Not Everyone is Cut Out to Run a Business, and That's Okay.

Everyone wants to own a business these days, and I certainly understand the appeal - scheduling freedom, no bosses, the list goes on. We see this a lot in the wedding industry. Like, A LOT. But here's the thing: not everyone is cut out to run a business, and that's okay. 

This post today is geared towards those of you who might need to reconsider you choice or desire to own a business. I want you to know that it's perfectly okay to change your mind, to acknowledge that your skill set doesn't line up with being a business owner (especially in the wedding industry, which is incredibly demanding!), and then gracefully walk away. 

I see this a lot with wedding planners. Doesn't it sort of seem like every spring, a whole host of freshly graduated young women all realize their life long dream has been to become a wedding planner? The romance! The prettiness of it all! I, too, was one of these people. 

But then reality hits: you find yourself in a highly saturated luxury market and it seems like the only thing you can do to stand out is to slash your prices (that's a whole other topic, but let me just briefly say: there is a time for lower than industry average pricing when you're just starting to with minimal experience, but you need to gradually increase those prices with every wedding that you book. Slashing your prices only does major damage to your industry as a whole, plus, you deserve to be paid for your work!). And after slugging stuff around for like 15 hours straight, in a dress, with a smile on your face, and probably in the hot sun, you realize that the job of a wedding planner is actually not really about the pretty. And it's actually pretty stressful. And there are a lot more personalities that you have to manage than you ever expected. And on top of all that, you realize that you haven't responded to those incredibly time-sensitive emails in 3 days, you haven't been able to stay on top of your appointment calendar, and you still haven't booked a meeting with that bakery for that client you keep forgetting about and the stress is building and building.

The logistics of running a business aren't that easy, and everyone has a different skill set. For some of us, getting down and dirty in the sun is incredibly rewarding but we can't keep up with the emails and the phone calls and the scheduling. And for those of you who resonate with that, you might just not be cut out to run a business. 

While you could spend a serious amount of time and money trying to get yourself organized and learn how to run your business, you might be better suited to work for someone else. There is absolutely NO shame in learning that you work best without the pressure of keeping the ship upright. You'll likely find that you enjoy your work so much more when you don't have to worry about keeping the mother of the bride happy or when you don't have the stress of all of those time sensitive emails on your mind. 

Maybe all that you want is to be happy in your work. If that's true, then I'll tell you this, friends: you're most likely going to be a lot happier being able to just work than have to run everything. 

So, is this you? Maybe it's time for a change. No matter what area of the wedding industry you're in, you have options. Photographer? Join an established photographer as an associate. Wedding planner? Almost every established planner in your city needs an assistant who they can trust wedding days to. Makeup artist? So many makeup businesses (especially mobile ones!) have a desire to grow their team in order to service a larger number of clients. It's all about finding the right fit for you.

Why It's Important to Celebrate Our Successes

Celebrating our successes is a surprisingly challenging thing to do, but I'm learning more and more how important it is for everyone, but particularly, for creative entrepreneurs like you and I. I recently wrote about this on my instagram, after receiving an award at the 2018 Team Flower Conference:

"Proud moment here :) Last week at the #teamflowerconference, I took part in the Designer of the Year challenge and I was awarded winner of the Mastery of Communication category. There were several different tasks that we had to complete (including a timed boutonniere race...talk about stress, ha!), and those of those tasks were an interview and a mock proposal. I was selected for this award because of the way that I was able to understand my "client" and communicate my ideas to her, as well as communicate my thoughts and ideas well in the interview. 

This was such an affirming moment for me. I've often thought that I may not be the best designer, but I'm a REALLY good business owner. I take really good care of my clients, and I always want to create something unique for them, so I really need to listen to them and then dream for them. Knowing now that other people in my industry also feel that I do a good job of this was so reassuring and reminded me of where I'm taking Stone House Creative. So thank you, @teamflower for such a life-giving experience which has filled me so, so much joy! (PS I don't know about other adults out there, but I feel like it's really hard to accept being proud of yourself because it feels very selfish and almost conceited. I'm trying to learn that it's okay to be proud.)"

