In your first few years as a Celebrant it can feel pretty daunting getting your business off the ground. There is a lot to do, a lot to learn and a lot to process. Even though starting a business is a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be majorly stressful and it should at least be enjoyable.
There’s nothing quite like seeing your business ideas take shape as you carve out your space on the internet for your celebrant business. Yes, there will be days that the same business also gives you a migraine and you might slightly lose the will to live, but it’s all part of the process of bringing your dreams into reality and taking the next steps on your new career path.
Here are some of my top tips to help you get your business off to the right start, not just from an administrative point of view, but equally importantly, from a healthy mindset point of view too. And even if you’re a few years down the line, these tips can still be useful.
1. Don’t try to do everything at once
Seriously! You will just give yourself a headache and end up feeling overwhelmed if you try to do everything at once. Prioritise what’s really necessary to get your business off the ground and the things that will see you through for the first few months to a year.
If you have a business plan (make one if you haven’t already), then this should help you to figure out what you need to do first and will help you to put tasks in place to achieve your first year of goals.
You don’t need to be churning out content on social media all day every day, or writing lots of blogs posts or printing off business cards, flyers, brochures, fridge magnets, mugs all at once! Don’t try to do all the courses, read all the books, take up all the free training on offer. Start with the basics and the necessities and the rest can follow!
2. Invest in a really good website
Besides any training that you might do as a celebrant, I personally believe that your next biggest investment should be in your website. Your website is the virtual home of your business. It’s your virtual real estate. It’s where all roads and avenues lead to.
People may find you on social media, on directories or other websites, but you can be sure they will at some point refer back to your website, especially when they start to finalise decisions about who they want to contact or book.
The importance of a good website is just not drummed home enough. Your website is your business home and the place where everything that couples need to know about you and how you work can be found.
Make sure your website is well-built (by a professional if possible), well SEO’d, looks amazing, has great photographs (use stock images if you don’t yet have wedding photos) and hire a photographer for a photo shoot for headshot and portrait images. And use language that shows off your personality and style so couples feel an instant connection with you.
To be really frank, if your website looks cheap and cobbled together, it could give the impression to prospective clients that you don’t care about your business, which of course is not the case!
Here’s a good rule of thumb – does your website look en par with some of your favourite wedding websites? No? Okay, then make it happen! And do shop around, good websites don’t have to cost a fortune.
3. Have a blog section on your website
This is so important that I’ve made it its own separate point! Because your website is so crucial to your business you want to make it a priority to drive as much traffic to it as possible, and one way that you’re going to do this is by building up your collection of useful wedding-related blog posts. Blog post which will draw people to your website because they have Googled search terms which are specific to you and weddings in your area.
Write about your favourite wedding venues in your area. Write a list of tips for how to get married in your area. Interview local wedding suppliers and build up collaborations and contacts.
Blogging really can make all the difference to the amount of traffic finding its way to your website. It’s free, it’s easy-to-do, it’s a no brainer.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others
I talk about this a lot on my various platforms. Comparing yourself to other celebrants is basically a one-way ticket to self-doubt and low-esteem. This is why it’s so important to set your own goals for what you want to achieve as a celebrant. Set your own number of bookings, determine your own work-life balance and work towards them.
Be connected with other celebrants, yes! Congratulate their successes, yes! But don’t use them as a model to measure yourself against. You should be comparing yourself only to how you were the day before, and that’s it.
5. Don’t try to emulate others
This is really important too. Sometimes it can be tempting to take on the style or persona of other celebrants who in your eyes appear to be walking and talking the celebrant walk that you’d love to be walking and talking yourself. This won’t get you anywhere fast. Be yourself from the outset. You’ll be happier for it and it will be less exhausting trying to be someone you’re not.
6. Don’t undercut your prices
I repeat. DO NOT DELIBERATELY UNDERCUT YOUR PRICES. Don’t set your prices from the outset with the only intention of being cheaper than those working in the same area as you. It’s just not good business practice and doesn’t say or do much for your business.
Celebrant and officiant fees in general are already too low as it is (!) without others coming in and diminishing the value further. You may be the new kid on the block but you’ve still got experience (from other walks of life) and training or motivational confidence to do the good job that you’re setting out to do, so don’t set the cheapest prices with the aim of looking more attractive to couples.
This, along with other pricing no-nos is some of what I’m going to be talking about in my pricing strategy webinar next week. This webinar is available for free to members, so if you’ve been thinking about becoming a member, join now to take part in this webinar. It’s going to be a good one! Membership is 10 euros a month. Sign up here.
7. Say ‘hi’ to your celebrant neighbours
It’s nice to send a friendly hello to your celebrant neighbours to introduce yourself and let them know that you’re new in town. There is a chance that your introduction won’t be well received, and you might even be ignored, however at least you’ll go down on record as being the one to initiate a nice gesture and attempt to have some form of collaboration over competition. On a positive note, it could lead to future connections and contacts, and even a working relationship.
8. Join some celebrant Facebook groups
We have an amazing space over at the Celebrants Collective Facebook group. So much generosity, wisdom and advice is shared and it’s a great place to be as a new celebrant. Watch, listen and learn and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’ll be surprised by how many celebrant colleagues are willing to help. Come and join us here.
9. Collate your celebrant toolbox
These are your day-to-day things that you’ll need to run your celebrant business efficiently. Your PA system, microphone, wedding props, stationery, mic stands, lectern, Kindle or tablet, wedding certificates and whatever else you need to carry in your celebrant trunk to do your job. And don’t forget spares of things too! Again you don’t have to get everything all at once, so start off with the basics and keep adding. Oh, and trust me, you will keep adding!
10. And lastly, don’t take celebrant life too seriously
Yes, we are amazingly privileged and lucky to be trusted by couples and families who book us, and entrust us with their precious life events, and being a celebrant really is a very special undertaking. But, you can be professional to the core, whilst still having a cheery attitude and having fun. It’s okay to have a joyous light-hearted approach to what you do. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Okay , that’s it from me. I hope you find these tips useful. Over and out.