733
8 min 8 sec

Networking Success Is Served with a Side of Eggs

Inspired by a generation’s obsession with startups and brunch, this Wall Street relationship manager combines the two on a silver platter.
Community Education Events High Profit Low Startup Potential

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What It's About

Business education served sunny side up.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Planning & Coordination
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Paulina and her partner, Jon, had a lot to say about how you should go about building a community. But what they both agreed upon was:

1) Identify who you need in your network, 2) find a way to connect with those people, and 3) Be kind and generous to others because it’s important when trying to build relationships.

Fun Fact

The origin of avocado toast is still unknown, but according to The Washington Post, chef Bill Granger of Sydney, Australia may have been the first person to put avocado toast on his café menu in 1993. Despite claims from smug millionaires about giving up avocado toast to save up for a down payment on a house, you'd have to skip at least 4,900 avocado toasts for something like that to work out!

Notes from Chris

Episode 733
Being part of the rise of the “digital age” means that Millennials had a lot of great things going for them—online gaming, the ability to track pizza as it makes its way to your house, and perhaps more importantly, the ability to connect with anyone right in their pocket.

But as we’re discovering, despite the ease of connecting through our various gadgets, there’s been a decrease in organic, in-person interactions. It has a tendency to create isolation. This was something that a “fresh-out-of-the-coed-dorm” Paulina Karpis was acutely aware of…

While there was an abundance of online communities and forums, they just weren’t Paulina’s cup of tea. She found them to be impersonal and lonely—she was in hot pursuit of an in-person community. One that would allow her to connect with other young, would-be entrepreneurs and bounce ideas off.

And what’s a millennial to do when all of the best brunch places in town have over an hour wait or they aren’t serving what you’re craving? They whip it up at home, of course! Feeling that she couldn’t be the only one looking for more, Paulina decided to tackle the issue head-on.

Since she wanted to create a resource for people like her, it made sense to model what she wanted after an educational, in-person workshop with business speakers. She would host them on the weekends because with her job, that was the only time that she had available. And knowing the death grip that she and her fellow colleagues had on their cherished brunch traditions, she had to find a way to include food as part of the package as well.

Paulina figured that if she could somehow find the right venue, everything else would follow. She could work the price of the space in with the cost of the ticket which would mean that she wouldn’t have to pay much out of pocket.

The trouble was, she didn’t really have any legit business connections—not to mention a hedge fund to get it up and running. In fact, Paulina was broke. She could barely afford her own weekend brunch habit much less the launch of a new business. But if brunch had taught her anything, it was that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemon curd and toss it on some pancakes.

She started with a mission statement and poured everything she had into a little email that she was sending out into the world. Paulina was eager to meet with anyone and everyone who showed even the slightest interest in what she was creating.

After two particularly successful meetings, including one with a behavioral scientist who ended up coming on as a partner, things were finally starting to fall into place, and that’s when Paulina really started cooking. She called her new endeavor, brunchwork, and the first event had a total of 30 people in attendance. It kicked off roughly four months after she had sent out that initial email.

For the bulk of year one, Paulina and the growing brunchwork team then offered one event a month for a cost of $40. Starting this project as a side hustle was instrumental to their success because getting 30-60 people in a room together once a month wasn’t going to really pay their bills. Instead, that first year provided her with more of an opportunity to learn, grow her network, and essentially “level up.”

A lot has changed since that first year. They started out with roughly 30 RSVPs a month, but these days, that number has grown to over a thousand thanks to some strategic expansion on the West Coast in San Francisco and LA. The growth has been gradual and self-funded, which is something that Paulina is proud of and never really thought possible.

Profits have doubled on a yearly basis, and the business now brings in mid-five-figures on a monthly basis. It also meant that Paulina could say farewell to Wall Street and make the pursuit of business ideas and putting together a mean brunch spread her full-time job.

After almost four years of hustling, she’s learned a lot about building a community of like-minded individuals. Once in a while, she even takes time to enjoy a brunch of her own.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • brunchwork: Learn more about the in-person workshops that Paulina and Jon are running over on their website!
  • WordPress: Paulina used WordPress to setup brunchwork, and here you can learn how to install your own WordPress site in 5 minutes

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
"​I started this side hustle because there were two problems I wanted to solve. As an ambitious, young professional who wanted to start her own business, I didn’t feel that there were adequate resources to tap into. And secondly, our generation is lacking in opportunities to connect with a community in-person. I wanted to fill that gap.​"
—Paulina Karpis #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau