I'm so excited to introduce you to this week's guest on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, Danbee Shin!
Danbee is a web designer and copywriter. She helps online coaches get more clients with their websites so that they can change more lives all around the world. She also helps other web designers grow their businesses and earn a full-time income working for themselves.
Push play to listen to this week's episode, or read the full transcript below!
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Shannon Mattern: Welcome to episode 347 of Pep Talks For Side Hustlers. And I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest Danbee Shin. Danbee is a web designer and copywriter who helps coaches get more clients with their websites so that they can change more lives all around the world. And she also helps other web designers grow their businesses and earn a full-time income working for themselves. And she helps business owners run businesses so that people from all over the world feel like they belong in their online communities. So Danbee thank you so, so much for being here. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?
Danbee Shin: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I've been looking forward to this conversation. It feels like forever, and I'm super grateful that we have this time to chat. Where do you start? As you said, I'm a web designer and copywriter. I started my freelance business a couple of years ago as a side hustle. And I went full-time with my business just as COVID hit Singapore in January, February last year. I am a south Korean. I'm now based in Singapore. That's why we were one of the first countries to be hit by COVID in 2020. Sometimes I can't believe that I get to be in a position where I am having these kinds of conversations about running our own businesses and talking to other people who are running side hustles and growing those businesses into full-time jobs, if you want to call it that, because everything has happened so quickly. And I didn't know for the longest time that this was a possibility.
Shannon Mattern: I can totally relate to just waking up and being like, is this what I do to support myself and to make a living? And sometimes, you know, I feel like I take it for granted now that it just is. But I think back to when I was working a full-time job and kind of in the grind, or I hear my friends and family talk. I was having this conversation with my sister where she's like, 'I only get three weeks of vacation. And I've been working at this company for how long. And so we have to plan..." And I'm just want everybody to have what we have.
Danbee Shin: Exactly. And you know, when I was at university, I majored in mechanical engineering. And I also studied what they call technology entrepreneurship. And this is when students were being taught to find an idea, validate it, put a value on your company, get VC funding. And this is how you become an entrepreneur. And I thought that was the only way to do it. And I did that for a bit, but I was like 20 years old and I was risk averse. So I went and got a real job. And for the longest time I thought, okay, my career trajectory is becoming a CEO of one of these big global fortune 500 companies. I'll be on a 40 under 40 list and I'm going to be running big businesses. So yeah, when I was in the thick of it all, this was just not even within the realm of possibilities.
Shannon Mattern: So how do you go from, I'm going to be on the 40 under 40 lists running a fortune 500 company to freelance web designer, working for online coaches and helping other web designers. Tell me that story. Just as an aside, Danbee and I have been doing these presentations for my Web Designer Academy. We've done two of them and I've heard a little bit of her story and I'm like, I have got to get you on the podcast because I want to ask you all these questions but we don't have time for you to teach everything and for me to dig in. So I'm like, come on the podcast because it was so many questions for you. And that's really one of them. What's that journey look like?
Danbee Shin: Very roundabout, lots of spirals and circles. So like I said, I was in one of those graduate leadership programs where they say, 'Come. If you don't know what to do with your life we'll groom you into theses CEOs in15 years. I became a chartered global management accountant because that's how you learn to do the finance, do the management, do the leadership, do the strategy of these big multinational conglomerate type of businesses. And what happened was, I think I just got really frustrated by how these big businesses run. There's a lot of covering your bet. There's a lot of putting numbers before people. And there's also a lot of sexism, a lot of racism. And so that would have been a great time to go freelance, but then I thought, I'll go back to the startup scene.
Danbee Shin: It looks like things are pretty cool over there. This is when you had this big spike in Google-esque startups, 20-something year olds, very well-paid running around, pretending we know what we're doing. Free yoga classes, free food or free beer. Lots of fun. And it was great for awhile. And I worked in advertising tech. So that's when people started learning about how, for example, Facebook ads run. That's how all the ads run, right? That how data is collected, how data is used to optimize machine learning, that power advertising, where the biggest global brands get to run the most sophisticated campaigns to sell the most amount of stuff. And my job was helping them. And of course, it was all very exciting, very like fast paced. You felt really smart. You were at the cutting edge of technology. But then I think I still just got pretty tired of the same old, which is someone still gets to tell you what time to wake up in the morning. Well, they don't get to tell you what time to wake up, but if you want to fit things in before you turn up at the office at a certain time, you got to wake up at a certain time. Got to put in a certain number of hours.
