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Increase Your Recurring Revenue with SEO Services with Lindsay Halsey of Pathfinder SEO

Welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast! This week we're talking about how you can increase your recurring revenue to your web design business by adding SEO services – even if right now you have no clue how to do SEO! I'm joined by Lindsay Halsey, a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses.

Lindsay focuses on teaching freelancers and agencies how to start, grow, and scale SEO service offerings so they can grow their recurring revenue.

Mentioned in this Episode

These are affiliate links which means if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission which allows me to continue creating awesome free content for you! I only recommend people I trust and/or services I use and love. Thanks in advance for using my affiliate links!

Shannon Mattern (00:01.42)

Hey everyone, welcome back to the profitable web designer podcast and today I am joined by Lindsay Halsey. She is the co -founder of Pathfinder SEO. She is

speaking at our Simply Profitable Designer Summit, which probably has already happened by the time you listen to this podcast. So I'm so excited to have her here today to share more about her business, her Pathfinder SEO and what she does. So Lindsay, thank you so much for being here today. So can you share a little bit more with our listeners about Pathfinder and you and what you do?

Lindsay Halsey (00:32.198)

Thanks so much for having me here today Shannon.

Lindsay Halsey (00:43.07)

Sure, I live in Basalt, Colorado out in the mountains and I'm a mom with two kids and before I became a mom, I really wanted to have a business that allowed me to work remotely and to build a sustainable and fulfilling business that also gave me a nice work -life balance. And I feel very lucky that I stumbled into the world of SEO.

Shannon Mattern (00:52.038)


Lindsay Halsey (01:06.962)

And I feel lucky because part of it that I really enjoyed was that it was all about problem solving and delivering long -term value for clients. So those were things that I really enjoyed doing from a professional standpoint, but also particularly lucky because SEO lends itself to recurring revenue. And I just didn't understand at the time how valuable and important that would be when it came to building a business.

Shannon Mattern (01:12.086)


Lindsay Halsey (01:32.95)

that navigated with me through different parts of life and that has allowed me to build a team and all of these things. So it was a lot of luck that I would say that I kind of ended up in this industry space. And I'm an amazing business partner and we started an agency called Web Shine that offers SEO and Google ad services. And after we did that for about...

five or six years, maybe a little bit longer, we decided to build Pathfinder SEO because what we found were that many of the web designers and digital agency owners that we knew, they weren't offering SEO services. And we thought they were actually the most likely and best candidates to offer SEO services because they knew the client's business, they knew the website. They were just a little bit overwhelmed by the idea that like SEO is some kind of a specialty or...

that there was a big skill set they'd need to build. And so we built Pathfinder as really a way of giving a guided SEO platform that gives process documentation, business resources, and then a community alongside to help web designers and freelancers and digital agencies pick up that big piece of recurring revenue that comes out of SEO.

Shannon Mattern (02:48.358)

I love how you approached Pathfinder in terms of really empowering web designers to offer those services to their clients when they feel like it's not a skillset in their wheelhouse, because just so many of our listeners who are designers and developers and problem solvers and they love to build automations and they love to just create the tool.

And they feel like either they have to offer SEO and they don't offer it. So they like tend to, there becomes like a little bit of a mindset problem that I end up coaching them on a lot of the time where they're like, oh, well, you know, I'm not helping them with getting traffic after the fact. So they like kind of diminish themselves or diminish their pricing. And because they're not like providing,

everything they think they quote unquote should be providing, or they just don't want to touch it at all. And so I feel like you're just filling a really important gap for web designers who want to offer it to their clients, but like you said, just are too overwhelmed with just starting from scratch.

Lindsay Halsey (04:13.81)

Absolutely. I mean, it's really the same position that our clients are all in, which is feeling overwhelmed about SEO. You know, it's ever evolving. There's like industry jargon and language. There's an unknown upside. So there's a feeling of like, if I invest in this, will this really work? And so to help our customers overcome those challenges, it takes a lot of confidence. It takes a lot of confidence to say, yes, I can help you navigate through this. But when you really get down into the depths of SEO,

Shannon Mattern (04:19.398)

Ha ha.

