Two Years and a Different Person Later

I get asked ALL the time how and why I started my business, Allison Carter Celebrates. Questions like, “did you always want to start a business?,” “how did you think of this idea?” , “is running a business a lot of work?” I love talking about business. It’s one of my favorite conversations. I literally could talk about business strategy, marketing, going scared, social media, etc. all day long. Was this always the case? Heck no. I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. I come from entrepreneurial parents and that life is hard. It’s unpredictable, vulnerable and can be super stressful at times. It definitely has perks, but this life is no joke. I always thought I would go back to teaching when my kids went to school. I loved being a teacher and always saw myself in the classroom, even as a little first grader. That was my dream, and I got my dream job and loved it. Then I became a mom and loved that just a little bit more. 

 

The Conversation

I’ve talked about my mom tribe before, but these girls seriously are lifelines in my life, especially in my life as a mom. We met at our hospital’s parent baby group when our first borns were weeks old and totally hit off. We took our relationship to the next level when we decided to swap numbers and go on a walk. 5 years later, we still walk the same trail and eat at the same place for lunch every Friday. It’s a ritual and one I cherish deeply.

One February afternoon at nap time, my girls and I were chatting on Facebook Messenger, as we often would. Evie was 3 years old and Hudson was just a little over 6 months. The conversation turned to first birthday parties for our second babies. Those babies were born within weeks of each other and we needed to discuss themes and claim our party dates. One of my girlfriends, a full time working mom, was starting to stress about her party. She didn’t know where she would find the time and couldn’t envision the party she wanted to host.  Being a natural hostess, and lover of all things party planning, I offered to take on her party. I told her I’d start planning it and find some things that will bring it to life. She said game on and we were off to the races!

I opened a Google Slides doc and started sticking some party theme inspiration pictures I found on Pinterest on the doc, started my search for decor to bring it life, and outlined some easy tutorials on how to set it up, along with menu plans and activity ideas. Most of her party planned for her, in a very visual way, with links to purchase what she needed. I thought it was kind of cool and hoped it was helpful so I sent it on over to her. She was floored. She said she immediately could see her party. She knew exactly what it would look like and felt relief over not having to go out and find all the supplies and decor herself. It was all done for her in one place. She urged me to do something with this…maybe this could be a business?

I decided to ignore that because I couldn’t possibly start a business. I had small kids at home and “no time.” But I couldn’t stop thinking about how much fun I had planning that party and creating that visual resource for her. I brought it to the other moms and they also loved it. I wanted to go for it, but I was scared. The doubts and excuses kept coming…but I figured all I had to lose was my time…and I wasn’t really putting that to much use anyway. Let’s create another “party plan” and see if I still like it,

I loved it.

I loved the design aspect, the creative juice flowing, the hunt for the perfect item, the satisfaction of a party coming together. I loved it all.

I asked the girls to hive-mind the next one with me. We sent a plan back and forth until it had everything a busy mom could possibly want when outsourcing the planning of her party. We went back and forth for days making sure I included everything they brought up. This is a very diverse group of women, most of them not into party planning. In fact, most of them hate planning parties for various reasons, stress, money and time being the big ones. They represent the moms I speak to and serve every day. 

The Action

I decided I needed to learn how to actually run a business. I enrolled in an online education program called B-School with one of the OG female entrepreneurs in the online education space, Marie Forleo. Thank God I did. I entered a whole new world of learning a new language, practices, and systems. I had zero clue this world existed. My favorite celebrities changed from Kristin Bell and Reese Witherspoon to Jenna Kutcher and Amy Porterfield. I was IN and I felt like I belonged. I devoured the course and all of the content I found online. And then I got to the website module…and decided that was too hard and I was going to stay on Etsy. I almost didn’t even listen to the module, but I did it and am so glad I did. I figured out how to design a website with the help of my new best friends, Google and YouTube and worked it out. That is literally how I did any of this, including the podcast. I learned quickly that I could things out…and things happened for my business! It was a game…what else could I do to see results? Word started getting out about my business. Word spread from happy, stress-free moms, and the custom orders for themed party plans started to come in. I had an actual business people were responding to! I did it! Ha…if only that was true…that was the tip of the massive iceberg that is a life of an entrepreneurial mama.

