When you're new to an industry you're bound to make a few mistakes. You don't know what you don't know. And with no shortage of available online information, the endless options can be confusing.
For a newbie wedding planner it is no different.
In this episode I shed some light on some of the mistakes that I have made so you can avoid making them too.
MISTAKE #1: Not thinking like a business owner
For the most part, planning weddings for a living means almost no recurring income; PLUS hiring a professional wedding planner is not a service that is in-demand (yet).
What also tends to be the case is that most professional wedding planners spend lots of hours planning a wedding but do not bill for the actual amount of time spent working.
This means that wedding planning tends to be a labor of love instead of a HUGE money generator. Keep this in mind!
MISTAKE #2: Not creating a business plan
You may not need a traditional 25-page document to start your wedding planning business, but at the very least, you must be prepared to answer some important questions:
- How much do you charge?
- What type of wedding planner services do you offer?
- Are you in tune with the local wedding scene?
- Do you have an office? Where will you meet clients?
- Are you certified? Do you even need to be?
- How much money do you need to make each month?
- What is my core marketing strategy?
- How will I balance my business with my job?
- Are you comfortable asking for the sale?
MISTAKE #3: Not being local enough
If you're actively planning weddings, do you know:
- How many weddings are happening in your area, locally?
- How much couples spending on local weddings?
- Who are the top 3 planners in your area? How much do they charge?
Do your research before launching your wedding planning company.
TIP: Survey local brides – ask them about their wedding experience
TIP: Commit to being the local wedding guru; start a blog, a local YT channel
MISTAKE #4: Underestimating the emotional side of weddings
Weddings are emotional. This means your emotions PLUS the client's emotions are likely to be affected.
As a professional wedding planner, you MUST ‘click' with your clients. But you must also be prepared to set boundaries and establish standards to increase the likelihood of a great working relationship.
Not everyone will welcome you as a wedding planner; get used to it!
No one owes you a thing as a business owner; not even a reply or common courtesy.
MISTAKE #5: Not creating system
Document your professional wedding planning process (here's the process I use). Planning each wedding the same way – more or less – will save you time and allow you to grow.
Create and implement telephone and email scripts, write down your planning procedures, use checklists and templates instead of having to repeatedly explain your processes to others.
TIP: You need to implement systems for your wedding business
MISTAKE #6: Not being accountable
This is important for all entrepreneurs, even if wedding planning is your side gig. You have no excuses as a business owner. Find ways to run your business effectively and figure out how you will provide your customers with the service they have paid you for!
MISTAKE #7: Not discussing my business with my family
Planning weddings affects your family and those closest to you. You'll likely forfeit your weekends and evenings; running a business affects your money and your mood. Talk to your family and discuss what they should expect.
MISTAKE #8: Not being different enough
Why should someone hire you as a professional wedding planner instead of the planner located a few blocks away?
Don't be scared to specialize! It won't limit you. Being different is good!
When you're no different from other area wedding planners, the only thing separating you is price; there's nothing else. Be bold enough to specialize as a wedding planner (you'll make more money!).
MISTAKE #9: Thinking that I could survive planning weddings full-time
Planning weddings only didn't do it for me. I had to vary my income in order to reach my money goals.
Don't believe all the hype you hear and read about ‘successful' wedding planners. Their successes may not match up with what you want. Find ways to mix things up.
Each one of these mistakes was a great learning lesson for me. Avoid them if you can.