Please, stop asking for free advice.
To my lovely entrepreneurs in the wedding industry and beyond, 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 y'all know 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 in your expertise, 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 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 12 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.
A business coach and/or mentor can help you move forward in your business – by giving you guided advice that's customized based on what you're looking to achieve.
One of the greatest investments I've ever made in my business was investing in a business coach and a mastermind. They both taught me so much, and helped me move through limiting beliefs, showed me better ways to do things, and gave me the confidence and encouragement I needed to make big changes.
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 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 say this from the space of being a mentor who helps entrepreneurs like you. And I want to help you, which is why I want to encourage you to stop asking for free advice – and instead, hire someone to help you navigate the tricky waters of entrepreneurship.
As a mentor and a mentee, I promise you it's worth it.