business

How Wedding Planning is Just Like Running a Business

pexels-photo-704813.jpeg

I’ve found the lessons of wedding planning and running my own business are remarkably similar, and unfortunately for both brides/grooms and entrepreneurs it’s not until you’re in the thick of it you really understand the importance of these lessons. So I’ll repeat them now in hopes someone will take it to heart and maybe find more ease in each (ad)venture.

  1. You don’t have to obey tradition, do what speaks to you and your life. In this day and age both weddings and businesses can happen in a variety of ways, in different fashions, and while there are some traditional elements that make sense and are widely practiced for a reason, you have a lot of choice in how you do business/plan a wedding. Explore your options and choose what feels right to you. Customization is key for both fulfillment and success.

  2. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone. And probably 90% of what other people think won’t align with what you really want. And in both business and wedding planning it’s a great practice to listen, consider, respond politely and continue doing whatever the heck you know is right for YOU.

  3. This will impact you and your family for years to come. Obviously a wedding impacts multiple families, but so does starting and running a business. And in both cases you’ll deal with some sticky things- like money, religion, values, power statuses, interpersonal relationships and practicing compassion. So even if you’re sure your partner or business is “the one” it can still feel risky or scary taking the leap.

  4. You’re going to discover new things about yourself. Running your own business forces you, almost constantly, to uncover layers of yourself and question how and why you do things certain ways. (At least it does if you’re a conscious creator and open to learning about yourself.) And this is a good thing, it helps you to expand and become more interesting as you learn more about your inner world and the position you want to hold as a professional. And in wedding planning you have to face certain questions you’ve never asked before about what’s important to you and the kind of partner and in-law you want to be. Allow this to be an opportunity of growth. (That applies for every situation in business FYI!)

  5. Accept help and support. It’s really a lovely thing when you realize how many people around you want to help and are ready to support you. As a lifelong “I can do it myself” kind of person, the most impactful moment in my business life was when I started continuously asking for help and actually receiving support in ways I had never experienced. And even though most people would hope their friends and family would be eager to support during the wedding planning process, it still feels really nice to hear people ask what they can do, offer to show up for multiple events, and contribute however they can so your life is easier. Accept the help, don’t be a crazy person, it’s a lot of work!!

  6. Find the joy. This is what I come back to whenever things start to feel less than great. As a business owner, wearing multiple hats, things can get overwhelming and stressful and it’s not always fun. Find the joy, reconnect with your purpose and personal mission and remember it’s not meant to be a struggle. A wedding should be focused on love, if it’s gotten off course and become more about the “stuff” or certain people’s needs than the love, bring it back and find the joy.


 

The Best Thing To Do For Yourself- Ask For Help

If you're like me (and a lot of other people!) you may find yourself wanting to learn/do/improve your life & business on your own. It took me a long time to really admit I needed more than myself to create the career I desired. And since I decided to let others help me on my journey my life has improved drastically. Not just in business but in my personal life as well!

If you're at a point where you're frustrated, unenthused or even ashamed of your creative career thus far, then take a deep look at where you've been denying yourself help. Maybe you need a total overhaul or maybe it's as simple as putting in the time to ask someone about your marketing, your pricing or your customer etiquette. 

Once I dove into my own mission of finding mentors, guides and creative business buddies I've expanded not only my knowledge but my network. I've gained friends in the process who inspire and support my big creative dreams. And I've learned from others who've created businesses I admire and gotten an inside look at what it will take to get mine to my ideal level. 

And the most important part of what I learned when I asked for help- is that the most successful people get a lot of help!! High-achieving and inspirational people are able to be that way because of the help they've received, and continue to receive. It's not only opened my eyes to the positive force of a community you trust but also that no one is a "one woman show" in reality. 

So I challenge you to ask for help, and lots of it! Let go of the idea you can and should be able to do everything on your own. You and whoever you work with will be SO much better off when you go beyond yourself and let others in to help. 

Peace, love & pixels,

Sonya

How & Why You Should Network in College

I've had some discussions lately about networking and thought I'd share insights for those of you questioning how & why you can start networking while in school.

Myth: You have to have a job/business/biz cards to network.

Fact: The point of networking is to make connections & relationships, not just to tell people about your work. If you're looking for a job networking in different groups (can be in person&online) is a great way to get leads. If you don't have a business or job and you're trying to figure out what you want to do networking can also benefit you as you can meet a range of people and connect with those in your industry of choice to ask questions! Also, if you don't have business cards it's cool, just make sure to get the other person's and then FOLLOW UP! (Template for follow up emails here.)

Myth: People are going to judge you for being a student. 

Fact: Most decent humans out there will be happy to give you advice, and will be impressed you're taking the initiative to join professional groups while in school. Age does not determine your capacity to have engaging interactions. Be pleasant, ask questions and don't be shy about saying you're a student and working to figure out what path you may want to take after school. 

