The first year in business can often be the hardest, but for those who are bold enough to press on with passion and enthusiasm, it is also one filled with priceless lessons and shining opportunities. Hampshire and Berkshire wedding planner and HiveTribe member, Jennifer Courtenay-Hall, took the plunge and started her own business , Wedding Elements, in late 2018, and hasn’t looked back since! We sat down with Jennifer to find out what she’s learned, what she’d do differently, and how time management is the key to having it all!
How did you get started in the wedding industry?
When I was 15 I got a job in a local hotel working on weddings.
After a big career setback last year (one of many), I remember thinking to myself, ‘I wish I could work on weddings full time’. Within a week I had set up a limited company and started working on my website. I started in weddings and it felt like that was where I truly belonged.
What mistakes have you made, and what did you learn from them?
I didn’t invest my money wisely; I tried to keep costs down by going for cheaper branding and website options. But in the end I had to spend the money anyway, so I ended up spending more than I needed to. I wish I had found the HiveTribe earlier!
What advice would you give someone about to make the leap to being a full-time wedding pro?
It’s not an easy career and it won’t give you more time to yourself. If that’s what you’re looking for, then it may not be the right option for you. Make sure you’re 100% committed to doing whatever it takes to get your business off the ground.
What support and advice have you discovered, and how has it changed your business?
Your ideal client will have your own traits. This helped me understand who I am tailoring my brand to.
Do you think women can ‘have it all’ when it comes to running a successful business and having a fulfilling personal life?
I hate this saying! Of course women can, exactly like men can. It’s all about time management, and having good and understanding people around you. I work constantly at the moment, and it’s really hard at times. But I still schedule time in my diary for family and friends and, most importantly, my relationship.
How do you find a work/life balance?
Scheduling! I plan my diary a month in advance. I schedule time to work, I book in lunches with friends and family meetings, I make sure my boyfriend and I get time together regularly. If I say I am taking an evening off to watch TV with my boyfriend, then that’s what I do. No phone, no laptop.
What’s your definition of success?
Working for myself full time and earning a enough money to be comfortable.
What’s your number one tip for new wedding pros?
You will need to invest in your business. Don’t do it on the cheap! Brand properly, get a copywriter, get a good website, and find like-minded people to network with.
What’s next for you and your business?
A re-brand and new website for 2020.
Want to get the branding of your new wedding business right first time? HiveTribe membership provides you with practical training and access to top pros who will help you identify your dream client and market to them effectively from day one. FIND OUT MORE HERE.
Images: The Brand Studio