Danbee Shin: They get to tell you what to do, how to spend the time you have in your day. And I just got really tired of playing by other people's rules and making a lot of money for other people. And I think I was always really scared of the idea that I wasn't living up to my full potential. And I had to try out a bunch of side hustle ideas. I had a bunch of that did not work out before I became a web designer, but eventually I got to a point where I said, this has to be something that I am super serious about. And I think that's when it worked. When I said, okay, I need to pick one thing that I can do right now and get paid money for right now. And that was web design. So I gave myself a year to run it as a side hustle, see if it went anywhere and somehow miraculously it did. And that's when I felt like, okay, I feel safe enough to give notice at my day job and work for myself full-time with this thing that I was doing for the first time. And that was just a year ago.
Shannon Mattern: That is crazy to me that it was just a year ago. And I feel like it must've been just a year ago that I was introduced to you by Suzy Dickstein from my Website Marketing Lab program. She was a student in there. And we talk in there about building relationships and growing your business through building relationships. And so she takes that to heart and not only is she going to grow her own relationships, she's going to help other people build relationships too. And so she connected us. And I think one of the things that really jumped out about you to me was, while all of this that you just told me is fascinating, but your commitment to helping other web designers also be successful. And we'll talk about that in a second, but I kind of want to go back to what you said, I want to do something where I can start making money now.
Shannon Mattern: And basically I aligned with you so much on that because it was like literally, I don't have to do anything other than offer this service to someone who needs it, ask for money and get paid, and I am instantly generating an income. I'm not building an online course or building a product or trying to sell anything. But I literally have this skill that I know how to do that I can provide to someone else in exchange for money. And the startup cost is zero, except for like having computer and internet. And I think back, I've built this company from nothing. Just a skill that I had that I offered to someone in exchange for money. And the freedom that comes from that is indescribable. So I think that's why I resonate with you. And you're just like, I don't want somebody telling me how to live, you know? Maybe I'm only obligated to you for eight hours a day, but really you're dictating 24 hours of my day because of those eight hours. And it wasn't worth it to me anymore.
Danbee Shin: And 375 days a year, because you only get so many vacation days that you have to sync up with your partner's vacation days. And when your family and friends are not in the country, travel takes up a lot of days. And just because you want to go on vacation on certain dates, it doesn't mean that it's fully up to you. You got to check in with your team and make sure that's not causing disruptions. And you gotta make sure that all the work gets done ahead of time so there's not a massive pile of things to come back to. It's just the opposite of freedom.
Shannon Mattern: Especially when it doesn't align with your core values as a human, you know? Like, what am I really contributing to here?
Danbee Shin: I was contributing to big advertising agencies running super sophisticated online ads. I was not fulfilling a big part of my heart.
Shannon Mattern: Right. So you landed on web design after a lot of trial and error. You said you tried a product. Can you tell me a little bit more about this trial and error phase of the business?
Danbee Shin: I think this might be the first thing I ever tried. This was after reading Timothy Ferriss' 4-hour Work Week. That's a rite of passage. I was living in Jarkarta. I had this lifestyle where... Have you ever been to Jakarta or Indonesia?
Shannon Mattern: I have never been outside of the United States. So that's a goal of mine.
Danbee Shin: I ask because Jakarta traffic is notorious. It prevents you from doing things. So my boyfriend and I created a life for ourselves where we walked everywhere. We walk from our apartment to our gym, to the office and back. And we went to the gym before work, which is something I don't have to do any more. I can work out in the middle of the day now, not at 5:00 in the morning! But I worked in a corporate environment where I was wearing button down shirts, pencil skirts, stilettos . And, you know, that they don't carry very well in a gym bag? So I came up with this prototype of a clothes folder. Super simple, but it just keeps clothes nice and folded and super compact. You see a lot of the packing boxes now. It was a version of that, and I thought everyone should have. But I got some prototypes made. I hired my first VA. It was very exciting. But it just didn't really go anywhere. I didn't have a market. I started a mailing list. Some friends signed up. I think I had a few friends, like fewer than 10 people on the mailing list. So I folded that. Oof, pun.
Shannon Mattern: I was like, that was good.
