Seven years ago, Lisa Song Sutton moved to Las Vegas after completing Grad School and began working at a law firm as she focused on building a legal career. And she did this whilst modeling on the side.
It was in a conversation with a fellow model she’d known back in Miami that her first business, Sin City Cupcakes, was started. With her friend Danielle discussing some alcohol-filled cupcakes she was making, Lisa had found a business idea which she loved.
So she convinced her friend to move to Las Vegas so they could set up the business together. At the time, only two other businesses existed doing the same thing in the US, with one in New York and the other in Denver. They had found a gap in the market.
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That built the foundations which resulted in Lisa leaving behind her legal career to start businesses with other partners, selling swimwear and real estate.
Find out how Lisa has managed all of this in just the past six years with the help of her partners, and was also able to become Miss Nevada.
Starting Three Completely Different Businesses
With Sin City Cupcakes, they chose to not take it down the retail route. With the business being started with zero investment or loans, and just through their own financing, they were bootstrapping.
Not only does not having a store reduce costs, but it also reduces waste by meaning they only have to bake the cakes people order, rather than filling a shop full of cakes that might never be bought.
And although her swimwear company (Liquid & Lace) and the real estate business (Sutton & Chase) are completely different to cupcakes, she still manages to utilize the same resources.
The key to this was her mentor explaining that her businesses should be like speeding trains on the same path, all going along at the time.
So when looking for boxes to send out her swimwear in, she contacted the people who made the boxes for the cupcakes.
Even the girls who feature in the promo work for the cupcake business double as swimwear models at fashion shows and also help out at open houses.
Having business partners fits in with her businesses as well as her lifestyle, which has been the key for the businesses succeeding.
When Sin City Cupcakes started, Danielle was the one working in the business full-time, allowing Lisa to be able to continue to work for the legal firm, as this was the least risk-averse option. It was 18 months down the line that Lisa actually quit her job to focus on her businesses full time.
When it comes to business, Lisa wants to maximize her time as well as pursuing the things which she is interested in. That’s why she started a business, and that is why she now has various businesses to her name.
What is the worst scenario to come of giving it a go? It doesn’t work and fails, or doesn’t even get off the ground…
Lisa believes it would be far worse to not even try and to have it forever in the back of your mind, wondering and wishing.
But the idea of going it alone in business does frighten her, and she takes her hat off to anyone who can make it work. If she had done so, she believes the businesses would have failed.
By having partners, the success has been possible, making it possible for her to pursue her different interests in the first place.
Finding the Perfect Partner
The key to having a good business partner is to look for someone who compliments the skills which you have. So you first need to do a self-assessment of yourself in order to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are.
That way, you can find people who are strong in the areas you are not. And it’s even better if they know about the industry and niche you’re hoping to go into.
In her own experiences, Lisa has only teamed up people which she knows, whether that be through friends or business.
Of course, there is a great deal of common sense in not working with friends or family, and there are those you who suggest you don’t. But for Lisa, there isn’t an issue in doing it so long as it is managed properly from the beginning, and there is strong and effective communication.
She and Danielle have known each other for a total of 11 years, of which 6 of those years have been whilst in business together. Just like in any relationship, they have had their ups and downs.
By knowing each other well, they’re able to recognize when the other is mad, stressed or frustrated. And those are things you wouldn’t be aware of with someone you don’t know, and therefore don’t know how well they are at coping with such feelings.
Knowing each other’s responsibilities, and establishing the milestones you’re each looking to accomplish, is helpful. Although it isn’t fun to talk about, discussing these things means you’re both on the same page and know each other’s expectations.
In addition to this, it is also good to discuss all the future possibilities whilst things are still good at the start. Have agreements in place for what would happen if one of you wanted to quit or sell the business, for example, before there are any possible feelings of resentment and frustration.
During her time as Miss Las Legas and Miss Nevada, Lisa attended over 500 community appearances throughout the state and found the experience incredibly gratifying.
Of course, in order to do this, she had to spend less time working in her businesses, and she did this with the full support of all her business partners.
But by being out doing things and meeting people she otherwise wouldn’t have, it actually led to receiving more business as a result.
This taught her that getting out and engaging in the community is important, no matter your business. When people see you doing such things, they then want to find out more about what you do and then want to give you your support so you can carry on doing the things within your community.
And, of course, this is the difference between what you are doing, and what your competition are not doing.
Whether she is selling a penthouse, bikini or cupcake, she is always selling a product. Therefore, the initiatives she uses in her businesses are the same.
The key has been to stay on brand all of the time, even when working on collaborations. But it is also important to understand the market you’re selling to.
With her businesses, despite being different from each other, actually benefit from an overlap in their markets. The people who are buying the penthouses as also likely to enjoy niche cupcakes as well as to buy luxury underwear.
Find out more about Lisa’s businesses, and links to them all, at her website www.lisasongsutton.com. It’s also where you can discover more about her, as well as reading her published articles and social media accounts.
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