Leslie Wright, is a best selling author, event planner, consultant, speaker and has become a lifeline to those in her industry. She has been in business for over 8 ½ years and longs to begin starting other offices for events and consulting. She has a remote team in North Carolina and Georgia and is looking to expand more and train other event planners. Read our interview with the lovely Leslie below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I will never forget the day I got laid off from a “good job”. I vowed to never allow myself to be completely dependent on one source of income ever again. Months later I was called to take my creative ability, by God and to do more with it. At the time my business partner and I took a leap of faith. We ordered business cards, got our business license and went to work. This is an industry of service, you don’t pick it, it picks you.
Tell us about your business.
I am a wedding and event planner and best selling author. I aid people in planning events and business consulting that have less than 5k to invest. I enjoy growing business owners and taking their dreams to the public by way of event management. We service currently several states on the East Coast and are growing now into the Midwest.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Currently we have a new book coming out and tons of trainings to sharpen social media skill sets among business owners. “Peace Treaty” which talks about building reliable teams in business is coming out New Year’s Eve!
- Graduate of the Leadership Program at UNCG
- Graduate of the Small Business Development program from NC A&T led by HUD
Where is your business based?
Greensboro, NC and Atlanta, Georgia.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
We started charging clients just $100 to do their events to build our client list. While we definitely don’t charge that anymore, we were strategic in events we went to go network at, and we constantly built relationships with promoters and venue managers.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Facebook has been answered prayers, we get 98% of our revenue through that portal and Eventbrite.com each year. Running specials and sending messages to businesses that can service our demographic has been so beneficial. We spend about 50+ hours a week logged in!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Our biggest challenges have been staff retention and foot traffic, but many planners at this time are experiencing this in the industry. So, event content research and faith we know are ways we must face this “challenge”.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We combat challenges now with polling and research. We combine information with what our public tells us and we do it!
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I absolutely would be nowhere without God and my two teams. Where would I be without my business is something I say often. Both teams have quotas and we run collectively to close deals, gain exposure, provide services, and lend a helping hand to those who need and understand what we provide. I owe them both a great deal of gratitude for my success.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We have positioned ourselves uniquely as the 911 event planners, we get everything from I’m getting married in two months, all the way to there is no budget but this has to happen and look like a million dollar event. We thrive on the extreme situations that most planners would run from, and we mold them into something unforgettable.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Take your emotions off the table. Often times in service-based businesses we let people upset us, or distract us. Now I call my emotions a name, and when I think Lisa is sitting at the table (emotional self) versus Leslie (rational self), I close a conversation quickly. I allow myself to think about how I feel and why I feel that way and then come back to the table of negotiation. It’s dangerous to let your emotions get away. We have learned this.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Stay focused and set quotas or goals. Setting something to run for each and every day keeps you fresh and innovative, and most of all determined.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Facebook and eventmarketer.com are both things I can’t do without.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
My own book I must say is just brilliant, as it discusses spiritual warfare in business management, it is called “Plan Of Attack: Survival and Spiritual Guide for business owners and event planners”.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Currently we’re learning about word choice and what consumers want in the next decade from events.
- We are looking at social media hubs or ports onsite at events to get on demand interaction that drives traffic right to our website.
- We are going back to featuring people on our website to gain more foot traffic.
- We are looking at blogging in the new year!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I want to start a blog and I want to start another chapter of my business in Maryland. I will also be adding real estate investment to my portfolio and more books!
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