By: Amanda Douglas of Amanda Douglas Events
Amanda Douglas Events is the culmination of owner Amanda’s 11 years of experience working in events, hospitality, decor design, and her love for all things elegant, unique, and beautiful.
Amanda Douglas is a certified planner through the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (WPIC) and studied Public Relations, Marketing, and Project Management at the University of Winnipeg. She also holds her Event Design certification through the Wedding and Event Institute (WEI). She is an active member of the WPIC Alumni, regularly invited to lecture at their educational seminars. Amanda is also a founding member of the Manitoba Wedding Network, and enjoys the work that she is able to do to help educate her peers and strengthen the level of professionalism within the Manitoba wedding industry.
Starting your own company comes with its own struggles. Let’s be real, it comes with a lot of pressure as well. No one wants to start a company and fail, but I think it’s also safe to say not a lot of people want to start a company and only do so so.
When I started my company – Amanda Douglas Events -I wanted to make it into a full-time career for myself, with the flexibility to live life how I wanted to (travel – hello!), do weddings the way I wanted to, get to pick and choose who I wanted to work with, and also be providing opportunities for other team members to learn and grow (and grow my company just to the right size for me). I see people that are married to their work but I’d rather just be married to my husband. That sort of workload was not for me. Those were my ambitions, and they’re very personal to me. But I know each and every one of you have your own set of goals and ways you want to go about building your business.
I’ve been in events for 13 years and I’ve had my company now for eight. From when I started my company to going full-time it was a year and a half. You’ll hear all sorts of different things online about how long it takes to go full-time, how to do that, and really what that looks like. I’m not gonna dig too much into that in this blog post but I am going to say that I feel exceptionally blessed to have been able to see my hustle, long hours, Design and Media skills bring me to where I am today. I am going to say that that was my journey and my goal. It doesn’t have to be yours. Like I said, I’m really not gonna dig into how to get full-time, that’s for another post, but I’m just gonna talk to you little bit about the pressures we put on ourselves to be successful.
Success looks different for everyone and that’s a good thing. For me, I had very particular goals (if you didn’t figure that out already!). I set milestones along the way, and small steppingstones to get me there. I wanted to go full-time, I wanted this to be my career. I didn’t want to have another job on top of this (no thanks!). That was what was right for me. That might not be what’s right for you.
You need to set your vision on what success looks like to you. You might want to have Event Planning be a side job for you. You might want to only do five weddings a year because it something you’re passionate about (think skilled hobby). It might not be something that you’re wanting to make a large income on but you want to be adding a little something to the market, and adding a little extra income to your household. Those are all really great goals. Don’t let the pressures of what’s going on around you makes you think that what you’re picture of The Pressure to be a Super Success Only being you. Everyone else is taken.
We all have those times, or full on seasons, where we wish we were somewhere else or someone else. We wish we were more successful, had more money, or more like this Planner, or that person. The truth of the matter is, there’s only one you and you better just focus on yourself. Make sure you keep your eye on the prize, the prize being whatever it is that you’ve decided is your version of success.
It could be easy to compare yourself to others and think that they have it better or they’ve got it more figured out. That might not necessarily be the case (social media is a slippery slot to discontent). If you’re getting exactly what you wanted and it doesn’t feel right and you decide you want more, go for more, but don’t let what’s going on around you dictate how you build your business (with the exception of market research info, of course).
Stay focused on what makes sense for you, what you’re passionate about, and make sure that your pricing accordingly. (That’s another topic that I could talk about for hours, but that’s not what this post is about either). It’s not all about the money, but it helps.
OK, I know I just said I wouldn’t talk about pricing but I do need to say a few things when it comes to what you make versus success.
Success isn’t all about the money, it’s not all about how much you make and how many weddings and how many zeros after the comma in your bank account. But success does need to be somewhat connected to how you price and your worth. If you’re doing 10 weddings a year and that’s how many you want but you are making minimum-wage, it’s clear that somethings not quite right. It’s also clear that you’re not being fair to the market you’re in. You need to make sure, even if you want this to be a side gig, or more of a skilled hobby, that you’re being fair to the market that you’re in. There are people, like me, that Event Planning was a full-time goal and they are making this a full-time career, and there are people that have spent years and years building up this industry so that it can be a sustainable place for people to make a living (and we all know that in any field that can be a hard thing to find). Make sure you take the time to research what is going on around you, the pricing around you, and you don’t price just for the amount of weddings you want to get/your goal level, but you price for what’s real and what’s true value in your market.
Truth: Success isn’t low balling it and getting more weddings than someone else because you did. A note on that; my greatest successes and times of growth have come when I have evaluated my pricing and adjusted it. And I mean adjusted it higher; to make sure that I was putting a value on myself, my team, and my field.
The Pressure to be a Super Success -Taking time to be thankful and reflect is the greatest gift of success. All right, let’s call that a little bit of Clickbait, but it sure is one of the greatest gifts of success. I find immense joy and contentment in looking back on where I have been, what I have worked through to get where I am, and also to reflect on where I am going.
You need to take the time to be thankful for all the things that you’ve done, been through, and the people that have helped you get where you are. If you don’t take this time you will always feel like you’re never enough. Success isn’t just a number, or getting to the top the mountain. It’s about all the little steps and milestones along the way.
Take time every month, year, and in your goal cycles, to really reflect on where you’ve been and how you’ve done. I also encourage you to find a business bestie that can tell you “Oh zip it girl! You’re doing SO well!! Look at all these couples wanting to work with you! They wouldn’t be here if you weren’t good!” Success isn’t stationary so you shouldn’t be either. Now, you need to balance the amount of pressure you put on yourself. That’s something that only you can determine. Let’s pretend that you’ve done an amazing job at taking out all of the outside influence on your success. Your balance, clearheaded, and only have focus on your company and what matters within it.
Now you need to realize that that success isn’t stationary. The goal/s you set in year one is probably not going to be the same goal/s you’re gonna set in year five. As you grow your business, as you see what works and doesn’t work, you’re going to realize what real success means to you. You might even look back and laugh at some of the things you thought were markers of success. Take the time to reevaluate your goals and give yourself the grace to let success and what success means do you evolve over time. Amanda – Amanda Douglas Events
What’s your current picture or goal when it comes to success? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and share with the WPIC community.