Danbee Shin: And then I tried some businesses who did this really well. They customize *inaudible* furniture. So they have really fancy looking metal, cabinet feet, like legs. And they have little nice handles that basically you can use to customize your *inaudible* furniture. So I got in touch with some Alibaba manufacturers, got some prototypes made. Man, like metal products, super, super heavy and not good for shipping costs. So I was like, I'm not going to be able to make this work. And then the one that I tried before web design was running a nutrition science blog. So a few years ago I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. That's not true. I knew I had polycystic ovarian syndrome. I knew I had pre-diabetes. I just kind of buried my head in the sand because I was 20 years old and I didn't know what to do with that information. And then further down the line, I decided, okay, maybe I should do something about this.
Danbee Shin: And I was really frustrated that I couldn't get a lot of helpful information from doctors. And I started reading journals, like research papers about what the science said about how your nutrition affects you, how your exercise and how sleep, all of these things affect your hormones. And I thought, well, they say you should build an audience before you sell them anything. I learned from the first two mistakes, right? No one wanted to buy any of my stuff. That didn't happen. I wasn't a health expert. I had no qualifications in this area. I had no idea what I was doing. So that is the business that I had to actively decide to set aside in order to start my web design business. But everything connected. I mean, in the process of setting up my blog and everything I realized, oh, this is super easy. Cause I've been making websites since I was nine years old, I should probably do something with this.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I think a lot of us as web designers are kind of led to offering it as a service because we've tried other things. And you know, that was one of the requirements of running an online business is getting your website set up. And because there are so many different ways to do it, people get super overwhelmed and there's just so much that you don't know that you don't know. And some of us are like, let's dive in and figure it out. This is fun. Oh, wait, this is more fun than the business I was going to try. And then other people are like, I don't want to touch this website thing with a 10 foot pole. Like, no, thank you. I would like to hire someone to do that for me.
Shannon Mattern: So like, for me, I learned through necessity at my company. I had taken a web design class in college. I went to school for communications and marketing. But it wasn't a job that I thought I was going to do. But then when I got my jobs in marketing departments, they were like, Hey, so we don't want to deal with the IT department to build the stuff that we want to build. They keep back burnering our projects. Do you want to give it a shot? And I was like, okay. You know? And so that was really kind of how I was able to....... because I'm of the opinion I can figure out how to do anything. Just give me enough time, I'll figure it out. And so that's really what led me to develop that skill. And so web design was really the first thing that I had tried. But I think the common thread between the two of us is we were going to figure out a way to get the freedom that we wanted. Right?
Danbee Shin: Yeah. And I think, honestly, it was just when I felt a sense of urgency, I felt like, oh no, I need to figure out a thing that will work now where people are looking for this right now. I was really disappointed with this kind of business advice, the whole build an audience and then when you have a community of super fans who love you for who you are, then you could come up with a product idea for them. It sounds really great in theory, it wasn't looking like a viable way for me to start my own business. And I'm so happy that I had that sense of urgency when it came down to it, because I don't know that I would have figured out that web design was a thing that I could start with without time.
Shannon Mattern: I totally agree with you about the, you know, this whole waiting for forever and ever and ever to offer the service. It's like, whatever you're doing, whether you're a coach or anything, you can do that right now without a website, without anything. You can go find the people who have the problem that you solve and you can work with them individually and get paid right now. You don't have to wait to build....and I teach list building and I teach relationship marketing and all of this stuff. But it's so much easier for you to be successful if you come to me having already done it and knowing how to help people and how to move someone through this transformation. I can help you take that and backfill it into a website and a marketing plan way easier than you starting out with oh, well I want to start with a one to many online course.
Shannon Mattern: And it's going to take me two years of trial and error to figure out how to do this, which is exactly what happened to me after I decided one-on-one web design was way too hard because I didn't have boundaries and I didn't have all these things that I'm sure we're going to talk about in a second. And I was like, I have a full-time job. I have all these clients. They are so demanding. I don't know how to handle them. I'm undercharging. I'm, over-delivering, I'm completely burnt out. I cannot be a web designer anymore. I will just teach people how to do it themselves because it's super easy. But all the training out there sucks. So I'm going to make the best training and I'm going to give it away for free. And I'm going to do Pat Flynn style affiliate marketing. And that's how I'm going to make my millions. Which I did the affiliate marketing.
