Business Spotlight Series [2 of 4]
I can’t wait to share another business spotlight with you this week. Let’s take a peek into the behind the scenes of Whitney’s business...
Whitney is a mother of three young kids. She loves staying home with her kids, and adding to her family income with some wedding work.
She got her start doing flowers and planning for weddings, baby showers, and parties for her family and friends.
Now, she’s trying to transition from a side hobby to a real business that makes real money. And that means working with people who aren’t just looking for a good deal (aka… not family or friends).
Whitney knows she’s good at what she does. She’s naturally good at designing florals and working to create memorable events. But she does not like the sales process.
It’s scary to transition from working with friends and family who already trust her to working with strangers who she’s never met!
First she has to figure out how to get brides to even know she exists, and then she has to convince them to work with her.
In the past, when she does get an inquiry in her inbox, she emails with brides asking about what they want and need from their wedding day. After corresponding over email-- she doesn’t have time for in-person meetings like some designers, she has kids for goodness sakes!-- she puts together incredible proposals, and sends them over, hoping the couple will see her beautiful vision for their day and book her!
What really happens is that she sends over a thoughtful proposal that she spent hours creating, and never hears from the couple again.
She has a sneaking suspicion that they’ve taken her suggestions to all the wedding professionals in town, price shopping and looking for a better deal.
Now she’s out of time, energy, and ideas.
Whitney is tired. She feels like she’s tried it all. No matter what she does, or what she says in her emails, she can’t get the bookings she desperately needs.
She feels it in her gut. Whitney knows she could be great at this if only she could turn inquiring brides into clients. But somewhere between that initial email and getting a paid invoice, everything falls apart.
Not only is Whitney’s new business struggling, her confidence is starting to suffer, too.
So what can Whitney do to turn things around and get those paying clients she deserves?
Whitney is stuck. She’s working hard, but she isn’t working smart, and it’s causing her to lose money and lose confidence!
Here’s what she needs to do.
Whitney needs to decide if she’s running a business or just wants a hobby. If she’s happy with her hobby, she can keep doing weddings for friends and family, making small profit margins along the way. If she wants to run a business, however, she needs to make some big changes.
First, she needs to transition to an in-person sales process. Just seeing a client face-to-face can mean the difference between a booked client or a ghosted inquiry. When you can look someone in the eye, you can adjust your pitch as you go. You can see how your words are being perceived, and you can clear up any miscommunications as you work.
Even if it means Whitney needs to take meetings during nap time, after lights-out, or hire a sitter for a few hours each week, Whitney needs to make in-person (or video chat) meetings a priority.
If Whitney realizes she just isn’t a good salesperson, that’s okay! When you’re the CEO of a company, you don’t have to personally execute each and every task. If you need to hire someone to run your sales process, you can! Pay them on commission, so they only make money if they make sales! If you can’t make sales, you don’t have a business.
Figure out how to get great inquiring brides from the source. If brides are coming to you as a referral from past weddings (that you’ve done for no $$$), they’re finding you because they’ve heard they can get a great deal from you!
If you’re using platforms like Pinterest to find great brides at the beginning of their booking process, you can work with clients who love your work and pay you what you’re worth.
I can totally relate to Whitney’s struggles. With three young kids, it can be a struggle to make work a priority.
But here’s the truth, if Whitney wants to make the money she needs to live the life she wants to live, then she needs to treat her business like a business. That might mean making some adjustments and sacrifices she hadn’t thought of initially.
It is possible to make a living in this wedding business. I supported my family of five for years with my wedding salary!
If you liked my booking tips for Whitney, make sure you keep an eye out for the next two installments in my Business Spotlight Series!