Shhh… the 5 mistakes I made when starting a wedding business!

Show notes:

We all make mistakes when we first set up our wedding business! We have a great idea, but more often than not we dive in, without really knowing what we are doing!

When I started my wedding business in 2013, I made some mistakes…. quite a few actually! I’ve never shared them, until now, so take a listen to today’s episode, so you don’t make the same mistakes as I did!

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[00:00:00] Today, I’m going to take you back to where it all started back to 2012. When I set up my very own wedding business, I had worked in the media and television and radio marketing, and I loved it, but I always knew that I wanted to work for myself one day after getting married in 2010, I decided the wedding industry was a place I wanted to work and using my skills in television.

I set up my first business, the handmade film company, a wedding video business. Now this business doesn’t exist anymore, but when I look back on it, now I’m so embarrassed about the mistakes that I made in the beginning. So I wanted to share some of those with you today. In today’s episode, we’re going to look at the five or six that I made when setting up my own wedding business in the hope that you guys don’t make the same mistakes.

I’m Becca Pountney, wedding, business, marketing, expert, speaker, and blogger. And you’re listening to the wedding pros who are ready to grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, [00:01:00] and real life examples to help you take your one business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business, doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get going with today’s episode. Now, the first mistake I made was actually setting up my business with a friend. It seemed like a good idea after a few drinks to set up this wedding business together. And we did have a lot of fun, but when I look back at it, it was a bit of a mistake. You know, I set up the business with a friend because I wasn’t confident enough to do it on my own.

I felt like I needed the support of somebody. But setting up a business with a partner comes with its own challenges. Inevitably, one of you is going to end up feeling like you’re doing more work than the other one, and that can cause some. Also, you have to split the profits with the other person. So that means right from the start, you need to have double the amount of work to make that money because all of the time you’re splitting half [00:02:00] of it with somebody else.

Now, after first couple of years in business, in the end, we went our separate ways amicably, and we’re still good friends, but if I could do it all again, I probably wouldn’t choose to set up a business with someone else, perhaps if it was my partner or someone in my family, but probably not with a friend.

So my first mistake I think, was setting up a business with someone else. And perhaps it’s because of confidence. And if that’s you just believe that you can do it yourself, you don’t need a friend to do it with. And actually it can make it. Now the second mistake that we made in that very first wedding business was not having a clear plan of what we were doing or who we were targeting.

We came up with the idea of creating this video business. We came up with our logo, but we didn’t bear in mind who we were actually targeting. We just thought we needed to set up a business and anyone would book us. It didn’t matter what kind of wedding they were having or who they were. They would want our wedding video.

[00:03:00] And that was. As you’re setting up your business, you have to get clear on exactly who it is that you’re targeting. Because guess what, if you don’t know who you’re targeting, you just don’t get the inquiries that you’re looking for. So if you’re listening to this and you are also feeling like you may be.

Same mistake. Get clear on who it is that you’re targeting. You cannot just say your business is for all people getting married, because that is such a huge amount of people. And actually, you’re just going to end up with. So ask yourself, what kind of weddings am I wanting to work out? Who is it exactly that I’m trying to target?

Where do they spend their time? What kind of wedding venues are they going to be looking at? What are the other supply types that are going to be looking at to get booked as well? How much money are they going to spend in their business? If you get really clear on those things, then you can start to work out where you should be marketing to, to reach those people.

And not only did we not have a clear plan [00:04:00] of who we were targeting, we just didn’t really have a plan at all. We didn’t know what it was to start a business. We didn’t plan where we were going to market ourselves. And what happened was a bit of a spray and pray approach. So we essentially just tried a bit of everything.

We were not consistent in our marketing. We try to set up social media accounts. We did some magazine advertise. We did a few wedding fairs, but there was nothing consistent about our approach. And when I look back at it now I’m so embarrassed because it’s exactly what I say to people not to do. If you’re setting out on your wedding business, or even if you’re five or 10 years in, you should always have a strategy.

