Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Knowing Your Limits

We all have limits. Each one of us. Sometimes we 'push our limits' to better ourselves and our craft. Other times we 'hit our limits' only realize that we can do no more. And, then it's too late.

It took me quite a while to learn how to push my limits without hitting my limits. There's definitely an art to this science. And I've hardly perfected it. But, I do like to think of myself as a recovering 'limit hitter.' It's taken a lot to get here. But, it's feeling really comfortable and good now. And I don't want to ever go back to that place I was 2 years ago when work had no boundaries and the 'extraneous' took my life over only to prove, in the end, to be harmful and hurtful.

Here is an example as to how I'm implementing this today. This year we have four wonderful weddings and one social party on the books. These clients all deserve the very best from me. And by accepting any additional business, I would be taking away from what they deserve which is my very best at all times. That's why I have decided to close the books on 2012. I will not take on any additional work this year. By doing so, I would only be taxing myself, my staff, and my family. And this is not something I'm willing to do any more.

Think about your limits. Set them. Then, stick to them. As a recovering 'limit pusher' I can tell you that it feels pretty wonderful to be on the other side!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A New Year...A New Begining

It's been so long since my last post that I literally had to stop and think about who the host of my blog is and what my password was! You know it's been too long between posts when that happens!

I can't hardly believe it's 2012 already. In fact, in just a few short days In Any Event will celebrate 5 years in business! That doesn't seem possible. What a whirlwind these past 5 years have been. I remember that first event under the In Any Event umbrella like it was yesterday. To think that was almost 5 years ago....wow.

I've learned a whole lot in the past 5 years. I'm a much smarter business woman then I was in 2007. So many of the things I learned was through trial and error (or baptism by fire, if you will). Sometimes, that's the best way to learn. I wouldn't trade those 'trial and error' learning experiences for anything. They sharpened my skills and have made this company what it is today.

As with any small business, the first several years are spent building the business and developing an identity. They're spent 'figuring out' who you are in the industry and what you want to do. I'm quite sure my jaw would fall to the ground if I could calculate the hours that have been spent in my office over the past 5 years making this company a 'go.' But, it's all been worth it! Every bead of sweat. Every tear that's been shed. Every gleeful smile. And excited shrill. I would do it all over again to realize this dream!

I've always loved the saying, 'Work smarter not harder.' And in 2012, that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to work smarter then I ever have before. Because, truth be told, I need to reclaim my personal life. Sure, those hours needed to be spent these past 5 years to get to the point we're at now, but those hours weren't spent without sacrifice. My personal life has really suffered and I'm ready to make it mine once again. I'm ready to do all the things I once did and found such enjoyment in.

Here's just a small list of what I want to do in 2012: read more Karen Kingsbury books, re-design our master bedroom and bathroom so I have a true 'sanctuary' (I've even started to create a Keynote presentation for the room remodel just like the ones I create for our clients! Since I have no one to present this to other than my husband, who really doesn't care much about decorating, please let me know if you're interested in seeing it because I'd be happy to share!), pull out my sewing machine and teach myself how to make ruffles and piping and then create some throw pillows for every room in the house, stop at the thrift store once every couple of weeks to look for great vintage pieces I never knew I needed (this one will thrill my husband), plan a wonderful 40th birthday party for said man in my life, and make it to my yoga and zumba class every week!

I've got a lot of work ahead of me in the quest to work smarter and not harder. But I have complete faith in myself and I just know I'll be able to accomplish this in 2012.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Social Media

I recently made the following statement to my staff, 'You know, I'm really tired of twitter, facebook, blogs and the whole kit and caboodle! I think I want to take everything down and be done with it for good.'

I got some blank stares. And a, 'I don't think that's a good idea, Jodi.' But, the statement still holds true. I hate what social media has become in the wedding industry. I hate reading passive-aggressive statements from locals and wondering if I'm the target. I hate reading about how perfect everyone's business and life is when we all know that no one has a perfect business or life. (I surely don't!) I'm just so exhausted by it all lately that I wonder if it is time to pull the plug and get back to the basics?

I recently took a new direction on this blog and began writing about the issues that affect us with the idea of specifically targeting wedding and social event planners. What I write it is truly from my heart. But what I have come to realize is that my words can be interpreted in whatever voice the reader chooses to use. A very benign statement can be misconstrued as arrogant or haughty even if that is not the voice that was used when writing. This is the very thing that I am struggling with right now. How can you make someone read a post in the voice it was written in? The answer is, you can't.

A highly respected social media expert once told me that it's important to maintain a presence should you ever want to write a book or engage in public speaking one day. Publishers will look at your stats to confirm that you have a 'following.' It's always been a goal to a.) write a book b.) speak on the topic of luxury wedding planning and c.) teach event planning at the college level. But I'm wondering if these should continue to be goals if social media is going to make me second-guess myself all the time?

This post has been brewing in my head for a number of weeks now and I wonder how you, my readers, feel about this topic? Do you share the same feelings and thoughts? Do you struggle with the same issues? Please, make me feel better and tell me I'm not alone! :)


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who You're Serving vs. Who You Should Be Serving

It's impossible to make a square peg fit into a round hole. We all know this to be a fact and recognize this to be true. Yet we continually try to 'prove' this wrong and force that square peg into a stubborn round hole. We twist and turn that peg and try with our might to shave those sides off in an effort to make it fit. Often, we're able to make the two come together through our pushing and prodding. But, it's never the good and proper fit it should be.

