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Making a name in a saturated market.

When I was in college, my professors discouraged us from becoming wedding planners-- saying that the market was too saturated and that we would only ever work for venues or other larger companies, rather than for ourselves.

So when I decided to open my own business, it wasn’t because I had planned my own wedding and wanted to do that again and again for other couples. In fact, Lee and I weren’t even dating when I had planned my first wedding. I was fully aware of the fact that the job wouldn’t be easy-- but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this was something I had to at least try.

That being said, I knew that if I wanted to stand out, I couldn’t just do what everyone else had done before me. If I wanted to make a name for myself, I had to make sure people knew my name. So rather than offering the same services as my competitors, I started researching.

I looked at every website, instagram, and list of offerings and made a list of all of the things I liked about all of the planners that I admired. Then I did one of the smartest things since starting my business-- I made a list of all of the things that no one else seemed to be offering. While there were dozens of other planners, there was only one me.

So I made a list of all of the seemingly random skills that I had developed over the years, and I found a way to market them. Rather than only offering one or two services, I offered all of them. Because while not everyone would need a coordinator, calligrapher, bartender, baker, and designer, maybe they would need one or two of those things, and we would be there to provide that for them. By doing so, I was able to fill my calendar, and truly begin making a name for this crazy business model I had dreamed up.

When we meet with potential clients now, I tell them about all of the services we can provide, not to pressure them into selecting a larger package, but because I know that most couples don’t meet with a coordinator expecting that they can also provide them with so many other services. If they choose not to utilize all of our services that is completely fine; we will step in and assist with whatever services they need.

But even if they don’t ask for our help with every service that we provide, chances are high that they will remember we offer those things when a friend or family member gets engaged later on. Because getting in front of a potential customer is only half the battle-- but getting REMEMBERED is something that is truly invaluable.

So if you are an entrepreneur out there, hustling hard every day to make a name for yourself, I hope you will heed this advice. Don’t worry about everyone around you. Maybe you’re a wedding photographer and there are 40 other wonderfully talented photographers in your town who seem to be working at the best venues with the most beautiful clients-- and that is okay.

Even if you are working every single weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, you can only serve 156 clients a year. On average, 2.3 million couples get married every year in the US alone. Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a whole lot of opportunity to me.

If I could offer you one piece of advice it would be this: stop trying to please everyone, and instead, focus on what makes you stand out amongst the masses. Focus on what makes you great, and go out and do it.

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