These days, many of us as web design freelancers and web business owners are mostly working from home and balancing work/home life balance.
For those of us who are “parentpreneurs,” this comes with a slew of challenges and struggles.
To take it one step further, those who are “mompreneurs” have even a greater set of challenges while building a business, getting work done and oh yeah, raising little humans.
I know my wife as a stay-at-home Momma has a FULL PLATE with our two young daughters so I can’t imagine doing that along with building a business.
And for that reason, I wanted to pick the brain of a young Momma who’s doing just that and is thriving while doing it!!
In this episode, mompreneur web designer Jennifer Ellsworth shares her top tips for balancing life as a work-from-home mom while also managing designing websites and building her online web design business.
While she shares a lot of practical tips for Moms, all these lessons learned also apply to Dads as well so this episode isn’t just for the ladies 🙂 I learned a lot from this chat and had many takeaways as I know you will too.
P.S. Even if you’re not a parent, there are still so many gems here on how to balance work and life while working from home with any large time commitments!
In this episode:
00:00 – Introduction
03:45 – Greeting to Jennifer
06:22 – Take the energy from 9-5
09:18 – Interesting points
11:31 – A list of challenges
13:30 – Budgeting time
15:09 – Willpower to say “no”
17:01 – Boss & employee conflict
20:43 – Be flexible
23:39 – Realistic time strategy
26:40 – How to balance clients
31:00 – Handling an influx to nothing
35:39 – Determine the right client
40:27 – Understand the “why”
48:10 – Tackling a single goal
49:15 – Some coaching by Josh
59:14 – Final thoughts
Connect with Jennifer:
- Website – Jennifer Ellsworth
- Jennifer Ellsworth | LinkedIn
- Jennifer|Branding + Web Design • Instagram
- Jennifer Ellsworth | Facebook
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #171 Full Transcription
Hey friends before we dive into this episode, I wanted to make sure you knew I just launched a brand new challenge on how to boost your web design revenue. This is a completely free 10 day challenge, you can get access to it right now at Josh hall.co/challenge. Every day for 10 days, I’ll send you a quick video with an actionable tip that you can apply to your website in your business immediately. That’s going to help you boost your web design revenue. So if you would like that, get it right now at Josh hall.co/challenge.
Hello, fine friends. Welcome into the podcast. This is Episode 171, where we’re gonna hone in on this episode on what it’s like being a work from home mom printer. Now for those of you who are like myself who are not moms, but were dads were dadpreneurs or pair printers. Or even for those of you who are not yet a parent, but want to be one day and work from home and balanced family life. This episode is still for you. You’re going to take so many takeaways from this episode just like I did. However, I did want to talk with somebody who is killing it being a mompreneur.
My guest in this episode, Jennifer Ellsworth is doing just that. She’s a young mom. But she’s doing such a great job. And she’s such a shining example of how to run and build a web design business, all while balancing being a mompreneur. And I learned so much from this episode. And I have so much respect for moms in particular, because let’s just face it, and I can say this as a dad and as a dude, we have a different set of challenges than moms do when it comes to little ones.
Now, my wife is a stay-at-home mom. And I will tell you, we have two little girls, I know that she has the harder job between the two of us. She is raising our daughters day in day out week after week, month after month. And yes, I work from home. And I love it. But she is there constantly. And for all of you mompreneurs out there who are balancing building a business and raising a little ones. I salute you. And you can’t see me right now. But I am trying to give my most honest, and integral salute because it’s challenging, but you can do it.
And Jennifer in this episode is going to share what she’s learned as a young mom to balance work life and working from home building a business getting stuff done for clients on time. I so enjoyed this episode, Jennifer was a blast to talk to and I think you’re going to learn so much as well. So super excited for you again, for those of you particularly if you’re mompreneurs. But even those of you who are dead printers are eventually going to be parents are going to be parents.
Now, before we dive into this episode, one thing regardless, that you can do as a parent printer to help you when it comes to work life balance and keeping some stable income going is to build your hosting and maintenance plan. That is called recurring income if you have not started building your recurring income, or if it’s a little flat, and you would love to build more solid recurring income. My website maintenance plan course is open and ready for you right now. So you can join that today. And I’ll help you craft your perfect hosting and website maintenance plan. That way you can build stable reliable income so you can have a better time balancing work life and home life balance as a mompreneur or apparent printer. Without further ado, here is Jennifer Ellsworth. Let’s have some fun.
Jennifer, welcome on to the podcast. What a pleasure to have you on. Thanks for taking some time out of your day to chat with us here.
Yeah, Josh, thanks for having me.
And we were just chatting before went live. I wanted to make sure I adjust you correctly. Because your names kind of like mine. A lot of people call me Joshua. And I’m like, please, please don’t call me Josh. I want to go by Josh. But you actually like Jennifer. So I’m glad we got that all set up right before the intro here. So I’m really excited to chat with Jennifer, we I think we have a lot of commonalities and a kinship just because we’re both parent printers. But before we were chatting before went live, there’s a different set of probably challenges and struggles maybe that that mompreneurs in particular go through.
So I’m really excited to dive in to see what you’ve learned being a mompreneur. And I’ve got a lot of students who are, you know, wanting to become mompreneurs or wanting to work from home or are currently working with kids. So I’m super excited. Before we dive in. Do you want to let everybody know first off where you’re based out of? And then when you have any other mom friends when they ask you? What do you do? What do you tell them?
Yeah, so I’m Jennifer. I am a branding and web designer from Gilbert, Arizona, and I primarily work with beauty entrepreneurs and when People ask me what I do. I pretty much say that I help a beauty entrepreneurs get out of their DMS and spend more time working on the things in their business that actually matter. So no more selling in the DMS, get a website that actually works for you. Yeah.
Nice. So so your background? Did you start with social media and in that industry, and then start to learn web design? Can you just give us a little context of them really interested in that?
Yeah, so I actually started working for Bluehost, and their blue sky WP live program. And they were a department where entrepreneurs were building their own websites, and they would call anytime that they wanted. And they would have someone like me direct them on exactly what they’re trying to do. And they could be trying to achieve a variety of different things. Whether that was, hey, how do I move this image here? Or, you know, how do I add an entire ecommerce store? So that’s really where I got started was doing it nine to five.
