Life of Kirk

May: The Month of Madness

Month of Madness

Dare I say, May has been the most insane month of this entrepreneurship journey thus far.... and it was completely self inflicted!! In my scramble to gain clients, build a portfolio, and make a living I signed contracts for 2 wedding day coordination, full planning services for a meet and greet and a wedding, and re-lauched a local chapter of a national networking group all while picking up as many shifts that I could get at the Tmobile Arena for income.

Even though this month was pure madness, the main takeaway is that I made it through. It was rough, exhausting, stressful and mentally challenging but I made it through! Now looking back I am so grateful for the lessons learned throughout this month of madness. 

Lesson #1: time management

My time management skills are still a work in progress but working so many events and being at the arena every day I could get forced me to get serious about my work time. If I had 2 hours to work, I couldn't afford to waste 30 min of it on Facebook and reading blogs. I had my task lists for each week and reviewed them and updated nightly. And with time being so tight this month I made sure my designated work time was just that, no procrastination. I put my phone on DND and made sure to remain focused on the task at hand.  

Lesson #2: financial planning

Taking on so many contracted events in May meant I received payment in the months prior and had to budget to make sure I was able to make it through the month. So my actual income for May was extremely low. Also, with most of my contracts taking place on the weekends I missed out on some major income days. I make sure to look at my projected income 3 months out to ensure I am going to meet my financial goals. So far its giving me enough time to plan to make any adjustments for compacted contracts.

Lesson #3: sales and marketing

An obvious realization I had was during the planning phases of an event the last thing I have time for is sales and marketing. Procedures need to be put in place and I need to remain strict about continuing with my sales and marketing even with an event in the works. I need to get to the point where I am working from one event to the next.

Lesson #4: outsourcing

Speaking of sales and marketing, I decided to make it a goal in the near future to hire someone, at least for a couple hours a week, to do some sales and marketing tasks. If I had someone that took care of sending out proposals, replying to emails and scheduling social media it would relieve a huge task load. 

Lesson #5: overextension

I also learned to be more careful in accepting contracts, to place a limit on the amount of events per month and work toward spreading them out throughout the year. Overextension is a real thing and I definitely exceeded my limit this past month. In the future I will be tactful about the events I accept. 

Overall, May was crazy, hectic, exhausting, stressful, a little out of control and a great learning experience that I needed to go through as an entrepreneur. 

So next time you have a rough time ask yourself "But did you die??". Laughing but serious!

 

 

Wordy Wednesday - Update on Events by Kirk

It has been 7 months since I left the day job to work on Events by Kirk full-time. Being an entrepreneur is everything that you read about; its hard, exhausting, discouraging, and takes an insane level of determination and sacrifice. I have begun to greet rejections and "no" with "thank you, do you have any feedback" and then immediatly moving on to the next. Building the life you want has alot to do with also working on yourself, your personal restraints and drawbacks. The areas that I am working on are stress management, focus, not to be as hard on myself and my relationship wih money. In my spare time I have been reading alot, journaling and I have added meditation to my morning routine.

One of the reoccuring pieces of advice in almost every article about success I've read and books on entrepreneurship is the importance of listing your accomplishments. In working towards anything, its so easy to get caught up what you want your end result to be that you forget to acknoledge the progress you have made. In training for a marathon the rookie mistake is to still think midway through your training "theres no way I will be able to run 26 miles, the marathon is right around the corner". What you often forget is to acknowledge that you used to get winded after 15 min of running and now you are able to run 10 miles! You haven't reached your goal but you are on the right path and if you were determined enough to make it this far you will be able to make it on the day of the marathon. Even I have forgotton this important piece of advice, so in honor of this key rule I am going to list my accomplishments of the past 7 months

  • Marketing plan complete
  • Website redesign
  • Business foundations in place
  • Event consultation packages
  • Significant Q4 income
  • Hired by 2 travel directing companies
  • Working at T-Mobile Arena for additional income
  • T-Mobile is flexible enough to not affect the progress of my business
  • Made entrepreneur friends
  • Attending 2 networking events per week
  • Improved networking skills
  • Becoming known locally
  • 4 contracts signed and paid
  • 2 partnerships
  • 1 modeling gig (weird but cool) 
  • 1 social media management

Now, admittedly, I am not yet where I want to be in my business but just listing my accomplishments tells me I am going in the right direction. 

Happy Wordy Wednesday everyone!! In the comment section below, let me know what your greatest accomplishments were this past month!

4 Things No One Tells You Before You Go Solo

Obviously I knew going into full-time entrepreneurship would be a challenge, that it would be hard and stressful. My new reality is rolling out of bed brewing coffee and immediately sitting down at the computer. Then working all day until I hit a mental block only to look around and realize it's 12 hours later. Then, exhausted I take the iPad to bed and fall asleep while catching up on social media. I was prepared to be stressed about income, I was prepared to question myself and my decisions, I was prepared to make the extreme sacrifices needed to push the business. I was never naive about this being an easy journey. After all, if it was easy everyone would be a successful business owner.... Right?? However, I was surprised by the mental challenges and the mental strength needed to push forward everyday with the same conviction. Really, failing to work on yourself is planning to fail in your business. 

Truth #1: You will feel like you are isolated on (what I like to call it) "The Island of Insanity"

 Being an entrepreneur, especially one in which you can run your business 100% online can (and WILL) be isolating. We tend to lock ourselves in the house and work for hours and hours on the computer with no human interaction. The drive and determination that you cultivate allows you to go for days without actually noticing you haven't seen another human in all that time. The only thing that causes you to return to the human population is that you ran out of caffeine. While I hope that your friends and family are understanding of your sudden disappearance, it will be an adjustment for both you and them.

