K: Thank you for listening to the “Dare to Dream” podcast located here in Colorado Springs, Colorado and sponsored by Reticence Marketing, a full-service marketing, web design, and SEO company doing both local and national business. I am Kolten the owner and founder of Reticence Marketing hosting this podcast and I have Eileen here, the owner of Once Upon a Wedding Events. Thank you for coming on the show Ileen!
I: Thank you for having me Kolten!
K: Of course! So, if you just wanted to maybe go into a little bit of detail about your business, what you do, how you founded it. I guess give us a summary.
I: Okay, well I actually have a background in retail merchandising and retail sales and oddly enough, that was the thing that kind of pushed me into the event industry. It was a complete and total accident, I will be honest, it’s not like it was something I dreamed about as a child. I worked with a lot of couples and wedding gift registries and I really enjoyed it and then one day I had an employee come in. She was a former employee who came in glowing and she said, “I’m getting married will you help me?” And I was like, “Sure! Help you with what again? What do you want me to do?” And I helped her, and it was an extremely short timeline and an extremely tight budget and to those of you who are familiar with the event industry at all you know that equates to a lot of stress and it’s a very difficult event to plan but I loved it and it was the coolest thing I’d ever done so I immediately quit my job and started planning weddings. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since. That was about 7 years ago.
K: That’s awesome! I know here on this podcast kind of the theme of it is “Daring to Dream” and “Breaking the mold” and what entrepreneurs can do to really make a difference in their own lives and in their community. Just by really pursuing their own dream and making their own business ideals a reality. So, you were just talking about quitting your job to go into this industry, found your company, can you maybe talk a little bit more about that because I know that a lot of our audience might be in the same boat or they want to start a business, but they don’t know how it works, and they’re scared of quitting that 9 to 5 corporate life so if you could maybe elaborate on that.
I: Absolutely, so I will say it was terrifying to do. I didn’t even really realize that wedding planning was an actual job. That’s not something that you could imagine yourself doing. Luckily for me we were in a position with my husband was in a very good job at the time and we had that little bit of leeway for me to leave and try it out. But I really just had to push the fear aside and say,” You know what? This is something that people do, thousands of people do it, there’s no reason I can’t do it too.” And just kind of swallowed that fear and pushed through it.
K: Definitely! And I can definitely agree with it being a terrifying and scary experience, especially just starting your own business in general it’s not an easy thing to do. I know that in our last episode of our podcast we were just kind of going into depth about really what it takes to really break the mold and get out of that corporate 9 to 5 grind and just kind of escape from the snares of what everyone else tells you. That’s what I look at it as, anyways.
I: I can completely identify. So retail sales is just this wormhole that can just suck you down and I was a salaried employee with my little $36,000 salary and it was comfortable but I was working 50, 60+ hours a week and just draining myself working with customers that were rude and I was just not happy and I didn’t see myself, I couldn’t picture my future, which is weird thing to say it was just an everyday this is kind of my prison and this is my role, but I didn’t have this happy vision of the future until I decided to start planning weddings.
K: And that’s a great story, definitely. I think that all of us who are in the business world, especially as entrepreneurs, we all kind of have a similar story in some way. You know, one day I just had this epiphany and I decided I was going to quit everything and start my own business and maybe this is why everyone thinks we’re crazy. But I mean it’s a good kind of crazy, I would say.
I: Yeah. We definitely are a little but crazy. A little crazy, a little weird, but I feel like anybody who has ever done anything special in the world has been weird.
K: I agree completely. You have to have a little bit of craziness a little bit of insanity to be able to really make a difference in society. Especially in the business world because the business world is hard, the business world is brutal. I had another marketer comment on one of my posts on social media I think it was two weeks ago, and they were just kind of going off on about how business is a dog eat dog world you know how we can’t afford as marketing companies to really be nice to people anymore. I’m just like the business world is so interesting but I feel like there’s two types of business owners at the same time. There’s the people who just get into business to make money and there’s the people, and who obviously we like making money too, but then there’s the people who get into the business and really to make their dreams a reality and really to be able to be their own boss and escape the typical life that everyone tells you that you have to do. Because what does society tell you to do nowadays? You graduate high school, you go to college and get your 4-year, your masters, or whatever you want to get, and you just and then you just go straight into the working world have a family buy a house, and you die. You know that’s kind of how it works in America nowadays, but I guess a lot of us in this world as entrepreneurs we’re just thinking, “Why does it have to be that way?”
