In this episode of the Homemakers in Business Podcast, I am interviewing Erin Pratt, founder of Ivy Lynne Studio, a web and brand design studio helping female creatives share their unique gift with the world through beautiful and effective design. She is also an online educator with a course designed to support women on their path to entrepreneurship.
Erin is a mother of two sweet girls, Sophie Ivy and Lucy Lynne, who believes it IS possible to have it all, but it’s not possible to do it all on your own. She is a former travel blogger who still finds so much passion in travel, yoga + meditation instructor, natural birth advocate and now owns a successful website design studio in Charleston. Her mission is to help others find their unique gift and empower them to share it with the world.
In another Kitchen Table Chat, learn how Erin, a driven entrepreneur, and mother of two, balances her web design business with family life. Erin discusses her journey from a corporate job to building her own business, Ivy Lynn Studio, and shares insights into transitioning to passive income. Learn the importance of consistency in online marketing and discover when to outsource tasks for business growth. Gain motivation from Erin’s perspective on managing work-life balance.
All right, welcome back to the Homemakers in Business podcast, everyone. Today, I’m going to be chatting with a new friend of mine. Erin, we just met today, finally, after having to reschedule several times, but that’s one of the great things about running online businesses is we have the freedom to do that. But today we’re going to be talking about building a profitable and sustainable business from home, which I think is something we all want to be doing, otherwise, why would you be listening to this podcast?
So Erin, would you please tell us who you are, what you do, and who you help?
Erin Pratt (00:35.031)
It’s so great to be here Stephanie. I’m so glad we were able to make this work today and I’m excited to be on your podcast. I’ve enjoyed listening to the past episodes. So it’s an honor to be here. My name is Erin Pratt. I live in Charleston, South Carolina with my family. I have two little girls, Sophie and Lucy. They’re three and a half and two years old. Proud mama, proud girl mom. I started my business about a year and a half ago as a website and brand designer.
Erin Pratt (01:01.775)
So I design custom websites and do branding for primarily female entrepreneurs who are in the creative space, photographers, coaches. I’ve done artists, violinists, so lots of different types of women, but the common thread is they are just passionate about what they do. They’re mission driven and they want to share their gift with the world and make an impact. And I am so happy to have worked with so many moms too. It’s a passion of mine to help.
Other moms create a beautiful life for themselves and their family. , so it’s been a joy to have launched this business for the past year and a half and do it from home and also be a present and peaceful most of the time. Mom.
I love that. Yeah, so that’s something that I should have mentioned at the beginning is that we’re both brand and website designers. And I think that’s so cool to like looking into your background a little bit before meeting you today. We may be doing like the same thing, but we approach business in slightly different ways. And we’ll talk about that a little bit later on. But I think it’s just so cool to, you know, be talking to someone else is doing.
what I do and get to see your perspective on how you do things.
Erin Pratt (02:13.187)
I love it. I love making those connections with people in the industry and shared values and all that.
So much fun. So let’s start with your journey to starting your business. Like how did you get into design? What were you doing before you started your business? How have things changed since then? Just give us the whole story.
Erin Pratt (02:33.343)
Oh, awesome. Absolutely. So my story has lots of twists and turns as all of our stories do. So I did go to school for a relevant degree, which was media arts and design. It wasn’t specific to website design, but that was an aspect of my degree. I went to school in Virginia at James Madison University and straight out of college, I got a job in HR and recruiting department. So it was not quite what I went to school for, but I think that’s the case with a lot of us.
I just wanted to get a job. So my path was, I was in the corporate world for about 10 years following college and I had a couple different jobs in there which were focused primarily on marketing and in my HR departments. But I did get to use a lot of my creative skills where I was managing blogs for the companies towards the second half of my corporate career span. It started in HR and marketing and then I went straight into just marketing jobs. So I was doing social media management for nonprofits.
and building blogs and doing a lot of writing for them. I was successful in those jobs. I was getting the promotions, I was getting the accolades, meeting friends and did the whole corporate grind for a while and I just kept feeling like, a lot of us feel something is missing, just living for the weekends. There’s not a lot to show for what I’m doing. I didn’t feel like I was making a big impact on the world. I felt like I was helping bigwigs just make more money.
, so it wasn’t satisfying to me personally. So on the side of these jobs, I was starting up a lot of entrepreneurial side hustles. I got into travel blogging and traveled to 17 countries and built this whole brand around like me being a travel blogger, , for a nber of years and really loved that. And little did I know I did it primarily for free, but it was giving me these skills of everything I use now, starting an email list, email marketing, ,
creating content consistently. I was blogging three to four times a week, writing for an audience and not writing just about my travels but like, how is this gonna help other people? So I was finding my voice. So I did that for a nber of years and then shifted into a yoga and wellness focus. I became certified in yoga. I kind of went on this like inner journey of like, you know, healing myself and connecting to spirituality in a way that made sense for me. And…
Erin Pratt (04:57.475)
As an entrepreneurial kind of soul, I was like, well, I’m gonna take this yoga experience and share it with others. So I started teaching yoga and leading meditations. So that was giving me a lot of confidence in sort of putting myself out there in a way that was uncomfortable at first. I was like this corporate girl who was like by day and then at night I would, you know.
roll out the yoga mat and host a women’s circle around the full moon. And it was like, I had these two personalities and I slowly started embodying myself as one person. And I started shedding this kind of corporate version of Erin and found who I truly was. And I’m really this like passionate sharer of experiences and helping people really create lives that feel aligned for themselves and might not look like.
the life that we thought was what success was. And so how do you find that? That shifted when I became a mother. So I got married soon after that yoga stuff happened and had a baby pretty quickly, right? In the pandemic, May 2020. So that was another big period of transitions. I was still working in corporate at the time during all this yoga stuff. I was still doing my corporate job, but everybody shifted back home. And that’s when everything changed for me. I was home.
and I had a baby and I had a remote job. And over the next two years, from 2020 to 2022, I experienced so many shifts. I had a second baby, we moved to Charleston, we bought our first home. And during all of this, I started feeling both the most wonderful emotions of being a mom and loving that part of my life, and then the most dark emotions of sort of a depression to like, what am I doing in this job?
