The last time I wrote a year in review for Kindred Weddings and Events was my first year doing weddings in 2017! That post was filled with some amazing “firsts” because well, EVERYTHING was a first and it was so exciting.
2020 brought it’s own set of firsts. And some were less then thrilling, some even downright painful (emotionally, physically, and mentally). But those things happened, and it grew both myself and my business in new ways.
Let’s share a couple…
This probably isn’t news to anyone out there, but all of our pre-covid planned 2020 weddings postponed into 2021. That’s 6 times that we worked with couples to navigate contract language, available dates across multiple vendor categories, and being supportive through emotionally processing a deferred life change!
I quickly learned I needed to make some new investments (both with my time AND my money). In my contract language so I can best serve both my business and future clients. In my package offerings so that clients are served best where they currently are. In my community to learn from others who can speak through a learning experience so that I might rise above.
It’s also probably not a shock to hear that we had some cancellations as well. Not everything works out perfectly. Some couples knew it was best to change plans completely rather than hope for the best at the time.
Couples with families in other countries (hello travel ban). Couples with work commitments. Couples with family members whose health could be compromised. Couples adhering to restrictions out of their control.
It absolutely SUCKED! Both for myself and these couples. But I’m so thankful for the grace and the understanding all parties took into the process.
Thanks to literally every business coach and mentor out there who have been screaming this at me for the past 3 years. I finally listened!
I banished the thoughts of… “I don’t have anything to say” – and “no one wants to hear from me” – and “I have no idea how this technology works” and just did the damn thing.
There are plenty of Google videos out there, in depth courses, and tech gurus to guide you through this process. Yes, you will invest your time and your money.
But once I saw that number going up… 22… 46… 130… I realized that a little effort goes a long way. The information I have gleaned from almost 5 years in this industry (although some of it is constantly changing, ew covid!) is helpful. It’s needed. It’s wanted. It’s appreciated.
If you haven’t heard me shout it from the rooftops yet – INVEST IN SEO!
2019 changed all of that for me, thanks to Sara Dunn of Sara does SEO and her amazing, non-competitive, non-jargoney SEO Bootcamp. I learned to not only understand something completely VITAL to my business’s ability to thrive on the internet. I also learned how to trust it!
And if you do the math… I took her course in June of 2019 and technically got my first Google inquiry in October 2019. Only THREE MONTHS LATER.
These couples are more likely to book because they found my website USING THEIR WORDS. When they read my website copy, it puts them at ease knowing they have found someone who specializes in the solution to their specific problem.
Sarah doesn’t share group projects (a la Joey Tribbiani)!
My enneagram type 2 is constantly in a tug of war with my enneagram wing 3. I want to show up for others and be supportive in deed and word. However, I have a lot of trouble ACCEPTING help and asking for feedback.
I don’t mind getting my hands dirty (metaphorically) to learn something new – see above: website design, SEO, email list building, etc. But when COVID reared it’s ugly head, I knew that my tendency to hunker down and work alone was not going to do me any good during this time.
Whether it’s a group coaching program, a mastermind, or a casual “goals group” (shout out to my girls Emily, Caitlin, and Sandy for being the best industry friends in the land) get involved with others who can bring out the best in you, offer you support, share new resources, teach you something new, usher you into a new phase in your business.
(See first google inquiries above)
Going from not being able to find my business on the first TEN PAGES of a search to seeing my business on the first page was the best early Christmas present ever! Not only that, it was a search term that A) I wasn’t completely targeting because B) it had such a high difficulty score for my area that I needed to start smaller and work up my domain authority first.
Yes, it took 18 months from the start of my SEO journey to get to this place, but all the work I put in at the beginning has transformed into a routine. A routine that truly has paid off in my business.
I know that Google is constantly changing how they read and rank websites. Tomorrow I could be bumped down. But I know I got there before, and how to keep working to get back there again!
Although intimate and small weddings are already the niche and forte of my wedding planning business, 2020 really showed where I could adapt to the needs of inquiring couples.
With decreased budgets, head counts, and expectations some couples expressed to me their desire for a wedding planner/designer. But also that it just wasn’t something they could add into the budget. I firmly believe that even if it’s not in your budget to be able to invest in my full services, you should still feel supported planning your wedding.
A big trend in 2020 was digital products, and the wedding industry was not exempt! Many wedding pros put out some really great courses, downloads, and guides. I however was reallllllllllly hesitant to jump on board that boat.
Not only overwhelmed by the legal and tech questions I had, I didn’t want to put out something that I spent a ton of time on just to watch it flop. So I thought about what I already had in my arsenal.
*ding* I had my lightbulb moment!
I go through a guide with all my planning and design clients to help them nail down their couple style and wedding ambiance. It’s a on-on-one session that allows us time to explore likes, dislikes, wants, needs, and preferences. And it also reveals to me what hang ups a couple has, and what their biggest priorities are. All without me having to ask directly, stumping even the most prepared of couples!
This was one of the first resources I created in my business to help my couples. It was time to dust this off. A few upgrades and a TON of copywriting later, she was ready to hit the market. While the response to my soft launch on my email list didn’t wow (hello ONE sale), it’s an experience I am not taking for granted.
I did something I have never done before. I created a digital download for couples to help them create a foundation for wedding planning. And allows them to make decisions they can feel confident about! Also, I learned new skills, asked for help when I needed it, and made a sale to someone I don’t even know! Huzzah!
If you’ve read this far – you are amazing! Secondly, you can probably already put 2 and 2 together for this one.
As an introverted empath, going to a big industry conference looks like relational exhaustion and overwhelm to me! Plus as an enneagram wing 3, all I want to do is implement every single thing that second I get home. Talk about a short walk in the burnout park!
But COVID changed that in my favor, this year Wedding MBA went VIRTUAL! All of the amazing presenters recorded their talks and they were all available to attendees for a couple of weeks, which meant you could prioritize how you wanted to based on your business needs.
I chose my top 10 seminars, and after that my bucket was truly full. Full of insight, implementable tasks, knowledge, new ideas. And HOPE! Hope and gratitude that 2020 fueled some change in all of us.
I’d love to hear all about your 2020 – the good, the bad, and the ugly! If we don’t share what challenged and changed us this year we let it fall to the wayside and risk an opportunity for connection. Connection to ourselves and to one another.
And that’s what makes weddings so special these days, the opportunity to connect to the relationships that have changed us. If you are currently planning a small or micro-wedding and looking to add purpose and intentionality to your gathering – let’s chat!
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Sarah is a Los Angeles wedding planner ready to
elevate all your relationships through small and intimate weddings.