Hindsight is 20/20, right? I'm often asked, “Candice, what would you do differently knowing all that you know now about your business?” It's a great question and one I sat down and thought about for this episode of The Power in Purpose podcast. In this episode, I share 12 things I wish somebody told me when starting a wedding planning business.
This episode has tons of lessons – and years – packed into just 20 minutes.
Starting a business is exciting and challenging. As entrepreneurs, we often wonder what we would do differently if we had the chance to go back in time. I also love listening to other entrepreneurs share their lessons because there's so much wisdom in experience and reflection.
In this episode, I talk about everything from selling my business to building relationships and managing money.
I have no regrets about any of it – but there are some things I wish I did differently or approached with a more mature perspective. I know you can relate! Lol
In this episode about the 12 things I wish I knew when starting my wedding planning business:
- [00:02:20]: Lesson 1: The importance of being passionate about weddings
- [00:03:29]: Lesson 2: Building a personal brand alongside your business
- [00:04:30]: Lesson 3: Networking is crucial for success in the wedding industry
- [00:06:59]: Lesson 4: Running your business as if you would sell it someday
- [00:09:29]: Lesson 5: Be prepared to work long hours
- [00:11:35]: Lesson 6: Balancing passion and time spent working
- [00:13:28]: Recap of the lessons discussed so far
- [00:12:59]: Lesson 7: Managing Finances Wisely
- [00:14:05]: Lesson 8: Prioritizing Self-Care
- [00:15:09]: Lesson 9: Being the Guardian of Your Calendar
- [00:18:29]: Lesson 10: Understanding Not All Money is Good Money
- [00:20:43]: Lesson 11: Embracing “No” as a Full Sentence
- [00:22:56]: Lesson 12: Permission to Change Your Career
If you feel like it's time for you to get the support of a business coach for your wedding business, I want to invite you to check out my mastermind for women. WeddingPro Insiders combines one-on-one coaching with group masterminding to help you build a well-rounded wedding business.
[00:00:01.020] - Candice Coppola (Host)
Hindsight is 2020. I'm often asked, Candice, what would you do differently knowing all that you know now about your business? When you were just starting or as you were even growing your business, what would you tell your younger self? In this episode, I wanted to share with you 12 things I wish somebody told me when I started my business.
[00:00:27.450] - Candice Coppola (Host)
You're here to grow a business, but not just any business. You want to grow a profitable business with purpose, a business where you wake up every single day driven to serve your customers and make a difference in your own life. I'm Candice Coppola, a published author, business coach, and your guide to building a profitable business with purpose. Join me here every single week as we explore how to build and grow your business with purpose. Get ready to dig in and have meaningful conversations about the strategies and techniques that will help you build your dream business. This is The Power in Purpose.
[00:01:13.520] - Candice Coppola (Host)
Hey there. Welcome back to The Power in Purpose Podcast. It's me, your host, Candice. And this is a really fun episode I have for you today. I think it's one of those if I only knew lesson episodes. I want to share with you 12 things I wish somebody told me when I started my business. I know many of you are not just starting a business. Most of you who listen have very established wedding businesses. We do have some beginners that are listeners. But I feel like these lessons, they're going to make you laugh. They're going to make you cry. Some lessons you may haven't learned yet, so you'll hear them here first. I just think there's going to be a fun episode. I'm excited to share with you 12 lessons that I wish someone had told me when I started my business. Listen, I started my business so long ago. I began business in 2007. I had no idea what I was doing. I was 26. I had never planned a wedding before in my life. I had barely attended a wedding. I had no business experience. I didn't even take a business course in school and in college.
[00:02:20.750] - Candice Coppola (Host)
I was an art major. I had no idea what I was doing. And there were not resources like there is today to help guide me in growing and starting a business and in scaling a business. Really, these resources like this podcast and the things that I do, the things that you've probably used to build your business like courses and masterminds and conferences, none of that existed back in 2007. Most of it didn't really exist until 2015, I would say, is when you started to see an uptick. It was a small uptick. Now, everywhere you look, there's a course, there's somebody you can learn from, there's somebody who wants to share, which is great. But back then, I could not figure it out with any help from anybody. I had Amazon. I had Jeff Bezos' Amazon when it was a bookstore, and that was pretty much it. That's all I had. Eventually, I was able to find a community, and eventually I was able to learn things as I went. But gosh, I really had no idea what I was doing. Over the years, some of these lessons are things that I learned not just in the beginning, but also towards the end.
