"How I Got Started..." with Katie Van Schooneveld, Founder & Creator of NextAge Events
Katie Van Schooneveld is the Founder and Creator of NextAge Events, a wedding coordinating and planning business based in Richmond, Virginia. NextAge Events, however, is just one of her jobs. During the day, she is the Executive Director at Gavin Law Offices, PLC.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Katie to talk about how she balances a full-time job and a business, the importance of preparation and wisdom, and the future she foresees for NextAge Events.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Richmond, specifically Glen Allen, Virginia.
Q: What are passionate about in your personal life?
A: Honestly, my personal life has become my business life; my wedding business specifically. I would say I’m most passionate about my family and friends. I’m always trying to bring joy into people’s lives.
Q: What did you study in school?
A: I studied Biology. I’m a huge science nerd. But if I were to go back, I would definitely have majored in Business or Finance, but I don’t regret a thing.
Q: Tell me about your career before becoming an entrepreneur / business owner.
A: I graduated from Bridgewater College right around the time of the Recession, so I had trouble finding work in the biology field. I jumped at the first opportunity by taking a job at a local IT company and was introduced to sales and business through this career. I quickly worked my way up to management and ultimately learned how to run a business.
Q: What is your company?
A: My company is a wedding coordination and planning business called NextAge Events.
Q: Tell me about the transition from your career to entrepreneurship / why you started your business?
A: I’ve learned that I love business more than I thought I would. I enjoyed the process, quite honestly, because I built all my processes before starting my business. This meant when it came time to utilize them, it went smoothly.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We will be in business 3 years this August.
Q: What was the biggest surprise as a business owner from working as an employee?
A: I currently run business operations at Gavin Law and I have always worked for established companies. Because of this, not many things seemed to surprise me. Some things, however, I did have to learn, how to establish taxes and what’s coming, the legalities of contractors, how does that affect personal taxes, and other things like that.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges in growing the business? What have you done differently as a result?
A: The biggest challenge has been not having anyone to bounce ideas off. Early on, I brought in a Lead Planner that I could talk with about the day to day business ideas. I’ve truly learned how to run my business from trial and error, but to help I try to surround myself with people whose experience far exceeds mine.
Q: As a successful business owner, do you have work / life balance? How have you managed to improve the joy and fulfillment in your life.
A: I haven’t quite established a work/life balance, that I know of anyway. At around 5:00 pm every day, I take off my “day job” hat and put on my “wedding business” hat. I try to incorporate a massage day every once in a while and my husband and I love to plan date nights every week. We have a rule where we can’t use our phones for the night.
Q: What can we and others in the community do to help your business grow and be more successful?
A: Networking opportunities is huge for my business and most businesses in Richmond. I make an effort to go to events to meet new people.
Q: What advice would give other entrepreneurs / small business owners?
A: Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. I’ve learned that the rewards exceedingly outweigh the consequences. I’ve also learned to charge what you're worth. I find, as women, we tend to downgrade our accomplishments and achievements and ultimately realize our full worth.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I’ve been thinking about going back to school and getting my MBA, but I’m open to all possibilities.
“How I Got Started...” is a blog series that spotlights the entrepreneurial and life journeys of various small business owners and professionals. The content of this blog was curated by members of the CreativeMktGroup team.
Katie Van Schooneveld