Some people call me an OG of wedding business marketing, but deep down I'm just another person wearing PJ bottoms on Zoom. I swear a lot, I share my struggles, and I don't pretend to be better than anyone else.
Hear directly from 4 amazing wedding pros about how The Wedding Business Collective has changed their businesses and what they’d say to you if you’re thinking about joining. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with and supporting these 4 women and have seen them grow by leaps and bounds.
Each one of them shares who their ideal clients are, how they’re attracting them, what’s working for them, and what they’re working on. They share how they’ve been able to get a handle on their time and step into their roles as the CEOs of their business. They’re spending their time on tasks that move them closer to their goals and they’re making consistent progress and they’re sharing how they’ve done it!
During Book More Weddings Summit, I invited 4 members of The Wedding Business Collective to join me for a panel where we discussed all of these things and a whole lot more. It was too valuable not to share outside of the summit so, in this podcast, you’ll get a peek behind the curtain and see how they’ve grown, where they’ve stumbled, and what you can take away and apply to your own business. You’ll also be able to get an idea of whether The Wedding Business Collective is a good fit for you or not before the price increases!
In this episode we’ll cover:
Carolyn Kulb is the lead designer and owner of Bloom Poet, a boutique floral and event design studio in Seattle, Washington. She works with work with couples who are really creative and have like a vision for their wedding, but they just need a little bit of help to get the aesthetic. They don’t really know where to start with that so that’s where we come in and help them flesh out what everything should look like.
Christy Hunter is a wedding photographer based in Southern Arizona. She works with couples who are looking for bright, colorful, romantic, but very simple and natural photography. What sets her apart is that she takes care of all of that guesswork behind the scenes. Most people aren’t comfortable in front of the camera and the key to making them comfortable is just preparation and making them feel like they have all of the information that they could possibly ask for regarding their portrait sessions or being prepared for their wedding day and everything that can affect their photos. She makes sure she sets them up for success.
Emily Stotter runs Freebird Paperie Graphic Design in Central Pennsylvania but she serves people across the US. She offers wedding stationery and business branding so she also does logos, websites, and business stationery. Emily loves to work with couples who sort of don’t take themselves too seriously, who are pretty laid back, and who appreciate a clean, minimalist, modern, somewhat nature-inspired look. She’s working part-time in her business now while she has small children and is gearing up to go full-time when they’re both in school.
Nancy Skipton is a wedding planner and her business is called Simply Celebrations & Events. She’s located in Covington, Washington, and does mostly weddings but have one large multicultural festival in a neighboring town that she plans each year. Nancy’s couples are usually busy professionals, frequently college educated, almost always own a dog, and sometimes want to have the dog as part of their wedding, which I’m totally game for. My couples are looking for personalization. They want their wedding to be very unique. They wanna see their personality infused into their wedding and they want to not have to worry about the details on the day of their wedding.
Carolyn attended Wedding Business CEO Summit in 2021 and she saw my presentation about the difference between $10/hour, $100/hour, $1,000/hour, and $10,000 tasks. At that time she was transitioning from being a flower farmer to a wedding floral designer. Learning to think about her time like a CEO changed how she thought about her time and at that point, she knew she wanted to join The Wedding Business Collective and learn more.
Christy won a 6-month scholarship to The Wedding Business Collective after attending Book More Weddings Summit. When she joined, she made sure to focus on what was really important to her and she went through our Create Your Overwhelm-Squashing Marketing Plan course. She told her husband that she felt like she just went to college. That course was like getting an entire semester of business school and now, she actually feels like a legitimate business owner. Before that course, she was doing all the things but wasn’t intentional about anything. Now she has a really good grip on that.
Emily found The Wedding Business Collective through Book More Weddings Summit as well and she decided to start a trial. She loved the Create Your Overwhelm-Squashing Marketing Plan course but the Quarterly Planning Sessions are what really changed things for her. She said that being able to finally really look at her business as CEO and break down the finances, break down the marketing, and how she was going to do everything.
She’s still working on actually being able to realistically plan with the amount of time that she has, but being able to look at everything over a whole quarter, breaking it down by month by week was just something she’d never done before. As Christy said, that made her feel like such a legitimate business owner. Now she’s got a plan instead of just looking at her to-do list every day.
Nancy came across The Wedding Business Collective during COVID at a time when she didn’t know if her business was going to sink or swim. She knew she had to up her game by improving her client experience and making the business easier for her to run. As a solo entrepreneur, she wears all the hats, which I’m sure you can relate to. The Wedding Business Collective has helped her figure out what she should and shouldn’t be doing with her time.