Lindsay Halsey (04:43.698)

It's not about a skill like being a ninja at 301 redirects or being really awesome at writing page titles and meta descriptions. It's more of a mindset and more of a, Hey, I can help you navigate SEO strategy. Um, because I can look up how to fix a 301 redirect in a Squarespace website. In this scenario, I can figure that out. If I'm willing to just say like, I'll figure it out when the time comes, but the place I really add a lot of value with customers and where we help other web designers do the same is.

strategy, how do I make sure I'm moving clients in the right direction for their business, for their budget, et cetera. And once you kind of wrap your head around frameworks that help create that strategy and you learn from other people doing SEO, which is a lot of where community comes in, the confidence builds really quickly. And that's how I learned SEO. I worked in a big agency and like in little cubicles.

And I just learned by listening to the people's conversations next to me. And then I'd be like, okay, now I'm in the hot seat. And like, you just learn through osmosis. I think we don't get that as much anymore since most of us do work remotely and teams of one, two, and three people. So how do you get that learning through osmosis? You've got to join communities, listen to podcasts, do all these things. And then it comes really naturally.

Shannon Mattern (05:59.59)

I love that you mentioned that that is a missing piece of, you know, when we decide to like go out on our own because we don't want to like go to the office anymore. And that sounds so dated now in 2024 after like pretty much everybody, you know, working from home, at least for a period of time in the past four years, which is crazy that it's been four years, but I just, you know, for me, like,

pre 2020 when I was still working at corporate and it's like, oh, the dream is to have this freedom and flexibility and, um, work from home and not have to go to the office. And yet with that comes, okay. But we're not over, we're not in the room with other people who are doing what we want. We don't have the person that we can just walk down the hall to say, Hey, can you help me with this? What does this mean? And, um, I just think that it's something for.

for me personally that I didn't realize. It's just like, I turned into this lone wolf over time that thought that I had to know everything and do everything and figure it all out on my own. But the answer is in the community, you know, and the people and yeah, we can still get it if we put ourselves in those spaces even virtually. So, tell me about that you.

Lindsay Halsey (07:14.254)

Absolutely. We can still get it.

Shannon Mattern (07:24.138)

Tell me about your career trajectory. You briefly mentioned that you started an agency with your partner, but how did you guys get your start?

Lindsay Halsey (07:36.082)

I was thinking that because we do work with a lot of web designers who are trying to get their first SEO client and trying to remember now it seems easy because most of our clients are referral based. But how did we get the first five clients when we like took that leap of faith to leave a broader agency and started out on our own? And for me, you know, the biggest thing I wished I had known was that I needed to learn how to be a salesperson because I'm not sales oriented and I don't like doing sales.

And everything in SEO sales feels slimy and like snake oil. And so the thing we did wrong right out of the gate was that we sold SEO like everybody else does, which was we sold it with a lot of fear mongering. So it's like, if you build a new website and you don't think about SEO, you're going to lose all your traffic and your business is going to tank. And so we would sell a project that way, or if you don't fix this, this will happen. And I don't like that approach because it's not authentic. It's not, you know, even oftentimes totally true.

And everybody else is selling SEO in that way. So you sound like everybody else and you can pretty much only win on price, which we all know we don't really want to win on price. We want to win on expressing how much value we're going to provide and building a partnership with our clients right from day one. And so I wish I had known how to sell and particularly how to sell SEO services because that was our biggest challenge. The thing we did right though,

was we just got out in the world. And just like we were talking about how like it's helpful to have community and learn through osmosis. Well, instead of like cold calling and doing things like that, you know, we did a lot of referrals based on friends of friends. So we made sure everybody knew that we were doing this. And then we just started getting in front of any business that we could get a leg in with an introduction. And we, you know, I wore nicer clothes than I do to my day, you know, my office job now and things like that.

And we dressed the part and we went to networking events in our community and we've been to a lot of word camps over the years. So we just got out in the world and we built business with business cards right out of the gate. And I think that went really well for us. And we also did some of our own marketing. I did some YouTube videos, which I hope I've deleted by now.

Lindsay Halsey (09:53.81)

but they were on really specific topics and they worked well. So whether you like video content or creating blog posts or whatever it might be, you can also use your own marketing skills and not have to rely entirely on networking to get those couple of first customers. But learning to sell SEO by avoiding industry jargon, educating clients and bringing them alongside and making them feel comfortable.

has been kind of our superpower at our agency. And it's the superpower we try to teach other web designers to use and how to sell SEO because it feels good and it wins more business and it's a huge differentiator in the space.

