Best of the Wedding Web: 2013

bestAs we say goodbye to another year, it’s an excellent time to look back at some of the best articles written just for wedding pros. Here are some of my favorites:

What’s the Value of an Industry Conference, a Webinar, an Article?
Alan Berg cuts to the chase about investing in ourselves and our businesses while asking our clients to invest in us.

How to Schedule an Entire Week’s Worth of Social Media Posts in Just 30 Minutes
Heidi Thompson lays out her straightforward plan to knock out a week’s worth of social media without pulling your hair out.

Six Embarrassing Reasons the Bride Blew You Off
Jeff and Steph talk truth about why potential clients aren’t getting back to you.

Jealousy and Success
Liene beautifully articulates how to deal with naysayers and jealous-types in this short post.

Pricing is a Marketing Decision
If you’re wrestling with pricing (or just second-guessing yours), Michelle has some great questions for you to ask yourself.

Why Couples Say They Can’t Afford You’re Wedding Services
Kathy gives it to you straight about what’s really going on when couples say those dreaded words, “you’re out of the budget.”

There were so many great articles, it was hard to narrow it down. What was your favorite article? Did it make the list?

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving

brace yourselves thanksgiving memeThanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays – it’s all about food, family and being thankful – but that doesn’t make it a walk in the park. If Thanksgiving is nothing but good times for you, you should probably get back to drinking your carrot smoothie while doing yoga and celebrating the fact that your Christmas shopping is already done that’s wonderful. For the rest of us, Thanksgiving brings with it no small amount of stress, from burnt turkeys to cringeworthy dinner conversation. If you’re feeling a little apprehensive about the holiday weekend, here are some tips for surviving Thanksgiving:

Remember it’s not a vacation. If this holiday is stressful for you, it doesn’t help to view it as a break. Instead, see it for what it really is: a major event, often involving travel, lots of interaction, food preparation and work (and I’m not even talking about actual work, though some of us will try to cram that in, too). Allow for a time buffer between work and the holiday (both before and after). That way you don’t end up feeling like you’ve been working nonstop for two weeks straight.
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What are you doing for Kindness Week 2013?

I was talking with my friend Derek about how it can be so easy to feel frustrated and powerless when we spend too much time thinking about world issues. After all, things like government corruption and human trafficking just seem so overwhelming. It feels like there’s nothing we can do.

But there are always things we CAN do. And when we feel empowered to do something, we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and we take action to help others. We make the world a better place, as much through being empowered (instead of embittered) as through helping. Anyway, I typed in the website “WhatYouCanDo.com” not knowing if it existed or not. And it does. And as luck would have it, they’re celebrating Kindness Week right now. Here’s more from the founder of What You Can Do:
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Make Your Heart A Magical Kitchen

funny-dog-kitchenIn Don Miguel Ruiz’ book, The Mastery of Love, he describes the magical kitchen. You can read the full excerpt here. He likens the heart to a magical kitchen, capable of producing any kind of food we could want. If somebody shows up offering us pizza if we do whatever they ask, we’re not interested. We’ve got better pizza (and a million other kinds of food) in the kitchen already. But if we are hungry, we will all-too-quickly accept the offer. When it comes to love, some of us trade our free will just to have a little.

He tells us we don’t need to go out and get love. It’s right there inside of us.

So what does that mean for the wedding entrepreneur and what does it have to do with fearless, authentic generosity?

Too many of us make decisions in our business (or life) based on wanting to be liked. No, needing to be liked. We over-discount or work ourselves to death (or pretend to be someone we’re not at a networking event), thinking it is out of generosity, or because of our impressive work ethic or politeness, when (maybe) the truth is we’re doing it to be liked. Here’s a quick way to test it out: the next time you feel compelled to discount, think about NOT doing it. Are you afraid of losing the sale? Afraid of being thought of as stingy or profit-hungy? There’s a big difference between choosing to do something because we want to and feeling as though we need to do something. Because if you need to do it, you’re trapped.

All the love you need is already available to you. If you believe in God or anything bigger than us, I think that’s where love begins. You are more than enough. You don’t need to do anything to be worthy of love. And when you see that, you can give and give and give. Not because you need to, but because you want to.

Where in your life have you been basing decisions on your need to be liked (or your need for love, affection, success, etc.)? What’s it costing you?

When you bend to the will of others to gain their affection (or business), they control you. You deserve better. Remember that you always have a choice. Choose well.

Are you afraid to be generous?

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

What’s keeping you from being more generous? I have to admit, I’ve rationalized not giving money to people on the street who ask me for it with the thought, “if I gave each of these people what they asked for, I’d go broke.” It’s not really true. When I lived in Chicago, it would have cost me a cup of coffee or two most days. I was also afraid the money wouldn’t really help. The fear was enough to keep me walking right past them.

Have you experienced the fear of losing when you could have been generous? This isn’t just about money. Maybe a competitor asked you about business. You could have been generously honest, but instead you feared being taken advantage of, so you held back. Whatever it was, you were afraid that by giving, you were giving it away.

