"People used to say to me: 'You know Katie, not everything in life is going to be some happy experience.' Now I say to them: "Why not?"
So says 29 year old Katie Saffert, wedding planner and owner of ”Inspired Events", an Orange County-based event planning company that has skyrocketed to success in less than a year. With her warm, personal style and phenomenal talent, Katie and her business are both flourishing. In nine months, she's gone from having a handful of clients consisting of friends and coworkers to booking major events with celebrities. After throwing a huge event for a private Pearl Jam concert, Ms. Saffert booked a high profile wedding for the daughter of a pro golfer. Out of state clients are flying her in to plan their events. And the business is poised to catapult itself once more: starting in January, Inspired Events will be featured and promoted in Ceremony Magazine, a top publication for the Southern California Bridal Industry. How did she get so far so fast? According to Katie, it took a leap of faith, the courage to finally do what she loved, and the help of life coach and fellow business owner, Eli Davidson. According to Katie, Eli's combination of stellar business advice and personal coaching has transformed her business. "For a long time, I lived my entire life focused on other people." says Katie. "That was the major thing working with Eli. She had me focus on me, what I wanted, and where I wanted to go without listening to all these other outside influences. It changes your life completely". And Katie had been ready for a change. "I was working at a corporate job for five years and was absolutely miserable", she recalls. Her amazing energy, focus, and commitment to quality were talents benefiting everyone but herself. She loved planning events at her job, but the limitations within the corporate structure were hard to ignore. "You don't get recognition." she explains. “It was for someone else to take the credit....and obviously you have a lot of people above you saying, 'This is our idea. This is what we want to do with it.' “Katie knew she was keeping her own inner hopes in check.”I got caught up in the corporate world ethic that says: 'This is what you do when you get out of college. You get a job, you work 8 to 5. You work up a ladder." The fact that she didn't know where the ladder was going haunted her. "I felt I was being held back..." she admits, "...and I think it was my own self holding me back." And then on her birthday last year, Katie marched into her office and quit. ("It was one of the best days of my life", she laughs.) She already knew her dream was to have an event planning business; "My mother was an events coordinator." says Katie, "She always did the big Junior League charity events and Debutante balls. Our holidays are more outdone than anything you can imagine. It was always something I loved". Fresh out of her cooperate job and only a few weeks into starting her company; Katie accompanied a friend to young business women's luncheon. Fate sat her right next to the guest speaker, Eli Davidson. Eli's vivacious energy and business savvy sparked inspiration. When Katie learned that Davidson was a Business Coach, she decided to follow her heart. "I thought, well, maybe this is a sign," says Katie. She joined up with Eli's group coaching sessions the very next day. After her first few sessions with Eli, it became clear to Katie that that financial success would call for a change within. Katie remembers: "When we first started together, Eli asked me to name three things that I liked about myself and I couldn't name one. “Not that Katie didn't know her worth she just didn't know she had the right to claim it. "I didn't feel comfortable even acknowledging those things. I thought maybe I would seem arrogant, says Katie. But Eli got me to stop that...and my whole outlook changed." Along with getting Katie to claim her value in all aspects, Eli's coaching offered her concrete strategies and tools for financial success. Katie's first assignment was her toughest: envisioning herself already succeeding in her new career. She was to write what Eli called a 'Success Script. In the exercise, Katie was to write about herself as if she had actually already achieved her highest career goals. And she was to describe it as vividly and boldly as possible. "It was so scary for me in the beginning.” says Katie. “I didn't want to do it. Because writing these things down makes it real." But courage and determination prevailed. And write it she did. As soon as she acknowledged what she wanted, the results were immediate. Within three weeks, she booked the private Pearl Jam concert. Even more impressive was the fact that it was the first major event she had done single-handedly. "I'd done so many events before" says Katie, "but I always had a whole team surrounding me. I thought, this is amazing. And I did really well at it. “After that, people started calling out of the blue. Working with Eli, Katie watched her confidence and her business grow together. "It was about acknowledging who I am. I didn't go after anyone. I just put it out there and said: 'Hey, I'm starting a business. Here's my business card'. Katie also learned effective brainstorming techniques with Eli. Whether the day was about calling prospective clients or presenting major business proposals, Katie now had the answers to any challenge. "Eli would have me come up with three solutions. They could be bad, good, off the wall or realistic. The point was getting into the habit of creating solutions for yourself." The coaching also helped Katie to congratulate herself more and criticize herself less. "I expect a lot of myself", say Katie. She was well aware she was entering a business full of experts in the field. "I thought that I should be where these people are who had been doing this for twenty years." Eli helped Katie to recognize that she had already done brilliantly in a short amount of time. She also showed Katie how to create reasonable and achievable goals for her business on a weekly basis. As a result, Katie’s now working with vendors she had always admired and respected, and she's created a career she had only dreamed about. Along with being incredibly grateful for success, it’s clear that Katie truly believes and knows that she deserves it. "I put my mind to something; I know I'll be able to do it.” Now, she's regularly telling herself “You did such a great job, you worked for it. Go congratulate yourself for it." Would she recommend life coaching for other business owners? Katie is emphatic. "I would tell anyone to go to Eli Davidson for coaching. She gave me actual steps for success every single week." And it goes even further than her career. Katie knows that "it's been completely life changing.”