Contrary to popular belief, starting event planning with no money is very possible especially in 2023. Most people overestimate the need to have money when starting and we will tell you how to do it in this article.
Event planning is an exciting path that can be incredibly profitable for many people. It requires determination, an eye for design, being personable and staying organized.
As long as you are organized and detail-oriented, you can make a great living as an event planner.
And the best part about event planning is that you can do it on your own time and make your own schedule. In this article, we’re going to break down, two ways you can start event planning with no money today.
Two Ways To Start Event Planning
As a new event planner, we suggest that you choose from one of two options. You can create and plan your own events, or you can create and plan events for other people.
Both of these options are very lucrative and can help you make tons of money even if you want to start event planning as a part-time job or even a side-hustle.
Option 1. Start Event Planning On Your Own
Creating your own events might sound intimidating but it’s actually simple and we will give you the formula in this article. There are a ton of events that you can “create” and profit from and you won’t have to spend any money to do it. Some event planners make over six figures a year planning their own fun events! Below we’ve listed some great ways that you can start making money by planning your own events.
Option 2. Start Event Planning For Other People
Planning events for other people can be a very lucrative career path even if you have no experience. There is no shortage of people and companies looking for event planners and they need your help! Below we’ve listed some great ways to get paid lots of money for helping people plan events.
How To Start Event Planning With No Money On Your Own
You can watch this video and then read the rest of the article:
[2020 Update: As you read the next few points, due to Covid-19 some of these events are not possible without social distance and safety precautions. We recommend two things for now – (1) many of these ideas can be done virtually by using tools like Zoom. (2) Planning events for other people in the next section of this article is becoming more and more possible with Covid safety precautions.]
Here are some great ideas if you’d like to create and host your own events. These are simple, fun examples that should help you brainstorm some ideas of your own.
1. Networking Events – Cocktail Parties And Dinners
Networking events can be one of the easiest, no-cost events to host and here’s why. People love to meet new people, especially for business reasons. And there is a high demand for networking events in almost every city in America. Planning and promoting your networking event will be easy.
Bars, restaurants, and event spaces in your city are accustomed to hosting these types of events. All you have to do is call a bar or restaurant in your area and they will know exactly how to help you host a great event. Here is the best part, you can work out a deal with the venue so that you can host your event without spending any money upfront.
Most venues make their money on alcohol and food sales. If you promise to bring a crowd to their establishment, venues will usually waive any fees. The venue wants more business, and you’re promising to bring them more business, so they won’t charge you upfront.
Action Steps For You To Make Money With Networking Events
- You charge a ticket price for the event. If you’re not familiar with ticketing, there are a ton of websites that can help you create and sell tickets to your event. Our favorite event ticketing platform is Eventbrite. Make sure people buy tickets on Eventbrite as an entry fee to your event. You keep the ticket sales and the event venue makes money off of food and drinks sales. It’s a win-win situation.
- You create a free event and draw a huge crowd. Get the venue to pay you a flat fee or a percentage of the night’s sales so you can get paid for your hard work.
- Create a free event and reach out to “sponsors” to pay for promotion. Companies are always looking for ways to get their products in front of more people. Since you’ll bring a crowd, sponsors will pay to have a table or be involved in your online promotions.
2. Experience Events – Activities And Vacations
Another no-cost event that you can host would be what we like to call experience events. These are great events for people who want to do really cool things, and get paid! Here’s how it works.
Find something really fun to do like wine tasting, cooking class, skydiving, parasailing, or horseback riding. Then call around and find out how much your ideal activity would cost for an individual and for a group. Usually, you can get a group discount for almost any activity. Use some negotiation skills to get the group discount at an even lower price!
Most activity-based companies will want you to make a booking deposit but here is how you can get around it. Once you have your group rate, don’t put a deposit down, tell the company you’ll call them back when you make a decision.
Then call your friends or use your social media to spread the word about your idea for an awesome group activity. Tell your network what your individual price per person will be. Your price should be slightly below the advertised individual rate and higher than the individual price for the group rate that you’re getting. Make sure that everyone pays you for the tickets. You can take payment on Venmo, PayPal, or you can even set up the event on Eventbrite and take payments there.
