The Lemonade Factory


The Lemonade Factory

Only focus on what you want, or focus on what you don’t want, and get that.

-Jakkii Goody

I have a confession, I never wanted to be an event manager.

Spending time as a face painter and vendor manager at events up and down the country enlightened me to the perils of taking leadership at an event. There was a time I remember being grateful that I wasn’t an event manager.

In getting excited about partnering with Event Operation extraordinaire Hayden Roberts, and about the ability to forge an income enough to pay for my kids future orthodontic requirements, I lost sight of the many roles, faces, challenges, disappointments and risk involved with being a (underestimated at the time, large) business owner.

As you do – who would take a leap of faith based on all the negative associations you made with something? You know how your mind can trick you into selecting only the juicy bits of a wider picture. Its only after you leap that the bits you hadn’t considered, present themselves in the u’oh and a’ha moments.

A business advisor once said to me – ahh you are in the a’ha faze of business ownership process – when you discover all is not as it may have appeared in the sales stage.

He couldn’t have been more accurate, and if he had told me how long that process may be, I may have cut my losses at that point. (Instead they mount)

So what do you do when you find yourself with a business lemon….make a lemonade factory!

The issue really then becomes the sticky mess you make as you intend to sweeten deals and attract honey and customers sweet on the taste and promise of profits and prosperity under your leadership.

Any attempts at diligence, whilst finding yourself overwhelmed, underpaid, learning not one but multiple industries proved farcical. I ’work experience’ style, updated a Bachelor of Management Studies Waikato from 1996. I was on the job learning whilst operating in the very public space of event promotions. I found myself in the attempt to lure in of thousands of spenders to a shrunken shadow of a craft show. By the time our underprepared and over cocky team took over, the change was enough to give those wanting an excuse to stop and the rest less patient as the chaotic approach to ‘learning the ropes’ started to cost us all. We couldn’t even fool the public with icing!

I thought I was ok with failure. Failure teaches, if used as a tool to empower. I realise I’m ok with failure, and I prefer little low risk learning opportunities in the privacy of my own comfort zone. Failure that affects livelihoods of the very people who gave you their money in the first instance. Not a comfortable place.

Yet have I failed?

At this point it gets difficult not to get defensive and justify everything. So the short answer is no, and the good news is; learning has taken place, and the ginger is now in with the lemonade ingredients.

Good brews take time, and it was hard to be picking the lemons, squeezing them, building the factory and trying to pay for the sugar all at the same time. A vision has been formed from the pile of skins, and being bottled now for consumption, sooner rather than later.

So I realise the true event manager is partner, Hayden Roberts. He with much grace, and thanks to decades in the event industry will keep his cool under the most extraneous circumstances, for hours on end. (I make sure of this ability little and often) and I realise, I’m not cut out for being an event manager.

Don’t stop squeezing! I reckon I can channel Event Promotor instead. Promotion and curation is something I am driven to accomplish. Event Promotion can cope with my “refreshing” approach. Event Management – thank goodness we have an expert for that!

I have declared many times that I seek to understand and promote the creative sectors, as much as for the love of knowing these people and recognising the multiple disciplines displayed in the creative industries. I have said out loud and often I stand for prosperity of all beings and the creative ones especially, for when they prosper, they in turn create a better place for us to live. It’s the perfect cycle! In gifting a creative person resources so they can spend their time on their talents, they in-turn create for our pleasure, and the common good.

Thankfully, now the lemonade factory has started small batch operations there is now also workforce. Shout out to the nz craft&design show website business partners, Great NZ Events sales team, operations, & the volunteer IT department. Also nods in the direction of David Trim business coach and eventimento consulting, all the online experts whom I gleam a little something from every day… and whilst I’m gushing; to show visitors who remember that to take great risk requires much courage, feedback that recognises the toil and assists to steer the direction of the shows is always appreciated.

Right I’m going to get on with it now.


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