Wedding Planner Q&A – “Where Do I Find an Assistant Who Will Work for $10 an Hour?”

 

Wedding Planner Q&A - "Where Do I Find an Assistant Who Will Work for $10 an Hour?"

Even if you only recently became a wedding planner, if you are planning weddings, you need an assistant to help you

In today’s Q&A, I offer tips to a help a wedding planner looking for inexpensive help.

Question

How do I hire an assistant to help with administrative tasks? Where can I find someone who will work a couple of hours a week for about $10 per hour?

Answer

I think hiring someone to take on some of your office work is a great idea. The difficult part may be finding someone to do it for $10 an hour. Also, in some cities, the minimum wage is more than $10 an hour so that rate of pay would not be acceptable.

The first thing to do before hiring anyone is determine what tasks you want an assistant to perform and what knowledge and skills the person needs to have in order to do them. Then decide if you need your assistant to work in your office with you or if you would be willing to get a virtual assistant. Virtual help can be less expensive than hiring someone from your own neighborhood. And, even less expensive for you, if you want to consider it, might be hiring a virtual assistant who is based in another country.

There are a few things to remember though when hiring anyone. You often get what you pay for. Someone who is charging $10 an hour, if you can find them, might not be able to meet your high standards and may need a lot of supervision. If either of these things is true, you won’t be saving any time by having an assistant and the situation could be very stressful for you.

I suggest that you first review what you are charging for your services. Your rates should cover the expense of having knowledgeable, responsible assistants to help you in your office and onsite at weddings so you can deliver excellent service. If you aren’t making enough money to cover these costs, it’s time to raise your rates. Then you can hire someone who has the expertise you need and 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’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Market My Business When I’m Busy Planning Weddings?”

 

Marketing a Wedding Planning Business When You Don't Have Much Time

Being busy planning weddings all summer is a dream come true but unless you keep marketing and promoting your business you won’t have any brides to work with at the end of the season. Here are 4 tips on how to stay visible to potential clients and referral sources while you’re planning weddings.

Question

I recently started my business and I’ve been doing very well, I’m planning some weddings now and it’s been going great. However, I’m worried. What happens when these weddings are over?

I don’t have any brides lined up and with the weddings I have, I don’t have time to keep up with my marketing, I haven’t even used Facebook or Pinterest in weeks. I’m hoping I’ll get referrals from the brides I’m working with.

What else can I do?

Answer

Congratulations on doing well and for thinking ahead to when the weddings you’re planning are over.

You may get some referrals from brides and the wedding vendors you’re working with now. However, you can’t depend just on referrals from them, you still need to market your business.

Here are 4 things you can do to keep marketing when you’re busy:

1) Dedicate at least 30 minutes of each work day to promoting your business

During this time, follow up with brides you’ve met in the past with a call or an email. Do your online marketing by writing blog posts, scheduling your Facebook Page posts, Twitter tweets and Pinterest pins for the day.

2) Attend at least one wedding and/or event planner association meeting or social event every month

Stay visible to fellow wedding vendors and make sure you continue to meet new people to widen your network and get even more referrals.

3) Hire an assistant to handle administrative tasks

Have someone keep your client files up-to-date, schedule meetings, do your billing and make follow up calls to vendors who are working with you and your brides. This way you’ll have free time to meet with new brides and do some initial consultations.

4) Take advantage of this busy time and use it to create online content

Take photos and short videos of your team and you “in action,” hard at work in the office, meeting with vendors or overseeing the ceremony and reception set up. Post, or have your assistant post, these on your blog, Facebook page, Instagram and/or set up a “Behind the Scenes” Pinterest board and pin them there.

Remember, while it’s important to do your best for your current brides, it’s just as important to continue to promote your business. This will help your business remain successful for years to come.

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 – It’s Time to Make More Money

 

Wedding Planners Need to Quit Undercharging

It’s wedding season and if you recently started your wedding planning business, you might be busier than you could have imagined. And you love it! But, for all the time you are putting into your business, are you making a profit? Or, are you wondering why you don’t have very much money to show for your all your hard work, stress and time?