Once everyone has paid you, you can then call back the activity company and set your appointment with your deposit. And the best part is, you won’t have to spend any of your own money.
Action Steps For You To Make Money With Experience Events
- Charge your attendees more than the group rate and less than the individual rate. For example, let’s say that the cooking class costs $99 per person (individual rate). And let’s say that it costs $65 per person with 10 people on the group rate. You can charge your attendees $85 per person, pay the activity company $65 per person and keep $200 extra for yourself. And you’ll get to enjoy your activity for free!
Pro Tip: Many event planners use this same business model with much higher value experiences. For example, some event planners will organize group vacations that cost $1000’s of dollars. The event planners will travel for free and usually make several thousand dollars of profit.
3. Panel Events – Discussions And Interviews (Covid-19 Update: Panel events can be held virtually using Zoom)
Panel events can be easy, no-cost events to host for a number of reasons. Just so you know, a panel event is when you gather around 2 -5 professionals to be interviewed in front of a crowd. And panel events usually have networking time before and after the interviews so like-minded people can learn from each other.
Panel events are like networking events in the sense that you can start event planning with no money. And panel events are very popular across the world. People from all industries attend panel events many times a year. You won’t have trouble promoting or planning your panel event and you will always have a great turnout.
Co-working spaces in your area will be very familiar with hosting panel events. In fact, many startup companies and corporate companies host these events as well. That means you can find great event spaces by calling co-working spaces or startup companies with large offices. Most venues would love to host your event (for free) especially if it can bring more awareness to their brand!
Once you have locked down a place to host your panel event, you can start event planning with no money. You’ll need to pick a topic for your panel and find panelists to interview. We’d recommend that you pick a topic that you’re passionate about. Your panel could focus on something like fashion, fitness, tech, or real estate.
Once you’ve picked your topic, find professionals on LinkedIn that will have high-level insights on your topic. Reach out to these professionals and let them know you’d like to have them join your panel.
Many professionals are flattered by the chance to show off their expertise on a panel. You shouldn’t have trouble getting 2 – 5 panelists to interview, just make sure to reach out to lots of people!
Pro Tip: Get the highest quality panelists that you can! Well-known people and employees of well-known companies will draw a larger audience. Larger audiences help you make more money!
Action Steps For You To Make Money With Panel Events
- You charge a ticket price for the event.
- Create a free event and reach out to “sponsors” to pay for promotion.
- Charge a ticket price for the event and get sponsors to pay for promotions at your event.
- All of the above plus – allow attendees to pay for a private 15-minute consultation with a panelist of their choice. You can split the fees with the panelists.
Doing your own event planning without spending any money is much easier than people make it out to be. At the end of the day, it comes down to understanding what costs are involved in the event that you’d like to plan. And once you do that, you can start making a very nice income on your own schedule, with your own events.
4. Volunteer Your Services
You can offer to plan events for friends, family or local non-profits in your area to build your portfolio. This is a great way to start with your first few events to build your portfolio and gain experience, especially if you volunteer at larger local events such as churches or city functions such as marathons, community building events, block parties, and more. Make sure you document your volunteer efforts through photos and network to make connections with vendors and other planners.
There are tons of event planners that make more than six figures a year by planning their own simple and fun events. But planning your own events is just one way that you can make huge earnings. Helping other people plan their events can be just as profitable, if not more!
2. Start Event Planning With No Money… For Other People
Helping people and companies plan their events is a great way to get started.
What most people don’t realize is that they already have the needed skills to plan events for other people. If you can use the phone, collect information, and stay organized, you can plan a great event for someone.
Here are some great ideas to help you make money as an event planner today.
1. Freelance Event Planning For Companies
Companies in every city plan events. At the very minimum, they plan holiday events every year. However, most companies of 25 people or more, host 2 – 5 events a year. And that’s on the low end.
Companies do corporate retreats, training sessions, fun activities, conferences, investor meetings, and much more. And guess what? Companies usually never have an event planner on staff! And that’s where you can come in!
