Cheers to the first year!
Updated: Aug 10, 2018
It's hard to believe that it's already been well over a year since I bit the bullet and launched Dream Weaver Events. Though sometimes it feels as though I've been doing this forever, truthfully, this little baby business is still in it's infancy. I've still got so many tough lessons to learns, places to discover, and people to celebrate! If you're reading this, something has made you a little curious as to what I've been up to, and I'm so thankful you've stopped by. This is where I'll share my lessons, discoveries, good times, and fun tips and tricks I collect along the way! I hope you stick around for the ride!
Last year was truly a whirlwind! I'll tell you a little secret: when I launched, I fully expected that I would receive a few referrals here and there based on people I had worked with, but I definitely did NOT expect the first year I had!! I quickly booked 12 weddings in my first season, including a three day, 100k affair in Niagara-on-the-lake and a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic! I was well on my way, and excited but definitely, DEFINITELY scared! "What have I gotten myself into?!", "Can I even do this?!", "What do I do?!", were all questions that I asked myself frequently. The year went by in a flash, and though I ended 2017 with happy clients and a business in full swing, there are definitely a few lessons I learned or had to re-learn that helped me get through. Here I am to share just a few with you!
1. Ask for help! One thing that I continue to struggle with is asking for help. What can I say...all the type A's out there, can you hear me in the back?! You mean, I can't deliver décor items, make the itinerary, deliver welcome bags to three hotels, make an out-of-guest itinerary, and fold 100 origami flowers all in two days? Okay, this is an exaggeration, no one has ever expected me to do this. But, I have experienced the feeling of being overwhelmed by over-committing. I have to continuously reminding myself that I do have helpful resources. A few great ways of asking for help are A) Leaving certain tasks to the experts. You don't have to be an expert at everything, so if someone is asking you if they can add DIY centerpieces to their contract, consider suggesting a florist or decorator if you know you can't afford to take on the extra work. B) Delegating! Consider having interns who are looking for valuable experience, or, even recruit some helping hands from friends and family if you're just starting out! C) Use enough assistants day of! Don't try to be a hero - if you're looking down the barrel of a very packed schedule, staff your day accordingly. There is no worse feeling than knowing you've spread yourself too thin. There are lots of resources to find reputable volunteers or paid staff, and you can begin to build a network of assistants.
2. Learn to say no. This is a tough one, I know. In 2017, I learned first hand that saying no is a very powerful, and lifesaving skill. I would be lying if I said I hadn't taken on things that were not a part of my scope of work...so it's not surprising that in my first year on my own, I was a yes girl. Yes to unpaid crafting, yes to personal assistant tasks, yes to long drives back and forth with no compensation, yes to borrowing inventory. A fellow planner and mentor once told me to add together the number of extra hours of work I was putting in, and then dividing it by what I had charged for the full contract. In some cases, I've been so surprised and honestly disappointed by what I was paying myself by the hour. Now, I'm not preaching that we're all in this to make money, but we are all in this to eventually be running successful businesses. You will see that learning to politely decline will not only help you to fully invest your time wisely in your clients, but also create a much more enjoyable experience for you as a planner!
3. Find your zen! Now, this one seems obvious, like duh! Shana - tell me something I don't already know!...I get it. But, that being said, again, us type A'ers tend to forget the obvious once we get so far into the rabbit hole of planning. So now, I'll say it again, find your zen! Whether it's running, reading, journaling, working out (for me it's wine and puppy cuddles), it's helpful to actually carve out, SCHEDULE time for you to relax. You'll be a better planner and person for it.
This was a long-winded first post - definitely longer than I'd expected. If you've made it this far, I hope reading the somewhat obvious few tips that can help you be better at least remind you of things that you should add to your daily mantra: it's okay to ask for help, it's okay to say no, and it's okay to find your zen!
I'll be back often, writing my little or not-so-little musings on this journey, and I cannot be more excited to finally be sharing more than a photo or two!
See you again soon!