Taking the Leap from Part-time to Full-time Balloon Business Owner!

Taking the Leap from Part-time to Full-time Balloon Business Owner!

When I started in the Balloon Industry in 2003, I purchased an existing business that had been a store front in Lakeland, Florida and the owner moved the business into her home when her lease on the retail store doubled. At the time I was looking for a way to work from home to be an at-home mom to my 4-year old daughter and I was burnt out serving as a social worker and jumped into the balloon business with two feet as my full time job. I had to make it work if I did not want to return to “corporate world”. My husband is a teacher in Florida so I have to bring in income into our family to help pay our bills, so this had to be a money income producing venture. My first job was to let people know that Party People was still a business, even though no longer operating a store front. I got active in the local chamber and business networking groups. I was motivated to face my fears, and do new things daily to make the balloon business profitable as I did not like the idea of returning to a job I did not like, so I grew my home based business to over $150,000 a year in sales. Now I serve as the Marketing Manager of Party People Events and it is exciting to be a part of a team that does over half a million dollars in sales a year, operating from a warehouse with a team! Over the last 16 years I have met a lot of amazing people in the balloon industry. The ones that I find that have full time income from balloons face challenges on a daily bases and don’t just sit around waiting for the phone to ring. They take action daily to grow their business. BalloonCoach.com was created to help you have the resources you need to learn from others successes and failures so that you can grow your business quicker knowing a path that will lead you to success.                                       Meet today’s Guest Blogger Melissa Vega, Owner of Jujabel, LLC, Raleigh, North Carolina. I first met Melissa at a hands on training I held in Orlando called Bridge the Gap to Success, I taught a full day of Setting Goals and how to Network and grow your business, and David Mahoney taught the 2nd day on how to build framing and overlay design. That workshop is what lead me to create Promotions & Profits Retreat Orlando. I have followed Melissa on social media and watched her business blossom and asked her to share her journey with you.   I got my start in balloons many years ago as a teen in New York City. I attended a performing arts school and instead of selecting a major in drama or chorus like everyone else, I chose Circus Arts sponsored by the Big Apple Circus. We were taught juggling, trapeze, tumbling, Spanish web and many other cool circus related skills. Being in the program afforded many of us the opportunity to perform with our instructors around the city. This was my first experience in learning that you can get paid very well for a 1 or 2 hour “gig”. At 14, I realized you didn’t have to work a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday to make a living. That stuck with me my entire life. It was during one of these gigs at a circus themed event I was taught how to make my very first spiral garland balloon arch. Ever since balloons have been apart of my life. I’ve worked for two other balloon company’s in NYC. Gaining more knowledge about balloons, working at some of the most prestigious venues amongst the most prominent clientele in the Tri-state area. After several years working with balloons and entering into my first serious relationship and having my first child, I found myself in an extremely abusive relationship. After my then boyfriend stalked and embarrassed me on various jobs It took me several more years to gain the strength to leave. By the time I decided to leave, my son was 5 and I packed a bag and headed to Florida. This was March of 2005. Upon my arrival in Orlando with a child in tow, I stayed with my cousin and landed a receptionist job making $7.00 and hour. I must of cried the entire 3 months I worked there. Office work was never my thing let alone making $7.00 an hour. I made more teaching circus arts in their after-school program, but hey this was new norm at the time and I had to suck it up until I found something better, I was just relieved to be out of the situation I was in. Fast-forward 10 years later, I’d met my husband at that crappy $7 and hour job, relocated to Raleigh, NC, had 2 more kids and it wasn’t until I had my 3rd child, my daughter Isabella, that I got the creative bug to want to do balloons again. At that moment I decided to create an LLC, and that’s how Jujabel was born. Jujabel is a mashup of my 3 children’s names (Juji, Jayden and Isabella).               