[00:03:29.900] - Candice Coppola (Host)
Towards the end of my career as a wedding planner. Some of these lessons I feel like we should talk more about in the industry, I also think that you just have to go and learn them for yourself. You won't learn until you experience it. He who knows it feels it, right? Some of these things you might have to just experience on your own, but take my word for it. You may not want to. Let's start off with lesson number one. The first thing I wish someone told me before I started my business was to make sure that I was really passionate about weddings. I was, thankfully. Thankfully, I did have a passion for it. I did have an excitement for it, a curiosity about it. I had that for most, not all, but for most of my career. I do see folks getting into the wedding industry who don't really like weddings. I'm like, Girlfriend, what are you doing here? You need to really like weddings in order to be a wedding planner, photographer, videographer. Little side note, you may not love them forever. I know that feeling. But getting into this industry, you really need to make sure that you love weddings.
[00:04:30.900] - Candice Coppola (Host)
I also think to stay in this industry, you have to maintain a love for it. If you don't love weddings, it's going to show in your work with your clients. It's going to show in how you market your business. It's going to show everywhere. You really need to have a passion for weddings in general, relationships, marriage. It should be the thing that ultimately drives you, is your genuine love and curiosity for it. The second thing I wish someone told me before starting my wedding planning business was to build a personal brand and my business at the same time. I didn't start building a personal brand until about 2011. I'm so glad I did. But had I known the impact a personal brand would have had on my overall career in my life, I would have started my business and started building a personal brand. A personal brand is what allowed me to pivot in my career. It's what allowed me to sell my business and to become a coach and a supporter of Wedding Pros. Without that personal brand, I would have never been able to do that so quickly, successfully, or swiftly. It is no doubt in my mind.
[00:05:40.550] - Candice Coppola (Host)
I think every entrepreneur should have some personal brand. It doesn't mean you need to offer education to other people in our industry. It could simply be you sharing your love and passion for anything: fashion, food, traveling, astronomy, golfing. I don't know. There are a million hobbies out there. I hope you have one besides your business. And growing a personal brand and sharing more about you personally is going to help you in the long run. One of the lessons I'm going to share in here, I don't want to give too much away, will really help... A personal brand will help that lesson when it's your time to receive it. When it's your time to come up on this lesson, your personal brand is what's going to soften the blow for you and help you make transitions. I think every wedding pro should have a personal brand, and that requires you to be the face of your business and to be growing a voice of your own alongside your business, making sure that your business is a standalone thing. It can exist without you and you have a personal brand there to fall back on. The next lesson I wish someone told me before starting my wedding planning business was not to underestimate the importance of networking.
[00:06:59.080] - Candice Coppola (Host)
Thankfully, I made networking a large part of starting my business and growing my business over the years. It's still a large part of my strategy. You've heard me say for a gazillion times that the relationship that the wedding industry is relationship-driven. I'll say it until I'm dead. It is literally one of the core tenants of marketing in the industry and the industry as a whole. It's relationship-driven. If you are not consistently trying to create relationships and maintain the relationships you have, your business is going to suffer because of it. If you're new, I want you to prioritize relationships. If you're old, I want you to prioritize relationships. And if you're somewhere in the middle, I want you to prioritize relationships. Relationships are the number one reason why I was able to do the things I did, like publish a book, get featured, have the clients I served. The biggest client I ever had was because of relationships. All of that, grow a team? I would have never been able to do that without the relationships I had forged. Never. I credit those successes to the people who believed in me, who supported me, and who wanted to see me succeed in the industry and outside of it.
[00:08:13.560] - Candice Coppola (Host)
100%. I wouldn't be sitting here recording this podcast without my relationships. The next thing I wish somebody told me when I started my wedding planning business was to run my business as if I would sell it someday. I wish I had the foresight to know like, Hey, you may sell this thing. You may want somebody to buy it, so you better start running it so that it doesn't need you. You better start running it so that somebody would want to buy it. You better not write everything off under the sun so that the business can show a really big profit. So many lessons. I definitely want to impart this upon you today. Make sure that you're growing a business that somebody would want to buy. And people want to buy healthy, profitable businesses with nice lead lists and good standing, good reputation, a solid brand that is well-known, established, can stand on its own with the new owner. And a lot of times our wedding businesses are really dependent on us. They're not set up financially to be attractive. We're spending way too much money. We're not making money. There's so many things that I think are working against you if you ever want to sell your business.
