Raising your prices doesn’t have to be complicated – but you do have to be ready for it one way or another.
This week I’m sharing a conversation I had earlier this year with Josh Hall about setting your web design project pricing!
Like me, Josh is also a Web Design Coach. He started web design as a freelancing side hustle, and over the years has managed to grow it to a six-figure business today. And, funnily enough, we are actually both based at Columbus, Ohio! He’s also the host of the Web Design Business Podcast.
“Your goal as a web designer is not to save your client money, it’s to make them money. That’s it.” – Josh Hall
The 3 things Josh and I want our students to take away:
- Mindset. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will say it again: the right mindset is the single most important thing you need to have when it comes to setting your pricing.
- When communicating your pricing to your client, make it all about them. Talk about the value you will provide for them, the problem-solving and expertise you provide that will add value to their business and what their return on investment will look like.
- Your business is guaranteed to have highs and lows. Be ready for them and make the most out of each season.
“The only reason you can do it in 10 minutes is because you may have spent 10 years learning, that way it doesn’t take 10 hours.” – Josh Hall
Josh and I also talk about:
- How to establish minimum rates based on your income goals
- Different ways you can get to being comfortable with raising your rates – spoiler, there’s no right way!
- Maintaining momentum in your business by setting a goal in mind
- Website: joshhall.co/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/joshhallco/
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/joshhallco/
- YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/JoshHallco
- Podcast: https://joshhall.co/podcast/
Shannon Mattern: Hey there. Welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast, and I have a really special episode for you this week with one of my favorite people in the web design business coaching space, Josh Hall, my brother from another mother who was just recently on the podcast in episode 10, talking about his journey and his story. And I had the pleasure of getting to be on Josh's podcast a few months ago where we got to talk about web design pricing, and how much charge and how to raise rates and so much more. And so today is a replay of Josh's interview with me where we break down so many things related to pricing and mindset and clients, and just everything I could give to him during our hour and a half long conversation about the mindset behind pricing and all of the things. So I am so excited for you to listen to this interview that Josh did with me. And after you listen, definitely go subscribe to his podcast, the Web Design Business Show. He has an incredible backlog of episodes and resources and so many good things to help you create a profitable web design business. So, without further ado, here is my interview or Josh's interview with me all about web design pricing.
Shannon Mattern: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast, where we're all about helping extraordinary web designers like you to stop undercharging over delivering and overworking, and finally create the profitable, sustainable, and scalable web design business you've been dreaming of. I'm your host Shannon Mattern, founder of the Web Designer Academy, where we teach the business side of running a web design business. So if you wanna make a consistent full-time income as a web designer, but you're struggling with things like pricing and boundaries and mindset and marketing, and you're just tired of going it alone while my friend, you're in the right place.
Shannon Mattern: Before we dive into this week's episode, I wanna let you know about a virtual web design business planning retreat that we're hosting on Thursday, December 8th, all about how to think, act, and make decisions like a multi six figure business owner. And you are invited because here's a little secret that no one talks about. In order to create a six figure web design business, you gotta think, act, and make decisions like a multi six figure web design business owner. And that is why on Thursday, December 8th from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern, we'll be hosting our first ever multi six figure web design, business vision, planning, and goals virtual retreat. And during this one day online event, you will create your project schedule and plan for 2023. You'll reverse engineer your pricing based on your big revenue goals. You'll learn to think and make decisions like a multi six figure web design business owner so that you can reach your personal revenue goals, whether that's six figures, multi six figures, or just a full time income as a web designer. And you'll learn how to continue to book profitable projects in an uncertain economy. Tickets go on sale Monday, November 21st through Wednesday, December 7th, and spots are limited. So head on over to https://webdesigneracademy.com/retreat to save your spot. Now, if you are ready to completely transform your web design business in 2023, you are not going to wanna miss this event. So go ahead and grab your ticket at https://webdesigneracademy.com slash and back here for this week's episode.
Josh Hall: Welcome to the Web Design Business podcast with your host Josh Hall, helping you build a web design business that gives you freedom and a lifestyle you love.
Josh Hall: Hello, fine friends, welcome in to episode 201 where I am so excited to bring to you one of my very new favorite colleagues in the web design realm. This is Shannon Mattern, who is also a fellow web design business coach. And as I've got to know Shannon a lot more recently, it just dawned on me that I'm like, how the heck have we not met before or connected before? She's local here to me in Columbus, Ohio. And she is also as you'll find out in this interview, very aligned with a lot of my thoughts on web design and how to grow your business, how to work remotely. And what we're gonna talk about in this episode in depth is pricing. I, I'm kind of surprised. We really haven't really, I mean, we've talked about pricing in a lot of episodes and have gone into it and a bunch of different tangents and different episodes, even if they were off topic.
Josh Hall: But in this episode, I wanted to specifically talk about pricing because I know it's one of the hardest things to figure out when you're early on, even if you're more established in your journey, it's still kind of tricky to figure out where your price point should be, where the market is right now, how to price your services. Of course, there's a lot of different variables to it. The question, how much does a website cost? I know you get that from your clients. It's like, well, how much does a car cost? How much does a house cost? There's so many variables to it. So in this episode, I'm so excited to bring on Shannon, who has a lot of really interesting thoughts and real world experience about undercharging and how, and she shares in this episode how you can raise your rates confidently and oh gosh, just price accordingly to make sure that you actually have a profitable business, but it also suits your ideal clients as well.
Josh Hall: So I can't wait for you to hear this conversation on pricing. We're gonna dive right into it. And before we do, if you need help with your business, you can charge premium rates, but if you can't give a premium experience, it's gonna be hard to back that up. So I wanna make sure if you're a, if you're new to my brand and you're new to the show, I do have my web design business course, which is literally my point A to point B, start to finish grow your dream web design business. It's got all my SOPs, everything is in that course. It covers pricing in there. We cover getting clients, project management, really from start to finish the client experience. I'd love to help you out with that personally. So that's all inside my business course. You can go to https://joshhall.co/business to check that out today.
Josh Hall: I think that'll be a great compliment for you after this episode. Once you get confident with pricing and you're feeling inspired to raise your rates and, and have some profit, and to really grow your dream business so you can have freedom in the lifestyle you love, that's what I want for you. So this episode will help with pricing, and then I would love to help you with the business side of things and making sure you can fulfill that premium experience for your clients. So again, just go to https://joshhall.co/business for that. Oh, and last thing I wanted to mention before we dive in, Shannon also has a free resource for you. And after this conversation, if you like this idea of the mindset of pricing that we talked about, she actually has a workshop that you can download for free. If you go to https://webdesigneracademy.com/josh, you can pick up that free pricing mindset workshop. Once again, that link is https://webdesigneracademy.com/josh to go pick that up. And we'll have that linked in the show notes, of course, at https://joshhall.co/201. Okay, that's long enough intro. Here's Shannon. Let's talk pricing
Speaker 4: T
Josh Hall: Shannon, my complete competition, and my new best friend who's local here in Columbus, Ohio. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for taking some time to chat.
Shannon Mattern: Oh, I love it. Thank you so much for having me. I'm, I'm just thrilled for this, for this episode.
Josh Hall: Well, it was so cool. We got to meet up in person just last month at the time of recording this. We have a mutual friend in Jason Gra, who I'm in a mastermind with, and he was like, dude, have you heard of Shannon Mad? And I'm like no, I haven't. He's like, she's, she's like, you like the the girl version of you. And I looked at your site, you are a web design business coach as well, and I absolutely love what you're up to. And it was really cool to, to just, you know, chat, have a casual chat and talk shop a while ago. So, I mean, there are probably, you know, 37,000 topics we could dive into. But one thing that you and I were chatting about that I think a lot of our students have an issue with is pricing. And there's so many different ways to price. There's mindsets, there's client personality types. So I'm so excited to kind of hone in on this particular topic, if that sounds good with you.
