I had lunch with a Dallas wedding planner a few weeks ago (the lovely Stefanie Miles of Lavender Joy Weddings), and we talked about taking the time to establish your brand. We talked about the months we spent on our branding and websites and how during that time, it’s easy to compare yourself to everyone else while you are working just to get started. This time is hard, but in the end, it is so worth the wait. If you are in this phase… just know that it does eventually come together, and it’s worth preparing for success instead of just rushing into it, hoping you can get there quicker. Things have been going really well since my website launched, and lately, I’ve had this overwhelming sense of relief. Relief, that what I started out to do 9 months ago is finally done. Relief, that I am finally reaping the benefits of having done the work FIRST. Relief, that someone actually does want to buy my invitations. (Because that worry was always there until several someones did actually want to buy them.)
I quit my job last November and while I had a few design ideas for my collection, I was essentially starting from scratch with that part of my business. My experience over the past few years has allowed me to learn what I like, what I want to offer, and what I want my focus to be, but I had to establish a consistency throughout my business. Processes, policies, prices, contracts, samples… then finalizing, choosing, printing, photographing. It took time! Also, the control wasn’t always in my hands and it was challenging to not know that everything was going to happen in the time I wanted it to. Sometimes it felt like I would be ‘preparing’ forever! But I chose to finish everything before I would proceed with anything else, and so I kept going.
That meant not advertising, not promoting myself, and not booking brides. Now, weddings, up until this point, have been just a small part of my business. I design for Minted, I design custom designs and stationery, but it’s weddings that I have decided to focus on and the first few months of the year, I didn't book a single wedding. As a whole, my business was actually really profitable while I was working on my site, but I knew that the profits weren't coming from brides and I would compare myself to other wedding stationers… that designer seems to be booking a ton of weddings, she got asked to this, they were featured there, they seem to have a really successful business, more successful than mine…. Doesn't it always LOOK like everyone has it all together? Insecurities about what I was trying to do, the time I was taking to do it and the progress that I was making only magnified how well I thought everyone else was doing. It really made me worry whether what I was doing was the right thing.
Now that I am done and am finally able to do all the things that I was waiting on, it's such a relief to know it was the absolutely the right thing to do. It’s totally okay to choose this route, even while you feel like everyone else is up and running and seems to be passing you by. Sometimes the right thing is to jump in, but sometimes it’s all the hard work and preparation that allows you to be ready for when the opportunities start to come your way.