How to Get Web Design Clients Without Social Media with Mat Casner

Are you tired of hearing that you need to promote on every corner of the internet to get clients?

Then you’re in the right place, my friend, because this week I’m talking with Mat Casner about maximizing your web design business growth without social media!

Mat is the founder of web design agency RedLogic, and Freelance Entrepreneur, where he lives out his passion helping others grow their own businesses. He also recently hosted the Purpose to Profit Design Business Summit where I was honored to be a speaker!

“Even though you may not be enjoying that job, do your job well. It will come back and pay you later.” –Mat Casner

3 key takeaways from my chat with Mat: 

  • The “If I can do it once, I can do it again” philosophy helps impostor syndrome and encourages Mat to continue pursuing freelance work.
  • Everything you need to learn about web development, marketing, and being a business owner can be DIY-ed, but it’s so much easier to do it with a mentor and other resources out there.
  • As a business owner, you will experience going through the grind and hustle to establish yourself, but eventually you have to shift to creating space for yourself and making those business-minded decisions like raising your prices.

“One of the things that freelancers can do right now is leverage the people that you already know. The people that you know are by far your best salespeople because they have confidence in you.” –Mat Casner

We also talk about how Mat:

  • Maximized his existing relationships to get his first contracts as a freelance web designer.
  • Focuses on his network and creates an excellent product for existing clients to grow his business.
  • Made the shift from web designer to mentor to help other struggling web designers get out of the grind and shift into business growth.

Connect with Mat Casner:

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 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 while my friend, you're in the right place.

Shannon Mattern: Before we dive into this week's episode, I wanna let you know about a virtual web design business planning retreat that we're hosting on Thursday, December 8th, all about how to think, act, and make decisions like a multi six figure business owner. And you are invited because here's a little secret that no one talks about. In order to create a six figure web design business, you gotta think, act, and make decisions like a multi six figure web design business owner. And that is why on Thursday, December 8th, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern, we'll be hosting our first ever multi six figure web design, business, vision, planning, and goals virtual retreat. And during this a one day online event, you will create your project schedule and plan for 2023. You'll reverse engineer your pricing based on your big revenue goals. You'll learn to think and make decisions like a multi six figure web design business owner so that you can reach your personal revenue goals, whether that's six figures, multi six figures, or just a full time income as a web designer. And you'll learn how to continue to book profitable projects in an uncertain economy. Tickets go on sale Monday, November 21st through Wednesday, December 7th, and spots are limited. So head on over to to save your spot. Now, if you are ready to completely transform your web design business in 2023, you are not going to wanna miss this event. So go ahead and grab your ticket at and then meet me back here for this week's episode.

Shannon Mattern: Hey everyone, welcome to this week's episode of the Profitable Web Designer Podcast, where I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Mat Casner, who helps designers go from employee to boss. He recently just hosted the Purpose to Profit Design Biz Summit. He is so, so passionate about helping you create a profitable design business, hence why he is the perfect guest for the Profitable Web Designer podcast. So Matt, thank you so much for being here. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about who you are and what you do? And then I get to ask you all of the nosy web design business questions that everyone's here for

Mat Casner: . Absolutely. first of all, Shannon, thank you. It's a privilege to be here with you today and I'm excited to dive into the, the nitty gritty of being a profitable web design business owner. So my story is going to school and I'm, I'm gonna date myself here a little bit. You know, the web there, there was no web design class. I mean, there was no YouTube there. I mean, it wasn't literally a graphic design class that I was in. And a friend of mine we were sitting at, at, in the computer lab, and he's playing with a version of Netscape Navigator Gold. Okay. And he's like, dude, I just found out how to edit this webpage. And we're looking at each other going, that's freaking amazing. And that was like the genesis. And we're like looking at each other going like, and I can build stuff in Photoshop and I can put it online.