Freelance Event Planning – Actionable Plan
- Decide what your hourly rate will be. Do a little research in your area and figure out what a reasonable hourly rate for event planning is. If you are brand new, try to keep your rates lower. If you are somewhat experienced, you can aim a little higher.
- Make a list of all the companies in your area that have 25 or more employees.
- Find the top executives on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you can find them online. Find their names, their business address, and their office phone and email. Add all this information to your list.
- Reach out to these executives on social media or email, and let them know that you are available to plan events for their company.
- Send handwritten notes to their offices letting them know you’d be happy to plan their next company event. You can even offer to plan their first event at no cost with the promise that if they like your work they will pay you for future events.
- Call these companies and let them know you are an event planner and you’d love to be of service. Be confident.
If you do these six steps and you take action every day, you will eventually gain a client. And then you’re off to the races. It may be helpful to check out this article to learn more about creating event proposals for clients. Make sure to keep up your business development activities and you’ll be on your way!
Freelance Event Planning Expectations
Depending on the type of event you’ll be planning for the company, you need to be prepared with different things.
Usually, investor meetings require printed material, bottled water, other beverages, light snacks, presentation equipment, note pads and other business material.
Company parties are typically held at local hotels or restaurants. You’ll need to get quotes on renting out space, cost of appetizers and drinks for a group (or dinner). You’ll want to know if anyone is making presentations so you can make sure the venue has the needed equipment.
Company retreats will require you to collect information about lodging, food, activities, travel logistics, and more.
Although this can seem a little complex, it’s actually not. It’s really about gathering all the right information, staying organized and knowing your options.
2. Virtual Event Planning
With the rise of virtual events due to Covid-19, now is an opportunity to become an expert at planning virtual events.
The same core principles of planning a successful in-person event apply to virtual events. Think about making sure you cover these 3 important areas for your virtual event:
If you can mix entertainment and education that is the best scenario.
A virtual wine tasting or birthday are great examples of being able to mix these in a successful way. For other events maybe you bring in a DJ or performer for the entertainment. A speaker panel or an author can provide education. Fun quizzes or fun facts are a great way to create games out of education. And lastly, if you can provide entertainment, education and engaging presenters or conversation you will naturally accomplish the enjoyment factor.
So when you start planning a virtual event write down these three buckets (entertainment, education, enjoyment) and start filling in brainstorm ideas for each one!
The best way to get clients for virtual events is letting friends and family know what you are doing, and hosting your own virtual gatherings where attendees can see that you are skilled at hosting and facilitating a virtual event.
There many no-cost websites like upwork.com where you can list your event planning services. You can also find and apply to virtual event planning jobs. This is a great option for people to gain clients from all over the world, without having to leave their homes. It’s also a great way to get started in the event planning world without having any experience.
3. Celebrations and Party Planning
One of the easiest ways to get into event planning is to offer to help friends or family plan larger events.
You might have a cousin or friend who is getting married and needs help planning their wedding. You can offer to help them plan their wedding at a fraction of the cost of another wedding planner. Most people will take you up on that offer, even if you have no experience!
The same goes for big birthday celebrations, bar mitzvahs and bot mitzvahs, baptisms, and more.
Celebration And Party Planning Expectations
Almost every celebration needs a few core things. Typically, a celebration will have food, drinks, entertainment, decorations, special guests and more.
Try and think about every aspect of the event, envision what will happen and how then plan backward from there.
Depending on the requests of your event host, you need to figure out what it costs to get all these things. Make a good list of vendors to start! You’ll also need to plan the schedule of events and think about guest transportation and general event logistics.
Start Event Planning With No Money Today!
Whether you decide to plan your own events or to help someone else plan theirs, you must get started. The best way to get good at something is to constantly educate yourself and to practice. That means you have to take risks, you have to try, even if it’s out of your comfort zone.
If you’re planning your own events, you need to commit to yourself and create an awesome event. If you plan events for other people, you must commit to your client and plan them a fantastic event.
The most successful event planners in the world started by making a commitment to be great. You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great!