Is it really possible to work full time as a celebrant? Are you able to work during the week as a funeral celebrant and weekends as a wedding celebrant? The answer: you absolutely can! Celebrants can, and do, take ceremonies throughout the year; building a full-time income doing something they love.
Of course, the beauty of a celebrant business is having the flexibility to decide how many ceremonies you’d like to do. Some celebrants choose to do one a week, others many more. In this blog we dive into the steps to taking your celebrant business full time.
How do I set up a celebrant business?
Firstly, running a celebrant business like a pro means you need to understand the foundations and set down some goals. The question of what your full-time celebrant business looks like, is down to you: full-time to one celebrant could be 2 ceremonies a week, to another it might be 10. Creating a strategy with clear, realistic aims – making sure you know what you are doing month on month – is the best way to manage your time, focus your energies, and to make sure you aren’t overwhelming yourself.
So, you have your goal…it’s time to stand out! Keep in mind that you are your celebrant business!. You, and the celebrant experience that you provide, are the product that you are selling. Celebrants are in increasing popularity and relationships are key to achieving your goal of full-time celebrant business success. Digitally and face-to face, every interaction is important when it comes to selling yourself and building your reputation as a stand out celebrant.
Other key elements:
- Brand – at the risk of repeating ourselves…you are your celebrant business. You are your brand and it’s important to have a clear vision in mind of who you are, as a celebrant, and who your ideal clients are. If your local high street was full of shops with no signage, how tiring would it be to wander in and out looking for the item you needed? Similarly, if you were drawn to a restaurant that had an A La Carte menu outside, only to discover, once inside, that it was an all-you-can-eat buffet then you might lose your appetite, no? Be proud of who you are and what you are building…define it, own it, communicate it, and use it to connect with your target market.
- Digital visibility – it (almost!) goes without saying that your full-time celebrant business success depends upon you putting yourself out there into the digital world, and we dive a little deeper into that later. Communicate, share and build those connections using all the (often free!) tools available to you, online.
- Reputation building – digital communication might be your main focus in our digital age, and having an online reputation for excellence is key (those all important testimonials, for example). It can be easy to forget though, that face-to-face relationships are still valued. Afterall, the celebrant service you are providing thrives upon your ability to build in-person relationships with your clients. Building relationships with other businesses such as venues and funeral directors matters; word of mouth still counts for something, and having these key connections may get you that next lead.
Do I need to have a logo and website to start a celebrant business?
Absolutely! These are fundamental to you full-time success, and here’s why:
- Logo – you are the brand of your celebrant business and having a professional looking logo that represents your brand, as you want it to be seen, is vital. Your logo is the foundation of your identity and is often the first impression (of you and your celebrant business) that is seen by a potential client. Think of your logo as the chorus to a song…that catchy, memorable part that is repeated throughout. You will use your logo in that same, consistent way – across all digital platforms – to represent yourself to clients, and to differentiate you from the competition.
- Website – Your website is essentially the digital shopfront to your celebrant business. A professional looking, even professionally created website is so valuable, as it represents you and ‘sells’ your offering. To thrive as a full-time, professional celebrant, your website needs to reflect your business goals, aims and appeal to your target market; with clean, easy to navigate, eye-catching pages that inspire your ideal client to ‘walk through’ your shop door, rather than your competitor’s…that is the ideal.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you! You do not have to be a whizz at website building or a marketing professional to get up and running with your celebrant business: should you need it, there is a full package of brand, website and marketing support available to you, direct from AMC.
How do I market myself as a celebrant?
Marketing yourself starts with a firm understanding who you are and who your ideal clients are (what do they like, what kind of ceremony do they want, etc.). You know your goals, you have defined your brand and you have your ‘stand out’ logo and website…great! But, what now?
Well, to get those bookings coming in you have to put yourself out there. Don’t be too intimidated by the enormity of that task: once you decide which are the most productive ways to promote yourself – and have set these in motion – you will gather momentum.
Do give different methods a fair try, but don’t overwhelm yourself under the pressure of being seen everywhere and all of the time. Remember to factor marketing into your strategy. Investment of your time is absolutely essential, but wasting your time is counter-productive. In short, build on ways that are working for you and let go of those that don’t. There are many successful celebrants out there, worldwide, and it is not cheating to do your homework and find out what is working for them: Who are they? What digital platforms do they get the most positive interaction from? What networking groups are they joining? Where are they advertising? Go there…do that…and connect!
Marketing isn’t just about drawing potential clients to you, you can (and should) go to them! Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client: Where are they physically shopping? Where are they getting their online inspiration from? Who is providing them with the information they need to organise their celebration? Go there…do that…and reach out!
Let’s look a little closer at just some of the core ways to promote your celebrant business:
Social media – undoubtedly the ‘bread and butter’ of your marketing strategy and vital to growing your celebrant business into a full-time career.. Posting on instagram, creating a business page on Facebook, building an audience on Twitter; all of these are free and have some fantastic and easy to use management tools at your disposal. Again, take a look at your competition, take advice from the online support networks, and ask questions. What is and is not working for them? If you were your client, what would inspire you to go from being a follower to actually making that enquiry? In our experience, people like to celebrate their own success, and are more than happy to share and inspire you to do the same.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the obvious platforms to get you up and running. All have some easy to navigate, free business tools to help you analyse the data behind your posts; enabling you to learn from what is and isn’t working, and to up your social media game. These platforms aren’t just about exposure; they can, and do, generate direct bookings, and so keeping your eye on those figures (and adjusting your plan, in response), will pay off. Remember brand, brand, brand! Your personal social media accounts are for your personal posts…your business platforms should be engaging and inspiring, but importantly, they should always maintain your professional image.
