This week I’m chatting with Web Designer Academy student Megan Harrington about how she increased her web design business revenue by 4x in just one year!
Megan is the owner of Zestful Media & Design, a brand and web strategist, and also offers courses on how to build a unique brand and graphics. Her self-declared superpower is to “bring clarity to businesses while designing a beautiful brand aesthetic, organized marketing and strategic websites/funnels.”
“I’m so glad that I invested in the program because it was what I needed. I needed some guidance, and it has just definitely helped me get to that next level.” – Megan Harrington
3 shifts Megan made to grow her web design business:
- Changing her business structure to stop undercharging and over delivering.
- Looking for and investing in a mentor to help take her business to where she wanted to go.
- Being willing to leave the lonely entrepreneur “bubble” of doing it all alone and asking for help.
“I thought there is such a huge benefit being mentored by someone who had been in my shoes.” – Megan Harrington
We also talk about how Megan:
- Grew her business from all the seeds she planted and relationships she fostered.
- Looked for a mentor who had been in her shoes to get results.
- Fast-tracked her business growth through what she learned from the Web Designer Academy.
- Website: https://zestfulmediadesign.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zestfulmediadesign
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zestfulmediadesign/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-e-harrington/
- Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bossesbuildingbrands
Shannon Mattern: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast where we're all about helping extraordinary web designers like you to stop undercharging over delivering and overworking, and finally create the profitable, sustainable, and scalable web design business you've been dreaming of. I'm your host Shannon Mattern, founder of the Web Designer Academy where we teach the business side of running a web design business. So if you wanna make a consistent full-time income as a web designer but you're struggling with things like pricing and boundaries and mindset and marketing and you're just tired of going it alone. Well my friend, you're in the right place. Megan, welcome to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast. I am so thrilled to have you here. Can you just introduce yourself briefly and let our listeners know a little bit about you and your web design business?
Megan Harrington: Yeah, thank you so much Shannon for having me. My name is Megan Harrington and I'm the owner of Zestful Media and Design. I'm a brand and web strategist for typically female service providers and then I also offer courses where they can kind of learn to DIY some of those things themselves, my community. So yeah.
Shannon Mattern: Amazing. So Megan is a graduate by the time that you guys listened to this of the Web Designer Academy. So I would love to kind of take you back in your time machine to about this time last year. What was your business like before finding the Web Designer Academy?
Megan Harrington: I mean it was just floundering probably a good word to say. Like I had a client or two maybe every month, but I was not charging nearly enough for it to be sustainable and I was constantly in the stress feeling of like, well I have to say yes to everything cuz I don't know when the next client's gonna come. And at the end of last year I kind of got this initial momentum of like being booked out a little bit into I guess this year in 2022. And that was like the first sense of like, okay, maybe I could do this but I didn't have any of the tools to figure out how to keep it going or like charged sustainably and that kind of stuff. So that's where I was and then I just happened to come across your training that you were offering probably I think maybe through a Facebook ad or something. Yeah. And I was totally down for it when I saw, I was like, yes, this is what I need to learn.
Shannon Mattern: I wanna even like take you back a little bit farther back than that. I mean I think that that your story is just so relatable. I was there like when I was just getting started but like how did you come to web design in the first place? What led you to the point of like going out on your own own to do this thing?
Megan Harrington: Well I don't have any type of degree in it. My college degree is actually in exercise science and um, quickly realized I didn't wanna go to like physical therapy school or go on to grad school. And so I kind of bounced around for a few years after college and then um, landed in like the apartment leasing industry where I was helping sell out a brand new apartment community. And I really loved one dealing with people but I also really loved like the marketing aspect of it and making social media content and designing and all the kind of things. And I didn't even realize that like graphic design was like a career path I could potentially have. And so I did that for about a year or so and I got my real estate license so I could do it on a larger scale and I sold new homes and it was the same thing.
