Carissa Corsi, Owner and CEO of Carissa Corsi Events
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 22
This episode is your reminder that your business can grow and thrive sooner than you think- as exemplified by today’s guest, Carissa Corsi, owner and CEO of Carissa Corsi Events. Carissa is a wedding and event planner in the northeast region of the U.S who helps couples plan the stress-free wedding of their dreams! Today, she shares with us her incredible entrepreneurial journey, from deciding to take the leap to starting her side hustle, to quitting her 9-5 two months later, Carissa is inspiring through and through.
Tune in to hear:
- How Carissa Corsi went from starting a side hustle to quitting her 9-5 job two months later
- Tips on creating a foundation and structure for a successful business
- Advice on stepping up and building confidence in sales and as a business owner
- Efficient and effective marketing advice
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Leah Gervais: Hey visionaries. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. I am your host, Leah and I am so excited for today’s guest. We have Ms. Carissa Corsi here, Hi Carissa!
Carissa Corsi: Hi, thanks for having me, Leah.
Leah Gervais: Thanks so much for being here. So you guys are really in for a treat today. Carissa is a special person. She is a wedding and event planner in the northeast region of the U.S.. She’s going to tell us all about her business. Um, but equally as illuminating, um, as a, as an event planner and wedding planner, as she is, she is just such a joyful and inspiring person and entrepreneur and her and I were kind of chatting before this and realizing that it hasn’t even been a year since she started her business. And once you hear how thriving it is, I think that that will surprise you, um, uh, other. So Carissa, why don’t we start with you? Why don’t you first start by telling us maybe a sentence or two about what it is that you do now, and then we’ll go backward.
Carissa Corsi: Okay. Thanks Leah for the introduction. So hi everyone. I’m Carissa. I am the owner, CEO and lead planner at Carissa Corsi events and what I do is help couples plan the stress-free wedding of their dreams, in short.
Leah Gervais: I wish I had you when I was planning my wedding. Stress-free you? What a good tagline. All right, Carissa. So why don’t you take us back a little bit, you, um, tell us a little bit about your background and what made you want to become a wedding planner. And then I’d love to hear about how you kind of had to then become an entrepreneur.
Carissa Corsi: Awesome. Okay. So funny enough, I actually graduated college with a marketing degree, a major and a minor in psych. Um, so while I was in my senior year, I had three jobs. I had a marketing assistant role. I had an internship with the Patriots, uh, work in game day in events, and I had an internship with a solo preneur. Funny enough, here I am. So my passion for events really stemmed from that internship with a solo preneur.
She introduced me to the ropes, working weddings, working corporate events. Um, and I remember the first wedding like it was yesterday. So the first wedding was planned on my own at the Narragansett towers in my home, a picturesque venue, overlooking the most popular beaches. And something happened to me that day. So an hour into the reception the bride approached me and she said, what you’ve done is amazing.
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. And if I’m being honest, my heart in that moment was beating so fast with excitement that it was in that moment that I felt that true joy. And really since then, I’ve always found some way to stay connected. So whether that’s from working a marketing coordinator, um, as a marketing leader, I should say, traveling as a marketing presence for trade shows and conferences working part-time as an event lead for Boston Harbor cruises in a job that just wasn’t cut out for me, um, to getting my first full-time role has an event manager in corporate and then shortly after, um, owning my very own successful wedding planning business. So I knew my passion was strong. I just didn’t really begin to have those thoughts around starting my side hustle until 2018.
So I was in a project management role I absolutely hated and I had been actively looking. And although that, you know, I’ve been connected to events in some way, I never really had a full-time role in events. So basically, you know, I spent 2019 trying to figure out what the heck is next for me. Will I get my first time role? Will I start my own side hustle? I just had no clue. And at the beginning of January, 2020, I had both, but the pandemic hit and my hours were cut and I had been giving work that I wasn’t, you know, enjoying what I like to do, what I agreed to do. So I started building my business in that second part of my day. I started dedicating my time to really building it and in August, 2020, I was introduced to Leah- yours truly. And if I’m being honest, I browsed her page for a quick 20 seconds, set up a call and about 30 minutes after that call was enrolled in scale, your side hustle.
So if that doesn’t speak to rash decisions, I don’t know what does, but I just knew it, there was something in me that I knew I had to do this. Um, and we have brought that right out of me, the moment I met her as well. And no, I was not even in this program for two months and I quit my nine to five. The day seemed surreal, like as I speak of it. Um, but ideally that’s where everything started for me. Um, and you know, investing in a business coach was one of the best things I did for myself because it gave my business proper foundation and structure and set me up for success. And I wouldn’t have been able to do it that quickly.
Leah Gervais: Right. Right. Of course. I love your story. Okay. I have, so I have a few things I want to back up from. So when you, I mean, it sounds like you’ve deeply known, well, I know you to be very intuitive and I know you to be someone that really trusts herself and listens to herself as, as you said, as I saw you just move really quickly, once you wanted to start your business, but it sounds like you knew intuitively and deep down for quite some time that you wanted to do event planning. You wanted to have your own business pretty much since that moment at your internship. Um, but it kind of took like the pandemic to really ignite it. So do you feel like looking back, was there a reason that you hadn’t started beforehand? Do you think it was a fear or you were sort of waiting? What, what was going through your head?
Carissa Corsi: I think it definitely was a fear. Um, I feel as though I wasn’t too certain in myself and confident in myself that I could really take it, you know, full circle. So I think a part of me, you know, I really loved it, but I figured, okay, let me stay safe in my nine to five, let me continue to see, you know, what else is out there, but really like little did I know, like it wasn’t what was out there wasn’t for me.
So I kind of just, um, you know, didn’t really have that confidence to really take that step forward back then and I needed, you know, to, and, you know, you need to get to that point to really, you know, make those changes and I not only enrolled in your program, um, but I, I did get my first full-time, um, role in corporate events. And I did see what it was like to work as a full-time event planner, even though it wasn’t for weddings. And I still didn’t like that. Um, it still wasn’t enough for me. Um, and then once I was getting things thrown at me that I just didn’t enjoy, um, I think, you know, being in your program, you know, side by side with that had really helped me because I was kind of facing both at once.
Leah Gervais: I love that you pointed that out. I think that that alone can be a real indicator for someone that they should be their own boss, but they don’t always say yes to it. So if you are in a job that you think you should love, or that is in a kind of niche or market or, you know, business that you’re really passionate about, and you still don’t feel that spark, that joy, it could be the indicator that maybe you should go out on your own. And, you know, that happened to me in Carissa before I quit my nine to five job, I left my last ever nine to five. Um, I loved that job. It was at a nonprofit that I really liked.
I think that it’s really a blessing when you have that experience of having a job you like and still saying corporate isn’t for me, I want to work for myself because I think so often we think that, um, you know, we should just be happy with what we have and since we have this good opportunity, then we should just settle and, and you definitely didn’t settle. So. Okay. Thank you for sharing that. So you joined scale your side hustle and talk to us about what it was like in those initial days, starting putting yourself out there, starting to take calls, getting your first client, you know, there’s, there can be a lot of fear that comes up during that time. So what was that experience like for you?
Carissa Corsi: So right off the bat, I’m going to say it was difficult. It took a lot of time. It took a lot of energy and coming from me, you know, I feel the need to do everything perfectly. And I’ve grown, especially with you to understand that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Um, it doesn’t have to be, you know, you don’t need things to be done how, and when you want them, it happens, you know, you trust God, you trust the universe and it just happens for you. And, but for me, I’ve always been, um, a perfectionist. So I had to kind of, you know, working through your programs and such, um, and working with other entrepreneurs through that, um, was really a huge help for me because I was not only learning myself and going through the motions for myself, but I was seeing what other people were doing and learning from them.
So I not only had a coach, but I had a community to kind of back me up and really make me feel, um, grounded and with structure and can bounce ideas off of them. And it really helped me build that confidence up quicker. Um, but getting started from the ground up, um, it was definitely a process, but it’s going to be, it’s not always going to be, you know, you get thrown into it. It’s smooth sailing, it takes work, it takes dedication. Um, and if you put the time in, you’re going to see the results.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. Amazing and vice versa. So at this point, it hasn’t even been a year since you started scaling your side hustle, since you gave your nine to five resignation resignation, and you have signed multiple, multiple high ticket, you know, several thousand dollar clients, what, what advice would you say to someone who is just trying to sign their first or just maybe trying to get on their first sales call or just trying to make that first sale? What would you want to tell them?
Carissa Corsi: So I would say, you know, really just life is beyond precious and to not let you don’t want to let a second be wasted doing the things that you aren’t called to do. And I think that just knowing that you’ve accepted the timeline of your life, regardless of what the end is, and just knowing that you’re going to, you know, you’re going to conquer it, um, you know, and you have to believe that it’s going to work for you.
So, um, trust the feeling, you know, to make the changes and act from an inspired place, acting out of that faith, you know, out of faith versus the fear and just show up for you. You’re like, you know, in your soul, within you, that you want to do this or else you wouldn’t have started it in the first place. So go through it, be, you know, hold onto that passion. And really, you know, there’s no other way that you can kick start it. Um, but the right way, because you’re doing it for you, you’re doing it because of your passion.
Leah Gervais: Amazing. And I love that you, the way that you started that was that life is so unbelievably precious. I know, you know, how much I believe that and live by that in my own business. Where, where do you get that from? You know, I think that so many people logically know that, but they don’t necessarily live like that. They still live a very fear-based life. So how have you, yeah. Anything you want to share about how you’ve really been able to actually live by those words?
Carissa Corsi: So my brand I’ll start off with just saying that it’s based around magnetic connections and, you know, growing up in a big Catholic, Italian family, meaningful connections, life celebrations, everlasting memories were really everything. So I think it stems from, you know, ever since I was a little girl, my family’s always been my priority. Um, I was always, you know, this is how I was raised, you know, especially by my Grandmother.
She’s always able to find that true joy when we’re all together and our passion for community and relationships and the power of faith, which is the biggest one here. And, you know, finding the beauty in everything is, you know, one of my true purposes for starting my business. And I really go back to, it’s the point of finding something in your life that’s a light and grasping it. And for me, she’s that. So, um, that’s really what I can say to that. Yeah.
Leah Gervais: Mm that’s so beautiful, Carissa. I think it’s so powerful that not only you found that, but that you actually live by that and have that be kind of your guiding light every day. So, okay. Going back to your story and your timeline a little bit, so you go through scale your side hustle, you start getting clients pretty quickly. Within two months, you quit your nine to five job. Um, how do you- about the moment, where is your head at? So, you know, you’re all in and you know, you’re going to quit your job. Um, but one of the really remarkable things I saw you do is right away, pretty much, once you decided to quit your job, you never ever had the attitude of I’m going to have this match my nine to five, or how can I just do this in a way that substitutes, my nine to five, you really had this huge vision and you were really ready to execute on it.
Um, and you don’t even tell you, you know, I’ve never even heard you talk about like, well, what if I have to ever go get another job? And I think that that’s great. So how were you, what, what was it about you that was, and what advice would you give to people for them to step up even further? Um, in those beginning phases and to not look at the beginning, it’s just like, if I can just get it off the ground or if I can just do well enough, but really see it as the beginning of something that’s huge, right from the get-go?
Carissa Corsi: I think it really all comes down to and what you teach Leah doing that mindset work from the get go. So I think really with me, you know, being able to focus a lot and make time to really channel, um, not just my masculinity, but my feminine as well is really how I was able to grow so quickly because I was putting in the time for not just, you know, doing all the marketing things and, um, reaching out to potential clients and stuff. I was really focused on, you know, growing my mindset as well. And just being able to, you know, really dive into, you know, you know, that this is going to happen.
You need to trust that it’s going to happen, trust the process. And it has been just, you know, an intense journey from, you know, you don’t, if you get through the first couple of months, you know, the struggle eventually dies down because you’re so in tune to what you want and you know, that this is for you, that it only gets better from there. Um, and that’s exactly what I saw and in my business. So I started off and yeah, sure. Like, you know, the first couple of months were difficult and whatnot, but once you start seeing those clients trickle in and you start seeing the results, there’s only one way to think and it’s to think up. And I think it’s just, you know, having that faith that it’s going to, you know, you’re going to get to that, um, endpoint and not even endpoint, but just continue to grow.
Leah Gervais: I think it’s so powerful that you point this out because it’s almost this paradox where if you are in the early days of the early days of your business and you almost set the bar lower for yourself, it can feel like this will be easier because I can probably reach it if it’s somewhat lower and I’m not putting as much pressure on myself, if it’s somewhat lower and I just need to do enough to get by, or I just need to do enough to, uh, match my corporate salary or whatever the kind of getting by thing is for you and what you plan out here, Carissa is that that actually can cause a lot more stress on me because if you go into it with the opposite mindset of like, this is going to be a million dollar business, I’m going to have clients flowing in like today.
Um, and I just know that that’s going to be true, then it, it almost takes the hustle pressure off because it allows you to just have that certainty that, you know, it’s going to work out. And when you approach your to-do list from that place, when you approach your day from that place and you approach your clients from that place, you will 100% get more clients and get more business because you exude a certainty that people want.
Whereas if, you know, I can only imagine if you’re a wedding planner and you don’t have this, this huge vision, like you did Carissa, and you’re getting on the phone with someone and you kind of have this frantic energy about, yeah, I’m just getting off the ground and you know, I’m doing the best I can and I can negotiate and you can pay whatever you want, like that’s not going to calm a bride down. That’s not going to make her want to work with you. She’s going to be like, you’re the expert here? Like, what does it cost? Are you going to do a good job? And I think you’ve just always had that confidence in yourself and you’ve just known that you’re going to be successful. And, and so it is, you know, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
Carissa Corsi: Yeah, definitely. And I think that, you know, it was a bit more difficult, you know, starting that in the pandemic because as with wedding planning, you know, people had cut back on looking for wedding planners. And I think this is something to point out too, because I did not stop, even though I knew that, I didn’t stop. And here I am with, you know, seven plus clients in the matter of quad, only six months is just insane to me. I mean, we were in the middle of a pandemic and all of a sudden, you know, I just kept pushing through, pushing through, pushing through and not just hoping, but knowing, and you know, I’m just in this position now and it just seems surreal, it honestly seems surreal.
Leah Gervais: I think it’s great that you pointed out that you did it in the most unlikely of circumstances and because everyone’s zigged and zagged, it worked, you set out and, um, you should feel like you’re living a dream. I mean, no one deserves it more than you I’m. So it’s just amazing watching you.
Carissa Corsi: Thanks Leah.
Leah Gervais. Of course. So let’s get in. I want to ask you a little bit about some of them marketing specifics, because I know some people might be thinking, wow, she jumped so much so quickly. What actually has that looked like? So, um, I know I obviously have seen a lot of what you’ve done, but whatever you want to share around how you’ve leaned into digital marketing, social, um, email list building, like what has really worked for you.
Carissa Corsi: So when I first started, I thought, you know, how can I, you know, get, get my name out there, right. I just want to reach people. And I thought, you know, what better way to kind of, you know, I’m not only investing in certain programs where I’m growing with you as a coach, but I’m also doing a lot on the advertising side. So I know Leah, you taught me a lot about Facebook ads and I am, you know, I will promote that fully. I’ve had such great luck with those. I think they’re great, you know, creating your, you know, solo opt-in and really just, you know, having, um, that promoted. I gained a ton of leads just from that. And I was doing a lot of, um, outreach as far as not just sales emails, but nurture campaigns too, which a lot of people in, you know, my industry, they, they feed off that.
They like to get that information. And then they want to know like, and trust you and as with any business and, um, then invest. So I was doing along on that end, I also had to be creative around how I wanted to market services because I, you know, everything was virtual and with wedding planning, I’m doing naturally doing a lot of in-person meetings and what have you, I’m going on venue tours and really just meeting with the people in person and really, you know, sorting everything out, laying things out. And I think I had to think smart. So like, how can I offer different things? So I did a bride babes membership where I said, how can I offer a type of group program that would, you know, benefit brides to be completely virtual, can plan their wedding from scratch. I offered one-on-one consultations where I basically got them on the phone with me and they could ask me anything in any like any one-off question they had around wedding and event planning from budget to timeline, you name it.
