Welcome to another episode of Launched & Legal with Dayna Thomas, Esq., entrepreneurship attorney and law firm coach. Launched & Legal is an Atlanta Small Business Network original series dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs and business owners the best practices and tips for strategizing, legalizing, and monetizing their ventures. Today, Dayna is joined by Jeannelly Hartsfield, Founder and CEO of Ivyleaf Interior Decor.
If you have questions or comments about today’s show, send Dayna a message or comment on Instagram @daynathomaslaw.
Transcription: 
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Hi everyone. I’m Dayna Thomas Esq., and welcome to Launched and Legal where it’s my mission to help you strategize, legalize, and monetize your business. I’m so excited that you’re watching because today and in every show, I’ll be sharing the best practices and tips to take your business and brand to the next level.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
To quit or not to quit. That is the question. I’m referring to quitting your job to become a full-time entrepreneur. That’s often a deep desire for many entrepreneurs, but also a source of gut wrenching anxiety. That having more time and energy to focus on your business is crucial to help it grow, but at the same time, you want to keep a safety net of consistent income from your job that you already have. That’s exactly what today’s guest endured before she finally decided to quit her six figure job in cybersecurity to focus on her growing business, Ivyleaf Interior Decor. Jeannelly Hartsfield just celebrated her one year anniversary of full-time entrepreneurship.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
She’s here today to share how she planned her moves and perhaps inspire you to take that calculated leap of faith. Jeannelly, I’m so happy to have you. Jeannelly is a dear friend and also a fellow entrepreneur, and we just celebrated your, as I mentioned, one year anniversary of becoming a full-time entrepreneur. And I know a bit about your story, and I feel like the world needs to know about it as well. So thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited to share more about your company and your story because you do so much. And part of what we’re going to talk about is how dedicated you are to your business. So tell us about your background before you started Ivyleaf Interior Decor.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Well, Dayna, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. I’m so proud of the person that you are today, too.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Oh, thank you.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
But how I decided to do Ivyleaf, before that I was a project manager for a cybersecurity firm. And I worked in that industry for 10 years. When I graduated college, it was time to find a job, and I was just trying to find something that will take me. And so in those 10 years I was in my early twenties, just trying to figure out what to do. And then I realized project management is something that I can take with me anywhere. And so after 10 years of the cybersecurity space, I was like, you know what? I need to do something for myself. And I wanted to just kind of jump out there.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow. So cyber security is very different.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Yes.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
From interior decorating. So how did you realize that you had a talent for interior decorating in the first place?
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
So I didn’t. I had little scenarios or little instances. It wasn’t like a aha moment. This is what I want to be doing. It was like little things like when you were in grade school, and your friends would bring like birthday balloons. And you would be walking around high school with your birthday balloons. Well, I would never want to like throw those away. So I would deflate them, and then I would push pin them to my wall and create a design. So that was one instance when I was like 14. And then another instance, my husband at the time I was dating him, we had a townhouse and I was like, there’s so much potential in here. He had the spongy mustard, yellow walls, dark brown, leather furniture. It’s a super bachelor pad.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
And I was like, I think we could just do something amazing. So it started off with like one job, one job here, one job there. And then of course in the cybersecurity world, I was working on that, that was my bread and butter. But it wasn’t until we moved into our current home that I had friends that stopped by when we had a house warming and people were just kind of questioning, how did I know to put this here? How did I know to walk the stores and put this on this wall?