Mat Casner: It's like, oh, this is awesome. So that was the beginning for me. And I've kind of grown up in the web as it's kind of progressed and kind of through all the iterations through 2.0. And I mean, now we got this web, three things staring us in the face, and I'm like, I'm like deer in headlights. But you know, for me it was always about discovery and building pages in a notepad, coding html in a notepad, and then eventually moving into, you know, this database driven stuff. And, and then ultimately into the CMSs that are out there. Now I'm, I'm now a WordPress guy. I've been a WordPress guy for many, many years and just have seen the evolution of building websites go from just nobody had one to now it's gotta have a database back in. Now I wanna be able to control the content and now I wanna be able to, you know, sell everything.

Mat Casner: So it's been a fun process, but probably one of the most unique things about me is I started in Kansas City, worked through some agencies, some corporate marketing departments, and, and that's kind of where I got some on the job training. And, and, and if you're like me, Shannon, it's like, you know, it's, it is an ever evolving, ever learning career. I mean, you're always learning, but about 20 years ago, my family was young and we, we kinda wanted to get outta the city. So my wife and I found a, a house and I was able to telecommute, which is like today's terms, it's called working remote, but they called it telecommuting back in the day. And so we found a house, and we've lived in this house for 20 years, and we're in a town in east central Kansas with a population of 650 people. So I guess if my story is anything, it's possible to build a business in the middle of nowhere. And, you know, the good news for today is with technology and the ability to literally, you know, we can have, have internet in our pockets now. To me it's just a fun day to be a web designer just because of the options that are available. There really is no limit to what we can do as business owners. And to me that's just incredibly exciting.

Shannon Mattern: I love it. I felt that excitement to back in the early, like yeah I'll date myself, like Macromedia Dream Weaver like was . Oh yeah. You know, where I was learning. But I love that you had this evolution, you've had this journey and you mentioned corporate marketing departments and agencies. When did you start taking on your own freelance clients in this process?

Mat Casner: So I got my first freelance client as a junior in a high school. Someone asked me to do a little illustration for a little publication, and that's kind of where I got my first taste of it. But as far as like web freelance, that happened after a couple of years in industry after college. I mean, I, I took out a loan to buy my first computer and I did that really is what, that's what enabled me to, to start the site hustle, you know what I mean? Back then it was a significant loan to go get a computer. And my wife thankfully was on board with it, but I mean, it wasn't cheap. And so that was the genesis of it. Once I had the tools at my house, then nights and weekends were my own and I could do whatever I wanted to. So that's where, you know, I started, friends started asking me and former colleagues, either former business owners, that's just kind of how I started. I started the Freelance Hustle, was just in my basement with my computer.

Shannon Mattern: I like, just forget how old I am sometimes or maybe how fast technology moves. But yes, I had to take a loan out to buy my gateway. It came in the cow box and mm-hmm. , it was a thing to have a computer. It wasn't just like how it is now where I'm just like, close my laptop, throw it to the bag, go to the coffee shop, whatever. Like, I forget how, probably like how wide open the opportunity was for you because you had the tool. Not everybody had the tool because you had the skills. Very few people had the skills and like, you are the guy, you're the guy that like, that they know that can do it. And like someone knows a guy who knows a guy who knows you. Right. , so, so you were doing freelance projects, people were coming to you, you're the guy. Do you still a day job now?

Mat Casner: Well, I mean, I run my agency now. That's my, that's my new job.

Shannon Mattern: I knew, I knew that you, yeah. Yeah. So what was the shift for you to go from employed by someone else to employed by yourself?

Mat Casner: That's a fantastic question. So, a couple of things that kind of led me to the leap, as I call it, to jump out of the boat and go full-time on my own. The first one was I had developed a fairly good network. Yeah, I had a few projects under my belt and had already built a couple of, a couple retainer clients that were small, small, small, small contracts, pretty much just maintenance. Not much into that. I, I got into some of the other, you know, recurring revenue later which is huge. But probably the, the big thing for me was someone that was a former employer of mine that I had left a few years before was starting to get on board with some of the web stuff. And I had worked for them in kind of a, a design capacity, but they knew that I could do the website stuff too.

