“You are not the shiz, we are all the shiz.”
Here I was, in a room full of amazing entrepreneurs and creatives attending a conference, people nodding and saying “YASSSS” in agreement to words of an idol of the wedding industry, and while we were all full of life and vigor with bright eyes and excitement, I couldn’t help but pause for a moment. Not because I was so incredibly blown away by what the speaker was saying or the message of being humble and kind she was giving, because it was clear in that moment that nearly none of these fellow attendees got it. This was further cemented when mere moments later, as we transitioned into the styled shoot portion of the day, and the same folks were downright nasty to each other to “get their shot”.
It left quite the impression on me, that’s for sure.
It’s hard, I get it. I know we’re all competing, fighting for the same client in the same area. We’re pricing each other out, complaining about those who both charge way too low and take away all of the customers and in the same breath criticizing those who charge more for “the same work”. We are constantly saying “Yes! Community! Helping people out!” while at the same time snarling at each other to get the shot.
And I would like to say that I’m above this kind of behavior, but the fact of the matter is, I’m not. I’m just as guilty and I hate that I am. And as someone who also does this, I think I can speak for the majority in that we don’t do this because it’s intentional; if anything, it’s because of a horrible trait called jealousy. And pride. And the desire to succeed and work with our dream clients and do all the things we want to that we think others are doing right in this second.
When it occurred to me what it was that I was doing, it was extremely humbling. I was a pot calling the kettle black, and I wasn’t ok with that; I pride myself on a “do as I say, not as I do” kinda person, and it really upset when I realized otherwise. So, what did I do (and to be honest, what am I still doing) to combat this?
I help my competition. Intentionally.
I offer advice, peeks into how I run my advertising, thoughts and feelings of going with the Knot over Wedding Wire (which, Louisiana folks, absolutely put those marketing dollars into the Knot! More of our couples use it click-for-click), and what my workflows are. I have made genuine, real friends with these folks, going to coffee and having a movie night outside of traditional networking events (that’s right, like how seriously everyone else hangs out with their friends). We’ve referred work to each other, and when in a pinch, called each other for help.
It’s acknowledging that yeah, your clients have the same budgets and styles and are amazing people, but for some reason no matter how you study or research it, they went with someone else. It’s realizing that for you, your business, you have your clients that love YOU and appreciate YOU, and they have theirs. And it’s ok to know that they more than likely inquired with them too. These competitors and other folks do great work and care for their clients as much as you do. That’s perfectly fine.
Above all else though, I humbled myself. Yeah, of course I want the money from a booking (making a living is a big part of why I do what I do). But I, and you too, have to look at the bigger picture. There are more moving parts even outside of the sphere of competition and knowing that everyone has their kind of client, and clients have their kind of vendor. In the weeks and days leading up to an event, there’s a coordinator/planner hunting contact info down and settling timelines for literally everyone while a photographer is planning out how to get the most out of their hours and stressing over how quickly they can process images, a specialty rental company seeing a $500 linen was torn last week and how to repair it as quickly as possible for this week. It’s a firm understanding that you are not the most important person in the grand scheme of it all.
I humbled myself by remembering that I am but a small part in the process. My competition is a small part. The vendor I don’t particularly care for is a piece too, and the one that is my best friends IRL. We all contribute to make a moment in time happen, to create a feeling that couples generally only experience once in their lifetime. Holy cow.
We make that happen. Our competition makes it happen. How incredibly amazing is it that folks found a calling, discovered that is a calling, and you can relate to them in this way?
As this speaker said, we’re all the shiz. We do some pretty awesome stuff. Coming together with a team of vendors, or as a “vendor category” as a whole, to make magic happen and be a part of creating lifetime memories. Reflect on this consciously, beat down that little green monster of envy, and make the effort to be intentional and genuine in creating relationships within the industry. Because y’all, at the end of the day, it truly does foster a better community and a better wedding day for couples.