Pinterest is another great social media tool at your business fingertips. You may be familiar with the platform as a user; you probably know how easy it is to start browsing and loose hours of your time, through engaging lifestyle images. Think about how many brands – many of which are new to you – you are exposed to during that browsing time. Browsers don’t have to be followers in order to see your pins, making it a great tool for increasing your brand exposure and enticing potential clients to your website. As a service based business you have the opportunity to place your brand, visually, in front of those who maybe never knew that hiring a celebrant was an option for them. It may be that your ideal clients are searching for the perfect venue styling; with considered pin placement and board use, you can use this related content to get yourself in front of those Pinterest users, and inspire them to want to know more about your brand.
Don’t discount using the perhaps less obvious, but increasingly popular, social media tools at your free disposal, such as SnapChat. A fun and engaging ‘snap’, perhaps of you and your clients at your most recent celebration, can be an fun and instantaneous way to keep you at the industry forefront. What are your client’s using? What are your friends using? What are your celebrant community using? Go there…try it…have fun!
The Celebrant Directory – yes, we know we are biassed, but we cannot discuss your self-promotion without acknowledging that TCD is one of the best lead generators that your celebrant business will invest in. Don’t take our word for it: the The Celebrant Directory website and social media platforms are brimming with positive experiences from successful celebrants, just like you! Over 600 celebrants worldwide enjoy a regular stream of bookings through their personal profile pages on the directory. Don’t take our word for it, The Celebrant Directory feedback from Nigel Bould – Award Winning Staffordshire and Cheshire Wedding Celebrant – gives you the idea!
Venues and other businesses – building relationships and connecting with other businesses that are used by your ideal clients, is a solid way to get your brand out there. Wedding venues, funeral directors, wedding fayres, event organisers…you get the idea! As a successful celebrant, you thrive on those personal connections and interactions, and you will be pleased to know that the path to success does not always have to be a virtual one. Factor in some time to visit places, people and other businesses with which you can establish a mutually beneficial connection. When clients go to them with wedding ideas, or needing advice on how best to honour their loved one who has passed…make sure it is your name and your brand that comes to mind when those businesses are recommending a celebrant.
Industry influencers – reaching out to industry influencers can also be a solid way to keep on top of your marketing game. Set up a zoom…invite them for a coffee…whatever your preference you are not only connecting and networking with key players in your field, but also have a brilliant opportunity to learn from their own experience.
For extra insight and support on how to market yourself, there are tools and resources available to you from The Academy of Modern Celebrancy, such as the regular boot camps hosted by Jennifer, or by joining the supportive Facebook celebrant community.
What are the top 3 things I need to build a successful celebrant business?
- Motivation – your drive to succeed, your willingness to learn, and your readiness to invest in yourself. A clear strategy, as mentioned, not only offers you direction but can be a good tool for keeping you motivated. Being a celebrant and building your celebrant business is undoubtedly a rewarding career choice, but there will be days when you need to go the extra mile to keep that motivation on track.
- Investment – there will be financial investment in getting your celebrant business off the ground; celebrancy training; investing in professional looking websites; advertising; and perhaps travel when putting yourself out there. Above all, be must willing and prepared to invest your time; selling yourself and even up-skilling yourself. Remember, you are the business! You could be the perfect celebrant for that next couples’ ceremony, but in order to stand out you need to be seen and that takes investment of all kinds. Becoming a member of The Celebrant Directory is one great way, already mentioned, offering real financial return back into your celebrant business. When you are considering any financial investment, you are likely to want to be clear about potential return…your time investment is no different.
- Support – this comes back to relationships, and building upon that network industry professionals, peers, clients and affiliates. You are doing something you love! But, bear in mind that there will be challenges; surround yourself with a celebrant community that understands; choose support networks that will celebrate your wins alongside you, ‘pump you up’ to keep you going, and that will challenge you with new ideas.
How can I run a celebrant business and be a celebrant at the same time?
This is not as complex as it may seem, with practice, and in part this links again to the importance of having set clear and realistic goals for yourself and your celebrant business. Congratulations, you have set yourself on the path to doing something you love full-time! But, managing that time – understanding how many hours to invest for marketing or admin each week, for example – will really pay off.
Your strategy for success will also rely on prioritising your current clients, managing your reputation and securing those all important testimonials. Effective time management is worth a mention here. There are tools within business pages (on most social media platforms) that allow you to manage your invested time. We would actively discourage bombarding your audience with too many posts/information at once, just because you have the time free; an audience can soon disengage if overwhelmed. Use your time to schedule your posts, then get on with the rest of your week, knowing that your social media posts are being drip fed to your audience. This allows you to invest your digital activity time, more productively, for example by responding to post comments and securing leads.
With dedication and passion, it’s absolutely possible to achieve the celebrant business of your dreams. Time to get started, motivated and excited about your business, it’s in your power to be as successful as you desire!
Jennifer is the Director of the leading celebrant training company, The Academy of Modern Celebrancy as well as the Founder of The Celebrant Directory, supporting over 600 celebrants globally.
Jennifer run a 2.5k community of celebrants who she dedicates her time to helping them grow their businesses and taking celebrancy from a hobby to a lifestyle.
Jennifer heads up the global Celebrant Industry Awards and the global celebrant summit, Celebrantopia each year!
A celebrant herself since 2010, she knows what it takes to make it in the industry and trains the best celebrants out there across the UK, Europe and the USA.
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