A couple of weeks ago, I got married. My partner (husband! got to get used to saying that) and I are both pretty low-key, so the time between deciding to go ahead – I wouldn’t exactly call it a proposal – and the day itself, was only about 3 months. It wasn’t a huge, complicated wedding, but it was a lovely day and we both enjoyed ourselves very much.
Once it was all over and done with, I got to thinking about the organisation that went into the day, and how in many ways it was similar to certain aspects of organisation for my business. I don’t wear a special dress every day to sit down and do my clients’ work (but I do get out of my pajamas – a girl has to have standards). Other aspects, though, they were a little familiar.
Have a contingency plan
We live in Sydney, planned our wedding for Spring, and decided to have an outdoor ceremony looking over the harbour. What could possibly go wrong?
For the entire month leading up to the big day, it pretty much rained every single day. Often torrential downpours that lasted for hours and turned the streets into small streams. It dawned on us that we were going to need a Plan B, in case the rain didn’t relent.
The morning of the wedding arrived. At 5am it started raining a little, working itself to a downpour of biblical proportions by 9am. I was out the front of my hairdresser, coiffed and made-up, under an umbrella waiting for a taxi, when I called my partner and we agreed to activate Plan B. We had organised beforehand what this Plan B would look like. A quick round of phonecalls and Facebook updates, and all the guests were informed. At 12pm, we were married without a single hair on the giant ball of hairspray perched on my head becoming even slightly damp.
Of course, by then the rain had stopped, but it didn’t really matter. Plan B was actually very lovely, and no-one had to squidge through soaking wet grass.
Business lesson: have a back up plan.
What will you do if some key part of your workflow is disrupted, disabled or otherwise stops working?
- Your internet provider goes on strike? Are you mobile and able to move to a cafe with Wifi? Or do you have an emergency dongle to use?
- Your computer dies suddenly. Do you have a backup machine? Do you know local places to go where you can borrow a computer while it’s being repaired?
- Are your working files accessible from the cloud in case you need to move location?
- Do you have reliable people to outsource to if you fall sick, or just have an influx of more work than you can handle?
Outsource to the professionals
As I mentioned, our wedding was quite small and simple, so we didn’t go to the extreme of hiring a wedding planner. We covered most of the details ourselves, but got in the professionals to help out with the key elements of our day.
Our celebrant was brilliant (and obviously you cannot get married without one, no chance of doing a DIY marrying of yourself). But beyond doing the legal duties, she helped us to source a reception venue, gave us ideas to organise our Plan B, and then stepped up to fantastically when we had to activate said Plan B. What that meant was once we made the decision, she took care of the details and we just had to focus on getting ready and getting there.
(As a total aside, if you’re getting married and need a celebrant, I totally recommend Kerry at Unforgettable Ceremonies)
I was tempted to go DIY on things like flowers, but decided that I just wasn’t going to have time. We had friends and relatives arriving from overseas, and I had work commitments to get finished right up until a couple of days before the wedding. In the end I asked a friend who is a florist to help me with ideas, she found me a great florist here in Sydney, and I left it in their capable hands. The flowers were beautiful and I didn’t have that extra stress in the lead up.
I’m a terrible cook, so I didn’t even entertain the thought of a DIY cake. Luckily we have a generous and talented friend who made the most scrumptious mud-cake that got completely devoured.
Business lesson: outsource the stuff that you don’t need to do.
- Are there admin tasks you can hire someone else to do for you – freeing up your time to work on core business activities that require your specific experience and expertise?
- It’s tempting to DIY all your design, writing and web-stuff, but is it actually costing you money in the long run?
- Unless your business is accounting, leave that heavy lifting to someone qualified. I promise it will save you tonnes of money.
Use new technology
Part of the low-key approach to our wedding organisation was to do away with traditional save-the-date card and invitations. Our wedding party was small, so this worked for us – but I don’t see why it also couldn’t work for a bigger group.
I used Facebook, texts, emails and old-fashioned phonecalls to alert everyone that we indeed were finally taking the plunge.
Instead of designing, printing and posting invitations, I put together a quick website. Using a WordPress template, the only really work that I needed to do was some custom illustration to make it feel more ‘ours’. It took me a couple of afternoons to put together, and then people were able to let us know if they were coming, and we were easily able to provide them with all the details.
Business lesson: investigate new technology
- There are always new apps, websites and ideas to try out. Getting the balance right between trying new stuff, and falling down the wormhole on a regular basis can be tricky. However, it’s worth it to find a tool that really helps your workflow
- Think outside the box for ways to grow your business, promote your content, or gain new clients.
If you’re interested in seeing the finished website, I’ve added it to my portfolio. No need to let hard work go to waste!
Have you had some major life event that kind of chimed with how you run your business? Or is it just me – a weirdo who truly can’t swich off?