I was one of those brides that thought “I can do that” “and that” “oh, and I would love to try my hand at that!”.
Like many an entrepreneur, the “I can do it” mentality can present itself as both a blessing and a curse.
Multi-talented, creative, and determined can also equal stubborn, overwhelmed, and reluctant to ask for help.
That being said, planning my wedding was the most eye opening experience I have ever had and a direct spotlight on who I was and who I had yet to become.
Below are 10 lessons I learned from the process that was equal parts laughter and tears, cheering and cursing (sometimes at the same time), and the most overwhelming stressful yet exhilarating experience I have ever had.
Without further ado…
1. The importance of outsourcing.
Seriously. Don’t know how much more importance I can impart on this. As a small business owner you very well may be a ‘jack of all trades’ however you do not have to be a master of them all as well. Really, you don’t. Take this advice to heart: outsource the things in your business that you can mentally and financially afford to do so. Not super keen on numbers, hire an accountant or bookeeper. Don’t want to spend all day answering emails, hire a virtual assistant. If it will afford some piece of mind or time in your day to focus on what you would rather be allocating your time to, do it.
2. Get organized now or pay for it dearly later.
Your ideas will all go to shit if you do not have concrete plans to enforce them. When things start falling apart around you is not when you want to start searching for all of your paperwork, receipts, answers. Think ahead, plan ahead, and come up with systems (I promise they sound boring, but they are quite valuable) to ensure that you are prepared.
3. Expectations, expectations, expectations.
This lesson can easily be demonstrated by a quick peruse through pinterest. Extravagant wedding florals that cost four times my entire wedding budget, a closet full of designer clothes, and baked goods that look like they were airbrushed that way. Do not expect the impossible. Make sure that your vision and goals are realistic and then work your ass off to achieve them.
4. When things don’t go right…
You do not get a free pass to fall apart. You do not get to act like a child. Pick yourself up, fix the situation the best you can, and continue to move forward.
5. Don’t get stuck on the big picture, focus on doing what you can do and do it well.
Always focusing on the big picture can tend to lead to overwhelm, fast. Forget, for a moment, the mountain of tasks necessary to complete your big picture and focus instead on what you can achieve right now. Break things down into bite sized pieces and as you accomplish things on your list the big picture won’t feel so far away and daunting.
6. Silence the noise. Stay true to your values, goals, and vision.
When you are starting a business, just as when you are planning your wedding, you will have a plethora of unsolicited advice. This advice will most likely be coming from people with a genuine desire to help however, they may not understand your vision or your goals. Be patient with people and take the advice for what it is, well intentioned. Anyone willing to spew hate however, all bets are off…
7. Don’t forget to value those around you that love and support you.
These are the people that will lend you their shoulder when things go wrong, shit gets tough, or you just really need to hash things out out loud and your dog is not really offering up any good feedback. Treat them well and thank them for being there. If you take them for granted, they won’t be there for long.
8. Take time out.
Allow yourself to decompress on a regular basis. Remember that whether it’s planning a wedding or running a business, you must be healthy both physically and mentally in order to carry out your grand plans. Eat real meals (none of that pop-it-in-the-microwave crap), get real sleep, take real showers (it’s ok, I’ve been there too). Get out from behind your computer/your camera/ your desk/your sewing machine. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself the time you need to stay healthy and balanced.
9. Always be professional.
No matter that they sent you the wrong color flowers the day before your wedding (true story!) or what kind of nasty comment they wrote on your latest blog post, ALWAYS remain professional. (Remember tip #4!) You never know when your paths will cross again and what’s more- you don’t want the bad press. And from my own personal years of experience in the retail industry, for goodness sakes, treat people with respect! You don’t want that kind of bad karma that is reserved for people that are nasty to those in the service industry.
10. Be adaptable and ready for change.
Long story short, change is a train you just can’t stop. Either get on or let it pass you by but just know, stagnation never ended well for anyone.
Bonus Lesson (cuz 10 just wasn’t enough-ha!):
11. Always keep moving forward, even when you feel like all you want to do is cry.
Alright, now it’s your turn!
What have I missed?
Did you have an epiphany moment while planning your wedding?
Where has influence from other life events crossed over into the way you run your business? Post in the comments below.