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Welcome! I am Sonia

Hi there! My name is Sonia Brown and I am on a mission to help fellow balloon and venue décor business owners supercharge their businesses.  I truly want to show them how to navigate the fast lane to creating the life they dream their business will give them!

It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to make this business thing work!  Being self employed is a million miles from working in a huge sales and marketing division, and even with a background of 10 years sales and marketing experience where I had million pound targets,  I clearly remember on several occasions wondering if I could ever take this business full time and whether I should give it all up and get a “proper job”!

Welcome! I am Sonia

Hi there! My name is Sonia Brown and I am on a mission to help fellow balloon and venue décor business owners supercharge their businesses.  I truly want to show them how to navigate the fast lane to creating the life they dream their business will give them!

You see it wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to make this business thing work!  Being self employed is a million miles from working in a huge sales and marketing division, and even with a background of 10 years sales and marketing experience where I had million pound targets,  I clearly remember on several occasions wondering if I could ever take this business full time and whether I should give it all up and get a “proper job”!

No-one ever teaches you how to be a small business owner. Your parents don’t teach you, your school doesn’t teach you… in fact nothing in life had really prepared me for this point. I have seen so many businesses come and go in my area over the last 7 years and it really is a crying shame!  Really talented people with a true ability to make amazing balloon designs but no support to help them navigate the way forward in actually running a business.

 

A friend of mine recently bought a franchise business in a completely different industry but I was amazed at what she received as a start up.  She had a website, loads of visuals and this amazing training series on how to launch yourself and get the best growth in your first year.  It really was a business in a box!  I remember thinking to myself if only there was something like that for our industry! 

No-one ever teaches you how to be a small business owner. Your parents don’t teach you, your school doesn’t teach you… in fact nothing in life had really prepared me for this point. I have seen so many businesses come and go in my area over the last 7 years and it really is a crying shame!  Really talented people with a true ability to make amazing balloon designs but no support to help them navigate the way forward in actually running a business.

 

 

A friend of mine recently bought a franchise business in a completely different industry but I was amazed at what she received as a start up.  She had a website, loads of visuals and this amazing training series on how to launch yourself and get the best growth in your first year.  It really was a business in a box!  I remember thinking to myself if only there was something like that for our industry!

You see… I bloody love this industry! It’s at such an exciting point in time right now… The ability to connect by social media has seen a boom in the development of new techniques and the inspiration from all around the world is literally at our finger tips! Better still the general public have fallen back in love with balloons… Not the 3 balloons on a string at my grandparents wedding but amazing sculptures incorporating so many mediums. Elegant, stylish and exciting designs with so much wow factor! And for me when I think about what has been achieved in the industry over only a couple of years it feels like we are on the start of a major creative explosion and that gives me such a buzz just thinking about it!

 

But here’s the thing… in order for this industry to boom here in the Uk and across the world… it really needs more businesses to thrive. If my local area is anything to go by few businesses seem to get past a couple of years before they move on and hang up their pumps. The thing is I know it ABSOLUTELY is possible to grow a profitable and sustainable balloons and venue décor business. You just need a little help to find the fast lane to growing your business!

I believe:

Anyone with a creative talent is born with the ability to create an amazing life doing what they love. As long as you are prepared to put in the work everything is achievable and I am absolutely here to show you how!

 That life you dream of… The one you want your business to give you… It’s waiting for you and once you get this running a business thing Sussed you can really start living it!

Creative people (and I am one) are only going to be truly happy and satisfied when they are able to spend their day doing the things they love in the pursuit of a higher level of creativity but in order to do they they have to get paid for it.

Truly talented and creative people don’t always make the most logical business owners but that doesn’t mean you cant be an amazing business owner you just need to be able to tap into a creative way of running a successful business!

I bloody love this industry! It’s at such an exciting point right now!  But here’s the thing… In order for this industry to boom here in the UK and acrooss the world it needs more businesses to thrive!  I am on a mission to help as many business owners as possible really get to grips with running their own business so that they can live the life they dream their business would give them and the industry as a whole can go from strength to strength!

I know how hard it can be… but I made this business thing and so can you!  I am not going to lie for many years it was a REAL struggle but you see I didn’t have anyone to help me or show me the way.  I had to learn it all by trial and error.  I spent so much time studying how to run a small business, how to leverage social media, how to get more done in less time… the list goes on and on. The problem was whilst a lot of this information was helpful it wasn’t tailored for me… it wasn’t tailored for an industry that has its own challenges like the fact the majority of my work was weekends only and how could I pay a weeks worth of bills out of only a weekends work.  At the time I was the sole earner in my family too, with a family used to living on a corporate managers wage,  so I just had to make this business thing work!