I remember when my first order came in from burton + Burton and my husband said let me see what you can make. Up until that day he had never seen me inflate a balloon, but he knew it was a passion of mine and pushed me to start my business. The first thing I made after 10 years was this flower. I think he was relieved when he finally saw my work. He had no clue about the world of balloons and all its glory. Him putting blind faith into me and my dreams is something I’m eternally grateful for. As I started toying around with my newly founded balloon business, I continued to work at the local hospital in the Emergency Department. A place where I got to see people at their most vulnerable moments. Working there really beefed up my customer service skills, but the job itself, left me with no joy and a great deal of sadness, anxiety and depression. I knew it was a dead-end job, so I used it to help jumpstart my business. I made the conscious decision to cut out any extracurricular activities, vacations, hair and nail salons. Anything extra went on the business. One of the first things I invested in was the help of Sandi Massori,with her Balloon Business Bootcamp with Caity Byrne & Rachel Porter, I knew how to work with balloons but didn’t know how to run a balloon business. The next training events I invested in was BalloonCoach.com Bridge the Gap to Success in November 2016 in Orlando and Promotions and Profits Retreat Orlando, November 2018. All the trainings have helped me gain new skills, helped with pricing, book-keeping, website & social media presence, networking and an overall feeling of, I can really do this! This last year at my job I gradually cut back my hours, working less and less so I can focus on my clients and their events. In the beginning it was easy for me to manage both the business and my job because balloon jobs were so far apart that I had time to schedule days off or swap a shift with someone else. At no point did I feel like my business was taking too long to grow or manifest itself into a David Mahoney style balloon shop. I knew that if I continued to tend to my garden so to speak, that the butterflies will come, and so I continued at a slow and steady pace. I knew my numbers were always looking better and doubled from the year before. The only thing I couldn’t master was determining or projecting what the next month would bring. Each new month starts with 2 or 3 jobs on the books and ends with 15 or 20 by the end of the month. Almost all the balloon jobs I book are last minute. Due to the uptick in last minute jobs it became harder for me to leave work. There were days where I would be at work stressed because there was prep work I could have been doing, quoting/invoicing or sometimes I’d have to go straight to a balloon job after working an overnight shift. When February 2019 rolled around, the jobs that I booked were almost all on Sundays. Sundays were my days to work at the hospital. Previously I rarely booked jobs on Sundays, and this time around I had 2 months of Sunday jobs booked solid. It was almost as if God was telling me it’s now or never. I tried requesting these days off to no avail. My new boss would not give me Sundays off. With that, the decision was pretty much made without me. I put in my notice and since then my email has been blowing up. The floodgates have officially opened. I’ve even turned down a couple jobs because I’m already booked. I wasn’t worried about losing a job before because I had my “backup job”, so now I have to put new processes in place and look at getting some more help so I don’t turn down anymore balloon jobs. To me these are new and very much welcomed challenges I face. It means I’m doing something right.                                                       To all of you that are still working full-time jobs while working your balloon business and you want to transition into running your business full-time, I recommend slowly weaning yourselves away by going from full-time to part-time or by tightening up your budget at home. Cut out any luxuries and separating your wants from your needs. Learn to be frugal. I did it for a little over 3 years now and I don’t regret it one bit, especially if it means you get to be your own boss!   Thank you Melissa for sharing your story to help encourage and inspire other Balloon Business owners. When you Dream about having a successful company and take action daily you can create a Thriving Balloon Business the industry is booming! If you are at a point in your balloon business where you would like extra support, training and encouragement as you take your leap, I invite you to check out the resources at BalloonCoach.com. Looking forward to June and July on the road across the USA! I would love to meet you at one of the classes check out Summer LIVE tour 2019 of 9 Cities! Have a question about what training would best fit your needs, email Joette@ballooncoach.com Supporting you in creating a thriving balloon business,   Joette Giardina, CBA BalloonCoach.com Balloon Boss Mastermind access to over $2,500 of training and support at your finger tips 24/7  