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It’s beautiful.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
And I was like, I don’t know. It just comes to me. I am very much a type a person. I am very much a planner. So creativity is not my forte. I wasn’t an athlete. So for me, even to hear like being a creative or going from a space, that’s very rigid to something that’s a little bit more flowing. Is really hard for that concept now. So yeah. It just kind of evolved I guess.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yeah. So that’s interesting because you didn’t think you had the talent.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
No.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And then people started telling you, wow, this looks great. How did you even know? Well, I guess I’m good at this. I guess so. So you turned it into a business, right? So what were some of the initial steps when you were turning what your newfound talent into an actual business and tell us about how you were figuring things out.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Yeah, so initially I thought I wanted it to be a project management firm. So I was turning 30, and I was like, man, I really want this next decade to be completely different from like the last 10 years. So I was like, what can I do? What can I do? And I was like, man, I do project management all day. Do I really want to be doing something that I’m not completely all about? And so I remember thinking like, I’m about to turn 30 in like three weeks. I need to come up with something so that on my 30th birthday, I can just say like, this is it y’all.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
And so what that was, it just was like a maybe interior design. I don’t know. And so the first thing I did was research other interior designers in Atlanta.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay. That’s important.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Yes, because I wanted to make sure that if I did move forward with this, that I could mimic or see other designers websites, see what their intake form was like, see what kind of questions they’re asking, how do they have their tabs? Is it all on one page for people to scroll or is it multiple tabs?
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
So I was just trying to figure out what would make sense in terms of like how I wanted my… I guess at that time it was just a concept to look like. And so really, I was like, I found this one interior design firm, it was super clean. I was like, oh my God, I love this. I love how this looks. They had the logo, and then it just kind of flowed perfectly. So that was basically my first step was just to see what other design companies there were and then what those design aesthetics looked like and what I was trying to do differently. And then the second thing was select a launch date. So I was like, you have to…
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s so important, put a date on it.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Set that.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I always say that.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
It’s like a meeting with your boss, but you’re your boss. So you wouldn’t cancel on your boss, right. So setting a launch date was so intentional for me, because me turning 30 in three weeks meant I needed to do a lot of work in three weeks. So that launch date really kept me honest. It kept me just working super hard late at night, detailing my logo, how I wanted it to look, my brand colors. I’m going back and forth with friends who are in the entrepreneurs ship space and saying, what do you think about this? Or how do you think I should price stuff? Just those kind of simple questions that don’t seem as simple when you’re planning were some of the initial steps that I took.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
What I love about your story is that entrepreneurship was not something that you were thinking about at all, right. But then kind of, I think being inspired along the way and then realizing there has to be more to life than this. And then starting to see, I really have this talent for this, let me really… And you are a confident person. So I know as your friend, if you know that you can do project management so well in cyber security and all that, like I can also do this interior decor thing pretty well if I just put my mind to it which I love. So we’ve had a lot of conversations about building your business the right way. And I love that you are always taking my advice.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Always, always.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Which is good, right? You’re a fantastic client. You’re a fantastic entrepreneur. What are some of the things that you’ve done legally to establish your business, protect your business?
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Yeah. So, because I have you as my sidekick, to just kind of guide me. One of those things was obviously registering with the state, making sure that I’m a full functioning business and that I have my LLC, and that I have my EIN number so I can set up my bank account. So all of those thing but also setting myself up for the tax accounting purposes as a S Corp, putting myself as an employee of my own business where I can pay myself a biweekly salary which is very important because those are another things that you don’t think about when you’re building a business trademark. And making sure that my logo, my brand, my colors, my concept is all protected. I also have client services agreement.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yes, you do.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
For all the things that I don’t want to do, the things that are out of scope and the things that are in scope, right, making sure there’s clear lines of what I love to do, and what I just decided in the three years that I don’t like to do. And that’s all very much clear.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It is.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
And also non-disclosure agreement with my contractors that I work with. And so that the design concepts and the intellectual property of Ivyleaf Interior is protected. That way if I am kind of giving a project to someone sharing my ideas, that my business is protected. So non-disclosure agreement is something else that I added on in the last year, just to make sure that we’re good.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That is so good. I love that. That’s a fantastic list of things that a lot of different entrepreneurs should be thinking about. There’s so many different things that we can do. But I am the type of lawyer that really wants entrepreneurs to prioritize all the legal aspects of business.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And there’s so many things that you can do to protect your business. However, it’s very intimidating to do everything at one time. But the things that Jeannelly has mentioned, her LLC, making sure that her taxes are accounted for correctly, her trademark for her name, and her logo, the contracts that she has with her clients, nondisclosure that she has with her contractors, like those are basics that you need for your business. So I’m so proud of you for doing it the right way and not just treating it like a hobby. You really are treating it like a business which is how you’ve been able to do it full time. So tell me this Jeannelly, because we have been friends since college and I’ve seen you blossom, not only as an entrepreneur, but you are a mother of three young girls.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
It’s so crazy to hear that out loud.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Right. You are a wife, right? And before you took that leap and quit your job, you were working full time and you had Ivyleaf Interior. I wouldn’t even say on the side, it’s still in the front.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
It’s a full time job, both.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So how did you manage all of that? How did you balance everything or not?
