By: Khrystyna Moro, MBA, WPICC of Pastiche Weddings & Events
Levelling up, expanding, improving – I know what you’re thinking, forget that! Surviving alone is hard enough.
Like every other wedding professional over the last 13 months, I was hit hard. The endless postponements, cancellations, confusion and uncertainty all added up to a lot of self-doubt, exhaustion and even helplessness. Not to mention the fact that my own wedding plans got completely derailed. I was emotional, scared, and frankly lost.
I don’t know if there was an exact moment, but somewhere in all of that confusion, I decided that focusing on my business was going to be what kept me going. I couldn’t control much (as all of us planners love to do), but I could brainstorm. I could dream. I could work on my website. I could strategize social media. Bit by bit I tried and tried again. I took baby steps, one day at a time and dedicated my focus to helping my wedding business not only survive but thrive.
Even though all of these restrictions and uncertain future may feel completely hopeless (which they do – and our collective exhaustion and anger over our decimated industry is 100% valid), can you focus on something that you CAN control?
Here are some areas that I found helpful to dedicate my energy to & actually level up my business:
Brand Strategy and Web Design
Although your first instinct might be to update your visuals, I’d say the strategy behind your brand is even more crucial. Even if you’re not in a place to invest in a professional team to help you with this, there is so much you can do on your own. Brainstorm your why, what you do well, what you always dreamed of doing. What do you want to do better? What do you want to do more/less of? What makes you different? Map out where you are now and where you envision yourself going with your business. Then start making concrete plans to make it happen. Need experience? Align yourself with people and opportunities that will help you get there. Need education? Seek out those courses or training.
Dare to dream big – maybe there is another branch of the business that you could expand with. Then I’d say it’s a good time to update or revisit your website to see how you can actually put all of yourself and your business goals out in the world. When you are confident in what you bring and have plans for where you’re going, your audience and potential clients feel it. The visuals and energy you put out will attract your people.
I don’t know about you, but aside from past-client referrals, all of my other business comes from Instagram. Personally, I adore the platform and the key to me enjoying it is keeping it fun. If it’s exhausting or un-inspiring, clean up your feed. Remove accounts that don’t make you feel connected, inspired or happy. Surround yourself with people you look up to in a positive way, people who you regularly chat with or feel comfortable exchanging ideas with, and people who genuinely inspire you.
It can be daunting to “show up authentically” but since I merged my personal account with my business account and have allowed myself to show more of my interests and facets, I’ve seen tremendous growth and response. I’m more comfortable because I’ve built my community that way and it makes me likelier to show up and create authentic content. But what I do might not be what comes naturally to you – and that’s the point.
To level up, especially on social these days, you have to figure out your own magic. Why you? Everyone has their own. Even if you don’t know it, someone is out there waiting for your post, inspired by your journey or your life. What helped me was to strategize the pillars of my brand that excite me. What do you feel inspired to talk about? What excites you? What problem do you solve? Bring that passion and your community will feel seen, valued and heard. If you’re able, I’d highly recommend investing even in one-of coaching from social media experts to help you clean up, optimize and strategize your social presence. Do your research, see who you connect with and let them help you hone in on your message, audience & plan so that social can work for YOU instead of the other way around. Bottom line: have fun with it!
This is an obvious one, but gaining new knowledge is what levelling up is all about. Aside from all of the incredible wedding education courses, I’d suggest expanding your horizons even further. I had always wanted to try my hand at calligraphy and during lockdown enrolled myself in an online beginners course. I enrolled in programs from renowned wedding designers and stylists from the US and Europe not only for the wedding content but the wedding business angle as well. Launching my own online boutique has also meant coding-lite webinars and videos to learn on my own. If you let yourself explore all of the things that spark joy in you, that’s already helping you thrive. Nurture all of your passions, go where the curiosity takes you & implement all of those different fields or art forms into what makes your wedding business unique.
This is probably the most important way to expand your reach & thrive in our industry. I’ve only just recently started an intentional plan to connect with a new-to-me wedding vendor per month and it’s already enriching my life, education & business immensely. I’ve also started a weekly IG Live series during which I bring on special guests to share more about themselves, their purpose & together toast to something joyful we’re celebrating that week. Beyond weddings, this connects me with architects, web designers, coaches, influencers, chefs, entrepreneurs and so many other incredible people. By doing that, I’m also reaching their audiences. Go back to your brand strategy. Who do you want to associate with? Who helps you refill your cup? Who re-lights that fiery passion in you for what you do? Make that your community & that passion will spread so far beyond your own reach.
Self-Care & Setting Boundaries
What I’ve really learned through the pandemic is that I need to be okay before I can serve others. There needs to be room for humanity in our businesses. And as much as we give, we need to be able to take. Take time, take space, take care. For me, that’s looked like setting up new boundaries which were completely unnatural (who else feels like they always need to be available and seen as working non-stop??) and prioritizing self-care rituals. I’m still definitely struggling with both of these, but they are absolutely key in helping me grow and expand my business. When I stick to the routines that work for me, whether that’s my phone-free morning, daily movement, or no tech in the bedroom rule – I feel the difference. I show up with more clarity, energy & purpose which translates to healthy productivity & excitement for my work.
Automate your systems as much as you can. Too much back and forth to schedule meetings? Setting up an automatic scheduler has been a total game-changer for me. Set up office hours. Try not to respond to things as soon as they come in if they’re not urgent. Prioritize family time and your time. Listen to your body & your instincts to tell you what you need. Becoming more intuitive with ourselves ultimately makes us more intuitive with our businesses. That feeling of “this feels right” and “I need this right now” comes from prioritizing self-care & exploring what boundaries work best.
I’ll leave you with this: people connect with people. Wedding planning is an extremely unique, intimate relationship between client and planner. It’s emotional, it’s personal, and it’s long-term. Whoever your ideal client is, they’re looking to connect with a human that they feel something about. Focus on you first, care for yourself, dream for yourself and then show up as yourself. Let those clients see the real you and find you.
This has been a tough time in the industry, but if you can spend some of that time focusing on the things you can control, you can get a stronger footing, a clear strategy, better tools & level up your business before the party boom we just KNOW is coming after all of this.
Khrystyna Moro, MBA, WPICC is a Toronto-based wedding planner, designer, stylist, entrepreneur, educator, mentor & creator – Khrystyna’s passion lies in curating unforgettable experiences with a focus on intentional design and meaningful details. Having gone through COVID as a member of the wedding industry as well as a #covidbride, she’s had to pivot multiple times while supporting her clients through this unbelievably challenging time from a place of compassion and love. After refining and introducing new services, she’s now launching a new online boutique to help people bring even more joy into their everyday lives. Her talent for making things thoughtful and beautiful is fueled by a desire to help others elevate their special and everyday moments in an authentic way.
You can follow her work and life at @pastichebydesign on Instagram. Recently featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Wedding Bells, Today’s Bride, Dear Bride & More