Nancy felt like she really needed to start looking at her business as a business. She’s always been professional but she wasn’t handling her business like a CEO. The Wedding Business Collective forced her to create her 90-day plan, which she loves because now she is actually hitting her goals instead of just pretending she wants these goals. The CEO date was probably the biggest life-changing thing for my business. She does it every Monday and that’s the only way she’s accountable to herself. She’s looking at my business through the numbers and because of being in The Wedding Business Collective. It forces me to not be that and to be a good employee and a good CEO.
Carolyn rebranded over her slow season and now her brand reflects the high-end work she does. Due to the Create Your Overwhelm-Squashing Marketing Plan course, she gets inquiries almost exclusively from her ideal clients. She’s now booking 100% of the inquiries she gets for a service that starts at $8,000-$12,000, which is incredible, and she’s planning on raising her prices.
Coming from being a flower farmer, Carolyn didn’t know how to market herself. She was just throwing random things out there and hoping to book clients. Now it’s very clear that she is selling a transformational experience where you are getting a floral story that is reflective of your love. She has such confidence in what she’s providing she doesn’t even know (or care) what anyone else’s minimums are. She has experienced that huge mindset shift since joining The Wedding Business Collective.
Christy is in a holding pattern because her husband is in the military and she isn’t sure where they’ll be moving next. Because of COVID, Christy just started getting real momentum in her market in 2021. She was excited because she finally had a plan, she was doing CEO Days, and she had a better business mindset with what she learned in The Wedding Business Collective. She and her husband made the decision that regardless of a potential future move, she was going to book out her October in Arizona because she’s getting inquiries left and right and they’re the people she wants to work with.
Going through the Create Your Overwhelm-Squashing Marketing Plan course made Christy super confident going into her move. She now knows how to confidently market with actual data, knows how to research my competitors, and how to figure out if she needs to change something around. Christy now knows what she needs to do and she also knows exactly how to make proactive future decisions that aren’t just willy-nilly.
Emily realized that right now, the best thing she can do with the small amount of time that she has to work each week and keep up with her clients is to keep educating herself until her kids are both in school. She’s keeping up with clients that are flowing in and she knows that in two years she’s going to have so much more time. She’s ramping up to that moment now by writing like SOPs and saving for an assistant.
Emily has raised her prices and is planning to raise them again. That is allowing her to do less work for more pay. She’s working in a less chaotic manner for more pay and she’s a lot more confident kind of realizing when things aren’t a good fit and knowing where to look for in her ideal client now. She’s in a bit of a holding pattern but she now has the tools to grow her business in the meantime, which is awesome.
Emily also has an accountability partner in The Wedding Business Collective who she’s become very close and they hold each other accountable and help each other make progress. They were both struggling with not having enough time due to constraints in their lives and when they shared that with me, I created the Making Progress Even When You’re Busy course. That course has been helpful for so many other members as well.
Nancy learned a lot during COVID and started investing in herself and her business, something she resisted in the past. That has been a real life-changing experience for her. Nancy has worked on her client experience and she loves her clients but she also realized that she can have boundaries. She’s been able to really get in the zone and focus during our Get-It-Done Days in The Wedding Business Collective.
Having that level of focus has improved Nancy’s client experience and she’s now more organized and can help her clients stay on top of important dates. She creates her 90-day plan each quarter and sticks to it. She can clearly see how she’s progressing toward her goals and she’s able to easily stay on track with them.
This question was asked by an attendee of the live panel and Christy jumped right in to answer it. She said she loved the way we do ideal client interviews in The Wedding Business Collective and that was a huge help for her. It was never helpful for her to imagine a person and what brands they like and where they shop. That’s the depth of most ideal client exercises and it’s just not helpful.
Christy decided to send her past clients a survey instead of interviewing them and provided them with a print credit when they completed it. She only did 2 ideal client interview surveys but she was able to notice the glaringly obvious similarities that she needs to be focused on in her marketing. She then took everything she learned from her ideal clients and put it into her marketing so that it became a client magnet. That’s the best way to attract more clients.
In The Wedding Business Collective, we let the ideal client interviews and the data make the decisions about where you should market and what you should do.
Christy’s location is up in the air right now so she hasn’t done as much location-specific marketing but she has a Trello board full of content ideas for both location-specific and non-location-specific topics. Her ideal client research revealed that her ideal clients don’t spend a lot of time on social media. She’s been more focused on SEO and she’s planning to launch a YouTube channel.
