Kylie Carlson is the CEO of the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning providing training and certification for wedding planners, stylists and designers since 2005.
She is also the the Editor-in-Chief of Wedding Business Magazine, an online publication geared toward wedding professionals that covers everything from business development to public relations and upcoming trends.
Kylie is a creative at heart that became an international entrepreneurial success. In the midst of the above, she also balanced raising her daughter: a championship figure skater, building her wedding empire on the rink sidelines!
It’s wonderful to welcome the inspirational Kylie to Honest Mum.
Describe a typical day for you?
Is there such a thing as a typical day? Not sure there is for me although there are a few things that tend to happen without fail. I’m an early riser and am out of bed at 5am and I don’t do anything before having my obligatory coffee. I love the whole process of grinding my coffee beans, filtering my coffee and frothing my milk, it is a real ritual for me. After that, well there are numerous possibilities. My business operates in New Zealand, Australia, the UAE, the UK and America, so I am working across multiple timezones, which to a certain extent dictates my day as I need to be available on email for my consultants. I try and answer my emails first and then allow myself 30 mins on social media to catch up with news and see who is doing what, all work related you understand.
I still write all of the course material for our training courses so you will often find me sat in my film studio that I have set up in my office shooting my video course content, or at my sound booth where I record my audio lectures, podcast interviews and Skype sessions. I am lucky in that I get to attend a lot of industry events as well, and as I am part of the wedding and event industry you can imagine how pretty many of those events are.
I am a planner at heart so every day has a purpose and a To Do List of things I need to achieve. I find that without it I am lost and spend too much time being unproductive, whereas my list keeps me on track and even if it is jam packed I somehow manage to get it done, well mostly anyway.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
That’s easy there are two, my daughter and my business. I am ridiculously proud of my daughter and even more proud of the fact I managed to bring her up without any major mishaps. I didn’t drop her on her head, poison her or turn her into an axe murderer, so I count that as being successful in my role as a mother.
My business is my other major achievement. When I launched, over ten years ago now, there was nobody else doing what I did. There were no competitors to measure myself against and nobody to follow. I had no idea if it would work, let alone be a success, so it was a case of sink or swim and appears I swam. Over a decade later I don’t work for anyone else and remain gloriously self-employed running my little empire.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Definitely too much. No matter how small my bag is I still seem to stuff it full of absolute rubbish. I do love handbags though and like to regularly change them so that helps clear out the clutter. However, the main things in my bag are my prized Tiffany sunglasses, my purse, my iPad mini, my lippy, and my car keys.
What are your ambitions in life?
Global wedding domination. No just kidding. In all seriousness though, I want to be known in the wedding industry as the person who mentored and inspired a whole generation of wedding planners, stylists and designers to become the best they could be through our training courses. I also want to continue buying houses around the world. At the moment I have a house in Australia, one in France and one that is 70% complete in Dubai. That’s three continents covered so only a few to go for a full house.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
I think like having a child nobody can prepare you for how much hard work is involved in running a business and I wish I had been given a crystal ball, so I could have better prepared for all the sleepless nights, tears and dummy spits that lay ahead. On the other hand that might have just scared me off completely. The other thing I wish I’d known was that my gut instinct was always right and never let me down. I often got chastised for not spending enough time thinking things through before jumping in, but the truth was I had this inbuilt sensor that told me when something was right for me and I should have trusted that more often and not let other people make me think differently.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Still loving running my empire and being open to opportunities as they arise. The one thing being in business has taught me is to expect the unexpected and always consider everything that crosses your desk or pops into your Inbox, as you never know what might come of it. It was a chance conversation with someone that inspired me to start my Arabian Academy and I love that and hope it continues.
What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur?
Be ready to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Be prepared to fail before you succeed and know when to take a chance. Being in business is a gamble most of the time and it is about learning to hone your instincts and having the courage to take a chance on something. Remember its a marathon and not a sprint and the chance of instant success is unlikely, slow and steady does it.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Nobody expects you to be a business genius in your first week or even in your fifth year. Mistakes can be very costly so asking for help before it gets to that point can save you so much time, heartache and stress.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
That its ok for feel overwhelmed. My daughter was a competitive figure skater so we spent hours upon hours at the side of a cold ice rink, usually with my laptop balanced on my knee, and I constantly felt like I wasn’t achieving everything I should be and would constantly beat myself over the head about it. Now, I realize its fine and if something doesn’t get done it will get done tomorrow, no big stress.
Finally, happiness is…
Happiness is sitting on the roof terrace in my French property curled up with a good book and a glass of bubbles completely chilled out.