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Jan. 31, 2022

Mindset & Leveling Up Your Business

In this episode, Kristina speaks with Kawania Wooten, an event management executive, about mindset. What do you think of your company? How are you speaking about your company? Are your employees representative of your brand? Are you working from a place of abundance versus a place of scarcity and are you working to your strengths and outsourcing the rest? Tune into this episode to hear about mindset and leveling up in order to grow your business and brand.

Kawania Wooten, CMP, is an innovative event management executive, who excels at competitive strategic planning, convention and trade show management. Her expertise lies in developing 0perational and programmatic initiatives that provide added value, reduce operational costs, streamline internal processes, and standardize association policies and procedures.


• [3:18] When it occurred to Kawania she needed to change her mindset in order to grow her business…
• [10:35] The importance of cultivating relationships…
• [17:01] Kristina talks about the balancing act when you’re a team of one…
• [21:33] Kawania talks about where strategic planning comes into play…

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Guest Information:

Kawania Wooten

Our vision is to bring vendors, venues, show producers, wedding groups and engaged couples to ONE amazing place! We have built a platform that you can use us to access local vendors, video and photo inspiration galleries, mood boards, wedding stories and articles, engagement stories, exclusive savings, wedding show and expo events in your area, online stores, resources like wedding registries and informative podcasts as well as education events!


Kristina Stubblefield  0:00  
What do you think of your company? How are you speaking about your business? Are you working from a place of abundance versus a place of scarcity? And are you working to your strengths and outsourcing the rest? Tune into this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking to Kawania, Wooten and event management executive about mindset and leveling up in order to grow your business and brand. 

Your listening to a Business Booster episode of The Ring The Bling And All The Things podcast. My name is Kristina Stubblefield. I'm a technology consultant, marketing strategist, business coach, and in the past, a wedding vendor. In these podcast episodes, I'm providing impactful, easy to implement solutions and strategies for efficient workflow and business growth. Now, let's dive in to this episode.

Wedding professionals you are in for a real treat today. With me on this episode is an innovative event management executive that I had the pleasure of meeting at the ABC conference in French Lick. And that's no other than Kawania Wooten, thank you so much for joining me for this podcast episode.

Kawania Wooten  1:22  
Thank you for having me. Well,

Kristina Stubblefield  1:24  
and I'm going to let her do her own introduction. But like I mentioned, I met her at the Association of Bridal Consultants when they had their national convention at French Lick. And if you miss an episode, where we recorded with some of the wedding professionals, you want to go back and take a look, listen to it. But Kawania is a guest today. And she's got some great insight that she's going to share. And I'm going to tell you more about that. But Kawania, will you share with the guests who you are and all about your businesses?

Kawania Wooten  1:53  
Sure. Thank you so much. Again, I'm Kawania Wooten and I am the Principal Consultant of an event management firm here in Maryland, which we're in suburban suburban Maryland, the Washington, DC metropolitan area, my company is called Howerton Wooten Events. And I also own a company that provides educational services. It's a multimedia educational company, called the Enlightened Creative and the education is geared directly to wedding professional.

Kristina Stubblefield  2:28  
Well, and Kawania I know there are so many different topics that we could talk about. But today, you're gonna dive in a little bit on mindset. And it's really about opening up your mind to leveling up in your business. And I'm really excited to hear from you. But I know all of our listeners will be able to take something away from this to implement in their business.