So I had to get creative in how I really, you know, switched up my services to tailor the times we are in. And now it’s a bit more flexible and as things are getting back to normal, but I think, you know, being creative around that, I had to advertise with the knot and wedding wire, just a lot of different things being from my personality. I want to do all the things. So I just went all in. I did. And that’s, that’s honestly the best advice I can give because yeah, you’re, you’re fronting a lot of money upfront, but in the end it’s going to pay off just like it did for me. I mean, you have to be willing to invest in yourself to that level. Um, and do you know the outreach? Do the advertising, um, see what kind of Facebook communities you can get involved in, um, see what type of coaching programs you can move forth with. So I think that’s kinda, um, all in all kind of where, where I went.
Leah Gervais: Awesome. So a few things I want to pull out here because I do think you’ve done. So you haven’t been, you haven’t shied away from what you haven’t known. So, uh, yes, we, I, we went through Facebook ads together. You’ve built your list quite a bit from that. Um, did you know Facebook ads at all before you joined scale, your side hustle?
Carissa Corsi: I did not.
Leah Gervais: And do you feel comfortable doing them now?
Carissa Corsi: 100%.
Leah Gervais: Has your list grown by like a thousand in six months from them?
Carissa Corsi: Yeah. I feel like I even just in our mastermind program, I feel like I get questions on them and I’m like, so to help, I’m like, I love this because it’s, it is it’s naturally as anything becomes easier as you do.
Leah Gervais: Great. So you leaned into that, you knew you didn’t know how to do it, but you learned and you spent money on it and it has 100% paid off for you.
Carissa Corsi: Definitely
Leah Gervais: Amazing. Okay. And then I also want to pull out that you you’ve given a ton of free value. You have done a lot of connecting with people online. You’ve done free free training series. You’ve been very consistent with how you’ve shown up.
Carissa Corsi: Yes, I have. I’ve done, you know, not just posting, but physically getting on Facebook, live Instagram live, um, being there for people, um, you know, doing just simple Q and a sessions from providing information on a certain topic, um, from pulling people to, you know, what they’re actually looking for in this time. Um, and just offering, you know, exactly what you said, getting on calls with people, figuring it out, whether it’s market research or whether it’s, you know, um, a free call just to offer a free call and get to make these connections with people, find out what they’re looking for and what they need, um, in a wedding planner, um, has been extremely valuable.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. It’s, it’s great. I mean it’s, it’s entrepreneurship at its core, which is just talking to people and solving their problems. That’s all it ever will be. And you’ve been very consistent with that. And then finally, you’ve been through my coaching programs and you, you know, you’ve talked, you alluded to the power of the community and the power of having a mentor. What would you say to someone or whatever you want to say here? Like what would you say to someone who maybe is nervous about that or who hasn’t, um, who hasn’t ever invested as much as some them are? You know, obviously you’re in the mastermind now, which is very, very high level. Do you have any advice and have you ever done anything like this before?
Carissa Corsi: So I have not. Um, I have never invested in a coaching program, which really speaks wonders in the sense that I was just so fed up. So if you are in that position where you are just so fed up with your nine to five you’re, you know, that you have this passion for something you want to start something new, go for it. I mean, could I have done this alone? Sure. But for me, my dream couldn’t wait another second. And this is exactly why I invested in these programs and I’ve only gone up from there and it’s really been beneficial.
Carissa Corsi: So, like I said before, it gave my business really that proper foundation and structure and set me up for success. And it also gave me that confidence I needed, knowing that I had that support in my back pocket. Um, and really, you know, you, it really allows you to consistently show up as you, so when you have that foundation and you have that structure, um, and you gain that confidence, you’re showing up more as you and what you’ve, you know, God for maybe years wanted to show up as, and then here you are.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And I definitely think that all of you in the mastermind, um, have really lifted each other up and really built each other up in terms of there’s like, there’s a crazy win almost every day in your group because of how much you all eliminate each other.