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
That’s a great question. It’s crazy to just hear out loud that I have three kids. Sometimes it’s like, wait, what happened? But it’s honestly all about support. I have a very supportive husband who can be where I need him be when I can’t be where I need to be. I also feel like it’s all about managing your time. And we all have the same 24 hours, but what is most important in those 24 hours?
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
I think also the flexibility that I was working from home long before the pandemic. A lot of people got that kind of incentive now because of the pandemic, but I’ve been working from home for 10 years. So I’ve been able to really do my job very well, where I had a lot of available time to also kind of do the business full time. And I feel like, because I delegate now very well and I outsource, I can’t cook a home cooked meal every single night.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s right.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
But maybe on the weekends I might grill a lot of pieces of protein, and I might stop at Jim and Nick’s and get the sides. I might stop somewhere and get sides. And it’s just all about again, outsourcing. Yeah. I have a home aesthetician. I don’t call her my cleaning lady.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
She comes to my home. She beautifies my home because I can’t get down in the baseboards. I can’t clean my house anymore. It’s just not enough time. So I just outsource. And honestly, that really helps with taking on all of that pressure that we feel as women and moms and wives, that it just feels so stuffy sometimes. It feels like you can’t breathe, but when you outsource those things, it feels like, okay, I can tackle this, and I can tackle this, and I could be a happier mom, and I could be a happier wife. Yeah. And I’m still growing and learning in those areas, I think. Those things every day presents a new challenge, but just having the support system and then outsourcing are the two things that I feel like helped kind of push me in that direction.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And I definitely agree because sometimes we think of outsourcing only as it relates to outsourcing business tasks. No, you can outsource dinner sometimes. You outsource the cleaning. You do. We have a wealth of opportunities, resources, technology that’s here right now to help us do different things, from meal prep and…
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Food and grocery delivery.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Instacart. When I learned about Instacart, it changed my life.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Everything.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I don’t even remember the last time that I really went grocery shopping for a lot of stuff.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
It’s essential like now it just comes to the house. Even when my husband travels, I don’t want to pack up all three kids in my truck to go to the grocery store for a quick 30 minute trip. So it’s just like those kind of things you have to be thinking about and what makes sense in terms of your time and just certain things just don’t make sense for me.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
You just have to kind of evaluate what you want to spend time on and what you don’t. And knowing that the sacrifices you make today will definitely be worth it in the future.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yes, it will.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
If you just kind of sit down and do the work, because it’s not going to be easy.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s right.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
It’s not a easy like, hey today you’re successful. Here you go. Congratulations. It takes a lot of long nights of that.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It does. For all the moms watching out there, support is so important. Don’t have the mommy guilt if you are doing something so amazing right now that you know is going to be so beneficial for your children and your family. There is some aspect of sacrifice and grind as it relates to being, not just an entrepreneur, but a female entrepreneur, an entrepreneur that’s a mother, that’s a wife, right. So hopefully you have a wonderful support system like Jeannelly is mentioning and utilizing the tools around you like Instacart and other technology that’s there.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
All the technological advances.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
To help us. Yes, it’s definitely necessary. So thank you for bringing that up.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Of course.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So how did you get the confidence to actually quit your six figures, cyber security job to pursue Ivyleaf Interior Decor full time, which is so different than what you’re doing at work, and what did you do to prepare?