Shannon Mattern: And I did make some money, but then I'm like, oh, but now it's time to make a course. And so I made the course, nobody bought it. Surprise. Cause I didn't validate anything. I was just like, oh, of course this will sell. And I did that like three times before I figured out like, oh wait, I should probably listen to what they're telling me instead of me telling them what they need. And finally figured it out. But like literally I could have just fixed my broken web design business three years earlier. And I mean, it's all for a reason, right? Because it led me to this podcast and everything that I'm doing. But I literally could have fixed my broken web design business and been fine and quit my job and lived happily ever after. So I mean, it all happens for a reason, but um, why was I even telling you all of this? Because we don't want people to wait to really just start and just start making money. You don't have to wait. So anyway, that was the train of thought that I hopped on. So you decided to do web design. How do you get your first web design client ?
Danbee Shin: On a Facebook group? Yeah. I keep telling people, go hang out in Facebook groups. It's a weird place to be. I did not have a Facebook account before I started my web design business. I had the one from when I was in high school and then I deleted it when I started trying to get jobs, because if you're looking for the future CEO, you didn't want my Facebook in the resume pile. I use Facebook in a way that I hadn't before. And I don't know where I got this advice. It might've been Steph Crowder. She teaches Crickets to Customers and she helps you do market research, talk to people and all of that good stuff. And I found people asking questions about websites inside of Facebook groups. I just answered questions, you know, zero effort. So easy. Started a conversation with this health coach, ended up hopping on a quick video call over Facebook messenger, which I had never done before. I'm like, oh, that's great. Facebook's upgraded some stuff. And she became a client.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. You built trust, right? You showed up, you built a rapport, you built trust. Because it can be a scary thing, if you think about the person on the other side. I need this website to run the business that I want to run the way that I want to run it, for all the same reasons that we wanted to become web designers. We all share the same values and they need to find someone that they can trust to kind of lead them through this process of making this significant investment in their business. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to just show up and find them instead of them having to kiss a bunch of frogs to find you, to find the right person.
Shannon Mattern: And you know, it can be that simple. And so when people, web designers, I think a lot of us, we're introverted. You know, one of the reasons why a lot of my students choose web design is because they prefer to be behind the laptop and they don't want to be doing Instagram stories and all out in front. They're more introverted. To be able to just say, Hey, I can help you. That's all you have to do to market yourself is to say, I can help you and this is what I can help you with.
Danbee Shin: Yeah, absolutely. And it's so true. I think we become so intimidated by the idea of having clients that we forget that clients are super intimidated to look for web designers. This first client that I was talking to, I asked her a bunch of questions to figure out where she was at. I saw the template website she had. I was like, did you buy your hosting on wordpress.com? Was it somewhere else? And she's like, I did this, I got one year of hosting from this place, but I'm really embarrassed. I don't even know what that means. And I'm like, yes, how could I not have seen this? Of course you don't know what that means. How is someone who has not been doing websites supposed to know what it means to buy hosting? And I think we forget that this really is something that a lot of people need help with.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. It's your opportunity to kind of like swoop in, take them by the hand, lead them through this process, empower them, help them bring their vision to life and really create a strong, solid, long-term business relationship with your clients, or however you want to run your business. Some people like to do intensives and different things. But, one of the things that I love about being a web designer is we can take something that we're so passionate about, like you empowering health coaches to help serve people, and we get to be the person... you're not creating the content that she's creating or serving the clients, but you're empowering her and enabling her to further a mission that you care about.
Danbee Shin: Yeah, absolutely. And Shannon, my first client was like "because I have clients that I'm booking through my new website, I can travel with my kid as she competes in sports tournament and be working with my clients and be onboarding new clients while I'm doing this with my kid". I was like, oh my gosh. Yes! That's the freedom we're going for. It feels so good. It feels incredible. And I told you that a big part of my journey was trying to figure out my own health issues. I started working with a health coach because I realized doctors just weren't equipped to giving the kind of support I needed. And working with a health coach really changed my life. Three years on from when I started my nutrition science blog, I just went for another round of blood tests. And I found out that I reversed my pre-diabetes. I don't have pre-diabetes anymore because of the support I got from my health coaches They literally changed my life. And to know that I'm helping them change other people's lives is what I want to do with my business.
