Wedding Planner Q&A – “I Have a Wedding Planner Certificate But No Experience, Can I Start a Wedding Planning Business?”

 

How far a wedding planner can succeedd with just a certificate

Having a wedding planner certificate or event planner degree can be an asset but it takes more than that to be successful as you will find out in my Q&A today.

Question

I am unemployed and really want to become a wedding planner. I have a wedding planner certificate but haven’t planned any weddings. I also don’t have any money. Can I start a wedding planning business now or do I need to find money and get some experience?

Answer

Congratulations on getting your wedding planner certificate!

It doesn’t take a lot of money to start a wedding planning business. You may already have a few of the items you need to set up a home office. You can certainly start with some free online marketing with a Facebook Page and business Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts. You can even set up a free blog and start attracting brides with wedding planning tips. But you will need to invest some money to set yourself up as a business and start running it properly.

The biggest problem you may face is your lack of experience. Without experience, it could be difficult to start making money right away. Even with your wedding planner certificate, brides will want to see photos from weddings and other events you have done. And, they may want to speak to past clients before they hire you.

Also, it’s important that when you start a business, you aren’t practicing on brides. You want to have the experience of having planned weddings before you charge for your services.

Since you are currently unemployed, I feel the most important thing you should do now is find a way to start making money as soon as possible. For you that may mean working for someone else until you have the finances and experience to go out on your own as a wedding planner.

Since you obtained a certificate, contact the school and find out if they have any job placement programs for graduates. Ask if there are alumni with event businesses who are interested in hiring assistants. Also, reach out to wedding and event professionals in your local area and find out if they have any opportunities for you.

Talk to your family and friends and start offering to do wedding planning for free to get experience. When you do this, be clear about the amount of time and services you are offering the brides so no one is disappointed.

Don’t be discouraged that this might not be the best time for you to start a business. If you take the time to pick up the experience and skills you need, you have a better chance of having a successful business in the future.

Even if you don’t start your business immediately, consider starting a blog and posting wedding planning tips that you pick up as you gain experience. You can also write and comment about wedding trends. By the time you start your business, you could already have a following of faithful readers and brides who love your tips and want to hire you.

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 – 4 Tips For Getting Results When Asking For Referrals

 

Wedding Planners - How to Get Referrals

Are you finding yourself talking to everyone about your wedding planning business but still not getting referrals?

This happens to many new entrepreneurs and current issue of Success magazine has an article that addresses this topic.

Here are 4 of the tips they offered for improving success with referrals along with my comments on how to make them work for your wedding planning business:

1) Don’t appear desperate

Begging, pleading or mentioning your business is struggling won’t help you get referrals. People will wonder why you haven’t been able to attract many brides and may assume it’s because you aren’t a good wedding planner.

2) Be crystal clear about what you do

While you may also plan other types of events or have other businesses, don’t talk about them when you are trying to get referrals as a wedding planner. People will get confused and end up not referring you because they can’t remember what you do. Also, when it comes to wedding planning, people want to refer an expert who is skilled at helping brides on their important day, not a Jack or Jill-Of-All-Trades who happens to plan weddings along with doing other types of work.

3) Tell them the type of brides you want

Successful wedding planners have a niche and they tell others who it is they want as a client. For example, if you are looking for brides who have busy careers and want a full-service wedding planner, tell people so you don’t get referrals to Do-It-Yourself brides who are only looking for consultations.

4) Explain why brides should hire you

Just telling someone you’re a wedding planner isn’t enough. Let them know the unique benefits your services offers to brides and share a story of how you have helped a bride in the past.

Always send a note of thanks to the person who referred you, whether or not their bride became your client. They’ll appreciate your expression of gratitude and remember you when they meet another bride.

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 Hate My Job, Should I Quit to Become a Wedding Planner?”

 

When to Quit a Jb you Hate and Become a Wedding Planner

If you’re unhappy with your job and considering quitting to start a wedding planning business, you’re not alone. It’s difficult to stay in a job that makes you unhappy when you’re already making some money as a part time wedding planner, but don’t quit until you’ve reviewed the questions in my Q&A today.

Question

I have a full time job, which I hate, and I would like to quit.

I have been planning weddings part time and I have a wedding to plan every month through the end of the year.

My family and friends think I should quit and start a wedding planning business full time but I’m not sure I’m ready now, I’m scared of losing my salary.

What do you think?

Answer

Your family and friends want you to be happy but only you know if you are ready to take the risk. You need to feel comfortable financially and be confident that you’ll succeed.

Here are 7 questions to answer as you think of moving from part time to full time wedding planner:

1) Are you ready to make a major life change?

