How to Delight Your Web Design Clients Without Overdelivering

Do you often find yourself doing extra work for your web design clients without charging for it?

In this episode of the Profitable Web Designer podcast, we’re talking about why web designers overdeliver (and how to stop doing it without those awkward client conversations or losing out on referrals).

In this episode, I’m breaking down:

  • The 8 reasons why you might be overdelivering.
  • How overdelivering can backfire.
  • What an “employee mindset” is, and how it sets you up to overdeliver.
  • How people-pleasing has you working way more than you need to be.
  • Why you might be cramming way too many deliverables into your projects.
  • Why you say yes to everything your client asks for even if you want to say no.
  • Four ways to STOP overdelivering.
  • The one simple yet powerful shift you can make to stop overdelivering for good.



Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Overdelivering usually comes from a really good, generous place… but it not only harms you and your bottom line… it’s also not good for your clients! What?!
  • When you stop being a pixel-pusher and step into your role as a trusted advisor, you’ll  delight your clients without overdelivering.


To work with us to transform your web design business into a profitable, sustainable money-maker, get started by joining the waitlist.

We will be sending a weekly email to you with teachings from the current Web Designer Academy, Profitable Web Designer podcast episodes to start applying our concepts now, and advice from our new five-figure month earners on how to make at least $10k every single month as a web designer.

Episode Transcript

Shannon Mattern: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer podcast, where we're all about helping extraordinary web designers like you to stop undercharging overdelivering 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 while my friend you're in the right place. But before we dive into this week's episode, I wanna invite you to sign up for our totally free profitable pricing framework training that breaks down five mindset shifts to 5X, your prices without working five times harder, just go to and enter your name and email address and I'll send you our proprietary pricing framework. That will totally transform what you think about how much you really can charge for web design. So go sign up at, and then meet me back for this week's episode.

Shannon Mattern: Hey everyone. Welcome to today's episode of the Profitable Web Designer podcast. I am so excited to be in your earbuds again, because like I said before, I am so serious about helping you to stop undercharging overdelivering and overworking. And today we're gonna be breaking down why web designers overdeliver. So I'm sure you've heard that old adage that it's better to underpromise and overdeliver when it comes to providing a service, right? So we are gonna like totally bust that myth today because it's actually the opposite that it is better to promise what you're going to do and deliver on what you're going to do and delight the client along the way. Right? Let's dive into this episode and talk about like, what is overdelivering on its face overdelivering is delivering more than was requested to deliver an excess of a norm or standard or requirement.

Shannon Mattern: That's the official definition of, of overdelivering I talked about in the first episode was a chronic undercharge. I was also a chronic overdeliverer. I had such an employee mindset. I was so afraid of disappointing my clients, that I did everything I possibly could to keep them happy because I was afraid of them firing me or leaving me bad reviews or telling other people not to work with me. And because I had that employee mindset of like, I must keep this job at all costs. I just went above and beyond at my own expense. I think that that's the key here when we're talking about overdelivering, it's not just delivering more than, than was requested or an excess, right. It's at your own expense. That's the key thing to keep in mind as we're talking about this, what I mean by, at my own expense is that I would have a project and the client would make a request and I would just go crazy on it.

Shannon Mattern: Like, I'd be like, okay, well we could do it this way or this way or this way. And I'd research so many different ways and I wanted to pick the best way and just give them four different designs to choose from. And, you know, just so much right. So much because there was imposter syndrome going on there too, but I just wanted them to be just like, wow. And really feel like I wasn't the imposter that I thought I was. Okay. so I did this with solution architecting things. It's like, oh, well, we could use this tool to talk to this tool, to talk to this tool and like overcomplicate things as well. And I would also just be available 24/7 being available all the time is also overdelivering. So I get that so much in my early days. And I was super resentful.

