I’m so excited to have Erin Huiatt on as today’s guest for Millennials Making Money. Erin has been a friend for the last two years, and involved with FemCity Des Moines as our social media chair. She has built an incredible brand and business called Des Moines Parent. I can’t wait for you to get to know her!
What is the business you own + how long have you owned it?
I own Des Moines Parent which is a local resource for parents and families to learn about new and exciting things going on in central Iowa. It includes an extensive event calendar, reviews, parenting tips, a monthly printed magazine, free app and much more.
I purchased Des Moines Parent in early 2015, but it was originally created by another local parent in early 2013.
When did you start side-hustling + why?
I began a personal blog shortly after my son was born in 2012. My dream was for it to be what Des Moines Parent is today. At the time, I was working full-time and as a new mom I wanted to attend events and activities, be involved in the community and meet other parents in the same season of life as me. I began sharing my experiences and sharing events with my followers. I did not make any money, but enjoyed creating a “journal” of all the fun we had in Des Moines.
How + when did this transition to full-time?
When I became pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I decided I would stay home full time when she was born. I had known since my son was born that I wanted to spend more time with him. Deep down I knew I wanted to grow my hobby of blogging into something, but I was not exactly sure what.
After my daughter was born I created an LLC with the support of my family. Midwest Mom & Wife, LLC is the umbrella business of all my projects. I first did childcare, while blogging in my spare time. Once I purchased Des Moines Parent and became too busy, I decided to stop doing childcare.
Can you talk about taking over Des Moines Parent? How did you make it unique to you?
When I took over Des Moines Parent it was well known and had a good following, but I knew it had the potential of being so much more. When I was approached with the opportunity, I knew that this would be my chance to carry out my wish of sharing my personal experiences with parents and families in central Iowa and all over the Midwest someday.
I really worked on branding, creating a media kit, reaching out to local businesses, creating the extensive event calendar and more. I did not want to lose the consistency it already had. It was a huge undertaking trying to learn all of the backend to the site, which was all new to me.
What does it mean to be a full-time blogger?
This is a hard question! After my son was born I started following a ton of bloggers and their niches ranged from living a natural lifestyle, mom life, working out, and more. I was intrigued how these bloggers were able to take something they were so passionate about and create it into an income.
I believe a blogger is someone who writes and shares their experiences with the world online. They are able to gain followers by talking about their passions and making connections with others who may be able to relate.. It takes time but once you build that trust and community, businesses and organizations take notice. This is how you can focus on blogging full-time while supporting yourself and family.
What has been the hardest part of owning DSM Parent?
Being the only person behind Des Moines Parent. I have talked with businesses and organizations before who have thought I have an actual office and a team of people working for me. I wish! Maybe someday 🙂 I have hired a Virtual Assistant to help me with my social media. The Des Moines Parent Magazine is published by a local publisher, so there is a partnership and team when it comes to the magazine.
Staying on top of events, activities and any changes to those things can be hard. Des Moines is growing so much! It is great, but can be overwhelming when your business covers parent and family events and activities. I rely so much on the Des Moines Parent community. I want them to message me and let me know if something is wrong. I want them to share their personal experiences. Although, I am the one running the backend of Des Moines Parent, it is a community effort, always!
What is the easiest (most exciting) part of being your own boss?
The flexibility I have to be with my children.
The fun opportunities our family have been able to experience and be a part of. Although, there are a lot of struggles with balance of work and motherhood.
The sky’s the limit. I am always dreaming up new ideas and get excited to create and implement them.
What would you say to others interested in being a full-time blogger?
Do it! It may take time. There is a lot to learn including how to run a website, social media, analytics, etc. My biggest advice is to make connections. Grab coffee with people. Think outside of the box. Even if you do not think someone may be a great connection for your niche, you would be surprised. It takes time to gain trust from followers so work on creating content that relates to people. Be yourself!
Any dreams of growing beyond Des Moines?
Yes! It has already slowly begun. I have recently been doing a lot of traveling through the Midwest highlighting destinations families should visit. This fell into my lap and I have kind of gone with it. When it comes to blogging there really is no end. It is amazing how opportunities come to you when you work hard and make connections.
What else should people know about you?
I am a Certified Postpartum Doula and recently published The Postpartum Plan Workbook. I am passionate about supporting women after birth and helping women prepare for their postpartum period. America does not focus much on the fourth trimester. It is my goal to share with expecting women how rest and being nurtured, during that vulnerable and exciting time, will be better off for them in the future.
I am also a mom of two kids and have been married for 8 years. My family is my biggest support. I have so many fun projects I am juggling and I am so blessed to have them in my corner.
Thank you Erin for sharing your story with us!
These beautiful photos were captured by Katie Spellman.