The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.
Each wedding business owner has their own definition of success; some plan and manage with great care, while others grow with reckless abandon and may be experience intense stress as a result.
It’s common for many kinds of wedding businesses to start as part-time, usually to pursue a hobby or passion. From there, it’s a quick jump from hobbyist to business owner. The excitement of building a business with passion, pints of adrenaline, and infusion of cash or credit will carry you for a couple of years. However, as a business starts to gain momentum, the sole owner or partners begin to take on new roles: Human Resource Manager, Accountant, Marketing Director, and sometimes Graphic Designer.
The greatest change in the wedding industry within recent years is the magnification of the importance of various business roles like blogging, search engine optimization and social media. These areas are specialized, and many wedding professionals don’t have the necessary skill sets but are thrown into these roles anyway. There comes a critical point where you, as a business owner, must start thinking about expanding your business to avoid burnout.
What are the symptoms of suffering with success? Here are a few indicators:
- When people ask you how the business is going, your first thought is about how busy you are. Ask yourself: Is that a good answer? What do I really mean? Am I highly profitable or just overloaded?
- You work a full seven days a week. Whether you run a part-time or full-time wedding business, you find yourself struggling to keep up each day. There are times when you might go multiple weeks without a single day off.
- You are experiencing FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. Even though you know you need to pace yourself, you book every single opportunity that presents itself. You fear that if you don’t accept a booking that the influx of leads will dry up.
- People stop inviting you to events because your excuse is that you’re always working. Sooner or later, the invitations cease; even from family members.
- You begin to resent clients. Instead of being excited about the day, weekend, or wedding, you focus on the idiosyncrasies of the client, anticipating rough spots in the wedding even if they have not yet occurred.
- Your significant other begins to quietly drop hints about spending more quality time with you. Without changes in your business commitments, the volume on these remarks gets louder and louder.
- Maintaining your health has become a lower priority. Clothes don’t fit as they should, or you huff and puff just going up a flight a stairs.
he checklist of indicators is a good way to understand your stress level so you can start learning how to properly respond. You are being driven to distraction by success and the demand for your excellent service, but you need to recalibrate the nature of your business incrementally. Some corrections can be easily made, but do require discipline. How you choose to optimize, minimize, and simply block out personal time is easy to do on paper – sticking to your plan is not always so simple.
Don’t trick yourself into thinking, “I’ll just work this event myself, and the business will be more profitable!” Ultimately, that’s the quickest path back to overwork, complete burnout, or loss of employees who are losing hours to you. Wedding businesses should hire judiciously, matching skills and financial demands of the employee with the needs of the company.
If you find the thought of expansion confusing or too demanding, ask yourself: Who else has been through this? Leverage your network to identify other businesses in your area that have experienced similar growing pains. Any of these issues, decisions, and forward progress are experiences other people have gone through. You are not the first – guaranteed. Seek out peers in your market or in your niche, in a different market and ask for a reality check. Ask for feedback, logic, and mistakes (What would you do differently?) to position you for the greatest chance of breaking through to new heights with least number of bumps and bruises.
The most successful people are thoughtful planners, have their eyes on processes and details, and leave room for mistakes and the unexpected. Plan for a new level of exhilaration as you realize, that the symptoms that looked like problems are really opportunities waiting for to be transformed into future successes. Don’t shrink from the challenge. Make it happen!