Still Have a Full Time Job? Get Ready to Start Your New Wedding Planning Business in 2015

 

Tips on starting a business for wedding planners who currently have other full time jobs

Are you thinking of starting your wedding planning business in 2015? I’ve found that this is the time of year when people start thinking about the changes they want to make in the future.

If you currently have a full time job and think that you might want to quit to have a wedding planning business sometime in 2015, here are 5 ways to prepare for your transition:

1) Create a business plan

Take the time to think about what you want your business to look like. Who are the brides you want to serve? How will you promote yourself to them? What services do you intend to sell? How big do you want your business to be?

2) Save extra money

Skip the fancy coffee drinks and impulse buys  and put away some money from your paychecks so you’ll have some in case any emergencies occur before your business becomes fully successful.

3) Take your vacation time

It may be difficult to take time off while your business is new so take advantage of your paid vacation time while you have it. If you don’t want to go on a trip, use the time to create your new business.

4) Become familiar with the wedding industry in your area

Before you strike out on your own, attend local bridal fairs and wedding industry association meetings. These events will give you a good sense of what the market is like in your area and you can create a successful business based on what you learn.

5) Plan (or keep planning) weddings during your off hours

I know it may be difficult to do this, but you don’t want to quit your job to start a business unless you have had some experience planning weddings, and the more experience, the better. And, collect testimonials and photos so you can build your portfolio.

Of course, never work on your wedding business while at your full time job and resist the urge to talk about it in your workplace, even if a coworker is getting married. You don’t want to be accused of misusing company time and property or for using your workplace to find clients.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Create a Brochure for My Wedding Business?”

 

Wedding Planner Points Out Her Benefits on Her Brochure

Brochures are not a thing of the pass, they’re still a great marketing piece to use to tell brides about your wedding planning business.

Question

Can you give me some ideas for a brochure that I can give to brides to promote my business? I want to be able to hand something to brides other than just my business card.

Answer

I’m glad you are planning a brochure. You want a lot of visibility and it works best when you use different methods, both online and offline, to market your business.

Here are 6 tips for creating a brochure:

1) Decide how you will be using the brochure

Is this a piece you are creating to give to brides whom you have met at a bridal show or another type of event, to leave behind at bridal salons and venues or to give to wedding vendors to pass out for you?

2) Determine what a bride in your niche wants to know

Once you know how you will use your brochure, think about the bride who will be reading it. What will she want to know? What information can you give her that would make her want to contact you?

3) Describe how your services can help solve the problems the bride has

Your brochure is not about you, it’s about the bride you are trying to reach. Your brochure should address her problems and explain how your services solve those problems.

You don’t need to give every detail about your services. Your goal should be to offer enough information about your benefits to encourage a bride to contact you. When she does, you can set an appointment to talk to her about the customized services you can provide.

4) Make it something the bride wants to keep

Include a wedding planning checklist, wedding day emergency kit list or tips that would make the bride want to keep your brochure for future reference or pass along to others who could use you.

5) Include a call to action

Tell the bride what you want her to do next, call you for a free consultation, go to your website or blog to opt-in to get free weekly tips, or meet you at a bridal show (put the name and date of the show and your booth number).

6) Produce a high-quality brochure

If you’re not an expert at graphic design, hire someone to help you so your brochure looks professional.

Remember to include high-resolution photographs of the wedding you have planned. Don’t use stock photos that brides may have seen on other brochures and websites, they will ruin your credibility.

Also, don’t print too many at once. You want to be able to keep information up-to-date and printing small quantities will allow you to make frequent updates without wasting a lot of copies.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planners – 5 Ways You May be Sabotaging Your Own Success

 

Don't Sabotage Your Wedding Planning Business

I speak with and get email from many new wedding planners. I’ve found that some are clearly on their way to becoming top wedding planners and others will be when they stop doing things that sabotage themselves.

If you haven’t yet had the success you want, it could be that you are doing things that are holding you back.

