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#96 – May 2024 Income Report

Hey there and welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast! Today, I’m diving into my monthly income report for May 2024, where I break down what happened behind the scenes at the Web Designer Academy. I’ll share how much money we made, how much we spent, and the lessons learned along the way.

I love creating these monthly income reports for a couple of reasons. First, even though I “retired” from one-on-one web design services in 2019, the lessons I learn about marketing, sales, boundaries, and mindset from running a group coaching program for women web designers are invaluable. Second, taking the time to reflect and analyze at the end of each month helps me stay on course and adjust strategies as needed.

If you’re new to the show and have never heard one of my income reports before, I encourage starting this practice in your own business. Whether you publish them or keep them private, they can be incredibly beneficial for reviewing progress and making informed decisions!

In this episode, I’ll walk you through my process for writing these reports, share some behind-the-scenes details of how I manage my business finances, and discuss key events from May.

From consolidating our free courses into a single funnel to experimenting with incentivized deadlines, I've been having a lot of fun trying new things. I'll also break down our revenue and expenses, and share insights on maintaining a growth mindset even when things get tough.

If you’ve ever wondered about the financial and strategic decisions that go into running a successful web design business, you won’t want to miss this episode!

IN THIS EPISODE, I COVER:

  • Why writing monthly income reports is crucial for staying on track
  • My step-by-step process for creating these reports
  • The importance of reflecting on and analyzing business activities
  • Key events and changes implemented in May
  • Revenue, expenses, and the lessons learned

A BREAKDOWN OF THIS EPISODE:

  • [00:45] The importance of monthly income reports and why you might want start writing them (even if you don't publish them like I do).
  • [05:30] Behind-the-scenes of my process: from revenue tracking to expense management
  • [12:15] Key events in May: consolidating free courses and incentivizing applications
  • [22:00] Understanding the 3 different types of clients: microwaves, crockpots, and campfires
  • [31:45] Revenue and expenses breakdown for May 2024

MAY 2024 NUMBERS:

  • Total Revenue: $11,026
    (All revenue came from Web Designer Academy and Next Level payment plans)
  • Total Expenses (Investments): $14,376
    • Payroll for Shannon and Erica (including payroll taxes): ~$10,000
    • Tech tools and services: ~$2,000
    • Conversion Rate Optimization, Podcast Production, Marketing Budget: ~2,376
  • Net Profit: -$3,350
    • This deficit was covered by business reserves.
  • Six-Month Rolling Average Revenue: $15,584
    • This is a metric to ensure that average monthly revenue is trending upwards.

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE SHOW:

 

Shannon Mattern (00:00.334)

Are you tired of undercharging over delivering and overworking? Well, I have some good news for you. I put together a free course for women web designers who want to make more money without overworking. Just go to webdesigneracademy .com forward slash free course or click on the link in the show notes of this episode to get instant access. And since you love podcasts, when you sign up, you'll have the option to get the entire free course instantly in a podcast feed so that you can listen on the go.

So if it feels like you've been working 24 seven but not making as much as you want, go get that free course right now at webdesigneracademy .com forward slash free course.

Shannon Mattern (00:42.382)

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

Shannon Mattern (01:03.662)

Hey there and welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer podcast. And today I am bringing you my monthly income report for May, 2024, where I break down what happened behind the scenes of the Web Designer Academy, how much money we made, how much we spent and all of the lessons learned along the way. So normally we kick off with important things that happened in May and then we break down the numbers. But today I wanna share a little bit of behind the scenes of my process for writing income reports with you.

in case you want to start writing your own. Because if you're new to the show and have never heard one of my income reports before, the reason I write them is twofold. Even though I retired quote unquote from one -on -one web design services back in 2019, I'm always thinking about how the lessons I'm learning about marketing, sales, boundaries, project management and mindset in running a group coaching program for women web designers.

for the past eight years are relevant now to you and your web design business and really sharing those parallels with you on the podcast. And for me personally, taking the time to do some reflection and analysis at the end of each month to look at like what we tried, why we tried it, what our expected outcome was, what actually happened, why that happened and what I can learn from it and where do I need to get some mindset work or do some coaching.

or notice how I'm thinking. And so writing these monthly income reports is extremely helpful to me as a business owner so that I'm not flying on autopilot and just like don't notice that we've gone one degree off course, which I read somewhere that going one degree off course could be the difference between taking off from JFK in New York City and landing at LAX in Los Angeles, California versus landing in the Pacific.

Ocean, which is why I highly, highly recommend that you do your own version of a monthly income report in your business. Whether you publish it anywhere or not, it doesn't matter. It can be just for you and it can be really helpful for you to write them each month and then go back and review the monthly income reports that you write quarterly.

Shannon Mattern (03:16.942)

just to remind yourself like what you've been doing, what you've been learning, how far you come, all the things that you've done, all of the things that you've accomplished. And you can just get a sense of where you've been and where you are heading by doing that. So here's my process. If you wanna start doing this for yourself with a little bit of nitty gritty behind the scenes of how I actually manage my money in my web design business. So first of all,

I set aside at least a half of a day to write my income reports. It takes me about four hours to write this, not including the time it takes me to record it. And that's not all just writing. It's also like pulling together the numbers. So I start by looking at my total revenue for the month. How much money did we bring in? And I use a tool called YNAB. You need a budget.

to track my income and plan and track my expenses. So I open the reports in YNAB for the month and see how much money came in to our operating account. And then I look at how much went out of our operating account and what we spent that money on and was the money that we spent already planned for ahead of time, what wasn't planned for ahead of time. And if it wasn't planned for ahead of time, was it an unexpected expense that

I just was not expecting or was it a conscious decision that I made to add that expense or was it something that I already planned for but it ended up being more than I planned for. So I look at all of that and I'm just like, I just want to have my finger on the pulse of the numbers and look at like, where am I being a little impulsive? Where am I not?

like where are things changing with like people changing prices for different softwares and things like that so I can just plan for everything. Where did I make a strategic decision to spend something that three months ago I wasn't planning on spending money on, right? So I just want to know all of that so I can see what is happening. And then...

Shannon Mattern (05:24.174)

All of my business accounts are connected to YNAB and I have an app on my phone and every day I pop it open and I see what transactions are sitting there waiting for me to categorize. And whether it's inflow as YNAB calls it, which would be payments made to me or outflow, things that we have spent money on. And YNAB just helps me see like what is going on in real time across all of my different accounts. And it helps me plan my future cashflow.

because it's connected to all my bank accounts. And so I have my expenses that I know about planned out for the entire year. And YNAB tells me, hey, based on how much money you have in the bank, in your operating accounts right now, and all of the expenses that you have planned for in the future, you have all of your expenses covered through whatever month.

And then as I make more money and more money goes into that operating expense account, that date of how many months I have covered in my business moves farther into the future. So you may have heard me mention on the show that how I have reserves in my business bank account from the good old days of 2021 and 2022 when we were making two to three times more a month than we are right now.

