As our wedding season here reaches another busy time, September here in Spain is a popular month for weddings so we are all busy, but a Facebook post from a fellow wedding planner appeared on my FB feed that was utterly insane. She stated she had slept 5 hours in the past 54 hours.
Sadly many of us have been there, whilst she is convinced she is a Duracell bunny and it is in her genes, this will result eventually in a burn out.
I too have the ability to constantly work, 24/7 with little sleep but as I got older and hit my late 40´s I came crashing down, rather spectacularly, with the onset of pneumonia.
I was in so much pain I went to the hospital emergency and they diagnosed me, I was put on drugs, something I don´t really believe in and I felt ill for probably about 18 months, it took me forever to feel normal again, but it was a lesson learnt. I have even been known to fall asleep on my computer after a seriously busy weekend with no sleep.
As I hit my 50´s and the menopause was raging, I felt ancient, so I started to think hard about self care and pacing myself as I am not prepared to die for my business as much as I love it, breathe it, sleep it and yes I do sleep!
I took a step away and worked out how I could make even more money but working less hours.
It was not rocket science, I put my prices up and I was selective in choosing my clients, I also spread them out more evenly and turned down weddings so it was manageable and I had breaks in between each wedding.
I recall about 9 years ago having 6 weddings in 7 days, it was one of the most stressful weeks of my life, never to be repeated but I was younger and could do it, the stress though was unbelievable. I vowed never to do this again and haven´t.
It is hard to turn down clients, as clients mean money, but if you have your ideal client targeted and you are making decent money at each wedding then you have got this sussed.
Over the past few years I have applied these factors to my own business and have made more money than currently I know what to do with. I probably turn down about 4 enquiries a week now and pass them onto other wedding planners.
We all want to leave the 9 to 5 for the freedom and flexibility we envisage but often we are working longer hours and are completely at the mercy of our clients whom within the wedding industry are completely focused on the biggest day of their lives.
We are there to support and guide our clients, but we are not there to work ourselves into the ground. If we do this and burn out then we are no good to anyone, our families, friends, or our clients so therefore self care and pacing yourself is key to running a long term sustainable business.
Pace yourself, if a client wants an 8 hour open bar you don´t need to be there. I get the impression as this planner has come from a catering background she feels the need to be there until the end. Again this is insane, state the amount of hours you will be attending your clients wedding, ours is usually 10 hours, we arrive to oversee the set ups and leave after the first dance and all the important elements are done.
We do not stay to watch guests getting pissed and for the all night parties that follow, there is nothing to do apart from get them onto the prearranged transport.
If you are trying to juggle the email trails, the actual weddings, the booking of all the suppliers and the set ups and clear downs then write a list and see what you could offload from your to do list.
Maybe hire a virtual assistant to help, hire an accountant, hire in cleaners for sure, off load anything that is not bringing value into your business.
One piece of advice I can offer any business owner is take control of the time you have, we all only have 24 hours each day so time block. I plan my weeks ahead and time block days, some days maybe out shopping for weddings, marketing your business, admin days, wedding days, clearing down wedding days, making time for myself and my family and I even block in beach dinners which I love and make my weeks special.
If you are working this hard you are not working smarter, take a step back and evaluate where your time is being spent and how you can change it as if you ignore this and keep running at Duracell bunny mode you may not burn out if you are lucky, but you will begin to hate your business.