In this episode, Kristina talks with Lead Wedding Planner, Sharon Rumsey of A Perfect Plan Events, about wearing many hats as wedding business owner and how she learned about digital marketing, where to spend her marketing dollars, how to work her leads, the right social media platforms to use… and why she has doubled her fees for planning weddings.
Struggling with boundaries when working with your wedding clients? Tune into this episode to hear how wedding planner Sharon Rumsey learned to set them and has increased her revenue and created more work/life balance.
Do you work your leads from wedding shows or other sources? Tune in to hear how one wedding planner learned how to streamline that process to make it more manageable and increase her R.O.I.
Digital marketing is a puzzle… and some pieces are BIGGER than others. Tune in to hear about the puzzle pieces that are most important and where your time should be allocated as a wedding professional.
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL UNDERSTAND how to work your leads, where to spend your marketing dollars and how processes and automation can play a HUGE role in your R.O.I.
Join our free, private Facebook Group facebook.com/groups/gmswp where we post weekly teasers, podcast news, additional marketing tips and any of Kristina’s upcoming marketing offerings that can help you scale your business.
Visit our website to send us a message or record a voicemail geniusmarketingsolutionspodcast.com and share with us your marketing pain points or any topics you would like to be considered for an upcoming episode.
Connect with the host:
Kristina Stubblefield - www.kristinastubblefield.com
Kristina Stubblefield 0:00
In this episode, I sit down and talk to a local wedding planner, Sharon Rumsey, owner and lead planner of a perfect plan events. A client of mine with a success story that is definitely share worthy. In just 18 months, the regular coaching sessions and a digital marketing plan that was easily implemented, Sharon has doubled her pricing, and is now set up to better enjoy a work life balance. Hi, my name is Kristina Stubblefield. For over 15 years I have served as a marketing consultant, and coach. Also, I was once a wedding vendor. Now I specialize in guiding wedding professionals to scale their businesses. Welcome to genius Marketing Solutions podcast. During these episodes, I am providing bite sized digestible marketing solutions and information that can be immediately implemented and make an impact on your business. Clients state that I have a natural ability to find solutions in all business stages, whether it be simplified technologies, enhanced productivity, or specialized strategies. Also, my experience and expertise allow me to work with clients to help shift their mindset. So they can realize being their authentic self, build deeper connections to market and grow their business. This empowers them to find comfort in being genuine, just being themselves and succeed in reaching their goals. Now, let me empower you with the information in this episode.
I know I gave you all a lot of great information in the teaser, but I'm gonna tell you what my guest, I cannot wait for her to share everything she has to share. Who knows how long this episode is going to go? Because we can talk. But I'm going to let Sharon introduce herself. She is an excellent wedding planner. But I think that she can do her intro just a little bit better than that.
Sharon Rumsey 2:17
Hey, Hey, everybody. My name is Sharon Ramsey, and I'm the owner and lead planner at a perfect plan of events. We do all inclusive wedding management, partial event management. Pretty much if it involves a white dress we'll take it on.
Kristina Stubblefield 2:34
That's such a great thing, Sharon. So let's tell the audience how long have you been a wedding planner?
Sharon Rumsey 2:41
Well, it's kind of a complicated story. But I have been a full time wedding planner for about the last four years. But when I first started, I did it on the side. And so on your side house, it was my side hustle. So I'll total about seven years.
Kristina Stubblefield 2:59
Seven years. Okay, so what's the number one thing you've learned as a wedding planner? Oh,
Sharon Rumsey 3:07
that's a really good question. Because there's been so many things.
Kristina Stubblefield 3:11
Okay, what's the number one business thing you've learned?
Sharon Rumsey 3:16
That I'm capable?
Kristina Stubblefield 3:17
Very good answer. See, just so you know, she has not been given any of these questions ahead of time. I wish I would have and she's a planner. So that's a struggle for her. She wants a plan. Okay, Sharon, what is one of your biggest takeaways from working with engaged couples,
Sharon Rumsey 3:32
that they really need someone in their corner, just someone on their team that is invested in their wedding and wants to see them be successful. But also someone that is not a family member and who can look at the wedding. I don't want to say from a business standpoint, because weddings are so full of emotion. But you do kind of need someone who can be that voice of reason and experience and just kind of represent you to help you make the wedding that you you dream about
Kristina Stubblefield 4:07
really kind of like an outsider's perspective, but not really. Right. You're in their corner, but you're not a family member. You're not a best friend. You're an outsider, right? And
Sharon Rumsey 4:17
I work so long and so close with my couples that I start to feel like a family member. But you should you're invited to baby showers and parties and I love it. I eat it up. But I also know that I have a job to do. Absolutely.
Kristina Stubblefield 4:32
So we're gonna stick to talking quite a bit about business stuff. I've been fortunate to work with Sharon for a couple years now.
Sharon Rumsey 4:42
Going On three,
Kristina Stubblefield 4:43
it seems a lot longer than that.
Sharon Rumsey 4:45
So I must wear you out.