Shannon Mattern (10:35.622)

I was just, you guys can't see me, but I was like nodding along because for me, in the beginning, I've never sold SEO, but just selling websites in the way that we are like, oh, if you build it, they won't come, or just talking about all of these, the way that we talk about marketing, saying like, avoid this pain, avoid this pain. That never felt good to me.

in any of the spaces, like any of the sales spaces that I've been in. And when people do that to me, I'm not super motivated by avoiding pain personally. I'm super motivated by solving problems and what's possible and all of those things. So, you know, I'm just, we all go through our journey, right? Of like going out on our own and just trying to figure it out and like modeling what we see other people doing because we think

that it's the right way and that it's, you know, what's, we think they're successful, but we really don't know behind the scenes, like what's going on. And really just kind of like finding our own way. But I'm so glad that you mentioned like networking and just meeting people and asking them questions and letting them know how you can help. And that it seems as though that strategy,

many years of doing that has created a lot of momentum for you in terms of referrals.

Lindsay Halsey (12:08.114)

Exactly. And so then we can rely on that momentum a little bit more. But I think the other piece that I think about in the marketing and sales thing is that when you look at others, you see them doing what feels like everything. Like they have Google ads running on their own stuff and SEO and they're super social and they have an email thing and they're out at conferences and they network and they do this. And it feels like everybody does everything to build their business and to build their agency.

Um, but when you really like get down to it, and this is a mistake we made in marketing pathfinder is you really only need to like find two or three things that you can really like hone in on and just stay with it. And that thing could be podcasting and email marketing. It could be SEO and Google ads. It could be the real world and going to events and speaking, et cetera. You don't necessarily, in my opinion and experience have to do all the things because you get spread so thin. Um, and that.

for us in our agency and then also at our software with Pathfinder, we've hit our stride by focusing, going deeper on just a couple of channels or a couple of initiatives, because as small business owners ourselves, it's hard to find time to do it all.

Shannon Mattern (13:19.942)

Yeah, definitely. So I want to ask you more about Pathfinder. And you mentioned that you have the agency, but through the agency, you developed Pathfinder. So can we dig a little bit more into the story about how that came to be and how you really started rolling this out to clients?

Lindsay Halsey (13:43.538)

Yeah, so we built Pathfinder about six or seven years ago now, and it's been a journey like everything else. And at first, Pathfinder worked with basically two subsets of audiences, web designers and freelancers that wanted to start scale, start and grow their SEO offering. But then we also worked with business owners that were trying to take like more of a DIY approach to SEO. And the first thing that we discovered is we were spread too thin and we couldn't serve.

both audiences as well as we'd like. And so our focus today, and as it has been for quite some time now, is 100 % on helping freelancers, web designers, and digital agencies grow their recurring revenue with SEO services. And we do it with essentially kind of three ways. The first is business resources. So just building the offering, you have to think about packaging, pricing, marketing, selling.

There's infrastructure you kind of have to build and business work. And so we have templates and resources and a library of videos that walk people through all of those components. Anything from building an SEO pitch deck to email templates to make sure you respond to clients questions, you know, in a both scalable and proper way.

Then we layer in essentially process and task accountability. So we break down the SEO services offering into a series of steps so that when you sit down to deliver your first SEO assessment or SEO setup, you can go through our training library and you can actually do the work in parallel to those lessons and learn how to deliver the service if SEO is still new to you. And then we layered in some integrated SEO tools.

So things like keyword research and rank tracking and then white labeled monthly reporting, sort of wrapped around it, the piece that I feel like is really critical, which is community and training. So we do workshops, have open office hours and kind of find that we learn and grow better together. So it's kind of a, to us, it's more of a business system that's a little bit more than just a software or a tool.

Lindsay Halsey (15:53.746)

And really it tries to compliment what's already out there, which are there's some great SEO softwares out there. They're like really feature rich and I use a lot of them, but they lack process and they lack a lot of agency resource. And that's really where we find Pathfinder comes in to serve a much more specific audience, which is, which is folks just like us. We, we'd like to say we're sort of our own target audience. Like our agency is a customer of Pathfinders. We use Pathfinder at our agency, which is pretty fun.