Shannon Mattern: My imposter syndrome was driving me to overdeliver and I was resentful and doing it at my own expense because of my own thoughts about what I was capable of. Okay. And so a lot of times, what I see happen is web designers are like my clients, these clients are horrible, right? These clients are awful. They just ask so much of me, I'm working so hard, all of the things, but we don't look at like, what is driving that internally? Not to say that some clients aren't our nightmare clients and well, we'll get into that on this podcast for sure. But you know, when we're looking at, how do we fix overdelivering, we fix first, what we can control and what we can control. The only thing we can control is us. Okay. You'll hear more throughout this podcast on all my fun overdelivering stories, but let's get into like what I hear from our clients, from the hundreds, thousands now of web designers that we have gotten to interact with over the years about why they feel so compelled to overdeliver.

Shannon Mattern: And the first one really like to circle back to it. It is that employee mindset, just like you're afraid of losing your job. So you do everything your boss says to do. You're afraid of losing the client. So you'll do everything that you can to keep them happy, even at your own expense, even doing things that they didn't ask you to do. And the dynamic that you've set up, because you don't know any different, is that the client's the boss and you're the employee and you do everything they ask until they're happy, even at your own expense. And so we get to dismantle the employee mindset and shift that for you. So we're gonna talk about that. People pleasing people pleasing is another reason why web designers overdeliver. It feels easier for you to just say yes and do the thing, the 30th revision right than it does to have a conversation with the client about that request, not being included in the scope or the contract or the terms or not being a best practice or that it will delay the project or whatever.

Shannon Mattern: So we avoid having difficult conversations and instead overdeliver by delivering more than what was agreed upon, whether that's more features, more functionality, more revisions, more designs, because it's easier to just do it than to have the conversation, right. So people pleasing is overdelivering. Okay. Another reason why web designers overdeliver is to justify the price. So if you overcame all like a, a chunk of the things that cause you to undercharge, like we talked about back in episode one, when you do have the courage to raise your prices, well, then you think things like, well, if I'm gonna be charging this much, it has to include X, Y, and Z. Otherwise it's not worth it. So I'm gonna set up all your integrations, right? All of your emails make a lead magnet or a freebie for you. I'm gonna like build an online course in a membership site.

Shannon Mattern: And like all of the stuff that you're like, okay, well, I'll just include that to justify the price, right? Because finally got the courage to raise your price, but then you're freaking out, like it's not worth it. It's not worth it. I have to put, I have to do more. I have to do more. Right. Or the other way that it comes up is that you're like, I'm already charging them so much. And they asked me if I could just write the copy for them. So I might as well just include it, cuz they're already paying me so much money. We do that too. That's another trying to justify our price when we're not comfortable with our price is another reason why we overdeliver. I had this one, I'm sure you can resonate with this is fear of not being able to get more clients.

Shannon Mattern: This comes up with our web designer, academy students so much, except for they stop themselves, which I love. And they'll come to a live strategy call and they will get some support with this before they get on the under delivering train and just like get taken away. They are so afraid that they're gonna get a bad review or have somebody like blow 'em up on social media or whatever. That they'll fear that they won't get any more clients or never get any referrals. And so therefore they just do whatever is asked without charging more and at their own expense. Right. We had a conversation with someone in inside of the Web Designer Academy on our live strategy call. And I was like, well, do you want to do this work? And she's like, no, I really, I really don't. I'm trying to get away from it.

Shannon Mattern: I don't really like doing it. And I don't feel like this particular client is really a good fit for me anymore, but I'm so afraid that they're gonna go onto my freelancer profile. Cuz she started working on a freelancer profile and leave a bad review and I'm afraid I won't get any more clients from there. And we had to work through how she could approach the situation to be able to confidently create a win-win in communicating why she wasn't gonna overdeliver to this. And then also work through like, what do you make that mean? If someone leaves you a bad review. And ultimately she was able to communicate with that client. And it worked out that she didn't get a bad review, but if she got a bad review, she was prepared to deal with it. Right. But she felt so adamant about breaking her overdelivering habit that she was willing to risk a bad review with our support.

