32: Transitioning From 1:1 Services To Products

PoP+episode+32_IG+post

Shannon Mattern — podcaster, educator, web designer, and former side hustler⁠ — joins me to debunk the myth that one-to-one services are the most profitable.
She shares her system for tracking how you’re spending your time compared
to how money is flowing into your business, so that you can spend time on
the work you love while scaling your business.

Although the term “side hustle” is loaded with many using the term to describe a way to make a little extra money here and there - Shannon thinks about it differently. To her, a side hustle deserves a very specific strategy that will be sustainable over the long-term so that it will fully replace your income.

It’s a training ground to make mistakes mistakes that can happen when you’re still working full-time. That gives you a little more freedom and a little less stress so that you can invest money in certain things and learn to brand because you have a steady paycheck coming in.

On this episode, Shannon and I chat about:

  • The distinct way she views a side hustle,

  • Why she shares a full income report each month,

  • What makes a good podcast guest,

  • The percentage of time spent vs. profit gained from her 1:1 services, and

  • What you can do to prepare for the emotional roller coaster of branding your business.

MEET SHANNON MATTERN

Shannon teaches entrepreneurs how to build websites and market themselves online. She is best known for teaching over 10,000 people how to DIY their website with her free 5-Day Website Challenge.

After side hustling for three years, she quit her day job and now teaches web design and digital marketing strategies to entrepreneurs.

As a former side hustler, it was important to Shannon to give people the inspiration and motivation to push through the tough times of building a business so they didn’t quit before they reached the type of success they saw others having.

However, Shannon recognizes that to some, having a business and a day job can bring up shame and imposter syndrome. There’s an overarching belief that Shannon hopes to bust that if you aren’t full-time in your business you can’t take yourself seriously...and neither will others. That keeps many in the perpetual state of side hustle.

STARTING A PODCAST

FROM SERVICES TO PRODUCTS

BRANDING IS EMOTIONAL

INVESTING IN YOUR BUSINESS

Shannon started the Pep Talks for Side Hustlers podcast in April 2018 with the intention of providing flash briefings to the Alexa. But as she was generating content, she realized she wanted to share more about the side hustle to full-time journey.

One of her audience’s favorite recurring episode topics is her monthly income reports. She wanted to be transparent in what she made but also how much money it costs to run a business like hers each month.

Whenever these episodes are released she always sees a spike in engagement. It’s because she’s not just saying, “I made $10,000 this month.” She’s also saying, “Yeah but I spent $500 on this course and I blew some money on Facebook ads over here.” 

This gives people a permission slip to talk about money -- to talk about REAL numbers. Because it’s a dangerous narrative to only share the side of the “six to seven-figure business” without also talking about how many people you’re paying, what kind of software you need to keep things running, and what systems support you.

250+ episodes in, Shannon knows what makes a good podcast guest. More than anything, to her, a good guest is one that is willing to have a conversation, even if they have something to promote. It’s extremely challenging when a guest wants to stick to a specific set of talking points over having a real conversation.

Her best tip? Don’t freak out about crafting a persona and sticking to the script. Just be yourself and have an authentic conversation.

As someone who’s familiar with brand work, I asked Shannon if she also felt like branding was emotional work for her clients. She equated it to sitting down, asking a thousand questions about how your business is going to work, and then asking you to give direction.

The overwhelm factor is real.

In the early days of her business, she had clients pay her to build a website and then never do that business. Somehow it always made her feel like it was partially her fault. So she changed her approach to allow for much more hand holding.

She would screen clients better. She would let them know up front that it might feel intense and that those emotions were normal. But she’d also let them know that based on your experience you can guide them through and help them yield the best result.

Don’t be afraid to make recommendations that are best for your clients. You’re not pressuring them into anything by just telling them ⁠what you know will get them what they’re looking for.

Not everyone wants to run their business with this level of depth and that’s okay. There are some designers who say, “I’m not your business coach.” And while that’s true, you can charge a lot more if you’re a designer willing to engage in a collaborative, consultative process.

Currently Shannon’s business is about 50% one-on-one web design and 50% web courses and training. Once she herself figured out how to get awesome web design clients and not hate her life (!) she started teaching other designers how to do the same.

But she’s also been feeling the itch to completely leave behind web design.

She’s found that her true passion is teaching entrepreneurs how to DIY, how to market themselves, and ⁠— for some ⁠— how to build a thriving design business. Spending a large portion of time on her web design clients was taking away from that.

Recently she was offered a $20,000 project and she turned it down.

She plotted out how much time the project was going to take and realized she would be giving up:

  • Marketing her own business,

  • Being on any podcasts, and

  • Working on her business.

 

The opportunity costs were just too high to say yes. Even though it would be an influx of cash now, the payout over time would be much higher if she declined the opportunity.

She dug a little deeper.

Shannon found that her one-on-one client work takes up 80% of time in her business while generating 50% of the income. Her courses and affiliate marketing take up 20% of time in her business while also generating 50% of her income.

Knowing where your time is going and money is coming from is crucial if you want to grow.

Time and consistency has helped Shannon grow her business, but so have investments.

Investing in education and courses will not only expand your thinking, but it can also help you realize how valuable your offerings are. This is one way to gain perspective on what people will pay good money for.

Shannon also attributes a lot of her growth to business coaching. There’s no way she’d have been able to manage the ups and downs without her coach. In fact, she’s sure she’d be back at her corporate job.

If you’re looking to invest in a designer, Shannon has some tips:

  • Go beyond their portfolio to get a sense of who the person is.

  • Peel back the curtain on their working style by following them on social media.

  • Choose someone who can educate you on their process, not just share their product.

 

There are a lot of designers out there with great talent, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have a great relationship.

Looking to the future, Shannon’s excited to start taking advantage of the benefits of entrepreneurship. She’s ready to slow down and get out of the hustle, because when you’re operating from a place of fear you’re probably making bad decisions.

If you’ve got a solid website and want to learn how to get people there, I highly recommend checking out Shannon’s Jumpstart Your Website Traffic resource.