At a young age, I felt like an accessory. My best friend played competitive travel soccer, while I cheered on from the sidelines. My cousin performed on elite dance teams, while I applauded from the audience. The list went on and on but I was not on it. I felt incompetent—a hollow, empty mirror, reflecting on the achievements of others without any substance of my own. My dad always told me, “Jaime, you never know when lightening will strike; you have so much to offer.” Then, one day, it happened, and that image shattered forever!
It was early October of my freshman year. The lunch room was full of spiritless and unhappy students. Complaints about the lack of a Halloween party reverberated around the room, as frustration and disappointment bounced across the walls. The lightbulb went off. The dark, dreary lunch room was about to become electric. Jackpot… I had an idea and it was great! I was going to plan an incredible Halloween party. All ages, all schools, all ethnicities, all cliques—everyone. I aspired to knock down the elitist walls surrounding conventional high school parties.
Four days later you could feel the electricity in the air. I had transformed the dull, lifeless cafeteria into an effervescent environment. All ages and social groups thanked me for filling the void. Everyone was excited for what was to come. As a natural leader and planner, the wheels in my mind instantly began turning on how I was going to execute a Halloween party for 700 students in 22 days. Did I bite off more than I could chew?
- Step 1: FORMATION: It is always helpful to know someone who is familiar with start-up companies. I created J Love Productions, LLC, a limited liability company, for my business venture.
- Step 2: LOCATION: With tenacity and doggedness, I researched many venues until I found a place large enough to accommodate 700 people, with the hope of perhaps 500 people attending.
- Step 3: MONEY: I put down a deposit with my hard-earned babysitting money. I am prudent with money, but something inside told me it was a risk worth taking, and the event would be a success.
- Step 4: TICKETS: Channeling my artistic ability, I went online and designed my own tickets.
- Step 5: SOCIAL MEDIA: I created a Facebook page and invited every student in Roslyn High School to attend. I also asked my friends from neighboring towns to publicize the event.
- Step 6: THE TEAM: All great leaders must have a strong team behind them. I hired one person from each school in the area to sell tickets. I devised a compensation structure that rewarded success, giving each member of the team a percentage of the tickets sold.
- Step 7: SAFETY: I hired security guards to ensure that no one got out of control.
- Step 8: INSURANCE: Every business person knows anything can happen at any time, and it is important to protect oneself from liability.
Halloween was finally here. By 11 PM, I could not control the smile that had spread across my face. 650 tickets sold. 150 “Thank you” texts for an amazing event. One budding entrepreneur behind it all. My entrepreneurial talent, which was once hidden deep beneath the surface, now leaped out. I wrote a check donating 5% of my profits to American Cancer Society. I then looked toward the future… Valentine’s Day party? I couldn’t stop the new thoughts and ideas from racing. My mind was stimulated, and I felt alive.
No longer on the sidelines or in the audience, I became the leader and creator of a burgeoning business. No longer did I have to admire other peoples’ talents. I am a leader, a problem solver, an artist, a philanthropist and a creative planner. My name is Jaime Vornea, and I am an entrepreneur.