2019 Tour – Balloon Training with Balloon Coach Joette Giardina, CBA

2019 Tour – Balloon Training with Balloon Coach Joette Giardina, CBA

  Balloon Coach Joette Giardina, CBA has been in the balloon industry full time since 2003, based in Lakeland, Florida. Over the years Joette, grew her home based business to over $150,000 a year in sales through investing in balloon training, networking in the business and events community in her area and taking sales courses to improve her sales conversation to increase sales. Studies show that 30 % of most businesses fail in the first 2 years, 50% fail during the first five years and 66% during the first ten years. Being a balloon business owner can be overwhelming at times. This summer, Joette is bringing tips from 16 years full time in the industry to help you build the business of your dreams. In 2015 she sold her decor company to coordinate online and in person business building training for the balloon industry. Giardina continues to serve as the Marketing Manager for Party People Events that now grosses over half a million dollars in sales a year. Joette understands the daily obstacles faced by balloon business owners and brings you the tips that have helped Party People Thrive! After many requests from Balloon Coach members around the United States, this summer Joette and her husband Brian are packing up their inflators, Clik-Clik Magpole, UV lighting, Uplighting, pipe and drape, balloons, fun prizes from sponsors and workbooks to spread tips to help you grow Your Thriving Balloon Business! Thanks to our generous sponsors the full day class is only $150! Click here for full details and save your spot! Join BalloonCoach.com’s Joette Giardina on her 9 city tour. With years of experience in operating her own balloon business and coaching balloon professionals, Joette answers some of the most prominent questions artists have today. Additionally, Joette will teach you tips on choosing the right framing and rigging, along with tricks to foil and latex organic designs and neon lighting. This is a full day class packed with great information on how to choose the right design to recommend to your client, pricing your decor, closing the deal and more. Lunch is provided along with in-depth class notes, plus raffle prizes throughout the day. Don’t forget to bring your camera for decor photos and your business cards to network with fellow balloon pros! Definitely a class you won’t want to miss!   What will be covered in the class: • Backbone to Creating Profitable Balloon Decor – choosing the right framing and rigging • Tips & Tricks to creating profitable Foil & Latex Organic designs • Confidently educating your client on decor items best for their event • Lighting that increases the perceived value of your balloons • Checklist to price for profit • Quoting with confidence • Art of Closing the Sale • Overcoming Price Objections • Checklist for Creating Your Thriving Balloon Business and step into the role of Balloon Boss! BONUS: Everyone who registers by April 30th will get a link to a BONUS webinar on Thursday, May 2nd, 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific                   About the Instructor: Based out of Lakeland, Florida, Joette was always the one put in charge of organizing events and decorations for special occasions in college while studying for her Bachelor in Outdoor Recreation and Leisure studies. After working as an activities director and in social work, Joette decided to turn her creative passion into a full-time balloon business. In 2003, Joette purchased Party People Celebration Company. Joette is an award-winning designer, and most recently was presented with the Inspire Award by Betallic at FLOAT 2019 for creating new business resources for the balloon industry through BalloonCoach.com. In 2014, she sold her decor company, but she stays active in the company serving as part-time marketing director and crew leader for Party People Events that grossed over 1/2 million dollars in sales in 2018 and is growing. Joette serves as a catalyst in the industry for business education and increased resources by offering webinars, business coaching, and hosts the annual Promotions & Profits Retreat in Orlando near Disney Springs. Joette credits the success of both of her businesses in the balloon world to hard work and support from the extensive network of balloon professionals who inspired her throughout the years. We look forward to seeing you on the road this summer! While on the journey, Joette plans to stop by some balloon businesses, if you are on her route email Joette@ballooncoach.com Include the name of your business, full address and phone number to contact you. Are you unable to join us on the summer tour? Join us online for Balloon Boss Mastermind to have access to over $2,500 of online training and group coaching by Joette. Get some behind the scenes coverage from the tour! Balloon Boss Mastermind Your Partner in Success, Joette Signature 1           Joette Giardina, CBA Mentor. Motivator. Speaker. Create a Thriving Balloon Business! Balloon Boss Mastermind    

