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byShannon Mattern
A smiling person sits behind a laptop, featured in "Profitable Web Designer Episode 70," discussing the November 2023 Income Report with Shannon Mattern.

November 2023 Income Report

Welcome to my November 2023 Income Report!

Hey there! Welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast and today I’m bringing you my November income report where I break down what happened behind the scenes of my business, how much money we made, how much we spent, and the lessons learned along the way.

And if you’re new to the show, just to give you a little bit of background, when I quit my day job in 2018 to go full-time in my business, I started a podcast called Pep Talks for Side Hustlers where I published a monthly income report.

And my business looked different back then. The Web Designer Academy was like, this side-project in my overall business where I was teaching regular business owners how to DIY their websites and market themselves online, and building websites for clients.

And the Web Designer Academy was also the thing in my business that always worked, that I loved and that didn’t feel like work – and that’s the dream, right?

So when I decided to go all in on the Web Designer Academy and close down those other parts of my business, and start the Profitable Web Designer it felt like my personal income reports were irrelevant because I wasn’t doing client work anymore…

But the unintended consequence was that I was no longer slowing down to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, what I’m proud of, what lessons I learned like I used to and I noticed myself started to repeat some past mistakes or prolong problems because I wasn’t looking at them – and the lessons learned AROUND the money are universal… and the money part gives CONTEXT to the lessons learned.

And when I brought income reports back last month, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and they were also massively helpful to ME to slow down, to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, what I’m proud of, what lessons I learned….

So if you’re new to the show, I invite you to go back and listen to Episode 65 where I give you all the context for how we got here…

And let’s do it!

Let’s dive into the important things that happened in November, how much we made, how much we spent and what we spent it on, and the lessons learned along the way!

Important Things That Happened in November

Next Level Retreat

Each year we host a 3-day in person retreat for the women who are in our Next Level Mastermind – which is for people who have gone through the Web Designer Academy and implemented our foundational strategies in that container and who want to continue working with us on more advanced strategies and go really deep on mindset. This year I rented a house in Destin, Florida and I think there were 14 of us, and you guys… I had no idea how much I personally needed this retreat.

So, going into it, I had literally just laid off my marketing and operations coordinator… I mean, I’d already bought her plane ticket for the retreat and everything, and she’d been to the retreat the year before, everyone knew her and loved her as much as I did…

And I had a LOT of thoughts about when to tell them she wasn’t coming, how to tell them I’d laid her off, would they even want me to coach them on their businesses anymore because mine wasn’t perfect?

And so we get to Destin, we go to meet up with the girls who’d already arrived for lunch, we walk in, sit down, we’re chit chatting for awhile and one of them’s like… Where’s Ally?”

And I literally just start bawling, like, full-on ugly cry, and I share with them what I shared on the podcast last month… because not only did I feel like a failure, I felt like I’d let Ally down.

And they just held the space for me to do that, without judgment, and I don’t know if it was said at that lunch or some other time during the retreat, because after everyone got there I had to tell people again, and I also bawled and ugly cried but basically it was like “Hey, we are ALL going to experience a tough time in our business at some point. If we’re in this for the long haul, which everyone here in Next Level is, we’re gonna have some bad years… and we’re grateful that you’ve gone first because we know you can guide us through it.”

And maybe I take having employees like, way too seriously, and I definitely think it’s something to reflect on… but I don’t want to work for a company that’s not as committed to me as I am to it, and so when I decided to go from solopreneur to CEO and hire, I took a lot of time to think about what kind of company I wanted to run…

But I also think that I get to reflect on how that caused me to put tons of pressure on myself and delay making decisions that would feel out of alignment with that paradigm…

But anyway, that’s the kind of stuff we explore in the Next Level Mastermind, because in Next Level that’s where people are at in their businesses.

