We had the good fortune of connecting with Paula Heaven-Swaby and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paula, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’ve never considered myself a risk taker. Most of my life was spent making “safe” decisions that would cause the least stress and anxiety, but not necessarily true fulfillment. To be honest, starting this business wasn’t really my idea. Had it been left up to me, I probably would have analyzed my way right out of it.
My daughter was in search of a store front to open her retail bakery and she found a space she fell in love with. There was an empty space adjacent to it and she suggested it would be a perfect venue for intimate events. My family had been pushing me for years to get into the business, but I kept it safe in my nursing career. I ultimately agreed and 18 months later, The Sweet Space was born. It opened in the pandemic shut down! That was not exactly the kind of risk I was planning to take. There were so many times I questioned the decision to open the space. Anxiety filled days and sleepless nights have been plentiful, but I continue to show up every day and with a ton of support and some creativity, we’ve been managing.
Knowing what I know now, I would tell my younger self to make a plan and just go for it! Everything comes with some level of risk. If it doesn’t work the first time, try something different until you figure out what works. Keep pushing until you reach your goals.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Sweet Space is an intimate event venue perfect for parties, small weddings, classes and business meetings. I wanted to create a unique space that was also a blank canvas. I would sometimes find it very difficult to decorate venues due to the way they looked. The walls and carpet were colorful and didn’t blend with the event decor. I once had to decorate a venue with a huge picture of the owner on the wall! The Sweet Space is a black and white industrial style space with open ceilings. No other color was added to allow our clients to transform the space in any way they choose to.
It has been very challenging running an event venue, especially during a pandemic. I was opening a business when so many other businesses were shutting down. Community support and creativity have been what has kept us going. Running a business has been much more difficult than I could have ever imagined. There are so many sacrifices and you don’t get to just clock out and go home.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many places in the area for entertainment. We often take that for granted.
The vibe on Riverfront is great. There are lots of dining options and you can relax after dinner by watching the people and boats go by.
You can’t visit South Florida and not head to the beach. The hotels, dining and shopping options are abundant on the long stretch of beaches.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people who are responsible for who and where I am today. My work ethic is definitely in my genes. I grew up watching my parents and family work hard and it became second nature to me. I am surrounded with a bunch of people who won’t allow me to settle for second best and they continue to push me to be the best version of myself.
Youtube: The Sweet Space