Event planning is an art that takes skill and practice to pull off successfully. While nobody perfects a craft overnight, there are some surefire steps to take in order to become the best in your field. Structured plans and the willingness to drive your business further with each event will lead you to successful outcomes. While it takes hard work and dedication, event planning can be a very lucrative and rewarding career path. Here are some suggestions to consider once you have committed to growing your business:
1. Gain Experience
You will want to accumulate the most event planning experience that you can. This may call for getting creative. Rather than starting blindly, think outside the box in the early stages of your journey as an event planner. Volunteering can be an endless opportunity to learn the ins and outs of an event and everything that goes into making it a memorable and pleasurable experience for guests. Consider all of the details that go into an event. You can volunteer with nonprofit organizations, florists, caterers, venders, etc. When planning an event, it will be rare to find any of these contributors who couldn’t use an extra helping hand. It is very likely they will be grateful for your availability and you will gain hands on experience that you can’t find anywhere else (and build your resume at the same time). Everybody wins!
2. Shadow a Successful Event Planner
Much like volunteering with contributing companies, shadowing an already successful event planner can be enlightening. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This would be the time to learn the game as well as you can before you are out on your own. Take copious notes on the organization skills the event planner is displaying and be aware of the way each client is treated. If you are shadowing a successful event planner, you will notice that every client should be treated as priority and their ideas are taken seriously. This is also the perfect time to test the waters and freelance for a while. Later on, you will need to establish a target audience so discovering where you feel you may fit in is important to do early on. Follow the event planner you are shadowing on different occasions and dabble in each type of event. Listen to what speaks to you the most and what you think you may be best at.
3. Determine Your Niche
After you have gotten your feet wet into different types of events, make a decision as to which you would like to pursue as you brand yourself. Keep in mind that you can always expand so it is okay to start small. For example, if you have enjoyed planning weddings thus far, set your sights on advertising your services accordingly and highlight the special skills you have acquired that make you stand out from other event planners. Perhaps you prefer party planning. If so, determine the planning structure that works most efficiently for the particular event and go from there. Is it a small-scale or large-scale event? What factors are necessary to create the best experience for your client? This will all come down to specialization and organization. Every event is custom to the client’s needs and organizing an event detail by detail is everything. In order to coordinate an event properly, you must have a solid theme and attainable goals. Choosing a niche to begin with is key to gain momentum.
4. Take Courses or Get Certified
This step may involve a personal financial investment in yourself and your future as an event planner. If you have the means to advance your knowledge further, take the leap into obtaining certification. Yes, completing a course in event planning looks great on your resume, but it is also legitimately helpful in becoming better at your craft. There is always room for growth and improvement. Anything that helps make your work distinctive is worth the work it takes to reach your goals. Certification can assist in proving your professionalism to clients and provide you the expertise to better assist your clients.
5. Build Your Network
In the business of event planning, connections are everything. Word of mouth is just as crucial to building clientele as advertising. Attend each event you customize and make sure you mingle as much as you can! Do not hesitate to make your rounds to ensure that all is going smoothly. In doing so, take note of all of your organization coming together to create the perfect event. Make conversation- especially with those who you know may be in need of your services themselves at another time. Contribute to the positive atmosphere and be yourself. You worked hard for this event to happen and you deserve to reap the benefits of that. Assume that everybody you come in contact with knows somebody who knows somebody else. You will not only want to present yourself as professional and easy to work with, but you will also want to make sure your event has no loose ends so that other potential clients are more inclined to inquire about your event planning services. Mingle, mingle, mingle!
6. Build Your Portfolio
By now, you should have a significant amount of experience under your belt and you are underway to becoming a successful event planner. Write down every single achievement you have attained thus far. Note each time you received feedback whether it be praise or constructive criticism in order to better yourself as an event planner. Begin building a portfolio that highlights the positive skills and attributes you have that makes your services worth investing in. Again, you will want to think outside of the box here. Do not list your experience and call it a day. Touch on the individual events and detail the work you have put into each one. Clients love to feel like their personal desires will be met when planning with you. Make sure that your reputation precedes you in the best way and provide a collection of your accomplishments on paper.
7. Create a Business Plan
Just like any other career, you must navigate the practicalities of your budget. How much are you willing to invest to begin your event planning business? Where would you like to see your business one year from today? What does the five-year plan look like for you? How much time are you willing and able to put into the success of your events? Being practical when setting goals increases the chances that you will achieve them. Remember that it is okay to start small as long as you start somewhere. You can always build on what you create later. Start reasonable and watch your business take off from there. Once you make your plan, set it in motion. Take action. Be open minded to adjustments and keep moving forward.
8. Personalize Your Business
First and foremost, name your business. This is a crucial step in forming a relationship with clients through search engines and social media sites. Your business name should be unique and define what you offer. Keep in mind that you want your business to be easily searchable so short and sweet is best. Make it something creative enough to stick in the minds of those who hear and see it. Once you have chosen a name, sell it! But in doing so, remember that search engines will be more likely to display your business in its results if it is a relatable name that will appear in your intended audience’s generated search. You may want to include key words like “event planning” within the name of your business. The two most important things to consider is relatability and functionality. You want its name to be appealing to customers and good for business at the same time. You cannot go wrong with a little personal touch!
9. Start Marketing
Once you have a variety of experience, a business plan in place and a business name, it is time to set forth into the marketing world. Create business cards and consider where you would like to display them that will best bring in clientele. Use social media to your advantage. The first thing a potential client will likely do in their search for an event coordinator is google. Put yourself on the radar to be found and be prepared by having a website to offer. Depending on your preference, you can hire somebody else to develop your website content or do it yourself. Sell your business like a product that you can be proud of. Include all services, deals and what you have to offer. Set yourself apart with an aesthetically pleasing site. Give your potential clients a glimpse into the services they will be getting from you. Be sure to leave your contact information accessible and be responsive to all incoming calls and emails you be receive. Hang flyers in local areas that you know may be host to upcoming events and parties. Target areas like busy cities, event halls, or populated areas with a good deal of traffic like coffee shops and malls. There is no such thing as too much marketing. Create the proper advertisements and be prepared to accumulate business.
10. Expand and Grow
No matter how many events you end up planning, the need for event coordinators will always be there. Your availability and willingness to expand your possibilities will set your business above the rest. There is always going to be a need for an event planner so if you want to become as successful as you possibly can, you must be willing to do all that is necessary to be there for your clients. Continue to grow your ideas and expand the realm of events that you take on. Once you have established a following, there is no reason not to venture out and learn new things. For example, if you are used to organizing business events and a client is in need of an active, outdoor event like a marathon or parade, be open to trusting your instincts and skill level. Take on what you know you can handle but do not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone to expand your services. It will ultimately make all the difference in the outcome of your success as a well-rounded event planner.
There are many facets that go into event planning but with the proper education and organization, you can reach your goals! Event planners are always in high demand. Your success in the business will depend on how much work you are willing to put forth into growing your business. In the end, it is always worth it to see your efforts pay off to create a smooth-running event that all can enjoy. Every event has the potential to lead to another- and so on. Be prepared for success and you can only grow from there. Be aware of the needs of the client and strive to provide them all the services they dream of. You are the connection between their hope for the event’s outcome and the actual event’s outcome. When you do this correctly, your name will surely be passed around and your business stands to achieve great things. Keep organized and remember: there is always more to learn. Be willing to go the extra mile and you will find yourself farther and farther from your starting point. And most importantly, don’t forget to stop and enjoy yourself along the way!