We can’t afford to not have my salary, but this is not bringing me any joy. I’m stuck to my computer and I can’t be with my girls in the way I want to be. And so, and on top of that, I’m not satisfied by my work. I’m not making that impact I want to make. So I made a big decision to just cut my corporate job and thank goodness, my husband was supportive because I couldn’t have done it without his support. , and I had done website design over the years for all of these entrepreneurial endeavors.
Erin Pratt (07:13.759)
I taught myself how to create websites, create blogs, work with email marketing. And as that started happening, more of my friends started noticing, they’re like, can you build me a website? I’m a photographer. And my cousin who’s a therapist wanted a website and my dad wanted a website for his roofing company. And so it just kind of started snowballing the way a lot of things I think happen. You just kind of do it as a hobby and then you realize, oh, this is a skill that’s marketable. So I quit my job.
Erin Pratt (07:40.223)
and announced to Charleston through Facebook groups and women’s groups and my friends and family that I’m a website designer and I’m here to help people build businesses. And I couldn’t have asked for a better response. All these entrepreneurial side hustles had given me the skills and confidence I needed to build a business that was now successful, profitable, and I was able to book myself out in my first year. I worked with 44 clients in 12 months. It was wild. And
Erin Pratt (08:08.975)
And it just taught me so much. And on top of that, I was working on average 16 hours a week. So I worked about two and a half days a week. My parents are here and helped me with my girls. My husband also works, doesn’t have work on Fridays, so he watches the girls. And it’s been such a blessing. I’ve been a present mom, getting to spend my days the way I want. And then when I’m working, I’m working with the most amazing women and helping them build businesses. And it’s just been such a wonderful journey. It’s been a…
Erin Pratt (08:37.647)
twisting and turning journey. It wasn’t like I just found success overnight. That’s what a lot of people might get that impression like, oh, you’ve only been in business a year and a half. Well, I’ve been building businesses for almost 10 years with travel, with yoga. I opened a crystal shop. So anyway, it’s been a great journey to get here. And I’m now inspired to share my journey to help other, especially moms, get out of jobs that are not fulfilling. And especially for those who want to be whole more with their children as well, while also making an impact.
There are so many different directions I could go with extra questions right now. But I think I’ll start with though, when you were first transitioning from your corporate job to going full time with your new business, what did you do to make that?
Erin Pratt (09:15.634)
It’s a lot.
actually happened? Like, were there any specific strategies that you use? Like, were you saving up for a specific amount of time? Like, did you have a financial goal to meet before you did that? Or did you have like a, I don’t know, just what did you do to make you feel like that it was the right time to jp and open your business?
Erin Pratt (09:48.263)
That’s a great question. I think this is, I always want to share things in a way that is hopefully supportive to people and not just all about my story. This is something that I wanted to know how others did this too. All the people that I’ve seen who jped from a full-time corporate job into their own business, how does that happen? There’s a couple of things that were at play. One was I’ve always known I wanted to be an entrepreneur since probably, I would say 2013.
So it took me almost 10 years to actually get here. So it certainly wasn’t an overnight decision. The way I approached my past side hustles was once I’ve been able to grow this enough to be a feasible business and I’ve saved enough, I’m going to quit my corporate job. The thing with that plan, while it might work for some, is that I was not giving myself enough time or space to actually make those side hustles profitable because I had the corporate jobs. It was sort of a chicken and egg situation.
Erin Pratt (10:48.259)
Every night, every second I could get time, I was a mom of two toddlers. They were born 17 months apart, so babies really. So I didn’t have a lot of time, but every moment, spare moment I had, I would listen to podcasts about entrepreneurs and how other people did this. So I was constantly filling my mind with stories of how others have done this. And I was building a business plan on the back.
So I would work during the day, I would put my girls down, do the dinner and bedtime thing, and then I’d get little slivers of time in the evening to work on my business. So I started building myself just a landing page. I knew I wanted to do websites and branding. So I started building that landing page and I started educating myself on the Show It website platform, which is the platform I was going to be using for my website. So I took a course on that.
I’m really big on, you know, education and learning from others and I’m a course taker. I love doing that. So I was taking a course on that and I was starting to slowly market myself in Facebook groups before I made the leap. So I was like, I want to start trying to line myself up with some clients before I take that leap. I have heard there are two types of people. There’s people who build the net and then like before they jp.
Erin Pratt (12:03.111)
they’re like slowly weaving their net, you know, over the course of a year or two, you’re saving money, all of that. And then there’s the people who jp and build the net on the way. And I’m definitely a jp and build the net on the way kind of person. In terms of savings, if you guys knew my financial situation at the time, you would have been like, why are you quitting your job? There was no savings. We had just built a house or like bought a house, not built. And we had two toddlers and we were just in the midst of all this craziness following the pandemic. , so it was not like from a financial side.
Thanks for watching!
Thanks for watching!
Erin Pratt (12:32.091)
things didn’t seem like it would have been the right time. And I knew that in order for me to be successful as an entrepreneur, I needed to create space for that success to find me. And I hadn’t done that in the past with my other jobs. I was always holding onto my safety net of my corporate job and then trying to make these side hustles work.
And so I knew in my mind something had to be different, especially as a busy mom, I only had so much time. So I was like, I am gonna take the leap and risk things. And if I have to fall back, I know I can get another job because my skills are marketable on social media and websites and blogging. And so I took the leap and it wasn’t, there wasn’t a lot of planning involved. I built a landing page, I started lining up a few clients that I had met through Facebook groups and started an Instagram and started posting on there.
