In less than a year, Annalisa Nickols has taken her little dream and turned it into a thriving business. With five years’ experience in child care, and a love for everything creative, it was after taking on some work as a children’s entertainer that she realised this was the career she wanted to pursue. Costumes, balloons and face-painting may seem fun, but it’s taken a lot of hard work to make this dream come true.
Give a brief summary of you, your company and its journey
I run a children's entertainment business providing quality entertainment throughout Sydney. We specialising in face painting, balloon twisting, and playing enticing games with the children. We also have a beautiful array of costumes that we make as realistic as possible.
I started this business in June 2016 and so far I've enjoyed every minute of it. I've gone from having 1 staff member (myself) to having, and juggling, three other staff members. Currently, I’m in the process of expanding to the Central Coast of New South Wales.
What drove you to start up Kids Magical Moments?
I’ve worked with children for the last five years and I really enjoy it. I love doing anything creative and often do it as a hobby. I became interested in face painting and wanted to start learning. After taking on some work as a children's entertainer, I realised that this was a career I really wanted to pursue and pursue on my own terms. So I did and I love it!
What’s been your proudest moment in business?
My proudest moment is knowing how far I've come. I had a little dream and for it to expand so quickly has meant a lot to me.
I have clients write reviews and send me messages about how much they enjoyed their experience and loved the costumes. This type of feedback makes me so proud and I know I'm heading in the right direction.
What mistake have you learned most from?
I've done a lot of trial and error as this is my first business. No one knows exactly how things will work out and every practice you put in place needs to be reflected on – is this working, is this the most effective way, how could I do it differently?
I guess the biggest thing I've learnt from is that my staff need to have the same dream, drive and love for the job as I do, to ensure that every customer gets the best experience.
What would you say is the recipe for success in your sector?
Making sure you’re putting in 100% from the first point of client contact. Clear communication from the booking straight through to when the party happens. Making sure that every party you do is fantastic and your heart goes into it, patience with the children and adjusting to many different situations.
What have you learned about yourself?
I've learnt that I never stop, I just constantly have a drive to learn more and do better.
I said to my fiancée that I never thought when I started this business I would expand so much. He said that he knew I would because I never do anything half hearted. I'm very passionate about the things I love.
What has been your biggest sacrifice for the business?
The biggest sacrifice is the amount of time you spend with your family, friends and on extra curriculum activities.
I didn't realise to begin with how much time would be consumed, you have to adjust a lot of your daily habits and be available for clients and enquiries 24/7. As I was juggling a full-time job and business at the same time I didn't have much time for anything else.
Given what you know now, what would you do differently?
I personally wouldn't have started a business the same time that I got engaged and had to plan a wedding – unfortunately for my fiancée he is the one doing all the “Wedding Planning”
Also, to be more prepared that this is a lifestyle change. Working full time and starting a business is hard work and I should have built up a business plan first. Starting from scratch you have to build your website up, get your name out there, have a marketing plan, create your logo, and purchase all your equipment and materials.
Who would you most like to employ in your business – famous or otherwise?
Mmm, probably Emma Watkins from the Wiggles. The children adore her, she's gorgeous and very talented.
Best piece of advice to other business owners?
Not to stress all the little things, it's a big journey. To stand out from the rest, make yourself known and be unique.