[00:09:29.330] - Candice Coppola (Host)
I was lucky enough to be able to have that experience. In looking back, there were things that I did do that helped me to be able to sell my business. I think the number one thing was growing a team and being able to have someone on my team who loved the business more than I did. That resulted in them wanting to purchase it, which is just luck in some ways. But there were things that we did as a team that really helped the business to be purchasable. That's building a really solid brand that people know it's having systems and processes that easily can be applied to a new business owner, that's having a solid client list, it's being profitable enough to somebody want to buy it, all of those things. There are many mistakes I made very early on and in the middle of my career that definitely affected the end result. There were a lot of things I also did right. Run your business as if you would sell it someday. The next lesson I wish somebody told me before starting my business was, Be prepared to work long hours. It goes without saying, and I don't mean this flippantly, genuinely, I knew what I was getting myself into, and I think you did too.
[00:10:40.860] - Candice Coppola (Host)
You knew it wasn't going to be easy. And when you love your work, you don't care how much you work. You love it. You're like, Listen, I am here. I love my work. My work is my hobby. My hobby is my work. My work is my life. And that's cool. But I don't think I really understood how many hours it was going to take in a day to do all the things. I didn't understand how many hours it was going to take to just build a brand and then continue to have to build that brand, but also have to maintain the clients the brand attracted. I just didn't realize how many hours. You think, Oh, I want to work for myself. I know I'm going to be working a lot, but am I going to be working 16-hour days for six years? Yeah. It takes its toll, doesn't it? It takes its toll on your mental health. It takes its toll on your physical health, your wellbeing, your relationships. I wish I was just prepared to realize how much time I would spend working. Let me be honest, I spend a lot of time working now.
[00:11:35.780] - Candice Coppola (Host)
I love my work, and I'm not going to apologize. I don't consider myself a workaholic. I consider myself passionate about my work, and I see my work as fun. I have fun almost every single day that I work. I enjoy what I'm doing right now, talking to you on this podcast. It's fun for me. I enjoy it. I don't feel like I need to apologize for that. But it also is a lot of time, and it's a ton of work.
[00:11:59.400] - Candice Coppola (Host)
What if you could spend more time being creative in your business and less time managing it? Real quick, I want to tell you about one of my favorite tools, Honeybook. Honeybook is an all-in-one client flow, a platform that helps wedding pros like you manage your business from processes like booking and payments to invoicing and so much more. Honeybook simplifies the process of running a successful wedding business. With customizable templates and even a mobile app, you will be able to manage your client flow on the go. Honeybook is offering listeners of The Power and Purpose Podcast a 35 % off.
[00:12:44.300] - Candice Coppola (Host)
[00:12:44.930] - Candice Coppola (Host)
One of their three plans for the first year. Use the code Purpose at checkout or go to Candacecopla. Com/honeybook to learn more. That's Candacecopla. Com/honeybook.
[00:12:59.340] - Candice Coppola (Host)
The next lesson I wish somebody told me before I started my business was to manage my finances wisely. I am going to record a whole podcast episode on my financial woes that I had throughout my career, all the mistakes I made. I fully planned on doing this probably in the fall. But girl, I messed up big time, okay? Like big time when it comes to money. Here's the root of why I think I was looking like I had everything together, but I was really broke. I think the crux of it was I was scared of numbers and I was scared to learn. I was scared to look stupid. I thought that I could figure it out on my own. I didn't want to take the time to become unscared of numbers and finances and cash flow and sales and what all these things mean. I didn't want to look stupid, so I didn't learn it at all. I just pretended like I had it all together. Boy, did it catch up with me. I had to learn hard lessons that prompted me to dig into my numbers. I think I just didn't want to look stupid.
