When Jen Glantz posted an ad online offering her services as a bridesmaid, she woke up the next day to over 250 responses. Many thought it was a joke, but Jen saw a real opportunity to create a new business.
“Some people have the greatest friends in the world, but don’t want to stress them out with tons of pre-wedding requests,” she says. “I’m the bride’s on-call therapist, personal assistant, social director, and peacemaker.”
As a professional bridesmaid, Jen runs Bridesmaid for Hire. What started as a fun side hustle turned into a very lucrative job. Here’s how she did it.
It all started with an ad
Before she started her creative side hustle, Jen was working as a copywriter for a New York City-based tech startup. While she enjoyed her job and loved the opportunity to use her journalism degree, she was drawn to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur.
After Jen served as a bridesmaid six times for her friends, they joked that she was a professional bridesmaid. That thought sparked her imagination — she realized that her past experience, along with her organized and upbeat personality, could be monetized.
In 2014, she put up an ad on Craigslist stating that she was a bridesmaid for hire.
The ad said she could handle forgetful friends, get things organized, and provide support to the bride. When Jen woke up the next morning, she had hundreds of responses — some from brides, and others from women who wanted to be professional bridesmaids, too.
“It was a great way to test out this new concept and made me realize there was a true need for this role in the wedding industry,” Jen explains.
The overwhelming response showed Jen that there was a real opportunity for her to start her own business. The week after she posted the ad, she launched the Bridesmaid for Hire website, and soon, she booked her first client.
“It was the perfect learning experience,” she says. “I was nervous walking into it, but then an hour into the job I realized that I was able to help the bride and the party out so much.”
Within a few weeks, television programs and magazines heard about her story and contacted her for interviews, causing traffic to her website to explode. Within six months of running her ad, she had booked five weddings and seriously boosted her side hustle income.
Switching from side hustle to full-time gig
For a while, Jen juggled both her full-time job and her bridesmaid business. She would get up early in the morning and log three hours of work on her side gig, then would head to work. When she came home in the evening she would work for a few more hours, talking with potential clients or updating her website.
Jen dreamed of making her bridesmaid business her sole job but hadn’t quite figured out a plan to do so. For a time, her side gig was just a great way to make money on the side. Then in 2015, fate intervened when she was laid off by her employer. She was heartbroken; she had dedicated herself to her job and put in long hours to help the company succeed.
“I stood outside the building on my way out and said to myself, ‘I will never work for anybody else,’” Jen says. Using the layoff as a motivator, Jen turned her side gig into a full-time career. Through her hard work, the business expanded and replaced her old salary.
Her business today
Today, Jen’s company offers three different packages:
- Wedding coach: As your wedding coach, she’ll help you stay on budget, remind you of necessary tasks, and help problem-solve any major issues.
- Day-of coordination: Different and less expensive than hiring a wedding planner, this option gets you assistance with logistics. That includes creating a detailed timeline for the wedding, coordinating with vendors, and on-site support.
- Bridesmaid for hire: When you need one more person to round out your bridal party, this option allows you to hire a seasoned bridesmaid. Beyond walking down the aisle, she’ll help you manage your to-do list and handle any last-minute emergencies.
Jen’s services aren’t cheap: Depending on how much care you need, prices range from $150 to $2,000 or more. Starting prices don’t include her travel fees, accommodations, or her bridesmaid dress — that’s the bride’s responsibility.
But Jen, who has worked over 60 weddings, says the premium is well worth it.
“As a wedding day-of coordinator, I’ve seen it all … sometimes I’ve seen it all go wrong. But I have had a solution for every hiccup and a Band-Aid for every last-minute scratch on the day’s overall plan,” she says on her website.
In her role as hired bridesmaid, Jen has had to navigate many tricky and sensitive situations.
“I’ve found photographers when they’ve gone missing, caught a wedding cake that fell off a table and almost landed on the floor, [and] served as the unofficial DJ when the real DJ didn’t show up,” Jen says.
She even puts her copywriting experience to work by drafting speeches for the maid of honor or best man. The results of Jen’s hard work? A seamless and stress-free day for the bride.
Start your own unique side hustle
Understandably, many people want to follow in Jen’s dyed-to-match shoes. Since she launched her business, she’s received over 20,000 applications to work with her.
Although Jen isn’t hiring help right now, there are plenty of opportunities for other like-minded entrepreneurs. If you’d like to start your own bridesmaid service or other wedding-related business, Jen recommends that you be able to thrive in stressful situations.
“You’ll need experience,” she says. “It’s good to be a people person and to love being in chaotic situations.”
She says that having experience as a bridesmaid is essential, but if you have a background in event planning or organization, that can be a huge asset, too.
Because of her own success with turning a side gig into a full-time job, Jen is passionate about helping other would-be entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. She’s added career coach to her resume, offering an online course to help others start similar businesses. In February, she even published a book on her experiences.
Launching your own business
Whether you want to become a professional bridesmaid like Jen or have another idea for a new side hustle, Jen warns that you shouldn’t wait for the “right time.”
“Start now,” she says. “Put a product or service out there and see if it works. Hustle hard and don’t stop till you cross the finish line.”
Want more side hustle inspiration? Check out these blogs that will motivate you to make more money.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|