Most people in the wedding industry are here because they possess an entrepreneurial spirit. Beyond all the pretty, there’s something inside us that pulls us away from the safety of a 9-to-5. We relish in setting our own expectations and goals as much as we do in the anxiety of a questionable weather report for event day and the frustration of a less than exciting lead pipeline. Like moths to flame, we’re drawn to the risks and rewards of working for ourselves. This includes the important and unavoidable (yes, accept it) reality of failure. An absolute requirement for any business person, especially the entrepreneur, is the confidence to face and embrace failure. As we learn from the brilliantly gawky Woody Allen: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Entrepreneurship in its best form means stepping out of the shadows of your peers, your local competition and, yes, even your own. You’ve identified and wrapped your arms around your unique niche. You’ve targeted your specific market. With confidence, you’re investing in what you do well and put passion behind your purpose. With that one simple fact, you have already taken a big, important step toward having the confidence to fail. You’ve narrowed your client base to one where you click the easiest and fastest. One where similar interests, personality traits and desired outcomes translate to customers who will pay you for simply being you. By reaching this level of definition in your business, you’re diminishing your risk of failure and designating its range. No failure is a desired outcome but you’ll be much more intent and invested in ensuring those errors never happen again.
The Smallest Loss
As an entrepreneur, it’s not difficult to set yourself up for failure. Take advertising, for example. Every time you make the decision to place an ad, you’re setting yourself up for failure. To put some numbers to that: according to Wordstream, the average click-thru rate for an ad on Google is only 3.17%. The average! Advertising is clearly a risk but with risk come great rewards. It’s also estimated that two dollars are made for every dollar spent on a Google ad. The secret to success in advertising, just as it is in every aspect of our businesses, is trial and error. In every aspect and every attempt, be deliberate in your intent and confident in your effort to minimize the potential for loss. Instead of aiming for perfection, be in a constant state of perfecting and use each error as an opportunity to learn.
If You Don’t Ask
You’ve heard this one before: “The answer to a question never asked is ‘No’ 100% of the time”. If you don’t work to build your network and talk to your fellow pros, you can’t expect an overwhelmed inbox or a phone that won’t stop ringing. As you define your niche and refine your processes and outcomes, connect, connect, connect. Ask for those referrals. If you get a “No” in response, learn from that “failure” and follow it up with a “Why?”. Or, simply keep asking until you get the “Yes!” you’re looking for and deserve.
Pro Tip: In a referral based industry, it is important to build strong relationships for professional referrals in addition to having an outstanding client experience for client testimonials.
You Do You
Quite often, fear of failure is the result of our willingness to compare ourselves and our work to others. Our social feeds are full of images and prose in posts from people we “know” with perfectly crafted images of their grass-is-greener lifestyles and businesses, it’s no surprise. The truth is, we all simply want to be part of a winning team. Whether as a team member, vendor partner or client, we’re influenced, inspired and motivated by those we keep company with. People with a positive voice, who work on their business as often as they work in their business, and exude confidence naturally draw people to their team. Even in the face of failure – a late delivery, lighting miscue or rehearsal gone sideways – keep your head held high. Failure is never final but each instance – and there will be more than one – will only make you stronger.