Wedding Business Systems

Why Now Is the Perfect Time To Fix Your Sales System

Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Fix Your Sales System

If you’re here, you know I’m all about fixing your wedding sales. So today I want to talk about why now is the perfect time to fix your sales system, and what might be holding you back. (And it’s probably not what you think!) There are so many things that we put off in our businesses until we're not "busy!" But I want to challenge you to get serious about tackling things in your sales process that will make your life easier. I'm also going to share with you how you can get some more time back in your business, so you can find time to work on this. I can't wait to share these tips with you! 

In case we haven't met, I’m Carolyn Kulb, and I help wedding pros stop getting ghosted by designing a Gentle Sales System that treats every potential client with warmth and compassion from the very beginning, and builds the trust that is necessary before they can book you for their wedding.  I’m also the CEO of Bloom Poet, a boutique floral and event design studio here in Seattle. My wedding business is pretty much on autopilot now, and I’m really excited to help other business owners do the same. 

Technology is Amazing

First, we are living in an incredible time for technology. The technology available to fix your wedding sales system is better than it has ever been before. The tools available are amazing! Even 5 years ago, we could not do the things we can do now with tools like HoneyBook. Back then, there was no way to automate emails, send a beautiful brochure without a gigantic PDF, or automatically book calls. Of course, even 5 years ago people weren’t used to Zoom meetings. In that time, it was Skype (maybe), but mostly in person meetings with clients.

Post-COVID, people are used to using tech tools like Zoom, Calendly, and other things that make our lives easier. Naturally, the technology to help you as the business owner has never been better, either. You can do so many amazing things with HoneyBook that you couldn’t do even 5 years ago.(If you want to learn more about what HoneyBook can do, you can read my review here.) If you are not using a CRM to fix your wedding sales system, you are missing out. There has been no better time to get on board!

Competitive Advantage

Most wedding business owners allow their wedding sales system to simmer on the back burner, and get super focused on just delivering well for client work. But guess what? Your portfolio isn’t enough anymore. Pretty pictures just won’t cut it. Clients want a great experience - which means leveraging the best tools and systems so that you can provide that, from the moment they inquire. If you’re ignoring your sales system, you’re in good company. But if you decide to fix it now, you’re going to have such a huge advantage over your competitors and peers in the wedding business. There is no time like the present to fix your sales system, once and for all!

The "Engagement Gap"

I don't know about you, but wedding business has been a bit slower this year for a lot of people. News articles all year have been talking about the "engagement gap" in 2023 that was brought on by COVID. Fortunately, this gives you a window of time to transition without losing any sales. You probably also have more time this year to tackle bigger projects, like overhauling your sales system, without your client work suffering for it. This year, no one is really going to notice that you are having growing pains.

In the Wedding Sales Fix, we transform your wedding sales system in 12 weeks. However, even if it takes you longer than 12 weeks, that’s okay. Bookings are probably coming in slower, and you can troubleshoot as you go. You might think it’s counterintuitive to focus on your sales system now, when you’re not getting as many leads. But the truth is that you could get a thousand leads a month, and still not book them if they can’t trust you. So investing your time and energy into a Gentle Sales System that builds trust with potential clients will save you a lot of heartache when you do have a ton of leads coming in. (Which you will!)

You're Losing Bookings Now

When you don’t take action to fix your sales system, you’re losing out on bookings and inquiries every day.  Every day that your sales system is slow, outdated, or difficult? You’re losing a booking. Every time your client is confused by your communications, pricing, or approach, you’re losing a booking. Whenever an email gets lost in spam, you’re losing a booking. In all honesty, if you don’t take action on this now, you’ll continue to get leads without making those bookings. And you’ll continue to feel the frustration of “what am I doing wrong?” in your business.

If you’re reading this, it’s because you know that your wedding sales system could be better. You know that what I’m saying rings true. So you’re going to continue down this path - maybe for 6 months, maybe a year or more - struggling to book enough weddings. You won’t be making the income you want, doing the work you want, or running your business in a way that feels sustainable and abundant. Naturally, you’ll continue to be unhappy in your business, spending way too much time on stuff like emails, and frantically trying to keep up with new leads and existing client work. And unfortunately, you’ll be doing it for less than minimum wage, because you’re not bringing in the bookings you need to pay yourself enough. It’s a mess, and it will continue to be a mess if you don’t fix it now. Do you really want to be stuck in the same place a year from now?