Kawania Wooten  2:54  
Sure, you know, I've been managing or running the Howerton Wooten events, arm of my company, the event management company, probably this is my 15th year actually. And for the I want to say, first seven years, I went mostly by myself. And it occurred to me probably about year seven, that I'm that I am just spinning my wheels, and there's no growth. And surely there should have been some growth and true growth by year seven, and found that I needed just after reading some business books needed to change my mindset on how I was running this business, because I was looking at it very specifically as an event planning company, and not so much as an Event Management Agency. And I will tell you, one of the first things that hit me that was a challenge. I love it, and I don't Is that I named the company, my to last name, because it's very hard to get clients to want to work with the people who I bring on as a part of my team. So growing my business, one of the first things that I had to do was make sure that people understood this was a business and not just an event planner. And that meant changing my mindset, not just how I think of my company, but how I speak of my company, and I and I'm less than I do this and I do that and I present a Wii even if there isn't a Wii yet. I speak of my company as I am not doing everything. So the first thing I thought about is I need to delegate a lot of my work and so that King was outsourcing. But then the next thing that I had to do was think about which is so funny when you you start out as a team of one but my office culture, what kind of Vironment do I want to create? And what type of human beings do I want to represent my brand. And this is the craziest story. It was December 31 2013, I just finished reading the book, Delivering Happiness. And it was written by the late Tony Shea of Zappos. And he talks about your culture, being your brand. And I'm not talking, I'm talking your office culture, how your, your belief system for your company is your brand. So I sat down that evening, as New Year's Eve talk about manifesting. And I wrote down 10 beliefs of my company, what what do I what do I want me and my team to believe, and I didn't even have a team at this point. And I wrote those 10 things down, then I posted them on my website. And I, if you went to the Contact Us page, to so many people use the Contact Us page when they're trying to apply for a job. And it said, are you interested in a job read this first. And it went to that link on the page with those 10 beliefs. And at the end, I said, Now, if you are in agreement with me, now you can apply for a job. And that's very similar to how a lot of big corporations bring in their staff, they want you to see a video and understand their mindset, their belief system, their culture, their mission statement, before you even fill out an application. That probably that first week of January, and that would have been 2015. At that point, I received probably four for job application. Three of those people still work with me to this day. So it was first saying this is who I am. This is the kind of environment you'll be in, will this work for you? Before you income. And this is what I believe, and we're talking, I'm not talking about how we run our company. It was a belief system that that this is a kind place, you know, I don't have any patience for people who were not kind to others, we use our powers for good. I believe that's one of them. We believe in family dinners, like we work our butts off. But if you your kid has a recital, I expect you to be at the recital.

We believe that love is love that everybody is welcome to come to us to plan their wedding. These all of these fell into it. And and I think our team grew out of understanding this is what they were walking into, before they got in. So I didn't have a revolving door of team members. Once I started running, I could bring in that team, then my mindset went to what are our goals? What do I want this company to look like? And not you know, under so funny, because we always say three to five years. I wanted to know what did it What was it going to look like in six months? Now that I have these people in here, and what do I need to do to reach that goal? And I remember one of the first things we said is, hey, there is this local magazine. And I want them to know who we are, how do we do that. And one of my team members and I sat down and strategize and then came up with a strategy and then reached out to not the magazine directly. Because I'm a big believer in warm calls and not cold call. I reached out to a florist we work with because she bid in that magazine and asked her could she do an introduction. And we learned to one of our goals is and our mindset is that all of this is based on relationships, building that relationship with this local publication. And I didn't come to the table with the mindset of, hey, we really want to be in your magazine. I came with the Hey, I have all of this knowledge. How can I get some of us some of it to work with you so that it was more of b2b and that you hook me up? Kind of a scenario?

Kristina Stubblefield  9:30  
Well, in a couple things that you've said, his relationships, he seems like more now so than ever. A lot of marketing topics. Come back around to those relationships that you cultivate along the way. And then there's so much power. I feel like a lot of times people don't dive in to the people they work with. What what do they do? How can you work together to To benefit each person, not one or the other, or a hookup like you said, or a favor or help me out more, how can we work together? And both grow out of this? So I think that's great.

Kawania Wooten  10:13  
You know, and it's so funny because I don't think, you know, people will say, Oh, vendor relationships are so important thinking, I don't think you understand that relationships are not just liking each other's posts on social media, or sending them your vendor gifts at the end of the year, or Valentine's Day, or whichever time periods you choose. It's about getting to know people. And over the years, I've had some really good bosses, who were great at cultivating and that's the key word there cultivating relationship I used to work in the TV industry, and are in the industry constantly evolve starting in the year 2000. So we were constantly changing how we did our job, but it would be after I would see my boss after hours on the phone with those those rainmakers, those power brokers talking about, what can we do, how can we make it work, but she would always start that conversation off with, how's your family, how's she, she knew everybody's name, she never, she never made anybody feel like she was using them. It was more of a, hey, what you know, just checking in. And then then when she needed something, they didn't feel like she was just calling because she had a favor. She continued to cultivate these relationships every evening for about 30 minutes after work before she went home. And I thought that is a genius move right there. Because she was growing those relationships before she actually needed them.

