Today’s Guest is Chivonne Hypollite of Abstract Elements. In her interview she tells us how she got started in the events business and she discusses how you can build your business brand using events. Join us for this episode by clicking the icon above, subscribing above or downloading the transcript below.
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jaha– Welcome to the show Chivonne Hyppolite. I’m so happy that you’re here so you’re going to talk to us today about a few things but mainly you are going to tell us how you got started in business.
Chivonne– Wow, thanks for having me on the show today. How did I get started in business? The honest truth is that I got fired from my corporate job and within even 3 weeks I had to pick myself up and figure it out. One of my best friends encouraged me to start my own business. She said, “You know exactly what to do. You have the skill-set, you have the knowledge you have the time just do it on your own. Why go back to corporate if you don’t have to?” That was a crazy leap of faith but I did it and it’s been 6 years.
jaha– Did you think that it was going to be difficult to start your own business?
Chivonne– Absolutely because I had absolutely no prior background as to what it takes to be a business owner or to be an entrepreneur. So the only thing that I saw was I need capital and I need this and I need that. I need the website, I need business cards, I need you know all these things that were not necessary to actually put my skill set to work to actually make me some money. But the difficult part was trying to figure out what to do first and not diving in headfirst knowing that I didn’t have the capital to do what needed to be done. So I got really creative and I had to start researching and then asking other business owners, “Hey when you first started what did you do?” I wasn’t wise enough at that point to know where to seek resources. It was kind of like a knee jerk reaction. I said, I could be depressed for 3 weeks or sad for 3 weeks but I have to figure it out.
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jaha– So take me all the way to when you figured out events was what you were going to do. Although someone gave you the idea to start a business, how did you know that it was the thing you wanted to move on?
Chivonne– Okay so since I was about 4, I have been planning events. I’ve always been the executor in my family, when it came down to people’s birthdays or surprise parties or family reunions. It was always me even throughout high school and those were some of my first jobs and as I was putting myself through school for my actual degrees I was working in events and any around me that industry. I was planning events for colleges and universities. It was always this passionate thing, that I love to do, I do it in my sleep – logistics comes so naturally to me.
When I left my corporate job, I was doing events. I was thinking you can go where your degrees take you which was all in the medical field or you can stay where you are and do what you know how to do and do what you love to do. At that time I was traveling the world doing what I’m doing so I kind of decided to stay in this niche because I am really good at it.
I love it and even though my corporate job shut down some of the activities that I was doing at that current time I said no I can do this on my own and for those people who are still in corporate that have non-competes mine was for 3 whole years I could not contact anybody so when I say I had to build business from the ground up I had to do that and it was not easy but it was an amazing experience I would say that.
jaha– So you had to try to work around your non-compete so you could not actually contact anyone that you had previously worked with?
Chivonne– Worked with or the company was associated with as well.
jaha– Wow, that’s hard. So how did you build clients? Tell us about your first client.
Chivonne– My very first client was an insurance brokerage firm that came to me by word of mouth. It came to me from someone I had just helped do some graphic design work to get a logo and he was not going to recommend so I went over to meet him and it happened to be the CEO of this insurance brokerage firm and he was like Chivonne I want to throw a really big Fourth of July party. I have about 85 guests coming. He said his budget was like $15,000 and I was like what for house party?
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