We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Wang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Transitioning from working the 9 to 5 to running my own business full time, has been a journey to figure out a healthy work-life balance. For the first few years of starting my business, I would work from the moment I woke up until I go to bed. It’s not uncommon where I’d grab my phone the first thing after I opened my eyes and start checking emails and messages. Sometimes I’d stay in bed and just work on my phone for hours before even getting up to use the restroom, eating or drinking anything, and before I knew it, it’s 2pm or 3pm already. Without knowing it, I was developing this unhealthy mindset with this voice telling myself subconsciously, “I haven’t made it yet, I cannot rest or take a break!” Fast forward to the 6th year of my business, I have learned to set working hours, take care of my body and mental health, and at the same time work smarter not longer hours just to “feel more productive”. I have created morning and nighttime routines to take better care of my physical, mental and spiritual health. For the first few years, “work” was my entire life and where I placed my value and worth, which was why I spent all my waking hours working or thinking about work. I didn’t have any boundaries and didn’t set aside time to take care of myself at all. Now I’m able to balance my work and personal life pretty well. It’s definitely a process of trials to find the best method and routine to find your own work-life balance. I believe in you, you can do it! If you’re curious about my methods or wanted to chat more on this topic, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’m the founder of My Wedding Songbird, a wedding planning company that specializes in Chinese American couples and weddings! We are located in Arcadia, CA and we have been serving countless happy couples around the world since 2016! I think what sets us apart is our niche and specialty in Chinese American weddings. Our team is consist of multi-lingual planners and coordinators fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, and we also have Spanish and Vietnamese-speaking assistants on our team! We specialize in both local and destination weddings, such as Hawaii, Mexico, Bali, and more. The furthest wedding we’ve planned is in Bali, Indonesia and I miss the food there and the gorgeous ocean view so much! That’s probably the wedding I’m most proud of! Prior to booking actual weddings in Bali, we’ve done several styled shoots over there and have established great relationships with local vendors and venues already. This year we are planning destination weddings in Mexico and Hawaii, which I am super excited about! We are also doing a styled shoot in Riviera Maya, Mexico next month and I can’t wait!
I’d say to getting to where I am right now was not easy at all. Looking back, there were multiple moments when I broke down and cried and felt so hopeless. Thankfully I have amazing friends and family and also industry friends supporting me and cheering me on. It’s definitely not easy to start and grow your business, but it’s easier and more bearable when you surround yourself with amazing people who care and love you! One big driving force for me was also the vision I had when I first started the business from God. It was a random night and I had just read Matthew 25, the story of the talents. I prayed and asked God what’s my “talents” that He wanted me to sow/invest/grow. He reminded me of all the weddings I’ve sung at and gave me the name in my head “My Wedding Songbird”. I felt God telling me to shine His light and glorify His Name in the wedding industry. I looked it up and this business name hasn’t been taken yet! I immediately purchased the domain “www.myweddingsongbird.com” and the rest is history. Therefore, having a strong “why” is also very important and crucial to keep you afloat when you feel like you’re about to drown.
There are so many lessons I’ve learned throughout my 6-year journey with My Wedding Songbird. However, I will share one of the biggest lessons would be “never assume anything”. This is especially crucial when you’re planning/coordinating a wedding. You should always confirm anything that wasn’t clear with the couples and don’t assume. In my early days, I’d assume sometimes and that always ended badly. The same thing with working with your team and staff, don’t assume they know what you know. You’ll need to instruct them as detailed and as specific as possible, especially when they just started working for you. Also for vendors and venues, everyone works differently and has different concepts on even the same terminology. Especially when you work with destination venues and vendors. Always double-check and triple-check you are actually talking about the same thing and on the same page. This also helps me to keep myself humble, because I don’t assume, I ask and honestly people rather you ask than to assume and make a mistake, right?
I want the world to know that nothing is impossible with God! If I can start a business and run it successfully, you can too! Honestly, even though the pandemic when weddings and events were almost at zero, God kept providing financially through other ways. Trust in His provision and work hard, you’ll make it! My heart is to be able to mentor more start-up entrepreneurs to be their support and cheerleader, and when I have enough funds, I’d also love to become an angel investor one day! It’s a goal of mine to be able to bless and guide more people to grow their businesses successfully!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in San Gabriel Valley where there are tons of authentic and delicious Asian cuisines, and I feel so blessed! I’m a foodie at heart so here’s a list of my favorite restaurants around my city! – https://www.yelp.com/biz/ma-lu-bian-bian-rowland-heights-rowland-heights
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a big shoutout to our PTT (Pasadena Tuesdays Together) planner group! It’s a private group of planners who support and constantly share resources with each other. I highly recommend if you’re starting your own business, find likeminded people in your industry and form friendship and support groups! It’ll greatly help you grow in your industry!
https://www.instagram.com/kellyh_photo/ https://www.instagram.com/carissawoophotography/ https://www.instagram.com/linandjirsa/ https://www.instagram.com/jarts_production/ https://www.instagram.com/livwiththelens/ https://www.instagram.com/wikilee/ https://www.instagram.com/chrisseidphotography/