One way to get started might be to focus on children’s parities, which can be a bit simpler and less stressful to plan than adult get-togethers. Go further into specialization by following kid trends and offering superhero or Frozen parties. Remember that you’ll be competing not just with other party planners but with local restaurants and facilities, so excellent networking skills and a personal touch to your services will be important. Having the knack to put on a good fete is only the beginning of building a party-planning business.
Many of the same concepts that apply to making gift baskets or arranging flowers also apply here, but this time you’ll be putting people’s names on the things you send them. Personalization is especially hot for any sort of kids’ item, so don’t be afraid to be creative with the products you offer to personalize.
Like graphic design, Web design requires skills that can take years to acquire and perfect. But if you have them, the market is there for creating attractive, useful Web sites for all sorts of organizations. Starting a Web-design business does require some up-front investment, particularly in software, although candidates to start Web-design firms might have those applications already. Then, let the veterinarians, pet-shop owners, groomers and other providers of pet services that you’re in business. Try to hook up with a large local employer—a hospital, perhaps, or an university—and see if you can pick up multiple clients there at once. A friend in Oregon followed those steps and now runs a successful dog-boarding operation. But for those in position to do it, starting a graphic-design business offers an enormous opportunity—just remember to be creative with your business model and do something nobody else is doing.
Good photography, a good Website and some crafty skills will come in handy here. However, you will need to get exposure for your business by selling to stores and letting them sell your products or by selling directly on Websites such as Etsy or eBay. Then, let your delightful creations speak for themselves. If you have a knack for making floral, food or gift arrangements look pretty, consider setting up shop as a gift-basket designer in your home. You won’t need much more than a few craft supplies—ribbons, bows and the like, plus the baskets themselves—so the overhead for starting this business is low.
Expertise is another matter, but remember that writing can take many forms—from resumes to news articles to marketing materials and even thank-you notes. (You can even write for businesstown. com, although that gig doesn’t pay … yet. ) There’s probably some form of writing you’re qualified to do. Plus, if you’re good enough with grammar and punctuation, companies will pay you to be a freelance editor.
You need excellent organizational and client-management skills as well as a willingness to market yourself and your services to everyone you know. Starting a business in this field will require some experience, but as long as there is anxiety, there will be a market for coaching people to create and deliver presentations. Invest in video equipment or use a smartphone to record students as part of the coaching process. If you have a background in radio or TV or specific experience in high-profile public speaking, all the better. Never underestimate the terror some people feel getting up to speak in front of a live audience. High school and college students, as well as businesspeople, are excellent target markets for entrepreneurs who have some training and expertise in public speaking and presentations.