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The image features a smiling person on a teal background, with text stating "PROFITABLE WEB DESIGNER with Shannon Mattern." It's likely promotional material.

Finding and Leveraging Your Unique Web Design Business Personality

This week I’m sharing the 6 different web design business personalities we teach inside the Web Designer Academy and how to leverage yours in your business.

I'm breaking down:

  • The 6 most common ones we see, and why this test is one of the first things we have students do in the Web Designer Academy.
  • The challenges each archetype faces and how to harness their strengths.
  • How your archetype can help you attract the ideal clients you want to work with through your energy and messaging.

I also talk about:

  • Different personality tests and why there’s no “one size fits all” solution for everyone who comes into the Web Designer Academy.
  • The 6 archetypes we don’t see as often and how they actually present themselves as clients our students work with.
  • My own archetype and how it presents itself in my business.


Episode Transcript


Speaker 1: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer, a podcast for web designers who want to work less and make more money. I'm your host Shannon, mad, founder of the Web Designer Academy, where we've helped hundreds of web designers stop undercharging, overworking and create profitable, sustainable web design businesses.

Speaker 1: Before we dive into this week's episode, I wanna invite you to join us for a summer workshop series that we're hosting in June, July and August, where we're gonna teach you three of our tried and true strategies for marketing your web design business, managing your clients, and help you stop undercharging for good. These are live interactive workshops where we'll teach you a strategy, coach you on any mind trash getting in your way of implementing, and then you will actually implement the strategy during the live workshop using our step-by-step system and scripts so that you can leave the workshop with a smaller to-do list and go enjoy your summer and you'll have repeatable strategies that you can use over and over again in your web design business. We want you working less and making more this summer, while also setting yourself up for a fruitful fall season.

Speaker 1: So all the workshops will be happening live and they will all be recorded and you keep lifetime access to replays of the trainings, as well as the workbooks, templates and scripts for each workshop. So even if you can't join us live or you're hearing this after a workshop has passed, you'll still get all of the benefits of being there via the replays. So the first workshop is Marketing Momentum and it's happening on Thursday, June 22nd from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern. We'll be teaching our tried and true marketing strategy that you can implement in under an hour a week, and you'll actually do it during this live workshop. Next is Boundaries Bootcamp on Thursday, July 13th from one to 4:00 PM Eastern, and we'll be teaching you our strategies for getting stalled client projects, moving again, we'll teach you how to manage client requests so that you're no longer working 24 7 and taking your laptop on vacation with you.

Speaker 1: And the last workshop is the Stop Undercharging Work Workshop on Thursday, August 17th from one to 4:00 PM Eastern, where we will take you through a pricing mindset makeover and help you completely transform your belief and your value, and also give you a strategy and script for raising your prices with current clients without fear of losing them all. Each workshop is just $99 when you register before June 21st, and you'll save an additional $50 when you register for all three and you get lifetime access to all the replays, workbooks, templates, and scripts that we include in each workshop. Be assured to register today. You can get all of the workshop slash summer and I cannot wait to hang out with you this summer.

Speaker 1: Well, hey there, welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcasts. I am so excited for this episode today. It is going to be a really, really fun one after a couple of episodes that were more, I guess, I don't know, heavier topics like how my Stripe account was hacked, which I talked about in episode 43 and all of the fallout and things that I learned from that. And then my uh, 2023 midyear review and the huge lessons I learned from the first six months of the year. So this episode is gonna be a little bit different. We are going to shift out of the behind the scenes stuff of my business and you know, I always try to talk about like the lessons that I learned so that you can take my experiences and apply them to your business. But today I wanna talk about something completely different.

Speaker 1: Today I wanna talk about how your personality affects your web design business. So we talk a lot in the Web designer academy about mindset and how to like identifying your mind trash and making over your mind trash and like restructure, like breaking down paradigms that don't serve you and rebuilding new ones that do. And that is all so fun and some of my favorite things to talk about. But another thing that we do in the web designer academy that I don't really talk about that much and I was like, oh, this would make like a great episode, is how your like personality traits affect your web design business. I mean, who doesn't love a good per personality test, right? I have always found them fascinating. So like I've taken them all, probably not all of them, but over, you know, in my corporate career , we would have like these people come in and give us personality tests and you know, consultants and try to be like, here's how you guys can work better together as a team and all of this.

Speaker 1: And I always love those days like there were half of our employees were like rolling their eyes and like, do I really have to sit here through this ? I have work to do and I'm like, bring it on. I want all the personality tests. So for me, uh, just to like share a little bit of my personality and we actually have our team members take personality tests when they join our team just so we like learn a little bit more about them and like maybe how they operate in different things. But for me, I'm an Enneagram, I'm an even slit between a 360 9. Like when I took the test it was like, you are even Stevens between all of these. And then my friend who had us take this before a retreat that I went on, she's like, we'll read them all and you just pick one.

