Hi everybody.  I have a great appreciation for wedding vendors and know first hand that the wedding business is a full time job. 

Do you all take calls days/evenings/weekends at anytime?  Do you ever just shut down for one day a week to re-group or do you find your business is seasonal so you can rest over the slower months?

 

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I make myself easily accessible, but I am NOT available to my business 24/7.  Tried that. Ended up with a $34,000 hospital ER bill because I thought I'd had a stroke. I couldn't choose my words correctly. Sometimes I couldn't speak at all. I dropped things. I fell. My diagnosis: I was really really tired.  And then it occurred to me that I tell my couples to make time for each other - to make their partners and their children important. And I was making everybody 's partners and children important - but my own. No more. I give undivided time to my husband. I have frequent contact with my children and other family members. I see my friends regularly.  I don't want to cheat them out of their time with me by taking a call or returning an email to a client unless it is truly an emergency. As service professionals, especially those of us who work from home, we have to have boundaries. We have to take time to rest and recover. You can choose what that means to you. Everybody is different. I can work for about 10 days. Then I need a day or two to focus differently.  After that day or two, I have the renewed energy it takes to go above and beyond for my couples during the time I devote them.  Take care of yourselves. Nobody will do this for you.  Take care of the ones you love - your duty lies with them.  They count on you.  I say give every couple your best. But don't give them every last drop.

 

I have set hours.  Don't laugh at me, but I don't have a blackberry either.  That's how I keep control.  When I started my business my motive was to spend more time with my family and get out of the rat-race and that remains my focus.  I don't over book myself; I take what I can manage and do it well.

I try to have day of work as I like to have a family and personal life. 

So i don't take call or don't answer mails on Sunday, we generally have weddings on Saturday.

Anyway if i have a client who really need help and following i'll take the time to answer him on those days. 

From Monday to Friday i'm at my office available from 10am to 8pm. 

I also think is really necessary to set a shuddle, if not you can be really upset because you've not time off and free. 

 

 

Sundays are my official days off, unless there is a wedding or special event.  I take calls & emails whenever I am available to do so, but won't jump out of bed if the phone wakes me up or stop a late night movie with my husband to take answer a midnight inquiry.  During my wedding season May-Oct. I typically work 12-14hr/days  6 days/wk.  However, I will take random weekends off to go camping, for a summer festival, or even a 1-2 week mid-summer vacation.....afterall if I don't enjoy life then what's the point of dealing with all the stress of running my own business?   During the slower winter months I work normal 8hrs/day 5days/wk. and take a lot more random days off to devote more time to myself and my family.
Sometimes I"ll get out of the shower to answer the phone, and I take calls in the car all the time - to the great annoyance of my wife. I don't want anyone to have to leave voice mail. I also often take calls on vacation. I booked a wedding once hiking on the Appalachian Trail! Time is of the essence in responding to interested couples.   (When things are slower I try to make it up to others so they know they're important to me, and I try to leave some "margins" for myself - but that's so hard when you've started your own business and it's just you. It's easier to work all the time than live in a balanced way, but I'm working on it.)

I work with my dad-in-law - he answers his phone 24-7-365, much to the great frustration and annoyance of his wife, family and many of the people we work with regularly (he could be helping someone do something and let them stand there holding on, while he takes a call).  

I'm trying to learn from that - I have my blackberry with me at all times, but will turn on 'phone calls only' setting at night.  I forward our office phone to my cell phone when we are not in the office, to not miss any calls, but subscribe to call display - and I screen calls during supper and into the evening.  Because I have my BB with me, I explain to clients and vendor-partners that the best way to reach me is via email, so that if my hands are full or I'm in the middle of a project detail, I'm not short-changing that, and I reply as soon as I'm able, even if just to explain that I'm in the middle of something and will send a detailed reply soon.  (yes, there are exceptions).

 

To answer the question above, we take calls anytime.  Vacation happens when it can be fit between events, but still have cell with us, just don't always reply immediately to most messages or calls.  Shutting down completely even for a day hasn't been possible, something always comes up.

It's a difficult thing to balance, work vs non-work time, especially when it's a family business - my in-laws have grown accustomed to the way the head of house works (he's been doing this work for 53 years now), and understand my time commitments - work pays the bills and must come first.  However, I do think everything in moderation, we pride ourselves on going above and beyond for all of our clients but I still need time to de-stress and recover, so able to provide that same level of service for the next client.  And still have time for me, myself and my family.

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