BUSINESS | How we handled COVID19 + Why learning how to pivot is such a vital skill
I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. This year has been a clusterf*ck. Between all of the obvious, my relationship going up in flames, and being in “limbo” for months after the fact (literally hell on earth), this year has been trying, challenging + difficult to say the least. Amongst all of the changes, however, I must say ~ this year has been a year of astounding growth + development for me. From a business standpoint, when this thing first reared its ugly head, I thought to myself
“no WAY this is going to last an entire YEAR.”
Boy, was I wrong.
POSTPONEMENTS + CHANGE OF SCHEDULE
To date, we’ve had to reschedule 25 + weddings that were originally scheduled for 2020 to 2021 (and one to 2022!) We essentially went from having an average of 8 events per month to have just FIVE events this entire year. In years past, I had gotten used to attending 2-3 networking events each week, attending meetings on meetings on weekdays, leading my industry for the past two years as Co-Director of ABC-OC (a prestigious networking group), personally servicing 40+ clients a year (and managing over 80 weddings my team handled, collectively) and working practically every Saturday until midnight. Coming into 2020, I was prepared for the crazy schedule + full boss babe mode that I had been in for the past four years, but the universe had another plan.
To be honest, though, this drastic whiplash of change allowed me the space + time I needed to really reflect, dig deep, and ask myself what I needed this year in order to feel less burnt out + more empowered. The answer was tough to conclude, but so clear in my gut: I decided to reassign all of the weddings we have on the books, raise my prices (I have my personal rates at a premium now), and move into focusing more on “CEO-ing” my company rather than servicing clients. This was a hard decision to make because I love working with our couples ~ and I am so passionate about planning + designing weddings. But as I sat with my thoughts + feelings, the truth became so clear ~
While I love planning + designing weddings, I love managing my business, growing our brand, and mentoring my team just a little bit more.
I think there’s an extreme amount of power in coming to a realization like this, and I’m grateful that I did. As a leader, it’s important to keep it real with yourself while communicating freely to your team, in order to evolve + grow collectively.
Our clients, and my team, are both better for it.
STAYING RELEVANT + BEING OK WITH CHANGE
One of the first decisions I made as the world was crumbling around us was that we NEEDED to stay relevant to our audience. Honestly, the idea that we may go out of business was never a worry in my mind. Of course the thought came ~ but it quickly went away, because I knew in my gut that that would never be an option for us.
Shortly after events started being rescheduled, I felt compelled to make some moves. I knew brides would still be online browsing for inspiration, possibly now more than ever, so I went full throttle on keeping our social media accounts active + inspiring. We now publish a new blog on leilaniweddings.com every single week, and strive even more now than we ever have to be a source of inspiration for the “Stylish bride celebrating universal love” celebrating anywhere in the world.
I’m not going to lie ~ there were definitely a couple of months there that I didn’t produce the most that I know I could have, I didn’t work as hard as I could have, and to be quite frank, I didn’t care as much as I should have. I know we have all struggled with this…real talk: this year has us ALL feeling out of whack with our psyche. I felt so out of body not wanting to write a blog or answer emails, not feeling excited about working a full work day or not feeling sad that I hadn’t attended a networking event in months. But the truth is ~ I needed that downtime, and that downtime was ok. I was able to give myself the grace + the patience that I deserved, and the time that I needed to come back stronger + more focused.
When we launched our elopement + micro-weddings package earlier this month, I felt invigorated. Although later than I had originally anticipated, we took the bull by the horns, and made this monumental change work for us. We’ve done a few amazing editorial shoots these past few months, and continue to book inspirational collaborative projects, like a shootout in Yosemite we have planned for next month. We’re doing more than ok with this change, and making the “new normal” work for us.
Learning how to be flexible, learning how to make change work for you, and learning how to pivot are extremely vital skills, both in business + in life. This year has proven a lot of things, and one of the biggest is that I actually thrive when it comes to pivoting. No events? No problem. We took it upon ourselves to dive into social media (we created a tiktok, we’ve been blogging weekly, etc) and I even started a new career as a live streamer (I’m now streaming on three different platforms + I absolutely love it, not to mention, it’s a lucrative stream of income).
The biggest thing that inhibits us from pivoting, I feel, is being too comfortable. We get stuck in our ways + in our routine, and it’s easy to forget how capable we really are. We are meant to expand. We are meant to roll with the punches. We are resilient. 2020 is brought to you by the word “pivot” and I am proud of how I, along with my entire team, were able to face each step of this process of change with grace, poise + dignity. And I know you can too, with whatever changes you are facing.