Shannon Mattern: Oh yeah. I'm super excited to talk about this and my community you know, has said the same thing to me. Have you heard of Josh Hall? Do you, do you know, know him? And then when we found out we lived in the same town, it was like, just, just meant to be, this conversation was meant to be. So I'm, I'm thrilled to be here and I pricing's one of my favorite topics
Josh Hall: And you know what lesson number one, I, I don't think you would've known. I lived in Columbus and I didn't know that either until I, I had it in my email signature, I have based in Columbus, Ohio. And you were like, you're in Columbus. So am I. That's a maybe tip number one for everybody is when you put your, you know, didn't have to put your address. But if you put your location in your email signature, it often prompts relationships, especially if you're locally or working regionally, or even more so if you're working with global clients, it's good to know the time zone. So I'm glad that that kind of played out well for us. Just having that in my email signature.
Shannon Mattern: Oh yeah, it's such a good idea. I'm definitely gonna have to do it. And I don't know how many times I have met someone, an entrepreneur online and somehow like two months in we figure out we live like two miles from each other or in the same town, or, you know, so it, it's really cool. I'm, I'm glad that you did that cuz Yeah, that it just made it like all the more cool to
Josh Hall: Get to, oh, I would've been so upset if we did a bunch of online calls and then figured out like, what you're like, you know, half an hour off the road from me. So
Shannon Mattern: Oh, absolutely. And I think I've only ever had one local client, you know, so it, it's, it's fascinating. Like yeah, you can, it really is all about how you think about pricing, how you position yourself, you know, all all of the things. It, it does not matter where you live.
Josh Hall: Gosh, it's, people need to hear that. I feel like people really, really need to hear that. And I know what we're gonna talk about. I think with pricing we'll kind of shed some mind on how to, to come across and how to explain your value. So I, let's maybe start with your backstory though real quick. You're, I mean, you're like me, you're a web design business coach. You are super passionate about helping people build this, you know, online remote style of freedom with web design. But you are actually, you, you told me this in person, but for those who don't know you yet, Shannon, can you just give us a little bit of backstory on how you became a web designer and then how you eventually started coaching?
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, so I did not go to school for web design. I went to Ohio State and got a, a degree in communications and promptly landed a job as an intern doing data entry in the marketing department of a law firm. I had taken like one class to learn HTML in Dream Weaver way back in the day. And I was like, that was fun to learn, but whatever. And so I got my start in building websites to solve business problems. So in my, at my company, they were like, oh, hey, we have this big case and there's a lot of clients involved in it and we need a way to communicate with them and keep them updated on like everything that's going on. So being the intern in the communications department, I'm like, oh, I've heard of this thing called a WordPress. Like I bet we could make a blog and, you know, create a way to keep these clients updated.
Shannon Mattern: So that was kind of like my first foray into building a website and it was really all about like, how do I solve this business problem? What are the require, the requirements that are needed? And I got hooked because I cannot, I'm just like, oh my gosh, I can really create anything that I can imagine or dream up. Like there's a plugin for that. There's a way to do it. I can, you know, so I, I really started to teach myself based on the needs of my client and like fast forward to my next role as a communications director for a non-profit. You know, it was like, Hey, we're a nonprofit, let's bootstrap. So communications director is now also like the web designer and the web developer. And so I started again solving business problems for this organization and I ended up creating this online continuing education website that sold online courses to these professionals who had to like re-certify and, and re-up their license every year.
Shannon Mattern: And so they had this, you know, license period. So I'm like, how do we like automate this? How do we put it online? How do we create revenue and like we quadrupled the revenue for this program. And it was like at that time where I was just like, wait a minute. If I was able to like, build this site that generates over a hundred thousand dollars in revenue for my company every year, why couldn't I do that for myself? Beautiful. You know, and I started to like have these little seeds planted in my brain or why couldn't I do that for other clients? Right. Someone could hire me to build this for them
Josh Hall: Another valuable lesson. Business cheap pricing doesn't serve anyone because you're gonna be outta business soon.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my goodness. There is not enough time. It, you, you cannot, you can't charge that way as a freelancer. And so I was really good at what I did. I was a people pleaser. I was a professional employee. I jumped when my client said jump. I, you know, didn't bill them for things that I thought I should have known or should, shouldn't have done. And I was like yeah, I cannot keep doing this. There's no way I will ever replace my day job income freelance web designing. I did not think there was a different way to do what I was doing. So. Gotcha. I was just like, I can't, and I completely burnt out after like 18 months of freelancing. And I was, I
Josh Hall: Was gonna ask how long that initial freelance period, so you did a year and a half of freelancing at really low cost, right? And that was all side hustle?
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, all side hustle a year and a half. And I was just like, I cannot keep doing this. And I thought I was gonna create like, some freedom and be able to quit my day job. And so I was like about, I was like, I'm wrapping up these projects that are just dragging on forever cause my clients aren't cooperating and I'm not getting paid anyway, so I'm gonna like wrap these up and I'm just gonna go back to being an employee. And that's when I heard an episode of Smart Passive Income podcast with Pat Flynn talking about how he teaches people how to, you know, set up their blog and their website with Blue Host and he gets affiliate commissions from it. And I was like, that's a thing. Like, what are you talking about? So I threw away my freelance business, I just stopped it completely.
Shannon Mattern: Like I finished those projects. I built a online training to teach people how to do it themselves because my pricing was so messed up,
Josh Hall: I was curious as to what kept you from stopping all that, and particularly when the price, the mental shift of pricing changed, what led the business coach, like I I I kind of fumbled into the mindset of pricing with experience and then just colleagues saying like, well, I'm charging like three grand. You're charging $800. What are you doing? I didn't really have somebody be like, you should double your rates necessarily. But you fortunately had a coach tell you that. How did that start for you though, Shannon? I'm kind of curious, like was Yeah, how did the, how did the business coach come along?
Josh Hall: Oh, okay. So you were like, I need a business coach.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, no, I was like, I'm alone. I didn't even know business coaches were a thing. Like I had no idea that there was someone out there that could actually like, help me grow my business. And so she signed up for my training and she was one of the ones that was like, can I just hire you? And I was like, absolutely not. Like, no. And she was like, but I'll pay you. And I'm like, it's not worth it to me. Cause I had, I had such bad boundaries Yeah. Before that. And so she was like, get on a phone call with me, like she needed a toxin sense into me. So she did. And and even still, my, my, I went from $22 an hour to a thousand dollars for this website that I was teaching people how to build for free. And that felt like I was ripping them
Josh Hall: Off. Gotcha. So yeah, I was kind of curious, could you get, was there like an average, so you're 22 bucks an hour and I, were you doing all hourly work, or did you have like 500 bucks for a website? What was the, what was your initial phase of pricing?
Shannon Mattern: It was all hourly. Oh. So it was like, and I think it'll take me this many hours and I forgot to, I forgot, or I didn't know that I also needed a factor in all the hours that I spend talking to you and chasing you for your content. And you know, it's like, it's so I can build a website in five hours, like, or less, right? But when you put the client, a client into the mix, quadruple that
Shannon Mattern: Oh yeah. I mean, I call it like, I did not even, I was any nowhere close to figuring this out back then. But now I talk about what's called your minimum baseline revenue. So you figure out how much you wanna pay yourself first, then you add on your business expenses on top of that, which hopefully includes coaching and mentorship. And then what you think will come out in taxes. You know, so I tack on an additional, you know, 20% for that. And so what I found for myself was when I was still working at my day job, I needed to bring in about 10,000 a month to be able to pay myself, you know, five or 6,000 and then have the rest for mentorship and taxes and maybe some, a bonus and some profit, you know, at the end. And so I wasn't doing that.
Shannon Mattern: I still had an employee mindset of like, oh my ti I'm, I'm getting paid for my time, not for my skills, not for my expertise, not for my ideas, not for my intellectual property. I was just selling my time. And even when I started working with that business coach, she was trying to help me understand that, you know, even though I was self taught, my skills were valuable. Even though it was easy for me, that didn't mean it was easy for someone else, you know, and it, I I was very resistant to the idea because I was conditioned to sell my time for what someone else thought it was worth. Yeah.
