Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 136 – Refining Your Foundation With Fallon Carter

You know a strong foundation is essential to running a successful wedding planning business. But when it’s time to refine or restructure, getting to the bottom of things can seem daunting. 

Fallon Carter of Fallon Carter Events is here to help! She’s joining this week’s Wedding Industry Insider to talk about the essential (and pretty simple!) process of refining the foundation of your business. 

The good news? It doesn’t have to be a big, sweeping project you tackle all at once. Instead, Fallon walks us through the seven key elements to focus on, and gives us a totally doable timeframe for achieving it!

Fallon is one of the earliest supporters of Timeline Genius, so she’s sharing some awesome ways that our program helps her provide the best service possible to clients (while protecting her time and energy). Plus, she’s sharing other programs she uses to streamline her processes and keep her business running smoothly.

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Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 106: Gain Control of Your Business One SOP at a Time, with Irene Tyndale

To gain control of your business, you need to map out your standard operating procedures (SOPs). Today’s guest explains where you can start.

Irene Tyndale is the Founder and CEO of Irene Tyndale Weddings & Events, an award-winning and full-service boutique event planning firm based in Atlanta. With a background in corporate event planning, Irene has over 20 years of industry experience. Her work has been featured in publications such as Modern Luxury and B Collective. Additionally, she is a leading industry speaker, author, coach, and educator.

In this episode, Irene challenges you to gain control of your business. Specifically, she highlights the importance of building relationships that later yield invaluable referrals, getting clear about the details of your procedures, and knowing your goals.

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Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 104: Stick Your Foot in the Door Before it Shuts – with Megan Gillikin

Imagine that you not only quit your job but also took out a small business loan. In addition to that, you’ve only been married for 3 weeks. And then you learn the business you bought is basically sinking. What do you do? Today’s guest made a choice:

“I decided that I was committed to figuring it out, even though the fear of failure and the fear of unknown and the fear of never getting out from underneath the reputation – those fears were super, super strong.”

Megan Gillikin is the founder and owner of The Planner’s Vault, an educational resource and community-based network for wedding planners. She is also the host of the Weddings for Real podcast as well as an industry educator and speaker. Additionally, she is the owner of A Southern Soiree, a wedding and event planning company that she rebranded and revitalized after purchasing it in 2010.

In this episode, Megan shares about the lessons she gained from purchasing and rebranding an existing wedding planning business. Specifically, she talks about how she uses the experience to now help other wedding planners achieve their business goals.

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Wedding Industry Biz

3 Workflows to Automate in Your Event Business

Automation this, automation that. We often hear automation touted as the be-all and end-all, but many event pros excitedly sign up for software like Zapier or IFTTT only to realize they don’t know what to automate. When you’ve been in business for so long, your usual routines and processes are just par for the course. Your manual workflows become muscle memory, so you might not even realize that there are easier options.

But with technology rapidly evolving, there are many solutions at your fingertips — you just need to know where to look. And while your first thought may be to head over to Google, your starting place is actually right inside your business.

Here are three key business workflows to automate and how they will free up your bandwidth for work that fills you up.

Sales Workflow

To be clear, you can’t put your whole sales process on autopilot. Prospective clients still expect to meet with a human, so there’s no getting around that. However, there are plenty of transactional touchpoints you don’t have to handle on your own! For instance, if a contract hasn’t been signed, there’s no need for you to open up your inbox and write a follow-up email. Instead, see if your contract software allows for automated follow-up emails and let it do the heavy lifting for you.

Outline your sales workflow and identify any steps that don’t require a human touch. Perhaps your email marketing platform can auto-drip a welcome campaign to every new inquiry. Maybe you can set up a payment schedule template in your invoicing software to send invoices whether you’re at your desk or on the go. Use the tools you have or find new software to support your needs!

Client Onboarding Workflow

New clients come with lots of questions and even more backend to-dos, but that doesn’t mean it’s all on you. You can likely leverage tools you already have—like your website, CRM, or email platform—to save valuable time and treat clients to a consistently impressive onboarding experience.

Think about the steps of your onboarding workflow. What is the first thing that happens after they sign your contract and pay the deposit? Do you send a welcome guide in an email? Is there a kickoff call involved? You can automate most of these steps! 

Don’t worry if none of your systems allow for trigger-based automated emails. You can still leverage good old-fashioned Gmail to save time! Find the emails you send the most and save them as templates in your inbox, so you never have to rewrite them over and over. You can also pre-schedule emails, allowing you to batch a whole set of emails at once. It’s not 100% automated, but it will save you time and energy!

Invoicing Workflow

Nobody likes manual invoicing, but even worse is having to chase down outstanding payments. So don’t do it! Look for invoicing software that supports payment schedules, so you can set it and forget it. Clients will receive invoices like clockwork, and if they’d like, they can even set up auto-payments so nobody has to think about it.

