April 3, 2018
Less than a month ago, I hosted an event for myself. You would think that since I plan for other people, it would have been a breeze and I would be thrilled to do something for ME!! Honestly, it was terrifying but also, SO good!! It was good for me, *I think* good for others and such an amazing experience. I learned so much from the event about myself, other people, and what I could do to make it even better if I were to host something similar again or if someone wanted to do something similar for their business!
I knew I needed to do something to get my business off the ground. I knew so many people in the creative industry through social media and in passing at other events, such as weddings and Creative at Heart but I didn’t know very many in my hometown. I love community and I thrive on learning from others, but learning through a screen and direct messaging people isn’t even close to in-person relationships. I wanted to form new relationships with people and grow in the community as a business person. That’s exactly what I told my financial advisor, Evan, when I went in to talk to him this past fall. I had some money saved up and had finally gotten into a routine with my different jobs, so I felt like I could move out of my parent’s house and be an adult. I was right, I could do those things and I got the reassurance I needed but that’s not all I got when I spoke to Evan. He told me that I needed to invest in my business because the only way to make money is to spend money. In order for my business to grow and eventually completely support me financially, I had to grow it. So at the end of our hour-long meeting that I thought was just going to be about how to spend and save for myself, I was planning a party. A party for my business, to get it up off the ground, meet those people I’m dying to connect with and learn from myself.
I thought it was going to be a close to impossible task. I had a budget, huge dreams, and very little confidence. I also had a meeting scheduled for a different business venture at Upper Shirley Vineyard the next day. Catherine, the event’s coordinator asked me what my goals were, what I was striving for in my business, and why I was doing this crazy entrepreneur life. Fast forward about 20 minutes and I had a date, venue, and catering for my launch party. What I thought was going to be impossible, was scheduled and halfway planned within 24 hours of the idea itself. The first lesson I learned: be bold and confident in your answer when someone asks you what your goals are, it just might get you a dream location for the “crazy idea” your financial advisor had.
The next day I was driving to work and thought of a photographer I had met at a Tuesday’s Together meeting and how genuinely kind she and her husband were. She mentioned wanting to do more engagement photos in weather, like rain and snow and I thought she was so cool and different for wanting that. So, what did I do? I messaged her, told her my big idea and asked her if she would want to photograph my event. She responded almost instantly telling me she would be thrilled to do it! I cried. The entire event came together within weeks. Everything was planned, my guest list was created and I planned my posts for how I was going to advertise it. I told everyone I came in contact with about it and couldn’t wait for March 9th!!
The last person I needed was someone to do florals. I had to have flowers, something to bring the venue alive! I immediately thought of Courtney because her work is consistently beautiful, she always understands the vision, and she’s a sweetheart. I told her what I wanted, she knows my brand and she delivered the most beautiful arrangements in the daintiest bud vases!! I loved them so much, that at the end of the night I took them home and displayed them all over my apartment.
Then it was February. The invitations went out, the food was finalized, my outfit was planned, my color appointment was scheduled with Dana and people were signing up to come. I freaked out. Anxiety set in, nerves flooded my thoughts and suddenly the excitement was gone. All eyes were going to be on me in less than a month and I didn’t know how to handle it. I had dreams that the only people who showed up were my friend, Tiffany, and Evan and his wife. I thought we were going to run out of food. I thought I was going to forget why I was doing this in the first place and make a fool out of myself.
That’s not what happened though. People came. Those in the creative industry who came, I didn’t know and it was wonderful. I met so many new people and made great connections! My friends showed up, taking the nerves away and bringing the smiles back. Evan and his wife came along with my parents. Everyone was connecting with each other whether it be about business, who they knew (because Richmond is the smallest place) and how they knew me. I had no reason to be nervous and I’m so glad I did this. I encourage anyone who is new in the creative world or is making a come back to do something that brings others to you. Whether that means throwing a party at a beautiful venue or setting up a dinner at local restaurant, I guarantee it’ll be worth it!
Gorgeous images by Petie Tucker