When I started Cloud Nove Events in 2009 I reached out to ten wedding planners in NYC. I had already been involved in nonprofit events since 1999 so I wasn’t looking for vendor referrals, but rather just wanted to buy them a drink or cup of coffee and hear their thoughts on the event industry in NYC.
I heard back from 0. None. Not a one responded. I thought to myself, “Wow, that certainly says something about the industry!” And at that moment I promised myself to never be that person.
I’ve hired interns since day one, and encourage them to be involved in all aspects of the business. I’ve responded to every email from aspiring planners and took time for a phone call or in person meeting to answer any questions they may have.
There are 2.3 million weddings every year in the US. I can’t plan them all! I welcome new energy into the industry, and I especially applaud those who do their due diligence, get some formal training and real life experience, and reach out to those more senior in the field for advice.
The question I’m asked most (well second most, the first being the pricing question I blogged about earlier) is, “What’s the one piece of advice you wish you had been given when you got started?”
It’s hard to pick one ultimate piece of advice, but usually I say, “Don’t be afraid to be yourself.” Couples will chose to work with you for many reasons, but one of which will most likely be that they connected with you. When I started I made the mistake of taking any client, any style, any wedding that came my way. In retrospect some of them were such a struggle because there wasn’t a good connection; there wasn’t a click.
So I learned to bring my style into my wardrobe and be, well, me. Not who I thought I “should” be. I wear skinny jeans, heels and a blazer. And I realized that it was ok to be a little casual – I still looked professional and it matched my personality much better than full pantsuits. I learned I could make references to 80’s hair bands, 90’s tv shows and other pop culture jokes. That’s who I am. Granted, I’m sure that there were couples who didn’t connect with me during our initial consultation. And that may be why they didn’t choose to book with me. I’m totally OK with that!
So I say, be who you are. Not who you think you should be. Maybe not even who the textbooks say you should be. There are no “shoulds” here! Like attracts like. Infuse your personality into your business and you’ll feel more comfortable and confident, and hopefully, will attract your ideal client who will magically click with you!