As a young twenty-something, Kimberly Jones returned from a year living abroad with a fresh perspective and knew exactly what she wanted to do. Kimberly knew that her passion lay in the world of event-planning, though it was not as well-known as a profession at that time.
That didn’t stop her. Kimberly went on to find success as a wedding planner, and then as an event coordinator for business and marketing events. This year, she was met with a new challenge- operating an event-planning business during a global pandemic, when physical gatherings are prohibited in most countries.
But Kimberly couldn’t be stopped- she shifted her focus to emphasize virtual events, which require much more planning and coordination that it may seem like on the surface!
In this episode, Kimberly Jones shares insight into the event planning process, including tips for entrepreneurs working to market their business in a new way.
How could hosting a virtual event breathe new life into your business marketing plan?
Kimberly Evans is the owner of Celebrate Simple Life. Over the past 16 years, Kimberly has been designing parties, events, business launches and galas to help individuals and businesses celebrate. She helps businesses and individuals create meaningful and powerful connections with their potential customers through curated events focused on gving guests an incredible experience.
Jacinta Gandy is passionate about small business and a champion of women’s entrepreneurship. She’s the founder of Social Circle, a branding and marketing agency that helps service based solopreneurs turn their passions into profitable businesses.
Join the Hustle With Purpose Podcast Insiders Facebook community to continue the conversation, interact with our podcast guests, and participate in our weekly giveaways and freebies!
Thank you for listening! Please subscribe, rate and review the Hustle With Purpose Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. For detailed show notes please go to socialcircleinc.com/podcast.
Leave this show a review on iTunes or Stitcher, screenshot the review and send it to us at email@example.com and you’ll be entered to win a $50 amazon gift card!
Jacinta Gandy 0:02
Welcome to Hustle with Purpose, the show that encourages us to leave the busy life behind and focus our time and energy on the things that fuel our passion and align with our purpose. I’m your host Jacinta Gandy, let’s get to it.
Jacinta Gandy 0:20
Today my guest is Kimberly Evans, owner of Celebrating Simple Life. Over the past 16 years, Kimberly has been designing parties events, business launches and galas to help individuals and businesses celebrate. She helps businesses and individuals create meaningful and powerful connections with their potential customers through curated events, focusing on giving guests an incredible experience. Welcome to the show, Kimberly.
Kimberly Evans 0:45
Hello, thank you so much for having me.
Jacinta Gandy 0:47
Yes, I’m so excited to talk to you today.
Kimberly Evans 0:50
Me as well, this whole virtual world now we get to connect from countries apart.
Jacinta Gandy 0:56
Yes, yes. And selfishly, I’m excited about this episode because I have yet to throw an event for my business. But it’s definitely something that has kind of been something I’ve wanted to do. But I guess just a little apprehensive about how to execute that. So super excited to talk to you today. And of course, before we hit the record button, we were just talking about everything that’s going on in the world right now and how we moved everything to this virtual world.
Kimberly Evans 1:28
Absolutely, yeah, this is definitely an interesting time to be in the event industry, really just in the world in general, I think every single industry and human being has their own unique story as to what these last five months has brought new and interesting into their world.
Jacinta Gandy 1:46
Yes, absolutely. So super excited to dig in with you today and talk to you a little bit more about that. But before we do that, I’d love to just learn a little bit more about you and how you started your business.
Kimberly Evans 2:00
Absolutely. So I have been in the event planning industry since 2003. And I was never the kind of person who sort of knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was younger, and you know, you’re figuring out your life and trying to decide what direction you’re supposed to go post high school, post-secondary and all of that. And I knew that the idea of owning my own business was appealing. From a young age, I’ve always been a leader and have naturally just been the person in the group that people come to when something needs to be organized or planned even just from a social get together type situation. And so I didn’t realize that could be a career at the time. I always just kind of did that naturally not realizing that maybe that was pointing me in a direction that I never knew was even an option. And so I did a lot of traveling when I was younger and in my early 20s. And decided from that point, just seeing different parts of the world. And my very first flight I ever went on was all the way across to Taiwan, that was my very first flight. So I’m sort of a “go big or go home” kind of girl. Coming all the way from Canada, across to Taiwan, it’s pretty much as far as you can go before you start coming back again, I think. My eyes were opened. And I loved my experiences of traveling and seeing the world and meeting new people and feeling the uncomfortableness of being the person that looks different where you live and feel and that wasn’t what I was used to, from where I lived before. And then moving to China and the world just felt suddenly so big and so vast that I just I got excited about all of the new things I was learning and experiencing. And I came back after living abroad for a year and just I felt a really clear direction that getting into planning events was something that I wanted to pursue. And that’s that’s what I did. And here we are.
