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"Three Steps to Become an Event Planner"

Event Planning Business

…why Starting an Event Planning Business
Might Not Be Right For you

There's a very common misconception when it comes to the world of event planning; and it goes something like this:

"I really want to plan events for a living, so I think I'll start my own event planning business!"  

If you have some experience planning events, then this is a very viable option.  If you have planned enough events to feel confident that you know what you're doing but just need some help getting your business started, then I can help!  Please visit  my Starting an Event Planning Business page to learn more.  

If, however, you're just starting out and have never planned your own events, then please, for the love of everything good....don't start your own business quite yet!  

I realize that this might disappoint those of you who have dreams of working for yourself; and trust me, you CAN open your own business in the not-so-distant-future.  It will happen more quickly than you ever imagined; but don't do it quite yet.  

I am not quite sure why it's so common in this industry, more than any other, for beginners to feel that they can open their own business in something they've never done before.  

Perhaps it's because people believe that there's not much more to planning events than picking out pretty decor and fun entertainment  Perhaps it's because there are so many online courses out there just trying to make a buck and selling you the dream, even though it's not in your best interest.  Perhaps it's simply because as beginners, you don't really understand how much goes into an event, and you don't quite fully comprehend the legal repercussions that can result if you try to sell yourself as a planner although you've never planned an event before.  

But please, trust me.  You do not want to open an event planning company until you truly understand every aspect of event planning.  Not only will you get into something deeper than you can manage, but you stand the chance of getting sued.  You could possibly lose thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars due to either mistakes or lawsuits.  Remember that it’s not “all about you” and your desire to have a fun career. There is a lot at stake, including a lot of money and someone else’s trust in you to plan a perfect event.

I've had numerous people email me, completely frustrated, broke, and broken hearted; because they tried to do it all too soon.  The worst part is that they give up on their dream of event planning entirely, when it all could have been avoided if they took the proper steps.  

With such an exciting, fantastic career in front of you, why risk it all before you even get started, just because you were anxious to get going?  

The good news is that it won't take long.  Depending on how quick of a learner you are, you could learn enough to start your own event planning business in 3-5 years.  But don't jump before it's right.  Learn your mistakes on someone else's dime, and when the time is right, you'll know it!  

Starting Your Own Business vs.
Working as an Independent Contractor

But before we go any further, let's clarify something really quickly.  There *IS* a way you can work for yourself as a beginner, without risking the catastrophic repercussions of opening your own business in an industry you know nothing about.  

You can, technically, work as an independent contractor, which is different than opening your own business.  As an independent contractor, you hire out on a short-term basis to plan an event or help out busy planners who can't do it all.  Perhaps there's a planner in a large company who just has too much on her plate; so she might hire an independent contractor to help her out with the planning of her event.  

In this case, you do not work for the company, you work for yourself.  But it's not the same as opening a business either.  You are merely offering your event planning services for a few weeks or months at a time.

This is how I've pretty much built my entire career of twenty years.  I enjoy the freedom of working as an independent contractor.  I don't work for a company and I'm not tied to my own company either.  I get to work for a variety of interesting clients planning all kinds of fun events.  

However, you absolutely must know everything there is to know about how to plan an event.  You can't hire yourself out as a contractor unless you really know what you're doing.  

If you're ready to begin your career, and you're ready to learn everything you need to know about how to plan events, then click here to read how the Planning Events Course can help you achieve your dream more quickly than you ever thought possible.!  

What You Need to Start Your Own
Event Planning Business

If you think you have what it takes, or are just curious and are planning ahead for your future, then I'll cover the basics of what you need to start a business.  I cover all of this in much greater detail in my online video course, Starting an Event Planning Business.  

Things you need to start your own business in event planning:

  • Ok, this seems redundant, but....EXPERIENCE.  Enough said.  
  • An Attorney:  to draw up contracts and guide you through your business.  
  • Office Space: it is not necessary to find expensive store-front property to be an event planner. You can easily work out of your home, given that you have a private, quiet work space that is designated just for this purpose. Working at your kitchen table with vocal children or barking dogs in the background might not give off the most professional image. 
  • Computer Knowledge: it is imperative that you are very proficient with the computer. Event planning is much more than just picking out pretty décor. There are lists and documents and mail merges and Excel grids. If you aren’t extremely comfortable using the internet, Microsoft Word, and Excel, then it would be worth the investment and your time to take a few classes. It’s a sign of the times; you simply can not run a business without the computer!
  • EIN and Separate Business Checking Account
  • Finances: many clients expect meeting and event planners to "float" money for events, such as deposits to hold venue space, etc. Be prepared to not get paid by your client for 30 to 60 days or more.  If you are just starting out and can’t float money, be sure to work a “good faith” deposit into your contract (which is good practice anyway). Be prepared to deal with finances accordingly; events require a lot of money up-front. 
  • Create a Team: regardless of the size of your company – if you plan on eventually having 30 employees or if it’s just you – you will need to surround yourself with a great team of people. You will need attorneys, accountants, and suppliers such as décor companies, photographers, DMCs, entertainment references, AV companies, hotel references, and the list goes on and on! Your success is riding on your partners, they all reflect back on you; so pick wisely!
  • Clients: of course, building up a clientele is the foundation to your success.  Even event planning companies that have been established for decades still struggle to find new clients; so it's particularly tough for a new start-up business.  A good planner will rely on a combination of networking and marketing; and, ideally, word-of-mouth from satisfied customers!    

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before starting your own event planning business. But once you get up and going, and find yourself a few clients, you will live a very rewarding life with a career that you love, all while working for yourself. For many, that is the American Dream; and it is perfectly attainable!