Have you ever wanted to know how to run your own events & workshops?
So did I.
That's why I reached out to Jade McKenzie of Event Head to help me organise my first copywriting workshop. We met in Sydney for an hour & I walked away with so much information (& confidence!) that would've ordinarily taken me weeks to gather.
Hiring Jade was a really smart investment in my business. Plus, my workshop went off without a hitch. Yay.
Jade is your go-to girl for event planning & she's a stunning example of how to grow a business with heart & smarts. I'm sure you'll love her.
Introducing: Jade McKenzie... (Said in my best Oprah voice, of course.)
Tell us about your path to entrepreneurship.
I have always had the inkling that I didn’t want a regular job and wanted to live a life on my own terms, but early on in life I didn’t know how that was going to happen! I have always done things differently, felt like a black sheep and looked at things in a distinctive way, which I completely embrace now, but sometimes felt isolating when I was younger.
I’ve always liked being autonomous and amongst other projects. I started a sticker club in primary school and had people on a membership plan where they would get a fresh supply of stickers regularly for 15c a month.
In high school, I would lament to my dad about how useless school was and that all I wanted to do was work, though I had no idea what I wanted to do. At one point, I was considering being an astrologer, an archeologist or a copywriter. (At least that’s one job that’s relevant to my work now!)
My high school years were a deep exploration into my creative side and I spent more hours drawing, writing and creating than I ever did studying.
Over the years, I have absolutely loved working and although l’ve always had passionate business ideas and loved planning them, I never really took it to the next level because I was always busy growing someone else’s dream.
When I became pregnant with Cerise, it was definitely time to go out on my own and I decided to just go for it. If it didn’t work out then I’d just get another job, no worries.
Luckily for me, things have gone really well and my eyes have been opened to this amazing new world where I feel completely of service and on purpose. I am definitely where I am meant to be.
What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out?
Coming from a background in business development, there isn’t a lot that can surprise me so there’s not really one thing that I think, 'oh I wish I’d known that sooner.' I’ve been through it all over the years and I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into everything I’ve done, always building from the bottom up.
Everything that has happened with Event Head has given me so much wisdom to move forward with and I find it nice to just let things unfold and learn the lessons along the way.
What did the “years before the overnight success” look like for you?
All I have ever wanted to do is help people, but early on I wasn’t sure how. Coming from a family full of nurses, my first job was working in a nursing home as a nursing assistant, but I kept getting really upset whenever someone passed away, so I knew then that I needed to help people from the outside and help with the bigger picture.
I started a psychology degree at university but dropped out after less than 6 months as, just like with high school, I found traditional studying sooo boring. I’m the type of person who just wants to get in there, do it and learn from the actual experience of something.
Soon after, I got a traineeship in business administration and from there it was just go, go, go. I LOVED working and learning and I especially loved being at the bottom of the food chain. You learn so much about people and management when you are on the lowest rung of the ladder. I continued to work my way up, always wanting to do more and be involved with everything.
After 7 or 8 years there, I moved on from finance to the world of entrepreneurs who played with big money and made big deals. It was interesting, but totally felt like a big boys club and I knew that it wasn’t really something that I would shine in or want to be in forever.
This whole time I regularly had a side job or volunteer roles within various not for profits, until I won a grant to work full time with a wage for the charity I volunteered for. With that, I dove into the not for profit world, helping build up a local volunteer run charity into a national organization. That was my last job before starting Event Head.
My whole career was focused on building up other people’s businesses and now I am doing that for myself, which feels amazing. I am so blessed for all of the experiences I have had in the years beforehand – both good and bad, as they have helped Event Head develop as quickly as it has.
Finish this sentence: Everything changed for me when…
When I decided to back myself.
It was the most powerful thing I have ever done.
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve faced in business so far? How did you tackle it?
The biggest hurdle has definitely been taking care of my health. I’ve never really had to before, but as I started my business after having a baby, it really hit me hard just how much my health needs my attention. Pregnancy, labour and raising a baby is hard enough without working crazy, and at times very physical, hours. I was getting sick a lot and crashing, so I’ve had to be more conscious of it.
I’m doing less around the house now, ordering in healthy pre-prepared meals the weeks that are super busy and acknowledging when I am about to hit a wall. If I am not healthy, my business is not healthy and that affects not just me, but my clients and my family.
How important is being yourself & showing your personality for you as an entrepreneur?
It’s vital! If you are your brand, that is the only thing that is going to set you apart. Products and services are not always unique but the person who delivers them or crafts them with care is. You need to bring that element into everything you do so people can connect with you on an emotional level and decide quickly whether or not you are for them. Being yourself is a sure fire way to bring the clients that you want to attract quickly into your life.