I’ve had a few people ask me recently what insight I have to offer when it comes to attracting wedding clients. The fact that people have even started asking me for insight is something that is still hard for me to wrap my head around, because this time last year I was desperately trying to fill my calendar with any jobs, much less offering advice for how to follow in my footsteps.
Nevertheless, if there’s a way that people can follow in my footsteps for the things that went right, and learn from my mistakes for the things that went wrong-- that has to count for something right?
If there’s one thing that I have lived by in this past year, it is the idea that “hustle and heart will set you apart.” I hear people all the time say that the word hustle has this bad stigma that comes along with it, and that we need to work smarter, not harder. Don’t get me wrong, I am a full supporter in working smarter-- but I still think that if you are going to really go after your dreams full force, you have to be prepared to work hard.
Now I don’t want to sound harsh, but if you want to own your own business, the 9-5 life is just not for you. Should you have a work-life balance? Absolutely? Should you be able to work from bed in your pj’s when the mood strikes? Heck yes you should! But if you want to own your own business so that you can work less-- at least in the beginning-- that’s just not practical.
That being said, there are definitely tools I have learned along the way that have helped grow my business and in turn, attract more wedding clients.
Whether you are on social media hours every day or can barely find time to post a new photo once a week, a social media presence is what brides today are looking for. A few weeks ago, I heard someone said "if you are going to hunt for ducks, you have to go where the ducks are." Well if you're looking for brides, you will assuredly find them on Facebook and Instagram.
By posting once a day on social media and and engaging with other wedding professionals increases your visibility in front of brides in your area. Utilizing wedding hashtags in your posts that are local to your area also help get in front of newly engaged couples in your area.
So many people view the wedding industry as fiercely competitive and "every man for himself". I personally, think, this is ridiculous. Owning a business can be lonely at times, and the only people who truly understand what your day to day life looks like are those who are working in the industry alongside you. Whether you're a florist befriending photographers or planners befriending venue managers, I don't think there's any "right way" to go about it.
Invite them to coffee, go to lunch together-- learn about who they are as a person, not just a wedding professional. This is helpful in so many ways: it not only allows you to make genuine friendships in the industry and to learn from one another, but you are able to determine whether you have similar work styles and would be able to work well together in the field.
What's more, if there's a genuine friendship there, you will both be that much more likely to recommend one another to your brides in the future.
I realize that this seems obvious, but if you’re not going to work hard to get your business off the ground, it’s probably not going to happen. While the appeal for owning your own business may be early retirement, creating your own schedule, or even working from bed in your pj’s, developing a business can’t just happen overnight.
If you don’t have a calendar full of clients yet, you should work full time to create relationships that may one day turn into leads. You can’t start out immediately expecting to fill your calendar, or to sit back and expect the clients to come to you. But if you put in the work and truly develop genuine relationships with both your clients and other professionals, it will pay off in the end.
As you develop these relationships, people will start to ask you for advice. While your time is absolutely valuable, it’s also so important that you be generous with what you can give freely. Helping others and offering advice wherever you can helps to create more genuine relationships and builds a reputation of trust and giving, which is invaluable in this industry.
No matter where you are in the process of starting your own business, it's important to stay true to yourself and to try and STOP comparing yourself to those around you. Everyone is given a different set of circumstances, so it's not fair to spend your days comparing yourself to people you follow on Instagram. Know your worth and where you shine the brightest, and go from there.