You're Wasting Time Now

If you continue to not fix your sales system, you’re going to keep wasting time on your sales process. So much time. This includes spending a ton of time on free podcasts, blog posts, and resources to reverse engineer a solution. (Yes, hi, I see you there!) Right now, you’re probably spending hundreds of hours per year on emails back and forth, long sales calls, and chasing clients who will never book. It only takes 5 hours a week of that stuff to add up to 260 hours a year. If you could automate 95% of your sales process, you just saved yourself HUNDREDS of hours per year in long sales calls and emails.

What would you do with 260 extra hours? That’s over a month of 8-hour-days. Where would you go on vacation for a month? Or what would you do with your family, friends, or kiddos if you had an extra month off every year? Or what else could you achieve in your business if you got a whole month back to work on something else? I hope this shows you what's possible when you get serious about fixing your sales system for wedding clients.

Here's The Fix

I'm so excited about my signature program, The Wedding Sales Fix, because it addresses all of these issues in a short 12 weeks. I have been in your shoes, and I promise you there is an alternative! If you’re not on the waitlist, you need to be - because there has never been a better time to fix this stuff in your business. We’ve talked about why now is the perfect time to work on your sales system in your business, and also what will happen if you continue to wait. The choice is yours, but I’m always going to encourage you to take action on the things that will move the needle in your business.

As I said in the beginning, the doors will open soon to my new program, the Wedding Sales Fix. The Wedding Sales Fix is my comprehensive, customizable program where I teach you everything you need to design your own Gentle Sales System that will turn new leads into trusted friends - and bookings. And when I say everything, I really mean it. Y’all know I do not do things halfway. We tackle every single setting and email template you need in HoneyBook to make sure everything is as smooth and automated as possible in your sales system. You can get on the waitlist now to be on the VIP list when we open the program back up. So if you’re at all interested in improving your sales process, and you're tired of waiting, the waitlist is the place to be.

You can also join my email list, The Wedding Besties, to get lots of great tips, trends, and info on wedding sales every week. Just put in your email below!

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Customer Experience, Wedding Business Systems

2023 HoneyBook Review: Is It Worth It for Wedding Pros?

2023 HoneyBook Review: Is It Worth It for Wedding Pros?

If you were searching for a real 2023 HoneyBook review from a fellow wedding pro, you're in the right place! (You can watch this HoneyBook review by clicking the video above.) Are you thinking about trying out HoneyBook to manage your clients better? I've previously talked about the 7 tools you need for your wedding clients. And in my opinion, one of them is an all-in-one client relationship management software, or CRM. So today, I'm giving you my honest 2023 HoneyBook review, from my perspective as an active wedding professional. I'll tell you everything you need to know about HoneyBook, how I use it in my business, and whether it's worth it for wedding pros.

In case we haven't met, I'm Carolyn Kulb, and I help busy wedding business owners book more weddings and stop getting ghosted with my proven Wedding Client Roadmap(™), which creates an effortless, elevated wedding client experience - with less work than ever. I’m also the CEO of Bloom Poet, a boutique floral and event design studio in Seattle. As a wedding florist, I'm known for being super organized, providing a fabulous client experience, and of course, breathtaking floral design. I use HoneyBook for my wedding business, so my HoneyBook review might be a tiny bit biased. Nevertheless, let's dig into my 2023 HoneyBook review, what it can do, whether it's worth it for wedding pros, and whether it's right for you. 

What is HoneyBook?

An image showing the front page of honeybook

HoneyBook is an “all-in-one” CRM, or customer relationship manager, for creative professionals, including wedding pros. HoneyBook helps you streamline your client experience from start to finish, and includes a lot of neat tools. As a result, it can handle your entire client workflow, from when a client inquires on your website, to when you offboard your clients after a wedding. You log in, and everything is right there, in one web app. HoneyBook offers software tools like intake forms, brochures, email integrations, scheduling, proposals and contracts, payments, questionnaires, and more. And most importantly, it offers multi-step automations. 

HoneyBook has lots of other tools that I don’t personally use a lot, like financial reporting, P&L statements, and time tracking. It also integrates with a TON of apps, including Zapier, so there are a lot of things you can do with it, if you are tech-inclined. To be honest, I find that stuff a little overwhelming! (Maybe you do too - and that's why you're looking at 2023 HoneyBook reviews!) But the great thing about HoneyBook is that it is super user-friendly from the get-go, and easy to set up. They have step-by-step guides for everything.