Mat Casner: And they knew that they could probably find somebody internally to do the job, but because they knew me and they knew what I was capable of, they offered me a small contract. It wasn't anything big, but for me it was a little bit of a lifeline and it was like, okay, so this is like 12 months of guaranteed money that I'm gonna get in my business. Now I say it, it was what I needed and the confidence I needed to say, if I can do this one time, I can do this again. And so for me and my wife, we had a couple small kids at the time, you know, that's kind of a big decision when you're like looking at maybe stepping away from the benefits and some of the Yeah. The other things that come with the nine to five. But at the end of the day, Shannon, besides having that, that little promise of recurring revenue that was gonna come in, which gave me something to build on, it really opened up for me the possibilities of, okay, what really can I do on my own?

Mat Casner: Yeah, working in a corporate job is secure, the benefits are good, but I was in a box. I felt like I was in a box. I felt like that my income potential was hindered because of that. And honestly, I was working a tongue at the time. I had a pager on my hip and I was on call. And so, you know that digital leash and it has different Yeah. A form today, it's called a cell phone. Yeah. I really had a hard time staying in that job because it was wearing me out. My kids were little, I was like, I'm spending no time at home. And I was like, okay, if there's any time to do it, this gift of this contract was it. And so I was like, okay, I've got X number covered and my monthly expenses, I gotta go find the rest.

Mat Casner: Well, thankfully I had been doing this site hustle for long enough. I already had kind of a network and huh. I tell this story about not every job that I had was great. I wish it was, I wish I could tell you that every position that I was in was great. I learned something in every one of those jobs, but it wasn't always my favorite place to be. And thankfully there weren't too many of those. There's some that I walked away from and I said, I, I don't care to ever come back here again. But the good news is that there were a lot of the places that I had spent my time before I went full time as a freelancer. And those relationships were still very, very valid to me. And I, you know, LinkedIn really wasn't there at the time, but I mean, I had email addresses for all my past supervisors and I just said, Hey, listen, I'm doing this new thing and you know, I just want you to keep me in mind.

Mat Casner: If something comes along that I can help you with, I wanna be available for you. You know what I can do? And Shannon, I'm not gonna lie to you. That was the start of my referral network because those people who knew me, they liked me and they trust me even if they didn't have projects on their own, because like you said, I, I was top of mind. And so one of the things that, that freelancers can do right now is leverage the people that you already know. The people that know you are by far your best salespeople because they have competence in you. People stress out about go to find work in the, in the wild where, you know, you've got past relationships and it may be just maybe a couple of past jobs. I tell people, even though you may not be enjoying that job, do your job well, yeah.

Mat Casner: It'll come back and pay you later. And so managing relationships, I've found has been probably one of my greatest secret weapons as a freelancer. It doesn't really take too many referrals to get your name out there. And then it becomes a little bit of a, a little bit of a snowball. It kind of takes on its own life. So, long answer to your question, when I got started, it was because I had some relationships, I had a network and I had that, that one small little contract that was just the confidence boost that I needed to say, if I can do this once, I bet I can do it again.

Shannon Mattern: I love that story so much because what you just said, if I can do that once, I can do it again. That is absolutely true for anybody listening. It's like when you get that first client, absolutely. When you sell the highest price project you've ever sold, and then you start to think like it's a fluke. They overpaid me. All of of these things, you have all that imposter syndrome flooding in, like hear Matt's words in your head. Like, if I can do that once, I can do it again. And it's not a fluke. But the other thing that you were saying is like, I don't care if you're brand new, like we all have been at one time, or you've been doing this for a while, your network is the absolute hands down best way to get clients. I have people coming to me all the time saying like, I need to learn how to, I say that I, I think I've said this on every episode, like the past three episodes of this podcast, but it's so key. Like I need to figure out how to attract clients and how to get people to find me online. And I'm like, well you're gonna be waiting for a long time. Mm-Hmm. , because there's a lot out there. And it's like, you get to go create that, go out there and get it, go build the relationships, go meet people, go let people know what you do. You don't have to be on social media and do all of these things to get clients. And you certainly don't have to like go convert strangers into clients.

