February 8, 2019
This is the third time I’ve attempted to write this year in review blog post. Why might you ask? It’s hard. So much happened in 365 days with my business and my personal life. Some might say, “well just write about the business part, that’s what your year in review should be about”, which is true, but if you’re a business owner or even work for a business at all, you know that your business isn’t completely separate from your personal life. With that being said, if you only care about my business and how it changed over the course of 2018 then this blog post isn’t for you, and that’s okay. This post is about me and my year in review, which includes my life outside of Hannah Marie Events.
I started 2018 with with a brand new website that was going live on New Years day (I don’t recommend that to literally anyone), with 90% of my images from a styled shoot and the phone view didn’t work hardly at all. So, 2018 started off stressed. You know what helps with stress though? A puppy. Lucky for me, Huck’s (if you’re new around here, that’s my boyfriend of 6 years) family got a puppy for Christmas and you can guarantee that I was loving on that puppy as much as I could! Some other awesome things were that my best friend got engaged just days before New Years in Japan, my business was turning 1 in a few short weeks, Huck and I’s 5 year anniversary was in a week and I was getting ready to sign my first apartment lease completely on my own. 2018 was turning a corner and there were so many great things that happened, both in business and life.
Don’t get my wrong though- some things did not go as planned and a few unexpected turns came about. I put a lot of money into a launch party in March while also trying to move into my apartment with a good friend and the launch party was nothing I thought it was going to be. I wouldn’t say it was a business failure but it definitely wasn’t a success. I was ghosted by about half the amount of brides that inquired with me and I couldn’t figure out why. I had a huge job change that scared me because my finances were no longer secure. I finally fixed my website so the mobile site would work and I was thrilled about the upcoming wedding season!! I had so much to look forward to for the summer.
I went to my first professional hockey game and loved it! One of my then, bosses, and friend was having her first baby, my best friend, Amanda, was planning her wedding and move to Japan, I moved into my first adult apartment near my old high school stopping grounds with my first college friend. I planned a styled shoot at my dream wedding venue and it was stunning!! A month later my friend and roomie helped me with a brunch wedding, spent as much time with my best friend as possible before her September move, had 8 weddings in a row from April-June, became super blonde with the help of my amazing friend turned hair dresser, watched my baby brother graduate from high school and 1 and a half months later turn 18. My dad helped me get one of my dream cars, we took an awesome family vacation that included surprise jell-o shots made by yours truly. We celebrated Amanda’s upcoming wedding with a shower and a bachelorette party and then celebrated at my favorite Richmond winery with a smaller group a couple of weeks later.
Then I actually started doing things for my business. I was so busy with weddings from April-June that when those ended I needed a little detox and that included lots of nights with friends, outdoor concerts, exercising and splurging on a business intensive. In July I went to Florida for a few days to attend a business intensive that my old boss created with another creative entrepreneur- it was the best thing I have done for my business so far. I got narrow down what I really wanted for my business, how I wanted it to look and what to do to get there. I met some awesome women there who I still keep in contact with and one of them helped me upgrade my business which as brought in so many new brides and I couldn’t me more grateful for her help. I was able to start focusing on my business, posting more, blogging regularly, networking and buying things my business really needed. I dove in deep into my business when I got home and dove headfirst into upgrading my business while also prepping to send Amanda off. August was rough. When I go back in my camera roll to find pictures from August there aren’t any. I hadn’t booked a bride in months, Amanda was moving to Japan in a month, her wedding was in a month, the anniversary of my granny’s passing was in August, it was really hot and I was just trying to figure out life.
Amanda got married in September and it was a beautiful wedding. She and her husband, Eric couldn’t be more perfect for each other but I definitely wasn’t ready to let her leave! We said our goodbyes 2 days later and I won’t see her until (hopefully) July. I did have something really exciting to look forward to though!! My mom and I had a trip planned in October to Nashville which was also around the time I was getting ready to start a new job in retail. Money was really tight, my efforts for my business hadn’t seem to be paying off, I wasn’t as happy as I was “supposed” to be, and I truly started to lose hope in everything I was doing. 4 months ago I knew things had to change.
For my business that meant only posting when I felt like- yes, I skip weeks of not posting. I watch extremely successful business owners post every day, talk about the importance of consistency is, talk about “real life” and show up on Instagram stories every day. I felt guilty at first that I was posting only when I was passionate about something but after a few weeks, I booked more brides. I had more interaction on Instagram than ever before and so many people telling me that they felt the same as me when I told the tiny camera that it felt stressful to post x amount of times and find content. It wasn’t who I am. I am passionate about weddings and planning them but I’m also passionate about food, health, wellness, my family, Huck, my friends and supporting other local business owners. From November on I decided I would post when I wanted, it would be about anything I’m passionate about and I would love my brides hard.
I started at job at a local retail store and by week 3 I hated it. It’s now February 7th and I am still technically an employee but have started a new nanny job, booked 4 brides since October and I am so excited for what 2019 has in store for me. So my year in review? There were definitely some lows, weeks of crying every single day, being in bad moods, feeling discouraged and being really bitter about a lot of life. BUT you know what tops all of that? The highs. I had so many highs that when while writing this post I realized even more how blessed I am. If no one has read till this point, that’s okay because I think this post might be more for me than it is for you. I’m incredibly blessed, have been given so many opportunities, and I’m loved by the most amazing people.
Some people asked how my marketing changed for my business over the course of the year and surprisingly the change was doing less. Less of what I was “supposed” to do and more of what I wanted to do. I reached out to people who go engaged that I knew from years back and guess what- they booked me. Then their friends booked me. Then I booked a bride who attended a wedding that I had done. NONE of my brides came from Instagram, in fact more than half of them started following me on Instagram after they booked me as their planner. Another marketing “tip” would be to post about what your passionate about. You can still have a gorgeous and cohesive feed ifyou post pictures of your children, the burger you ate for lunch and your brand new running shoes. If people love your brand and that’s why they follow you, then I guarantee they’ll love more of you when you post and talk about what else you are passionate about. If you haven’t figured it out, my word for the year is passionate. I’ve also chosen a phrase for the year that has meant a lot to me in the last few years, but even more so in the last year- “This too shall pass”, there are more than just 4 seasons, every different time of life is a season and when you can sit back and reflect on those seasons you can really see just how far you’ve come.
My last little tidbit of advice is stop doing things that don’t make you happy. If you don’t enjoy doing something for your business, stop doing it. Hire someone else to do it or simply cut back. Just because “blank” said it will lead to success, doesn’t mean it will for you- it just worked for her. With that being said, just because I cut back on posting on social media and talk about everything I want to in life, doesn’t mean you have to- although you should definitely try it 🙂 and if you made it this far you deserve a reward so here are my favorite photos from 2018!