You should know who you’re targeting, and you should know what your marketing plan is for this year. What are you going to do? Where are you going to get in front of your customers? How much money are you going to spend on it? And then once you’ve gone through three to six months of that marketing plan, you can review it and see, well, what worked, what didn’t work and what do we need to be doing differently in the future?

So not having a plan was a really bad idea. So if you’re [00:05:00] listening to this and you, haven’t got a plan, get yourself a plan, get some pen and paper and start writing some of this stuff. Now, the third mistake we made was our very first wedding show. We were so excited to go and book a wedding show and get in front of couples and tell them about our business.

We spent hours planning for the show. I remember it very well. We baked cupcakes and then we put it. Logos to go on the top of those cupcakes so that we could give out cakes to the couples as they were going around the show. Now I’m not sure this was a great idea, but it did attract a lot of attention to our stand.

I mean, we were not bakers, but the cupcakes went down well and they look good cause they were well-branded. But the mistake that we made, and again, I’m embarrassed to tell you, this is, as we collected people’s details to find out if they were interested in our services, we didn’t ask them when their wedding was going to be.

We didn’t ask. What their wedding date was or where they were [00:06:00] having it or anything like that. And we didn’t take that information. So we walked away from that wedding show with, I think, over a hundred names and email addresses. But we didn’t really know what to do with them. Not only did we not have a plan of how we should contact them after the show, how are we going to keep up with them?

But it soon dawned on us. We didn’t even know when those contacts were going to go out of date. We didn’t know when they should drop off our email lists. We didn’t know when their wedding date was going to have happened. And so they were no longer a warm lead. It was a disaster. Essentially, we just had all of these email addresses, no information and no plan with what to do with them.

I’m embarrassed telling you about it. And although we were two fresh faced young entrepreneurs excited about our wedding business, we’ve really did waste money on that opportunity. We spent money on the wedding show. We spent money on the cakes. In fact, I spent more money buying things from the other suppliers in the room that I made from that wedding.

On that first day. So if that’s you and [00:07:00] you’re looking forward to a wedding show, when they’re allowed to get. Do not make that mistake. If you’re going to collect email addresses, be really, really intentional with it. No way you’re collecting them, know what you’re going to offer them in return for that email address, know how often you’re going to follow up with them.

Are you going to send them an initial email straight away? Sign up at the show. Are you going to follow up with a couple of other emails? Have you offered them a special discount as part of the show or an upsale? Know what your plan is? Know what your strategy is, and please make sure you get their wedding date.

Find out that they’re serious about getting married. Find out that they’re planning their wedding. You know, it dawns on me after my first couple of shows. How many people just come around the shows, especially the free to access wedding. Just to get the free stuff, just to get the cake or just to be nosy, they might not even be getting married in the first place.

So qualify your leads, ask the right questions and make sure you definitely have a plan of what to do with that information after the show. [00:08:00] Now my next mistake again is so embarrassing when I look back on it. And it’s so different to everything that I teach and tell people to do and very different to anything I do in my own marketing.

Now, all mistake. Number four was trying to be too cool. When we set up our business, we felt like we had to pretend to be bigger than we were. We weren’t a big business. We’d only just got started. It was just two of us wanting to go and make wedding videos. But for some reason we felt like we had to pretend that we were a lot bigger, a business than we were.

So we never referred to ourselves by our names. We always talked about ourselves in the third person, our business, you know, we, we weren’t personal. And it was a huge mistake because nobody thought that we were that big and nobody got to know us. Our personalities did not shine through in that business.

And less people met us at a wedding show. I wish we hadn’t have done that. And if you’re listening and you feel the same because you [00:09:00] think, well, I’m now I’ve got my own business. I need to appear bigger than I am. Just get rid of that belief straight away. You do not need to be anything other than. People buy from people.

People wants to have people at their wedding that they know they like and they trust. And the sooner you can build that kind of relationship with potential clients, the more likely the artist wants to work with you and to book. So don’t try and be something you’re not, and don’t pretend to be much bigger than you are.

