Mamaprenuer: Lydia Kitts
Business: Turnquist House
My family loves to play games and explore the outdoors, and we are burgeoning chefs (i.e. trying not to burn everything). I live in my little house in rural Kentucky, with my husband, children Wes and Liv, and dog Nonni. Hectic – but never frantic – is how our lives run!
About Lydia’s Business:
Turnquist House was created in the margins while we juggle parenthood, full-time careers at a college, graduate school, and three businesses! I work with entrepreneurs to develop their brands through graphic design and create digital homes for their businesses through website design.
Why did you decide to become a Mamapreneur?
I have had (or been plotting) businesses for the past ten years. This newest business came from a desire to fix my own website. It just wasn't perfect. I tried and tried, then I hired someone who made it even worse… but still took my money! I decided to enroll in a website design course and I haven't looked back. What started as simply fixing my own site has grown into a full-fledged business helping others make their websites PERFECT.
What is the greatest challenge you’ve experienced in your business?
Juggling parenthood, graduate school, full-time jobs (40 hours a week), and business, while still having time for our marriage.
How did you overcome that challenge?
By scheduling like a fiend! And I have learned that in order to keep my schedule, I must say “no.” Not should, but MUST.
What is your greatest win as a business owner?
Implementing systems to help my business manage itself. Using 17 Hats for client workflow and having a clear client recruitment and care process. Without this organization… my business wouldn't be winning!
Describe your ‘day in the life’.
A day in the life… buckle up!
I’m a momma of two under two, I work full-time as a graphic and web designer at a college, run a design business by the name of Turnquist House, I’m a professor, AND I’m a full-time grad student. Talk. About. Busy. People are always a little shocked, but it helps them see why I’m so hyper organized!
My day begins around 7; I’m a no fuss person so I literally roll out of bed and throw clothes on the kids before nursing the littlest while my husband gets the two-year-old ready for the day. I DEFINITELY take advantage of the margins and do research or respond to student emails while nursing.
We live across the street from our college so we get to work by 8…ish. Then I design for the college until 12. As I design I record my process so that my replacement has everything they need when I switch to teaching full-time in the summer.
12-1 is lunch time. My husband and I walk home, feed the dog, and work on independent projects (usually designing for me and prop building for him). Then we head back to work.
From 1-4:30 I do more of the same: running analytics, designing, client communication, etc. for the college.
4:30 HOORAY! The work-work day is over. Now to start working on MY business. I spend from 4:30-5:30 working on client projects while my husband goes to pick up our kids from daycare.
Family-time: 5:30-8:00 – we batch cook and freeze all of our meals on the weekends so that we can spend as much time with our kids as possible. I’m so thankful for this! We play games, do Wes’s therapy, watch movies, and play outside. Lots of playing outside!
At 8 my husband puts our two-year-old to bed and I cuddle up with the baby to get her to sleep. From about 8:30-11:30 I’m working on my business. I have very strong systems in place to help with my workflow, so I rarely spend time sending emails back and forth with clients. I use an amazing program called Dubsado to manage the inquiry process through onboarding. This essentially runs itself. I make a few decisions that take the click of a button to send one response or another (depending on if we’re a good fit or not), and that’s that! Dubsado helps me with my client process, signing contracts, creative briefs, design feedback and approvals, the whole deal. (Check out this service, ladies!)
Weekends are for grading papers and recording course videos, batch cooking for the coming week, and playing with the kids. I couldn’t do it all without my sweet husband helping alongside me. I’ve had to learn to say no to projects that I don’t want to do, don’t have time for, or don’t connect with. I’ve had to learn to accept that some potential clients won’t respond back to emails, and I have to let them go. Letting go and saying no helps me to say yes to so many other things that help me grow as a mom and as a business owner. Thanks in part to Brilliant Business Moms, I’ve learned that you can never stop learning!
What’s your great big dream for your business?
I plan on being a faculty teacher at my college so that I can focus more on my business!
Share a tip with your fellow Mamapreneurs.
Get your systems down as soon as possible. If you're juggling multiple hats or just wearing one, a process will help you to be successful. Systems make your work quicker and easier. Don't wait until you have a crisis or are overwhelmed to make these plans!
Share a funny, crazy, or disastrous Mamapreneur moment you’ve had.
Disastrous? I thought I could do EVERYTHING weeks after having a baby. I had new clients scheduled to start and didn't remember how much loving new babies need! Funny… I was on a very important client call via Skype (I'm talking a $10,000+ client) and my two-year-old came behind me- completely naked- and said “POOP” and showed his dirty diaper to me with his bare little butt to the screen. I thought I was going to die. He has a speech delay and we've been working on announcing when we have to go potty. So, of course, I had to praise him. On camera. Luckily they thought it was hilarious. They knew I was a working mom starting out – fair warning!