By Alecia May
While dealing with business challenges as a budding entrepreneur is difficult, the hardest lesson I learned from running my dance studio is how powerful a deterrent fear is – and how despite the fact that it’s just False Evidence Appearing Real, it sure can have a real, destructive impact on small business owners.
From a young age, I’ve always been a smart cookie with an entrepreneurial spirit. At 15, I started an online community for young women where we shared stories, articles and even had a forum where girls from around the world could interact. I was nominated for the Women of Distinction Award for my community and received kudos from a variety of organizations and outlets for my work in this important arena.
I opened my second business, a dance studio, at age 19. My ambition and desire to control my own destiny was strong – and it was then I learned firsthand the importance of persistence in the face of resistance.
I began to constantly hear I was too young, too inexperienced and too naïve to run a successful dance studio – not from outsiders, but from my own support circle of family and close friends. They honestly believed, “it’s best to work for someone else” and they cautioned, “never be your own boss.” I listened to these “words of wisdom” over and over again, especially when things were tough.
Unfortunately, they were right in one regard: I was too young, inexperienced and naïve to believe that this advice was solid and reasonable enough to abandon my dream of being a successful entrepreneur.
And so, I took a corporate job as an event planner. While many aspects of the job were appealing to me – especially bringing people together to network, connect, relax and enjoy – the confines of the 9-5 job and the daily rat race was NOT how I wanted to spend the sum total of my days.
I never lost sight of the knowledge that someday I would return to my dream of owning my own business, so I could have the lifestyle and the work style I craved.
Ironically, it took getting married and starting a family to give me the perfect opportunity to be my own boss once again. I opened up a local preschool so I could be with my children in their early years while also tending to my own dreams and desires to own my own business.
And then one day I threw a party for a family member and it was so much fun that I suddenly realized it was time to get back to doing what I love most. The only drawback to event planning is that much of the work takes place nights and weekends and could potentially take me away from my family.
When I gave it some thought, I realized that I could call upon my very first experience as an entrepreneur where I ran things virtually, and could apply that out-of-the-box approach to planning and executing events.
Today, as a digital event strategist, I have orchestrated over 100 virtual conferences and countless more events worldwide. Working online gives me access to international venues and vendors, and so my work routinely takes me from my home office all the way around the world.
How’s that for realizing your dreams?
That creative young girl, now grown woman, refuses to settle for ordinary. I created this different approach to event planning. I spent hours researching how to go about starting a business that was untraditional in every way. One of the wonderful things about being your own boss is that you have the ability to be fluid with how you define your work and the clients you cater to. Today my company is called Eventistry by Alecia and I created it especially for the busy female entrepreneur that wants to create something extraordinary for her customers. The world is so busy on social media, and so I appreciate how important events that connect people in person is nowadays. It’s my pleasure to help other women create incredible, memorable, empowering events.
If I’ve learned anything on my journey, it’s that the entrepreneurial spirit is a gift, and you have to be both dedicated and creative to make this lifestyle work and be lucrative for you. Only you know yourself, so open up your mind and heart to designing your own world, the way you WANT to see it.
Alecia May, owner and Digital Event Strategist of Eventistry has been planning events for over 12 years. She has created experiences for intimate groups of 10 people to extravagant parties of over 800. Her work has allowed her to execute events both domestically and abroad with small start-up businesses as well as many large established companies.