Shannon Mattern (16:24.134)

So I could be a web designer who is like building awesome websites for my clients, you know, going through brand strategy, doing all of these things. And we get all the way to the end and I'm like, here's your new website. Goodbye. Let me know if you need some maintenance support, get on my maintenance plan or whatever. And if you need an SEO expert here, let me refer you to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But with Pathfinder,

I can now have the training, the tools, the support to offer those services. You're gonna help me figure out how to package price, sell it, service it, do it, do the strategy and create the recurring revenue for myself through offering ongoing SEO services to my clients, even if I've never done it before because I have.

the person sitting in the next cubicle that I could be like, hey, can you help me with this piece?

Lindsay Halsey (17:27.57)

Exactly. We're the ones in the next cubicle. And that's what we hear from people is like, I just did my first SEO assessment. I delivered it to the client and went so well. Or like they're in a group call, like I'm about to have this call and I feel really nervous or I've got a great sales opportunity, but I'm not totally sure how to pitch in this context. And so that's exactly, you know, what we do. And part of the dynamic in the SEO industry and where a lot of our, where a lot of our customers come in is just where you're saying like,

finish building a website, get on a maintenance plan so there is a recurring revenue stream. Client now wants growth. Client wants more of a growth plan. And you have a couple options. One is refer it to others. And I think if you have a great SEO partner and that's working for you, maybe you can monetize that a little with getting like a 10 % commission off anything they sell for the referral and create something that works for you in a recurring revenue model.

But a lot of the web designers we meet with say, I can't find someone that I trust that's gonna stick around the charges prices that are in line with mine. So I don't actually have anyone to refer to. So that can be a challenge in and of itself. And so we see a lot of people say, well, I'll just white label it. I'll offer it and I'll white label the service.

And the appeal there is like, you feel like you're getting the recurring revenue because you are, you're the one billing for it, but you're just not watching that like 75 % might be going over to a white label provider. And then you find the white label provider isn't quite close enough to the client's business to really enact change in the world of SEO. Like we need to be in close with our clients and understand their business to create a good content strategy. So the white label approach sort of like the client doesn't get as good of results and you don't get a good enough.

to make it worth your while. And so there can be some challenges there. So that's a lot of where Pathfinder comes in. And it's not to say it all has to still fall on your shoulders, because what if you go get 10 clients, right? And all of a sudden you have 10 SEO clients and you're a one person business, that could be overwhelming. And so the model that we use at our agency and that we often help people with is this idea that you're sort of the captain of the ship.

Lindsay Halsey (19:36.946)

the strategist and you meet with the client and you bill and you do all that and you direct strategy. But you can have contractors who work for you on an hourly basis that fluctuates based on need. And those contractors can help you with content and copywriting or like technical SEO implementation. You can outsource and build some backlinks that are quality in this day and age with paid methodologies and things. And so you don't have to deliver it all, but.

You have to want to be the one that's kind of at the helm of the ship and helping and working with the client. And that's really where Pathfinder fits well.

Shannon Mattern (20:13.638)

I feel like when you're saying this, I'm thinking of when we work on a web design project with our clients. And I say we, as in me 2019 and before, because I stopped working one -on -one to coach web designers in 2019. But when we work with our clients, we are so invested in knowing who their ideal clients are, what their unique value proposition is, what makes them different. How do we set, like we...

We already know so much, almost everything we need to know to carry over to SEO strategy. And now we can just multiply the value of that information. It's like you're not doing the work over again. You already have it there. Now you're just parlaying it into this next service.

Lindsay Halsey (21:08.626)

That's exactly right. And that's really why, and think of your client's value there. Like if they were to go and hire an SEO agency, they have to start their story at the beginning and they have to make sure they understand their business, how their website works, all of these things. You can't do SEO in like back office with, you know, in a vacuum anymore. You have to be in close with the business. And so,

When customers understand that, the value of your service goes way up and you move out of being an hourly SEO provider and able to charge strong monthly retainers because you're delivering at least 2X the value that if they brought in somebody that had to start from the beginning and didn't know those things would drive. So yeah, there's a ton of value there and you're already like 10 steps down the road. You just kind of don't always know it because...