Speaker 1: Like it's not that common for someone to like have a tie a three-way tie, but just pick one. If I had to pick, I'm like a three. That feels like the most true to me in human design. I am a generator, of course my dog just decides at this moment that she needs to be really loud. And we are a dog friendly podcast around here. So I'm not even going to ask my podcast producer to edit that out. It just happens, it's life. So in human design I'm a generator, Myers Briggs, I am an I S F J, so that's introverted, observant feeling and judging the disc assessment high i, s and C. So like my, I like if you, you know, the disc is like, I can't remember what the D stands for, but it's like very direct. The I is like your like big bold personality.

Speaker 1: The S is, I don't, it doesn't stand for strategic but it's like that. And then the C is more like, gosh, I, I'm trying to, I'm like, I knew this before I started this podcast episode, but the C is like like more reserved, introverted. Like they need facts and numbers and things have to be right. And so my S was the highest my, I was just a little bit lower than that. And then my C was just a little bit lower than the S if you've ever taken the disc disc assessment predictive index, I'm a captain, strengths finders, restorative focus, harmony, responsibility related. And if you sorted me at Hogwarts, I would be a Gryffindor . So we don't give all of our web designer Academy students, we don't make them take all of those personality tests, but I always found them fascinating and I'm always like kind of a blend of of different things and I think that's maybe because I am the middle child and we adapt to different people's personalities.

Speaker 1: But one of the first things we do with our web designer Academy students when they join our our program is we have them take an assessment, it's like a quiz where they answer a bunch of like questions and it's really related to how they operate in business more than they operate in life. To find what we call their signature archetype and their influencing archetype. And then we use those archetypes throughout our first module of our program to really tease out what we call their unique web designer identity. And doing that really helps them get clear on like the unique strengths and superpowers that they bring to their web design business. It really set them apart from other web designers and it really starts helping them understand why they are so valuable beyond just having like the skill of being able to build a website. Right?

Speaker 1: And it also helps us, me and uh, our client success coach Erica, how to understand like how to coach them throughout their time in the program. It helps us understand like why they might be coming at a certain situation or a problem a certain way, what they are going to have, they're going to like be a little more challenged in raising their prices and someone that's coming in with a completely different archetype. It helps us understand the actions that might be more uncomfortable for them and more comfortable for them so that we can coach them in a way that aligns with who they are at their core to help them reach their goals like in a way that creates less friction for them, right? We wanna work with your personality to help you reach your goals. We don't need you to become somebody else to reach your goals.

Speaker 1: And I think that that's one of the things that I love about what we do inside of our program because it's not one size fits all. We might give someone different advice based on their archetype combination than we would give somebody who is a different archetype because it helps us understand like this person is really strong in this area based on their personality and they might struggle in this area so we might not give them the same advice. And if you have ever gone into a different business program or business coaching program and it's just like, come in and here's all our strategies and here's how to implement them and we'll coach you on them and here's our framework for coaching, but they're not like looking at who you are as a person and you have like struggled to implement. That might be one of the reasons why because it's just not one size fits all when it comes to like coaching someone in their business.

Speaker 1: So we have you take this assessment and we use that all in a lot of different ways in our program when we're teasing out like who you are and we're getting to know you as a person when we're looking at like what makes you really unique and like we have so many people come into our program, they're just like, I can't chart. I literally had a conversation with a web designer today on a discovery call who is just like, I would never pay that much for a website. It's so easy. Who would ever pay that much? And it's like, well when we get into like peeling back the layers of the onion that makes you so unique aside from the fact that like you took the time to figure out how to point and click your way through building a website. And I don't mean to simplify that.

Speaker 1: I know that there's a lot that goes into that and you'll h you know, hear me more talk about that as we go through some of these archetypes. But it really helps you be like, oh yeah, like I am unique. I do bring this thing to the table. So we use it for that. We use it when we're designing our dream client and our nightmare client. We're looking at like, okay, based on my personality and how I operate in business and what I value and what my personality strengths are, I what my personality, I don't even wanna say weaknesses, I'm not even gonna say opportunities. It's just like because they're not things that we need you to change about yourself. My personality tendencies over here, what types of people do I never want to work with cuz that's just gonna like be a lot of friction and potentially triggering for me to work with these types of people.

Speaker 1: Who do I really vibe with and align with? So we use that when we're looking at who our dream clients are outside of niching down. We use that when we're crafting our messaging, naming our web design package, all the things we want to build a business that's aligned with who we are, not become someone else so that we can have a successful web design business. And so in our program we teach that there are 12 core archetypes. It's like your business personality. And today I'm gonna break down for you the six that we most commonly see with our students inside of the web designer academy. Cuz it's pretty fascinating to me that there are 12 archetypes and out of the majority of our students who take the assessment, we see these top six most commonly and we don't see the other six as common. And it's just interesting to me and I think you'll understand a little bit more about that.

Speaker 1: And it's like my brand personality and my , you know, my archetype attracts a certain kind of person into our program typically. And so that's all intentional and by design with our curriculum and all of the things. So today I just wanted to break down for you like what those 12 archetypes are. I'm gonna do six in detail and just share the ones that like aren't super common in our program like briefly. And I also wanna share with you like who they are, what the personality is, the common places that we see them excel in their business, commonplaces, that we see them struggle and really how we work with that archetype to like reduce that friction and align their business with their personality rather than trying to be someone that they aren't. So I'm so excited to talk about this today because I don't think I've ever talked about this anywhere in any of the trainings that I've done, in anything.