They’ve established a strong foundation in terms of systems and processes. They know how to get clients. It’s not like we never talk about getting clients, but it’s never like, “I don’t know how to get clients” it’s more like “How can I expand my network? How can I make this feel easier?” They’re doing really creative things with our Irresistible Package Matrix strategy that I don’t teach in the main Web Designer Academy container, and they’re showing each other what they do and how they do it. They all have their own set of superpowers that they share with each other… and some are ready to grow a team, some aren’t. And growing a team doesn’t just mean hiring, it means learning to delegate, communicate, and let go, but not abandon, something I personally always struggled with.

So because everyone in the Next Level Mastermind doesn’t need to learn the same things, it’s quite a different experience than the Web Designer Academy. There are some modules, but there’s no curriculum.

For people who come directly into Next Level having not been through the Web Designer Academy, I do a deep dive interview and put together a custom curriculum plan for them to fill any gaps they might have in our core strategies, and then they get coaching in Next Level, because their questions are going to be about things that don’t apply to the Web Designer Academy container – and because we’re a group coaching program, and the coaching calls are group calls, I make sure that the questions that get asked in each room are relevant to the entire room.

And that’s what the Next Level Retreat is really about too – it’s to help them figure out their unique path for the year, for everyone in the room to get to know them, their strengths, and what gets in their way so we can all support each other.

So I really intentionally plan the Next Level Retreat experience to be very transformative for our attendees… and basically what we do is figure out what your Next Level vision is for your web design business, what you REALLY need to do to create it (not what you think you need to do or the online marketing industry tells you what you need to do) and then we coach deeply on what’s in your way – and it’s not just me coaching, I bring in backup – one of my best friends and one of my own mindset coaches, Alecia St. Germain comes and helps us get to the deep deep root of why we get in our own way even after accomplishing big goals.

And I go through the process right alongside of everyone else because I need to do it too!

And what came out of the process for me is that the thing I get to work on the most to reach my own goals is releasing my negative self-talk.

It really ramped up this year, and I just had this low-key loop of thoughts that  I screwed everything up and that I’ve made too many mistakes, and that I’m not good enough… And those thoughts create adrenaline and cortisol, which drive a fear response – fight, flight, freeze or fawn, and my fear response is FIGHT, which for me equals overwork – and also making decisions from a brain flooded with hormones that dampen my ability to make decisions.

And I didn’t even notice I was doing it… But the retreat attendees sure did! I was so self-deprecating the whole time…

And I’ve just been operating with this low-key anxiety for months, if not a couple of years upon reflection.

So we get to the retreat, and it’s the first night, and we’re all just sitting around this huge kitchen table talking and everyone starts sharing how they found me and the WDA and how their life has completely changed because of our program…

And I just feel all those old mindtrashy beliefs start to melt away.

Like, how could I possibly be failing if this is what I helped these women create? Like, so what if I’m not perfect? You know what I’m really good at? Learning from my mistakes, and using what I learned to help myself and other people. I get to accept that I learn by touching the stove, not by watching someone else touch the stove, or having someone else tell me not to touch the stove. I’m going to touch it anyway, just to find out for myself – and then I really internalize the lesson… until I forget and touch it again, but hey, I’m human.

So are you. You’re not perfect, and you’re also not failing, and you can also create a really successful business that supports you and your family while being imperfect.

So after “confessing” about Ally, and then hearing those transformation stories, something shifted in me that first night, and then I spent the weekend feeling all of the stress and disbelief and anxiety literally just melt away.

There’s something about being in the room with other people who can point out the truth that you cannot see, whether that’s in person, or virtually.

It’s what we do for you in the Web Designer Academy container, and it’s what we all do for each other in the Next Level container.

And I haven’t felt anxious since getting home from the retreat.

I feel a calm centeredness, like, no matter what, everything will be okay. No matter what, I’ll figure out a way.

I’m not going anywhere. What I do is too meaningful for me.

And every challenge, every lesson learned is worth it times a million when I can use them to help other people create the businesses and lives they want.

Another thing that came out of the Next Level Retreat is that group really solidified itself as a collective.