Mat Casner: No, you're exactly right. In fact, it stresses me out. And there's times in my career where I heard someone say, oh, to find clients you gotta do this. You gotta put yourself out there, you know? Yeah.

Shannon Mattern: Put yourself, put yourself out there.

Mat Casner: I don't like talking

Shannon Mattern: On the

Mat Casner: Internet. I don't put myself out there . That's hard for me. It's hard for me. And I, I think a lot, I mean especially for, for freelancers who are, are somewhat introverted, making that it's hard, boy, putting yourself out there, that's where the imposter syndrome just rears its ugly head, big and bold. And you're trying to convince an unknown crowd that you're good at what you do. And you know, I don't know what the old ad is that, you know, it's, it's easier to sell an existing client than it is to go find a new one. Well, someone who comes to you from a referral is pre-sold.

Shannon Mattern: Yep.

Mat Casner: It literally, and, and I tell someone, serve, serve your first client. Get a win for them. You know, have a good client relationship with them and that'll help lead to the next one. I mean, there's, there's just some things you can do at the end of an engagement if you've done well with that client, that can set you up for the, you know, you know, for the next 12 months if you're working with them to develop relationships. So yeah, I, you know, it's, to me the, it's a people business and I mean, social media has its place. I'm not bashing on social media cuz I use it, but at the end of the day, I don't lean on it for the business that comes in into my operation.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I use it like how we used it back when it came out to like connect with people. If I use it at all, it's going to be to reach out to you directly, to connect with you, to like invite you to a podcast episode or something like that, to like build a real relationship. And I, and I get it, that like a lot of the times we are more introverted or more reserved and that's maybe why we chose this, this role in this this thing that we love to do to like be behind the computer and just bring things to life. And we're not necessarily like super extroverted in wanting to like put ourselves out there. And so when you think you have to do that to get clients and that you have to show up to a lot of people looking at like presenting a certain image or portraying yourself a certain way. It can be debilitating is a very strong word, but it can prevent you from actually going to do the thing.

Mat Casner: Yeah, a hundred percent.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah.

Mat Casner: We're perfectionistic pe I mean a lot of times entrepreneurs have to be detail oriented mm-hmm.

Mat Casner: . And so in other words, we don't wanna present ourselves to the world if we feel like there's a flaw. If we feel like it's not gonna be perceived well. So what's that do? It causes to shrink back. It causes to hesitate, it causes to procrastinate. It's that imposter syndrome. It's that I don't think I'm good enough. And so instead of putting myself out there, I don't, well I mean that's, that's double-edged sword because part of being a business owner is awareness. Whether you are, you know, making your services, you know, known to an existing network or if it's social media and making your existence known to people that you don't know. But yeah, we get in our heads all the time and, and stop ourselves from taking action in our businesses when we should be.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So you obviously like offered services, worked with clients. When did you decide other web designers need my support, I need to mentor designers and help them with their businesses? What was the catalyst that brought you to doing the work that you're doing today?

Mat Casner: Hmm. Yeah, I, I would say some of that came with some introspection. I know that it was about, about seven years ago I was really taking some inventory over where I had been in my business over the past, at that point had been about 13 years. Mm-Hmm. . And I don't have a business degree, I don't have an mba, I don't have a marketing degree. Everything that I learned about being a freelancer, being a business owner was on the job diy. I mean, I was lucky to have a few people speaking into my life, but honestly the, the type of personality that I am, I didn't reach out for help very often, Shannon. I was like, I'm gonna try to figure this out and if I fail, I guess I learn a lesson. Well, needless to say, I learned a lot of hard lessons and about six or seven years ago, I was just looking inside and I was like, in my own mind, look how far I've been able to come.