Shannon Mattern: Uh, that just gave me chills. It just gave me chills. And that's why I want web designers, or just anybody running a business, it's not the pointing and clicking and building, and putting together WordPress or figuring out the hosting, it's not the act of pushing the buttons that your value comes from. It is how you are empowering this huge ripple effect that you have. And I see so many web designers under undervalue themselves, think that their skills don't matter, think because it's so easy, and it is easy for some of us, but for some people it's hard, that it's not worth anything. And that because it's a health coach or a "more noble" profession that they shouldn't charge that much. And I'd be really curious to hear your opinion on all of that, your perspective.
Danbee Shin: Well, I am 100% with you. The website is not the thing. The website is a tool, right? For any of us, the website is a tool. And you said earlier in our conversation that you just want people to go out and start offering their services to people without a website, because you don't need one to get started. And yeah, a website makes a big difference when you have a proven business model. And as a web designer, I really do think of my job as helping my clients change more lives. That is what my health coach is there. That's what my business coaches do because they help people do what you and I are doing right? Live our lives of freedom. That's what career coaches do when they help people find their dream jobs and live in the dream destination of their dreams, doing what they want to do. I work with financial coaches who help people manage their money and feel really good about the wealth they're building for the first time in their lives. It's not the website, it's all the stuff that we're making possible.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And even when it comes to all this stuff we're making possible, well, I shouldn't charge that much for it. And I'm like, you have every right to create a sustainable business that empowers you to have the life that you live, and it's good for your clients to have a web designer who isn't burnt out and resentful and spread too thin because they're undercharging, and working with way too many people, and you can't serve them at the level that they need to be served in order to successfully fulfill their mission. So I am so passionate about people undercharging for their services. You came on to talk about copywriting and adding copywriting to your services and all the reasons why to do that. We have to value our work first and also understand that the more we value it, the better outcomes we can get for our clients. So I'm curious to hear like your perspective on all of that as well.
Danbee Shin: Yeah. I feel like something happens when we undercharge. That's really bad for everyone. I speak from experience. I have undercharged and realized too late that I have undercharged. And what happens is I feel resentful. I don't want to show up in the way that I know I do want to show up in my business. I am resenting my clients while working far too many hours. And that means I don't want to go the extra mile. I get super stingy about every little thing I work on, and that's not going to get my clients the best results. And also when our clients make the investments in their businesses, they show up in a different way. And so often when I have conversations with my coaching clients or web designers, we have conversations about how their highest ticket clients are the easiest clients to work with because they're showing up because they take this seriously. So they bring all of the energy that they need to bring to the project for you to be able to deliver on a website that actually does all the things that you want it to do for your client's business. And I just feel like when you undercharge, all of that goes away and your client isn't engaged in the project. You're not engaged in the project. It's like the worst, worst case outcome.
Shannon Mattern: You guys can't see me cause it's a podcast, but I'm nodding at everything Danbee is saying. And I felt the same way. I did not understand the value of my services beyond pointing and clicking to build a website. I was so resentful. I was so burnt out. I dreaded checking my email. I dreaded seeing messages pop up. I was not in a place of serving the highest needs of my clients. And also, yeah, I personally did not understand until I made that kind of investment in myself, that shift that happens when you go all in on yourself like that. Cause you and I have talked about how we're both risk averse, but when you decide to really take that risk and believe in yourself without a shadow of a doubt that you will do every single thing to get the return on your investment or whatever it is, there's just something that shifts inside of you. It's hard for me to explain, but once I did it myself, it was way easier for me to ask my clients to do it. Cause I'm like, there's this thing that's going to happen to you. You are going to commit at a higher level than you can even fathom right now when you do this. And so it creates the opportunity for them to be more successful when you're charging more. And there are people out there who just aren't going to pay that much. And that's fine. They're not for you. They're not your clients then. Oh, good stuff.
Danbee Shin: Yes, everything you said.
Shannon Mattern: So I want to shift gears because we were chit-chatting a little bit before we started officially the interview where you were sharing with me your mission, I don't know how else to describe it, of creating globally inclusive businesses. So can you share with me a little bit more about the history of that and how to apply it to entrepreneurship and freelancing and your vision?
Danbee Shin: Yeah. Thank you for asking. I feel like it's been a long time coming. So I'm from South Korea. I grew up in Sri Lanka in an international school environment. And the older I get, I feel like I'm realizing that's when I first realized how we live in this world that's very US and Eurocentric. And when I say I went to an international school, I actually mean I grew up in a system that was very Americanized and very Eurocentric. This is also why I have the accent that I have. And I carried that with me. I internalized a lot of things I learned as a child, as a teenager. And over the years, you know, when I talked about being in the tech industry with where we were around VC funding and pitches, that was an industry that was very dominated by white dudes in t-shirts and blazers.