And it's not like I took that money out of the business and spent it on myself or put it into our personal accounts. I still pay myself just a regular W2 paycheck as if I were employed by someone else. I'm employed by this company. And then I was also on top of that when we were having a healthy profit, taking an owner draw on top of my paycheck. Then when our sales...

started to slow down in 2023 and we had some unexpected challenges in the business. I stopped taking that owner draw, but I did keep paying myself my salary mostly. And I think I've talked about that on other podcast episodes. So I stopped taking the owner draw because I didn't want to drain our reserves, but I still paid myself my paycheck. But all of the money that's sitting in the operating expense account is like,

Shannon Mattern (07:45.038)

part of the pool of cash that I use to pay for my paycheck, our client success coordinator Erica's paycheck. And then I put all of our business expenses throughout the month on all of the software tools. Everything I can pay for, I pay for it with one business credit card. And I get Southwest Airlines points with that credit card.

And then on the first of every month, I pay that off in full. So I can rack up travel points and then I don't ever pay for plane tickets. And so then the only things coming out of the operating expense account is payroll. And when I pay off that credit card every month and what's going in is all of our sales of Web Designer Academy, the payment plans for Web Designer Academy or our next level mastermind.

when people buy tickets to the Simply Profitable Designer Summit, our premium podcast, our income accelerator course, and now our paid discovery mastery workshop, which I'll tell you about a little bit later. So every day I can see like what's flowing in, what's flowing out. And every month I'm like looking at that and analyzing that and being like, what's our inflow look like? Are we hitting our minimum baseline with inflow? What's our outflow look like?

Did I plan for this? Was I being impulsive? What problem was I trying to solve with this purchase? All of those different things. And so YNAB shows me what's happening with money after I have actually collected it. It shows me what currently actually exists in my bank account. But the Web Designer Academy and Next Level Masterminds both have monthly payment plan options.

So if I'm just looking at what YNAB says to see how far our cash on hand stretches, that's not the full picture because there's also payment plan money coming in every single month that's contracted to come in. And I also like to see, I add to that like what's projected to come in every single month in the future. So just like y 'all do when you break up a web design project between like a deposit,

Shannon Mattern (10:09.39)

and installments during the project, you can project your future monthly revenue the same way I do it. And the way that I do it is I have a very simple spreadsheet. At the top of it has the bank account balance of my operating expense account. So I have one account that all the money flows into and flows out of to operate the business. The balance of that is at the top of the spreadsheet. And then the next line

adds the actual revenue that I collected that month from payment plans and things that we've sold in one column. And then next to that, it subtracts out our outflow for the month. And then it shows me what's remaining in the operating account, what will be remaining in the operating account in the future. And then it also shows me whether there is a gap or an overflow.

that month. So I project out into the future if you can imagine. At the top, there's the operating expense, the bank account budget. And then let's say I'm starting with May, it would say May 2024. It would say inflow and what we made this month, which was $11 ,026. Let me get down to the numbers. In revenue or inflow, our total revenue

was $11 ,026 and that was all Web Designer Academy and next level payment plan revenue. And then our outflow was $14 ,376. And I'll talk more about these numbers in detail a little bit later. So the gap in May was negative 3350. And so then imagine

a line underneath that that's like June 2024. I will have in that line what's projected to come in to June. So I'll go into my website, look at what the upcoming recurring revenue is. I'll grab that number. I'll put it in there. I know my outflows about 15 ,000. That'll be the next column. I'll see what the balance is after adding the future projected money and subtracting

Shannon Mattern (12:36.142)

the expenses and then I'll see what the gap is or the overflow because sometimes it's a gap if it's short, it's overflow if it's more and it just like waterfalls down the spreadsheet and I will project out like usually through the end of the year and then I'll just add to that like every six months I'll just like make that spreadsheet go farther down. So that's kind of how I project our cash flow based on what's actually happened at the end of the month plus what's going to happen.

in the future, which YNAB can't really account for what will happen in the future. And I like to see what will happen in the future. So that's how I like look at the numbers and I plan for project my future cashflow. And that helps me plan out my marketing efforts as well, because with all of the tracking and analyzing we've been doing over the past year, we're starting to get

a really clear picture of how long it takes people who just find us through our different marketing efforts, how long it takes them to apply to work with us and what they're doing up until they apply. When do they get on their email list? What types of events or content are they consuming?

on average, how long are they on our list before filling out the application? And of those people, how many actually join if their application is accepted after it's being accepted? So I can look at the future of my revenue and I can look at the gap in every month and it's like, okay, so because we're going to have a gap of X number of dollars in June of

2024, we should do this paid workshop that month. Not only because it would be a great way to help us close the revenue gap this month, but we also know that people who attend this workshop are more likely to apply and join within the next 30 to 60 days. And we're killing three birds with one stone because we need to update this module for the Web Designer Academy anyway. So why not put it on the calendar?

Shannon Mattern (14:56.718)

invite the public to come attend this workshop. They have to pay to attend. Our Web Designer Academy students get it for free. And then this module becomes part of the overall WDA curriculum. And being able to look at my revenue tells me when is the best time to do some of these things for now and in the future. And so I tell you that because when you are doing your own marketing and outreach, I want you to think about

how what you're doing today is not just for today. It's also for 30, 60, 90 days and beyond from now. And when you think about like, I'm doing this today for tomorrow, for the future, for 30 days from now, it helps get you out of feeling rejected if you're not expecting something to happen from your outreach like yesterday. And if you take that pressure off of yourself and the process,

and you don't feel so needy to get a client. You're way more yourself in your outreach. And when you're more relaxed and more yourself, people actually feel safer to engage with you and they feel more trusting of you. And the irony is that by not putting pressure on results to happen quickly, you will take more action. And if you take more action from a more authentic place, you're much more likely for results to happen sooner. So,

It seems counterintuitive, but the more detached you are from the results in the timeline, the more results you'll get in a quicker timeline. So seriously, start marketing now. And in last week's, if you're not already and do it consistently because consistent marketing efforts compound. So in last week's episode number 95, I shared with you 15 strategies you can start using right now that are super low effort.

to start marketing. So if you want clients this fall, you got to be marketing now. Your marketing efforts will compound. I can promise you. You might not see results from them right away today, but you will see results from them in the future. And you have to keep going even if you can't see that it's working. That's the hardest, hardest part of it all is to believe that it's working even if you can't see that it's working and continue to do it.

Shannon Mattern (17:22.574)

So I look at all of those numbers and I project my monthly, my future monthly, like I look at that future spreadsheet, future projections spreadsheet. I run my projections for revenue for the rest of the year, pop them into that spreadsheet and every single time it does not fail, whether there's a gap or there's overflow.

Usually this is where I start to feel my chest tighten and my breathing get shallow and I start to feel really anxious because no matter what I put on that spreadsheet, like there will come a point where the numbers start to get negative. And that's because membership in the web designer Academy is only one year. Right. And so when someone joins, it's not like I get to put their monthly payment plan on the spreadsheet forever.