If the latter is true, it’s time to make more money.

Here are 3 ways you can do it:

1) Focus on attracting brides who can afford your services

It might sound like a good idea to target low budget brides and charge very low rates to help them plan their weddings but you might be sacrificing your income and well-being for others. Instead, target brides who have the money to afford your services, change what your services are worth and start making a livable income. Once you’ve established your business, you can reach out to charitable organizations who help couples in need have the weddings of their dreams.

2) Don’t sell your services based on price

Sell your services based on benefits, not price. A high-quality bride hires a wedding planner who she feels can help her solve her wedding planning problems and will be easy to work with. She believes she gets what she pays for and is ready to pay a fair price to get it. Charging low rates and offering deep discounts will make her think you don’t offer high quality services.

3) Value your time and your talent

When you value your own time and talent, others will too. You’ll not only attract high-quality brides who are willing to pay you what you are worth, you’ll also attract high-quality wedding vendors for your network so you’ll be able to create excellent weddings.

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 Have $1000 for My Wedding Planning Business, How Should I Spend It?”

 

Investing in Your Wedding Planning Business

An extra thousand dollars can be a great help in building your wedding planning business, if you spend it wisely. Here are tips for making the most of your money.

Question

If you had a thousand dollars to spend on your wedding planning business, how would you spend that money?

Answer

How you spend a large sum of money depends on where your business stands today. Every wedding planning business has different needs but here are 7 suggestions for spending the money:

1) Pay off or down any business debts

If you have any business debts, pay them first. If you don’t, you could eventually be paying more than $1000 in interest fees.

2) Purchase a real website

If your rely on social media accounts and a free website to market your business online, it’s time to invest in a website. If you need help designing and setting up a professional site, hire a web designer.

3) Invest in additional education

Determine if you could be more successful if you increased your knowledge in a specific area. This could mean spending some money going to school to learn, for example, floral design, event design or even marketing and advertising.

4) Invest in professionals

If you haven’t had an attorney write a contract for you to use with brides or hired a professional to set up your accounting system, do it now. (Or, if you need help with your business – shameless plug – get a mentor.

5) Upgrade your technology

Your computer, laptop or tablet should be something that you alone use for your business and not equipment that you share with your family. So, if you don’t have equipment specifically dedicated to your wedding planning business, look for some good deals and pick up something new.

6) Buy marketing and advertising

Do some research and invest in the marketing and advertising methods that will attract the brides you want.

7) Update your “first meeting” outfit

You want to be sure that you feel confident every time you go out and meet a bride or a vendor for the first time. If your current clothes don’t help you do that, it’s time to go shopping.

None of these may be what you consider fun, sexy ways to spend your money, but investing in them could help you propel your business to greater success.

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 Planner Q&A – “How Do I Create a Portfolio for a Wedding Planner Internship?”

 

Tips for Becoming a Wedding Planner Intern

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get professional experience planning weddings, you might consider getting work as an intern like the wedding planner-to-be in my Q&A today.

Question

I want to get an internship with an experienced wedding planner. I haven’t planned many weddings before, so how do I put together a portfolio to show on my interviews?

Answer

Don’t feel like you need to have a lot of experience planning weddings or a big portfolio in order to get an internship. Wedding planners are well aware that you want to be an intern because you want to get experience planning weddings, in fact many prefer that you not have any bad habits that you may have picked up from your own experience.

If you have planned some weddings and other types of events for friends and family members, put together a portfolio of photos that highlight your best work and make sure you’re able to explain what you did to make the events special.

However, before you even meet with wedding planners to show them your portfolio, you may need to send in a resume and it’s important that you use it highlight these 8 important skills, experience and professional qualities:

1) Great verbal and written communication skills

You may have to place calls to vendors and clients on behalf of the wedding planner so you’ll need to able to speak in a professional, business-like manner.

Written communication skills are equally important. Wedding planners often want their interns to help them post to their social media accounts and write their blog posts.

