Wedding Planners – 3 Money Management Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

 

 Money Management Mistakes Wedding Planners Make

You started your wedding planning business to plan fabulous weddings but that’s not the only thing you do when you have a business. You also need to market and sell your services and manage your business finances. Many times wedding planners aren’t prepared to handle the financial side of their business and run into trouble.

Here are 3 money management mistakes many new wedding planners make and what you need to do instead:

Mistake #1 – They don’t know how to invoice their brides

The contract you have your bride sign (yes, you need to have a contract) should spell out when she owes you a payment and how much it is. However,  your bride may not remember the terms of her contract so don’t be afraid to present her, or the person paying for the wedding, with invoices.

Be aware that not everyone pays on time and you might need to remind them when payments are overdue.

Mistake #2 – They don’t plan for slow periods in their business

You may get wedding planning opportunities all year but there still may be times when your business is slower than you would like it to be. Be prepared by stashing some money aside for these slower times so you can still pay your bills.

You might also want to investigate the possibility of getting a line of credit for your business, just don’t use it unless you need it.

Mistake #3 – They don’t protect their personal assets

In order to protect your home, savings and other things you own, chose the right ownership structure, sole proprietor, partnership, Limited Liability Company or corporation, use a contract with your clients and purchase liability insurance. You want to be protected in case something unfortunate happens. An attorney can help you with these aspects of your business.

Be smart, learn to manage the financial side of your wedding planning business as well as you manage weddings and you’ll have a successful, thriving business for many years to come.

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 Get the Confidence I Need to Attract Brides?”

 

A Confident Wedding Planner is a Successful Wedding Planner

Whether you’ve just started your wedding planning business or have had it for years, when you don’t have confidence in yourself, you’ll always have trouble getting brides. Learn how you can get it in today’s Q&A.

Question

I’ve been offering free wedding planning services for over a year. Now I’ve started a business and I’m struggling. I’ve found that I don’t have the confidence and positive mindset to get clients and I’m worried that I will disappoint any that I get.

Planning weddings is my passion, I don’t know why I have this problem. Can you help?

Answer

It’s natural to be nervous and a bit fearful when you first start your business, but you must be confident that you can do a great job planning weddings or brides will not be attracted to you.

Here are 5 tips that will help you have bride-attracting confidence:

1) Value your own skills and experience

The knowledge, skills and experience you have used to help brides plan their weddings for the past year is very valuable. Ask some of your brides to give you written or video testimonials. Seeing them will give you confidence in your abilities and sharing them will help you attract brides.

2) Learn what your brides want

Take the time to research and get to know who your ideal bride is and what she wants from a wedding planner, you can start by talking to the brides you have helped for free. Understanding your brides will help you feel more at ease and confident when you speak to them about your services.

3) Always be prepared to talk about your wedding planning business

You need to be able to easily answer questions about your services and products and be able to explain how your ideal bride can benefit from having you as her wedding planner. Knowing what to say in advance will make you feel confident. Practice with friends, if it helps you.

4) Carry yourself like a successful professional

You’re now a business owner! While you don’t have to wear business attire everywhere you go, dressing appropriately and well for every occasion will help you feel good about yourself and attract people to you.

5) Share your passion

You don’t want to talk endlessly about wedding planning, but you do want people to know that you are passionate about what you do, are willing to work hard and have the confidence and skills needed to plan fabulous weddings.

Passion and confidence together are very alluring, friends will want to refer you, vendors will want to work with you and brides will want to hire you.

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 – 3 Tips for Making the Most of Your Time

 

 Wedding Planners - 3 Tips for Making the Most of Your Time

As a wedding planner, you have a lot to accomplish in January. You need to promote your services to newly engaged brides, keep up with the 2015 weddings you’re already planning and run your business.

Here are 3 tips that will help you accomplish more in the time that you have each day:

1)  Focus on one thing at a time

You may wear many hats – wedding planner, partner or spouse, parent and more – but when you’re working on a task for your wedding business, concentrate on the business. Don’t try to wear all of your hats at the same time!

You’ll get more done in a shorter amount of time and your work will be of higher quality when you focus only on the task at hand.

2) Work when you’ll perform at your best

While you can’t always choose the time of day you’re onsite planning and managing a wedding, you can choose when to do other types of tasks. Schedule your most demanding tasks during the hours when you’re at your personal best both mentally and physically.

3) Remember that time is money

Spend most of your time on tasks that will help you generate income for your business. Write a list of all the things you need to accomplish each day, prioritize each item and start with ones that will bring you money now or sometime in the future. When you write things down, you may find things you have been doing that can be delayed, delegated or skipped all together because they don’t help you make a profit.

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 – “Do I Call Myself a Wedding Planner, Wedding Coordinator or Bridal Consultant?”

 

Wedding Planner Q&A - "Do I Call Myself a Wedding Planner, Wedding Coordinator or Bridal Consultant?"

If you’re just starting your wedding planning business and confused about what to title to use when you market yourself, today’s Q&A should help you.

Question

What is the difference between a wedding coordinator, wedding planner and bridal consultant?

The title bridal consultant works well with the business name that I’m considering but doesn’t seem to be used too often or at all.

Answer

There are some differences between how brides and others may use these titles, here’s what they are:

Wedding Coordinator or Wedding Director
People who coordinate wedding day activities but have not been involved in all of the stages of planning the event. Someone who offers “day of” wedding services, in which they meet with a bride in advance to get vendor contracts and information to coordinate the rehearsal and wedding day but don’t have a hand in the planning and design, may call themselves a “Day of” Coordinator. You may consider using this title if and when you offer these services.

Venues and places of worship often call their staff member who helps with weddings at their facility the wedding coordinator or wedding director. They ensure everything goes well at their location but seldom manage vendors or handle anything outside of their location.

Wedding Planner
You’ll probably want to use this title if you set wedding budgets, create timelines, provide vendor referrals, negotiate contracts, handle all of the details leading up to the wedding day and oversee everything on the wedding day itself.

Bridal Consultant or Wedding Consultant
This title is often used by people who work in a business that provides services for weddings among other services. For example, a florist or photographer may have a wedding consultant who works only with brides. A store that has a large wedding registry may have a wedding consultant on staff who helps couples make their selections.

Popular shows, like “Say Yes to the Dress,” that feature brides buying wedding dresses, refer to their sales staff as bridal consultants. If you use this title, be aware that some brides might confuse you with someone who works in a bridal salon.

The most important thing to do when selecting your title is to think about the brides who you wish to have as clients. What would they use when they need the services you offer? What would they put into a search in order to find you? They’re your target audience. Decide how they would look for you and use that title so they’ll easily find you. Then select a business name that further tells them that you are the professional they want.

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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New Wedding Planners – 3 Ways I Wasted Money That Your Should Avoid

 

Wedding Planners - Don't Waste Your Money

I remember when I first started my wedding planning business, I wanted to start with a bang and make sure I let everyone know how professional I was. I invested in things that in hindsight were a total waste of money because they didn’t bring me the business I thought they would.

Some of the wedding planners I speak with today are wasting their money on these same things and I want to make sure that you don’t do it too.

Here are 3 ways I wasted money that you need to avoid:

1) I ordered fancy logos and stationery before I started doing business

I had a designer create a whole business stationery set before I knew exactly who I was going to market to and what services I was going to offer. Once I determined my target market, I had to have everything redone because my original choice didn’t fit my real business.

What to do instead: You want professional looking business cards and stationery but keep costs low until you’ve established your niche.

2) I invested in advertising and marketing that wasn’t targeted to my niche

People offered me “deals” on advertising and marketing opportunities that seemed to practically guarantee visibility to a large audience. Problem was, they weren’t always an audience of people who wanted what I was selling. For example, I had advertising in a community newsletter and an online directory, both of which are meant for the general public, not my niche.

What to do instead: Please make sure you do your research before investing money in advertising and marketing. Stick to opportunities geared towards attracting brides. And, although there are many wedding websites ads and bridal shows you could invest in, be sure the ones you choose target the brides you want.

3) I bought the latest fashion accessories and technology gadgets

I would go to wedding and event planner conferences, notice other planners with designer bags and jewelry and go out and buy them too. Then I realized that having the latest trendy object may be impressive but it won’t bring clients.

What to do instead: Get what you need to be and look professional, don’t copy someone else.

In short, don’t be in a rush to buy. Do your research and always keep your budget in mind – you don’t want to waste a lot of money on credit card interest charges!

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 – “I Don’t Know Anyone Getting Married, How Do I Get Work?”

 

Tell Your Friends About Your Wedding Planning Business

If you’re ready to start your wedding planning business now, take these 9 steps that can lead you to success.

Question

I have a wedding planner certificate from an online institution. I’ve planned a few weddings for free. I’ve shadowed a few well-known planners. I don’t have any friends or family members getting married and I don’t think anyone at my church is either.

How do I get work?

Answer

Congratulations on getting your wedding planner certificate. It takes determination and commitment to complete a course, so kudos for doing that.

Now you need to use that same determination and sense of commitment to build and market your business.

Here are 9 steps you can take to attract brides and start getting the work that you want:

1) Get photos and testimonials from your past events

Brides want to know about the weddings you have planned for other brides. Reconnect with the couples you have worked with, tell them you are building your wedding planning business and ask if they are willing to share photos and testimonials that you can use to market your business.

2) Pick your target market

Do some research, decide on the brides you want to help and create your list of services based on the types of services they would buy.

If you are unsure of whom to target, think about the brides you have already helped. Were they in a similar profession? Did they marry in the same venue? Were they about the same age? Notice the similarities among them and begin by targeting brides who fit that same profile.

3) Determine what makes you unique

You want brides to select you over your competition so you need to give them a reason to choose you. What experiences have you had that would attract brides? Let them know if you have done catering, floral design, interior design, been a consultant in a bridal shop or have other talents that would make you a valuable asset.

4) Create your brand identity

Select a business name that would attract the brides in your target market. Design, or work with a designer, and create a brand “look” for your business that you can carry out in print and online.

5) Put up a website and/or blog

Create a website with your business name as your URL and give information and show photographs of you, your services and your brides.

Start a blog and frequently (at least twice a week) post wedding tips, information and photos that would appeal to your future clients.

6) Market your business via social media

Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and/or Twitter to reach new brides. Share links to interesting wedding information and post tips and photos of ones you’ve planned. Be sure you keep your posts and updates professional.

7) Make sure your community knows you plan weddings

Your family and friends may not be getting married but they may know or hear of someone who is who needs your help so let them know you’ve started your business.

Go out and meet new people at social events and business networking events. Find wedding vendors whom you can refer to your brides and who may be able to exchange referrals with you

8) Offer to do seminars on wedding planning at your church

Offer information on how brides can plan fabulous weddings then talk about the things that you do as a professional to make weddings special. You don’t need to do a hard sell, just educate people about the value of your services.

9) Ask for overflow work from other wedding planners

Since you have worked with well-known planners, go back and ask them if they would be willing to refer you when they are overbooked.

As you can tell, you need to get out and be visible in your community and online. Establish yourself as an expert in wedding planning among the people you meet and word will travel that you are the one to go to when brides are planning their weddings.

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 – 5 Tips for a Successful Business in 2015

 

Wedding Planners – 5 Tips for a Successful Business in 2015

It’s a brand new year and whether you’re just starting a wedding planning business or in need of getting your current one restarted, it’s the perfect time to get on the path to success.

Here are 5 tips to follow now so you’ll thrive throughout the year:

1) Acknowledge that your success is up to you

Realize that you are responsible for your own success. Never be the type of person who blames the economy, location, family or friends for not having the wedding planning business you want. You can rise above your circumstances and environment.

2) Get clear

Know who you are, who you want to become, what you want your wedding planning business to look like and what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve your vision.

Sacrifice might mean giving up some of your free time so you can get out and make more connections with wedding vendors and brides or cutting back on expenses so you can afford a new tablet or laptop to use for your business.

3) Have confidence in yourself and what you can do

When you’re starting or restarting a wedding planning business, it’s certain that doubts will creep in. You’ll wonder if you’re good enough, if maybe you had done or said something differently a bride may have hired you instead or someone else, if you had just advertised more or exhibited in a different bridal show you would have more brides.