Josh Hall: Oh my gosh. I mean, well first of all, I'm cringing as probably everyone is hearing about a 2020 $2 hourly rate bill hourly. But you just said something really important there, and that is that you felt weird because you could do it quick, but somebody else, like essentially something that you've learned over the years has got you to a place where you could do it, you could bust it out real quick. And that was a massive pricing mental shift for me. It was, and I, I remember I had a client one time when I was doing business cards. I charged a hundred dollars at one point for business card designs. And he is like, he was just real hesitant. He's like, I could go on Vistaprint and get it for like 25 bucks. I'm like, you can get the cards and you could choose her template.
Josh Hall: But my design is, is, I mean, I was well undercharging then too, but I still learned at that point. This is like a hundred dollars an hour of my time based off of years of experience. So it's such an important thing to remember just because you can bust something out in 10 minutes, the only reason you can do it in 10 minutes is because you may have spent 10 years learning that, that that way it doesn't take 10 hours, it takes 10 minutes. So I didn't mean to derail us right there, but I, I think it's a really important mental hurdle that most people go through when it comes to pricing.
Shannon Mattern: Oh, absolutely. It's, it's this whole, I can't charge that much because it doesn't, it's not hard and it doesn't take me a long time. And it's like, no, that's, you're an expert at your craft that is a benefit to your client that you can turn things around that quickly every moment that they don't have what you created for them in their business. They are, they are missing out on all the opportunities and things that they can create from having what you designed for them. And so that time, the fact that you can do it fast makes it more valuable, not less valuable. So I had huge mental shift for me there,
Josh Hall: But clients don't want to pay somebody to take a long time on something. They want a quick result. So like if you told a client, look, this is gonna be $5,000 because it's gonna take me a hundred hours or 150 hours versus this is $5,000, this is the result. Like it, we will get this done. I'm not even gonna talk about my hours in this. This is the result. It's all about the result. Would you agree with me, Shannon, saying like, we need to shift our mindset from our like hourly work and, and what we do in an hour versus like the results that we get for our clients, the faster we get stuff done, the faster we become, the more profitable we'd be. Like that. That's what I've learned at least
Shannon Mattern: Oh, a thousand percent. And you know, when we talk about shifting how we think about it, you know, and like, like you said, there is no point about talking about how much time it's gonna take you with a client, right? All you're doing is preframing them to start doing some math about how much they're paying you an hour
Josh Hall: Oh, I wish you were my coach 10 years ago.
Shannon Mattern: I wish I was my coach 10 years ago,
Shannon Mattern: My pricing shifted at the rate, my mindset shifted. So it was, it was slower in the beginning because I was unlearning a lot of of things that I thought to be true or thought, you know, weren't possible. And so I was able to increase my price at, you know, at the rate that my mindset shifted. I was able to increase my price after working with clients where I thought never again. I definitely undercharged there. It was a messy long, hard process on, I'm not gonna lie, like I'm I, and the only reason that I stuck with it the second time was I just knew that on the other side of it, I would have the freedom, flexibility, and financial independence that I wanted. And I also started to realize, like, I'm sure you did early on in, in your career, like there are other web designers out here struggling.
Shannon Mattern: And what I found was there were some problems that I had solved and I was able to kind of like teach the, the people who were reaching out to me and saying like, Hey, how are you getting clients? You know, how are you, how are you doing this? How are you you know, kind of like creating this, I was almost kind of doing like a productized service back then, right? So I'm like, here's my free five day website challenge, but I'll build this thing for you if you want. They were asking me how to do that back then. And so I was really determined to figure out to help them. It it almost transformed from like, oh, I need to figure this out. I was like, I owe it to all of us to figure this out. And that's really kind of how it, how it worked.
Shannon Mattern: And then it really, here's the fascinating thing. By the time I was pitching like five figure web design projects, I was at a crossroads in my business and I had a, a client come to me and I had like gotten my mindset right that like, these are my solutions. My ideas are valuable, the intellectual property that, like the ideas that I come up with to solve business problems for my clients are very valuable. And the fact that I actually know how to implement them and do it and do it quickly and well, and I care that's worth a lot of money. And so I had a proposal coming through from a client and I was like, oh, this is like a $25,000 package. And so I like put together everything, sent it over, they wanted to move forward. And then I was like, I don't wanna do this anymore.
Shannon Mattern: Mm. I, I was like, I wanna teach, like if I take on this project for the next six months, I will not have the bandwidth for my courses, my training, right? I didn't wanna outsource. I had, I had dabbled in outsourcing, but I was still undercharging. So I wasn't like I was given all my money to my subcontractors. I still hadn't figured out my pricing yet. And so I turned, I, I declined the project, like after he was like, yep, let's do it. I was like, you know what? Wow. I said, I'm so sorry. Like, I'm going to withdraw from this. And I'm go And I stopped working with clients that fall and went all in on the coaching and training. And so I was like, well, I've proven that I could sell a project at this, at this price point, so let's go help other people do it. You know? Yeah. And it was, I had to grow to that point in my business to be able to really help other people, but the one on one stuff wasn't where my heart was at anymore.
Josh Hall: Well, and you also hit a really interesting, I think kinda like mindset shift where sometimes those big projects that look awesome on paper are kind of golden handcuffs. And you're like, yes, I, I think we talked about this in person. Like I found my sweet spot with 3000 to $5,000 websites on average for the initial builds. And then we would do ongoing SEO and different programs. So a lot of my clients ended up being $10,000 a year clients. Yeah. That was kinda my sweet spot. Some of the bigger clients I had yeah. Was like, wow, $12,000, 15 k they ended up being like 10 times more work. And I was like, I just assume nail that like $4,000 small business. All my systems are in place, they're a great client, they get on hosting and maintenance, then we do SEO and content and stuff and phases, and then they end up being a $10,000 client later on. That's was a big mindset shift mindset shift that I had where like, some of those big, big numbers can often be the, like I said, those golden handcuffs. Did you have any other projects like that that deterred you once you got past a a certain point?
Shannon Mattern: I love how you just said golden handcuffs, cuz that's what I felt like my day job was before I quit it, then that's what I felt like my web design client projects were until I, until I had transitioned out of that. I absolutely love what you just said about like finding your sweet spot with like what you, what, you know, you can confidently sell all day every day and do that. I, I, the, to answer your question about projects, it was like I was loving the clients that I worked with at the time and I was like, I would love to just like, I, I was loving my clients, I was loving the projects, I was loving testing out different like, ways of like pricing and making offers and, you know, I was like building all this stuff and I was handing it over to like my, the, the students that I was coaching. So it really kind of was that like decision point of, you know, I, I like, I like making money. I have big financial goals for myself, you know, I have, it's coming in and it's working, but like, where do I feel the most purpose? Yeah. And so it was very, it was such a tough decision because I was like, I love working with these people, but I would much rather train other people to work with them.
Josh Hall: Yeah, of course it's
Shannon Mattern: Can do it myself.
Josh Hall: It's different when like, you and I are so similar because we've gone through the same thing. Yes. Whereas most, most web designers don't have like a teaching. I mean, some do, but it, it's different when you get to a certain level and you can scale your agency and that's still your passion and that's what you want to do. Yes. Like that was my passion for a while, but same thing, as soon as I started teaching, I was like, I could go for these bigger projects. I could keep on doing this, but I wanna do my courses. But it, it really, it all goes back to like from a pricing model, finding your sweet spot. And sometimes I found this is seasonal too. You said it like you had to almost your pricing had to wait until your mindset was ready for it. That's a biggie.
Josh Hall: My recommendation is generally to up your prices first and let your mindset catch up with it. Because as soon as you land that $5,000 project and you're used to charging 1500, it's awesome. But there is a big difference when you get to the five figure range, the $10,000 plus those projects I found at least are for the most part different. Now sometimes they're equally as valuable, but for, usually companies that are 10,000 plus are gonna be a little bit different ballgame than like your like under 10,000 for What was your sweet spot, Shannon, when you were designing websites? When you were at like your peak performance as a web designer and freelancer, what was your sweet spot?
