Wedding Planner Q&A – “After One Year in Business, I Don’t Have Any Clients at All, What Do I Do?”

 

Wedding Planner Q&A - What DO I Do When I Don't Have Any Clients

If your wedding planning business isn’t taking off, you may need to make these changes to your marketing and your mindset.

Question

What do you do when you’ve been in business for over a year and still have no business? I’ve had leads and interested brides but nothing has come of them. I’ve done weddings before going official but since forming the business, nothing.

I’m still marketing, by buying ads on wedding websites and attending networking events.

I’m trying to reach brides who are funky and eclectic.

Answer

A year is a long time to go without a client so I applaud you for hanging in. Getting your first brides can be tough but once you do, you can expect more.

Here are 2 important tips that can help you get business:

1) Your marketing image and style, both online and off, must appeal to your target brides

You have a very specific niche, which is great, too many new wedding planners try to appeal to every bride and end up not appealing to anyone.

But, looking at your social media pages and website, it appears you are looking for brides who want romantic, classic weddings not the type of brides that you say you want. The websites in which you advertise, although many brides visit them, are targeted to those who want traditional weddings. Your target market is probably not looking at them for help planning their weddings.

Do some research, look at different blogs and websites that show the weddings of funky, eclectic brides so you get an idea of their style, interests and wedding planning needs. Find out where you can meet them locally, get to know them and become a part of their social groups. With your new found knowledge, create the services that solve their unique wedding planning problems and a marketing plan and style that will attract them.

2) You must believe that you are worthy of getting work and being well-paid for it

This is an important factor to your success. I’ve seen the lack of self-worth sabotage the businesses of many talented new wedding planners. Some examples of lack of self-worth: you eagerly offer hours of free personalized wedding planning advice. You deeply discount your services because you think offering low rates is the only way a bride will hire you. You desperately accept a bride as a client knowing in your gut that she will be more trouble than she is worth.

If you don’t believe that you have valuable services to offer, neither will any brides and they won’t hire you, they’ll just get free advice from you, or, if they do hire you, they won’t pay you what you’re worth.

So, to get business and be successful, you have to do the outer work of setting up the services brides want and marketing them properly. And, you have to do the inner work of programming yourself to believe you offer valuable services and are worth the money that you charge.

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 Juggle a Job and My Wedding Planning Business?”

 

Wedding Planner and Her Assistant Help a Bride

Every year Forbes magazine lists event coordinator as one of the 10 most stressful jobs a person can have. And, it can be especially difficult when you’re new and still are maintaining a regular job, as the wedding planner in my Q&A today has found.

Question

I’m planning my first wedding now and love it but feel stressed and overwhelmed because I also have a day job. How do I manage having a wedding planning business while I still have a job? I’m hoping I can have enough business someday to plan weddings full time.

Answer

Many successful wedding planners started out doing it as a second job. You can too if you have passion, determination and can manage your life well so you minimize your stress.

Here are 5 tips that will help you succeed:

1) Start small

Only take on the work you can do in an excellent way. This may mean you start with consulting and planning and coordinating small, intimate weddings. Then, when you get more experienced managing your job and wedding planning business, you can add assistants and plan more and larger weddings.

2) Be super-organized and clutter-free

Not only does your wedding planning work need to be organized, your life does also. Write notes when you plan weddings so you don’t lose track of important details. Keep a schedule and put your job, business and personal “to-do’s” in one planner so you stay on top of all of your commitments.

Also, make your home and workspace clutter-free so you know where things are and don’t waste time and energy, which can be in very short supply when you have a job, a business and a personal life, searching for things you’ve misplaced.

3) Hire help

A business, part time or full time, can’t grow without the assistance of others. Get help with your chores at home and with your office administrative duties and/or social media marketing. Get assistants to help you onsite with weddings and include their pay in your rates.

4) Partner with others

Partnering with another wedding planner or a caterer or florist who handles weddings will spread out some of the responsibilities. However, make sure you have an agreement as to what each of you is supposed to contribute and how much to the profits each of you is entitled to.

5) Have downtime

Don’t spend every waking minute working. You need to pace yourself and take the time to recharge so you have more stamina, can think more clearly and can be ready to handle any emergency a bride and groom have during their wedding planning process. And, you need to be able to enjoy life!

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 Q&A – “What Website Styles Will Help Me Be Successful?”

 

Website Tips for Wedding Planners

These tips for a new wedding planner who is putting up her first website will help you whether  you’re creating your first site or trying to refresh your existing one.

Question

I would like to know if you have example websites that would help me enhance my wedding and event planning business. Are there any website platforms, templates or website styles that seem to be most successful?

I’m focused on my local area but am considering including destination weddings.

