My dear readers,
Today’s post is for all the girls (and boys) out there who want to become wedding planners, but are afraid their personal lives will disappear in between weekend events, late night meetings and midnight e-mails.
I will tell you exactly what I tell all my clients who are worried that wedding related stress will engulf their mental health – YOU CONTROL THIS. You decide what to do and what not to do.
There are only three rules that need to be followed in relation with the client, in order to keep your life in order – 1) make a working schedule; 2) communicate that schedule to the client, before signing a contract (if your work schedule will be a problem, it’s best to discuss this before starting working together and find out if you can find common grounds or not on this issue); 3) respect yourself this schedule first, then ask others to respect it.
How to make a working schedule? Well – again, that depends SOLELY on you. Are you a morning person? Are you a night owl? Do you find it acceptable to work in weekends, besides coordinating events? It’s all up to you, just make your rules and stick to them.
- there will be times when you will need to set meetings aside your client’s work schedule – if you’re a morning person, you can set breakfast meetings, if you’re more of a night owl, set dinner meetings. But set a maximum number of mornings/evenings for each week, as you will need time in your mornings/evenings for yourself as well. I won’t recommend you to set a breakfast meeting and a dinner one in the same day, unless you can afford to take the next one off.
- although most clients exclude the option of having lunch meetings, those actually are an option. It’s a mental barrier that I am fighting to break with my clients – and sometimes it works. I explain I can come near their office and that I am most likely to be available at noon for a short notice meeting than at evening.
- if you are willing to have meetings during the weekend, my advice would be to rule out week-time early mornings or late evenings. Keep THAT time for yourself, outside your usual working hours and move exceptions to the weekend. I’d personally rather have late evening meetings than weekend ones, but that is my choice.
- Do not check e-mail outside working hours. Nothing in wedding planning is that important that can’t wait until your next working minute that you’ve set in your schedule. Emergencies might appear, but I promise, you will recognise an emergency once it pops out. Not everything is an emergency. You do not work in an E.R., you plan a nice party.
- Try to keep communication with your clients on maximum 2 channels – and I strongly recommend e-mail as the main one (phone + e-mail, e-mail + whatsapp, messenger + e-mail). Anything that goes beyond that means information spreading way to much for you to handle it in an efficient way. It also means inability to block those channels outside work-hours. You can’t block everything, all means of modern communication with the outside world, only to stop clients from contacting you in your private time.
- Break all your rules when necessary, but have them in the first place and decide to break them only in those moments you really want to do it.
I still break my rules too many times. I read e-mails while watching a movie (sometimes that makes me unable to keep my mind where it should be and type a fast and incomplete reply just to keep sane). I still allow for conversation to happen on way too many channels just because I genuinely like my clients and REALLY want to help them. But I became more and more inflexible about setting meetings in weekends, or too many evenings, or way too late in the evening. And during Sundays I actually disable my mobile e-mail account, that being the only way to keep myself out of the inbox while e-mails keep coming from clients (Sunday 14.00-00.00 is probably the most crowded time of the week for my inbox).
You will have working weekends – and not just any sort, but the long-hours-physical-work-exhausting- in-the-middle-of-the-summer-while-everybody-else-is-at-the-beach kind of work. Yes, this comes with the job. The rest – is your choice. And make your choices wise if you want your work as a wedding planner to last for more than 2-3 years. Otherwise you’ll burnout like a candle sooner than you’ll think. You’ll become cranky, non-tolerant-hasty-impulsive and you’ll search for a way out faster than saying “Cheers”!
Always remember why you’ve chosen the freelancing/entrepreneur way and remember that, as one of my favourite bloggers is saying – “today will never happen again”.
Photo of the day is taken by Rares Ion – a very brief me-time during a wedding day: