Wow, what a crazy few years! It has been scary, exciting, rewarding, tiring and so much more…two full-time years in business after two years spent ‘dabbling’ beforehand. I quit my marketing job and upped my game. I met an amazing bunch of industry friends who pushed, and continue to push me to achieve every single day. I watched my children grow into the little characters they are today. I’ve put myself out there in so many ways from guest speaking, entering and winning awards, teaching classes of people about Instagram and more.
In short, it has been a pretty big couple of years. I have learnt so much about myself and my business, and also, about how life does give you the lemons to make your own lemonade…if you do the work and nurture that little lemon pip . So it seems only fitting that my first blog for The Wonderbrand should be a round-up of my key learnings!
Grab life by the proverbials
It’s something I say quietly to myself every, single goddamn day…because nobody is going to do it for you…am I right?! Having a bit of a mantra, especially on the slow days, can really lift your spirits and remind you of why you are doing what you are doing. I talk to myself a lot; here are some of the crazy things I say to myself on the daily…
“A rolling stone gathers no moss”...usually around 10.30am and all I have done is opened my laptop.
“No, next”…quite often when I have started a design and realised that it’s just not going to go anywhere.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day”…probably my favourite. It’s true. Building a one-woman band empire won’t happen overnight! And do you know what…thats completely OK. These things take time and a whole load of blood, sweat and tears.
You have to stay motivated…of course it’s ok to have those days where you aren’t feeling it, or you need some time off to redress the balance or think about your next move, but staying motivated to reach your end goals is so important. So many small businesses fail because people trip over the hurdles and can’t find the strength to get up again. If you want to make your business work, you have to find that motivation, that drive and that determination to reach and achieve your goals.
Being a toddler mama, house-girlfriend, business owner and blogger is pretty tough on the old body and mind. It can be hard to keep on top of everything sometimes but having a clear end goal, weekly plan and an amazing planner really helps (I use a Life: Styled Planner).
I have a weekly workflow spreadsheet alongside numerous other spreadsheets; one of which keeps a track of all the quotes I have sent out vs. bookings (so I can keep a track of my conversion rate). I love a list too…which Rich finds hilarious.
Obviously, it’s never going to be plain-sailing looking after two babies and managing a business, but daycare helps take the pressure off. The days where Darla goes to pre-school and Rex to his grandparents are the days where I get the bulk of my work done for the week…the big design jobs and any mounting admin I need to take care of. The rest of the time, I work when they nap and I am up past 12 most nights. It’s the nature of the beast though isn’t it…and I make it work…and I know it will be easier once they start school!
I have really put myself out there. I started out 2017 having contributed to one styled shoot EVER. I am now up to 67, and I have conceptualised, planned and executed 13 of my own within that.
I have been published on some amazing blogs, including Rock My Wedding (huge personal achievement), Bride and Tonic, Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, Festival Brides, Wedding Chicks and Boho Weddings. All of which have given me incredible images to utilise on my social channels…but more importantly, have enabled me to make some ruddy good mates in the industry! I am a massive advocate of styled shoots; where some people will say they are a waste of time and money, I would say they are the exact opposite. Of course you need to choose the right ones, and ask the right questions, but if you make the most out of the opportunities, they CAN bring in business.
I also managed to haul my pregnant ass to The National Wedding Show back in October 2017, and although it was just a little 3x1m stand that I had, I worked my butt off to make it look amazing…with the help of Rich and a couple of industry buddies (Vintage Garden Weddings, Finishing Touches and Anthology Vintage Hire). I was also asked to guest speak on both days about stationery trends. It was absolutely terrifying but it was so worth it in terms of being visible.
By far my biggest visibility method is Instagram. I cannot shout about Instagram bought. I started out January 2017 with around 1,500 followers, and I just hit the big 10k. I have worked hard to research hashtags and display content which accurately fits my aesthetic, and I do see the fruits of my labour as the majority of my enquiries come through the platform. In short, working hard to raise my profile has led to more couples finding me who fit my ideal client profile. And that is a great feeling!
Stay true to you
I cannot emphasise this enough. Way back when, I used to try and appeal to everyone; I had fingers in all the proverbial pies. I would design anything and everything and feel slightly lost in doing so. But over time…I found what I loved to create. And ever since then, I have been much happier and confident in my skill. My business thrived when I learnt to be authentic and true to me.
I love all things floral, delicate and boho. And my aesthetic has grown to be just that. I will, from time to time, take on work which either pushes or breaks away from my usual style, usually because it’s a project I am passionate about. But having a streamlined, well-thought-out brand leads to confident clients…confident in your ability to deliver exactly what they want.
And lastly, there is always room for improvement
Nobody is perfect. If anyone says they have everything in order…lies. There is always something more you could do, something you could have done, or do, better. I’m pretty happy with where I am at right now, but I know there is a helluva lot I want to achieve. The past two years have been a huge learning curve; I have made mistakes and I have had great successes. And it is testament to where I have come from that so many people are approaching me to help them build their brands…that, along with continued business from lovely engaged couples, is the best compliment ever.
Hope I haven’t sent you to sleep!