Speaker 1: It's like you get into the web designer academy and you're like oh my gosh, like there's this whole like personality testing that I get to go through. So as I'm going through these and you're listening to this, I would love to know which one or two of these resonate with you most. You'll probably see yourself in at least two of these, maybe three out of all 12 of them hit me up on Instagram at Profitable Web Designer. I swear I'm there more if , you've ever messaged me and you're like crickets. I am like having a lot of fun being on Instagram in a way that I'm like actually just connecting with people instead of trying to like entertain on social media. I do not teach marketing through Instagram content creation. In my program , we teach marketing through connecting with real people. So I'm a real person.

Speaker 1: You can connect with me, DM me, just leave a comment on this episode, email me shannon web designer, reach out. I would love to know who you see, like which one of these archetypes resonates with you most? Okay, so our first archetype is the Alchemist. The Alchemist is the visionary, they're an innovator. They see opportunities beyond what's right in front of them. They are all about transformation and reinvention. And the web designer who is an alchemist loves a good redesign, right? They love looking at like an old outdated website or a website that was like di yd and or whatever, or a website that's like on a platform that isn't really serving it and they just love to take that and transform it into something completely different. And I'm not just talking about like visually or with front end design, I'm also talking about like the backend.

Speaker 1: There are alchemists who aren't like designers or visual designers or graphic designers. There are alchemists who are like, it makes me think of one of our students and our program Trish, who's like give me the messiest backend of a website And I just, I love that. I love cleaning up the biggest mess that someone can give me. And so that's like, that's an outcome is they're transforming broken and inefficient systems. They're moving websites from one platform to another. They're dreaming up new ways to streamline and innovate. Like they want to take something like outdated, old, ugly broken and just change it into something new and beautiful. So the Alchemist talks to a potential client and they are like immediately seeing like the vision of their business ecosystem. Like 1, 3, 5 years down into the future, they're seeing like what it is now and they're like, oh my gosh, they get so excited.

Speaker 1: It could just be this thing. And the Alchemist wants to like reinvent and reimagine everything and it happens in their brain in like an instant, like just like that. And so the Alchemist, that's like their personality, the strengths of an Alchemist are that they have a lot of ideas, they're highly innovative, they come up with solutions in an instant, they don't need to spend a lot of time researching. They have a pretty strong vibe about like what they wanna do. What like the best tool would be how to like reorg something, how to redesign something. They get so excited about the possibilities for their clients that their energy is infectious. They're just like, oh my gosh, we can do this and we can do that. And they just get so excited. The challenges that an Alchemist experiences it where they can get into a little bit of trouble or a lot just depending, is that they want to change everything and they have a tendency to like overbuild and overdeliver for their clients.

Speaker 1: Meaning like because they see that like big picture vision and they see how all the pieces fit together and they see how like everything could change and like it could just be so much better. Alchemy is like the old science of like turning lead into gold, right? They want to get them all of the gold, all of that functionality now even if the client is like a few years away from being ready for it. So alchemists can tend to create more work for themselves. They love change so much that they can create more work for themselves. They wanna do like complete overhauls, they wanna like movie from this platform to the to the other. The other place I see Alchemists get in trouble is that they suggest revisions to the client of their own designs that the client didn't ask for . Like they create more work for themselves in lots of different ways and sometimes they can also underestimate how long things take and what the level of effort is not just for themselves but for their clients.

Speaker 1: Because like when they want to do these complete 180 overhaul transformations, they don't necessarily think about like, okay well what's this gonna do for my client? Like what's the level of effort for my client for this? Because like one of the weaknesses of an alchemist is like instant gratification. So they see the big vision that comes easily to them, they see the end, you know, they see the path from taking the lead and turning it into gold, but they also don't necessarily see all of the details and all of the little steps and all of the time and all of the deliverables from their side and the client side to put it together. So they can tend to underestimate how long those things take. And then they can also get so excited about all of the things that they're doing that they don't charge appropriately for it.

Speaker 1: So like they get a lot of satisfaction and gratification from the act of turning the lead into the gold so to speak. They don't charge for all of it. So they're like, you know, oh maybe they forgot some parts that they needed to do or they were just like, oh well I'm just gonna throw that in because it's part of it or whatever. So combined with like their excitement of just like doing the thing and combined with like some of those longer timelines and maybe the lack of seeing all the little pieces and parts along the way that can have them undercharging. So how we help alchemists in our program is that we help them like kind of harness their strength of having all of the ideas and being highly innovative and like package that up in a way that it's like if you want me at like that level of working with me, that is going to be a significantly bigger investment then if you want me to do my magic.

Speaker 1: But like, I don't even wanna say a little bit less, like a little more ringed in, right? So we help the Alchemist really get creative about like their process and how they wanna do things and get really excited and then like package that up in a way that prevents them from undercharging and over-delivering. And we also give them processes that help prevent them from getting in their own way in terms of like them creating the scope creep and them creating the extra revisions and all of the things. So we teach them like here's what to say in a revision call and here's what not to say and here are all the things, you know, all the things to do. So we help, we have to sometimes reign the alchemist in because they are the ones that end up creating more work for themselves, not their clients.