In the core Web Designer Academy container, I’m your coach, Erica’s your coach, and we help you fix the leaks in your business and put the foundational stuff in place you might be missing…

But in the Next Level container, you’re in the room with people who have fixed their leaks and built their foundation, and have so much experience and such diverse skillsets and business structures and backgrounds… they’ve experienced and overcome lots of challenges, they’ve had huge successes…

In that room, I’m definitely still coaching, but I’m also facilitating, leading group discussions and facilitating the members coaching each other and asking each other powerful questions.

And it’s that rich collection of experiences that allow them to support one another in a totally different way. It’s no longer just me being like, “Yeah I’ve been there and I can help you…” it’s 10 other people going yeah, I’ve been there, and I can help you.”

And where I help them is that it doesn’t matter what level you get to, you still have blind spots.

You still have mindtrash, and now that you’ve fixed your leaks, you find you have bottlenecks or hit ceilings that you want to break through – and we create the supportive, strategic space for you to do that.

My blindspot was my negative self-talk, and I’ve really worked on it, to be like “Oh, interesting. I don’t think like that anymore.”

So that was MY experience…the Next Level Retreat was very healing for me personally, and I know it was transformational for our attendees as well. I’m sure I’ll talk more about Next Level in 2024, because I’ve been hearing from a lot of web designers who feel like they’re in limbo in terms of coaching programs that meet them where they are right now.

Back to Hot Yoga

On the third day of the retreat, I had a yoga instructor come in because we’d been doing a lot of sitting and planning and coaching and workshopping, and while we totally walked on the beach and got out and did stuff, we sat a lot.

So the instructor, B, was incredible. My hips had never felt so flexible and my shoulders felt melty, and I realized that I hadn’t been to a group yoga class since before the pandemic.

The hot yoga studio I used to go to back then is still open, and my favorite instructor is still there, so I bought a 10-class pass and I’m going to hot hatha every week now, and I think that’s also part of why I feel so centered.

The Hot Hatha class I go to, the instructor is really into neuroscience and the nervous system, and how the breath helps regulate a dysregulated nervous system, and I’m like, “Oh, this is part of what I’ve been missing for the past few years is just a practice that gets me calming my nervous system and really paying attention to that. So I think that that’s also been really helping with the anxiety also.

Conversion Rate Optimization + Archetypes Quiz

Something I’d mentioned in my October Income Report and that you’ll see in the Investments section of this month’s report is that I’m working with one of our Next Level students, Leigh Scott, on Conversion Rate Optimization.

And I’m sure I’ll end up talking about this more in future podcast episodes because it’s so fascinating, but I remember last year at the Next Level retreat, Leigh was talking about how when she worked at her corporate job for one of the big airlines she was in charge of their website, and it was her job to increase conversions and help them make more revenue.

And so at last year’s retreat, she was like, “Conversion rate optimization is the service I want to offer…” And I was just sitting there like, “I want to hire her. How can I hire her? I need to figure out how to hire her, because this is exactly what I need.”

And I didn’t do it then. And I waited and waited and waited and waited and waited. And then in August, when it became clear that we had landed on our offer and our pricing, and our the perfect client for that offer. And I decided to stop changing things, and it was time to reach out to Leigh. We started working together, and in August and September and October, they did a deep dive into our business. They interviewed people who joined the Web Designer Academy and why they joined, people who applied but didn’t join, and why they didn’t join.

They analyzed all of our data, all of our traffic, where it’s coming from, and what people click on and did this full-blown analysis while for us, it was business as usual. We were doing the Revenue Reset Challenge and all of our other normal marketing stuff, and they are analyzing behind the scenes what’s going on.

And so in November, we were like, okay, now it’s time to test some of the theories the data is showing us.

One of the theories is that there are X number of steps on our customer journey. There’s knowing we exist, understanding what we do, learning more about us, having the desire to work with us, and then actually taking action to listen to the podcast, sign up for our email list, fill out our application, watch the private training if we approve your application, and then you deciding to enroll.