Shannon Mattern: It was between jobs between five and 10,000. Okay. Yeah. And so that's when that $25,000 one came and I was just like, you know, I got the yes. I was like, this is gonna be a huge chunk of my life. And it also felt like I, I'm, I'm falling back into that employee employee mindset again with, with this type of a, with this level of a project and like what it was gonna require. But you said something earlier about like you recommend just like charging and growing into it. I wholeheartedly agree with you on that. Like, like I'm saying like go, we, we always say get paid to do it scared. That's what we say in our program because it's like you as a web designer, it's like, you know, you can figure anything out and especially if you're in a community like yours, you have support, you have people you can answer, ask questions of you have, you know, all of this.
Shannon Mattern: So it's like why not book the job if you're reasonably confident you can accomplish it, but there are a few pieces out there that you're not sure of and you're a little scared, like get paid to do it scared you'll figure it out. Especially when you're working with, you know, someone like Josh inside of his programs to like support you through all of that. Like why not? Like, I would not recommend anybody do follow my path,
Josh Hall: I was gonna say, I'm sure both of our, all of our courses and programs are basically just what not to do and here's, here's what I would do differently. Yeah, it's, that's key. And it is interesting. I like that you said that web designers in particular, I, I totally agree with this, that web designers, we can figure stuff out. We're used to figuring it out. So when you get that higher project or you, you go outside your comfort zone, you will figure it out. Obviously, yeah. If it's something that is just like completely outside of your realm, either partner up with somebody, make sure you're in some sort of community where there's trusted people who can be referral partners or just outsources completely. But for the most part you'll figure it out. And I know personally, I don't know how, how if, if you experience this, but when I started getting my average projects to the three, to four to 5,000 range, pretty much all my clients that were paying me a thousand to 2000 were still saying yes. So then I looked back and I was like, I've probably got at least two years of charging a thousand dollars when I could have been charging three and four. And that would've been, I mean, I would've thought I was just high rolling. You know what I mean? Like, I was like, I cannot believe I let two years go by without charging these rates. I wouldn't have had to do any work different. I just would've made, you know, almost triple what I was, what I was making.
Shannon Mattern: Well, and I think, you know, my coach Mariah, cause always says stay outta your client's wallets. And I think one of the things that we tend to do is we have a certain mindset about our, about what people, what we would spend on something. And we like apply that to our clients. So, you know, I I definitely did that in the early days. I'm like, I wouldn't spend that much on that. So like I can't charge that much. Right? Yeah. And it's like what I would do literally has nothing to do with, with what they would do. And we get to price sustainably give people a choice of whether or not they want to pay that price or not. There's always someone that will say yes, there are always someone that will say, no, it's our job to just make sure we're taking care of us as designers, because if we can't, if we're not taking care of ourselves financially, then we are stressed, we're burnt out, we're not doing our best work, our clients suffer because of it. Like, it's good for everybody involved for you to like charge appropriately.
Josh Hall: I love that quote of stay out of your client's wallets. A lot of my, a lot of my students who I've worked with in my web design club when I'm coaching them through, through the club, and we talk about a really serious point of like raising your rates. I've heard a lot of them tell me, my, my clients are never gonna pay that. Number one, you don't know that a lot of clients will actually pay that, especially if you articulate your value. Number two, maybe they aren't your best clients anymore. And you told me something when we met, which with your programs, because they're a much higher tier you are attracting a different type of client with higher rates versus keeping your rates low and attracting those low clients. That is just, that's monumental. As soon as you raise your rates, you will, you will be with better clients.
Josh Hall: So, and, and I understand the, the reality of like a lot of people maybe new to the journey and they feel like maybe I can't get quite there yet, but I mean that's why you have your program, that's why I have my courses. There are so many resources out there to get you to a point where I firmly believe you don't need to be an expert in web design to charge to three, four, $5,000. You can get there pretty quick with just some basic knowledge because the basic stuff you learn in web design will help clients dramatically grow their business online. Like basic level seo, basic level design, basic level conversion. And you are so worth an average of $3,000 or more, I feel.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, absolutely. And I'm like, think about what your client is able to create with what the, with the tool that you've given them that they weren't able to create before. So like you said, if you, you have the skill to build the thing, right? Why would you not charge to where, you know, like they, they're going to create a return on their investment in this, you know, if I build them a $3,000 website, how long is it gonna take them with their business model to go out and recoup that $3,000 and 10 exit? So that's how I I we, we talk about the rule of 10 in our, in our program, and I learned this from a woman named Aisha Crumbine who has a completely different business model, but she was talking about the rule of 10 when you're deciding as the consumer on like, what are, am I, is this worth the investment to me or not?
Shannon Mattern: And the questions to ask yourself, she said, will this, will I be able to recoup my investment within six months of, of this this outgo? And how long will it take me to 10 exit? And you know, if those timeframes are reasonable to me, then I'm all in. And I'm like, think about that when you're thinking about pricing for, for your clients, like how long will it take them to make back the 3000 that they paid you? How long will it take them to 10 x because now they have the tool that you created for them that they didn't have before.
Josh Hall: Yes. That's something I tell a lot of my students and I talk through my business course, which is if you frame your pricing in terms of results for your clients Yes. And actually get to the numbers. Be like, okay, $5,000 website. Let's say you're like, if you talk to this business and you're like, ah, you know, that's a big, that's a big investment, but let's look at your clients. Let's say your business, your average client over like a year pays you a thousand dollars and, and your services and stuff. Then it's only gonna take five clients in that first year and maybe that first month if the, if the website converts five people to recoup that cost. And then it's all profit from there. And as that continues and it evolves, that might be a return on investment that's monthly or weekly. So that's, that's how I learned to better articulate my pricing to clients. Do you have any other tips on like how once somebody feels comfortable, or maybe they're not even comfortable, but they're gonna put a $5,000 price tag on their builds or, or even more like what are some of the other tips that you've learned to help with actually selling that higher price point?
Shannon Mattern: Oh, I mean, everything you just said is what I wish I would've known
Josh Hall: Help them create
Shannon Mattern: More money. Yeah. So charge, charge, charge at a level that they are committed, that it wasn't solo, that they just are like, well, I'm not gonna, I'm gonna wait 30. We could talk, this would be a whole nother episode. But like that they feel like they are just not super motivated to get the project done. Like there's gotta be a little stretchiness for them and their commitment to follow through to, to work with you to complete the project. And when you undercharge, it's not there.
Josh Hall: Quote of the day, your goal as a web designer is not to save your client money, it's to make them money. That's it. That is what it's all about when it comes to raising your rates and, and pricing. I, I love and that's a big mindset shift too. I mean, really, I know I this probably, you know, like, well you're out in the country, you say beat a dead horse is that it's terrible expression, but that's what they say. They might
Shannon Mattern: Out here, but Yeah.
Josh Hall: Yeah. The thing, I say this all the time, but that it's all about mindset. Like, and we could talk too about like client mindset too and their mindset with money, but the big thing is you don't wanna win the race to the bottom with cheapest pricing. Yes. I put cheap web design in my first ad when I put one on on Craigslist. Guess what clients? I got really cheap clients and it was terrible. So yeah, positioning is huge. And you don't need to say like, I am the absolute best web designer ever. You just need to not position yourself as cheap websites. And luckily a another big like mindset thing I had to get over is that I don't need every lead that comes through. I know it's tempting. Early on, my big mindset shift was that I had to realize that when leads come through the door, I am not, or I need to not position myself to try to work with them and get their business.
Josh Hall: They need to see if they align with me. That was like the most important thing I had to learn. And when I shifted my business, my mentality of when a lead came through went from like, oh, this person gave through. I hope I land their business to, okay, I got a lead. Let's make sure they're funneled to the correct place. Let's make sure they're even the same wheelhouse with pricing and then we can move forward and let's see if they'll be a good fit for us, just like we're a good fit for them. When did you get to that point where you learned to like funnel? I have so, I mean, so many questions and thoughts on this, but did, when did you implement any sort of like funneling to like weed out the bad fit clients?
Shannon Mattern: Not in that first 18 months where I was just saying yes to everything and charging $22 an hour and whatever that was, that was not, don't do anything like that
Josh Hall: I totally agree. I I've never liked the approach of asking, like, so what's your budget? I mean, in an ideal world, if somebody's like 10,000 and you're used to charging two, it's like, whoa, okay, now I can charge 10. But once you get to a place where you want to control the factors, you really, again, and, and a lot of people could probably spend way more than 10 if they view it as an investment and not a cost, which is really what we're, what we're getting into. And like we've already talked about the mindset of like showing results and what this asset, this website is gonna do for them and what it can do for their business. So yeah, I've always been against asking what's your budget? What I, I forget if we talked about this, but I, what I show in my business course and what always worked for me well is to have a very, very easy, simple funneling system, which is basically to say everyone comes through the contact form.
