We have a winner of our giveaway for Law School for Wedding Pros. We had 60 contestants! WOW! We randomly picked a winner using random.org… and the lucky number is 32.
Our 32nd comment came from Jeni at Seastar Arts! Congratulations Jeni!
Reagan Zugelter is the Marketing Manager for Studio Z Films and her husband, Steve is the primary filmmaker. Reagan graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in film production and spent 10 years in the media industry as a Marketing and Event Manager. Studio Z Films is an international award winning studio that was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Filmmakers in the World in 2010.
Reagan is also one of the founders of POSH Retreat, a filmmakers retreat and educational workshop for women. I’m thrilled to have been asked to speak at POSH in Cancun this November on the subject of pricing. This is a unique learning experience for women. Reagan and POSH co-founder Jennifer Moon have organized an incredible learning experience. (If you’re a woman in film, you’ll want to register before October 1st!)
Co-Owner of Studio Z Films
Why did you start your business?
My husband and I started our film production business back in 2004. We were both working in television at the time and it was something we envisioned doing part time to bring in some extra income into our household. We didn’t put much thought into our business name or even had a business plan or goals when we created our former company, Glass Eye Video. In 2006, my husband lost his full time job and we decided that it was time to take the leap to a full time business. He concentrated on growing our business while I still was working full time at my corporate job. We had our first daughter in 2007 and my role in the business began to change. I stepped back from doing so much on the production side to focus my efforts on the marketing and day-to-day operations. In 2009 after our second daughter was born and we changed our wedding film company name to Studio Z Films, I also lost my job. After a lot of soul searching, I decided not to go back to the corporate world and focused on our business while balancing raising our two daughters. It has been one of the best decisions we have made because it has helped grow our business enough to where we launched a second company for our corporate media production, Zug Media. I am able to do what I love with managing our marketing, social media and the business side of our two companies and my husband focuses on the art and production, which he is passionate about.
What book do you recommend to new business owners?
The E-Myth has to be one of my most favorite books because it discusses why most businesses fail and simple steps you can take to not be another failed business. Most people go into business because they love what they do, but the reality is that we need to also learn how to run a business and not let the business run us.
Do you have any cool goal-setting tips to share with us?
Goal setting is so important. I would talk about all these ideas I had but never wrote them down and they never were implemented. Finally after attending a business seminar, we began creating short and long term goals. We start with our long-term goals and then break those down into goals we can accomplish over the next year. Once we have our yearly goals, those are broken down into each quarter. I take the quarterly goals and develop action plans. I assign deadline dates to each action plan. Then the action plans and the deadline dates go into my calendar with reminders. After each quarter, we spend time reviewing what goals were accomplished and if we did not accomplish them, what happened.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge as a business owner?
The biggest challenge for us was realizing that we are going to get a lot of rejection and that not everyone is our target client. Once we began raising our prices, we did get more rejection from people. It took us awhile to notice that the clients that did book with us truly value wedding films, it is one of their top priorities and they also love our work. Sure, it is still hard to get a no thank you, but we are confident about our business and that is what keeps moving us forward.
If you were starting your business all over again, what would you have done differently?
If I were starting the business over, I would have created a business plan, developed a mission, short and long term goals and researched the business name. These items are so invaluable to having a successful business. I think for us, we focused so much on improving our art and didn’t spend enough time on improving the business. When I began devoting resources into the business; branding, goal setting, business coach, that is when our company really grew. Do not underestimate the value of a great business and financial coach.
On Monday, I reflected on posts from one year ago about competition. When working with wedding businesses to better market themselves, I emphasize the importance of knowing what your competition does. The most important reason for taking a look at your competition is so that you can better differentiate yourself. AND – so that you can communicate (VERBALIZE) what makes your business different. How good are you at explaining to others what makes your business different?
On the surface so many of our businesses may look similar to the consumer. A photographer is a photographer, right? WRONG. We know that. We just need to be better about verbalizing exactly what makes us different. A lot of what makes one business different from another is the experience. What experience do you bring to your clients? How do you make their lives better with your product or service? How do you add value to their wedding?
I encourage you to make a list of ‘talking points’ which emphasize what makes your business different from your competitors. The better you are able to verbalize this, the better you’ll be able to sell yourself. Practice verbalizing what makes your business different. This is not only important in client meetings, but at networking events when meeting with colleagues. If you want someone to get excited about your business and refer it to their clients, they’ll have to understand what makes your business different from anyone else’s.
