And the client is like, yeah, no, no way. I can't afford that. That's way out of my price range. And then what I see happen is they're like, I can't charge that much. I priced myself out of the market, quote unquote. Like it's all just one market at one homogenous market at one price.

And then it really like sets them back in their pricing. It might send them back into like, I need to choose a new niche. Like they instead of, they focus on niche instead of the stratification that you were talking about. Like, maybe photographers can't afford this. So maybe I should go over here with local businesses. Like, what do you see with your clients and the people that you serve?

Amy (09:43.739)

That's such a great point, right? Because like it's like, and I happen to say niche, so there's a niche in niche, but whichever word it is, like, there's different ways to niche too. Like as a web designer, you could niche, like you just said, like it could be small businesses or it could be photographers, or you might niche in, I only do three page websites, or I only do more complex websites, whatever it is, there's a lot of ways that you can divide that. And so I think what you, and it's not always obvious.

Shannon Mattern (09:50.562)

I'm sorry.

Amy (10:14.427)

who buys what. It's a bit of a puzzle. And so when somebody rejects that proposal, like it's never a blanket statement about everyone in that profession, right? Like it could be a photographer who you've sent this proposal to and they're newer and they just don't, they don't have the budget or they're newer and they don't understand the value of what you're offering. And this is an interesting thing because even if you explain the value to them, they still might not have the budget.

And so what that means is they're not a fit for you. You need to find somebody else for that offer. It doesn't mean that offer is not saleable. It just means this isn't the person to buy it. And I mean, I guess the best analogy is like to think of cars, right? I mean, there really aren't inexpensive cars anymore, but they're cheaper cars, right? They're less expensive cars and then there's luxury cars and not everybody, and there are different reasons for wanting them.

like different aspirational reasons, different status reasons, safety reasons. There's all of these things, but not everybody will choose, make the same choices or have the same budget. And it's the same thing, you know, inside web design and inside of a business. Like you're looking for fit and you're looking for fit like theoretically, even before you talk to an individual person, because you're like, I'm going to serve this kind of market. Then you want to make sure you're talking to people.

in that market. So like even like you mentioned, like a small business market. Well, there's, there's all kinds of stratification inside of that. And so you may be not, you may be looking for a certain characteristic. Like maybe you're looking for people who want a three page website or a five page website, right? I don't know if that's how actually how web designers think about it, but, or maybe it's a, like maybe there are just types of things and you're in, you know, certain people buy those things. And so you want to make sure that you're giving the right message to the right market. It's not you.

And it's never personal. It's never personal, right? It's not like I don't like you or you're bad or you're not good at what you do. It might be, I just can't afford you now. Boy, I'd love to work with you. Like, you know, be my dream, but just can't right now for whatever reason. And it's got nothing to do with you. I mean, they're usually in that conversation because they'd really like to work with you. There's an obstacle in the way to it being right now.

Shannon Mattern (12:29.314)

I love that. And one of the things I always say to our students is marketing's not about you, sales isn't about you. Yes, there are skills that you can develop and things you can do to just learn the process and learn the skill. But ultimately, if you're putting in the time and attention that you need to get to the point where you're making an offer,

typically that's the decision's going to be way more about them and what they need than it is gonna be about you. And you mentioned like selling three page websites or five page websites. That's something that I definitely wanted to like chat with you about too, because you know, there's such a difference in selling a website and the number of pages and all of these deliverables versus like talking about.

what you do in terms of the results that the client can get. And that's the biggest difference that I see with pricing between the $3 ,000 website and the $10 ,000 website is one person is selling a certain number of pages and deliverables and setting up your email marketing. And the other one is selling like the results of what you can create when you work with, when you have those things. So how do you approach that with your clients?

Amy (13:55.371)

So you nailed it. And I think it's a strategy expertise differentiator. Because clients come to you with different needs, and they don't always know what they need. I'm guessing with websites, they know they need a site. At least they know that. We're all operating in the same ballpark. But we don't know what they need. And so the order taker in my case,

like vocabulary is, you know, when somebody shows up and says, Hey, I need, you know, I need a website. I think it should be like a home page and about page and a services page. And you say, okay, that'll cost X. Let's get going. The other contractor, the $10 ,000 contractor says, okay, great. Like how come? What's up? What's going on in your business? Do you have a website currently? Is it not working? Do you need a new website? How do you, how do you use your website? Where do people come from?