Danbee Shin: And that's when I started learning about gender diversity. And when I was in the corporate world as I learned about how to run big businesses and what it meant to run ethical businesses, a lot of that also involved creating environments where people could be more themselves and we were paying attention to how women were being discriminated against, because gender diversity is like diversity inclusion 101. A lot of people start with gender diversity. And of course, in the tech industry, when I went back to the ad tech world, that was an environment where we talked more about diversity and inclusion. It was becoming a more widely discussed idea. And, you know, that was beyond gender diversity. It was LGBTQ+ rights. It was beyond religion, beyond race. It was how do we run companies where all of our employees, no matter where they are, feel like they belong in this company that we're building together, because also tech startup employees have equity in the company. And it really did feel like this is a thing we were building together.
Danbee Shin: And I thought I was leaving all of that behind when I became a freelancer. Because I'm like, I do not want to have anything to do with anyone else. I'm going to be a solo entrepreneur. I'm not going to hire anyone. I'm going to live in my little hermit crab shell. But the more I grew my business online, the more I enjoyed meeting people, cause I love meeting people. And I love getting to have conversations like this with people like you. And I think the more time I spent inside group courses or programs, attending events, the more I realized that the online business world really does reflect the rest of the world and it is also very US-centric and very Eurocentric. And even when diversity and inclusion is talked about, it's talked about from that lens. And we don't look at the intercultural lens, which for me means looking at things, looking at things from a more international perspective and also acknowledging that the reason we have cultural differences is because we have differences in power dynamics.
Danbee Shin: And it's not just that different cultures are different. It's that different cultures have different power and some cultures have more power than others. And layering on ethical business. I feel like there's a big shift in the online business world where we're talking about more ethical ways of selling. And all of these things kind of came together. And one particularly unfortunate thing happened for me, where I found out that a really respected, very popular brand, just made me feel like I wasn't a valued customer, even though I had paid just the same amount of money to attend the same live event. They weren't giving out replays of the event. This was not made very clear at the beginning and long story short, they basically said, we're not giving out replays, there are no refunds. Basically it was a big F-you in the worst way possible.
Danbee Shin: And when I started talking about this, I realized that a lot of people had similar stories, similar instances where they had felt like, because they weren't in the "in group", they felt very excluded in these online business spaces. And that's how it all started. And what all of this together has made me realize is there is a conversation that I can start about what it would look like if we ran our businesses in an industry in this online business space where everyone just felt like they belonged regardless of where they are in the world, what their background is, all they have to do is to show up because we were talking about living lives of freedom earlier, right? We start our own businesses so that we can live the most fulfilling versions of our lives. And what would it look like if we could just show up and do that and not worry about how to fit in and how to assimilate and how to make other people feel comfortable?
Shannon Mattern: I so appreciate the opportunity to even be part of these conversations. Just thinking back to had I stayed in my corporate job I wouldn't have even been exposed to conversations like this. I mean, I feel very grateful to be a part of the conversation and to further the conversation. And when you were talking about that I was thinking, I know that's like not being a good listener, but I was thinking when you were saying that, I made that same mistake with my summit in February. So I ran the Side Hustle To Self Employed Summit. And in my mind I was like, All Access Pass. If you pay for it, you can get access to the replays. But if you don't pay for it, there are no replays. And that was like, in my mind, the lever that I was going to pull to drive more sales of the All Access Pass, not thinking, not even having a concept of what that would do to someone across the world who is in my audience, who has been a part of the community for how many years?
Shannon Mattern: And now I come out and it's like, oh, unless you want to stay up all night, you can't participate in this for free like the people who are more conveniently for me in my time zone. I didn't even think about it, which is mistake Number One that I made. I fully own that. And then somebody emailed me and was very upset with me and I was very defensive. I was like, I can't please, everybody, you know. I got very defensive about it. And then after calming down, I was like, she's absolutely right. She's absolutely right. It is unfair, unequitable. I'm not treating everybody the same. I'm not giving everybody an equal opportunity to participate in this space. And it just really like opened my eyes to like, oh, you know, like, I don't know.