Speaker 1: Which is, it's really, it's fascinating and it's really fun. So we have a ton of alchemists as you can imagine in the web designer academy who are like so, so passionate about what they do but they find that they are undercharging and over delivering. So if that is you, I'd just love to hear from you. I would love to hear from you if you vibe with the Alchemist archetype. So the next one that we get a lot in the web designer academy, and this shouldn't be surprising, is the artist. So where the Alchemist loves a good redesign and loves cleaning up a a mess, the artist wants to just start from scratch. Like the artist does not wanna mess with your with the client's like already done website, they don't wanna touch it. The artist is always gonna be like hey so awesome that you already have this.

Speaker 1: But I think our best course of action is just gonna be to start from scratch. They love a blank canvas, they have a huge imagination, they have unlimited creativity, they're very visual. They create things that are like unique and extraordinary and they don't wanna be using somebody's old crappy logo to do that. They don't even wanna redesign it. They wanna throw all of that out the door and they wanna start from scratch. So artists are typically amazing at visual design but not always, right? It could, it the same thing applies to someone who's like very systems oriented and developer and not a graphic designer or visual designer. They could be like, I don't wanna mess with your messy systems. Like I just wanna create something new for you and let's just start from scratch, right? That's the artist. Artists have a tendency to love the brand strategy piece of things.

Speaker 1: They have a unique ability to like visually capture those nuances and details of their client's brand. But it's not just the visual piece of it, right? It could also be the systems like the artist can also see how all of the pieces creatively of like the customer journey or the business problem that they're solving, they can visually like build that beautiful piece of art that could actually be like a system or a process or something technical, right? They're really, really skilled at getting to know a client and their business and being able to like bring whatever they need to life physically or visually. And like when I say physically, I mean like digitally like automations talking to to each other in a really streamlined way that really resonates with their clients and their clients' customers and they see the big picture and all of the little details that make like designs and systems and automations and things unique and special.

Speaker 1: Like they don't necessarily need to work from something, they're gonna throw the template out. They want full creative control to start from scratch. So some of the challenges that we see with our artists that come into the program, they value self-expression and autonomy so much that they feel really, really unfulfilled and hindered working with clients who want to maintain creative control. Like if they get feedback from a client that's like change this color or change this font or you know, whatever they that like just kills their soul, right? That they are creating the art. They don't want to be dictated to by their clients about the creative control aspect of projects. They are at their best creatively when they're inspired. And so it's really hard for an artist to just be like sometimes v i p days and and things like that can be a challenge for the artist archetype because if they're like Wednesday, you know, June 15th is the day that I do your branding and they aren't inspired on that day, they aren't at like, it's hard for them to really stick to a very strict schedule because they are driven by inspiration.

Speaker 1: And so that can turn into like them having like designers block and not really being able to come up with solutions and then that can turn into procrastination and that can create problems for project timelines and deadlines and like leaving them feel like rushed to get things done or leaving them feel like oh my gosh, these things take too long or whatever. So you know, artists tend to work when inspiration hits and that might not always be conducive to a really like strict or tight timeline. It might also be challenging for artists to implement repeatable processes or follow project plans or create their own systems and processes because those things like lock them in, they don't align with their creative process. Sometimes artists wanna be like squirrel brains and just be like, let me just kind of like follow the thread wherever it leads. But on the flip side, they also can have some perfectionistic tendencies and they can be really sensitive to client feedback.

Speaker 1: So much so that they spend so much time trying to make something perfect before showing it to a client because they want that positive feedback and the validation instead of like having it be like a collaborative co-creative feedback process. And so how we help artists is we kind of help them work, we help them like create project plans and processes that like allow for space for inspired design and creativity. We also help them manage their mind around feedback and like get out of their own way with the perfectionist tendencies. So that's one way that we help artists and we also really help them see that they can still be creative without having to start everything from scratch without having always start over. Because artists can end up spending a lot of time on projects and one of their challenges then is like they're like I'm overstretched, I don't, you know, like they feel overwhelmed and they're not like spending time marketing or doing other things to create more clients because they're spending too much time in projects cuz they're always starting over from scratch And there's part of that that gets like tied up into money archetypes sometimes too where it's just like, I don't feel like this is worth it unless I design and build it from scratch every single time.

Speaker 1: So there's all kinds of little pieces tied up in that. So we really help artists like kind of unwind those things and really kind of like, I don't know, wrangle or channel their natural tendencies in a way that like still allows them to self express but also run a business at the same time, right? So our next archetype that we get a lot in our program is the innocent and innocent. Like think of like they're childlike, things are simple, the innocence aren't childlike, I shouldn't say that but like it's just simple. It's easy, it's clean, it's uncomplicated, it's super powerful and very strategic but it's uncomplicated like the least amount of steps to accomplish the thing. Sometimes I think of like UX designers who are like customer journey and conversion rate optimization. People can tend to fall on the innocent side, not always but sometimes where it's just like, okay, I want this to be simple, uncomplicated, powerful, like just easy, easy, happy, fun, not so serious, playful and also very optimistic.

