Ep. 371: November 2021 Income Report

Welcome to my November 2021 Income Report! 

Each month I publish an income report to take you behind the scenes of my online business and reveal how much money the business makes each month, how we make it, how much we spend, and all the lessons I learn along the way.

If you’re new to the show and to online business and this is one of the first episodes you’re listening to… I’d LOVE to invite you to go to shannonmattern.com/podcast and click on the Income Reports category and go back to those early income reports to see what the journey has been like for me over the past few years and how I got to where I am today.

If you remember, back in October’s income report I shared that I spent more than I made in the month because I decided to make some investments in my business.

And I also shared with you the shift in money mindset I’ve cultivated over the past year on my journey from solopreneur to CEO, the fear that pops up when I see a negative number in hte profit column of my spreadsheet, and how my old knee-jerk reaction to making investments in my business was “I can’t afford it,” and how that mindset really slowed me down.

And then I shared with you the CEO mindset I’ve cultivated over the past year when it comes to spending money in my business and shared  the 5 CEO questions to ask yourself when you’re making a decision on how to spend money:

  1. If making this investment were to result in me creating one new client, what is that worth to me
  2. Do I believe this investment will allow me to create at least that many clients or sales in the next 3-6 months
  3. Am I willing to do everything in my power to make sure I create a return on my investment?
  4. Is it true that I can’t afford it? Do I really not have the money, or am I just scared to spend it?
  5. What risks am I willing to take to create the life of my dreams? Am I willing to risk looking stupid, not making this money back, not having things go the way I thought they would?

And I’m recapping that for you because again, in November, I spent more than I made. 

I’m gonna break those numbers down for you in just a little bit, but I think it’s important to point that out because when reviewing November’s numbers, I asked myself the same set of questions that I asked myself in October, and I think it’s really important that I analyze my spending in that way both before the money is spent if it’s not a normal expense – and at the end of every month.

And that’s why I highly, highly recommend that even if you’re never gonna publish an income report in your business, you do this exercise of looking at the numbers, breaking them down, recapping your month and what happened, noticing what you’re thinking and feeling when you go to do the report – are you dreading it or are you excited? Are you procrastinating or getting it done? Are you beating yourself up or cheering yourself on? Are you sugar-coating or are you being honest? 

There are no wrong answers here. Because for me, doing income reports is not about the actual numbers (although knowing those are very helpful for making business decisions).

After doing four years of income reports, I’ve noticed patterns in myself. 

When I have a feeling that I’m gonna see a number I don’t want to see, I put off doing the income report. I don’t wanna look at it. 

It’s like how I avoid the scale after knowing that I’ve been overeating and not taking good physical care of myself. I don’t want to look at it.

And I don’t want to look at it for a couple of reasons:

  • I will talk crap to myself and shame myself and feel like garbage, saying things to myself like, “You should know better, you’re smarter than that. Why’d you do that?” And the answer is NEVER “Because I’m so awesome…
  • It will reveal to me that it’s time to make a change or a decision that I don’t feel ready to make.

My thoughts and actions around simply writing the income reports are an indicator of what’s going on with my MINDSET that I need to pay attention to.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m all-in on paying attention and asking for help…

… and other times I’d rather just ignore it because I’m not ready to look at it and acknowledge what it’s trying to tell me.

But the funny thing is… ignoring it doesn’t work. 

It’s still there, running around in the back of my mind, like my weight loss coach Corinne Crabtree says, like a toddler with a butcher knife. 

So when I “ignore” it, my mind is constantly trying to outrun and dodge this toddler with a butcher knife running around in there… and for me, that manifests itself as overworking. 

The thoughts start the moment I wake up (if not in the middle of the night), the easiest way to stop them is to open up my laptop and start working, I tell myself that I’m too busy to take time to go walk my dog or get to the grocery store, by the end of the day I’m so worn out mentally exhausted that I don’t want to make dinner and all I want is relief and relaxation. 

