Today I am going to take a different tone with my blog posts and talk about something that one may not think of when they think “wedding professional”.
The difference between “hobby” and “business” in my industry.
For me, my wedding business is more than just a hobby. It is a passion of course, and I love what I do. But most importantly, it’s my life’s work, I live off my earnings, and the success of my business directly correlates to my well being and my livelihood. I am a full-time business owner, first and foremost.
This also means a couple of other things. Since I am in a seasonal industry, the other 6 months out of my year (when I’m not coordinating and executing events) is spent doing all business. And therefore, I truly believe that being talented in your craft is only half of the story.
Here is some insight for what I do over my “off season” months:
1. Network, network, network. I can’t stress enough that word-of-mouth referrals is probably the best way one can promote their business. Usually for me, this also means that I have to get over myself, get over my inhibitions and confidence issues and get out there. I constantly have to remind myself that my website and my online presence is not just me and I need to put a face to the name. This is where I join some meetup groups, go out for coffee with colleagues and reach out to industry professionals that can benefit my business.
2. Brand myself, or re-brand. My brand is me and vice versa. My clients need to be able to look at my website, my logo and my overall presence and be able to indicate exactly what I do, what I offer and why I am different. Good branding is probably one of the hardest things I had to achieve, and it took me several years to understand what’s “me” in my business.
3. Rework my business plan. I look at my business plan every couple of years when I feel like there are new goals and achievements I need to make. During the low season, it is a perfect opportunity to see how your vision and mission statement aligns with your business and whether or not it needs editing/reworking. It’s okay to make changes to the mission and vision!
4. Make tangible business goals. Without goals one cannot grow. Even if the goal is, “Hand out all my business cards before the end of the year.” or “Rework my business schpeil in the mirror.” goals are the way that I will get further in my business.
5. Review my financials and my market. This is always one that I have always feared, but only because that nobody really likes to see where they stand in the industry, compared to their peers, and seeing what my dollar figure ends up being. But I can only see how successful I am by putting actual measures on my goals. Dollar signs are great measures to tell me where I am on the map.
Bottom line is that the wedding business, in all it’s glitzy glory, is still a business, and should be treated as such. Hobbies only takes one so far – transforming that hobby into a business and putting that elbow grease in is where the transformation happens.
So here is to all the entrepreneurs out there that have passion and are willing to put their passion to work. I salute you!