It ends in 12 months. So you start to see the projected future revenue get less and less and less as the spreadsheet goes down. And that's just the way the payment plans work and the way YNAB works. If I'm looking in YNAB and I'm looking at like, okay, May's covered, June's covered, July's covered, August, we start to go negative. And my brain...

wants to offer me lots of thoughts about what that is. It wants to tell me, look, you're running out of money. Here's proof that you're running out of money. These spreadsheets and this tool is telling you that you're going to run out of money and you're going to have to cut a bunch of stuff. And my brain just always goes there every single time. Even if we had like a 30 or $40 ,000 month that month, at some point in the future, that spreadsheet is going to go negative. And that's where I have a choice.

because our thoughts determine our actions and our actions generate results. I can buy into the story that my brain is telling me that I'm running out of money, which will cause my adrenaline and cortisol to spike. That will shut down my higher level creative thinking and will shift me into expense mindset and get me spending time on doing a bunch of stuff to try to save money. And that stuff like...

Shannon Mattern (19:44.558)

the opportunity cost of spending my time there actually tanks my sales, right? Because instead of marketing, putting out like writing a new podcast episode, doing anything to promote my business, following up with people who have applied in the past, doing outreach, getting myself on podcasts, I'm like, okay, well, I got to change plugins.

for the Web Designer Academy, because this one's cheaper. And so here's my brain is like planning out a three month long website migration project to use a cheaper system. Do you know what's going to happen? If I spend time on that versus marketing, I'm not going to get clients, right? So the other choice that I have is asking my brain, what else could be true here? Have you ever actually quote unquote run out of money?

When you look at this spreadsheet, haven't you always, always figured it out? Hasn't your bank account, your operating expense account been sitting with the exact same amount of money in it for months, meaning your inflow and outflow is consistent over time? Would you rather put your energy into growth, meaning helping your audience grow, which in turn helps you grow? And when I say growth, I don't mean growing my audience. I mean helping my audience get

the results that they want. And when they get the results that they want, they're in a better place to come and work with us over the long term, right? So wouldn't you rather spend your time there and be a little uncomfortable in the space between taking the action and getting the result that the action's designed to create and having that result make its way to you and learning to live in that space of discomfort instead of trying to quote unquote, fix it.

I have to intentionally ask my brain these questions. I have to be the one. And when I say I, I mean, my higher self has to be the one to be like, I noticed you're doing that again. I notice that you're looking at these negative numbers that are always going to be here because this is the nature of how this looks. And you want to do what you think is

Shannon Mattern (21:58.414)

quote unquote safe, which is to cut, save, save, save. Don't spend, don't spend, don't hire that person that's gonna write a sales page for the next level mastermind a thousand times better than you could and help you get more clients. Instead, just save that money just in case so you don't run out, right? I have to choose between that version of me and my higher level self, me, which is the version of me that runs this business to help other people and to help myself.

and help both of us have freedom, flexibility and financial independence. And that version of me is like, slow down, be still, be patient. Don't change anything about what you're doing. Let this play out. I know it's uncomfortable right now, but if you grab the wheel too soon, even if you only nudge it one degree, you can knock yourself way off course. Let this play out. Let it play out. And

you can hire that person, but maybe you don't need to do it right this moment because you feel like you never want to make decisions from a place of feeling anxious and uncomfortable. And like, if I write this sales page, that'll fix everything because my brain's trying to tell me something's broken when I'm like making decisions from that place and nothing is broken. Right. So I have to intentionally with effort,

choose my higher self version and continually calm down that little girl inside of me who grew up with a single mom and two sisters. And we never really had enough where we did quote unquote lose everything at times, meaning we moved in with my grandparents because we didn't like have a place to live anymore, but we had a place to live. It was with my grandparents. We didn't have food in the house. A lot of the times I went to a friend's house and I got fed at my friend's houses.

My mom operated in survival mode, but I always was taken care of. It always worked out, even if it wasn't the way that like it quote unquote should have been. And I'm not in that situation anymore. I am far from it, but my brain doesn't always understand that. And my brain also doesn't understand that even when we did lose everything, we were okay. Even when we didn't have enough, I had enough.

Shannon Mattern (24:25.678)

My brain doesn't always understand that. And I'm sure that this is a podcast for another day or probably more likely a conversation with my therapist, but I still recreate some of those things from my childhood and my own life, like not keeping a lot of food in the house because it was literally feast and famine in our house. And when it was feast in our house growing up, we feasted and I don't trust myself to constantly not feast. So we don't keep a whole lot of food in the house or feeling

tons of pressure around making sure there's enough food or access to food at the next level retreat, because I don't want anyone to feel like there's not enough or worrying about losing everything without remembering that even when we did, I had people that loved me and like took care of me. And my mom had people that loved her and took care of her even when we weren't able to keep it all together for ourselves. Right. And so

Writing these income reports helps me notice not only like the thoughts and the patterns and make sense of them, but like to notice like what's going on underneath and like where that might be coming from. So I can be like, that's not the life I'm living anymore. Make sense of them, process them, process them from the higher version of my brain because it's online, it's active, it's writing, it's thinking, right? That version of me

is the one that knows how to take care of myself. It's the one that knows I have resources available to me, whether those resources are mine or other people, whether it's actual money or the support of my relationships. And who knows logically that I have so many options should quote unquote, worse come to worse, that it's not even worth thinking about because for me, planning for my worst case scenario can actually lead to catastrophizing and catastrophizing

creates cortisol and adrenaline and stress and thoughts that are gonna create a self -fulfilling prophecy, right? So my friend and mindset coach, Alicia St. Germain, always says, let the problem come to you and then you can deal with it, but it's probably never gonna come. So let's not spend any time there. And again, the irony is if you spend time there, you will likely create the problem. If you don't spend time there, the problem is not gonna happen. And if it does,

Shannon Mattern (26:52.782)

then you can figure it out if it happens, but don't spend any time thinking about it because otherwise you will knock yourself one degree off course. So that's why I write these income reports. I run my numbers. I almost always uncover some mind trash every single time. And usually I am processing that mind trash before or while I'm writing the income report. And I'm kind of sharing it with my mind trash management.

my mind trash makeovers in real time. So another thing that I do is I look back at my calendar for the month and my paper planner and some of my emails and I refresh myself like, what did I even do this month? Like what projects did I start? What did I finish? What did we launch? How many people joined the web designer academy? How many applications did we get? What stands out to me as a lesson learned? What meetings did I have with people, conversations, podcasts, interviews? And then I just start writing.

I let it all flow out. I follow the same format so I can just kind of grease the wheels and get it going. And then after I've completed it, I record it for the podcast. And this is actually the second time I'm recording this one for the pod because I guess I recorded it the first time without sound and I was just like, man. But then I think, you know what? It's always better the second time. So.

The important things that happened in May are that we really tested our new free course funnel. So in April's income report, I talked about how I pulled all of our disparate freebies and nurture sequences and all that into one free course with four modules in it.

