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"Three Steps to Become an Event Planner"

Event Planner Career

What Exactly is Event Planning,

And How Do I Make This My Career

You've heard about it. You've seen it in movies. You think you want to be one. But, if you really think about it, you have no clue what being an event and meeting planner is really all about.  

I mean, we all think we know what an event planner does....but what does a planner do day-to-day, between events?  What does it take to be a good planner?  And what does someone do, once they decide this is for them?

Basically, an event planner is a person who organizes, pre-plans, and coordinates
all the countless elements that are required for an event;
and then manages all of the elements on-site at the actual event.

Ok, So What Qualifies as an Event?  
What Does a Planner Really Do?

Any gathering of people that requires some sort of organization can qualify as an event.  This includes everything from a birthday party for the neighborhood kid to the opening ceremonies at the Olympics (and everything inbetween).  There are literally millions of types of events going on at any given time; and you can be a part of it!

Of course, an event planner is the person who coordinates every last detail of an event; no matter how small or how large that event might be.  He or she arranges everything from choice of venue to menu selection, from the entertainment to the decor, from the type of staging to the choice of background music.  

Man holding a paper smiley face in front of his face

Want to know if you have what it takes to succeed?  Click here to read more about the personality traits that are helpful in making great event planners.

Most people, when they envision the life of an event planner career, see mostly these glamorous, exciting elements of events.  What they don't see is that the event planner also spent countless hours cross-checking attendance lists, arranging for proper insurance, conducting countless logistics meetings between vendors, and managing tight budgets.  

So, it's important to realize that while the perception of event planning is often that of a glamorous, exciting job, in reality most of your time is spent behind the scenes in preparation of the event.  It's called "event planning" for a reason; a small percentage of your time is spent at the event, and most of it is in the planning!

Cartoon juggling multiple balls in the air

If you want to have a better idea of what being an event planner really entails, click here to read a "day in the life" example of what tasks a planner might do on any given day.  

However, most planners will agree; despite all the countless hours of frustration, crossed eyes from cross-checking lists, and moments of panic, there is simply nothing more rewarding than seeing your event "go live."  When you see all these elements you've created come together to create a magical moment, it makes it all worthwhile!

Types of Events and Event Planning Jobs

Many people who are just beginning in the industry just know that they want to be an event planner. But do you know what type of planner you want to be? Just as someone who decides to be a doctor needs to pick a specialty, it helps if you narrow down what niche you're interested in.

You need to consider your personality and interests when narrowing down what event planner jobs to look for. For example, do you also enjoy sports? Then sports event marketing would be for you. Do you enjoy knowing that you are helping people? Then planning fundraising special events would be perfect. Do you have a corporate background? Then corporate event planning would be a natural next step in your career.

Let's take a quick look at the types of events that need planners to plan them (I talk about these in greater detail in my online Planning Events Course):

Corporate Events and Meetings: Nearly every company holds meetings during the year, that range in number of people (from 20 to 20,000)....and they all need planners! There are usually more opportunity for meeting planner jobs, and they are much more lucrative than party planner jobs and many event planner jobs. 

Conference Event Planning: Conventions and conferences are a huge piece of the event industry pie; with everything from huge computer and software conventions to hobby-themed conventions (think Star Trek), the job opportunities are endless! 

Corporate Incentive Programs: Incentive programs are truly one of the most exciting parts of corporate event planning. Travel the world to five star resorts, go along on fun excursions, and host some of the grandest events in the business! This is one of the most competitive event planner careers to land; but if you are able to, it's worth it! 

Special Events and Festivals: This is a great option if you don't want to travel as much (although you can definitely travel with this specialty too). Every major city and most local communities have special events and festivals throughout the year. Just a few examples include: food festivals, wine festivals, beer festivals, Oktoberfests, music fests, concerts, shows, theater-in-the-park, product promotion parties, and so on. 

Sporting Events:  On a larger scale, this can include any "Bowl" event; Super Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, etc. On a more local scale, this can include bike races, golf tournaments, triathlons, marathons, ski events, the Olympics, Special Olympics, horse races, car races, etc. 

Fundraisers:  If you have any non-profits of any size in your area, then they need to raise money! This can include fundraising galas, silent auctions, marathons (think "Race for the Cure"), political events, church events, or any event associated with non-profits and fundraising. While not as lucrative as other event planner jobs, it can be extremely rewarding. 

Trade Shows: Trade shows are where customer interaction and "big business" often takes place. With over 2500 trade shows bringing in billions of dollars each year, maybe this is where you can find your niche! 

Wedding Planning: Wedding planning is a multi-billion dollar industry. While it is possible to find opportunities in the wedding planning industry, I discuss why I discourage you from pursuing a job as wedding planner in my free into to event planning course.

Your Own Events: Once you gain a little experience, it is easy to start your own event planning business!

....and this is only scratching the surface. As you can see, there are literally countless opportunities to find your niche and therefore narrow down your search for your event planner career. 

"Who Plans these Events?  
Where Do I Find Work?"

Once you start to narrow down a niche or two that you might be interested in, that will help you determine where to look for work.  For example, if you want to plan fundraising events for non-profits, then you will focus your work search differently than someone who wants to go into sporting event planning; if you are interested in trade shows, that's an entirely different world than wedding planning. 

I talk much more about this topic in my free four-part video series….keep reading below to see an outline and to sign up!