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.
How amazing would it be to get a peek inside the businesses of the most prolific thought leaders in the wedding industry? That’s exactly what today’s guest has done over the past several years with his podcast and today he’s sharing what he has learned with you.
It can be easy to look at the high-profile people in our industry and think that things are sooooo different for them, but they’re really not. Sure they may have a larger team and have more of a spotlight on them but they’re still creative people trying to make this whole business thing work while battling anxiety, fear, and imposter syndrome.
In this podcast episode, we go deep and talk about how the most successful, high-profile people in the weddings and events industry manage their fear and anxiety. We talk about how they handle challenges and manage their own mindset which can absolutely get the best of them even if things appear perfect on the outside.
We also discuss how to remain relevant in a changing market so you can have a successful wedding business for years to come.
Back in 2017, Andy started The Wedding Biz Podcast because none of the podcasts for wedding pros was interviewing the icons he wanted to hear from. He had the opportunity to work with some of them in his entertainment business and he wanted to interview them.
Andy has always wanted to go deep and learn about how these people got started and he has been able to interview people who are absolute masters of their craft and titans of business as well. His guests vary dramatically but one of the common threads is the high-touch way they connect with their clients. They take a very personal approach to getting to know their clients so they can craft experiences that reflect who they are.
This emphasis on creating amazing experiences isn’t contained to the event itself. Every part of working with these high-level wedding pros is an intentional, well-thought-out experience. Every little touch-point is highly customized and makes them feel taken care of. The client experience doesn’t just start when someone is a booked client, it starts from the moment you meet a lead.
Crafting a fantastic client experience isn’t just for luxury wedding pros. There are small things that any wedding professional can do to make their leads and clients feel cared for. Finding a way to personally connect with your clients is important because you are a person and someone is hiring you, the person.
You may think your clients don’t want you to get to know them, but they probably do! We all want to do business with people we know, like, and trust and that can’t happen if you don’t get to know your clients and allow them to get to know you. Relationships are a very powerful thing and they’re founded on personal connection.
Something as simple as a hand-written thank you note after a consultation goes further now than it ever has. It’s something nobody does and it really stands out. That small gesture makes your client or potential client feel like you really do care about them because you do.
All of the icons that Andy has interviewed have spoken about feeling fear and struggling to deal with it. He was surprised to hear that David Tutera still feels that despite the success he has had. The most success David has had, the more he has felt a fear of failure. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, you’re still a human and you will still feel fear.
It is so easy to feel like you’re the only person in the world that feels fear or is afraid of failure but that’s just not true. You can reframe your fear as validation that you’re moving in the right direction and taking on something new. Focusing on what you can control vs what you can’t control is a great way to ground yourself. Feeling fear means you care about what you’re doing and that’s a positive thing.
Andy has felt imposter syndrome himself and many of his podcast guests have felt it as well. It’s helpful to see that the people who we see as having perfect businesses and perfect lives also have the same imposter syndrome that you do. Growing as a person and a business owner means recognizing that no one is perfect and understanding what particular issues you have allows you to work on them and prevent them from holding you back.
Andy used to think if he could just get rid of his anxiety life would be perfect. I’ve felt the same way about bipolar disorder. Everyone has their own struggles but learning to live with them and thrive anyways is a huge key to success. We have to learn to work with these things instead of trying to fight against them all the time.
Challenges are inevitable and it doesn’t matter how successful you are, you will face them. The difference between the average person and these very successful, prolific icons in the weddings & events industry is that the icons take a more proactive approach to solving problems instead of burying their heads in the sand.
Andy shares that Mindy Weiss absolutely loves to come up with solutions. She expects challenges and she enjoys the process of solving them and said the secret is to remain calm. Preston Bailey talked about how having a sense of panic or worry becomes contagious and spreads like wildfire. He used to wear his emotions on his sleeve and it created a lot of problems when he was worried or stressed out.
This is something that Andy had to really work on because his bandmates could tell from just the way he walked that he was tense and that something was wrong. He learned that he shouldn’t just tell everyone in the band or on his team the issues he was dealing with unless they needed to be involved. That’s part of being a leader.
Through this process, Andy was able to work through his tendency to catastrophize and he now goes into challenging situations with the knowledge that there is a solution and he just has to find it and implement it. This has also helped his anxiety in his personal life as well.
In order to get better control of your fear or anxiety, you can do simple things in the moment like deep breathing and pausing before leaping into action. So much of this can also be helped ahead of time by implementing routines. Morning and evening routines ground the icons that Andy has interviewed and it helps ground him as well.
Andy likes to start his day with transcendental meditation and that has massively helped his anxiety and it has also helped him to not be so reactive. That can’t happen unless he sets aside the time in the morning to do that as part of his routine. Meditation and exercising in the morning have been incredibly helpful in dissipating Andy’s anxiety. Most people that Andy has interviewed have a morning routine to set the tone for the day and set themselves up for success.
It’s not that any successful person you look up to has their shit together all the time. It’s that they have developed routines and systems for putting it back together when it falls apart. When I find myself feeling anxious or stressed, I stop what I’m doing and take a quick walk. Even a short walk around the block is enough to provide a bit of a system reset so I can come back without those feelings of stress or anxiety.
Most people in the weddings and events industry started their business because they love the creative work but you have to tend to the business side as well. Bryan Rafanelli told Andy that he actually loves the business side just as much as the creative side. David Stark told Andy that he viewed the creation of his business structure as a creative act. If you take that perspective to the business side of your business, you’ll be able to apply your creativity to it.
The business and creative parts of any business aren’t all that different. Both require creativity and the skills you develop in one part bleed over into the other. I love marketing because I see it as a fun creative puzzle that I get to put together.
Preston Bailey talked to Andy about the importance of putting out work that’s different or unique so it isn’t easily forgotten. He now looks at every job as a showcase. Colin Cowie told Andy that he has regular innovation meetings with team members to brainstorm about events and about the business. Ray Thompson told Andy that he has weekly meetings with everyone on the team to review everything they’re working on and discuss ideas.
Staying relevant is constantly re-evaluating. Sean Low told Andy on his podcast that if you start to feel really comfortable, it’s time to change something. Business and life are a constant evolution. Think about how much the world has changed in the last 30, 20, 10, or even 5 years.
It’s also important to strive to stop doing things that are no longer relevant. This isn’t just about piling more things onto your plate. Letting go of things that no longer serve you is a great way to release dead weight from your business and your life.
Celebrated as a Top 25 Trendsetter by Modern Bride, Andy Kushner exchanged corporate fame as National Account Representative of the Year for a Fortune 500 company to recreate the event music and entertainment industry through his passion-come-to-life, Kushner Entertainment. A gifted storyteller, Andy then leveraged his relationships with top event planners and designers by launching The Wedding Biz, the only podcast for wedding and events professionals that exclusively features business-transforming conversations with industry icons.
Website: www.theweddingbiz.com & www.kushnerentertainment.com
Join us inside The Wedding Business Collective!
Get on the Black Friday VIP Waitlist
My interview on Andy’s podcast, The Wedding Biz
Episode 114: Dealing With Doubt & Imposter Syndrome with Lauren Aycock Anderson
The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Click Here to Subscribe via iTunes (You’ll just need to click the blue “View In iTunes” button and then click the Subscribe button when your iTunes opens.)
Click Here to Subscribe via Stitcher
And please take 2 minutes to leave me an honest rating and review on iTunes by clicking here. It will help the show and its ranking in iTunes immensely! Thank you – I appreciate it!