460
10 min 39 sec

Stay-at-Home-Mom Hires Army of College Students

A new mom helps party hosts plan their events. After hiring college students to do the work, she parties her way to a European vacation, complete with Beyoncé tour tickets.
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What It's About

A new mom finds some much-needed release in the form of a party organization service!

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Organization & Coordination
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

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!

Fun Fact

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 460
Kristen 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
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"While you might be able to do it alone, it's better to have people in your corner. Set a meeting with someone who's successfully started a similar business and pick their brain. You'd be surprised at how helpful people are willing to be!"
—Kristen Blanks #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau