What the first three years as being a Celebrant has taught me?
So when March 27th 2018 ticked over so too did my official Celebrant career, which was an exciting milestone. Now I would also love to say with scary accuracy that I have done X amount of Ceremonies in that time…but in all seriousness keeping stringent account of those things has never been a strong point of mine...yes I keep all my records like I need to, but who can be bothered counting them all up manually, I’ve got better things to do – like watch my Mighty Dees play well…so let’s just say that it’s somewhere above 200.
However the number of weddings I have done is totally irrelevant, what is more important is the lessons that I have learnt along the way, the people I have met, the lifelong friends I have made and incredible fun I have had at every single step.
In this blog, I have collated what I think are the biggest learnings I have had in the last 36 months. Starting with:
1 - This job is one of THE best in the world – We’re extremely blessed to be doing this
I mean let’s face it anything that works with cute animals all days and pays out the nose is probably THE BEST job…but with limited openings for Dolphin trainers in the world…I guess most of us are happy with what Celebranting does for you. The upsides to it are enormous and there isn’t much downside if I am being completely open and honest. Being “invited” to the best parties going around each week for 8 months of the year is pretty amazing, getting to make two new friends at least once a week and meeting like-minded people makes for a pretty rewarding environment. Maybe the travel can get you down, maybe the time away from home and loved ones is tough…but in the end, there’s far, far worse ways to make a living, never forget this!
2 – The people in this industry are the best part of it – Never underestimate this
I will say this time and time again, the people that you meet each and every week in this job are some of the greatest people you can ever meet. I have made some true lifelong friends out of this job and have found a place in the world where I feel like I truly belong. So if you are in this industry and have just been hanging around on your own, get on your bike and make the effort to meet some people…it will change your life.
3 – Being proactive about networking WAS THE single best thing I did for my Celebrant career
I know the date exactly, it was December 18th 2015 when I emailed a guy called Josh Withers….the best move I ever did. Josh has been a class act to me ever since and I probably don’t tell the guy often enough, that email I sent him was a game changer. I emailed Josh out of the blue and asked if he would be interested in catching up if he was ever in Melbourne…turns out he was (both up for a coffee and in Melbourne…that weekend). So we had breakfast, he introduced me to some incredible folk and from there my network has grown and grown and grown. It has delivered me friendships I cherish above all others, countless amounts of work and most importantly a support crew. So my advice to you all is this: Don’t wait for the world to knock on your door, get proactive about it and soon enough the world will knock…but it’s a way down the path (still hasn’t come for me yet!!)
4 – Don’t lose sight of who is really important to all of this – Our COUPLES
I am happy to admit that somewhere along the track I may have lost sight of this a little and got more concerned about how well I was doing, maybe it’s understandable (who knows…maybe) but this period of my Celebrant career I definitely wasn’t doing myself any favours. Anyway, in my own personal Jerry Maguire moment of late night enlightenment, I told myself that it was time to put any part of my Celebrant work that was serving my own Ego completely to the side and focus purely on making sure that every part of it was about making sure the Couple got EXACTLY what they were looking for…please do the same. Being selfless in this job will ensure you have a long, healthy and happy career.
5 – Marketing is a MUST
I do know of a couple of Celebrants who are absolutely crushing it off the back of a minimal (or in one case non-existent) marketing effort! I take my hat off to those people (I won’t name them out of respect) because they must have truly found their life’s calling. As for the rest of us, we need to get our names out there. I’m not much of a gambler…these days…but if I was, I would only bet when the odds were in my favour. That’s what marketing does, it puts the odds of our businesses being successful back in our favour. It’s that simple, you don’t have to market, but I am not sure I can offer you any advice that will help you. Don’t look at marketing as a ‘cost’, it’s always and investment. If it is a cost, time to review how you’re marketing.
6 – Understand what Value is
People often equate ‘how many things you get’ as being the same as value….trust me they’re not related. Quality is the only thing that matters to value. Until recently I didn’t use any fancy systems, nor have I ever had had any sophisticated Celebrant workbook/folders for my clients or anything like that. I have always just offered up me, my style and how I can deliver a Ceremony…that’s it, pretty simple really. But from that I have been able to get paid a fee that I am very happy with. I’ve never tried to over complicate things and have always just been my honest and authentic self. I don’t try and be clever when I talk with clients, I don’t try and pressure them to book me…I just be me and they be themselves and from that people are happy to pay my fee.
7 – Never stop learning and trying to improve – It’s the key ingredient to success
I have stayed up to 3am learning about how Google works, skipped lunch breaks to learn about Social media algorithms, missed out on catch ups with mates so I could learn how to advertise on FB effectively and many other upskilling sessions. I also talk to other Celebrants and find out what they do to see if there’s anything I could improve on. And lastly I always review what I do and see if I can improve and get better.
8 – Stay humble – No one is the ‘BEST’
‘Best’ is subjective, what works for some clients won’t work for others…don’t chase an unachievable title, just worry about being the best version of you.
9 – I’m not for everyone – Neither will you be
Following on from the above, don’t start to think that your couples have won the Wedding Grand Final by booking you…as you’re ‘the best’. Trust me, I have done weddings where I know perhaps I wasn’t the best fit…other times I have done weddings where I knew it was incredible and exactly right and that no other Celebrant could have delivered close to what I did on that given day. You need to learn to identify where you fit and where you don’t…there’s a reason why don’t see me standing next to too many Grooms in a Bow Tie and tux.
10 – The more you’re willing to Hustle to bigger the rewards