Erin Pratt (13:30.087)
And you know, that was really it. But again, my 10 years of experience leading up to that had given me a lot of confidence that I knew what I had to do, , to get going. And so I created this space and I lined up, you know, two and a half days a week that I would dedicate to my business. And I thought my first month would be like marketing and like trying to like get my first clients and scrambling. I kicked off with four websites to build. And from there it snowballed because those women had great experiences with me. They started referring people. I started building my presence online.
I started my own networking group here in Charleston with a friend of mine who’s a photographer. So we did networking events every other month. It was called Stretch and Mingle. So I actually led yoga in the beginning and just invited entrepreneurs to come and mingle afterwards. It’s really low key. I’ve gotten business from that and I’m really active in offering free value. So I was just putting out there, like I’ll audit anyone’s website for free. And half those people are like, great, now I need someone to fix these things for me that you pointed out.
Thanks for watching!
Erin Pratt (14:27.719)
So it’s just being really intentional with my time. And honestly, I just need the space in my life for these things to come in. And I couldn’t have done that while I was still working because as a busy mom, we only have so many hours. So for me, that’s the path that worked. And I’m so grateful that it worked. But I really believe in like, you know, creating that space for those opportunities to start being attracted towards you.
Absolutely. There’s so much of your story and just what you just shared that I totally relate to. I never worked like a full corporate job, but I always worked multiple part-time jobs. And last smer, smer of 2022, I finally quit my last part-time job and I quit it, not because I didn’t like the job and wasn’t enjoying it or anything, but I realized that my business wasn’t going to grow anymore if I didn’t make that extra space, if I didn’t like go full.
full force head on, , dive right in. And so I quit it and everything has just blown up since then, , much like you’re saying, cause when you give it that extra space, you, you can’t help, but grow if you’re actually putting in the effort.
Erin Pratt (15:37.499)
Yeah, we want to fill up what’s empty. And so if your life is at capacity and it’s full, there’s going to be, you only have so much energy to give. And so you’re blocking things from actually coming your way because you’re not actually available for those things. I heard this, like, I was listening to, I think Jen Sincero has like a really good book on attracting money. And it’s like, you are a badass at making money. And she’s like, if you want to, I’m pretty sure this is her. It might’ve been someone else that I heard this from, but.
So you have to make space for that money to come into your life. So go open that extra savings account and watch it like fill up, you know, like make space for these things to come your way. And yeah, I’m a big believer in that. I think that’s why I couldn’t really be a travel blogger in the way I wanted. I couldn’t really make this like wellness business grow because I was holding on too tightly to my safety nets and therefore there wasn’t enough time or space to grow these other things. And I will caveat there that that’s not like the best business advice for everyone to go out there.
your job. Like you have to do it in a way that makes sense for you. Like I’m lucky to have had a husband who we have health insurance through, you know, and he has a stable job. And so I am like very grateful and blessed that I had that opportunity to give it a try. And I was basically like, let me try this for a few months. And if it’s not working, then I’ll change, you know, that I’ll consider, you know, something else, getting a part-time job, getting something else. But I knew I had to take that risk. And the more risks you take, right. That’s like,
Erin Pratt (17:02.191)
The people who are most successful are often like the risk takers and you’re going to fail more, but you’re going to also achieve and win more as well as a result.
Absolutely. Yeah. What you’re saying about having a husband who is the primary income winner and having health insurance and all that, that does make a huge difference in being able to take those risks because like you had said, you could always go back and get another job because you have marketable skills. And I felt that same way when I quit my last part-time job, cause I was like, okay, I’m going to try this for six months or a year. I don’t remember what it was. I gave, , gave myself a certain amount of time. I was like, if I’m not reaching like a certain.
financial goal by then, then I’ll go back and get a another part-time job if I need to. But I didn’t have to worry about the health insurance. I didn’t have to worry about our house being paid for and all this stuff because I have my husband to help with those things. So I can’t speak to people that are single mothers or struggling in other ways without a partner. But having that support makes such a huge difference in
being able to take risks in your business and being able to do the things that you want to be able to do because you can try more things, you can experiment more with your business when you’re not the only person making money in your family, you’re not relying on your business that first year to pay for all your bills and pay for your life. I think that’s just such an important thing to point out that support makes such a huge difference.
Erin Pratt (18:28.327)
You know, there’s so many things that you’ve said that I, it’s so true and you can’t neglect to bring those things up. And I think when people share their stories and it’s like a credit to you for hosting this podcast because it’s, I got the inspiration and courage to do what I did a lot in part because of other people’s stories. And the more we see people going after these things and sharing how they got there and being transparent about it.
the more it creates more paths for people to get there. And so I’m all about like lifting people up along with you. And so a couple words of encouragement for anyone who’s in these different situations. So those who have support is like, when you are not struggling in terms of like, I can’t get food on the table for my family, you can’t experiment with things because there’s a level of like, you have to start at the baseline, right? And survival and you have to do what’s right for your family.
But at the same time, there are different situations for everybody, but there are also ways to get there in terms of getting support from other sources. And so there’s grants out there for small business owners and especially women and mom-owned businesses. And you had mentioned having a husband who’s having a primary salary and all that. It’s funny because my husband and I talk all the time about…
I want to be actually the breadwinner of our family. And he is such a like domestic dad. He’s so involved with our girls. And so right now he’s earning a salary. And I was able to actually my first year match my corporate salary with working just 16 hours a week. And again.
I worked a long time to get there to be able to market my skills. So it’s not just like it happened overnight. I learned a lot along the way to be 10 years to get there really. But it’s encouraging for anyone who’s thinking about going out and starting that business. There is a path where you’re not working 40 hours a week, you’re working 16 hours a week and you’re making just as much money as you were at these corporate jobs, possibly even more. And if you’re doing a skill for a company…
Erin Pratt (20:26.479)
In a lot of ways you can turn that into your own business. I was just talking to my hairstylist, I just got my haircut yesterday, and just cut off a lot of hair. And I was talking to her and I’m like, gosh, you’re cutting hair for a salon and you have all these skills and such a great personality. You could be a business owner and start your own hair cutting service and go to people’s homes or cater to new moms. And she’s like, oh my gosh, she was getting so excited about all these ideas. So there is a little bit of a risk there, but there’s always a path to get there.