The good news for you is that I really want to change the support available for this industry.  An ex boss of mine once told me “Sonia you are the sort of person who just makes things happen.  It doesn’t matter what it is – once you set your mind to it not only do you bring it Iife but you are only satisfied if it is truly amazing!” And that’s what I intend to do for this industry.  I am going to give as much support as I possibly can to all business owners out there so they can make the business side of things work in order to pursue their creative and lifestyle dreams.

 

 

So Who Am I as a Person?

So who am I as a person?

Well I guess I am a little bit “different” for a want of a better way to describe it!!  I don’t fit the mould especially but most creative people don’t do they?! To be honest I gave up trying to fit in a long time ago – I am happy being different!  Who wants to be the same as everyone else anyway? 

I am a little reclusive but can be the life and soul of the party too!  I love to learn about EVERYTHING and have done since a child  – my brain is like a sponge when it comes to knowledge but  I also like to be able to switch off and just laugh sing and dance round my kitchen too! I constantly look for inspiration and can spend HOURS lost in Pinterest and the Facebook balloon groups.  I am a bit of a magpie in that I love new and shinny things but I also am disciplined in working towards my goals. I have always been driven by this burning need to make a difference… as a nurse… as a sales and marketing specialist… and now in the balloon industry… but I am also HUGELY grateful to everyone who has made a difference in my life and helped me get to where I am now.  I am not always a huge fan of numbers but I REALLY love a good spreadsheet…

I am a HUGE believer that magic happens just outside of your comfort zone and I love the feeling when you finish your work and you stop to look and think wow! I made that happen… It’s almost a magical feeling and it drives me daily in my business.

 When I am not working you will find me spending time with my amazing and long suffering partner, my children, my fur baby Ernie  and my gorgeous grandson. 

I HAVE BEEN WHERE YOU ARE NOW

The problem was my business never started out it’s life as a Business. It was never meant to be a business! It was a hobby I fell in love with that took on a life of its own and without consciously deciding it took off as a business. For the next year to 18 months I ran to keep up with it. I was having such a blast on my creative journey with balloons that I never considered the fact I wasnt steering the business. 18 months later I was exhausted and poor control of money meant I didnt have much to show for all the hard work! It was then I STOPPED! I went back to my business basics and really started to build the business I WANTED!

I TURNED MY BUSINESS AROUND (and you can too!)

I became a HUGE sponge learning everything I needed about the online world – the world where people now wanted to make their purchases from the comfort of their settees. The world where people could find out more about you and qualify their short list of potential suppliers without even leaving the house. I used my previous marketing and sales experience to set myself goals and targets. I broke them down into achievable actions. I saw every problem as a challenge and sought the solution. I had clear direction. I knew where I was going and the steps I had to take to get there! Don’t get me wrong there were huge challenges along the way!

WHEN IT COMES TO SALES AND MARKETING COACHING I REALLY KNOW MY STUFF!

Prior to running my own balloons and venue decor business I spent 10 years in Sales and marketing working for multi million pound companies. I was responsible for coaching hundreds of sales people and business managers both individually & through group training to strategise and sell on their own territories. Working predominately from home the majority of the time they were in effect responsible for running their own businesses within the direction of the company. During my time with them I helped them hit million pound targets, take huge market share from the competition and earn lots of bonus. I won awards at national and international level. I presented at large conferences in the UK and abroad on business strategy, customer relationships and effective selling. When it comes to coaching in sales and marketing it’s fair to say I REALLY know my stuff!

I REALLY WANT TO HELP YOU BUILD A BETTER FUTURE!

During the last 7 years growing my business I have seen so many Balloons companies come and go in my area. So many lovely talented people who start a creative business from home. They find they have gift in creating gorgeous designs and they are ready to share it with the world. Starting a balloon business is relatively low investment and not difficult to do. Running and growing a business is where it gets trickier!
A friend of mine recently brought a franchise opportunity in the fitness industry. I was amazed at what she got to really fast track her business from the start. It was like a business in a box, detailing the exact steps to take to get success quickly and I remember thinking if only I had had something like that when I started out! How many balloon companies might have grown from strength to strength rather than fallen by the wayside and this is where the idea for the Balloon Biz Academy came from.

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