[00:14:05.010] - Candice Coppola (Host)
I was one of those things where I was like, Yeah, I'll get to that. I'm so busy. I'm so busy. I'll figure that out. I'll file my taxes. I'll do this. I didn't do it. I paid the price. Listen, you want to be humbled? Humbled is going to grandmavera and asking her for a loan so that you can actually pay the people who work for you. Okay, that is humbled. Grandmavera was not impressed with me. She loaned me the money, of which I paid back, but she was unimpressed at my decisions. We don't always have a grandma, Vera, who can help us when we're in a bind. I wish that I had made myself more aware and educated on how to financially run a business and what to look for financially when I'm running a business, like what to do. The next lesson I wish somebody taught me before I started my business was not to forget to prioritize self-care. I just did an episode with Candace, a self-care expert. And if you haven't listened to that, what are you doing? You need to go listen. It's how to care for yourself during the busyness of wedding season.
[00:15:09.070] - Candice Coppola (Host)
I wish that I had prioritized self-care early on in my career. I was so going working 16-hour days, really working 24 hours a day. Everything I did was work-related. But I didn't make a lot of time for new hobbies. I didn't make a lot of time for personal growth, for personal enjoyment and fulfillment. My personal enjoyment and fulfillment was really tied to work, and that caught up with me. It burnt me out eventually, and it led to me not loving my work anymore and wanting to make a shift, which I guess everything in good time, right? I wish I had prioritized self-care, and self-care looks different for everybody. We talked about this with Candace. It's not just going to a spa. It's not just getting your nails done. But God bless you. If that makes you feel good, do it. It's also just having better routines and rituals and finding enjoyment in the simplicity of life and making time to nourish your body and move your body and take care of your health. So many things. Establish your relationships, nurture them outside of work, have a life outside of work. I wish somebody sat me down and said, Candace, you need to find a better balance because you are going to burn yourself out.
[00:16:16.980] - Candice Coppola (Host)
The next lesson I wish somebody told me before I started my business is to be the guardian of my calendar. Listen. As a wedding pro, when you start your business, you're like, Oh, my God, people are booking me? Yes, you're filling up that calendar. You want to see that calendar full. You might may love it for a few years. Lots of weddings, lots of meetings. You're busy, busy, busy living the best life being a planner, a photographer, whatever. But it catches up with you. There comes a point, I think, for most wedding pros where you open up your calendar and you have an immediate sense of claustrophobia. You feel so closed in, like you have no room, no time for yourself. You've given away weekends for three years in advance. You let clients jump on your calendar for literally anything. You're scheduling meetings at seven, eight, nine o'clock at night on a Wednesday, on a Thursday, on a Friday. You're spending your Saturdays when you're not working, meeting with clients. You just don't have any peace. And it feels like the walls are closing in on you. You're like, Where is the time for me to go on vacation with my partner?
[00:17:33.220] - Candice Coppola (Host)
Where is there time for me to grow my own family? That's one thing I don't think I've ever shared is part of the reason why I don't have children is because I didn't know where to do it. Well, I knew where to do it, but I didn't know where to do it on my calendar because I was booked out for years in advance and it's like, Well, we can't get pregnant here because I can't miss this wedding. This person is going to be so pissed if I'm pregnant and you do this pregnancy dance and you end up like me where you don't have any kids, which isn't that bad. I mean, it has its positives, right? Jokes aside, be the guardian of your calendar. Make sure that you are being respectful of your time. Schedule time off. Don't take weddings back to back for months on end. Don't allow clients to jump on your calendar morning, noon, and night seven days a week. And recognize that there will come a time where you need rest and you need time away from work in order to come back to the work you're doing and to do a great job.
[00:18:29.620] - Candice Coppola (Host)
The next lesson I wish somebody shared with me before I started my business was some of the best opportunities don't pay in cash. I coach a lot of people. I mentor a lot of folks. Love you guys. All my planners, playbook gals and my wedding pro insider ladies and any students of the client cocktail and anybody I've had conversations with in the past, all my listeners, I hear from you guys and you want to be paid for everything. And I love that you want to be paid for your labor. I think we all recognize that we work really hard and we deserve to be paid for the labor that we're exchanging. And exposure isn't payment. I get that. But some opportunities don't pay in cash. They pay dividends in more opportunities that do pay in cash. I never want you to lose sight of the fact that sometimes we need to hustle a bit. We need to put ourselves out there. We need to say yes to things that might not pay us money, but they pay us back in referrals or in more business or in greater opportunity. I never lose sight of that.