Kristina Stubblefield  11:59  
And what I was going to say to that is the relationships are not just the vendor, the venue, your customers, your clients. It's anybody that you come across, and I've been in networking groups for many years. And some of them I felt like we're so businessy. So more corporate direction, that you didn't have a chance to get to know some what what do you need? Who can I send to you. And I'm, we're very fortunate at our business, to have worked with some great people, to be honest with you, a lot of our clients, become our friends that they check in if even if they don't need something, hey, I don't need anything. But I haven't talked to you for a couple months, how's things going? And it is one thing that I found very relaxing, talking with our clients. But I also make sure that when it comes to business, you know, yes, you have this side of it. And most of our clients when they call, how are you? How's Josh doing? You know, how's Mike and Sharon? You know, or Tammy or Stacy that's on our team. And that that means more to me than that person even asking knows. And I try to do the same thing, even if it's an emergency, or even if I'm just calling to check in with them, how's things going? How's business? How's your family? Just those little questions can really bring that relationship it can really hone in, because at the end of the day, we're all people. Yeah, we're all human. And there's so much power in those relationships. And one of the other things I just wanted to, to mention back with what you had said, was when you talked about cultivating your environment. I think a lot of people don't realize the environment, they work in a tracks that kind of business. Yeah, it is a domino effect. The expectations you set that also, you know, and when you talk about leveling up, you don't have these conversations multiple times. It's, you know, what you put out there expect to receive? Yeah, and it's what you're saying about being kind and being respectful. Also, I'd say a lot. You know, I want to treat others the way I want to be treated. And all of this that you're talking about goes right into leveling up your business. But I especially like how you say we no matter how big or small you are, I always have told people look, it takes a team. Yeah, it takes a team but what I also find is a road bump or a hump to get over for people is when you're working with others, when you have others on your team, still people, it takes a little time, I still have people that call me direct and no matter, they know who on our team is taking care of what they need, they still call me I'm one that I don't shut that down immediately, I do my best to explain, you know, so and so handles that on our team, I'll make sure to get that information over to him, I just want you to know, you just happen to catch me, but I won't ever hold you up the next time, if you want to email me, or email her, but also CC me, I try to merge that gap of not just be like, You shouldn't call me, you know, so and so takes care of that, there's a way to handle that. And I think some of us struggle with that line of not getting frustrated with it. But I think for me, it's quicker if they go to that person if they know where they're supposed to go. And all that is involved in team building.

Kawania Wooten  16:09  
Absolutely. And, you know, our customers there are so many times I will call a hotel, or I will call a big company where I've worked with one salesperson, and we will have the whole conversation and they will take down whatever I need. And then they'll say to me, Well, you know, I'm this isn't my area, but I'll make sure it gets to the right person. And you know, my first thought is on it, right? That's not her. But what she gave me the sense of are she or he is that, look, I'm going to take care of this for you. But I'm going to make sure and I'll make sure to get back to you. But just you know, just so you know, going forward, here's the right person for you. And it gives me a sense of I still know that my contact has my back. And she's going to make sure that whomever she sends me to, is going to take care of me also.

Kristina Stubblefield  17:00  
And what you're what you're talking about is I find a lot of people that are a team of one, it is finding the balancing act, they want to level up, or they may not even know they want to level up, they know they want to grow. But it's taken that initial step of you know, having others help you and what you I say a lot about automate and delegate automate delegate. Yeah. And it's not an easy process, but it is so worth it. Even if you smart if you even if you start with some of the smallest items, to delegate that out to someone who, that's their focus, they can probably do it much faster than you. But a lot of times people think, Oh, I don't know if I can afford to outsource.

Kawania Wooten  17:54  
Mm hmm. And you know, and and I remember the first time I had to come to terms with that. Because I would say the first time, I had a truly robust website, and I was still what it's interesting, because I even hesitate to say a team of one then, because I had an account. So then I wasn't a team of one. I was at that point, a team of two, it was an accountant that I outsource work to but that meant there was a part of my job I wasn't doing. So I had to get rid of the mindset that I wasn't a team of one anymore, even though I was the only one planning. But I remember spending an entire weekend trying to write the copy for my new website. And it was killing me. It just wasn't what I wanted. And at that point, someone said, can a copywriter and I thought oh, I can't afford that. She goes, what you can afford spending a whole weekend working on this copy. She goes, How much do you charge an hour because I'm sure it was less than the amount of time you know, if you add up how much you charge an hour. By the amount of time you spend on that coffee, you pay for a copywriter. And that hit me like a ton of bricks like right? I got nothing done this weekend. Gave the coffee I found a copywriter that worked well for me, gave the copy to her. I got it back the next day. It was so much better than anything I would have written but it still sounded like me. So I always tell her that she's made but smarter. She made me she makes me sound smart.

