Business Spotlight Series [1 of 4]
Now that I’ve shared my own story, we’re going to shine a spotlight on some other business owners. At one time or another, my business looked a lot like theirs. Maybe you can see yourself in their story, too!
Make sure you read ‘til the end of each email in this series, because I’m going to offer some personalized advice for each struggling business owner!
Meet Emily. She’s 28 years old, no kids, and she’s been full time with her floral business for the past five years. Her instagram is flooded with amazing photos of the work she’s done with some of the best local vendors. It seems like every weekend, she has a different wedding. Sometimes she has more than one! By your count, she’s gotta be doing over fifty events a year!
You look at her business and think, “Dang. If that were only me. If I could book that many weddings, work with those vendors, and have her clients, I’d feel like I made it.”
If you knew Emily personally, you’d see that facade couldn’t be further from the truth.
Emily spends most of her time each week answering emails from budget brides who find her from a quick google search or theknot.com. She emails back and forth with each of the price shoppers (with a few great brides mixed in), spending hours hours each week on clients who will never book her services, and even more negotiating a few extra hundred dollars from the brides who will book with her.
Since she and her husband don’t have kids, Emily books any and every weekend. Thanksgiving, New Years, the Fourth of July, they’re all booked. Emily doesn’t have a choice! Since most of her clients want to book in the $1,500 to $3,000 range, she has to keep booking brides just to make enough money to pay to stay in business.
These budget brides Emily works with are exhausting. It seems like the smaller the budget, the bigger the bridezilla. It’s maddening. She started her business because she loves working with flowers, but she’s not sure how much longer she can last. She still loves flowers, but she’s worked too hard too long with too little pay or rest just to create beautiful weddings for thankless brides. Some days, she just wants to quit, but if she did, she wouldn’t have enough money to finish out her remaining weddings.
She’s stuck in this cycle, and she doesn’t see a way out. She feels like a fraud. She thinks, “if my clients and the fancy vendors I work with knew what my business really looked like, I’d be laughed out of the wedding industry.”
Emily has a problem. She’s working tirelessly to create a successful business, but working with frustrating brides who haggle over every dollar is seriously draining.
She still loves flowers! If she could work with brides who value her skill, pay what she’s worth, and respect her boundaries, she could love her job again. But how can she fill her schedule with only those brides, when she usually only books a few like that each year?
If I could sit down with Emily, here’s what I’d say...
Here’s my quick tip to booking ideal brides:
Identify what brides from the past year you loved working with. Then, email them a simple survey asking about them and their experience working with you.
When I did this, I realized that each of my favorite brides had bigger budgets. They were usually younger women who had some kind of advanced degree. They were in grad school, or they had a job in a field that required some kind of specialized education. Basically, they were busy working women! They didn’t have time to penny pinch. They were working hard and living their lives.
This meant that I had the freedom to propose beautiful designs that these bigger budget brides trusted me to execute.
Another surprise? None of my favorite brides found me through any kind of theknot.com website or advertisement. They all heard about me through other vendors. That meant I no longer had to waste money in subscriptions or advertisements.
By determining what your ideal brides have in common, you can be more focused in finding more brides just like them. And when you find those brides, you can charge more money, take more weekends off, and enjoy your work again. The weekends you do work won’t be as taxing, because you’ll be working with brides who respect you and pay you what you’re worth!
You can stop the endless cycle of booking weddings just to pay for current weddings, and start loving your job again.
If you can relate to Emily’s story, I want you to know that it doesn’t have to stay like that. There were years where I felt stuck in my business. Like I was a fraud, and any minute, someone would find out that what I showed to the world wasn’t a reflection of what I felt in my heart or saw in my bank account. But I figured out how to change my business from the inside out, and you can too.
I’m not special. I’m just a lady, like Emily, who was tired and fed up. I decided, “enough is enough.”
If you liked my ideal bride tip for Emily, make sure you keep an eye out for the next three installations in my Business Spotlight Series.