[00:19:31.320] - Candice Coppola (Host)
The most successful wedding pros that I've coached and that I've been coached by understand the balance of opportunity. They know that not everything they do may pay their day rate or their hourly rate, but they see how the end result of this thing, this job, this person, this opportunity can bring them something else and they go after it. They give it everything as if it were a paying job. So listen, some of the best opportunities that you will ever have, they didn't pay in cash, but they pay in other things. And those things pay in big cash. The next lesson I wish somebody taught me before I started my business is no is a full sentence, no, period. And you do not need to explain your no's. Not every opportunity is meant for you. And for those that aren't, you can say no to them, whether it's a new client or a styled shoot or whatever. You are allowed to say no to things that are misaligned and they could just be misaligned in this season. Maybe they're a good opportunity, but it's not for you right now. You're allowed to say no. And you're also allowed to say no without explanation.
[00:20:43.440] - Candice Coppola (Host)
This is one of my favorite things to do as an adult is to say no, thank you, and not give an explanation as to why. I don't feel like every invitation I need to say yes to out of obligation. I don't think I need to say yes to everything. I pick and choose the things I say yes to, and I say no to things for whatever reasons I have, and I don't feel the desire to express them. I don't need to make excuses for my no. The answer is no. Thank you so much. I would love to work together in the future. Right now, I can't commit to this. Period. A no is a no, and that's it. You don't have to explain yourself. The next lesson I wish somebody taught me before I started my wedding planning business is not all money is good money, honey. Nope. No, ma'am. No, please. No. Okay. There are a few clients. Not a few. There's very small. There might just be one. There was one client who I... Anytime I say this, I think of that person because it's like, Your money wasn't that good. It was green, all right, but it wasn't great.
[00:21:49.770] - Candice Coppola (Host)
It wasn't good money. Not all money is good money. This phrase, this saying is essentially telling you that not everybody who inquires about your services is a client meant for you, nor are you meant for their wedding. The moment you recognize that people would be better served by finding another partner and you're doing them a disservice by saying yes because you can't deliver what it is they want or the personalities are going to clash, whatever, the moment you realize that is really freeing as a business owner. It's so freeing to know. I don't have to take everybody that comes along. I'm allowed to say no. I know that not all money thrown at me is the right money for me. It's not all good money. Just because somebody's paying you doesn't mean that you should have taken that job. It doesn't mean that their money is good. And if you've ever had a client who has tested your will to continue, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Okay, the 12th and the final lesson I wish somebody taught me when I started my business way back in the Dark Ages of 2007. Are you ready?
[00:22:56.450] - Candice Coppola (Host)
The lesson is you're allowed to change your career. You're allowed to evolve, you're allowed to shift and to pivot. What you're doing today may not be your forever career. It could be some people stay in the same career for a lifetime because they love it the same as the day they started. But that's not the majority of people. I think most of us have a career in a season of life, and that career evolves and brings us to the next chapter in our journey. What you're doing right now is likely not what you're going to be doing 20 years from now. And that is okay. If you're listening to this episode and you've been feeling that push to go in a new direction, even if it's adjacent to what you're doing right now, but exploring the edges of a new opportunity, I want to tell you that that is okay. You are allowed to change your career. You're allowed to make adjustments and changes just like life changes, so does business, and so does your work. And your work needs to fit in to your life. And as your life grows and changes, you may find that the work you're doing today doesn't fulfill you anymore.
[00:24:05.730] - Candice Coppola (Host)
And here is me giving you permission to make a change. Those are my 12 lessons. I would love to hear from you. Could you DM me and tell me what lesson resonated with you the most? Maybe what lesson are you currently learning right now? And if you have your own lessons, I would love to hear them on my social media. There will be a post about this episode, and go find it on my Instagram @kindie. Com. And share with me under that post one of the lessons you wish somebody taught you before you started your business. What do you wish somebody had the courage to tell you before you started your business? And in retrospect, hindsight is 2020. You wish you could go back and tell your younger self. All right, friend, thanks so much for listening to today's episode. I'm here to remind you that there's so much power in your purpose. Until next time. Thanks so.
[00:24:59.140] - Candice Coppola (Host)
Much for tuning in to this week's episode of The Power in Purpose Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. Head over to powerinpurposepodcast.
[00:25:14.880] - Candice Coppola (Host)
[00:25:15.740] - Candice Coppola (Host)
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