Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Park, Founder of Melissa Park Events, located in Sydney, Australia.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Melissa Park Events specializes in creating high-impact experiences that are guaranteed to exceed our clients’ (and their attendees’) expectations while simultaneously accomplishing business goals. We have made a name for ourselves in the startup technology space for our seamlessly executed large-scale conferences, strategic sponsorships, and innovative brand activations.
Tell us about yourself
When I look back now, I giggle because my career seems like it had been set in stone from birth. Some might call it OCD, but I started creating preschool to-do lists from the time I could write. Growing up, I became the go-to coordinator for my family, neighbors, and friends' parties. Deciding the themes, creating a menu, planning activities, favors, etc., all the way to running the show the day of – I took care of it all. I would say, “Tell me your vision and let me bring it to life.” Thirty years later, I am still saying that exact line to my new clients!
When I finished high school, event management hadn’t yet become an area of focus, so I studied business (marketing), another of my loves. I got my first real job planning and marketing educational events for general practitioners. From the moment I stepped into my role and experienced event management in a professional setting, I knew I’d found my calling. Several roles (and years) later came to the true turning point when I served as the event, marketing, and new business development manager for African drumming & team-building organization. The management side of the business consisted of just me and the owner. During her maternity leave, I ran the business in her place and very quickly decided the only way I wanted to work seemingly around-the-clock hours would be for my own business. Then came Melissa Park Events.
Fourteen years later, I can honestly say I am still absolutely in love with what I do. Through A LOT of hard work, I’m very fortunate to be in a position where I no longer have to take on projects that are not aligned with the type of events I want to be producing. Having a portfolio of ideal clients is a rare gift that I do not take for granted.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I have many accomplishments I am incredibly proud of. However, my biggest accomplishment would have to be the fact that I’ve built a portfolio of clients from Australia to the U.S. based solely on referrals, rave reviews from attendees, and repeat business. Nothing says you truly delivered on your promise like a personal referral and/or getting that contract re-signed.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are so many things! Transitioning from launching to scaling and everything that process encompasses, ensuring it’s done right would have to be at the top of the list. Staffing, implementing new policies and procedures, cutting costs, introducing new revenue streams, creating new products or services, refining an offering, and updating a pricing structure can be met with internal and external resistance. Steve Harvey recently said, "Loyalty has an expiry date." I was taken aback for a second when I first heard it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right.
Your ideal client or customer in one phase of business will not necessarily match that of the next, just as team members may not be in it for the long haul. It’s important to be able to recognize when someone or something is no longer a fit and respectfully let them go. New opportunities will not present themselves when there is no space for them to enter.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do it well, or don’t do it at all. I understand the concept of "progress over perfection." However, I don’t subscribe to doing anything half-assed. While I have learned to pick my battles and let things go that aren’t going to matter in the long term, I do whatever task I’m doing well, or I don’t do it at all. Create clear boundaries and stick to them!
- Boundaries are key to avoiding burnout. If defined and adhered to, they should ensure you operate in true alignment with your personal and professional mission and goals. While you will likely (read: absolutely) still experience levels of stress, for the most part, you will be energized, enthusiastic, positive, and present. This is the exact state you want to be in when running and scaling a business. Instagram is a highlight reel. Do not give it power.
- So many incredibly promising projects never get off the kitchen table because of comparison. If you’ve got a fire within your belly that simply won’t go away, block all distractions, make a plan of attack (a.k.a. to-do list), and start working your way through it. Tackling bite-sized chunks will build momentum and give you the confidence to keep on going—even on the tough days.
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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