Megan Harrington: I spent more time probably making designs for marketing and helping my coworkers with the marketing of their properties than I was like perfecting my sales pitch. Which isn't great when you're in a sales job
Megan Harrington: So she let me just kind of take over social media, I convinced her let me redo her website and that was just kind of my entry into it all. And then it quickly got noticed by all of the people in her office that everything was looking really consistent and she was thriving. And so I started building up just a social media management clientele for the most part. And every once in a while I was doing a website or branding and then eventually I phased out social media management cuz that got really tiresome. I'm constantly posting about like, this home is under contract
Shannon Mattern: So you found yourself from there with like some clients and some web design clients and then like stumbled across my Facebook ad and everything I was saying was like, oh my gosh that's me
Megan Harrington: Yeah. So it was like starting to pick up and then the pandemic hit and when the pandemic hit, I was also three months pregnant and we found out we would be moving like a year earlier than we imagined. So I kind of took off the rest of 2020 kind of like from the summer on to like have the baby pack up our house, move across the country. And it was right around that time that we moved here that, or no it would've been like one year, the next year year I was like, I'm no longer gonna do social media management and I'm just gonna try to figure out how to grow a branding and web design business. And the beginning of the year I did a lot of like pro bono work or working with nonprofits and so they would like get my word out but I wasn't making any money.
Megan Harrington: And then slowly things started happening and I ended up collaborating with an influencer in the Columbus, Ohio area. She said, Hey, I need someone to redo my blog. And I was like, sure I'll do it. I've never done a blog before but I did it And she thankfully just shouted me out when it was right around the time that I was like running Black Friday deals for 2022 and she kind of helped me get booked out with just the promotion she did for me and it was the exact same time that I saw your stuff and that just kind of all kind of came together and did a great explosion for this year, which was amazing.
Megan Harrington: It was a wild, wild ride. So I'm super thankful for sure.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So we crossed paths and you attended our training where we kind of like shared more about what we do and
Megan Harrington: Mm-hmm
Megan Harrington: Well I thought there was such a huge benefit in having some, like being mentored by someone who had been in my shoes. Just like you had said, it's like she had figured it out, she has a plan, she knows how to deal with clients, she knows how to handle all the different scenarios cuz she's been there and she's done that. And so when I initially saw the training I was like told my husband like if it's X amount, like I'm signing up and I'm not even gonna ask you about it. And then it was definitely more expensive than that X amount but I was still like, I think this is what I need because I don't have any of these answers. You know like everyone believes that my talent is so great but like if you don't know how to run a business, like you don't know how to run a business, you know? And so as soon as I signed up I just dove headfirst into all the content and I was like this is what I just needed clarity on is to figure out all of these things. So
Shannon Mattern: It was really great. I love that conversation that he had with your husband cuz I do the same thing where I'm just like, I wanna like hire this mentor and it's gonna cost this much. And he's just like, why do you even talk to me about it anymore? He's like, just go do it because every time you do it you go all in, you get what you came for. And he is like, I don't even wanna hear about it cuz like the number scares me but I know you'll be fine so just go do it.
Megan Harrington: Yeah, that's pretty much kinda what happened. He was like, okay, like I trust you and now it's, anytime I say like, Hey, hey I wanna do this in my business. He was like, you're making enough money that you can cover it. Like you're not taking from our personal anymore. Like he was like, go for it. Like that's what I had done in what 2020 was or no, 2021. I had just saved every little penny that I had and then when the opportunity came I was like, I mean I can pay for this out of my business account, let's just do it. And it was the best decision I made because you've answered a lot of problems that I was having. So I'm so thankful.
Shannon Mattern: You are one of those students where you remind me of myself in a lot of ways too because like I just dig in and I'm like all in. But I remember just thinking like, is she cool? Like she's pretty quiet, like she's like, you just like dug in, put your head down, like got to work implemented and we chit chat every so often and you're like, I'm killing it. And I'm just like, that's amazing
Megan Harrington: It got to the point it was just like I feel bad that I haven't like got to come to a lot of calls and stuff because I just got so busy and I'm like, but I don't really have any questions. Like I, I just keep going with it. And so I was like, you know what, if something comes up, I know she's there but I needed the content. That's what I truly needed. Yeah. Was just to be like, okay, here's the framework of one, how to price herself, how to run your programs or how to run your offers and your client offerings. I was like, I just needed that framework and then I could just implement it. I'm very coachable, very teachable and it's like, okay, I have a plan now let's just go do it. And it worked. So
Shannon Mattern: So what were some of your like biggest aha moments in terms of coming in and starting to look at the content? Like do you remember any like shifts where you're like, oh okay, that's how I was doing it before and that's why it wasn't working and you know, do you remember like any, anything where you're like, oh this finally is clicking?