Jacinta Gandy 4:08
I love that that’s such a great story. How did you, I mean, just knowing I guess you really didn’t know what you were in for when you got on a long flight to Taiwan, because I feel like my longest flight has been to Thailand, and I had to psych myself up like, for so long to get over that.
Kimberly Evans 4:29
Totally. I think when you’re 20 years old, your mind thinks differently towards what should or shouldn’t happen. And there wasn’t really as much things that were like I had nothing holding me back. All I had was possibilities. So it sort of just felt like an exciting time. I had nothing that was you know, as you get older and you realize that adulting is hard. Those aren’t the sort of things that crossed your mind when you’re in your 20s so it was just really exciting. When I came back I just had this new lease on life and I just felt really excited about how to kind of start the next chapter of building a career. And so I, I started working for an event planning company and I started in the wedding industry actually is where it all began. And after a number of years, and over 200 weddings under my belt, I decided I was ready to explore other areas of event planning. And this wasn’t really a career at the time back in 2003, that was popular. This wasn’t something where you could just find somebody on, there was no Instagram, that was really dating myself now. There was no Instagram and Facebook was a new thing. And you know, like, it’s just, it was different in being in an industry that wasn’t popular. I wasn’t trying to become a teacher or become something that just seemed like maybe a more traditional type of career. And so I really had to search and find unto myself ways of building this in the work environment that I was into kind of create this as a real job. And that really was fun for me.
Jacinta Gandy 6:06
Yeah, that sounds amazing. Yeah. So I mean, today, we’re talking about how you can use events to grow your business, given the new reality, right?
Kimberly Evans 6:17
Yes, isn’t that the truth.
Jacinta Gandy 6:21
You know, we’re probably looking at virtual events, at least for another few months at this point. So I mean, what advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of, you know, doing any event, whether it’s like a networking event or a launch event, but they’re just a little scared about, like, how to get started? Like, what tips would you give them?
Kimberly Evans 6:46
Absolutely. Well, I truly believe that events are such a powerful tool to help grow a business. Marketing events are my absolute favorite, I work with a lot of female entrepreneurs who are either solopreneurs, one person businesses, to people that have big teams with them. And I just think that there is endless creativity and options that can happen in the event. And obviously, connection and being with people is so near and dear to my heart and for everybody in life that this really has presented a lot of challenges in the last few months. But what I’ve learned, which has been really exciting is, I think sometimes it’s hard for us to learn things unless we’re thrown into them. You know? I think you couldn’t have slowly dived into a pandemic, it just had to hit us. And it just had to hit us and you just have no choice but to go with the flow. And as entrepreneurs, I think we’re used to that on a regular basis, where you kind of have the freedom to go with the flow, but you also just have to go with the flow, because you are sort of creating your own world, right? And so with events, I think it’s been really, really amazing to see all of the creative, unique things that can happen virtually that seemed maybe not possible before, or things that we maybe hadn’t explored into far enough, just because you’re just going day to day and life is what it is you’re used to doing things the way you’re doing them. And then when something like this hits, you’re forced to think outside the box. And I think virtual events can really create a powerful experience, if they’re done in the right way. I’ve been to a few online situations that maybe haven’t given me that feeling and you really do notice the difference when something is curated in a way that gives you as the attendee or the person experiencing it a real, wonderful experience online.
Jacinta Gandy 8:43
Yeah, absolutely. And I feel like, I’m curious to know, like, some of the events you’ve been to that have been virtual or even in person, like what types of things have you done, you know, any events that you’ve planned? Or maybe events that you’ve been to, that you felt just really, really made the experience memorable?