Shannon Mattern: Right. That's really scary to do on your own if you're, if you're just, it's easier. It's easier to just do the thing right. Than to risk the bad review. And so that's what we help our clients unwind. So a lack of boundaries, another reason that web designers overdeliver is you just never learned how to say no. You were never taught that you were allowed to say, no, you don't know the words to say, to say, no, you fear conflict. If you say no, I had zero boundaries, such a people pleaser you're so worried about saying no. I'm sure your parents would never let you tell them. No. Right. So I was not allowed to tell my parents no, just like most children, but I never learned how to say no in a personal environment, in a professional environment. And so I didn't have those boundaries.

Shannon Mattern: I didn't know that I could say I didn't know that I could say no. So I just never created the boundaries. Right? So you end up overdelivering as a result of that. This one is one of those. Like we're gonna get real here. For a second. Another reason that web designers overdeliver is because they have not fully stepped into their role as the leader. Okay. This is related to the employee mindset a little bit, but it's a little bit different. So when you're a freelance service provider, it would make sense that you would wanna do what the client asks, right? It's like, they've hired you to provide a service and this is what they want. You have the skill, they have the money, it's an exchange of service for money and it's your job to deliver. Right? But when you fully step into your role as a leader, as someone who acknowledges that, what your client wants, you acknowledge.

Shannon Mattern: Like I know what my client wants, but as the leader here, I know what they really need to reach their ultimate goal. And because of that, I'm willing to advise them from this place of leadership because I'm coming from that place. It's easy for me to say client. I don't think that we should put this piece of music that your son produced for you on your website to start playing as soon as people open up. Because here's all of the reasons why that is not a best practice, right? And this, these are like real scenarios that we have happen and come up in, in our Web Designer Academy all the time. But if you are an overdeliver, you will be like, ah, they want me to do this. I don't really wanna do this. I'm gonna go ahead and do it just because they want me to, even though it's gonna cause this change in the project or this delay or whatever, or you do it because you're like, it's not even gonna really take that long.

Shannon Mattern: And they really want me to do it. But now, you know, I'm never gonna show this website to anybody after they , after they're asking me to do this, right? This is one that's not going in the portfolio. When you don't fully step into your role. As like I am the advisor, I am the consultant. I am the trusted person who is going to guide my client through this process. Instead of being the service provider who takes orders. That's when everything changes. That's when you can shift out of overdelivering, but still providing an amazing experience that helps your client go out and create better results. That's what it's all about. It's about helping your clients create better results. It's not about you saying yes to every single thing that they ask you for. Okay. Another reason that kind of leads me to reason. Number seven, that web designers overdeliver is that you want to delight your clients.

Shannon Mattern: You want to get that repeat business. You want them to like you, you want to have it be a good experience, but you mistake that desire with the thought that like, oh, the only way to create that is to do more and work more and add more and you know, be at their service. And I will submit to you that what is going to delight your clients is having someone who can guide them and lead them that they can trust. That knows that this person has their, their best interests and the best interests of their business and their future and their future goals in mind and is always going to advocate for the client's future goals and results over what the client wants in the moment. Okay. And that is how you delight your clients and not by just saying yes to everything that they want.

Shannon Mattern: Okay. And then this was another number eight is like a total. You did it to yourself kind of thing. And I used to do this to myself all the time. You get excited about all the possibilities, right? You overdeliver because a client has a project that you're super excited about and you just wanna dive in and solve every single one of their problems. And you are like figuring it all out along the way. And you just go Pam and you build things that the client's not even ready to implement or vice versa. The client gets excited about all the possibilities and wants you to include everything that they're not even ready for yet. So like maybe they just started their coaching business and they haven't even had a single client yet, but they want you to build an online course in a membership site and a landing page for their book.

Shannon Mattern: That's not written yet. And all of these special functions that they don't really need, but someone in their networking group told them about it. And just all this stuff that like they don't need. Now, it'll be cool for them five years from now. So either they get too excited about it or you get too excited about all the possibilities and you're not looking at like them and where they're at in their business right now and what they really need right now to move things forward. And the problem is, is like, you just love what you do and you're good at it. But it ends up as the saying is like, you end up shooting yourself in the foot. Because like nobody asked you to do it. It was super fun for you to do, but it almost like is frustrating to your client because they can't use all of the stuff that you built for them.

