What It's About
A new mom finds some much-needed release in the form of a party organization service!
Words of Wisdom
Kristen's target market ended up being affluent professionals with limited time, so she started by asking them two things: 1) what they would most want someone to help them with if they were throwing a party, and 2) what they would be willing to pay to not have to do those things themselves?
She then used this information to determine the services she'd offer and the rate that she'd offer it at. When in doubt, ask!
Kristen had a friend who got married in Europe, and a combination of her PartyEase income plus her husband’s airlines miles and hotel points allowed for her and her husband to take a two-week vacation to London, Paris, and Barcelona.
Notes from Chris
Episode 460Kristen Blanks is a Midwesterner who grew up in Akron, Ohio—a place whose claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of NBA All-Star Lebron James. While many of her schoolmates were signing up for French Club or the Debate Team in high school, Kristen set her sights on something different: The Kitchen Libby Organization. If you’ve never heard of this organization, don’t worry—you’re not alone. For those who are not in the know, a “kitchen libby” is someone who provides services like washing dishes and serving at parties. As President of this esteemed organization, Kristen was in charge of selecting students from her roster of available kitchen libbies to work the parties. It looked great on her college application and provided her with some applicable management and organizational skills. Little did she know at the time that this would go on to be the inspiration for her side hustle. A few years later and a whole Bachelor’s degree away from her Kitchen Libby days, Kristen was toiling away in grad school so that she could be a counselor. Since her day-to-day schedule was so demanding, she often had to rely on her parents and student loans for support. But Kristen had always had a bit of an independent streak. Not content to rely on mom and dad or loan institutions with outrageous interest rates, she started brainstorming ways that she could bring in some extra cash. It needed to be something that would allow her to have control over her hours and provide the flexibility that her school schedule severely lacked. That’s when she started reminiscing about her high school days as part of the Kitchen Libby Organization. It definitely fit her criteria and didn’t hurt that it was something that she already had experience in. She marketed PartyEase on Craigslist and advertised it as the solution to a host’s party-throwing woes. She’d take care of the details and allow hosts to actually ENJOY their parties instead of working them. While not hugely successful, she did end up with around 5-6 gigs a year which lined her otherwise empty pocketbook. In 2012, Kristen hung up her apron for good when she and her husband moved to Pittsburgh while he attended graduate school. Four years later, Kristen and her husband were officially settled into their new home in Columbus, OH following the birth of their first child 2014. Life was getting back to normal. Kristen loved being a full-time mother to her young son and was an avid volunteer through her church and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She had always wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom, but the reality was that, well, she was bored. She missed being able to use her adult brain to contribute financially to the family. As Kristen said to us, “After singing the ABCs for about the 100th time, I poured myself a glass of wine at noon and set out to find a way to not only save my sanity but serve my community while working from home.” She knew she wanted to depart from her formal training as a school counselor and do something more light-hearted and above all, FUN. So, midway through 2016 she relaunched PartyEase, and started offering her party organizing services to her community in Columbus. Since this was the digital age, she launched her website with Weebly, ordered some stunning business cards, and started reaching out to friends and family for leads on upcoming events. While this is definitely a seasonal business, Kristen says that she’ll do anywhere from 2-6 gigs a month during the party deprived periods of January and February, and upwards of 15 gigs a month during the busy wedding and holiday seasons. On average, most of her gigs end up bringing in anywhere from $200-1,500 depending on the length of the party and the number of people needed to help run it. By the end of 2017, Kristen took home about $7,500 after paying all of her contractors and deducting any costs along the way. Not bad for a mom who had been living in sweatpants!
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- PartyEase: Let someone else handle the details for a change—learn more about Kristen's side hustle on her website!
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: The non-profit organization that Kristen spent her time volunteering for
- Weebly: The platform that Kristen used to create her website for PartyEase
- Atlanta Duo Gets Paid to Help Engaged Couples Elope: Feeling disappointed with the wedding industrial complex, where the average ceremony costs $35,000, this unconventional couple creates an alternative option
- Avid Travelers Turn Finding Deals Into Vacation Planning Side Income: A couple in Washington, D.C. convert their passion for travel into a side hustle planning all-inclusive surprise vacations for those who lack the time to do it themselves
- Quick Research Leads to Meal Planning Subscription Service: Healthy meal planning can be rough. One man is on a mission to help people be more health-conscious with his subscription-based website selling meal prep recipes
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