There were times in the last 3 years when I wished that my story was about overnight success. That I was one of those entrepreneurs who “made money while they slept” or instantly made 6 figures in 6 months. Today I am grateful for it all. I’ll be straight, it wasn’t always first class travel and hosting VIP Days. There was a time of hard work, long days and silly hours. Of learning to be flexible. Plan sometimes, abandon the plan and just go with the flow at other times and a big one, embrace the growing pains and the moments when my big ideas made me so scared I thought I was going to throw up.
Forgive me for this long blog post. I tried but I couldn’t sum up three years in 3 paragraphs mainly because I didn’t want to leave any of the best bits out!
Jan 2011 I launched Fusion Company London a wedding planning and lifestyle company dedicated to meeting the needs of culturally mixed couples and families. Makes sense right, start with what you know.
Everybody thought I was crazy. I was told that a wedding planning business that only catered to a small niche would never work. It did! And it led me to where I am today.
Lesson: Be clear on what makes your business different. Do 1 thing really well and other opportunities will come naturally.
Nov 2011 I hosted my 1st International event.
It was a Floristry class in Trinidad. I held it in a church hall and I charged $2000TTD (Trinidad dollars) about £200. My mother told me nobody will pay $2000 for a 1 day class! ($2000 was well above the norm) I had 12 women attend, 7 in Trinidad and 5 in Tobago. It was the 1st time I made what was my monthly salary in 1 week! By the Way NOTHING went right in the lead up to this workshop. The flowers I’d ordered weren’t allowed to leave Miami because there was a mistake on my plant import permit; I got bumped from the flight and took 3 days to get to Trinidad from the UK and my Trinidad wholesaler sold part of my order as he didn’t think I was going to show up!
Lesson: Know the value of what you offer and always have support. I chose Trinidad not because it was familiar but because it was where I had a tangible support system in place. My niece was my driver and my sister did the admin for the event and my God-parents are the pastors of the church I used.
2012 I had my 1st Destination Wedding client. I’ll let you in on a secret. I had the “Destination Weddings” tab on my website for 1 year before I got this client. My Tobago suppliers were lined up for 12 months before I could offer them any work. My client was referred to me by sheer coincidence. As she was buying her dress the dress shop owner (my friend) asked her where she was getting married, she said Tobago, my friend said oh if you need any help you can contact Julia, she grew up in Trinidad and may be able to point you in the right direction. My client checked my website and saw the “Destinations” option and booked me straight away!
Late summer 2012 I began receiving inquiries for wedding planner training and at the time had no intention of offering that. 6 requests came before the penny dropped and I decided to test the waters with a 1 Day wedding planning course. I charged £75 and rolled it out initially via Wowcher~ a mass marketing discount website. My first promotion sold 68 places and I hired my 1st employee. My trainees then naturally became my mentoring clients (full price) as I didn’t want them falling into the start at the bottom and work your way up rubbish! Now my Wedding Planner Training and Certification is registered with the UK Register of Learning Providers and includes 6 months mentoring as standard…and yes it is now much more than £75!
1- Do what it takes (with integrity) to raise your visibility. Using this mass marketing forum I was able to fill my classes and then fill my mentoring practice with full fee paying clients
2- Design your services based on the next step that your customers will take, and what they will need next.
3- Be ready to Receive what you ask for. Have the systems in place that you need to grow to the next level.
In early 2013 I began to fall out of love with wedding planning. I thought I had lost my mind completely. My business was doing well. I was making money, flying to the Caribbean regularly, what more could I ask for? Truthfully I was physically exhausted and energetically depleted. Success until that point had come from “working hard” non-stop for 2 years. After a time of introspection, I had to admit that I was no longer offering a service that I loved neither was I working in a way that filled me up energetically. The question was “What the hell was I going to do now?” One of my friends, a successful holistic therapist asked me if I could help her put together a high end package. Her exact words “if you can do it for Weddings, you can do it for me” I had to admit she had a point and Package your Passion was born. After 1 client, came 2, then 5 and so on. It is a space where I can bring All of my business acumen and All of my femininity and serve women who went into business to make money AND do good!
Lesson: Trust the Process
June 2013 I held my 1st luxury event in Trinidad. It was called Monetise your Passion. Up to 1 week before the event, I had only 4 women booked. So here I am about to get on a plane not even sure if the event would cover my costs. I doubled my efforts, hired the best local publicist I could find and went to Trinidad anyway. 15 women attended the event and I appeared in local women’s magazines and on the T.V.
This spring I’ve been invited to speak (all expenses paid) at the Phenomenal Woman Conference in St Vincent & the Grenadines
Lesson: Big Results need a Big Investment: of time, energy and money.
Why am sharing all this and what does it have to do with you?
- Business is fun, adventurous and scary rolled into one!
- God does His best work when it feels as if nothing is going right
- At times you want to take things up a notch and your desires are not “common sense”.
- Success comes from consistency and from having support
- Clients will buy easily from you when you offer what they need now and what they next
- Being the expert in one area will lead to success in others
Beginning in February I am committed to supporting to 4 women over the next 4 months in creating Uncommon Success.
If what I’ve shared resonates with you and you would like to find out more, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an invitation to a private event I’m hosting on Monday 3rd Feb at 7:30 pm. There is no cost to you to attend and due to the venue only 10 places are available. During the evening I will share the details and answer questions of my Uncommon Success 4 month programme. It is not a group programme. You and I will be working together 1:1 for 4 months.