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episode 51

People-Pleasing as a Web Designer & Developer

Being empathetic, agreeable and helpful in your web design business can quickly become harmful when you start sacrificing your own needs to please others.

Today Sam & Karyn discuss people-pleasing, understanding that your business has needs and how to honor them in your client relationships.

Show Notes:

The definition of people-pleasing and how to recognize when you are doing it.
Basing your pricing on your needs as well as the needs of the business and NOT what you think your clients are going to like.
The areas in which people-pleasing may show up in your business.
How people-pleasing can stand in the way of your business’ success.

Episode Transcript:

Karyn Paige, Sam Munoz

Sam Munoz 00:00
I think it’s important to mention that the reason that we’re having this conversation in the first place is because if we maintain these people pleasing tendencies, it might be very difficult to get to the business vision that you have to get to the business vision where you’re working with clients that respect you to get to the business vision, where you’re making the kind of money you want to be making in your business where you’re not tied down at your computer all day, it might be hard to get to those things and those outcomes, because if we’re always centering the needs of our clients, and we’re always saying, we’re going to make sure that they can afford what I am offering, or you know, I’m going to always be available 24/7 for whatever they need, we might not be able to get to the place where we want to be in our business. Welcome to Making website magic where we empower women to step boldly into their web design, businesses follow their intuition and claim the success they’re worthy of. I’m Sam Munoz.

Karyn Paige 00:58
And I’m Karen Page with the Tech Wizards behind Sam, Windows consulting and the making website Magic School of Business where two women here to talk about what it actually takes to run a web design business that’s aligned with your vision.

Sam Munoz 01:11
Spoiler alert, it probably isn’t what you think it is ready to hear about everything from refining your business vision, networking with intention and creating a magical client experience. Let’s do it. Hello, Karen. Paige.

Karyn Paige 01:30
Hello, Sam. Leo’s full name never use each other’s last names. What are we even doing?

Sam Munoz 01:37
It’s very formal. I’m just kidding. I am looking forward to this conversation today. It’s not like, Oh, I’m excited. I’m buzzing. You know, this is actually a really deep, important conversation that I think has really been connecting to the other episodes that we’ve been sharing lately on the podcast, certainly connecting to conversations we’ve been having behind the scenes together with women in our mentorship with, you know, people in our community. And that’s people pleasing as web designers and developers. So I kind of just want us to get into the conversation, because I know that we’re gonna be talking about a lot of things today, our outline is like, bursting with thoughts and ideas. So what do you think about just jumping in? Let’s do it. Great. Oh, and you know, what, actually, before we do that, I did want to kind of shout out the free community that we have, which is making website In there, we’re having this we’ve created the space to have deeper conversations. And so if you’re listening to this episode, and you kind of want to discuss scenarios, situations, anything, you know, that’s coming up for you around this episode, that’s a great place to go. Karen and I are in there. And there’s a bunch of other women, web designers and developers. And if we’re talking about feeling safe, feeling comfortable to be 100%. You I think that that’s a great place to be in a place that centers the voices and thoughts of women in this space.

Karyn Paige 02:58
Yeah, safe space, brave space. And the space of a lot of like minded people. Absolutely. Okay. So you mentioned it a little bit, but why are we even talking about people pleasing and how it relates to being a web designer developer? Well, right out of the gate, this is something that we consistently hear in conversation with the women in our program, with women that we speak to in the DMS and in the community, like there’s this self identifying statement, I am a people pleaser. And that ends up manifesting in our businesses in a lot of different ways.

Sam Munoz 03:37
Right. And before we talk about how it manifests in again, it’s like women, web designers and developers, how is it manifesting in our specific types of businesses? Let’s take a you know, a reverse really quick and talk about what people pleasing actually is and how it’s defined.

Karyn Paige 03:56
Yeah. So a lot of folks identify as a people pleaser, and I’m not so sure that everybody is really clear on what that means. So there’s a great reference from very well That sums it up in a way that I feel is very aligned with how we perceive it. And it’s essentially that people pleasing involves putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own. And people pleasers are highly attuned to others, and are often seen as agreeable, helpful and kind. However, people pleasers may have trouble advocating for themselves, which can lead to a harmful pattern of self sacrifice or self neglect.