Proper Use of Photos to Market Your Balloon Business

Proper Use of Photos to Market Your Balloon Business

  “We SELL what we SHARE” is a motto I often say to my Balloon Boss Mastermind and coaching clients. The question I then get is, “What photos can I use to market with, until I have photos of my own work?” Great question. So, today I want to share some tips and hints to help you through this process.   #1 The faster you build your own portfolio of photos of your work, the more your client will be able to see YOUR style and get what they expect when you deliver. If your website and social media is full of stock images and photos taken from other balloon professionals websites or Google searches, your client might be asking for a refund when the work you do for them looks nothing like the photo. (If you have not practiced or trained in how to do the correct framing. proportions etc.) Not everyone has the natural talent to be able to look at a photo and recreate the correct framing, proportions, harmony and balance that someone else created in a design. As you build your portfolio of your own balloon work, your style will start to show! Plus, you will have photos that people can connect with that are from the local venues that you service. People love seeing photos of balloons in the space they are holding their event at in order to see what balloons look like in that space. When you are taking photos of your balloon designs have a mix of photos of the balloons on their own and photos of people with the balloons. People in the photos with your balloon designs brings emotion to the photo and helps people have a personal connection and more of a desire to have the balloons for their event.     Ways to build your balloon photo portfolio
  • Attend hands on training that allows you to build decor and have photos of what you created. Capturing both photos of the balloons on their own and of YOU and other people with the photos brings emotion to the photos and people really connect with that.
  • Purchase professional quality balloons and practice / create designs you want to sell, take photos in a nice setting like a lovely home, a local venue a place where people hold events. Then use the practice piece to market your business giving it to a target referral partner or target client.
  • Participate in or organize a Style Photo shoot with other event vendors in your area that you would like to work with on a regular basis.
  • When you use stock images or images you purchase online, over time when you create your own designs from those inspiration pieces then replace the post with your designs.
  • Use clip art images for items you do not have actual photos of yet, sell the job, take photo of the decor piece and now – you have grown YOUR personal library of decor.
  • Share inspiration photos with your potential customers in an email stating, “This was created by my friend Joette in Florida and I would love to re-create this design for you. (never post photos of other companies work on your website or social media without the proper credit or permission – more info on this below)
  These are photos created from the Style photo shoot at Promotions & Profits Retreat Orlando 2018 Part of attending the retreat is that Alumni are given access to the professional photography to watermark and use in their marketing. So many times when we are on event locations it is tough to get good photos of our balloons because there are so many people in the room setting up the event, and the room might not be fully set when it’s time for you to leave. That is one of the reasons we do the professional photography of the balloon decor created at Promotions & Profits events.   Creating your own style shoot in venues you wish to work at is another way to capture these type of photos to market your business with.               One way to make sure people know the photos are of your work is by watermarking your balloon photos. I was the owner of Party People from 2003 to 2015 and now serve as the marketing director (so I can devote my full main attention to BalloonCoach.com while staying active in a growing balloon business) For years I wrote a blog and had my website and was happy to just have the photos up and showing my clients what I created and did not take the time to watermark my photos. The photo below was posted on my Party People Blog without a watermark and has been shared around the world and blogged about by event planners and more. In some of the blogs someone else had put their watermark on the photo, claiming it at their work! LESSON LEARNED! If I want to have credit for my photos, and make the most out of the power of social media sharing photos putting a watermark on the photos is wise. (since starting BalloonCoach.com I have given permission to my Balloon Boss Mastermind and One to One coaching clients to use this photo in their marketing) Some will place their watermark all the way across the image of the photo making it harder for people with tech skills to remove your watermark and put theirs on. I personally do not like that look so I keep my watermark typically a bit smaller and in the photo and not across the entire piece. More like a signature. Part of my role as marketing manager now for Party People Events is I watermark the photos from the events before I post them on social media. I like to use PicMonkey.com as it can be used easily on my computer or phone app to add in the watermark or other wording. Other programs you can use are Canva and iwatermark.  

