Event planning is a broad spanning career that can come with numerous opportunities. There are companies that straight out hire event planners, but most event planners choose to start their own businesses. Due to the nature of the work, it’s possible to start an event planning business right at home and begin to take on clients immediately.
However, just like with any other business, planning is key. Knowing what the market requires is just as important. The following key tips will help you start an event planning startup that is market ready.
Personal reflection: What Training do you need to have?
To be an event planner, you need a degree from a college or university in hospitality or tourism or meeting and event planning, but to start your own business, a degree is not required. You can start your business and then go through the certification process. As long as you’re passionate about event planning and have the necessary skillset, you can start an event planning business
Consider becoming a CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) or a CMP (Certified Meeting Planner). If nothing else, these certifications will help you find more clients as some do look for these designations when hiring an event planner. According to the GEVME tips for beginning an event management business, “Words are nothing. People will not trust only words.” Therefore, pursue tertiary educated, get the latest and most accredited certificates available.
How Much Do Event Planners Make?
If you’re wondering how much event planners make to come up with a pricing model, you should know that the average planner makes about $48,840 a year. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and as such applies to an employee, not a business owner. It’s the general practice in the events industry to charge a fee for the service as well as the percentage of some or all vendor fees. Although this is a rough price for event planners in the US, it’s possible to make much more. Again, your work ethic determines how far you will go in the industry. When thinking about how to get into event planning, don’t think only about the money. There are other rewards more satisfying than paper such as an eternally grateful client and word of mouth which in turn means more business coming your way. Above all, start your own event planning business because you want to make the most out of life and the money will become a bonus.
Begin by Choosing a Category
There are several different kinds of events that can be summed up in three broad categories. There are social events where you will be planning weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, engagement parties and the like. There are corporate events that incorporate conventions, team building events, meetings and the like. The final category is non-profit events that can include charity events and fundraisers.
Some planners are generalists and will do everything. However, it’s best to pick a particular niche to focus on especially if you’re just starting out. This way, your passions, experience, and interests can converge to provide a satisfactory result for the client. Whatever category you decide to venture into, be sure to give it your best. The trick is to master the current type of event planning before attempting to move up the career ladder. Your work must be enough to get you a sit on the high table. It’s as simple as that!
Build a Website for More Exposure
A website not only gives you a platform to showcase your work, but also attracts more clients with the help of testimonials. It is also easier to share with potential clients and on social media. Simply connect the website to your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and post shareable content regularly. Also, websites are inexpensive and relatively easy to set up.
Market your Business
There are numerous ways to promote your business. However, before you think about marketing, keep in mind that event planning is a service, and word of mouth is key. Therefore, you’ll want to maintain quality standards in all events that bear your name. With that said, also maintain consistency. This is long-term marketing strategy as many former clients will recommend you to friends.
In the short-term, you can use social media advertising like Facebook and Twitter Ads, brochures and posters, blogging, email marketing and business cards. The list is long. Choose marketing strategies that meet your needs and that are effective. You may end up trying a few before finding the magic bullet.
The methods you choose should also fit in with your marketing budget. As a startup, you have other costs to worry about and don’t want to spend too much on one aspect.
Develop a Marketing Budget
So, you finally took the initiative, and took the bull by the horns, eh? What next? You need to develop a deep pocket budget dedicated towards marketing. One of the reasons why most companies fail before the 6-month milestone is because of failing to proactively budget. By being proactive, you take into consideration that the marketing phase is not just once off. Therefore, there must be an actual budget dedicated towards perpetual marketing. In the event planning industry, clients have different briefs, and they all don’t fall under the same financial/social group.
When marketing, you have to take into consideration the need to reach all social spheres. Nothing turns off clients more than the notion of not being fully covered. All customers want to walk into a business and feel like they have met the greatest planner of all time. Marketing should be done on and offline. Keep your working space at its best, and it will advertise your services before you even do the meet and greet your clients.
Choose a Team Wisely
Event planning is a labor-intensive exercise, and as such, you won’t be able to do it on your own. To begin with, you can start with just two or three other people on your staff and scale up as the business grows. Hire people who have a passion for event planning and are unafraid to offer their opinion. The people you hire should also demonstrate high levels of organizational skills. The event planning business requires on-point coordination to work, and you need a team that understands this.
It goes without saying that a successful event planner business has a powerful team backing it all the way. Being an event planner is concerned more than just the planner but also about the team. Team players are the backbone of excellent business plans and ideas. Also, a team should primarily work to bridge the gaps and give the client what they want. To understand the importance of a solid team, you can read the 9 steps in a successful event lifecycle.
Use Reputable Vendors
It goes without saying that your reputation precedes your business. For every event you plan, you will need a steady supply of materials you can’t provide yourself. It’s, therefore, a good idea to find reputable vendors who can provide you with the right materials in a timely manner. Also, develop a relationship with these vendors to make the next event you plan run smoothly. Also, consider that with vendors that you have built a relationship with, it is possible to get high deals for lower. The more relationships you build, the more you save. Becoming a party planner will seem even more rewarding because of all the saving you will be doing.
Event planning can be a rewarding career path to choose, and starting has never been easier than it is now. Thanks to social media marketing, you can now reach as many people as possible. Take the initiative, because being an event planner will not only keep you occupied but also bring big bucks to the table. You can read more to understand what it takes to get into the industry and be a total success story.