On Thursday, July 14, 2016, I started my event planning business. If I had to describe this past year in 3 simple words, I would choose the following:
Nothing can fully prepare you for the things you'll encounter while running a business and dealing with clients. I'm learning something new every day about my business and myself!
As outgoing as I can be, I sometimes choose the "comfortable" route. If I'm in a position that makes me uncomfortable (anticipation of failure, feeling inferior), I'm an expert at figuring out a way to make myself feel better by moonwalking out of the situation as quickly as possible!
However, being "comfortable" isn't always the best option when running a business. I remember two particular moments where being comfortable would have caused me to miss out on an event and miss out on an invaluable conversation with experts in the field.
#1 - Anticipation of Failure
A friend referred my services to a bride-to-be in July of last year. At that time, I had just started my business. No business cards, website, or portfolio. Nothing. I was hoping to schedule a call with the bride so that I could prepare to sell myself. Instead, I got an unexpected call from the bride! She wanted to discuss my pricing (I was still working on that), contract terms (didn't have one), my portfolio (didn't have that either), and my availability (of course I was available).
The bride and I were on the phone for only 15 minutes. Mostly because I kept finding creative ways to say "I'll have to get back to you on that." I also gave her inaccurate information. The call sucked, and I just knew I blew it.
I decided to prepare myself for failure and pretend the call never happened. I convinced myself that I wasn't ready to do a wedding yet anyway because I just started my business.
What sense does that make?
Luckily, I had a meeting with my mentor that week. As I shared the painful details from the call, I waited for her to cosign my decision to count this one as a loss. She didn't. She reminded me that I had to push myself if I wanted to secure the event. "Giving up is the easy way to go," she said.
After our conversation, I decided to take her advice. I wanted this event, and I had to do something. I decided to send the bride an email. My message included an apology for the call, accurate pricing/details, and the promise of a contract by the end of the week (thanks, LegalZoom). I ended my email by highlighting my skills and selling the point that she could go down in history as my first professional client. I mean, who doesn't want to go down in history?
It worked! She said YES!
Had I given in to the failure, I would've missed out on my first gig!
#2 - Feeling Inferior
As many of you know, I attended the David Tutera Symposium recently. I was surrounded by many experts in the event/wedding planning field. I enjoyed all of the presenters. However, I found it difficult to make conversation with them outside of the sessions because I felt inferior given my limited professional experience. Nonetheless, I knew if I could just get out of my head, communicating with them would be beneficial!
On the last day of the symposium during lunch, I had an opportunity. There was an open seat at the table where the presenters were eating. After grabbing my plate; I gave myself a pep talk. During the conversation with myself, I decided if I sit with them, the worst thing that could happen is that they ignore me. And that would be okay. I could just focus my energy on sending funny Snapchat photos to my sister until it's time for the next session.
I took a deep breath and walked towards the table. I sat and began eating.
Okay, next task, join the conversation.
Before I could figure out something to say, Jacqueline Nwobu, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Munaluchi Bride, asked me a question. And the rest was history. By the end of lunch, I was sharing my experiences, getting feedback from everyone and even giving advice to them! I walked away from that table learning so much, and I felt valued (thanks, Jacqueline, Emily, Slomique, and Eda).
Although I chose to share these particular stories, trust me, there were plenty more. Working through my fears isn't always easy. However, each time I make an effort to tiptoe out of my comfort zone, awesome things happen!
I constantly remind myself of the opportunities I almost missed. It helps me stay on track! For me to grow personally and in my business, I have to keep pushing if I want to be successful!
I'll leave you with this wonderful quote from the movie We Bought a Zoo. It confirms that a quick, positive shift of perspective along with courage, can change your life in a huge way!
“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and something great will come of it.”