Okay, gotcha. And then when I’m sure we’ll we’ll talk about the beginning of the mompreneur journey here. Because that you have a podcast that at the time of recording, you only have one episode. But I know you’re you’ve got some in the pipeline to continue that going. I listened to that. And it was about mom mompreneur ship, if that’s the word. But lead lead us up to that point, before you came a mom, what did the journey into web design look like? Right there? Like when did you want to start doing it for yourself and start building websites for folks?
It really became both just the practical side of not being able to go back to work and the tug on my heart to want to stay home with my daughter. – Jennifer
Yeah, so in my nine to five, I really just enjoyed talking to entrepreneurs, because I would get to talk to sometimes like 25 of different ones daily. So I really love to just that energy that they were bringing just to my life in general. It was, I had my daughter at a really terrible time, it was March 5 of 2020. So it was like, right after I had her I was on my maternity leave when everything really shut down. And it was after my maternity leave, I was very certain I was going to go back to work. And it became very apparent that that was not going to happen, you know, daycares were closed. And it really became both just the practical side of not being able to go back to work and the tug on my heart to want to stay home with my daughter, that I really was able to take what I had learned in my nine to five that I love so much, and build my own business with that.
That’s awesome. So it sounds now was there an inkling of thinking about doing that? Before you got to that point like that? Just reaffirm your thoughts? Or did that really catch you off guard? The idea of you know, being a stay-at-home mom printer?
Yeah. Oh, no, I, I loved what I did. And I knew this was something I could do on my own. And I think I don’t know if I would ever have taken the LEAP if it wasn’t for COVID, and even having my daughter. So I’m really like, thankful that that timing really lined up really right for me to be able to take the leap into that. And when you talk to entrepreneurs all day, and they’re you’re watching them, like the firsthand struggle of them trying to build their own website, and it’s all WordPress. So they’re learning how to do Divi and WP bakery and Elementor. And they’re just struggling and you’re like, you know, there’s such an easier option for them to have someone who is their one go to person that could build it all out for them.
Yeah. So that kind of was the the genesis of you thinking about doing this for other clients? If you already did you already have your kind of target market defined early on?
I did not. So when I first started my business, I was really just whoever wants a website, I will gladly build it for you. And it wasn’t until very recently that I really went down the beauty entrepreneur route when I saw a real need for that, especially in my local area.
Okay, and I’m asking this because I think it gives some context when you are work from home web designer and entrepreneur, it’s like, if you’re really defined in one market, you kind of know where those people are, whether it’s just online or in certain events that are in person, obviously, it’s a little bit different right now. Or if you’re a generalist, it’s like, like I said, I’ll take anyone, anywhere, whatever, I’ll build your website. And then there’s a ton of different strategies for that. So that’s really interesting to hear about how you kind of which it’s really common, Jennifer, I think like, all web designers pretty much kind of just fumble into their businesses, and then we end up seeing what what we like to do and see what works and then the options are endless.
And you’re hitting on some interesting points already quick, cuz I feel a little conflicted with everything that’s happened over the past couple years, because COVID has honestly been amazing for web designers, and a lot of online entrepreneurs. And it is weird, isn’t it? Like I don’t know if you felt that but I feel so lucky and privileged that and I’m sure you do as well that we’re in an industry where we were able to stay home with our little ones. I have two little daughters. You just have the one right?
Yes, yeah, the one
Right now. So like we’re in industry where a web design we can do whatever we want and work from home and focus on our strengths. So it’s kind of a weird feeling, isn’t it? Like, despite the the weird thing that’s happened in the past couple years for us, I think I guess on the same token, though, like, we have made the best of a situation, I feel like and it sounds like you did, too, you made the best of that situation, becoming a mom and providing for your daughter and making the best of the situation where you couldn’t go back in exactly what office?
Yeah, I completely agree. It’s definitely an oxymoron. But looking back, it’s, it’s like a whole whirlwind. But it’s so amazing all at the same time. So,
So bring us back to like, like, so spring 2020, new mom, you decide that you want to stay home with her totally understand. Obviously, the situation kind of helps enforce that big and I’m not sure what that would have looked like, if you could have gone back to the office. But I, I know a lot of mompreneurs who have that option to go back. And they’re like, after spending six weeks at home or whatever. I really liked this. I mean, in some I know some moms really want to get back to a work environment as well and balanced both. And that’s cool, too. But for those who do want to be at home as much as they can, web design provides a really amazing opportunity for us.
So yeah, like, I guess we’ll get into some more of the tactics for you know, advice and what you’ve learned, it might be worthwhile starting with some of the challenges that you faced working from home, which I think are probably pretty obvious. I’m a parent printer. But again, it’s a little different as a mom, if even like tech leave your if you’re breastfeeding, and you got calls, and then there’s everything else that’s going on, like, what were some of the challenges early on, when you started.
I think for me the challenges were not realizing how many seasons you’re going to go through, because you’re going through two sets of growing pains at the same time, you know, your child’s growing, and they’re growing very fast. But also as an entrepreneur, you typically have a business that is growing just as fast as your child. So you’re trying to keep up with both. Some of the like, more mundane struggles was I it was really easy at first, because when they’re newborn, they sleep a lot, and you know exactly what they need when they cry. And it’s very easy to get like a set schedule of I can get easily four hours of work done in a day. And that’s all I really need.
And then they start getting more mobile. And then you’re like, oh, no, where am I going to fit in this time. So I think time is a huge struggle and working around that has been definitely a learning curve. But also very helpful. Because it’s also taught you taught me a lot in terms of, you know, working when you can.
That is a biggie with, with being a parent printer in general. And I’ve, it was interesting, I think probably you know, this, Jennifer, but I was work from home entrepreneur before having kids. So I already kind of got a little use that work life balance, as far as working from home. But a lot of people this comes as a shock, especially when you have kids because I was kind of used to working in segments, instead of just a nine to five. But that’s different for a lot of people, particularly if they come from from a corporate world. So I think you nailed it as a parent printer, working in segments, and then a shorter bursts of time is it’s gonna it’s what’s going to happen.
