On Mistakes, Friendships and Not Going it Alone

Assassynation

June 17, 2014

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Being your own boss is the most wonderful thing. Since launching Rock n Roll Bride in 2007 I’ve discovered a LOT about myself, the wedding industry and running a business. But if there’s one lesson I learnt faster than anything else, it was that I couldn’t do everything myself. For example, I could have spent hours wrestling with Photoshop to come up with a design for my site, or I could work a little harder on the things I am better at so I can pay my designer to do it for me.

However, to me, even more vital than learning to outsource, was finding those people I could trust to help or advise me on a more personal level. These are the people that you know will always have your back and your best interests at heart. Without them in your corner, running your own business will be a million times harder.

I kept Rock n Roll Bride a secret from ‘the real world’ until the end of 2008. Gareth and I got married that April and I was completely embarrassed to be still obsessed with weddings after our own big day was over. At this point, the blog was nothing more than a hobby anyway, I didn’t feel the need to make a big deal about it offline. Then, about a year in, I made my first big mistake. I was trying to install Google Analytics on the site (I am NOT technical AT ALL by the way!) and somehow managed to delete the whole thing!

ARGH!

So I went to Gareth and shamefully admitted that I had this secret blog… about weddings… that I’d somehow managed to delete. Despite his techy prowess, there was no way for him to magically bring the obliterated site back, but he offered to help me start over. We signed up with WordPress.org, bought rocknrollbride.com and I began again.

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At the time I was totally gutted. I actually cried! However, in retrospect, it was one of the best things that ever happened for my business.

It forced me to re-evaluate what I was doing with the site and what the actual point of it was. I had to figure out what problem I was solving for my readers and why the blog even mattered at all. For the whole time prior to this, I’d basically been writing about my own experiences with a few cool weddings sprinkled in between (mostly sourced from other wedding blogs). Yet once I had to start again, it gave me a renewed focus and purpose for the site. I began to think about how I could use it to really help other people and what I could do to be different.

Call it serendipity, call it fate, or just call it damn good luck; but without my early mistake, and Gareth’s help to resolve it, I know Rock n Roll Bride wouldn’t be the same blog that it is today.

When you work alone, it can be difficult to know which is the right path for you. Trial and error is imperative. Launch and learn. You can’t unearth those valuable lessons by just sitting on the sidelines. You have to jump in feet first and not be afraid to occasionally mess up. Having allies on your side is vital too though. They’ll keep you sane, your head out of the clouds and help you get out of any sticky spots.

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77 comments

  1. Gracious

    Just want to give you a massive hug for this article!! Really needed to read some honesty about starting out on your todd! It’s hard but will be patient and keep learning!! Thank you!! Xxx

  2. i’m soaking in all the words written here …very timely to remind me to keep going no matter where i stand now in my business…slowly but still enjoying what i love doing while joggling with motherhood! 🙂 always thankful to you Kat! xo

  3. This is a great article. I hope you do this again. I found great advice from all the participants but Gala Darling and Shauna Haider hit the nail on the head. Most of the participants admit to trying lots of things that didn’t work. Fail fast and keep moving!

  4. Kat, this is a fabulous, insightful article, and I am so glad you wrote about it. As a young consultant whose mind is always full of ideas, it is great to read realistic advice from real girls. Keep it up 🙂

  5. Stacey B

    This was an extremely honest, personal, and great post to read 🙂 Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us! As a small business owner myself I am always looking for blogs that I can relate to and learn from. I don’t have a degree in business and sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have dived into something so time consuming and financially draining. However, I do love what I do which pushes me forward. I recently read an eye opening book about running and growing small business called “Liber8 Your Business” (http://liber8yourbusiness.com) by multi-award winning entrepreneur and author Laura Humphreys. Laura started as a secretary and since has grown and sold multiple businesses, so you know she knows her stuff! The book primarily works on a backwards approach to business strategy, encouraging you to look at the end goal and build your business from there. It makes sense because too often we get caught up in the day to day routines of running a business and become complacent. By taking a backwards first look at our business plan, we can then successfully plan and execute the steps necessary to reach our goals and get the business to where we want it to be. Very professionally and intelligently written, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to get ahead of the game when it comes to growing a business. Wishing you all the success! Hope you will give it a read 🙂

  6. Hi Kat,

    I’m glad I knew absolutely zilch about blogging before I started. If I had known how hard it can be sometimes I really don’t know if I’d have started out of pure fear!

    I can only describe my blog now though as my baby, a child I gave birth too and like any mother I’m super proud of any achievements and would fight to the death for it.

    One thing I never knew is how much my blog would become a massive part of my identity and self esteem, I never want to let that go :)) XxX thanks for sharing this post!

  7. Brilliant advice! However missed the important advice that is to set aside time to read blogs, so you don’t sit reading said blogs for 2 hours (because they’re so flaming good!) when you actually need to do some work! 🙂 Tx

  8. Oh wow! This was such a useful post!
    I am just starting to launch my business, and its very daunting! This post has been incredibly helpful and the advice of the contributors really helps! Especially the time frames.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to gather this 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for this, I have been trying to get advice, I’d trawl fb and Web for photographers that I liked the look of and messaged them for tips and advice non replied, I felt I’d hit a patch and these nuggets have really helped, I have bee a bit scared of pushing people to book me (or asking lol) and I’m Def guilty of waiting for people to come to me, I’m approaching my 3rd wedding season and this has just filled me with hope and motivation! Bring it on x

  10. Some great advice in here loved reading it and plenty to take on board, feel a little lost right now with my business but after reading this excited to take a step forward. Thanks!

  11. Wow Kat this is great! I love hearing the message ‘it takes time!’ over and over loud and clear from so many talented women.

    Being a freelance crafter is all consuming and sometimes it feels like I’m a swan (things look good above water, but below I’m kicking ferouciously to stay afloat!) and of course by ‘sometimes’ I mean all the time hahaa

    Thanks so much for linking us up to these fab girls!

    Big love,

    Kerry
    Be Brave Creations
    http://www.bebravecreations.co.uk

  12. This article is INCREDIBLE! So much truly helpful information and advice. It’s also really inspiring to read about all these fabulous success stories!

  13. This article could not have crossed my path at a better time. Having just been in the business 1 year, I found myself surrounded in self doubt this weekend after making (in retrospect) minor errors. Mistakes are a given and the more uncomfortable I feel when I make them, the more I will grow and be better as a result. Sometimes I forget that and it takes words of encouragement and little nuggets of genius like this article to remind me. That you for the little kick up the arse! 🙂

  14. Hi Kat, Another awesome Blog post. Thank you, so much helpful information that is so relevant to us right now!

    We launched our little Business {The Boutique Wedding Co.} Just two months ago, it’s still very much work in progress and at times we think ‘Can we really make this work?’ reading your article gives us hope and confidence that it is possible!

    Thanks for the burst of positivity!

    Lucy and Jesus
    http://www.boutiqueweddingsinspain.com

  15. Hi I just wanted to say what a massive help I’ve found this article! My friend and I set up our business last July and have been finding our way ever since. We’ve had some ups and downs but things are beginning to pick up and it’s just about hanging on on there and remembering after all the long hours it will be totally worth it 🙂

  16. Hi Kat!
    I just wanted to say thanks so much to you and your wonderful industry friends for sharing your experience and advice. I set up a wedding blog back in 2009, and have followed your blog (and lots of other fantastic wedding bloggers) ever since. My problem was that I was too perfectionist. I had a very clear vision of my blog, but for every thought I had I found a reason why it wouldn’t be as perfect as I’d envisaged it. Suddenly, after just 2 blog posts, I found myself utterly hampered by own thoughts. I stopped. The blog is still “under construction”.

    However, since then, I’ve learnt that life isn’t perfect. Two years ago I got cancer.

    Suddenly, I found a totally different reason to blog. I had “fought” my rare stage 4 Primary Peritoneal Cancer and won. Thanks to incredible medial team, the amazing staff at the Macmillan Centre, healthy eating, exercise, and endless baking, copious Star Wars-related fun (YEP – I’m a geek and it makes me happy!!) plus the love and support of my amazingly positive and caring husband, family, friends, colleagues, fellow patients, neighbours and even strangers I did it. I beat cancer in May 2012.

    However, following this amazing news I found myself in the wilderness. A sort of post-cancer limbo. My “fighting spirit” and Positive Mental Attitude, which had been my strength throughout my 17 weeks of chemo and surgery, suddenly seemed to have vanish completely. All that was left of my usual bubbly, ultra-positive social self was a shell of a person with severe anxiety and reactive depression. Try as I might I couldn’t “shake it”.

    Thanks to help from my amazing psychologist, provided by Macmillan Cancer Support, I managed to identify all the things that helped me stay positive throughout my treatment. To help myself feel better I started doing all those things again and recorded them in my own personal Positive Mental Attitude blog (LouiseWisson.com)

    Just by sheer virtue of changing my behaviour and capturing all my happy moments on my blog, I actually felt better.

    I so also delighted to learn the blog helped others around me too; both to understand my cancer journey and to help boost their Positive Mental Attitude.

    I must say I am so inspired by people like you and Gala Darling for sharing your passion and your positivity in the world.

    Thank you so much for helping spread happiness and being my #pmatoday.

    Best Wishes,
    Louise

  17. I loved reading this so much. I read a section just before I went asleep for the past week and had sweet dreams about the hopeful future success of my wedding photography business which while only in its second year I hope Itll be reaching milestones soon
    … Also while I’m here chatting away I though I should tell ye how much I love rock n roll bride! Hands down my favourite wedding photography blog and it gives me so much inspiration and enthusiasm daily 🙂 so thanks for that!! And for all the great words written in this article

  18. Wel… consider yourself added to my blogroll. I have like six other blogs I read on a weekly basis, guess that number just increased to seven! Keep writing!

  19. I am really happy to say it’s an interesting article to read. Very honest and practical, I feel much more motivated after reading this. Thanks Kat for all this positive advice.

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