While planning your wedding, you are faced with hundreds of questions, some more fun than...
I don’t often write personal posts, I used to and then I took a step away from them for one reason and another. I certainly don’t write that much about business, as I don’t see myself as an expert. However for the majority of my working life I have been self-employed, apart from my 7 years in recruitment and the odd job here and there during Uni holidays I have always been self-employed. From running my own design and dressmaking business, twice once in Stoke-on-Trent and the other in Nottingham to free-lance writing, to managing the door in various nightclubs, to running my own club promotion and flyering business, to dancing (yes dancing I know it was a long time ago) and now as a wedding planner and a wedding blogger I have been self-employed way longer than I have been employed……so maybe actually I am an expert!?!
I have made a A LOT of mistakes but I have also learnt a hell of a lot along the way. So I have decided that every now and again I am going to put together a ‘Business Ramblings’ Post to share with you the knowledge I have picked up with my many different self-employed hats on!
Today I want to discuss where I am at the moment, how my business has moved on and how it has changed in the past 4 years, but please bear with me, it’s called business ramblings for a reason!
I’d also love to hear your thoughts and have your impute as we go along. I’m hoping that people may learn a little from me so if anyone one else wants to join in feel free to add your thoughts and wisdom along the way!
I noticed after the first/second year of business that once you have set up and you are up and running that there isn’t really that much help out there for you, I guess by year two people expect you to know what you are doing. There is so much help out there for start-up businesses, personally I spent a good 6 months attending workshops, talks and lessons on every area of business going, and after that a good year or two attending networking events. But as I began to get busy I just couldn’t fit all this extra leaning and networking into my day. My days got busier and I started to work longer hours, often right into the early hours. Before I knew it in year two I was working 90-100 hours a week, often not finishing till 2am and starting again at 9am……….7 days a week. I was knackered! BUT I still believe this was the making of me.
I dug my heels in took on every wedding booking I could, started taking sponsors on the blog and I tried as hard as I could to make my wedding business a success.
I immersed myself in social media, tweeting left right and centre, shared all manners of wedding stuff on my facebook page, basically living and breathing weddings! I had to do everything in my power to get my name out there for the Boho Brand to be seen.
And that I believe I did!
At the beginning it seemed to be a competition was I the busiest person in wedding land? I measured my success on how busy I was………but now times have changed!
I am now in my 4th year of running Boho Weddings. I have gone through 3 logo changes, a complete blog redesign, I have organised numerous events and around 50 weddings. I have 2 part time freelance staff that work with me as well as an accountant and a designer. I now work 70 hours a week and finish my day at 9pm instead of 2am and I have a full day off! I’m making enough money to be comfortable, not rich, I still have a long way to go, but I can pay the bills and I have savings!! (not much but still!)
So what has changed in 4 years?
I was talking with some other wedding professionals at a wedding not long ago and we all said the same thing. We were all a good few years into our wedding business and the underlying theme seemed to be the same. Work less, and enjoy life more.
We all seem to be in a position where we are trying all we can to streamline our business, to free up our time so we can get back some sort of life! We all enjoy our work but our work isn’t our lives, as much as we are lead to believe in the first year of business. I realise now success isn’t managed by how busy you are, it’s how you manage your time. I think I am part way there but I still have a long way to go.
So how do you cut back on work when your work is what drives you and what pays the bills?
In the last couple of years I have really cut down on the amount of weddings I do per year. In my first couple of years I took on a crazy amount of bookings, but didn’t charge enough. It wasn’t until I gained more experience that I was able to value my services more and so put my prices up, so allowing me to take on fewer bookings per year.
With this I have been able to pick and choose which bookings I do take on and make sure they are the right sort fop the brand
Social media is great, but my God it can suck every last bit for your soul if you’re not careful! I LIVED on twitter when I first started out but now I find I don’t have that much to say. For the majority of my day I am just behind my computer so nothing particularly exciting to report there and if I am doing something socially, the last thing I want to be doing is tweeting about it, I put my phone away and enjoy my time off! Social media for me is mainly a work tool, I simply don’t have time to be on it all day like I used to.
I get asked to do so many things, invites to this that and the other, collaborations, new projects. At the beginning I was flattered every time I got asked and said yes, but as time moved on I realised that I couldn’t say yes to everything and it wasn’t until learnt to say no that I freed up more my time. Pick wisely and only do the things that are going to benefit you and your business
As much as I love keeping up with my old friends and enjoying a social life, I have also found it important to have industry friends around me, who I can chat with, drink with and who can offer advice. I love my friends outside of the industry but a lot of the really don’t get what it is I do. They have no idea about blogging, about wedding planning and what it all entails. That’s why it’s import to have a circle of industry friends who you trust to bounce ideas off and who can empathise with you. These industry friends have in turn become as important to me as my non industry friends.
I think the most important thing I have learnt recently is not to feel guilty about taking time off! Again this goes back to success not being measured by the amount of hours you work, it’s not a competition! I used to look at the people who worked the longest hours as being the successful ones, but now I look up to those people who have got the work life balance thing sussed. These people running a successful business but still enjoying their weekends or days off!
Don’t be made to feel that you HAVE to work every hour, yes at the beginning you have to put the hours in, but that don’t have to last forever! Life is for living after all!
In short, in my 4 years of business so far there have been ups and downs, I have worked my butt off to get to where I am, but now I feel that I need to streamline a bit, to appreciate what is around me. My priorities have shifted I guess. I still love running Boho Weddings but I also appreciate the other things around me, my friends, my family and my devoting husband.
So those 70 hours I work I’m aiming to get down to 40 and soon I hope to take the whole weekend off! You know like normal people do!