Kristina Stubblefield 4:46
No, no, no, no. So let's talk about how we first met each other. I you can start the story because I got this episode. That's okay. We can go
Sharon Rumsey 4:58
okay. So I first met Christina, I had another friend in the wedding business that I had met, just did a wedding. And she was the linen provider, honestly. And I was kind of singing the blues to her about, you know, I had left my full time job and had taken the business full time and things just weren't growing the way I thought they should. And I just felt kind of defeated. And I was singing the blues at this after a wedding to this person. And she told me that she had signed up for a marketing class with a company called so in media. And I was like, Oh, no, that's not for me. I don't understand any of that stuff. No, thank you. But no. And then I got home and I kind of started thinking about it. And I looked it up. And they were in my hometown, like, literally five minutes from my house was so immediate group. So that well, I don't have to drive very far, the classes aren't that expensive. I'm going to try one class, I'm going to go to one class, I'm going to learn one thing. I think it was Facebook, the class I took. And anyway, that's how I met Christina.
Kristina Stubblefield 6:05
It was it was actually a fun class. I remember it quite well, I believe that was, I'm not even going to say a year because I'll mess it up. But I remember that class I like to try to keep smaller group in person classes at the time is what I was doing. And what really sticks out to my mind is the second class that Sharon attended. Do you remember that question? I do. Know the topic of that class,
Sharon Rumsey 6:34
I went to the first class, it was Facebook. And a lot of it was over my head. But Christina did make it understandable for me. And I was able to go home that night, I remember this, I was able to go home that night, look at my notes and implement what she had taught me. And that was really important to me, because I had paid for some other like online classes that I listened to them. But then I couldn't implement anything I had been taught. They didn't I guess I need, you know, marketing for dummies or something. They didn't break it down enough for me. So I thought, well, it was $40. It included my lunch. It was fine. I'll go to another class. And the next class, lo and behold, was video marketing.
Kristina Stubblefield 7:17
And this is where I'll pick it up. So Sharon comes in the door huffing and puffing
Sharon Rumsey 7:23
a bad attitude
Kristina Stubblefield 7:24
she did. And where did Sharon decide to sit? in the front row? Right, Sharon?
Sharon Rumsey 7:31
I'm older. I can't see that.
Kristina Stubblefield 7:33
Correct. Okay. And she knew what class that she had signed up for. But I have taught quite a few in person classes in my day. I'm done online ones as well. And I am not sure I remember someone coming. That pretty much rolled their eyes, picked up their pin, drop their pin, drop their pin, throughout the class. And I'm thinking to myself, like did she read the description? I mean, it was in the name of the class. So before she leaves, she says to me, I'm not going to do video. I hear what you're saying. But I'm not going to do video. And what did you do, Sharon?
Sharon Rumsey 8:16
Do you remember what you did? When you left? I went home and made my first video.
Kristina Stubblefield 8:20
You did? Yep. And now what do you do?
Sharon Rumsey 8:24
I do a weekly video post called Wednesday wedding wisdom. I have a YouTube channel. And I host a podcast with Christina that also requires me to shoot a lot of video.
Kristina Stubblefield 8:42
Yeah, who would have thought they would be doing it on a regular basis,
Sharon Rumsey 8:47
not me. Because when you take you know, a 50 year old woman, let's face it. None of us are really that confident about our looks. I mean, even the most gorgeous woman in the world has things about herself. She doesn't like and when when you say video to me, all I picture is everything I don't like about myself on a big screen. And I I've never been a person that enjoyed getting my picture taken. I still don't like it. And to be honest. I don't like video. I still don't like doing video. But when Christina was teaching the class, and as much as I did roll my eyes, I also took notes and I'm kind of a numbers person. So
Kristina Stubblefield 9:30
I'm sorry, I didn't even remember that you took notes. I just remember that up and down.
Sharon Rumsey 9:36
But I got home and I was able to look at her numbers. And I remember her saying something like 85% of all millennials were fought will find their wedding vendors on Instagram. And I'm like, Well, what is Instagram? It's pictures, and it's video. So then, I kind of remember having a talk with myself and saying, Look, you're either gonna do this business And you're going to jump in with both both feet. And you're going to do what this lady is telling you to do. Or you need to admit that this was just a dream, that's never going to happen, and you need to quit. And I've never in my life been a quitter. So I just decided to do it, do what she said.
Kristina Stubblefield 10:17
Well, and I tell you, what you bring me into, one of the topics that I wanted to talk about, is the amount of things that wedding professionals have to do when they're running their business. Because you're dealing with clients, you can't go hide in a corner somewhere and just do all this busy office work. No, okay, it doesn't happen. And when people hear you to start to talk about marketing, a lot of times I'm like, that, a lot of times what I hear is just something else for me to do. Like, I can't even keep up with what I'm doing now, the right way, and now there's something else out that I need to be doing. And it's hard to be in all places, just like they say it's hard to be everything to everyone. With marketing, especially for wedding professionals. That can't be the answer. Because what they're going to get is 20 or 25% of you spread out across multiple platforms, they're not really getting a true picture of your wedding business.
Sharon Rumsey 11:22
It's really a huge, a huge concern. I think for most wedding professionals. A perfect plan events is me. So if you call, I'm the secretary, I'm going to answer the phone. If something breaks in my office, I'm the repairman, I'm going to fix it. I'm my own bookkeeper, I am my own processor for contracts, that kind of thing. I apparently in my own marketing person, even though that would be the first thing I would outsource if I could.
Kristina Stubblefield 11:57
And you have outsourced some, but we'll talk about that.
Sharon Rumsey 12:00
At the end of the day, I still need time to sit down at my desk and plan weddings. So which entails client appointment, several, several client appointments, tons of time on the phone with vendors and creating floor plans. I mean, there's just a lot more to it than a lot of people realize. And it just becomes kind of overwhelming to me to, to look at all the different social media platforms. And you know, as soon as I think I've got one under control, a new, a new social media platform comes out. And I'm told I really need to be on that as well. And yet, it's overwhelming for me. And I really needed help managing it
Kristina Stubblefield 12:39
well, and to the social platforms are constantly making changes. So it's not just using a platform, it's keeping up with the changes. Okay, now, like you mentioned, Instagram reels, and now you have stories, not only on Instagram, but also on Facebook. So there's a lot to keep up with those platforms. And we're just talking about one piece of the marketing puzzle. So many people get caught up on social media being their marketing. And I have always described marketing as a puzzle. And you have these different puzzle pieces. And some puzzle pieces can be larger than others, because there's more importance with them. But to complete the entire puzzle, you have to have all the pieces together. And I have people come to me that they're doing a kick ass job on Instagram, but they haven't touched their Facebook page in three years. If the mother of a bride or groom goes there, they probably are going to question whether they're in business. That's a make or break when it comes to wedding professionals, for me is planning those marketing puzzle pieces. What's the most important, where should your time be allocated is that social media? One of the other great things that I tell people about is don't forget about your communication, you know, and you've done a really good job with that. You even have an email signature. And I think that's so important. You know, your communication with your clients, that is a direct representation of your business. And people tend to just reply to an email, no capital letters, no sentences, almost as if it's a text message. And I try to remind people when I'm looking at their marketing as a whole, what's the complete process from A to Z? What communication goes on here? You know, you can really get down and dirty and, you know, if they're calling your cell phone, what's your voicemail say when they call But getting back into the marketing part. One of the things that I think that you've done a great job is making sure that you work your leads list. And I'm telling you I can't share how many people because I can't keep track come to me and they do not work their leads list. They Don't whether they've paid to be in a wedding show, whether they get leads from Facebook or their website, they fall through the cracks.
Sharon Rumsey 15:08
Well, and honestly, that's another thing he really helped me with. Because when I first started, you know, anytime you start a business, you allocate a certain amount of money to get your business going. And I did that. And in thinking how I could best use that money, wedding shows, were definitely in like my top three things to spend the money on. And boy, those first two years, I spent the money on the wedding shows, I mean, they're not cheap to be in. And they're not cheap to produce, because you have to have a booth and the decor and everything. And I just didn't see a lot of return. But to be honest, at that point, when I was first starting my business, I didn't work my leads, I didn't know how to work them, I would do a wedding show. We're located in Louisville, Kentucky. So I'm just going to use Churchill Downs as an example. There's a really large wedding show that occurs every year at churchill downs. So I would do that show I would come home on a Sunday afternoon after the show. Monday morning, I would wake up and there's a list of 400 450 engaged couples with email and phone numbers in my email. Well, that's, that's crazy. I can't call 450 people and I can't email 450 people that would take forever. So I just didn't do anything with it.
Kristina Stubblefield 16:24
And we went to your email inbox today.
Sharon Rumsey 16:27
I deleted it. I never did anything with it. I know she's twitching, y'all. But when I first started working with Christina, I remember her saying, Oh, you did a wedding show this weekend? How did you work your leads? And I was like, excuse me? What? What does that mean? And I learned about like, Constant Contact that you can email all those people with one button. And that was amazing to me, I had no idea you could do such things I've learned about text marketing. So yeah, I just 100% did not work my leads. So I really wasted that money that I paid for the shows. But now when I do a wedding show, I'm confident that I will get a good ROI. I'm going to get that money back. And then some
Kristina Stubblefield 17:06
well, and one of the things I think we can quickly talk about is a process of yours is not only do you put forth excellent effort being set up at a wedding show, you have an inviting booth for two people to talk to you. But when you have multiple people attending a wedding show, again, you're just one person, right? You can't talk to each and every one of them. So you do have a signup sheet there for people that are really more interested that you can have a detailed, I'm assuming phone conversation with them,
Sharon Rumsey 17:35
what I do is, I have a sign up sheet at my booth. And so people that actually stop and talk to me, and I feel like they're really interested or they they tell me they're really interested, I asked them to fill out the signup sheet, I collect their wedding date, their name, their email, and their phone number. And then, so I still get the lead sheet from the show that has, you know, the 300 brides. And they will all get an email from me. But the people that say I have 50 people that actually sign up on my signup sheet at my booth, those people will get an actual phone call from me. And I will invite them to set up a consultation. And that has worked really, really well for me the last couple of years.
Kristina Stubblefield 18:24
Well, and I think if we get really detailed about it when when I first started helping you even put email marketing in place, you know, we started with the basics. Now, you know we've scaled up to include a video message from you. Yes, I
Sharon Rumsey 18:40
to do video, I hate it. But I do it.
Kristina Stubblefield 18:43
Right. Yeah. Because there's a big percentage. If I knew the number off the top of my head, I would tell you, but there is a large percentage of people that will open an email, if the subject line says, watch enclosed video or video enclosed or check out my video, if that's the subject line. And that's one of the reasons that we wanted to put that in place. But also it allowed them to see who you were, I remember talking to share in it at that show.
Sharon Rumsey 19:13
I've had my clients tell me, I loved your email, it was so personal. And there's really no information in the video that wasn't in the emails I used to send. But it's the fact that it's me actually talking to them and it matters. So I do it.
