I’ve always wanted to start an “I Believe” movement, challenging others to follow their dreams. This social experiment would require people to commit and confess to the beliefs or changes they would like to make. Once others hear, they would also commit to helping them achieve that through social media or with words of encouragement. As a community, we do the best we can, with the resources we have, to help another achieve their dreams.
As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alicia Mae Smith.
Alicia Mae Smith is the CEO and Lead Planner of ILÈ Events. Alicia had her first itch of wedding planning when she assisted Mindy Weiss applying glitter tattoos at a Bat Mitzvah. From there she fell in love with hosting events and decided to combine her years of hospitality and customer service with event planning. Alicia serves as a confidant, advisor, and a calming voice for her clients during one of the most stressful times in their lives. Alicia has planned over 50 successful events, been mentioned on some of the top wedding platforms, and is trailblazing on social media.
When Alicia isn’t busy planning a wedding of someone’s dreams, she is jumping on the trampoline with her children, cooking something from Fit Men Cook, or reading and watching rerun wedding flicks. To learn more please visit http://www.ileevents.com.
Thank you so much for joining us Alicia! Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Weare currently expanding the brand to wedding jewelry allowing our brand to be a part of weddings across the nation and sending a little happiness across the way.
In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?
ILÈ Events offers a concierge-style wedding planning service that stands out in the crowd. We have exceeded the “norm” of full planning services and created our High Touch Service that allows our clients the flexibility to enjoy their engagement and continue their usual schedule without significant interruptions.
Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?
At the time, I was pivoting my company into a full-time career and relying on it as my primary source of income. My idea was to expand the company to create a multimillion-dollar brand. I shared my vision with peers, and they explained that planning weddings was just a hobby. My reaction was a simple nod, and my ongoing response is reaching my goals in front of their eyes.
I overcame the naysayers by keeping my vision in front of me, setting goals, and accomplishing them through small daily tasks. Although I see the whole staircase in my mind, I only focus on each step. That belief has rewarded me in many ways.
In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? 🙂
I’ve made more money at ILÈ Events than any full-time job I previously worked. ILÈ Events has also employed over 20 team members, independent contractors, and other wedding planners. My company has provided opportunities for others to survive independently and pursue their dreams. I think that type of change has been worth all of my sacrifices.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’ve received excellent support from my parents and my husband. They have backed me from the beginning. I would also like to highlight Jewel Georgieff, owner of Pralique Weddings (www.pralique.com). She has been instrumental in my career as someone who is in the wedding industry and has proven success. Jewel has guided me in the details of my brand to align with creating vendor partnerships, practical methods, and processes.
It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?
As an introvert, I am used to being overlooked and doubted. These actions have helped me create “blinders” to how other people respond to my ideas and goals. I have learned that their response is a projection of the feelings of their capabilities and not mine.
Based on your experience, can you share five strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)
- Create a blocker — Envision a goal in mind that you want to accomplish. Imagine how it feels when you achieve it and how it will affect your friends and family’s lives. Thinking back to this image in your low moments will help rejuvenate your focus. The more you use that image to block out the naysayers and negative thoughts, the easier your goals stay at the forefront of your mind. Every time I felt discouraged, I would remember my goal of ILE Events serving clients around the world. That dream has kept the company alive and thriving.
- Develop a plan — Many people set goals but fail to organize the execution of those goals. The easiest way to tackle any idea is to break it down to small tasks you can accomplish each day. For example, if your yearly sales goal is $250k, you would need to sell $20.8k/month or $5.2k/week or $742/day. Now that you know how much you desire to make, it’s time to attach your services. How many services or products will you have to sell to reach your daily, weekly, or monthly quota? Getting to the bottom of that number will help you reach your overall plan.
- Use Your Local Resources — It is challenging to start a business with limited resources; that is why you have to think outside of the box. Mastering ways to accomplish your ideas in an untraditional way will set your brand apart from the rest. I started using social media to tell the love stories of many engaged couples instead of advertising my services. This strategy allowed people to get a closer look at what they are getting when hiring me instead of taking my “word.”
- Find inspiring stories of people accomplishing the things you wish to achieve. I find myself watching documentaries of iconic creators like Walt Disney and Oprah. Watching their journey gives me so much faith. They had a dream, kept with it, and now are great legends in our society. I, too, will complete what I have started.
- Please don’t take advice from people who have not proven their success. It’s thoughtful that so many people want to help and see you succeed, but taking advice from them can be costly. It’s best to find a mentor who can help walk you through unfamiliar places. Having an ally you can trust, who’s been where you are about to go, can speed you ahead. If it weren’t for my mentor Jewel, I am not sure I would have easily overcome some of my obstacles.
What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?
Rosa Parks confidently stated, “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be?
You never know what your idea can trigger. I’ve always wanted to start an “I Believe” movement, challenging others to follow their dreams. This social experiment would require people to commit and confess to the beliefs or changes they would like to make. Once others hear, they would also commit to helping them achieve that through social media or with words of encouragement. As a community, we do the best we can, with the resources we have, to help another achieve their dreams.
Can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!