Emma Hanis's Advice For New Entrepreneurs Is Spot-On - YFS Magazine

Emma Hanis’s Advice For New Entrepreneurs Is Spot-On

Several years ago, Emma Hanis had the crazy idea that she would start a business. Here's a look at four essential lessons she learned along the way.

Several years ago, I had the crazy idea that I was going to start a business. Two of my friends got engaged, and before I could think about the chain of events that were about to occur, the words “Can I plan your wedding?” came out of my mouth.

The next thing I know, I was sitting in the spare bedroom, turned office, of my apartment applying for a business license. What followed was trying to start an event planning business from the ground up in the middle of a global pandemic, which felt like I was trying to build a plane in midair.

I love being a wedding planner and owning my company, but there are some things I would change if I were to do it over again.

Here are four things I wish I knew when I started my business:


1. Take yourself seriously

As a first-time entrepreneur, I didn’t realize how intimidating it would be to tell people around me that I was starting a company. It felt like those I would tell would see it as a “side hobby” I would work on in my spare time and probably get tired of my new hobby within six months.

I didn’t start taking myself seriously on day one, and as a result, I was insecure about what people would think of me. I fell into the “imposter syndrome” mindset. I soon learned that if I couldn’t take myself seriously, I couldn’t expect others to take me seriously.

If you fall into this mental trap or begin to struggle with imposter syndrome, I recommend having a group of people around you that you can trust who can hype you up to see your potential, and then help you create action steps to get there.


Photo: Émerveillé Events Team | Credit: Twinkle Don’t Blink Photography


2. Take your business systems seriously

When I finally began to take myself seriously, the next step was to take my business systems seriously. While I began working on a small scale with a limited number of clients, I knew I wanted to eventually grow my business to become a full functioning ecosystem with employees, well-established systems, and a growing profit margin.

I needed to treat my three-figure business as if it was a seven-figure business. While the total worth of my company was only in the hundreds, I needed to act as if I was running a multi-million dollar business.

Once I realized this and began to create solutions to problems I didn’t have yet, and systems for a scope of work I had not yet reached. As a result, I was thankful when those problems arose since I had already prepared myself on how to respond. Similarly, when growth occurred, I had the systems in place to support the new scope and scale my company reached.


3. Become a life-long learner

Full disclosure: I don’t have an MBA. If no one has told you this yet, many business owners don’t have MBAs when they first start. However, that doesn’t mean I have stopped learning.

I wish someone had told me the value of being a lifelong learner. I was so focused on pushing myself to start a business, and push past my insecurities, that I neglected the significance of putting my pride aside and diving deeper into learning.

It is okay to not know everything about owning a company. It is even okay to not know everything there is to know about your industry. The most impactful business leaders are those who take a humble posture toward entrepreneurship and admit what they don’t know as they take steps to learn.


4. Embrace failure.

The final piece of advice I wish I knew when starting my business is to embrace failure. Sometimes the only way to learn is to fail. This is why many business books and articles recommend experiencing failure. Failure is inevitable in life and business.

To take this a step further, I not only recommend it but I encourage it – within reason. The best business practices I have in place are the result of trying something and completely failing. However, these failures position me to share advice to new wedding planners and business owners who are starting out so they can avoid some of my mistakes, and graciously welcome their own.


Emma Hanis is the Founder and Chief Planner and Designer of Émerveillé Events, a wedding and event planning company that provides ethereal, modern, timeless, and elegant design paired with professional and experienced planning based out of Seattle and London, and which offers services worldwide. Emma founded Émerveillé Events out of a desire to see couples start their marriages stress-free, and be able to focus on one another.


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