Kristina Stubblefield 19:29
It does. And the other thing too is you then turn that list in to what we consider your database to send out. I believe we're doing monthly we're gonna say monthly newsletter out to your client base. Because some of the people that you're meeting they are could be a couple years out from getting married, they may not be making there.
Sharon Rumsey 19:53
We just had a wedding show yesterday and I talked to one as we record this it's February 2021. And I talked to a girl yesterday that is getting married in June of 2024. And I was like, Oh, my calendar doesn't even go that far in my office. So we're gonna have to figure out a way to get you written down.
Kristina Stubblefield 20:13
And what was the first thing that I said to you when you told me that date? Do you remember last night? I said, Your You don't even have a calendar that goes out to that far. If she was to book you tomorrow. How much time are you going to be spending with her?
Sharon Rumsey 20:30
Yeah, that's a hard one for me,
Kristina Stubblefield 20:32
I struggle. Now do you remember are gone? And I remember,
Sharon Rumsey 20:34
I struggle with boundaries with my clients a lot. And it's something I'm not going to lie and say I've mastered it, it. Definitely I haven't. It's a work in progress. But that is one thing. You know, if I sign that client, if I'm under contract with her, and we get her venue secured, and her vendors all secured, do I keep meeting monthly with her like I do my clients when we're a year out? And we meet once a month? You know, what, what are my boundaries? When I booked somebody that far out?
Kristina Stubblefield 21:07
Well, one of the things that we kind of talked about was, you know, depending on the timeframe, you typically work with clients, you could maybe do an add on, if it's an extra chunk of time, there's no sense in actually labeling or using numbers of months or anything like that, because this is completely hypothetical. But that is one thing that could happen, you know, especially with a pandemic going on. I think some of these girls that are getting engaged, are thinking. And again, here, you know, what happens when we start assuming, but if I go further out, you know, maybe I can have the three weddings saved, or there'll be something in place. And I'm wondering if we'll start to see more of that. With the further out date.
Sharon Rumsey 21:55
I think something else that's happening is newly engaged couples right now are getting so scared due to the scarce scarcity is that the word of vendors because so many of the vendors that they wanted, say they're getting married in 2022. So many of the vendors they wanted are not available, because so many of us are still trying to get our 2021 weddings done and our 2020 weddings done.
Kristina Stubblefield 22:21
So the dates are gone. So
Sharon Rumsey 22:23
even if you asked me for a 2020 to date, I might have postponed a client that was supposed to get married in 2022 2022. So, you know, vendors are more booked than I ever remember us being. And it's it's getting a little crazy out in wedding world and couples are getting nervous that they're not going to get that certain photographer or that certain wedding planner that they want. So they are getting engaged, and then they are pushing their wedding date, you know, two, three years down the road, and still wanting to secure those vendors now.
Kristina Stubblefield 22:59
Yep. And they are again, I think that's where communication becomes so important with just keeping your name at the top of their minds. Because be you could be needing to do that for six or eight months, right. And you're not going to remember to pick up the phone and just touch base with them because you're working. Other leads, you've got other events going on and other meetings. And one of the things that I just thought about is probably one of the best times I know you've mentioned it was, but I'm all about some dry erase board. If my walls could be a dry erase board, it would but my husband says no. But is really getting down to some of the simplest things is could be with a dry erase board. For me a lot of times it is nowadays with the computer and technology. I even use a dry erase board that's on the computer itself. But there's nothing like getting an old school chalkboard dry erase board out and really trying to put some perspective on something with your business. And one of the tips that I think that I could share from your story and our experience working together is really seeing where do you want your business to be? You know, and we talk about goals and what do you want out of your business? And of course you can dig down as far as you want to with that. But what do you want your business to make? Or what do you need to make? Or what do you want to make? The question can be in your own words, guess what? It's your business you get to decide. But it's really putting those numbers down and then going backwards. Because when we had that conversation I think it was pretty startling to realize very eye opening you had been working for. I'd like to say pennies on $1
Sharon Rumsey 24:52
just to catch all the listeners up on the story. So after I met Christina and I started going to her in person marketing classes There came a time where I, you know, I said, Okay, this lady obviously knows what she's talking about. She is an expert. This is what she does. Why am I floundering here, trying to figure all this out by myself when I literally know someone five minutes from my house that has this information like, why am I banging my head against the wall? So I called Christina and I asked if I might set up a one on one appointment with her to come in and talk about my business. And I think she wasn't even sure what I was going to talk about. But we set up the appointment, and I came in and I just said, I'm banging my head against the wall, like, I don't know, I'm not making them, I'm working my rear end off. And I don't know why I'm not making the money I should make. I'm overwhelmed. And, you know, I just don't know what I'm doing wrong. Because I have the clients I'm in she said, Well, your prices are too low, isn't it just like that. And I thought, well, she doesn't really know me because I don't have the experience of so and so. Or I don't have, you know, the hotel connections of this wedding planner. And I think that especially women, we struggle a lot with what I call imposter syndrome, what I've heard other people call imposter syndrome, where we don't, it's very difficult for us to put $1 value on our worth, we don't see what we are worth and and we feel almost wrong, are like we're, we're doing something bad. If we say I'm entitled to be well compensated for my expertise. I really, really struggled with that. And I i function a lot. I'm an emotional thinker, I function a lot on feelings and boundaries. And she pulled out a whiteboard. And she said to pay your bills and take care of your family. What do you need to make a year? And I gave her a number. And she said, okay, currently you have to do 32 weddings a year to make this amount of money. And I said I can't do 32 weddings a year you You kidding me like and then I was just all like wound up. And I said you don't even know what that entails and blah, blah, blah, blah.