STOP!

Sometimes things go wrong and sometimes you make a wrong decision, but learn from these things and move on. Be confident that you can bounce back from problems and mistakes, because you can.

4) Associate with the right people

You become like the people you associate with. You need to spend your time with supportive, confident, intelligent, positive and hard-working people so you become more like them.

5) Develop good habits

Get up early. Stay focused and organized when you work. Don’t let social media and email zap too much of your time. Take breaks so you stay refreshed.

If you start following these tips, this can be your year, the year your wedding planning business reaches the top.

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 Information Should I Have on My Website?”

 

Wedding Planner Q&A - "What Information Should I Have on My Website?"

Happy New Year wedding planners and future wedding planners!

Start the year right, like the wedding planner below, by creating or refreshing your website so it will help you attract many brides.

Question
I’m just putting up my website for my new wedding planning business. I’m not sure I’ve done it right. Can you take a look at it?

Answer
I get many emails asking me to review websites but it is difficult do it via email. It’s best when there is interaction and I can give personalized suggestions. However, these tips on some of the basics will give you a good idea on what direction your website should take.

First, keep in mind as you are designing your site that brides may be looking at it on-the-go or from their workplace on a mobile device. This means you need to forgo the unnecessary extras like photos that fade in and out that may not work on their smart phones and music that might play out loud and publicly let everyone around her know she’s planning her wedding when she wants to keep it private.

Home Page
The home page is where a bride gets her first impression of you. Your photos and text need to convey your brand; who you are, the types of weddings that you plan and your level of expertise and professionalism. Many brides don’t read more than the home page before leaving a site. You need to give them reasons to stay and read further to learn more about you.

Services Page
Give clear descriptions of the services you offer and the benefits of those services. In other words, don’t just put your services in a bullet-pointed list. Tell brides why those services would be important for them to have.

And, if you name your packages, make sure brides will understand their meaning. Many have no idea what the terms “signature weddings” and “bespoke weddings” are all about even though many wedding planners use them.

About Page
You want brides to connect with you so be sure you put a professional photograph of yourself on this page along with information about your relevant wedding and event planning background, skills and experience.

Contact Page
This is where you tell brides how to reach you. Many planners post a form for brides to complete and submit if they have questions or want a consultation. That’s fine, but you should also post a business phone number and an email address so brides can reach you right away. Be careful about putting your exact address on your website. If you don’t want potential clients and salespeople visiting you uninvited, don’t post it.

And, be sure to mention where you offer your services. It may seem obvious but some wedding planners forget to put this information on their websites and brides can’t tell where the wedding planner is located.

Testimonials
These help you build credibility with brides. You don’t have to have a separate page just for them, you can place them throughout your pages, especially where you discuss the benefits of your services. Make sure the testimonials are relevant to the services you offer and get permission before you use names of clients. Clean up any misspellings and grammatical errors before you post them.

Links
Have your designer create icons with links out to your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, so brides can follow you and get to know you better.

Brides use the Internet to find their wedding vendors and learn more about the ones they are considering hiring. When they visit your site you want to stand as an expert wedding planner whom they can trust to help them have the weddings of their dreams.

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 – 5 Things to Let Go of to Become a Top Wedding Planner in 2015

 

Let go of bad thoughts and habits so you can become a top wedding planner

Are you spending this last day of 2014 working on 2015 goals for your wedding planning business? I just read an interesting article that suggested letting go of the negative thoughts and habits that didn’t work this year to have the energy and time to bring in new things that will.

Great idea!

It’s time to let go of the things that may be holding you back so you can have the successful wedding planning business you want in 2015.

Here are 5 things you need to let go of so you have room for success:

1) Bad business practices

Figure out what you’re investing too much time and energy doing that aren’t giving you a good return, and stop doing them. For example, maybe you’re spending too much time trying to find brides through social media, attending networking events that don’t bring you the right connections or spending money on advertising that doesn’t yield results.

Or, maybe your bad business practice is that you don’t charge enough for your services. If so, stop this immediately and raise your rates in the New Year.