So if you imagine our customer journey as a river, and there are all these stepping stones to get across the river, and you’re on one side of the river with your struggling web design business, and we’re on the other side of the river with the solutions and strategies to help you, and there are all these stepping stones to get you across the river to make that decision.

And we found that there were some gaps in those stepping stones. And so it’d be like, way too big of a jump for you to jump from one stone to the other. It would look scary and feel dangerous, right? But here’s me on the other side of the river being like, come on, just jump, I got you. And you’re like, but it looks scary and dangerous. And I’m like, it’s fine, just jump, right?

And so when they showed that to me in the data – where people are stopping and not moving forward and maybe actually like taking a few steps back on the stepping stones, and then coming like getting a little more courage and coming forward again and then stopping again, and trying to build up the courage to make the bigger leap. And then maybe some of them build up the courage to make the bigger leap… but more of them like, ah, I got to go back. I got to go back and I got to build up the courage to try to make that leap again.

And so we actually saw that happening in the data, which is fascinating. And so what Leigh suggested with the help of Erica, who’s our client success coordinator, and Jamie who’s on her team is like, you need a couple more stepping stones to bridge these gaps so that it’s not so scary to go from here to here. And it’s almost like at the place where people were not making the leap, we had a sign that was like, “Caution!! Only really courageous people should make the leap!”

And I’m like, “No, they don’t need to be courageous! We’re courageous for them!!” But Leigh was like, “Yeah, you’re inadvertently making them think that they need to be more bold than they need to be…”

So we did a full analysis of our funnels and our trainings and different things to find where I accidentally put up the danger signs… where we’re like “Warning, you must be really brave to continue down the path!” which is simply not true. You just need to follow the guide, follow the leader, right?

And so out of that came some new stepping stones, one of which is our Archetypes Quiz, where it’s basically like a mini version of the full assessment that we do when you join the Web Designer Academy to figure out your web designer archetype and some of your challenges and opportunities and strengths, and then you’ll be invited to watch a training that’s going to tell you more about the places where your archetype creates time and money leaks in your business.

And so I spent November working on creating the quiz. And it was so fun. I love to nerd out on that stuff. That’s the kind of stuff I miss with working with clients is solving problems. And I’m like, okay, so I have this assessment that I built for our students and it works this way, but it needs to work a little bit differently as a freebie. And I need to be able to show and tell you the results in a different way and pass the information from one page to another and so on.

I spent a lot of time trying to tie that together. I hired a developer to help me with a few things and that was an interesting process…

But ultimately I got that quiz done and it was so fun. And I soft-launched it in November. Like I was like, okay, it’s live but I did not promote it at all. And I was just, I’m like surprised because people are taking it, which is really cool.

So that was something that I worked on in November, was pulling all of that together and launching it.

My 44th Birthday + Thanksgiving in the RV

I turned 44 on November 22, and to celebrate I had sushi with my husband and our best friends, and then the next day we de-winterized our motorhome and loaded up Scarlett and enough provisions for 5 days and headed to my husband’s brothers house to camp in his driveway for Thanksgiving.

I cannot tell you how much I love my camper. My grandparents had one growing up, and my family didn’t do vacations, we camped on a riverbank, and it’s some of my best memories, and I recreate that delightful part of my childhood every time I get in my own camper. So naturally I want to take the camper everywhere. It’s like my little clubhouse.

We had a blast, we spent lots of time with family… and I was able to get some work done in the quiet mornings in the camper while everyone else was sleeping… because I’ was wrapping up the evergreen customer journey stuff and working on the December’s open enrollment stuff which always falls around Thanksgiving…

And so after 5 days, we packed up, we rolled home and I was like Hmm… I’m not feeling that great. Maybe it’s just all the dry heat from the camper, and the holiday overindulgence.