Shannon Mattern: And it's more stuff for them to learn how to use. Right. That's how over, like, that's just one of the ways that overdelivering can backfire, right? So it can backfire because you overwhelm your clients, you overwhelm them. There's too much that they need to learn. They don't know how to use their site. They get overwhelmed and then they don't do anything. Right? And so that's not our fault that they choose to not take action on their business or that they choose to not learn how to use their sites, but we can help mitigate that by not overdelivering. Right. So other ways that overdelivering can backfire is the big R resentment. How many of you feel resentment towards your clients? When you set a precedent for always saying yes to everything though, why would your client expect any different? But then you find yourself exhausted and resentful and feeling like taken advantage of, because you're like, oh, I gave an inch and they took a mile, right?

Shannon Mattern: And it's like, you think your client shouldn't ask that much of you, but you never set the boundary, right? So you start to get resemble. Burnout is another way it can backfire. So when you deliver more than is necessary for the client to create the results, you burn yourself out. And then you're not showing up as your best for you, your family, your friends, your clients. So we don't wanna be overdelivering. And then the final one that I think so many people just don't even think about is the opportunity cost of overdelivering time. You're spending doing unpaid work for a client, whether they ask you to do it, or you got too excited about it and you did it because you were just like seeing all the possibilities time you're spending doing unpaid work for a client so that they'll like you or refer you or praise you is time that you could have spent marketing doing paid work, participating in a coaching or mentorship program, making money, building your business.

Shannon Mattern: So anytime you choose to spend your time doing things that aren't aligned with your goals, you're missing opportunities. You're delaying your success. You're delaying your goals. Okay. So how do you stop overdelivering while still delighting your client? Of course, we want our clients to be happy. Like we want them to be well positioned to go create the results that they hired us to build the tool for them so that they can go create, right. We want them to be successful. It's in their best interests. It's in our best interest. Right? But not at our own expense. Okay. So you are so normal for wanting to overdeliver. It's coming from such a good place. You care so much about your clients. You want them to have great results. You want them to love their site. You want them to be so proud of it.

Shannon Mattern: You want them to share it with everyone. You want them to be happy with you. You want them to send you referrals. You wanna feel confident and capable and proud of the work that you've done here is the amazing, great news. You can achieve all of that without overdelivering, without working more, there are other ways to set your client up for success that don't involve overdelivering. Here's a mindset shift for you. It is in your client's best interest that you not overdeliver. I talked about this a little bit earlier, but it is in your best interest, your client's best interest that you not overdeliver. Right? so you're probably like, wait, what it's like, yep. You are overdelivering creates more work for your clients. It creates more things that they need to give feedback on more things that they need to learn.

Shannon Mattern: More things that they're like, oh, I built this, but I'm not using it. It creates all kinds of stuff for your clients. And so it also creates them feeling like totally fine to violate your boundaries. And then you start to hate them and they don't even know it. Right? So it creates a bad rela- your overdelivering creates a bad relationship between you and your clients. And when you are overdelivering you're not able to perform at the level that your clients deserve. You're exhausted. You're burnt out. You're resentful, you're missing details. You're avoiding communication. You will do anything to get the project done, which creates more overdelivering and compounds the issue. And you probably don't wanna even provide any support to the client after the fact, because the experience was just so Ugh, right? If you have ever experienced that, please go to, find episode number two.

Shannon Mattern: And leave me a comment, because I wanna know if that resonates with you, because that was like my experience in my early days with like all of my clients. And I didn't know that I was the problem I didn't, I didn't know that I was a problem. And if you're, I was the problem and the theme of the Profitable Web Designer podcast is that we get to look at all of the things that we are responsible for and that we can control and shift those things, because we can't always control our clients. I don't care how much amazing systems and processes you have in place. People are people, they do what they're gonna do. And we just have to know what we're gonna do in response to that. Okay. What is going to delight your clients is the process and experience of working with you.

