Photography: Ashley Slater Photography
To my dearest family and friends – I love you all so much and thank you for reading my blog. This is not aimed at anyone in particular and please don’t take offense, this is written as a generalized business note. Please continue to be my biggest cheerleaders and best fans (and send lots of clients my way!). xo
You remember that episode of Friends where Monica is asked to cater her mother’s fancy party, but her mom has very little faith in her and so she sticks a few lasagnas in the freezer just in case she “pulls a Monica”? Does that feeling ever seem all too familiar?
Our families tend to be a biggest fans and worst critics. They’ll tell you they love you and believe in you, but then put a backup meal in the freezer. I’ve worked 30 + weddings on my own, made hundreds of flower arrangements and have a pretty awesome portfolio to prove it. But when they ask me to plan one teeny little party or create a small bouquet, they’re constantly checking in on me – like I don’t know what I’m doing. What gives?
Our family and friends have the very best of intentions, but sometimes they’re actually doing more harm than good. They try to give you good business advice. They tell you where to advertise and who to network with. They want to cheer you on. And they’ve been by your side as you grow. They watched your hobby become your career. They were there when your blog had 2 readers and they’re still there now that you have 200+ a day. The problem is, unlike an outsider, a new bride/client/business contact or whomever, they’ve seen you at your lowest and it’s hard to remember that you’ve grown up.
Think of your best friend from high school. Remember her snot-nosed little kid brother? How old is he? 11? He’ll forever be 11 in your mind, it’s hard to see him now that he’s 25 and a grown man starting a family – he’s just a kid! I suppose it’s the same for your family and your business. I’ll always be a little girl.
To conquer this – build yourself a kick butt website and show them! I still find myself having to fight the urge to roll my eyes when a friend of mine asks if I have a website. Of course I do, and it’s really impressive and helps me book some amazing couples. And I’ve been published, lots. I have great reviews. I might work out of my garage sometimes, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere. I was fully booked this summer, so someone somewhere believes in me.
Then remember that your family isn’t necessarily your “ideal client”. They may or may not have any familiarity in your industry and they don’t know who the key players are and how your work compares. They don’t stay current on wedding trends. They don’t know that your flower arrangements hardly hold a candle to Mr. Big Fancy Pants Designer’s because they haven’t seen Mr. Big Fancy Pants Designer’s work. So take their compliment whether it’s your best work or if you’ve seen better. Your brides might not have seen Mr. Big Fancy Pants Designer’s work either, and even if they have, they’ve come to you for a reason.
Step back from your friends weddings. Sure it’s flattering to be asked to be a part of a celebration of someone who is so close to you. And I love it when Mom sends a client my way. But again, sometimes they aren’t the right fit. Maybe they saw your website and passed and then Mommy told them all about her amazingly talented daughter (that’s you!) and they revisited it. Your mom might give you a little attitude for not taking it on, but your works suffers when you aren’t inspired, there’s a reason they didn’t connect with you right away. In the end, you probably did all parties involved a favor by understanding that you don’t have to work with every client that comes your way.
My advice it to take it all with a grain of salt. Whether it’s Mr. Big Fancy Pants Designer’s business advice or a heart to heart with your husband or Mom and Dad, you have to go with your gut. Don’t do things because someone else did or told you to. If it doesn’t feel right, it won’t turn out right because you must stay true to yourself. Not all paths to success are the same, you must find your own.0