(Photo retrieved from Socially Chic’s Instagram)
Meet Monica Renee. She is the owner of Socially Chic, an event planning business catering to the DMV (DC, MD, and Va) area. Monica first appeared on the event planning scene as an assistant planner but started to feel like she could do a better job than her employer. She would ask them questions about why and how they made certain decisions and thought to herself, how things could have been improved. Eventually, Monica began to work independently as an event planner for her friends and family. She loved decorating for events and socializing, hence the name “Socially Chic.” Below Monica shares how she started her business and tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
One of the things that prevents people from beginning their own business is fear. Fear can be paralyzing so I asked Monica what her fears were when she began her business in 2014 and how she overcame those fears.
Monica’s biggest fear was if she would be able to support the needs of her clients and she asked herself a number of questions:
1. Are you able to do it all on your own?
2. Do I have reliable people?
3. How will I make a profit buying things at retail value and having to pay multiple people?
4. Who is your target market? What is it about your service and product that people need?
5. How are you evaluating the time you spend with your clients?
Monica did not let her uncertainty paralyze her. Instead she hired a business coach. Monica said that although her business coach told her things that she could have read online but she was really good at making her accountable for completing tasks. Her business coach was her accountability partner.
In addition, Monica also started leaving her marketing materials in places that people went who could use her services such as David’s Bridal. She thought it was important to “throw herself out there.” Monica knew that in order to grow her business she had to work with people she didn’t know. By doing this she learned that strangers are better to work with anyway ☺
Now that Monica figured out how to get new clients, I asked her about where she finds inspiration for their events.
Monica finds inspiration in many ways. It could be an image, a word or by the things that her clients describe that they want. Sometimes people do now know what their theme should be but they have a color(s) in mind. Monica uses what her clients tell her to create an inspiration board for them. She believes that in addition to inspiration, clients must consider their budget. Their budget is an important factor but she is confident that she can help her clients maximize it as long as they are realistic.
We know that role models are imperative in helping establish standards, limits, and confidence in ourselves. If we see someone that we can relate to achieving their goals we are more likely to believe that we can do the same thing, so I asked Monica about whether there are any entrepreneurs in her family.
There are 3 individuals in Monica’s family that are part-time entrepreneurs, including her mother. For Monica, the fact that none of those entrepreneurs ultimately quit their jobs to pursue self-employment full time made it difficult for her to see herself doing that. Monica struggled with stepping out on faith and making her service work for her. But she wants to be able to create a better lifestyle for herself. In order to do that, she determined that she needs to make 60% of the salary she needs to survive through Socially Chic while working full time. Once she is able to sustain that percentage, she will be more confident in her ability to pursue full time entrepreneurship. Monica’s goal is to become a full time entrepreneur in the next 3-5 years.
Until Monica reaches her goal of full time entrepreneur, I asked her how she balances her time and what advice she offers to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Monica admits that she is still working on achieving the perfect balance but she tries to dedicate 3-3 ½ hrs per day to Socially Chic. She tries not to schedule appointments and conference calls on more than 2 days a week. That is what helps her to determine how many events that she can take. Furthermore, she dedicates November and December to improving her administrative practices and to refocus herself.
Monica encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to make a business plan even if they are not sure exactly what it really is. She believes that “just jumping out there becomes overwhelming and time consuming to do basic things, so you should have templates and administrative processes in place.” Aspiring entrepreneurs should have a contract for their clients that has been reviewed by a lawyer. Furthermore, Monica believes that the bulk of your business comes from word of mouth, so be sure to represent your business accordingly. You should run Facebook and Instagram ads, have business cards and use other tools to help you market your business. “If no one knows who you are, no one will come to you.”
If you are looking for a Black owned all female event planning company, please consider hiring Socially Chic. You will not be disappointed. The staff at Socially Chic is punctual and willing to travel. Socially Chic is currently booking for 2018. To book an event go to: www.sociallychicevents.com
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Fb: Socially Chic Events by Monica Renee