Let’s get into the 9 steps to become an event planner:
- Network with Other Business Owners
Familiarize yourself with local event planners, hotels, restaurants and catering services in your area.
Attend local functions and join the Chamber of Commerce. Pass out your business cards to as many people as you can.
Don’t forget to mingle with photographers and other hired staff at the events. Obtain their business cards to keep on file if you find a client that meets their criteria.
You can never know too many people in the field. It only makes your job easier and your business will grow from their recommendation of your services.
- Volunteer at Events to Build Your Portfolio
Check with Local Charities
Local charities are a great place to start your search when looking to volunteer as an event planner to gain real world experience. Charities are always holding fundraisers and need people to help run those events. If you can successfully show that you helped
a charity run a fundraiser on your resume, businesses will see this as a positive indication of your event planning abilities.
If you are a parent, your children offer excellent opportunities to volunteer as an event planner. Whenever your child has a school event that calls for parents to volunteer to run the event, you should not hesitate to volunteer your services. Planning a large school function for your child’s class will allow you to gain excellent event planning experience.
In addition to planning school functions, you can volunteer to help organize any events for your children’s athletic teams. Most sports teams will hold a team banquet at the end of the season to celebrate the team’s accomplishments. Stepping up and volunteering to plan this event is another outstanding event planning volunteer opportunity.
Network with Event Planners
If you cannot find any local charities that you want to work with and do not have children, you can always network with event planners and volunteer your services as an intern. When attending an event that you know an event planner put together (wedding, banquet, corporate event, retreat, fundraiser, etc) take the time to seek out the event planner and talk to them about their business. Let the event planner know you are interested in joining the field and you may be surprised at how helpful they will be.
Once you are able to gain experience as an intern or volunteer working for an event planning business, you will be able to leverage your real world experience into a full time paying job as an event planner.
Remember – businesses value real world experience over education.
- Build a Strong Relationship with Vendors
Successful event planners believe that developing a large network of trusted vendors and venues across the globe is a must.
Decide who your perfect target client is and meet the types of vendors and venues that this client will need. When you reach out to these businesses they will be happy to hear from you because they all rely on event planners to contract them for business. So go into these conversations with confidence.
Doing so makes locating that unique client request less stressful and possibly more cost effective if you have built a good rapport.
- Create a Marketing Plan
Decide if you want this to be a “Lifestyle” company, an independent business or if you want to get a job being a planner for another company.
Depending on which you decide, your marketing approach will be different.
If your goal is to build a lifestyle company, you can focus more on building your own personal brand.
If you want to build an independent business then you can start planning to implement systems that will allow for you to eventually hire employees and sales people to help you grow the business. The focus of your marketing for a large company will be more focused on your whole company rather than only on your personal brand.
Lastly, if your goal is to create a job for yourself, you will want to start working on networking with companies in your area that you want to work for. You can do some informational interviews, create your Pinterest vision board or make a portfolio if you have photos from events you have participated in.
- Hold a Photo Shoot
If you want more photos for your portfolio or idea board you can organize a photo shoot by reaching out to local photographers, videographers, brands, venues and models and tell them what you are doing – you are organizing a photo shoot and they have the opportunity to build their portfolio as well.
You can ask the participating vendors and venues to do the work for free, in exchange for professional photos for their portfolio as well. If you line this up correctly you will come away with an amazing photo inventory for your website, great relationships and all can be done on a very small budget or free.
At most you would only have to pay the photographer or videographer but ideally you can negotiate free pricing for all since everyone will benefit from this type of exposure. You can tell all vendors and venues involved that you will try to use them for all your future events.
- Create Your Website
Start working on your website with just the basics.
Include information about yourself with a nice photo, a services page that summarizes what you do, and a portfolio page with photos from any events you have helped organize. If you do not have your own portfolio yet, you can create your own Pinterest board and start pinning photos of events that you really like.
Once you are happy with your Pinterest board you can create an “Idea Board” link on your webpage and link to your Pinterest board from there. This will give your clients an idea of the types of styles you like. This is a tip you won’t find in too many places but it has worked wonders for all of our students.
- Create a Brochure
Design a high-end brochure that features your specialties and qualifications.
Include photographs of your best events along with a photo of yourself. You may even want to include a few testimonials of previous clients.
If you already have a brochure, take a good look at how you can improve it. If you work for a corporation as an event planner, meet with your superior and discuss the options to print or improve a brochure to boost sales.
You can pass out your brochures to florists, caterers, photographers and other vendors you come in contact with.
- Client Referrals
Develop an incentive for clients or vendors who refer business to you.
Consider offering a percentage off of their next event or possibly covering the cost of a predetermined number of plates. Word of mouth is the best advertisement, so always do your absolute best so your referrals will snowball and you find yourself with a large clientele.
- Reputation is Key
Event planners need to always provide superior service and be able to handle unexpected issues that arise.
Give your customers the same top-notch attention that you would give to an important event of your own. Your clients should be able to rely on you and not have to worry about details that are your responsibility. Get tasks done and solve any problems in a timely fashion. Your clients and their guests will notice and remember the quality service that you have provided.
If you want a nice PDF version of today’s lesson to save on your computer you can download it here.
We’ll be back tomorrow for Day 3’s lesson which covers what you need to know about charging for your services. This is one of the most common questions we get and in tomorrow’s lesson we will go into detail about all the ways you can charge clients, and we will also give you a couple secret tips on positioning your service to be able to increase your rates. Who doesn’t love making more money right? See you tomorrow! 🙂