Sam Munoz 04:43
I think that it’s important to define that and to know like, certain things definitely stick out to me just that idea of like, being highly attuned to others. You know, you might think of that as having a lot of empathy which all I mean, all of those things are such good qualities, right having empathy being agreeable being helpful. being unkind, like, those are all great traits, great qualities to have. However, the people pleasing part comes in, I think when we do those things at the sacrifice of ourselves, right, we were agreeable with other people, but at the detriment of what we think about something or what we need, things like that.

Karyn Paige 05:20
Yeah. And so that’s why I think it’s important to really get clear on the language that we’re using. Because some people who might identify as a people pleaser may not have had an awareness that that’s all connected to it, like it branches out into things like sacrificing your own needs, right, in order to make other people feel safe, seem comfortable things like that. And so when we’re thinking about, like, what that means for our business, like how people pleasing is kind of woven into our business, right? Like this ties back to a theme that we often talk about on the show, which is your business’s allowed to have needs, right? So there’s that thing about needs, right, and putting other people’s needs or our client’s needs ahead of the needs of our own business, and therefore ourselves. And so this shows up in a lot of different ways. In our businesses. Yes.

Sam Munoz 06:16
And I feel like this is actually so interesting to talk about right off of Episode 50, about boundaries and expectations. Because what we were talking about the in that episode was very much like how to honor the fact that your business and you have needs and this is really a conversation about like, what can happen when we don’t do those things, right. And so for I think a really interesting example is things like working outside of office hours, or just like not honoring your own time availability in general for your business. So for example, like someone asking for, like an urgent thing that has to be done tomorrow, and feeling like if I don’t respond to that email, or if I don’t say yes to this project, or whatever it is, like, they’re gonna be mad at me, or I’m going to disappoint them, or I am, you know, whatever it is, like, there’s all these, like, there are all these like negative consequences in your mind that can happen if you don’t say yes to something, even when it’s at the detriment of your own needs, even when you’re losing sleep, even when you’re not getting paid appropriately for it. Right. So office hours and things like around time, and time constraints. I think that comes up so much for women, web designers and developers in just so many different ways.

Karyn Paige 07:26
Yeah, like, it reminds me of the episode that we did about like urgency and emergency, right. So like not like, again, not saying no to client requests, even if it means it’s going to run out of scope, or that you’re not going to get paid for the extra effort that you’re putting in, right? Again, people pleasing, this just showed, like inter woven with boundaries, expectations, communication, things like that, even like, the way you say something, right? Like it can make you feel stuck in a way like I don’t know how to say something to my client without sounding me, or I don’t know how to say something to my client without hurting their feelings. And so you spend a lot of like thought energy, trying to figure out the perfect way to say something that’s like agreeable or kind or helpful, things like that. Even when it’s like, at the detriment of your feelings, your time, your energy, worry, and anxiety and things like that. It’s like it’s more important for you to put those things to the side than it is for you to communicate in a way that advocates for your needs.

Sam Munoz 08:31
Yeah, you know, what this is making me think of actually, there was like a trend a while back sometime last year, I think where it was like, it was talking about how women, I think it was like, specifically centering women, but maybe it was just like, in general, some people will put like exclamation points in their emails. Have you seen that trend, and it was like, remove the exclamation point I had shot like, you know, I kind of have a problem with that myself. Because I think like you can honor whatever communication style you want. But if you feel the need to be like overly, I think that that work could be kind of like there’s room to grow is when you feel like you can’t just you can’t be straightforward, because you need someone to quote unquote, like you and what you’re doing is running a business and like it’s okay to just like, say, this is your invoice and like, that’s also a 100% allowed thing to do in your business. Does that make sense? Karen? Yeah,

Karyn Paige 09:18
because what I’m hearing is like it manifests in our business in a way where it’s like, it’s more personal. And it’s less just kind of matter of fact, professional, we’re just doing business. And so the communication style is tied into how someone might perceive you personally.