Mat Casner: And I had this moment, I was actually at a conference in Phoenix, which I don't travel very often, but I happen to be there. And the person on stage was just asking us to, you know, just kind of dream a little bit and, and I had this little vision in my head that played out that was like, wouldn't it have been nice when I was getting started in my career to know somebody like me? Yeah. Not necessarily me specifically, but somebody who had knew the ropes. Somebody who kinda knew what steps to take next. Because for the first probably 15 years I was kind of this guy bumping my toe on stuff in the dark trying to figure out business. And I mean, eventually I got there. No, no. I mean I'm grateful for that. My story is, is full of those lessons. But there were times it was hard and those lessons sometimes came with price tag.

Mat Casner: And at the end of the day, I, I was still grateful for what I was doing and, and my reason for doing it was still very valid and still there, but it was hard. And I just was sitting at that conference and I'm like, you know, I can't go back in time. Yeah. And I can't go back and have a cup of coffee with myself and say, listen, you know, if you really wanna do this thing, here's what I recommend you do first and definitely don't do these things. I couldn't do that. But the next thought that I had is there's somebody else out there that's trying to figure this out that I can't help at that moment. That's when I was like, okay, I think I found what the next thing is and I'm just gonna see if anybody needs help. And if I can help them shave a few years, save a few dollars, get some wins and it not cost them as much, then I'm gonna give it a shot.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I mean, I wanna know in just a second what you would've told yourself back then about here's what to do and here's what, because I'm like, tell me more about that. But one of the things that breaks my heart is to see someone's plateaued at a certain revenue level. And they are so burnt out that they're like, I would rather go back and work for someone else than continue what I'm doing for another second. And you've seen it. I've seen it. And it's just like, if you just had someone to just, cuz you're so close and you're so in it and you're so stuck that you don't know even how to get outta your own way sometimes. I'm so fortunate that I had a business coach who wanted to hire me and I told her like, no, I can't hire you. I can't, like, I can't take on another client. I'm like, at capacity. And she's like, please let me help you because, and she wasn't a, she wasn't a web designer or bus, like she was just a business coach and she's just like, you need some support if you're going to be successful in the way, in the way that I know that you wanna be. And I'm like, if I take on one more client, this is all gonna implode .

Shannon Mattern: So that's where it, and I see it happen, I see people quit. I see people set their dreams down because it's just too hard. And that's why I'm so glad there are people like you who are like, no, I wanna help those people persist. Because we all get to those points where we've like, I think I heard this analogy, it's like our lobster shell, like we need to molt it to like grow and then reform it and molt it to grow. And you help the people who are like at the point who they've molted and now they're very vulnerable and they need the next step. They need that mentorship. So what would you have told yourself if you could go back and have a cup of coffee with yourself back then, what advice would you give yourself?

Mat Casner: That's a fantastic, fantastic question. So I love the analogy of the, of the lobster shell and the molting because I think my advice would be, would be right along those lines, you know, I think there's stages as business owners that we have to go through. Yes. We have to go through the grind, we have to go through the hustle. I don't know a shortcut for that. And honestly, if somebody's selling something that gets you through the grind of the hustle without, you know, having to do that. I mean I'm, you know, my, my BS radar goes way up. But here's the thing, you know, we hustle and we grind and we get to a level of success where you just mentioned it, we're busy. Yeah. Okay. So you grind and you hustle to fill up the pipeline and then people don't shift gears. People stay in that shell and they don't make the critical adjustments. And what happens is they get burned out, their business has turned into a job and it's sucking their life away, which it's just like it was when they were in their G O B.

Shannon Mattern: Yep.

Mat Casner: So I'm like, okay, so what you gotta do is you gotta look at where you're at and that hustle has gotta change into you've gotta start raising your prices. You've gotta start seeing where, where your real value is and start creating space for yourself because you can't do work 40 hours a week that it just, you can't, if you're a business owner, and I believe, I believe if you're a freelancer, being a business owner is just a mindset. If you feel like an employee, you're gonna treat your business like you're an employee. If you don't start making some of those business based decisions, like, I need to raise my prices, then you're going, you're gonna have more than enough work because you're stinking cheap. Okay. And people are gonna buy the bargain stuff all day long, but nobody's gonna tell you to raise your prices except for you.