Tip: Find other entrepreneurs and build a kind of support group. I met a neighbor who is a videographer and he stays up late editing. Its helpful just knowing I'm not the only one up working late in this form of masochism. Although, we are in different fields we can relate as solopreneurs. Keep in mind you are not alone and schedule time to step away from the computer and spend time with friends or family. Even try working from a coffee shop once a week!

Truth #2: You don't even know what flexibility is yet! - Even though I am a very structured person I thought I would easily be flexible when it came to my business. FALSE! During the startup phase you are in grind mode and your schedule can easily get out of your control. Client meetings, pitch meetings, phone calls, networking events and your ever growing to-do list. It will be a huge adjustment to be able to go with the flow and become flexible with your ever changing schedule. Flexibility is a huge adjustment no matter how flexible you think you are, continue to work on this. It will only become an asset to you as your business grows.

Tip: Make a weekly list of items that need to be completed to ensure your business moves forward and your goals are reached even when you have pop-up meetings and last minute schedule changes. Also, (this may be obvious) but always have your laptop or iPad with you so that you can work on the go. You can get work accomplished in between meetings for example.

Truth #3: Some days the doubt will take over - Most days I am at the computer by 7am, work all day, get some reading done, catch up on my industry news, attempt meditation (not really good at it.... work in progress), networking events twice a week. But some days I look at my bank account and wonder if I am making the right decision. It's hard to work with that same conviction while you are building your business. Thats exactly what you are doing building. You may not (and most likely WONT) be generating much money, you will get a ton of "no's" and ton's of resistance.

Tip: Remember why you started and take it one day at a time. Cliche, I know, but consistency is the key to success in your business. (Maybe its not necessarily cliche if its the truth!). When you are having your moments of self doubt remind yourself what your goal is and look back on the progress you have made. You are doing this for a reason, you cannot let negative self talk derail your success.

 Truth #5: You will want to do a million different things - From the beginning you will see all the things you eventually want for your business; marketing, growth opportunities, branding, different departments.... the list can go on forever! Between the freedom of owing your own business and your ambition it can easily spiral to the realm of crazy town. Trust me, I've been there several times! You can easily spend a whole day planning what you want your website and logo to look like even though you cannot afford a graphic designer and have a perfectly professional website. Without someone to hold you accountable to your goals and business plan you can easily become side tracked.

Tip: Make a list of your long term goals and short term goals. Once you come across something that is a future aspiration put it on the long term goal list and table it. Remember the short term goals and the tasks that you need to do now to accomplish your short term goals! It may also help to have an accountability partner. This can be a fellow entrepreneur, you both can talk to about what your goals are and who keep each other's head in the game.

Even though I have had (and still have) these struggles I feel so self aware and I know that every challenge I come across is making me a better person as a whole. I am still so excited that these are now my challenges and I feel stronger everyday when I face them. The things I am actively doing to 

 My current coping mechanisms are; my local support group of entrepreneurs, financial accountability meetings with one of my close friends, daily meditation, reading 1 inspirational book per month, daily gratitudes and constant cheerleading from my biggest fan (my dad!)

Hope this helped, whether you are starting a business or facing a new point in your life. What are your coping mechanisms. Let me know in the comments! 

5 Reasons to Hire an Event Planner

Throughout the years I have come across the same question on several occasions; “Why hire an event planner when I can do it myself”. The answer is quite simple!

1. Cut the Stress

Admittedly event planning is not brain surgery, but it does require a lot of planning and organizing of several details and several moving parts. Diving into unknown territory paired with the eagerness for a successful event is similar to starting a new job with no previous experience or training; overwhelming and stressful. Rather than put yourself in an uncomfortable position, cut the stress and hire a planner who is experienced in handling the details that go into an event. You will sleep much better at night!

2. Save Time

Planning an event is typically very time consuming; planning the details, arranging site visits, holding meetings, making phone calls, managing emails. Adding planning an event to your schedule can become very overwhelming, especially if you already have a full time job and/ or family. Hiring an event planner will allow for your to maintain your current responsibilities efficiently without any interruption.

3. Connections

Whether its a choice venue, a food and beverage minimum, or pricing on rental furniture, an event planner (or a good one at least) has connections and relationships in the industry and/or city in which they can leverage to get you the best outcome for your event. This one of the major benefits of working with a professional event planner for your event; they are able to nail down details for your event that you may not have been able to.

4. Stay on budget

Along with getting you the best pricing, a major role of your event planner will be to keep you within your budget. Your planner will draw up a proposal on the event based upon your predetermined budget and will make sure to stay within said budget throughout the planning process while keeping you informed of where your money is being allocated. Again, the connections the planner has throughout the industry will help with getting you the most for your money.

5. ROI

Every event is looking for a ROI (return on investment). If it is a product launching event, the company could be looking to reach X amount of potential clients and raise X dollars of funding. If it is a wedding the couple could be looking to (of course) finalize their marriage and show appreciation towards their friends and family. The ROI is the main goal in which the event planner is working towards. The ROI is the entire reason for throwing the event and is the primary focus for the planner. Your planner will ensure that your event is successful and that you and your clients/ guests are happy with the result.

I am in no way discouraging my fellow planners at heart; If this is one of your hobbies and you love taking on events then I commend you! But I hope this helped those of you who were wondering “why”.