Kimberly Evans 9:03
Absolutely. Well I am a lover of all things, details. So I really believe that little tiny details, every single step of the way can really transform an experience. I feel like anybody can kind of think back and whether it’s in person or virtual, and think back to a time when you’ve attended either social or a business function of whatever type of level and you left feeling like, huh, it didn’t have to be bad, it just wasn’t necessarily great either. You just kind of left with this feeling of maybe wanting more or it didn’t quite meet the mark of what you maybe thought that you were going to. But when you go to an event that feels really good, you leave with this good feeling. And sometimes you can’t even necessarily pinpoint what it was about it that was so good, but in my opinion, it’s those little details that just happens so naturally, that you just are left with this feeling of wanting more and this time feeling of like almost like your bucket being filled when you’ve left because it’s just hit the mark of what you knew. And part of that is the expectations of what you knew were going to happen leading up to it, the actual experience, and just the way that it’s hosted. And so I’ve been on some online, just in the last few months, I’ve been on some online, even just virtual, like happy hours and events that are just more of a networking type of social where you can just feel that thought and attention has gone into the planning. It started at the time it said it was going to start, it ended at the time it said it was going to end, it was controlled by the person hosting it, where everybody wasn’t just like talking and it being a bit chaotic, and nobody could really you know, there’s sometimes a bit of a delay when you’re on zoom and different types of things where it just feels a little bit stilted sometimes when you don’t have the organized piece of it. I think all of those details and thinking of an online event with the same attention to detail as in-person can really make that a beautiful experience. And it doesn’t have to feel like a stark, cold type of environment, even though you’re not in the room with the people that you wish you were in the room with.
Jacinta Gandy 11:13
Yeah, I completely, completely agree with that. And I actually went to a networking event yesterday. And it was one of those situations where it was a lot of people it was over 100 people. And the plan was to do a meet-and-greet, which I knew going into it. But I also thought to myself, well, the meeting is only an hour, it’s 100 people, so like, they’re going to have us do breakout groups, or, you know, there’s gonna be some fun activity. And they literally just like, went around and called on people randomly, and had them into themselves. And even though they told people like, only give a 15-second introduction, I feel like nobody does that. Right?
Kimberly Evans 11:56
Totally, it’s hard. And some people don’t maybe have as much self-awareness as others and don’t know when they’re maybe taking up more time than they should or that’s where you need a moderator. Right?
Jacinta Gandy 12:06
Yeah, absolutely. And it was just like, you know, 45 minutes into the call, they’re like, okay only 30 people went, like, this is not gonna happen, you know? So like, a lot of people hopped off, and they never got an opportunity to introduce themselves. So you know, people walk away feeling like, okay, that’s not really what I was expecting.
Kimberly Evans 12:27
Well, exactly. And I truly believe that from a planning perspective, even just communication in life in general, the only time we normally feel disappointed about something is when what we thought was going to happen doesn’t happen. And so I feel like there’s a lot of ways that from an event perspective, you really can create an easy flow and beautiful experiences and have the event go the way you can’t control everything. I mean, in person, you can’t control the weather, you can’t control somebody sayings, something that they shouldn’t, up at the front, you know, there’s like certain things that can pop up, where that’s often my job to try to make sure that those fires are put out. But if you communicate clearly, and everybody coming to the event knows what to expect, really, really detailed from what’s going to happen the moment you arrive. And I mean this in an in-person and virtual sense, what’s going to happen when you arrive, what’s the itinerary of it looking like, and it doesn’t mean that it has to feel corporate and business and that there’s no flexibility and freedom and fun to it. But I think there’s a misunderstanding as to what I’ll call them rules and regulations to sound that makes them sound super official. But people have a bit of a like they’re turned off a little bit sometimes by rules and regulations when often that can actually make you feel safer in an experience when it’s done the right way. Where it feels like natural things that are happening that allow everybody the freedom to be themselves with certain rules and restrictions that just make it enjoyable for everybody attending.
Jacinta Gandy 14:04
Yeah, completely. I would also say that what I’ve noticed and events that I’ve gone to whether it be virtually or in person, I’ve really enjoyed the events where I walk away, and I feel like I actually had the opportunity to meet people that I really connected with. And I feel like some events I’ve been to, it’s clear that they thought about, you know, the program and what they wanted to do, but there weren’t as many opportunities to network and to meet other people. So although you’re like, that was great, but I felt like I just had people talking at me and didn’t necessarily get the opportunity to, you know, engage with others as much as I would have wanted to.