Sam Munoz 09:34
Yeah. Which is really interesting, because like, I also want to keep in mind that that might feel counterintuitive to what we talked about on this podcast about how a big component of business is relationship building. And yes, it is. And I really, really want to do an episode on this at some point, but this idea that like even if you’re a company of one there is like the business entity and then there is you as the person performing the tasks in the business and it’s okay If for like the business entity to have policies and boundaries and expert and you as the person as well, but like the business is allowed to say like, here’s your proposal period, and that and send that email. And that doesn’t mean that like me, Sam, as a person is going to show up to a discovery call or a client meeting and just be like, this is your website, here you go, you know, I can still bring my own personality and things into it. But I’m also running a business and it’s okay for my business, to make money and get paid on time and all of those things. And again, that is like, that can be seen as opposition to that people pleasing side. I’m kind of connecting a lot of dots here. But is it making sense? Yeah,

Karyn Paige 10:39
it is making sense. And we’ll definitely get there. But I’m glad you brought up the word money, like, because that’s another way that people pleasing can show up in our businesses is how we’re actually pricing our work.

Sam Munoz 10:54
Yeah, I think when we center what the client, like what we perceive, especially the perception of it, right, and we have no information to back this up. But we’re like, oh, I don’t think that this client is going to be able to afford it. And so because of that, I’m going to knock the price down, because I want to make sure that like, this is gonna work for their budget and all of that stuff. But it’s like, I’m sorry, did like the value of your website change, like the value of your work change?

Karyn Paige 11:21
So again, like tying this back, how does what I price my services relate to people pleasing, which is about putting my client’s needs before my own? Right, like our prices can be based on what our business needs to be sustainable. Our prices can be based on what we need to cover our expenses in our lives. Right? Our prices do not have to be based on what we think our clients are going to like us for totally, or what our client was going to fit into our clients budgets because guess what we don’t actually know, we really don’t know, what we know is what our needs are, what our business’s needs are, and that is how we make the decision on pricing. And so that can feel a little icky. If you’re like that I want someone to say yes, I don’t want someone to say no, I don’t want to be I don’t want to hear the No, I don’t

Sam Munoz 12:13
want to offend them with my price. I heard I hear that so often is I want to send this price and offend them by how much it is. That’s people pleasing.

Karyn Paige 12:24
I gotta press pause on this, because I want to go down a tangent of its people pleasing, but it’s also negating your client’s self determination. I mean, totally, there’s a conflict there, right? There’s a conflict of, I don’t want to offend somebody by telling them the price, because I’m assuming that they’ll think it’s too high. And they’ll say no, and they’ll reject me and all of that. But what’s happening on the other side of that is you’re actually taking away somebody else’s personal and professional empowerment to make a decision and manage their own money to the best of their ability.

Sam Munoz 12:57
Absolutely. Yes, kind of related to that is another like another way that people pleasing manifests itself and with regards to money is things like people paying you late for stuff, or like missing a payment, I feel like, again, when we’re like, I don’t want to be mean, like they’ve got all these things happening in their, their life for their business or whatever. Like if we have a contract. And we’ve decided together that like this is how much you pay me for this project. Like we can have empathy. Again, all of those like great qualities that were described in the definition of people pleasing, we can have all of those great qualities. And we can still and should still be paid for our work because we are running businesses because this is our livelihood.

Karyn Paige 13:40
Oh, this is another way that it shows up. Because you mentioned time, right, like rescheduling, people canceling and things like that. This is a huge one when it comes to us taking care of the needs in our schedule. Right? For example, you might have a check in appointment with a client that’s supposed to happen on Wednesday morning. And then, you know, maybe less than 24 hours in advance. They’re like, can we move the call to Tuesday morning, because I got something going on you then you look at your calendar, and you’re like my Tuesday is filled, like I had stuff going on. And it’s all planned. And then you have an option of saying, No, we cannot move a call until Tuesday. That doesn’t work. For me, here are some available options as alternatives. Or you can say, Sure, let’s move the call to Tuesday because that works best for you. But then what ends up happening is you all of your needs are compromised and you have to sacrifice your needs in order to fit that in. Yes, right. So that happens a lot.

Sam Munoz 14:41
This is really connected in my mind to that like that way that we see ourselves versus our clients. You know what I mean? That whole like, Is my client above me? I am I their peer all of that like a relationship dynamic with your clients comes about when we think about people pleasing too, because it’s like, again, whose needs are quote unquote more important. Can’t both needs be important? Why do we have to sacrifice ourselves and our needs for the sake of our client and what? What is better for their schedule or better for their budget or whatever?

Karyn Paige 15:12
Like this is this is literally come up in conversation, you’re like, raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced this. But we’ve had conversations where the dynamic of the relationship between the designer and their client, a client has literally said things like, my time is more valuable than yours. So yeah, no, I can’t budge. You got to budge.

