One of the things that I enjoy about the Academy is the way it fosters relationships and networking. At any time of the day I could login to our private Facebook group, Academy Live and follow a conversation between students, graduates or Advisory Board; planning a meet up, offering a lead on a hard to find prop, or giving feedback on a design. It was with this thought in mind that I considered the depth of talent and experience surrounding us here at the Academy and decided to ask some of our team members to share an experience, as a way for us all to gain a new way of looking at something we may be facing, or will one day face as wedding and event business owners or employees. Today we are hearing from UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planning Course Advisor and Tutor, Zoe McKeown who writes about her experience of meetings.
Every Meeting is an Opportunity by Zoe McKeown
This is something I have always tried to believe in but it sounds like I am advocating serious, hard-core networking but actually quite the opposite is true. This year I have really begun to reflect on what has made my business a success and where the opportunities have come from. When I think back to the contacts I have made and the couples I have worked with it is interesting to trace where the initial connection came from.
When I first started my business there were times when I thought I really don’t want to go to an event or spend the evening making social media connections because I did not see any immediate return in sales. Once you start your business and register an email address you will get many different sales emails and offers that are not directly relevant but there are times when you just need to get yourself out there and speculate.
One of the things that has really consolidated this year for me is that you can’t tell which meetings will lead to success and which won’t. I have had emails/phone calls with couples for the first time and really doubted that they were sincere and they have gone on to book me and become great clients.
6 years ago I answered a generic email looking for a wedding planner to work on a TV show. I booked the meeting unsure of what it would lead to. It was in London so I decided not to waste the trip and to make another appointment to look around a venue that had emailed me. I also answered an email shout out from a company looking for a wedding planner to work with them setting up online courses in the UK. All 3 were new contacts and I was new to the industry but keen to push myself and see what was out there. Long story short – 6 months later I was working 1 day a week on a wedding tv show, 8months later I had a call from the venue and planned a beautiful wedding for a couple at the orangery in Kensington and 1 year later I had a call back from Kylie at the academy to work with her as course consultant and tutor for the UKAWEP.
So over the last few years of business I have learnt that you need to maintain the energy to speculate on meetings and if you make the right impression you never know where a good connection can spark a chain of events that leads to your career moving forward.
The image I have chosen to add to this post is a magazine cover from my early days as a start up business. I can remember the feeling now of having something published nationally from a speculative article I emailed to an editor. It did take 6 months of trying and then out of the blue I had a flurry of interest and that spurred me forward. You just never know when a connection will be made, all you can do is keep offering your most positive self to the world and see what you get in return.