Being successful in the wedding and event planning industry is NOT EASY ... yet, it seems 500 new wedding planners and wedding photographers crop up daily. Some of those reasons include:
- Everyone who loves weddings believes they can plan one
- Anyone who thinks their Instagram photos are the sh*t believes they can be a photographer
- People who love pretty things and parties think that being in the wedding industry means living at a party 24-7
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! YEAH ^^ RIGHT!!
If you are successful in this industry it means you have applied the 13 reasons below to your business and your life ... and if you are just starting out?? Read carefully, because if you apply these 13 reasons why to your business and life - you can be a success story too.
YOU VALUE RELATIONSHIPS: This is listed as reason #1 for a reason. There are few dependable things in business these days ... Google can change (and has!!) their algorithm at any moment, social media can decide to make you invisible to your followers unless you shell out some money, a venue that has referred you to a lot of clients via a link on their website can shut down ... but something that is usually dependable? Your relationships.
If you are growing your relationships with other event industry business owners - and not in a fake way, but in a REAL way - and you are building each other up then you have something there that can last through your entire career. I'm not talking about USING PEOPLE here - I am talking about finding those industry professionals that you truly like and respect - that are kicking ass at what they do and who you admire - and then BUILDING A FOUNDATION with them. If you are successful, then my guess is you are doing this and doing it well.
YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA EVERY DAY: If you are successful in this industry then you understand the importance of using your social media outlets. You also understand that commenting on Instagram is just as important as 'liking' images. The way you use social media can make or break your business. Everyone goes through 'blackout periods' on social media ... I do!! It's exhausting to keep up with it all the time and be genuine ... but if you can keep to posting once in the morning and once before you go to bed, even when it's the last thing you want to do, then the benefits will be good for your growing company.
* It's important to keep in mind that not every image is worth posting! Make sure you are being VERY CHOOSEY with your posts, images and what you are saying to your followers ;)
YOU SUBMIT YOUR WORK TO BE FEATURED: There are a million benefits to submitting your work to be featured online and in print magazines. But one that doesn't get listed a lot?? It's a confidence booster!! Confidence is key to being successful and if your work is being submitted and then chosen to be featured then you have bragging rights! Aside from confidence, having your work featured across multiple online sources can help your SEO, grow your press page and get your work in front of potential clients in places you may not normally be able to reach.
* Please don't get 'blog stuck' ... while a feature on SMP or GWS is srsly awesome, there are a lot of blogs that exist and are just as beautiful ... make it a goal to get featured on at least 4 new ones per year so you can grow that badge collection!
YOU ARE INVOLVED IN STYLED SHOOTS: I talk a lot on here about the benefits of styled shoots ... some of those: growing relationships with other pros, flexing your creative muscles, getting 'let's get featured' goodies, branding your website with amazing images of your work ... need I go on??? If you haven't planned a styled shoot yet, please stop reading this blog post and go get involved in one. SRSLY, it's that important!!!
YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED WHO YOUR TARGET MARKET IS: Nobody can or should 'do it all' ... plus, doing it all is recipe for disaster. Figure out what you're passionate about and focus on that. Brand yourself for it. Design your website to support that look and feel. A great example of a business who has branded themselves to attract their target market? NORDSTROM. Now, does that mean that ONLY their target market shops there?? Nope! But it does mean they have established who they are going after and from top to bottom have created a brand and a website and a store that will attract their ideal reach.
Just because you brand yourself for one thing doesn't mean you will turn everyone else away ... take the weddings you want and need to make an income - but BRAND YOURSELF for a specific group so that you have focus. Just trust me ;)
YOU ARE ADVERTISING IN THE RIGHT PLACES: Ads are important. Period. End of story. If you are 'too cool for school' and believe that you have enough going on to where you don't need it, well .... it won't last. I am booked through June and I still advertise. Now, the key here is advertise in the RIGHT places ... Not every outlet is right for you! My advice? Find the ones that offer MORE THAN JUST A LISTING and take advantage of those added perks!
