Careerwise, I currently work in New Jersey for a freight forwarding company in their accounting department. I went to school for fashion marketing and management and also for business administration with the intention of one day having my own creative business.
When did you start your business and what inspired you to do this? How did you turn your dream into a business plan?
I have always had a passion for event planning, entertaining guests, and seeing others have a good time. The planning of my sister's baby shower back in 2009 really pushed my creativity and my plans to start a business. The positive feedback I received from family and friends really served as a great motivator. Ever since then, I have been focused on this dream. I started taking classes at FIT in New York, attended various networking events (to meet like-minded individuals), and volunteered at different types of events (fashion shows, weddings, birthday parties, etc.) for other successful event planners. I eventually received my certification in events planning and registered my business in 2010.
What was your start-up cost? How did you get the money, and what did you use it for?
My start-up costs were around $3,000 to $5,000, which I have invested slowly in the past two years. The costs mainly consisted of investing in my education (certification and different workshops), as I'd like to keep my style fresh and up to date with the current event trends. I have also invested in the business registration costs, a custom business logo, and the business website. I still hold my full-time job so I have obtained the money to open up this business through the use of my earnings.
What was the biggest obstacle?
The biggest obstacle so far has been finding more time in my day. Since I am still working full-time outside of Dreamers Joy, it can be challenging. My goal is to be focusing solely on Dreamers Joy in the very near future.
Did your friends and family support your dream?
Yes, all my family and friends are very supportive, especially my three sisters and my best friend. I am very grateful to have such wonderful people in my life who show me love and support and inspire me to continue to work hard.
How did you maintain your confidence when doors were closed in your face, when people didn't get it or said no?
Getting no for an answer, a rejection letter, or an email can be hard and discouraging at times. However, I've learned that rejection and disappointment are part of life, so I just move forward and stay positive and open-minded. I don't allow rejection to define me or my business; rather, I focus on learning from any bad experience and make improvements to do things better the next time around.
How long did it take you to get everything off the ground?
It has taken a good two years to finally say that my business is getting off the ground, and this is something I am very proud of.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
It took about three months to get my first paying job for the business. However, I've had to reinvest this money in the business itself. Hopefully this year I will break even and/or see a profit.
What do you love most about being your own boss? What are the drawbacks?
I love that I have the freedom to do something I'm passionate about and where I can express my creativity. I get to do and prioritize what's important for my clients, for me, and for my business. I love the feedback I receive from clients because it helps me see what I am are doing right or wrong so I can continue to do the same or make improvements. The drawback can be that since it's just me, I have to do it all myself and try to handle everything on my own. Another goal of mine is to eventually have a wonderful team I can work with that will keep inspiring, driving, and growing Dreamers Joy.
Where do you work from?
Right now, I mainly work from home. Most of the research, planning and pre-event work I do from my kitchen table and finish whatever is left to be done during setup at the event site itself.
Do you have employees?
No, it is just me at the moment. However, I usually have help on the event day. I am lucky to have one of my sisters and my best friend always available to assist me with the setup and breakdown.
Is your "Dreamer" business your full-time job?
Right now, it is still part-time but it truly feels like a second full-time job as I finding myself staying up late several nights a week working on different tasks. I look forward to only focusing on Dreamers Joy very soon.
How has your involvement with Martha Stewart's Dreamers into Doers helped you and your business?
Being involved with the Martha Stewart's Dreamers into Doers has been huge for me. This community has helped me stay motivated to continue to go after my dreams. Having the chance to meet and work with some of the most amazing and talented ladies I've had the honor to so far is priceless. I feel that the Dreamers into Doers community has been essential to my growth and that of my business thus far.
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
Actually, after attending the Dreamers into Doers event last year and hearing so many great stories, I went home and worked on my Facebook page, and since then I have expanded to Twitter and other websites. And, this week, I will be celebrating the launch of the Dreamers Joy website, which is something I am super excited about.
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What's so inspiring about them?
My parents always owned their own businesses while I was growing up. They worked hard and I always admired that about them. Other than my parents, there are many public figures that inspire me, such as Oprah Winfrey and, undoubtedly, Martha Stewart. Martha and Oprah are such strong women who started small and focused on what they loved doing and have become such inspirations and role models to many around the world.
How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your business successful? How do you continue to grow and learn?
While in middle school and high school, I always enjoyed my home economics and art classes. I have learned that really enjoying what you do makes you so much better at it. Whatever I don't know, I always research it, become educated on it, or figure out how to do it from scratch. I also continue to attend networking events and classes and remain active in building relationships with people in the industry.
What's the best piece of business advice you ever received? If you had it to do over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
"Don't give up." This advice usually comes from a few close friends who have seen the sacrifices I have made during this journey. Just hearing positive comments uplift me when things don't go as planned. I think that if I had the chance to do it again, I would have probably started a lot sooner.
What is your favorite product/service that you offer?
I love all the planning and design services I offer. However, what I truly enjoy the most about every event I work on is the brainstorming and designing process. I love watching and experiencing the result of what my clients and I have envisioned. It's a Dreamer's Joy!
What is your best selling item/service?
So far, it's the handmade banners I've created for some of my parties.
What advice would you give to Dreamers who haven't become Doers yet?
DO IT! Do and pursue whatever makes you happy. Leave the excuses behind, take a risk, and invest in yourself. Trying something new may seem hard or impossible at first, but if you focus on it and work at it a little bit every day, you can accomplish anything you want.
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