On Monday, I reflected on posts from one year ago about competition. I like to think of my competition as my coop-etition. My competitors are my colleagues and often my friends. And, there is plenty of business to go around. That being said, it’s good to know what makes me different from someone else who does something similar to what I do. And, it’s good to be noticed. Networking helps me get noticed.
There’s something I’ve noticed after having been in business a few years. The person that seems to get the most referrals from colleagues is the one that is most visible. The person that is the master-networker is often on everyone’s minds.
Here’s a scenario for you to think about…
I attended a networking event a couple weeks ago. I talked with many wedding pros, but spent some time chatting with a newer photographer. The next day in my client consult the bride happens to mention that she’s having trouble finding a photographer. The person that is at the top of mind is the photographer I met just the night before. I pass the name along.
This happens A LOT. If you’re top of mind, you will be referred by your colleagues. This happens when you attend networking functions, educational events, and coffee dates with other wedding pros. But, you can also be ‘top of mind’ just by being friendly on social media outlets… and sending a friendly email from time to time to your colleagues.
I like what Trisha Von Lanken of Von Wedding Films and Andrea Scatuccio of The Dessert Fairy both do. These ladies are each, individually, masterful at keeping an eye out for their wedding industry colleagues. Any time they see an article that might interest a colleague, they pass it along. Not only is it helpful for someone else to have the information, it let’s them know that Trisha or Andrea is looking out for them. And, as result, Von Wedding Films or The Dessert Fairy becomes ‘top of mind’. I know every time I get a little insightful news blurb from Andrea that it makes me feel like she’s always thinking of me. And, it makes me think “I wonder how Andrea’s doing.” There she is – top of mind. I’m going to think of her first because I just had a recent interaction with her.
What else can you be doing to be top of mind with your wedding industry colleagues? Share a comment below.
I’m super excited to host this giveaway today! Katy Carrier of Carrier and Associates, a law firm for creative professionals, is touring the nation with her Law School for Wedding Pros.
About Law School for Wedding Pros
Law School for Wedding Professionals is a full day of education designed to help you understand and implement policies, practices and protections for your business. The workshop, led by attorney Katy Carrier, covers topics such as selecting the proper business entity, contracts, insurance, protecting your intellectual property and legal issues in social media, and also includes practical, hands-on training, such as step-by-step instruction on filing copyright registrations, preparing cease and desist letters and filing copyright infringement takedown notices. Your one-day law school admission also includes a custom, attorney-drafted client contract, to be completed within 14 days of your attendance date. Your new contract includes one-on-one attorney counseling and drafting specific to your business’s unique needs.
Here are the cities and dates:
2011 Law School Tour
|Washington, DC||Monday, September 26|
|Atlanta, GA||Wednesday, September 28|
|New York, NY||Monday, October 10|
|Boston, MA||Wednesday, October 12|
|Chicago, IL||Monday, October 17|
|Nashville, TN||Wednesday, October 19|
|San Francisco, CA||Sunday, October 23|
|Phoenix, AZ||Wednesday, October 26|
|Dallas, TX||Wednesday, November 2|
|Seattle, WA||Sunday, November 6|
|Orlando, FL||Wednesday, November 9|
|Los Angeles, CA||Tuesday, November 29|
You can learn more about the workshops by visiting the Law School for Wedding Pros website.
We are giving away ONE scholarship to the city of your choice. Simply post a comment below and let us know why you want to attend Law School for Wedding Pros and which city you’d like to attend. The contest closes at 12pm EST on Friday, September 23rd. Here are a few more rules:
I came to Michelle because I had a vision for my company’s future but I needed someone with a calculator to hold my hand. Michelle is the consummate professional- she takes the time to understand your brand and overall goals, then patiently walks you through the process of understanding how the numbers play into it all. She’s the perfect balance between cheering you on and making sure you don’t spend too much on overpriced airport bottled water. I wouldn’t be where I am now without her.
Hiring Sage Wedding Pros was the best decision I’ve ever made for my company. Michelle helped me see where my money was going, how to streamline to make more profit, and created the most amazing cash flow spreadsheet I’ve ever seen. She is always fast to reply to my emails and has the best advice for my business challenges. Working with Sage Wedding Pros has taught me how to run a business that is profitable, debt-free, and smarter. She is honest, doesn’t sugar coat things, and is one of the smartest women in the wedding industry.