Megan Harrington: I think two things that really helped was the first just like the payment structure of like yeah deposit when they start. And that has truly shifted because now I can like plan three months in advance and look what my income is going to be and look to see when I can actually have a client because I was letting client projects just go on way too long. I wasn't having like concrete boundaries of like dates and stuff. And I also was never tying like, here are the specific dates you are gonna pay me. And a lot of times in this past year if a client project did go a little too long, but like we were making progress, like they didn't even care if they paid their final payment prior to the end, you know, versus in the past I was waiting until like every single little button thing was done and then I would say, okay, here's your final invoice. So that was really helpful. And then also just having the different package structure, the Patrick, the Patrick Matrix,
Shannon Mattern: Everyone says
Megan Harrington: That has been super helpful and I keep booking the highest package so it's like okay that package can just keep raising, you know, like that can just keep going up in price. And I never would've had that confidence in thought of like, oh, give them three offers and let them choose what's best for them and how you teach us to structure the offers is just genius and be like, sure, I'll do the stuff I don't wanna do if you're gonna pay me a lot of money for it. Like absolutely. And so it
Shannon Mattern: I love it. Yeah, it's for the podcast listeners who are like, what's Patrick like? We call it the irresistible package matrix, but I always like mess it up and I call it the irresistible Patrick Matrix and now it's like a whole thing. There's a mascot, like it's, yeah, so it's, it's a whole
Megan Harrington: I think a lot of my issues when it came to like not feeling like I could charge an episode, I didn't, I wasn't exposed to a whole lot of other like web designers or branding designers and so I didn't really know like a great industry average, if that makes sense. And so I was just kind of winging it, but I knew in the back of my mind people can go get a template on Etsy for like 200 bucks or they can go like get a template for a logo for like 10 bucks on Etsy. And so like I always felt like how can I charge this when there's so many cheaper options out there? And then it slowly started to realize like I'm getting referred to people by previous clients because they had such good experiences. And so if they're vouching for their friends, like that's honestly a lot of half the battle and in itself.
Megan Harrington: So like they're gonna be like, my friend paid this and they saw great results, I'll pay it too, you know? And so eventually just became like, I need to charge what I know that I'm bringing to their company and their business. And it's just been so helpful to finally like feel confident in it. And then it was also really helpful to be surrounded by other people inside the community being like, oh, I'm charging this X amount, I'm charging this amount and, and so like I could at least see like, okay, yeah, I'm delivering all those same things at the end of the day, even though we don't talk about delivering deliverables, but if they're charging it and people are paying it, like there are people out there that will pay it. And so just kind of also being in the community and seeing what other people are doing in their business was super helpful as well.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, I think that there is this, like you bring up such a good point and I was talking about this recently on a talk that I gave about like the state of the web design industry and it is absolutely true that anybody could go buy a template or buy a logo, logo or do all of these things. And we cannot, as web designers, like we can't compare ourselves to DIY services, it's for a completely different clientele. It's for like people who would DIY are not our ideal clients. We're not trying to convince them to, to choose us over DIYing, DIYers are gonna diy, they're just never gonna hire
Megan Harrington: Yeah, I mean I think a big thing was I was super reactionary in my business probably beforehand just like waiting for something to just fall on my lap magically. And like, you know, every once in a while your friend will know somebody and that they will fall on your lap. And I think I was letting myself be like, oh, you know, I've never gone a true lull without a client. I haven't been charging super high because I'm just like, yes, someone's coming away, I'm gonna give them whatever they want. So this year I definitely made a mindset shift of to like really go and start building an audience for myself. And so I created my boss's building brand Facebook community that has like 4,000 members in it and just trying to truly get my name out in different ways and be more proactive of like pushing people down the way to work with me. Even if it is just for a low ticket thing. I mean that's better than $0 at the end of the day. And some of those low tickets have easily transpired into higher paying clients. So this year was really that goal of like, I'm gonna start pushing people through my funnel one way or another so that we can connect and they can work with me in different capacities. So that was a huge thing.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So you grew a Facebook group to 4,000 people this year?