Since HoneyBook can do so many things, I can’t go into every single tool in this HoneyBook review. It’s a very powerful piece of software, and I don't even use all the features it has! So instead, I’m going to share some of my favorite features with you, and how I use them in my business.

The Intake Form

HoneyBook allows you to create your own intake form that you can put right on your website. It’s really easy to use, too. You set it up in HoneyBook with the questions you want to ask. You can ask your clients to fill in their wedding date, contact info, and any other information you need. Once you set it up, you just copy and paste some code in your website. Best of all, you can edit the colors and fonts, so that it can mesh with your existing brand! When someone fills out the form, it emails you all the info, AND pre-populates a HoneyBook project for you, with all the info. I love this form because when I log in, it’s all right there - their date, their details, anything else I need to know. I’m never manually entering client info into a system. And I love the way it looks on my website.

2023 HoneyBook contact form example with custom color and fields like name and wedding date

The Pipeline

Another great feature that HoneyBook offers is a client pipeline. HoneyBook has a customizable pipeline where you can see, at a glance, what stage all of your leads and clients are in at any given time. The cool thing is that you can customize this pipeline to fit exactly what your client experience looks like, so that you have the steps that are particular to YOUR business. So you can have every step laid out, visually, and see where your people are at. This is really important so you can stay organized. I also like it because I'm a visual thinker - and it helps me to just see everything laid out. You can also assign certain files to each stage. So having this pipeline helps you keep your act together - nothing is falling through the cracks, especially if it’s automated.

The HoneyBook pipeline customized


By far, automations are the MOST important tool that HoneyBook offers to help wedding pros streamline their businesses. Unfortunately, I don't think many wedding pros have really taken full advantage of automations. The automations are so easy to set up, but can be super complex if you want them to be. However, some automations are simple and sort of come standard with HoneyBook. For example, as you see below, your client can be sent a payment reminder 3 days before the payment is due. Or if someone doesn’t respond to a file you send, they get an automatic reminder. These can also be turned off and customized. 

Of course, we customize these so that our client experience remains cohesive. 

2023 HoneyBook Review payment reminder menu for wedding pros

Some automations can be much more complex. For example, I use an automation to nurture new leads through email. They get a brochure, then several emails, then more emails if they don’t respond. But it’s all automated - I never have to send anything manually, until they book a call with me. (Booking a call is something they have to do - and it automatically populates my calendar!) I still send my clients hand-written emails when we are discussing the particulars of their wedding. But I’m NEVER sending hand-written emails for the initial contact. That is all automated. It saves me dozens - maybe hundreds - of hours per year!

2023 HoneyBook screenshot with automations used by a wedding professional

Proposals, Contracts, and Payments

HoneyBook can integrate proposals, contracts, and payments in one file, which I find amazing. It means that you can send your client only one file for them to review, sign, and pay. I love how simple this is for clients, and how easy it is to keep everything in one place. After all, if I am updating something in the proposal, I probably also need to double-check the contract and the payment schedule. 

They also integrate payments, and doing payment plans is super easy in HoneyBook - you just tell it how you want to split payments, or set custom dates. Click the video below to see an example in action. 

However, it’s worth noting that they do take a small cut of your payments, just like any payment processor. HoneyBook takes 2.9% plus 25 cents for each payment. Stripe and Square take the exact same percentage plus 30 cents for each payment, so this is an industry standard. Sometimes the fees are massive, and that sucks, but we just bake them into our pricing at this point.

Lastly, I love this feature because you can ALSO just send contracts by themselves, for signature. I often use this for my freelance team, if my freelancer doesn’t already have a contract they like to use. This way, we are both clear and protected, they know they will be paid at a certain rate, they know what meals are included, how to invoice me, etc. and we’re all on the same page. So I love that HoneyBook lets me do both complicated and simple contracts and payments, and makes it easy for literally everyone who uses it.

GMail and Google Calendar Integration

HoneyBook integrates with both GMail (GSuite) and Google Calendar. Most of my business stuff is on GSuite, so I really appreciate how easy this makes my life. So, everything comes to my Google inbox. As a result, I don’t have to log into HoneyBook, and I can reply easily. And when a client schedules something, it also syncs with my Google Calendar - again, so easy for me. It will even allow Google Meet to be the virtual meeting option if you use GCal, which means you don’t have to pay for Zoom if you don’t want to. So since I use Google stuff for just about everything, I really appreciate that this integration is so seamless.

