Here’s how I turned lemons into lemonade by diversifying my wedding business during a pandemic, and how you can too!
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune.
We’ve all had our fair share of lemons by the tonne this year and they can sure weigh us down. I am certainly no exception to the woes of our much-loved wedding industry, but the utterly changed landscape, led me to dive on it and get the presses out and just crack on with squashing those lemons during lockdown, the story of which I’m sharing with you here.
So have I actually been pressing lemons? That’s a no but I have set about creating an entirely new revenue stream to my wedding consulting and training business dedicated to serving wedding venues. Prior to March 2020, I regularly had venue clients buy more than once from me whether that was a one-day training or a 6-month private consulting programme. I didn’t have an offer that kept those cherished clients permanently being supported as part of the Kelly Chandler Consulting “family” so they would come and go while still keeping in touch.
Starting something new
I had looked at starting a “Membership Programme” or some form of monthly subscription many times over recent years and decided it perhaps wasn’t for me, with a client type so niche that I might got get the “take up” and quite honestly I felt like I didn’t have the time to invest in getting it off the ground. In my head, I massively over-estimated how big of a project this was which kept me from going for it – there was definitely some fear of the tech in there too.
Then March 2020 came and I very quickly realised (with a very helpful prompt from one particular client) that actually this WAS the time to get on with that membership programme and JUST DO IT.
I was helping both private wedding venue clients and my wider venue communities with so much advice and support that related to handling the coronavirus situation with their couples and for their business. It was clear for me to see, that I needed to find a way to be able to assist those venues with ongoing support, not just piecemeal but as part of a close shared community. As they were all going through a situation that none of us have ever dealt with before this is a place they could get help from each other too.
So with the encouragement of my superb business coach (Laura Payne-Stanley – she’s a contributor to The Wedding Industry Journal too) and my tech team, I actually got on and created that online training and support membership platform in two weeks flat. It launched on 20th April.
Wedding Venues Rebuilding is now in its 4th month and I could not be more thrilled with the vibrant community inside, the wins and breakthroughs that the venues who raised their hands and said “yes” are having. Yes, we talk through all the many challenges that our industry is facing on a daily basis but the group are also learning new skills, new marketing techniques, new tech tricks, are looking to their futures and sharing their wins with a very positive vibe running throughout everything we do.
Is it perfect?
And did I create a perfect platform? Err no, I actually kept it pretty simple to start with and have learnt a lot as we’ve gone along, adding features and tweaks as things have rolled out. By sticking to the core goal of supporting ambitious venues to rebuild with confidence and positive like-minded support during this time.
I’m so grateful that my relationship with each of those venue members has deepened as we’ve all got to know each other within Wedding Venues Rebuilding. And yes, as a business owner, this programme helps me with regular recurring revenue into my business, work that I can do from my office and desk wherever that needs to be. I really just wish I’d done it before. I do have Covid-19 to thank for the delicious stream of bubbly lemonade in my business, but fear not, I won’t be toasting to this pandemic too much.
You can diversify too
I can’t help thinking that there must be ways for more wedding businesses to serve their clients in a more regular, ongoing way too. After all things like cake, make up & skincare, good food and music aren’t just for super special days like weddings only are they?
Doors to Wedding Venues Rebuilding will be opening again in September. If you’re a venue and interested in knowing more then please email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll notify you when doors open.