Erin Pratt (20:55.427)
with the right, you know, finding the right support, whether it’s your partner or somebody else to find to invest in your business or opening up a business credit card, you know, and just taking that risk and then having a plan B if that doesn’t come through. It just, it can be so encouraging to people to not feel stuck in their situation and create that plan to, you know, create a life that they love. And I think more and more people are starting businesses, especially post pandemic.
Erin Pratt (21:20.987)
It’s a great time for a website designer or anybody who’s helping other people build businesses because so many people are realizing that they can work for themselves. The internet is like, I just, there’s so many opportunities out there to build businesses online, especially not have that overhead of a brick and mortar. So it’s an inspiring time to help, especially women, feel this confidence to go out there and share their gifts and take those risks and see what happens.
Yeah, absolutely. So on that note, how did it feel when you first started matching your, you know, 40 hour a week corporate salary when you were only working 16 hours a week? Like, I think some people think that’s not even possible because it sounds so crazy, but I totally get it because I’m over what I was making at the point when I quit my last part-time job and I only worked 25 hours a week.
maybe give or take a little bit depending on how many podcast interviews I do.
Erin Pratt (22:23.991)
Yeah, I love it. I love the podcast so much. It’s the best feeling in the world when you earn any dollar for yourself that is from you and it doesn’t have to match your highest paying salary. It could just be anything. The first website that I booked and got that deposit into my bank account, I was almost in tears. Somebody trusts me to do this for them. It’s the best feeling in the world.
Thanks for watching!
Erin Pratt (22:54.071)
in these corporate jobs, especially when I was in the office, not so much at home. But when you think of the 40 hour work week, which I think for the most part, for most industries is so, it needs a whole revolution around that. Like we don’t need to be working 40 hours a week. It’s, it’s really, there’s so much wasted time. You think about what you’re doing in an office, your coffee breaks, and you’re chatting with coworkers and you’re complaining about this and you’re in a meeting that you don’t need to be in.
Erin Pratt (23:19.975)
There’s so much wasted time. And I remember I would get my work done for these corporate jobs in like three to four hours. And I’d just be sitting there. And that’s how I started building these side things. Cause I’m like, oh my gosh, like I have so much time. I’m an efficient worker. I’m a very focused, efficient worker. And so I would sit there thinking like, God, there’s one life to live. And I’m wasting my hours under this like fluorescent light bulb that stuck inside on a beautiful day when I could be like,
Thanks for watching!
Erin Pratt (23:49.723)
helping the world. I don’t know. I just had this like feeling like there’s got to be more to this. And I know a lot of, especially millennials are like, and there’s more to this, right? Like we can’t just all be stuck in these cubicles. Now working from home has a lot more flexibility. And so that was a nice change, but even still it was like, I just, yeah, there’s, you could be so productive in a couple of hours. And so when I was working 16 hours a week, realistically, like that is a lot of time.
Erin Pratt (24:18.163)
16 hours and some nights some weeks it was more of work in the evenings in the weekend So, you know, it’s on average 16 hours some weeks. It’d be more some weeks. It’d be less based on childcare, but There’s also hustle periods with starting up I was you know put a lot of the work in the front end of that to like build the systems and things that I was Using but yeah, it’s just such a wonderful feeling to start making that on your own money
connecting with real people. And the biggest advice I would also give for anyone looking to get into their own business, especially like what we do, or a service provider of any kind, is just talk to people. Bring your business cards around, go into a shop, strike up a conversation, check out their presence online, just talk to people. There’s so much we can do to help each other, and I love collaborating with other business owners with other skillsets. So, yeah, just earning your own money, helping people with…
whatever skills that you have and being true to yourself is the most liberating feeling and not receiving that paycheck from a company every week for work that was not being full. It was a great feeling. It continues to be exciting. It never gets old. I mean, I know I’m like still new to it, but I don’t think it ever gets old to make your money.
I completely agree with that. It is, when you get that, regardless of what the amount is that you get, when you get that first invoice paid from a client that you sought out yourself or someone recommended them to you or recommended you to them, it feels so good because you’re like, just like you said, someone trusted me enough to do this job for them. They were happy with it and I got paid for doing that work.
And I can go out and use this project to get more work and get paid again for doing something good for someone trusting me and all this. And it’s just, it does just, it just feels so good because I think what you said was really, really important is that there’s so much wasted time at corporate jobs and not just corporate jobs. I’ve only ever worked for small businesses and even brick and mortar, small businesses. They have a lot of wasted time too. , because they, they try to.
Erin Pratt (26:21.188)
I think there’s some that try to make this corporate feeling so that they feel more important. And I’m not talking bad about any of them. It’s just that they’re trying to find their place in the business world and they look up to these corporate companies that have billions of dollars behind them or millions of dollars. And it just ends up feeling cold and sterile and forced. So like…
I remember at one of my jobs, we used to have to have these weekly meetings where we would get food catered to us and all this. We’d sit down and hear the owners talk about what was going well in the company and our sales for that week or whatever. I’m like, okay, that’s wonderful, but that’s not impacting me and the job that I’m doing here. I need to be out there actually doing my work or let me go take a break or something. I would do what you were saying.
listening to podcasts, I would listen to podcasts on my way to work. I will listen to them while I was working because we were allowed to have like one headphone in as long as we could hear other people too. , and that was how I got the idea to start my own business was in this downtime at my job. , and I was like, okay, we can do this. Like other people are obviously doing this because I was listening to podcast stories of, , other people building their businesses all around the world, doing different things.