Brochures and Files

HoneyBook allows you to send SO many types of files to new leads and clients, and people have gotten really creative with this. You can send a brochure, a digital magazine, a file that looks more like an internet sales page, a questionnaire, and so much more. They even have “smart files” now that allow people to view your services and pay you right there, which would be great for anyone with standard packages. The options are really limitless AND they have a ton of free templates for you to get started with. It can become a rabbit hole, for sure - but the flexibility is unmatched. Below, you can see just a couple of examples of templates for these types of files. There are literally hundreds of pre-built templates! I wish I could show you more examples in this HoneyBook review, because it's honestly impressive!

2023 HoneyBook includes templates and files and brochures

Customize Everything

Of course, this brings me to the last thing that I wanted to mention as something HoneyBook does really well: customization. Almost everything is customizable, which means that it seamlessly represents your brand. You can’t use custom fonts in every type of file, but you can do everything else - custom colors, logos, and more. You can upload graphics, your best photos of your work, and anything else you can think of to make your files feel more like you. That means that everything your client sees is beautiful - and reminds them of how much of an expert you are. That’s worth a lot to me!

HoneyBook Pricing

So, now that we've covered my 2023 HoneyBook review, let’s talk pricing. HoneyBook just changed their pricing this year, so they now have different levels of pricing. The lowest level is $19/month or $192 annually, and it includes a lot of things - unlimited clients and projects, proposals, contracts, payments, questionnaires, and basic reports. However, it does not include a scheduling tool or automations - two major things that will save you time. 

The next level is $39/month, or $384 per year, and includes automations, a calendar scheduling tool, Quickbooks integration, up to 2 team members, more financial tools, and more reports. I think this plan is absolutely worth $384 a year to save you dozens of hours on emails alone!! If I were starting with HoneyBook today, that’s probably the plan I would go with. 

The highest level is $79/month, or $792 per year. This includes everything above, plus unlimited team members, priority support, multiple companies under one account, an onboarding specialist, a dedicated account manager, and advanced reports. If you’re a massive company with a big team migrating to HoneyBook, this would certainly be worth it! Especially to get someone to help you onboard all your files. But for a solo owner, the middle plan is probably the best value for you.

If you'd like a free trial plus 35% off your first year, you can use my affiliate link to snag that deal and test it out!

Is HoneyBook Worth It for Wedding Pros?

So is HoneyBook worth it for wedding pros? Absolutely YES! A lot of my friends and colleagues also use it, and love it. And I’ve been using it for many years now, and it’s been such a major time-saver for me and my business. My clients also love it - so I’ll continue to use it. And you can start with a free 7 day trial, and also get 35% off your first year if you decide to purchase, with this affiliate link.

I hope this 2023 HoneyBook review has helped you make a more informed decision in your business! Before you go, I just created a new free PDF guide that I would love to send to you. It’s called 3 Things That Completely Changed How I Sell Weddings Forever. If you want that, just pop your info below and I'll make sure you get a copy!

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A digital calendar wedding tool being used next to a book
Customer Experience, Wedding Business Systems

The 7 Tools You Need for Wedding Clients

The 7 Tools Wedding Pros Need for Client Experience

It can really be hard to sort out what wedding tools and software you truly need for your business. We are creative people, not tech people! So this week, I’m talking about the 7 wedding tools that every wedding business needs to ensure a fabulous client experience! In my opinion, making the most of wedding tools and software is the key to so much less stress in your business. And I love helping wedding pros fix their systems with my proven Wedding Client Roadmap to create an effortless, elevated wedding client experience that will attract, book, and impress the most luxurious couples - with less work than ever. My wedding business is pretty much on autopilot now, and I’m really excited to help other business owners do the same. If you missed this live, you can join me in my new Facebook group to catch these videos every Tuesday! 

Before we dive in, I created a new free PDF guide that I would love to send to you. It’s called 3 Things That Completely Changed How I Sell Weddings Forever. If you want that, just pop in your email below!

So, today I wanted to walk you through the 7 tools you need for a stellar wedding client experience. Of course, there are tons of options out there, and everyone is talking about AI, or trying to sell you on a free trial of something! So I want to share my experience with you, because I don’t want you wasting time trying to make a particular tool work if it’s not really needed. 