One is six common challenges women web designers face and how to overcome them. The other one talks about pricing strategies and then our 5P framework for how to create a full -time income and sell high ticket web design projects. And then we talk about the Web Designer Academy and we have some students come on and share with you what their experience was like and why they decided to join and what they've been able to create as a result of working with us. And so...

Shannon Mattern (29:12.782)

I pulled all of that together in one funnel because the data told us that people who were applying for the web designer academy were signing up for all of those things separately and taking our archetypes quiz and then applying. And I'm like, let's just cut to the chase and give everybody all of it all at once, put up everybody in one email sequence and kind of streamline that, right? And then so...

Also, I decided to just add my entire email list to the free course funnel. And I set up a deadline funnel to incentivize filling out the application within the 10 days. So like it starts off with four days of talking about the videos. And then on the fifth day, it's like, hey, if you want our help, like fixing these things in your business that are causing you to not make as much

money and work more than you need to. Here is how to apply to work with us. And then there's an email sequence talking about like the program and who should apply and who shouldn't apply and all of those things. And if you fill out your application within the timeline of that email sequence, we're offering bonus pricing because we talk so much in the web designer academy about incentivizing people to make a decision that's going to help them. Right. And so it's like

I'll talk a little bit more about this in a second, but like we're testing out different ways to get people to just get off the fence who are ready and need like a reason to just take one step closer to what they really want. So I got all of that done and I put our whole entire email list through it. And then I also promoted it at the page builder summit that I spoke at in May where I presented

the 15 strategies for getting web design clients at each stage of your business. So that's episode 95 on the podcast. If you missed that at the page builder summit, as an aside, if getting clients is your biggest issue, please go listen to that episode because what I often see is web designers doing the wrong marketing strategies for the stage they're at in their business and then getting frustrated that they're not getting clients. And we're so serious.

Shannon Mattern (31:35.598)

at the Web Designer Academy about making sure that getting clients is just never your number one problem. Of course, you're going to go through times in your business where getting clients is harder than getting others. Usually, you can tie that back to your efforts 30, 60, 90 days before you're having this problem with getting clients. Usually, we can tie that back to you're doing the wrong marketing strategies for the stage you're at in your business.

I cover all of that in that episode. And also we give away all of our tried and true marketing strategies all over this podcast. And so it's not that there is like, there's no, the how -to is not missing. We give away the how -to. Here's how to get clients. Here's exactly what to do to get clients. If you're on our email list and we even have an email that you'll get at some point with a script to send.

to some of your clients. And I actually had someone respond back to me and say, hey, thank you so much. I sent that script to 10 people and I have two calls set up. And I'm like, yep, exactly. Exactly. So the problem that most people face is that it's almost never that you don't know how to get clients or where to get clients if you're not getting clients. It's that there's something that's standing in the way of you feeling safe to get clients.

So your buying is like, nope, not doing that. You're either, you're afraid to put yourself out there because you got a whole lot of imposter syndrome. You're afraid people can't afford you. You're already so busy that you can't take on one more bad fit client because you don't have boundaries. There's so many other reasons that you're not marketing that have nothing to do with not knowing how to market. Or you're like, all my clients are trash. I need to find higher paying clients, but I don't know where to have.

find higher paying clients, when the truth is, you're just not structuring your offers in a way that gives someone the opportunity to pay you more for what they're doing. So we don't market ourselves because we don't want to create more of what we already have, or we don't want to create a situation where we feel unsafe or not good enough, or that we're going to harm our clients. So your brain is telling you that you don't understand what to do.

Shannon Mattern (34:02.478)

to get clients when really it's just preventing you from getting clients because you don't feel safe getting clients. And until you feel safe to get clients, it doesn't matter how much I tell you about how to market your business, you're not going to take action. And so that's the work we do inside the Web Designer Academy, okay? Like you need to figure out what's going on there and start fixing that so that you feel safe to do the marketing that you need to do to get clients.

And it doesn't matter from there if you want to do VIP days, if you want to do retainers, if you want to do bigger projects, whatever, like however you want to package price and sell your stuff, but you've got to do your marketing. So anyway, I'll get off my marketing soapbox that I step up on from time to time to get back to this, this income report. So I ran all of those people through our new evergreen course funnel. I tested out an incentive

to apply because we had a lot of data that was telling us about who was in our audience. And I'll tell you a little bit more about that in a second. But we ended up getting nine new applications as a result of our free course, evergreen free course funnel test. And three of those enrolled in May and all of those people came from the free course. But they weren't all like brand new to our list, right?

And so here's the really interesting thing that we have discovered. And this is why we put our entire email list, 75 % of whom who had just seen an offer to work with us in the Web Designer Academy, 25 % had never seen an offer to apply for the Web Designer Academy before. And then the page builder summit people were like brand new to us, had never heard of us before.

And what I used to think is I'm like, people are going to see me at the page builder summit. They're going to fill out our application and join tomorrow, like within one fell swoop. And so all of my marketing was designed to take people really, really fast from meeting me to marrying me. And that's not how that works. And I know this logically, but I was still believing that and getting frustrated when it didn't happen that way.

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But after months of really looking at our data and the behavior of our customers, our data is showing us that we have three different types of people in our audience. And we were discussing the different attributes of them on one of our calls with my conversion rate optimization person, Lee Scott, and her team. And we were like, okay, here's the different behavior we're seeing. And...

Then we were being silly and came up with names for them. And we were like, okay, we have microwaves, crockpots, and campfires in our audience. And I'm telling you this because your potential clients are like this too. So when you understand this, you'll understand even more why, A, it's so important to never stop marketing.

and never stop giving outreach and never stop following up and never stop making offers and just detach from needing it to happen now. So we have microwaves, we have crockpots and we have campfires. Microwaves are those of you who find us instantly and apply and join. And it happens all the time. Someone will hear me at a summit on someone else's podcast. You'll be Googling web designer podcasts, searching Spotify, whatever, and find me.

however you find me, and then you listen to a few podcast episodes, you're like, my gosh, this is exactly what I've been looking for. You might sign up for the free course, but a lot of times they just skip and go straight to the application at webdesigneracademy .com forward slash apply. They fill out the application and they have full intention to join if their application is accepted. So microwaves act fast. They make decisions fast because they want fast results. Like they want instant gratification, right?

And so most of the time I am a microwave in my business. When I am operating from my higher self, the one who sees the vision and knows there's no such thing as failure, I don't need a whole lot of time to make a decision. I know and I'm like all in and I'm confident in my ability to create results. I just need the guidance and someone to show me my blind spots. And someone, we were talking about this because I hired someone, Sarah Gio.

Shannon Mattern (38:48.59)

of Sarah Design, I'm gonna mess up her URL. I think it's saradesign .com. And I was talking with my friend Alicia St. Germain, who also hired her to help with copywriting. And she's like, she can write what I'm trying to say without all of my mind trash in the way, right? And so when I'm operating from my higher self, I'm operating as the...

version of me that doesn't have all my mind trash in the way. And I can make fast decisions because I just know when I'm operating from that other version of me that's like all anxious and whatever, I'm operating from trying to prevent failure instead of trying to create success. Okay. So anyway, when I make the decisions fast from that higher level version of myself, I don't need a whole lot of time to make decisions.