Josh Hall: If it's, if it's, it really goes to either questionable or qualified. If there's somebody who I get a feel for like, oh, I don't think they're gonna even be in this realm. They're, you know, they just started, they're not an established business, $2,500, which was my minimum, it's not even gonna work. I'll send them to what I call my potential client page. And it has not my exact pricing, but my ranges, my tiers to say like, if you're in this tier, it starts at 2,500, second tier starts at 5,000, third tier starts at, you know, 9,000 plus. That's what always works for me because then if somebody went there, they're like, oh, I can't, not even interested, but that person who might be like, okay, well I was thinking like 2000, but you know, yeah, maybe, maybe that first tier would work. And then once we get the conversation started, oh, actually they're the middle tier.
Josh Hall: And once I describe to them that, listen, you get five clients at a thousand dollars, you've already made this up. And they're like, hit me. I'm going for the third tier. You know, like that, that's what at least worked for me for pricing. Did you, and do you advise your students to have any sort of like funneling or like weeding out system like that or, I mean, just so many ways to go about this. Some people don't even like talk to, to anybody. Some people still will do a phone call and then weed out. I guess the question is, what's your weed out process look like?
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, I love that idea and I never thought about doing that. And I think it's brilliant and genius. You
Josh Hall: Can add it to your program and gimme 10%, we'll
Shannon Mattern: Call it, you're gonna come in and do a guest training for us. I
Josh Hall: Love to, you're doing one for me in August 22, so I would love to do one for you.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. I think it's brilliant. We actually, like, I I always said like, fill out this form and, and schedule a consultation with me and then like, so they, they have to fill out the form, but they're able to schedule the consultation. I have set days and set times where, where I do the consultations. If I got a form in that was like all kinds of red flags, I would just, I would decline to even have the consultation with them. Yeah. I would just say, Hey, I wanna save I, I respect your time, I read over your form. I don't believe that I'm the best fit for your project. If I wanted to say, here's where, you know, here's where the disconnect is or whatever, I wouldn't usually get too detailed in it, but like, thank you so much for your interest and I would send them on their way.
Shannon Mattern: But a lot of times, like especially in the beginning, I liked to practice like having those conversations and it was, it was like an opportunity to do market research too. To figure out like, okay, even though this client seems a little sketchy through this form and like, not who I wanna work with, I'm going to talk to this person so I can figure out what to say to not talk to them like in my copy and in my marketing and all of that stuff to good point. In the early days I kind of used it as like, how am I gonna position myself to repel these people and attract these people? But yeah, I do think there becomes a point, which is exactly what you're saying. It's like I am going to kind of automate this process of this filtering process and just really spend my time talking to best fit clients. I think it's genius. I love
Josh Hall: It. And I think it's a great point that you mentioned there because I think a lot of people when they hear that, they wanna immediately jump into automating everything and, and doing that. But the reality is, especially in the beginning, you're probably not gonna get that many leads. So I think it's very worthwhile having a little more of a time intensive approach in the beginning, but not for long. Just yeah, give a feel for your clients because you'll know really quickly. I mean, I got to the point where I could read two sentences of an email and I know exactly whether it's a qualified or questionable lead, then they get the link. It's, I, I use that approach now with even my podcast that people asked to be on pretty quickly. I can find out like, this is not someone I feel comfortable sharing a message with my audience versus, okay, Shannon seems legit. Let's talk and then we go from there. So yeah, I think that, you know, there's so many different ways to weed out, which is a huge step with pricing. Cuz then the other aspect is, and I'm curious on your thoughts on this. This is the age old question from the day websites were invented. Should you have pricing on your website? What's your, what's your thoughts on that?
Shannon Mattern: No. All right. I say no. I used to say yes. I said yes up until like last year. I was like, how about we keep, how about we, you know how about we like read out the people who are just never gonna pay us that much? I changed my mind cuz I'm like, we have the opportunity to elevate in our client's mind what this is actually worth. Yes. Right? Yes. So I am such a and I don't think it's every web designer's job to, you know, change the mind of every single expense minded client that comes along and help them start to see their website as a, as an asset and an investment rather than a a cost. Like, I'm not saying that every web designer has to like, take on that take on that charge, right? Yeah. But I'm like, why not let them experience my incredible on like, consultation process, my thoughtful questions like this amazing experience of me even getting to the point where I'm gonna tell them the price so that when we get there, like they're like, wow, this has already been a really great experience. Okay, I could see maybe why I would be paying more, but if I didn't let them experience all of that leading up to working with me, they would've just weeded themselves out of the, the possibility of getting to work with someone amazing as us or you because they got stared of a price.
Josh Hall: Such a good point. I learned that you want, when people see the proposal and they see total investment, which I always recommend calling it investment and not total cost. Yes you can, you'll still get clients, but there's a big mental change there between investment costs. Mm-Hmm.
Josh Hall: And again, there's so many ways to weed out. I totally agree. I don't recommend having your pricing upfront on your website. However, my model or my recommendation is to have kind of a hidden way about it. And that potential client page, a lot of people call it, you call it a weed out page. You could call April Ray, one of my awesome students, she, I think hers is called a good fit page, which is really cool. Or like, let's see if we're right together kind of page like mm-hmm.
Shannon Mattern: Yes. Yeah. It was that DIY program that brought people in from everywhere, every different kind of business. Like, so, so it was, it, it was a challenge to like say that I had, you know, this set price because it could be, it could be different for different types of business owners too, right? So it's like also you know, I loved your, loved your comment earlier about having a minimum and I'm like, if you have a starting this, this is also challenging. I like putting, I like your idea of putting it on like a good fit page because I don't wanna anchor you low. I don't wanna say starting at 2,500 and now my proposal that I've given you is 10,000 and you've already started to expect like this, the 25 and then I hit you with with 10,000. But I, I feel like I want my clients to feel by the time I tell them that price, that they are not giving me that money that like I'm just like holding onto it for them until they like make it back and like 10 exit. Right? Like I don't, I want them to feel like they're spending that money on themselves and not giving it to me. And, and that's if I'm just putting a price somewhere, like I don't get to lead them through that thought transformation in my Yes. Consultation process.
Josh Hall: That that is it you, you don't give them a chance when you have your pricing right up front. Particularly if it's like this is our price. I always like starting at because it adds some ambiguity to what it could expand to. I also love the idea of like a good better, best pricing model. That way people can see like, okay, small sites are the first tier, most medium sites are the middle tier and a larger e-commerce, bigger sites are the top tier. That's like a $10,000 plus deal. It gives them a chance to figure out where they sit and then they can move forward and then you can explain more value. But then the people who are never gonna go to that top tier are like, yeah, let's just do the $2,500 range for now. You get them on hosting and maintenance, boom, you got a good client for a while.
Josh Hall: That's the biggie. But when it came to like weeding out, one point I wanted to make is that you had a different business model to where pretty much everyone was coming in not blind, but like you didn't have an existing relationship with them. My model was for, for the longest time was such that I did so much networking and in-person stuff that most of my leads were referrals and organic. So I didn't really need to weed that much. I did get a lot of people blindly going through Google or finding me online and going through the contact form. But I'd say that to say I would meet somebody at a networking group and I would be like, okay, this dude, this dude is not, I'm, he's not, I'm pretty sure he is not gonna go for this. He gets the potential client page when I email him.
Josh Hall: Whereas I might meet somebody who's like a great person and, and some cases, you know, they might be like a really established company. I'm like, okay, they are, they don't need my to see my starting at ranges. We're going right to the proposal cuz they're legit and I can go right into the value. So so many ideas on out of funnel and, and weed out. I don't wanna spend too much time on this, but it's so crucial for pricing because it's like, it's so good. When do you, when do you price? How do you price? Do you put it out there? Yeah. So I love that. I love I love your approach too though of really trying to be intentional about nurturing like the value and showcasing that. But like you said that that's not for everybody. You, every client should not be your, like every person in the world should not be your customer. It's a really important metric to understand. But when you're early on, that's the mindset, right?
