This week I’m answering one of the most frequently asked questions I get – should you put your web design pricing on your website?
In this episode I talk all about:
- My own personal journey with talking about pricing, starting with deprogramming that employee mindset, packaging my services to not seem “too expensive”, and what ultimately shifted my mindset around raising my prices.
- How my low prices were actually repelling the very clients I was trying to attract.
- Common reasons people don’t put pricing on their website and what you might believe about your own prices that keeps you undercharging or underselling.
- Which philosophy we teach in the Web Designer Academy and why.
3 key takeaways from this episode:
- Focus on positioning your services and the value you deliver, not the price.
- If you believe your prices are too expensive, your marketing, sales conversations, and even follow ups will reflect that.
- Decide to believe that people can afford your services and the value you provide, and you’ll start to find those clients that are willing to pay for your services.
Shannon Mattern: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer, a podcast for web designers who want to work less and make more money. I'm your host Shannon Mattern, founder of the Web Designer Academy, where we've helped hundreds of web designers stop under charging, overworking, and create profitable, sustainable web design businesses.
Shannon Mattern: Welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast. And this week I am answering a question that I get asked all the time about running a profitable web design business. And that is, should I put my pricing on my website? So today I'm gonna talk about my own personal journey regarding when to talk about pricing, common reasons why people do and don't put pricing on their websites, what our philosophy is inside of the Web Designer Academy on when to talk about pricing and what to consider when you are making the decision for yourself. So personally, I have experimented with a lot of different ways to communicate my pricing to clients. So when I first started my web design business with my charged by the hour employee mindset, I didn't even have a website. So I didn't know
Shannon Mattern: And so I let my clients totally run the show. And so after finding out I was a web designer and wanting to talk to me about the project and me asking them about like, what are you looking for? The only thing they wanted to know is how much will it cost? And the only answer I had was, well, I charged $25 an hour, and I think it'll take about one full work week. Again, employee mindset. So that's 40 hours at $25 an hour or so, a thousand dollars. And I just phrase it like that a question because at the time, a thousand dollars was a lot of money to pay someone for something in my mind and also in my mind, it was so easy to build a website. I was like, they could figure out how to do it on their own like I did and just do it for free.
Shannon Mattern: So a thousand dollars just seems like a lot of money
Shannon Mattern: And it's one of the big things that we work on deconstructing with our Web Designer Academy students, whether they're charging by the hour or they're charging, you know, 10 or $20,000 for a project, we still are always working on deconstructing that employee mindset. So my business back then was very transactional. People were buying my time, not my expertise or my ideas or the experience of working with me or the long-term value of what they were able to create as a result of working with me. They were just simply buying my time and I was selling it for the price that my employer told me it was worth at that time,
Shannon Mattern: And I was like, oh, I wonder if I could do that with web design also. So I decided to start packaging things up and I had created my D I Y web design training at that time, and I had this process that I was teaching two people for how to build their website from start to finish. And so I packaged that up and decided I would sell that to clients as something that I would do for them. And I published the pricing on my website and the journey from me going to giving that away for free to packaging up and selling it to clients is a story for another time. But I published the price on my website and I think at the time it was like 9 97 for the package and then it would be like $500 more or something like that if you needed branding.
Shannon Mattern: And I look back on those prices and I'm like, what was I thinking that was completely unsustainable for me and for my business? Well, if I'm being honest, I know exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking this isn't worth that much. Why would they pay me that much when they could do it for free? I wouldn't pay anyone that much for a website. I'm self-taught, that's a lot of money. What if their business doesn't work out? What if I break something or something doesn't work right? And at that time, I put my price on my website because I didn't wanna have money conversations with people. I only wanted to talk to people who saw that number first and decided they were okay with it before they ever got on a call with me. And for me, it had nothing to do with being busy and not wanting to waste my time talking to people who couldn't afford to work with me.
Shannon Mattern: I hear that argument a lot from people, but I put my pricing on my website because that's what felt safe to me. I didn't want to risk someone saying the things that I feared the most. Who do you think you are to be charging a thousand dollars for a website? You are way too expensive. You're not worth it. That's too much. All of the things that I actually believed about myself, I put my price on my website to protect myself from money conversations if I actually had to have that conversation with someone one-on-one. So I put my price on my website to protect myself from my worst fears coming true. And I sold my 9 97 websites and my business was a nightmare because I should have been charging at least 10 times as much for what I was creating for my clients. But I was not anywhere close to figuring that out At that time.
