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.
Are you measuring the success of your wedding business based on how busy you are? A lot of wedding pros are and trying to be “fully booked” can lead you to burnout and overwhelm.
What if instead of focusing on being busy or “fully booked” you focused on your own definition of success? Maybe you have young kids and your definition of success is being available in the afternoons so you only have to send them to daycare in the mornings. Maybe you want to take certain times off or travel more.
No matter what your personal definition of success is, there’s a way to build your business to support it. Your business may look different from someone else’s but that’s because you’re chasing your own version of success, not someone else’s.
In this podcast episode, we dig into why you shouldn’t focus on being “fully booked” and create your own version of success so you can focus on that instead. Let me tell you, it’s a whole lot more fun to do this than try to fit someone else’s idea of success!
In this episode we’ll cover:
So many wedding pros just want to be fully booked and they believe the busier they are, the more successful they are. Really though, it’s the worst metric to measure success. What’s the point of working non-stop when you never get to spend time with your family, feel totally frazzled, and never get the chance to enjoy your success?
Many people leave their 9-5 job only to work 24 hours a day. We all end up doing it at some point but what’s the point? When we do this, we create a beast of a business that takes you further away from the lifestyle you wanted when you started out.
This is why the term “fully booked” gets under Laura’s skin. Being fully booked doesn’t give you the time and freedom to do the things you want to do outside of your business.
I’m sure you’ve run into someone you know and when you ask how they’re doing they replied with “busy.” Maybe you’ve been that person. Our society tells us that being busy is the goal and that it’s good, but that’s simply not true.
In the business world, “busy” is rebranded as “hustle” and gets glamorized. Laura and I are both very anti-hustle because it perpetuates the idea that being busy and working hard for the sake of it is the goal.
When we first start our businesses we all want more. More clients, more revenue, more bookings. None of us are prepared to see when we have enough though because we’re so accustomed to focusing on the pursuit of more.
It is okay to say no to things, especially when you’ve already hit your goals for the year. Are you aware of how much money you need to make to cover all of your financial needs and wants? Many people fly past that milestone and don’t even realize it all while working like they absolutely must or they’ll die.
Because of the long lead time from when you book a client to when their wedding date finally comes, you could be making decisions now that sabotage your future self. Saying no in the current moment protects future you which is something we don’t often think about.
Laura has gotten stricter with herself and has written on a board in her office things that are a “heck no” for her. She can easily say no to those things without thinking about it to protect the life she wants to have. Keeping those things visible creates a reminder to not overbook herself. She keeps both her goals and her “heck no” items visible so she can quickly remind herself of what she’s supposed to be doing and not doing. After all, saying yes to those “heck no” items prevents her from reaching her goals.
Laura’s husband is a teacher so school holidays are a no-go for her. That’s their family time. She blocks off all of them in her calendar in bright yellow so she can’t book weddings during these times. It’s so much easier to say no to someone when it’s your calendar saying no to them for you. Your calendar says it’s not possible so it’s not possible and that’s much easier to stick to.
Laura said she was terrible at this before she had her son. It felt much easier to ditch her husband for a weekend wedding than both her husband and her son. Her big-picture life goals have changed since having kids so that big why helps ground her and keep her accountable.
When you get an inquiry for a date you said you wouldn’t work, it’s so easy to feel like you should just take it because you’re afraid that if you turn it down, nothing else will come your way. This is especially true for the off-season because things feel scarce.
When this happens with one of Laura’s clients, they look at the financial situation of the business and base things on facts, not feelings. When they realize they’ve already hit their targets and they’re on track for the year, it’s easier to say no.
Nothing good ever comes from operating a business from a place of fear and worry. That’s why Laura encourages her clients to plan and come up with ways to diversify their income during slower periods.
Telling yourself that other bookings will come along may be difficult but it’s like a muscle that you need to develop. You have to be aware of the facts of the situation so you know if you’re feeling this way because you really do need the business or because you’re afraid.
