Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Judy Bazis, Founder of Illuminate Festivals, located in Frederick, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Illuminate Mind-Body-Spirit-Arts Festivals feature the best in local holistic wellness and arts. We serve the community by bringing together healing practitioners, artists, and natural product exhibitors that help educate and delight our attendees. We offer free admission and free workshops at our events in order to reach as many people as possible oftentimes, attendees have never been to a metaphysical event, and it can be quite eye-opening!
There is so much out there for people to experience, and we do our best to create a welcoming spa-like experience that promotes relaxation and openness and encourages people to try new things. Self-care is our focus, and we like to show attendees different ways to take good care of themselves.
Tell us about yourself
I have been an event planner for the last 12 years. I started as the volunteer coordinator for a small metaphysical event at my local Unity church. I felt called to go bigger, and with my church's blessing, I created Illuminate Festivals in 2014.
I am blessed to hold space for our amazingly gifted practitioners and product people. Nothing brings me more joy than hearing from our attendees that they found our events life-changing!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been creating a connected professional healing community. We went from one event in my hometown of Frederick, Maryland, to a network of events up and down the East Coast in Tennessee and Illinois.
Prior to the "sacred pause" of the Covid pandemic, we were planning events that extended to Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as Southern California. We affirm being there to serve those communities as well as others before too long!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the biggest challenges that come with being a business owner has been balancing the desires of others with my own vision for my business. I do my best to hold space for them to grow their businesses and serve their own community alongside my desire to grow Illuminate Festivals to serve as many communities as possible.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The most important tip I would give any budding entrepreneur is to start with a very clear vision of what they are seeking to create.
Second, get professional input from people who have shown success in growing their own businesses. Say a polite yet firm "thank you for your opinion" to those offering unsolicited advice. I have found that those who were eager to offer advice didn't know anything about my type of business but simply wanted to be helpful.
Third, be prepared to have thoughts about your new business take up most of your waking moments in the beginning. It can be all the time at first, but it should smooth out before too long. Remember to take some time for yourself that has nothing to do with your business!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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