You talked, you talked about in your first podcast episode about that idea of getting a lot done in a short amount of time. Let’s dive into that. Because this is key. It’s like, okay, I’ve got four hours. Part of me feels like for a lot of people that would be really daunting, like, how can I run a business with four hours a day? If somebody asks you that question, or is thinking about that? What would you say to them? If you’ve got four hours, what’s your advice to get the most out of that time,
I would say you’re gonna get done what you need to get done in the time you give yourself to get it done. If you give yourself four hours to get it done, you’re going to take four hours on that one project. But if you give yourself an hour, you’re going to get it done in an hour, especially being a mom, entrepreneur, you really don’t have a lot of time. So when you sit down to work, you really need to be strategic on what you’re working on. And what is actually going to move the needle further in your business, what’s actually going to progress you along and help your clients and help your business like inward facing as well.
And how did you determine that because that’s a, that’s a great point. But it’s tricky, especially when you’re early on. And it depends on your you’re not used specifically Jennifer, but just for anyone when they’re starting this, it’s like depending on your your background, you may know your strengths, if you’ve already been in different positions or had different businesses. But for those new to business, you might have to find your strengths. So like how did you determine what were the right things to focus on? And what were what were the things that move the needle for you?
Well, it’s it definitely was trial and error, because there is always going to be time, especially when you’re new in your entrepreneurship journey that you’re gonna waste a lot of time on things that maybe don’t make a lot of sense. There’s been times where I spent hours like perfecting an onboarding process with no clients to onboard, you know, and that doesn’t really do any good. So a lot of it is definitely trial and error, and a lot of it is what do I absolutely need to get done right now. Is it going to serve me well to play around with my website for 45 minutes, or do I really need to be getting this is, you know, all set up to launch. So just really asking those important questions and having a lot of willpower to say no to the things that aren’t going to serve you in your business in that moment.
That’s well said, and you just nailed everyone Sure everyone listening, being that everyone here, web designers and web entrepreneurs, everyone’s like, guilty, we’re just tinkering around, I still have to catch myself doing that I’m like, I need to stop tinkering, I just need to get this done and move. And it does seem like it becomes muscle memory after a little while, it’s like you start to you kind of refine, refine how you think about priorities and stuff I’ve felt like, so now I can generally catch myself pretty quick. But yeah, in the early days, you could blow three hours tinker around with your website footer, and no clients gonna care, like, it’s not that big of a deal, or something you can do in the future when you have some more time or something.
So that’s a really, really good, really good call. Now, maybe taking it one level deeper when it comes to the priority of stuff, something I asked myself, and it sounds kind of weird, but I think when you have kids, you realize you just have a lot more to pay for. So I always ask myself, what’s gonna fill the bank account quickest? And I think it’s an interesting strategy. I don’t necessarily always going to that. But when you’re in a point where like, Okay, I’ve got four hours, what is going to get a payment through? Did you ever think about it like that? Or what were some of the metrics that you use to, to help you, you know, again, kind of figure out the priority on a maybe a deeper level.
For me, it was really separating the mindset because as our own, like, We’re our own bosses, we really get to make up our own time. And with that comes a lot of power that sometimes ourselves we want to use, because it’s easy to say, Oh, I’m the boss, I can put this off until tomorrow, or this is my own business, I don’t really need to do this right now, when in reality, there’s two separate mindsets as entrepreneurs you really need to have. And that’s, you’re the boss, and you make the game plan of what needs to get done. But then it’s also up to you as the employee to follow through on those things that need to get done. So when I’m an employee mode, I’m an employee know that I’m getting things done. I’m punching things out on the list that the boss told me to do, you know, that morning, or that week, when I was planning my weekend ahead? Yeah, yeah.
So does. I’m just imagining Jennifer, going in boss mode and talking to employees. And then somebody on the other side of the wall, we’re like, Oh, my God, she’s talking to herself and welcome to entrepreneurial life, we, you’re right. Do you have to like I, you do have to kind of become your own boss. I know a lot of people want to start their own business to not have a boss anymore. And in a weird way, it’s like, well, now you have to kind of become your own boss, because somebody has got to decide what to do, and make sure it gets done. That’s a really good point.
Now, I’m curious at this point in your journey, when you when you started being a generalist designing websites and stuff. Did you have a we don’t need to talk exact numbers. But did you have a financial goal in mind that you felt like you wanted to hit that helped you with prioritizing and figuring out how to set up your business? Or what was? What did what did the goals look like for you, you know, early on, when you started?
I think, early on, I didn’t have any financial goals in mind. And my guy goals were not strategic at all, at all, it was just based on kind of like, what I was seeing around me and what I thought would be nice to eventually achieve. And my goal really was just to have clients and clients lined up for several months. That was my goal when I first started.
Okay, and did you. So you think about clients instead of like, I want to make you know, 50,000 this year or something? Did you have like a fallback plan? Or what did you give yourself a window of time to become a mompreneur and see how long you could do this? This is a really interesting point where a lot of people will give themselves like, if they’ve got some savings, they might give themselves three months to get a few clients or to make a certain number, what did that look like at that point for you?
But for me, it wasn’t I did not give myself any kind of time frame, which going back, I think I would have been much more strategic, it probably would have kicked my butt into gear a whole lot faster if I would have. But I was also very thankful that my husband worked full time from home as well. So he really helped me in the launching and supporting that business. So it was it Gotcha. It didn’t feel pressing, to have any kind of income coming in immediately.
And that is a biggie when it comes to making the leap on your own depending on the situation that you’re living situation. I was I was curious about that. I was going to be my next question was, is it just you and your daughter or do you have you know, some help there so yeah, with with the spouse in the picture, to help offset some of that beginning time, that’s that’s great. And to have that luxury is awesome. But I think you’re right for the folks who may be take a jump and they are the breadwinner, or they are, they only have a certain amount of time, getting really tactile on priority time. All those are crucial. So that’s a great point. Now, you mentioned stages, kind of teased on that a little bit, just the different stages that you go through as a mom or the kids. How old your little one now?
She will be two in March.
Okay, so we’re recording this January 2022. So I think this episode probably come out around March, maybe february, march. I’ve got three, I’ve got a three year old and a two year old. And I definitely know what you mean by the different seasons, where sometimes it’s just complete chaos. You actually, my girls are running around right now. So you might hear them outside my door. Almost two years into it, what have you learned about how to manage these different seasons as they change and grow up and sleep less? What does that look like for you?
It is really just being flexible. And no matter what season they’re in having non negotiables the things that I want to do just day to day with my daughter. And sometimes though, those are gonna come before work every time because at the end of the day, you know, I love running my web design business, but I’m doing it also so I can be with her full time. So in terms of just sorry, can you ask the question again?
