There is a saying: “If you do what is easy, your life will be hard; if you do what is hard your life will be easy.” Even though it is a cliché and it seems like a rather easy concept, it is complicated when put into practice.
At least one person, however, is making the cliché a reality. Donesha Benson is the creator of The Party Girl LLC, a local full-service event planning company. Her company specializes in custom décor; designing for events such as birthdays, baby and bridal showers, anniversaries, weddings, church events, and corporate gatherings. The Party Girl LLC has been in business since January of 2016.
Benson made the tough yet necessary decision to go into business for herself. “I’ve always had a knack for it,” Benson said. “I’ve always assisted with parties for my kids, family events and get-together’s. I was the go-to girl [for these events].
Benson said her decision to turn this “knack” into a career was truly on a humbug. “I got to the point where I was so frustrated getting up for work every day [and] being somewhere I wasn’t really happy.”
Before starting her business, she worked at the University of Minnesota’s Physical Pediatric Clinic as a patient representative, and before that at Park Nicollet in the same position. Despite the fact that all the jobs Benson worked for were in the health field paying $19 an hour, she still felt the need for more satisfaction and decided to take a leap of faith to turn her passion into a business.
“I’ve always been rebellious, so to speak,” Benson stated. “I don’t like being told what to do, or how to do it. I decided to become my own boss.”
When asked how she got started with the preliminary process, she said Facebook was a prime tool for the start-up and connecting to build clientele. “I had a family member who allowed me to organize her first event,” said Benson. “I would also create mock settings of balloon décor [and other decorations].”
Currently, Benson is working on decorations for a 50th birthday party. She created a baby shower for hometown gospel singer Jovonta Patton’s wife, Symone Shada Patton. Recently, Benson decorated the venue for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder’s Annual Graduation Celebration.
“I’m looking to push past social events,” Benson said. “I want to start holding fund raisers, or even holding my own expo in order to bring other minority businesses together.”
Being the mother of two sons, a 10-year-old and a seven-year-old they gave her the 10 year experience of parties and event planning, Benson said. “It wasn’t something I thought I would make a business out of. I didn’t know I would be here today. I just knew I wanted to be my own boss.”
Benson said the idea to become a party planner actually came from her mother. “I didn’t see a lot of people doing it, so I decided to pursue it.”
Even with her business on the rise, Benson declined to paint a picture that everything is all peaches and cream. “I’ve had my days where I asked myself, why did I give up a good-paying job, my security blanket and getting paid every two weeks? But looking back, I should have made this decision a lot sooner.”
Benson has a cousin in Atlanta who has a t-shirt business called JetLoud. “She was the first in my family to actually own a business. She gave me a lot of motivation and advice on how to get into [and maintain] my business.”
As a testament to her faith and dedication, Benson recalled how she invested in the new venture. “I haven’t had any business finances to this day; no scholarships, loans or grants. Everything came out of my own pocket.
“The saying, ‘It takes money to make money’ is absolutely true. You have to finance yourself first, because not everybody will believe in your dream.”
Benson works within other Black businesses as a first go-to when coordinating events. “I’m always trying to give support where it is needed the most, and of course, that is within our own community. I’m looking to develop a solid team of Black business owners.”
Benson said her ultimate goal is to become a celebrity event planner. She advises others who want to go into business for themselves to take the leap of faith.
She offered wise counsel for start-up businesses: “As scary and insecure as it is, have faith in the leap you are taking. You’re not always going to have good times, or just be financially set. It’s not easy to see when you are in the struggle, but while going through the struggle, push through, and keep in mind the goal you are setting for yourself.”
To contact Benson or book an event with The Party Girl LLC, see Benson’s Facebook page @ The Party Girl LLC, call 612-888-7004, or visit her website at www.thepartygirl.us.
Ivan B. Phifer welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
Ivan B. Phifer is contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org