lessons

The Real Reason You Should Have a Destination Wedding

Destination wedding

In honor of planning my second Wedding in Jamaica (and loving it!) I am going to let you know the REAL reason you should have a destination wedding; IT'S A BUDGET SAVER!!

I know what your thinking, "How can a trip to Jamaica save me money?". I'll tell u! 

  1. Less mouths to feed (and buy drinks for) - In planning a destination wedding you will average about 30% of the guests you invite. Sorry to the family and friends that can't make it but the less guests in attendance, the smaller the cost of the reception. Holding a wedding in your hometown can easily add up to 150 guests. 150 ppl x 40 per plate = $6,000 and that's just food!
  2. Less decor to purchase - With a destination wedding your decor and theme is the backdrop of your venue. There is no need to decorate the beach, mother nature has it covered!! A ballroom could take a lot of decor to make it unique to your wedding.... sometimes even presentable. 
  3. Combine the honeymoon - A destination wedding already takes place in the dream location of your choice. For the honeymoon take advantage of the location and stay a few extra days. Most resorts provide accommodations or concessions to the bride and groom that will make your stay even more luxurious.

 

So despite what you may think, a destination wedding could be a cost effective (and awesome) way to get married. Traveling to a beautiful location with the ones you love most is just the perfect start to your marriage! 

If you've attended or thrown a destination wedding, share your tips and experience below!!

How to Get an Event Website

Q: How should I go about making a website for my event?

A: My favorite online tool for website design (hands down!) is Squarespace! Squarespace makes it easy to to build and manage a website. You are able to choose and pay for the domain and posting through Squarespace and the pricing is more cost effective than hiring a web designer. Most important, makes it easy to update information; blogging, pictures, event announcements, social media, you name it!! Anything you need to stay engaged with your attendees and drive ticket sales is very easy and seamless on this platform! It's also easy to add a ticket sales widget on the site! Eventbrite, TicketBud and Ticket Tailor are all compatible and easy to use with Squarespace. Just head over to squarespace.com.

If you are in need of further assistance, Events by Kirk offers event website design to help assist you with a successful event!! To move forward with event web design just send an email to brittany@eventsbykirk.com.

This post is one of the 31 Days of Event Advice. Throughout the month of January, Kirk will be answering questions that you have regarding your event. Comment below or contact me via any social media avenues with your questions, they will be answered throughout the month! #31daysofeventadvice

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! 

Advice to the Solopreneur

Solopreneur. I bet you’re thinking “Now she’s just making up words!”. My definition of a solopreneur is a person who suffers a psychosis or an abnormality of the mind and decides to venture into entrepreneurship solo. While we may all in fact be a little crazy, the abnormality that we have is; drive, passion, crave for success, a little obsessive compulsive disorder, and the need for control (hence the solo). I believe whole heartedly that I have this psychosis, which I have learned to be proud of. I discovered this word is commonly used among others who have decided to start a business on their own, without a partnership. It has kind of been a support system to know others are going through the same thing. While I am sitting at my computer for hours, I know I am not alone, there are others doing the same exact thing.

Typically those who venture into a partnership each have their own strengths to bring to the table and split the responsibilities evenly. Working solo, I do not have such luxuries. Every day I find myself learning more and more about starting up a business and I feel that this is great benefit to me as business woman. I am an event planner, I know how to plan and execute an event but now I am forming a whole new side of myself; Kirk, the solopreneur. Having to wear multiple hats in running a business is difficult but with perseverance I know I will conquer them and achieve greatness for Events by Kirk.

My advice for those stepping into solopreneurship;

Be patient - Starting a business is time consuming and being that there is only one of you, it will take time to get everything in order before the business takes off. Set realistic timelines and goals for yourself so that you may see the progress unfold.

Don’t get overwhelmed - Doing this solo means you are in charge of several different things, most of which you will be learning throughout the journey. There will be alot of Googling and moments of doubt. Make a check list for the week or month and focus on one task at a time and cross out the tasks on your list. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed find an activity that helps you take your mind off of the business; working out, yoga, reading, musical instruments. Schedule time to point your focus elsewhere for a few hours a week.

Know when to ask for help - Those who have chosen to go solo typically have a slight belief they are Superman (I know I do), but you will spend way more time trying to figure out a tough issue than just asking for advice or help. If you are having tech issues and are not techy at all, don’t waste days trying to read up and figure it out on your own, ask someone. If you are not into finances, seek financial advice. Marketing not your thing? Ask someone!

And finally, Hang in there, this advice is for myself as well. I keep reading that success is measured by the way one accepts failure. As solopreneurs we will fail, we will fall, but as successful business women and men we will pick ourselves up and carry on and learn from our previous losses. Once we loose the fear to fail, we will truly be successful.

Good luck fellow solopreneurs, we are all in this together!

What Going Natural Taught Me About My Business

My natural hair journey

I have been on the natural hair journey since August 2014. For those who are unsure what I mean by “natural”, I have completely eliminated chemical and heat manipulations on my hair; no relaxer, no sulfates, phosphates, silicon’s, no flat-iron or blow dryer. Originally, I just started because I was going on a beach vacation and didn’t know how to do my hair without spending hours straightening. But after a little bit of research I realized the damage that I was doing to my hair and the damage that I had done to my hair became obvious.

I had no idea when I first started this journey the amount of time it would take to learn what was good and healthy for my hair. I had no clue how many hours I would spend experimenting and how many experiments would turn into failures. There were countless days I had to be flexible in what my hair turned out to be and I just had to hold my head up strong even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the outcome. I continued everyday knowing where I wanted my hair to be and what my goals were. These were the only things that got me through my rough days!

It took months before I finally accepted for myself that there was no turning back and I made a full commitment by getting a curly hair cut. I got majority of the heat damage cut out of my hair and my hair shaped so when it is curly it is cute. I lost inches and a majority of the hair on just one side… there was no going straight at this point!

In going through this process there is only one way to see progress; consistency. I had to stay disciplined to my deep conditioning once a week, detangling before and after washes, putting my hair up whenever I am at home and only laying my head on a satin pillowcase…. no other fabrics BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!

And throughout this whole process, the hardest thing for me was time management! As my curly girls know wash day is just that, a wash DAY! Detangling, washing, deep conditioning and styling all take time. Not to mention the added time to style before work. I was used to taking my straight hair down from a wrap, combing and heading out, 3 min max! I now have to allow extra time in the morning to do my curly hair, ESPECIALLY during the learning months!

What going natural has taught me

Going through this entire process has brought me to the realization that starting your business is the same as going through any other significant change in your life;

In order to be successful you must have PATIENCE. There will be a lot of trial and error. There will be several failures. You will spend several hours working on your business and organizing the details and it may seem as if the startup phase is never-ending. But you just have to remember what your ultimate goal and keep pushing forward.

You must stay DEDICATED to your business! Despite the failures, the discouraging thoughts, the doubts of other people you must stay dedicated to your business. If you are not dedicated how will your employees, partners, or investors be dedicated?

DISCIPLINE is probably the most important thing. Consistency is key to any progress. No matter what, keep up your efforts and stay consistent with every action you take. For example, you cannot market your business hardcore for 3 months and then drop off for 2 moths and expect to see progress.

And of course, TIME MANAGEMENT. Take an account of how much time you have to dedicate to your business and allocate your tasks accordingly. Know how much time it takes to do each of the tasks on your to-do list and what things take up a majority of your time. This will be invaluable in the future when you need to outsource or hire employees.

Even though I accidentally stumbled into the natural hair world, I think the lessons I got out of this were amazing; to have patience, stay dedicated and disciplined and manage my time. It’s so hard to see progress sometimes in my business but with my hair I see a unbelievable difference in these 18 months. In taking these lessons with me and applying them to Events by Kirk I will see positive results as well. Going through this has completely rejuvenated me in my business to know that even though progress is made in small steps, progress is still made!