In general, it’s not easy to run a business. In 2021, in the midst of an economic recession and with a looming pandemic that threatens your profit at every turn, it’s terribly far from easy.
Most businesses fail in the first 3 years and many established businesses, even after working so hard, haven’t been able to survive the events of the last 12 months.
Make me a Rockstar is one small business that has not only survived the COVID economic climate, but is also celebrating its 10th anniversary!
We caught up with the owner, Lauren, to hear about her journey and her best business survival tips.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
Some call me an entertainer extraordinaire! I do kids parties, school holiday workshops, vocal coaching and studio recording packages, visiting preschools, schools and events doing shows as characters or through our self- development program, working one on one doing music programs with children with special needs, babysitting.. anywhere where children are, I’m there really!
What is your passion?
When I was a child I loved to perform. Any chance I got, I was on the stage: whether that platform was merely a set up in our very own lounge room at home or at school in drama class, I loved to sing, dance and act. Through life’s circumstances I lost that childhood confidence, whether it be the kids at school or people around me, I somehow lost my voice. I never felt that I was good enough, and didn’t want to try for the fear of failing. I am often confronted with the reality of kids that don’t know who they are and don’t know that they have a voice. Countless stories of kids who get told that they can’t sing, the streamed cultural message that they’re not good enough.
It is such an honour to inspire children to break out of their shell and be everything they are called to be. I love the moments that are shared, where a child steps out of their comfort zone, or gets the encouragement from their peers.
The little moments that seem insignificant but when you look back you realise just how special they really were. Through our stories in the Rainbow Backpack series, and our various services, we are able to teach that timeless message.. plus putting a smile on their face puts a smile on ours too! I love being one answer to their millions of soul searching questions. I love standing in the gap for those kids that just need someone to believe in them. I love being a mentor, voice coach and encouragement to them. I love that I get to draw out their inner voice, creativity and confidence, and to show them they are indeed believed in! I love that I get to be just one small part of that journey.
How did you turn your passion into a business?
I was doing my Bachelor of Music and working with children on the side. An opportunity came up to buy my neighbours’ business, which I jumped at. I got super excited knowing I could combine my love for music and children together and make a business work. We started with just kids’ parties in the beginning, and within a few years were running local workshops. Now we’re doing regular Rockstar tours around Australia in vacation care centres. It’s so much fun!
What have been your biggest challenges in business?
I still remember the moment. When a new staff member had come on board to do her first party. I thought putting her with someone experienced would make it okay. I thought the mum being a ‘friend’ it would be okay. In business you have to step out of the boat at some stage otherwise you will never grow. They did the party, and being in a park, not only were the children distracted with the play equipment but despite the microphone, they were hard to hear. The girls had the interest of the kids on and off. Not only did the mum not give us a chance to rectify the situation, she also had friends write reviews on the same party, even though some of them didn’t see what happened. To this day I still can’t seem to raise my average star rating on reviews, even though I have done hundreds of successful parties. That was one of my lowest points in business, and I still regret it.
Who/what has gotten you through your biggest challenges?
Remembering “this too shall pass”, focusing on the parents that do love us, that have had great parties, looking back over photos or reading great testimonies. Learning from my business mentor Sarah Borg from Spoil Me Kids Day Spa and leaning on friends’ encouragement to keep me going, to remind me that it will be a better day tomorrow. Thinking of all the smiles on the children’s faces in all the programs and parties that we run. It’s so worth it.
What inspires you to keep going every day?
I don’t think I would want to do anything else. Let’s be honest, I’m not born for 9-5, stuck behind a desk kind of work. I love that I get to work with a range of different ages, impacting children with music, being creative everyday. There are so many great little moments that make me remember why I do what I do, whether it be a child who is surprised by their favourite character, an encouragement paper at a workshop, or performing at a venue chatting to parents and children. Although it’s a lot of admin and left-brain stuff, I love the right brain creative moments with the kids that make it all worthwhile.
What is your greatest memory of the last 10 years in business?
Watching the children in my class be inclusive and encouraging to a child with a disability who is non-verbal and wheelchair-bound. They found ways of including him in their activities, even missing out on an activity because they wanted to make sure this child didn’t miss out. Watching the face of this child light up with a song they knew. Seeing the kindness of the carer who took it on her back to take him on full-time.
Also, while running our Rainbow Backpack self-development series, one of the children grabbed a hold of one of the concepts about boundaries and returned the following week telling us about how she had put boundaries in place and seen change in a relationship. The many moments of children having lightbulb moments learning something new.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in business?
There are so many lessons, but the main one is to take your time. Learn about your clients and their needs, start small and build. Don’t put all your hard-earned cash in straight away. Build slowly. And when the time comes when you feel like you are growing, and it’s hard to maintain, and working too many hours aside from your day job on your business, don’t be afraid to take that leap! Your business can only grow to the capacity that you are. So run with it, take that chance and just watch it grow! You’ll only ever regret the decisions you don’t make.