Well, I was just kind of curious, like, how I guess, uh, yeah, it wasn’t a great question. That’s on me. I guess the better question is, have you had to adjust your day in your schedule, depending on like, the different nap times or the sleep schedules? That’s kind of what I’m curious about? Yeah.
Yeah, I’ve had to adjust a lot. So like I said, when she was a newborn, super easy to work, because they, they sleep all the time, I really ran into a lot of struggle around like the eight to 12 month mark, because they’re very mobile, they’re into everything. And then that season, it really was working on her naps, or working early in the morning, I’m still a morning person. So I prefer to wake up at five and get like an hour to work done. And just working on her naps. And it it’s really upsetting when they drop that second nap, and then they only go down to one. And then you’re run into a whole new challenges again. So it really is just comes down to a lot of flexibility and just getting it done when you can.
And you and hopefully the nap start to that one nap starts to stretch out a little more. We I’m pretty I’m blessed with good sleepers, but my oldest is not nap anymore. And my youngest, she takes a good two hour nap in the afternoon. So that’s like, from what I hear. That’s pretty good. Yeah, but I’m curious like so your husband? Does he help out as well? Or Is he is he in a more strict work from home type of role? would help him out with little one.
So Yeah, he helps out so much. There’s times where I have to jump on a call or jump on a meeting and he’s able to help. He actually does website migrations with Bluehost. So we’re kinda like the, we both work in tech. So I’m thankful he has something that’s flexible like that to kind of jump in when I need.
And you can have somebody to talk the same lingo to I know, I recently had one of my students who her husband and her husband and her run their business and yeah, they do a lot of hosting and stuff so they can they can chat about it and they know their clients and because of your husband’s like, what is WordPress that it can be a little that can be a little lonely when you’re at work, you know, a mom printer or or just a parent printer. So that’s good to know. Now, I’m curious as far as like this, what you need to get done what you want to get done per day and per week, do you set those out? Are you pretty like disciplined with I’m going to get these things done to today? And then these things done this week? How have? I guess so yeah. How do you how do you do that and what works for you?
Yeah, I’m pretty disciplined with it, I really tried to do it at the beginning of the week, and just be really realistic with the time that I have. And it’s easy to go in and make that to do list and want to get it all done in that week. But you really do have to be realistic in the time that you have. And right now I’m very thankful that I can make full time income and have like part time hours. So knowing I only have that set amount of hours per week on top of you know, caring for my daughter, I really am strategic on what I set aside to get done. I also leave room for you know, a little bit of like, if a client really needs something that needs to get taken care of. There’s time for that too, which also just helps tremendously stress wise because you don’t want to take away from you know your family either.
I love what you said their full time income part time hours. That’s awesome. Might need to think about changing the title of this episode because that was great. Now, okay, so that’s really cool. I do have a question about like clientele that well. Let’s get to clients in a second before that. Do you structure your days differently? Like do you have certain days for calls and then call days that are no calls? And do you work Monday through Friday? What is your like daily and weekly structure look like?
So I do work Monday through Friday and I don’t have any structure for meetings. Besides the fact that they’re all done on naptime, of course, that’s a given. Other than that I work. You know, in the mornings, I typically work from five to 730, or whenever my daughter wakes up, and then I will take two hours on her nap time, and then two hours in the afternoon. So about about four to six hours a day is what I average.
And it is amazing what you can get done in that time, isn’t it? Like, it’s a lot. I don’t know how many professionals professionals, I know who they’re there for eight hours, and then there’s an hour each of you know, driving to work and commute time. And I’ve asked them before, like, how many hours? Have you ever seen office space, there’s an old like corporate movie where he’s like, I think in a given week, I actually only do 15 minutes of real work. And that’s what a lot of corporate people tell me.
It’s like, I’m there for eight hours. But I think I could probably do it like two and a half. And I actually think that’s what a lot of businesses have found in a post COVID world as a lot of people are now doing either working from home completely or a hybrid approach, if they still want to go into the office and get some stuff done. So it really is amazing. I say that because this is really important. For folks who are going to be parents or moms in particular, you might think if I only have four hours a day, how can I do this, it can be done it 100% can be done, it’s just you’re not gonna waste your time, having eight or nine hours in a day, you can just get it done in four.
Now, with that idea, though, I think that can be really practical for running your own business and doing the work. But here’s a big question I have for you, Jennifer, clients, and marketing, like how are you balance? I guess, to kind of a two part question, how are you getting your clients? And how are you balancing client relationship with actually getting work done?
Yeah, so all of my clients have come from referrals. So when I first started, it was really just saying, Hey, I’m here, I do websites. And as I really started seeing an uptick in my clients in my inquiries was when I was doing like real life networking events. And that was, and they’re typically just small and local. And a lot of them are mom entrepreneurship based. And you get to network with people who are really complementary to your industry. So social media managers, and VAs. And that’s where I saw a lot of the referrals with managing the client, like client projects on top of just date, like the amount of time that I have and making sure that my inward processes are still good, really setting aside time to say, this is the time that I’m going to focus on doing my own marketing or my own social media management, and then the rest of the time is going to be spent on client work. So again, just making sure that time is set aside at the beginning of the week, so it doesn’t get forgotten about.
That’s good. So you do some of your outbound marketing and posts and get all that ready and beginning then have the time to focus on doing the stuff that’s going to pay the bills and client work. And so with these, these were in person groups, is that right? In your area? Even post COVID? There, we’re still meeting in person and stuff?
And do you Did you do any in those type of groups? Did you do any sort of social networking as far as like LinkedIn or anything that were more targeted to those kinds of clients online? Or was it all in person primarily?
It was mostly in person. And then there was a lot of just really casual connection over Instagram, which tends to be where my ideal client is, anyway, the beauty entrepreneur, so I’ll just really casual, and I find that they’re mostly on Instagram.
Well, and this kind of goes back to your first point of, you know, helping the beauty entrepreneurs get out of DMS. And actually just probably, I would imagine face to face relationships and better connections and probably better clients to write like, there’s nothing worse than cold calls in my book. So if you’re like, pitching via direct message or something that is equally as cringy for me, like I, I have zero interest, is that kind of the the mission for you behind all that?