And that means me not cooking or cleaning, so we’re going out to eat, and throw a couple of beers in there while we’re at it because a noisy restaurant with my husband, a cold sour craft beer and a delicious burger is usually enough to distract me from thinking about those changes I need to make that I really don’t want to think about. 

And that results in me not getting on the scale because I don’t want to see the results of overeating and overdrinking because I’m not ready to take that away from myself because then how else will I get relief?

It’s a vicious cycle, and in November it was in full-force.

So let’s talk about November. Let’s do a quick recap of all of the important things that happened in November and then I’ll break down the numbers for you.

Important Things That Happened in November

#1 – I rejoined the $20K coaching program and mastermind that I enrolled in last year.

Last November I joined Mariah Coz’s High Ticket Hybrid program to learn how to restructure my old Web Designer Academy course as a high-touch, transformational group coaching program and it was literally the best investment I’ve ever made in myself and my business. I had the opportunity to rejoin for another year and it was a no-brainer yes. It absolutely passes the 5-question ROI test.

#2 – I worked with a curriculum designer to audit my WDA curriculum + engagement and create digital and physical swag.

One of my Web Designer Academy students who is a former teacher pivoted to working with course creators like me to make sure my curriculum is designed to help my students create results as quickly as possible, find all the roadblocks and address them, and keep people engaged and make them want to stay with us beyond their first year in the program. 

Her name is Erica Nash, her website is ericahnashdesign.com and she’s freaking amazing so if you have a proven course or a group program that’s converting and want to take it to the next level I highly recommend working with her.

We worked together to set some goals for the program, and I don’t even know if I’ve communicated this to my Web Designer Academy students yet so this might be the first time they’re hearing about it, but we set two big goals for the program:

  • I want our students to create a 100% ROI on program fees within 90-180 days. We don’t guarantee that they will because obviously we can’t, but it was through that lens that we reworked and updated the curriculum to remove all the known bottlenecks and add in opportunities for support at all the right times.
  1. I want our students to collectively create $10 million in revenue in 2022. Through the lens of that goal, I was able to figure out what needed to be added, removed and changed about the program to help our web designers shift their pricing and mindset to create those kinds of results.

So based on those goals, we figured out what updates and changes needed to be made to the curriculum for 2022 to make that happen for our students. 

She also designed all this cool swag that’s tied to milestones in the curriculum – because if people are gonna spend that much money with me, I want to delight the crap out of them!

At the time I made the decision to work with her, I was pretty confident that it would pass the ROI-test but there are obviously no guarantees… 

And the best part is that I know that pouring into them will help me reach MY big revenue goals… because I’m re-investing a good chunk of that revenue right back into the program – things like working with Erica, and hiring a client success specialist to help me run +  support the program.

#3 – I rolled out the NEXT LEVEL mastermind for my Web Designer Academy students who want to continue into a second year.

The Web Designer Academy is a 12 month program, and since it’s the first year I operated it like this, I wanted to give people who have completed their year with us an opportunity to continue working with us… but I didn’t want it to just be more of the same. 

They’ve achieved what they set out to achieve, they’ve outgrown the Year 1 curriculum and now they are ready to go bigger and they need a different level of support and mindset coaching than they needed in their first year. And so I put together and introduced the NEXT LEVEL Mastermind to everyone who was up for renewal in November. 

That involved working with Erica Nash to develop the goals, structure and curriculum, picking some dates to hold info sessions, all the email invitations + followup and setting up all the sales pages for the Year 2… figuring out all the renewal SOPs and contracts and automations… It was basically like building a new course in the span of two weeks.

#4 – I decided to increase the price of the Web Designer Academy and host a brand new, updated live-private training for accepted applicants.

I remember December of 2020 like it was yesterday. I had made the bold decision to turn the $2,000 Web Designer Academy online course into a $5000 high-touch group coaching program, and I was terrified. Terrified that people would be mad at me, that people would pay me that much money and not get the results they wanted, terrified that I put all this time and money and heart and soul into creating this new program and that it would be a flop.