Just go out there and be yourself. You need to be visible in your business. You should show up as you put your face out there, tell people about your life, go on Instagram stories and tell them what you’re up to help people get to know you as a person, you as a business. Uh, wedding day is the biggest day of someone’s life.

And they want to have vendors, wedding pros, wedding, business owners at that day, who they can relate to, who they can trust, who they can get to know and who are fun. And if you can let your personality shine through [00:10:00] you and your business on your social media platforms, in the email she sends in your website, then people are much more likely to want to work with you in the future.

So don’t make that mistake that I made. Don’t try and be too corporate, just be yourself. Don’t try and be like anybody else, just be yourself. And don’t be ashamed of that because you will attract the couples that like you for who you are now, the final mistake that I’m going to share with you today. And I’ve really opened up my heart today to tell you these things I’ve never really spoken about before.

The final mistake that I made was starting a blog on our website. Well, we didn’t really know why we were doing it. So again much like most of these other mistakes we were just reading around in the dark. For some reason, it didn’t Dawn on me to go back to all my marketing experience, to go back to all the years I’d had in the media.

Instead I seem to be doing. Just off the [00:11:00] cuff with this new business. And we had heard at a networking meeting that blogs were a good thing on a wedding business site. So we truly went home and set up a blog page on our website offers. Was embarrassing. In fact, our first blog was talking about that first wedding show that we went to.

I do not know why we thought that we needed to blog like a diary that is not the way to blog. If you own a blog, you should not be using it as a diary, because guess what your customers and potential customers are just not that interested in your business and what you’ve got going on. Nobody wanted to read about our experience at that wedding.

It was dull. No one needed to know how long we spent making cakes for that wedding show. And guess what? No one really read it. And then the mistake we made next was we just didn’t really know what’s what data with, because guess what, we hadn’t got any more wedding shows in the diary to write about, and we hadn’t really got any bookings.

And the bookings that we did have was [00:12:00] so far in the future that we couldn’t really write about. It didn’t Dawn on us that we weren’t just supposed to write with about what we were doing in our business, on our wedding business blog. So it just said. Untouched with just that one terrible blog posts. And it’s so embarrassing when I look back now as a professional blogger, as someone that teaches other people, how to blog for their website, how can I make such a ridiculous mistake?

And that blog posts out there. And I think we only ever added one or two more blog posts into it in that. You know, having a blog on your business website is a great thing. I’m going to do a whole episode of this podcast on how to make a good blog is great for your search engine optimization. It’s great to get across that know like trust factor.

It’s great to position yourself as an expert at what you do. But if you have got a blog, don’t make the mistakes that I had. Don’t use it as a diary because no one’s interested in your business and the behind the scenes of your business, [00:13:00] really, other than. And possibly your family and definitely don’t make the mistake of starting a blog and then just leaving it there.

It looks terrible. I’m embarrassed that people would have gone to our website, look to our blog and seen that we hadn’t written anything for a year. And the only piece of content that we’d written was terrible. So please don’t do that. If you don’t have the time or energy to write a blog every month, then maybe a blog on your website.

Just isn’t a good idea. If you are going to blog, you’ve got to be consistent with it. You need to choose a blog every week, possibly every month, even every two months, but don’t just blog once and then let it sit there forever and a day. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about the mistakes that I made when I first set up that wedding business, trust me, it did get better over time and we stopped making the same mistakes.

And now I would never make those mistakes again, but you know what we live and we learn. And hopefully by opening up today and sharing those mistakes with you, I’m going to stop you [00:14:00] making some of the same mistakes in your wedding business, in the future. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you did, why not hit subscribe or tell a wedding industry friend, because perhaps you can help them not to make the same mistakes as I did.

I’ll see you next time.

One thing I love about the wedding industry is the other amazing people you get to work with. If you want some nice like-minded wedding pros, just like you, then why not join my free Facebook? Wedding pros who are ready to grow. Come meet some new connections, hang out with me and hopefully learn some new things too,, just search for us on Facebook.

Becca xo


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