Also, what things should I consider that would help make this website most successful? Should I portray a certain style to attract a certain customer such as high end, elegant or romantic?

Answer

You’re considering all the right things for a website. Now you need to define your target market. Once you do that, the answers to your questions will fall into place.

Think about who you want to work with and the type of bride who would benefit the most from your knowledge and skills. Whether it’s a high-end bride, someone who wants an elegant wedding, one who wants a romantic wedding or a bride who wants a destination wedding, you need to get a clear picture of who she is and what her wedding planning problems are that you can solve.

After you’ve determined these things, you’ll know what photographs from weddings you have planned to feature on your website and you’ll be able to write copy that demonstrates that your services provide the solutions to the wedding planning problems these brides have.

There aren’t website platforms, templates and styles that can guarantee success and  remember that your website is just one of the many ways you need to use to market your business in order to be successful.

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 Start a Successful Wedding Business with My Fiancé?”

 

Husband and Wife Wedding Planners

I know couples who have both a successful wedding planning business and a happy relationship. It can be done! In my Q&A today I offer tips to help you if you and your significant other are considering starting a wedding business together.

Question

My fiancé and I are planning to set up a wedding planning business of our own. Currently my partner has a few contacts with decorators and DJs. I am a designer by profession and he is a hotelier, sales manager. He is a graduate in hotel management and has an executive business MBA.

We really want your guidance on how we can go about this. What do we need to do?

Answer

Both you and your fiancé have great credentials and sound very ambitious. You’re taking on a lot if you’re planning to start a new life together and a new business at the same time. However, if you both feel you can do it, here are 7 steps to starting a wedding planning business that I think you and your fiancé should take:

1) Determine if you have the right business and marketing skills

Will you be able to write your own business plan? Successfully market your own services and products? Keep your business finances in order?

If there are gaps in what you know how to do regarding starting and running a business, you’ll need to hire people who can help you.

2) Assess  the knowledge, skills and experience that you have to offer

You mentioned you’re a designer but not in what area you specialize. Have you done wedding and event design? Have you planned any weddings? If not, start by working for an experienced planner and/or start planning weddings for family and friends without pay. Don’t start a wedding planning business until you’ve had experience planning weddings other than you own.

3) Agree on a vision for your company

The two of you need to share the same vision of what the company will look like, how big you want it to grow and how much you’re both willing to do to make it successful.

4) Know what role each of you is going to take in the business

Being life partners and business partners can be wonderful or put a strain on your relationship. Decide, in advance, who is going to handle the various business and marketing tasks as well as the how you’ll work with your brides and grooms.

5) Find out all you can about the couples you want to serve

Learn who they are, what their wedding budgets are and the wedding planning problems they have that bother them so much, they would hire a wedding planner to help them.

6) Create services and products to offer your target market

Match you knowledge and skills to the needs of the brides and grooms you want to reach and create the services and products they will want and buy.

7) Commit to spending 80% of your working hours marketing your business

When you have a new wedding planning business, spend a majority of your time and energy finding new clients and building your vendor network. Do this both online and offline, in other words, create your website and social media accounts and get out and meet people.

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 – 3 Ways to Get Brides to Want Your Free Consultation

 

How Wedding Planners Can Attract Brides with a Free Consultation

If you’re like many new wedding planners, you’re offering new brides free consultations to give them a chance to know, like and hire you. But, with many wedding planners offering this free service, you need to stand out above the competition to get to talk to the brides you want.

Here are 3 ways to get brides to choose you as the wedding planner they want to talk to:

1) Offer your free consultation around a specific topic

Most wedding planners just advertise a “free consultation.” Instead, find a specific aspect of wedding planning that keeps the brides in your niche awake at night and offer your consultation on that topic.

If, for example, many brides struggle with really knowing what they want their wedding to look like because Pinterest has made them feel overwhelmed and confused. So, you could offer a free session to help them named, “Create a Clear Vision of Your Wedding.” They would find this topic appealing and it would give you an opportunity to share the benefits of your services.

 2) Tell brides what they will learn from your consultation

Create a list of things you’ll do together. For the example above you could tell them:

  • We’ll review your ideas and help you get clear a clear vision of your dream wedding
  • We’ll discuss the steps you need to take to make your dream come true
  • We’ll create a checklist together to help you get started

3) Let brides know the value of your “free consultation”

Market the importance and high value of your consultation. You’re a professional wedding planner who can give wedding planning advice and guidance that their friends and family cannot. And, your consultation is personalized, so they can’t get the same help from a book or a wedding website.

Your free consultation need not be long. First, spend a few minutes getting to know the bride and groom. Next, discuss the things you told the bride you would review in your meeting then close by tell her the benefits of working with you to get the wedding she wants.

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 – “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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