I Know You’re Busy, But You Need to Stay Visible

What are you doing today to ensure that you have sales 12 months from now?

You may be intensely busy managing a gazillion needs for your clients. But if you aren’t planting the seeds today, you won’t have flowers (SALES!) 12 months from now. You may be SO FULL with clients right now that you can’t imagine that your well could dry up. BUT – it’s critical that you remain visible.

If you aren’t attending at least one networking mixer each month, your wedding vendor colleagues will assume you’re too busy and don’t need the business. If you aren’t SEEN, you are invisible. The VISIBLE person is the one who gets the referral. If your business is dependent on word-of-mouth referrals from your vendor colleagues, you need to continue finding ways to mix with them.

During busy season, months can go by before you realize that you haven’t attended any networking events. Don’t let this happen. Schedule out specific networking events you want to attend every quarter. (Put a reminder on your calendar to ensure that you get these scheduled out.)

What are your thoughts? How do you remain visible in your wedding community in the height of your busy seasons?

Are You Annoyed with Low-ball Price Inquiries?

home-1I’m on a few wedding industry forums and Facebook groups and these are the sorts of rants I see:

Can you believe I just received an email asking that I plan a wedding for $500!? These people are cray-cray!!!  {EMOJI}

Just received an inquiry for a Ritz-Carlton wedding and the bride wanted to spend $1000 on a wedding FILM. THE GALL!

Who in their right mind would ask a photographer to shoot 10 hours at a wedding for $400? What is wrong with people today?!

OK. Back up.

I know it’s frustrating to have someone undervalue what you do.
But how would they know otherwise?
Have they ever planned a wedding?

Think about it…
How would they know what these things cost?
Have you met with them and told them what EXACTLY goes into the service you provide?
Do you have a video on your website that shows how elaborate your process is?
Are you advertising on a website that down plays the value of wedding vendors? (A site that tells brides they can plan their own wedding? Or should expect to pay $500 for a film?)

If it is an inquiry, they haven’t even gotten to the point where they get to understand your services… so how would they know that $400 is too low for  wedding planner? (or photographer, videographer, etc.) How should they know this?

Don’t be insulted when someone simply doesn’t know something. They weren’t put in this situation to offend you.

So how do you reply to an inquiry like that?

1. Relax. It’s not about you.
2. Is there an opportunity to educate this person? If so, get on the phone for a quick chat.
If not, be respectful. There is a person behind that inquiry with a real need.
Solve a problem. If you know you can’t work with them (and don’t want to take the time to educate them), that’s fine. BUT, be a resource. Be an expert. Make a recommendation or referral for them.

EVERYTHING is an opportunity to show people your best self. Not replying (or taking insult) to low-budget inquiries is a failure in showing grace and kindness. And it’s a poor reflection on your brand.

What do you think?
What is your approach in this situation?

PS – if you KEEP getting low-ball inquiries, is your marketing strategy leading people astray? Revisit our 6-part series on “Why Do I Keep Getting Low Budget Brides?

Announcing Be Sage Conference Speakers: Mayra Castillo & Xochitl Gonzalez, AaB Creates

We are excited to announce that Mayra Castillo and Xochitl Gonzalez, the fabulous duo behind AaB Creates, will be joining us for a second year at Be Sage Conference!  Last year, these two ladies shared some incredibly valuable lessons on how to scale a service business in a way that will allow you (as an owner) to do more of the BIG stuff and not so much of the exhausting stuff.

One thing that Kelly and I love about these two is their friendship. (The foundation of this great relationship is not only the basis of their business ventures, but also the backbone of their mentoring site Besties in Business.) We’ve invited them to give a talk on what it means to be a bestie in this industry. They will kick off the conference by imparting wisdom on how to be that person to others. We can all do more when we work together.

(By the way, you’ll want to catch these two on TLC on July 30th at 10pm on a segment of Extreme I Do’s.)