 

So there I was, a website housing my party plans, a small social media presence, and big, audacious goals that I was starting to feel brave enough to voice. A couple months later I was lucky enough to see that First Fiesta themed party I planned for my girlfriend come to life. It was the first official plan I ever created, and the first party I ever planned for someone else. It was an absolutely stunning party that went off without a hitch. The host was beautiful, relaxed and enjoying herself. Her and her husband even had a date night the night before the party! What a concept! I will never forget the feeling I had walking into that party. It still makes me teary thinking about it. To see my ideas and vision come to life through the hands of someone else was one of the coolest moments of my life. It makes my whole day to attend parties hosted from one of my party plans, or see pics clients email to me with messages about their fun days is just the best. Seeing that impact means everything to me.

The Impact

 For two years I worked on getting my party plans in front of busy moms and women around the world. I’ve helped women in the US, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, the UK, so many places! They all had gorgeous parties they enjoyed hosting resulting is SO many cherished memories for their families. I have perfected an affordable system for outsourcing party planning for busy moms that works. I’ve helped saved thousands of hours of unnecessary planning and online shopping, money for sticking to their plans, and created countless memories. All of that is completely priceless in my mind. It’s so freaking amazing. 

Here’s what a couple of my amazing clients have said about their experience hosting a party with a party plan:

“Would never have even thought i could try to throw a party like this before. I miss teaching sometimes, I miss being creative and artistic and it fills that cup. I would never have found that without being inspired by you, Allison!”

“I never thought I could actually have fun planning a party until now.”

“Seriously I didn’t think parties like this could be hosted by real people like me.  My plan made it attainable and fun!”

 Now you can see why these messages make my day! Just the best.

What’s Next

Make no mistake, this is just the beginning. I have big, giant goals for this business because I believe in the effect it has on women. I know this is something that causes millions stress. It’s easier to not have a party than to plan a party.  I’m here to change that. Every family deserves to have a celebration they enjoy rather than dread. It’s a party afterall! 

I also want to help women, moms especially, get over this comparison issue we all suffer from. Just because you are your kid’s mom doesn’t mean you need to take on every single thing. I did that…and I burned out and had a horrible experience. You can read about Evie’s first birthday here. It wasn’t fun. If I would have outsourced a couple of the tasks and saved myself some time and energy, I would have LOVED planning that party. Just a something taken off my plate to make the load lighter. Why is there this stigma that we need to do it all? No one cares that you outsource the cleaning of your home or your grocery shopping…why is outsourcing your party planning any different?

 Two years in my business, I was featured in Forbes and Mingle Magazine, Two giant powerhouse media sources, and an incredible honor for this mama rocking the naptime hustle. The more this mission of hosting stress-free parties grows, the better. These features, among many podcast interviews and guest blogs have grown my audience and I’m excited to keep sharing!

In September 2018, I started the Memories in Moments podcast which was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business. I get to talk to amazing women about how they make memories with their families and share their ideas with moms everywhere. I kept getting asked about tips for celebrating little things. Parties are great, but they only happen a couple times a year. Memories can be made everyday…what do I do for back to school? Holidays? Losing a tooth? Milestone at school? Family vacation? 

I thought about how I could create content for my tribe on these topics. I could pump out a bunch of blog posts…but my tribe are busy moms, working moms in particular. They don’t have time to read blogs. But they do have time to listen to a podcast in the car, doing dishes, walking, etc. 

I looked over my shoulder and say the book my mom wrote when my sister and I were younger. It was called Memories in Moments. Bingo! I wrote on my brain dump paper – “Memories in Moments 2018 book facelift,”

I was going to use the idea of that book, giving moms easy tips for making memories with their family, and update it to a podcast. Almost 30 episodes in, thousands of listeners, and the excitement is still alive and kicking!

I’m sharing my story because it really is one I get asked about a lot. But I also want it to serve as inspiration if there’s something stirring in you that you can’t shake. I am grateful every single day that I didn’t ignore that. 

I did it scared. I was (and still am!) absolutely clueless in multiple areas of my business. But I’ve shown myself that I’ve figured it out before and I’ll figure it out eventually. I can ask for help and use the internet anytime I need/want to. There is NEVER a better time than now to start a business. 

I was incredibly lucky to have a group of women as my encouragement, and I am happy to be that sounding board for you. I know how important it is to unload sometimes and ask for an outside opinion. I’d love to pay that forward since it was so crucial to my entrepreneurial journey. Send me an email at allison@allisoncartercelebrates.com. and we can talk business!

Interested in trying a party plan at your next party? Shop for your theme here! 

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