I: Yeah, I know that’s especially true for creative entrepreneurs because we’re not all necessarily just trying to break that 9 to 5 mold, we’re making a business out of something we adore and that’s the same for photography, calligraphy, painters, you know all these types of businesses, so I completely agree with you there.
K: Yeah, it’s a hard world to get into and I mean from my own experience and I’m only 20 years old and I own a marketing company. But for my own personal experience just trying to explain to people. So we had Amber from Polished at Home on our last episode of this podcast and we were talking about how our parents think we’re absolutely insane. And I mean not just that, but my parents think I’m insane, my entire family, my friends, you know. “How come you would just go start a company out of nothing?” Everyone wants to look at people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, you know these really big, successful entrepreneurs who started from nothing and they want to use them as an inspiration story. But when they see people who are actually trying to go that same route and do the same thing, we’re just dropping everything, and saying, “This is what I love, and this is what I want to do.” I know we all have a different reason, but at the end of the day it’s our passion. My passion for getting into marketing is that I like to help other companies grow and also there’s a lot of money that can be made in marketing, so I’ll be honest there, but at the same time my main goal is really to help small businesses and medium businesses grow because a lot of people just don’t understand how marketing works. So, I guess there are those two different types of business owners, the people in there to make money and the people who are in there to really make their dreams a reality, and other people’s dreams a reality. Which is kind of a bigger thing when it comes to business to business type of transactions. But, so in terms of like actual marketing and things of that nature, if you could just explain to our audience what you’re doing and what you’ve had success with in the marketing industry. You know, just getting your business out there.
I: Yeah absolutely. So, I had absolutely zero idea about what to do when I first started so I tried all the basic, regular things like Facebook marketing and Google ads and all of those types of things to kind of get my name out there when I first started. But I started to realize fairly quickly, I’d say about a year or two in, that it was so much more productive for me to make a connection with another human being. And that’s’ part of my branding and part of why I do what I do. I’m a very emotionally empathetic person and that’s just who I am, and I like to make those connections, so marketing via networking has been astronomically successful for me and the wedding industry for me it started knocking on a florist’s door and saying, “Hi I’d like to know what you do. I’d like to know what your day looks like? How can I help you on a wedding day? And let me get to know you just a little bit.” And eventually that started to gain some traction and now primarily, all of my leads come through those professionals that I’ve met and that I’ve garnered a relationship with.
K: And building relationships isn’t exactly an easy thing either. I know that we were talking about that prior to going live here but building relationships is probably one of the hardest parts in business I would say, but it’s also something that’s absolutely necessary if you want to actually be able to make sales, be successful, and really have those genuine connections that are going to feed you more and more business on a consistent basis.
I: Yeah and especially in what I do I always joke that I don’t have any real talent of my own I just know a lot of talented people. My husband would kill me if he heard that. It’s kind of true I mean I know incredible floral designers and incredible photographers, and when we all get together and we have that synergy because we’ve kind of connected and built a relationship. Magic happens and it’s all based on that relationship.
K: The relationship is key. I know there’s a term out there nowadays called relationship marketing. That’s kind of like network marketing there’s so many different kinds of marketing it’s ridiculous. I think we just call everything marketing if we just slap the marketing label on it, we’re fine and it’ll be great. Anyways, relationship marketing is becoming a bigger thing nowadays and I think the reason for that as a marketer myself is because if you think of it just walk outside look on your phone, open your computer and your just bombarded by advertisements. It’s just buy this product, use our service, this, this and that. And because of that I think people have just become numb to hearing ads, to seeing ads all over the place that at this point, it really is coming back. History does repeat itself and so do the way that society works and we seem to be reverting back to that more relationship-based word of mouth system where… especially with business owners. A lot of business owners are older, not all of them, but as a marketer I’m a business to business type, those are the transactions that I have to go off of. There’s not much I can do for the consumer. Why would the consumer need a marketer? But in doing that, a lot of business owners they’re not just going to buy or service because they saw a really nicely made ad that might make some interest but at the end of the day, making sales is all about being able to form that genuine connection with people. And it sounds like you definitely have a lot of experience with that and you’ve had a lot of success with that as well. But that’s awesome!