It does take a little bit of a leap of faith to get that confidence to say like, yes, I'm an SEO expert and I will lead your strategy. But that's what Pathfinder is here for.

Shannon Mattern (22:10.758)

Yeah, so you've mentioned value. We've talked about pricing and recurring revenue, which is one of our listeners' favorite, favorite topics. Can you talk, speak a little bit more to the, like, just how you talk to Pathfinder, you know, customers or students about how do they communicate the value of this to their clients when their clients might just think,

I just need to be on the first page of Google or whatever their clients misconceptions they might have about like what SEO looks like or what the service looks like.

Lindsay Halsey (22:48.434)

So I like to liken things a lot of times to things our clients understand. And clients don't even know what SEO means. Like I've been on sales call where they'll say like, hey, can I hire you for CEO? I'm like, what's CEO? I don't even know what that means. And they're like trying to like pronounce SEO or other confusing matters. And so when we talk about delivering value, the biggest thing is to speak in a language our clients understand. And one thing that they can understand is the concept of long -term capital.

so that they need to understand that the key dynamic to SEO is that it has a run out in value that goes beyond the month that I did the service in, that we're building long -term value and that it snowballs over time. And so if content is an example, you get a couple of content wins. Well, those are like in your back pocket for good. And when we look at what that means for a business, it feels like the wind is at your back.

That's another concept. So there's like phrases like this, long -term capital, the wind is at your back. It doesn't feel like that in the beginning. We don't want them to feel like in month two, they're going to be like, wow, there's a strong breeze and I'm crushing it. That we work at it, but that you do get to a place where you feel that wind at your back with SEO. The other thing that sometimes they can liken to is like sports analogies and things like that. And this idea that...

SEO is a marathon, so it's something we have to stick with because SEO evolves, like the search engines evolve, the client's business evolves, and there's value in just like a steady approach. We can't sprint and stop just like in a marathon because the search engines value sort of that foot on the gas at a nice pace more than like accelerate, stop, accelerate, stop. So clients can understand that as well quite a bit. And so when...

When they understand sort of these value components and start to understand what SEO can do for them, then you can talk about how you approach it and how you actually do this. And for, you know, I think all of the services as digital agencies that we provide, they can really be bucketed into three phases. There's strategy, there's a build, and then there's maintenance and evolution. And SEO is the same. So they're already familiar with this from working with you in web design.

Lindsay Halsey (24:59.986)

And strategy is paid. Like I don't give them SEO strategy for free. And so we call that an SEO assessment. And that's how we go and figure out like where are they today? Where do they want to go? And how are we going to get you there? That project is not an audit. It's not like $5 ,000 and it takes us a month and we give you a laundry list and we could have just run it through one of those third party software scanning tools. There's strategy here. It's like mostly thinking and looking and data analysis. So.

That's where we start, then we build, we call that an SEO setup, but really it's just like building the website. It has some planning still, then it gets hands -on, and at the end of the day, you've accelerated their jump off and you've gotten hands -on, meaning they're going to start to see results. Then with maintenance, we move into maintenance plans and they can range from just basic SEO maintenance, where we keep our foot on the gas to more accelerative, good, better, best type offering.

where we start to get really hands -on with content marketing primarily and helping our clients with blogging. So that's a little bit about how we start with the value of it and then help to express sort of our method or our approach. And the other thing that I really wish I had understood in the beginning was that having a client commit to the monthly right out of the gate is a lot. So I want them to know about monthly.

because I don't want them to think the setup is the end of the game, just like building a website is not the end of the game. I want them to know it's out there, but what I really want them to do is only think about the strategy piece. Like that's their only commitment to me so that we're getting to know each other and you're committing to strategy and then we'll make the decision on setup and then we'll make a decision on monthly so that they don't feel trapped because with SEO, they've probably heard bad stories or they've experienced it themselves.

So even more so, I think, than web design, there's a bigger leap of faith here, and they need to build that trust with you to know that you're the right provider and that they're moving in the right direction. And so that's a little bit about how we kind of move from value to approach to then realigning with that comfort piece, like let's just do one thing, make it a small decision, make it an easy decision, and let's get going.