Kristina Stubblefield  19:33  
Well in what you're saying though time is one thing, but stress of even thinking about it or I need to get this done or I've got to reward this. I've got to rewrite that the whole time, energy effort. All of that. That is valuable. That is that is precious time. You can't get back and I do find myself a lot of times really talking through that. with people, what are you worth an hour? And is that your zone of genius? Is that best for your business? Or would it be just as good, maybe better, and it would produce better results for you because it was done by a zone of genius person, there was more so than just the, the part of time. And then people start to think, doesn't completely get them through it. But that is a lot of times the hiccup I hear from people, I just, I can't afford to grow my team, how can you afford not to? Yes.

Kawania Wooten  20:43  
And that's working from a point of abundance, as opposed to a point of scarcity, you know, that you think you're gonna always run out of money, not realizing that spending a little bit of money, and building up these extra resources will help you create more revenue in the long run. And, and because we're always thinking, we're going to run out of money. And that's, I mean, and you know, and that's nothing to sneeze at right now. Because a lot of us feel that way, being that our business hat, some of our business shrink, is 2020, then it was a little bit out of control and 2021. And here we are, again, where we're facing cancellations. So it's, it's hard not to start thinking from a point of scarcity, of Oh, but I better hold on to this, because I don't know what's going to happen. And that's where goal planning and strategic planning does come in, and having somebody help you plan your finances, so that you do know what your cash flow was going to look like for the next 1210 to 12 months. So you can make those decisions. And again, that goes back to okay, this is what I have. I want to grow more. But I know I can't do this alone. So who do I need to bring in to the scenario so that I can grow a business? That's false thinking right there, that you know, and that is stepping away from your business of the day to day planning for me as a planner, and being able to say, All right, I need to grow, and then scale. And I, in order for me to get there, I need to figure out what resources I need to bring on my team. While we were in the epi ABC conference, I was specifically looking at the software's that were available to help us, as you said, automate, because I feel like we were doing great. And that was like, Wait, there's software's out there that might help us do this a little bit better. So let me check out to see what what we can bring into the fold in the beginning of the year, so that we're ready to use it when things get a little bit busier. That is my job as the boss so that my planner can do their job at executing and designing wedding. And and that is that as a part of the level up. It's the relationship building. Strategic planning, that goal setting automatically is in there. But it's strategic planning. And then looking beyond the horizon of what's going to happen these first two quarters, and maybe seeing how, how is this going to ultimately look in quarter three and four?

Kristina Stubblefield  23:39  
Well, and you bring up an interesting point there because I think when we talk about teams, and more than just one in your business, technology, I mean, that's been my background for umpteen years. A lot of times people are I don't like to use the word scared, leery. They don't fully understand. It's hard to wrap your mind around how technology automations funnels, how that fully looks. And until you're taken down that path to say, this is how it can run your technology. Your software's is almost like having a person on your team. And a lot of times I work on systems and processes for people, because they're they got 25 steps to onboard a client. Well, first of all, how can we how can we lean that down? That a lot of busy work? What can we automate? And then is there anything in that that can be delegated? And a lot of times you know I utilize software's and programming to customize a solution because it can give you back a lot of time to where you You're, you won't we only have so much space, we yeah, we can only work on so much. And if you're constantly filled with events and planning events, and you leave no space to work on your business, it leaves no room for implementing new strategies for strategic planning for us. How how can you automate? How can you delegate? And I think a lot of times people look at their calendars and say, Oh, I'm available on that weekend, I can book that event. We've all ran from different, like you said, We've all made mistakes. We've all ran Helter Skelter, we all had to start somewhere. We all charged way less than we ever should have. We've all been there. Yeah. But you have to give yourself a little space to evaluate the opportunities. Where do you want to go? And you're right, it does come back around to goals, and all of that. But if you don't allow yourself the least little bit of time to explore those possibilities. There's no room to take the steps to grow or to level up.

Kawania Wooten  26:22  
Yes, you know, it's interesting, you mentioned something about having the time we use the fall, to have just our strategic planning discussions amongst our team, I also use that time to reevaluate the year. So I may have a meeting in the fall with an attorney. Okay, these are the things that happen this year. And one of the reasons I have that conversation, we might need to make changes to our contract, I have that conversation. I'm a big believer that yes, you can get businesses assurance from a website. And it's great. But you want an advisor, somebody who can make sure you're not putting your company at risk. And, and that's where attorneys and insurance advisors help you out. And I most definitely have this annual conversation with my accountant. Because that is not my strong that is not my not even close to my zone of genius. I, if I listed the mistakes, it's probably going to be accounting mistakes that are our that are at the highest, I always say that I'm probably great material for him at cocktail parties. But you know, and those people are going these, they use their core skills, to help make sure that we are where we need to be when it's time to not just grow. I mean, when it is part of growing, but adding a new service. You know, we say, Oh, we've always wanted to do this while I'm like, Well, I don't know if we're ready. This is someone who can come in and help us with that, as we represent the company. The other thing that I just started with our team, because I realized it's I can't, as much as I'd like to think I'm the only spokesperson. Every time my team steps out, they're speaking on my behalf. Or they're, they're representing the brand. So I you know, one of the things that I'm implementing this year spokesperson training, but I'm not calling um, you know, this is more for their growth. It just benefits me. And the reason I have that as if anybody ever said, Hey, can you give me some advice on XYZ? I know whatever they've learned with me and this comes out of their mouth. They're gonna say was such a such what Howard to Luton event said this, I want to make sure they are correct. They said it well. And they felt comfortable speaking. And I think that that's one of those things we miss, when we grow a team is making sure that this team is a true representation of your brand. You're only as good as your weakest link. Most of the time anyhow.

