Candice Coppola on being an unlikely entrepreneur, building Jubilee Events from the ground up, and getting a book deal!
Describe your business in a few words?
I help wedding pros build a profitable business with purpose.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I got my first whiff of entrepreneurship while I was snuggled up on the couch, recovering from having my appendix removed. I was an unlikely entrepreneur. At 26, I had an unfinished college degree in Art History and a horrible corporate job to match. But just like you, I had big dreams and the determination to make what I wanted to happen, happen.
Flipping through the TV (as one does when they’ve called out sick from work), I came across a show on TLC called “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” I was hooked. The next day, I remember being SURROUNDED by bridal magazines–every issue I could get my hands on–thumbing through the pages like a private investigator.
I tripped over a passion that day. A fire was ignited in my belly (truth be told, some of that fire was probably the absence of my appendix, lol). I became obsessed with figuring out how to turn this newly uncovered purpose into a career. Day and night, I inhaled weddings. I spent every free moment buried in BRIDES magazine, gazing at pictures and actually reading the articles. (I kinda had to–at that point in my life, the only weddings I attended were ones of family members when I was a kid. I was doing this with ZERO experience.)
I’d come home from CVS with two arm-fulls of newly released bridal magazines, ready to pour myself into them as I began to lay the foundation for my business. That’s how I started my wedding planning and design company way back in 2007. A life-changing moment, a determination to leave a job I abso-freaking-lutely hated, and the glossy pages of BRIDES magazine to inspire me and keep me company.
I built my wedding planning and design business, Jubilee Events, from zero to six figures in the first two years. And my nervousness about starting a business with no experience? A thing of the past. Over the years, my team and I worked with hundreds of clients worldwide, from New York City to Fiji, Vermont to Costa Rica, Barbados to Paris, celebrating moments that mattered in our clients’ lives.
I started Jubilee Events with NO experience, NO contacts, and none of the training or support that’s available these days. Even so, I signed high-end clients from the very start of my business and produced events over $1,000,000.
I went on to write and publish two books and get featured in countless publications (THIS was the biggest thrill since those magazines were at the start of it all). Fast forward to 12 years later and my scribble of a signature found its way on a bill of sale. I built a business that I loved, and then I sold my successful wedding planning and design business to teach other women how to do what I did.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Before I started my business, I had an unfinished degree in Art History working in HR inside a medical practice. But I’ve had a long list of jobs… everything from the ticket girl at our local amusement park to washing dishes at a restaurant!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Growing up, I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. No one in my family owned a business at the time and I never even considered it as a possibility!
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
OK– I’ve been around since Moses–so my marketing plan when I started my business back in 2007 looks A LOT different than what entrepreneurs do today. But the funny thing is–my marketing plan is STILL relevant–and something you should be doing.
When I launched my business I spent months doing outreach, meeting like-minded entrepreneurs for a cup of coffee to chat business. I had zero experience and no clients, so I knew the fastest way to grow my business was to get in front of other businesses who were working with the clients I wanted to attract. Building those relationships paid off in dividends. In fact, I’m in touch with most of the business owners I met in my first year in business (and two of them became my co-authors!).
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I have two accomplishments I’m most proud of to date! The first is snagging a book deal and writing TWO books. What a dream come true! Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I’d be a published author with books sold at Target. The second accomplishment is selling my business. I am so freaking proud of that. I got to build a business that someone wanted to buy! How cool is that?
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I love asking potential team members what suggestions they have for how we can improve our brand. It speaks to the dynamic I like to create inside my company–collaboration and idea generation. I want team members to feel like they have a say in what we do. I think it’s a smart question to ask so you can also see how much research a person did before they applied for the job. I value candidates who take the time to get to know me and my business before they pursue a career with us.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
The biggest lesson I learned in 2020 was that I don’t have control over everything, and sometimes, I just need to live in the moment and save all my plans for another day.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Staying productive each day can be challenging. Everyone has different workloads and commitments, but for me, I find that staying as organized as possible really helps me move the needle forward. Here are three tips that can work for anyone, no matter their season in life:
Plan Ahead: I start my Sunday morning planning for the week ahead. I spend anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour thinking through what I want my week to look like, what appointments I have scheduled, and what I need to accomplish. That small amount of time pays off in big ways when I start my Monday. I feel in control and less overwhelmed about the week ahead. Most of the time, I’m excited to dig in and get things done!
Big Picture Items: Instead of massive to-do lists a mile long, I try to frame my workload around big picture items. I pick 3 focus areas for the week… It can be anything from supporting the women inside my mastermind group to focusing on marketing or launching a product. Those big picture items are like a compass for the week and keep me focused on what’s important. I feel less overwhelmed because I’m only focusing on one, two, or three things!
Batchworking: I’m a huge fan of batching identical tasks together and seeing them through to the finish line. Batchworking has been a game changer for me. When we are shifting from one task to another, it takes some time for us to come down from what we were doing and focus on something new. You can waste an entire day going back and forth, splitting your time between a bunch of unrelated tasks. With batchworking, you pull together similar or identical tasks and do them all at once. I love doing this for my podcast, graphic design, marketing, project management, and a lot more!
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
To me, being an Entreprenista means finding success on your own terms but then reaching your hand back to help another woman who has the same dream.