Kaycia Rhone, CEO of Kaycia Rhone Events, shares about the beauty and the business of running her full-service event planning company, being a single mom, and holding down a full-time job.
There’s that thread of evidence that shows up every time you look back on your life—that one string of many interlaced events that hint to what you’d find purpose in doing. For Kaycia, that thread can be followed back to high school. “I remember always being on some [planning] committee. Whether it was prom, homecoming, or any other event, I always seemed to end up helping to plan whatever the event was.” And with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Hospitality from Georgia State University, Kaycia cemented her path in the events planning and designing world. Her natural knack for logistics, a network of support (family and friends), and being a helpless romantic were crucial ingredients that kept her on that foundational path.
When asked, ‘How would you ‘event plan life?’ Ms. Rhone answers, “Plan life less and live in the moment.” When you think about what it takes to juggle a small business, be a single mom, and work a full-time job, common sense tells you that something will not get the attention it deserves. “Being a single mom demands that my son get the attention that he needs, but it also means that I may not be able to attend ALL of his extracurricular activities. Then there are the inquiries in my inbox that may not get answered within 24 hours,” she says. “If I did not have a support system, there is no way that I could do all that I am doing,” Rhone adds.
Starting a business from scratch not only gives a great sense of pride, but it also lends a different perspective to self-awareness. “I didn’t think big enough when I first started my business. If I could go back to seven years ago and change one thing, I would think bigger. When I first got started, I was doing everything; accounting, marketing, and planning events. Thinking bigger has taught me the importance of being scalable”. Being scalable for any business owner starts with getting everything out your head and onto paper,” she added.
Kaycia has learned to task her team and to streamline her processes so that she is not left with doing all of the work. In addition to thinking bigger, Kaycia says that she’d push herself a lot harder. It’s evident that for her, thinking bigger calls for more confidence and planning, of course.
PIVOTING DURIN A PANDEMIC
A big part of Kaycia’s process is planning every SINGLE ‘what if.’ But happens when a ‘what if’ becomes COVID-19? You pivot and take the opportunity to learn more. “The pandemic has been a blessing for me. A blessing in that it has given me more time to focus on certifications and to catch up. It’s also caused me to think about the future of event planning and designing.”
The downside of the pandemic for the industry is apparent, event cancellations. What Kaycia found most difficult was consoling brides whose dream weddings had become courthouse ceremonies. “Of course, losing business is never easy. But when you think about clients who have planned for one of the biggest events in their lives and then seeing how heartbreaking it is for them to have to cancel that big event, you can’t think of anything other than to help them through their feelings of loss and hurt”.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
Even though 2020 brought significant challenges for the hospitality industry, Rhone is hopeful that 2021 will set a stage for the industry’s most remarkable comeback.