Catherine: Corporate Event Planner

Name: Catherine Cook, CMP

Age: 29

City: Atlanta, Georgia

Main Hustle: Corporate Meeting Planner

Side Hustle: My own event company, CBC Events. CBC Events works with agencies, brands, & companies on a contract or project basis to plan & execute meetings, events, & hospitality ventures.

How did you get started?: I’ve always loved planning & the craziness that comes with it. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned, & there are always hiccups onsite; but that is what makes my job exciting!

Since graduating college, I’ve held various positions in the event planning field managing and operating events for multiple Fortune 500 companies; with extensive experience across sports entertainment and corporate hospitality disciplines, including launch events, meetings, incentive programs, & customer hosting programs.

Less than a year ago, I decided to start my own company – CBC Events – planning & executing meetings, events, & hospitality ventures.

When/where do you work?: Around the clock, 24/7! This job involves a lot of travel, so I work frequently from coffee shops, hotels, & airplanes.

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Cold calling, email blasting, & LinkedIn stalking.

I’ve always been on the planning & executing side of the business—never in sales. Having recently started CBC Events, I am having to reach out to a lot of agencies, companies, & brands to sell my services, which has been a complete learning experience in & of itself for me.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: Orchestrating an event, meeting, or hospitality venture takes a lot of time & organization, especially when there are a lot of vendors & moving parts. As a planner, I am on-call 24/7 & work a lot of 16-20 hour days.

BUT when the event is over & the client is happy & the attendees enjoyed themselves, it is such a rewarding feeling.

I also get to meet some pretty amazing people & travel around the world!

Who is your greatest supporter?: Friends, family, & former colleagues who have given me amazing advice, connected me with potential clients, & act as references. THANK YOU!

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: The ultimate dream is to turn the side hustle into a full-time hustle. This is a big year for CBC Events, & I am excited for the future!

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:

Networking is so important! Do not be afraid to reach out to friends, family, & colleagues for connections or advice. You have nothing to lose & everything in the world to gain!

Check out CBC Events online, follow along on Instagram, or reach out to Catherine via email to connect or collaborate!

Logo Design: Michael Ryan Jett

CBC Events Logo

Graysi: Event Details, Novelty Product Designer

Name: Graysi Gartman Ethridge

Age: 28

City: Fairhope, Alabama

Side Hustle: Garnish. While Garnish is an ever-evolving side hustle, the ideology behind it is consistent and what I do my best to stay true to. The idea is all things extra- the details. Services offered include but are not limited to: helping to create details that a host, bride, or celebrator may envision but may not know where or how to execute, printing novelty items and helping to make small moments or big events that much more memorable and polished with cohesive details, and making the unrealistic become feasible realities.

How did you get started?: I have been developing this concept since I began planning our wedding last year and finally started launching Garnish in phases. I have known all my life, but realized even more during our wedding & engagement, that attention to the smallest details is what makes something count. The cherry on top, the icing on the cake, the zest…. you get the picture- the GARNISH! My family has always been great at celebrating and making even the smallest moments feel like great ones. To me, Garnish isn’t just a sprig of greenery on a plate, or a twist of lemon zest in a spritzer, but the little extra oomph that lifts a notable moment to a special one. I wanted to make that happen for others!

When/where do you work?: I work around the clock. It is my nature and my happy habit. When I am not working on my full-time job as a recruiter, my brain is on Garnish. As it develops further, I hope to set aside a more structured schedule.

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: When you’re managing details, the details better be correct. The challenge is to exceed expectations, creating my clients’ vision on their timeline within their budget.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: This is my creative outlet. I work full time recruiting for shipyards and industrial plants. I love my full time job, but I needed an opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals and use my creative side- that’s where Garnish comes in!

Who is your greatest supporter?: My whole family and my full time job’s staff are always asking “What’s next with Garnish!?” I love that they get the concept and push me not to let it go without attention and development.

Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: My parents. They’re both great at juggling different things and taught my sister and I to never put our eggs in one basket. They always pushed me to pursue whatever I felt moved to. Whether it was soccer for a week or musical theatre for 17 years, they were there to support. I can see now what they saw then: those experiences are incredibly character developing. All of the things they supported me through then are what give me the extra oomph now in my full time work (alongside my dad) and in anything else I pursue.

Have you received recognition for your work?: Aside from a few flattering mentions on social media, this is the first time I am being given the opportunity to introduce Garnish. I am excited for what’s to come.

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: My dream would be a brick and mortar where Garnish can expand its purpose into providing approachable planning services and creative guidance to event hosts, brides, etc. It is never my intent to be an event planner, only a details companion. I hope I look up and have a client list of people who I’ve helped by taking some stress off and handling the little things that push moments over the top.

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:

Just keep putting yourself out there. If you have a big dream, but you’re not ready to dive in, take it one step at a time and let it develop itself into a reality.

Follow along on Graysi’s blog, Facebook, and Instagram for more details on Garnish!

Emily: Event Sign Designer

Name: Emily

Age: 34

City: Mobile, Alabama

Side Hustle: Little Lawn Party

Do you have a website or store?: With the power of social media I haven’t needed anything more. Facebook and Instagram provide the perfect sharing forum for Little Lawn Party.

How did you get started?: Facebook actually. I saw some friends post pictures of their kids with lawn parties in other cities, and it sparked something inside me. I wanted my kids to have it on their birthdays.
At the time I was struggling with the lack of self-accomplishment as a full-time mom. Staying at home was becoming redundant, and I was desperate for a creative outlet (besides my adult coloring book). I thought this is it! I had the time (sort of) and resources to make it happen.
I got in touch with Montgomery Yard Party through a mutual friend and drained her of all she knew about the business. Lucky for me she was more than willing to walk me through everything. I launched Little Lawn Party 2 weeks later!

When/where do you work?: We have a storage house in our backyard that I call my “she-shed” where I paint, saw, and store my signs. You can drive by any given afternoon and see my boys running around in their diapers/undies covered in paint.
Setups are at night (usually after dark), so I creep out after I get my kids to bed to spread some morning joy around the city. I do pick-ups during the day with my kids. They love ‘partying.’

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Logistics. There are a lot of moving parts, and it can be time consuming to make sure I dot my i’s and cross my t’s so I don’t double book something. And with a 1 and 3-year-old, quiet time to think is sparse.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?:

JOY. So much joy! You can see it in the faces of every recipient I post pictures of on social media. It’s been so fulfilling to gift people smiles. Isn’t that what God asks us to do for our neighbors?
Growing older is a gift at any age. I lost my dad at the young age of 58. I know God graced me with this opportunity to draw attention to His beauty in every day we have here on earth. #celebrateeverything!

Who is your greatest supporter?: My mom was on board right away and still gets so thrilled when she drives by a party. It took some time for most people to understand the concept of propping painted plywood in people’s yards late at night.
My husband has been a rock as well. I couldn’t do anything without his support.

Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: My kids, hands down. Selfishly, I wanted them to have this to wake up to on their milestones. I’m pretty sure it’s how my 3-year-old knows his numbers.

Have you received recognition for your work? Have you heard of Keep Yo Side Hustle?

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: That it continues to bring joy to all ages throughout our city.

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:

If you are passionate about it and believe in it, so will others. Nothing is more satisfying than succeeding at something you’ve dreamed up. Follow your heart. Go for it!

See the joy from Little Lawn Party on Facebook or #celebrateeverything with Little Lawn Party on Instagram. If you would like to connect, collaborate, or learn more, reach out to Emily via email here!

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