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How I Grew My Business While Working Full Time (part 1)

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Oh, the dreaded question.

I’m serious!! I have been asked this SO MUCH in the last 6 months, and it is a HARD ONE to answer!!! I wrote about this in my newsletter a few weeks ago, but Emily hit the nail on the head when she said: you do what you have to do. When I was working 40 hours/week and growing DSE, I did what I had to do. I didn’t blink. I didn’t think twice. I jumped in and just started DOING. If that meant creating timelines at midnight, writing blog posts on my lunch break and taking personal days for weddings, I was going to do it without hesitation. I JUST DID IT.

Now, I know that’s not what you want to hear. You want the meat. The nitty-gritty. The practical steps to take to grow your dream into a reality with a 9-5 vying for your time. But before I give you some tips I learned a long the way, I NEED you to understand that there is MORE than just practical steps. There is a DRIVE, a HEART, a FIRE in you that YOU HAVE TO HAVE in order to excel. You have to FIGHT, friends. You have to want this SO BAD. When the haters come calling, when the late nights get to long, that drive is what will push you forward. That fire is what will make these practical steps possible. Don’t lose that, friend.



First things first, you have to make ATTAINABLE goals for your business. This is a BUSINESS, not a hobby. Treat it as such.

If you are married, sit down with your spouse. Talk with him/her about your desire to build this business into your full time income and GET THEIR OPINION. You are a team. While you might not be a husband/wife business team, you are husband/wife TEAM because you share life together!! You need to be on the same page and be able to each voice your opinions, vision and ideas for your business. If you and your spouse are at odds, it will be even harder. (Disclaimer: Matt and I are not perfect and our marriage is far from it!! But I’ve learned a lot through building this business with him and the biggest thing I learned is to NEVER shut him out! Your spouse probably doesn’t understand the ends & outs of the wedding industry like you do, but that don’t let that discredit his love for you & desire to see you reach your dream!) 

Look at your finances and make a plan. Let’s face it, a big reason you are not a full time boss lady right now is because you need the income from your day job, right? With DSE, I needed to be able to help support our family because we did not feel comfortable living on Matt’s income alone. This means I needed to have a PLAN.

We sat down and looked at our family budget and Matt gave me an EXACT NUMBER I needed to “give” to the family bank account every single month. For the sake of this example (and easy math!), let’s say that number is $1,000. If you know that you need to provide your family with $1,000 every month, that means you need to provide $12,000/year ($1,000 x 12 months).

If your family needs $12,000/year, then you need to bring in that 12K PLUS additional income to cover your expenses (equipment, education, office supplies, software programs, staff, etc.) AND save 20% for taxes. Now, this is the minimum, friends!! I’m not even getting into a SAVINGS ACCOUNT for your business or ways to budget throughout the year. Plus, we probably all need a lot more thank 12K for our families to survive:) But regardless, you have to start with a PLAN. Seeing the black & white figure I needed to reach allowed me to plan the number of brides I needed to book to reach that goal!! It gave me a ATTAINABLE GOAL to reach and allowed my “pipe dream” of being full time, a reality! (Disclaimer: I am NOT a financial advisor – I am FAR from it! If you have specific financial questions, please reach out to certified financial planner to talk you through the ends & outs of business ownership!! I highly suggest Will Ray!!) 

Think SMALL and MIGHTY. You are not measured by anyone else’s success. You cannot allow yourself to get bit by the comparison bug!! Remember, this is about YOU, not them!! Whether you own a print shop, a branding boutique, a floral design studio or a photography business… you CAN make ATTAINABLE goals for your business. Baby steps, friends. If you’re goal is to be full time by January 2016, then sit down and WRITE down what you need to do to get there. Put it in black and white. Give yourself a timeline. Make goals. Check things off the list. You will NEVER know until you try. Start moving in the direction of your dreams and you WILL see growth, I promise!!


Next week, I’m going to share 3 things I did in my first year of business that allowed me to go full time in my second. But until then, what do you think? How do you feel? You’ve GOT this. I know you do:)

xo!! kat

Stock Shop Image by Shay Cochrane | Quote via Pommelanne from Pinterest 

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  1. Kirsti Cook says:

    As much as I enjoy this MUCH NEEDED advice from someone in such a similar business to myself, my real question is: How did you grow your business enough to be able to go full time? The main thing that hold me back is not having enough clients to go full-time. I am a wedding planner and stationary designer and I feel it has been easier to get more clients for wedding stationary than for planning services. In my opinion, it is because of the difference in cost. Everyone wants to hire a wedding planner, but not everyone can work that into their budget. Maybe the part I am missing is what I keep reading, I have to go ALL IN and truly invest myself into marketing my business and making a bigger name for myself to reach a bigger client base.

    • dearsweetheartevents says:

      Hi Kirsti! I totally understand! Hiring a wedding planner is an expense that not all brides are willing to pay for (or many they can’t due to other things in their budget!). My goal has been to show brides (through my blog, my social media accounts and getting vendor referrals) that hiring ME as their planner is NECESSARY!!! I want them to not only want a planner, but to want “kat” to do it!! I want them to see the value of my services and reach out to me to be apart of this DSE community! I have done that through blogging wedding tips and tricks, networking and making connections with vendors who then refer their brides to me and by growing my social media presence so that more brides come in contact with me!! I think my post tomorrow (part 2) will help answer this question even more!:)

  2. You GO, girl!! Love this!! <3

  3. Laura says:

    I so needed this today! Thank you!

  4. LOVE this. I can relate so closely, and I love the knowledge you’ve shared. It makes me feel like I’m not alone!!

  5. SO proud of you Kat! You go girl!

  6. LOVE this post, exactly how I started too, done is better than perfect!!!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Love seeing how you worked through a full-time job and wedding planning! I’m not in the exact same situation, but similar. I have a full-time toddler with no family here to help. However, I will say, now that she has grown, it will be much easier to work out a schedule. I am currently in the process of re-branding even down to changing the name and I truly believe that during the course of this transformation the company will grow immensely! Thank you for all of the great advise and I look forward to following you! And I cannot wait to be able to go to one of your conferences!!! 😉

  8. Shalyce says:

    After reading Part 1 and 2, I’m so motivated and inspired “to do the work”. Thank you for these great tips!

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