On Career Moves: Working Your Work

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Palisa Kelley


A Music Executive Thinks Outside of the Box

In this economy, depending on just one set of skills or one job is a liability. That’s what New Jersey based Palisa Kelley found out as she watched colleague after colleague lose their job. A 15-year music executive, she knew that her career could shift at any moment, so she prepared.

She began putting together a business plan based on her skills and looked for sources of income to complement her strengths. She was also interested in opportunities that would allow her to accommodate her family’s busy schedule.

Enter the photo booth. If you don’t know what one is, think modern traveling kiosk that produces picture strips. These party pleasers are a hot item. Palisa studied the photo booth model that her cousin, a school teacher, had already fine tuned. Under his guidance, she purchased a booth and learned the tricks of the trade. “I always wanted to have my own business.  I was initially out of my comfort zone, but that's when you know you're growing," says Kelley.

After creating an energetic website, palm cards and spending weekends at bridal conferences, within 6 weeks Palisa had booked several parties. She also hit her warm market of family and friends and did a few parties for free. “The challenge for me was getting the booth in front of people.  Once they experience it, they love it!  I offered the booth for free as a means of increasing exposure.  Now it's taking off."

This time last year, Palisa was spending up to 12 hours a day away from home.  Now she spends her time making a schedule that works for her,  balancing weekends that are quickly becoming booked with parties. And when she’s not out with the photo booth, someone from her team is. Meanwhile, she’s able to spend time with her family and practice entertainment law putting together deals for music artists.

Because she took cues from those around her and the news headlines, when she was downsized, she was prepared. And what she learned is an invaluable lesson about the way that many are taught to look at their careers. “People think that a career is a measured destination, but it's often a work in progress and is always changing.  Everyone should keep their career options open and be ready when the proverbial window opens."

Here are Palisa’s tips for a solid career move that may be out of your comfort zone:

    •    Research the field you are about to enter and find a mentor;

    •    Be uncomfortable in your own skin; being uncomfortable means progress;

    •    Go to where the clients are even if you have to spend money at an expo or conference to reach your audience; and

    •    Collaborate with compatible businesses and create packages for your audience.  She teamed up with a DJ and a bounce house owner.


Topnotchbooth.com provides photo booths with picture strips at all events including weddings, mitzvahs, parties, corporate events, proms and more. Visit topnotchboth.com for more information. 



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