You can only do so many weddings in a year and that puts a cap on your earnings, but what if you could build a team in a way that allowed your wedding business to keep growing without you having to do a ton more work? In fact, when you build a team intentionally, you actually get time back.
Building a team can feel scary and if you feel that way, that’s absolutely normal. I want you to know that not only is it possible for you to build a team and scale your wedding business, but there is also a proven process you can follow that our guest has developed to guide you.
Today’s podcast guest built a wedding planning business from a one-person operation to a 40-person team that spans 8 cities. She only works about 5 hours per week in the planning business and now spends the rest of her working hours helping wedding pros build teams that allow them to build businesses that support the life they want to live.
In this episode we’ll cover:
- How to know if you’re ready to build a team
- What a team can do for you
- How much revenue you could add if you add a team
- What a team is and who is included (it might surprise you!)
- How you already have a team and you probably don’t realize it
- How Ashley wound up building a team without setting out to do that
- How building a team allows you to earn more without working more
- How a team impacts your team, money, and risk
- How training your new team member can be easy
- How to increase your client capacity
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Building A Team So You Can Grow Your Wedding Business
Ashley’s Journey To A 40 Person Team
Ashley started The Simply Elegant Group when she was just 23 years old and thankfully, she had a secret weapon. Ashley’s secret weapon was her dad, Dale Henry, a leadership and team trainer for Fortune 500 companies with a wealth of experience he was happy to share. Ashley never thought she’d build a team and her goal was to do 25 weddings per year which she hit in about 6 months.
Ashley had her dad in her ear saying “are you going to be a wedding planner or a small business owner”? He challenged Ashley to think about what she really wanted in her life so she could build the right kind of business to support it. That’s when Ashley realized building a team was the right move for her.
Now, Ashley and Dale work together in their business, The Abundance Group, to teach wedding professionals how they can build their teams and coach them every step of the way so they can stop trading their time for money.
“Do You Want To Be A Wedding Planner Or A Small Business Owner?”
When you’re a solopreneur, you own your job. You get to decide how and when you work. When you’re a small business owner and you build a team, you’re not building a job. Instead, you’re building a business asset. A business asset is something that is duplicatable and sellable. Owning your job and owning a business asset are very different things and require different mindsets.
When you build a team, you are building your process, your SOPs, your training manuals, your talent, your book of business, and your other internal structures. You may love the work you do, but do you really want to do it every single Saturday for the next 30 years? If the answer is no, building a team allows you to scale your business beyond yourself and build something you can sell later if you choose to.
Many wedding pros believe they won’t be able to be a good leader but leadership is a skill you can learn. Anyone can learn to build a team and learn to do it well.
What sort of a life do you want? Do you want to travel? Do you want to homeschool your kids? Do you want to only work half the year? Once you know the answers you can build a business and a team around the life you want.
Ashley’s first team member was another planner and she was able to sell a wedding for a date where she was already booked and let the team member run with it. Ashley was at her client’s wedding and her team member was at the other wedding and Ashley’s business earned money for both without her having to work both. At that point, she was hooked.
You may think that your creativity isn’t duplicatable or your process isn’t duplicatable but have you tried? You can teach other people how to do almost everything in your business and you can teach them to do it in our unique way.
We have a process for everything we do, whether it’s documented or not. All you have to do is document your process into an SOP and give it to a team member so they can do it the way you do it. This takes time but it can be much simpler than most people think.
If you spend 5 hours creating an SOP that lives forever, it has an infinite return on investment. You can now have someone else do that task the way you want it to be done without having to actually spend the time to do it yourself. We talk about the return on investment of our money, but what about the ROI of our time?
Mistakes Will Be Made
Ashley asks people 3 questions when they tell her they’re concerned about a team member making a mistake:
- Do you love your business?
- Do you work hard?
- Do you have a good rapport with your clients?
If you have these 3 things, you can out-work or out-deliver any mistake. If a team member misses a meeting, you can sincerely apologize and make it up to them. Chances are, your client will understand and you can work through it. After all, we make these mistakes too!
What Does A First Hire Look Like?
A lot of people outsource admin and social media to a virtual assistant but you can also hire a revenue-generating team member who can take on their own bookings. Any wedding professional that can book multiple events in a day like planners, photographers, florists, DJs, and videographers can start by hiring out their team member for an event while they work another event. In just a few months, you can take a team member from working events with you to doing events for you.
Many people want to outsource marketing and sales because they don’t like it but you have to be very careful about handing that over to someone. Marketing and sales are the lifeblood of your business so it’s the most important thing to protect and do well.
Should Your Team Member Be An Independent Contractor Or An Employee? How Much Should You Pay Them? How Many Hours Should They Work?
There are a lot of nuances and specifics that go into these questions and that’s why Ashley & Dale have created their Building Your Team Intensive. The Building Your Team Intensive is a done-with-you program for creative business owners that combines group coaching, 1:1 coaching, and the comprehensive tools you need to help you build and manage a team with ease. It’s a 12 week program and you can find out all about it and apply at https://www.evolveyourweddingbusiness.com/team
When Ashley Ebert started her wedding planning company, The Simply Elegant Group, she was a one-woman operation. She never dreamed that years later, she would grow the business to one of the largest planning companies in the country with a team of over 40 employees and over 4 million dollars in sales.
As a natural-born connector, she now gets to share what she has learned about leadership and team development through her company The Abundance Group.
Her mission is to help over 15,000 creative entrepreneurs to build their dream businesses by building their teams!
Links & Resources:
Join us inside The Wedding Business Collective!
Episode 193: Why Your Wedding Business Needs A Virtual Assistant
Episode 135: Are You Using These Excuses To Avoid Outsourcing In Your Wedding Business?
100 Things To Outsource In Your Wedding Business: The Complete Guide
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