Sam Munoz 15:32
Karen, I’ve literally I had, I had a client that I ended up letting go of like an ongoing client. And, you know, I had multiple retainer clients, multiple projects going on. And she really literally said to me, she said, I’m just not I’m not just any client, Sam. And she wanted more of my time wanted me to be available more often. And I was like, Okay, that was one that I let go of, because I’m like, You know what, I’m in charge of this business over here. Like, we can work together, that’s fine. But you’re not going to tell me I’m not just any client, Sam. You know what I mean? Like, it’s stuff like that, where it’s like, the power struggles, I think can happen with our clients very easily when we slip into these tendencies where we don’t honor what we need as individual people and as businesses. Scary stuff, honestly.

Karyn Paige 16:19
It is scary. And so I almost kind of want to

Sam Munoz 16:23
like lighten it up. Yes. Yes. Like,

Karyn Paige 16:25
again, just bring it back. Like just bring it back to this idea that you and your business can have needs. You deserve it. Like it’s a right, like, it is a right, that you have needs. Right, it’s okay. And it’s also okay to advocate for those needs. And maybe there’s room in there for like experimentation and kind of thinking about okay, well, how can I advocate that need in a way that feels safe to me and feels good? But also, is it rude or tactless? Right, right.

Right. Like there’s,

Karyn Paige 17:03
there’s a happy medium in there to interject on this because I, I don’t know if we’ve actually talked about it yet in this episode. But I deeply want to acknowledge that if you’re listening to this, and you’re like, I do identify as a people pleaser that those behaviors that perception may have been a way for you to stay safe in places or situations that were harmful. And it was safer for you to go along to get along, to be kind to, you know, suffer in silence, or to just say yes, to just get the thing out of the way. Because that was actually safer than like saying no, because there could have been like some real harm going on. Right? Right. So let’s be real, and acknowledge that because we are not in any way saying people pleasing is the wrong way to be. Right. It is one way to be, and there are lots of other ways to be as well.

Sam Munoz 18:01
Oh, such a good way to say that, Karen, that it is one way to be and there are other options. There’s other ways to to be. I think that is very important to acknowledge that and and even like, this is something that comes up a lot when we’re talking to people that join us in the School of Business is like I feel so much like regret. Like I feel bad for my past self for having made those choices, or having been a people pleaser in the past or whatever. And we can like, we can look back at her. And we can say you did the best with the information you had at the time at which you had it. Now we’re learning new information. Now if we want to if we make the decision to change to be different to seek a different way of existing with our clients and in our businesses. Now we get to do that. But we don’t we don’t have to make her from the past feel bad. We don’t have to shame our past selves for being a people pleaser. Right, we can notice that that’s a behavior we want to change.

Karyn Paige 18:56
Yeah, I mean, to paraphrase Dr. Maya Angelou, when you know better, you do better. And if you didn’t know it at the time, that’s okay. But now that, you know, let’s act accordingly. And I truly believe that it is never too late to be the person that you want to be 100% Karen, like today could be the day where you say thank you. To Mike the version of myself that was a people pleaser, because it got me here and it kept me safe. And you could go have a seat right now because I’m so safe, that I might make some new changes and do some new things and take some new actions to get me closer to the person that I want to be in the vision that I have for myself in my business

Sam Munoz 19:38
100%. And I think it’s important to mention that the reason that we’re having this conversation in the first place is because if we maintain these people pleasing tendencies, it might be very difficult to get to the business vision that you have to get to the business vision where you’re working with clients that respect you to get to the Business vision where you’re making the kind of money you want to be making in your business where you’re not tied down at your computer all day, it might be hard to get to those things and those outcomes, because if we’re always centering the needs of our clients, and we’re always saying, we’re going to make sure that they can afford what I what I am offering, or you know, I’m going to always be available 24/7, for whatever they need, we might not be able to get to the place where we want to be in our business. And so that’s a true reality is that you may need to change, you may want to break those patterns in those habits in order to unlock the thing that you want, right? Like, if you want something different, you might have to do something you’ve never done before.

