MemorableEntertaining.com of Barrington, Ill., launched in 2008, is a one-stop online resource that gives people access to everything they need to entertain with grace and style regardless of their budget or experience as a host or hostess.
‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching the business: After 32 years in corporate America and a milestone birthday, I asked myself what I loved doing and the answer was that I loved to entertain and help others successfully entertain. That’s how MemorableEntertaining.com was born.
Ideal customer: Young professionals, newlyweds, or anyone entertaining challenged, short on time, money or inspiration.
First customer: From an email I crafted to friends, family and business associates announcing the launch of MemorableEntertaining.com.
Measuring success: Initially MemorableEntertaining.com was launched as a membership site. Success was measured by increased membership, scheduled TV appearances and speaking engagements, conversations with magazine & newspaper editors – plus articles written about the company.
Biggest struggle: In terms of challenges, there are daunting days where you question everything you do. Your tenacity and belief in yourself will carry you through. In addition, everything takes longer and more money than you think it will, so a big challenge is managing and deciding what to spend your time and money on. My original idea was to focus only on a membership based site. The first year of business taught me a lot and now I’ve identified four other avenues to expand my business and generate revenue. Believe it or not, one of the biggest rewards is the process itself. It is exhilarating. Don’t get me wrong – it is a lot of hard work and some days can be down right excruciating, but along the way you learn so much and meet the most fascinating people. It is very rewarding when you are building something that you own, on your terms, especially when you realize all the possibilities. Spreading the word and driving revenue are the biggest challenges.
Surprise!: When you transition from corporate America you forget how much support you have from an administrative and technology perspective. Time management, setting priorities and thoughtful consideration of proposals become more important than ever. It can be very easy to get side tracked from your core objective when you first start out and are hungry to generate revenue and create awareness of your business.
What you wish you would have known: The importance of understanding and effectively using social media.
What keeps you up at night (business wise!)?: How to keep the business viable and generate income.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: Yes, I think every entrepreneur experiences that emotion — especially in the tough economy.
The absolute best part of owning my own business is: the flexibility, the freedom to use my creativity and the amazing people I have met along the way.
If I had to start all over again, I would have: I would have done more research, started as a free membership site and set up site to sell advertising up front as well as product.
I never imagined: selling memberships, spreading the word and gaining the attention of media and strategic partners would be so difficult.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “Do your homework before you leave your job. Set as much of the groundwork in place as you can and save as much as your budget allows. Have a good support system. Surround yourself with successful people full of positive energy that give you strength and challenge you. Help others whenever you can. People come back into your life in the most unexpected ways. Never burn any bridges. Listen to your inner self and don’t be afraid to follow your dream. You can only ignore your inner voice for so long. Sooner or later, if you don’t pay attention, it will affect you emotionally, physically or both. Take the leap – it a great ride, albeit scary. You will grow and learn more about yourself than you ever imagined.”