Archive of ‘Entrepreneur Life’ category

Two.

A few months ago, I was at a networking event and someone asked me how long I’d been in business. “I’m in my third year”, I replied, took a sip of my sauv blanc and paused.

Wait. Was that true? When did I start again?, I thought.

Much like when someone asks me how long I’ve known my husband, I always think,  Haven’t I always known him? But, alas, I have not. There was a time before my husband, and a time before my business. I jut don’t remember either one very well anymore. I actually planned my first wedding nine years ago, and I knew my husband for a while before we started dating. I tend to start before I start counting.

 

entrepreneship motto

Moxie Bright Events is two years old today.

Here’s how I spent this anniversary day: Worked out at 9am with some gals I know from Zumba at the track at a local high school, walked my dogs, attended a trunk show at a local bridal accessories boutique with fellow wedding pros, grabbed a quick lunch with another wedding planner, went to a clients house for a meeting about their 2017 wedding, came home to my husband (who made delicious chicken chili for dinner), and ended the day at a local cafe, celebrating this anniversary with a snack and an Arnold Palmer, alone.

And this was a Sunday. Technically, my day “off”.

working at cafe

The fact that I celebrated this milestone alone is an anomaly. If anything, this year has taught me that running a business takes a village. I knew this from Year One, but Year Two really drove that point home for me in a huge way.

Year Two has been about Community.

Being an entrepreneur can be incredibly isolating. I work from home most days, staring at my computer with my cat curled up at my feet. It’s not uncommon that at least one day a week, I don’t leave the house at all. The only way I have found to combat this potential loneliness is to go out into the world and engage, even if sometimes I’m engaging from my computer screen!

This year, I started Periscoping thanks to a challenge by wedding educator Alison Howard and the fabulous online community of wedding planners she has curated in her Facebook group, REFINE. For 30 days (or so), I logged on every day and spoke to other wedding pros about business. The good, the bad, the embarrassing, the educational – I shared it all! So many people shared so much knowledge, and I got hooked! I didn’t know I loved talking about business so much, but I do. It was a surprise for this former musical theatre actress, I tell ya. If you are a #girlboss, and you’re interested, you can watch my ‘scopes on Katch.me.

This year, I became one of the Leaders for the Los Angeles Tuesdays Together meet ups for The Rising Tide Society. Something that I decided to do on a whim – I was attending Oh So Inspired, sitting listening to a speaker, when an email came in, and I said: “Sure!” – has absolutely changed the tone of my business, and subsequently, my life. The Rising Tide ethos of “Community Over Competition” is something that I take very seriously, and it’s informed every part of my life – not just my business.

The Rising Tide Society logo

Getting to meet so many other creatives in so many other fields (not just weddings!) has been such an education. I love learning from others and also sharing what I’ve learned. Last month, Krista Jones (one of the founders of Rising Tide) asked me if I’d like to be a speaker at the first Tide Talk LA. My life motto is basically, “Yes, and…” so of course I said yes. I had the awesome honor of speaking to a crowd of 150 people live and over a thousand people streaming on the web. I spoke on a favorite topic of mine, “The Power of Langauge in your Business” You can watch the whole night here:

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This year, I was chosen to be a Panelist at the Creative at Heart Conference this July in Denver, CO. I am so thrilled to be expanding my community to include another awesome group of heart-centered creatives! Tickets for Creative at Heart go on sale today (so convenient!) Click through the photo below to snag your Early Bird price, and come hang out with me in Denver!

Creative at Heart Conference Denver 2016 lineup

This year, I planned 24 weddings for 24 amazing couples, and I cried happy tears at each one of them. Only once did I cry stressed out tears. That’s a pretty good average.

This year, I took a trip to Europe to celebrate my mom’s birthday, came home, had a wedding five days later, super jetlagged. I did not pass out, and the wedding was amazing.

This year, I had 7 colds, 1 sinus infection, 1 stomach flu, and 1 bug that my doctors couldn’t figure out but assured me would not kill me. They were correct. I started drinking lemon water and taking probiotics every day too. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Indeed. I’m hoping next year these numbers will be much lower.

This year, I expanded my core Tribe by a few awesome ladies. Thanks for always having my back, girl bosses!

This year, I decided to stop glorifying busy, set (and 90% of the time KEEP) office hours, close my laptop before my husband gives me “that look” and have the confidence to know that I’ve got this. Totally.

So, what’s the plan for next year? More of the same, plus expanding Moxie Bright Events, writing more (my husband asks me every day when I’m going to start to write a book), more travel, more speaking, more learning, more community building, more mentoring, and more weddings!

