Lisa started her event management and promotions company, Candy Event Consulting, from the foundation of what gave her joy, showed potential and utilized her strengths and experience. She saw a need for event planning support in her community and figured out how to offer the service in a way that is effective, efficient and affordable. Success for Lisa is about continuously taking the next best step as she balances business and life.
Lisa Gareau // Candy Event Consulting // Event Consulting // Canada // 40s
What motivated & inspired you to start your business?
My vision for Candy Event Consulting began as I saw a growing need for event planning support, relevant resources and encouragement for community and business leaders who were tasked to plan and promote events for their businesses or organizations, or groups. They knew face to face events would help them gain more customers, connect effectively with donors, reach out to their community, motivate their staff, or inspire their volunteer teams…but they didn’t know exactly how to do it in the most effective, efficient, and affordable way. Planning and promoting events might be a necessary part of your job – but I believe it can also be fun, energizing, and effective! Together with industry experts and passionate partners, I offer the workshops, coaching, and resources that will help anyone learn to plan and promote events creatively and effectively.
What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
When I was ready to start my business I looked to my experience and track record and started building a business framework that energized and excited me. I chose to include business activities that I had succeeded in, that I enjoyed at a heart level, and that showed a promise of growth. I established my brand with a warm personality and built the framework with room to grow. It was important for me to recognize my love of mentoring, teaching, and creating helpful resources and allowed it to become the foundation of my business. Making in-house and do-it-yourself teams stronger has been my focus – and my joy – and has become the distinguishing aspect in a very crowded event management industry.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
The promotion of my business was built on a strong brand, clear messaging, and a unique offering. I believe promotions – no matter how large or small – is about relationships. It was most important to be able to understand my ideal audience – in-house and do-it-yourself event planners – and speak to them in ways that addressed their frustrations, their lack of resources, and their desire to find a clear and effective path forward without losing control of the process. I asked for interviews on traditional media, I put my hat in the ring to provide learning opportunities for organizations, I partnered with compatible, like-minded businesses and organizations to double our efforts and expand our reach. It was important to tailor my message to anyone who identified as a DIY event planner and to be ready to give them an answer on how I could help make their efforts, and their teams stronger.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
I’m a huge advocate for collaboration, community, and team contribution but I have had to learn when and where to slow down to include others in my journey. Allowing others to share in the vision not only benefits my company but can also be a gift to those who are inspired by the work and want to participate! After over 9 years in my business, I have recognized the value of allowing others to join in and have found a way to collaborate and share ideas, resources, and contacts in ways that is mutually beneficial. A rising tide lifts all boats. I want to be part of raising others up!
Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
Routine, dedication, and life balance is important to set myself up for success. It can become a 24/7 endeavor to start and run a business and raise a family. Not having boundaries can be the end of both. When I first started my business I was a newly single mom who had the full responsibility to make a living and care for my girls full time. I have now learned the value of balancing my business and life. I don’t think it will ever be easy as one phase of business and life leads into the next – but I make a point of getting my sleep, spending more time on what gives me joy, and keep showing up every day for what matters.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Stay in motion, no matter how slow the journey may seem. The view of success will appear as you look back one day after staying the course day after day, month after month, and then year after year. In the moment our efforts might seem futile but when you take the next “best” step in each moment you’ll be well on the road to seeing results.
When I face a big challenge, I…
take a deep breath, step back, and evaluate.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done as an entrepreneur is…
to find my voice and learn how to use it for the benefit of others.
If I could go back in time to when I started my business I would tell myself…
slow down. Build in time to reflect. Embrace others in the journey.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…
You know enough today to make a difference today. Don’t wait until your vision is perfect.
My favorite business tool/resource/book/podcast is…
Talent Is Never Enough by John Maxwell
My favorite quote is…
“The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B” – James Yorke