Like so many entrepreneurs, Ericka Slaton started her business with no real branding, and no money to hire an expert. So, Ericka created a planner to provide whoever wants to start their business(brand) with yearlong, expert guidance, at a fraction of the cost.
”When you take the time to develop a solid foundation for your brand, you can achieve great things.” Ericka Slaton
Meet Ericka Slaton who founded The Ultimate Brand Planner, for new and aspiring, women entrepreneurs to make the initial process of Branding their business easier and more thorough.
Ericka is committed to helping 400 women start or grow their businesses through her Inspiring 400 initiative. The first 400 women to purchase The Ultimate Brand Planner this year will automatically be enrolled in this initiative and gain access to monthly FREE group coaching sessions. During these sessions, a new topic will be covered, and participants will use their Ultimate Brand Planner to take action in their business.
Tell us about The Ultimate Brand Planner, what makes it unique?
The Ultimate Brand Planner is a physical planner that I created to help new and aspiring entrepreneurs start their business with proper Branding on a budget. This planner was created based on my 5-step Brand Planning framework that includes Brand Messaging, Visual Brand Identity, and Brand Strategy. Not only is it based on expert Branding, but it’s set at an affordable price for those that desire to start a business, but have limited funds.
What motivated you to start your company?
My entire adult life, I was laid-off from almost every job I had, four different jobs to be exact. It was always due to budget cuts and lack of finances. These layoffs paired with a desire to be an entrepreneur, it was inevitable that I’d start a business one day. The driving force that led me to start my business in January 2018 was my son, my firstborn. When I found out that I was pregnant with him, I knew instantly that I didn’t want anyone to rush me back to work once my maternity leave was up, so I took a part-time, remote marketing job, and I started prepping myself to launch my own business. 9 months after he was born, I had my official launch.
My official company name is currently Ultimate Brand Academy, Inc. (originally launched in 2018 as 849 Digital Co.) I am a Product Brand Coach, offering coaching and services to product entrepreneurs. I created The Ultimate Brand Planner in November 2019 to help those that needed Branding but couldn’t afford the price of 1:1 services.
How do your coaching sessions look, who’s it for?
My signature program is the Purposeful Product Accelerator, and it’s an 8-week, group coaching program. It’s specifically for product-based entrepreneurs that are struggling to make consistent sales, create content that converts and find the purpose in their products. During this 8-week program we’ll address Brand Messaging, their product list and prices, Visual Brand Identity, how to launch a rebrand, and their growth strategy for the next 24 months. This will include label and package redesign as well as a mini-product shoot where my clients will get on-brand photos and videos to use as they wish.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
I’m most proud of the personal impact that I’ve had on my clients. Helping my clients to succeed in their businesses is great, but seeing them become more confident in themselves and what they’re building means even more to me. As entrepreneurs, our personal views and mindset are crucial to everything that we do, so to give them the encouragement and affirmations that they need for personal growth, is just the best feeling for me.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since becoming an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge has been growing my family while growing my business. Since my initial business launch in 2018, I’ve had 3 more kids. Each new baby has forced me to adjust my schedule and my offerings, because being a present and active mom is the most important thing to me, but I never wanted to give up my business.
How do you balance work life?
I don’t know if there’s such a thing as work-life “balance”, more like harmony or alignment. Balance would suggest that they’re equal, but that’s not the case. My family certainly gets more of my time, and that’s how I want it to be. But I make sure that my business gets enough designated time as well. Thanks to the brilliance of my Coach, Jasmine Chanelle, I have developed a signature program that best serves my Product Babes, doesn’t require me to work more than 14 hours a week, and allows me to serve all areas of my life, including myself, very well. Essentially, I’ve learned how to offer my clients more, while working less, and reducing stress. It’s an amazing feeling, and one that I’m now trying to pass on to my Product Babes as well.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
For all my Product Babes, just getting started, I would say to develop your Branding first. More specifically, find your niche and focus on no more than 5 products that fit your niche. Do that confidently and consistently for the first year of your business before you even think about expanding your product list. Focusing on serving your customers well in one area will serve you best in the long run.
Share some tips on how to become more of a happier and healthier person.
If you’ve chosen the path of entrepreneurship, but you’re still lacking happiness and health, I would suggest creating a sustainable schedule for yourself that allows you to work and do the things you love. I would also suggest cutting back on how many products you offer, so that you’re not overworking yourself and burning out. The last tip I’d give would be to cut out anything in your business that doesn’t generate income. These tasks take up your time and aren’t actually moving your business forward in any way.
To what do you attribute your success?
There are several things that I’d attribute to my success: my husband for always believing in me and supporting me on this journey, whether that was to help financially, watch the kids while I work, or offer words of encouragement. My customers and clients who have trusted and believed in me and my brand enough to work with me. My resilience and no-quit attitude have allowed me to push through each obstacle and failure, and come out more successful on the other side. Last but certainly not least, God. My faith has always been a driving force. Believing that God gave me a vision for my business, keeps me pushing forward to make sure I see this vision through.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
My first failure was when I launched my business in 2018 as 849 Digital. I launched as a full-service digital marketing agency, with a long list of services, low prices and no target audience. I struggled to get new clients, and the clients I did get, I ended up doing a lot of work for them, but making very little money. I was overworked and underpaid, and I didn’t have enough time for my son because of how much I was working. This failure taught me just how important Branding truly is, and that your offerings and pricing are very much included in that.
The second major failure was when I launched The Ultimate Brand Planner. I had all my products for my presale and general launch shipped together. There was an error in the shipping address which caused a 5-month shipping delay. This delay not only pushed back my product launch, but it put me in a fear mindset and drove me to start offering services again in order to make money. I ended up shifting my focus completely to my services when I should have stayed the course and continued to promote my planner. Because of this, it made growing my product brand so much harder. This failure taught me to ship my presale products separately, but mainly it taught me the importance of maintaining a positive mindset, and not allowing fear to drive my decision making. Decisions made out of fear will only lead to confusion.