But nope, because that doesn’t result in a fever and body aches and all that… and I went from maybe I’m a little sick to wow, I feel like total crap, and it must have been the flu because I had 2 negative COVID tests and my husband got his flu shot at work and didn’t end up getting sick from me at all.

So I’m working on the final open enrollment of 2023, and part of what I do is go live a few times on Instagram about mindset shifts and stuff like that… and I was SO sick, and I lost my voice, and I had to reschedule some of the lives…

And the best part was… I had zero stress about it. I was like, hey, best-laid plans, it’s okay, we’ll roll with it, it’s no big deal.

And I think that’s the best thing that’s come out of the past 12 months is that I feel really calm and resilient, and capable of making adjustments and rolling with whatever happens.

Prepping for the Final Open Enrollment of 2023

As I write this, I’m actually in the middle of the final open enrollment of 2023, so I’ll have the final results for you in December’s income report…

But this is the fourth year I’ve done a December enrollment, and this year it was super fun – even though I was so sick for most of it!!!

There are lots of moving pieces to an open enrollment. The way we do it is that we host a live training that’s only for people who have applied and been accepted to the WDA, and in that training we talk in depth about our strategies, systems and processes.

So there’s putting together that training, making people aware of that training and telling them how to get access to that training, which involves writing several emails… the IG lives I did were all to bring awareness to the training, we put ads on the podcast to talk about the training.

This year’s training was all about how to make 2024 your most profitable year yet, so I wrote the script, made the slides… we invited some of our current students to come to the training and talk about how their business has changed since joining us…

And then there’s processing the applications. Because I review every single application… and I can tell when people are like, let me just check all these boxes and put something in here so I can get in on this free training vs. when people are like, I’m seriously curious and interested about how you might be able to help me, so I’m going to thoughtfully answer these questions.

So basically I’m looking at what they put in their application, I’m looking at their website and how they’re doing things now, and I’m looking for ways we’d help them if we were to work together.

And sometimes, I’m like… I can’t help this person. They want to figure out how to make $20k a month selling templates and they have no web design experience.

Or something else random and what makes our program so powerful is that I only invite people to work with us who have similar goals and similar challenges so that everyone’s coaching and questions are relevant to everyone else, and that’s why our live strategy calls are so well-attended, because people know they are gonna have their minds blown by a question someone else asked that they didn’t even know they had.

So manually reviewing and thoughtfully replying to those applications takes a significant amount of time, which is totally cool, I love doing them, but boy was I sick. I was like, Erica, I might need you to just make these review videos – I’ll tell you what I want to say and I want you to be my voice for me.

And listen, I know I could have just rescheduled everything and it would have been fine… but I’m terrible at resting when I’m sick. I actually feel better when I can occupy my mind with something other than UGH why am I sick? I feel like crap, this is terrible!! I rested plenty, and I felt good to continue.

And then after the presentation, there are the “sales” emails, which I think of as “Hey, I’ve invited you to work with us, I’ve made the offer, now I’m coaching you through making the decision one way or another.”

And this year, my friends, I didn’t write those emails… and it was AMAZING. I did a VIP day with  Web Designer Academy + Next Level Student Sarah Guilliot who recently pivoted to copywriting, and her specialty is sales pages and post-launch emails, and I went through her VIP day process and she produced 12 beautiful emails for me – that felt like me, sounded like me, and said what I say better than I say it.

And having those emails complete was a HUGE weight off my shoulders. Huge.

So, shameless plug for Sarah G. – she writes website copy for web designers, so if you wanna offer website copy as part of your packages but you don’t want to actually do it, you can outsource to Sarah… and you guys she’s sooooo good! – go check her out.

Now that I’m mid-launch, I’m tweaking those emails a little bit here and there to align with how the live training went down… but they were 95% there for me and that was huge.

So I think we started promoting the final open enrollment at the very end of November, so I spent most of the month working on the Archetypes quiz and the post-quiz training, and the open enrollment.

