Welcome to our Planner Profiles! Planner Profiles share inspiration and insight from Planner’s Lounge coaching and mentoring clients. Today we are thrilled to feature New England wedding planner Tracy Dapp from Inked Events!
Tell us how you got started in event planning
When I decided to pursue a wedding planning career after planning my own wedding in 2007, I knew I had to educate myself about the industry, so I began my search for a certification program. I completed one certification program, but felt it didn’t give me the education that I was looking for. I then enrolled in the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) organization and began their Professional Development Program, I graduated with the “Distinguished Graduate” status. I became a Professional Wedding Planner (PWP) in 2011. To this day, I continue my education through the ABC by attending quarterly meetings and the annual conference. Every year, I find the annual conference to be invaluable with the content that is provided, but especially with the relationships that I build, nurture and form with other wedding planners around the country.
Another valuable resource I found in the beginning of my career was a private online forum (very similar to the Planner’s Lounge VIP Lounge) for wedding planners that allowed planners around the country/world to discuss the industry without judgment. I had the opportunity to ask the most seasoned planners any question I had about being a wedding planner, how to run a business, and anything else wedding or business related. To this day, I feel the planners on that platform shaped me into the planner I am today.
I don’t have a hospitality degree or any hospitality background, so throughout the years, I’ve attended events that helped me learn about running/owning a business, marketing, social media, business strategies, and accounting. My biggest hurdle was getting out of my comfort zone and attending networking events to help build my name and brand. Now, it’s one of my favorite things to do.
During critical times in my career, I decided to work with a business coach. I’ve worked with three very different business coaches that all helped lead me to where I am today. My first coach taught me to how to identify my ideal client, how to speak to them through my website content, and how to price my services accordingly. She also helped create a sales process and templates to make answering inquiries or writing proposals so much easier. One thing she especially taught me was how to say no to inquiries who were not my ideal client and be OK with not getting every wedding.
My second coach helped me identify when my inner voice tries to sabotage my dream with self-doubt and negative thoughts. Her coaching helped me learn how to work through and overcome them. She also showed me how to look at all the positive things that were happening at that point. My third and recent wedding planner coach, Debbie from Planner’s Lounge (trust me I’m going to gush about her more later!) has mentored me in more ways that I can even begin to say. She gave me the courage to make a huge leap in my career at the end of 2016.
With everything that I have done over the years, I found educating myself on the areas that I didn’t know about or how to do helped me to understand all that goes into a business. It felt wonderful when I got to the position that I was able to outsource certain areas to other professionals who knew and excelled in those areas. It gave me the freedom of time and energy to focus on more important items.
What successes have you had in your business in the last six months?
Now, that’s a loaded question! Where do I even begin, the last 6 months have been HUGE for me. My main goal when I started Inked Events was to build it to the point that it could financially support me and I could quit my full-time day job. The plan was to take the leap by 2018.
Circumstances changed in mid-December 2016 after having a coaching session with Debbie and some things happening at my day job, where I looked at the business as a whole and decided to take the leap of faith. I resigned from my day job to pursue the business full-time, I kicked off 2017 working for myself! At the same time, I also brought an in-house floral designer in and offered linen rentals to our planning clients.
A few months later in late March/early April 2017, a resume came across my desk from a person looking for a part-time office/event planner position that I just couldn’t dismiss. I honestly wasn’t looking for another person to help on event days since I had my 2017 team already in place (or so I thought), but ‘something’ told me to meet with her. I’m a big believer in the Universe and that everything happens for a reason, so I met with her. That ‘something’ led me to review where the business stood financially and whether I could bring on someone else. In the meantime, I had a few administrative things slip through my fingers and felt maybe I wasn’t able to keep up with everything. I thought to myself, is the Universe telling me to take another leap? The answer was yes! I hired her as my part-time office manager/associate event planner. She began late May 2017.
How has the Planner’s Lounge Mentoring Program helped you and your business?