Yeah, so the mission is I was I’m actually a beauty school dropout. So I went to Beauty School right after high school, I thought that was what I absolutely wanted to do. I found out very quickly, it was not. And I that’s kind of when I went with like Bluehost, and the whole web coaching side of it absolutely loved it. And I realized looking back that in beauty school, they really don’t give you a lot of the tools that you need to able to be able to market yourself or sell your services efficiently. And there, I just saw a huge gap in that industry. A lot of these girls are on Instagram, taking these amazing before and after photos and their inboxes are absolutely inundated with inquiries wanting their services, but no real funnel to funnel those potential clients through.
Well, and then the danger becomes they don’t have a website, as you probably know, and I imagine that you you know preach to them is it’s all in the control of Instagram or a platform that we don’t own or control or could go down and we have nothing we can do like the importance of having a website and a place to funnel all that stuff is key.
So I mad. Yeah, that definitely makes sense when I’m just thinking, like, my wife follows so many influencers and stuff. And it actually says that now too. She’s like, Oh, her website’s terrible. Like, they don’t even have a website. Or like some, especially now with just such a polarize world we’re living in like, you have to be careful what you say, because some of these people’s livelihood is on a YouTube channel, or on an Instagram channel. And if you don’t own your content, who knows? Who knows what can happen? So I think the importance of that is huge for any social media influencers and stuff like that.
Now, how soon was it when you started getting your clients? How old was your little one when that started happening? Because I mean, those first few months, you’re sleep deprived? I know, I can say this, my wife would tell you like her hormones are all over the place after giving birth those first few weeks, like, were you? Did you get kind of past some of the first newborn stuff before you started getting clients? Or did you go right at it when you started having when you had your baby?
So I had three clients off the bat and that newborn stage, and then it was between that really, like, terrible eight to 12 month stage where I actually had a season of no clients.
Yeah, that is very common, by the way.
I that happened to me. And I swear, that happens to for whatever reason, a lot of my students, they have a huge influx at first, and then it just seems to drop for maybe, maybe it’s a couple of weeks, maybe it’s a couple months. But then would you back me up and saying that by sticking with it, it finally turned the corner? I mean, obviously, you’re here. So I imagine it did end up turning that corner, because that seems to be really, really common.
Sticking with it is the hard part, especially as a mom entrepreneur, when you are limited on time, and you’re not seeing results from the time that you’re putting in. – Jennifer
Yeah, it does. And it’s really hard to stick through it. Because there was a season, I think it was six months where I could not get an inquiry. But you’re just you just keep plugging along. And then eventually it all comes full circle. And now I’m able to say that I’m where I want to be where I am booked out for a couple months. But yeah, sticking with it is the hard part, especially as a mom entrepreneur, when you are limited on time, and you’re not seeing results from the time that you’re putting in. It’s really just to really stick with it.
And what about that, that period? Where if and when you do have a down period? What did you do in that time? Did you focus on just refining your systems and just getting better as a designer and copy? Like, what What were you doing during those months where you weren’t just you weren’t getting the leads.
So I did a lot of like refining my own internal processes, and I rebranded and rebuilt my entire website as well. But I think the most beneficial part of that season was I actually invested in a course called booked out designer by Elizabeth McCravy. And I went through that, and it was absolutely phenomenal. And it really just helped me get those clients that I knew were going to come.
Gosh, well, I probably don’t need to say it. But that is crucial. Like when you are in a point where maybe don’t have that many leads use it for personal and professional development. And I know that’s what no one wants to hear when they’re in that season. Because it’s like, I want to fill my bank account right now. And I understand that, but I promise you, if you work on yourself and work on your services, it will pay off and it will turn around and when that the the things start to the tide starts to turn you will exceed that like tenfold. And I I can’t tell you, Jennifer, how many students I have who have been through that. And now they’re like slammed, they’re like…
I started there was a buzz and then kind of went dry for a little bit. And then now I’m slammed. And there might be a lot of reasons for that. I think honestly, that could be just because when you start something, you have a lot of momentum and a lot of buzz, and you might be attract, you know, you might be attracting because you’re kind of putting that out there. And then once you settle in a little bit of stress comes into play, then you’re busy doing work. And this happens in a lot of cases. And I think in Mom and from the case of a lot of moms, they might market a lot at first and be really exciting. And then they’re doing the work and then suddenly, you might not be marketing as much. And that’s why sometimes that that dry spell can happen.
I know that’s not your case. But you know, some really good lessons as far as what to do you know, in that time period. So that’s really good personal development, invest in yourself. Did you view like the course that you went through and stuff like that? Did you make that a project? Because that’s another question a lot of folks have, and including a lot of my students are like, I want to take that course. But I don’t know if I have time right now. How did you like did you make that almost like a project? And you’re a lot of work time to be able to get done with that?
Yeah, I really needed a priority. So with not having clients, I just took the time that I would have been spending working on client projects and put it that time all towards focusing on the course.
Yeah, that’s a good way to go. I’ve always recommended if you’re going to take a course. You got to make it a project and I say that to myself. I’m sitting on one course right now that I started and I didn’t finish on like gosh, now I’m starting to talk to myself. I’m like, get to course done. But I got this. I got this interview Jennifer. So we’re gonna do this first now. That’s really cool. I’m kind of curious than this. There may be maybe some more personal aspects of this being a mom and being a business owner, did you feel that you were viewed differently from any clients? And subsequently did that help you determine like who your ideal clients were?
Because I think most people are cool with people working from home. But I do. And I can’t say for sure on this, because I haven’t really I haven’t really seen this in my networking group or my professional circles. But I would imagine that some business owners might be apprehensive with a mom who is busy with a newborn daughter to take care of their stuff. Did you ever did you ever feel that? I’m not saying I wouldn’t say that, but I’m just wondering, have you ever experienced that?
Yes or no. And I think it really just took a lot of discovering on what clients were right for me, too. And I haven’t seen a lot of hesitancy because I’m a mom, I’ve actually seen more hesitancy because of my age. So I’m 22. So people view me as what like, what do you know, how can you help me, and there comes a lot of struggle with that. And really just determining what clients I mesh well with, and to say, I don’t mesh very well with maybe industries that are more masculine, or, you know, that have a lot of older demographics in them. There’s not a lot of older men who run, you know, really high octane businesses that want to hear web design advice from a 22 year old, and that’s okay. Everybody has, you know, their preferred professional. So I matched well, with a lot of, you know, life coaches, beauty entrepreneurs, and also just other women entrepreneurs in general, because they know what it’s like to be a mom, and they don’t really have a problem with my age, or the fact that I’m a girl, either.