Here are 5 ways you may be sabotaging yourself and what you need to do instead:

1) You’re trying to get quick results

Long-term success doesn’t come after being in a business a few months. You need to invest time and hard work and develop a reputation for excellence before you get a steady stream of clients. If you start your business believing it will happen quickly, you’ll quickly get discouraged and quit before your real success arrives.

2) You’re allowing yourself to get distracted

You start your day setting your goals, doing your marketing or handling your bookkeeping. Then you take a break and check Pinterest, text a friend or two, polish your nails or watch a show you recorded on your DVR and suddenly your day is half over.

It’s fine to take breaks during the day but remember you are running a business. Make realistic schedules for each day and focus on the work at hand.

3) You’re keeping to yourself

Sitting at your computer everyday posting on social media won’t bring you all of the brides you need. Get out and meet new people. Go places where your target bride goes and join groups where you can meet them or fellow wedding vendors. This might mean joining church groups, going to the gym or yoga class or attending a conference for wedding and event planners. The more people you meet and get to know, the greater your chances of getting business.

4) You’re comparing yourself to others

Yes, there are a lot of wedding planners out there but there are also a lot of brides. You need to spend your time marketing your unique skills and using them to give brides the weddings want. You don’t need to waste time and energy worried or jealous that other planners may have what you want.

5) You’re trying to be perfect

Strive for excellence and being the best you can possibly be right now, not for perfection. Perfectionism will make you analyze every detail of what you do and say before you make any decisions, then you won’t take the action you need to in order to be successful.

Don’t feel badly if you are guilty of any of these 5 things, we’ve all done them.

Get clear on what success means to you, be confident you can attain it, stop sabotaging yourself and do what it takes to become the top wedding planner you were meant to be.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “What’s a Good Name for My Wedding Planning Business?”

 

Tips for Choosing a Name for a Wedding Planning Business

It’s very important to choose a name for your wedding planning business that conveys the message that you are a professional wedding planner who can help brides have the wedding they want.

Question

I’ve selected a few names for my business, can you tell me what you think of them?

Answer

New wedding planners often ask me to help them choose a business name. So today, I’m offering 7 tips to follow when selecting a name for your new wedding planning business:

1) Your name must appeal to the brides in your niche

If you intend to work with brides who have the budget to have classic, high-end weddings, the name you select must invoke the idea of luxurious weddings. Words that refer to your business as being trendy, inexpensive or “off-beat” will attract a different type of bride.

2) Your name shouldn’t need a long explanation

You want people to ask you about your services not why you chose a particular business name. I’ve spoken to planners who wanted to use their birth date, or other significant date, for the name of their company and others who wanted to name their business after family members. Neither of these types of names will have great deal of significance to brides and will demand that you take the time to give an explanation.

3) Choose easy words

Keep your name simple, easy to remember, easy to say and easy to spell. If your name includes words that are difficult to spell, chances are good that brides will have a difficult time finding you online.

4) Use real words and their real spellings

For example, you don’t want to abbreviate “event” and use “evnt.” When a bride searches for you on the Internet, she will use the spelling “event” and may have trouble finding you.

5) Remember that you cannot use symbols in a URL

If you use an “&” in your name, you will have to spell out “and” in your web address. This might make your name very long and difficult to type in on a mobile device.

6) Make sure the name is available as a URL with the domain commonly used in your country

For example, in the United States, you want a URL that ends with .com because it’s the domain most commonly used by the businesses in this country. Determine what it is in your country and use it.

Try to stay away from the domains that aren’t commonly used in the wedding industry such as .biz, .net, .org, .info and others. If you don’t, it will be difficult for brides to find you and they may end up on the site of a competitor who has used the common domain.

7) Be sure you can live up to your name

For example, if you select a name that means high-end, luxury weddings, be sure the services and products you are offering are high-quality and luxurious. And, the look and feel of your marketing, both online and offline, should reinforce the type of weddings the name of your business conveys to brides.

Refrain from asking everyone you know to give opinions about your business name, it can make you confused. Ask a few people who understand what you do and know a little about the brides in your niche and then make your own decision.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planners – 5 Ways to Cope With the Stress of Having a New Wedding Planning Business

 

Coping wiht the Stressof Having a New Wedding Planing Business

You started your wedding planning business to pursue your passion and leave behind the stress of working for someone else and having a 9 to 5 job. However, having your own business doesn’t mean you won’t have stress but it does mean that you are in total control of how you cope with it.

Here are 5 ways you can manage your stress:

1) Identify the source(s) of your stress

This will help you know where you need to take action. If you’re a new wedding planner you may be stressed because you’re not sure how to start your business successfully or how to attract the brides you want. You might be worried that you won’t be able to perfectly plan a wedding. (Relax, these are all things you can learn to do.)

2) Get organized

Keep your office in order and have a place for everything. If you don’t, you’ll spend countless hours stressed while looking for important items and information.

And, write to-do lists for your business and home tasks so don’t have the stress of trying to remember everything. Then, schedule all of your tasks in your calendar (and remember to add in breaks).

3) Overestimate the time it will take you to do anything

Always anticipate that things will take longer to accomplish than you believe they will. So whether you’re planning to do administrative tasks in your office or work on a wedding for a bride, build extra time into your schedule for each task. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed and stressed when things don’t go as quickly as you had hoped.

4) Learn from mistakes others have made

Talking to successful wedding professionals about the beginnings of their businesses will help you understand that you’re not the first one to experience some of the issues that are causing you stress. And, you’ll learn from them how they overcame their problems so you can do the same. (Reading this blog will help you, especially if you don’t know anyone in the industry yet who you can talk to easily.)

5) Lead a balanced life

Turn off your smart phone, tablet and computer for a few hours every day and spend time with family and friends talking about something other than your business. And, take some time to exercise, meditate, journal and/or listen to music. These things will not only help you reduce your feelings of stressstress, they’ll keep your mind and body in shape so you’ll have more energy and stamina to overcome stress in the future.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Offer Complete Wedding Packages to Small Budget Brides?”

 

Is Planning Weddings for Small Budget Brides Profitable?

Many new wedding planners start a business thinking they want to help all the small budget brides in their area. Unfortunately, it may not be the best choice if you want to have a profitable business. Read my answer below before you decide this is the niche for you.

Question

I think it would be the greatest thing if I could come up with a way to plan weddings for brides with small budgets. At first, I thought I could do a complete wedding for $2500, and that would include everything, the wedding dress, hall, transportation, etc., but it might be out of the question. I think the cheapest wedding I could do for a bride is $4500 to $5000 but I would like to keep the price about $2500 to $3500. I could put a payment plan in place to help brides.

If I can get this to work, I will be the only one offering this service in town and that is my niche.

Can you help?

Answer

My biggest concern about planning weddings for brides with small budgets is you won’t be able to be profitable and may end up struggling to stay in business.

But I understand your desire to help these brides so if you want to do it, here are the DO’s and DON’Ts to follow when considering this niche:

DO decide how much you need to charge to make a profit.

Factor in not only the amount you need for your expertise but also what you need to cover your business expenses such as your office equipment, insurance and use of your automobile while working.

DON’T think that this will be a profitable niche because you are the only one who is offering this service.

Often there are no other wedding planners offering a service because they’ve tried it and discovered that it isn’t profitable. You need to find out if there is demand for your services, wedding vendors who would be willing to work with brides who are on small budgets and brides who are willing and able to pay for a wedding planner.

DO research and know what a “small” budget would mean to your niche.

What brides in one city consider “small” might be average-to-high in other.

DON’T offer a payment plan without the advice of your attorney and accountant.

You can’t allow yourself to be liable for payments to other wedding vendors or to have to struggle and fight to get paid. You’re a wedding planner, not a debt collector.