Most of us in the wedding industry have spent much time thinking about the type of client we want to serve but not enough time thinking about the client we do and should serve. Too little time has been spent asking ourselves if our skill set matches the clients we're striving for. It's like making a square peg fit into a round hole. We may want to serve a certain client but we may be ill equipped to do so. Hence, the lack of that good and proper fit mentioned above. And the risk of having a frustrated and disappointed client in the end.

I am a luxury wedding and social event planner. I know that about myself and my business. I'm not a non-profit planner nor am I a meeting planner. It's not what I'm good at or passionate about. I am definitely not the right fit for everyone. In fact, I'm a bad fit for most. I freely admit I could not properly serve a DIY bride, for example. It's not the type of bride that I would be comfortable working with.

I want to challenge you to look closely at who you are and where your skills lie before you write your next proposal or accept that next job. It's easy to talk about who you want serve but harder to recognize and accept who you should be serving. Be true to who you are and intimately know and understand where your gifts and talents lie. By doing so, you'll be a perfect fit for your clients and their needs. And you won't be that square peg trying to fit into a round hole.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

For My Sweet Jilly

Many of you know that Jillian is an awfully important person in my life. I first met Jill over three years ago when I was a one-woman shop and doing the day-to-day tasks on my own. Jill started working for me part-time shortly after graduating from Michigan State University and within months, joined me full-time.

For many years, it was just Jill and I doing everything it took to run a growing business. And in that time, Jill became so important to me and my entire family. I have a love for Jill that transcends the boss/employee relationship. She's so much more to me than that. I can't even describe how I feel about her because I love and adore her that much. My kids wouldn't know what to do without Jilly in their lives!

Jill tragically lost her brother Eric yesterday. We have spent countless hours talking about him over the years. She loved him with every fiber of her being. Eric and her older brother Nick mean the world to Jill. She's the baby of the family and looked up to both of them as any little sister would.

As I sit on the sofa inside our rented condo in Florida tonight, I find myself wishing I was anywhere but here. I want to be back in Michigan to hug Jill and tell her that it's going to be alright. That God promises to us that He will never give us more than we can handle. I want to hug her and tell her that I've amassed a group of prayer warriors that are pounding down the gates of heaven for her and her family. I want to hug her and help comfort her pain and wipe her tears away.

Jilly, if you're reading this tonight, I want you to remember that God knows your pain. He loves you so much and He will be your refuge and strength. Find comfort in His promises and the knowledge that Eric loved Him as much as you do!

You are loved!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our New Venture!

You read that right! And I'm so excited to share this news with you. This process has been months in the making but I wanted to wait until the time was just right to tell everyone. The time is right. And we couldn't be more excited! In Any Event has officially become a full-service event planning firm offering in-house event floral to all of our clients!

We've been flying under the radar with this for some time now. Quietly, we've been working with our 2011 clients to develop the perfect floral 'look' for each of them. And I couldn't be more thrilled with the results. Since this is such a big change for the company, I wanted to get everything in good order and steady our proverbial 'sea-legs' before we made this transition known to the world.

I have hired the most amazing floral designer! Her name is Tracy Knoth and she comes to In Any Event with years of floral design experience. By trade, she's a gifted illustrator that developed a passion for European floral design many years ago. Tracy's floral concepts and ideas are breathe taking! And when she and I start talking about design, you can literally feel the energy in the room. It's infectious, for sure!

Adding in-house floral design has long been in my business plan but I was waiting for the right time to add it to the mix. Over a year ago, I added an invitation company and now that this business is up and running so smoothly, it was time to embark on this new adventure in floral. And what an amazing adventure it has already been. In a short amount of time, I have learned so many things about the industry. But, what many may not know about me is that floral is in my blood.

My father has been the Professor of Horticulture at a Michigan university for almost 40 years. Additionally, my parents owned and operated a very successful retail greenhouse business in northern Michigan while I was a child. I spent many summers running the cash register and helping the customers. I'm a master when it comes to transplanting geraniums and I was the only child on my 3rd grade field trip to the nature preserve to correctly identify a 'Quaking Aspen' tree! {True story.}

I do want to take a moment to publicly thank Jennifer Ederer and her entire team at Modern Day Floral for the amazing {!} product and service they have provided to In Any Event and our clients over the past three years. Though this transition comes with great excitement for me, it also comes with a bit of sadness because I count Jenn as a friend. She has always been an amazing supporter of my company {and I of hers!} and will continue to be a fantastically talented friend and peer in this industry.

So, there you have it! The secret we've been keeping close to us that we now get to share with you. I'm looking forward to this new adventure and to the future that lies ahead for In Any Event!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Have You Got a Friend?

I love friends.

I love having them and being one. I love how they challenge me. How they make me laugh. And how they comfort my pain.

I love how they lift me up. How they cheer me on. And how they always have my back. My friendships are truly one of the greatest blessings of my life.

But, there's one friendship in particular that I have grown to depend on and love. That's the friendship I share with another event planner who also works in the luxury market.

Why has this friendship become so important to me? Because there is no one who knows better the challenges I face on a daily basis. Or the joy I feel when the client says, 'Thank You!' at the end of an amazing night. She's a sounding board of reason. A grief counselor. And a fan. She's an amazing dynamo in her own right. And she's my event planner friend.

Too often event planners can be caddy, territorially and unkind to one another. So, finding that 'someone' you click with is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. But, there is no greater comfort to me than being able to pick up the phone and call my event planner friend and say, 'Hey, how would you handle this situation?'

I want to encourage each one of you to find that kind of friend within your industry; be it photography, floral, pastry, etc. Spend time developing that friendship and leaning on one another. No one will know better what to say to you in both good times and bad than that special friend who knows your job as well as you!


PS - Thank you for being my event planner friend, Lish!