Kristina Stubblefield 27:13
And I said, that's exactly my point.
Sharon Rumsey 27:14
Yes. So I did a huge wedding. And Christina had suggested that I keep track of the hours I worked on that wedding, it's the first time I've ever done it. So if I sit down at my computer to do anything with that wedding, if I picked up the phone to do anything with that wedding, I religiously kept track of my hours. And then I divided that by the amount that I had gotten paid. And I was making $2.12 an hour,
Kristina Stubblefield 27:43
you remember that number like 100%,
Sharon Rumsey 27:45
I still have a post it note with 212 written down on my desk. So when I start feeling like I'm not worth something I have that. So I went back to Christina. And I'm like, yeah, I'm making $2.12 an hour. Like I can't This is wrong. So we're going back to the whiteboard. And she said, How much do you need to make? And how many weddings Do you feel comfortable doing a year do you want to do a year. And from that, we figured out what I should charge. And now I don't feel guilty. And I do feel worth it. Because I realized how hard I was working for such little compensation. And, and it I don't know something about just seeing it on the whiteboard, keeping track of my hours. It took the emotion out of it for me. And it wasn't like oh, but this couple is so sweet. And I need to give them a break. And it was like, man, I need to take care of my family. And this is how I take care of my family. And this is what I need to charge. So you weren't going to either end up with burnout. You hear a lot while I was there. I was ready to Yeah,
Kristina Stubblefield 28:54
I was there. In this was all pre pandemic. Yeah, what we're talking right before, actually. But full disclosure on the story. Someone left the meeting feeling quite well. Hmm. I'm going home, my husband's gonna be excited to hear this. He was
Sharon Rumsey 29:10
thrilled because he'd been saying the same thing. And, you know, bless his heart. I love my husband. But when he said it, I was like, yeah, you really don't know what you're talking about. But when Christina said it, it was gospel and he still reminds me of that often.
Kristina Stubblefield 29:23
So the other part of the story is though Sharon called me two days later, Sharon
Sharon Rumsey 29:28
today calling me I do 48 hours later, I called you from my car in the parking lot of a coffee shop. Why did you do that? Because I just booked my first full service client at the new price and they did not blink.
Kristina Stubblefield 29:43
Do you know how much different that price is from where you first started?
Sharon Rumsey 29:47
more than double? It is more than double? I thought so. And I remember calling you before I met with that client and saying I'm really nervous. This is the first client
Kristina Stubblefield 29:55
maybe we should change my prices on my website. Yeah,
Sharon Rumsey 29:58
like update. I said go in and change it because This is my first client and that I'm going to try to say this price too. And I know they're not going to take it. And I just am not, I'm not ready to do this.
Kristina Stubblefield 30:09
But in our meeting, I said to you, I remember word for word. If you cannot confidently say, this is how much I charge with no reservations with no hesitation, it's not going to work.
Sharon Rumsey 30:23
And you also told me, I because I said, What if they say, no, then do I offer a discount? Do I? And you told me, I had to say it confidently. And I had to believe in my worth enough to walk away and accept that that was not my client. If they said no. And it was so hard for me to sit across from them, and say that price that first time, and they didn't blink.
Kristina Stubblefield 30:51
Right. And you know, there's a lot that goes into working one on one with a client, especially a wedding professional client. Because in my opinion, wedding professionals are a lot different than other industries,
Sharon Rumsey 31:09
we are our own crazy breed.
Kristina Stubblefield 31:11
Okay, you worded it that way. But I feel that although every client in the past that we've worked with, there's research that goes into that, and there are many questions that we go through, but with wedding professionals, there's moving parts and pieces to that business. It's abundantly clear, especially in the midst of a pandemic wedding professionals, in my opinion, not to take away from any other industry, but were some of the hardest hit. Just because you're still going to be dealing with this for even after we're outside of a pandemic, it's still gonna be going on.
Sharon Rumsey 31:52
My background is in healthcare. You know, I spent a huge part of my, this is my second career, it's been a huge part of my first career in healthcare. And, you know, I'm not comparing myself to what people in healthcare have been through it all. I mean, my God, they have, they've risked their lives to take care of other people.
Kristina Stubblefield 32:12
There's really, honestly very difficult to put words, honestly, for health care.
Sharon Rumsey 32:17
But I think financially, if you just, you know, once again, look at just the the black and white figures. Financially, I don't know of another industry that has been hit as hard as the event and service industry. Absolutely.
Kristina Stubblefield 32:34
Well, and that's why I wanted to say is, even though I have people that have come to me that are the same type of wedding professional, okay, whether it be caterers, wedding planners, florist, even though they're in the same category, the businesses are completely different. Because how they're structured, what their emphasis is on what their goals are, are completely different. It's never going to be cookie cutter. And that's why it's really important when I sit down to discuss a one on one coaching, or one on one work with a client is I want to know what their goals are. And one of the first things you said to me is, I can't do weddings every weekend, you know, I knew that you were working your tail off just looking at what you could when you could
Sharon Rumsey 33:33
I said no, no one, right, if they had a poll, so they were my client?