We’re going to talk about everything from scheduling to payments, and I’m going to share exactly what I use in my business to provide a luxurious client experience for my couples. Later, I’ll also share some of the software that has been built specifically for wedding pros, and when to use what. By the end, you will have your very own "shopping list" for the tools you need in your wedding business!

Wedding Tool #1: An intake form

First, you need an intake form on your website. This wedding tool is really crucial for a lot of reasons. From the beginning, it sets the tone with your wedding clients, and positions you as the expert. You are the one gathering the information from them, which puts you in the driver's seat. It also shows that you are organized, and hopefully is beautifully branded along with your website, for a cohesive expereince.

Of course, an intake form also gathers the same information for every client. This saves you time and energy, and is more efficient than going back and forth with clients. Additionally, it allows you to pre-qualify your leads. With experience, you will be able to tell whether someone is a good fit. Some key things you should include on your intake form include their name, wedding date, contact info, and how they found you. The rest is up to you - but it needs to be snappy. Your wedding intake form should be 5 minutes or less for them to fill out. 

Intake Form Apps

How your intake form works will depend on your existing tech. You want it to play nice with the bigger assets of your business, like your website. If you have no website, this might be a Google Form or Jotform you send out right now. Ideally, it lives on your website and is easy for clients to find. It should also be integrated with the rest of your branding. If you have a website through something like SquareSpace, they have templates for this, or you can buy prettier templates. Alternatively, if your website is on WordPress, there are plugins like WPForms, which I’ve used in the past, and works well. And if you’re using a CRM, which we will talk about later, some of them let you embed their form right on your website.

Wedding Tool #2: A calendar scheduler

The second wedding tool you need is a calendar scheduling tool. There is nothing that will kill a sale faster than going back and forth over email about a time to meet! Your wedding clients need an easy, convenient, fast way to book a call with you. People no longer have patience to figure out scheduling over email. 

Calendar Scheduling Apps

One way to do this is by using a third-party app like Calendly. Calendly has a free version if you only need one type of meeting. It can also sync with your Google calendar, so you can make sure you’re never double-booked. And you can set up standing “office hours,” so that people can see when you’re available every week. I really like Calendly, because it’s simple and you just send someone a link to book.

If you’re using SquareSpace for your website, you might also like Acuity. This app was purchased by SquareSpace in 2019, and integrates well with those websites. There is no free plan, but there is a free trial. It has similar functions as Calendly, but Calendly is really focused JUST on calendars. Acuity also has more functions - payment processing, client intake forms, and more. So if you’re using SquareSpace, Acuity might be a good option to do several things, if you are not using a CRM.

In my opinion the best of all worlds is using a CRM. I will talk more about this later, but a CRM does many things at once, including calendar scheduling. For me, it’s easier to log into one piece of software that does it all. But obviously I’m still using Calendly for my non-wedding scheduling!  

Wedding Tool #3: A questionnaire

The third wedding tool you need is a questionnaire. Adding a questionnaire into my wedding client workflow was a game changer! In the past, I would sit on a call for an hour and run through a thousand questions...never again! Adding a questionnaire will get you all the granular info you need - while saving you a ton of time. 

In my opinion, a questionnaire is also the best way to allow your clients time and space to answer questions. It’s likely they haven’t thought of all the things you need - so doing it asynchronously is actually easier for them, too. They don’t want to be put on the spot for things like how many bridesmaids they will have, especially if you are early in the planning process. 

Questionnaire Apps

If you can, use the same tool as your intake form. That way, you’ll have at least some standardization across what you are sending to your clients, and your clients won’t be confused. So, if you are using a free Google form or Jotform now instead of your website, use the same thing for your questionnaire. If you are using something like WPForms on your website, you can make a second form for your questionnaire. To "hide" it, just make sure you don't link to it outside of your client communications. And if you’re using a CRM, you’ll just create a new form in your CRM to collect your client details.

Wedding Tool #4: Contracts & signatures

Fourth up, you need a contract tool for your wedding business. (Please NEVER do a wedding without a contract!) I know people hate contracts and lawyers - but contracts are the best way to set expectations and boundaries with your clients. I love them, because they make everything super clear to everyone involved. Everything is right there, in black and white. 

Contracts also save you when something goes wrong, like, I dunno, the last three years of owning a wedding business? A lot of wedding professionals learned our contracts were hot trash when everyone started trying to cancel weddings. So please - have a lawyer at least review your template. Lawyers are not as expensive as you think! 

