REMEMBER WHAT YOU WANTED TO BE – Never sell yourself short. Whatever the circumstances, however low you may feel, recall your hopes and plans. Use them as your benchmark: reassess your position and aim high again. – Patrick Lindsay, Now Is The Time
The neighbors on Alderson Street were families with boys. The only other girl was Ellen Robinson, two doors down. But Ellen really liked to play with Barbie. She had the mansion, the pool, the Jeep, and several of Barbie’s companions. I had Barbie and Skipper and a few changes of clothes. I was too much of a tomboy to get all fussy about what Barbie should wear.
With a street full of boys, I often played sports in the street. And yet there were many days I wasn’t allowed to hang with the guys. On those occasions, I took to playing office at my desk. I loved office forms and carbon paper. I madly filled out forms, filed papers in some sensible fashion and enjoyed the sensation that I was “getting something done.” My second favorite game was playing boutique. I would hang my clothes up all over my room and then have to bounce between the roles of customer, shop girl and cashier (complete with a toy cash register but a real cash drawer in the desk drawer). With my love of office forms, came also my love of receipts and price tag stickers and things I could use to make my imaginary adult life a little more real.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I began a lucrative little adventure called Hosting Helpers. It began when I worked a few parties for a senior named Lisa who had her own little biz, Party Partners. (I so wanted to use that name for my business!) She showed me the ropes for hosting events, and how to let the real hosts of the party enjoy themselves. The job entailed preparing the food tables, keeping the house free of empty glasses and thrown away napkins, making sure the chip bowl was full and doing all the dishes at the end of the night. Lisa was graduating and wanted to turn over her business to someone else. My dear friend, Rae Meadows essentially became my partner as we helped host parties all over San Diego. We would wear black pants, tuxedo shirts, complete with red bow tie and cummerbund. We worked weddings, BBQs, office parties, progressive dinners, and any number of holiday parties.
We were a hit. And with every party we hosted, we usually gained another client, simply by displaying my business card. I sent out reminders about the holiday season at the beginning of November, which helped us book up every weekend leading to Christmas. The minimum wage was $3.35 per hour, at the time. We pulled $6.00 per hour plus tips; I loved having the money to buy nice Christmas gifts for my family. Hosting Helpers got me a mention in the school newspaper and helped me develop a love for event planning, which has been at the core of most jobs in my long marketing career.
There was an entrepreneurial spirit in me, even as a young teenager. I secretly believed I could run a multi-national business, just by employing staff to host a party. I had no desire to cater, just a desire to employ well-trained party planners and hosts. I envisioned myself with an executive office at the top of some high rise in an unidentified city (Come to think of it, I don’t remember feeling that it was San Diego – I can still picture the skyline from my vision). Hosting Helpers International never came to be, but what a big, fun dream it was.
Here I am now, well into adulthood, back in my hometown, San Diego and dreaming once again of what my business will look like. With great enthusiasm and anticipation, I launched the Beaming Bohemian website on May 1, 2011. Since that time, I’ve picked up a few clients, continue to chase leads, but more significantly, continue to shape how I want my business to grow. I am heavily in R&D and working to narrow my focus. One aspect I have enjoyed the most is reconnecting with old friends and exploring a variety of options.
Admittedly, launching a new business is a struggle. It is frightening, quite frankly, and it is ridiculously hard work. Beaming Bohemian is quickly becoming the toughest challenge I have ever faced in my life. It turns out that re-establishment is WAY harder than settling into someplace foreign… even if that place is a Hanoi, Vietnam or a Shizuoka, Japan. While abroad, I learned that I am completely comfortable with being in foreign places, adjusting to new ways of life, hearing foreign tongues, adopting strange cultural rituals, and simply soaking up life as it comes.
Feeling like a foreigner in the U.S., in California, in San Diego – which should feel like home, is a hilarious new game I am trying to master. Fact of the matter is, I have never been more uncomfortable in my life. But I know, I really know that out of great discomfort comes great life lessons. At heart, I am still full of adventure, still willing to take huge risks and still full of patience to understand what life is going to throw my way. All the while, I have never forget that little girl inside me, the one with immeasurable creativity and imagination, such high aspirations and totally blind confidence. My desk no longer contains a cash drawer and all those fancy office forms, but it is still the hub for crafting my dreams, working my plan and creating a very lovely life.