Kristina Stubblefield 33:37
Yes, yeah. And you had said, I just want to get to where I don't, I'm not doing a wedding every weekend. And that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. But what that means to me is there has to be processes automation, there has to be systems put in place to make this easier. There has to be solutions that are utilized for your business to achieve this, raising the prices, that that that's one thing, that's probably one of the biggest, but you have the rest of the structure for your business to be able to operate. So for anyone listening out there, the complete answer is not up. Go double your prices. No, no, no, no, that's one part of it. Okay, but it's based on each individual business. And one of the first questions that I ask every client, what are your goals? What do you want? And I can't tell you how many of them say, I just want to be able to spend more time with my family. I want to scale my business, you know, I want to double the amount of events that I'm doing because I'm bringing on I want to bring on other people. So it just depends on what your answer is. Well, I
Sharon Rumsey 34:53
know one thing that we talked about, I don't mean to cut you off. But one thing that we talked about is you know when you when you decide to raise your prices, which I desperately needed to do.
Kristina Stubblefield 35:04
But you didn't want to work for 212? No.
Sharon Rumsey 35:07
Okay. No, I, when I realized that's what I was doing is very eye opening,
Kristina Stubblefield 35:10
I show hollers in 12 cents an hour.
Sharon Rumsey 35:13
And I worked my booty off, right? Yeah. But when you do raise your prices, when you get confident enough to take that leap, you're going to attract a, a different client, than when you're doing a more budget. I don't even know the right word, but you're going to attract a different level of client. And they're going to expect a different level of service. So you have to you have to be ready with those processes and workflow, you have to have all of that down pat. Because you don't want to jump in to these larger weddings, weddings that demand a higher budget, and not be ready to service them. And I know that's something that I struggled with, I was like, man, am I like, what if they What if they pay me my new price, but I I'm not, I don't
Kristina Stubblefield 36:09
live up to the expectation and you're not ever gonna say that, again. Got that out on the
Sharon Rumsey 36:14
pot done a few now. And I have, I know that I can live up to the expectation, but it is scary at first, you want to make sure that, you know, a wedding is the most special day in someone's life. And when they're paying me to make sure that wedding is safe and and that everything happens as it should. They're paying me to protect their dream. Absolute and I don't take that lightly. So anything I can do to help me service my clients better whether it's, you know, having a group email, or making a newsletter or posting a video, I've just learned whatever I need to do, I'm going to do it. There's no I can't question it anymore. It's just time.
Kristina Stubblefield 36:55
Well, and it makes it the stakes higher, when we are working one on one with a client or when I'm working one on one with a client. Because you're really talking about time sensitive stuff, honestly, you are, there was a certain amount of time to follow up with people after a wedding show, there's a certain amount of time that you have that window leading up to a wedding, okay, that you're working with a client, it's this isn't going to be a five year process or a 10 year process. So one of the things that I tell people is marketing, coming to sit down and talk to me meeting one on one by zoom. Meeting with me a couple times isn't probably going to cut it now. That could be there are times that I help people with setting their goals, structuring something or they've got a particular problem in their business. And they need a solution. Absolutely. But if we're talking about ongoing marketing strategies, and reaching your goals, scaling your business, that's why we do something you've wanted to for quite a while is we do something on a regular basis with coaching. And Sharon will tell you about her notepads that she has. I mean, that's when she first told me I was like, Are you sure? Are you serious, I
Sharon Rumsey 38:14
keep a notepad on my desk. My husband makes fun of me for it. But at the top of the notepad, it just says ask Christina. And so when I'm trying to do something, you know, I'm trying to start time blocking. That's something that I'm really, really into right now. And I'm trying to figure it out. And I want a good software to help me do that. And I want a good project management software. So when I'm looking at all the different software's online to use, that's on my ask Christina list, because I'm not going to purchase one until I talk to her because I know she'll know, the scoop. And then, you know, when I create this great are actually Christina's has been for me creates a great social media graphic, but I don't know how to get it from Dropbox to Instagram that's on my ask Christina list. So when I have my meeting with her, I keep a running list of things I need to talk to her about. So that meeting is productive. And then I don't come in trying to remember what I needed to know two months ago.
Kristina Stubblefield 39:14
And really that when we first started meeting, at first, you didn't do that. And you were like, Okay, well, there was something else. Let me go back and let me pull up my email. Let me see if I can figure out what it was. That's where that list came from. So that way we could go right down through it. Put them in the order of importance to make sure okay, what can we get down done in a couple hours? Let's not well, and
Sharon Rumsey 39:37
when I come in for my little coaching session with my list. I'm a talker is probably you all already can tell. But Christina will say okay, what's your top three things that you want out of this meeting. And once we get those three things figured out, then we move on down. But at least I know I've got my most you know important things, my most important concerns addressed and I love that When I leave a business coaching, I literally get in the car and I'm so pumped up because I've learned all these new things I can do to help my business and I can go home and sit down in my office and I instantly implement those things. I hate wasting time on things that I cannot implement. I'm too busy for that I don't have ain't got no time for that. So I really love that I can just okay. She said to click that and do that, Oh, look, I did it. Like, she was showing me how to do an auto draft on QuickBooks the other day. And I remember her saying go to the gear, go to the gear. And I literally sat in my office the next day, and I was trying to do it for a different client and I was like, go to the gear, then I click that, then I click that Whoa, look
Kristina Stubblefield 40:40
at me, I did it. So and she texted me to tell me that she was able to do it all on her own.