Your daily life will change completely. You’ll enjoy spending more time working with brides and planning weddings but having your own business means doing more than planning weddings. You’ll need to be able to handle a variety of tasks including creating your daily schedule, managing your business finances, marketing your business, and even troubleshooting problems with your technology.

And, your family needs to be prepared to support you financially and emotionally throughout your transition from employee to entrepreneur.

2) Do you have the money you’ll need to start and run your business?

The costs of starting a wedding planning business are low but you’ll still need to make some purchases. For example, you’ll need to get a business license, buy equipment for your office and invest money in marketing and advertising.

3) Do you have money available to support you as you are becoming successful?

You should have money set aside so you do not feel desperate if you don’t attract a lot of brides right away. Desperation scares off brides! You’ll need to have savings available or the financial support of your family.

4) Are you focused, self-motivated, and prepared to work harder than you might be doing in your current full time job?

As I mentioned above, not only will you be planning weddings, you will be taking on many different tasks as you run your business. This means you have to be willing to work longer hours and be more committed to your work than you might be in your current full time job.

5) Are you bold and willing to do what it takes to get and keep clients?

Planning one wedding a month, unless they are very high-end, luxury weddings, probably won’t support you financially. You’ll need to continuously attract new brides in order to have a successful business. To do this you have to be willing to get out, meet people, and talk to them about the benefits of your wedding planning services. You’ll also have to be active online.

And, since you are putting yourself out in public, you’ll need to be able to handle yourself professionally when people disagree or are critical of you face-to-face and online.

6) Are you prepared to be an employer?

You’ll want to be able to plan multiple weddings at one time so you’ll need to hire assistants. This means you’ll need the confidence to interview, hire and manage people so they maintain your standards of high quality customer service.

7) Do you know if there is a big interest in the services you’ll offer?

This is very important, you must offer services that you know brides will want to buy from you. It’s perfect that you’re already planning weddings part time, you can easily ask what attracted your brides to you and what additional services they would have been willing to get from you, then offer those services too. (Don’t forget to get testimonials and photos from their weddings so you can add them to your portfolio and website.)

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be ready to quit. If not, figure out what it would take for you to be in a place in which you could answer “yes” to everything, set a date by which you will make it happen and take action.

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 – Wedding Wednesday Tip – Simplify Your Website

 