Shannon Mattern (27:15.558)

I love that so much. And you mentioned, you know, starting with the strategy to build the trust with a client. How do you help new SEO providers build trust with themselves? I know that Pathfinder probably is like a huge, huge piece of that, but like, what are some of the mindset shifts that you see that people coming into Pathfinder need to make to really confidently offer these services?

Lindsay Halsey (27:44.082)

Good question. So the first mindset shift I think is that everybody else offering SEO services like kind of knows more than I do. And I get that, that like, oh gosh, they, you know, they know more, like I can't do this because look at who they could be hiring out there. And, and moving away from this idea of requiring SEO expertise to be a really good SEO provider. So there's a mindset shift of being like, no, I'm a problem solver and I'm smart and I can learn what I need to know on the how.

but where I am gonna build my skillset and my confidence is gonna be like knowing when to do things, why we're doing them, communicate well, et cetera. So that's one mindset shift I think that comes early on in working with Pathfinder. The other big one is that I remember when I started offering SEO services like at the agency level, I would open my monthly reports on the first and I'd open like 40 of them or how many of our clients I was managing.

And all I would do is be like, increase, increase, decrease, ah, increase, increase, increase, decrease, decrease, ah. And every time I saw sessions go down, I thought I'd get fired. And that was just like my mindset was that they have hired me to grow their traffic and grow their business, which means increases in sessions. Well, it's just not that simple. And SEO has a part that I have control over and that is the work that I do.

and like keeping the effort going and being strategic and being accountable. Then there's the search engine algorithms. They can sometimes evolve in ways that like don't resonate with clients or something. And you might have to do something to try to help get a site back on track if there's some kind of an algorithm update. But then the biggest thing is external factors, things you have no control over. I have no control over my client's budget. I have no control over...

businesses, their search volume went down. We can't deliver a positive result if nobody is traveling to some destination where a client has a hotel or something. I can't overcome that with SEO. And so it have to be the mindset shift number two is that your value is intrinsically tied to a session count. Instead, your value is tied to a session count.

Lindsay Halsey (30:01.042)

to navigating the change in landscape in SEO, in their industry. Your value is that you know where to spend the time and money and energy in a way that will be as impactful as possible. And sometimes that turns into awesome session counts and revenue and whatever. And other times we're in a down market and we have to be comfortable in that space where we're putting an effort and maybe not seeing the same level of return.

but that there is long -term value. And so clients, for us, I think less than 5 % of our clients even hit the pause button during COVID, which is great in terms of recurring revenue.

Shannon Mattern (30:39.782)

I love how you are really shifting out of like, I must be the all -knowing expert and nothing like it must look like this. Otherwise I'm not doing my job to I'm the guide. Like I'm out in the front. I'm navigating, you know, the pitfalls, the, you know, the trees down the plot, the path is blocked. Like we, we know where we're heading, but there are obstacles and

I am the one with the knowledge and the capability and the confidence to lead us through this and to give you advice and let you make decisions and all of those things. It's like you're shifting away from needing to be the wizard of Oz to really being the guide and the leader for your client. And if you can think of yourself that way and it's just take so much of the pressure off. If you're like, I will.

always, you know, what I can commit to and control is that I will be a problem solver, whether I can solve this problem or not, you know, I'm going to provide like, I'm going to shortcut this for my clients and really, you know, keep keep them on the path instead of leading them leading them astray. So I love that shift.

Lindsay Halsey (32:07.346)

Yeah, it really made reading those reports, you know, and putting the context there. And it just took time to get that mindset of being like, oh, they didn't fire me. Why didn't they fire us? Like, oh, they didn't fire us because we're doing our job. Like there's an extenuating circumstance or they really value that when things are tough.

I'm problem solving and trying to identify the why and then the what behind it and I think the most nerve -racking thing in the early days we all face is like what if they ask a question that I should know the answer to that I don't know the answer to? Half the time I would categorize whatever they asked you is not in the should category like you can't expect to know everything about you know every topic But even when it happens the times where I've just said, you know, let me think about that more and I'll get back to you. I

I built trust with my clients because I didn't just wing it. And so we teach at our agency, we teach all the time, account managers just like, hey, you just start, hey, let me research this and get back to you. And then if you get back to them, you build trust because you followed up and you have the support of resources and you're ready to roll. So those are really the main mindset shifts, I think, that are really required in the early days that we help people accelerate through. You'll get there.

