Returning to work after a maternity leave is difficult for many women, no matter their role. Many find that, as their priorities shift, they find themselves re-evaluating how they spend their time and looking for more flexible ways to make an income. No wonder mum-preneurs are on the rise! For Essex wedding planner, Natasha Cousins, her return to the corporate world made her realise that it was time for a career switch, and her business The Wildflower Wedding Planner was born! We sat down with Natasha to find out how she made the leap, and how nailing down her ideal client has played a role in her success.
How did you get started in the wedding industry?
I have always loved everything about weddings, and after spending ten years as an executive assistant in Investment Banking, I found myself longing for a more creative outlet. When I returned to work after my maternity leave, I instantly knew the corporate world wasn’t for me anymore, and so The Wildflower Wedding Planner was born.
I wanted a career that would light up both my need for organisation and imagination, and the wedding world was the answer. Combining my love of logistics, meticulous organisation skills and attention to detail, and being able to express my creativity, wedding planning was the perfect career choice for me!
What mistakes have you made, and what did you learn from them?
I didn’t really have any strategies in place when I first started out, which I now know was a big mistake. Business life is so much simpler when there are clear goals! I also underestimated how important it is to have other contacts in the industry – community over competition really is the way to go!
What advice would you give someone about to make the leap to being a full-time wedding pro?
I was still working part-time when I launched my business and I think the best advice I can give is not to focus on what others are doing and just do what you can, at your own pace. It’s not a race, and you don’t want to get burnt out before you’ve got your business off the ground!
What support and advice have you discovered, and how has it changed your business?
Figuring out my ideal client and my niche was a turning point for me. Once I stopped trying to appeal to every single bride, I was much clearer about my goals, and now have a stronger brand message!
Do you think women can ‘have it all’ when it comes to running a successful business and having a fulfilling personal life?
I think so – it doesn’t come easy but we have the luxury of being able to choose our own working hours to fit around our personal lives, and spend more time on the things that are important to us.
How do you find a work/life balance?
I am still working towards finding the right balance for my family, but it is helping to have more structure to my days. So I try to have set hours that I am going to work (usually when my daughter is in childcare or in bed!), and specific days where I focus on housework and general life admin. This way I can focus on the task in hand, and not be pulled in a million directions or feel like I should be doing something else.
What’s your definition of success?
For me, success is being able to do a job that I genuinely love. It’s still hard work, but when you reap the benefits of your efforts it’s such a wonderful feeling! One of my biggest goals was that I wanted to be able to spend more time with my daughter before she starts school in a few months time, and I have recently left my part-time role, so that is a massive achievement for me.
What’s your number one tip for new wedding pros?
Have a plan, find your niche, and surround yourself with supportive people – in the industry and your personal life!
What’s next for you and your business?
2019 is all about visibility and getting myself out there in front of my ideal client. I have a couple of styled shoots on the horizon, and I am really excited to be working with some lovely couples!
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