YOUR WEBSITE IS BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED: I realize this advice is coming from a website designer ... but there isn't a single person out there who will tell you that having an ugly website is going to help you be successful ... so hopefully you will still take this seriously ;)
When I design Squarespace websites for my clients and they launch, I literally watch their business change - it's crazy!! Sometimes they go from getting zero inquires to getting 2-6 per week! Yes. The power of an amazing website can't be questioned and if you go to your website and are disgusted by it, what do you think potential clients are thinking??? Below are some questions to ask yourself:
- Has your website gone over 3 years without being touched? You need a redesign.
- Are you getting clicks from your advertising outlets that rarely lead to hires? You need a redesign.
- Do you go to your website and immediately wish it looked different? You need a redesign.
- Are there new companies launching in your area that you fear will start to take business away from you? You need a redesign.
- Does your website break or work strangely on mobile devices? You DEFINITELY need a redesign. 55 - 65% of your website traffic will be via a mobile device and that number is growing!
YOU SAY YES TO THINGS EVEN WHEN MONEY ISN'T INVOLVED: Yes, you need money to live. We all do. Being a business owner is SO SCARY for this exact reason! But, it shouldn't be what guides your decisions. Sometimes I say 'no' to money and sometimes I say 'yes' to freebies. You have to decide 'what else you may be getting' when money isn't being offered. If you extend your services complimentary will you get bragging rights? Work with a celebrity? Grow a relationship that can help you elevate your brand? There is much more to business than money ... so when those times present themselves to you, be ready to say 'yes' to no money if the pros outweigh the cons.
YOU ARE FOREVER A STUDENT: The wedding industry changes trends and styles OVERNIGHT sometimes!! One day mason jars are in and the next day they are out! If there is one thing that will be visually picky??? It's a bride. When photography styles change you have to learn to change yours too. When floral designs change then you have to learn how to change too. Being a student while you are a business owner is of key importance to staying relevant - not only to potential clients but other professionals who will want to work with you and refer you business.
YOU KEEP YOUR EYES FORWARD AND DON'T GET DISTRACTED BY WHAT YOUR COMPETITION IS DOING: I am my own competition. That is how I look at business. What I do this year better be WAY BETTER than what I was doing last year ... and what I do next year better top what I do this year. I don't look at my competition and what they are doing ... and when I make the mistake and do??? I sometimes find myself spiraling down the blackhole of: I'm not good enough << and that's a terrible place to be!
You will always have competition in this industry - or any industry you are in! There will always be people who do what you do ... the key is to know that, accept it willingly and drive yourself to be amazing without focusing on the fact that they exist.
YOU NETWORK WITH THE RIGHT PROFESSIONALS: It's important to network and grow with other business owners who also attract the target market you want to reach. Now, friends and networking are different ... but it's a fine line between them. Some might argue that if you have a bunch of industry friends who are attracting the exact opposite target market that you want to attract - then you are pedaling backwards. That's a hard pill to swallow. If you want your business to grow then you need to make some major decisions about the industry group you decide to hang with ... it may mean starting new relationships and planning styled shoots with new people so that you can start getting the reach you want and need.
YOU ARE ADAPTABLE: If you are adaptable then you will probably always be successful. The reason?? You depend on yourself and hard times won't stop you from reaching your goals. If you have the drive and the passion and when things change you change with them?? Well, not a whole lot is going to stop you. The wedding industry is NOT DEPENDABLE!!! Everything will change per season ... you have to be on top of it and change with it so that you stay important and interesting. Social media is NOT DEPENDABLE!! You will need to come up with new ways to reach your audience when things on social media adjust ... adaptability is key to a successful career.
YOU NEVER GET COMFORTABLE: How often do I say on this blog: do not get comfy in business!!! Too often?? Probably ... but comfy people don't survive in this industry. It takes work EVERY SINGLE DAY to keep things going strong ... to keep your following interested ... to keep coming up with the best ideas and coming up with them FIRST! Now, am I saying don't take days off?? Of course not! For me, getting comfy means getting stuck ... having one thing work for you and believing that it will ALWAYS WORK ... letting your creativity get stale because you had a great idea or a great website or are booked for the season and so you figured: I'm good!! I can relax!!
If you are a success story in the event and wedding industry then you are staying on top of it! You have your sh*t together. You know that yesterday's great idea may not necessarily work tomorrow ... and when you do start feeling a lull in business or interest then you pull on your 'good ass jeans' and you go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan!
Are these 13 reasons why all there is to success? Of course not ... but I believe they are at the top of the list :)