Month: June 2018

  • The Three Pieces of Advice that Transformed My Marriage

    Marriage saving advice

    I talk about wedding planning a lot. A whole lot. Unfortunately, I haven’t delved into healthy marriages as much as I should. So, today, I’m going to rectify that- and get pretty vulnerable- by talking about the three pieces of advice that transformed my marriage. [I truly believe being a healthy entrepreneur starts with being a whole/healthy person, and our relationships have a huge impact on our mental + emotional health.]

    The backstory

    When I first got married, nothing was the way I expected to be. Shocking, right?!?

    Since I’m a wedding coordinator and I’m around love and marriage all the time, I naively believed I had realistic expectations what married life would be. I’d read all the “right” books. I’d observed  numerous relationships over the years and noted what to, and what not to do.

    Since I had seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of weddings and married life, I felt I had a grasp on the whole “marriage” thing. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

    New town, new job, new marriage, financial concerns… All the change + stress crashed over me; I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. The result? I was cold and nasty. Who did I take it out on? My husband.

    I can only imagine how my husband must’ve felt. He was expecting to start a beautiful new journey with the woman he loved. Instead, he got bitterness, resentment, and criticism.

    Practice Love

    Once upon a time, I had to take a marriage class in school. I honestly don’t recall anything from that course. However, as I was unpacking some boxes about six months after the wedding, I came across my old class notebook. In it I found a note that said,

    “Practice Love. Loving well is a skill. Like any other skill, the more you practice it, the better you get at it.”

    My heart sank. I realized I wasn’t very good at loving my husband. I certainly hadn’t “practiced” it. It struck me that I practiced yoga, cooking, and writing. Why not love?

    I gave it a try. And what “practicing love” looked like for me was:

    • Encouraging my husband rather than criticizing him.
    • Communicating with him in a way he related to.
    • Having fun with him.
    • Dreaming with him.
    • Showing an interest in the things he’s passionate about.
    • Really listening to what he was saying, rather than making assumptions.

    The more I did it, the easier it got. I started to really enjoy my marriage for the first time.

    Look for the Positive

    One day, as I was thinking about my marriage, a scene from the movie Pollyanna popped into my mind. For those of you who haven’t seen it, there’s a scene where the eternally optimistic Pollyanna happens upon the local minister practicing his hell-fire and brimstone sermon for Sunday. Pollyanna asked the minister why he was so hard on the congregation. She reminded him,

    “If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will.”

    Like the minister in the move, I was shook. As I pondered that quote, I realized I had only focused on the bad things about my new life. I never considered what I had to be thankful for. From then on I started taking time out of every single day to list the things I loved about my husband, our life, our little fixer-upper, etc. I married the kindest, funniest, most generous person I’ve ever met. How had I not stopped to think about that?

    The more I accentuated the positive, the more I loved our life together. I only wish I had done it sooner!

    Be Teammates, Not Enemies

    The last bit of marriage-altering advice actually came from my husband on a night I was being particularly harsh. He sat there taking my barrage of nastiness. When I finally stopped, he said this,

    “I wish you saw us as teammates rather than enemies. That’s why I married you. So we could do life together.”

    Tears flowed down my cheeks. He was right. The person who loved me more than anything in this world was sitting right in front of me. We promised to be on each other’s team until death do us part. It was time I started acting like it.

    As I started acting on those bits of advice, things got better. And it still gets better every day. I continue to practice love, meditate on what I have to be thankful for, and approach life as my husband’s teammate. It didn’t just transform my marriage, it transformed me. I’m a happier, more fulfilled, more gracious person. For that, I am truly grateful.

  • Is Hiring a Wedding Planner Really Worth It?

    Admittedly, as a wedding planner, I am a little biased. I do think either a wedding planner or a wedding day coordinator is a valuable investment into having a stress-free wedding day. However, I will also tell you that not every wedding planner is right for you. It’s important to find a pro you genuinely connect with and trust.

    All that being said, below are just a few of the reasons a planner is worth it.

    You (and your friends + family) should be celebrating

    Your wedding is, or at least should be, a joyful celebration. You should be creating beautiful memories with your friends and family, not worrying about delivery times and vendor set up. A wedding planner – or wedding day coordinator-  can take care of all those stressful wedding day details so you and your loved ones are free to enjoy yourselves!

    I forgot what? 

    There are so many moving pieces to a wedding, it’s easy to overlook things. A quality wedding planner will help you work through all those minute details and ensure all your bases are covered.

    Your time is precious

    You only get this “engaged” season once. It’s unique. It’s precious. You shouldn’t be stressed out the entire time!

    You may not need a full-service planner, but you may want to consider a few “a la carte” planning options to free up your time. Many planners offer hourly rates or a menu of small tasks they’ll handle for you, so you can outsource projects you hate and focus on the ones you actually have fun doing. Your time is valuable, you don’t want to waste it!

    Vendor Lists

    Wedding planners usually have a list of reliable pros they work with often. This is great because they generally have a groove or rhythm to the way they work together, and it makes things that much smoother on your wedding day.  Most wedding planners are also able to procure vendor discounts for you… And who wants to pay more than they have to?

    Timelines + checklists

    If logistics, timelines, and to-do lists aren’t your thing, a wedding planner can help! Planners are pros at creating timelines and checklists to help the wedding planning process run efficiently.

    I wish…

    Almost every time I meet someone new (who is married) and they find out what I do, they something like, “I wish I’d hired a planner for my wedding!” They then proceed to tell me about some snaffoo, family drama, or crazy situation that happened on their wedding day. It makes me sad because I wish I could go back in time and fix it for them.

    You might be saying, “But, Stacy, I’ve heard horror stories from people who have hired wedding planners, too.” Yes. You’re absolutely right. There’s no denying it. Planners are human too. However, an experienced planner usually has the tools to turn things around or salvage the moment. It’s like I said above, it’s about finding the right planner for you. She or he, should be able to help you avoid those, “I wish” regrets.

    So… Is it worth it? 

    It all depends on you. What do you want your wedding day to be like? Do you stress out easily? Would having a seasoned professional on hand give you the confidence you need to relax and rejoice on your big day? Another thing to consider is your family. Does your family tend to stress? Would a wedding day coordinator help your parents be able to breathe easier?

    It’s up to you. My hope is that whatever you choose, you have a blissful + beautiful wedding planning journey and the best wedding day ever!

  • How to Set Your Business Apart on Social Media

    Have you noticed it? Our collective social media feeds are becoming more and more similar. Brand messaging all sounds about the same these days. So, how does a small business owner set themselves apart from the competition?

    What do your customers really want?

    It’s easy to assume because there’s so much of the same content out there everywhere that it must be what people want… And in some cases, that may be true. But, have you ever asked your audience what they want? It’s a simple piece of advice, but it’s effective… and most people never do it!

    Poll your audience on social media. Ask them questions. Pay attention to their answers. Let what they say direct your content creation, rather than what you assume they want based on what  everyone else is doing.

    One of these things is not like the others…

    Anyone else watch Sesame Street as a kid? Remember that song that went, “One of these things is not like the others…” That’s what I want you to focus on.

    Here’s a little exercise. Make a list of what your competitors seem to focus on the most. Now, you may do 98% of the same things they do, but I want you to think about the 2% of things you do differently. What images and stories can you share about those things?

    Who are you?

    No, really, who are you? What’s your personality? If you’re a fun, energetic person, embrace it. If you’re laid back, introverted, or shy, embrace that too!

    You love the things you love, and you have the hopes/dreams/desires you have for a reason. Those things paint the picture of who you are. Don’t share pictures of things you hate just because they’re popular. Share things that are meaningful/purposeful/important to you and your business. By doing so, you’ll connect with your audience in a unique way that other businesses, brands, and influencers can’t.

    Create before you consume

    I have to give Jenna Kutcher full and complete credit for this one. She always says, “Create before you consume.” It’s probably the best piece of advice anyone can give on producing content that is authentic to you and your brand.

    When we see all the pretty things other people are putting out there, it’s easy to think, “I need to do that too!” But the problem is that person’s content is already out there. The world already has one of her… What the world needs is you. Your unique style/passion/vision/point of view.

    The remedy? Create, dream, write, brainstorm, etc. before you hop on social media for the day. That way you’re less likely to be influenced by everyone else’s feeds.

    Care

    This one may seem obvious, but you need to really care about your audience. People can tell when they’re just being sold to. But, if you constantly show your followers that you’re thinking about them and what’s in their best interest, it makes a difference. Your main focus should be, “How can I serve my audience” rather than, “How can I sell [insert product here]?”

    How do you show you care? Solve problems for your followers. Inspire them. Entertain them. Do your best to be a bright spot in their day.

    Be a storyteller

    Usually, the best marketers are the best storytellers. If you can pair your beautiful photo with a captivating story, your audience will be more likely to engage. And with the ever-changing algorithm landscape, one constant is the necessity for post engagement!

    So… what’s the story behind the photo? How do you connect with it? How would you like your audience to connect with it? Is there a special element you could talk about? A memory you could share?

    Action time!

    Inspiration without application usually falls flat. So, what’s one thing you’re going to do today to serve your audience or set yourself apart? Will you poll your audience? Will you brainstorm what makes you different from your competitors? Will you tell meaningful stories? Write it down somewhere and make it happen.

    Try something new that’s working for you? We’d love to hear your breakthrough– drop a comment below!

  • 10 Ways I Deal With Stressful Days as an Entrepreneur

    Social media is flooded with images and videos of people living this ideal “entrepreneurial” lifestyle. I know I can be guilty of it too (sorry about that!) But real life gets messy. Some days are just plain stressful. I love my life. I love what I do. But some days I need creative ways to deal. So, here are 10 ways I handle those especially stressful moments as a business owner.

    Clandestine coffee (… or tea)

    There’s something about sneaking away when I should be working on a project and drinking a soothing beverage that makes me feel both calm and exhilarated. Sometimes that 15 minutes or so away from the computer is just what I need to energize myself to complete the task at hand.

    Dance breaks

    Yes. I am that person. I absolutely turn on my favorite song and dance my heart out. You should try it! It gets the blood flowing, it makes you smile, and most importantly, it makes life feel like a celebration.

    FaceTime my sister

    Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without my sister. There have been days I’ve called her about 25 times. Just having a listening ear makes all the difference in the world. Plus, she’s an amazing person to bounce ideas off of! She always steers me in the right direction.

    Snuggle breaks

    If you follow me on Instagram, you know I live in the country and have three of the cutest barn cats ever. I’ve had some particularly rough days where I went outside and played with/snuggled the cats for about an hour before coming back to work. Fresh air, sunshine, sweet animals, it’s a great way to hit the “reset” button for the day.

    Goal reminders

    I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to remind myself why I started my businesses in the first place. I get out my dream journal and read over my goals, dreams, and hopes for the future. It’s a great motivator to get back to work and make things happen.

    Yoga

    On days when I really need to clear my mind, it’s time to practice some yoga. Letting go of worry and focusing on the movement can be very therapeutic.

    Podcasts

    There are so many great small buisness podcasts out there! Sometimes I turn on a few while I’m working. There’s something to the “I’ve been there!” factor. Being a small business owner can be very isolating at times. Hearing stories from other people who have been their too can really help.

    Flirting with my husband

    In addition to his business, my husband also works a day job. And you know what? I totally flirt with him via text. He makes everything feel lighter!

    Grocery shopping

    I know this sounds like an especially weird one. But for me, doing a simple chore that forces me to think of our life outside of our businesses helps me re-center. Plus, I really like food…

    Chocolate

    I guess this could be filed under the “vice” category, but I’m okay with that. Dark chocolate makes me feel good on my insides… so occasionally I take a few minutes, step away from the computer, and indulge.

    The Office

    While I don’t necessarily recommend flipping on Netflix while you’re working, some days a few episodes of “The Office” is what gets me through a project. A little laughter goes a long way to making work feel more exciting than it really is.

    So, there you go. Ten ways I deal with entrepreneurial stress. Most, if not all of them, may seem absolutely absurd to you, and that’s okay! I hope it got your creativity going for you to find fun ways to beat your small business stress.

  • Is Pride Keeping Your Business from Growing?

    How to Grow Your Business

    Self-evaluation can be uncomfortable. I mean who really wants to be confronted with the less-than-ideal parts of themselves or their businesses? The problem is, not dealing with those things can be hurting your bottom line.

    Imperfections Don’t Make You a Failure

    Something to keep in mind is that having areas where you aren’t as strong doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human. In fact, it’s those those very imperfections that may be wonderful connection points with your audience. But if your pride is keeping you from admitting those things exist, you may be missing out on deep, meaningful relationships with your audience.

    All those perfectly curated Instagram feeds out there are beautiful, but they can be hard to emotionally connect to. And if there’s anything people are looking for these days, it’s connection.

    If things aren’t working, change them.

    This one can be difficult. I know sometimes as business owners we have very clear ideas of how we want to do things and we want to stick to them because they are, after all, our ideas.

    I was guilty of this for years! And you know what? I sabotaged my own success. Did my business grow? Yes. Was it far harder and slower than it needed to be? Absolutely!

    If there are processes, procedures, messages that aren’t working, it’s time to stop and evaluate things. Why aren’t they working? Do you need a major overhaul? Or maybe just a few tweaks? Sometimes it’s a simple as finding the right app to use or clarifying your messaging. The main thing is, don’t get stuck in a rut that isn’t working for you or your business.

    All forward progress is good

    Another trap I see a lot of small business owners falling into is the, “success isn’t happening fast enough” pitfall. Just because it’s not overnight, it doesn’t mean that your success isn’t real. In fact, most “overnight” successes are years in the making. I’ve seen people quit six months into their entrepreneurial journey because things just weren’t happening fast enough.

    Every victory in your business is a victory, no matter how small. You’re doing something brave. You’re building something. You dared to believe you could make things happen. Don’t undermine your progress by letting your ego get in the way. All forward progress is good. Every wildly successful person had to start somewhere!