What outcomes are you looking for? What would you like it to do for you? What does it do for you now? They started an investigative process. They started a discovery process. And that's the expertise. That's the expertise at looking at, with any project, because there's like, people come to you because they want an outcome, right? I mean, the outcome may just be, I need a web presence, but the outcome may be, I need to sell stuff, or I need to book clients in my service business. So.

Like what are they trying to do? And then we talk to them about like, well, who are your clients and what do they know about you and how do they make decisions? And then there's a whole, right, there's a whole process for that obviously, but there's a very different feeling in that meeting when somebody says to you, sure, I can do that. And that's a great feeling too. It's like, okay, great, just get it taken care of. And that may be what they want. That's very different than someone's, than someone's starting to say to you, okay, let's talk about that. And let's talk about what you need and how I can best help you. And.

You know, where my expertise sort of intersects with your, the needs you, you have. That's a more consultive conversation. But here's the interesting thing. There are two different clients. Not everyone wants to be in that conversation. So you need to know which conversation you want to be in. Which problem do you like to solve? Do you like to be an order taker? And you know, and like there's merit to that. Right. It's easy. It's quick. It's, it's easy to turn around. There's not a lot of process. There's not a lot of heavy lifting.

Amy (16:16.507)

or there's less heavy lifting, let's say. Or do you want to be the person who gets in and digs around and figures out a solution and acts a little bit more like the expert slash strategist? There's way more perceived value there. And so you can charge a much higher price. You're also, you're delivering, usually in those situations too, you're delivering like a high level of customer service. There's a certain customer.

that will pay to be really well taken care of. And it's not like, I want to be well taken care of, but what they want is someone who's reliable, who's going to communicate with them, who they know where they are and what they're doing. Not like a boss. They don't want a daily report, but it's a weird thing to sign a contract because for most of us, that's when we go into our cave, right? We got to think and plan and project manage and all of those things. And they're like, I just gave you money. Where are you? And so the $10 ,000 contractor is going to be like, you know what?

Here's what's going to happen in week one. You're going to hear from me Monday. I'm going to do X, Y, Z. This is what will happen on Friday. Next Monday, we're going to do, and they've got a plan. And that's what makes the person feel confident. this ain't your first rodeo. There's a plan. There's a process. You're an expert. I'm paying you to guide me. It's a very, very different experience. And if you like to deliver that kind of experience, like kind of a white glove experience, you can get paid a lot more for it. You have to be good. You have to be really reliable. But if that's you.

then you've already sort of upleveled your niche just by focusing on those services and how you deliver them.

Shannon Mattern (17:52.642)

What I love about everything that you just said is you started out with the question of like, how come? And it really like just shifts the whole, I don't like to use the word power, but the balance of like, I guess it is a balance of power. Like if someone's coming to you saying, I want this, this, this, this, and this, and your first question is, how come? Tell me more about that. Tell me what you're trying to accomplish.

that just that simple question just shifts you into like, I'm the expert here. And I want to find out what you really want. So I can give you what you really want. Because it might not be what you think you want. And ultimately, what we both want is for your project to be successful. And so I get to do like you said, some X some investigations and excavation and some digging to

really get to the root of like, what is going to make this project successful? And it might not be what you think it is. I just thought that was a beautiful question. So simple.

Amy (18:57.915)

And Shannon, there's.

So simple. And you know, Shannon, the thing, this is like, this is this great irony is when you're new, you feel like asking questions makes you look ignorant or like you don't know things, right? Like, and you don't know, it's like you're like, and you're in your mind, like, and they might even be using lingo and you're like, I should know that. What is that? But it might turn out it's internal lingo and the client's like, why aren't they asking what I'm talking about? And you're like, I should know that. I should know, right? But the thing is like, questions are great. Questions, you know,

Questions are what indicate that you're an expert and that you have confidence and that you're willing to sort of open the conversation and explore and you don't need to have all the answers. And in fact, you said something that I just wanna take a little sideways moment on if I can about the power shift. It's a really, one of the things I have a little cheat sheet for a discovery call. So I'm happy to share with your audience. It's like a seven step process, but the first one.

is segueing off the chit chat. And it's really interesting, because we get in a meeting like, hey, how you doing? And where are you in the weather? Whatever it is we talk about. And then someone has to say, OK, so. And that person needs to be the contractor, because that's who takes control of the conversation. So really simply like, hey, Shannon, I had a respect for your time. I'd like to get the meeting started. Here's what I'd like to do. I know you've got questions for me. I've got some for you.

Well, basically, I want to know what you're about here and see if we have a fit. Does that work for you? And it can be nervous making for people. That's a lot of control to take. But what it does actually is put your client at ease. It's like, OK. They know what they're doing, right? They're showing up. It's another way of demonstrating expertise.

Amy (20:54.683)

And it's a really, really simple one. But then from there you can go, so tell me about the project. Like, what's the genesis? Why now? What's going on? Tell me about your business. And a really interesting thing is when you start asking those questions in those discovery calls, sometimes people will tell you things you will never hear again, even if you work with that client for 10 years. They start telling you their origin story and why they started their business and what they care about, what they're passionate about. And...

Like we don't, like as business owners, no one's really that interested in that conversation. But when the contractor starts asking about that and you get to talk about it, very often it's really meaningful and it's very deep. And so that's why I encourage people, ask the question, spend the time. That's where you're building the relationship and getting a sense like, is there a problem a problem I can solve? Is there a problem I want to solve? Right? So that's the discovery piece.

And I just want people to feel free to like know that it's discovery. It's your choice as much as theirs. It's fit. It's fit. It's fit. It's not about, you know, whether you're good enough to make the grade ever.

Shannon Mattern (21:58.498)

I, yes, I love that so much too. And I, you know, one of the, one of the things I think about us as freelancers, creative entrepreneurs is like, we don't want to work for someone else for a reason. We want to like create our own schedule. We want to run the show. We want to,

you know, have freedom and flexibility and financial independence and all of the reasons why we would choose to the path of entrepreneurship versus the path of a paycheck and having a boss. And I think where I see people, like trap themselves and kind of repeat the patterns that they had at a job where they don't have the freedom, the flexibility, and they're letting their clients call the shots is that they aren't.

taking control from the very, we always say like you're establishing boundaries from moment one of every conversation. And I love how you're saying, and you're also establishing your expertise by taking control, by being the one to lead them through the process. Because when you do that on the consultation,

You're setting the stage for you being the one to do it all throughout the whole entire project too. If you let the client take the lead at the beginning, you can get it back, but it's a little bit more challenging to get it back.

Amy (23:29.339)

And that's the thing, that's the ticket right there. It's like, whoever, if showing that you can lead the conversation, it means that you can lead the project, right? And it's a really, it's a subtle jump. The client isn't thinking, they seem very together. Well, they may be, but they're not thinking like, they must be good at running projects. They're thinking, this person's good. They're confident, they're competent, right? And that's the first sort of feeling of like, you know, they're like sigh and settle into their chair, like, okay.

I want to listen to this person. So it's a really important move. It just is. And even if you feel awkward at first, just do it. It gets less awkward. It does.

Shannon Mattern (24:08.194)

Yeah, so I'm thinking like, what does someone have to really believe about themselves to make the shift from, I really hope that they think I'm good enough and they pick me to, I get to decide whether or not I want to work with this person. Like, what do you think has to happen for the freelancer to make that shift?

Amy (24:35.131)

probably a whole lot between your ears. I mean, I think at that point, some of it is mindset. I think, and here's the thing, you know, it's like, and I hope people realize this, it's so bold to say, I'm gonna do this. Like, I'm gonna be a freelance web designer. Like, that's a really bold statement, because we know like everyone fantasizes, it'd be so great to have freedom and flexibility and all of that. Like, very few people actually do it, right? They don't just like,

plant their stake in the ground and say, damn it, I'm here. I'm a web designer, hire me. So you've done that. You've done the bold steps. So please believe in yourself. Please believe in yourself and your abilities, because you did that. And that was the biggest boldest thing. Now it's like, I know it's scary because you have to tell other people that about yourself. But I guess what I want to say is like, it is hard. It is scary. And so what?