The problem comes for me when I think that everyone else is a microwave too. And so I structure my sales process for microwaves. I have historically set my sales process up to be like, apply and roll immediately. Like, what are you doing here? Why did you fill out the application if you weren't already ready? Right? And so upon reflection, that is not everybody. That's some people in our audience.

I was like searching for microwaves, marking exclusively to microwaves, and it was causing me a lot of problems in my business, I think. And so you have microwave clients too. They're the people that just seem to come out of nowhere, book a consultation call, sign the contract, pay deposit immediately. They already know that they want to work with you and you're like, my gosh, this is amazing. How can I get more of this?

Because we all love microwaves, right? We want everyone to be a microwave. We want everyone to be sure right away and make super fast decisions. And that's the problem because not everyone is a microwave. And when we think everyone should be a microwave, we think we're doing something wrong when people aren't a microwave. And then we start changing things to try to make everyone into a microwave. Like you redesign, you rebrand, you rewrite your copy. You decide you have to niche down or you have to change niches or change platforms.

Shannon Mattern (41:06.062)

or learn all there is to learn about design, branding, accessibility, SEO, copywriting. And when you do that, you're solving a problem that doesn't exist. Let me say that again. When you think everyone you talk to should say yes right away, otherwise you're doing something wrong or something is wrong with your business and you start changing all the things, you are solving a problem that doesn't exist. And when you solve problems that don't exist, you create more problems. You're going at least one degree off course, if not more.

Because unless you're concurrently marketing your business at the same time that you're redesigning, rebranding, rewriting, re -nitching, or re -learning, which no one ever does, you are now creating the problem of no clients. And you're starting from scratch every single time and you're getting farther away from your destination. So not everyone is a microwave and nothing has gone wrong if not everyone says yes right away. Because what we also found is that some people are like crockpots and

Crockpots take a bit of time to finish cooking, right? There's some upfront prep involved with getting your Crockpot meal ready to go into the Crockpot, but then they just need to stay plugged in and eventually they'll be ready. So in our world, you're a Crockpot if you've signed up for any of our free trainings, if you listen to this podcast and you love what you're hearing and you know you wanna come work with us quote unquote someday and you're plugged in.

We're keeping you warm with our emails and podcasts and our workshops. And when the time is right, you'll be ready. You also probably want to know all of the program details upfront before even filling out that application. And you need to feel like you're personally ready. You need to feel like everything in your life is going right, that you have enough time, that you have enough space dedicated to it, that you feel like you're absolutely 1 ,000 % sure that if you come to work with us,

you're ready to create the result. So crockpots can be a little bit tricky because I can keep you warm forever. I have never ending content and you can just stay in your comfy little crockpot forever. But we all know what happens when you leave something in the crockpot too long. It gets burnt, bland, tough and mushy all at the same time. So it's my job to help you understand the risks of staying in the crockpot too long and to help you feel confident

Shannon Mattern (43:33.294)

and safe to be done cooking, if you will. So it's my job to help you understand what you're missing out on in the future by delaying getting started. And so if you're one of those people that's like, yeah, I wanna come work with you someday when my life is completely perfect and I finished these client projects and I have all of this space, someday never comes.

So part of my job is to create content that really helps you see what it's costing you to continue to stay where you are. And you have potential clients that are crockpots too. And that is why follow -up is so important. And that's why outreach and checking in is important, whether it's on a proposal you've given someone or you're checking in with someone you know mentioned hiring a designer or...

someone that you know, know someone that's starting a business. It's your job to just help people stay plugged in and stay warm. And you're also just giving them a chance to be finished cooking, right? You're checking and seeing if there's anything that you can do to help them. Our Web Designer Academy student, Sarah G is brilliant about this. She...

like reaches out to me. She's my copywriter as well. I hire her for some copywriting work all the time because she reaches out to me and she's like, Hey, I know you mentioned that you said you were looking to have XYZ done. Just wanted to let you know, I'd be happy to help you with that. Would you like me to send over a proposal for that? Would you like to hop on a call to talk about that? She is being proactive, paying attention to what I'm talking about.

and reaching out to me to make offers. And I'm like a crock pot plugged in and on warm with her. And when I'm ready, I'm ready, right? So what she does really, really well and what you get to do is get over feeling pushy, sleazy and salesy. Because when you're truly coming from a place of knowing you can help someone, it's not pushy, sleazy and salesy.

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Anytime I get an email from Sarah G about ways that she can help me based on things that she knows I have going on because she stays connected to me and she's always looking at what we're doing, I'm like, that's a gift. I didn't even necessarily think about having someone else like doing that for me. And now I'm considering it. Right. So if you're reaching out without that

pressure and that impatience to get a client and you're really doing it from a place of it'd be really cool to work with this person on this thing and I'm just going to keep touching base, then it's a gift and then the person will be ready at some point. Right? So you have potential clients that are crockpots too. Part of your marketing is not always to new people. Part of your marketing is checking in with people that you already know.

finding out more about what they're up to, like offering to help them, letting them tell you, no, now is not the right time or they're not ready and being like, that's okay. I'll check in on something else and just maintaining that communication, keeping them plugged in and warm. So those are crockpots. And then we have campfires. So if you think about a campfire, we have campfires in our audience, you have campfires in your network.

And if you think about a campfire, they typically aren't burning for long, right? They go out if you don't tend to them. There's a short window of time when they're ready. And when they're out, they're out. You have to start a new one. And I think of campfires in our audience as the people who found us because maybe they want to solve a very specific problem, but they're not ready for more support, or they simply don't want more support. Like they're perfectly happy to listen to this podcast and be on our email list. And they are just absolutely never going to fill out.

our Web Designer Academy application and join our program for whatever reason. But if we offer a workshop on a problem that they need to solve, they're going to jump on that. Like they'll burn hot for a minute, but then they'll go away. And your campfire clients are the ones who are like, yeah, I don't want to be on your maintenance plan. I don't want to book you for this big project. I'm on your radar, but I might never hire you. I don't know. But when I do, it'll be for this like one -off project that I'm finally ready to get done. And that's why

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Having what we call in the Web Designer Academy exclusive bookings as a tool in your toolbox is great if you want to serve campfires. Other people call them VIP days. We don't quite structure them the same way. But we have that as a tool in the toolbox for campfires, for our students. But it's also cool if you don't want to work with campfires at all. You're not for everyone. You don't have to...

do every project that comes your way if it doesn't align with you, if it's not sustainable for you to offer, if you can't figure out a profitable price for doing that work, if it's not worth it to you. Sometimes there's an opportunity cost for taking on smaller projects because it takes your time away from creating, like investing in your marketing to create future bigger projects, right? So you don't have to serve campfires if you don't want to.

We used to not serve campfires, but we just need you to know that they are there. And that also nothing has gone wrong if someone's reaching out to you to engage you for services that like you don't really market or you don't really offer. You don't need to go changing a bunch of stuff about your business to get rid of like quote unquote tire kickers who are scheduling consultations with you. And then

you know, not needing a full on web design project. If you treat that as a waste of your time and you go to change your whole entire business to prevent that, you're actually preventing more things. You're preventing your crockpots and you're preventing your microwaves. So we don't want you to do that. And it's okay for you to have a consultation with someone and then tell them, hey, I'm not the best fit for your project. I wish you all the best in going to find the person that is, right?

It's cool if you don't wanna offer certain services like exclusive bookings or smaller projects or anything like that. And for us personally at the Web Designer Academy, we historically haven't had anything for the campfires in our audience either. So it's been either the Web Designer Academy or Next Level Mastermind or our free trainings that lead to that. That's all we've ever offered. And...

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because that's what's been sustainable for us to offer because of what I talked about, like with the opportunity cost, right? Like the time that it takes to put together like a workshop or a training and market it and do all of the things, it's pretty time intensive. And so it has to be something that I know is gonna either make us a significant amount of revenue to justify the time that I spent building it.

that takes away from the time spent marketing and being more visible and getting in front of new clients and the times like to create more crockpots and microwaves, right? It has to be worth that time to do those things for people who are not ever gonna like move up to be our Web Designer Academy students. And so for a long time, I was like,

that's not the audience I'm serving, it's not profitable or sustainable for me to do one -off workshops and courses. Our audience isn't big enough to sustain that. But then I started to see some opportunities to kill three birds with one stone, if you will, to test out ways that we can serve our campfires as we're updating Web Designer Academy curriculum, right? So making parts of our process

publicly available that can stand on their own when we're like adding them to our core web designer academy curriculum or updating them because The way our web designer academy processes work is that every step of our process is really intentionally designed to work together as a holistic ecosystem in a way that like compounds the end result, but there are some parts that stand alone and work regardless of whether your

running your web design business the way that we teach it. So our marketing process, you can do marketing the way we teach marketing, whether you're working with us or not, that's going to result in you getting clients eventually, right? But what we're adding right now that I'm really excited that we're adding is a paid discovery step in our sales process. And that step can be taught as a standalone step, right?

Shannon Mattern (52:52.974)

So we can teach that paid discovery step. You can insert it into whatever your sales process is, and you can make your offer for however you make offers after the fact. And we're gonna teach that paid discovery process to our audience as a paid training. So we're gonna host a workshop very soon. It's probably actually the day that this comes out. We've already done all of our marketing for it. We're hosting a workshop teaching that.

part of the process that anyone can take an insert into their process. And we're inviting our web designer Academy students to come to that. And our campfires are going to come to that and just take that piece and never work with us. And then we'll also have crock pots be like, okay. I like what's happening here. And I also see that I need some support with getting

clients for paid discovery and then actually like making high ticket offers after paid discovery. And that's where our our Web Designer Academy processes come in. So we're testing out creative new ways to serve our campfires that also serves our Web Designer Academy current students and our crockpots so that we're mitigating that opportunity cost, right? That if we're doing a workshop

the way and we're going to invest all of the time, money and resources into creating that. It's going to serve our current students and people who are going to join us and people who are never going to join us. So we want to make sure that that's how we're spending our time. And so that's really the reason why we created that free course evergreen.

like freebie into our world, right? Because we had all of these different paths to get to us. We consolidated it down. Like there's one door to get on our email list. It's through the free course. It's the main entry point into our world. You will go through an entire email sequence that delivers the free course, talks about the Web Designer Academy, who it's for, who it's not for, invites people to work with us, gives them an incentive to

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fill out that application before that nurture sequence ends. And then if people get to the end of that sequence and they don't apply or join, now we consider them a crockpot and they'll see other offers, right? So they'll move into a nurture sequence and we'll just give them weekly emails, right? And so I have written hundreds of emails promoting, not promoting the Web Designer Academy, but like,

talking about our philosophy, our strategy, sharing helpful tips and new ways of thinking. I've written hundreds of emails like that. So I went through my convert kit and I pulled all of them out and I started dropping them into a nurture sequence. So you have the opportunity to be a microwave when you sign up for the free course. If you don't, then you move into the crockpot nurture sequence where I can pretty much keep you warm forever.

And then as we do special events like this paid discovery workshop that we're doing, or I was promoting like our income accelerator course for a minute testing that out. If we do an open enrollment or a live private training for applicants only, I just turn off that nurture sequence. So those emails stop, my live emails go out and then I turn that nurture sequence back on. And so I can keep crockpots warm forever.

But I don't want you to stay warm forever. I want you to like come and work with us and let us help you. So if you're like, yeah, I've been around here for a while. I keep saying that I'm gonna do something. I'm not doing something. Nothing's really changed in my business. I keep telling myself I should be able to do this on my own. I'm just not trying hard enough. If I just tried harder, then this would work for me. You probably need to be inside the Web Designer Academy and let us help you because

there's a blind spot that you just can't see that until someone shows it to you, you're just gonna keep repeating the same things over and over. So anyway, like I said earlier, that's the point of our free course is to really kind of sort out the microwaves from the crock pots to have something to do for the campfires for those people, a different way to serve them if they're not ever going to join the web designer academy.

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And the free course test resulted in nine new applications in May, three of which enrolled and all of those came from that free course. So we're like, yes, that is awesome. It's working. One of those people was a crock pot. Two of them are microwaves. I used to seriously think, well, if they don't apply the first time around, like right when they find me, they must not want it. So why tell them about it again? And that's like turning off the crock pot before the food's ready, right?

And the microwaves, they were honestly fully cooked before they even found me. They knew they needed support. They were just looking for the right person. It wasn't like they were not looking for coaching and then they came across the opportunity for coaching and were like, my gosh, I want this. That's usually not how that happens. They're usually like, something's not working. I need some help. And then they find me. And so...

That's why there are microwaves. But the point is I get to account for all of them and not just one of them. And I don't need to make my business wrong because not everyone's a microwave, right? And that's what I want for you too. I want you to take the pressure off of how you expect your clients to behave and give them some space to be who they are and make the decisions. But then you get to be responsible for checking to see.

if they're done by follow -up and outreach. So the free course is proving to be very successful. If you haven't signed up for it yet, if you're not on our email list, if you've been listening to this podcast, but you don't get our emails, just go to webdesigneracademy .com. You can sign up for the free course right there on the homepage. And our open rates are on point for those emails. Click -through rates are great.

So we've started testing running Facebook ads to the free course. And we're still looking at our data to see if our ads are bringing us microwave, crockpots, or campfires. We know it's a longer game with Facebook ads. And I'm really having to manage my mind around being patient and not wanting to get in there and make a bunch of changes because I feel uncomfortable with waiting, right? But three new enrollments in a month.