 

I talked about this recently on the Team Flower blog, with the article below. I'm willing to bet that some of these thoughts resonate with you, not matter what segment of the wedding industry you work in.

Super cute pic of me and my new flower friend,  Elizabeth,  at the Team Flower Conference. Photo by  Laura Foote Photography .

Super cute pic of me and my new flower friend, Elizabeth, at the Team Flower Conference. Photo by Laura Foote Photography.

Flower orders. Stem counts. Proposal writing. How much did I charge for that bridal bouquet again? Recipe writing. Figuring out how to make each wedding look different from the last one. How many stems of spray roses go into that arrangement? Delivery schedules. Taxes. Bridezillas. Momzillas. Right, I have to remember to update the website with that new offering. Oh, and call the wholesaler to see where that vase shipment is. Where did I leave my clippers?

The floral industry is so go-go-go (EDIT: THE WEDDING INDUSTRY IS SO GO-GO-GO, amiright??). I’ve never met a florist who hasn’t resisted the urge to laugh each time we are told, “it’s my dream to be a florist in retirement!” This comment usually comes right when we’re in the middle of sweeping floors, bleaching buckets, lifting heavy boxes of vases, and trying to get sap off our hands while at the same time nursing an aching back and hoping the phone doesn’t ring so we can finally finish just one task.

It’s really easy to get bogged down, and the result is that we forget to celebrate our successes. We’re always looking and thinking ahead to the next wedding, the next event, the next field to weed, the next prospective client meeting that we want to book, and the next accountant meeting. While I don’t think this is a bad thing, it means that we frequently forget to stop and smell the roses — literally!

One of the things that, as floral designers, we love the most about flowers is their fleeting beauty. Here today, gone tomorrow — literally. Their ephemeral nature is what makes flowers so, so special. Yet, we forget about this!

For example, when I started my business, I made a goal of booking 2 weddings for that year. I booked 30. How did I celebrate? Ummm. Maybe I bought a sandwich? Another example; at my largest wedding to date, I took a minute to look around when we were close to finishing setting up. I was really proud. It was my first booking with a floral budget over $10,000! There were some fun installations and a bride who trusted me to do whatever I wanted. It was the first wedding I needed to rent a big van for. It was a really big deal! However that moment of pride lasted for about 35 seconds. Why? I looked up at the wedding planner, expecting to receive some words of praise or gratitude, but instead saw only stress and frustration in her eyes. I’m sure it was not about the flowers — I’ll be honest, they were gorgeous — but rather about something else going on because it was a large wedding with a lot of vendors involved. However I let that wedding planner’s emotions affect the way I thought about the wedding, and pretty soon, I was down on myself. I didn’t celebrate that success for days.

So today, I’m spending some time thinking about my successes. For my business, 2017 saw 61 completed weddings (with only one complaint!). I hired my first freelance designer, worked on a chaotic but fun semi-destination wedding, and increased my average wedding budget by $1000, which is a huge deal in my small city! I played a major role in creating beautiful wedding days, saw many of my past couples give birth to their first children, and two who started their own businesses. About 90% of my clients let me have complete and total freedom on their flowers (aside from color palette, of course!) and all summer long, I worked in the fresh air with beautiful flowers and fun colors. You know what? I’m pretty proud of myself.

It’s a challenge to set time aside to celebrate yourself and the things you’ve done. That one complaint I got this year? I still think about it, and let it consume me. I’m constantly looking forward and thinking about how I’m going to reel in the next booking. Believe me; you’re not the only one who gets stuck!

With all that said; I want to hear your successes! Comment below and don’t be afraid to brag. After all of the hard, hard work that we do, we deserve to shout out about ourselves a bit. What are you proud of?