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The Mistakes I Made My First Year in Business & How You Can Avoid Them

 

The Mistakes I Made My First Year in Business“A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise one learns from the mistakes of others.”  That’s one of my favorite quotes, and a pretty solid piece of advice — learn from others’ mistakes so you don’t have to.  Unfortunately, I made a plethora of mistakes during my first year in business, but I learned from them. I hope you can learn from them too!

So, to all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, this one’s for you.

Rushing

In the pressure to get everything done, I felt I needed to rush. It was a horrible idea! I never fully developed one thing before starting another. It showed!

I know there are times when every business owner just needs to get something out there to meet a deadline. However, whenever possible invest enough time to do everything with excellence. It makes a difference and people notice!

The other drawback to rushing? Burn out. I felt like I was running around constantly and not getting anywhere. It caused a major crash and burn. Then I fell behind… So I had to rush some more to catch up. Vicious cycle.

Not Setting a Firm Budget

I know, I know, you would never start something without setting a budget. I wouldn’t either, normally. Yet somehow my common sense went right out the window! I saw all the things that one could possibly use for business and I felt I needed them right that moment.

Thankfully, I paid cash for everything and didn’t take on any debt, but I spent through much more of my capital than I should have. It’s always nice to have a little cushion in the bank account. If I had it to do all over again, I would have spaced out my purchases to ensure I really needed all those things I bought… Because, unfortunately, I didn’t need half of it! I would also set a FIRM budget and keep to it.

Not Creating Enough Content

While my business website is just that — a business website– it does have a blog. Generating fresh content is a great way to keep potential customers coming to your site. I totally dropped the ball. A situation I am rectifying this year by creating several months’ worth of content during my slow season. I recommend having a cache of posts in your arsenal when you get your site up and going. It takes the stress of blogging off of you so you can focus on more important details. You know, like, working with your current clients…

Neglecting Social Media

I didn’t neglect it completely, but I certainly put in on the back burner. Like I had better things to do? Brand awareness is paramount for new businesses. Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinkingI

Again, I’m sure you’re already on top of this, but make sure your social media game is strong… Or, at the very least, consistent. You can use a platform like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to schedule posts in advance. It’s been a lifesaver for me!

Worrying

Business is, well, serious business. BUT staying up nights worrying about things never helped me. Not once did I ever solve any problems by worrying about them. In fact, worry usually kept me from logically approaching my problems. This is a hard one, but if you’re starting to really stress and worry about things, try taking a step back and refreshing. Approaching things with a clear head goes a long way in actually resolving issues.

There’s so much more I’d love to share, but it’ll have to wait for a future post. Any entrepreneurs out there willing to share their biggest mistakes? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

 

 

Successfully Running a People Business as an Introvert

 

Running a Social Business as an IntrovertI’m an introvert with a touch of social anxiety. I also run a wedding planning business which, as I’m sure you can imagine, involves A LOT of social interaction. From brides and grooms to their families, friends, and vendors, there are tons of people involved in a wedding day.

If you’re anything like me, the prospect of working with people can be nerve-wracking, anxiety inducing, and all-around terrifying. Seems like I should have started ANY OTHER type of business, right? The problem? I love what I do! It’s the best feeling ever to see a happy couple on their wedding day in a blissful, stress-free state, and to know I helped make that happen.

Are you in the same boat — outgoing entrepreneurial dreams and a major case of shyness? Here are some things that help me.  Maybe they’ll work for you too!

Lists

Nothing motivates me quite like a list. I love the feeling of crossing items off my to-dos! If I add a meeting with clients or networking to my list, I get excited to get it done so I can cross it off my list. I’m a total Type A nerd in that way. But, hey, it works!

Maybe lists aren’t your thing, but perhaps you could find a similar external motivator.

Preparation

Whether it is a meeting with a new client or connecting with a fellow vendor, preparedness eases my nerves. For meeting with clients it means having any notes, forms, or paperwork ready. With vendors it usually means doing a little research about the vendor online before meeting them.

What could you do to be more prepared for your next big meeting?

Symbiosis

I know you’re all intelligent folks, but for those who haven’t come across the word before, symbiosis is “a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups.

It’s difficult for me to just walk up to a fellow vendor and say, “I’m really awesome, you should totally recommend me.” I applaud those brave enough to do so; however, I’m more comfortable  connecting in a mutually beneficial way. I’m happy to feature people on my blog or share their material on social media. Again, it takes the edge off my nerves if I feel I have something to offer.

Is there an online connection or blog feature you could offer?

Getting in My Element

With social anxiety, business meetings don’t need to be any more stressful than they already are. So… I like to meet in my element. Nothing soothes my nerves like a good cup of coffee. I invite my clients to meet me over a delightful cup of java. I can feel the stress melt off with every sip.

You may hate coffee, but I’m willing to bet there is some place or element you could find to set yourself at ease.

Fight Song

This one is going to sound out there, but again, I can’t argue with results. Do you have a song that makes you feel like you could conquer the world? Where you’re completely in the zone and could do anything? I do. Sometimes before I go to a meeting or event I’ll play my super special song. What is it? “You’re the Best Around” by Joe Esposito. You know, the one from the tournament at the end of The Karate Kid where Daniel’s taking on the competition (and WINNING). Yeah. That’s the one. Cheesy, but effective. Who knows, yours could be the theme song from Barney. No judgement here. Just use what works for you!

Down Time

If I’ve had a few days of non-stop social interaction, I like to schedule a few days of office tasks after that. All that socializing tends to drain my emotional batteries. I wish it didn’t but it does. Anyway, a few days in the home office gives me a chance to recharge and refocus. Again, I love my business, and I genuinely love people! I just have to have some quiet time to re-center.

It’s all about finding what works for you, but I hope some of my tactics work for you! Do you have any tips or tricks for running a people-oriented business as an introvert? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Off Season for a Wedding Coordinator

What Off Season Looks Like for a Wedding Coordinator“What do you do during off season?” As a wedding coordinator, I get that question a lot. It’s no secret that around the holidays couples are more likely to get engaged than married — so what do I do during that slow time?

Create Content

During the mad rush of wedding season, I feel like there’s hardly any time to breathe let alone produce quality wedding posts for my blog. The slow season is the perfect time to start writing a few moths’ worth of posts to be released during those crazy busy spring and summer months.

Producer Mode

Blog posts by themselves are wonderful, but I want to start curating videos to go along with those posts. So, now it’s time to go in to producer mode. Lining up guests, finding shooting locations, buying any props or materials. It’s a new challenge, and I love it!

Improve Processes

Entrepreneurs should always strive toward better systems and processes. It’s not always easy looking at your work with a critical eye, but it’s important to continually provide a better experience for your clients. Now’s the time to improve my website, contracts, customer forms, etc.

Networking and Events

Wedding and bridal fairs usually start toward the end of January. The slow season is a great time to start prepping for bridal shows and reconnecting with your network.

Try New Things

I’m so blessed to love what I do. BUT I love more than just coordinating weddings. Sometimes I wish I had 100 lifetimes just so I could try all the things I want to. Anyway, having a slower time of the year allows me to work on my other businesses, read, travel, and try new things. It’s a real win-win situation.

Do you own a business that has a slower time of year? What do you do? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

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