I went onto a group coaching call with my mindset coach, Alecia St. Germain and I just bawled my face off. I couldn’t hold back. And she coached me through it, and I made the offer with my new confident mindset and the results were mind-blowing. I enrolled 14 new students at the new pricing, more at one time than I ever had before. And it was because I wasn’t trying to get them to buy my program… I was trying to get them to buy into themselves and what I KNOW is possible for them. Big, big difference.

After running the program for an entire year, another thing became clear to me aside from the curriculum updates – in order for me to continue being able to support these students at the level required for them to create results, I need help.

Yes, I have an amazing team, but they run all of the OTHER parts of my business so that I can focus my time on the Web Designer Academy, and after a year of running a high-touch group program with over 100 web designers in it myself, it’s time for me to hire someone, like, a full-time employee, to help me run it. And for that to be sustainable, and for me to be able to make that commitment to employ someone for the long-term, the price of the program needs to reflect it. 

Plus, what I’ve seen happen for myself and my entrepreneurial friends and my students, the more they’re willing to invest in themselves, the bigger results they create.

So I decided to increase the price of the program by 50%, and that combined with the curriculum updates that focus on premium pricing and attracting high end clients (like our Web Designer Academy students are already doing)  meant that I needed a totally different way of talking about the program.

So instead of talking about undercharging and overdelivering and feeling like an impostor and being burnt out and all the problems… I decided to start talking about the opportunities and what’s possible for people when they work with us and implement our system – and I wrote a new private training called “How to 5x Your Revenue without 5x-ing Your Workload.”

Which required new slides and a new presentation and practicing that presentation and all the things, so I worked on that in November as well.

And I decided to give people who applied to work with us at the 2021 price one last chance to enroll before the price increase, which required writing + scheduling some emails and direct outreach letting people know that the price was going up.

#5 – I did client experience interviews with my Web Designer Academy students.

So it’s all fine and good for me to talk about what I think is possible for people who work with us and talk about the curriculum and what we’re giving you… but when you can hear directly from people who have worked with us and created the results we say we’ll help you create… well, nothing can really even come close in terms of helping someone decide if our program is the right fit for them.

So I invited all of my students to schedule a 1:1 client experience interview where we talked about their decision to join, how they felt, what their challenges were, what they’re proud of and the goals they accomplished and what’s next for them.

And if I ever doubted my price increase, which I did, a lot, because I’m still human and the Men in Black haven’t stopped by to erase my old busted mindset, talking to my students about the results they’ve created from working with us is a pretty good substitute. 

Like, their results have blown my mind, I know they shouldn’t because I created the program, but they inspire ME. They make me want to keep going and keep showing up when it feels hard for me.

And do they always get amazing results all the time with no obstacles? NO!!! But they did ask for help when they did feel lost, overwhelmed or like it wouldn’t work for them. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re in a course or coaching program, especially one of mine, and you’re feeling like everyone else is winning but you and that there’s something wrong with you or this course isn’t working so it’s time to buy the next shiny object, please exhaust all your options for getting help before you move on. At least get your money’s worth before you move on, know what I mean?

So I did the interviews and wrote some of them up into blog posts + shared the videos – I still have several left to do and I can’t wait to share those with people.

#6 – I went on vacation. 

Two years ago for my 40th birthday we went to the Dominican Republic and it was so gorgeous and relaxing that we decided to go back in 2020… well I don’t need to tell you what happened to those plans, but we decided to reschedule for the same week for 2021 and make a game-time decision on whether or not we’d follow through on going.

By the time vacation rolled around, after doing our research on the rules and requirements around testing and masking and vaccination, my husband and I and our best friends decided that we felt comfortable going out of the country for a week. 

And for the most part, it was just as awesome as the last time we were there. Same beautiful resort, same gorgeous beach and weather, amazing food and great connection.

I say “for the most part” because I had bad anxiety on the trip about making sure I was ready for the live private training on December 9. It was about 3 weeks out at the time of vacation, and I still had to write the presentation and make the slides, get all the invitation emails and ad copy ready, and then get all the follow up emails written. And because the program is application-only, I still needed to review all the applications and make acceptance videos for the hundreds of applications that would come in… so I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of time when I got back to work on that stuff.

So in my mind I’m like, “I’m on vacation, I shouldn’t be working…” but all I could think about is all the stuff that needed to be done that only I could do. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with my mind racing, and finally I decided, “If I’m awake thinking about this, I’m just going to work on it. If I’m up early thinking about this, I’m just going to work on it, but when everyone is up and ready for the day, I’m done with it. I’m putting it down and I’m spending time with my friends. When we’re on the plane, I’ll work on it

Giving myself permission to work while “on vacation” gave me some relief and space to enjoy the rest of the vacation.

And my BFF was like, “Hey, next time you plan an event like this, don’t do it right after our vacation, okay?” 

And I was so glad she said that because I was trying to be like, “Hey, next year let’s move our vacation…” and she’s like, “Um, NO. You move your promotion. Aren’t you supposed to have all this flexibility?

Duly noted.

#7 – Holidays, birthdays + family.

In the US, November kicks off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, I turned 42 in November, my husband’s birthday is a week after mine. 

We did Thanksgiving with family for the first time since the pandemic,  so we had a lot of commitments with family, and my husband’s sister, husband and 3 kids also moved in with us for 6 weeks in between selling their house and moving into their new place.

This year I remember thinking, “How in the world did I pull off a December launch last year during the holidays?” and being like “Oh, right. Pandemic.” 

Everything was shut down, both of our families all chose to not get together for holidays and birthdays, and I had a TON of extra time to just… work.

Are you seeing a pattern here? I am…

So let’s dive into the numbers, and then I’ll share with you my biggest lessons learned in November:

November 2021 Numbers

Over the past 12 months I’ve talked about a shift I’ve been going through personally from solopreneur to CEO and how my business and numbers and mindset look completely different for me in 2021 than they did back in 2015 when I first started.

If you wanna follow the whole journey, you can start with my January 2018 income report and see exactly how I got where we’re at now.

With that frame of reference, here’s how much money we made and spent in November 2021:

Total Revenue: $21,518.68

  • Affiliate Income: $4178.35
  • Site-in-a-Snap Templates + Trainings: $497.00  (that’s my portion of the total sales after paying out my partners but BEFORE paying out my affiliates)
  • Web Designer Academy: $16,000.00
  • Subscriber to Sale Blueprint: $843.00

Total Investments: $32,852.52

  • Tools I use to run my business: $1871.62
  • Training, Coaching + Mentorship: $2597.00
  • CEO Salary (that’s me!) $8831.04
  • (includes payroll taxes – $7,000 is my monthly take-home pay, and then I pay quarterly income taxes on the quarterly business profit)
  • Team + Professional Services: $13,118.75
  • Affiliate Payouts: $1188.94
  • Facebook Ads for WDA: $3134.88
  • WDA Swag $2110.29

Net Profit: $-11,333.84

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

Lessons Learned

There are two important lessons I learned from my November income report.

#1 – I reverted back to my old ways of overworking, lone-wolfing, and not taking care of myself.

#2 – It’s time to make some CEO decisions…

So if me having anxiety and working on vacation wasn’t a clue… I wasn’t mentally or physically taking care of myself. 

I’m part of Corrine Crabtree’s NO BS Weight Loss program, and if you’ve been listening to this podcast for any length of time, you know that by summer/fall of 2020, I’d lost like 35 pounds without radical changes to my diet – which as someone who has been overweight and learned to eat for relief at a very young age and tried every diet under the sun starting at age 12, the fact that I was able to lose 35 pounds for the first time in my whole life AND without starving myself, exercising like crazy or cutting out food groups, was mind-blowing.

