Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nilou Nouri, Founder of Nilou Weddings, located in San Francisco, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I started off as a wedding officiant 15 years ago, and now I also provide consulting, planning, and design services.
Tell us about yourself
The first time I conducted a wedding ceremony was when my cousin, who was having a fusion wedding, asked me to officiate a Persian-American ceremony. It was an incredible experience, interviewing the couple to learn about their wishes for the service and conducting a customized and personal ceremony reflecting their love story, heritage, and communities. After that, I was asked by guests whether I could officiate their ceremonies, and soon I got so busy that I had to quit my job as a professional non-profit fundraiser. I love every aspect of this work - most of all, getting to know couples early in their relationships, creating a ceremony or event that fits their wishes and tastes, and budget, and being part of one of the most important celebrations in life!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That I never gave up, and I was up for any challenge! In the beginning, if a client requested a specific service that I was unfamiliar with, I would delve into learning everything about it, getting the training and mentorship to bring myself up to the task. I always said, 'Sure, let me look into it,' and then learned everything so I could deliver perfectly.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Staying on top of everything! Managing and keeping a check on the day-to-day tasks, keeping track of clients, vendors, finances, schedules, tensions, and emotions, and dealing with a diverse array of individuals with varying expectations and capabilities.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Once you have the idea/ideal business in mind, every day, do 3-5 things related to that work. For example, read an article about it, talk to someone about it, sign up for a course to learn more about it, etc. This will keep it a major part of your life and give it the energy that it needs to grow.
- Write a Business Plan. This is a MUST. Don't be intimidated by that terminology! It can be a one-page document specifying Vision (what do you hope/dream of seeing happen with this business), Mission (what do you hope to accomplish/do with this business), Objectives (what are your tangible goals), Methods (how do you plan to achieve those goals), budget (how much money do you need to get there and how much do you anticipate making), Timeline (what will you be doing in the next year to get there), etc. Business Plan is your map to begin the work. I also believe that putting words down on paper gives them strength and reality!
- Work hard. Live, Eat, Breath the work!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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