Myth: Every adult is comfortable networking.

Fact: Almost no one is naturally comfortable or even enthused about traditional networking events! It's hard to go out on a Wednesday night and meet strangers no matter what your age is. It's about making it a habit and committing to attend and getting something out of it. So don't worry about feeling awkward and walking up to a stranger to chat- everyone feels awkward! 

Myth: If I am not a professional I will have nothing to talk about.

Fact: Professionals aren't unemotional robots, they have lives and feelings too! Don't feel like you only have to talk business. One of my favorite things to ask to break the ice is "Do you have any travel plans coming up?" This gets people comfortable and excited to talk about their vacation or next trip. Asking some more personal questions like this will give you an easier time when you realize you can just have a conversation. 

So yes, start networking in college. It may take a while to find the groups that you enjoy but they're out there! These days there are so many choices for HOW you can interact and create connections, so don't assume it's just guys in suits at happy hour that are able to network. Check out MeetUp.com for endless groups, and search Facebook for online communities of every breed that will support your career interests.

Peace, love & pixels,

Sonya

P.s. If you want to get event photography experience volunteer to shoot networking events-you get free entry, a chance to mingle & build a portfolio!  

The Timeline of Success

Hi my friends :) I was just doing some yoga to end my night- but got a kick of inspiration and so I'm back at the computer! Almost got away with unplugging, sigh. 

I want to talk about the timeline of success. There's a feeling, especially when you're starting out, that "success" is this magic finish line that you'll someday run through and everything will be capital G-R-E-A-T! The truth is, success is not an end point. There's no "I made it!" medal, no alternate reality where problems all vanish. Your vision of success will vary from other people's, but if it doesn't include on-going learning, improvement, and new goals then you're going to miss out. You'll miss out on finding your complete happiness and highest potential.  

Picturing "success" as an infinite road, and those never ending goals in mind, the question of "But when do I get to stop and celebrate?" may come up. This is up to you, this is your chance to REALLY enjoy the journey! Don't forget that every step is a lesson. And do remember to appreciate and acknowledge the big and small goals you hit along the way. If your whole life becomes the journey, without one final "success" point, suddenly there is a WHOLE lot of room to enjoy yourself. So don't rush, there is only more time to come, bringing more lessons and adventures. 

Make sure you're using the best resources and tools for your art career by signing up for our free bi-monthly newsletter. When you do you not only get access to our great community, but early access and info about all our events and a free guide to my Top 25 Websites for Creatives!

Wishing you never ending success,

Sonya

Keep Calm and Internship On

It is pretty much a given these days that you’ll end up in an internship or two while in school and even after you’ve graduated. Internships can provide eye-opening looks into the possible career of your future. But they can also be really boring, frustrating and not in your best interest. The key is to ask a lot of questions and do your research on all possible internships before you dive into one. I made the mistake a couple of times of not thoroughly finding out what I’d be doing or how it would really be an effective and positive experience for myself. No one wants their time wasted- and even as a student you have the right to use your own time wisely while working for others. One thing I didn’t realize as a student looking for internships, is that not only should I provide value to the employer BUT they should provide value to me. That is true whether you are working for free or payment of any kind.

Things to keep in mind when searching for internships:

1. What kind of business is it and who runs it? Is it a new start up/gallery/company still figuring out workspace and roles, or a well oiled machine with lots of rules set in place? What internet presence do they have and what do others say about them? Are you working with a boss one-on-one, or with other interns/assistants/employees?  I had experiences where I was mostly working alone but really enjoyed the work and had real responsibility, as well as times I was sitting next to the employer and barely learned a thing and was bored as hell. And had to walk her dog…love dogs, but not what I was looking for!

2How much time can you commit? Decide upfront how many hours/weeks/months you’ll be there. Even if things change it is helpful to have expectations voiced at the beginning. If receiving payment make sure you understand how and when you’ll be paid. Also, always ask if payment is available! It may not be, but sometimes even a small stipend is a great motivator and reward for work well done.

3Decide to learn as much as possible and make sure they know what you’re interested in learning. I know from running a business it is easy to forget what wasn’t always general knowledge or that explaining how systems came to be, can be really helpful to those not familiar with the business. Don’t be afraid to ask questions- but do take note of when the appropriate times are to do so. (Like not in front of clients.)

4Reach out to businesses or individuals you’d like to work with. THIS IS HUGE! Some of my best internships came from asking for the opportunity, not because there was any advertisement that they were hiring. Look in your area for places you admire and think you could learn from, let them know you’re interested and available.

Internships can be fantastic opportunities to see the inner workings of various jobs and companies.  They are also great for making connections in the “real world” and beginning to network with those you may one day work with. Always look for relationships that will be symbiotic, stand up for what’s right for you, and if on the off chance it all goes to shit- smile and walk away gracefully!

Peace, love & pixels- Sonya