So you started your business while you’re what 20? Is that right?
You started your business, Jennifer, before you can legally drink? Are you kidding me? I, oh, let’s just say if I started a business when I was 20, it would not have gone very well. Definitely not as well. As you’ve done it. Did you did you find that became becoming a mom helped mature you for that? Or do you feel like like, obviously, everyone, you become a parent, you just you mature in so many areas. It’s helped. It’s helped really revamped my mindset with money and priorities and stuff. What about you, you know, being being a mom at 22? That, do you think that I guess the question is, do you think that help you, you know, really grow your business and make it more mature pretty early on?
I think it made me grow my business a lot faster than I would have. Otherwise, I think having the sense of freedom and being able to work from home is something I always wanted, even in high school. So I think I would have taken this leap eventually to do exactly what I’m doing. Now. I think motherhood just pushes you a lot further, a lot quicker. And there’s a lot more motivation that comes from, you know, having a child that you want to do it all for them.
Yeah, yeah. So at 20 of your business, did you go to college or anything? Or what did what did your What did your background education look like?
No. So I did not go to college. And like I said, I was a beauty school dropout. So no college. Yeah, no college beauty school dropout. And I knew graduating high school that college was not right for me. And that’s just I was very comfortable making that choice. I still am very comfortable saying College was the right choice for me. So
Well, I don’t know how long you’ve listened my podcast. But you’ve probably heard me talk about that. I totally agree. Certainly not against college. But it definitely was not right. For me. I went to night classes at a community college, which helped. But I wish I would have just taken online courses from people who are actually doing stuff that would have, you know, expedite the journey.
So yeah, that’s, gosh, I can’t believe you’re only 22 I’m a little upset, Jennifer because, again, I started my business at 23 Well, let’s see. My third I’m 35 now so is that I was actually 20 Yeah, 23 is when I started but I mean I had drum lessons on my business card with websites and MySpace pages. So talk about not in the mature category early on. So you should definitely be proud of yourself with your what you’ve created. You know, at that your age and at your level. That’s awesome.
I personally just on a personal note, I think that’s great. I think I think someone like you would be hindered by academics and you would probably you you could soar a lot higher and a lot faster without anyone holding you back. We’ll put it that way so yes, I love what you’re up to that’s that’s awesome. Man that’s really good. We’ve covered a lot of a lot of great stuff so far with just some of the practicalities and everything when it comes to your your day to day and and all that here.
Here comes one question is it’s it’s a roller coaster being a parent and like you said when you’re Growing and starting a business that is your other baby. And that comes with a lot of different highs and lows. Sometimes those highs and lows intermix with each other. What have you have you found like a driver? And I know you’ve you talked in your podcast episode about knowing your why. And maybe that is just a kid or maybe just a deeper mission. But did you find anything like deeper in you that really helped you get through those highs and lows, especially early on through in your business?
Yeah, I think it’s really important just for every entrepreneur, especially mom, entrepreneurs have a really clear understanding of why they’re doing what they’re doing. Because it can get very difficult to want to wake up at 5am to get a little bit of work done when you’ve been up at you know, 10, 12 too. So having that y gives you the ability to see beyond what you’re feeling in that moment, which is going to be exhaustion, frustration, tiredness, and a lot of it is having a y that’s beyond just wanting to make money or because you want freedom.
You know, every entrepreneur says they want that freedom. And it’s awesome to want that freedom. But there has to be something deeper beyond freedom that you’re desiring. For me, it was really control, I wanted to be able to control the environment my daughter grew up in. And there’s not a lot of moms that have that opportunity, because they do need to work a nine to five. And that was something that I was very adamant. And that was my why for keep going, you know, having that control over environment, how much money I was making, and the time I was spending with my daughter.
Yeah, and that’s, so those three time freedom and financial, those are kind of the the big three that I’ve always experienced in my journey. As an entrepreneur, I wanted all three of those I wanted to be completely, I wanted to have more time. For me, probably the biggest thing was freedom, I wanted to just have the freedom to do what I wanted to do and work when, where and who I wanted to work with. And then obviously want to have enough finances to provide for my family. But there is a fourth one in there. And that is purpose and meaning and whatever is really going to be driving you because I do feel like if you’re just driven, I think this is what you’re alluding to, if you are just driven by money, or just driven by being free, or just driven by being having more time, those can get a little muddy, like you’re always gonna want more money, your expenses are gonna change, obviously, you don’t even need to talk about how money can change you, especially when you start making more and how you need to balance that.
But same thing with time. Like sometimes I’ve almost had to catch myself being a little too lacks on time, and not telling myself to work more, but just like maybe have some more disciplines. Even just with with our current wild season of life. And sometimes we do sleep in or we will just like one of my goals, quite honestly, was to not have to wake up to an alarm clock. So I’ve checked that one off, but at the same time, sometimes I need to like sometimes, you know, with great sleepers, I won’t get the day started till 10. And I’m like I need to change. I need to change that. I can’t do that every once in a while but not regularly. So I’m kind of like reaffirming some of those disciplines and stuff. But I think you’re I say all that to say you’re making a really good point with having a why. How did you know that from the get go? Or what were what would some tips be for folks who may be struggling with what their why or a deeper meaning in their business?
No, I don’t think I knew that. Right off the bat. I think I really just wanted freedom was like my overarching why I really took a lot of time to dig like dig deeper into why I wanted that kind of freedom. For me, it really did all boil down to control. I think there’s a huge factor as being a mom entrepreneur that’s motivated by money. And there’s this like con like this, this huge connotation that sometimes it can be a bad thing to be so motivated by money. But I don’t think that that’s a bad thing at all, I think you need to let that also be your motivator.
So if money and freedom are your motivator, that’s not necessarily your why that’s just you know, what’s giving you the energy to get to where you’re going? Or is a really awesome, like practice by Dean Graziosi. It’s called like seven levels deep. So you like take your why what you think and why. And then you just keep asking yourself, why seven times? Like, why do you want XYZ
Like your little toddler who’s like, Why? Why is why?
Eventually you just get to this, like, Oh, that is like, really what I want I and for me it was I want to have control over my entire life, not just an aspect of money and time but being my own boss and all of that.
That’s a good point. What’s that practice again? What’s that officially called?
I believe it’s called seven levels deep and I talked Yeah, Dean Graziosi talks a lot about that.
