What It's About
How a college hobby of storytelling with balloons transitions into a very much needed backup plan.
Words of Wisdom
For others interested in the balloon business, Higher Hope Balloons’ founder, Jason Vaughn, says two tricks of the trade are 1) buying good-quality balloons, and 2) watching lots and lots of YouTube instructional videos. A natural performer, Jason broke into the industry by doing balloon shows for daycares and senior homes but has now expanded to the more lucrative arena of balloon décor for his hustle.
Until recently, Jason was balancing the side hustle with a full-time job as an office manager at an outdoor lighting company. But as he just relocated from Dallas to Austin, his side hustle is providing him with a very necessary backup plan. He's temporarily a full-time balloon artist and a typical day involves creating a new sculpture, posting it on Instagram, and taking it to local businesses to generate new customers.
Notes from Chris
Episode 149I often mention that a side hustle can be a good backup plan. Well, today’s story features a side hustle that provides temporary employment for a man when he changes cities. Back in 2003, Jason Vaughn was while in college, Jason Vaughn headed to Miami for spring break. But this wasn’t your typical, beach and foam-party-type college escape. Instead, Jason was there on a mission trip, volunteering with a local church. During the week, Jason watched one of the trip’s coordinators tell the story of Jonah and the Whale entirely using balloons. He was blown away. Up until then, Jason had only seen balloon creations in the form of swords or flowers. But the idea that balloons could be used to tell a story amazed and intrigued him. He asked the coordinator if he would teach him some tricks, and by the time he returned to school at the end of the week, Jason had mastered several balloon designs. After scoring his first gig, he realized this was something that he could feasibly do. He kept working on his balloon skills and more jobs started to come in. Gradually, Jason’s side hustle—Higher Hope Balloons—came to life. He entertained in libraries, daycares, and senior homes by telling stories with balloons. As he performed at various events, he also realized the events themselves told stories—and that his balloons could help shape these. So he expanded into offering balloon décor, which is more profitable. Currently, Jason’s side hustle makes about $1,200 in profit per month, and going forward, Jason hopes to expand the balloon business’s social media presence. And he hopes to eventually get to the level of building custom balloon designs for brands and television shows. MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Higher Hope Balloons: Learn more about Jason and all of his inflated creations on his website
- TaylorAnnArt | Owl Balloons Twisting How To: Learn how to make an owl out of balloons with this 16 minute tutorial
- Graphic Designer Learns to Draw Caricatures for $250/Hr: How a graphic designer went from $8 an hour to $250 an hour in her side business. She now earns more than $100,000 working part-time—and she has some great advice that applies to a lot of hustles.
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