Shannon Mattern (01:00:01.262)

where we don't have an open enrollment event going on is what I used to see back in the day. And we're working on increasing that over time. So like back in the day, I used to see two to three enrollments on Evergreen every month, and then like 20 when we do an open enrollment event. And honestly, I have to be really careful with not comparing my business as it looks today with how it looks.

in 2021 and 2022. I mean, there are some useful pieces of data from those years, but setting a goal that's like all about getting back to where I was just does not feel productive. There's like a thought undercurrent of what's happening now shouldn't be happening. I failed and I need to get back to being a success, whatever. And like, that's just what feels gross. It feels uncomfortable and it makes me feel impatient.

So I'm constantly reminding myself that I get to focus on what's happening today, focus on creative and fun ways to engage with microwaves, crockpots and campfires, and to let what's working keep working. And so what is working is all of the things that I have done to, I had just a lot of places where we were leaking traffic on our website, where we were leaking nurturing.

in our email list and I've closed all of that. And now I feel like, like I thought I had a really tight customer journey before, but I didn't. And so we worked on really closing all of those gaps so that people really are going through this customer journey that we're leading them on and we're nurturing them and giving them tons of information about why their business isn't working the way that they think it should.

when they're applying all the quote unquote conventional wisdom out there to their business. And they're trying to like, this is a whole topic for another podcast, but it's like, you're trying to market yourself, your own one person creative service provider, consultants, business. You're trying to market it the way that you would market like for one of your clients. And you're not the same type of business.

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So you can't do marketing the same way that you might do it for a client, right? So anyway, podcast episode for another day, but we really are just trying to show you like, hey, it's not what you think it is. So stop doing work over here. You're getting one degree off course. Here's why you're not making as much and why you're undercharging and over delivering. And here's how we can help you fix that. And so...

That's what our nurture sequence is all about, is to really help people have that realization, look at their business and see those gaps, and then really feel safe to come work with us and let us help them get nudged back on course. And so I mentioned this earlier, but the paid discovery mastery workshop is something that we formally decided to add to our web designer academy.

course in May. So one of our students, Rachel Graham of Greenhouse Creative, she's in our next level mastermind and in the Web Designer Academy and she's like a brilliant analyst and consultant. And she does these ultra custom mid five figure projects for her clients and she found herself needing to spend extra time to be able to research and quote these really unique projects and really create

solutions for her clients. And so she added a step to her process that she called a blueprint and she was selling this blueprint process to her clients upfront and then using our irresistible package matrix strategy off of the backend to make the offer to like do the implementation of the project. And so Rachel was sharing how she was leading her clients through that discovery process and how

she was integrating that strategy with our Web Designer Academy strategies. And then a couple of other next level members tried out her process. And then Rachel talked about her process at the Simply Profitable Designer Summit. And then we'd start getting questions on our main Web Designer Academy coaching calls. Like, do you have any resources for walking me through putting together and presenting strategy for our clients? Or my proposals are taking me a really, really, really long time.

Shannon Mattern (01:04:42.542)

The clients aren't booking and it's frustrating for me. And one of the things that we really help you do in the web designer academy is go from order taker and pixel pusher where clients are running the show and dictating everything to you to expert consultant like Rachel, who's collaborating with the client and leading them through a process of identifying what their goals really are. And then reverse engineering the website and the customer journey to help the client.

reach those goals. And so that's really what we do in the Web Designer Academy. And we get these questions from our students. And we're like, OK, well, Rachel's got this process. It's been working really well in next level. We think you should add that step to your process for this project. And here's what to say on your consultation call. Here's the logistics of making this offer. Here's Rachel's templates for the actual discovery part of the process.

And then I'd coach them on like the mindset of like just offering the strategy upfront and getting paid for just strategy and we'd be answering questions about it. And then people would go away and then they'd come back on the call and they'd be like, my gosh, I just sold my first one and then I sold my highest package ever off the backend. And I'm like, yeah, that's what's supposed to happen. But because it's not unusual.

for people to use our Irresistible Package Matrix and sell their highest package ever. That is what it is designed to do. It's designed to help you test premium pricing. It's like the Swiss army knife of making offers, our Irresistible Package Matrix strategy. It does so many things in one tiny little package. It sets boundaries with clients. It keeps us out of their wallet while empowering our clients with choices.

and allows us to safely test our highest price ever. So that part wasn't unusual that they used the irresistible package matrix and sold their highest package ever. But what was different was their confidence. So after they sell their first package matrix, typically, like when they're putting it together, they're questioning everything. They're questioning their pricing. They're worried that their pricing is too high.

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And then they make the offer, they book their highest, like their most expensive package that they've ever sold, like at their highest price that they've ever sold. And then they're like, okay, this works. People really will pay me this much. And then they're pretty confident going forward. But what I was seeing that was different with the paid discovery is that they were confident before

making the offer for their package matrix, right? And I was like, my gosh, okay, I see what is happening here. When they walked through that paid discovery process with their clients that Rachel teaches, they sold themselves on the value of the project during the process and they didn't even know that they did that. And they took that confidence in...

the project and the results that they know that the client can create and everything that they did to create that strategy, they took that confidence into their offer and their pricing. And they made that offer for their irresistible package matrix with so much more confidence the first time. So we teach a whole module on selling yourself on the value of working with you. And it's so powerful, but it's really about selling.

yourself on the value of working with you in general, right? And so what happens is like people go through that module, they understand the difference between selling web design and selling results and outcomes and how to talk about it and all of the things. But then it comes time to put together an irresistible package matrix for a client. And then it's like all of that falls out the window.

and they start obsessing over every little detail of the package matrix because there's still this whole thing going on where they're like, I gotta prove myself. And what if this client doesn't get results from working with me? And what if, what if, what if, and what if I'm, what if I harm them and what if I take all their money and like none of this works for them? And so with paid discovery, instead of spending a whole lot of time trying to fix your busted mindset around the value of what you do,

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as you're walking the client through the process, you're selling yourself on why, my gosh, here's exactly what they're going to be able to create as a result of working with me. Here's what's possible for them. Here's how much work is involved in this project. And so when you know all of that upfront before you put your offer together, then you're so much more confident in your pricing. So instead of like trying to coach you through all this proving yourself and what ifs, we just give you a shortcut around it with

the paid discovery process. So Rachel is so generous with sharing her process. Our Web Designer Academy students and next level mastermind students are like, my gosh, this is working. I love this. I feel so confident in my offers now that I have this step available to me right before making the offer. And so

my client success coordinator, Erica and I were like, we got to formalize this. We got to add it to our curriculum. We got to write scripts for selling it and for making the offer off the backend and create a process checklist for the end to end process and teach them how to do discovery with their clients and present it and how to present and sell their most premium projects ever off the backend. And I'm like, Rachel's the best person for teaching the actual like website strategy piece.

She's been doing this with her clients every day. She's in it. I haven't put together a website strategy for a client since 2019, but I am in it with what's working with marketing, sales and mindset. Rachel's in it with the things that she has tried for marketing and selling paid discovery to her clients. And she's teaching the strategy. So we made, and we're making that workshop available to the public.

for a limited time. It's happening today. We'll also sell replays for it for a limited time. So if you want to get your hands on that workshop, you can go to webdesigneracademy .com, paid discovery to purchase the replays and all of the trainings, templates, and scripts that go with it. It's not a free training that gives you just a surface level overview of the process with the pitch.