Thanks for following my journey this far, friends! What have been your challenges in business? I’d love to hear about how you’re doing as well! 2ndtrySIG

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect Can Be Paralyzing & Other Lessons Learned

About two months ago, I was a vendor at The Lovesick Expo here in Los Angeles. The Lovesick Expo is a wedding show for alternative couples, and they feature suitably alternative wedding vendors. Co-produced by Ariel of Offbeat Bride, the expo tours around the country, and this year, Los Angeles was on the tour for the first time.

Having experienced some mainstream bridal shows last year as a vendor, I knew I was DONE with regular wedding shows. They are just so icky, you guys.  The day (literally THE DAY) Lovesick started accepting vendor applications, I applied. I emailed my application before I could talk myself out of it. And then I waited.

The doubts started immediately. Chief among them was, What if I’m not “offbeat” enough?

Simply put.

Simply put.

 

Here’s the truth: I, Renée, am not really offbeat at all. Nothing about me looks offbeat. I have average brown hair, no tattoos, and just one piercing in each ear. My favorite designer is Kate Spade, and if I could, I would dress myself head to toe in Ann Taylor. My own wedding was a pretty traditional affair.

The only thing that is offbeat about me and my business is that I LOVE non-traditional weddings. As a wedding planner, I want to plan unique and meaningful celebrations for my couples that reflect who they are as a team. If that vision includes rocket ships or a beer pong table, who am I to judge? Also, I am very pro marriage equality. I guess in wedding world this leaves me just left of center? I hope one day, that isn’t the reality.

A few weeks later, I was accepted to the Lovesick Expo. I was able to put my doubts and fears on the back burner. After all, there were still six months until the show – I had plenty of time to figure out my booth design, marketing strategy, giveaway idea, and obviously, my suitably offbeat outfit.

Do you know how fast six months feels when you’re working on and growing your own business? It feels more like 6 days.

Cut to February 14th. I’m attending my good friends’ Galentine’s Party, and she asks me how my Lovesick planning is going. I told her my booth decor idea and she said, “No. Not offbeat enough.” Uh-oh. Back to the drawing board.

I drove over to Target after the party, bought all the best tissue paper I could find, and ran home to start Plan B decor: tassels. Who doesn’t love tassels, especially gold polka dot tassels?

personal photo from my Instagram

personal photo from my Instagram

I wish I could tell you that I busted out all the tassels in one day, but that would be a lie. Tassel making is time-consuming! Note to all DIY brides: Start your tassels early! It took me three days, six packages of tissue paper and lots of hot glue gun sticks to make all the tassels I wanted – about 75 total.

I spent so much time & energy on the tassels that the other aspects of my booth got waylaid. Who needs a backdrop or printed materials when you’ve got tassels? Um. FAIL. Here’s my to-do list from 2 DAYS before the expo:

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Stop freaking out. An apt note to myself that day. I was so overcome with nerves that I was procrastinating like it was my job; and I had given myself a stomach ache. I debated cancelling the whole thing, and forfeiting my investment. “I CANNOT DO THIS!”, said the voice in my head that sounds like fear. “Shut up. You’re doing it.”, said my husband, aka Bob the Builder.

Soon, enough Expo Day arrived. I successfully packed up All The Things and off I went, with Bob the Builder and my friend/assistant, Kristie in tow.

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The completed booth. So many tassels, y’all!

We constructed our booth, I put on some glittery sneakers (the extent of my offbeat attire) and we began! Before we knew what hit us, the day was over! We spoke to well over 200 people, successfully signed up most of them to my free e-book, we gave out all the Square Treats (thanks, Tanya!) and then we went to get Chinese food. As you do.

Three person selfies are difficult without a selfie stick.

Three person selfies are difficult without a selfie stick.

The Lovesick Expo did not kill me. Putting together all the elements of the booth did not kill me. Talking non stop for five hours did not kill me (who are we kidding, that part is my favorite). No one said, “Oh, you’re not offbeat enough!” and walked away laughing. This day made me stronger.

Being a small business owner is challenging in so many ways, but I have found that “putting myself out there” may be the most challenging aspect for me. I’m naturally very outgoing, so I think most people who know me would assume that it’s easy. But I put so much pressure on myself to make sure everything is perfect, that sometimes I become paralyzed by my own high standards. Every business decision has to be worth it; there isn’t a huge advertising or marketing budget that can be squandered. Every penny counts. Every decision counts. Everything has to be perfect. It’s exhausting, you guys.

Lessons learned? I learned that wedding shows aren’t so bad and they are even better when you surround yourself with good people. I learned that tassel-making takes FOREVER but you probably need less tassels than you think. I learned you can hem an Ikea curtain with duck tape. I learned that I can speak non-stop for a solid five hours.

