Reader Question: How do I get my First Paying Client?

Q. I’ve haven’t been in business very long and am investing in my education in the wedding planning field. So far, my weddings have been complimentary and I would like to know how to get my first paying client?

A. Let me preface my answer to commend you on educating yourself in the wedding planning field. I hope that you are taking courses or apprenticeships with other well-established planners. As we all know, there are no do-overs at a wedding so it is imperative that you know what you are doing when you take on your first client. So I’m going to answer with the assumption that you have done your due diligence in this area.

This is a question I’m sure all new wedding professionals ask themselves. The last time I looked, we all didn’t come out of the womb planning weddings or taking great photos. We had to start from somewhere, usually at ground zero.

The direct answer to your question on how to get a paying client, is to simply ask. And from this minute on,  STOP taking on complimentary events, (unless it is a non-profit that you wish to contribute your time). Your time is always worth something.

The next potential client that you meet, you are no longer free. You have a portfolio (limited as it is), but you at least have a history behind you.

Breaking into any business you must have confidence in yourself. Confidence that you can do the job and project that confidence to your potential clients. I’m a huge believer in not showing all your cards to everyone. When I started, unless directly asked how many weddings I have planned, I didn’t bring it up that I was new. If asked directly, I told the truth … however assured them that I have done xyz in preparing to be competent to manage their wedding.

The funny thing was that many people never asked. If you are truly doing your education in this field then you will have your bases covered.

My guess is that you are presenting yourself a little shaky and/or offering too many complimentary services. If you want to be a philanthropist and donate your time to helping brides and grooms on their wedding day; that is certainly your call. But that is not a business. It’s a hobby. Period.

Happy Selling!

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2 Responses to “Reader Question: How do I get my First Paying Client?”

  1. Wow! You hit the nail right on the head.

    Where were you when I went on my first consult?!? I found myself wanting to apologize for my lack of experience (even though I had plenty)! Thank goodness that I didn’t — I would never have a paying client.

    So much of our success is based on our self-confidence and how we present ourselves. — And listening to wise pros like you.

    Love & Soul Always, Kay

  2. Jamela says:

    My sister and I want to go into event planning. I am just not sure where to start. I have done parties for the kids, helped with my best friends reception, made my own invites for parties, also I decorated cakes for about 3 years and have been a licenced hair stylist for 8 years. My goal is to be my own biggest vendor, I am stuck though, I don’t know where to begin. I don’t want to waste anymore time waiting, and I am actually ready to just write up a business plan, a name for my business order business cards and go for it, but I want to do it right. What do you suggest, please give me a little guidance.

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