Wedding and event planner Tanya Costigan has been coordinating affairs to remember for clients near her Westfield, Mass., home base since 2010. She decided to start her business after years of unfulfilling office work, she told us when we featured her as part of our 1,000+ Stories campaign. “I decided it was time to get back to my creative side, and planning events was something I loved doing. I haven’t looked back since.”

Her event planning business has grown steadily over the years, with Costigan reporting 2017 as her best year yet — and the year she was finally able to focus on the business full-time. In addition to building her venture, Costigan has found many ways to give back. She hosts wedding planning workshops for area brides, volunteers as a “birthday fairy” for The Confetti Foundation, and participates in a local consort of wedding professionals who offer giveaways to military families. Now, she is organizing a summit for fellow planners in New England.

Looking ahead, Costigan has plans to ramp up her marketing efforts, particularly her physical marketing materials like welcome packets for new clients. She also hopes to one day hire additional planners. But Costigan says running a successful firm has already enriched her life in myriad ways. In addition to being able to ditch the desk job, she has secured a brick-and-mortar space for client meetings, which she loves, and created a schedule that suits her passions and needs. Still, taking the leap took guts. “It’s definitely scary,” she adds, “but it’s worth it.”