When I set intentions for my business this year, it was to step outside of my comfort zone and really put my services out there in Geelong as a wedding photographer. When it comes to the wedding side of my business I think there comes a time when some form of paid advertising should be tested. Up until now, my business has grown organically, through referrals and word of mouth, so I felt to take it to the next level might be to add some paid promotions.
For me, this meant a Bridal Fair. To be a human in front of the business and not hidden behind my website. It made sense to go to a local fair to build clients in the region, so I booked Head Over Heels in Geelong.
On reflection, I want to share my honest, open and completely transparent feedback on the event. My motto with business growth is to lean into fear. If something feels scary, then it is a good sign you are on the right track (within reason). The thought of being in front of potential clients to ‘sell myself’ was terrifying, which I took as a good sign. I knew I wanted to show up the best way possible, decorating my stall with assistance of other local talents and showcasing my best work.
All up I invested about $1,500 for space hire, decor and printing, which is the single biggest financial out-of-pocket investment I have made in the business. I was nervous.
(below are some pics from the day)
The day arrived and I found I hadn’t really ever ‘sold’ myself to anyone before. As each bride walked by my, ‘sales pitch’ changed slightly each time, softening and opening up the conversation. I got passed my nerves and started to get interested in their plan, but I still felt like I was a salesperson.
I found the traffic was a little light and there were many brides who already have their photographer locked in, so it was good to have the stationery aspect available too.
Being 7 months pregnant, I found the day physically tiring. I never felt truly comfortable standing there. While I loved connecting with new people, I don’t feel like this is the best was to showcase MB Captured, based on its growth to date. It is a big financial investment and I feel I could get value from this in many other ways. What I did love was meeting other wedding suppliers and services (like-minded people), as well as the brides, grooms and bridesmaids. I got to connect with Dress My Wedding and She’s a Wildflower to engage them for the services, something I had been looking forward to doing since discovering these businesses.
All up I felt extremely flat the following day, which I usually get after a big day of stepping out of my comfort zone, so I spent the afternoon watching a TV series marathon and eating lindt chocolate. Today, I am feeling better and more positive about the experience. I know the only way to know if these things work for you is to try them. It was not a waste to attend the fair, I learnt a lot about the business, and me. I connected with more creatives, I showed I am not afraid to put myself out there and stand behind my work. The biggest thing for me was I didn’t feel intimidated by the other stallholders, I felt I was on their level, even if they were well established in the region.
Head Over Heels Wedding Fair was the only bridal event that felt completely aligned with my business values and vibe, it was a beautiful event and if I were still planning my wedding, it would be my choice of fairs in the region. It had a real One Fine Day Bridal Fair vibe, which really sets the bar high in the industry. Even if I am not exhibiting, I plan to attend the event every year.
Have you made a financial investment in your business you weren’t sure about? I would love to know how it went. Comment below.