Speaker 1: So innocence just want their client relationships to be like easy breezy, right? Strengths of innocence is that like they make things easy on themselves. Like they don't overcomplicate their systems and processes are simple. Like even to the point of like simple for them. Meaning I have a paper planner that I write in with a pencil versus I have a notion template and all of these like thing systems and processes, right? Or an innocent could also have like the most beautiful, simple, genius, uncomplicated spreadsheet that to them like is so simple and easy. Like it's what their impression of it is. You could give it to someone else and they could be like, this thing is like crazy but to the innocent it's like simple. It's uncomplicated, it makes sense. So their strengths are like making things simple, not overcomplicating. Why build something from scratch when you need a template?

Speaker 1: Why make it harder than it needs to be? They're really great at just simplifying processes, taking out the unnecessary, it reminds me of like this design quote that like every, you know every revision, I can't remember exactly what it was like I see it in Canva all the time. Like the best designs have the least amount of elements in them or like every time you revise, you remove something that makes me think of innocent and innocence also like are just very trusting. They take people at face value like whatever feedback that they get, they're not spending a whole lot of time like reading into it, like making it mean something that it doesn't mean you're just like, oh this is what you said, that must be what you mean. And they don't like spend a whole lot of time digging into that, right? They have simple systems, they make simple systems for their clients.

Speaker 1: You want things to be easy for your clients too. So innocence, like they could build complex systems, they could figure out like all of these different bells and whistles but they typically don't cuz they know their clients won't use them. So the easiest example of an innocent I could think is just to be like I'm gonna build the easiest site I can build for this client because I know they're not going to like be able to deal with like something more complex, right? So I'm gonna give them like the template and I'm not gonna custom code something for them. Some of the challenges that innocence face is that they avoid conflict, right? They avoid conflict. They don't want, like if a client hasn't paid an invoice, they are just gonna keep on working and they're gonna trust that the client's gonna pay the invoice and they're gonna deliver the project and trust that the client's gonna pay the invoice.

Speaker 1: Cuz they tend to avoid conflict, they want things to be easy. Money conversations oftentimes aren't easy for them. Asking for content, not easy for them. Setting boundaries with clients not easy because they want things to be easy and breezy and simple and they're just like, you know, they're just avoiding the conflict. They'll wait on the client, they always see the goods. So you'll make excuses for your clients to your own detriment, right? You'll be like, well they went on vacation, well they're really busy. Well this, well that meanwhile your work is stacking up, you're super overwhelmed because you don't wanna deal with the you, you think that there's gonna be potential conflict if you set a boundary or enforce a boundary. And another challenge we see with innocence a lot is that sometimes they think what they do is too easy. They think it's so simple, it's not complex enough, it's not from scratch.

Speaker 1: So I don't think I can charge that much because it's too simple, too streamlined, too easy, not like, and so because it's so easy and it's not like super engaged, doesn't take a ton of time, they're like, I can't charge that much for that. So innocence undercharge a lot, not only do they undercharge, they have a lot of money leaks, time and money leaks in their business because of wanting to avoid conflict. So have confident conversations with their clients in a way that like lets them still be innocent, doesn't create conflict. We teach them how to reach out to their clients in a way that like feels really good to them. That's not like complica like overly complicated or confrontational. And we also help them put like systems and processes in place to make it really easy to like just follow this easy breezy process and if you just follow this process, 90% of this project's gonna go well and we're here for you for the 10% where you need some support.

Speaker 1: The next archetype that we get in the web designer academy a lot, and these are my favorite archetypes that I love to work with these people, these are our nurturers and the nurturers are super compassionate. They love to help others, they're extremely generous. They want to just take care of everyone and everything. And so they just wanna like swoop in and take all of your problems and your cares away. They are typically wanting to work with like nonprofits, volunteer organizations and they love using their skills to help other people. That is what they're here for. And the strengths of the nurture is that like they are gonna go above and beyond for their clients. They're gonna go above and beyond for potential clients. They are the person that you can like always just count on, right? But the challenges that nurturers run into is that they chronically overwork, overdeliver and undercharge.

Speaker 1: They also negotiate against themselves in price because they're always really worried about what other people can and can't afford. They have a big challenge in increasing their price because they feel like they are harming people if they charge more, they're always worried about like what other people can and can't afford. They also have a tendency to get like burnt out and resentful because they are always available and always answering emails and they'll, they'll let clients like call them, text them, DM them, Facebook them, they'll let the communication happen through every possible channel it can happen. And so they get really overwhelmed and exhausted and burnt out because they cannot keep up. It's a really tough place to be because they wanna help people but they also fall into like the people pleasing mode because they're like very sensitive. And so they actually say yes to things that they don't wanna say yes to to protect themselves.

