A Midwest girl born and raised, wife to my college sweetheart, tried and true extrovert, and a loyal daughter, sister & friend.
I believe that my purpose is to serve others through creativity, inspiration and unconditional love – and as an Event Planner & Designer, I’m so grateful to live that purpose day in and day out.
I’m passionate about making a positive impact on those I serve and building fruitful relationships with my clients that turn into cherished friendships for years to come.
One month ago I quit my 9 to 5.
I’m sure that sounds scary to most. It was scary for me. I was excited, anxious, nervous, joyful … almost any emotion you can name, I felt at some point or another before resigning.
But most of all, I felt prepared. I had set myself up for this moment, to take the leap of going full-time doing what I love and pursuing my career aspirations. I felt prepared to dive head first, without hesitation, chasing a passion of mine for quite some time, to believe in myself and the life I wanted to lead.
I’m sure you have goals, and visions of what you see your future looking like. Dreams of doing purposeful work and having a more fulfilling life. That job, career, lifestyle can look different for everyone – but the vision all serves the same purpose. To give you a more joyful and fulfilling lifestyle, one that you’re proud of. And whether that’s being a CEO at a fortune 500 company, being your own boss, being a “stay at home” mom (I say that lightly, because mom’s do anything but sit at home), or anything and everything in between – make sure to set yourself up for success when you take that next step so you can enjoy this passion of yours.
So while I’m still learning and by no means an expert at starting a business or turning your passion into a full time job – I have learned a lot of lessons along the way that I feel should be shared and can benefit some of you. The below steps allowed me to be prepared and confident with my decision to quit my 9 to 5 and set me up for success once I took the leap!
Ok, this isn’t really a step – more of a suggestion I would like to share based on my own experience.
Resist hesitation and do not hold back. When you have an undeniable passion and that passion is calling you to make a change in your life in order to achieve it…. Please do not hesitate. Now, this doesn’t mean dive head first into this new passion without setting yourself up for success first, which I will get into, but by all means – don’t ignore this passion and certainly don’t hesitate to make it a reality or you’ll never know what could have been.
My husband joked with me recently about how “wedding planning” finally stuck with me. I’m sure you’ve been there too. (Meaning… I was multi-passionate. My entire life I’ve wanted to be my own boss – selling headbands in college, dreaming of a candy buffet business plan when that trend spiked, taking courses to be a career coach, the list could go on…. But it wasn’t until I found my passion for weddings and wedding planning that I knew this was the creative route for me to go with my career.) It finally stuck with me. Yes – those other goals and passions of mine were fun while they lasted and surely stepping stones for where I am today. But if I would’ve hesitated on trying any of them… I wouldn’t have known what I enjoyed, was good at, or was capable of doing.
So don’t hesitate when you think you’ve found your calling. Even if you’re not so sure it’s the one… at least invest your time trying to figure it out and see where it takes you. You only have one life to live and you don’t want to spend your days wondering what if.
Ok, this one may seem silly – but it’s SO TRUE and there are so many of you working hard day in and day out without a vision or goal in sight. You need to set goals in order to have a benchmark for what success looks like and how you’re going to turn this side hustle into your full-time gig. Make sure your goals can be measured and you check in on a weekly or monthly basis to see how you’re tracking. Have a vision in mind for when you see yourself taking the leap and what life will look like before and after you take that leap. It will make those days where you’re tired and burned out have a little more purpose – with goals in place and a strategy to reach them – anything is possible.
I knew that in order to leave my 9 to 5, I had to book 15 weddings to remain financially stable. These 15 weddings were not going to make up my entire salary (everyone will be in their own financial position), but they would give me the freedom and financial security to quit my 9 to 5 and invest more time and energy into being a wedding planner and growing my business. Now, everyone’s scenario is going to look a little bit different and that’s OK. As long as you have a plan and goal in sight to keep the lights on and provide financial security for yourself and your business, than that’s all that matters.
Be a smart business owner is a broad statement, but when it comes to running your own business and setting yourself up for financial success, this is crucial to follow through with. Purchase an accounting system or find an accountant to keep track of your expenses and income. You’ll be glad you were smart with your money management come tax season and all of your expenses and orders were properly documented.
Another way to be a smart business owner in terms of your finances is by controlling your debt. Have a plan in place for 1) understanding how to stay out of debt and only using the money that you currently have available for business expenses or 2) if you need to go in debt to run your business, have a plan on how you will get out of debt by understanding how many clients, products, etc. need to be sold in order to pay that off. If going in debt is the cost of running your business – take a hard look at your finances and make sure this is the appropriate move before taking the leap.
Advertise, grow a following, build a website, purchase business cards, attending networking events, build social media pages, etc. etc. etc. Make yourself known in your new industry and start building a network & drive awareness of your brand. In order for me to quit my 9 to 5, I had very specific goals in place. One of them was to build a website that I was proud of and one that brought awareness to my business and embodied my brand. Two, was finding an advertising method that brought new leads to my inbox. Which The Knot has done for me and helped to legitimize my wedding planning business in the cities that I advertise. And three, was to organize two styled shoots in different cities in order to network with vendors and build my portfolio. All three of these goals have led to referred clients and drove awareness of my business.
How will you grow your business if no one knows about you? You won’t. Building connections and trusting relationships with potential clients and coworkers alike will be the #1 driver of your business.
What’s holding you back from taking the leap?!
Until next time!
xx – alyssa
Alyssa Thomas is a Wedding and Event Planner based in Pittsburgh, PA and serving clients in Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Worldwide Destinations. Her work spans from weddings and corporate events, to meetups and intimate gatherings. Contact her today for your consultation and stop by her instagram to see some beautiful events, design work, and a peek into her personal life + traveling adventures. @alyssathomasevents
Pittsburgh Wedding Planner | Columbus Wedding Planner