Kristina Stubblefield  29:22  
As much as I we could talk on and on. I mean, but the points that you've brought out in this, I think are great for anybody to start putting some thought to or really diving deeper into growing or leveling up. And I think a few times on this. You've touched base about the importance it really comes down to you got to know your numbers. Mm hmm. You have to know your numbers. That is pivotal. Yeah, in growth in business in all of it. And we've mentioned that a couple times without really calling it out. If you do not know your numbers, please start there. And yeah, take the time to know what's coming in, and what's going out.

Kawania Wooten  30:08  
Absolutely, absolutely. And, you know, if you don't understand that I encourage people to take a course. And this is one of those areas where it doesn't have to be wedding related, you can get a course at the SBA, or score on just understanding financial planning or at a local community college. You know, let me give a little shout out. That's where I hear

Kristina Stubblefield  30:34  
so many resources available, no matter what state you're listening to, listening from, check into the resources that are available. I know in our area, Kentucky, Indiana, that I know there's a lot of QuickBooks classes. I know there's a lot of things like that that are available. And I'm sure there is in other states as well. So, Claudia, I can't thank you enough for your time. This has been very valuable information that I hope people really absorb, but then start to put it into action in their own business. And even if their takeaway is, leave yourself enough space, there's a lot to explore here in your own business, depending on what your goals are. And it doesn't necessarily have to be in the next six months, it is something that planning in advance is so important. But what I'd like to give you the opportunity is would you please share with everybody if they would like to connect with you? I know you have some books that are available online? Quite a few of them. Um, would you share all the places that people can connect with you or find out more information?

Kawania Wooten  31:46  
Well, first and foremost, thank you for this opportunity, I enjoy talking to you. And I will my focus, especially at when it comes to education is the Enlightened creative. And my you can find me on Facebook or Instagram, at the Enlightened Creative, but I do have a website, and it's And as I mentioned in the beginning multi-tiered Because I do understand as an educator myself, that we all learn differently. I have books, my books are focused mostly on planning. So and probably the most of two books that are probably the most popular and the the most robust. One focuses on crisis management. And one focus is on the foundation information that we need to know to planning an event. It's called a perfect fit. And it's the math of wedding planning. I know I sound like a nerd when I said that. But math is everything when it comes to wedding design. But I also have virtual courses available. And you can get to that through the Enlightened creative, calm and live workshops. So because as I mentioned before, I know we all learn differently. Thank you.

Kristina Stubblefield  33:03  
Absolutely. And for those that are listening on your favorite podcast platform, there will be links available in the show notes. If you want to see the video version of this, you can always visit our YouTube and we will include links there as well. Kawania, thank you so much again, I really appreciate I think that maybe she might come back and join us here sometime soon to be on an actual Wedding Wednesday episode with Mike and Sharon. But thank you again so much for your time. Please everyone listening, take time to connect, follow Kawania on social media, you will not be disappointed. And anything that you want to connect with her please feel free to do so at one of her websites. Again, thanks, Kawania, and everyone until the next episode, stay safe and keep working on those businesses. Thank you. 

Thank you for tuning in to this Business Booster episode of The Ring The Bling And All The Things. If you would like to get notified of new episodes, make sure to click the subscribe or follow button on your favorite podcast platform. For you can visit our website, and join our email list. We welcome any feedback you may have. From topic ideas to questions. Just click the Contact button on our website.

Transcribed by

Kawania Wooten Profile Photo

Kawania Wooten


Kawania Wooten, CMP, is an innovative event management executive, who excels at competitive strategic planning, convention and trade show management. Her expertise lies in developing 0perational and programmatic initiatives that provide added value, reduce operational costs, streamline internal processes, and standardize association policies and procedures.