  In our industry from time to time you will find a company that has taken your photos without permission and used them on their website, blog or social media without credit etc. If you wish to have them remove your photos here are some steps you can take, given by one of our Promotions & Profits Instructors.   PROFESSIONAL ETHICS in using balloon photos of others work! Just because you see someones balloon photos on their Facebook or website does not mean it is OK for you to download that photo and use it on your website or Facebook page! I repeat…just because it’s on the internet does not mean it’s up for you to use it without permission! A few tips to keep from getting a letter from a Balloon Professionals Legal team:
  • Do not use balloon photos from another balloon company on your website.
  • When you want to share a photo on social media of a design you would love to do – SHARE that photo with a comment “I love this design created by Party People Events, I would LOVE to recreate a neon event for a lucky client here in __________. Make it Clear in the post who’s work it is.
  • If you have photos on your website of other companies work without permission to do so, make those edits NOW! Remove the photos from your website that you do not have permission to use. There are stock photos available from some manufactures, or ones you can purchase online or by attending trainings like Promotions & Profits Retreat etc.
  • If your social media post on facebook or instagram is full of other peoples work – go back into the post and edit them and give credit to the creator of the photo.
Our industry is small and overall very friendly and helpful. Respect our industry and your fellow balloon professionals by running your company in an ethical manner. Having support of fellow balloon professionals can help you grow your business with referrals and sharing ideas in professional groups and training.   Tips from Brandon Turpin Steps to take if someone is using your photos without permission. Brandon is the owner of Utah Balloon Creations and BalloonSuite.com Steps to take if someone is using your photo. 1. Contact the owner of the company and let them know they are using your photo and ask them to take it down. If you are not able to find contact information for the company. You can do a search for who owns the domain name. There are many websites you can search this information. A popular one is https://www.godaddy.com/whois. You can go here and enter the domain name of the website to find the contact information of the person that owns the domain name. There are 2 types of domain registrations. a. Public Domain Registration – Contact information for the domain is public b. Private Domain Registration – Owner of the domain name pays for private registration through the company they host with. Instead of the owners contact information it shows the contact information of the company that registered the domain name. 2. If they do not remove the image per your request, you can send them a cease-and-desist letter. There are many templates online, but this is a good one http://www.copyrightsafeguard.com/copyright-basics/downloads/sample-cease-and-desist-letter.docx 3. If you contact them and they do not listen, you can’t find valid contact information, or the domain is privately registered. You can contact the company that is hosting the website and ask them to remove the image. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) lets you submit a request to any us based hosting company to remove the domain name. Hosting companies take these requests very serious. If you were to submit an official request to them and they did not take it down, they could then be held liable for damages. While you might not have damages for an image, many people will. When I worked for Bluehost.com for 5 years, any time we had a copyright complaint, we would shut down the whole account for the website until the person proved they removed it. Some companies will just remove the image and notify the customer, but hosting companies are generally good at helping get it removed. a. To figure out who is hosting it, on the same who is search result. There will be a section for domain nameservers. These are the servers of the company that hosts the website. It is how a browser knows where the files are located. Generally, the nameservers are something like. ns1.hostingcompany.com ns2.hostingcompany.com There are generally 2-4 nameservers, but they are generally all for the same company. Just backup names in case the first does not work. Remove the first part before the . and try visiting that website to get the hosting providers contact information. So in this instance we would drop the ns1 and just go do www.hostingcompany.com. Remember if the hosting company is not in the US, you can still contact them and ask since other countries have similar laws, but the DMCA would not apply to them.   Form to submit to the hosting company http://www.copyrightsafeguard.com/copyright-basics/downloads/sample-DMCA-take-down-letter.docx b. What is a hosting company? There are 2 companies needed to have a website. A company to register the ownership of the domain name. And a company to host or store your website files to be accessed when someone visits your website. Often the same company does both, but you need a domain name, and hosting where the files are stored. c. Remember that hosting companies will probably make you prove the image is yours. The easiest way to do this is watermark your images in an area that can not be easily remove or cropped. i. Do not place images on the edges. The image is easily cropped, and your watermark is gone. ii. Do not place it on solid or simple backgrounds. Anyone with a little photoshop experience can easily remove a watermark if the background is solid or simple. Having the watermark over a part of the image that has a lot going in the background will make it harder to remove it. iii. A good idea is to place the watermark over the actual object in the image. If it is a balloon arch, have it over the balloon arch. It will be hard to remove and easy to see if they did. Remember if the image is in an area that is important to give it transparency, so it is semi transparent. That will allow the object to still show through the watermark, so you are not covering up too much.     I hope that you find this information helpful as you grow your thriving balloon business! If you have other topics you would like more information on to grow your balloon business connect with me on Facebook in Balloon Coach Community Your Partner in Success, Joette Signature 1           Joette Giardina, CBA Mentor. Motivator. Speaker. Create a Thriving Balloon Business! Balloon Boss Mastermind