Sharon Rumsey 40:44
It's It's literally the silliest things that will hold up so much of your time trying to figure it out. And you know, I just finally accepted Why am I beating my head against the wall trying to figure this out? When I have in my cell phone the answer, one phone call? And I have the answer?
Kristina Stubblefield 40:59
Well, okay, and we'll wrap this up with this. When you talk about marketing and technology, okay, and you talk about finding the right solutions. There are times that collaborations get you there much quicker, you can google some information and find some software, but you need to have it implemented to work correctly in your business. And a lot of software like that doesn't come out of the box, it has to be programmed a little bit. But also with your marketing. Again, it's about figuring out where your time needs to be spent, where you need to do your own videos, your own actual post content. And then having a marketing company or having a person that is the the person that implements that takes the information and puts it to use a lot of times wedding professionals, they really need to be part of that content. It needs to be your personality I have I say that over and over to people, but you've got to be you. Because if you have me do a video for you. And then they go to a wedding show and they meet you. Well, that's not the person that's been on their social media. And that hits home with wedding professionals. To me,
Sharon Rumsey 42:21
something I really struggle with. And you and I've talked about this is there are you know, as many different kinds of wedding planners as there are wedding planners, we were human, we all have a personality. I am not a super stuffy formal wedding planner. So if I hired a social media company to run my Instagram, and they were posting stock photos of a wedding planner, with you know her high heels in her pencil skirt, running, you know, some fancy fancy wedding. That's not me. So when you come to have coffee with me, and I've got on my blue jeans and a sweater and we're at my favorite coffee shop, and I'm ready to hang out with you, you're gonna walk in and be like, this is not what I signed up for, like I want the fancy pencil skirt wedding planner. So I think that it's really, really important that you don't lose yourself and your social media. But I will also tell you that I have like three main goals for my business in the next two years. And the number one goal is to be able to afford to outsource social media. So you know, that's something I'm still trying to help I need you to help me understand is how do I keep myself and my personality? Because I think I'm a hoot. Like, I don't want to lose it. How do I keep my butt? How do I keep myself without me actually making every one of those posts? You know, I can't I don't have time to make each one of those posts.
Kristina Stubblefield 43:52
And this is one of those answers that I would say is my definite own opinion. I have always told people, social media marketing has to be a collaboration. It's not something that you hand a binder over that says, Okay, here you go. Here's my Facebook login my Instagram, LinkedIn, my Pinterest, even though that sounds so weird, I know. That sounds fantastic. And people out there be like where do I sign up? At the end of the day, I would hope you're using social media to generate leads and to generate business. So it's not about how having this such a pretty social media and it's all because then when it turns into is fake. It's not actual authentic content from the business itself, which in turn had you down the wrong direction to begin with.
Sharon Rumsey 44:52
I have a rule I will not post a picture of a wedding that is not my own. I've never used a stock photo don't even know where to get them and you Know Me, I wouldn't know how to put them on their end, right. But I do see a lot of wedding planners I follow. And I've seen the same wedding on two or three different wedding planners Instagrams, because it's a stock photo. And I don't ever want to be that girl, I don't want to be that person. But it's, it's a struggle to come up with to be creative enough to come up with enough content.
Kristina Stubblefield 45:21
And I think this is in hole is an answer. And this is a lot of things that I work with people on is, again, it's those collaborations, it's finding ways to take some of that load off of your shoulders. But doing it together to keep your personality to keep some of the wording that you would use is so important. But to use original photos. You know, when when I talk social media with a person, one of the first things I want to know is what's their marketing assets? And what does that mean? I want to know what photos what videos what PDFs? What do you have that someone can get have access to the toolbox? What is in your toolbox? That's yours. To me, anything that's marketing related, that you can use to promote your business is what I consider marketing assets. And do you know how many times people say to me, Well, about five or six years ago, I had some headshots taken and I've got a disc that has about six photos, but I really only
Sharon Rumsey 46:24
like one. I think that was me.
Kristina Stubblefield 46:27
I don't think that was necessarily you that I'm talking about. But they don't have any pictures, how many fabulous events that they've been at that they could have captured a picture or two with their cell phones. Again, we're talking about the human aspect of social media, they don't all have to be high end photography shots that you put on your Facebook, your Instagram, your Pinterest. I'm sorry, but that's not real life. Now, if you're showcasing a wedding you've done as a wedding professional, and you get those pictures from that photographer. Absolutely, of course, I would encourage you to post them however, I would make sure you do photo credits, oh, to do but a day in the life, you know what else goes on the other six days a week when it's not a wedding, or, or so forth and so on. So that's about that is a really hot topic for me. I can't tell you how many people have come to me and said, Now I had company ABC, take over my social media. And they posted about stuff, I don't even do forget stock images. They literally posted about services and stuff this company doesn't. Why? Because they were a number, they were a customer number.
Sharon Rumsey 47:39
And that's my fear. That's my biggest fear. Because I've worked really hard to build this business and the relationship I have with my clients. And you know, I don't want to risk that.
Kristina Stubblefield 47:50
And I think that as we work on things going forward, I think that you're going to discover that the more productive you are, and the better. Simplicity you add with processes and automation and things like that, that's what I like to work towards with people is I want to free them up some of course, they must spend time with their family. Absolutely. But I want to free up some of the busy work for them. So they can be part of their marketing. Or maybe they don't do marketing now. But they have a little bit of time. Maybe it's a couple hours a week. I'm not asking for a 24 hour period to work on their marketing. But the smallest amount of time can make such a big impact for a wedding professional.
