Single dad-of-two launched raves for kids with £1k budget now makes £500,000 a year

IT might feel like you need a fortune to get your idea off the ground – but this single dad-of-two started his own firm with £1,000 and turned it into a business to rave about.

Mike Pickets, from Surrey, launched his event company Raver Tots in 2017 and it now has a turnover of £500,000.

 Mike wanted a more flexible schedule  to spend time with his sons Lucas, 2 and Leo, 3Doug Seeburg – The Sun
Mike wanted a more flexible schedule  to spend time with his sons Lucas, 2 and Leo, 3

Raver Tots specialises in family-friendly raves where parents can dance to hip hop and dubstep with their kids.

Mike, 31, suffers from ADHD which inspired him to provide a way for mums and dads to let their hair down and party with their kids, so they can work off some of their energy in a fun-filled environment.

He also wanted more flexible working hours to spend more time his sons Lucas, 2 and Leo, 3 after he separated from their mum.

He told the Sun Online: “To get Raver Tots started all I had was a Facebook page and a budget of £1000.

“But we’ve really quickly taken that from being one small party with 300 people to a series of events which are in 35 cities bringing in half a million pounds first year.”

 Raver Tots is one big party created in a bid to bring kids and their parents together
Raver Tots is one big party created in a bid to bring kids and their parents together
 The family friend raves can attract up to 1500 people at a time and feature many fun activities
The family friend raves can attract up to 1500 people at a time and feature many fun activities
 Raver Tots is on track to sell 100,000 tickets across 35 cities
Raver Tots is on track to sell 100,000 tickets across 35 cities

Being a business owner and a parent does take its toll but Mike’s job now means that he is one of the lucky few dads who can take his kids to work.

He said: “The most difficult thing about having your own company is that your phone doesn’t stop ringing and it becomes hard to switch off.

“But I can bring the my kids to work and actually spend some quality time with them.

“Shared parenting is also something I believe in and my children live with both of their parents equally. We split the time 50-50.

Mike tips about how to start a new business with very little

THE single dad-of-two had to start over three times in career before achieving success. Here are his tips

  • Be bold: Don’t be afraid to throw yourself in at the deep end.
  • Make mistakes: You’ll make mistakes and you  will learn from them. If you fail, don’t be put off and dust yourself off and get stuck straight back in.
  • Surround yourself with a good team of people: Make sure you have a strong support network and employees you can rely on.
  • Do it for the love: Do something you actually care about and the money will follow.

“It took us time to get there, but we always put our children first.”

Of course, the dad-of-two experienced his fair share of failures before turning a corner.

Mike dropped out of school at 16 and eventually became a professional DJ, running in and out of day jobs at the same time.

He launched his own marketing company at the age of 21, but despite a respectable turnover it went bust within a year, leaving his finances in tatters and barely being able to afford petrol.

Mike briefly went back to a nine to five job to get him back on his feet before quitting again to start an events management company.

He said: “On two occasions I took big risks that came close to wiping the company out, loosing almost everything financially but I managed to build back up from scratch and save the business through hard work and determination.”

 Mike is one of the lucky few dads who can take his kids to work.Doug Seeburg – The Sun
Mike is one of the lucky few dads who can take his kids to work.
 The dad-of-two came up with the idea of Raver Tots while organising a party for his sons
The dad-of-two came up with the idea of Raver Tots while organising a party for his sons

The idea for his latest business venture came to him when he was organising a birthday party for his sons.

He wanted to create a daytime rave where parents could take their children to dance and have fun together – but getting it off the ground wasn’t easy either.

Mike said: “I first contacted a similar firm and asked if I could franchise it from them or invest some money and build it with them.

“But my ideas weren’t of any interest to them. So, I decided to do it on my own.”

His persistence eventually paid off. Since launching Raver Tots in January last year the business has gone from strength to strength.

He now employs 20 people across the UK and his company is on track to sell 100,000 tickets across 35 cities.

Mike expects the business to make a £1million turnover this year, despite being only its second year.

Ravers Tots’ events typically take place in the afternoon and have all the elements of a proper party including LED lights, balloons, face paint and most importantly a huge dancefloor.

The family-friend raves can attract up to 1500 people at a time and feature many fun activities.

DJ’s play what Mike says is the best in Drum & Bass, House and UK Garage and some old classics from the 1990s.

 Partygoers will find things like LED lights, balloons, face paint, big confetti explosions and most importantly huge dancefloors
Partygoers will find things like LED lights, balloons, face paint, big confetti explosions and most importantly huge dancefloors

Early bird tickets for kids and adult cost £6 and £9 respectively, while a regular pass will set you back £9 for a child and £11 for a grown up.

You can also get a group ticket for a family of four for £30 or you can splash £80 if you want to organise a birthday party for 10

Mike said: “We make sure the venues know exactly what we’re doing and what is the point of the event.

“The music is also at safe levels and play areas are monitored at all times.”

How to get a start-up business loan

IF you need financial support in setting up your business, you can get loans of up to £25,000 to help along the way.

  • Virgin StartUP offers government-backed loans from £500 to £25,000 to help entrepreneurs launching or growing a business that’s under two-years-old in England or Scotland. It has a rate of 6 per cent interest.
  • The Start-Up Loans Company, which lends government subsidised loans up to £25,000 at a rate of 6 per cent.
  • The Princes Trust also offers loans, up to £5,000, at a rate of 6.2 per cent.

Every event also raises money for charities helping children with ADHD.

Mike said: “There have been some really difficult times. Over the years I’ve just kept trying and trying different events and different businesses.

“Not all of them have worked, sometimes I’ve made money as quickly as I’ve lost it.

“But I do believe that if you do what you love and care about, the money will follow.”


EXTRA CASH How to make money from home – from getting paid to watch TV to renting out your attic


The Sun Online also spoke to a dad-of-two who quit his banking job to set up children’s hairdressers now it makes £650k a year.

We also spoke Jo Bevilacqua, a mum of two launched beauty salon with on-site childcare while on maternity leave and it now makes £368,000 a year


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.

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