It’s okay to not take on more just because people ask you to. If you’ve hit your goals for the year, you can absolutely just close your books. That is allowed! You don’t have to work yourself into the ground because you don’t feel like you can ever stop. You can close your books and just focus on serving your clients. That’s good for you, your clients, and people who would book the overwhelmed version of you if you were available.
Your availability has nothing to do with your capacity. You can decide that you’re only going to do 1 wedding in June because you’re taking time off or going on a trip. Just because you theoretically could cancel your plans and take more bookings doesn’t mean you’re available. You don’t have to be busy to be unavailable either. You get to create those boundaries!
The same thing happens when we finish work early. It’s easy to feel like you have to fill your team with random stuff like you would at a corporate job. The smartest thing to do in that situation is to recognize that you can just stop working and go enjoy your day or choose to do something else. The key is to choose to do something else you want to do, not just feel like you have to work until 5pm because that’s how work works.
Sometimes I still feel like I’m cheating when I go out to lunch during the day or decide to do my grocery shopping in the middle of the afternoon. The programming of “you’re not supposed to be doing this at 1pm” is strong.
It’s so easy to get caught up in how other people work and how other people run their businesses. The way you run your business should support the life you want and it’s okay if people work more or less than you. This is especially important to keep in mind when scrolling through Instagram because you can fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others.
This is something that is always changing and depends a lot on the phase of our life we’re in currently. Laura didn’t always have kids and the number of hours she works and the way she works has changed with this phase of her life. It’s okay if her business doesn’t look like someone else’s because it allows her to live a life that meets her version of success in this particular season of her life.
We aren’t business robots and you can’t expect to operate the same way regardless of how your life changes. It’s okay to scrap something because you no longer want to offer it or you’re no longer able to offer it. Our businesses need to meet the needs of our lives and as our lives change, those needs change. It makes no sense to expect the business to always operate the same way.
It’s common to struggle with the idea of defining success for yourself because that’s probably something you’ve never really thought about. When you work for someone else, you follow someone else’s version of success. Realizing that as a business owner, you get to choose what success looks like for yourself, is a huge step forward.
What would your dream life look like? What would your dream business look like? What would you do and what wouldn’t you do? When considering these questions you might begin to think “well I can’t do that” and that’s totally normal. You have to work on your mindset and remind yourself that can define success for yourself and create a business that supports the life you want to live.
This mindset work is something we all need to do and it ebbs and flows as we grow and change. It’s easy to stay “safe” doing what everyone else is doing but that costs you the ability to define success for yourself and live the life you want to live.
The truth is, none of us have this totally figured out. Laura and I both continue to work through this and things still feel scary sometimes. We’re all just figuring this out as we go. It becomes much easier when you get clear on what you really want so you can make that your North Star.
You may not be exactly where you want to be but you’re moving in the right direction. If you want to take afternoons off but can only do that twice a week, for now, that’s still fantastic progress! Making any progress toward the business and life you want to live is worth celebrating. You will get there, you just have to stick to it!
Laura is a wedding officiant, wedding business coach and founder of the Love Biz Academy. A self-confessed lover of bad 90’s music, trash TV, coffee, and cocktails, she is originally from the UK and now lives in Perth, Australia with her hubby and cheeky little toddler.
After building her business as a wedding officiant alongside her corporate day job back in 2018, she chose to ditch the 9-5 when she became a momma for the first time and went all in creating a thriving 6-figure business.
After facing the struggles of starting and growing a business alone, Laura created the Love Biz Academy to support other female wedding pros to pursue their passion and build the business of their dreams (with far less stress, wasted time, money, and WTF moments than she had!)
The Love Biz Academy is now Australia’s fastest-growing community of wedding pros and home to Australia’s only wedding business course and mastermind program.
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Episode 157: Why Taking Time Off Matters & How To Make It Happen
Episode 213: How People Pleasing Hurts Your Business & Your Clients
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