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It is a paid training that teaches the exact system step by step. It gives you all the scripts, workbooks and templates to use it with your clients right away. So you can go to webdesigneracademy .com paid discovery to yeah, the workshops already going to be over by the time this episode drops, but you can purchase the replays and learn the entire process of doing that paid discovery. Like I said, our clients are booking and it's not just they've always booked their highest

price package ever when they're coming to work with us, but the level of confidence that they're showing. And that bleeds over into everything else. When they're so confident that they can deliver on their strategy for their client, it bleeds over into their marketing. It makes them not feel fraughty about their marketing. They really start to see how they can help people in a practical way.

they really start believing in themselves more. So if those are some gaps for you, paid discovery can really help you close those gaps. So I already shared a little bit with you about May's numbers when I was talking about our process, but let me just dive into them, give you an overview, and then we'll wrap up this episode. So our total revenue in May, again, was $11 ,026, and that was all Web Designer Academy and Next Level Payment Plan revenue.

And as you know, my goal is to get that recurring revenue number, monthly recurring revenue number up to 15 ,000 each month. That's our minimum baseline to cover my salary, Erica's salary, and all the tools tech and team we use to run our business. And our investments, our outgo, our outflow, and I intentionally call them investments and not expenses because every dollar that goes out of our bank account should be working behind the scenes.

somewhere to create more revenue for us. So for example, Erica's salary as a client success coach, it's not an expense. It's an investment in the success of our students. Meaning when Erica supports our students, when she gives them feedback on their packages and pricing and mindset, and she tells them what to keep, what to change, and what mind trash to come to coaching with me and get support on. And our students take action and make those changes and implement

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And then they also take action to do their marketing and they book a client and make an offer with the package that they submitted to Erica to get feedback on to spot their mind trash. And then they get their highest priced web design package ever. That students reaching their goals because I invested in hiring Erica to support our students along with me. Right. And when that student is reaching their goals, that's a win for our program.

And those students typically tell other web designers about the success that they're having in our program. Maybe they even come on our podcast and talk about it. Maybe they do a student panel. Maybe they allow me to share a testimonial with our students. And so Erica's salary is an investment that pays off not just for me, but for our students and like our students clients too, who get to work with a web designer.

that's investing in their professional development, that's not overworking, undercharging, burnt out, resentful, lone wolfing, and constantly wondering if they're doing it right and at risk of just shutting down altogether because it's just not working. So everything I spend money on in the business is an investment. It's an investment in the business, in myself, in our students, in our team, and everyone else's clients.

even like their families, right? Like our students' families and the freedom that they have working for themselves. Like it is a huge ripple effect, right? And so when I think about the money going out of my bank account that way, I don't feel anxious about the numbers. I feel patient for the return. And that is what it means to have an investment mindset. So maybe that's been the shift that I'm noticing. Maybe I've made that shift from

hybrid mindset back into investment mindset again. And it's something I definitely intend to explore in my June income report and also my 100th episode because I feel like I fell out of investment mindset maybe sometime in 2023, didn't really realize I was operating from expense mindset. And then once I did, I was able to rebuild into hybrid. And I think I might've made the shift back into investment, y 'all. It's kind of cool because you don't always just stay

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Stay there if that's not your default. Investment mindset is not my default. It's something that I intentionally have to cultivate for myself. So anyway, our investments, our outflow in May, $14 ,376. Again, that's about $10 ,000 combined, both mine and Erica's salaries, including payroll taxes. About 2 ,000 of that is all the tech we use to run the business. And there is a...

big fat list of tech that we use to run this business. And then the remaining is our conversion rate optimization consultants, which has been massively helpful in all of the tests that are helping us create the momentum that we're creating our podcast production, Sound Advice Strategies. Thank you guys for everything that you do. The podcast is the main way that people find us.

and you just do a really great job, especially with this episode, May Income Report. So many technical difficulties trying to record this episode, three different tracks put together. I started it yesterday and then I woke up this morning and I'm all like stuffy and allergy trying to finish it. So if you notice my voice change halfway through the episode, that's why, but they do such a good job and they make the process really seamless.

And then just our marketing budget, like for ads for like the gifts that we send to new web designer academy students when they join, just so many different little things. So our gap in May was $3 ,350, which was covered by our reserves. And I think I also mentioned in previous income reports, another metric that I look at is our six month rolling average revenue.

And so I look at the average of the previous six months of revenue and the benchmark that we want to be hitting for that is that 15k a month minimum baseline a month over the past six months. So as we see like months that have higher revenue, like 30 ,000 and then months that have lower revenue, like 9 ,000, on average, we want to see over the past six months, 15 ,000. And we have been seeing that.

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and maybe it dipped a little bit below to like 14, but then it bumped back up. And so that number is trending upward and in May that number was $15 ,584. So we are heading in the right direction. And as long as I stop thinking that I need to get back to where I have been before, which means that I'm not appreciating.

what we've created now because like the way our business is structured is different than it was before. I have goals that I've set for the future and I look forward to those goals and I think about like, what do we need to, how do I need to be thinking? What do I need to believe to compel me to take the action to create the results that I want to see? I got to look forward and plan for the future and not plan to get back to somewhere I was in the past, which is impossible by the way.

And by the time I wrote this income report in June, like in the first third of the month, things were already starting to happen in June in terms of like new enrollments and more sales. But I'll break all of that down for you in next month's income report. So I will leave you with this. Even when it feels like nothing's happening, if you are taking action to market your business, it's like putting money in the bank and that money accrues interest.

marketing, even if it doesn't give you instant gratification, even if it feels like it's not working, is like putting money in the bank and having that interest compound over time. Your marketing actions compound over time, and patience and persistence is required for that to happen. And that's what really creates the momentum that you see when people say, I don't even feel like I market myself anymore. I'm just like clients are coming out of nowhere.

It's not that clients are coming out of nowhere. It's that the actions you've taken to market your business have compounded and there's been momentum that's created. And then you also get to continue to market yourself to maintain that momentum. You never take that momentum for granted. And that's why there is an opportunity cost to taking time away from marketing to go do other things. You will see that momentum start to

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fade and you'll have to put in a bunch of effort again upfront to create the momentum again. So just start marketing, start taking those actions, let those actions compound, be patient, be persistent. When the momentum is created, don't stop. Okay. Don't stop because there are so many other places to put your energy in your business. When you start getting clients to

create the money and the life that you want to create. And we don't want getting clients to ever get in the way of that. So that is all I have for you this week. Thank you so, so much for listening and I'll see you back here next week. Bye. This podcast is part of the Sound Advice FM Network. Sound Advice FM, women's voices amplified.

A smiling person with a tooth showing on their chin is looking indoors.

Shannon Mattern
Web Designer Academy

ABOUT YOUR HOST, SHANNON MATTERN

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.