Erin Pratt (27:37.479)
Thanks for watching!
services, product based businesses. I mean, there’s so many different avenues that you can take. And it was so inspiring to hear, hear how other people were doing it. And I do think that’s one of the things that inspired me to create my own podcast and have a platform for women to share their stories like this, because before listening to those podcasts, I had no clue. Like I had no clue about entrepreneurship. I had no clue what it was like to run your own business. Cause I didn’t have anyone in my life personally that was doing that.
So I had no one to look up to. And I mean, I think podcasts have been a really, really great resource for people to see that this alternative lifestyle, if you want to call it that, is even a possibility.
Erin Pratt (28:41.983)
Oh my gosh, I so agree with that. And it’s, it’s a testament to you for starting this up and, , and just showing the real conversations behind stories behind the people who are doing these things. And, , I think there’s, there’s some, some downsides to like the whole social media movement. I’m actually reading a book right now called digital minimalism, which is really interesting about kind of like being minimalist about your digital use. , but without social media and podcasts.
Erin Pratt (29:09.367)
I don’t know that I would know this is a possibility because similar to you, there’s not a lot of people in my family who are starting their own businesses and especially not in this way of service providers. There’s like a, you know, I have like a therapist in my family and different things like that, but starting your own business and really like feeling confident that it will succeed. And it’s, you know, it’s a risk, but it’s like something that people are doing and being really successful. And in fact, I think…
through either real estate or owning your own business are the ways to achieve real wealth, not necessarily working for a company. And so it gives you that, I think that’s, it’s so important to show these, behind the scenes of how people got here. And the more different stories you hear, the more you’ll relate to them or find something that you relate to and it creates that path for you. So I think representation on this, and especially women and busy moms who don’t even think it’s possible.
to make money while also raising their kids. I plan on homeschooling my girls and I plan on making a lot of money. I want both of those things for our family and making a big impact and creating wealth for myself that I can then spread on to other small business owners. And I don’t think there’s…
I’m not afraid to talk about wanting to acculate wealth for my family and also do really good things with that money. All of these things can simultaneously exist and coexist. I am so grateful that you and others who are sharing these podcasts and putting in the time and effort to do them because I know it’s so much effort and time to put these together. But it’s literally changing people’s lives. It changed my life. Listen to other people’s stories.
Well, I appreciate that. I feel the same way. And that’s why I continue to do this is that I think people’s stories, especially women’s stories need to be out there so that we’re hearing, you know, that these things are possible. And you mentioned wanting to homeschool your kids. So I want to talk about that a little bit. How do you plan on integrating that into your already busy schedule as an entrepreneur?
Erin Pratt (31:17.103)
That’s a great question. So right now I am primarily a service provider where I work one-on-one with clients. And that means that I’m tied to deadlines and achieving work in a timely manner and delivering a product at the end of that. And I don’t want to not do that anymore.
But my goal as my girls get older, they’re still very young right now, just three and a half and two, but as they start approaching five, four, five, six years old, we’re gonna be getting deeper into homeschooling and actually having a schedule with morning routines and field trips and all of that. So I plan on still continuing my job, but I’m gonna cut down on the amount of clients I take on one-on-one. So I’m hoping to achieve like half the client load that I currently have, maybe take no more than one client a month.
potentially less than that. What I’m building on the side of this right now is passive income streams. And I think this is something that I love teaching a lot of my clients. And also, I put together an online course recently about how to become a fully booked entrepreneur. And in some of the later modules that I put together, I talk about two things that are outside of for service providers being fully booked. The next thing is diversifying revenue streams so that you don’t always have to be.
fully booked, that you’re having income coming in from a variety of places. And that can look like creating online courses, digital products, you know, templates. , there’s lots of different ways that people can create passive income streams. And so I plan on building a website template shop. I plan on, , for further continuing my online education courses. I got a master’s in education because I wanted to become an earth science teacher at one point in my life.
Erin Pratt (33:01.331)
And during all this corporate hullabaloo, I took a break and went to school and I was tutoring part-time. And so I have lots of different interests. I realized that not all of them have to be monetized. Some of them are just for fun. But I was planning on being a teacher, a high school teacher. And so I come from a family of teachers. And so it’s very in my nature to share what I’m learning and to teach others. And so I see that path for my business is to slow down my client load to a more manageable amount with just a couple of few clients a year.
get really deep into their work. And then on the side of that, promote online courses to teach other people how to start up these service-based businesses. I’m so passionate about helping people get that blueprint. Here’s how you do engagement marketing. Here’s what your website needs to have. Here’s resources for the website, you know? And then teaching them about passive income and also how to thrive through it all. I incorporate a lot of my wellness background into like.
Erin Pratt (33:54.211)
Why did you start the business in the first place? It’s probably not to work 80 hours a week. So let’s find real structure to making the most of your time, diversifying your revenue streams and making money while you sleep that like old, you know, old adage. And so I launched my course in, , in September and it was really awesome to create this product that was a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but I now have a product that I can continue to sell and promote over and over again.
Erin Pratt (34:20.711)
I’m relaunching it in January. I’ll relaunch it again next year and then it’ll be evergreen. So that’s how I plan to do this. And so hopefully I will cut down my work time to like one full day a week to work on website specific website stuff. And then, you know, an afternoon here and there to continue marketing some of my online products and host free webinars and things like of that nature. So and then as my girls get older and more independent.
I’ll have a little more time to continue working on my business. So I might be doing something else at that point. It’s just a constant evolution, but that’s really, I think diversifying where you’re getting money and setting up these, , digital products or systems, , teaching what you do with clients and packaging that up in a way that can be. You know, kind of multiply without putting in extra work and just, it reaches more and more people, , is another great way to create money for yourself without, without having to put in that time investment as well.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think what you’re doing is so smart because you’re starting out with a service skill and then you’re taking that to create these passive income offers. And I think a lot of people think of passive income and they’re like, that’s what I want my business to be, just like from the get-go. And there are some people that do that, but I think it is so much more, it’s much more wise to start with your marketable skill and use that well. And then…
build up that audience so that you have someone to sell these offers to, and then you can start making passive income. Because I think a lot of people get tripped up when they create a course or a workbook or whatever it is that they’re wanting to sell. And then they just like post on Instagram a couple of times a week, here it is, but they don’t have an audience to sell it to. Then they’re disappointed and they’re like, well, this online business thing doesn’t work. And it’s like, no, you just don’t have the structure, the foundation to build that.
passive income on. So I think what you’re doing is really smart.
