Happy Thursday! I have a super special Ms. Independent lined up today, Jennifer Hamilton from Mr. and Mrs. Events! She plans gorgeous weddings in the Nashville area and she specializes in personalizing custom weddings.
Jennifer has a lovely eye for detail and has even started her own wedding planning organization with fellow planners in her area. She also has some really good advice for someone looking to get into a new field.
1. What made you decide to start your own business?
I had been planning weddings on the side for a while and knew that if I ever wanted it to grow and become successful, I would have to give it more time than I could with a full time job. Owning my own business and doing something I was passionate about has always been a dream of mine.
2. What was your biggest risk or fear about starting a business?
Failure was definitely my biggest fear. I was going from a full time job and a steady paycheck to the unknown and uncertainty of making my own income. It was (and still is) scary!
3. How did you know what you wanted to do?
I have always had a deep passion for entertaining. I love being the hostess (think Monica Geller) and have always enjoyed creating fun events and parties for my friends. I started helping friends and family members with showers, parties and weddings and the rest is history. I also found event planning to be the perfect outlet for my obsession over details and design.
4. What support system do you have for your business to help you stay motivated?
My husband is definitely my biggest support, he's been giving me encouragement and advice from the very beginning. He also allows me to clutter up our home with random DIY projects and antique store finds which has filled up every crook and cranny of our home.
I also have found a huge support system in the Nashville wedding industry. I have built great relationships with some of Nashville's best wedding professionals and it's wonderful to have friends that work in your industry to ask advice of, vent to or just grab coffee with. Another planner and I created the Nashville Wedding Planners Group, a member based organization, that promotes education and networking for all local wedding planners. The planners I've met through the group have also been an enormous encouragement to me. I love surrounding myself with other strong, independent women in the event industry working to be successful and pushing me to do the same.
5. What is your biggest challenge about running your own business?
One of the biggest challenges I've found is pacing myself and my ideas. I have so many different ideas each day and it can become difficult to decide what gets your focus. I have to really pace myself and set priorities when it comes to editing things about my business, whether it's new services I'd like to offer or things I'd like to change about my marketing. I have to continuously re-evaluate and reassess to make sure the things I'm putting effort into are in line with the goals I have for myself and my business.
6. What is the best advice you have for someone wanting to start a business?
Something that ended up being a very positive thing for me, was meeting other professionals in my industry. When I decided to start my business I emailed different people from different lines of business in the event industry (photographers, venues, bakers, caterers, etc....) and asked to buy them a coffee and just get to know them. Those people I met early on proved to be an enormous support for me and a wonderful source of referrals. Most of my first weddings that I booked came to me from professionals I had met in the early stages of my business.To make the most of it, make sure you do some research on the person you are meeting so you can ask good questions. The whole experience of meeting other people who work in the same industry can be extremely educational and a huge asset for you, just by sitting down with someone and listening to what they have to say!