JaNae Thomas is running the show. Tired of working two jobs while pursuing her passion of entertainment reporting, she found Thumbtack and built a thriving bartending service called Glamorous Drinks from the ground up. She’s a self-made businesswoman designing her own dream. Here’s how she leveraged the power of Thumbtack to start her own company.
What’s your Thumbtack story?
I moved from Houston, Texas to pursue a career as an entertainment reporter in Los Angeles. I planned to bartend while I went for auditions. I had bartending, bottle service and nightlife venue experience, but in L.A. they hire models, so I’d walk in with my quality resume and some girl would walk in with a headshot and get the job instead. It was frustrating.
Thumbtack popped up during a job search in September 2014. My first job was a Bat Mitzvah. I loved doing the event, it was just amazing. At that moment, I knew this wasn’t just a side gig, but something I could turn into my main job. At that point, I was working at a restaurant in the day and a lounge at night. L.A. is expensive. Thumbtack has really saved me from overworking and being underpaid.
Two years later, I just had my last official day at the restaurant and the lounge. I’m making my company, Glamorous Drinks, my full-time job.
I came to L.A. for entertainment reporting and hosting, and my dream is to be on a major network, but right now, to have my own business and make my own revenue…that’s really something. I don’t want to see Thumbtack jobs I’m missing out on or auditions I can’t attend because of my restaurant hours. This is the year of focus for me.
What helped you launch Glamorous Drinks to full-time?
I got focused. I’m not organized, but through starting my own business, I’ve become organized. I realized I can’t be great at 10 different things. I was juggling a part-time business on top of a full-time job and I had auditions. Doing Glamorous Drinks full-time will help me focus on what I came here for. I couldn’t stand being at a job eight hours a day thinking about work I’m missing out on. I needed to build something for myself so I could be happy.
How much of your work is sourced from Thumbtack?
85 percent of my work is from Thumbtack. I also get a lot of referrals. I have two families I’ve become friends with because of Thumbtack and they refer me out. I’ve also built good relationships with two chefs that need and refer bartenders on occasion. You know, now that more people are on Thumbtack, there is more competition. But for me it’s important to be able to offer excellent service at an affordable price.
What do you wish you’d known when you joined in 2014?
I wish I’d known about Thumbtack before I knew about it! That would have saved me a lot of time. I would have responded to more requests. If you have a full-time job it’s hard to go in full-throttle. I would have been more successful sooner if I had jumped in sooner.
What are your tips for growth?
Follow up even if clients don’t respond back to your email. They’re not ignoring you. Follow up and see what’s going on. People get busy.
Tell people thank you. They’re thankful for your service, but you wouldn’t be in business if it weren’t for them. Thank them for letting you in their home. People are so nice and gracious to me. They make sure I get food, etc. It makes them feel good when I thank them. That’s important.
How did you get your first reviews?
The great thing about Thumbtack is it reminds the client to write a review. When I was new to Thumbtack, I was a little scared. I would always hope the person would leave a good review and for the most part they did. At the beginning I relied on the prompt from Thumbtack to bring in reviews.
Any tips or secrets when it comes to asking for reviews?
Now that I’m more established, I remind people if they don’t already tell me they are going to do it. I say, “Hey would you mind leaving a review of my service and letting your friends and family know also?” People want to help, they just might need a reminder.
How do you craft fabulous quotes?
Be specific, personable, and to the point. I come up with a solid quote that sounds personable and I change the name for each client. I make sure to answer all the client’s questions. Don’t go too fast while you’re scanning through their email. If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify. Make it something people can read in under a minute.
Have you worked any standout events through Thumbtack?
Nancy and her sister share a birthday and I bartended the event. Her sister was paralyzed from the waist down after having a big, bad car accident and being in a coma for three months. I didn’t know all this going into the event, and to see how happy the family was and all the love that was there at that moment was—to me—amazing. I saw how strong she was, laughing and cracking jokes, and still being independent. That was a scary time because she was still recovering. For a lot of the guests, that was their first time seeing her out of her coma. A year later, I worked a pool party for one of their cousins. The sister was there and so much more recovered. She was doing okay and her brain was still functioning. That’s something I’ll never forget.
Any advice for people launching their own business?
If this is something you really want, you have to work for it. Even if you’re working for someone else in your day job, you have to clock into your own endeavors like it’s a full-time job.
Look and see if requests are closed. If they’re not, follow up. You might be tired and you might not want to do, but it makes it that much better. Success is defined by how much you put into it.
What role has Thumbtack played in your business success?
I credit Thumbtack 100 percent. I never thought I would actually own my own business, but I knew I needed to do something for myself. Our society is pretty much moving toward entrepreneurship. I learn by trial and error and listening to podcasts like Side Hustle Pro. Seeing how possible it could be made me become more serious about it. It’s not just about money. It really has changed my life.
What else do you credit your success to?
At Pappasito’s in Houston my managers Ruth Valdez and Paul Vaughn gave me the backbone and work ethic of excellent service, being prompt, patience, and understanding the customer’s needs. I am also very thankful to God for the ideas, ability, and opportunity to own Glamorous Drinks and to my parents for not understanding every step of my journey but always being extremely supportive. Additionally, being a member at One Church L.A., where Pastor Toure’ Roberts consistently speaks about discovering life’s purpose, has not only helped me grow spiritually but to also excel in my career thus far. I am very grateful to that church.
People never know about your dreams unless you tell them. Share what is happening. Talk to people, keep bringing it up. This keeps you in people’s minds and creates business for you.
[Photos via JaNae Thomas by KSMITHQOS]