Mostly, I learned that you cannot grow and thrive if you do not engage with the world outside your office. No one ever took over the world sitting at home talking to their cat.

I was not referring to this kind of world domination.

I was not referring to this kind of world domination.

I know that the more I put myself out there, they easier my (sometimes lofty) goals will be to achieve. My advice to anyone stuck in a perfection paralysis is this: BETTER DONE THAN PERFECT.

Image from Lara Casey

Image from Lara Casey

It’s a statement I am going to repeat to myself when I feel myself getting caught up in a perfection spiral. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Anyone else out there struggle with putting yourself out there? Or perfection paralysis? I’d love to hear how you deal – let me hear from you in the comments!

2ndtrySIG

One.

One

Nope, it’s not my birthday.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Big Picture Stuff this week, as I approached a milestone. No, it’s not my birthday – that’s next month.  (And for the most part, I will largely be ignoring this particular birthday. But that’s a subject for a whole different post). One year ago today, I launched my business, Moxie Bright Events. 365 days ago, I pressed “publish” on my website and shared it with all of you. Today is my business anniversary.

One year ago today.

One year ago today.

 

I have to tell you, I was scared. I remember exactly where I was when I decided to make the website “live”. I wasn’t 100% sure I was ready, but I also knew that if I kept messing with the website, I could be changing it (perfecting it?) for the rest of my life and never actually share it with anyone. Sometimes you just have to leap, and hope the net will appear.

I had no idea if anyone would hire me, or even worse, if anyone would even notice me at all. I had started my wedding planner certification six months earlier, I took three months to create my website, and I was fresh off Alison Howards’ REFINE Workshop. I knew I had prepared myself reasonably well. Still, Los Angeles is a huge city. People launch businesses every day. Who did I think I was? What made me so special?

 

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The truth? The only thing that makes me special is that I pressed “publish”; that I put myself out there. That’s really the heart and soul of it. Truly.

A year ago, I was working a day job that made me feel pretty miserable. I was cranky and stressed and quite frankly, really difficult to live with. I’m not sure how Bob the Builder made it through that time.

365 days later, I can say this: This year has been bananas! There is no way I would have been able to predict how busy Moxie Bright Events became, as it all happened pretty quickly.

Six days after I launched my site, I booked my first wedding. SIX DAYS. Now, calling it “my first wedding” is wildly inaccurate, as I actually planned my first wedding eight years ago. But, as far as my wedding planning business is concerned, that was my first “real” wedding. Five months later I quit my day job. There simply wasn’t enough time in my day to do both jobs well. I made the choice to quit my job and start working from home, and never looked back. Four months after that, I was awarded the Wedding Wire Couples Choice Award!

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It’s been a good year, to put it mildly. Every day, I learn something new – about my business, myself, my relationships, and my clients. Its such a great feeling! Of course, there have also been struggles, mistakes, bad moods and just plain ole bad days. Such is life.

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Here’s what I want to share with you, if you have something you want to start, but you haven’t done it yet. If you feel stuck, or scared, or insecure, this is for you.

1. DO IT NOW. Do it before you feel 100% ready. Just make yourself start. Do it. You will rise up to meet your own expectations. I promise this is true.

2. Find your tribe. I never understood what this meant, until I found mine. My tribe is not just one group of people. My tribe happens to be six gals who don’t even know one another. I make it a point to see each of them once a month, for some goal setting, wine drinking, and butt kicking. It’s invaluable to my business growth and my personal sanity. Find your people.

3. Keep learning. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, awesome bad-ass inspiration and good old fashioned business sense is only a click away. My daily and weekly inspirations include Marie Forleo, The Middle Finger Project, and the Female Entrepreneur Association for business tips; Alison Howard, Liz Coopersmith, Heidi Thompson & The Inner Circle and Planner’s Lounge for wedding planning business smarts; and Danielle LePorte and Elizabeth Gilbert for soul wisdom. Every day, I learn something new from these accomplished and brilliant women, and I think you will too.

And lastly, some words of wisdom given to me by my friend (and tribe member), Mindy from Budget Fairy Tale. When I started working from home, she gave me two pieces of advice: 1. Get up every morning, take a shower and get dressed. 2. Wear real pants  – ones that have a button.

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This remains a work in progress. I wrote the entirety of this post whilst wearing linen pants with a stretchy waist. I definitely wear pants, but they are mostly of the yoga variety. I have to have work goals for year two, right?

Anyone other female entrepreneurs out there working 60 hours a week in your pajamas? Let me hear from you in the comments!

2ndtrySIG