Mat Casner: Yeah. Okay. So that would be the first thing that I would tell myself is get some experience, get your name out there, grind and hustle, build some work up, and then start to find ways to, to increase your pricing so that the work that you're working on is more profitable and you're not spending, you're not spending all your time, you know, laboring. Cause you really want to grow your business. You need to spend time working on your business, not necessarily spend it in your business all the time. I wish I would've known that a lot earlier. It would've saved me a lot of stress and overwhelm because, you know, I'm gonna get the work done and I'll stay up as late as it takes to get the work done, knowing that maybe there's a project coming on the back end of that and it's gonna be another hustle. It's gonna be another grind. And that gets old real quick.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And I experienced everything that you just said as well, and like sometimes we're like, oh, our clients wouldn't possibly pay more or all of these things, but like, you don't know because you never asked, you never gave them the chance. And so you make these assumptions that I'll lose them or no one will pay me that much, or all these things. And you don't see a way out of the, the box that you've created for yourself. And it's like you have to be willing to take these risks because it feels horrible now to be like working 24 7 and never having a break and grinding. Like it's gonna be uncomfortable to Right. To tell your clients like, Hey, I have loved working with you and I, you know, wanna let you know that next month this is what it's, these are my new rates and it's uncomfortable, it's scary, but you shouldn't automatically assume that someone's not willing to pay you that much. But you also gotta be ready to let them go and choose yourself because you're effectively pay like when you're charging because they might not be able to afford you. It's like you're paying for them with your own like money, time, and life. And that's not why you're in business.

Mat Casner: No, exactly. Right. And I would say right along with that, another thing that I would tell myself is, and I mentioned the mindset shift from employee to business owner. Yeah. I mean, as a business owner, that's how I started to find a way to raise my prices is I literally was started asking the why question. Every time I would get into a discovery call meeting with a client, you know, they would, they would say, I need a website. And you know, back in the day, Shannon, I would say, all right, let's get started. Let's go, let's, let's get it done because tell me what

Shannon Mattern: You want. All the bells and whistles,

Mat Casner: You're here ready to buy, I'm ready to get it done. But you know, there were things like, you know, how do I track if this thing is, is working, how do I know if this project is really meeting the customer's needs and desires? Well, I didn't know because I never bothered to ask. And so by sitting down and digging into with the client their real motivations, what are their goals for the the site? Are there revenue goals that that you're looking for? Is there a certain growth or a certain type of activity that you're hoping that website, you know, takes care of? Then you can do two things. Number one, you can define some metrics that you can base success on. Okay. You can start tracking, you know, how many leads they get, how many sales they make, you know, which for them equates it at some point into dollars.

Mat Casner: And once you can start to determine the value that your, your work is going to bring to them, that's when you can start to reverse engineer what the potential value might be for the work that you bring to the table. And so that for me, were, I mean, that was some, again, more advice I wish I'd have given myself earlier on to really start thinking about the work that I'm doing, not just as a web developer, but this is a web development project that's gonna do something critical for this business. If I can figure out what that is, the project's more successful and I have a potential of, of making it more profitable for me.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. It's just that shift out of I'm getting paid a certain amount of money for my labor versus I'm getting paid a certain amount of money for my ideas and my solutions and what those ideas and solutions can create for my client. And yeah, that shift took a long time for me to wrap my brain around because as probably most people we're conditioned to be employees, we're conditioned that I get to buy your time and this is how much I get to decide it's worth based on the market of other people doing the thing that you're doing. And to believe that you can like break out of that and do something different, it's a shift that I think you need to take some intentional work to make that shift.

