Jamie is a children’s entertainer, actress, and music teacher from Miami, Florida. She has performed with Literally Alive Children’s Theatre and taught music classes at Citibabes and Kaplan Nursery School.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I moved to New York in 2003 to be an actress, which meant I had about 5 different jobs (waiting tables, babysitting, doing the mailing list for a boutique… the list goes on!) I gradually dwindled down my jobs and began to work with Citibabes, a NYC family club where I was one of their main music teachers. Singing songs and dancing with children definitely beat waiting tables!
After working with Citibabes for a year I wanted to go off on my own and perform for children. The only problem was that I had no idea how or what I would be doing. A friend of mine’s sister was looking for a children’s entertainer for her son’s first birthday party and she said that I should perform. I was SO intimidated by this idea. I thought, how am I supposed to entertain 15 sugar-high children by myself for 45 minutes??? I knew this was a great opportunity to start a business, so I tuned my guitar, bought some fun props and instruments, and started “Jam with Jamie!” The party was a HUGE success and from there the business kept growing. I now perform for at least three parties a week, do private playgroups, and teach music classes at Kaplan Nursery School on the Upper East Side.
What was the best compliment you have ever received about your business or your business efforts?
I entertained at a first birthday party and the parents filmed my entire performance. I was later told by the mom that her daughter watches the video over and over again and “loves to sing-a-long with Jamie!”
What is the craziest/most interesting business experience you have ever had?
It is amazing what some families will do for their children’s birthday. On one occasion I walked into a first birthday party and I could have sworn that I had been invited to a wedding reception by accident. Fifty tables dressed in white satin, caterers running hors d’oevures, and an ice sculpture of the number “1”- the whole nine yards! I wasn’t sure if I should ditch the ABC song, and instead warm up my vocal chords for a performance of “At Last!”
What is the best lesson you could give a young woman who wants to start her own business?
When you are starting your own business it is easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when it is just you orchestrating every part of the business. It is important to stay organized. First step is create a website that is clean, inviting and to the point. Once you have your website, get the word out about your business through the internet. Find out WHO would be interested in your business? I targeted all mommy and kid websites and tried to get listed on as many of these sites as possible. The internet is a very powerful tool when starting a business. 60% of my business comes from the internet and the rest is from referrals. Once you have gotten your name out there it is important to keep in touch with your clients, follow up with them through e-mail and continue to network. Lastly, always have business cards with you, you never know who you might meet, they may be interested in working with you!
Describe a moment where you might have said, “I can’t believe I am getting paid for this?”