The hard, scary things grow you and it's just really worth it. I don't mean to say, so what, and dismiss it like cavalier, like, who cares how you feel. I'm a very emotional person and how I feel sometimes drives what I do. So I'm not dismissing that. I'm just saying you kind of have to make the decision.

that it's not personal, right? It's not about you. You're good at what you do. What you're looking for is fit. You're always looking for fit and it can take a while to find it. So it's just, it's not, yeah, it's just, it's not, it's just not personal. I guess I'm just bringing you back to the same thing, but.

Shannon Mattern (26:14.818)

When you said, and so what, it totally gave me chills. It really did. Cause I was just like, yes, because like it is worth it on the other side of, of that growth. And I don't know about you and I'd love to hear more about like your, your journey on, you know, going from order taker to expert. But you know, for me, it has been a personal growth journey that I didn't.

Amy (26:15.323)


Shannon Mattern (26:43.714)

realize I needed to go through. I was like, yeah, I need to, I realize that the way I'm running my web design business isn't working. I see that there are some things that I need to change with my pricing and how I'm dealing with clients and systems and processes. But there was a whole level of things I needed to fix, like you said, between my ears and just realize, I am believing these things about myself to be true. And I get to.

decide something different. I get to think about myself differently. And yeah, so when you said, and so what, I was just like, yeah, so what? So it's been worth it for me every step of the way personally for every challenge that I've seen and us getting to like be in this unique position of mentoring other people through that journey.

really kind of holding their hand through that so what moment has been really powerful, powerful as well. So what was that like for you?

Amy (27:47.963)

You know, it's interesting. I'm kinda, I'm sort of scrappy. And so I, I have, it's funny. I have a weird confidence. Like I have this weird confidence that I can do a thing, but I don't, it's kind of internal though. When I have to take that out into the world, it's a whole different thing. So like, I have this idea like, well, I can learn something and I can do something or I could be good at something. And that's not true. I can't do it. I can't.

Shannon Mattern (28:02.786)

Love it.

Amy (28:17.307)

come across things I just like flat out can't do. But I really took that whole challenge to heart. Like I saw so many, like when I first started, I started pre -internet, right? So we didn't have all the shiny objects and you couldn't like see the fantasy of everyone else's life and how good it looked and all that comparison. But we had other ways to compare. And I was looking around and I'm like, I don't know.

Like other people have done this. People like have successfully built these solo businesses and I'm looking at them. It was mostly men at the time, particularly in the spaces I was in. And I'm like, okay, well, I just had this idea that I could crack the code. And I was very curious. So I didn't have that same, I never had the thing of like, I'm not good enough. I just always had the thing of like, where do I fit?

And like, who do I fit with? And that was always a thing to figure out for me. So I didn't have that particular thing, but I did have, like I said to you, I'm very emotional. And so I had years or times, well years, yeah, where how I felt dictated a lot of what I did or didn't do.

And I had a coach in this program. You've got to sign someone. This is not someone I would have chosen. He and I were like, just did not, we didn't see eye to eye on stuff, but I did respect him because he was successful. And I was like, okay, I don't have to like the guy. I don't have to agree with him, but like there's something to learn here, right? Cause he's successful.

And I was really upset at one point, things weren't working for me. And I cried in this call and I was so embarrassed because I felt like, you know, like here I am, the typical woman, like I'm, you know, like I should hold it together. Anyway, I was really embarrassed and he was this very slow speaking Texan man, a few words. And he says to me, you know, you just have to take how you feel out of the picture. You make a plan and you just work.

Amy (30:23.867)

The plan, it doesn't really matter how you feel. And I was really annoyed because I thought, well, you don't seem to feel anything, you know, like easy for you to say. But he was right. He was 100 % right. I mean, like I then adjusted to go like, well, I mean, like there are certain exceptions, right? Of like, you know, I mean, something really horrible happens, whatever.

But just the general mood of the day or feeling like, I don't want to do this, or clients are mean, or people are going to reject me, or this is, it's like, so what? Right? Make a plan and work the plan. And I also, there was a thing at that time for me where I was really, I was really wanting to improve my skills and I was really into metrics. Because I figured it was like an equation that I could solve. Right? Like, how many people do I have to talk to to get a client?