Mat Casner: Yeah. I, it's a process. I, again, I, yeah, I came to that realization after a lot of, I mean, it took me a long time. Yeah. You know, once I finally got there and the light went on, I was like, okay, I think I can do this. Yeah. But yeah, the mindset shift was huge. I had to get there.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So you are so committed to helping other designers shift out of those things and you know, kind of, I think you said it so well, it's not that they're necessarily gonna avoid the discomfort that we had in the beginning, but it's almost like it's, it's speeding up the timeline and helping them not stay in those uncomfortable places for too long before they're shifting, like you said, into the next level. I mean, I still now have to experience pain to grow all the time. I get complacent and then that starts to feel worse than the discomfort of doing something newer or risky. It's a never ending cycle. But what does it look like to work with you inside one of your programs?

Mat Casner: I guess I can tell you that I'm a bit of a dad and, you know, sometimes, you know, my, my, my kids, you know, sometimes it's a nurturer. Sometimes I gotta be the guy that says, you know, Hey, straighten up. And you know, it just depends on, you know, the type of word that people need to hear. Yeah. Wherever they happen to be. Sometimes I'm a cheerleader. My coaching career still is pretty, pretty young. But I love helping people. And part of what I guess, you know, that I help define myself as like a coach is, is now beyond the technical, beyond like the business side. I mean, I really believe that, you know, I mean, I absolutely love what I do because it's a combination of the things that I really love and I'm really good at combined with things that I really, really care about.

Mat Casner: And so I've been fortunate to have some, some of those in my business. And so my goal is, it's like, you know, we've got these unique skills, talents, experiences and passions that are in our life. And I love to find a way to help people bring those all together. Yeah. You know, to help them find a job that's not just paying them well, but at the end of the day, knowing you did some good work, you really helped somebody out. And, and again, I have clients that I may or may not connect with at that level, but I have a lot that I do. And for me that investing that and time and spending that time with them is so profitable. So when I work with, with other folks, you know, sometimes they're, they're, sometimes it's strategy and how do you, how do you start to think and put the processes in place that are gonna help you get your business established?

Mat Casner: And, you know, most of the people that I work with are, sometimes they're just getting started. Sometimes they're, they're needing to make some, some pivots or some turns to, to focus in on what they're really, really good at. I've got a couple of things that I, that I do. I, I, I have a membership that people can work with me kind of in a, in a group setting. It's called ignite. And and then I also have some, some one on one coaching that people can connect with me if they want, you know, some, some one on one time just to deep dive into to what they're trying to accomplish and try to address that on a little bit more of a specific level. But yeah, I mostly work with designers. I have a few people that, you know, work with me that are not designers and that's, that's okay. But I'm a designer at heart. It's what I know the best. And my heart is really for people who, who are trying to be creative, whether it's, you know, doing web work or branding work or, or, or whatever. We've got so many gifts to give the world, and I just wanna give people the ability to, to earn an income while they're doing it.

Shannon Mattern: I love it. And what are some of your favorite, like, client stories for the people that you mentor? Like what are some of the favorite shifts that you've seen in them and, and their businesses that just like light you up and when you see it click for them?

Mat Casner: I've got one of those businesses that I, I forgive me for saying this, I really don't serve a specific niche.

Shannon Mattern: I don't,

Mat Casner: I have been kind of a general practitioner, web designer, web developer, and have been able to pick and choose my clients a lot more selectively in the past 10 years than I did initially. But I still love serving people in lots of different areas. But one specific client that I'm just really happy about, she's an entrepreneur, she's a creative, and she struggled. She really wanted to be able to get her work out there. And she does like little decor things. I mean, not necessarily my bag, but it's her passion. And I connect with her and I'm like, I'm like, dog Donna, this is like a big deal to you. And there were some problems that she had that were technical, they were web related, they were getting stuff set up with her e-commerce store, and she was lost. Shannon. It's almost like I could see that frustration was like tugging on my heart.