Better yet, find a system that allows for automated reminders. No more awkward email reminders every few days – let the software handle that for you! A streamlined invoicing workflow lets you step away from admin and helps your clients pay quickly and more reliably, so it’s one of the best things you can do for your event business.

Beyond these three workflows, there are likely plenty of other small tasks you can simplify to save more time in your day. And rest assured, once you set up a few automations, you’ll start noticing other tasks you don’t need to do so you can continue offloading all of that unnecessary work! 

 

Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. In addition to recognition by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series, she also earned a spot in The BizBash 500 for 2021.

Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 103: Use Your Greater Vision to Build a Sustainable Business – with Alia Wilson

If you find that you’re fighting imposter syndrome or your vision for your business is vague, then it’s time to figure out what’s driving you at your core.

Alia Wilson is the Owner and Creative Director of Firefly Events, a full-service planning and design company specializing in weddings, parties, and celebrations. With over 11 years of experience, Alia also provides coaching for wedding planners who are looking to grow their businesses. She is recognized as a top planner by BRIDES, Harper’s Bazaar, VOGUE, Martha Stewart Weddings, BizBash, and The Knot. Additionally, Firefly Events has earned features in more than thirty print and digital industry publications. 

In this episode, Alia talks about why building a sustainable business requires having a vision that’s greater than getting higher paying clients. And further, in order to create a job you want to go to, you must pinpoint your core motivation as well as respect the work you do.

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Wedding Industry Biz

10 Questions to Ask to Qualify Your Potential Client Couples

You’re ready to get more clients, but how do you know which ones are right for you? 

Start by qualifying leads in order to figure out which couples will be the best fit. 

Remember, it’s necessary to resist the urge to take on every client that comes your way. 

Because if you want to grow your business and earn what you deserve, then you need to make sure you’re working with your ideal clients. 

So, when you’re on a discovery call or or at a first meeting, be sure to ask these 10 questions.

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Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 102: How to Build and Lead a Successful Team with Jade Robinson

Want to build a team but can’t afford it yet?

Check out this episode to get actionable ways you can build a team from the ground up!

Jade Robinson is the Founder and Lead Planner of J.R. Events, an event management company in Jacksonville, Florida. Jade has over 12 years of experience producing corporate and non-profit events and has been planning weddings since 2015. Currently, she manages a team of 5 lead coordinators and 12 wedding assistants. Additionally, she oversees the intern program for J.R. Events and is a rising industry speaker on the topics of team-building, mindset, and leadership. Notably, J.R. Events has been voted the #1 Event Planner in the 904-area and has won WeddingWire’s Couples Choice Award four times since 2018. 

In this episode, Jade talks about the way that she embraced her own growth in order to build her highly-regarded team. Specifically, she shares the lessons that fueled her team-building success.

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Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 101: How to Become the CEO of Your Business with Brandee Gaar

Ever feel like your business appears successful on the outside but on the inside it’s chaos and weighing on your shoulders?

There’s only so long you can sustain juggling way too many balls. Staying up all night. Working all day. Working seven days a week. The weight of never getting to the bottom of your to-do list. That’s not sustainable long-term.

That’s why this guest explains when she realized she needed to change her business and how she did it.

Brandee Gaar is the founder and CEO of Blush by Brandee Gaar, which offers full-service planning for weddings and events in Central and North Florida. She is also a business coach, speaker, and consultant for wedding planners. Additionally, and with over fifteen years of industry experience, she is the host of the Wedding Pro CEO podcast

In this episode, Brandee talks about what you should do to move from overwhelmed and underpaid to a thriving business owner. Specifically, she explains how you should remove yourself from the day-to-day processes of your business.

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Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 100: The Top 3 Lessons for Success from Tara Guerard

It’s the 100th episode of Wedding Industry Insider! 

So, be sure to catch this episode and register to join us for a live celebration of this milestone!

Tara Guérard is the Owner and Creative Director of Tara Guérard Soirée, a full-service event planning and design company maintaining offices in both Charleston, SC, and NYC. With over 20 years of experience, both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar have named her a top wedding planner. Her second company, Lettered Olive, provides custom letterpress printing for wedding invitations, stationery, and announcements.

Tara has been featured in Southern Living, Traditional Home, Town & Country Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Brides. She has also made appearances on The Martha Stewart Show, The Nate Berkus Show, and the Style Network. Additionally, Tara is the author of Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South and Weddings by Tara Guérard.

In this episode, Tara credits her success to working hard yet simultaneously working smarter with each stage of her business. Specifically, she shares about what prompted her career-shaping decisions.

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