Karyn Paige 20:41
Yeah, the first step of that is really like noticing, noticing your behaviors, notice how you’re showing up on your side of the dynamic, right? And there are those moments often comes around like decisions that we have to make, like, how am I going to craft this email? Or am I going to check this email right now? Right, like these kinds of things, right? And so notice, when you do something, if it’s coming from a place where you’re sacrificing your own needs, or you’re doing something because you don’t want to see me? Or because you have made it, maybe a choice that the client’s needs are more important than yours, right? Yeah. So notice, notice when that’s coming up, and also notice how you feel in those choices, because I’m gonna use my intuition here. And be curious that when you are doing a people pleasing behavior, you might not feel good, they might be a lump in your stomach, your throat, my close up, your palms might get sweaty, right, that might be a way for you to notice, even if it’s hard for you to notice, oh, I’m sacrificing myself for the needs of someone else right now. Right? Because if there’s any anywhere in your business right now, where you’re like, I do advocate for my needs, I do only check my email when it serves my schedule. How does that feel? Does it feel really good? Does it feel like relief? Does it feel light? Does it feel like there’s a weight off your shoulder, like there’s a rock that’s off your chest? Notice that and then just kind of keep that as like data for yourself of like when I advocate for my needs feel really good. And when I put someone else’s needs ahead of my business’s needs, and she felt really drained and depleted, and heavy and constrained. And that might give you the information that you need to be like, Okay, well, let’s make decisions that make me feel lighter. Let’s do decisions that keep me in the area of what’s working and what’s going well.

Sam Munoz 22:48
Yes, it’s really making me think of something that you said in the episode around, like, if you want to make more money, you have to be willing to ask for it just like are you centering the fear? Or are you centering like what’s possible and available in terms of how you feel? And I just I really liked how you said that in that episode. And I think it rings true here as well.

Karyn Paige 23:07
It’s totally possible to live in a reality, like your own reality, where there’s less fear, where there’s less worry where there’s less anxiety. And again, like thinking of like, you get to decide this is something that I want to change, I actually do want to say no, I do want to honor my time, I do want to put the price in a proposal that’s going to meet my my financial goals. I do want to do that. Right? That’s an opportunity for you to change for you to do one thing like find one thing start small. What’s that one thing? Is it going to be the auto responder? Is it going to be having like blackout dates on your call calendar where it’s literally like I’m just not available to reschedule that call, like small is okay to start because the benefit of starting small and picking one thing is that you’re not going to stretch too far out of your comfort zone where it’s too scary. And you go back to what feels safe, which is the people

Sam Munoz 24:18
pleasing. 100%

Karyn Paige 24:22
Yep, small, incremental. One thing is going to feel good. And then you move on to another thing that’s going to feel good and good is going to feel great and feel great and feel great and feel great. To the point where it’s like, I am an advocating machine. Superhero machine. What Yeah, all that juice.

Sam Munoz 24:43
You know, I would be remiss to not mention the fact that in the School of Business, we cover this in every single class. It comes up in every single class in class one where we’re talking about boundaries and expectations in class two or we’re talking about networking and getting out there and putting yourself out there being afraid of hearing no or getting a rejection quote unquote and invitation for a discovery call or networking call talking about it and packages and pricing, we’re talking about setting your price talk about and proposals, we talked about it in the magical client experience, talk about it, when with regards to your website, literally every component of the School of Business has ties back to just like you again, like the whole idea of like you advocating for your business, you advocating for your dream and your vision. And so if this is an area that you want to go deeper into, with the tangible component of building your web design and development, business and charging more, and having more successful discovery calls and things like that, definitely check out the School of Business. It is an amazing program. And again, we talk about this with people that have gone through it all the time. And that is a great next step for you if you’re looking for more support.

Karyn Paige 25:59
Yes, I’m like truly at the core of like everything that we are about at making website magic is really about empowering women to run sustainable businesses, right. Like, if your business’s needs aren’t being met, it’s not going to be able to sustain itself, right. And so if people pleasing is coming up for you in your business, it’s just important to notice that that’s going to have an effect on your business where it’s just difficult to get to the place where you’re sustaining yourself, and you feel whole and you feel satisfied in what’s happening. So, again, that’s really why at the core of why we’re here and why we talk about this in our podcast and why we talk about it with the women in our program is like we want your businesses to be sustainable, for the benefit of you for the benefit of all women in this industry, and for the benefit of breaking patterns that are no longer serving us.

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