What you see is what you get
Real. This single word describes me and my business. What you see is what you get.
The person I am in my personal life, is the person I am in my business life. I will not sugar-coat things to get a sale, I will always be honest with my clients about exactly what they can expect from me, and what I can do for them. And I will always be having fun while doing it. My clients often go on to become personal friends, even after the conclusion of our business relationship, because along the journey - which often goes for more than a year – we’ve gotten to know each other on a personal level, I’ve let them see a good part of the real me, and we want to keep hanging out!
I’ll tell you a little secret. If I take a personality test I’m always an INFJ, or an extroverted introvert. That means that outwardly I’m confident, but inside I’m often a ball of nerves. One of my biggest fears is walking into a crowded room full of people I don’t know, but small, intimate groups of friends I totally love. If I get invited to an event full of those strangers, I would rather stay at home than put myself through the inevitable anxiety that comes with accepting the invitation.
One day I was feeling frustrated with myself and over coffee I told a good friend how I was feeling. She gave me a very simple piece of advice that I still use daily in all parts of my life. She said “Emma, just quit this. You only get one life, so take back the control and do what you want to do. What’s the worst that could happen?” So, whenever an opportunity arises, big or small, business or personal, my first thoughts still bring up all the usual fears and what-if’s. Then I ask myself “what’s the worst that can happen?” If the worst that can happen is no big deal, you’re all set. If the worst-case scenario really could have some serious repercussions, you set up a good contingency plan. Either way, whatever it is, it’s getting done!
Just one piece of advice on launching your own business? Oh goodness, my dear friend, there are many amazing benefits to being your own boss. There are also amazingly difficult things. I’m going to be cheeky and offer two -
1. Be Disciplined. Set some strict office hours for yourself, and when the day is done, it needs to be D.O.N.E. I have never believed in the 24/7 Hustle that some business owners subscribe to. Maybe it’s right for them, but for me I need to take some time for myself on the regular, and invest in my loved ones who also need me to be present in their lives. This business was supposed to help my family, not erase me from it, and the down-time is what makes this work. So, when the time comes, shut down your computer, set your phone to ‘do not disturb’ and take off your business-owner hat for just a bit.
2. Being a business owner is the best of times, and it’s the worst of times. Choose to do something that you love with all your heart. Don’t do it because it’s easy, or you already have the practical skills necessary. Re-educate yourself if you have to, but genuinely love it. Because anything else will quickly suck the drive and potential right out of you.
Whenever I’m feeling doubtful about my abilities and the negative voice in my head gets too loud with its “Are you sure you can do that? Maybe you’re not good enough, educated enough, confident enough…” I shut it down and say “No. Look how far I’ve come.” It’s never about that sneaky list in my head with all the things I supposedly can’t or haven’t done yet. It’s always about celebrating all I have achieved up to this moment, and knowing that I am better than I was last year, last month, last week and even yesterday. Each day I’m learning and growing and becoming the best version of myself in whatever role I’m trying to perform at that time. Having said that, it still blows my mind that complete strangers want to pay me to plan and style their wedding day. It’s the biggest day of their lives so far, there are no do-overs, and their trust in me is so completely amazing that it drives me to keep getting better.
Connecting with clients is my favourite part of my business. Although checklists and budget plans and seating charts and all that practical stuff really does float my boat, the best parts are by far the moments that have nothing to do with my technical knowledge. I love meeting new people, and hearing their stories, and being that person that’s very involved in their wedding, but not a member of their family, means I am often trusted with the best news and most incredible secrets. It’s helping a bride ‘fake’ her glass of champagne all night because she’s finally getting the baby she’s always wished for and you’re the only one in the room that knows. Or it’s hearing about the very hard road a bride has walked through life and seeing her get her ‘happily-ever-after’ makes you cry happy tears along with her family. I’m lucky enough to constantly be there for people in the greatest moment of their lives, and it fills me with such joy and happiness, I can’t even describe it.
Sparrow Weddings specialises in styling, planning and coordinating memory-making celebrations with heart. They focus on quality, great service, and working together to bring a bride and grooms’ vision for their wedding day, to life
Most days you’ll find Emma tapping away at her computer, putting finishing touches on weddings, or on the road having coffee with other wedding professionals and lovely clients. Perfect, because coffee & friends are amongst her favourite things! (Those, and her dog who thinks he’s a human!)
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