Starting a business during a pandemic
Yes, I am the genius who decided to launch a new business during the pandemic. I started my course to become a wedding/family celebrant in October 2020 and I did have my doubts about it, especially as my husband is self-employed and has received no government help through the pandemic #excludeduk. Times have been difficult, but he was the one who encouraged me to pursue this career as he thought it was perfect for me because:
1. I love planning celebrations 2. I love writing/being creative 3. I love interacting with people
I have been looking for something I am passionate about since graduating university back in 2016, when I discovered my business idea last year, I told myself that I had done enough waiting so decided to get on with it!
How did you decide on your business?
To be honest, I never even knew this was a career choice before July last year. I stumbled on it by accident when my best friend jokingly asking if I would write and officiate her wedding ceremony. Long story short, I took it seriously and said yes and then we realised it wasn’t actually a bad idea because of the number of guests allowed at wedding ceremonies at the time. I started doing some more research when writing the ceremony to see what to include and discovered so many independent celebrants doing this as a full-time career. Just like that, the idea was in my head and I could not stop thinking about it!!
No Going Back
With my husbands encouragement, I chose to take a chance and researched different celebrant training schemes. I finally decided I preferred the look of the UK Society of Celebrants distanced learning course because this gave me the flexibility I needed with working during the week. After much deliberation and weighing up the pros and cons, I signed up for the course and paid the fee (no going back-eek!). I was sent my pre-coursework and set up an initial tutorial via skype with my tutor James.
Juggling with my day job
During this time, I also accepted full time hours at my job as a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant for the NHS to earn some extra money (shout out to NHS workers at this time- you are all doing amazing!!).
This meant I had to do my course tutorials and work in the evenings and weekends. It took me 2 months to finish my course and even though juggling my job and coursework was sometimes tiring… I absolutely loved attending skype tutorials, writing and performing my mock scripts and learning again, so I knew I had made the right decision.
Developing My Brand
In the little spare time, I had left during this period, I developed my own website, created my social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok) and established my brand identity. That is when ‘Meg Stanier: Independent Family Celebrant’ was born. I started posting about my course journey, sharing things I had just learnt from my tutorials and posting wedding/naming ceremony inspiration. I also found my niche, which is offering a personalised and exclusive ‘your journey’ poetry service that couples and families can use as readings during their ceremonies.
After Finishing My Course
Once I completed my course in December 2020 and receiving some amazing feedback from my tutor, I felt ready start offering my services and was super excited! However, because of the pandemic, I knew I would not receive many queries because of the uncertainty and restrictions surrounding wedding/family events.
I decided to use this time to perfect my new skills, develop my online content and inspire families/couples who may be feeling a bit lost during this time.
I keep myself busy by:
Editing my website.
Creating a blog for my website. I try to write something every Saturday for people to read. This could be anything related to weddings/baby naming/celebrant services etc.
#quoteoftheday via Instagram I post a quote every weekday to create inspiration for wedding/naming ceremony readings and themes.
Practicing Ceremony Handmade Creations I want to make my ceremonies as personal as possible and give my couples multiple options for the different elements of their ceremony, therefore I am using this quiet time to develop my ideas and practice!
Writing poetry! I need to make sure to keep on top of my poetry writing skills so I try to write as much as I can.
I really am enjoying using this time to develop my skills and get my business ready for when the world is back to some form of normality again. However, I am so looking forward to getting some queries, meeting clients, and creating ceremonies that are unique and memorable. That is my journey of creating a business during the pandemic, I hope you enjoyed. Meg x