Shannon Mattern: I had a lot of work to do on my value and my money mindset and employee mindset to entrepreneur mindset. And I was blazing my own trail. I was doing most of that work on my own. I just didn't know what I didn't know about what I needed to change about myself in order to grow into the person who could charge more. And then when I did figure out I was massively undercharging and needed to raise my prices instead of just creating packages with all the things I knew people needed and I loved doing and wanted to do for them, I did this whole thing
Shannon Mattern: And I never get any clients so better to break it all apart into like little prices. So they don't get scared away by big numbers as if they can't do math
Shannon Mattern: So I'll just break it all down into these pieces and parts and show them lots of small numbers instead of one big one. It was not coming from the place at all of I want to empower my clients with choices and I have processes in place so that no matter what their choices are, my business is sustainable and easy to run, and this project is easy to execute. That is not at all why I had different packages and options. So everything I was doing in my business was coming from like an expense mindset and like beliefs about what people can and can't afford. And it's just fascinating for me to reflect on because I know so many of our Web Designer Academy students before working with us come into our program with that same mindset. And that's a core part of what we do is like becoming aware of that and shifting it.
Shannon Mattern: So the next step in my journey was when I met my friend Paul Klein of Visible tv. So Paul is a super cool guy. He has this kind of like Netflix for Entrepreneurs video channel called Visible tv. I'll link it up in the show notes. I had the pleasure of being interviewed on that about my business journey and it was so fun. But Paul used to have this podcast all about pricing and he found me through like a tutorial I did on how to build a Amazon Alexa like flash briefing or something like way back in the day right when Alexa came out. And so we connected, he invited me to be on his podcast, I invited him to be on my podcast and like what he talked about blew my mind so much I I was like, it broke my brain. And so he talked about how pricing is positioning and that the pricing of services doesn't have to do with time or deliverables or the service provider and their skills, but it has everything to do with the value of the time saved and the long-term outcome for the client.
Shannon Mattern: And so he was using prices in his examples that were like 10 to 20 times more than what I was charging at the time. But the way he talked about it, the way he positioned it, the way he presented it, I was like, the way he talks about it makes it sound like he's undercharging, like the way he presented, he wasn't selling like the deliverables, the website, his examples were consulting, but you know how I applied it to myself was like, he's not selling the website. He's selling like what the website can create for the client and all of these different nuances. And I was just like, oh my gosh. It instantly changed how I was doing everything. It instantly shifted like how I saw my own value of what I did. And so I stopped making my pr like in that moment I was just like, oh, it's not about me.
Shannon Mattern: It's not about me. I stopped making my pricing all about me and my thoughts about myself and how I learned or didn't learn or what people could afford and couldn't afford and made it all about the long-term value for my, my clients. And what I learned from Paul started a total shift in my mindset about pricing that really has transformed into everything we teach inside the Web Designer Academy today. Paul helped me realize, and this might not be a shock to some of you listening to this, but he helps me realize that not everyone's tried to spend the least amount of money possible.
Shannon Mattern: I never thought about how much more money could I make if I invested in mentorships or the right tools quickly. I never thought about that. And it simply underscores the idea that by trying to build your business completely on your own like I was at the time, you miss out on so many other viewpoints and perspectives that could have a massive impact on your business because we all have blind spots. And Paul exposed me to the idea that there are people out there that value time more than they value money. They value the long-term outcome more than the instant gratification that they're willing to spend money to save time now and in the future so that they can use that time to make more money. The way I was selling my services and talking about my pricing was not speaking to investment minded people. These people were not interested in what I was selling.
Shannon Mattern: These people wanted to know what results they want would be able to create from having the tool that I built for them. They wanted to know what the outcome would be. They wanted to know that what I was able to do would align with the outcome that they wanted. They wanted to know what was in it for them in the short term and the long term. They wanted to understand the long term value, and they understand that the price that they pay now is just one factor that they consider against how much money they'll make later, plus all of the other results and the value of those results. And so by me making my work with me or services page all about my pricing and the deliverable that they got for that price, like a website or a logo and my skills and all of my experience and even my portfolio, like my portfolio has zero to do with the results that they can create for themselves in the future.
Shannon Mattern: When I did that, I completely missed the opportunity to sell the value, which is many, many, many, many times more than the price. So after having this epiphany on how what Paul teaches could be applied to web design and the services that we provide provided, the next thing I tested was removing the mix and match packages and pricing from my website, putting options for investment minded, hybrid minded and expense minded clients on my my website that talked about what was possible for my clients in the short and long term when they worked with me to create this thing. And I took the pricing off of my website. I wanted to give people the opportunity to make a decision based on the value, not the price. And because I was no longer making it about myself, I was not afraid to have the pricing conversation with them on a consultation because it had nothing to do with me.
