The latest interview in my Women at Work series is with Tracey Wessels – an Event Organizer who owns her own business. Here she shares some insights into her daily juggle as a business owner and mom of 2 young children….
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
About 13 years ago, I did the odd freelance job for my sister’s company in Cape Town as they were Jhb based & I loved it! I had a business of my own at the time running an Aupair & Babysitting Agency. I really enjoyed the excitement of events and I became a Partner in their company & ran all their Cape Town based events as well as country wide. After a number of years doing both & adding a little baby into the mix, I decided to sell the Aupair & Babysitting agency after nine years.
What did you study – was it in this field or something different?
I studied to be a Pre-School / Pre-Primary School teacher which is not close to what I am doing now, but I still have a love for children & hope to broaden my events to Children’s Themed parties, which I absolutely love putting together, there are so many creative ideas out there!
What was your first job in the industry? and what path has your career taken since?
My first job in the industry was doing an Oracle conference in Cape Town & 10 years later I’m working on another Oracle event. My career path has definitely taken a very different path, I have had two partnerships over the years, but have found having my own company to be the best suited for me. FULLSTOP became my company name about 3.5 years ago. Due to having two kids I haven’t had the chance to expand the brand yet, but I am very excited about the future & what might be in store for me.
What have been the highlights?
Working with amazing, creative, talented & driven people in the industry. The highlights are having the adrenalin rush of running a big show & it all coming together in the end which results in a happy satisfied client!
What’s the best part of your job?
The adrenalin rush & the fact that no two jobs are the same.
What is the most challenging part?
Finding the balance.
What is your typical day, or maybe week if days are very different?
Meeting with clients & receiving new briefs. Research of new ideas & trendy venue’s. Putting together proposals & budgets, site recce’s, set up of events. Admin!
What are the “secrets” to your success?
I feel that giving the client a personalized service, where they feel that they are your most important client, (which can be challenging when juggling three at a time!) Always being true to my word & not committing to a project that I know I can’t deliver! My husband is very much involved & apart of my business as I am with his business. We have been working together successfully for the last 5 years – working for ourselves allows us to have quality time together & to work together which is great.
As a mom how do you get the balance in your life right?
I have to be honest & say that I haven’t quite mastered that art, if there is any Mom who has the magic recipe – I am all ears! The path I have chosen is not to be a full-time mom & in the same breath not to work full-time, so as difficult as the in-between is, I get to do both! Mainly it comes with a lot of planning, organizing, rushing around like a mad women, travel tea mugs & very little sleep, but at the end of the day I feel fulfilled in both areas. For the last three years I haven’t been as involved in the work place as I would have liked or planned but I have very fortunately been able to spend more time with my children. I am so excited to get out there again. As Mothers I think it’s very difficult to get back into something once having children especially two or three children. I think one’s confidence definitely takes a knock & the constant guilt that one feels when working or being away from one’s children, be it full-time or part – time can be hard to deal with.
What are your tips and tricks to staying balanced?
I do have two favourite hobbies: photography & scrapbooking. I am hoping to do a photography course soon – it’s been on my “to do” list for far too long. Scrapbooking needs peace & quite and no little fingers coming to touch, so I don’t always have much time to focus on it! I love running & cycling & canoeing, but sleep is probably top of my list at the moment!
What do you do for fun in your down time?
Spa time, spending time with my special girlfriends is priceless, walks on the beach & much needed down time with my husband.
What do you still want to achieve for your career?
I really want to make a name for myself out there as a brand & grow my company & still be passionate about what I do.
Got an event you need organized? Contact Tracey at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 083 867 3486