Thoughts on Mentoring and Events

Being self-taught and having learned many lessons over the years (sometimes the hard way), sometimes I wonder how different it would have been if I had a mentor. There’s nothing wrong with figuring things out for yourself, but having a person to help guide you and teach you what they’ve learned certainly doesn’t hurt.
Preston Photo

A picture of me from a past speaking engagement


I’m constantly getting requests for mentorship, but my schedule is so hectic that it’s hard to fulfill each individual request so I’ve thought carefully about offering a workshop. The most important aspect is how to offer a workshop that is different from the others.

I asked my good friend and great planner, Marcy Blum,  to join me in the effort. We wanted to create a learning environment that would be intimate and interactive. A workshop that offered one on one lessons not just on designing events, but the nuts and bolts of the business and the different pieces involved in producing the final product.

Preston Photo

Marcy and me

For example, one of the most essential parts of my team is having a fantastic planner on board. Yet, I often find myself trying to explain to clients the necessity of having a great and experienced planner for the job.  Over the years, the line between designers, production and planners has become blurred.

Here’s a summary of the differences:

  • Designers: We do exactly that…we design anything and everything that has to do with visual decor: flowers, table cloths, staging, room decor, lighting, food presentation, theatrical design, table settings, etc.  This, of course, is the main job I do in my company (in addition to being a kick-ass sales man).
  • Production: After a job is completely designed, presented to and approved by our clients, then comes the most challenging part:  producing the visual design into the real world in an effective, timely and cost-conscious manner.  The production process is always a  “work in progress.” As my company grows and we do jobs in America and all over the word, this becomes more difficult yet exciting.
  • Planning: Years ago when I first started, I tried planning myself.  One day, after making 10 phone calls to organize one meeting, I realized how challenging and time consuming this job is. In my opinion, most clients do not have the slightest idea of the time, patience and detail that goes into to a planner’s job (and folks you’re not just a planner because you call yourself one–you need the experience to back up the claim).  Planners do not have a specific product like flowers or dresses. What they sell is mostly their amazing organizational skills, their experience in getting the job done and wearing many, many different hats.

Preston Photo
I’d like to thank all of you for the overwhelming interest we received when we announced BAILEY AND BLUM’S first workshop.  At first I thought we’d have a class of 40, however after hearing your requests of what you’d like to learn,  we thought the workshop should have more of a one on one component to it.  So, because of the workshop timing (it’s just one weekend), we’d like to invite only 20 participants to the mentoring weekend.

At the moment I am overseas working, however Marcy and I we’ll be finalizing all requests this coming week when I get back.  If you are interested,  please send in your application in the next few days. You can find the application here.

I look forward to sharing with you secrets, stories and some of the downfalls I’ve experienced in hopes that you don’t repeat them.
Now, your turn: What is the biggest challenge you’re currently encountering in your business? Is it getting clients, determining pricing, getting publicity, etc…? Let me know and I may add it to the roster of discussion topics for Bailey and Blum.
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