Emily’s main marketing channel is currently blogging. She hired an awesome writer to help her out with that and she’s currently writing one blog post per month for Emily’s website. She uses those blog posts for her social media and repurposes the content on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and even on Google My Business. She has started doing Instagram Reels but like many of us elder millennials, she’s not super comfortable with them yet. Writing her social media captions have gotten infinitely easier because she knows the exact ideal client she’s writing to.
Nancy uses the words of her past clients to create content whether that’s in a blog or in an Instagram post. She went through all of her reviews and identified the common terms people used and is integrating them into her website copy. Nancy’s website got a Member Makeover a few months ago in The Wedding Business Collective and she’s going to be working on implementing those changes.
For Carolyn, networking is a major source of leads and she gets a lot of referrals from previous clients. SEO and blogging have been very important to Carolyn’s marketing plan and she makes sure to do keyword research for her blog posts. She tried Pinterest but it wasn’t driving traffic so she dropped it. Sometimes marketing experiments work and sometimes they don’t and Carolyn has a great mindset around them. Networking with other wedding professionals in the Seattle area has been really helpful for Carolyn. She just started doing Reels and is continuing to do email marketing.
Christy pointed out that she’s in a lot of Facebook groups but The Wedding Business Collective stands out so far above everything. That’s not just because of the experts we bring in or the courses, but the level of attention and care that Heidi shows to The Wedding Business Collective members. You actually show up in the Facebook group. She has been in other Facebook groups and the administrators occasionally pop in and sprinkle some things in there but Heidi is actually checking in and following up with us.
Heidi actually checks in with everyone and follows up and cares instead of just putting a conversation out there and then not being a part of it. It’s very much a collective, it’s not a Facebook group. It’s something that Heidi is actively involved in and trying to better continuously.
Nancy shared that education is super, super important because life is not static. Business isn’t static. Continuing to evolve is what got Nancy out of COVID lockdowns in a better position than she entered it. She reminds us not to make the same mistake she did and to refuse to invest in ourselves. There are so many layers to running a successful wedding business and you can’t rest on your laurels. It’s important to be able to be the CEO of your business and that’s something Nancy has learned from The Wedding Business Collective. As she says, make the investment, it’s not that expensive and the payoff is huge.
Emily told us that she thought The Wedding Business Collective was going to be all about marketing. Instead, she’s learned about hiring, outsourcing, SEO, time management, pricing, and so much more. The Wedding Business Collective is comprehensive, it’s not just about marketing. It also applies to all levels, there are members who are brand new in business and others who have been in business for decades. Heidi listens to what the members need and she creates new courses and resources for us! You can fit right in no matter what stage of business you’re at.
Carolyn said that having access to Heidi’s marketing brain is so valuable. We’re all so good at our craft, but you don’t get a just class in marketing when you start a thing you’re really good at. Having Heidi who has more than a decade of experience marketing wedding businesses specifically, and knowing Heidi knows everybody in the industry is so helpful. Just having access to her absolute wealth of knowledge all the time is just so valuable because there’s no other place on the internet or elsewhere where you’re just going to have somebody who knows the answer or can find it for you, or can help you work through a thing.
Heidi’s just so awesome at coming in and asking “oh, well you have, you tried this, you could try this.” And then you have other people chiming in like, “what if you tried this or test this? Or what do these numbers look like”? I love that it’s data-driven. We’re all looking at numbers for this stuff and it’s really awesome to have all of that knowledge at your fingertips. And as Emily said, the classes are based on our needs. It’s not the stuff that Heidi just randomly decides she wants to create. No, it’s based on what we actually need. There are so few other things out there that are as interactive and designed for you specifically based on what you’re struggling with.
Being any kind of business owner is super isolating. Your husband, your kids, your friends, they don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. When they have a rough day, they go home and forget about it. We don’t get that luxury. Doing things in isolation is dumb. Don’t do it. It’s not fun. You need other people to gut-check you or encourage you or tell you, “Hey, don’t do that thing” or help you through a transition.
We know each other and just having more community is just really, really important because otherwise, it’s impossible. You cannot do this by yourself all the time. It’s not possible and it’s not feasible and it’s not fun. So, don’t! Get the support that you need and it doesn’t mean hiring somebody. It just means joining a group like The Wedding Business Collective where other people know what you’re going through.
If you want to experience growth like these 4 wedding pros have, come join us in The Wedding Business Collective! The price increases on September 20th, 2022 at 9pm Pacific so click here to join us before the price goes up.
Join us inside The Wedding Business Collective!
Episode 215: How To Use Quarterly Planning To Squash Overwhelm
What’s The Point Of Having An Ideal Client?
8 Reasons Why Having A Wedding Business Marketing Plan Will Make Your Life Easier
Episode 219: How To Run A Price Increase Promotion For Your Wedding Business
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