It's no surprise that this twentysomething found her dream job at such a young age. She was raised by a father who created his own business, and she works full-time at Vanderbilt University's career center. Courtney Dial has demonstrated you can take a passion and turn it into a profitable business.
Today, Courtney serves as creator and editor of Pizzazzerie.com, a robust website focused on the art of entertaining. The site offers ideas, recipes, and DIY projects for parties of all kinds, from a simple luncheon to an elaborate wedding. She's managed to grow a successful business while working full-time. Read on to find how she did it.
What were you doing careerwise when you decided to create your own business?
I was assistant director of the Vanderbilt University Career Center.
When did you start your business?
I launched the site this past year to share entertaining inspiration with my readers! I have been hosting parties for years, but finally launched a site to share ideas.
When did you know that you could really make a go of this?
When I realized how many readers were reaching out to me on a daily basis and the number of companies I interact with for my gift guides, I recognized how large the entertaining community is, and I'm excited to grow my website to share great ideas!
What was the biggest obstacle?
Time! Working a full-time job and building my site in the evening really took a toll on my life. I don't regret it at all, but I am excited to have more time to move the site to an online magazine format in the near future. We are also working on a fun rebranding!
Did your friends and family support your dream?
Absolutely! Both my father and mother have been instrumental in supporting my dream. Though my dream has changed its course a bit over the past few years, they know I love online marketing and entertaining, so running a website is not a surprise. They see my passion for this industry and are confident that I have found my dream job.
How long did it take you to get the website started?
About six months. The first two months were spent working with a graphic designer and web developer to get everything off the ground. The site launched less than a year ago and has grown pretty rapidly. By the third month, I hired on two contributing writers.
What's the hardest part of what you do?
The hardest part is finding time to "step away" and manage the other areas in my life. Even simple things like keeping the house clean and little errands can pile up when you love what you do, because it's hard to step away. This is a good problem to have, however, because I am excited to start work when I wake up and look forward to Mondays now!
What's the most fun part of what you do?
I love brainstorming with my team! We all have a marketing background and a creative side, so we enjoy working on our site's rebranding as well as brainstorming new additions and features. We have some exciting updates coming very soon that we are thrilled about!
Where do you work from?
As I transition from my full-time job, I will be working from home! I have redesigned an extra bedroom into a fun home office with various "idea walls" where I pin up creative clippings, photos, and more!
Do you have employees?
I don't employ full-time employees (yet!), but I work with a fabulous team of contributing writers as well as an expert web developer who all keep Pizzazzerie.com growing!
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
It's really the backbone of my business. Social media and online marketing is another passion of mine, and I enjoy using it to grow my site as well. I have connected with magazines, editors, and great friends on Twitter. Facebook is also a great tool for my site as it encourages community building through comments and discussion.
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What's so inspiring about them?
Martha Stewart is certainly an entrepreneurial role model for me. My father is also a role model as he too stepped out of a traditional job in his twenties to grow his own business. He shares advice with me about all things entrepreneurial -- from accounting to time management. He is my No. 1 fan!
Check out Courtney's photos
Photo Courtesy of Kate Whitmore Photography