Lisa Versaci, mum of 5 children ranging in ages from 25 to 7 years of age, is a multi-award winning business owner for the following categories in our 2020 AusMumpreneur Qld-NT Awards
- Gold winner – Making a Difference (Local Community)
- Silver winner – Service Business
- Bronze winner – Customer Service
Lisa is the owner operator of Cheeky Little Monkeys Soft Play creators, a family run business based on the Sunshine Coast. Their mission is to bring joy and create memories through Soft Play Equipment, Pop Up Play Mornings, and full-time supervised Play Centres. Whenever there are children aged 0 – 5 years of age to be entertained for parties or events, Cheeky Little Monkeys has the answer. They can create a fun safe play space in homes, parks, shopping centres and they can create permanent play spaces wherever is required.
When did you start your business?
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
Being a mum of five children, I always found it hard to find party options to help with celebrations that were safe and fun, and which also made my life easy. Going to events was also challenging as the bubs are always just placed in a pram and pushed around because there was nothing ever appropriate for them to go on. As my babies grew up, I sensed a real need that something needed to be created for little ones and their families where they would have spaces where they could come and relax, meet other families, share a coffee, have a laugh and where children of similar ages could interact and have fun, all in a safe space away from the bigger children. Our party hire provides an easy relaxing option for already tired stressed mum/dads.
What are you most excited about in your business?
The growth and expansion of Cheeky Little Monkeys and the comfort and support we give to Mums and Dads and the smiles and inspiration that our Cheeky Little Monkeys give us daily. I am most excited about being able to franchise and create more amazing play spaces for families and children to enjoy.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
The whole rules and regulations of running a business in general have been my greatest challenge. I am an entrepreneur, full of ideas of what I wish to create and where I wish to take it, but there is a lot of paperwork and red tape that needs to be ticked off and managed too. I have addressed this by surrounding myself with likeminded businesswomen and men whom I love to learn from, have joined various support work groups and networking groups, and have learnt to always reach out for help when I need it. This frees me to work on what is important, whilst developing my skills and knowledge along the way, and these relationships are invaluable. We should never stop learning and improving and I love that this is happening whilst meeting other businesspeople and potential clients.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Make sure you do your homework, research the field you are looking at working in, do a goal setting board, join lots of business groups and networking groups and always ask for advice.
Without my networking groups and chambers that I am apart off I would be still back where I started. The support, encouragement, and information I get from these groups has been very important to my business’s growth. When I started this business, I did my research and found that no one else had a business like mine in my area, hence why I started it, I did not have any competition to worry about and was able to grow it quickly. I was not one to ask for advice or ask questions, but I quickly learnt that I needed advice and now continually reach out to those people that can help and guide me in the right direction, making decision making a lot easier and seamless.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
Firstly I was nominated. But continued with the process as lots of women told me it would be an amazing experience. I also wanted to see how we would go in the service categories so I could showcase my amazing Mum workers just how fantastic they are in what they do, and to show others how amazing we are at creating an amazing play space for all to use.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
Although daunting was completing the questions to become a finalist. It made me step way out of my comfort zone and really take a good look at myself and my business. And of course, winning my three awards and being able to share that with my girls on the night.
What surprised you most about the awards?
The instant recognition I got from other businesspeople who may have in the past not even blinked an eye lid at me because of typically what I do. The people coming out of the woodwork to wanting to work and collaborate with me and the outpouring love and support from my customers.
How did the awards help you in your business?
It made me stand out above the rest of the party hire industry, people started to take me seriously and I have been able to grow my business with in the professional so-called world.
What advice would you give to others mums thinking about entering the awards?
Do it, it is an experience you will never forget, you will learn and grow from completing your application and the thrill and excitement of being a part of an award process is truly exhilarating.
What’s happening next in your business? Any big plans for the future?
Franchising our mobile party hire business is our next big step in the next 3 months. We already have it in progress, just finishing of the bits and pieces. We cannot wait to go National with our concept.
All images featured here are from Lisa Versaci.
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