Starting a side business was one of the best decisions of my life. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Everyone wants something better for themselves and their families, but what separates us is how we deal with thoughts and feelings of insecurity, especially when they pay you regular visits at 2:30 in the morning.
Self doubt and insecurity are normal.
In those moments you have to ask yourself “who’s stronger, you or me?”
How you respond makes all the difference.
Once the idea came to me and I settled on the concept of a weekend party business, it dawned on me that I had zero business experience and no help I could turn to. Who did I know with the slightest idea of how to run a princess tea parties?
That was a little dicey because I really wanted to do this, and while I was sure it would work, for a short while I was running on equal parts inspiration and fear.
I’m sure not sure which one got me through, but they’ll both motivate the heck out of you.
Now, I’m simply inspired but with a healthy respect for the way fear can kick you into gear.
Back then I was a young mother dreading the idea of going back to a corporate job. Now, 21 years later, I can see how starting a small business was a way to stay vital, keep growing as a person, and find fulfillment by accomplishing my dream.
There is no way I could’ve lived the life I’ve had being chained to a desk. Thank goodness I chose well.
So, here’s looking back on 21 years of throwing dream parties that make every girl feel like a princess, and looking forward to 21 more.
Get all the help, training and support that is available. It pays off.
You can see only so far down the road, so the better prepared you are the better off you will be if you hit some bumps.
Be grateful when you get what you want
That decision to go into business set the stage for a life I wouldn’t trade because it has resulted in exactly what I wanted. It was an opportunity to work, be creative, be happy in a job, contribute income, and take part in my kid’s lives as they grew up, not after the fact.
You can always want for more, but for me, it was more than a blessing.
Many women experience what I did. You”re young, enjoying life and a challenging job, then you have a child and all of a sudden all your priorities turn upside down. Actually, right side up.
It’s OK to stay at home
First, I have no regrets about staying at home with the kids when they were young.
The beauty of how it turned out was that I actually remained a stay at home mom because when I re-entered the workforce it was in my own weekend business. I set the schedule to leave plenty of time for a home life.
I hardly ever missed out on important times with the kids.
Nobody else’s business
No one should persuade you otherwise.
As my business really got going after about 8 months, it provided increasing family support and developed into a fulfilling, happy professional life.
What more can you really ask for?
I looked at franchises, and while you get name recognition and start-up support, they were rigid, difficult to qualify for, expensive, and full-time commitments. None of that worked for me.
I knew that I could do it on my own because I had a picture in mind of what I wanted and the desire to create it.
A name recognition franchise isn’t necessarily the road to flexibility
Neither is it the panacea for financial freedom. It may not lead to financial independence at all. You’re practically married to whatever business you buy into and some them could bore you silly.
It sounded like a recipe for despair or worse, like a trip to divorce court.
With a small investment, a lot of leg work, a pile of mistakes that would fill a laundry basket, and a little help from family and friends, I opened my own place.
By sticking to a tight budget to create and run the business, I proved to anyone watching that it’s unnecessary to go overboard in order to succeed.
Be creative, but don’t get fancy
In my case, the secret was in understanding that to attract and satisfy customers,did not mean I had to spend a lot of money. I have a high-profit margin business by the tail because customers believe in the quality of the brand, not fancy surroundings.
Don’t fool yourself into spending more than you need to.
You don’t need a high-class space
My business revolves around young kids. They want to have fun and get lost in their dream of being a princess for a couple of hours. They aren’t checking out the space to see if it is Class A or C, or whether you have custom Ralph Lauren paint on the walls.
As long as your space is convenient, safe, clean, and a happy atmosphere, that’s all you need to do. It will take on an identity of its own over time.
Customers will find you, as the power of word of mouth advertising goes a long way if you deliver on your promise.
Since every day is a little girls’ birthday, you actually have a wonderful, self- sustaining pool of customers if you handle with care.
It is very evident that parents and grandparents are spending increasing amounts of money on birthdays. It’s not only about the child either.
The parent seeks and derives pleasure in providing a unique experience for their child.
Little girls love to be princesses
In fact, they like it so much, they often choose a Princess Party several times for their birthdays between ages 4 and 9.
And by the way, all of her little invited guests, all dressed up like princesses and enjoying the tea party..where do you think they want their next birthday party?
Hint..mom has already been put on notice.
This is a success formula. Don’t lose sight of it.
With that in mind, the best route to take is to define your niche and deliver a stress-free, all-inclusive package.
Never underestimate the value of quality and service, resulting in a lot of free referral business. Children at pre-K and elementary school are your advertising executives!
The bottom line for success is a happy customer
When your customer feels that the service they received is worth more than what they paid, you have succeeded!
Finally, in a small business, especially a Princess Party venue, your personal touch is what establishes trust between you and the customer. There is no substitute for your smiling face.
These are some reflections from 21 years wearing the glass slipper in this happy business.
Hope to read about yours one day soon!