Megan Harrington: It started in the spring of 2021.
Shannon Mattern: Okay. So like
Megan Harrington: 18 now in about 18 months. I'm at 4,300 members in my group.
Shannon Mattern: Tell me about how you are marketing this side of your business.
Megan Harrington: Yeah, the first thing is I way back at the beginning of my Facebook group, I did invest in a program called the Facebook Group Growth Academy. And so I use their tactics to help grow the Facebook group, but ultimately it's just making that, my Facebook group is literally like the place that I do everything. When I host free master classes, do trainings, like everything points to the Facebook group and the Facebook group points to everything else. So when they enter the Facebook group, they're getting offered a freebie to join my email list. Not only like when they register in the group, but also when they get their welcome posts. I'm saying here's another like chance to snag that freebie, you know? But in if they were to stumble upon my website and get a freebie, then they're pointed back to the Facebook group as like the next place to go, you know? And so just kind of like weaving this web has really grown that little community and I just love it.
Megan Harrington: Pretty much. I started doing course launching back in like April and then I had my like larger like it's called Understand Your Brand and it's a four week course of really just like learning everything that goes into branding and how to decide it for yourself. And then I turned right around and I did just like a free Canva masterclass about a month later and I have a very low ticket Canva course that I also have. And I sold like a thousand dollars in an hour on that masterclass of this $59 Canva bundle. And I was like, okay, this is great. And that bundle came with just like one exclusive paid workshop with me and from the 19 people who bought that bundle, five people have gone on to purchase things over $2,000 with me and they were cold leads going into that free Canva training.
Megan Harrington: So within about a 60 day period it went from zero to $10,000 plus in sales because I had that community and that free masterclass and then they had several touchpoints to move them on to the next phase. So it's been super helpful to like, when people are buyers, like they'll buy, like they'll raise their hand and they'll purchase something low ticket with you and if they see that transformation at the lower level, they're totally willing to whip the credit card out again to pay for something at a higher, more premium level. And so that's what's been super helpful is like I have this really great community and not everyone's gonna be an ideal client and I'm well aware of that, but at least I can start noticing people who I would never have come across in a, in any other circumstance in my life, kind of raise their hand and be like, yes, I wanna learn more about this or yes, I wanna develop my business in this way. And so it's been super helpful
Shannon Mattern: That is like you're building trust with people who may not ever be your buyer, but who are going to tell other people about you who may become your buyer. So I mean that's, that's one of the things that I always truly believed. I'm like when I have an audience, every single person in that audience is valuable. Even if they never give me a dime, if they are telling other people about me, they're sending me warm leads. So it's just as important to like deliver value to people who are never going to become your customer, even if they're connected to your customer
Megan Harrington: Thank you. It's definitely been what's worked for me because I never wanted to be someone that had to go search in the dms for people and like start those really awkward conversations. I just don't like doing it. It's not how I wanted to run my business. And so like I'll be in other Facebook groups and being like commenting back to people like hey, I have this Facebook group that we cover our branding websites, lead generation, whatever. And that's way more like, here's just a quick little notification you're gonna get to see if you wanna join this and then they can join or not. And I just like let it go. And if they come and join, like great, they're my people. They wanna learn about these things, they wanna help grow their business and I'm happy to help them anyway that I get. And I just see every member as like a win every email.