If you want to learn more about it just go to NoBSFreeCourse.com

Corinne teaches the 4 basics of weight loss which are super simple:

  1. Eat only when physically hungry and stop when you’ve physically had enough.
  2. Plan your food ahead of time (anything goes as long it feels doable to you) and follow the plan.
  3. Drink 64 oz. of water a day.
  4. Get at least 7 hours of sleep.

I used to journal every morning, dump my brain out on paper and clean up all the negative thoughts, plan my food for the day from a place of love and possibility, eat only when physically hungry, eat without any distractions, slow down, put my fork down between each bite and enjoy the hell out of my food. I’d plan drinks with my husband, plan desserts, plan going out to eat. I was throwing away lots of extra food that I’d put in the fridge to eat later but then it would go bad because I wasn’t hungry for it and I’d think “It’s leaving this house one way or another, I’d rather it leave in the trash than store it on my body…

So I’d lost about 35 pounds… and then I had another toddler-with-a-knife thought running around in there that I decided to ignore:

Wow, your face looks really saggy and old, and the skin on your belly and thighs looks like one of those balloons that was overfilled and overstretched that’s been deflated… that’s disgusting. See, you ruined your body by letting yourself be that overweight all your life. You should have known better…

I know, I can be really mean to myself. I’d NEVER say that or even think that about anyone else. 

So I noticed myself eating a little more at meals, eating with my phone, eating with the TV on. Eating when I wasn’t hungry for relief from my day. Reading the news in the morning instead of journaling and planning. Not making it to the grocery store. Drinking sugary ciders on date nights instead of light beer or club soda. 

And then I’d get on the scale and see the number and freak out and be like, “You have to stop! No more going out, no more drinking, salads for every meal, work out 5 days a week, drink a gallon of water a day…” 

And maybe I’d do it for like, a day, but what do you think happens when I’m overworking because I’m scared I’m going to lose everything or let my team down or let my students down, I’m ignoring things I don’t want to look at in my business, I’m telling myself that even when I reach my goals I’m not good enough?

If losing weight is unsafe because my brain is telling me I’m ugly and unacceptable at this weight (whether it’s 165 or 145), and stopping working is unsafe because my brain is telling me I’ll lose everything and let everyone down, and I’m not getting help and managing my mind around any of it, then what is my only option when I’m not managing my mind?

Overeat and overdrink to save myself from being ugly and unacceptable, and overwork to save myself from what I’ll think of myself if people are disappointed in me, and overeat and overdrink to get some relief from the overworking, shame myself for being overweight, ugly and unacceptable, overwork to create lots of money and validation and at least be good enough in ONE area of my life… and you can see how the force of this tornado can just keep me swirling around and around…

It’s a battle between the mentally healthy version of myself who believes that losing 35 pounds has zero percent to do with how my body looks and 100% to do with weight loss simply being a result of me taking good physical and mental care of myself, and  – and that the goal isn’t to lose the 35 pounds but to take good mental and physical care of myself, and the unhealthy version of my who believes that losing 35 pounds will make me a worthy human being and that I should punish myself and take things away from myself to get the goal of losing 35 pounds.

It’s a battle between the mentally healthy version of myself who believes that when I make more money in my business it has zero percent to do with how good and worthy I am as a human, and 100% to do with me being able to help more people transform their lives and get what they want and live a healthy lifestyle so that I can show up and serve with a full cup – and that the goal isn’t to make a lot of money so that I feel valuable and validated and worthy so I should work like a crazy person so that I can reach an arbitrary income goal that is killing me.

I’ve watched my weight creep back up by about 20 pounds… and I see exactly why it happened. 

And I know that trying to change my behaviors with my current thinking is not going to work. I get to change my thinking and the behaviors become easy to change, just like last time. 