Getting into my new routine

So after I laid off my Marketing and Operations Coordinator, I took over most of her responsibilities, and it’s definitely been an adjustment figuring out my new normal.
Like, this podcast episode was due to be submitted to my production people yesterday, and here I am, recording it a day late. I realized that I didn’t send out my weekly podcast email to my list, because I was sending out a post-launch email to accepted applicants instead, and I’m sending emails in real-time instead of having things batched and done ahead of time. So I’m hoping to find some time today to get the show notes published and the email sent out.

We teach a time-blocking practice in the Web Designer Academy, and I’m definitely trying to figure out a cadence that works best for me… I’d love to be able to batch content like I used to back before I had a team, and I definitely think I’ll be able to get back there, but right now it means being really intentional with my time, not allowing anxiety to pull me down a rabbit hole of a shiny project that’s not on our strategic plan, and being okay with not being able to batch content for awhile, and just setting aside a day a week to produce, publish and distribute the podcast.

Which is okay. It’s stuff I like doing, I’m good at it, it’s easy, it’s just getting back into a routine.

So that’s what happened in November.

The Retreat, going back to Yoga to help me keep my newly-regulated nervous system regulated, the price I paid for playing board games with my nephews at Thanksgiving, which I’m happy to pay but it also sucked, working on our customer journey and stepping stones that keep people moving towards letting us help them create the life and business they really want instead of them getting stuck on the path, and putting together our final open enrollment of the year.

So here are November’s numbers:

November 2023 Numbers

Get the full breakdown of income, expenses and net profit month by month here.

Total Revenue: $10,776.40

Our revenue includes Web Designer Academy payment plans, people who paid in full, and people who converted from the payment plan to pay in full after the 60-day grace period to pay in full and get the pay-in-full bonuses. It includes Next Level payments and payment plans. Affiliates and partnership revenue comes from when I speak at summits and promote, or even some old affiliate commissions trickling in for the DIY or stuff I used to do.

      • Web Designer Academy (Includes WDA + Next Level): $9300.00
      • Affiliates + Partnerships: $1466.40

Total Investments: $21,026.30

I call what most people call “expenses” investments because every dime I spend in my mind contributes to the growth of my business in some way, shape or form. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be on this list. So I call them investments. You’ll notice that again this month, that total number is higher than the revenue. 

      • Team: $9344.02: Includes my salary, the salary of our client success coordinator, all the payroll taxes that we pay on top of that. 
      • Tools I use to run my business: $1822.80
      • Marketing: $5011.86
        • Conversion Rate Optimization: $4500: The line item in October was zero, so this number is October + November.
        • Podcast Production: $440
        • Ads $0: We stopped running any kind of paid ads in October after it came, after conversion rate optimization, data analysis showed that our YouTube ads were converting to subscribers, but not necessarily converting to new students.
        • WDA Engagement + Retention $71.86: We love to surprise and delight our students. And so the budget for that was $269.50, spending on. I’m not going to say what, because I like to keep it a surprise. But if you come to work with us, you’ll know.
      • WDA Next Level Retreat: $3681.19: The majority of the spending on that event already happened to book the rental, and this is the last of the investments related to this event. The intention is for the Retreat is a budget neutral, a profit-neutral event. So we keep the registration fee for that pretty equivalent to what we think our expenses are going to be, because we also understand that people have to travel to get there and there’s child care, you know, a lot of additional expenses related to that. We’re trying to spend what we make on that to create an incredible experience because the value to our business is in the event itself and the transformation people get, and then they stay in the WDA forever and then they tell other people to join us. So that’s so much more valuable to me than any profit I could make off of that event.
      • Line of Credit + CC Interest: $452.18: Interest payments on my investment in business coaching + consulting in 2023.
      • Professional Services: $497.28: That’s legal, accounting, bookkeeping, HR, software.
        • Legal $0
        • Accounting $0
        • Bookkeeping $230.00
        • HR $92.80
        • Biz Insurance $174.48
      • Office Expenses: $217.00

Net Profit: $-10,259.93

Lessons Learned

In November, about $6,700 of money I spent are things wouldn’t normally have fallen in that month, but our net profit would still be negative. And how do I cover that? Well, out of my business bank account reserves from the good years, and obviously we cannot continue to operate forever with a negative profit.