Speaker 1: And it's a way that protects that. Like they wanna protect everybody else and so they're showing up for everybody else but they're saying yes to things that they don't wanna say yes to to protect themselves. And so our nurturers are like our classic undercharging overdelivering people pleasing. And we also like talk about like the employee mindset too where they don't believe that they can say no to things because they've kind of been conditioned to like my clients are my boss and I'm supposed to say yes. And so with a nurturer, we love working with our nurturers to really help. We're not like I'm saying rewire their brain. It's not like I'm qualified, I'm not a therapist or like I don't like whatever other modalities that people use to like I'm not a cognitive behavioral therapist so I'm not literally rewiring their brain but we really help them like break out of their people pleasing undercharging over-delivering tendencies and really show them how hey, by you having a business and charging profitably and sustainably that is a business for you where you're not burnout overwhelmed and exhausted.

Speaker 1: That actually helps you provide better service to your clients and they actually get better results. So we help them really see how their self-protective tendencies can actually disempower their clients and we help them really shift in into how like a mutually empowered a relationship where both sides are empowered and we like restore the power balance so that the nurturer can do what they are here to do. Which is like serve and support harp centered pro like nonprofit charitable organizations that they really believe in. So nurturers are like near and dear to my heart because they are the ones that come to us where they are just caring for so many other people and I love when they come into our program and we get to like hold them and care for them and help them go through this like transformation in a way that really respects that this is who they are at their core and honor that and help them still run their business from that place.

Speaker 1: Because one of the big reasons why people struggle to put boundaries and systems and processes in place is because they don't work with their natural personality tendencies. And if it feels unsafe to your nervous system to implement a system process, strategy boundary to communicate with a client, you're just gonna revert back to what feels safe to you, which is to people please to protect yourself. And so that's why we are so serious about like learning who our clients are so that we can coach them in a way that's going to work with them and not against them and not cause them to feel like they aren't doing it right or that they're failing. So that's um, nurturers are like, I would say that most of our people are like either alchemists or nurturers that come in if I had to count them all. So the next type of of archetype that we get in our program are the rulers.

Speaker 1: And the rulers are like the take charge. Like I wouldn't like they are just like they're running the show basically they're like your online business managers, right? . So they want to come into their client's business and they are gonna look at like just kind of like what I do for our web designers, but my ruler is my influencing archetype. It's not my signature, but it's to come in and look at your business and I'm like looking at all of the places where we can make shifts so that you can like create more money, more time and more capacity. And so the rulers whole driving force is to create structure and order and peace and prosperity. Rulers like to make a lot of money. So when rulers apply for our program, they are typically like . If they're undercharging and over-delivering, they are ready to shift their pricing quick, right?

Speaker 1: They're like I can double my price tomorrow and I don't have any problem with that. So they are like driven, they're very authoritative. There's not a lot of gray area for a ruler and they like to control things and they like to be in charge and so they just lead. They just take the lead and they go. And so rulers, some of their biggest strengths are like they have processes, right? They come into our program and they absolutely have processes, they, you know, processes for their business processes for how they like work with their clients and everything. They know how to like take charge and run the show but they can also have like a wall up sometimes they can also make decisions to maintain control that could actually end up causing them to like miss opportunities, right? So for example, a ruler, something that they could do is just to be like, I don't have time to talk to tire kickers and people who can't afford me so I'm just gonna put my pricing on my website to prevent anybody who is not ready to work with me from making their way on my calendar because I don't have time for that.

Speaker 1: Well what they're missing out on is the opportunity to do what we call in the web designer academy, pre-frame the value for the people that do have the time for it. So rulers have a lot of things going like write and well in their business and they have a lot of structure and systems and processes and they can come into other people's businesses and create that for them, but they can also be like total lone wolves and they can almost like repel some of their biggest opportunities with how they run things to maintain control and protect themselves. So they're like super powerful, talented as web designers just like any of the other archetypes are because they like run the projects and they like they just don't take any crap, right? And where they can get in trouble is that they take on everything themselves. They wanna control every last piece of everything.

Speaker 1: So they end up just burnt out, they end up overwhelmed and burnt out. And what rulers really need most likely, like they're gonna create the revenue typically like they're gonna come in and they're gonna be what we call our five figure hustlers generally. And they're gonna come in and be like, my web design business is making $20,000 a month but I'm working 80 hours a week and I can't maintain this. Right? The rulers opportunity in the things that we help them with is like a, we'll pull the levers of like pricing time capacity. We'll figure out like how they can implement our package. Like where are they doing things to protect themselves that are actually like sabotaging their business. We'll help them with like package pricing and positioning strategies. That's usually something like everyone can come in on. But the biggest thing that we help rulers do is be like, okay, what are you doing?

Speaker 1: Why are you doing this? Do you need to be doing this and how can we get you some help? Right? Is it time for you to add a contractor, add to your team? So rulers sometimes come into our year one web designer academy program, like our core web designer academy program and they come in and they have a lot of things already working in their business and then they like fill in the gaps with a lot of our strategies but sometimes they're ready to come straight into our next level program because they've already gotten a lot of those core things out of the way. But they need to learn to accept help and they are like also some of the most generous, confident, caring, inspiring people but they also try to do it all themselves. So that's how we help rulers. We really help them shift into actually asking for help, which as being part ruler, it's hard when you wanna control everything to let people help you but you, you learn how to, how to leverage, how to let go of the things that don't matter that much.