And how many of these type of people do I have to talk to? And what if I talk to these people, do I have to talk to fewer? And that's what I was always trying to figure out. It's like, how do I get clients? And then it was like, then it was solving the like, who are the 3000 and the $30 ,000 people? Which do I want to work for? Cause you know, the $30 ,000 projects are not always the best projects, right? Like the big money numbers are cool. And it's great to know someone will say, yes, I will pay you $30 ,000, but those projects are complex and they're long and there can just be a bear.

where you could have done $6 ,000, $5 ,000 projects and I've been out of there and have your feet up drinking a glass of wine and going, ha! Right, so it's a whole different story. And I'm a little bit off the track. So I want to say one more thing, because you did ask me, for me, I also work with someone. I have a coach. I have somebody who can pick me up when I'm down, because someone who holds my vision for me.

Shannon Mattern (32:01.794)


Amy (32:08.987)

know, when I get frustrated and say, this isn't working or it's taking too long, or I don't know if I made the right decision, she can be like, well, you know, back in 2022, or you know, whatever it is, you know, I have I have someone who keeps me keeps me square while I keep you know, I'm keeping over here, keeping a lot of other people on their square. So it's all of those things.

Shannon Mattern (32:32.29)

I love how you just said that your coach is someone who holds your vision for you because I like you. I like I'm very, I don't ever think like I'm not good enough to do that. I'm like, I can figure anything out. I like I hold a like, I guess a high opinion of myself in that way where I'm like, I'm smart enough. I can figure anything out. I can do this. However,

I can get into cycles of, my gosh, it's not working. Something I'm doing is not, you know, I can get in those like panic modes, I guess you could say, where then I just like ruminate and get a lot of anxiety. And that sends me into over actioning and trying to fix things that actually aren't broken. And I end up like breaking things that aren't broken and making it worse. And so, and so when you're saying like,

Amy (33:27.579)

I can relate to that.

Shannon Mattern (33:28.802)

You know, you got to take your feelings out of it. That is really what I have learned in the past year. You know, the past six months have been a lot better, but like 2023, probably I spent really in that place and not realizing that that was like my feelings about facts that were like causing things to compound and drag on longer than they were. So when it's like,

You have to take your feelings out of it. A thousand percent. And you need, I needed other people to be like, give me perspective so that it wasn't just me believing everything that I thought. And someone to, like you said, hold my vision for me when I'm over off in whereverville thinking that the sky is falling and trying and spending all my time trying to shore up for the sky falling when the sky's not falling.

Meanwhile, I have my eye off the ball over here. You need some people to bring you back to that place.

Amy (34:38.651)

That's so insightful. And because, you know, there's this funny thing and I just keep coming up against it where you like, there's a certain perspective you just can't get on yourself. I mean, you just can't, you just flack can't cause you're, cause you are you, right? And there are things that you, that you can't see. And so.

Shannon Mattern (34:50.274)


Amy (34:58.171)

There's that, like having people sort of see what you can't. But you know, the other thing is, it's like you, like, you're, we're like, even you and I who are saying like, no, we'll take stuff on and learn it and figure it out and stuff like that. There's still, there's still like these places where, you know, where you're lacking in confidence or where you're uncertain or where you don't know how to move forward.

And then you like at one point I realized like if I'm the only brain in my business, then I'm the only brain in my business and I don't know everything and I can't see everything and I particularly can't get out of my own way. Right. It's like you said, because I do I do the same thing. It's like, like the sky is falling. Well, the sky isn't falling. Right. And then you go over here and try and hold up the sky. In the meantime, the sky starts falling over here because it really is falling. Yeah. So. So I think I yeah, I.

Shannon Mattern (35:40.77)


Shannon Mattern (35:53.698)

Yeah, and I only.

I only can tell those things with a lot of space between it happening and a lot of coaching and a lot of, you know, like the insight comes much, much later after I'm like out of it. I can't see it while, while I'm in it. So you coach and mentor freelancers. How do you work with your clients? Like, what does that process look like? What do people typically come to you for? And.

you know, how do you work with them?

