By Tasha Newland, Founder and Photographer

This time last year I was a months into what I was calling a period of refocusing.  I was working alongside a coach, Ebonie, on both a business and personal level. I hit pause on what I was doing before figuring out what I was going to do next.  I knew I needed some kind of community. Yet putting myself out there meant opening myself up to criticism, comparison, and possible ridicule. Needless to say, I was very worried.  I saw so many wedding suppliers confident in their purpose and what they were delivering.  Yet I felt lost, overwhelmed and invisible.  I had no one to talk to.  After years of holding out, I decided to make a start, and go for it.  I started an Instagram account and a facebook group.  I had a few meetings and some general chats.  Then around September time, I saw a simple quote;

The Hampshire Wedding Club, Advice for Suppliers, Entrepreneur Support, My Epiphany, Business advice, Hampshire Weddings, The Edit, Natasha Newland

Having spent many years living a lonely existence as a wedding creative.  Made even harder, after a 16-year corporate career. I found myself missing my friends, my support network and my ability to be confident in my job.  What it came down to was crippling comparison, was I good enough? Who did they hire instead of me? Where were all my enquiries?  Assuming it was something negative I had done.

Work was something that was fought for.  Squirrelling it away and sheltered it from prying eyes. I was wary of competition snatching my jobs away, because then where would I be? I had bills, a family, and a company to keep afloat. This mindset of scarcity and of fear fuelled an unhealthy combative approach to work.  It was an extremely limiting stretch of my career. I’d hit a wall, I didn’t even know existed, and could see no way out.  These words made me understand I was not alone. It was clear many people were feeling the same thing and struggling with the same issues.

The Hampshire Wedding Club, Advice for Suppliers, Entrepreneur Support, My Epiphany, Business advice, Hampshire Weddings, The Edit, Natasha Newland

Taking what Natalie said, and brainstorming a regional niche idea.  I decided I was going to initiate an idea that would do one thing.  I would choose to cheer on my fellow creatives.  I would rise above competition and do something very different.

My social media and online efforts suddenly had a purpose. I found I was CONSTANTLY living outside of my comfort zones.  Making the first move to form a connection was so hard, because I didn’t actually know what to say. I had to learn to give, give, give, rather than protect and exclude.

I had to give my time, and listen to others and try to answer questions.  I had to give support to my fellow creatives who need an emotional boost.  I had to liberally give encouragement to the people who were taking risks.  Realising after some coaching time that I had forgotten I had a business as well.

I know it has not always perfect.  I know I have had fuzzy lines around what this actually is, and I take absolute responsibility for that.

Just as #communityovercompetition is more than a hashtag, #quintessentiallyHamphsire is the same.  It is a movement, it is a start.

I am so proud of the baby steps forward the HWC is making, but I now want more! We have a beautiful website, and I mean beautiful. We have held some wonderful bespoke and unique events.  We are making massive steps on the SEO rankings and visibility.

We continuing to share, support, and encourage, both online and in person.  Those of you discovering these communities for the first time.  Weighing the risks of putting yourself out there.  I want to encourage you to silence those voices of doubt and do it.

You are not alone. I have been where you are sitting right now. I have felt inadequate. I have doubted my work. I have worried and struggled and fought with every ounce of my being to keep my business alive. There have been days where I wanted to quit. I’ve had doors slammed in my face, been taken for granted, snubbed and used. When one door shuts, I find myself looking for the next door I can open.

You see, we’re all in this together. Innovation doesn’t have to be lonely. It doesn’t have to mean going at it alone. When we dare to believe, we can carve out a better future for ourselves and our clients. When we have the audacity to take leaps of faith.

Seeking a life that revolves around our passions.  Sleepless nights, urgent emails, client cancellations and looming deadlines. We’ve all been there. Each wedding season year brings another onslaught of challenging situations to navigate.

Thank you for listening, love x

The Hampshire Wedding Club, Advice for Suppliers, Entrepreneur Support, My Epiphany, Business advice, Hampshire Weddings, The Edit, Natasha Newland

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