Kimberly Evans 14:42
100%. I would say that right there is what I hear the most from clients and business colleagues is that you either are hosting, like if you’re putting on an event yourself, or organizing something or you’re the attendee of something that often there just isn’t enough room for what can naturally happen at these things. So when you’re in-person at an event, where there’s the networking hours, or the social times where you like have times may be where you’re listening to somebody speak, but then you have time to mingle and actually spend time with people. For myself, I love the content of things that I sign up to go to but that’s often where I feel like the most magic happens is in these on unannounced sort of times where you can just naturally connect. And I have had that happen on virtual events to where you are breaking out into the small groups like you mentioned. And it really, you get out of it what you put into it. So if you go in and you’re authentic, and you’re yourself and you’re meeting new people the same way you would in an in-person social situation, I really think that powerful connections can happen the same way in a virtual event if it’s done well.
Jacinta Gandy 15:51
Yeah. Yeah, I completely agree with that. So on the flip side, I’ve also been to events where I was like, the only person that showed up. And maybe this is the reason why I haven’t been too keen on planning an event. I feel like one of the scariest things about planning any event is, will anyone show up? And what do I do if no one shows up?
Kimberly Evans 16:15
Absolutely. I think that’s probably the biggest fear for anybody planning an event. And I think, as an event planner, I think the way to combat that is is to know that your event has a purpose. I think the ones that fall flat sometimes are, you’re feeling like you should just throw an event because you think you should throw an event. Or, like you mentioned, I haven’t thrown an event before I should probably do that. And I mean, I am always for throwing more events, I think they’re great ways to connect with people, but they have to have a purpose behind them. And the purpose doesn’t have to be 10 pages long. It can be a very, very basic purpose. But there needs to be some type of purpose. Is this purpose to meet new people? Is this purpose to sell some new products or services that you have in your business? Is it to connect with somebody specifically? Do you have some group of people in mind that you want to get in front of where you’re actually targeting those as your attendees? So you have to have some type of purpose and that really helps you as the person hosting the event, being able to talk about it leading up. I think, sometimes we get the idea that we get an idea, we decide that we’re going to put one post on social or we’re going to do something, we’re going to create a Facebook event and all of a sudden, people are just going to click attend, attend, attend, attend. And we haven’t really talked about it or put out the expectations or the purpose, or the things that would actually attract people to wanting to come to have a problem solved for them is usually where a purpose needs to stem from which a problem can be, I’m not meeting enough people in my business, that can be a problem. And you can solve that by saying I’m going to do a networking event where we’re going to mingle, do you want to meet new people in your business? And there you go. There’s your purpose. And so I think that sometimes, often as entrepreneurs, we think people know more about our business than they actually do. Because I think we’re sometimes hesitant to share enough of ourselves.
Jacinta Gandy 18:21
Yeah, that really does resonate with me as well, because I feel like sometimes you’re like, oh, but do people really want to hear about that? Obviously, and everyone knows that and we forget because we live so much in our business and we’re so entrenched in it, that that may not be obvious to other people?
Kimberly Evans 18:41
Well, absolutely. I mean, I’ve been event planning for 17 years, and I have some close friends who still do not understand what I do for a living. It’s just the way that it is. And they don’t mean to not understand but especially a service-based, and I know, maybe your business falls kind of in between a bit more because you do off offer products kind of type things too, but I feel like when you’re a service-based business, it’s really hard to really articulate what it is that that you do without sounding salesy, you know, and nobody wants to sound salesy. And so for me, I feel like an event is really an easier way to just naturally, the words just kind of flow out of your mouth when you’re able to talk to people in a way and have a conversation about what it is rather than feel like you have like a two-sentence social posts that’s supposed to best articulate every single thing that you do in your business. And so events really are a way to be able to not only say what you do, but show what you do, and to create elements that would help your attendees understand better what you do and how it can help them.
Jacinta Gandy 19:49
Yeah, that makes total sense. So once you have a purpose, and like you’ve decided on your event, what are some ways that you recommend promoting your event?