Amy (36:29.723)

Yeah, it's shifted a lot. It's gotten more refined, I'd say, like in the last 18 months. So I do it sort of in two contexts. I do it in group and I do it one -on -one. And there's value to both. And sometimes it's funny because sometimes people really want to be in community and sometimes they just really don't want to, like they just want the blinders on and they don't want to know what anyone else is doing because it distracts them. So I've got formats. I mean, it's the same work, but I have formats to work with people more directly. And obviously one -on -one we can move.

faster and I can sort of attach to them more like get in their back pocket a little bit. But what I do, there's sort of three areas that I look at and one is the ICP, the ideal client profile. Like who is your ideal client? Because it's the thing that you and I talked about so much. Like if you're offering the wrong thing to the wrong person, you're going to have all kinds of disconnects and risk feeling like it's you.

So the first thing is to know really like, who do you want to serve? What problems do you want to solve? And is that a reachable group of people? Like it's all well and good to like want to work with, you know, like, it's funny. Like sometimes people come to me and they want to work with, with like people who are sort of change agents or like doing great things in the world that they really respect or admire. And that's like, it's a good impulse, but they're not necessarily great clients, right? Like you need to know what's a great, what makes a great client for you.

And so that's a big discovery process. And I think it's a really important one because like, yeah, you can go after whatever random business and that can sustain you for a while, but it'll lead to feast and famine. It'll lead to uncertainty. So you really need to know who these people are and you need to pick from a pool of people who are reachable, right? Like we can say, great, I want to talk to people who, I don't know, make XYZ, but if you don't know where to find people who make XYZ, then can't serve them.

So that's the first thing we look at is the ideal client profile. And then we look at all of this for me is in service of what I call client getting system. Because if you have a steady flow of clients, like people knocking on your door saying, hey, I need this, I need that, then you have choice. If there's three people knocking on your door, it's like, whoa, which project do I want here? If there's only one person knocking on your door, guess which project you take.

Amy (38:44.763)

So I'm all about the client getting system so that you have lead flow and you have choice. And so then that gives you control in your business. So we look at the ideal client. Next, we look at what do you need to attract that ideal client? What do they need to see, know, hear, read about you to say, I'm interested in you, right? Like, how are you going to go out in the world and what are you going to go out with? So we look at that. And I have a really simple system.

where you have an anchor piece, like you have your sort of, I call it your stake in the ground, kind of like your manifesto, whatever it is, it's like what you believe about what you do, which is often people get a little hung up on this, but it's the thing that you know so well, right? But your client just needs to know that you know it, right? And so it does, so this doesn't have to be like some big original thought or something like that, you know, it's going to blow the doors off. It just needs to be what you think about what you do and why it's important.

We have that and then we talk about like, how are you going to get that in the world? Like what actions are you actually going to take?

to get clients. And from my point of view, there's two ways. There's short term and there's long term. I'm a big fan of the long -term play because it's easier and it gives you inbound where people are coming to you, which is a way easier situation than you going to them. That said, I'm a real advocate of cold pitching. It's a great way to get momentum. It's a great way to get something in the door. It's a great way to be in action instead of in perseveration. And it often leads to results.

So those are the three things that I work on because everything else falls out in those three buckets, pricing, offers, positioning, because we have to address all of the topics in order to figure out these three main things. But my whole thing is I want you to have a client getting system. That's ultimately what I'm about because I want you to have choice and I want you to have freedom and flexibility. And that's how you, in my view, that's how you get it.

Shannon Mattern (40:43.426)

I, yeah, a client getting system because all of the rest of it is moot if you don't have clients to serve. And I feel like that that is the, you know, the piece that you said earlier about the ideal client profile and like, you know, where, you know, can you find these people? I think that that is like the one of the biggest questions that I get where people ask me, well, like, where can I find clients who are willing to pay that much?

And it's like, you have to, I'm really curious what you think about this because my whole point is like when you're newer, you do a lot more outbound, you kiss a lot of frogs who may not be that person and you kind of like experiment and find your way to those people. But I'm super curious, like what you think about, how do you find that?

you know, stratification of those clients that are like, what's that process look like for your, for your clients.