How  Wedding Planners Can Attract Bridess With Their Websites

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

Here’s an easy-to-follow tip that will help you make your website more attractive to brides.

~~~

One of the first things a new wedding planner usually asks me to do when I mentor them is help them with their website. What I often see are sites that are hard to navigate, difficult to read and confusing. All reasons that would lead a bride to leave a site before she gets to know the wedding planner.

Here are 3 things to do to make sure brides take the time to read your website:

1) Remove gimmicks and unnecessary extras

Scrolling navigation tabs, photos that fade in and out, music and site visitor counters are all distracting and unnecessary. A bride is very likely looking at your site from a smartphone, tablet or her computer at work so make sure it has a clean, professional look that she can easily and quickly navigate.

2) Use easy-to-read fonts

I understand the desire to use beautiful fonts and stylish colors, similar to those you might find on an elegant wedding invitation, unfortunately, these are very difficult to read online.

Stick to basic Internet-friendly fonts, like Verdana, Tahoma, Georgia, Arial or Helvetica, in dark colors with a light background. (Light colored fonts on a dark background are difficult to read.)

3) Focus on your wedding planning services

Skip the descriptions and photographs of every single type of party and event that you know how to plan. And don’t talk about other businesses you might do, like sell makeup or jewelry, on this site.

A bride is looking for an expert in weddings. Show her you are that expert by featuring only professional, high-quality photographs of weddings you have planned and by talking about the benefits of your wedding planning services.

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 – Pros and Cons of Posting Your Prices on Your Website

 

Wedding Planner Marketing with Websites

As a new wedding planner, you might be wondering if you should post your prices on your website. Brides do a lot of research online before hiring any wedding vendors and they like to see how much people charge. However, if you’re not quite sure it’s something you want to do, here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pros

1) You can clearly establish your position

By revealing your price brides can easily see whether you’re a wedding planner for small budget brides or brides who can afford a higher-priced wedding and wedding planner.

2) You can show brides you have nothing to hide

Brides will appreciate the fact that you make it easy for them to know what you charge. They’ll feel they can trust you since you were upfront with them (and brides hire people they can trust).

3) Brides will self-qualify

If a bride sees that you charge more than she can afford, she won’t contact you. This saves you the time and energy involved in talking with brides who don’t have the budget to hire you.

Cons

1) Brides you might be able to work with may not contact you.

Some brides may look at the prices on your website and instantly decide not to contact you if your prices aren’t within their budget. You won’t get an opportunity to connect with them personally and explain the value of your services.

2) Brides might not realize you offer customized services

When prices are posted, they might think your services and prices aren’t customizable. (If you still want to show your  rates, post a price range or state that prices “start at …” and ask them to contact you for information on custom services and packages and pricing.)

3) Competitors can see your prices

Competitors who really want to know how much you charge will always be able to find out your rates but this will make it easy for them to know what you charge and price themselves accordingly.

If you’re still not sure whether or not posting prices is a good idea, remember that posting on a website is not permanent. You can give it a try for a month or two and continue it only if it helps you attract the type of brides 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 – “Should I Pay to Be the Wedding Planner in a Bridal Shop?”

 

How Wedding Planners Can Choose Advertising Opportunities

When you’re a wedding planner, there are a lot advertising and marketing opportunities that you can buy to help you boost visibility for your business, I offer tips on how to decide on what to buy in my Q & A today.

Question

I have the opportunity to be the wedding planner at a bridal shop where I will pay them about $300 a month to be the only planner in their shop.

This is a big name bridal company and they have told me that almost 200 brides visit them every month. I think I can get a lot of exposure during the year that I’ll be a part of their staff.

What do you think?

Answer

Since you have to pay to participate, I would consider this an advertising opportunity.

I suggest you examine it carefully and answer these 5 questions before deciding whether it is worth your money and your time to participate:

1) Do you have the marketing and advertising dollars in your budget to spend this amount of money on this one opportunity?

Hopefully you have a marketing plan that includes participation in a variety of marketing and advertising methods such as setting up and maintaining your web site, attending networking events, purchasing ads on wedding websites, and participating in bridal shows. Be sure you can still afford some of these other methods after investing in this one program.

2) Are these brides in your niche?

Ask the shop to describe the type of brides who purchase from them and compare their description to your ideal bride. You want to know such things as their approximate age, the type of career they have, who usually pays for their weddings, the size of their weddings, and the average cost of their weddings.

Don’t let them just tell you how much brides are willing to spend on their product or service. Many times a bride won’t think twice about splurging on a dress or flowers but cuts her budget on everything else, including her budget for a wedding planner.

3) Will you, or a member of you team, get to meet all the brides who come through?

It’s personal contact and continued relationship that helps you win a bride. You and your team want to be there to greet the brides who come in and get them to set up an appointment to meet you later for a consultation.
    
4) How can you get contact information from the brides who visit?

You need to be able to get contact information so you can continue to market to brides after meeting them. Most won’t hire you on-the-spot. You need to have a system of following up with emails and/or postcards so you continue to stay at the top of their minds and they think of you when they decide to hire a wedding planner.

5) What happens if you sign a contract with the shop then realize that this is not the right opportunity for you?

Read your contract carefully. Find out what the penalties are if you decide this isn’t working for you and you don’t want to continue your investment of money and time. They may charge you a large amount just to get out of your contract so know what you are doing before you sign.

People who sell opportunities such as this usually target new wedding planners offering the promise of exposure to a lot of brides. However, you don’t just want exposure to a lot of brides, you want exposure to potential clients in your target market who are looking for a wedding planner, and would be interested in hiring you. Be sure the opportunities you invest in offer this to you.