Speaker 1: So that's the ruler archetype. And then the final one that we see a lot with our web designer academy students is the sage. And the sage is really like the person who is like curious, they wanna do research, they want to do like a full on discovery before digging in, right? So sage's really like to do like a full on , like they're gonna do a dis in-depth discovery call with you and then they're going to like put together a whole entire project plan. They're gonna spend hours thinking through the entire project, they're going to look at all of the possibilities. They're gonna start researching tools. If the client is asking for functionality that they've never built before, they're gonna actually start like researching it and digging in and playing around and coming up with all this before they've even like booked the project , right?

Speaker 1: So they're naturally curious, they love research, they love discovering new solutions, they love building new solutions. They are going, they're not necessarily gonna like go say hey what's the best plugin for X, Y, Z? They are gonna go down a Google rabbit hole and they are gonna like analyze every single plugin that is out there and make their own decision. So they're the ones that people go to for advice, right? Because they've already done all the research, the sage is, they've already done the research, they're, they have their finger on the pulse, they know what's going on and people come to them for advice and consulting and strategy and people trust the sage to know what's up and they're not gonna do a whole lot of research when they, once they get advice from the sage because Sage already, they've been trusted to have already done that work.

Speaker 1: And so Sage's love solution architecting, they love researching, they love really digging in with the client and coming up with all of the strategy and all of the things. The where sage's get in trouble is that they overanalyze and they spend so much time sometimes and like they can get into analysis paralysis, they can get into like a little bit of perfectionism like is this the right choice or is this the wrong choice? They sometimes like do so much research because they don't wanna make a mistake and they end up getting again overwhelmed, burnt out. They say things to me like, I hate the proposals take me so long to do. They say things like that to me. They'll be like Oh my gosh the proposal takes so long. And it's so frustrating cuz I go, I do all this work and then the client doesn't even book.

Speaker 1: And so part of the challenge that a sage has is that they seek so much information because they don't want to be wrong or make a mistake that they end up doing too much work before booking the projects instead of building in space for shifting within the project. And so one of the places that we help sages is we really help them to come up with like a process. One we have to like help them understand how to communicate that a project's not gonna go perfect, that like all of the decisions that are made along the way sometimes might have to be rolled back and that's okay and we help them like make that okay in their mind and we help them like be able to run a project with their clients with that level of flexibility so that they don't have to spend so much time on the front end like researching and putting together this like proposal with every single last thing thought of.

Speaker 1: Because as we all know, once we dig in and we even start talking with the client more things can shift and change. So we help them kind of get out of their own way there and we help them just get more confident in making their decisions and we help them really leverage the trust and knowledge that they've built as well. A lot of times we'll see our sages are have like expertise in like search engine optimizations, like in conversion rate optimization or all of these accessibility things like that where they're like a subject matter expert in that thing and that's like one of the driving reasons why they wanna run their web design business and they're, they build those services in and we really help them leverage that subject matter expertise as part of how they connect with potential new clients. Whether that's discovery calls, where they talk about the like teach those things or just different ways to leverage the thing that they are super smart and passionate and knowledge knowledgeable about to build new relationships and create new opportunities in a way that feels comfortable to them.

Speaker 1: So we help them just not spend so much time doing unpaid work and research and we help them really leverage their talents and just knowledge and curiosity in a way that gets them paid. Sages deserve to be paid for all of their intellectual property that they have developed over the years. So those are the six core people that we see come into our program. Again, the Alchemist, they love to like, they love a good redesign or a mess cleanup. The artist loves a blank slate. The innocent likes things to be like simple, clean and easy. The nurturer is like the caretaker, they wanna just make sure their client just never has to suffer a moment. The ruler is like the take charge control in control leader and the sage is like that, that analyst, that researcher. And so those are the six that we see most commonly common to our program.

Speaker 1: There are 12 archetypes and the six that are not like the lead archetype in most of our clients. It's usually like we, there's the signature and then the influencing. So it's the combination of the two that makes like everybody who comes into our program unique, but the other six are the jester, the romantic, the maverick, the humanitarian, the hero, and the explorer. So the gesture is just like super lighthearted, super fun. They're not satisfied with the status quo, they're irreverent. Um, they're funny, they are very clever and they just don't go with the flow. They are just not gonna go with the flow. They are gonna break the rules and they just, it's, they're fun, they're spontaneous, they're fun and that's like how they don't like to work with uptight people. the romantic is like flamboyant is the best way. Like they just want things to be like beautiful and over the top and luxury and they are the ones that wanna come in and be like, I want to do a one week long immersive web design experience in Bali with my clients and it'll be like a whole thing and then when they leave they'll have their website done and all of these things.

Speaker 1: So it's like they have like this big opulent vision of how they want to work with their clients and they are super fun. They have like a big vision and it's really a lot about like connection and experience and those types of things. We also have the Mavericks. The Mavericks are the ones who are just like . A lot of people say that they don't want their clients to be the maverick clients. Like when we're saying who's your nightmare client? They're like, I don't ever wanna work with the Maverick. So a maverick is gonna be like, they're just not gonna play by the rules, right? They're gonna always negotiate, they're always gonna like challenge, you know they're not gonna follow the rules, they're not gonna follow the timelines. I literally have never had a maverick enroll in my program cuz I don't think a maverick needs a program.