Shannon Mattern: I've never really... the way that you said it, very Eurocentric, American centric, like obviously. And I think part of that is we walk around, not even considering anybody else. So what I did I took all of the replays and made them free for the next 24 hours so that people could access them. And I sent out an email and all of that. But it was just kind of like my first instance of like, I'm basically recreating the environment that I have left in corporate by putting all these restrictions on how people can interact with me and consume my content. And I felt like very much like I'm not living up to my values and I appreciated being called out for it. But also felt kind of like ashamed that I didn't see it or whatever. And then I'm like, it's fine. You should feel guilty. Feel guilty, move on, and fix it. And like, whatever. So I just appreciate that you're out there, helping spread the word to those of us who just walk around with our, you know, American blinders on that like "everything happens on Eastern and Pacific time" and if that's not you too bad. So anyway, that was just my thought on all of that.
Danbee Shin: I didn't know that had happened and, yes, of course, things could have gone differently, but I think it's such a testament to the community that you've built that someone thought that they could reach out. I don't know how they approached it. I hope it came from a place of constructive feedback. You said they were very upset and that's probably not the best way to approach a conversation like that.
Shannon Mattern: Well, and that was probably also because I instantly was defensive. So my lens was probably putting more upset on them then, because I immediately got defensive.
Danbee Shin: And I would too. It's really hard getting feedback.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, exactly. I wonder if I read it now, if I would feel that they were very upset, do you know what I'm saying?
Danbee Shin: Because nothing is objective, right? So one, I think it's so great that someone did reach out and say, Hey, this is a problem. And you figured out a way to make it better. And I think at the end of the day, it's not so much what you decide to do, It's just that you are aware of the consequences of the decisions you make. I think 100% it would be within your rights to say, Hey, no replay unless you pay for this very low ticket that for most people is a very reasonable price to pay. But it's not so much what you do, it's being aware of the implications of that. And the other bit that I want to point out is when I talk about the world being US and Eurocentric, I'm not pointing fingers at people in the US or Europe, because this is literally the world we live in because of the shared world history. It's not the individuals I'm pointing at and saying you are awful because you're American. That's not where I'm coming from. We all share the same biases. Maybe not the exact same biases, but most of us grow up learning that the world revolves around Western values. Westernized means modernized. Westernized means better. Westernized is what we should aspire to. And to pretend that we live in a world that's different is just burying our heads in the sand. And we just accept that this is kind of the baseline. And we have conversations like this to make sure that we are aware that there are things we can do to change it.
Shannon Mattern: This is such a fascinating conversation. I mean, me even sitting here, I mean, I've left the country. I went to Mexico on vacation for a week. My experience of the world is so narrow because of where I live and not traveling and things like that. And so it's fascinating to talk to you because you have such a wider experience. What are some of those things that you are on a mission to transform in the online business space?
Danbee Shin: I think some things are quite surface level that help us kind of like highlight differences. What you said earlier on about the world does not operate between Eastern and Pacific time. That's just one easy thing that we can make a note of. There are other time zones, and we are I think, 12-13 hours apart right now. We are opposite sides of the world and people have lives, people run businesses on the other side of the world. And just having that higher up in your consciousness, I guess, it just changes things just on that note, on that very superficial note. I think things like language, just the words we use. English is my second language. And I speak it very comfortably. This the main language I speak nowadays.
Danbee Shin: That's not true for most people in the world, but the online business world tends to run on English as does other things, you know, international business and education. And just reminding yourself that if you speak English, be grateful, it's awesome, and things work in your favor a lot of the time. And if you don't speak English, I always want to tell people it's not something to apologize for if you're not a fluent speaker. I get so many emails where the first thing they say is, oh, I'm sorry for my bad English. And it makes me really sad because it reflects the deeper emotions, right? Like all work you have to do to show up in the online business space to run your business of freedom and feeling like you're not performing at your best.
Danbee Shin: And feel like you're being judged. I think is really hard. And just knowing that that's the reality for a lot of people, I think goes a really long way. And I feel like at the end of the day, what I would really love for us to change, each of us, is getting to know our business friends, our clients, people in our audience as individuals and taking an interest in their backgrounds, their intersectionalities, where are they coming from? And one of the hardest things I had to learn becoming a freelancer was accepting that it's okay and smart and safe. It's not a stupid thing to run a business and let my business and my personal lives kind of become intertwined because I want my business to be an extension of my life. And if we want everyone to be able to run businesses that are so freeing, we should also take the time and make the effort to see each person as an individual with really complex backgrounds. And I think that alone would really change how we do business.