We’ll have to put that in the in the show notes because I’ve I guess I didn’t realize it was an actual framework. I figured it was but I’ve always thought that it’s like a lot of people like I just want to make a lot of money. I’m like, well why why do you want to make a lot of money? Well do I want to pay But why? Why why do you want to make a lot of money? Or why do you want to make this amount, and then you kind of drill down from there, it’s like, well, in fact, maybe I want to have that time or that freedom. For me, my why has changed a little bit. And you’ll probably experienced this as well, Jennifer, but you know, my first daughter was born with some developmental disabilities, and she has a lot of special needs. And that’s, you know, obviously had been a huge life change for us. And one reason I’m so fortunate and blessed to be able to do what I do working from home and be able to work with her.
But one of my biggest why’s now as she’s closing in on four years old, as I want to be able to help her learn and basically do schooling at home. Because we just my wife, we just do not trust a public or private system to give her the care and attention she needs, quite frankly. So my Y has shifted towards that as your y shifted at all, even just in a couple of years. I mean, I know you said Academy, you know, you’ve found it, but has it reward you? Do you foresee it changing at all over the next few years?
Yeah, and I could foresee it changing in the next couple of years, especially as my daughter enters. That’s fully like school year age, I could foresee myself wanting to homeschool. That’s something that’s been on my heart for, you know, since I had my daughter. So I think as I get closer to that school age, you know, years, I think there’s going to be a lot of pivots. And okay, this is my why in the season?
Yeah, well, yeah, you talked about that earlier, the seasons that you might go through, and that really, that can affect everything from services to, you know, marketing you do or to calls or whatever. So there’s definitely that. That’s what’s kind of cool too is we’re in an industry where there are going to be seasons of hustle and a lot of work. But then there’s seasons of more like just working on your business or when you are going through that that drought. They’re working on yourself and working on, you know, everything that led up to it sounds like you’ve really refined your target market. And do you do you feel like you have a pretty clear path now? A couple a couple years later? As far like, yeah, do you feel like maybe your your vision is more clear? Now that you’ve had a couple years under your belt with this?
Oh, yeah, I look back. And I was like, I don’t know what I was doing. But I don’t think anybody knows what they’re doing when they first start their business. So but yeah, my vision is totally clear.
That’s cool. Yeah. And it’s well said, because I don’t want anyone to feel like they should know exactly what they’re going to do in the beginning. And everyone has a different path. Like I, as a course creator and a coach, I, I have to balance and know that everyone is from a different experience a different background, everyone has different goals and different needs and living situations. And what was the exact path for me is not going to be perfect for everyone. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned and what I’ve done. But at the end of the day, you have to forge your own path, you have to learn from folks and fast track the journey. But you got to kind of know what you want to do.
I guess that’s actually a kind of a question. Now, when you said in the beginning, you didn’t really do any goal setting or anything like that. How has that changed? And now we’re recording this in the beginning of the year of 2022? Do you have a goal setting like strategy in place or anything like that now, have you found anything that has worked.
So I’m really focused on tackling one goal at a time, one right now is just being as far booked out as I can be and realistically manage. And I would eventually love to take that I would love to eventually my goal is to have like a template shop. So focusing on like that one overarching goal and just taking the steps to realistically get there.
No templates, can you can you expand on that?
Yeah, so I’d love to have like for the beauty entrepreneur, typically, you know, they’re either new to the beauty industry, and they’re just starting out, maybe they just graduated beauty school, and they really want a website that’s going to showcase their services, befores and afters and be able to book inquiries, but sometimes it’s not always realistic for them to be able to afford a custom design or custom branding. So it’d be really convenient for that kind of market to have a customizable template that they could purchase at a lower ticket offer but be able to make it their own.
And this is pretty common. All right, it’s coaching time it’s coaching time with Jennifer and Josh so a lot of my students are doing this Jennifer and I think it’s it’s it’s a really great model and there’s a lot of options for this now I if I were coaching you directly which I totally am right now, what I would say his you could potentially offer that as like an option like a tier of what you’re doing. I don’t know if you’re doing that now but you can have the more like one on one type of approach with clients that do have a budget and are gonna you know are going to be fine with a 510 $1,000 website or program or whatever, but then you could have that that like template style option and you’ll get a lot of di wires but as long as there’s a few different ways you could go about that but
Oh, see now now we’re in dangerous territory, because now I’m like, I’m seeing the whole marketing plan. I think, cool, though I say all that to say, Yeah, you could definitely do that. I’ve got a lot of students who are offering those templates, style sites and plans to folks who do have a lower budget. Do you do maintenance and hosting and stuff? That’s another question I was gonna ask you, if you have, do you have any recurring income in your business?
Yeah, so I have one retainer client. And they are essentially, they just run such a large scale, like brick and mortar shop, that I just do a lot of their e commerce inventory, and email marketing stuff for them. But they are the only one retainer client I have. Other than that, I don’t offer any kind of like hosting or maintenance package.
Okay, so that’s my challenge for you. Number one, I know this is a podcast interview, but I have to encourage you to really get your maintenance plans and hosting going just because every client you get you can, you know, you can do the hosting for them being that you’re familiar with Bluehost, and your husband’s a server guy, my gosh, I mean, that’s like, you have to work you have all the making for recurring income of hosting and maintenance. So I don’t I’m so I don’t mean to, you know, get all coach Gianni. But I can’t encourage you to do that enough, especially if you’re going to.
And the reason I say that is because if you are going to do template style sites, and this is biggie for all parent printers, and you want to make more and work less you you got to build recurring income. I would say that in your case, you could, if you’re using a template style site, you could probably more so get people signed on with maintenance to hosting and have the website be a part of it, especially if it is it. If it’s a template site, that is you know, they have a certain amount of images, certain amount of pages that they can choose from, you can have a done with you type of approach. And then they just sign up for hosting and maintenance for a year 18 months, and then the website comes with it. That’s what I would do.
I feel like that could be a really, really cool aspect for your business. And you could really, you know, help out those folks. And then for the people who again, you know, they want a legit website and branding and copywriting and everything else you’re doing them that’s where those could be the higher end type type projects.