I’ve always known the value and benefit of working with a coach and I was at the stage where I wanted to work with a coach again. I began my search for the “right” type of coach. This time, I was looking for a particular coach that could guide me in taking my business to the next level because quite honestly, I didn’t know what else to do or how to do it. I wanted my dream of working it full time to come to life, but didn’t know how to get there.
I have a number of business coaches in my network, so I started with them and began to look at the type of services they offered. Sadly, they didn’t have what I was looking for. I’ve been a part of the Planner’s Lounge community for a number of years and always enjoy receiving the newsletter, however, I apparently must have missed over those years and never realized that Debbie offered a mentoring program for wedding and event planners. Did I mention I’m a big believer in the Universe since I never saw that option until I needed too?!
I looked further into what the mentoring program entailed and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for!! I signed up without hesitation and began my monthly sessions without looking back. In preparation for our first session, I sent all the documentation I had created and have in place for the business. I wanted to review and discuss it with Debbie to see what I needed to add, change, or remove. During our first session, she told me how impressed and organized my business was for a business that was relatively “new”… I literally blushed at the compliment.
Even though she has shared some of her own documents with me that I’ve tweaked to fit my needs, for me, it’s not the documents that have been the most valuable; it’s been the support and encouragement that has been absolutely priceless!! She always helps me put things into perspective and never makes me feel like I’ve disappointed her when I don’t do my homework. We always discuss the reasoning of why I haven’t done it then focus on more important tasks that are needed at the time.
She is always SO excited every time we talk about all the things that have happened since our last session. She also reminds me of how far I’ve come and what a big deal the last 6 months have been for me. She reminds me to celebrate the accomplishments.
When I was having difficulty at my day job, she gave me the confidence and support to look at the business financials to see if I could possibly decrease my hours to focus more time on the business. I knew what events I had on the books, but I hadn’t really looked financially at what they brought in. So, with her encouragement, I looked at what I had for the 2017 and 2018 seasons and created my version of a cash flow statement (I’m the type that has to see in black and white). I was beyond shocked and elated that it showed I could financially afford not only to decrease my hours, but be able to actually quit my full-time day job! I couldn’t WAIT to tell Debbie and certainly couldn’t wait until our next month’s session. I emailed her to tell her the good news and when she responded, I could feel the happiness and excitement she had for me.
I tell her every session and will continue to tell her that she has been the pivotal element for me in actually taking the leap. I honestly don’t think I would’ve been able to do it without working with her for those first 9 months. When my initial sessions were coming to an end, there was no doubt in my mind that I wasn’t going to continue to working with her, I need her to keep me in check and can’t wait to see where it leads me!
Tell us about you! What do you love to do outside of your work?
I’m happily married to a great guy and we’ll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in October. We have a “fur-baby”, Toby the cat. I’m still in the process of finding my “balance” of work and life, so when I do relax, I love hanging out with my hubby whether it’s in our backyard or around the kitchen table enjoying a cocktail. I also love to hang out with my friends and family enjoying dinner, drinks or just spending time with them.
When I have a chance to read, I love getting lost in a good romance novel and at the end of the day, I always watch one of the many TV shows I am addicted too. My hubby and I love to travel and we’ve been to many places around the country. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Cape Cod every weekend in the summer to relax and enjoy the sunshine.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Surround yourself with supportive, positive people who will help your dream come true. Your “tribe” will celebrate all the accomplishments with you, but also be there to lift your spirits when the doubts come in.
Where can we find you online?
Facebook page: InkedEvents
Pinterest: Inked Events
Take a few minutes to connect with Tracy on social media!
Are ready to take your event planning business to the next level? Do you need help getting systems in place for your planning business? Do you need professional guidance on pricing and service offerings? Do you need an effective marketing strategy in place? Are you stuck in a rut with your business and aren’t sure what to do next? Our one-on-one coaching and mentoring programs offer the professional expertise to guide you through these questions and so much more. Learn more today!