Contract Apps

Okay, that’s my Ted Talk about contracts. Ideally, you have some boilerplate language that you are already using. You just need a way to edit it for each client, send it to them, and capture digital signatures. 

There are tons of standalone software products out there for contract signatures, since it’s such a common need in our culture. For example, if you’ve ever signed a tax return, you probably used DocuSign or Adobe Sign. Other people are getting into this game, too. Dropbox now has a paid option called Dropbox Sign, which may be a good add-on if you already use Dropbox. But every CRM also has this as part of their core functionality.

Wedding Tool #5: A payment processor

The fifth wedding tool you need is a secure payment processor. No matter what your other tech looks like, you need a system for your clients to pay quickly and easily. Preferably, they should be able to pay on a payment plan, with a credit card. Everybody wants credit card points or miles, and no Gen Zers are going to write you a check! So you absolutely need to have a secure payment processor to handle their payments. Your processor should handle all their financial information, and you should never see a credit card number.

Most importantly, it should be as easy as possible for clients to give you money. If there is one thing in your client experience that should be frictionless, it’s payment. 

Payment Processors

You probably know about payment processors already. Stripe and Square are the two biggest players for standalone processors. They make their money by charging you fees for every payment, typically around 3.5%. Technically, PayPal is also a payment processor, but not everybody has it. It may also be seen as kind of old-school, since it rose in popularity with eBay.

In my opinion, the best bet is to find software you already need, that has built-in payment processing. For example, if you use QuickBooks, they have a built-in payment processor. If you use something like Acuity, they allow you to choose your processor. Of course, all the wedding-focused CRMs like HoneyBook (affilliate link), Rock Paper Coin, and Aisle Planner also do payment processing for you. 

Lastly, please do not use Venmo unless you have a business account. It’s against their terms of service, and they will shut you down.

Wedding Tool #6: A CRM

The sixth wedding tool you need for your wedding business is a CRM, or a client relationship management system. In my opinion, everyone in the wedding business should have a CRM. However, it is totally possible to hack together these other, lower-cost solutions before you invest in one platform. 

The beauty of a CRM is that it is a seamless process for you and your clients. Everything is housed in one web app - your intake form, your emails, your contracts, your proposals, your payments, your questionnaires, and your scheduling. Your clients can see everything in one place, it’s easy, and it’s all beautifully branded. To me, it is worth the investment to have a tool that does it all, instead of logging in to six different things. Naturally, sometimes clients have to “learn” the tool a bit at first, but usually it’s smooth sailing. 

Even if you do not have dedicated CRM software, you do still need a way to track where someone is in your client process. You need to send them the right information at the right time, follow up with them if they stop responding etc. So you definitely still need a system for this - it just might be in a spreadsheet and a calendar.

CRM Options

The main CRMs marketed to wedding pros are HoneyBook (affiliate link), Aisle Planner, and Rock Paper Coin. I’ve also heard of wedding pros using Dubsado or 17Hats, or other systems. But HoneyBook, Aisle Planner, and Rock Paper Coin are the three main ones. In my business, I use HoneyBook and really love it, because it does everything I want it to do - intake forms, sending brochures, scheduling, questionnaires, emails, proposals, contracts, payments, and automations.

I know that wedding planners sometimes prefer Aisle Planner, because it has all that, plus tools for things like vendor management, guest lists, and floor plan creation. Since I’m a florist, I don’t need that functionality! So HoneyBook is perfect for me, and Aisle Planner is usually perfect for planners. I am a HB educator, so if you want to try it out, you can use my affiliate link for 35% off your first year. 

(This is not a sponsored post - I just use it every day and really like it.)

Rock Paper Coin is the new kid on the block, and I haven’t fully tried it out yet. From my research, it seems a little more limited. For example, I couldn’t find a way to have a contact form on your website feed into the platform automatically. However, it's totally possible I missed it! I want to reiterate that even if you don’t choose to purchase any of this CRM software, you still need a system for mangling all your clients and where they are in your workflow. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to figure it out.

Wedding Tool #7: A gifting strategy

Finally, you need to think about your gifting strategy as a wedding tool in your toolbox. This is a tool I’ve used in my business to continue to surprise and delight couples. I grew up in cajun country, and there’s an old Cajun French concept called lagniappe. Mark Twain wrote about it in 1883! It’s an old custom that is still practiced in Louisiana and Alabama. Basically, when you make a big purchase, you get a little something extra for free. 

So in my business, my couples get lagniappe throughout the process. I send them a gift box when they book, or champagne, if I know they drink. Throughout the process, I surprise them with hand-written notes, coffee gift cards, or other wonderful, unexpected things.

Gifting Ideas

A gifting strategy makes a world of difference when the reviews come in. Of course, we're anticipating their needs for their wedding, and exceeding all of their expectations there. But we're also making it fun and different, building a relationship, showing our personalities, and elevating the experience.

 I typically use BoxFox for my custom gifting, and Fountain to send booze. There are a million options out there for gift boxes - and you can also make your own. But again, we’re trying to free up your time! So I suggest spending the money, and making someone else send the box.

To wrap up, you now have your "shopping list" of wedding tools. What tools are you going to use for your intake form, your scheduling, your questionnaire, your contracts, your payment processor, your CRM, and your gifting? Maybe you are like me, and you just want a CRM and Boxfox, and be done with it! Or maybe you want to test a bunch of stuff out. I’d love for you to join me in my new Facebook Group to chat about these wedding tools. I'm also going to keep going live every Tuesday at 2pm Pacific so we can continue digging into what makes a great client experience. And lastly, I'd love for you to grab my new, free PDF guide. It’s called 3 Things That Completely Changed How I Sell Weddings Forever. If you want that, just put in your email below and I’ll make sure you get it!

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Wedding Business Systems

The Golden Cage, and Why I Love Systems

The Golden Cage, and Why I Love Systems

Today I want to talk about what I’m calling the “Golden Cage," which is when you build a business that is MORE stressful than the job you left, as well as why I love systems. Systems are the key to so much less stress in your business. And I love helping wedding pros book more weddings with my proven Gentle Sales System, so that you can build the trust that clients need before they can book you - while working less. My wedding business is pretty much on autopilot now, and I’m really excited to help other business owners do the same. If you missed this live, you can join me in my new Facebook group to catch these videos every Tuesday! 

Before we get started, I wanted to invite you to join our community of amazing wedding pros. I send out emails about once a week with tips, best practices, and free and paid education. Just pop in your email below!

So, today I wanted to talk to you about what I’m calling the Golden Cage. This is when you build a business in a way that brings in money, but also traps you in a cycle of burnout. I’m going to give you three reasons why this happens, how we can start breaking out of the cage, and why I love helping people with this problem.

How the Golden Cage Happens

Why do wedding pros in particular get stuck in a Golden Cage? First, I think it's because intensity plus creativity are a recipe for burnout. Weddings are intense, and being creative requires a lot of energy. Most wedding pros are creative people - and we are extra prone to burnout. 

Secondly, we are also in this business because we love to help people, and so much comes from the heart. And in doing that, we often overextend ourselves. We give away too much. We work too hard, and fret over charging too much. And then, we wonder why everything in our business feels so hard all the time. So we trap ourselves in this cycle of overextending, and then feeling burnt out.

In addition, you probably started your business because the 9-to-5 life was not your favorite. And in our past jobs, we experienced a lot of pressure, hustle culture, and overwork. Unfortunately, just because we leave the job, doesn't mean our old habits disappear. So we add those tendencies into an intense wedding business, and it's just a recipe for disaster.

Lastly, wedding pros are also people who got into the business because they love weddings, love helping people, and love being creative. We are amazing at our craft. But most of us did not get MBAs before we started our businesses. So, we don’t always have the skills to do things the “right” way the first time. And we build these inefficient systems that become really limiting as we grow. When you think about most big businesses, they have departments, management, and entire groups of people responsible for small pieces. However, most wedding businesses have ONE person in charge of everything - you. And that creates a lot of bottlenecks and inefficiencies. 

Years ago, I was on vacation, and the biggest-budget lead I’d ever had landed in my inbox. I immediately had to go to a coffee shop to get wifi, so I could send her a welcome email. And then, she emailed back right away. She was interested in working together! So I spent hours, the rest of that week, trying to write her proposal because I really wanted that sale. And I got the sale, but I also ruined my vacation. I quickly realized that this was a truly terrible way to run a business. I started my business so that I could have more freedom, not less. 

I was stuck in the Golden Cage. I was “successful,” and winning clients. But I was also trapped. Because doing everything yourself makes it really difficult to take on more clients, scale your business, or even hire help - because you’re too busy. And you’re always too busy.