Erin Pratt (36:15.471)
Yeah, passive income is not easy. I mean, for the most part, like you think, Oh, I’ll just make a million dollars off of digital products. It’s like, there’s a, there’s a crowded space out there, but there’s space for everybody. And so yes, to your point, you have to, you have to do it in the right order and you have to build up your reputation and your reach first. So you have to give a lot of free value and show that you’re knowledgeable and do the things that you’re trying to teach for a while. , so that’s why I’m not going to be giving away my, you know, I love working on websites and working one-on-one with clients. I’m just going to slowly,
Erin Pratt (36:48.023)
slow down that load and bp up my income, you know, based off cutting clients, hopefully slowly by adding in some of these digital products and continuing to grow my business and my audience size as well, because yeah, I mean, your reach matters a lot and how many eyeballs you get on your stuff really does equate to more revenue. And so it’s a slow, it’s a long game, but it is possible and it’s achievable for people who…
who stay dedicated and stick the course and do it in their own way. I mean, I have so many ideas, but I also want to close my laptop and go to the beach with my girls and enjoy my life. And so my barometer for like success in my business is not truly just only financial, although it’s been, you know, it’s been strong in terms of what I was hoping to make in the realistic hours I’m working, it’s been good. But I also want that lifestyle, not just to be glued to my computer all the time. So sometimes I have to remind myself like,
Erin Pratt (37:45.255)
cut it off. I know your brain’s going a million miles a minute, but it’s now time to make pancakes and dance in the kitchen, you know? So, they’re all my girls are a good reminder to kind of ground me back into not just working all the time.
Yep. On that note, as brand and website designers, we see the like back end of our clients’ businesses. And I mean, we end up seeing a lot of like CRMs, email marketing platforms, different things like that. Obviously, their websites. So talking about like doing things in the right order, building that foundation, what do you see that your clients have done really well?
the ones that are like most successful, what did they all have in common as far as these foundational things that they’re doing? And what do you see that some of them could improve upon?
Erin Pratt (38:38.475)
Yeah, great questions. So for the ones that are doing well and successful and continuing to scale their business and potentially even adding on the people who have additional team members, the common threads between those people is consistency. So they are consistent in whatever it is they’re doing. And I think one of the things that we…
some people try to put out a lot of output quickly and then it becomes unsustainable. So I’m going to blog all the time or I’m going to post every day on Instagram. You have to create a plan to be consistent. So it’s not about necessarily how much content you’re putting out there. It’s about being consistent with it. So if it’s, you know, creating that schedule for yourself. So I think it’s important to be
Erin Pratt (39:25.259)
active in these online spaces and specifically like not all of them but choosing one or two that you could be really consistent on whether that’s email marketing consistently putting out emails and growing your audience or consistently having a social media strategy To show your brand grow your audience share your story. I think is really important showing the han behind the business So that’s part of it is like the brands that I come across that come to me and there’s no
picture in their social media profile, they don’t have any about info on their website. Like that’s a big mistake for most, for most businesses. This generation of buyers is not looking to buy from faceless agencies or organizations. And so that’s always the first thing I recommend people to inject personality, show who you are and put that story out there of who you are, what your business is all about, what your mission is, what you’re here to do. So for those brands that are
Erin Pratt (40:23.267)
sharing that story, sharing personality, and connecting with their audience. That tends to be one of the things that drives success to book more clients or have your products purchased. You want to show what makes you stand out apart from the rest in your own unique way. The other thing I would say that they definitely are doing is they have some sort of funnel. And it’s not just that they have a website and they want you to get in touch with them. You have to have a hook. You have to have
You know, they’re offering free value. They’re offering something out there for free a free call a free You know PDF of some guide of some sort I’ve seen them do cute little like free coffee chats or you know website designers could do free audits or whatever it might be but have something to incentivize people to Start a relationship with you if they’re not ready to buy right now and they have email lists They might be hosting free webinars things like that
Erin Pratt (41:20.959)
And so those would be the two big things that I see the most successful businesses doing, being consistent with what they’re putting out there, showing their kind of story through that, having a personality, and then having some sort of really strategic funnel to grow and nurture a relationship with their audience, which will eventually turn into buyers. The things that they’re not doing well would be, again, having these really faceless…
Brands from an outside perspective if they have a brand at all, you know, like so many people don’t really have these brands They just have a generic website or maybe no website at all So it definitely be as a website designer like get a website get a Google business, you know Put your information out there. It’s gonna sell for you 24-7 And also, , I Think white-knuckling or trying to DIY every aspect of your business is a mistake that a lot of business owners make and
Erin Pratt (42:14.755)
Not a mistake, I think, you know, I’m definitely a DIYer. I did almost everything myself, but again, the change that happened with Ivy Lynn Studio, my business right now, is I knew I couldn’t do it all myself. And so very quickly, I brought on someone to help me with setting up QuickBooks. I hired somebody to help me with setting up my Depsado CRM and Notion to get the back end of my business built out. I hired somebody to help me with social media for a period of time.
