That’s it – I am calling it for 2020. I didn’t just start planning for 2021 (truth be told – I started planning MONTHS ago) and I am finally ready to kick this year to the curb. The wedding industry in 2020 was a gong show (too harsh?). I’m not going to go into too much detail here, 2020 had a lot of ups and downs for me. Both personally and professionally.
In my destination wedding business, I watched a year stacked full of income crumble over night. It’s hard to describe how I felt, but I know my fellow wedding pros get it. I almost went through a period of mourning. What are the stages of grief again? Denial, anger, sadness – I felt it all. And today, I want to talk about what I am 100% comfortable leaving behind this year.
If you are new around here, I’m Kara and I (now) offer done-for-you marketing services (mostly blogging & Pinterest but I also do some copywriting, for fellow wedding pros and other creative businesses. You can check out my services here or contact me here for more details! I’m also always hanging out on instagram so make sure to follow me there.
Seriously. Undercharging is for wedding pros who haven’t been through the hell that was 2020. Professionals won’t be undercharging in 2020. More than that, we will be stronger with our fees and contracts so we can ensure that our time is being compensated for. Undercharging is so 2020.
As a side note, I’m also predicting that less and less people will be entering the wedding industry over the next few years. I know some people thing I’m crazy when I say that but the reality is, a lot of people enter the wedding industry because of the low barrier to entry (and the fact that on the outside it looks glamorous, obviously). But it’s NOT the only career that has a low barrier to entry anymore. As the amount of vendors decrease, it’ll be easier to increase your pricing.
Not Making Systems a priority
Remember that time you were planning to catch up on the weekend and you weren’t that unorganized… and then overnight ever single couple wanted an update on their services, contracts, and backup plans that you hadn’t prepared? One of my Biz Besties – Sarahna at Simply Organized Solutions – said it best with the below quote.
Many Wedding Pros overlook prioritizing setting up proper systems & processes because they believe that if they simply meet the needs of their clients (in a reactionary manner) then they are hitting the mark.
But what they often fail to realize is that systems & processes not only ensure meeting all the clients’ needs but they serve to elevate your WORK experience.
They make operations far more efficient, they relieve the stress of things falling through the cracks and they ensure that you are able to clearly see how to maximize your revenue and your time.
Systems & processes help you focus on joy & not simply existing!
However its often quite challenging for business owners to be able to step outside of their realms and figure out how to renovate their systems, so this is where hiring a Business Systems Strategist can totally transform your business & ultimately super-charge your success.
Creating Services Based on What Other People are Doing/Charging
I’m often asked why I pivoted into marketing (specifically blogging and Pinterest) so quickly after COVID. Here’s the truth… and if you don’t have the luxury of time to decide “what you love”, I think this is some sage advice. I brainstormed a list of every single thing I did well (both in my own wedding business, but also money-making ideas outside the wedding industry). From there, I polled what audience I did have. I talked about my different passions and ideas.
From there, I did more of what people were responding too and less of what they weren’t. I went out engaged with people who I thought might be ideal clients. I created packages around what people were asking me for (or advice about) instead of creating packages based on what I wanted to do. Seriously, you should do what you want but don’t forget to be a business first. As marketing expert Seth Godin once said, “it’s easier to craft a key to fit a lock”. It’s easier to create packages and services around what people are asking you for (assuming you can deliver, of course).
Not having a solid marketing plan
In the wedding industry, we are way behind on this one. We have been taught to rely on referrals and Instagram. Instagram is a constant hustle and even though I think it can be an incredibly effective way to get new clients, it’s not an entire marketing strategy. If you are new around here, I like to break down Sustainable Marketing into three categories.
1) Setting up your foundation
2) Slow Marketing
3) Fast Marketing
Here’s a quick summary:
Setting up your foundation: for most of us, this will be our website (and SEO), our CRM/any brochures we send out, and email marketing.
Slow marketing: these are things we do now, that don’t pay off right away (blogging or Pinterest, for example!). The nice thing about slow marketing is, they require less work to maintain and bring you in customers steadily “for the long haul”
Fast marketing: these are things that you can do TODAY, and when done well, they pay off almost immediately (think about Instagram – where your post might only have 24-48 hours reach).
I believe you need a mix of these three to run a truly sustainable business.
Too many of us are relying only on “fast marketing” (ie. instagram) which is essentially a roller coaster of “too busy, no time for marketing” and “oh no, my client work is done and I have no leads”.
Thinking your colleagues are your competition (even if they kind of are)
The last lesson of 2020 was a big one. We need to all stick together in a BIG way this year. That means supporting each other and presenting a united front whenever you can. We need to support each other when we make business decisions that keep our doors open. Whether or not you agree or disagree with a vendor’s policy for your own business, I hope you will support their right to make business decisions as they see fit. On top of that, when you need to vent or cry, nobody knows what we went through last year more than your competition. We all went through 2020 together.
Not being an Ally #unitythroughcommunity
Finishing with one of the most important lessons in 2020. It’s not enough to “not be racist”, we must be actively anti-racist. We must make every effort to encourage a diverse community where all people are represented and appreciated equally. You can grab your #unitythroughcommunity , make sure to download your badge here. Huge thank you to @cocktailterrica for being one of the many wedding pros opening my eyes and raising awareness. I’m listening, learning, and doing better.
Running a Wedding Business in 2021
Welp, there you have it and I hope it didn’t hurt too bad. What are you leaving behind in 2020? I would LOVE if you would send me a DM and let me know if one of these resonated with you, or if you have something else in mind that you are leaving behind. I know that I am ready to keep the lessons, and leave the rest. If you’re open to the conversation, I would also hear the number one lesson you are bringing with you. I will answer back and my answer might surprise you!