To my lovely entrepreneurs in the wedding industry– I want you to know that I admire your determination to learn and develop your skills. Whether you’re a photographer looking for ways to increase your talents or a wedding stationer who wants to find the best printery for your paper– your desire to learn is awesome and inspiring.
But… (and ya’ll knew there was a “but” from the title of this post)
I have to respectively ask you to stop emailing business owners asking for a guidebook on how to start and run your small business. For free.
As much as we would love to pull ourselves from the office to sit down with you over a relaxing cup of coffee, we just don’t have the time. That is, unless you pay us. Because if you want advice from an expert who knows what they’re doing and has achieved a level of success you admire, don’t you think you should pay for their time?
When someone emails you to engage you in an expertise of yours, do you freely give up your time? I’m assuming you provide a service, and with that service there comes a fee. The same can be said for sitting down with a business owner and asking them to help you in your business.
If a few hundred dollars (or maybe even less) stands in your way of getting some solid, tangible advice for your business– wouldn’t you say that is a reasonable investment?
I never got into business to, after years of research and refinement on what I want my company to be, just hand over everything I worked so hard on. So please, don’t email me about what I charge because what I charge really doesn’t apply to you at all, anyway. Also, if you want to know how I structure my business with team members, employees and subcontractors– that’s also proprietary information. I know you want to just “pick my brain” about so many topics you’re curious about (and need help with), but this brain has spent 10 years building a business from scratch, learning from mistakes, and also paying a mentor/coach to help me in my business.
Instead of emailing a professional and asking for free advice, why not engage them and ask what they would charge to give you some of their time? I bet you’d not only get an answer and some face-to-face, but you’re very likely to also gain their respect and appreciation.
It’s also considered very bad form and straight up rude to email a competitor and pretend to be a client, looking for insight into their pricing and process. Just don’t do it. Please, don’t. We seasoned pros can pick you out of an inquiry lineup anyway, so you won’t get very far. You can do a lot of market research and competition comparison by simply doing your homework and researching information. I’m living proof of that, because over the 10 years I’ve been in business, I’ve never once emailed another planner under the pretense I was an interested client to get information.
If you’re not financially prepared to hire a mentor, or engage a professional in a little one-on-one Q&A, consider joining some facebook groups (like Savvy Business Owners) where professionals help each other and trade information. While the information may not be based on an evaluation of your business directly, you can at least get your foot off the ground and take that first step.
I do offer one-on-one business mentoring and have two spots available starting in January of 2017. If you’re interested in learning more about my mentorships, please visit CandiceCoppola.com.