Here is a little more about Mayra & Xochitl…

Headshots02Mayra Castillo and Xochitl Gonzalez are serial entrepreneurs who began working together nearly 15 years ago as event producers for The Clio Awards before launching their own Event Design & Planning Firm, AaB Creates.  Their focus on unique locales and creative clientele has led them to be the go-to firm for fashion, tech and entertainment professionals seeking out of the box, high-style events.  

In 2009, after watching the demand for Day-of planning grow, Mayra and Xochitl launched Just About Married.  Offering one service and one service only, it has since grown to be New York’s only “Month-of” service catering to the luxury market. They are in the process of expanding Just About Married to service Southern California market.  AaB Creates and Just About Married have been featured in over 200 publications, both print and online, and Mayra and Xochitl have been featured on The Style Network’s Whose Wedding is it Anyway and TLC’s “Extreme I Do’s”.    

Last year, after speaking and attending the Be Sage Conference, the two women were inspired to start Besties in Business, a video/podcast and consulting service aimed at working with female entrepreneurs.  

We’ll see you this November in Dallas!

BE SMART. BE BRIGHT. BE SAGE.

Registration is open for Be Sage Conference.

Sage Innovators – Follow Along on Instagram (#sageinnovator)

Image-1We have been featuring our favorite Sage Innovators this month on Instagram. We are so excited about this! These are people that are rocking the industry and doing some cool, different things. These are people that inspire us, wow us, and change the way that we participate in the wedding industry.

Follow along with us with our hashtag: #sageinnovators at https://instagram.com/sageweddingpros/.

FUN!

 

When Your Contractor Doesn’t want to be Categorized as an Employee

You may get to the point where you have to change the terms of your working relationship with a contractor to that of an employee. Some contractors DO NOT want to be classified as employees. Keep in mind… this isn’t really a choice that you or they make.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

(Make sure to review this post and this post on the difference between a contractor and an employee. You may be breaking the tax law.)

One of the reasons a worker may not want to be classified as an employee is that taxes will now be deducted from their pay. And their thought is: “I don’t want to pay taxes.” {this is a a misunderstanding of how taxes work}

Here’s the thing…

Even tho taxes are NOT directly deducted from the a contractor’s pay, they ARE paying taxes. This is one of the reasons companies are required to provide 1099s. Income stated on the 1099 is what that contractor has to report on their 1040 tax filing. Contractors are required to pay tax on April 15th on all 1099 income. (They aren’t getting it deducted from their paycheck… but they are ultimately having to pay it when they file their taxes.)

Here is the other thing… contractors actually pay MORE in taxes than employees. Contractors are responsible for paying ALL income tax (and social security, FICA, medicare), whereas employees share taxes (social security, FICA, medicare) with employers.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about:

(these tax rates are random examples and not indicative of real tax rates)

Contractor

Pay:                    $1000
– Taxes                  $200 (20% tax rate – ALL due from CONTRACTOR)
Net Pay              $800

Employee

Pay:                    $1000
Taxes:                $200 (20% tax rate –> but half of this is required of EMPLOYER)

Employee pays $100 in taxes; Employer pays $100 in taxes

Pay:                    $1000
Taxes:                $100 (10% tax rate –> EMPLOYEE responsibility)
Net Pay              $900

So… you can see… a contractor is paying $100 more in taxes than an employee in this example. (This difference is called ‘self-employment tax’.)

What does this mean for you, the employer?

As you can see, this also means that YOU, as the employer, are responsible for paying taxes that you wouldn’t otherwise have if this worker were classified as an employee. But, in my experience, the added taxes are completely worth the ability to really invest in that worker and to have them invest in my company. (And, like I said, you don’t have a choice in the matter. Know the tax law where contractors are concerned, or you could owe fines and penalties on misclassified workers.)

It also helps for you to explain this to a contractor that needs to be classified as an employee. They’ll see that the financial benefit is actually a good one for them.

Do you need to know more about contractors and employees? Do you need help on hiring, training, and managing your team? Check out The People Plan, our hiring toolbox: www.thepeopleplan.biz .