Amy (41:52.731)

So I actually have a little free five day course about identifying your ideal clients. And it's a free course, it's on my site, but I actually make my paid clients go through it. I don't make them, but I ask them to go through it. Because it helps you to think a little bit more business -like about it. What results do they actually need to get from you to pay the kind of money?

that you want them to pay you, right? And it's not even what you want them to pay you. There's like a whole process of figuring out like what...

Amy (42:31.035)

It's about explaining the value that you deliver in the end, right? It's really about people understanding value. And I'm a big fan of value -based pricing, which is like, you know, it's not hourly. It's not like, you know, this for a deliverable. It's the value that you're going to receive from this work that I'm doing. Right? And so, you know, if I'm doing, if I'm creating a website for you for $10 ,000, well, hopefully, you know, it's going to make you a hundred thousand dollars.

So it's going to make you $50 ,000. And it's a little bit over time. It's different. But I think ultimately,

Amy (43:10.235)

It's a, there's two important pieces. One is like, what makes you happy? Who do you like working with? Like what projects do you get up in the morning and go, cool, I get to do this. And which projects are like, God, you want to bang your head on the desk? Like start to pay attention to what you like. Who do you like working with? I like people with a sense of humor. It's a very weird thing to sort for. Cause you don't know until you get in a meeting. But like if I say something and people are like,

Shannon Mattern (43:24.914)


Amy (43:37.115)

they're annoyed or they're deadpan, I'm like, God, they're never gonna get me. They're not gonna like working with me. This is not gonna be fun for either of us. I mean, so it can be things like that. But I think it's like starting to figure out who do you wanna serve? And then do, maybe it's, and maybe you look at like who buys at that level and of the people who buy at that level, do any of them appeal to you? Do they interest you? People forget that things like what they know before.

Right? Like, I used to be an accountant and now I'm a web designer. Well, like, don't you think accountants would really want to hire you? Like, don't you think they would go like, you get it. Perfect. You know what I do. You know, you might be married to a lawyer, you know, it's like, you're not a lawyer, but like, you know, you could be one in court if you had to or on TV. Cause like, you know, all of that. Do you know what I mean? It's like, there's, there's, there are these associations in your life that can make it easier for you to be planted there.

Not always, but anyway, I go through that in this thing. Just figuring out, what do you already know? Where do you have expertise? What can you lean into? And then ultimately, what's going to make you happy? So it's that. It's like, who buys what you sell? And where do you like being? Because I don't want you to be somewhere that makes you unhappy. One caveat, if I may. There are seasons in life where different things are important. Some years, money might be really important. Maybe you've...

got some extra expenses or you've just had some kids or you're planning to have kids or whatever it is, right? Sometimes money matters and like, you know what? I'll work with somebody I don't love as much on a bigger project because right now, you know, I'm not going to work with someone who I don't respect or who's, you know, whose values I, you know, are out of line or they're promoting something that I don't agree with. But other than that, you know, I'll bend my parameters a lot in a money season.

Some seasons, it's more about, you know what, I want right fit. And you can move right fit into a money season, but like know what you're solving for, right? And don't be, if it's not money, that's okay. There's so much hype in our space about money, money, money, making money. I think like, how about having balance? How much money do you need, right? In different regions, you need different amounts of money. In different seasons, you need different amounts. So I just, I feel like it's really.

Amy (45:58.235)

Like allow yourself the luxury of like deciding what you want. It's not to say you're going to get everything that you want, but you'll get down close or you'll get closer if you take the time to think about that. And so, and I guess my thing is like, again, you've hung the shingle, you've done the work. Like you deserve this. You deserve to have something that works for you and takes good care of you. You know, and that should, your business should be that entity.

Shannon Mattern (46:21.794)

So good. And, you know, I was thinking just about like web designers specifically how much pressure they put on themselves to be the expert in every single possible facet of online marketing. And so they're like, I have to be the designer, the developer, the copywriter, the SEO expert, the conversion rate optimization expert. And I have to know all of those things perfectly. Every single development.

in order to be able to charge X and you, it's you, but then when you know that you have a gap in one of those areas, it like affects your confidence in the whole project. And then you end up like taking on bad fit things or missing out on like just zoning in on what you're really good at and working exclusively in that and like planting your stake in that thing. And.

It's not fun anymore then. It's not fun anymore when you think you have to do all those things.