Mat Casner: And I'm like, I can help you. And so if you're a freelancer, find a way to serve somebody, find out what they need and help them. So this story goes like this. We started working together and she was a sweetheart and five years later we're redesigning her website and she's killing it. I mean, I, we, we were looking her, we were looking at her web stats not too long ago. And I mean, she's getting tons of traffic, but she solved that problem with her website. Okay. Which was foundational because it's where her sales and transactions were gonna happen. And then she got smart and she started working with a Pinterest consultant and started learning how to drive traffic to her site. And I mean, it was

Shannon Mattern: ,

Mat Casner: But if she didn't have that initial work done, if her website was not set up and saw, and if she didn't have confidence in her own head that it was gonna do what she needed it to do, she was stuck in neutral.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah.

Mat Casner: And that happens. I I remember telling her story, her story is very, I mean, her, her story's awesome. I mean, she's just, she's done amazing. Others clients are like that. I, I, I think one of the things that we discount in ourselves, and we don't charge the prices, is we don't see our value guys. We can do things that no one else can do. We have the ability to go in and set things up for businesses and, and we're like giving them the keys to a new house that they get to live in. And for them, they're like, I don't know how you did that, but now I've got this new place that I can put my business in. And you give them that foundation. So it's incredibly valuable. I tell my students all the time, you forget how valuable what you do is to business owners. You do things every day and it feels normal to you. It feels, it feels like breathing, but to someone else, you're walking on water. And so just remember that, remember how much power you have to help someone who really needs your help. And then, I mean, to be able to go back five years later and say, Hey, let's redo this thing. And to be able to celebrate all the growth that she's had in her business because she had that, she had that version 1.0 website

Shannon Mattern: That just gave me chills when you said that, you know, you feel like it's as natural as breathing, but they think that you walk on water. We don't even think that what we do is that valuable, but it is that valuable. Oh, that is so powerful. Matt, I have one more question for you. I may have asked you this when you were on pep talks for side hustlers with me, which I'll link up in the show notes too. My other podcasts, what Matt and I talked on on last year, when, what, that's for any kind of freelancer, which is where I got to know him. And I asked this question to every guest on that podcast. I don't know if you remember your answer, I don't remember your answer. I'm not gonna go back and double check. So maybe it's different. But what's one belief about yourself that you had to change to get where you are today?

Mat Casner: Okay. All right. So the belief that I had to change about myself, it's related to what I said about being there and seeing myself as someone who has something that someone needs. Yeah. I'm a people pleaser, Shannon. I would have let myself go way too long helping anyone I could. At the end of the day, I had to make the decision that I need to charge what I'm worth to not just be fair to myself, but to my family and to my relationships that I need to make sure that I'm charging what I'm worth so that my clients show up and respect the work that I'm doing. I'm not saying that they didn't before, but I will tell you this, when people do work with me now, they show up, they respect my time, they listen and we work together. But I had to come to the table and put myself in that position, and I had to bring my value and I had to display it. I had to show people that this is what it's gonna be. Once I made that shift about my belief in myself, I'm not gonna say things got, they did get a little easier. I'm not gonna lie. It changes the way people perceive you, the way people buy from you, the way people interact with you. When people have to pay, they pay attention. That was probably the, the phrase that I heard that was like, okay, all right. People are gonna, there's just that investment when it's higher, people pay attention more. So there we go.

Shannon Mattern: Powerful, powerful stuff. And I think that is the perfect place to wrap up this conversation. Matt, can you share with everybody where can they go to learn more about you? Where can they learn more about like, working with you as their coach, as their mentor? How can they connect with you?

Mat Casner: My name has one T, so m a t That has my that has information about my coaching and, and other services. Lots of resources. I have lots of blogs. So just come and, and grab some information.

Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Well, we will link up all of that in the show notes. So you can go to, find Matt's episode, click on all the links for all of the resources and insight and advice and just fatherly mentorship that you have for people, which I absolutely love. Thank you so, so much for being here. I really appreciate it.

Mat Casner: Hey, it's a pleasure, Shannon. Thank you. It's been fun.

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 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 will 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 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.

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