So you want to start a wedding business – yes! Maybe you’ve always wanted to do something more creative, or you have a brilliant idea for a product or service. Perhaps you want a job that gives you more flexible hours to be an at-home mum or that allows you to live outside of the hustle and bustle of a big city. Maybe you hope to apply the organisational skills that have made you a star at your corporate job to become a wedding planner, or finally dust off the camera you put aside after uni. Whatever it is that sparks the desire to form a start-up wedding business, there’s one thing that all too often puts out the flame: lack of time and money.
And I’ve been there! Many wedding businesses (including my own) are formed in the wake of your own wedding, when you’re still working full-time or just starting a family. Time and funds can be limited, and you already have lots of plates spinning. But while it’s true that a team of investors, an endless line of credit, and the ability to devote all your working hours to your new venture might make things easier, it’s no excuse for giving up before you begin. By working smart, working hard, and starting small, you can bootstrap your way to a successful business.
After all, I did it! I worked full-time for the first three years of B.LOVED and launched the Hive when I was divorced, broke, and just dipping my toe into a whole new world of bonus-parent life. So I have plenty of tips and advice learned first hand to help you build a successful business with limited resources.
Even Beyoncé only has 24 hours in a day! When you have a limited amount of time to devote to your business, it’s important to spend each minute of it meaningfully. See your time as an investment and prioritise accordingly. The key is to focus on what will bring in money NOW, and leave the long-term work for when things are more settled. Less busy, more success!
One of the keys to small business success is being a fast learner. Mistakes are inevitable, but see each one as a crash course in what not to do, rather than a permanent setback. Most importantly, don’t keep making the same mistakes, or give up when things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes you’ll end up with a business that looks different to the way you first envisioned it – and that’s a good thing! Ideas and opportunities arise when you’re already in motion, so don’t be afraid to pivot.
YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT A HOBBY
As a creative business owner, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of shiny object syndrome, or of not taking your own business seriously enough. Treat it as just that: a business! Set goals, stay focused, and hold yourself accountable (or find an accountability partner who will!).
ASK FOR HELP
Every superhero needs a sidekick! In the early days you may not have the cash to pay for a cleaner, childcare, or a VA, so ask supportive friends and family for help while you get your business off the ground. Ask your partner to do the weekly shop or order online. Get the kids to pack the dishwasher and put their laundry away. Ask your mum to help with childcare for a few hours a week, or to help with the ironing! Just be sure to show how grateful you are, and repay the favour(s) when you’re able!
I’m personally not an advocate of getting yourself into mountains of debt in order to launch your dream. However, if funds are the only thing holding you back from starting or growing your business, then look for funding options. From Allbright Pitch Days for female founders to Virgin Start-Up, to the government-backed Start-Up Loans Company, there are many options out there for raising capital.
One of the best ways to maximise the time you have available is to outsource the work that doesn’t serve you best so you can focus on the important stuff. And as much as you might try to do everything yourself, there are some that you should invest in professional expertise for. From brand imagery and web design and copywriting to legal and financial advice, to ongoing mentoring and support, don’t be afraid to invest judiciously in professional help.
Above all else, be kind to yourself. You’re only human! And remember, without you there is no business!
For more start-up stories and advice, take a look at our HiveTribe Highlights series, where fellow wedding pros take us through their small business journeys and share what they’ve learned along the way!
Top image: Bowtie & Belle Photography