I don’t think it has to be that way. I believe that when you give expecting nothing in return, everyone wins. Keep on giving and you’ll have an army of friends. I believe that the way you act attracts certain people into your life and repels others. When you act generously to yourself and others, you attract generous people and you repel stingy bastards.

What would happen if instead of giving something away (and therefore losing it), you give because you have enough (and because you know that it will return to you)? I think this is the first step towards fearless, authentic generosity: acknowledge the fear of losing and then let go of the fear. There are countless roads to poverty, but the generous among us will never be poor.

In their post Why Your Networking Sucks and How to Fix It, Steph & Jeff over at BookMoreBrides.com share a great example of how giving just to give ended up saving their necks one weekend.

Where are you afraid to be generous? What might happen if you let go of the fear and put more trust in yourself, in other people, in the universe?

Day 64 of Michelle’s Transformation

Today is a big day! Michelle shares just how much coaching has impacted her through this process in terms of the way she’s shown up and the results she’s seen in her life. Take a look.

Want to get started on your own success story? The next step is to take the Get Better Brides Process.

From Jeff:
“Michelle came to me because she was looking to make some huge changes in her life and kickstart her new business. She’s an experienced florist living in a major city and she is totally devoted to her kids, including a daughter with special needs. Michelle’s motivation to start her own business stemmed from her desire to spend more time with her daughters. She chose the Total Transformation one-on-one VIP coaching package and she’s keeping a video diary of her progress in this 90-day Meh to Marvelous transformation.”

Meh to Marvelous Transformation: Day 34

In today’s “Meh to Marvelous” video, Michelle checks in about a cool experience she had today. She shares how spending time with a group of people from her past really helped her to see how much she’s already changed. You can see how excited and empowered she is with the progress she’s made in transforming her life and business so far.

“Michelle came to me because she was looking to make some huge changes in her life and kickstart her new business. She’s an experienced florist living in a major city and she is totally devoted to her kids, including a daughter with special needs. Michelle’s motivation to start her own business stemmed from her desire to spend more time with her daughters. She’s keeping a video diary of her progress in this 90-day Meh to Marvelous transformation.” – Jeff Hellenbrand, Cake Coaching

Meh to Marvelous Transformation: Day 30

In today’s “Meh to Marvelous” video checkin, Michelle shares her big news! You can feel her excitement for what’s next. It’s a day for celebration as Michelle describes the power of Energy Leadership, visualization and going after what you really want.

“Michelle came to me because she was looking to make some huge changes in her life and kickstart her new business. She’s an experienced florist living in a major city and she is totally devoted to her kids, including a daughter with special needs. Michelle’s motivation to start her own business stemmed from her desire to spend more time with her daughters. She’s keeping a video diary of her progress in this 90-day Meh to Marvelous transformation.” -Jeff Hellenbrand, Cake Coaching

Don’t Force It

dontforceitAre you trying too hard? It’s easy to get swept up in the “I must market my wedding business!” mindset, but it’s dangerous. Nobody likes it when you’re being pushy. I think it all comes down to fear. If you’re afraid of not having enough sales, or worse: going under, it’s a totally natural reaction to go into desperate-marketing-mode. But, please, don’t do it.

Being desperate and pushy doesn’t work. Do you like it when your Facebook newsfeed is full of self-promotional stuff? When somebody calls you because they need your business? When you get the 100th email saying “free junk” or “please stop what you’re doing and buy this!”? Nobody does.

Learn from it. It’s tempting to ignore what made you jump into gross-marketing mode, but it’s worth a closer look. What in particular made you feel like you had to go into sales mode? Where is the fear? When you know the fear, it’s a whole lot easier to squash it. Uncovering it is often enough to say, “hey, it’s really not so bad.”

Instead, be passionate. People love real, authentic passion. You are intensely passionate about what you do and who you serve. You’re probably also passionate about weird things like unicycles, garage sales or action figures. Be your weird self. Connect with people who love what you do. Put yourself out there. Be a leader in passion. Not only will it naturally lead you to the right clients, it also feels so much better.

And be generous. When the bank balance starts to dwindle, it’s tempting to say “no more!” to anything that begins with a dollar-sign. We also tend to get really greedy with our time, our connections and everything else. Do you know someone who’s stingy? How do you feel about that person? Let go of the fear and be generous again. If you don’t have a penny to spare, give up an hour for somebody who has less than you. Be really generous in connecting a rising star in the industry. When you give, everyone wins. And when the two people you connected want to do something nice for someone, who will they think of? They’ll think of you.

Business (and especially marketing) doesn’t have to feel gross. It doesn’t have to be gross. Understanding your fear, letting go of it, and replacing it with passion and generosity is a killer start to loving your business and your life. Throw in a little of your own creativity and you’ve got a recipe for big, authentic success. Live brilliantly.