Yeah, that was a definitely like a path I was toying with for a while when I was deep into WordPress sites, I’ve actually made quite a transition into Showit here. Okay, here pretty recently. So we’ll show it sites, there’s not a ton of like the heavy WordPress maintenance that goes on in the backend, there’s like a little bit but it’s actually a lot more manageable for the clients that I end up having, which is typically the beauty entrepreneur who doesn’t have the even the income to really think about having a back end, you know, website maintenance person to handle all of that. But yes, with my WordPress clients, I’ve always recommended, hey, do you want to do some kind of management aspect,
Even with show I’m not familiar with show, but any any platform, even if it’s super user friendly, they’re still going to want to have their web in their, in this case, their web gal? So I would still be that for them, I would still definitely consider making I’m sure there’s there’s got to be something that you’re you know, could be done monthly that you know, you’re in their corner, I would foresee that working pretty well with more template style sites. Because the danger I think a lot of web printers get into is if you start doing the lower end sites, often those take the same amount of work as higher end sites, if there’s controlled parameters, which I’m see you nodding I’m sure you’ve thought about that.
But that’s where I could see, you know, this working really well, as far as having those clients in your in your, you know, sphere every month, that could be pretty cool be a good way to support them to like a lower, a lot of people have no budget would totally do a lower end or a lower cost thing. It’s monthly rather than a $2,000 website. Yeah. So yeah, that could be pretty cool. When you read, I’m sure you resonate so much with that industry since you’ve came from that. And I’m sure you know exactly the challenges that they face. I mean, gosh, that could be cool.
Yeah, all the wheels are turning. Now I’m like, going to have to write all this down after
Oh yeah you’re awake. If your daughter’s not gonna wake you up at 3am You’re waking up, you’re gonna, you’re gonna get I’ve got it. It’s all come to me now. But this is huge for being a mom printer and you being a parent printer, you do have to think about what’s going to be sustainable. And I mean, honestly, I just said I’ll say it again, the trick to being able to work less and make more is to have some recurring income that’s stable, and so you don’t have to actually do the work is much that was another question I was gonna have for you here. Jennifer, are you doing it all yourself right now? Or do you have any help? Do you have a team or subcontractor or anything behind you?
Nope. I’m a one man circus right now. But I first seen that quickly changing. I think I’m yeah, I’m in the works of trying to find I think a VA at the moment would be really good to just touch some of the things that I don’t need to be touching on a day to day basis. Probably be the next step for me.
Yeah, what? What, what would you say? Your zone of genius is like, what’s your superpower,
Marketing and design. I love getting into I love building websites, but I don’t want to build them just for them to be pretty, I really want them to be well written and work really well for my clients. So I love going through a lot of marketing strategy with them. And all of my clients have loved that as well. They don’t expect to get a lot of marketing when they hire a web designer, but it really turns out to be beneficial for them not just online, but in their day to day, you know, processes as well.
And you know, the cool thing about that to see now you got my gears turning here to I’m gonna wake up at 3am and email, you be like, Jennifer, I got it, here’s what you do. When you work with higher end clients, where you’re doing the marketing, and more in depth stuff that all can filter down to the template style sites in the lower end type of startups and clients like you can really I could first see you doing doing both for sure. Just with the template stuff being more controlled and limited, as far as what you do and what you offer.
And then you can always for anyone who’s interested in doing this, you could basically have like, three different tiers, you could do a you could do a done for you to where you know, Jennifer is doing everything you could do a done with you, where Jennifer helps with some content, copy and design, and then it’s do it yourself. And then it’s like, Alright, here’s some training videos, that’s more of like the course kind of stuff, which don’t even get me started because I could definitely see you doing, you know, some training and course kind of stuff that way people could go through it, and then do it themselves. So well, we’re getting into dangerous territory.
I guess we’ll keep it back to the mompreneur stuff, but all to say there’s a lot of different strategies there that can work for the Mom, are you excited? Like, I got another question I have. Right? How excited are you about this opportunity? Now? You have?
Yeah, I’m super, especially watching it grow. It’s super exciting, super overwhelming. And it just you see the potential, like just have to keep running with it.
What are the what are the overwhelming aspects to you?
I think the overwhelming aspects are when it’s growing so fast, you really have to grow with it. There’s, you know, you go through the growing pains of you know, your as your child goes through growing pains, your business is going to go through growing pains and just working with it to make sure you have a full handle on everything inward facing and client facing. Yeah.
Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, Jennifer, this has been really great. I want to find a question for you. But we really, we’ve covered a lot as far as mompreneur and just, you know, parent printer kind of stuff with how you you know, really just how you structure your day, your your story and how you transitioned into web design, while balancing being a very young mom, I still a little upset that you’re like 22 and you’re killing it with your business.
Like, by the time you’re like late 20s It’s gonna be not like, I’ll probably be like, I know, I remember her I had her on my podcast before she blew up with her brand here. We’ve covered a lot about you know, managing client work. And again, just the the priorities, which is big use of time, which is limited when you’re a parent either way. So that was really cool. We’ve talked a lot about, you know, knowing your why and having a deeper meaning behind just time freedom and money. Although you mentioned like, I think you missed a little while ago about the money stuff. And I will say a lot of people who feel like you shouldn’t want to make more money for your family generally aren’t the ones who have family and have kids. It’s like, you freakin know how much they cost sometimes. And when there’s medical bills in the picture, I’m 100% going to talk about money and want to make a lot of money so never feel bad for that for sure.
For anyone who’s getting into this but this has been awesome. JENNIFER I one last question for you. But before that, where would you like everyone to go to maybe connect with you or find out more?
Yes, you can connect with me on Instagram at Jennifer dot L or sorry, it’s Jen dot Ellsworth and score are my website. Jennifer ellsworth.com.
Awesome. Yeah, we’ll have those both linked in the in the show notes for you. So I have to ask, you know, shocker here. Somebody is either going to become a mom or they want to be a mom and printer. Mama printer, there’s a whole new word. What would you advise them what would be like one or a couple nuggets of advice that you would give them?
It’s never gonna be perfect. You just have to do it. And don’t be afraid to get scrappy with it, because it’s gonna be a mess. But you’ll work through it. And it’ll be okay. Hmm.
Well said. All right. There it is. Everybody. Thank you so much. For your time. This is really cool. I think this is going to help out a lot of folks who are parent printers and definitely mompreneurs who are juggling everything. So like I said, I can’t wait to see what your business looks like in the next couple years. I’m definitely looking forward to keeping track and seeing what you do.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Josh.
All right, thanks.
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