Carissa Corsi: Yes. Yes. And we’ve become, you know, you know, you’re gaining great friends through the process as well that you can lean on when things get tough, which is awesome. And, you know, really not just lean on, but, but grow from, I mean, everybody is doing so many different things and it’s just so interesting. It’s like, you can just, you know, learn, see what they’re doing, it’s inspiring, but you can also learn from them and say, Hey, I want to do that. I think I should do that. That’s a great idea. Um, but just bouncing ideas and being able to learn, um, as well as the inspired is just absolutely incredible. It’s incredible what you’ve created. Leah,
Leah Gervais: Thank you. And I obviously attribute a lot of it to you all, you all have really stepped up and made it, made it what it is. So it’s, it’s, it’s incredible and very inspiring for me to watch you all. It’s why I do what I do. So wow, Carissa, I mean, I feel so just motivated after hearing you speak and so impressed with all that you’ve done. I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom in terms of the mindset, things that you’ve gone through, um, how, how just relentlessly you’ve pursued your dreams, but I’ve never seen you get aggressive about it. I don’t know how to say that.
I think sometimes people think that there’s like, you know, that if you just are so aggressively pursuing something or relentlessly pursuing something that you almost get this sort of like intensity about it or frustration about it, and you’ve never exuded that you’ve always really led with grace and, and your passion is very clear with what you do. And it’s just so obvious that you really care about your clients and, and their weddings. And, um, I think that, you know, it’s very inspiring to see someone be able to do both the relentless pursuit of their dreams, but also keep the, just serenity and enjoyment of it the whole time. So is there any final things you want to share either about your journey or about your business and, um, event planning in general at all?
Carissa Corsi: Um, so I think, I think I really, you know, just want to say that, um, always act, you know, from always act like the person who already has what you want. Um, this is what I’ve done throughout. This is what I learned from you Leah and it really has stuck with me. You know, I’m constantly journaling, I’m constantly meditating and I’m always planning my life around the person who I want to be, um, who I desire to be. And I think that has been just such a huge help for me, an eye-opener for me, because I know that I can have more, um, I know that there’s more out there for me. I know that there’s, you know, a pool full of clients just waiting for me to serve them. So I think that’s just really something that has stuck with me and that I can highlight and, you know, having that faith that it would all work out for me.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. I think that that’s great advice for entrepreneurs. And I think so often it’s easy to make decisions based on where you are, because that’s all we, a lot of us have ever done. It’s very, a very logical way to think, but it is very, a very stagnant way to think as well. And I think that you highlighting how you continue to move forward is, is really powerful. So thank you for that. And now I have three final lightning questions. Are you ready?
Carissa Corsi: Yeah.
Leah Gervais: Okay. All right. What is your go-to when you’re having an off day or a frustrating day or a bad day?
Carissa Corsi: My go-to is taking the pups for a walk on the beach with the love of my life.
Leah Gervais: That is divine. I love that answer. And, okay. What is your proudest business moment thus far? What has been the most exciting?
Carissa Corsi: I think what has been the most exciting is honestly just being able to connect with people, but also hearing the feedback from my clients. So like even just people showing that excitement to work with me, it’s just, it honestly, it puts a smile on my face every time, because it’s like just the sweetest things that they have to say about you. And it’s like, wow. Like I really am making like an impact on people and it’s so it’s just beautiful to see.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, absolutely. Do you have any business building books or podcasts that’s really helped you?
Carissa Corsi: Well, yours. Um, yeah, I mean primarily yours and, um, I do like The Gold Digger podcast by Jenna kosher.
Leah Gervais: Good one, good one. Okay. And then finally, where can people find out more about you?
Carissa Corsi: Um, so if you are newly engaged, starting with the planning process and the midst, or even, you know, need day of assistance, you know, you can come find me on Instagram or Facebook. Um, my IG account name and my Facebook is simple: @CarissaCorsiEvents you can also find me on my website Also CarissaCorsiEvents.com and I’m on the knot and Wedding Wire, um, and can always be reached out as email, which is also on my platforms.
Leah Gervais: Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Carissa. This was a lot of fun.
Carissa Corsi: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me, Leah.
Leah Gervais: My pleasure. Well, I will talk to you very soon. I can’t wait to see you at our mastermind retreat. I’m really grateful you were here and to all you visionaries, listening and hope you feel inspired by this episode, know that your vision is possible and that it is waiting for you. And I hope that this supported you in getting there. So here’s to your biggest vision by everyone.
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