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Yes. So I think I got the confidence the moment I got that first contract. I was like, wow, somebody’s really willing and within a week of launching. So I launched and then a couple days later I got an inquiry, and then a couple days later, we did the consultation. And then a couple days later I did the install. And so I think that first contract was like, wow, somebody’s really going to pay me for this. So let me see how this is going to go.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
And so honest, that wasn’t enough confidence to step out there, right. I’m still very type A and very planner oriented. And so I needed to make sure that the income that I was making from my business now was supporting that nine to five salary. So it had to make sense that the five to nine business, which wasn’t really five to nine for me, I was doing it all day, but it was supporting that nine to five, plus that five to nine.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I love that.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
And so it just had to make sense financially for me to really step out there. I will never, never advise people to just jump out there because you still have to live. You still have to eat. You still have a family to support. And it’s all about proper planning. And if you just envision it every single day. I remember every day I would go to the inside.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
I’m like, I cannot wait to quit. I cannot wait to quit. Lord, I cannot wait to quit. I would just sing those things to myself. And it really just manifested into, I come back from maternity leave and I was like, you know what? What am I doing? This is it. And so it was one of those things where I was like, I need to do this now because now it’s making sense financially.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s good.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
And anymore time being spent here is now just taking away from something more that I could be doing. And now I feel like I don’t even know how I did it. Now that I’m full time entrepreneur, I’m like the days are… I’m like, how? How do we balance that? And I’m still trying to figure that answer out.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
But you did. So there’s a couple of aspects to it. Like you said, I think it’s super important while I do believe that faith and believing it will work and manifesting in a vision, that’s a huge part of it. But at the same time, you do have to plan it out. So how many clients do I need? Or how much money do I need to make this month in order to make sure that my family is taken care of because you have a family of five, right?
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Yeah. And that’s exactly what I did. I literally said, how many consultations do I need to get a week to figure out what this is going to pay? Is this going to pay for the business truck? Okay, then I need to get this many consultations. Or do I need to raise my prices now on consultations because my time.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Right. And then also breaking it down to how many contracts do I need to close in the month to support, let’s say my assistant, which I was starting to now kind of build up a little team and making sure that they’re accounted for in my business, because business expenses add up. And by the time you realize, you have to clear them, those funds before you could just step out there.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. Absolutely.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
So besides the nine to five and five to nine salary that profit you should be making, you also have to clear your business expenses. So I was breaking it down so granular that I was like, okay, I need five deals this month, five contracts at this rate would mean that I would get this amount.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And if you shoot for 20, you might get five.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Right. Shoot high and you’ll land somewhere in there. Or you might surpass it because I’ve been surprised several times where things just kind of happened. So yes, I am all about detailing it. Get your spreadsheet out, figure out what those expenses are, and then jump out there. But confidently, financially backed, not just out there with no safety net.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And I completely agree. So Jeannelly, thank you so much because I’m sure this story has inspired a lot of people who I know are doing something that is completely different than what their passion may be, that what their side business may be or what they really want to jump into. But that fear that’s in there about, oh, leaving my job. So we learn that definitely have faith in it, definitely manifest it, plan it out, get your numbers right, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing to it, but to do it.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
But to do it.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
You have to put a date on it. Nothing to it, but to do it. So how can people keep in touch with you, stay connected and perhaps hire you for their interior decor services?
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
Well, you can reach me on all channels. Hello@ivyleaf interior.com is my email. You can also follow me. Ivyleaf underscore interior, I-V-Y-L-E-A-F underscore interior. And I’m also on Facebook, Ivyleaf Interior. So you could.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Thank you, Jeannelly. Fantastic. I hope everyone reaches out to you, and sees your amazing Instagram page, which shows a lot of your fantastic work. So thank you for being here. I appreciate it.
Jeannelly Hartsfield:
The pleasure was all mine, Dayna.
Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome. Well, I hope today’s show helped to educate and inspire you as you pursue your business goals. Be sure to share today’s show with someone who can benefit and visit MyASBN.com and subscribe. If you have any questions or comments about today’s show, I would love to hear from you, send me a message or comment on Instagram at @daynathomaslaw. Remember to tune in next week and every week to make sure your business is launched and legal.
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