(Editor's note: Today we welcome a guest post from the very wise Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting! Read all about Meghan at the end of the post!)
I’ll admit that I decided on a career in the wedding industry for three reasons: 1) I liked the idea of being surrounded by pretty things, 2) I wanted a never-ending excuse to buy wedding magazines and 3) I was attracted to the idea of the wedding industry being seasonal.
And like many things I thought as a 22-year old fresh out of college, I was wrong. To be fair, I do still buy wedding magazines by the armload, but I didn’t account for all of the fake flowers that would slip into my events. Additionally, I quickly realized that the off-season was a farce. I would file away my last timeline for the season and suddenly, I was in the throes of engagement season. And wedding show season. And holiday party season.
I would blink and April would be knocking on my door once again. And I had little to show for it, beside the dark circles under my eyes.
I made a pledge then and there to make the wedding off-season a more productive one. As I began to connect with more small business pros, I realized the need was even more apparent as cash flow took a nosedive during the quieter months.
So what’s a wedding pro to do?
Get organized. Remember all those times you promised yourself you’d start to streamline your processes? Organize all those receipts? Find better accounting software? Set up a system for prospect follow up, client anniversaries, requesting reviews or all of the above? Now is the time to make it happen.
Feel overwhelmed at the very thought of it? It’s really just a matter of putting one foot in front of another. Add one “to do” to your list each week and before long, you’re going to see things fall into place.
And how does that help you profit in the off-season? Streamlining your wedding business will put time back in your pocket that you can reallocate to money-making endeavors. Partner up. Take time in the off-season to begin connecting with revenue generating products and services. Are you a planner? Start a wholesale account with a candle, décor and lighting company and discuss how you can begin selling to the couples directly. Are you a pastry chef who constantly receives inquiries about candy buffets? Seek out a candy distributor and explore your options
Worry that you are nickel-and-diming your clients? Get into the mindset that yes, your goal is to make more money, but it’s also to continue to find ways to meet your clients’ needs.
Diversify. Think weddings are your one and only area of expertise? Think again. Celebrations happen year round and you should consider positioning yourself for opportunities that take place during your off season. Consider holiday parties, corporate meetings and fundraisers. Explore options in the region by networking outside of your comfort zone, volunteering for organizations and perhaps even sitting on boards.
And once you’ve settled on your additional area of focus, start telling people. Update your web site, revise your social media bios to reflect the change and send out an email blast to current and past clients.
Freelance. Freelancers are in high demand and there are sites such as Upwork and Freelancer that connect you with countless opportunities. And freelance work isn’t relegated to graphic design and writing. In fact, the sky’s the limit. From sales and marketing to simple research projects, there is something out there for everyone.
The off-season can be a great time re-energize and reflect on your wedding season. But make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure it’s a productive one that ensures a successful, and profitable, 2016.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding PR, please contact us today.