Shannon Mattern (33:18.066)

Yeah, that's what we, that's what we talk about, you know, in the web designer academy, when we're just teaching people to very similarly, we're teaching you to sell web design services, package price position. And those mindset shifts of like, ah, what if they asked me.

Lindsay Halsey (33:21.074)

on your own, but it's nice to kind of have that accelerator.

Shannon Mattern (33:40.356)

you know, to do something like in a consultation, like what if they asked me to build something I've never built before? It's like, you know, you get to ask those questions, you get to ask, tell me why you're asking that because maybe the question that they're asking is completely irrelevant. You know, you get to just be that curious guide and leader and gather the information. I always say like, they don't expect you to know everything, they just expect you to know how to find the answers because they don't want to find the answers. That's what they're hiring you for.

So good. So, tell us how we can learn more about Pathfinder and go check it out and get started with it.

Lindsay Halsey (34:11.516)


Lindsay Halsey (34:25.554)

Awesome, you can check out Pathfinder on our site, pathfinderseo .com. And on our site, you're gonna find a couple of free resources, a few paid resources, and then the full subscription plan. So the blog has a ton of free content along with, we have a webinar series, so you can go and start learning. And we have an hour free course. If you just wanna kind of take this conversation a little deeper, and you can commit an hour of time, you'll get a lot out of that.

If you're ready to kind of take a little bit of a bigger step here, we have the SEO business course. And in that SEO business course, you're going to get more in -depth training plus a lot of templates and worksheets to help you do the building of your SEO services offering as you go. And then you're really ready for Pathfinder, the software itself, as soon as you either have a client project you want to work on.

Or you might want to learn SEO on your own website. So we have a lot of people who start that say, I don't have a client yet, but I'm going to sign up for Pathfinder. I'm going to go through the processes on my own web design, you know, website. And I'm going to learn the skills and I'm at the same time going to be working through the worksheets and the lessons to build the service. And then maybe six weeks down the line, I'll be ready to sell SEO services. So a lot of ways to get started, just depending on kind of where you are and how quickly you want to move.

Shannon Mattern (35:45.318)

I am just sitting here thinking about, back when I was doing freelance web design, if I would have had a service like that available to me, not only how much of a value added would have been to my clients and my recurring revenue and all of the things, but just how much my confidence would have increased for selling the initial web design project, knowing that I can also say,

Not only am I going to build this for you, I'm also going to help, you know, with your ongoing traffic strategy. And while I totally subscribe to the idea that you don't have to do that in order to sell, you know, premium web design projects, because there's so much that goes into that and you do not have to be everything to everyone. If that is a sticking point for you and it is something that you want to offer your clients and you do want to have that,

like end -to -end partnership with them. Like what an incredible product and service that you have created to really help round out that entire service for designers. I mean, it's truly brilliant. And I wish I would have had it back when I was doing this, but I kind of am glad I didn't because now I'm helping other web designers. I would still be designing.

Lindsay Halsey (37:07.25)

Thank you. That's super kind. And yes, there's a lot of joy that comes in helping other web designers. And that's really where we found our passion too. It's like, we still love offering SEO services and growing our agency. But what we really like is working with web designers and freelancers and helping them.

build that business that they love and provides the freedom and flexibility alongside the income, alongside the intellectual challenge and that kind of career fulfillment that comes from learning new things and getting really good at it.

Shannon Mattern (37:43.366)

I love it. The people that listen to this show are just naturally curious, natural problem solvers. It's just, it scratches that itch of just always wanting to be figuring the next thing out. It has been so awesome talking to you and getting to know you. I have a question that I ask everyone that comes on the show that I would love to ask you, and that is what belief about yourself?

did you have to change to get to where you are today?

Lindsay Halsey (38:17.682)

Whew, that is a really good question. And I think probably the number one kind of belief about myself and I started here was that I'm not a salesperson. I was told that by so many people, oh, you're not a salesperson, you're not good at sales and all these things. And it got in my head a little bit and got in my way and definitely kind of impacted building confidence in an area of weakness. And so I think that, that,

The sales piece was a big mindset shift for me and figuring out how to overcome it was probably one of the both things that I worked on in the early days, but still work on today.

Shannon Mattern (38:59.174)

I mean, that's just such a valuable shift too, that you can offer to people who are coming to work with you to sell their SEO services to their clients. Because I mean, as freelancers, especially solo printers, like we wear all the hats, like we're selling the service, we're delivering the service. And, you know, our

like we're not naturally strong in all of those areas. And I can totally resonate with that where I'm just like, I just would tell myself like, I'm bad at sales, I'm bad at sales. And then to solve that problem on the flip side, I'd go learn something that didn't feel in alignment with me and try to be that person. And then that just never works. And once you realize that it's just truly about like,

having conversations, asking the right questions and offering solutions and just being normal. It like gets so much easier. And so I just love, I don't know, learning about sales from people who never thought they were good at sales, but are good at sales. I don't know if that makes any sense, but yeah.

Lindsay Halsey (40:11.41)

Yeah, you have to come up with your own style, right? Like something that comes naturally, but still actually, you know, sells the service. And that was for me for the longest time, the biggest challenge to overcome.

Shannon Mattern (40:25.67)

Well, if we can overcome it, anyone listening can overcome it as well. So tell everyone where they can go to learn more about Pathfinder.

Lindsay Halsey (40:29.178)

Agreed. So you can go to our site, pathfinderseo .com, and you're also always welcome to email me, which is lindsay at pathfinderseo .com. We are on social, but we're not great at being on social. So I'm sometimes a bit slow to respond in those channels.

Shannon Mattern (40:50.886)

Well, thank you so much for being here. And I'm so glad you said that because I'm like, I have an Instagram, but I'm like so bad at being there. And it's just not my thing. But I will eventually get back to you on Instagram. But I love that you said that. And I will link up all of that stuff in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here. It was such a pleasure to get to talk to you and get to know you better.

Lindsay Halsey (41:11.886)

Likewise Shannon, thank you so much.



Lindsay Halsey, co-founder of Pathfinder SEO, shares her journey in the SEO industry and how she developed Pathfinder to empower web designers to offer SEO services. She emphasizes the importance of community and learning through osmosis in the remote work environment. Lindsay discusses the challenges of selling SEO services and the mindset shifts needed to confidently offer these services. She explains the value of SEO and how to communicate it to clients. Lindsay also highlights the offerings and approach of Pathfinder SEO, including strategy, build, and maintenance phases. She encourages web designers to focus on key initiatives and find their own style in sales.


  • SEO offers long-term value and requires a strategic mindset.
  • Community and learning from others are essential in the remote work environment.
  • Selling SEO services requires overcoming the belief that you are not a salesperson.
  • Communicating the value of SEO to clients involves speaking their language and focusing on long-term results.
  • Pathfinder SEO empowers web designers to offer SEO services through business resources, process documentation, and a supportive community.


  • 00:00 Introduction and Background
  • 01:06 Discovering SEO and Building a Business
  • 03:47 Empowering Web Designers to Offer SEO Services
  • 04:43 Overcoming Challenges in Selling SEO Services
  • 06:28 The Importance of Community in Remote Work
  • 07:36 Getting Started in SEO
  • 08:03 Building Trust with Clients
  • 09:31 Focusing on Key Initiatives
  • 10:19 Communicating the Value of SEO to Clients
  • 12:08 Career Trajectory and Starting Pathfinder
  • 13:19 Helping Web Designers Build Trust with Themselves
  • 16:24 Pathfinder's Offerings and Approach
  • 21:08 The Long-Term Value of SEO
  • 22:48 Communicating the Value of SEO to Clients
  • 27:44 Mindset Shifts for Offering SEO Services
  • 32:07 Overcoming the Belief of Not Being a Salesperson
  • 38:13 Changing the Belief About Being a Salesperson
A smiling person with a tooth showing on their chin is looking indoors.

Shannon Mattern
Web Designer Academy


I help ambitious women web designers reclaim their time, book web design projects they love, and make more as a freelance web designer than they ever thought possible.

I created the Web Designer Academy to give you everything I wished I would have had when I started freelancing:  step-by-step processes and fill-in-the-blank templates for your messaging, marketing, packages, consultations, sales and project management combined with next-level support so that you have everything you need to create a consistently profitable web design business doing work you love for clients you love.