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, exactly. It's like, oh, I need to get this person to say yes. Like I need to book this, this client or whatever. And you know, and there's almost like this continuum that you go through and I think what you and I are both trying to do is like speed people up on their journey through this continuum fast tracking. Yeah. Because there's a point at which you're like, when people say no, you make it mean something about you and that your prices are too high or that you need to change. And it's like we have got to like stop marketing ourselves by talking about ourselves. Stop making our clients' decisions means something about our ourselves and our value. It's all about, it's not personal them, it's not personal, it's all about them. Your marketing should be all about your client's results, your their decisions. You know, obviously we wanna like glean feedback where it's helpful to improve and and things like that.
Shannon Mattern: But like their decision to spend not, to not think of it as an investment or not make the investment is no reflection on your, you know, your worth as a human. You know. And so it is, it's like this almost feels like this journey that we all have to go on and some people get, some people skip ahead and that's amazing. And some people take a while to like figure out how they wanna think about things and, and everything. But yeah, not every person out there who needs a website is going to be the right fit for you and your business and you get to hold, hold your standards high. They wouldn't just like go out on a date with every single person that asked you out on a date. You would have some criteria probably for who you, who you choose to spend your time with
Josh Hall: In most cases. I have some friends from high school where that was the case and it's a sad story once you get in your thirties
Shannon Mattern: Right? Sure, yeah.
Josh Hall: Yeah. It'll be an even sadder story when that's your business mindset cuz you won't be in business, so, right. No, I I love that. It's so true. And I was even thinking, I mean definitely you, you have to get used to not everyone being your client and not appeasing everyone, but you also have to get used to rejection. Yes. I learned early on to not take it personal if someone declined the proposal and it, I I get it, it hurts. Particularly when there was a project that you really wanted. I remember one in particular for a local manufacturing like lighting company here. It was at the, the peak of when I was scaling, all my processes were dialed in. I was so confident. But there was this $15,000 project that we didn't get. I thought for sure we were gonna get it. And luckily the guy was really cool and he was like, Hey Josh, we you and your team, like, we loved your stuff.
Josh Hall: We just, there was a company that gave us an actual mockup of this site and, and we really liked it, so that's what persuaded us. And I was like, dang it. Then I learned maybe it's worthwhile for a really good project doing a mockup that's a little more intensive than some of the other processes I had. But anyway you gotta get used to the hearing those no's. And I'm kinda curious, did you ever, when you started raising your rates to that like 5,000 reigns, did you get people that were like offended and told you like Absolutely no. What was your, your experience when you hit a different level of client?
Shannon Mattern: I can't remember anyone being like super offended. I remember them just saying like, whoa, that is way more than I ever expected to pay. And I can find someone on one of those freelancer platforms to do it for a lot less. And my like, at first I would be like, I knew it, I'm charging too much, you know, but then I got coaching
Josh Hall: Yes.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. That I, that like, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna lower my price. A I'm not gonna like negotiate with you if this is, this is what it is. But if you say, well my budget's 2,500, I'd be like, okay, well here's what we can do for 2,500, but it's not what I was gonna do for you at 5,000. Mm-Hmm.
Josh Hall: All over.
Shannon Mattern: And it's hard to say, well this guy's not gonna do this for you, but I will. Cuz they might and they just might ha be under charging and you know, so I just try to preframe the value of working with me so much in the front end that like, your experience getting a proposal from this person's not gonna be nearly as amazing as it was from me.
Josh Hall: Yeah. And look, I had a lot of clients like at multiple proposals and I had some that were like, you were the top, like you were the most expensive. I had a lot where you were like, yeah, you're about like mid range. And that's fine. It's it that is going to be the case. That question that a lot of clients ask though, it's, it's always like, how much is a website? I'm like, how much is a car? It, it depends how much is a house. It depends on so many factors. So, and look, I get that web design, I think the danger of the market now because of like do it yourself type website builders and Ws and whatever is that websites have appeared as commodities. So I think personally our biggest challenge as web designers in 2022 on is to frame our services not as commodities.
Josh Hall: Like talk about those results. Websites are a really big part of those results, but there's a lot of other variables and factors. I, I think that's the way to get, to be able to charge those more premium rates doesn't mean that they need to be huge projects, it's just a premium rate. That's probably a distinction I think you've talked about and learn, learn with your students too is you can still charge a lot more. It doesn't mean that you need to work 10 times more hours, but you know that that idea of like a website as a commodity, I think that's the biggest challenge for, for a lot of web designers. Now to overcome, I'm actually kinda curious like five, $10,000 ranges have you seen with a lot of your students and just with your pulse on the market now, have you seen averages of websites on average? Now, I know it's kind of a hard question, but maybe it's like what a client would ask, like what are websites going for now? Yeah, I just gave you a client question, but what would, what would you say to that
Shannon Mattern: Would say, I mean, and audit it depends, right? What is the level of service I'm providing? You know, in a, like am I, am I working with you on strategy? Am I a consultant? Am I a solution architecting, am I solving business problems? You know, that is a very different level of service than you know, here are the deliverables you requested and I'm building those and these deliverables do solve a problem for you. But you came to like, we're not working that that deeply. So it's almost like, you know, I would like on average what I see with our clients, like when they are not doing like ongoing like traffic lead generation strategy and stuff, you know, at the high level consulting and solution architecting and, and stuff for like a, like a small business, 10,000. But if they, you know, anywhere between like five and 10, I know that's kind of like a range, but it's like, like how much are you relying on me to solution architect and, and you know, solve problems and create concepts and all this? Or how much are you bringing it to me? And I'm just gonna bring your vision to life. Like I it's it's just different. Yeah, it's just different. But like our, on average, our students are booking like 75 to $10,000 projects and then we have our year two next level students where they're shifting into like $20,000 websites for multiple six figure companies with, you know, so it just, it just depends and they No, that's a great answer. The process is dialed so that they are not, they don't have the golden handcuffs on
Shannon Mattern: Collective view, a
Josh Hall: Collective view. If you are charging a thousand dollars and you wanna make six figures, guess how many websites you have to design to make six figures that year? 100 websites. That is an absurd amount of clients that you would need to get. And like we just talked about, that's not what you're taking home. That's what is the, in the business total. You got taxes, expenses all your other time. You'll be lucky if you walk away with $60,000 that year. So yeah, I was just kind of curious about the, those ranges. It's, and going back to the very beginning, we talked about like, what do you wanna make, and you talked about personally, what do I want to bring home? I always talk with a lot of my students, particularly those who joined my web design club. And usually one of the first questions I ask is, what do you personally wanna take home?
Josh Hall: Yeah. Because a lot of people jump into how much did I charge for websites? But I'm like a lot of factors. We could talk about services offerings, but I really need to get a feel for like, okay, where are you at in your journey? We can level you up really quickly, go through my courses in a couple months. You can charge 2,500 at minimum, but what do you want to take home? Because once we figure out what you want to take home and an ideal goal, then we can put all the things in place around that to make sure that's the goal. To, to get that. I'm curious from like a a goal standpoint with money, how do you feel about, and how have you helped your students like reach well over what they think they're worth in those goals? For example, I had one student in 2021 who's told me her goal was $50,000. And I won't name, I won't name drop her here, but I said, you are worth way more than that in your business. And I was like, you could be at six figures. And she was like, I can't even think about that right now. I said, well, how about this? Let's meet in the middle and let's say 75,000. 75,000 is your goal for 2021. She's like, okay, I'll make it my goal. She's a little hesitant, but she did that. And guess what she ended up with at the end of 2021?
Shannon Mattern: I think it was like, oh, I'm sure she blew it out of the water.
Josh Hall: Well, it was 76, it think it was like 76,000 some. So it was like just over the goal that I had set for her. And then she was like, okay, six figures, here we come because that's that. But it just, it took that like, think about your goal, think about what you want and what you're worth and then just reach right past that. And I know there are a lot of people who shoot so high that they don't even come close. You feel like a failure, but I've found there's a lot of power in like reaching just over what you want. What are your thoughts about that, Shannon?
Shannon Mattern: I love that. And you know, my, my business coach Mariah cause says, okay, think about what you want. And then she goes and then add a zero. And I'm like, that breaks my brain. Like I can't quite, I can't quite with that yet. It, it, like, I'm, I'm getting there, but I love that like you're like, okay, well like think about what the craziest number you think is possible, which for her was 50,000 and it's just like add 50%, I'll say like now double it. Like who do you have to become that you're not already to create that result? And they can't ever think of an answer because they already are that person, right? And so it's like, who do you have to become to create that? And, and then, then it's always like, well I need to learn more. I need to take another skills course. I need to do this. And it's like, I'm not disputing that you, that we always need to like brush up on our skills, but how about you find, how about you like, do that on the job, right? How about you
Josh Hall: Figure it out, you're a web designer, you figure it out,
Shannon Mattern: You go like within reason, like if someone said, Hey, I need you to build an app for me, I'm not gonna be like, sure I can do that. Like, I've never done it before. It's not something that I would just say I could do if I literally had never tried ever.
Josh Hall: Absolutely, yeah,
Josh Hall: I so appreciate that, Shannon. That is my goal, quite honestly. And the, the tagline and the description for this show is to build a web design business that gives you freedom and a lifestyle you love. How do you do that? You have to make a lot more money than you're probably making right now. So it really, you know, that's, I, I'd probably get a whole different crowd if it was like to make more money web design show, but
Josh Hall: There's a lot of different schools of thought on this, but I, I do like having a financial goal. Some people say, don't have that. Just get your services and whatever, and then you, you'll wake, you won't limit yourself. However, I love having the idea of like, okay, I wanna make six figures for this year that will snap something in your mind that suddenly rearranges the way you look at your months and your weeks to where it's like, okay, I need to make sure my pricing, it gets to me a point where on average I'll make this this week and this this month and then this, this quarter. And then you can evaluate and then you can pivot, get things better for the next quarter. And then you're on your way to six figures. That's at least what I learned in my journey was having that goal and always reaching right outside that goal always kept my momentum going.
Josh Hall: Because there are, in web design, no matter how many recurring services you have, it's, it is seasonal. Like it is that same person who I just mentioned got seven 76 or whatever in the beginning of 2022. She had very low months and she was like, I don't know what happened. I I'm doing everything the same. I didn't change anything. But now it's like I had this huge momentum. We're starting off 2022, kind of small, but springtime she had to of her biggest months ever in her business. So it does come in waves. I guess the next question I have for you is, like, as a web designer, you're working on your pricing, your mindset. How do you balance the highs and lows of, of financials in business?
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh, it's just even a web designer, business owner, whatever. Like I I, I like to have a three month runway. And so that's for me that is what feels comfortable in my business. A three month runway of like paying myself and, and paying paying my expenses. And that took a while to, to, to build up to. But I, I mean we could get nerdy on budgeting, but I use y a you need a budget to plan out all my future expenses. And like the revenue that's coming in, I love exactly what you said. I totally agree that you need that. Like a financial goal is very important. And then just starting to take action to gather data to figure out what actions to take to reach that goal. Like how many clients do I need to talk to to book one project?
Shannon Mattern: You know, how many leads do I need to create to create those conversations? And you can get pretty structured in terms of like, okay, I know I need to go out, talk to five people to book, book this many projects. When you're charging sustainably and you're charging enough and you're charging, you know I don't wanna say appropriately, but like what works for you? Then you can weather those, those storms if you're charging enough. If you are undercharging and overdelivering and you are because like you said, to make a hundred thousand dollars a thousand dollars a website, you need a hundred websites. Like how many clients do you have to actually talk to to create a hundred websites? Great point. So many. That is so much time on marketing. You have to talk to way less people to, you know, sell a 5,000 or a $10,000 website if you are, if you're talking in terms of results and solutions.
Shannon Mattern: And so I don't know if I answered your question but Well, it's crazy. I say you have to charge enough to give yourself a runway so that when you have a low month, you have the funds there to fill in in the low month and the, the funds come from those high months so you don't like have the high month and then just like go blow it all. And then the hope to, well, I mean that's just me. You do your money how you do it. But I'm super conservative in terms of watching like planning and, and feature planning and forecasting and stuff. But like, yeah, you just let, if you know that baseline, here's how much I wanna pay myself. Here are my expenses, here's taxes and I make twice as much as that one month and you know, two thirds of it the next, like you just always have the steady flow.
Josh Hall: I no, that's a great answer and that's one reason I recommend like figure out your hourly rate, what you wanna take home. And then cuz when people are like, I have no idea what to charge, I understand that was me for a long time. Same. But once you know what you wanna make, you figure out your hourly rate, you do a couple projects, you get a feel for how much time you have, then you can see how much time you're spending, how much ideal you want to get to you factor in your expenses, blah blah blah blah, boom. There's, there's our averages. And I found like we talked about, once you get to the 5,000 range on average for a lot of projects, that's usually enough to get to a nice six figure business. Yeah. And then you can get to that next level. That's what I experience and that's what I teach.
Josh Hall: And the reason I ask that too is I feel like a lot of people who are just starting to raise their rates as soon as they have a low month, they're like, oh, well no, I knew I should have kept my rates low. I knew I should have, I gotta go back to doing thousand dollar websites. But it's like, no, no, build that runway, you'll get that confidence. And as business owners, my gosh, let me know if you agree with this, Shannon. You have got to get used to good weeks and bad weeks and good months and bad months. It is going to happen. I have to tell myself this all the time cause we're in a season right now where I feel so bad I had to cancel the day of when we were supposed to meet in person because we were getting ready to move into our new house.
Josh Hall: I know summer 2022 is gonna be a very low summer for us because there's so much going on personally right now. But I had luckily built up enough runway and we're also selling our old house, which now makes me wanna get into real estate. Good god,
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And I feel like, you know, just even reframing how we talk about it is like a good month and a bad month. It's just like a month. Like this is what I, this is this, these are the actions that I took this month to create this revenue this month. And these are the actions I took in this month to create like what was different If I did all all things the same and, and I still had a I made less money than I than I wanted to, like, you know, then okay, well like what can I do to go create some more money if I really need to make money? But like putting that judgment on it is like, oh, it was a bad month. It's, it creates fear in you and then you start doing stuff that is really gonna like throw you off your game.
Shannon Mattern: Like lowering your prices or taking on those, taking on those small projects to end up eating all of your time so that you didn't go and create a new five or $10,000 client because you're too busy working on this $2,000 one cuz you got scared cuz you said it was a bad month. So it's just so important to really look at like, what actions am I taking to create results and not like wait on things to happen and be really intentional. And I'm all about like data driven. Like you feel like, oh, I'm doing all the things and nothing's happening and I'm not getting clients. But if you actually look at it, you're like, oh wait, I did actually like get three jobs and I, you know, whatever. So yeah, it's just, it's so important how we talk, talk to ourselves about things to, cuz it's hard to run a business in the best way, right. In the most rewarding way. And so we have to be our own best advocate.
Josh Hall: And it's interesting. So with this podcast I use Buzz Sprout, which that's where all the audio gets uploaded. It goes out to all the directories and everything. And I get weekly reports on, on listens and same thing, just like web design projects. I have let me not say good man bad months, but I have higher months and lower months. Yeah. So sometimes naturally I'm like, oh, if I have a a lower week, I'm like, was it a bad episode? Was it a bad interview? Is it not great? Am I losing the pizazz of the show where, and then and the next week I'll be like, oh man, crazy. But what I've learned, the reason I say that is in the stats and Buzz Sprout, you can look at the actual numbers statistically, but then there's an option to look at it cumulatively. So you just see the general arc and as long as that arc is going up and to the right, you're good
Josh Hall: But it, that was just an interesting, like more recently I, I looked at that and I just kind of sat back and I was like, this is so important. This is so important for business owners to think cumulatively. Like in the case of my student, she had a very low start to 2022, she got a little worried and, and then she asked the question, I think she even asked me, what am I doing wrong? I'm like, I don't think you're doing anything wrong. It just happens for whatever reason. Then spring 2022, she's like, I can't even keep, but now I have to scale. I can't even keep up with all my projects. So it does happen. And I'll say that I have that conversation with people over and over and over and over again. It's, it's very common. It's, it wasn't just that one person who went through that.