Sharon Rumsey 48:42
Yeah, I remember you telling me just to pick, you know, a few hours, maybe the end of the month, beginning of the month, however, I want to work it and plan it all out. And that's a game changer. Because then I don't have to. It's not Oh, it's Wednesday, I have to record a Wednesday wedding wisdom and I'm in my pajamas with no makeup on. Like I plan that I need to plan those out.
Kristina Stubblefield 49:02
batching is one of my favorite words. When you talk to me about social media. I'm going to talk about batching it's one of my favorite words, and it can save you so much time week in and week out. Okay, you're gonna come back for we're gonna have to do a part two of this down the road.
Sharon Rumsey 49:18
Heck, yeah, man,
Kristina Stubblefield 49:19
you've Sharon has shared such great information with you. Thank you. And I hope as you all listen to this, you've seen where Sharon was as a wedding planner, when she first got in the business to where she's come now. You know, she's doubled what she charges. And she's worth every penny of it. Thank
Sharon Rumsey 49:40
Kristina Stubblefield 49:41
There's a lot of time that is invested for wedding professionals. And people are very hesitant about raising their prices. There's so many things going on in the world. But at the end of the day, you have to know what that bottom line number is to know what are you really working For what's your true hourly rate? And are you good with that? Are you worth more than that? And to sum? Does that really is that really part of marketing solutions? To me it is. Because to me Marketing Solutions is the whole full circle, part of your business. So Sharon, thank you very much. I really appreciate you, Sharon. Thank
Sharon Rumsey 50:24
you. If I can just add one thing to what you just said. Absolutely. It just popped in my mind. I'm so sorry. I know this is the closing.
Kristina Stubblefield 50:31
Well, Sharon, this is your party. You can close it out, however
Sharon Rumsey 50:34
you something that that just popped into my head, I was reminded of something you said to me when I had I had to raise my prices, there was literally no question. I mean, I was making way less than minimum wage. But you said, I said to you, but they don't know how many hours I'm going to work. They don't know what all I'm doing for them. And she said, that's your fault. And I remember being like, I don't like that answer. But she said, that's your fault is here, it doesn't
Kristina Stubblefield 51:03
like most of my years. But then the next day, she's like, thank you so much for just being honest. But
Sharon Rumsey 51:08
you said it's your fault. It's your job to educate them. And it's your job to use your marketing and everything at your disposal to make sure that they understand what you're doing for them and what value you're going to bring to their wedding. And so it just made me think when you know, when you talked about raising prices, you have to also make sure you're educating your client enough to know that it's worth it. They don't
Kristina Stubblefield 51:34
deal with weddings day in and day out. And I think I say that to wedding professionals, you're dealing with someone that may have never, it may be years since the parents attended a wedding, more or less been in a wedding years. So there's a lot that can change in that timeframe. The prices that go along with venues and wedding services,
Sharon Rumsey 51:55
Kristina Stubblefield 51:57
It is. But also, you can't assume that they know. Because although you're in it 365 days a year, hopefully neck, hopefully not as much next year. But although you're in it 365 days a year, those people are in it for such a small timeframe that they've never been explained or understand how things work. So that's a really good point. So yeah, all right, you can follow Sharon Sharon, come on, where can they follow
Sharon Rumsey 52:29
you so you can check out my website at a perfect plan events.com website created by someone Media Group.
Kristina Stubblefield 52:36
You know what, we didn't even talk about lives. We'll do that in part two. Awesome.
Sharon Rumsey 52:41
Yes. And you can follow me on social media at a perfect plan events Kentucky Anna.
Kristina Stubblefield 52:47
Awesome. Thank you so much, Sharon. Thank you for having me. Make sure you connect up with her on social media and check out those awesome videos that she does on a regular basis now. So also follow me on social media. I would love to hear your feedback. Where are you at in your business? What are you struggling with in regards to marketing? Do you have some topics that you would like for me to cover on the podcast? Go to the website, it's in the show notes and click on the microphone button. You can record a message to me or hit contact and you can drop me an email. Until next time see ya. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of genius marketing solutions. If you would like to get notified of upcoming episodes, make sure to click the subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform. We welcome any feedback from topic ideas to questions you may have. You can visit our website for previous episodes or to send us a message visit genius Marketing Solutions podcast.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Owner & Lead Wedding Planner
Sharon Rumsey caught the wedding planning bug while attending events with her husband Ron, a local DJ. A natural at organization, logistics, multi-tasking and bringing people together, Sharon began planning weddings in addition to a full-time job in health care in 2013. Sharon took all the training she could find, shadowed every event planner that would talk to her, and picked the brain of every wedding professional she knew. While dreams of starting her own company were put on the backburner for several years, a health scare soon made her realize that life is too short to keep dreams on hold. So, with a lot of prayers and support from an amazing family, A Perfect Plan Events became a full-time business in 2018. Since that time Sharon has been blessed to share the planning journey with many happy couples. Her favorite moments of wedding day include…. the first look, the toasts, and the father daughter dance (she still cries every time). However, nothing beats that moment she has alone with her bride before she takes that first step down the aisle. She knows she is right where she belongs.
Sharon is a proud member of the Association of Bridal Consultants (both Indiana and Kentucky chapters), serves on the Board of the Louisville Wedding Network, member of the St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce and is Timeline Genius Certified.
Sharon is the proud mom of 2 amazing men and one huge goldendoodle, Gus.