2) Self-criticism

You might have lost some brides to competitors, you might not have spent as much time working on your business this year as you had planned or you might have thought you’d be much more successful today than you really are. Let go of the time and energy you are spending beating yourself up and move on.

3) Trying to be perfect

I know you like perfection. You want to plan weddings perfectly for your brides. But perfection doesn’t really exist so strive for excellence instead. Even celebrity wedding and event planner Colin Cowie has said, “I don’t do ‘perfect’ weddings. I don’t do perfect anything. Perfection is a setup for a potential fall.”

4) The belief that “If only I had _____ I would be successful”

Maybe you’ve been thinking you can’t be successful until you have more money, a different education or friends in the wedding industry. Not true! While you need to invest a little money in setting your business, you don’t need to be rich. If you feel you need education in some aspects of wedding planning, you can always take classes. You can develop new friendships with people in the wedding industry by joining wedding and event planner associations or searching out wedding vendors in your area and asking them to meet you to discuss doing business together.

Believe that anything is possible.

5) Procrastination

It’s easy to get sidetracked and spend too many hours in a day texting, making social phone calls, checking social media accounts and watching television when you should be spending time growing your business. But if you want to be successful, you’ve got to be laser focused on your goals and do what it takes to bring in the brides you want and give them excellent service.

I hope you are ready to let go of all the things in your life that haven’t been working for you so you can have a fabulous 2015!

Wishing you big success in the New Year!

Sharon

PS – 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 Get a Bride to Hire Me When I’m New?”

 

Getting Hired When You're a New Wedding Planner

Most top wedding planner started their businesses with little experience and had to compete with more experience planner for brides. They got hired and thrived and so can you. In my Q&A today I offer tips on how you can do it.

Question

How do I get a bride to hire me when I don’t have much experience and she knows other planners with lots of experience? How do I stand out and win her over?

Answer

Brides definitely do value experience when it comes to hiring someone to help them plan their weddings. But this is not the only quality they look for in a planner. They also want someone who understands what they want, is an expert in the services they need, is honest and trustworthy and easy to work with.

Here are 8 tips that will help you win over brides when you are new:

1) Downplay your “newness”

While you don’t want to lie about your experience, don’t start your conversations, or your biography on your website, by saying you are brand new. And, of course, don’t fill your online and offline marketing with photos from your own wedding. Brides want to know that you have helped other brides plan their weddings. If you haven’t planned any but your own, you probably aren’t ready to start charging for your services.

2) Have a portfolio with photos and testimonials from past weddings

You can have these in an album or an iPad/tablet that you can bring to meetings with brides and also feature them on your website and blog.

3) Be highly visible online

This means you need a website or blog, Facebook page for your business, Twitter account, that you just use for your business, and a Pinterest business account. These need to be active accounts, in other words post to them a few times a week, if not daily.

4) Listen carefully when you meet with brides

When it comes to listening, you may have an advantage over more experienced wedding planners who often freely share their opinions based on their past experiences and don’t listen to a bride. Brides want to know that you understand them and what they want so listen closely to them and show support for their wedding vision.

5) Stay current on wedding trends

Brides read wedding blogs and bridal magazines, attend bridal fairs and watch wedding reality shows and you need to do the same so you can speak their language.

6) Have a network of wedding vendors you can rely on

Get to know vendors who you feel confident would be good partners whom you can trust to give your brides excellent service.

7) Know your niche and develop more skills to serve them

Study and take classes in hospitality, floral design, cake design, wedding and event design, photography and other wedding related topics to be able to offer more value to your brides.

8) Look, act and sound like a successful wedding planner

To get high-quality brides to hire you, you need to make it clear you have a wedding planning business and aren’t just planning weddings as a hobby.

Dress in business attire when you meet in person and make sure you are on time. Answer your phone in a professional manner and be sure there isn’t  lot of background noise. Don’t use texting shorthand when you email a bride. Use an email address that contains your company name and isn’t from a free email account.

Get the business license that is required to run a business in your area, carry business insurance and have an attorney create a contract that you have all of your brides sign when they hire you. Not having a contract is an indication to a bride that you are new and inexperienced.

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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