Today Andrea DeLucia is a wedding planner, a career coach, a speaker, and a happily married mother of four kids. She owns and operates Elegance & Grace Weddings and runs workshops to motivate and inspire industry professionals and hopefuls.
Before, Andrea was a teen whose parents divorced when she was an infant. She was a victim of abuse and neglect, moved around a lot, went to 8 schools before going to college, and emancipated at 13. Her story is one of resilience and hope. I asked Andrea to share her career trajectory and offer her advice on starting a small business.
My career path, like my childhood, has been scattered and very unstable. I moved around in business, not sure where I fit in or was a good match. My skill set was very niched. I loved people and working in fast-paced environments, but still nothing I did ever felt right.
I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and a stay at home mother and raise lots of babies. When I finally became a mother I decided that, though being home was such a gift, I was missing a piece of me and what I needed to sustain happiness and fulfillment. My career path goals became all about finding where I could be creative, have freedom, and meet people. Becoming a make-up artist was the first time I could have the best of all worlds. From there, I evolved into wedding planning because I wanted to learn more about what goes into the weddings we admire. I fell in love with being the creative force behind the scenes!
I learned how to work under many different situations and pretty seamlessly, I might add. I love what I do, so even though making time to do it comes with its challenges, I can also see the reward. I have learned not to take on what I can’t handle. Finally saying no and dropping projects that have no real opportunity or value is very important to prioritizing your time. Well, I am still working on all of this of course.
Just recently, I was putting together a workshop and I was up against so many challenges: marketing, budget, and struggling to build an audience. I wanted to quit and have this dramatic scene where I scream "I am done!" I convinced myself to keep going because it’s important to me and others. When I have a successful workshop that feeling of success and that I helped people that are struggling in their career helps me continue on when it gets hard!
My motivations are the very things that distract and challenge me: my family. Giving my family stability and being successful so I can leave behind something important for my kids - and I don’t mean money - I mean a sense of who mom was, and how hard she worked!
My advice to women wondering if they have what it takes to start a business: you do! Most women get hung up on the voices in our heads that say that what we are doing is not important enough or that no one will pay attention or buy our product or services. We get hung up on "it's been done before" and "why me?" So that mindset needs to go first! You have to realize how unique your business will be because it’s you!
This said, some people may not be cut out to own a business. It’s harder to work for yourself. You are the one that is accountable for all the success and the failure! You have to learn who you are first and have a plan on how you will overcome adversity. But if you have passion and motivation, then take the leap!