And I also worked with a VA to help me with some of the back end of my online course for a period of time So I knew that with 16 hours a week and a heavy client load and two girls who need me all the time If I want to build this business, I need support So you can’t do it alone and there’s a time to hire people or you know Even if it’s just a contractor for a few hours, but I think white knuckling everything you’re never gonna grow You’re also not leveraging your best skill sets, which generally is
The revenue generating part of your business is what you need to do. So the, you know, putting your name out there, , actually doing the service, if that’s what you want to do or hiring team members to help you with that. I did work with somebody who helped me optimize some of my mobile sites and my website to give me some extra time back. , so it’s kind of the flip side, like the businesses who are doing things well are leveraging that support are filling in the gaps of like, I’m not great at.
setting up the workflow of a CRM because I just don’t have the time to do that. I’m a little bit more creative rather than a strategic methodology, but I have a great friend of mine who has a business who does that and I hired her. I happily handed that money over because I knew that this system is going to save me time and money. The people that I work with that I see are doing really well have those support systems. It can also be trades if you don’t have the money. Now you trade your skills, but those would be the main themes I see from.
Erin Pratt (44:02.587)
from the businesses who are doing well versus the ones who are maybe needing extra support.
oh, Aaron are you still talking?
Erin Pratt (44:28.151)
No, I’m done. What?
Okay, okay, it cut out like the last probably sentence that you said and then it was totally silent so I wasn’t sure.
Erin Pratt (44:37.487)
Well, you’re good. Well, it’s okay.
Sorry. All right. Well, now that I can hear you again, let’s talk about hiring for a quick second. I wasn’t planning on talking about this, but I think it’s a really important point brought up is that a lot of people are afraid to outsource things in their business because they want to have control over everything that they’re doing, especially early on. Maybe when you’re first starting out, like within your first couple of months or whatever, you’re obviously not going to be hiring out them because you probably don’t have the funds to.
At what point do you think people should be looking to get help in a specific area of their business, whether it’s website design like what we do, or like you said, with getting Dubsoto set up with the workflows and stuff, because that stuff is really important because it saves you so much time and money in the long run.
Erin Pratt (45:27.023)
Yeah, that’s a great question. And I will preface this by saying I’m not an expert on the right time for everybody’s business, of course. It’s very personal to you, but I think there’s a few common themes that will come up when you know it’s probably the right time to let some things go. And the first most obvious indicator would be that you’re burning out. If you are burning out in your business, it is something’s not working. And so you need to sit down and reflect on
Writing out a list of everything you do day to day and maybe you audit yourself for a week like hour by hour How are you spending your time? What what is taking up the majority of your time and oftentimes gonna be the things that you never Expected you have to do in business which be like managing your books Of course the off-boarding and onboarding of clients if that’s the kind of industry you’re in But we all come into business with like these passions for the thing that we do best and then we realize oh I should have to do everything we have to do marketing and
Yeah, there’s a lot of hats.
Erin Pratt (46:24.999)
A lot of hats. So if you’re finding that there’s not a lot of joy in your business anymore because you are spending your time on all these things that’s starting to burn yourself out or you’re not able to now spend your time booking more clients, you’re not making the money you want to make, or you’re making a lot of money, but any indication that you’re burning out or not finding joy in what you do anymore, you probably want to sit down and write out everything you do.
Erin Pratt (46:53.979)
the things only you can do and being really honest about like, only you can do these things and the rest can potentially be outsourced and then separate those out and see, you know, which would make the most sense to outsource. Maybe you can only outsource one part right now, but either hiring a VA, hiring somebody to help you with, again, the backend setup. It doesn’t have to be like you’re hiring an employee. I don’t have any employees, but I have had contracts with people who can help me for a period of time.
So yeah, just being really honest about like, what are the pieces you can let go of? And also, where are your skills, like you’re not the most skilled in some area of your business, and you could leverage somebody who’s actually probably better than you to do that. And so like, I hired this woman who is really good at books, and she set up my QuickBooks, and we did a one hour call on how to manage my books, and she gave me some coaching, and it was the most efficient use of my time, because I’d never used QuickBooks before.
Could I figure it out? Probably. Would it have taken me way longer to do than just like a two hour experience with this woman? Like, definitely. So, yeah, I think when you’re starting to feel joy being sucked out of your business, burnout, and then there’s two other things. One is that you’re making a lot of money, or you’re like starting to like be able to scale, then you could bring on team members to help you actually continue to go in that direction. So you could continue growing, and maybe you could hire.
Erin Pratt (48:20.635)
people to because you’re getting so many website increase, you can’t do them all yourself, partner with another website designer, you know, that kind of thing. Or if things are like really failing in your business, it might be the hardest moment to like try to fork over money if you’re not making money. But hiring somebody as a mentor or coach or again, trading services could make all the difference because if you’re trying to DIY and figure things out and it’s not working, you could potentially do that for a decade.
versus spending a week with somebody to coach you or a month or whatever it might be, and they’re gonna get you there like that. And there’s all different kinds of place points out there, but I think doing things in isolation is the fastest way to just not be successful. And doing things with others, joining a mastermind, joining free networking groups and just asking questions. Like there’s so many resources out there for both free, all the way up to like hundreds of thousands of dollars. So.
Erin Pratt (49:16.411)
whatever level of support you need in your business, I would definitely say at least get the free support and then grow from there and add on team members because that’s gonna be the best way to scale and grow and not do it yourself, ideally.
Absolutely. That is sage advice. All right. Well, let’s move into some rapid fire questions as we’re getting close to the end here. So I want to talk a little bit. This may not be so rapid fire. It may still be a few minute conversation, but we both offer VIP days, but they’re very different services. So can you tell me about your VIP SEO day? Cause I’m very intrigued to hear about that.
Erin Pratt (49:33.755)
Erin Pratt (49:46.602)
It’s okay. Right? Yeah.
Erin Pratt (49:58.339)
Yes. Yeah. I used to offer VIP website days and I shifted a little bit. I noticed that the website design process that I do and that works best with me and my clients is actually over a period of time. And I know SEO is extremely important. And when I was trying to fit in SEO with the website design process, I decided to separate that part out and offer it as a service because so many people have websites.
that are good right now and they just need to optimize. So I offer these VIP SVA’s for all, go into your existing site and optimize the whole thing to be better found on Google. So, you know, I go through your copy, we’re gonna make edits and tweaks to your copy to be more strategic with putting in those keywords, we do keyword research, I edit alt text and meta descriptions on your pages. So I really optimize that site. So that could be for someone who’s not my client, I can optimize.
