Happy Boss Babe Wednesday! We’re excited to introduce you to Anna Coats. She’s the Founder & Editor of Marry Me Tampa Bay, aka Tampa Bay’s biggest local wedding resource for brides and industry pros. We met Anna about 3 years ago at the same open house / networking event that we met Jennifer Reilly Kelmer. Anna jokes that she would prefer to communicate entirely in memes & gifs, and we know she could if she really wanted to! But all kidding aside, she’s built a unique business and is someone who’s professional and polished but also rolls with the punches and is always willing to help where she can. We hope you enjoy her words!
Tell us about yourself and what you do!
I'm the editor and founder of Marry Me Tampa Bay, the area's premier local online wedding publication. Marry Me Tampa Bay features local wedding inspiration and highlights amazing wedding professionals who bring those events to life. I also am a founding member of Aisle Society, which showcases curated wedding content from the top bloggers across the world. In addition, I offer marketing services to wedding professionals for social media and blog management through my consulting business, Married to Marketing.
How did your business begin?
I noticed a need for engaged couples to be able to source local inspiration. While there are tons of wedding publications, none focused solely on the Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas. Since I have a degree in journalism and worked in marketing most of my career, I decided to create an online wedding publication that featured only local weddings so that couples could view other weddings from the area and learn more about local wedding vendors.
What’s 1 challenge you’ve faced and 1 success you’ve had since you’ve created your business?
The biggest challenge for Marry Me Tampa Bay as an online publication is that we constantly have to stay ahead of the curve as marketing habits are shifting. Millennial tendencies and Instagram have really changed the way couples plan weddings, and we are constantly tweaking how we deliver content to stay relevant.
One of my proudest accomplishments is creating Tampa Bay Wedding Week. I felt that bridal shows needed an update, so I created Wedding Week to bring couples wedding planning experiences, such as our venue crawl and fashion shows.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and has it come in handy for you?
The best piece of advice I've received is to pursue Marry Me Tampa Bay as a full-time business. It didn't come natural to me to start a business and I didn't even think it was possible. I needed coaching to find the courage to leave the safety net of the corporate world to become an entrepreneur and it's the best decision I've ever made.
When are you at your happiest?
I'm at my happiest when I'm engaging with local wedding pros in person. Most of my business takes place behind a computer screen, so it reenergizes me to interact with vendors and reminds how great the people in our industry really are and how much they love what they do.
What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?
I truly have my "dream job," so I try to remind myself what I could be doing if I didn't start my business (which isn't nearly as fun).
No matter how amazing life can look on social media, every business owner has down days, weeks or even months. When I get into a funk or feel overwhelmed, I divert to my other Boss Babes for support. I'm very blessed to have a network of wedding bloggers and industry pros who bring me back to center and motivate me to continue on a forward path.
What are you grateful for?
Our Marry Me Tampa Bay Membership Director, Amanda. She was a bride-to-be and reader and just happened to ask if we were hiring. She's been with our team since the end of 2015 and is my supporter, confidant and friend. I often joke that she's my boss, as she keeps all of the day-to-day tasks in order.
What’s 1 personal goal and 1 business goal you plan to accomplish this year?
I've had some major personal life changes this year, but they all stemmed from the viewpoint of living life to the fullest and choosing to be happy and that's exactly what I'm doing.
My biggest business goal is to solidify our team so that we can continue to grow. We've added on a social media position to help us grow the marketing consulting side of our business.
Where can you be found on a Tuesday afternoon?
No week is the same for me. Some Tuesday afternoons I'm getting ready to attend a networking or industry event, while other Tuesdays I'm in lounge clothes catching up on emails. Though I do have one constant: Orange Theory Fitness Tuesday at 7 a.m.!
How about on a Friday evening?
In the past, I always worked hard, but never really played, so I try to reserve weekends for time with friends. You'll often find me out to dinner or experiencing a local event in the area.
A Sunday morning?
Sundays are usually my lazy day for napping and eating!
Finish these sentences:
I love: traveling. My favorite memories are the experiences and meals I've gathered while visiting other cities and countries.
I’m always looking for: innovative ways to promote our local wedding pros. Marketing never sleeps!
My inspiration is: education. I love listening to marketing speakers and business coaches on YouTube; I'll often think of a new idea or have a mini-epiphany during their presentations.
I’ll never: say "never." I recently jumped out of plane, which I said I'd "never" do. It was so exhilarating and somewhat life changing.