I left my job to start a company, with nothing in the pipeline.
So with an empty diary, no definite contracts in place, I relied on my business relationships. Having lost two members of our family the year before I wasn’t in the least bit scared of starting out. For me, experiencing the loss of a loved one, holding their hand as I had no choice but to let them slip away left me never more certain of how little time we have on this planet and how I needed to make it work for me, my friends, my family but also those I choose to work with.
Having worked more hours than the day allowed and seeing less and less of the family came to an abrupt halt when we lost two members of our family within three months in 2014. One being my father-in-law who died of cancer within 6 weeks of the diagnosis and who referred to me as the daughter he never had, he was also an amazing hands on granddad to my two girls.
The other his brother who we were not close too due to a family disagreement 20 years before which was driven and continued by his constant alcoholic state. The two funerals were worlds apart with the first all about the celebration of life with three generations of families and friends attending and drinking into the early hours and the other with ten of us attending which included those who worked at the cemetery.
So with a huge slap in the face of the usual clichés ‘life’s too short, you only live once’ I pulled the plug on the iPad, phone and laptop, handed it all back with the company car to my employer to pursue the laid back life of renting out our VW Campervan Elvis. With my daughters 5th & 8th birthdays fast approaching my first accomplishment was to hand-make their birthday cakes for the first time. A huge pat on the back for the working mum!
Knowing that I didn’t want to lose all the event professionals relationships I had established over nearly 20 years I decided to take on event related projects to keep me in the loop. This industry gets into your blood and once you leave you can’t help still breathe and live it. My first project was by introduction at an event so was completely by chance, one meeting later and I was given the opportunity to consult and showcase up to 4 luxury car showrooms in London available for evening drinks receptions. I now had something to talk about. Plus with no contract and working only on commission I had the flexibility of doing as little or as much as I could working around the camper van and family.
The downside was I had no wage coming in so was effectively working for free, but I felt happy, time rich and freer than I’d ever felt before. For the first time ever I felt like I was in control of my day. Everything I was doing was for the right reason, no more ticking boxes for corporate targets, no more drawn out reports. No more empty promises or empty bonuses, I stripped everything back to a much simpler, efficient way of working, cutting my way through the red tape and joyfully burning it.
Now 3 years on from losing such a big part of our family and 2 years from starting up Park Lane Events it has been such an emotional but exciting and energising time. I am finally reaching the biggest goal most of us have to reach the ideal balance of work and family. I could still do with fitting in a bit more exercise and eat a little more healthy but then I do like a challenge, plus it is so important to prioritise time to drink that well deserved glass of wine and enjoy that family sized bar of Cadbury’s chocolate!
So I have finally reached the stage where I am ready to do my website, I now know what my business model is and what I want Park Lane Events to be;
- To introduce event buyers to the venues I consult with, using my own and the venues contacts to support the venue grow their conference, event and wedding business
- To source venues and negotiate the best package for London corporate event buyers for their regular offsite meetings and events.
- To attend or to organise small, industry related networking events in an informal, friendly manor and relaxed environment.
I am incredibly grateful to Sarah, Louise, Manjeet and Suzie who have been amazingly supportive with helping set me up and get me this far.