Speaker 1: They are just gonna like go out there and like do their thing and they just don't care. like they are kind of just, they are just like edgy and rebellious and they are not attracted to someone like me. So we do have some people who have like a influencing archetype of a maverick. But it's interesting like it comes out more in like how they design and how they work with their clients more than like how they run their business. So yeah, it's super, I always love when people are like, I never wanna work with a maverick cuz like the Maverick scares them , right? So the humanitarian, they are like the one that's just gonna be like taking a stand for everybody, right? They stand for like equality, belonging, like not, they're like if you think about like the analogy of like the main street and Wall Street, like they're main street, like they are super friendly, super approachable and they want everyone to be included, right?

Speaker 1: They're very inclusive and and they are going to like roll up their sleeves and be right there with you like doing the work. And so that's the humanitarian archetype. The hero is like, I'm gonna swoop in and save the day. I am going to like come in and I'm gonna stand up for you. I'm going to like help you set boundaries, I'm going to defend you. You know, if something happens, like if their client gets like a comment on a mean comment on social media, the hero's gonna like come in and be like whoa, whoa, whoa. You need to back up. So they are always like championing for what they believe is right and they have a strong sense of what they believe is right and they, they don't have time for things that don't like fall into their view of what is right and wrong.

Speaker 1: So that's the hero. So we have the just a romantic maverick humanitarian hero and then we have the explorer and explorers actually like my signature archetype. Well I've taken this test a bajillion times just cuz I built it in gravity forms with WordPress and it was super fun to build. So I'd had to take the test to test to make sure everything's working out right. And I'm an explorer every single time I'm, I'm an explorer. So explorers are driven by freedom and independence and they're like a dog with a bone when it comes to solving problems. Like they will not give up until they find a solution. And it like makes me laugh cuz I'm thinking of like, you know, my Stripe account getting hacked and I'm like, I have to rebuild the whole entire backend of my website to be able to take payments again without like disruption.

Speaker 1: And I'm like, game on, let's do it. I'm just like, I just get in the zone. Explorers get bored easily. They don't wanna do the same thing over and over again. They're always going for like more bigger, better, faster. It reminds me of like my day job. I'm like, hey, I think we need this new position. This is the description and I'd like to apply for it cause I couldn't do the same job over and over again. They're super ambitious. They have unending self motivation. They rely on themselves. They're willing to take risks because they know they can count on themselves to follow through. They're really great at leading their clients through projects. They're innovators, solution architects. They love solving business problems. But explorers, we are notoriously bad at asking for help. We will spend hours researching and finding solutions on our own when we could just ask someone or loners or trailblazers.

Speaker 1: We end up spending a lot of times learning things the hard way. If you've ever heard me say on this podcast, I have to touch the stove, like I've heard so many people tell me to do this, but until I experienced the pain of it myself, I didn't change. So we learned things the hard way. We learned things by not taking advice and finding out for ourselves instead of just following in the footsteps of someone who has walked the path before us. And so we don't like being still or waiting, but we will also just charge right on ahead and we'll just take everyone else behind us. We'll be like, Hey, let me like step in the puddle or fall off the cliff so that you don't have to. And so that's the sixth archetype of the second sixth. And it's really interesting that I don't attract a lot of explorers into the program.

Speaker 1: And it's super interesting because when you know what your archetype is and then you know what archetype of clients you love to work with, your messaging just becomes more aligned. You start to say the things that call the right people in. So it is super, super fun to know what your archetype is. I would love to hear from you. I would love for you to go to at profitable web designer on Instagram. Follow me, dm me, tell me what you are. Id love to know if you feel aligned with my description or if you're like, no, I think I'm a um artist, but X, y, z. Like that didn't really fit with me. I would love to hear from you. So we also did once, and I think we should do it again, we did a sorting ceremony where we had everybody take the test but we didn't give them their results.

Speaker 1: And then we had like a live event where we sorted them into their archetype, like ala Harry Potter and the sorting hat. So that was super fun and it's fun for people to like get to know who the others in the program are and all of those things. So I hope that you heard something here that was enlightening for you if you were like, oh my gosh, that might be why I am having some challenges in my web design business, or, oh that is one of my strengths. Maybe I could leverage that a little bit more. So if you heard something here that you liked and you want to explore it further, I would love to invite you to just book a zero pressure discovery call with me. Where I can learn more about you and your business, we can talk about what you think your archetype might be and what some of your challenges are, what some of the opportunities are, and talk more about how I can help you.

Speaker 1: So you can just go to web designer, click that book a discovery call button in the top right corner, and hopefully we will get to talk. And I look forward to meeting you. So I will see you right back here on the podcast next week. Bye. Hey, so if you're ready to stop undercharging and overworking, if you wanna take back control of your time, work only with the dreamiest of clients and make more money as a web designer than you ever thought possible, get started now by going to web designer and joining our wait list. We'll send you exclusive teachings from the current Web Designer Academy so you can start applying our concepts now. And you'll be first to know when enrollment opens up again, so that you can work with us to completely transform your web design business.

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

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Shannon Mattern
Web Designer Academy


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.