We’re getting close to the holidays and if you’re anything like me, when people ask you what you want as a gift, you’re at a loss or you feel like you just ask for things you don’t really need. That’s why I’ve put together this wedding business owner’s holiday gift list so you can ask for things that will make your life easier. If you get some holiday cash or if you want to maximize your expenses for your tax deductions these are all great things to consider.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
This is by far my favorite tool that I use in my business and it saves me hours each and every week. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Edgar is a social media time-saver that allows you to fill up queues of posts and they continue to recycle them for you so your older but still awesome blog posts never die in the archives AND you don’t have to do in and manually schedule posts from scratch. Add an update once and let the technology do the work.
This is a paid tool and it’s SO worth it. It easily saves me 3-5 hours per week and that time in my business is worth a lot more than what they charge for Edgar. Click here to find out more about Edgar.
This one is specifically for wedding planners. Aisle Planner is a genius design, planning and collaboration tool for wedding planners. If you aren’t managing your projects, to do’s, customers and everything else involved in planning a wedding in one place, you are going to be in a constant state of disorganization and panic. That’s no way to work or live.
Aisle Planner was created by a wedding planner for wedding planners and it’s not only efficient and easy to use, it’s also beautiful. You can even invite your couples to collaborate with you so that everything really is in one place. No more lost emails or scribbled notes on napkins.
You can get 25% off of your first 3 months of Aisle Planner if you use the promo code “heidi”. I’m friends with the creator of the tool and she has been on the podcast and she wants to hook you guys up. Click here to find out more about Aisle Planner.
I recently had the founder of Sprout Studio on the podcast and we talked about being less busy and being more productive. He has created an absolutely killer tool for photographers that really addresses everything you need. As a photographer, Bryan knew that trying to manage everything in a million different places wasn’t easy and it contributed to a bad customer experience. Sprout Studio is the all-in-one tool for photographers. I think you’ll love it! Click here to find out more about Sprout Studio.
HoneyBook helps you automate those time consuming admin tasks from pipeline management, to payment reminders and scheduling. It also allows you to book clients faster and easier with templates, online payments and digital signatures on your contracts (because faxing things is for the 80s). HoneyBook also hosts networking events for their users. Click here to find out more about HoneyBook.
You know those “When works for you?” back and forth emails when you’re trying to schedule a time to meet? Those take up lots of time and there are much easier ways to schedule meetings & appointments.
You can list times available and allow people to book, use Calendly. It’s clean, simple and super user-friendly. I use the free plan and it does what I need it to do but they do have paid plans with more features if that’s what you need.
It’s no secret that I am a big fan and advocate of email marketing. It’s one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal and most wedding professionals are not using it. It’s something I teach and it’s something I’ll be creating more training on but if you are already using email marketing or you’re interested in starting you’ve got to check out ConvertKit.
I recently migrated my entire email list to ConvertKit and I am thrilled with it. It’s created by a small business owner and the way he did it really just makes sense. It’s amazing how many email marketing tools just don’t make any sense with the way they are laid out and function. ConvertKit is simple to use but it’s so much more powerful than any email marketing tool I’ve ever used. You can do SO much with it! Can you tell I totally love it? Click here to find out more about ConvertKit.
Absolute FB Ads
Everyone and their mother is talking about Facebook ads. And there’s a reason why: now that it’s so difficult to get any reach for your Facebook page posts, it’s a smart move to invest in a little paid advertising to get more eyes on your products and services. If you do it right it can be like a magical machine that you put money into and get more in business out of it than you spent.
Right now my go-to-gal for Facebook ads, Claire Pelletreau, is offering a really great bonus for anyone who purchases her DIY course, Absolute FB Ads. It’s a course I’ve gone through myself and one I go back to every time I run Facebook ads. She’s running a promotion right now and from now until December 23, you get free access to her SUPER simple video course all about Google Analytics. Google Analytics and Facebook ads go hand-in-hand – after all, how do you know what you should be spending money promoting if you don’t know what people are doing once they get over to your site? You can get both courses and find out more about Absolute FB ads here.