Shannon Mattern: Well, I'm just like, wow. I was just thinking, as you were saying that, I think that that's one of the things we want. When I first started my business, I tried to be like the corporate version that I thought a professional would expect of me. And that was also part of the burnout. And I'm a white girl living in America, and that was challenging for me. So I can imagine how much more difficult it would be for someone, like you said, English is not their first language or they don't speak English or whatever. It's like, not only do you have to not be yourself, you have to be the Americanized version of the professional, in your mind, to be successful. And I think one of the things that I'm really committed to, I have been committed to, is be yourself, be authentic, be who you are. But there is this extra layer that I haven't been capable or qualified to talk about.
Shannon Mattern: And that's why I'm so grateful for building relationships with people like you, who can come in and share that. And I was just thinking, it's these little things that are simple to do, but if you're not even considering it, I mean, just something as simple as like, I get this transcribed transcribed. So that could be translated. I'm like, people need to be able to like consume things in more than just the one way that I decide and I want to have it be more accessible to everybody. And there's just like these little things that we can do that can have such a huge impact. Or also just like, you know, entrepreneurs, we're trailblazers. We go first in a lot of ways, like setting the example for everybody else. So anyway, I could talk to about this. Please, please finish your thought. I could talk to you about this forever. And then I have a couple more questions. We'll have to have another episode to dive even deeper into this
Danbee Shin: I'm here for it. I was just thinking your example of transcribing and providing a transcription, making possible for translations. What's so amazing about things like that is we're not saying, hey, we're going to get this transcribed for non-English speakers, right? That's not it. We're saying we're making this accessible in multiple ways. So that it's great for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For people who need, what are they called? The readers, the screen readers. It's great for people who want closed captions. That's great for people who want to translate it into their own language. And I want inclusion to be thought of as a thing where we just kind of think of different ways of doing things and not accommodating a specific group of people who are somehow less competent or less able.
Shannon Mattern: Yes, yes. Yeah. Danbee, I have just a couple more questions. Like I said, I could talk to you about this forever because it's just a topic that I haven't explored much and I want to explore more. But two questions that I ask everybody that comes on the podcast. The first one is what would you say to somebody who is, you know, us a few steps behind us, side hustling, really kind of struggling to get the traction, to get the first client, get the revenue coming in. What is your best advice for that person?
Danbee Shin: My advice is please find people to talk to you. Call it market research if it makes you feel better. It made me feel braver in the beginning. Talk to people, start conversations, ask people about what they need and see if you can help them. That's the easiest way to get your first few clients.
Shannon Mattern: Yep. It is that simple. There can be some mindset stuff to overcome to get to the point where you feel comfortable doing that. Yeah. That's the hardest part. Definitely the hardest part. And then this question, I ask everybody on the show. What belief about yourself did you have to change to get where you are today?
Danbee Shin: So you've heard about my kind of training and my corporate background. I feel like all of that set me up to believe that to do anything that was worthwhile, that was meaningful, I had to work really, really hard. And this is like an ongoing battle. Letting things be easy, choosing the thing that is easy for me and trusting that that's what's going to help me grow my business and fuel my personal development. Talking about global inclusion with you. I'm like, I can't talk about this publicly. This is just what I talked to my friends about. And letting it be easy and doing the thing that's fun and not hard. I think that's the biggest thing I've had to overcome. I literally have a sticky note on my wall that says, make it easy.
Shannon Mattern: I love it. I love it. That is definitely something that I am currently also working on that it does not have to be hard, that I can do the easy things. I can't wait to talk to you again. Seriously. I'm going to reach out. We're going to get another episode or get another something scheduled. Because it's just such a bright spot in my days to have these opportunities to get to know you. So thank you so much for being here. Can you let everyone know where we can connect with you and learn more about you?
Danbee Shin: Yes. Absolutely. I am on Instagram. I am there all the time. Come hang out with me. Danbee Shin. That's the best way to stay in touch, to see what I'm up to. And Shannon, thank you for giving me this opportunity to have this kind of conversation. Still really early days for me to talk about global inclusion and the online business space. And it means so much to me that you created this space for us to talk about it.
Shannon Mattern: Well, it is my pleasure and everyone, you can go to shannonmattern.com/347 to get all of the show notes, all the links, the transcripts, all the things. And definitely go connect with Danbee . So thank you again for being here.
Danbee Shin: Thank you.
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