We don’t have investor money coming in. We don’t have like an unlimited stash of cash, so our first goal is getting back to profit-neutral. And that’s with enrolling students on payment plans so that we get our recurring revenue built back up. It’s enrolling students with our pay in full incentive because that helps with our cash flow. And so we’re like, hey, if you pay in full, we’ll give you an incentive if you pay in full within this open enrollment period or within this timeframe, we’ll give you an incentive. And that helps with our cash flow to have pay in full payments. But we also love our payment plan people. And we want to build our payment plans back up so that we have monthly recurring revenue that matches inflow matching our outflow. That is my first goal.

So whereas it used to be like, I want a million dollars in revenue, which, do I think we could do that? Sure, but that’s not a goal right now. The goal is to continue serving and supporting our Web Designer Academy students, making sure our business is sustainable and still here. And so that’s truly what we’re working on.

And the thing is I get to be willing to do what I need to do to take care of myself financially, even if it’s not coming from the business. And, like the next biggest expense on our list is my salary. And so, and without my salary, like remove my salary from the picture, we’re sustainable, we’re profit neutral. And so what that means is, I have to be willing to put all options on the table.

And at the same time, I get to be willing to do whatever it is I need to do to take care of my personal financial situation. And if I’m not willing to contribute less money to my personal bank account because of our personal commitments, then I get to get creative and literally all options are on the table for me.

So I don’t know what that means yet. I am very, I don’t want to say hopeful, I’m confident that we will be able to build our revenue back up such that I don’t have to figure out a way to cover my salary outside of the business, but I’m willing to. And I think that is what makes me feel so calm right now, because before it was not an option on the table. Figuring out another way to cover my paycheck outside of paying myself from my business was never an option on the table. And I’m just like, why wouldn’t it be an option on the table? Like, if this is what you wanna do forever, then when you have a storm to weather, you figure it out and you put all of the options on the table.

And what caused me so much stress and anxiety before is not putting all the options on the table, not allowing all of the options to be on the table. So there are so many creative ways that I could figure out how to cover my salary outside of the Web Designer Academy. But how I used to think about it was like, oh, my God, I’m not going to be able to afford to pay myself. And then what? And then husband’s gonna be upset with me and blah like all of this stuff and it’s just like I could think about it like that or I could think about it like, hmm, there are some other opportunities out there that I could explore to ensure sustainability for myself and for the business and maybe I will need to explore them in a few months maybe I won’t.

It really just all depends on what happens over the over the next few months. And because I can’t predict the future, because I can’t rely on past performance to indicate future results, it gives me a great sense of peace to put all of the options on the table. So I’m sure I’ll be talking more about that in future income reports. And I just think it’s important to be willing to, I don’t know, do what it takes to fulfill your passion and the vision and mission, vision you have for your life and the mission that you have.

And so, yeah, we’re going to be here no matter what. It’s just a matter of how am I paying myself? How am I making my own personal money? And that remains to be seen. We’ll figure it out.

Because like I said, we’re profit neutral going forward without my salary in the mix… but also, I am integral to the business. So I can’t lay myself off and not work for the business. So, but I can do other things. So I’m sure I’ll have more details on what that looks like in future income reports.

But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that creating sufficiency for myself is what’s going to allow me to do what it takes to be patient and persistent to weather the storm. And that’s the biggest, I think that’s the biggest lesson that I’ve learned all year, truly is to never take options off the table. If all options are on the table, then you have so many opportunities for making it happen. And if it’s black and white and it has to look one way, that’s really stressful.

So that’s it. That is everything for my November 2023 income report. Thank you so, so much for listening and I’ll see you back here next week. Bye.

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.