Thursday, February 11, 2016

Top 16: Vendor Connections

I know you all are just waiting on the edge of your seats to see our last two "Top 16" Posts! Well, today we are going to chat about vendor connections. How can I be excited about vendor connections?!?

I can not tell you how isolating owning your own business is. It is one of the hardest, loneliest, and soul crushing at times, thing I have ever done. (It is also exhilarating, wonderful, and the best thing I have done.) While the good times are fantastic, the bad times are just hard and it is so hard to share your woes with people who don't really understand the pressures and failures you feel. I remember when we were building the venue and everyone I saw said something similar to - "You must be so excited! This is your dream come true!" And yes, I was excited, but I was also scared out of my mind. I was over my head, into the biggest pit of debt that I didn't know how we would get out of, and I was constantly asking myself why we did this. It was the hardest thing mine and Courtney's relationship endured, it questioned my resolve, and it made me yearn for a normal 9-5.

During this time, we were silent. Smiling on the outside, but just dieing on the inside. Who understood what we were going through? It wasn't until we started peeling back the layers that we realized -who understands us more than other small business owners? They get it! They took the leap. They put all their eggs in a similar basket. They also feel lost, alone, and sometimes just bewildered at what their next step is.

So - we dug in. We started making friends in the industry. We started being real. Not Debbie Downers - but real. We laughed, we shared war stories, and when a fellow business owner was struggling - we provided a shoulder because we get it! We were/are there! We started connecting with moms in the industry. We felt so alone that we had to make a choice - do I go to this event or do I tuck in my babies? Do I go to a meeting, knowing I will have a baby at home that has to take a bottle instead of nursing? At the time, we felt like no one got it. But we realized is that they do - and the loneliness is only because we have created it.

We made a choice last year, to be more present, to uplift those around us, and to make good connections with people that provide us with a breath of fresh air. We have people that we call when we need advice, help, or just a "Can you believe.." We send business to our competitors because they aren't our competition, but our friends. We dig in when we can, and we are so excited for the relationships that have flourished because of it.

When we go to networking events it is so refreshing to see people and not just be surface level - "everything is great, I have X many weddings, and we are just so blessed, and love all our clients, and love everything about what we do." Instead - it's how ARE you? Can we HELP you in any way? Can I ask what you would do in this situation? Business is great - but do you struggle with this? How would you charge this client?

It is real, and I think the purpose for getting together is to learn, grow, and sometimes lean on each other. Granted not every one in the industry is chummy, but for the most part, the people we choose to spend time with, meet with, laugh with, and learn from are worth investing in.

We love this industry- we love the people - and are so grateful that we get to be a part of it!


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