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 – Wedding Wednesday Tip – Protect Your Business and Your Personal Assets

 

Wedding Planners need to protect their business and personal and business assets

As a new wedding planner, you need to buy insurance to protect your business. Too many wedding planners get into trouble because they either don’t think they need insurance, or they forget to buy it.

General liability insurance protects you when someone claims personal injury and property damages. For instance, if a guest trips and falls while you are managing an event onsite, they might sue you for medical expenses and your insurance can protect you.

Professional liability insurance, which you might hear people refer to as “e and o” or “errors and omissions” insurance, covers contract disputes. This insurance can protect you if, for example, a bride sues you because you forgot to order a service she wanted for her wedding.

Talk to an insurance agent or broker about the types of liability insurance you need for your business. If you’re a member of a wedding and event planner association, see if there are vendor members who are insurance representatives. They’re familiar with the services planners offer and can help you.

And learn more about starting and running your wedding planning business in my Free Special Report “7 Steps to Becoming a Top Wedding Planner.” You can get it here.



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Wedding Planners – 3 Beliefs That Are Stopping You From Becoming a Top Wedding Planner

 

Some Beliefs Might Stop Wedding Planners From Being Successful

As a new wedding planner, you might have beliefs that are stopping you from doing what is needed to be successful.

Here are 3 incorrect beliefs about running a wedding planning business along with the truths about each of them and the actions you can take to become a top wedding planner.

Belief #1 – If you are good at planning weddings, you won’t have trouble getting clients

The Truth - You can be the best wedding planner in the world, but if you don’t market you services correctly to a lucrative target market and don’t make a good impression on the brides you meet, you won’t get all of the clients you want.

So before you begin marketing your services, research and chose a niche of brides you can help who would hire a wedding planner and create the services and packages that they would buy. Then take the time to market these services to them.

When you meet with brides, be on time, be prepared and be confident.

Belief #2 – You can attract brides online just by asking them to hire you

Many new wedding planners show me their Facebook posts and Twitter tweets and I’ve found that their messages basically say, “Contact me if you need a wedding planner” over and over again.

The Truth – Unfortunately, these messages won’t get brides to “friend” or “follow” you, much less motivate them to contact you to plan their weddings.

Instead, consistently share tips and trends on planning weddings and help them see you as the expert they can trust.

Belief #3 – Charging very low fees will help you attract lots of brides

The Truth – The only brides you’ll attract with low rates are ones who won’t value what you have to offer and will try to get you to bring your rates down even lower.

Even when you are very new, you need to charge what you are worth so the brides who value your services will recognize you as a professional and want you to plan their weddings.

And you can learn more about starting and running your wedding planning business in my Free Special Report, “7 Steps to Becoming a Top Wedding Planner.” You can get it here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “I Offer a Lot of Services, Why Don’t I Have Any Brides?”

 

Wedding Planners - Offering More Services Doesn't Mean Getting More Brides

It’s natural to think that the more services you offer to brides, the more brides you’ll have as clients. However, this isn’t always the case, as the wedding planner who asked the question for today’s post has discovered.

Question

I have a wedding planning business and I’m close to finishing my online wedding planner course. I’ve joined with a travel agency to offer honeymoons and I’m thinking of buying a flower shop so I can offer wedding flowers. I’m doing it all but I’m not getting anywhere. I don’t have any clients. What am I doing wrong? Do I need to change my business name?

Answer

If you’re just finishing your wedding planner course and you’re not sure that you have the correct business name, then you must be new to the business. And, it sounds like you’re trying to expand your business at the same time as you’re starting it up. This is a lot to take on all at once, and not what I would recommend.

I’m not surprised that you want to be involved in many different areas. Creative people, and wedding planners are very creative people, usually have many interests and many ideas on what they want to do to share their talents.

The way to make it work is to first focus on one type of service and become known as an expert in this area to a specific niche of brides. As you attract more clients, you’ll learn more about your brides and what they want. Then you can add the services that you know they’ll buy from you and not just services you think they’ll need. This will help you have a business that is successful for a long period of time.

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 Reasons Why a Bride is Hesitant to Hire You

 

3 Reasons Why a Bride Hesitates Before Choosing Her Wedding Planner

You’ meet with a bride and present your wedding planning proposal. But when you contact her to follow up, she says isn’t ready to make a decision. Don’t get discouraged, say you’ll call back then quickly hang up, find out the reasons she is hesitant to hire you then address her issues.

Here are 3 common reasons why a bride hesitates and what you can do to win her business:

1) She can’t make the decision alone

If the bride is not the only one paying for her wedding, she may not be able to hire you without getting agreement from the other person. Find out if she needs to talk with her fiancé, parents or someone else before hiring you and offer to have a joint discussion with them

2) She’s considering another wedding planner

Ask questions and make sure you’re clear about what the bride wants, then differentiate yourself from the competition and explain the benefits of your unique services. You need her to recognize the value that your skills and experience will bring to her wedding.

3) She doesn’t feel confident about you

A bride really needs to feel she can trust you to help her plan a fabulous wedding before she’ll hire you. Take the time to listen and understand what she wants then offer her the services that meet her specific needs. Give her evidence that you are the wedding planner that you say you are by showing her photos and testimonials from former brides. And, always act in a professional manner by being on time, being honest and speaking respectfully to and about everyone.

You may be wondering, “What about price?” If you’ve taken the time to pre-qualify a bride before presenting your proposal, you’ve eliminated someone who was just looking for a low-cost wedding planner with discounts so price won’t be the reason for a bride’s hesitation.

Learn more about starting and running your wedding planning business in my Free Special Report “7 Steps to Becoming a Top Wedding Planner.” You can get it here.



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