2) Computer skills

A wedding planner might ask you to write letters, create budget spreadsheets and maybe even create some simple table signs and escort cards so knowledge of Microsoft Office tools and some design software is important.

3) Customer service experience

Experience in this area will mean you understand how to be sympathetic with stressed and emotional brides and are able to work with them in a calm manner.

4) Sales experience

While not required by every wedding planner, most appreciate an intern who understands the need to grow the business and is able to encourage brides to purchase additional services when they see a need.

5) Very detail oriented

You must be someone who won’t miss any of the small details of planning a wedding.

6) Very organized

You will be asked to help organize of all of the details of a wedding.

7) Willing to work hard

You should be willing to take on any job, no matter how large or small, and be ready to work flexible hours. Also, be prepared to take initiative, recognize what needs to be done and do it without needing to be told what to do.

8) Passion

Wedding planners want interns who are excited about planning weddings so make sure you express that in your cover letter.

Even though you probably won’t be paid for your internship, be sure you’re clear that you’ll be getting the type of experience you want before you accept a position. While you may spend time doing small tasks such as counting dirty champagne glasses and boxing them to return to party rental, you’ll also want to get some experience working closely with brides and wedding vendors, running rehearsals and managing guests, vendors and decor setup on a wedding day.

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 Planner Q&A – “How Do I Become a Wedding Proposal Planner?”

 

Becoming a Wedding Proposal Planner

Many wedding proposals today are creative, unique and well-planned events – just like weddings. It’s only natural that you, as a wedding planner, would have an interest in helping with proposals. But can it be a lucrative service for you to offer? Here’s how to find out.

Question

Lately I have been toying with the idea of adding the service of marriage proposal planner to my portfolio. I don’t have a clue about how to start this. I did some research and even contacted an experienced proposal planner but she wasn’t very helpful.

Any advice on how to this?

This service is something nobody here offers and I need to stay above the competition.

Answer

Wedding planners are starting to offer proposal planning and a few planners, especially those in major metropolitan areas, have found it to be a very lucrative niche. Of course, they may be hesitant to share all their knowledge with you for fear you’ll become their competition.

Here are 5 questions you should answer before you decide to add proposal planning services:

1) Is there truly a market for these services in your area?

Don’t do it just because no one else is offering proposal planning, it could be that someone has tried it and couldn’t find clients so they stopped.

Find out if there are many grooms in your area who would have been willing to invest in a proposal planner. Since you’re already a wedding planner, it should be easy to ask the ones who you are working with now.

2) Who would your target market be?

Please don’t tell me, “anyone who is planning to propose.” Just as you need a niche to be a successful wedding planner, you need a niche to be a successful proposal planner. Create a profile of your ideal client so you can market to him, or her, easily.

3) What types of services would you offer?

Services you could offer include creating ideas, planning and coordinating an idea someone already has, planning a destination proposal, finding vendors and/or doing it all. Do some research and find out the types of services people want that you have the expertise and experience to deliver. And do some calculations, make sure the services you’re considering would be profitable.

4) How would you market your services?

You’ll be marketing your services to a different audience so you may not be able to use some of the marketing channels that you use today to reach brides. Find out how you can best reach your target market.

5) How are you going to fit this into your current business?

You may need to invest in additional marketing. You may need to hire additional staff members who have the skills needed for proposal planning. You may need to meet new and different types of vendors who can execute proposal ideas.

Adding a new service and making it successful can take time, energy and money so be sure you can still devote time and attention to your main wedding planning business while you’re adding proposal planning services.

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 Planner Q&A – “How Do I Attract More Brides So I Can Become Famous?”

 

Attracting More Brides to Become a Famous, Celebrity Wedding Planner

If you’re currently struggling with attracting brides to one or more of your wedding businesses and your goal is to become famous, these 3 tips could help you.

Question

I’ve been in business for over a year. I rent out wedding dresses and I design and bake wedding cakes. I market my businesses on Twitter, I tweet about my businesses and the services I offer. I’m also on Facebook and Pinterest.

I hope to become a well-known, internationally recognized, celebrity wedding and event planner and run a TV and radio show about weddings and events.

How can I attract more brides and run my business better ?

Answer

You’re making two mistakes that many new wedding planners make. You’re trying to get into many different aspects of the wedding business at the same time and you don’t realize the amount of time and effort you need to spend marketing your business in order to be successful and become a celebrity.

Here are 3 tips for you that can help you get your business on the road to success and the fame you want:

1) Focus on one wedding product or service first

Your business lacks focus. I went to your website, it looks like you sell wedding dresses and other wedding products and do some catering. Your Facebook page looks like you bake cakes. However, you say you want to be a renowned wedding and event planner.

Presenting yourself in all of these different ways is very confusing and confused brides won’t buy from you. They want wedding vendors who are experts in their fields, not people who are jacks or jills-of-all-trades.

Take a good look at your skills and experience and decide what you do best that helps brides. Specialize in doing that until you get your business up and running profitably, then you can start to incorporate other services.

2) Spend more time and effort professionally marketing your business

You didn’t mention what you are doing offline so I’ll only address your online presence.

I checked your Facebook page and you haven’t posted to it in nine months. You must post at least once a day, if not more often, to get brides to notice you. If you don’t have time to post, it’s almost better not to have a page. When your last post is nine months old, brides may assume that you’re no longer in business.

You have mostly personal tweets on your Twitter page. You need your business Twitter account to be dedicated to information for brides. Tweet wedding tips, information and links to articles that will interest the brides in your niche, get to them follow you and make them want to contact you about planning their wedding.

Your Pinterest account has only 26 pins. Most brides love Pinterest so get busy pinning and repinning wedding ideas and inspiration to attract their attention.

The bottom line, if you want to be successful and famous, you’ll have to commit yourself to spending more time and effort marketing your business online. And don’t forget that it’s equally important, if not more so, to get out and network within your community.

3) Decide on short term goals

It’s fine to want to be a famous wedding and event planner but you also want to set easy-to-attain short terms goals that will lead you to your big goal.

Once you’ve decided the service you’re going to offer brides, have a goal of becoming the best in that field. Being the best and really taking the time to market your services will help you gain fame in your community that can eventually spread and get you the international fame you desire.

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 – Stop Being Afraid to Market Your Services!

 

 Market Your Wedding Planning Business Without Fear

If your wedding planning business is the first business you’ve ever started, you may have been surprised to discover how much you need to market your business to attract brides.

And, if you’re like most new planners, the thought of having to constantly promote yourself strikes fear in your heart and and may be making you hesitant to do any marketing at all.

Here are 3 types of marketing fears you might be having and how to overcome them:

1) Fear of embarrassment

If you’re basically shy and not used to talking to people you’ve never met before, you might feel embarrassed by the thought of having to tell brides how great you are.

Make it easier to do this by having a portfolio filled with photographs of examples of your work and testimonials from former brides that you can present when meeting new brides. Your portfolio will make it easier to talk about how great your work is.

Also, practice by talking to your family and friends about your business, it’s possible that your discussions with them will even bring you some referrals.

2) Fear that you don’t have the perfect marketing message

Perfectionism will stop you from being successful. Every wedding planner has a  period of trial and error before they know their niche well enough to present a message that will bring them the brides they want.

Start somewhere, do research on your niche of brides, find a message they may respond to and give it a try. If you try it for a while and it doesn’t work, try something else. The important thing is to get yourself out in front of brides.

3) Fear that effective marketing will cost you a lot of money

You’ll have to invest some money in marketing but social media accounts that you use, like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, are free unless you want to invest in advertising. Websites and blogs are inexpensive and you can advertise on wedding websites for a relatively low cost.

Attending wedding planner association events and business networking events may cost a little money but if you choose the right ones, they can bring you vendors and business partners who can help you get 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 Make the Right Connections When Attending Networking Events?”

 

Networking Effectively for Wedding Planners

To have a successful wedding planning business, you need to get out and meet wedding vendors and other business people who can become business and referral partners. Here are 5 tips that will help you be successful.

Question

I’ve started my wedding planning business and I need to find more wedding vendors to work with and other business people who can give me referrals. I’m not really comfortable meeting new people. I’ve gone to business events and have ended up meeting people who just wanted to sell me their products or never talking to anyone and leaving early.

Where are the people who have an interest in what I do? How can I get people to talk to me?

Answer

It’s not unusual to feel uncomfortable in a networking situation. Many of the people with you at these events feel the same way but are out there doing it anyway. It gets easier with time so I recommend you continue to get out and meet people because it will help your business.

Here are 5 tips on how you can get more out of your networking and be comfortable while you’re doing it:

1) Find “friendly” places to network

Wedding and event planner association meetings and conventions will put you in touch with people in the industry who really want to connect with wedding planners. Local events for small businesses will introduce you to many other entrepreneurs who are looking to make connections for support and business relationships, whether or not you’re in the same industry.

2) Do some preparations in advance

Before an event, decide what you want to say about yourself and your business when you meet others. Don’t just say, “I’m a wedding planner.” Give them an interesting description or story about how you help brides plan their weddings.

Also, think of some topics of conversation you might be able to make small talk with at the event. For example, at wedding and event industry events you might want to discuss future trends. Always avoid controversial, political or religious topics.

3) Reach out to someone who is alone

Don’t wait for introductions, if you’re by yourself, greet someone who is also alone with a smile, good eye contact and a firm handshake. Ask them what they do, listen carefully and show interest, these things will actually make you more memorable to them.

4) Join in group discussions

If a group seems to be having a discussion that interests you, catch the eye of someone in the group and move closer to them. Listen carefully and when there’s a pause, join in the conversation. Keep your comments positive and supportive.

5) Collect contact information and follow up after events

Most attendees want to meet as many people as they can at an event. So, if you meet someone you would like to do business with, instead of having a long conversation, ask for a business card and follow up with a suggestion that you meet for coffee.

Networking events are for meeting and connecting with people so don’t go around a room just talking about yourself and selling your services. Start building good relationships that will surround you with people who can offer the support you need to have a good, strong business and ultimately bring you the referrals you 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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Wedding Planner Q&A – “Why Don’t Wedding Vendors Refer Part Time Wedding Planners?”

 

Wedding Planner Q&A - "Why Don't Wedding Vendors Refer Part Time Wedding Planners?"

Experienced wedding planners will tell you their best brides have often come from referrals from other wedding vendors. However, many part time wedding planners aren’t always as fortunate to get these referrals as those to have a full time business. Here’s why and what you can do about it.

Question

I plan weddings part time and I’ve received compliments from vendors I’ve worked with but none of them have offered me referrals. How do I get them to help me?

Answer

By giving a referral, a vendor is putting his or her business reputation on the line so they don’t offer them easily (nor should you).

Here are 4 reasons why your vendors may not be giving you the referrals you want and what you can do about it:

1) They don’t trust new or part time wedding planners

Many vendors have been in the business for years and have seen wedding planners come and go. They may have offered assistance, referrals or discounted rates only to have the planners act unprofessionally and not offer high quality service so they’re leery of putting their trust in you.

Spend some time getting to know them and let them see you’re committed to your couples. Show them your portfolio and testimonials from past clients so they know you have a history of doing excellent work.

2) They just don’t offer referrals

Unbelievably, there are vendors who are solely focused on growing their own business and don’t share clients. In fact, they may expect you to be the one who brings brides to them.

You can tell who they are and it would be difficult to change them, decide if this is right for you or if you want to find other vendors.

3) They aren’t looking for more wedding planners

Some vendors are part of networks of other wedding planners and want to focus their attention on exchanging referrals with them. They may not want to jeopardize the relationships they have and the business they are getting from their current wedding planners by referring their competitor.

4) They don’t recognize your value

You need to show them that you have unique skills and expertise to offer their brides and even though you work part time you are a professional and an expert at what you do.

It may take a bit of time but you can find vendors who will work with you to create excellent weddings and give you the referrals you want. Don’t forget to reciprocate and give them referrals too, when appropriate.

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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