How Noel Mannion Used a Roadmapping Session to Become a Client’s Primary Roadmapper

By Noel Mannion

We’re continuing to share a different story every few weeks of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out the last one we did with Janelle Allen).

If you feel your story would be a good fit, email us at

Noel Mannion is Creative Director and founder of, where he consults on brand, website, and digital strategy.

Hi Noel! Tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you for fun?

I compose, write, and play music. My songs have been used in TV shows in Québec, and it’s my secret ambition to record to a full-length album.
The biggest fun in my life is hanging out with my 3-yr old and reminding myself what it means to be young and curious.

What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?

From an early age, I had a computer at home and was always amazed at what they could do! I became more interested in the design side of things when I got my first mac, and everything kind of followed on from there.

When I got into freelancing I was completely unaware of how to run a business.  I was interested in designing, but I had no idea how to deal with clients, no process, and always said yes to everything. I had no idea what it meant or took to run a successful business.

Tell us about your hardest moment as an entrepreneur to date.

Realizing I hated the business side of it, ending a partnership and ending up in debt.  I was about to give up but those events led me to take the first step in rebuilding what I did, who I did it for, and why I was doing it.  That was 15yrs ago.

What got me through?

Realizing I am in charge, I work with who I want, I decide what my process is, I command respect/value for my work.  I had to get through a period of self-loathing and disillusionment in order to see the light, and I also took a large break, but that gave me perspective.

On the flip side, what’s been your biggest success so far?

I can’t point to one single thing, there have been many: creating a business brand and licensing that out, being able to structure my work so I can spend as much time with my family as possible, being able to move country and still keep all my clients and continue to develop my business.

What were you struggling the most with when you ran into Brennan’s course?

Joining the dots – I had all this experience around design UX/UI best practices, I was fed up doing RFPs and proposals and giving away my IP for free.  So I stopped doing that, and wondered if there was a way to package everything I did, all my best practices into a working program, and then bam! Along came Brennan and Ben Lee with the Road Mapping process which made 100% sense to me!
I was losing time and gave my experience away for free. This allowed me to package my experience and bring tons of value to any project.

What are some specific strategies, tactics, or pieces of advice that helped you grow?

Mastering Project Roadmaps showed me that not all projects are viable.  An owner might think they know what their project will look like, but under the roadmapping session microscope, you may experience “eureka moments” that will save time and money.  I learned that being an “order taker” (client wants these features, in this time frame, for this compensation) is not the best way to get the client what they actually need. Working as an “advisor” can be better for everyone involved.  Being able to explain the process and the value you bring is essential. They need to “get it” and understand what you’re setting out to accomplish before they commission a single developer or designer.

What are you most excited about for your business?

Growth. Working with great people on amazing projects. Learning. A recent road mapping session has turned into something huge whereby the client is going to get me to run road mapping sessions for his clients within a target market – so a road mapping session spring boarded me into more road mapping sessions.

Also, I’m iterating each time I am doing one, so it’s growing into something really exciting!

Noel Mannion is Creative Director and founder of, where he consults on brand, website, and digital strategy. For 20 years Noel has worked in the design and web industry –working with medium-sized businesses, magazines, creative agencies, production and media companies, and entrepreneurs alike. Today he consults on brand, website, and digital strategy, and he directs and manages all projects. When not obsessing over pixels, margins, and type, he manages internal systems and processes to make sure clients’ projects stay on message and on track.