We talk a lot about the events we do on this blog, and that of course makes sense. We are an event business, so we should share what we do with all of you, right?
But we are also a small, woman-owned business. There’s a lot that goes into our day-to-day that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the work we’re doing for clients, and we want to be open with you all and share aspects of what being an entrepreneur is like as well.
Part of the fun (and a big part of the stress) of owning your own business is the need for constant learning. Every day, every week and every month we are learning new lessons on how we can be better, both professionally and personally.
Rather than take you through one of our recent events, I want to take some time to share a few of the more important lessons I’ve learned over the last several months.
I know, it might seem kind of silly to start all of this out by giving you permission to feel confident, but ask any entrepreneur (actually, ask most people regardless of what they do for a living) and I’m willing to bet they’ve dealt with imposter syndrome. Too many of us struggle with a voice inside our heads that challenges our expertise, our intuition and our abilities, and we are no exception.
Over the past year or so, I’ve learned to give myself permission to be confident in all I and my team can do. This confidence is deserved. I’ve personally been in the event industry for over a decade. My team is knowledgeable, organized, efficient and talented. We know what we’re doing.
This confidence has allowed me to grow my team over the last year. Previously I might have been nervous hiring other event professionals to work on my team for fear they might judge the way I do things. This wasn’t rooted in fact, but in that imposter syndrome. Now, I know that I am an expert and that others can learn something from me, and I can also learn from them. It’s this line of thinking which has allowed me to hire more help than ever before so that we can take on bigger clients and events.
Almost every business owner goes through a period where they’re taking any and all work that comes their way. It’s how a lot of folks survive the early stages of entrepreneurship, and I did it, too. But in the past year or two, I’ve started to say no to events and clients who I know aren’t a good fit.
This is one of the first years we’ve defined our business as a community-focused event planning business. This means we focus primarily on shopping centers, nonprofits and community food and art events. This type of work gets me and my team excited. It allows us to give back to the Charlotte community and create meaningful connections. While I admire so many wedding planners, I know that’s not what I want to do with my business, so we don’t do it.
Likewise, J. Leigh Events now charges what I know we are worth. What to charge is a HUGE point of contention for business owners. Folks tend to overthink this a lot, and I’m not different. We want to be fair, but we also need to be able to pay ourselves, pay our employees and pay the bills. It’s a tightrope walk.
The biggest change in my life that helped solidify this lesson for me? Becoming a mother. Any time I am working, it is time spent away from my family, and particularly my son, who’s only 2. This is precious time, so in order for me to miss bedtime or give up a weekend for an event, it needs to be something I’m passionate and excited about, and it needs to be something myself and my team are fairly compensated for. These aren’t things I can budge on any longer.
If there’s one thing we learned during the pandemic, it’s that all of this could disappear in a moment. We love what we do at J. Leigh events. I truly believe it is the best job in the world, and it’s an honor to do what we do.
But it’s not the most important thing. And that is okay.
These three lessons have made me a more confident, secure and level-headed entrepreneur. I’m excited to continue exploring these lessons (and many more) as we look to the future of J. Leigh Events. We want to expand the number of shopping centers we’re working with. We want to work with more nonprofits to positively impact the Charlotte community. And it’s been on my mind for a while to start a podcast, so that might be coming soon, too.
No matter what comes our way, I’m grateful you’re here, and I hope you’ll stick around to see what we can do.
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