Many professional wedding planners — me included — got their start in the wedding industry by planning weddings on the side. But, how, exactly, do you do that, successfully?
Listen to this – Episode #389
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Create a Plan with Smart Goals
If you’re currently planning weddings on the side:
- Is your wedding planning business to remain as part-time?
- Is it your goal to transition into a full-time wedding venture
- How many weddings would you plan this year?
Whatever your plan is, set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for running your wedding planning business.
It’s important that your goals are measurable. So, instead of stating your goal as : ‘File my DBA’, instead, include a date. Perhaps, try, ‘File by DBA no later than next Friday,’ instead.
If you need to fast-track your wedding business plans, setting and completing five (5) daily goals will certainly get you there. Just know that you’re gonna stay busy and will likely have to give up some of your routine ‘comforts’. For example, I skip watching TV Monday through Friday in order to accomplish a lot of what I have to do.
If the daily plan is unrealistic — and for many of us, it is– shoot for five (5) weekly activities, instead. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your sideline wedding planning business grows this way when you strike off one (1) task each weekday.
If your life is filled with lots of other commitments, you’ll make more progress with a 5-things-a-month plan. Go with this option instead of being discouraged by trying and failing with the daily or weekly plan.
And, if the monthly plan is too demanding, it’s time to reevaluate whether being the owner of your own wedding business is a priority right now.
Schedule time for your wedding planning business
It’s important to schedule time to work on your wedding planning business.
Remember, this is your (soon-to-be?) paying part-time job. Schedule everything else around your wedding business time and tell everyone who needs to know about it.
And, please don’t pick a time when you’re typically exhausted or know that you’ll be interrupted. Working on your wedding planning business should be something you look forward to, not drudgery.
The jury’s still out as to whether or not you should tell your boss or co-workers about your wedding planning business. Knowing what I know, now, my general advice is to keep things to yourself…for now.
Don’t quit your day job…yet!
If you’re tempted to chuck your day job in favor of your sideline wedding business, proceed carefully.
It’s okay to build your wedding planning business slowly. Get a feel for things. Discover what part of weddings you enjoy and what areas you avoid like the plague. Don’t try to be someone or something you’re not.
And by the way, offering full-service wedding planning when you, yourself, have an outside full-time job is really difficult to pull off well!
Your clients expect (and are paying for) you to take care of every last detail of their wedding plans which includes all the tasks that they don’t have the time for. That’s a lot of hand-holding! Be realistic about what you can accomplish while you’re working (a day job) somewhere else.
Instead, seriously consider taking one area of weddings and becoming the top dog in that niche.
As an added bonus, focusing on a wedding planning niche will do wonders for your brand.
Instantly, you’re seen as an expert in your specialty and will stand out from all the other wedding planners in your area as you work on the weddings that truly get you excited.
Feed your Wedding Business with your F/T $$
With a full-time job, you have a steady source of income to pay for necessary living expenses while, hopefully, funneling money into your wedding planning business. This is important when you’re ready to build a website, attend the wedding planner conference in the Fall, invest in equipment…
Slowly build your professional wedding vendor list and work on developing your reputation within your local wedding community while still working your day job.
There’s no shame in operating a wedding planning business, part-time (I don’t care what the bridal magazines say).
The truth is that a couple getting married wants to know that you are the solution to their wedding planning woes. Can (and will) you do what you say you’re gonna do?
So, make sure to put them at ease by being realistic about your availability to plan their wedding, and, by working twice as hard to prove how serious you are as wedding planner. (And let’s be honest, many part-time wedding planners run their ‘business’ as a glorified hobby: not returning phone calls, pricing that’s all over the place, planning weddings without a contract…). Don’t let that be you. Please.
Just Know That…
Making the shift from employee to entrepreneur is one of the toughest changes you could ever imagine — I know this firsthand.
The difference between working for a corporation and working for yourself is like the difference between living in a house and living in a tent. When you’re operating a wedding planing business, you’re basically camping out and doing all you can to survive.
But, if this wedding planning thing is what you’re passionate about and what you really want, keep moving in the direction of your dream. Don’t let anyone else derail you.
And, when you’re having one of those ‘I-don’t-know-why/if-I-can-do-this‘ days, listen to this episode and read this article, again.
Keep Going. 🙂
Mentioned in this Episode
DayofWeddingBusiness.com – Get everything you need to run a day-of wedding coordination company at DayofWeddingBusiness.com (formerly the WeddingBusinessGuide).
TryFreedomVoice.com – This is an affordable and professional way to manage incoming calls for your part-time wedding business. I use the service in conjunction with my mobile phone. Try it free at TryFreedomVoice.com
As of today, I have and do planning weddings and events on the side. My co-workers are aware that owning my own business and doing it full time is my desire and many have asked me to help with their event some with their wedding. I do worry about telling perspective clients that I do this part-time now but hopefully my business will pick up to the point that I feel comfortable in leaving my full time job of 12years. I feel that they will think I am not capable of giving the full attention that they want and are paying for that their event will not be what they dream of.
Worry less about what your potential clients MIGHT think about you planning weddings part-time. If you don’t make it an issue, they won’t, either.
Great customer and vendor testimonials, photos of the weddings you’ve worked on and positioning yourself as a local wedding expert are effective ways to remove these doubts.
I have a part time job, but I am on call and sometimes may not know if I have to work until the day before. My problem is if I set an appointment the week before with a paying client then find out if I have t work, what do I do. Go to the job or go meet the client? With my part time job by the way, if I don’t go I just don’t get paid. I don’t get reprimanded at all. But I struggle with needing the money. It’s frustrating. I don’t even know what my question is, or what I want you to tell me. I guess I want to know how you would handle that? I really enjoyed your talk on working a full time job while wedding planning. Thank you!
Thanks for sharing.
Frankly, without a set or steady schedule, it’s difficult to run a wedding planning business successfully, on the side. I suppose, you, ultimately, have to decide which avenue is best for you: your existing part-time job or getting your wedding business off the ground.
By the way, when you have a moment, listen to WeddingsForaLiving.com/210 to get an idea of what’s needed to start your business (if that’s the route you choose).
Hope this helps.
This message came right on time. I have a full time job a give little to no time to my business. This message taught me that I need a niche and that Day of Coordinator should be it. I will now dedicate three days a week to my business, at least one hour a day to start out and go from there. Events are my passion and I would love for my business to actually start making money.
what is your advice for someone who is struggling generating leads? Since I’m new in business bridal shows are more on the expensive side for me.
Thanks for writing. My advice to someone who is struggling to generate leads is to focus on a specialty or niche for their wedding business. Once that happens it becomes much clearer where you should go to find your ideal client.
This episode should help with finding clients: Episode #382 ‘How do I find clients for my wedding business?’.
I hope this helps.