30 Day Money Cleanse & The Savvy Investor
Part of being an entrepreneur is taking 100% control of everything if your life. That includes your money and your retirement. You don’t have an employer managing a retirement plan for you and your income fluctuates more often than a typical employee so you need to know what you’re doing.
Previous podcast guest Ashley Feinstein Gerstley has some awesome programs but 2 that I really love are the 30 Day Money Cleanse & The Savvy Investor. The 30 Day Money Cleanse helps you break bad money habits and feel confident, powerful and in charge of your financial health. The Savvy Investor will give you everything you need to know in order to start investing and make your money work for you.
Ashley is US based so if you’re not in the US and you’re interested in her programs just ask her if they would work well for you because markets do differ. Click here to find out about Ashley’s programs.
I’ve written about why you need a contract and why printing a contract template you found online is not going to cut it. You stand to lose a lot by not protecting yourself, and protecting yourself doesn’t have to be all that expensive.
My very smart friend Annette Stepanian is a lawyer specifically for creative entrepreneurs like you and she has done-for you, easy to customize contract templates specific to several different creative industries that are iron clad and will protect you. Don’t do that thing where you just swipe a random contract off the internet. This is your business we’re talking about, not a bootleg movie. Click here to find out more about Annette & her done-for-you contract templates.
If you’re looking to cozy up with a book that will help your business this holiday season here are some great choices!
Outsourcing & Delegating: Virtual Freedom
I’ve written about this book before because I love it and I think it’s really important. As a business owner, you have to juggle a lot of different things & wear a lot of different hats. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and you find yourself not having enough time to live the life you wanted your business to provide for you. It’s a challenge each of us must face as entrepreneurs but you don’t have to do it all yourself. In fact, you can’t.
The author of this book, Chris Ducker, shows you how you can outsource tasks for less than you’d think to virtual assistants all over the world. You are not limited to the people around you and you don’t have to hire an employee if that’s not right for you. You can get the help you need without that. Click here to find out more about Virtual Freedom.
Productivity: Getting Things Done
This book really changed the way I work. It’s a comprehensive system of doing things but you can pluck the parts you like out to use and leave the rest. Even if you implement just a few things from this book it will transform the way you work and the way you think about tasks. Click here to find out more about Getting Things Done.
Money: Profit First
I had the pleasure of interviewing the author of this book on the podcast and I love the way he thinks. The traditional way of thinking about managing money in your business leads you down a path of never paying yourself. That sucks. This book presents a better way of managing your money in your business. Click here to find out more about Profit First.
Money: I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Business finance is one thing, personal finance is another. This is my absolute favorite personal finance book because it makes so much sense and is really practical. I even bought it for my brother when he graduated 🙂 This book lays out a simple way to set up your personal finances so that you don’t find yourself broke or in debt. Click here to find out more about I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
Western culture focuses on more, more, more but really when it comes to simplifying your life and making things easier, less is better. This book is not about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done because not everything matters. If you focus only on what moves you closer to your goals you’ll get there a lot faster. Click here to find out more about Essentialism.
Mindset & Inspiration: The Icarus Deception
I love anything by Seth Godin but this book is among my favorites because of how fired up it gets me. It’s inspirational but in a very practical shift your mindset sort of a way. I absolutely loved it! Click here to find out more about The Icarus Deception.
Understanding how humans make decisions: Influence
So much of sales and marketing is understanding who you’re talking to, what they care about and what motivates them. Psychology is a big part of this and this book is all about the psychology of influence. This book explains the psychology of why people say “yes” and how you can apply these understandings. Click here to find out more about Influence.
That’s a wrap! Let me know if you find any of these resources helpful, I’d love to know. Happy Holidays to you and thank you for being a member of my community. Speaking of communities, are you in the free Facebook group? At last count it’s well over 300 smart & helpful wedding professionals all working on growing their businesses. Here’s to a kickass 2016!