I: Thank you! Again, it’s not something that was easy especially for me as an introvert it was very difficult to say, “Hi I don’t know what I’m doing but I want to. Let’s talk!” And especially I think back to when I started to be brave enough to talk to other planners because this is a lonely business if you really think about it we are on our computer all by ourselves most of the time except for on the wedding day. And so being brave enough to reach out to another planner who might understand the struggles that we’re dealing with or who might be able to give you some feedback or guidance from situations they’ve dealt with has also been really amazing and surprisingly enough, they were open to it for whatever reason I went in thinking that your competition calling you up one day saying let’s go have coffee was going to be a bad thing but no, I’m best friends with most of the planners in the city. They’re the best people ever, and I couldn’t ask for a better therapy and support in business.
K: You know just business networking in general is insanely effective and I guess we are a lot of time we’re in competition with a lot of different people, a lot of different businesses at the same time, but at the end of the day we’re all business owners. We’re all entrepreneurs, we’re all dealing with this, we’re all the crazy and insane people of the world so we have to have some type of support system, I guess.
I: Yeah and you know if you look at it the way you are leaning more towards that personal type of relationship marketing people are going to know you and your personality and your style and your branding and who your ideal clients are. So where maybe me and another planner are in competition, we’re not really, because the bride that connects with me is not going to connect with the same way with her. So, it almost works better because we can say, “Okay well you’re not a good fit for me, but Sally Joe planner over here, you’re perfect for. Let me send you her way.” And that has happened several times so…
K: I mean that’s all the relationship marketing right there. Knowing other people in your industry, too. I know that that’s, just in marketing for example, we get that a lot. Another marketer, web designer, graphics designer might be like you know with a client, “Well that’s a little bit too much for me. I don’t have the time to take on that work or I just don’t know how to do it because it’s some really advanced, technical stuff.” And then that gets referred out to us. And then there are several cases where like, “You know you’re a very small company; we’re a larger marketing company in terms of the services we offer and the people that we have. So, I know it might not be a good idea for you to spend all this money with us, why don’t you go with someone who can offer a much more basic, but still high-quality service?” You know it’s really this wheel, I call it the marketing wheel and one you get it to start turning, it’s just kind of this. It’s like investing, you have to have a diversified portfolio of the ways that you’re marketing your business and nce you get that word of mouth going out there and once you have those relationships built with people, and you’re running advertisements and you have a good basis you have a good online presence, you have a good website, social media all the fun stuff that we ran about as marketers all the time once you get all that going then that wheel’s going to get slowly turning and day after day you’re just building.
I: Building that momentum.
K: Exactly! Momentum is really one of the largest parts of having a business and marketing your own business. And I always like to compare myself as a marketer and just a business owner and entrepreneur in general. In a way we’re kind of like construction experts, aren’t we? We’re not building a house or a physical object maybe, but we are building a company we’re building something from absolutely nothing, setting that foundation in place and building a company from it and it’s just such an amazing experience.
I: It is! It’s really cool to watch it grow, and what I’m sure you get to see this all the time with the businesses that you’re working with to see the growth and the transition, but yeah, you’re absolutely right it’s almost a creative process in itself to go through all the technical things, behind the scenes and watch a business bloom.
K: It’s very satisfying for us as marketers so we love doing it especially here at Reticence Marketing I had to you know put in my little plug…
I: A little plug…
K: Just a little bit anyways, so we’re nearing the end of our podcasting time here, so if you had a website or some social media handles or you know really anything, any upcoming events, anything you want to share…
K: Perfect! Well I want to thank you one more time Ileen for coming on the show. It was definitely great to have you.
I: Absolutely! Thank you I appreciate it. It was a lot of fun.
K: Of course! And we’ll have to have you on again sometime.
I: Sure! Yeah, anytime.
K: Alright, awesome! And in terms of ending this show again I’m Kolten, I’m the founder of Reticence Marketing, we specialize in a variety of web design, SEO, all the fun marketing stuff. And that is the end of this show, we hope that you guys will tune in again. We do a biweekly podcast currently. And we will go ahead and get this live on the website and please share it with your friends, share it with business owners, and if you’re interested in being a guest on our podcast just send us a message to our website or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All the information is on there. We can get you taken care of so, thanks to everybody!