Shannon Mattern: It's you helping them make the best decisions for their business and their goals versus saying yes to everything that makes them value the experience of working with you. It's hearing, I advise against doing that, and here's why it doesn't solve your biggest problem. And if we do it this way, we're gonna finish faster, which helps you create results faster, telling the truth, like that builds trust with your clients. It's having systems and processes in place that make it easy for your clients to work with you. They know what's gonna happen. If they make a certain decision, right? They know what's gonna happen. If they don't get the content to you on time, they know what's gonna happen. If they want to add something that wasn't in the scope, right. They know, and they are empowered to make those decisions within your boundaries, right? That just makes it so frictionless to work with you and your projects.

Shannon Mattern: Start on time and end on time. And that's the kind of stuff that delights the client, not overdelivering. And it's ultimately them being able to use this beautiful functional tool that you created for them to go out there and achieve their goals and have actually work and be what they need at that point in their business that will delight them, not you overdelivering. So how do you stop? How do you stop overdelivering? If you've been a chronic overdeliver, like I was first, you must start thinking of yourself as that collaborative consultant and trusted advisor, instead of an order taking pixel pusher. Second, you must get really clear on your client's bottlenecks in their business and identify the one or two. That's gonna have the most impact, one resolved and focus your deliverables on those things. First, rather than all the fun bells and whistles that you could do now that aren't gonna really move the needle for your client today.

Shannon Mattern: Right? So we need to pair those deliverables back to just, what's gonna have the most impact. Third, notice your urge to overdeliver and identify what you're thinking that makes you wanna say yes to something that wasn't included or add something that wasn't asked for. What core beliefs are these thoughts that you're having tied to? Are these thoughts and beliefs serving you, or are they keeping you stuck? Ask yourself what else could be true? How can I still delight my client without overdelivering? Okay. Fourth, you have got to stop thinking that you can control what other people think of you. . This is the hardest one that I had to learn. When you act from a place of wanting people to like you, or you act from a place of wanting to avoid conflict, or you act from a place of wanting to get referrals, instead of acting from a place of your vision, values and integrity, you are always going to be at the effect of other people's opinions, which you cannot control ever.

Shannon Mattern: So you get to shift and you get to control you. You get to lay your head down at night, knowing that you chose not to overdeliver in integrity and in the best interests of you and your clients. So it is the inner work by friends that creates the transformation from overdelivering pixel pusher to trusted advisor that works a normal amount and is not resentful . And I wanna invite you to start doing that inner work with us inside the Web Designer Academy. So just go to, click that big bold, apply to work with us button, tell us where you're at now and where you'd like to be. And if we think you're a good fit for our strategies and systems and frameworks and processes, we'll send you an invitation to learn more about our proprietary pricing frameworks, zero obligation, zero pressure.

Shannon Mattern: We do not do pushy and sleazy and salesy around the Web Designer Academy. Simply filling out the application is gonna give you a chance to find out what unique opportunities we see for you and your business, so that you can get all of the information you need to decide if a program like the Web Designer Academy is right for you. So to recap overdelivering is delivering more than was initially requested or agreed upon, right? And we talked about the mindset behind overdelivering and all of the thoughts and the conditioning that you have had over the years that make you think you have to overdeliver, or you, you are, you're afraid to not overdeliver. We talked about how it can backfire not only resentment and burnout, but also the delay of you taking action toward your goals and that delighting your clients comes from not overdelivering.

Shannon Mattern: It comes from the experience of working with you. 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 to get your hands on those. And we'll be back next week with another episode designed to help you up level 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 rating and 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 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.

Speaker 2: This podcast is part of the sound advice, FM network sound advice, FM women's voices amplified.


A person is smiling for the camera.
Hi, I'm Shannon!

I’ve been coaching + mentoring web designers on how to package, price, market and sell web design for over 7 years… it’s time to forget everything you think you know about selling web design projects!

If you’re ready to stop undercharging and overdelivering and finally create a profitable, sustainable dreamy web design business, get my free Profitable Pricing Training and change everything you thought about how much you can charge for your web design services.

get the podcast
Get new episodes in your inbox every week!
Expert interviews, mindset shifts and behind-the-scenes stories from other successful web designers, and SO MUCH MORE, delivered to your inbox to help you go from undercharging and overworking to profitable and free.