Megan Harrington: Yeah. Often as a win versus being like, oh well I have 4,000 people and I haven't made 4,000 sales. Like I don't care about that. Not everyone's going to convert to sales, but like they're wanting to learn more And it just shows me like every single person you don't know who they know, you don't know when like in two years from now they are gonna build that successful business where they want my help. So I just see every little human and every little opt-in has a win and I just take that as my win. You know,
Shannon Mattern: I love that you said that because I was thinking we just wrapped up enrollment for the Web Designer Academy for this last round of December, 2022 for our January enrollments and I was looking at all of the students that enroll and I ask every person like, how did you find out about us? And everybody's different and everybody is like some relationship that I built or action that I took or tests that I did. If I expected every single one of those things to like just be the slam dunk that like everybody just always came from that thing, that's not how it works. It was like a summit I did three years ago or a training I did for someone's group that I was like, that was forever ago and they just came into my world and three years later now they're ready to work with me.
Shannon Mattern: I love how you said, I just look at every, it's almost like I look at every new relationship as a win. Even if you don't know that person in real life or know them deeply, every new relationship is a win. And when you continue to like build on that and deliver value and all of those things, then it just pays dividends. And you know, whether you're marketing like online or you're marketing in like a traditional just relationship deliver value like networking type of way, it all matters and not everybody's ready when we're ready, but we get to continue to nurture them and whatever comes out of it comes out of it. So
Megan Harrington: Yeah, so last year I made literally $16,000
Shannon Mattern: What are your goals for next year?
Megan Harrington: Oh gosh.
Megan Harrington: So I would love the face to group to 10,000 members. So that's like one goal Financial though I would definitely wanna be 10 K months minimum for the entire year. Cuz I had my first one in August of this year and haven't quite got there again. I've been at like 9,500 every like several other months, which has been frustrating. But I will get there
Shannon Mattern: Uh, I love it
Megan Harrington: Doing that. So yeah,
Shannon Mattern: Amazing. You can totally do it. And if I think back to like when I had my first $10,000 month, it was a few months before I had it again, it was like 10,000 and then it like dipped back down and I was like, I told myself, I'm like, if I can do this, I said once, I don't think it's a fluke, but I still had some mindset stuff about like it being a fluke. I'm like, if when I can do this twice, I know that like I can do this and you know, and then it, it took a bit a minute to get it like happening consistently, but I was like, once I did that twice I was like, oh yeah, it's on like it's possible. Like I created this, I know I can do this. Yeah. And yeah, it's like it doesn't ever go perfectly and you always end up like when you fix one thing, you break another, right?
Shannon Mattern: It's like you fixed your pricing
Shannon Mattern: Amazing. Well, where can our listeners connect with you and stock you a little bit and like see what you're doing
Megan Harrington: Yeah, so I'm on Facebook and Instagram at Zestful Media Design and then same thing for my website so they can buy me there. But then my Facebook community is bosses building brands. It's a pink background currently, but it changes a lot based on the masterclass that I'm running. So Bosses building brands is like the first half and then there's a bunch of like branding tips, DIY Canva, like extra words for searchability. If you guys need to maximize your Facebook group name. There's a little tip for you
Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here and sharing your story. I really appreciate it.
Megan Harrington: Thank you so much for having me. I truly appreciate it and thank you so much for creating the Web Designer Academy. I would not be where I am today without you, so I truly appreciate it.
Shannon Mattern: It is my pleasure and my life's work and yeah, I'm super grateful to have you. So thanks.
Shannon Mattern: That's it for this week's episode and we've linked up all of the resources we talked about today in the show notes. So you can go to https://WebDesignerAcademy.com/podcast to get your hands on those. And we'll be back next week with another episode designed to help you uplevel the business side of your web design business. So be sure to subscribe to the show wherever you're listening. And if you like today's episode, we would be so grateful if you would share it with all your web designer friends. And if you're feeling extra generous, we'd love for you to leave us a writing in review so we can get in front of even more web designers and help them transform their businesses and their lives. So simply scroll up on this episode in your podcast player and tap that, leave a review link or go to https://webdesigneracademy.com/review and it'll take you to the right spot. Thank you so much for listening, and I'll see you right here next week. Bye.
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