DALLAS — A recent study into what’s on people’s bucket lists post pandemic shows more Americans want to start their own business.
A survey conducted by the company Fenetic Wellbeing looked at more than 100 bucket-list ideas and the comparison of search terms made online from March 2020 to March 2021. The search volume for "start a business" increased by 50%.
At the height of the pandemic, Watauga, Texas, resident Krysti Burton first got the idea to start her own business after leaving a job she’d had for more than three years. She always liked the idea of being her own boss but hadn't made the time to seriously consider it.
A mixture of pandemic circumstances, TikTok-inspired curiosity and the tenacity to try has her phone ringing with new potential costumers daily.
In March 2020, when her boss gave her the news the store wouldn't be closing, she was nervous about going to work every day as COVID-19 numbers soared in north Texas.
“I have grandchildren. The idea of catching the virus and passing it along to them was terrifying,” said Burton “Working at a hardware store, I was considered an essential worker and didn’t have the option of working from home. I quit because I didn’t want to take that risk.”
Then jobless, she enjoyed babysitting her grandchildren and spent a lot of time reading to them.
“They love dinosaur books,” said Burton. “They go crazy for anything dino and watch a lot of dinosaur-themed shows.”
When she wasn’t busy tending to the kids, and spending more time with her husband, she, like many during the pandemic, found herself watching countless video uploads on TikTok.
One day while screen swiping, she came across a video of a person in a dinosaur costume entertaining kids at a birthday party.
“I thought to myself, ‘Wow that’s pretty cool!’” said Burton.
The curiosity of being a business owner, her dino-loving grandkids and TikTok sparked what she now calls Dino-Adventure.
After searching for months online, Burton spent most of her savings and purchased an 8-foot-tall dinosaur costume she’s affectionately named Norman. The $5,000 used costume made in China has a mouth that opens, blinking eyes, an operator’s camera and sound effects.
“This isn’t your average dinosaur costume," said Burton. “There’s the blowup dinosaur which is really corny looking, but there’s no Norman anywhere up here.”
Inspired by the TikTok video she saw months before, she started a new business, renting Norman out for birthday parties and events. The first time she posted on Facebook Marketplace she knew she was on to something.
“My phone did not stop for four hours with people reaching out because they were interested,” said Burton. “I booked my first party that first night.”
She primarily serves kid birthday parties, but some of her favorite gigs include a boyfriend surprising his girlfriend at a busy restaurant on her birthday and a mom pranking her daughter who's terrified of dinosaurs.
Burton said she was nervous taking the financial risk of starting her own business, but the decision has empowered her with confidence.
“Every time I show it to someone and they’re just amazed by it, it makes my chest swell up even more,” said Burton with a big smile on her face. “It wasn’t an original idea, but I made it happen on my own and that's something I’m really proud of.”
Now, with multiple bookings a week, she doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, with plans of purchasing more costumes as Norman pays for himself.
“My next dinosaur is going to be a big triceratops. It’s awesome. It takes two people to go in it,” said Burton.
Burton brags she has the only service offering dinosaur visits in North Texas. Her closest competition is in Houston. For more information you can find Norman on Facebook with the handle @dinoadventurentx.