With the recent wedding boom and the new year right around the corner, it is a great time to be a new event planner! But, and take it from someone who’s been in the biz for nearly two decades, being a full-time event planner is a
bit lot different from planning one of your friend’s weddings or your nephew’s birthday party. While that’s often how most of us planners got our start in the events and wedding industry, there is a big learning curve to overcome — especially because you’re not just a hobbyist event planner anymore. You’re a full-fledged business owner!
My mission is to help creative entrepreneurs like you step into your role as CEO by giving you as many pieces of wisdom as possible when it comes to growing your business. So today, I want to help set you up for the best success during your first year as a new event planner! Think of this as your first year survival guide.
Here are my four tips to survive your first year as an event planner.
If you have already done some research about how to get clients, you most likely have run into a tip that says something along the lines of “niche down” or “be firm with who you work with” or “speak directly to your ideal client.” This is great advice, this isn’t applicable for your first year in business.
Some coaches disagree with this idea, but the way I see it is, you don’t know who your ideal client is when you first start out. You may think you know, but that could easily change when you gain some experience as you work hands-on with clients. A great example of this is in this podcast episode with Renee Dalo of Moxie Bright Events. She shared her experience with changing her ideal client as she started working. She had an idea of who she wanted to work with, but as she worked with those couples, she realized they didn’t spark her creativity and joy as much as another set of clientele did.
So bottom line? I encourage you to keep an open mind about which niche you fall into! Take all the clients and learn from each of them. These experiences will shape who you want to serve and what you want to offer. You’ll find the type of clients you love to work with — it just takes a little time and patience.
The most effective way to meet other professionals in the field is to attend networking events. When there, you have many opportunities to introduce yourself to other professionals, invite vendors to coffee dates, and learn about other event planners’ and vendors’ businesses.
Along with meeting everyone, try to be everywhere! Go to as many local and national events as possible. Contrary to popular belief, though you technically compete with others in your market, having a hostile attitude towards them won’t help you grow your business. Instead, form genuine relationships with them! (No one likes cold-selling.) These are the people you’re going to be working with for quite a few years, so it’s important to be friendly and make people wonder, “Where did this person come from, and can I be their new best friend?!”
It seems counterintuitive, but there is enough room in the events industry for all planners. When we can build each other up instead of tearing each other down, we form really great referral networks.
You are inevitably going to make mistakes. You won’t always know what you’re doing. But you are learning, and that’s the best thing you can do for your business! Every single decision you make will teach you something new — no matter if you interpret that decision as good, bad, right, or wrong. The truth is, you can’t become a leader in your field until you’ve jumped the hurdles yourself. And you can’t learn and grow as a professional if you keep beating yourself up for the mistakes you make. All the top professionals have fallen, but they got back up because the journey was worth it to them.
I consider this a bonus tip, only because not all budding event planners will have the capacity to get a bookkeeper. But if you do have the assets to get one, do it! This is one thing I wish I did sooner in my business because a great bookkeeper, like Kickstart Accounting, will help you stay financially organized from day one. It can also help you see where your money is going and if your business is financially healthy.
And there you have it! Your complete survival guide for your first year as an event planner. The main takeaway? Keep things simple, get organized as quickly as you can, and form genuine relationships! Did you find this helpful? I would love it if you sharehare it on Instagram stories so that other aspiring full-time event planners can learn and feel empowered to make the leap as well!
I help creative business owners sustainably scale their business so they can create a thriving career and work-life balance.
small biz coach
I have experience speaking at both live and virtual events, educating creative and wedding entrepreneurs how to step into their role as CEO. If you're looking for speakers for your next conference, workshop, event, or the next guest for your podcast, I'd love to see how we can collaborate!
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