So, you’re trapped. You have a successful business bringing in clients, and your clients are happy, but you are too busy, too burnt out, and probably not making enough money for the hours worked. You love what you do, and your clients, but you’re also dying inside. It's not a great place to be. And you know what? A lot of wedding pros quit. A LOT of wedding pros quit during the pandemic, for obvious reasons. But wedding pros are still quitting - there is someone near me who is currently selling off her entire inventory to get out of business. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon, especially now. And the saddest part is that it doesn’t have to be like this.  

How to Break the Cycle

First, think about where you are inefficient, or wasting a lot of time. One of the biggest time-wasters is not having your business systems figured out. Your systems dictate your marketing planning, your client workflow, your project management, and your financial tracking. Those processes are SO important, and often get put on the back burner. It’s likely you know deep down where this is already lacking, but you can also use a time tracker to find out where you’re spending too much time. 

Before I fixed my business systems, I was wasting so much time on new leads. I’d get a lead in my inbox, then spend hours writing emails and going back and forth on times to get them on a call. Later, I'd find out they had a super low budget. At that point, we’d already spent at least an hour on a call, and I felt bad letting them go. So I’d contort my entire business around their needs and budget, and spend hours more trying to figure out how I could give them something and still make a profit. I’d send them a PDF with custom pricing and everything - and then they wouldn’t book. 

Obviously, there were so many issues with my systems. I wasn’t marketing well to attract the right clients. I didn’t have a streamlined workflow for my clients once they inquired. I didn’t have anything automated. I was wasting a ton of time on calls, gathering information that could have been gathered another way. And a lot of my follow-ups fell through the cracks, because it was relying on me remembering to do it. It was a bad “system,” and it made me feel bad. 

Now, I really don’t do anything for new clients until they book a call. And my calls are only 20 minutes. So all of my automations do the heavy lifting - sending info, checking in with them, and helping them filter out. Last year, I had a 100% booking rate, which is unheard of. By the time they got on a call with me, they were already sold - we were just hammering out the details. And I didn’t do anything!! To be honest, it changed my entire business to be sustainable for me.

Now, of course, it’s still not perfect. Bookings are really slow this year because of all the tech layoffs, and I’m in Seattle, which is a tech city. But at least I am not spending hours chasing a client who can’t afford me. My business is pretty much on autopilot until the wedding week, yet my client experience is more luxurious than ever. 

Why I Love Systems

So, why am I so obsessed with these systems - particularly when it comes to managing clients? I am fanatical about this, because building good business systems is so powerful. They can totally transform a business into something more sustainable than the Golden Cage we built by accident. Of course, a lot of us in the wedding industry didn’t figure it all out before we opened our business. We just thought, "Hey, I love doing this, I’m so good at flowers (or planning, or hair and makeup, or whatever else) - let me start a business." 

So we start without the end in mind, build our businesses in inefficient ways, and then wonder why our business sucks. We’re run ragged because we’ve built a business that relies on us to do everything. Wear every hat. Send every email. Write every proposal. Do every sales call. It’s not sustainable!! But we’re always so focused on getting more sales and serving our clients, we don’t stop and fix the actual structures within our businesses that would make all of that easier. 

I see so much burnout in our industry, and it doesn’t have to be like that. I don’t want to see people continue to quit because they can’t keep up with the Golden Cage they accidentally built.

For this reason, I have really made it my mission to help other wedding business owners create an effortless, elevated wedding client experience that will attract, book, and impress the most luxurious couples - with less work than ever. I am so passionate about making this easier for some of the most creative, hardest working people on the planet. I want you to keep booking fantastic clients, without ruining your vacation. It’s possible to have a wedding business that runs without YOU doing every little thing. 

So, I want to ask you, straight up. Why do you want to own a wedding business? What should it give you, that you cannot get from a normal job, or some other kind of business? Maybe it’s flexibility, or more time with your kids, or more vacation time in the off season. And are you running your wedding business? Or is your business running you? If you feel like your business is running you, are there any parts of your business right now that feel inefficient? What are they?

For now, I just want you to marinate on that. I would love for you to join me in my new Facebook Group to chat about it. We have a truly fabulous group of people! I'm also going to keep going live every Tuesday at 2pm Pacific so we can continue digging into this. And lastly, I'd love for you to join our email crew, the Wedding Besties. You'll get my best tips, free and paid education opportunities, and so much more.

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