How often do you feel afraid as you run your business?
Maybe it's that you feel you project a level of success or expertise that you haven't quite earned, and that makes you feel like a fraud. Or maybe you feel like you're hiding behind a professional image that's too traditionally businesslike, feminine/masculine, conservative or "high-end" and you don't truly identify with it. Or, maybe you're scared shitless of the enormity of running a business, knowing what's at stake for you, your dependents, the clients who hire you and the colleagues who refer you.
I'd venture to guess we've all had those fearful feelings at some point or another. I certainly have; in fact, I have them pretty much on the regular.
This past week, my co-editor Kyle and I had one of our patented semi-weekly WeddingIQ pow-wows, which (as always) included lots of shop talk and only slightly less beer. The main topic? Where we want WeddingIQ to go, how we want to feel as we're creating content for it, and the impact we want to have on this industry with the work we're putting in. (And believe me, it's a lot of work.)
We realized that we've let a lot of things get in the way of our mission here at WeddingIQ: personal distractions, the craziness of operating our other business ventures, the challenge of balancing the expectations of our diverse readership, and our own occasional struggles with motivation, ennui, and - yes - fear.
After all, Kyle and I are real business owners, operating real businesses in a competitive market, and we face all the ups and downs that our readers and colleagues do. Sure, we provide coaching and other services to other business owners, and we're lucky to speak as industry educators at a variety of events. Still, we deal with the ebb and flow of inquiries and sales, fluctuating profit margins, production and delivery issues, and the needs of our team members. I like to think that the fact that we're right there "in the trenches" with our readers makes us a valuable asset to the blogging and speaking circuit, but in some ways, it also holds us back.
Because, you see, WeddingIQ was launched with the intention of discussing what really matters. Taking a stand on ethical issues, advocating for integrity and professionalism, putting shadiness on shout, and just all-around raising the bar. Sure, I'd always planned on providing some instruction, too - we've written tons of how-to posts on everything from creating systems and workflows to marketing your wedding business on a budget to hacking your marketing altogether to shutting down website thieves to prioritizing your to-do list and so (so, SO) much more. But that was never really the purpose. The purpose was to bring something different to the wedding landscape, to give voice to the important stuff, the stuff other people are thinking but can't (or won't) express.
Ironically, while Kyle and I are two of the most passionately opinionated people you'll ever meet (especially when it comes to the realities of running a wedding business), we allowed that quality to become clouded by the aforementioned fear. Sometimes, juggling the goal of candidly addressing and analyzing problems in this industry and the necessity of keeping our own businesses afloat seem to conflict a bit. Surely, no matter what we're calling out, it will apply to someone we work with, or who refers us business. It takes real cojones to say "this is what's right and wrong, this issue matters," no matter whom you might offend. And, as much as we might like to think we proudly possess said cojones, we're also only human. We worry about our bottom line, too, and about making such waves that our primary businesses capsize.
The fact is, whether unfounded or not, fear is an ugly thing.
As we talked further about what we want to experience from WeddingIQ (as well as what we want our readers to experience), we realized that we have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by putting more of our heart, soul, and critical thinking into everything we create. We've always been advocates for "finding your tribe," both the kind of colleagues and friends who truly support you and the kind of clients who eagerly want to hire you. We've always said that character matters in business as well as in life. We've always felt that, as long as we're doing what we believe is right, to the best of our ability, our businesses will do just fine. (Also, if and when they struggle, the same talent and tenacity that enabled us to build them will also enable us to rebuild them, and to do so even better.) We're pretty sure that the kinds of speaking engagements we want to do, and audiences we want to reach, will materialize even more as we become more authentic and courageous. And, we know that some risks are worth taking, even when they're scary.
I'm reminded of a famous writing, one with which surely everyone is familiar:
It probably helps that, over the 4+ years WeddingIQ has been in existence, our most popular, highly shared and most frequently talked about posts have been the boldest, most potentially incendiary ones, like those included in our "WTF" tag. This would certainly suggest our readers want us to open up as much as we do!
With that in mind, Kyle and I are in agreement that we're ready to change course a bit, and steer WeddingIQ back toward its foundation: real talk about relevant issues. We want our posts going forward to be more: more in-depth, more thought-provoking, more feather-ruffling. Not only that, but also more personal, more humble, more brave.
Going forward, we'll generally be publishing a new post of our own every Tuesday, either another one or a post from a guest contributor on Thursday, and then sprinkling in random announcements and goodies here and there as it seems right. We're excited to feature the expertise of our readers and fellow wedding professionals, so please don't hesitate to reach out if you'd like to contribute your advice, how-to's, or opinions to our blog. In the meantime, we'll be digging deep to bring you insight and commentary that reflects where we are in our business ownership journey and what we believe as leaders in this industry. Of course, we want our content to resonate with you, so you're feeling all the feels and want to see a particular issue explored on WeddingIQ, please submit our anonymous rants form or reach out to us directly - your confidentiality is guaranteed.
As always, we thank each and every one of you for your continued encouragement and support. (If you'd like to support WeddingIQ even further, we'd love to have you share your favorite posts on social media or via the share buttons at the bottom of each post. And, if you operate a business that serves other business owners - marketing, design, learning products, educational events/seminars, virtual assisting, bookkeeping, consulting, etc. - we'd love to talk to you about affordable advertising that showcases you to thousands of wedding entrepreneurs every month!)
We'll be back tomorrow with a new post, and can't wait to see the response. 'Til then, friends...