Josh Hall: Yeah, it's, that's replicated. I'm sure you've seen it as well. But yeah. Anyway, I just wanted to say the idea of like cumulative results to where, like, look at it for me, I try to look things like quarterly or biannually or even annually. And as long as your business is growing and you're comfortable with the amount of work you're putting in and you're balance and you're happy and your loving life, then awesome. But get out of that like day to day, week to week mentality. It's funny. Last story real quick on this. My my mother-in-law works for a home inspector. She does all his calls and stuff. He used to be a previous client, bless his heart he is such a week to week business owner. One week he's like, oh my gosh, we're killing it with home inspections. Buy new computers, do this, I'm gonna get a vacation house next week. Oh my God, we're gonna close the doors, we're gonna lose it. Let's literally, she, I ask her, I'm like, so how's this week? And she's like, oh, he's losing mine
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And you know, in those, in those times that your client, and I hear this with mine too, they're like, I'm doing everything and nothing's working. It's like you are planting seeds that need some time to grow. Sometimes people aren't always ready when we're ready. You know, sometimes they're not always ready when they have a consultation with us. You know, you're doing the work, you're building relationships, you're making connections, you're, you're doing all the things to create business. People don't always operate on our timeline. So you still have to go out and do those things and create the opportunities. You don't always get to control the timeline in which they come to fruition. And so that's where you have to just trust yourself and trust the process and do what Josh tells you and be patient and you know, and, and not not give up and not give into the fear. Because what, like what your client saw happen is like all the seeds that she planted before, like all came together, like all grew at once and now she's like, oh yeah, like it's on now let's do this Right When she felt like nothing was happening. So that's our, that that is, it's the seasons like you plant and you harvest and you know, you plant and you harvest and that's just, we don't always get to control the timeline of the seasons though.
Josh Hall: I love that. That's such great advice. I was gonna ask you what you advise your students when they're in those droughts mm-hmm.
Josh Hall: That was also a benefit of being in a weekly networking group that I found is like, that was a constant, it didn't matter if I was slammed and I felt like I couldn't even go to the meeting or whether it was like, I'm really low on clients right now. This is my one chance to, you know, really try to get some work. It was like that was a constant. And if I was in that season, I could always say like we're just wrapping up a bunch of projects. We're really excited about this now I'm looking for these type of people. And then that's how I got a lot of leads, A lot of my colleagues, whether they were clients or just people in my network, they'd be like, oh, I didn't even think like, yeah, you know, Bob over at this, this, this auto shop is looking for website help. And then that was the next project. So yeah, so so many great lessons here with those highs and lows. And again, you just don't want to adjust and, and mess with your current offers. Like let those continues or, I love that you said it's not an hour timing. We can't control the seasons. We can't control what other people are gonna do, but we can control what we offer. And it always am I alone in thinking that it always balances out. Like it always evens out,
Shannon Mattern: It always evens out as long as you don't quit, as long as you don't quit. As long as you don't like do something rash like slasher prices by 50% or and create double the work for yourself. It always evens out. You, you, you do have to be patient. And I think that's also why it's so important to not go in alone. You know, you have the club, you have, you know, mentorship community. Don't try to do this all on your own. It is a lonely hard hard road, especially when you fall. Find yourself kind of getting into the, those the scary place. It's so important to have support. Like I will never not have a mentoring line item in my business budget ever again.
Josh Hall: Oh, I love that. I love that. Yeah. I felt that for about two years ago I had a bit of a, a low fall, which is usually not like September and October usually pretty good, but for whatever reason it was just not as good as I was expecting after all the stuff I did. And my business coach Mko, we have a private messaging thread just like I do in my web design club and I just messaged him and I was like, yeah, I was like, numbers are actually quite down these couple months. I'm like, I'm not sure of something changed or if I did anything wrong or weird. And he was like, it might just be the timing. He's like, just keep pushing on. I think he gave me a few different things that he saw was working really well and I was like, oh I didn't even think about that. A challenge or a workshop. Yeah. Like instead of doing some different thing that's gonna take way too much time, just offer like a free training and educate and that kind of got me back on track and then again it even out. So yeah, it's, its principles are the same. Wow. Shannon, aren't you glad this Aren't you glad we didn't commit to just under an hour. This is why which go longer.
Shannon Mattern: I know. We like, we could always talk about these things for hours. I love it.
Josh Hall: Yeah, I think this is gonna be one of 80 89 with Shannon on the podcast cuz I think we have so many things we could chat about. You are gonna be doing a, a training in my web design club here. We're recording this in July, but it'll be August, 2022 about pricing matrix. So I can't wait to see that I'm, I'm gonna show up with my notepad. I know my members are pumped about that. Of course anyone listening can join that and, and, and be there for that. So we'll have links to that in the show notes. But yeah, Shannon, thank you so much for your time. This was I know we've went longer than expected anticipated, but I really appreciate you being open to showing up for well over an hour and a half now. We, we chatted a while before we went live and thank the internet gods that the wifi held because you're out in the middle of nowhere and the wifi is iffy but it held for us.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. The online business owner that moved to the country with like horrible internet. Yes. Good moves on my part. But yes, this has been incredible. Such a good conversation and I just really appreciate getting to talk to you about this cuz it's just, it's really fun.
Josh Hall: Well, let me just get one final thought from you. Let me put like a scenario. So if there's a, a freelance web designer or agency owner and they're like, they're ready to raise their rates, more pricing has been an issue. They know they're undervaluing, but they're just, for whatever reason, any of the challenges we mentioned, they're just hesitant. What would you advise them? What, what, what's a note of encouragement you would give them?
Shannon Mattern: There, there are always clients out there who are willing to pay more than what your current set of clients is paying. So maybe it's not so much trying to sell the same client's higher price things as it is to skew a little bit different into, into tapping into who is that client that is willing to pay the prices that I want to charge? What do they value? What results can they create? Who are they, where are they at in their business and how can I really speak to them? And really anchor high in who I'm talking to. That doesn't mean I'm excluding anybody at a lower you know, with a lower budget or you know, different, like a different pricing mindset. But that's really gonna allow me to like connect with with that person at that level. So if you find yourself banging your head against the wall trying to sell the same peoples something more expensive than what they're used to paying you for, like let's shift a little bit of, of who we're talking to. And that doesn't even have to mean bigger projects, it just means it's just different. Yeah.
Josh Hall: Wise words from fellow web design, business coach and my complete competition. But I'm happy to say I consider you a, a friend and love Cooper. So shannon madden com I, and look, yeah, I think we talked about this. In all honesty, I recommend people have two coaches. I think that's one of the most important things you can do is have two different perspectives. You can do this by getting different online courses on the same topic or going through programs, whatever it is, but two different perspectives. You'll be able to learn from both and apply what you want and that can be super powerful. So if I was, if I was starting out, I would have myself and you as a coach and same. I would, we'd be balling, we'd be, yes, we'd be talking about web design pricing sooner, you know, sooner than we thought. So. Awesome Shannon. Well thank you so much for your time. I'm already excited for round two sometime.
Shannon Mattern: Thank you so much for having me.
Josh Hall: Hey friends, it's Josh here. I just wanted to mention a couple quick things before you head out. First off, if you've been enjoying the show, please consider leaving a podcast review. I personally read all the podcast reviews. I love hearing your thoughts and feedback on the show and it also really helps grow this podcast. You can do that easily if you go to https://joshhall.co/podcast review and you can leave a review wherever you listen to this show. And then I also wanted to make sure you know that for all the extras on every one of these podcast episodes, you can go to josh hall dot slash podcast. We have a post there for every episode, which includes full transcriptions, timestamps, and all the links and resources that we mention. So just go to josh hall dot slash podcast for all the extra goodies. Thanks so much for tuning in and I'll catch you on the next episode.
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