Shannon Mattern: It wasn't about my value as a person or if I'm good enough or should I be allowed to charge that much. It was like a totally it like didn't factor into the conversation. And that's what worked. That's what allowed me to confidently charge more than I ever thought possible by putting all my focus on the value rather than the price and putting all my focus on the client rather than me, which is what the investment client minded clients focus on too. So by the time we even got around to talking about the price, they already understood that it was worth many, many, many more times than the price. So taking the price off my website wasn't about, I don't want people to see the price and think I'm too expensive and then not book a consultation with me, which is a common thought error. I hear from people when they go to raise their price.
Shannon Mattern: And then the reality is that they think they're too expensive. So they wanna hide their price from people because they're operating from a scarcity mindset that people won't pay that much. So at least so that they just are like, well, if I can get on a call and then sell 'em, then they won't think I'm too expensive.
Shannon Mattern: I don't wanna waste my time talking to people who can't afford to work with me. I don't know how much it will cost because I don't know what they'll want me to do. So I can't really tell them a price. I don't want them to know how much it will cost before I have the chance to sell them on it. And on the flip side, what I hear from people who do put their price on their website is I wanna weed out people who can't afford to work with me. I want people to see how much it costs before we even talk because I don't wanna have to deal with confrontation or a negotiation. I don't want people to judge me and think I'm not good enough to be charging that price
Shannon Mattern: They just wanna like me, they wanna protect themselves. Like they only want to speak with people who already agree with their price. And I wanna offer to you that these thoughts, whether you put your price on your website or not, are all coming from the belief that people can't afford your price. You believe you are too expensive. And if you believe you are too expensive, then everything you do in your marketing, in your consultations and in your sales conversations and in your follow up and even in how you run the project, all of your actions will be driven from the belief that you're too expensive. And how that shows up is that you'll downsell your client in the consultation. You'll actually negotiate against yourself on behalf of the client. Have you ever done this? I totally have. It's
Shannon Mattern: Feel all weird about it. You'll think it's too expensive. So you'll say, but because you already have a logo, I can do it for you for 4,000 completely discounting all of the work that you have to do to redraw or resize a logo and apply the branding to the site and the client didn't even ask for a discount. You'll find different ways to lower your price without the client even ever asking. Another way it shows up is that marketing just feels hard because you're constantly trying to justify your expensive pricing. What you believe in your mind is expensive. So your marketing talks about like, oh, here's why you need a website. Here's why you just can't have social media. Here's why it's better to hire someone than to diy. Here's what you're missing out on when people can't find you on Google what, here's what, why it's a problem that your site isn't mobile responsive.
Shannon Mattern: Here's why you should choose me over someone on Fiber or Upwork or someone who costs less than me. You spend so much time trying to convince people that it's worth what you're charging and that you are worth what you're, you're charging and you're trying to sell yourself
Shannon Mattern: Maybe they are busy
Shannon Mattern: And how would things change for you if you believe that at whatever price you chose, it's worth it and there are people more than willing to pay for it. How would things change for you if you truly believed that the work you create for your clients and the results it empowers them to create in their life and their business is priceless and could therefore never be too expensive? How would things change for you if you believe that you are not too expensive, that at any price you choose, it's a steal for your client and that they will make many, many more times than they will ever pay you. When you believe these things about yourself, you'll make the decision about putting your price on your website from a totally different place. And whatever decision you make, there's no wrong decision. By the way, I will tell you what we teach our Web Designer Academy students, but whatever decision you make, ask yourself, am I making this decision to protect myself?
Shannon Mattern: Am I making this decision because I think I'm too expensive deep down inside? Or am I making it from feeling from a place of feeling powerful? Do I feel like I have to prove that I'm worth it or that it's worth it to my clients? Or do I believe in my core that it is so valuable that the price is almost an afterthought, like it's one of the least important factors for my client in making this decision? Ask yourself that. So in the Web Designer Academy, we walk our students through a process that sells you on the value of what you do. So much so that by the time you get to putting a sustainable price on what you do, sustainable meaning you're working less and charging way more, you know in your core that it's worth 10 times more than what you're charging so that your new premium price feels like an undercharge to you.
Shannon Mattern: And then all of your marketing focuses on the value, not the price. And our guidance is to not put your pricing on your website, at least at first, because that gives you the opportunity to examine your thoughts about having money, conversations with people to come to us with like your questions about having these money conversations with people so that you can clean up any mind trash around that. It gives you the opportunity to really focus on the value of working with you. It allows you to be nimble in your pricing because as you start to have conversations with clients and book new projects and executing them using our systems, you almost always have the realization that even though you raised your prices, you're still undercharging and you might offer different prices to different clients as you test your pricing and you see what Minera comes up that you get to clean up for the next time you make an offer.
Shannon Mattern: And once you've landed on a price that is sustainable for you that you're all in on that's aligned with your goals, then it's up to you whether you want to list it on your website or not. As long as your decision is coming from an empowered place, like I wanna give people all of the information they need to get ready to work with me, or I want to have a conversation with someone first to see if I think their project is a good fit for me before I make an offer, not a proving place. Like I need to list out all these things that they get to justify the price or a protecting place. Like I don't wanna have money conversations with people. So then you get to decide from an empowered place. And as far as me personally, I haven't done client work since 2019, since I decided to close that side of my business down to go all in on my courses and training and mentorship.
Shannon Mattern: But my philosophy on publicizing pricing for my programs has definitely evolved as I've tested different philosophies and examined my thinking around them. So from 2016 to 2019, the Web Designer Academy was just an online course and it focused on systems, processes, marketing and consultations, and had a weekly call and it was $2,000 and anyone could join. And so in 2020 after really seeing like what the needs were over those four years and evolving and developing new curriculum and everything, I completely overhauled the program to include everything I learned about pricing, positioning packages, focusing on the value and setting and holding boundaries with clients. And we added more coaching and the opportunity to get feedback on your specific business. Like we look at our clients pricing, their packages, their messaging, their sales pages, we review that to make sure that they've implemented all of our strategies.
Shannon Mattern: And the program became application only so that we could make sure that the people in the program were really aligned with what we were teaching, that their business was in the right place to implement our strategies. And so we then only shared our pricing with accepted applicants. And my thought process at the time was that I wanted the chance to focus on the value of this new program with my current audience. I didn't wanna scare people away with the new price, and I wanted to show them the value of what they could create by working with us in this new way before I shared the price. Because honestly, I still had some of that. People can't afford it, mind trash hanging around that I didn't get fully cleaned up. It's one of those things where those beliefs, like they get weaker and weaker and weaker, but so far it hasn't completely gone away from me.
Shannon Mattern: And I have to totally notice when it's coming back up and it comes back up every time I change a price. So I still had some of that mind trash around that I didn't get fully cleaned up. It was definitely coming from this, this place of wanting to prove that it was valuable before making the offer and sharing the price, not focus on the value, prove the value. And it was not the healthiest mindset because for me, it relied on the constant external validation of people joining for me to continue to believe that the price was worth it. And so one thing I've learned about myself is that I can create some pretty powerful results from a mind trashy place.
Shannon Mattern: So that's the work that I have done and am continuing to do with my coaches because I think like the fact that I still think it's not good enough really means that I think I'm not good enough still, and I still have some internal work to do here because my own thoughts about myself are not aligned with the experience and results of my clients. And so I talked a lot about that work in my 2022 year in review podcast episodes 24 and 25 where I really like I talked about like this big mind trash makeover that I did and am and continuing to do. So go check those out if you're interested, but it's really important to be aware of that stuff. But now in 2023, we are in the place that we're publicizing our pricing, and I really decided to let go of the belief that these quote unquote general people, people like all of humanity, I guess, can't afford it.
Shannon Mattern: And that I have to prove that it's valuable. Like who am I to decide for you who, what you can and can't afford? I'm not your parent. I don't decide for you what you value. I don't manage your finances. I don't decide for you how you do money. You are completely capable of deciding these things for yourself. And so are your clients. Your clients are completely capable of deciding whether or not they want to spend on their web design project what you're charging. They decide what they do and don't value. They decide all of it. You don't decide that for them. So that's the work that I am doing. That's the work that our clients do every day. And if you want to know all of the details about the Web Designer Academy, go check out our website at https://webdesigneracademy.com to get the most current information on the program and the enrollment fees at the time of this recording.
Shannon Mattern: You can either join the wait list and we'll send you an email that has the most current price and program details, or you can just go to https://webdesigneracademy.com, scroll a few sections past that wait list, optin form, and that's where we list our current pricing. And let me tell you, it is just so freeing to decide that people can afford it to believe that they are resourceful. And if it's something that they really want, they will figure it out. And if it's something that they don't want, it's their choice. And it doesn't mean
Shannon Mattern: There's so much that's wrapped up into it a lot of times, and we get to become aware of that and see how it's affecting our choices and our business and how we're running our business and help guide you to a more empowering place in your business. So that's it for this episode on publicizing Your Pricing. Should you do it, shouldn't you do it? It's not a black and white answer, but hopefully I've given you some guidance that can help you make the decision for yourself. So that is all, and I will see you back here for next week's episode. Bye. Hey, so if you're ready to stop undercharging and overworking, if you wanna take back control of your time, work only with the dreamiest of clients and make more money as a web designer than you ever thought possible, get started now by going to https://webdesigneracademy.com and joining our wait list. We'll send you exclusive teachings from the current Web Designer Academy so you can start applying our concepts now. And you'll be first to know when enrollment opens up again, so that you can work with us to completely transform your web design business.
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