By: Tracey Manailescu, WPIC Co-founder and Vice President
Are you in a bit of a slump? Not feeling the love for the business like you used to?
It happens to everyone eventually. For real. Things that used to make you happy no longer cut it. You feel like you are just not being appreciated for what you do, you don’t know how to expand your business with how much you have grown, and aren’t sure if you want to keep doing what you are doing because of all of your new skills and interests. Do you feel like you should be charging more for all that you offer but aren’t sure if you can get the clients to pay for it?
Keep reading to get your wedding planning business groove back, baby!
Learn New Skills: There are so many opportunities to grow your business out there. It is really a disservice to yourself if you don’t. The wedding industry changes and refreshes itself every single year, why can’t you? Start a webinar series, create a podcast, write a book, go back to school and better yourself. Reap the benefits of conferences and seminars, scour Pinterest and the internet for “how-to” articles. Join discussions and groups, associations, etc. Learn how to manage money, save money, better your record-keeping skills, use excel for spreadsheets, make better connections through networking, perfect your elevator pitch, learn how to dress better, do your makeup better, etc.
Show Yourself as the Expert That You Have Become: Sometimes it’s really hard and a bit embarrassing to toot your own horn. However, if you don’t, then how the heck do you expect anyone to know what you have done? Why not share it in a blog or on social media in a funny or humorous way? Let your friends and family know of some of your accomplishments because these are the people who adore you the most and will be your biggest cheerleaders. Have you taken a new course, or volunteered your time at a conference or an event? Have you put together a team or raising money for a cause that touches your heart? It’s not bragging if you are telling a story and sharing why you love what you do. Take and show pride in yourself and in your work! Give advice on the WPIC alumni boards, Twitter, Facebook groups, etc. It will be appreciated and remembered. Apply for speaking opportunities at conferences. Keep an eye out for a call for speakers and submit them!
Share Glimpses Into the Not So Glamorous Side: It is difficult for people to understand how much work goes into creative businesses. They only see the prettiness of the end results. If you share little tidbits and photos of late nights, paperwork, grunt work and behind the scenes real life it is suddenly something they can relate to and connect with. I had a conversation with someone about a past FAM trip. She said, “Wow! It sounds like it was a great vacation!” Instantly my back went up, and I felt the need to explain how this is work. Yes, we were in a gorgeous location, but I started at 8 o’clock in the morning every day and finishing around 9 or 10 o’clock every single evening. We went from location to location, wedding venue to wedding venue, room category to room category, climbing stairs, hills and listening to different suppliers discuss their policies and protocols at each location. We were required to take notes, ask questions, blog about it and show it all on social media. What the world saw was our pretty photos of the ocean, my shots of tequila :), wedding décor setups and smiling faces in group shots. What they didn’t see were our swollen, sweaty feet, dehydrated, tired and cranky planners and travel agents dragging ourselves all over the place. While I was absolutely beside myself with the excitement of this bucket-list FAM trip that I had been waiting for years to go on, I also knew it is no vacation. I still need to book a vacation back there, darn it! Now I realize that the person was not convinced whatsoever about the hardships all of the attendees endured, but it felt really good to tell her about them, LOL!
Add Getting Published to Your Repertoire: Branch out a bit and share some of your knowledge and advice with the world. Submit articles of interest to blogs within your wedding network or community. Share your real weddings and styled shoots. People will respect and admire when others in the industry are recognized by their peers.
Free and Unbiased Reviews of Your Website: Not feeling your website anymore? Change it. Not sure what you can do to change it? What’s missing? Well, check these out! Yes, way…These are downright awesome. Check them out today at criticue.com and peek.usertesting.com You can also ask your alumni on the boards. People love to give advice and critique things and you never know what tips and advice may come from it. If it is too nerve-wracking, then set up a free and anonymous survey from www.surveymonkey.com to hear what people have to say.
Create Standard Replies for Your Most Asked Questions: Do you feel like you are answering the same questions over and over? Why not have some standard responses saved in your files. Tweak them as you will depending on the specifics of the person asking the questions. Examples could be more in depth descriptions of your services, why do you charge “X” amount when your competitors charge “O”. What is the difference between a WPIC certified coordinator and someone else? Do you take kick-backs? (that should be a big ‘ole NO!) Avoid it all together and just create a Q & A page on your website of your most frequently asked questions.
Add or Get Rid of Services That You Don’t Want to Offer Anymore: You might ask why did you offer these in the first place? Well, sometimes you go with the flow and offer what everyone else does. Is it still making you money, is it taking you away from family/friends life? Do you still enjoy offering this service? An example might be “Month Of” services. Do you feel disconnected from your clients for this service? Are you not getting respect as a professional that you deserve, because the time frame is too short and their expectations are simply too high? Get rid of it. Are you interested in Events or Design Services or how to do styled shoots? Well then get your learning on, and find out what you need to do to offer something new to your clients.
Change Your Pricing: Have you been in the industry for a while now and feel like you have really grown your skills and expertise? Is it time to make more money? Re-evaluate and think about what you feel you are worth. Don’t forget to take a look around your area first though, so you don’t price yourself right out of business. Take a look at other planners who have similar styled clients and weddings. What are they charging? Give yourself a pat on the back for growing so much, and tweak your prices a bit to reflect all of that awesomeness that you are. Make sure that you are confident with your pricing and can explain why you charge what you do. Example: I have grown by leaps and bounds over the past three years with a wide variety of client experiences and I am so much more confident in my skills and value. I have so much pride in ownership of my company that I have invested in myself by getting certified by WPIC (The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada), I have attended two amazing conferences this year to fine tune my skills in design and destination weddings to keep up with current trends and ideas. I have added two new staff to our team to ensure timely responses, extra hands at your wedding and skills that bring a well-rounded balance to our company, and so on.
Be Happy for Your Peers: What could show more confidence in your own abilities then recognizing strength and value in others? Be a cheerleader for the newbies, the up and comers, as well as those already established. It is going to make someone else feel great, so in turn, it is going to make you feel great, too! Those same people are going to cheer you on when you have something to share as well.