After 16 years, it’s a wonderful thing to say I have loved every moment of being a wedding and event planner. That’s not to say that I’ve been in love with every moment. There have been times when I’ve wanted to walk away and take a break. And there are moments I love LBD so much it can literally bring me to tears.
There have been moments that make me angry, or even sad. Moments that make me question whether having this company is worth it. For me, in those moments - I had two choices:
1) Work past it and be the strong, confident business owner that I am
2) Sit back and allow myself to think that I have no idea what I’m doing.
I’ve gone to both places and I’ll tell you, the first one has been my lifeline.
There are many things that I have learned in the past 16 years of working in the event industry, and in the past 7 years of running my own business. I would say the biggest ones are not taking things too personal, trusting people, getting the respect I deserve and learning its important to have someone to lean on.
To be frank - I’ve been talked about and stolen from, and it sucks. There’s absolutely nothing about it that feels good. I’ve also had vendors, brides, parents, and clients not treat me all that well and trust me, no part of that feels good either. The hard truth is if someone wants to take something from you, they will and if someone wants to backstab you, they will. But you know what? I have always had a choice. I can get over it, take the higher ground, and handle it with grace. Or I can just keep adding to the negative. I love my business way more than I dislike what these people do.
There was a time when I burnt bridges too but what’s most important is, I also went back and repaired them. You see, no one is perfect and by accepting my fault it made me a better person and a better business owner.
One thing I love in all of this is that I found business besties. That’s right. I also refer to them as “my tribe.” They are some of the best people that have ever happened to me and LBD (aside from starting it and succeeding — cause that’s definitely pretty cool!). They are all small business owners (just like me) and sometimes I just need someone to talk to, someone that I can just vent to and say “I’m stressed,” or “I got an amazing client today.” I need my business besties because they get me, they can relate to me, they encourage me, and most importantly they talk me out of any type of “self pitty” I have ever managed to talk myself into. Because, lets face it, somedays rejection is harder than others. It never gets easy when people tell me no, when they hire someone else instead of me, or if they say that my prices are ridiculous. I’m a believer in “you get what you pay for” and I know 100% that my prices fall fairly in line with the market I am in.
I no longer allow anyone to demean what I do. I have zero problems gracefully correcting someone if they are unkind or unsupportive. I can honestly say that I built Little Black Dress from scratch and that I make good money doing what I love. I’m proud of what I’ve built, and what I’m still building. It really doesn’t matter if people don’t get it. The proof is in the pudding which is enough comfort and encouragement for me.
Being an event planner is not easy. I love it though and I’m definitely sticking around. I hope I have Little Black Dress for another 7 years, and then, who knows? For right now I am committed to learning new things, loving my new projects and making sure I am never really 100% content. I’m never going to allow myself to stop moving or growing. I figure if I do I will either start hating it, getting bored, or burn out. And God help me if it were to be all three. It’s important to me that I am always looking at better ways to do my work, better ways to be a better boss/leader, and better ways to run LBD.
There is so much beauty in what I do each day! I get to choose. I get to decide each day what my work will look like, how I will make it happen, the time I want to put into it and most importantly for me, the people I want to surround myself with.
I’m proud of what I have – big or small. Every year is a learning experience and every client is a choice for me now. I have made amazing relationships with some of the families and clients I have had the privilege of working for and for that, I am thankful. They are my cheerleaders, and they are the ones who have helped me build the fantastic reputation I have in the state of West Virginia and Ohio.
Happy 7 years to Little Black Dress and this quote puts into words how I feel about my journey. “ Instead of wishing you were someone else, be proud of who you are. You never know who was looking at you wishing they were you.”