My thinking about what I was doing was all pride. I was so proud of myself for taking great care of myself. I felt like I deserved everything I was doing for myself. I took nothing away from myself. I encouraged myself and invested in myself. I validated myself every single day and wasn’t seeking external validation. And I was willing to look at everything and examine it and question it. I created big results on the scale and the size of my clothes and my energy and mental state from a really healthy place…

And now I can look at the weight I’ve gained through a different lens. It’s no longer “You gained weight. You failed. You’ll never be able to lose weight and keep it off, oh, and by the way, you need to lose this weight because you’re gross and unacceptable,” it’s “I can totally see how my thinking is resulting in me not taking good care of myself which creates extra weight on my body that it doesn’t need. I see how my thinking created this result, and I would like to feel better so I’m going to work on thinking better and be more compassionate and loving to myself this time because that’s what was missing last time because no matter what my body looks like, I’m pretty damn awesome and I want to do big things in this world.”

So just like I was avoiding really examining my thoughts about myself and my body and taking the time required to address that toddler-with-a-knife thought and decide how I want to think about myself…

I’ve obviously been avoiding and putting off writing my November Income Report too. 

I mean, it’s December 31. It’s literally two days past the day this episode was supposed to be published and I’m just now writing it. 

And the truth is, I pulled together the numbers on December 1st, looked at them and my logical brain looked at that negative net-profit number and was like…

Ugh… there’s actually nothing out of the ordinary here. This is literally a normal month when I’m not selling anything and it’s just all revenue from payment plans + affiliate commissions. And these are all expenses I’ve committed to for the long term. And I’m spending more than I’m making. And this is gonna be unsustainable over the long term, and you’re gonna have to make some CEO decisions…

And then part of me that’s trying to outrun the toddler with a knife is like…

“Okay, you’re doing your live private training for the Web Designer Academy on December 9th, so if you blow that out of the water then you’ve bought yourself some time, and maybe you won’t have to make these tough decisions. You can’t change it, Shannon, you’ll let everyone down. People are counting on you. It’s your responsibility to handle this. Don’t be in scarcity mindset, Shannon, be in ABUNDANCE. Be in GROWTH! Anything is possible!!! You’ve got this, you can do it! Just go open your laptop and tell your mom you’re not going to meet her for lunch today. You can outwork this problem.”

And that’s what I did. So as you’ll see in my December Income Report next month, I can also create some big results from a really unhealthy place. That’s not sustainable either.

I was definitely lone-wolfing. My sense of urgency when I get like this prevents me from giving myself enough runway to be able to delegate to my team or outsource to contractors. I’m highly effective when I’m operating this way. I get crazy amounts of work done. It looks like success from the outside, but on the inside? It doesn’t feel like it at all. I’m just tired.

I’ve done tons of work on my mindset. And logically I know that everything will be fine, that I have choices and I get to choose, that it’s not all on me, it’s my business and I can make whatever changes I want and that I have enough and there’s always more on the way…

I know how to do it both ways. I’ve seen myself do it. I’ve documented it in these income reports. I’ve proven over and over again that I’m capable of creating whatever I really want, as long as I’m managing my mind around it. I’m pretty powerful.

Now I get to choose how I want to do things going forward into 2022. I get to really look at what I want for myself and my life, and not just what I think I should be doing because I’m worried about letting people down, but what is really going to serve me in the short and long term.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in December thinking about it, and I’ll tell you all about it in my December 2021 income report that’s coming out at the end of January.

So that’s it for my November 2021 Income Report.

I hope you heard something in here that was helpful to you, and if you did I’d LOVE to hear about it – you can head over to my Instagram @shannonlmattern and leave your biggest takeaway on this episode or you can go to shannonmattern.com/371 and leave a comment on the show notes.

And if you haven’t already, I’d love for you to go to shannonmattern.com/review and leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. It helps our show get found by people who need to hear our weekly pep talks for side hustlers!

One Response

  1. Just got done listening to this one, Shannon, and as always, I stand in awe at your transparency, candidness, evolving business-savvy and your willingness to share it so authentically with your community. Every single time I plug into any of the content you put out–whether your Income Reports or Interviews of other Master Minds or any of your programs I have signed up for and followed–I just gotta say that you have the kind of integrity, guts and gumption that has kept me as a long time follower, friend and fan. Keep up the amazing work Shannon, and Greetings from Mexico! 🙂

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