Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brandy Blackford, Founder of Sweet I Do's, located in Surprise, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sweet I Do's is a wedding management company. I help couples that want to plan their weddings to execute that plan, answer questions, and be there the day of to ensure that they, their families, friends, and guests are in the moment, making memories, not working or stressing about the details.
Tell us about yourself
I started so many years ago (lol!!) planning events for my older kids' schools - winter guard competitions, band camps, and Boy Scouts. I loved it!! Then, when my husband and I got married, I got a phone call from the venue coordinators that changed my trajectory. They told me they had never had a wedding planned the way I had, and they wanted to refer me.
Fourteen years later, I'm helping couples with their wedding day and loving every minute. Being able to work from anywhere means I get to spend a ton of time with my kids, and we get to do so many things off-season! Plus, I help couples see their hard work and months spent planning come to life. Witnessing love in all of its many forms is the most significant high!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business owner, I've been blessed to do so much over the years, so it's hard to have just one biggest accomplishment. Knowing that I've had an impact on over 200 couples, that I've been able to help them realize their version of a dream wedding, and that I've seen over 200 couples express their love to each other is my biggest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a business owner is just hard in general. Most of us want to do what we love: what we got into business for. Then there is all the other stuff that comes with being a business owner—the financials, marketing, sales, and advertising—that isn't so glamorous or fun.
Juggling what we love with what needs to happen to run a business takes a little of the joy away. Add in unexpected things like COVID, and sometimes the valleys seem more profound than the mountains. Seeing the hills and knowing there are incredible highs to being a business owner can be the hardest, especially when you're down in the valleys.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know the business side before the creative/product/service side (insurance, licenses, taxes, financials, etc.). Knowing this part will make all the rest fall into place much faster.
- Learn what you don't know, but don't do the things you don't like or aren't good at forever. This seems counterintuitive, but hear me out. You have to know how to do everything in your business to understand how it works and what it looks like when it's both great and not-so-great. But you can't do all the things all the time forever. Learn what you don't like to do or aren't great at and hire someone who does love it and is excellent at it. It frees you up to do what you love and ensures that the business stays running.
- Even as a solopreneur, you need people. You need a group of trusted people to bounce ideas off of (not just yes people or your family). You need people to lean on when things get complex or complicated. It would help if you pushed yourself. It would be best if you had people because a solopreneur can be in a lonely place. But here's my bonus tip - cherish every bump, bruise, praise, and award - you're doing something extraordinary, and these will be the moments that make up the business side of your life! Brag (and not humbly) about who you are, what you do, and why you do it!
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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