Two weeks ago, I hosted an exclusive invite-only launch party for the Happiness Hub.
I wanted to personally thank the local women who have made my journey into small business as smooth as it possibly could be. Every single person who was invited played a huge part in making my new home town truly feel like home.
It was held at my all-time favourite cafe in Geelong, King of the Castle, and featured delicious food from my good friend Harriet from Natural Harry. Alice whipped up some great floral arrangements to pretty up the already pretty location, all of which were snapped up by master photography team, D’Arcy Photography. Mama nature turned on one of the best weathers we’ve seen all year (thanks Mama!) and the wine flowed well.
It was a rad event.
But I’m going to be honest.
It was fuckin’ stressful.
I remember thinking on the night:
Ha, typical. I’ve got a candidly-reveal-all blog post up my sleeve already!
Before I launch into a whinge-fest, I want to get one thing straight: I had a blast. I had so much fun that even with all the downsides, I’d do it again.
I’d just do a shit load differently.
The biggest thing I grappled with was:
Is anyone even going to come?
I invited a total of 35 I think it was, and straight away there were 8 who said they couldn’t make it. Cue panic-stricken email to my marketing master Gen with me wailing about nobody coming.
Then on the night, a further 9 who RSVP’d yes didn’t show up.
I was actually pretty proud of myself for not blowing it out of proportion and keeping cool about it, but the nagging thoughts did come.
“Why didn’t they come? Did they just say yes out of politeness?”
“Everyone here is going to think this is crap with such small numbers!”
“If I can’t even get friends to attend my event, how could I expect random people to come to any of my events!!?”
I was able to quickly shut those thoughts down, even though they were naggy little bastards. They kept on popping up every time I glanced around the room hoping everyone still thinks I’m awesome (cos surely they did when they arrived right?)
What I realised was this:
It’s really, really hard not to take no-shows personally.
I knew logically that people couldn’t make it for reasons that had very little to do with me.
Kids. Work. Holidays. Ill health.
But it still didn’t stop that nagging feeling like it was directly my fault for their no shows. It required a conscious effort to acknowledge those thoughts and apply logic reasoning to my ego-driven madness.
(If you were a no-show and you’re reading this, I still love you and don’t be sorry!)
Another hurdle was in the actual preparing of the event on the day.
Firstly, thank the sweet mother of all animals that I quit my job. There is absolutely NO way I would have been able to prepare the launch party that day if I had to go to my day job.
I require time. And lots of it.
Not just to prepare, decide what to wear, do my make up, pack the car, get wine, get wine glasses, make sure the foods coming, have all books and brochures ready to roll. But to actually be mentally prepared and psyched, and (essentially) calm by the time the party starts.
But let me share with you a funny story.
So off I went to the local Big W to get wine glasses. I knew exactly what I wanted and where they were and I was on an absolute mission to grab them and get the heck outta there. I had about an hour to get to the venue and I had to get wine on the way.
Guess what? They were sold out.
Cue my proudest moment, possibly ever.
I laughed. Seriously, I cracked up laughing. The lady in the aisle probably thought I was high on something (I was – life and it’s hilarious ability to throw shit at you).
The old Kate would have launched into full panic mode. Instead, I laughed, texted Gen and stood there for a good 10 minutes breathing deeply and pondering how to solve the problem.
Then I went walking and found different (but still totally affordable) wine glasses in the Christmas section.
Cue another burst of crazy laughter and dancing and one big ‘FUCK YEAH!!’ (probably not my proudest moment)
I always tell Timmy to breathe when he’s worked up about something. And I’m telling you, it works.
Deep, belly breathing keeps your brain in action. When your brains working, you can problem solve. The old Kate would have ran around town in a crazy, sweaty mess trying to find other wine glasses and end up buying some ridiculously expensive ones because I would have been running out of time, out of breath and freakin’ out.
I like the new Kate better.
Lastly, playing hostess was a challenge.
I was really nervous about the noise level (the cafe can be quite echo-y at times) and knowing that I would be spending a lot of time talking and listening to every single person that comes in. It wasn’t like I could hide in the corner and disappear for awhile – I had to play hostess with the mostess (whatever that means).
Thankfully I’m surrounded by such rad people who completely understand my hearing difficulties and made it a breeze.
But for me, listening for long periods of time, in groups, is incredibly exhausting. Parties aren’t generally my thing (anymore) and it’s a big stretch out of my comfort zone to actually host one.
I know what I’m like so I was prepared for it. I took ‘mini’ breaks by either quickly popping to the toilet or grabbing a drink for someone. A brief minute alone would be enough for me to recharge and get back out there.
And if I’m honest, having a glass of red helped too.
(There’s something about alcohol that actually improves my hearing. Weird I know but it’s totally true. We can’t figure it out. I should be researched, stat.)
These little things helped me play the part of the host as best as I could. Next time, I would try to not be so conscious about my role as the host and focus on enjoying myself as much as possible.
A happy host makes for a happy party, right? Surely? I’m going with it.
So, for next time when I host another rad party, I’m going to remember these (and you should too):
- Don’t take no-shows personally. People have genuine reasons why they can’t make it.
- Honour your RSVP’s. Not really for your party but just in general. Now I’ve been in the other seat, I know what it’s like for the organiser. If you can’t make it or with a strong chance of not making it, say no. If you say yes, honour it. If you can’t make it at the last minute, let them know ASAP.
- Don’t leave things to the last minute. Like, buying wine glasses on the day is a dumb idea. Just sayin’.
- Give yourself LOTS of time on the day. You need to be calm and centred before the party starts. So make sure you factor in the time to chill out, breathe and be psyched to rock the party.
- Focus on enjoying the party, instead of hosting. Have a good time, it’s contagious.
- Have a designated helper. I asked (made) Timmy to come along to not only meet everyone, but to actually help with little things like handing out wine and food etc. Definitely doing it again! Though if I had a larger party, I would recommend having two people.
Finally, I have a few massive thank-yous to get through:
- Gen for keeping me sane. And making this all a success.
- Mel and Stephen for taking the best photos. And for doing it last minute.
- Alice for doing the flowers even though you got up at 2am that day. You deserve sleep. And wine.
- Harry for making extra-special-better-tasting treats for me. I could taste the love in them.
- Robbie, for letting us use your amazing cafe. And Grace, for doing all of Robbie’s dirty work (you’ve got a keeper Robbie!)
- And to everyone who attended. Thank you. I love you.
Pop on over to the Happiness Hub to find out what this whole crazy party was actually celebrating.