Kimberly Evans 19:59
Yeah, so I mean, most people are working on growing their social following, and their email list and all the things and I think it can feel really overwhelming and events sort of can sometimes just feel like another added thing of, Oh, wow. Now I’m supposed to post on social posts on my website, post a blog posts, do an event and get the details all organized for this. And it just feels like another added thing, which is why a lot of people choose not to do them, because they are a lot of work. But I think that if you can use all of the streams, whether you are on multiple social platforms, or one, whether you have an email list, or you are just getting started, and you have nothing, I think being able to just decide, and pick a few places that you’re going to choose to promote, and then just talk about it. So being able to post on your social platforms, and actually, Facebook, for instance, and actually create an event and invite people to it that are either your friends, your business colleagues, people that you think might be interested in it, and then just start talking about it. And don’t hesitate to talk in person about it. You’re having a conversation with someone and say, “Oh, hey, by the way, I wasn’t sure if you saw on my Instagram…”. Because a lot of time people aren’t actually seeing what comes out there with the way the algorithms are. I think that’s where we sometimes get this imposter syndrome about ourselves where we’re like, well, I’ve already posted it on my Instagram and my Facebook and I sent out an email, but somebody who’s maybe really wanting to attend still may not have seen something just because by chance that didn’t scroll across their home feed or have on their social media feeds, you know, and so I think that just talking and being excited about what you do, and being passionate about what you do, naturally engages people to want to be a part of what’s making you happy.
Jacinta Gandy 21:52
Yeah, definitely. I can completely relate to that. Because a lot of times, it’s easy to feel like, Oh, I don’t want to bother people with this.
Kimberly Evans 22:01
Jacinta Gandy 22:02
But in my own life, it’s like, if I get an email about something, like I might ignore it the fourth or fifth time, but by the sixth time, I’m like, oh, okay, fine, like, what do you want? So it does work!
Kimberly Evans 22:20
Well, it does. And I think sometimes too when you’ve seen like, I know when, when you hear an Instagram Live or a Facebook Live, or you hear somebody actually speaking about it, that’s a very different form of communication than somebody reading a still text post with an image about an event, you know. So I think understanding that there are very different ways that could communicate to different people in different ways. And if somebody doesn’t want to see or hear or deal with what you’re putting out, it’s their responsibility to remove that. So I think we have to, like, let go. I think especially as women, we have this tendency to hold everybody’s feelings. And I am so guilty of this so often too, and I work really hard every day to try to remind myself that other people’s reactions to things aren’t my responsibility to solve. So if somebody doesn’t want that email, they can unsubscribe. If somebody doesn’t want to see that post, and they think everything you’re putting out is garbage, they can remove themselves, but it’s not your responsibility to say, Oh, I hope I’m not offending you by posting this, you know? You’re doing you, you’re doing your thing and it’s each to our own responsibilities, what we choose to follow. And so I think if we can remind ourselves of that, that we can post and sell and engage and connect with people in confidence, that can kind of put a bit of a fresh perspective on all of the products, services, events, and things that you might be choosing to put out for your business.
Jacinta Gandy 24:01
Oh, my God, I love that. That is like sage advice.
Kimberly Evans 24:07
And sometimes you just need to hear that, Right? Like sometimes I just need somebody to actually say that to me, I need somebody to say, hey, this isn’t on you. You’re good. You’re a good person. And I can totally just change your perspective. As easy as you can feel bad about something, you can feel good about something, which is why building a community around you and having the right people in your world makes such a huge mindset difference.
Jacinta Gandy 24:30
Yeah, absolutely. Well, Kimberly, I have absolutely enjoyed having you on the show today. I love your energy. It’s so contagious.
Kimberly Evans 24:41
Thank you. It’s been lovely chatting with you. And eventually some point in life we will get to meet in person and this will just be the start of something new.
Jacinta Gandy 24:51
Amazing. Yes. Before we part ways can you tell our listeners where they could find out more about you?
Kimberly Evans 24:58
Absolutely. You can find me, my website is Celebrating Simple Life .com as well as Celebrating Simple Life on Instagram and Facebook.
Jacinta Gandy 25:09
Yay! Well, thanks again for being a guest on the show.
Kimberly Evans 25:12
Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.
Jacinta Gandy 25:14
Jacinta Gandy 25:16
Thanks for listening to Hustle with Purpose. For more information on today’s show, check out the show notes and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Spotify or Stitcher Radio.