But of course with my clients, that’s going to be an add-on. So I design their website from a design structure. And then I have the VIK SEO day to go in and optimize the whole site. So I do that all in the span of one day. And then I give them an email at the end of that with ongoing considerations for how to continue to strengthen their SEO, which could look like blog, podcast content, continuing to build up their Google business page, asking for reviews and things like that.
I could do SEO and one day I was finding the website design process was not suitable for me in the one day so I decided to split those two out. Yeah.
I love that. No, that, that makes so much sense because SEO is such a huge part of your website and it does take a lot of time to go through, especially if you have a larger site and dial everything in. So I think that’s, that’s really awesome. My VIP day is it basically took the, , it is like a catchall for all the extra design work that my clients come to me for. So I only do custom web and custom brand as like large projects.
But then everything else, if they have like a launch coming up, like a course launch or Black Friday’s coming up, I know that’s going to be a big one, website template customization, things like that, they all fall into my VIP day. So I think that’s really cool how we’ve got the same, not the same service, but the same type of offer, but they’re so different. So I think that’s really cool.
Erin Pratt (52:21.74)
Yeah, definitely refer people back and forth to each other for that. I think that’s great. Yeah.
Yes, absolutely. That’s exactly what I was thinking because I do more, , website template customization than I do custom web. So I’m thinking in my head, I’m like, okay, once my client gets done with a VIP day, getting their website template customized, send them to you for the SEO to be done. Because that’s something I don’t have time for in those days.
Erin Pratt (52:43.786)
Yeah, that’s totally and it’s a different part of your brain too, you know, like designing it and then actually optimizing it is very different brain piece, brain part.
Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. So that’s so cool. All right. Let’s get into a couple more questions. What is your favorite non-work related thing to do?
Erin Pratt (53:05.239)
Oh, I have so many, but the most recent one, I’ve always loved art and I am really getting into sketching and painting. And so for Christmas, I’m already working on a little desktop calendar. I’m gonna give all my family and friends with a little like sketch or pretty painting for that month and I’m gonna print it all through Canva and give these little desktop calendars. So I’m like, it’s taking a course and also bought a book on gouache paint and I follow a bunch of artists and yeah, that’d be like my.
Erin Pratt (53:31.875)
If I wasn’t doing website design, I would want to be an artist. So I’m kind of like working on that. We’ll see. So we’ll see where that leads.
That’s so fun. Now I love that so much.
Erin Pratt (53:39.943)
That’s really, it’s great. That’s a position to the screen time. I’m always on my computer as a website designer, so I need something that’s on screen related.
So I originally went to college for my first degree was for graphic design, but it was a bachelor of fine arts degree. So I took like 10 different fine arts classes and I loved it. But I ended up going down the design route and I really miss drawing and painting. And we did what was it like chalk pastels. That was one of my favorite classes to take. It was so much fun.
Erin Pratt (54:02.254)
Erin Pratt (54:14.688)
Oh, amazing. Oh, I love that. It goes really well with the online actually because it is like, we’re, you know, we’re kind of artists on the web. And so I was like, oh, it makes sense to also be an artist on paper. So that’s great. Yeah, it is. It is really nice.
Mm-hmm. Yep, absolutely. It’s also nice to give your eyes a break. All right. So what is a book or a podcast or resource that has helped you along your journey, whether that’s in business or motherhood or something else?
Erin Pratt (54:41.575)
Oh, well, podcast that has transformed me in my business is the Gold Digger podcast by Jenna Kutcher. So I love the episodes. They’re very actionable. She provides a lot of insight. And then in terms of a book, I really highly recommend for anyone who wants to attract more money and create more wealth for themselves and their family. I mentioned it earlier, but it’s You’re a Badass at Making Money, believe is the title by Jen Cinchero. She also has a book called You’re a Badass.
Mmm. Love her.
Erin Pratt (55:11.463)
They’re very funny, but like really like life, like eye-opening, life-transforming books. I listen to them on audio and then I bought the actual physical copies. I highly recommend them.
Awesome. I’ve heard those recommended a couple of times, so I’m going to have to actually get on the ball and buy those. All right now before we have you tell everyone where they can find you and hire you and all that. What does being a homemaker in business mean to you?
Erin Pratt (55:28.903)
Wow, that’s really, really good, yeah.
Erin Pratt (55:43.491)
It’s a harmonious blend of being a present and playful and peaceful mother to my children, as well as being an impactful entrepreneur, helping transform the lives of other women around the world in order to do the same thing that I’ve been able to achieve for myself. While also inspiring my girls, I think for a unique path they can take if they want in the future.
I love that. That was so eloquent. All right, Erin, well, I have loved having you on today. It’s been so much fun talking to you. So can you just tell everyone where they can find you now, connect with you online, hire you, get to know you better, all that.
Erin Pratt (56:13.248)
You’re so sweet.
Erin Pratt (56:20.263)
Erin Pratt (56:26.983)
Absolutely. So my business name is Ivy Lynn Studio. So you can find me on ivylinstudio.com. I’m on Instagram and Facebook at Ivy Lynn Studio. And those would be the best places to connect with me and chat. I do free audits and just free chats with anybody who’s looking for support in their business. And yeah, look forward to just staying in touch with you too and hopefully collaborating on some projects soon.
That would be so much fun. Thank you so much again.
Erin Pratt (56:56.127)
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
Thanks for tuning in to the Homemakers in Business Podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please:
Simply put, I’m a graphic designer that specializes in brand identity design and Showit website design - arguably the most important aspects of your business! I live in central Alabama with my high school band directing hubby, Thomas, on our modest homestead in the country.
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