Remember that you deserve to make a profit for your work, really take the time to find out if planning these types of weddings would give you the money you need.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planners – 3 Reasons to Target Brides Who Don’t Want Full Service Wedding Planning Packages

 

Wedding Planners Should Target Small Weddings

Who are the perfect first wedding planning clients for you? You’re probably thinking it’s high-end brides with large weddings who want to purchase your full service packages. These brides would give you the opportunity to display all of your talents, make a lot of money, collect some great photos for your portfolio and give you great referrals to their friends.

But don’t overlook the brides in your niche who only want to purchase your consultation services, “day of” coordination services or who may be having a small wedding and don’t need all of the benefits of your full service packages.

Here are 3 benefits of working with brides who don’t believe they need full service wedding planning:

1) Less competition

Most wedding planners try to attract brides who are planning large weddings and need full service while ignoring those who have smaller needs. They don’t believe these brides are worth their time so if you target them, you might find yourself very busy.

2) More opportunities to get experience

You’ll be spending less time with each wedding than you would on a full service package so you can work with more brides and take on a greater variety of work. These experiences will help you increase your skills and knowledge so you’ll have more to offer your future brides.

You’ll also get the chance to work with more wedding vendors who can be great sources of referrals for you.

3) You still may sell full service packages

It frequently happens that a bride purchases a consultation or “day of” wedding coordination, realizes how much she needs a wedding planner and ends up purchasing a full service package.

Offering consultations, “day of” wedding coordination and wedding planning for small weddings doesn’t mean you target low budget brides or charge low rates. You target brides who have the budget to pay you but don’t feel a need for full service wedding planning. That is, until they work with you and realize they can’t have a fabulous wedding without your help!

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Stop Attracting Brides Who Want a Cheap Wedding Planner?”

 

Stop Attract rides Who Want a Cheap Wedding Planner

When you decided to become a wedding planner you might not have realized the amount of time you would need to spend attracting brides who will value your services and are willing to pay you what you are worth.

In my Q&A day I offer tips to help you learn what you need to do to get the right brides to hire you.

Question

I’m not finding the type of brides I want. All I ever get are brides who tell me I charge too much and want me to lower my rates. Why is this happening? What should I do?

Answer

It sounds like your marketing is attracting the wrong brides.

Ask yourself these 5 questions, your answers may uncover what you need to do to attract the brides you really want:

1) Who are my ideal brides?

Determine exactly who you want as clients. You want to know, for example, their approximate age, income, social status, and job. Then focus on them when you create your website, post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, pin to your Pinterest boards and select your advertising opportunities. Position yourself as the expert who understands how solve their specific wedding planning problems and they will be attracted to you.

2) Where am I looking for brides?

Examine your advertising and marketing. Are you placing ads on wedding websites and in magazines that cater to brides who are price shopping? Are you networking with other wedding vendors who deeply discount their services to get work? Doing these things will only lead you to brides you don’t want.

3) Do I emphasize the fact that I’m a new wedding planner when I talk about my business?

This makes many brides believe you would work for low pay. Emphasize your skills and expertise instead of your years as a professional planner.

4) Do I frequently offer discounts?

If so, realize that you are setting yourself up to only get brides who want a wedding planner who will work for low pay, and the lower the better. Also, once they know you are willing to discount your services, they will ask you for discounts on everything.

Don’t depend on low rates to attract brides. Sell then on the value of your skills and experience and the benefits of your services.

5) Have I been willing to accept any bride who will hire me at any price she wants?

Once you do this a few times, you’ll get used to working with brides who aren’t right for you and you’ll continue accepting them. You’ll start to believe that you aren’t really worthy of high-quality clients and the money that you want to charge and you won’t be able to make a living. So, as difficult as it might be, turn down brides who don’t respect you and don’t want to pay you what you are worth.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planners – 10 Rules for Starting a Successful Wedding Planning Business

 

10 Rules for Wedding Planner Success

If you’re just starting you wedding planning business, here are 10 rules to follow that will help you to be successful:

1) Have a solid background of experience and education

If you’ve just begun considering starting your business, get experience by planning weddings for free or working for other planners or wedding vendors.

