“This can’t be it,” Katlynn Pyatt of Authentic Branding remembers thinking near the end of her time as a corporate marketing manager. She loved her boss and her projects but couldn’t shake the feeling that she was meant for something more. “Even though I was passionate about parts of my job, I wasn’t on fire when I walked in the door every day.” As she dreamed of making a change, a lay off and a pandemic threatened to pull the plug on her plans. So how did Katlynn juggle the obstacles and stay focused on authenticity? She launched it, of course.
When Katlynn started in the marketing world, she didn’t waste time before making a name for herself. She accepted a job as a marketing assistant with a financial firm, and quickly moved up the ranks as a specialist, securing a management position within three years. Katlynn credits a phenomenal boss at the company with introducing her to marketing management system creation. She also says the firm was incredibly supportive when it came to continuing education. Seizing the opportunities afforded to her, Katlynn earned multiple certificates from Cornell and her Marketing Management Certification through the American Marketing Association.
The entrepreneurial podcast that helped her redefine success
During her daily commute, Katlynn listened to the Girlboss Radio podcast. As she followed the stories of women entrepreneurs, she began to think about redefining success for herself and had that stunning epiphany: this can’t be it. Katlynn met with a business coach to talk about possible career change opportunities. The coach didn’t mince words.
He said, ‘I can help you get a new job. But honestly, I think you would love running your own business way more than you would love moving to a new organization. So think about that and get back to me.’”
Katlynn’s husband Eric had always encouraged her to pursue entrepreneurship, and had one thing to say: “Finally!” With Eric’s emotional support and financial planning skills on her side, Katlynn was ready to think big.
Putting the rainy day fund to work
A year into laying the foundations for her future business, Katlynn was laid off. Fortunately, she and Eric had steeled themselves for this scenario due to talk of an economic downturn. “Marketing is always the first place they make cuts,” she tells me. “We were very cognizant of trying to be prepared with a rainy day fund.” What the Pyatts did not expect was the Covid-19 pandemic.
A very pregnant Katlynn took the upheaval in stride. When her obstetrician put the family on strict orders to avoid contact with the outside world, they hunkered down. The Pyatts had already experienced an infectious disease with their middle daughter, Nora, and they were not taking any chances. Like many parents, Katlynn did her best to schedule her time between homeschool and home office. “It just wasn’t possible. I couldn’t even finish a complete thought,” she remembers. So she hit pause on work.
A marketing strategy for marketing strategies
Once her son went back to school, Katlynn got back to planning her dream business, and Authentic Branding was born. She knew she wanted to make a radical shift away from her work in the corporate world. She envisioned gearing her branding and marketing strategy services toward female entrepreneurs. This didn’t turn out to be any easy task.
“I had to do a lot of convincing that creating a marketing strategy is even worthwhile,” Katlynn tells me. All her months spent building a business geared toward entrepreneurs simply weren’t paying off in the way she’d hoped. Katlynn began to find work with more established businesses and corporations. By the winter of 2020, she knew she needed to pivot.
Finding her brand voice in a familiar place
In December, a colleague asked Katlynn lead a workshop teaching small corporate marketing teams to create strategic marketing plans. A final piece of her puzzle clicked into place.
It reignited my fire. I don’t think the fire was out necessarily, just a little lost. I wasn’t finding my brand voice, and I’m always telling my clients and my podcast audience, ‘If it isn’t resonating with you, then it’s not resonating with your audience.’ That plays a role in not getting the clients I want to get. For the first time, I could hear my brand voice. I could see it all coming together. I could feel it in my bones and relate to these people I’m going to be talking to, because I lived their life.”
After months of relaying her business foundations and building momentum with speaking gigs and her podcast (Startup Marketing), Katlynn’s pivot is complete. She now organizes corporate marketing teams by creating strategic marketing plans that align with overall business goals and designing marketing management systems. I’m thrilled to have been able to help her with this transition, and she made sure to give me a nice shout out during our interview: “[Sales Cheerleader] was instrumental in helping me build a prospecting strategy and prepare to launch.” One more win for women helping women!
Katlynn looks forward to the growth of her podcast, which she hopes will be a source of income and will allow her conversations with some of her marketing world idols. More importantly, she says she has big visions for the lifestyle her business will someday provide for her family: “I want it to be at a point where I’ve built something that, when I’m done with it, if my kids want to step in and take this, they absolutely can. Or if they don’t want it, I can sell it, so that it’s generational wealth. So at the end of the day, my kids can inherit it and have a headstart in terms of building their own dreams and wealth in life, if that’s what they want.
It offers me this level of freedom, where I can travel for an entire summer with my kids. I can take them and show them the world. Introduce them to other cultures and people, and broaden their horizons in a way I was never able to experience growing up. I can spend time and actually live my life; I don’t have to just be worried about where my next paycheck is coming from and how I’m going to help my kids pay for college. Give them that experience and spend time getting to know them. I can actively participate in their lives while everything hums along in the background.”