Amy (47:26.811)

And you know what the irony is there? Is you get more money for specificity. Right? The more specific you are, the more of a specialist you are, the fewer things you do, the more highly you're regarded at a certain point. And so, like, there's not even value in being able to offer all those things, I don't think, because then you end up being like the proverbial Jill of all trades, master of none kind of thing. I mean, there is that.

also one thing I really like is, is having, partners like colleagues who are reliable, like have an SEO expert, have a copywriter, you know, have a couple of them that you can either work with, bring on projects or like reliably refer, you know, and I mean, reliably refer, like, you know, they're going to take good care of your clients, but it's, it's really great to be able to say, you know what SEO is like a whole domain unto itself. And, you know, I work, I work with so -and -so.

Shannon Mattern (48:18.598)


Amy (48:26.395)

when it comes to that and I'd love to bring her on or introduce you. And you just set the stage. You know what, I don't do that. Like I coach a lot of copywriters who like say they're like an email writer and then suddenly the client wants them to like be loading stuff up into the CRM. No, no, no, no. You tell them, you know what you say, you don't want to pay my rates for that. Yeah, no, that's not a good idea. We'll, you know, we can get it. We get an assistant or we'll get you like, like.

You dictate. No, no. And that's, I love that line. You don't want to pay my rates for that. And they're like, Ooh, okay. Got it. Like, right. Instead of like, yeah, walk all over me. Sure. I'll load stuff up. You know, yeah. I'll take your cat to the vet. No problem. What else do you need?

Shannon Mattern (49:01.89)

I love that. Magic words.

Shannon Mattern (49:12.77)

It's been so awesome talking to you about all this. I could talk to you for hours about all of the nuances of, you know, really just taking ownership and control of your freelance business because ultimately, like, everything that you say is like, when you do that, you make more money. I mean, like, it's just, yeah.

So I could talk to you forever about this, but I have just a couple more questions to ask before we wrap up. The first one is, and I asked this of everybody that comes on the podcast, what belief about yourself did you have to change to get to where you are today?

Amy (49:57.019)

I had to, how do I phrase this? I'm very private and I had to change my belief that if people really knew me, and if they were not, they wouldn't want to, I had to change my belief about being seen and being known and being authentic about who I am, because I'm really private and it wasn't serving me, it was making me unhappy. So that.

Shannon Mattern (50:26.114)

Yeah, that is really powerful.

Amy (50:26.779)

And that's, it's kind of not, I don't know if that's a belief so much as a behavior, but yeah.

Shannon Mattern (50:33.282)

That's really powerful. I think that that's one that I know a lot of our listeners, when it comes to marketing and doing outreach, or even like you were talking about earlier, the manifesto and really saying, here's who I am and here's what I stand for and here's who I want to work with, feels very risky to them or it doesn't necessarily feel and I don't like.

I don't want to throw this word around, but like it doesn't feel safe for them to really say things like that online for fear of what friends might think, what family might think, fear of being ostracized, all of those things. And it's real. It's a real, real consideration to put yourself out there to say, I want this thing that I really want more than I care what.

people who I don't respect think, or maybe I do respect, but you know, how that goes. So yeah, so powerful. So last question, where can everyone go to connect with you, learn more about you, learn more about your coaching, learn more about how you can help them with their freelance business?

Amy (51:57.819)

Well, thank you for asking. The best place is my site. It's amyposner .com, A -Y -P -O -S -N -E -R .com. And I'm also, I'm on LinkedIn a lot. And I'm happy to answer questions and connect on there. And I really, I don't know how long I'll be able to do this, but I kind of pride myself on being the accessible coach. You know, like the one who answers questions and like you can actually like get in their inbox and that sort of thing. So yeah, hit me up. I like doing it. It feeds me. So yeah, I'm here for it.

Shannon Mattern (52:27.778)

Love it. So I will link that up in the show notes. You can go to amyposner .com and in the top left of Amy's site, you can get that five day e -course breakthrough clients for free that she mentioned when we were talking about that earlier. Amy, thank you so much for being here. I really, really enjoyed our conversation and yeah, everyone go check out Amy's stuff. So yeah, thank you so much.

Amy (52:56.219)

Thank you, I love what you're up to in the world, so thanks for having me.


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.