If you have some experience, increase your knowledge by doing self-study or taking classes in wedding planning or related areas such as floral design, catering, interior design, art and fashion.

You want to bring your best to every bride so the more experience and knowedge you have, the better.

2) Have a niche

Don’t try to be the right wedding planner for all brides. Focus on a specific target market and offer the wedding planning services and packages that will appeal to them.

3) Write a plan

Take the time to write down your goals; how much you want to make, who you want as clients and the services you want to offer, then create an action plan for meeting your goals.

4) Set a budget and stick to it

Keep track of you income and expenses and always know where you stand so you don’t spend more than you make.

5) Charge what you are worth

Many wedding planners spend years undercharging and wonder why they can’t seem to get ahead. Know what it takes to deliver your services to brides and charge accordingly.

6) Spend a lot of time marketing

Having a successful wedding planning business means you must do more than plan weddings. You must constantly be marketing you services, both online and in person, to the brides in your niche in order to get a steady stream to clients.

7) Develop strong relationships with wedding vendors

You need to be able to work well with your fellow wedding vendors in order to help your brides have the weddings they want.

Also, the wedding and event community is relatively small, your fellow vendors can either help you with referrals or discourage others from using you if you don’t act professionally.

8) Hire help when you need it

Don’t try to do everything yourself, especially when planning extremely detailed weddings and events. Hire assistants to help you carry out some of your administrative tasks in the office and lend you a hand onsite.

9) Respect everyone

Treat everyone, whether they’re a bride, fellow wedding vendor or a member of your team, with respect. This means always being on time for appointments, meeting the commitments you make, showing gratitude by writing “thank you” notes when appropriate and never gossiping about anyone.

10) Don’t expect overnight fame and fortune

Being a wedding planner isn’t a quick way to riches so be prepared to invest the time and effort it takes to achieve the success you want.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “A Bride Keeps Asking Questions But Hasn’t Hired Me, What Do I Do?”

 

Wedding Planners - Giving Free Advice via Facebook Chat

Even if you love planning weddings so much you’d do it for free, you can’t if you are trying to make a living as a wedding planner. Here’s how to handle a bride who asks questions via Facebook chat.

Question

I met a bride through a friend. We have spoken on the phone since meeting and she has connected with me on Facebook. She sees when I am on the site and uses the chat to ask me specific questions about how to plan her wedding. She says she is impressed with my expertise and probably already owes me for the help I’ve given to her, but she has not yet hired me.

I don’t want to keep answering her questions like this but I also don’t want to lose her as a client.

What should I do?

Answer

If you stop answering her questions, you won’t be losing her as a client because she isn’t your client, she hasn’t hired you.

It sounds like this bride is taking advantage of you. She is getting you to give her a lot of wedding planning advice for free by flattering you and leading you to believe that she will hire you, but chances are good that she won’t. If you have spoken to her on the phone and chatted on Facebook, you have probably given her a lot of the information she needs to plan her own wedding or have a friend help her do it.

You need to realize how valuable your time and knowledge really are to brides. It’s fine to give a free 20 minute consultation or answer a few questions on a chat or email. But beyond that, you should be charging for a consultation.

I suggest you thank the bride for her interest in you. Then tell her that you have many more wedding planning ideas for her, and would be happy to meet with her in person or over the phone for a consultation. Explain the benefits of your consultations and your fees and end by asking her when she would be available for an appointment.

If she is serious about hiring you, she will do it. If she was only trying to get free information, she may tell you she’ll get back to you and you may not hear from her again. Don’t be upset by this! Remember you did not lose her as a client because she never was one in the first place. Move on and help the brides who value you and are willing to pay you.

And, of course, turn off your Facebook chat!

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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