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Anyone interested in becoming an event planner should begin by understanding that it is not party planning. This is a case whether you are considering a path with social events or corporate events. As an event planner, you create programs that address the purpose, message or impression that your organization or client is trying to communicate.
Some of the skills needed in this field include;
- Verbal and written communication.
- Organization and time management.
- Project management and multitasking.
- Negotiation skills.
- Self-starter and a team player.
- Detail and deadline oriented.
- Understand Microsoft office applications.
- Calm and personable under pressure.
- Marketing and public relation skills.
- Budget management.
- Team management.
- Interpersonal skills
Those who pursue a career in event planning always come from a variety of professions and academic backgrounds. Many employers prefer a bachelor degree in hospitality management, communications, public relations, marketing or business management. Also many successful planners started from other professions or they entered through administrative roles like meeting planning responsibilities.
As an event planner you should have qualities like:
- Customer service.
- Time management.
- Business acumen.
- Multi- tasking and thinking on your feet.
Being an event planner can sometimes feel overwhelming at first. It often feels like there is so much to know and so little to learn. However, with an action plan and by taking small steps each day and week, you can improve skills and knowledge you need to succeed as an event planner. Attention to detail matters, so plan your move into event planning the same way you would plan your next event.
Here are some steps on how to become a successful event planner.
Step 1: Define your path
Decide what kind of event planner you would like to become. Think about whether you want to be known as a generalist event planner or specialize in a certain type of events, like wedding receptions, high class corporate events, sports events and etc. Always the choice allows you to be an expert in one field. Determine if you want to travel across the country or purely operate from your own city.
Go to trade shows and conferences. These are industry gatherings run by national and international organizations that feature information on even planning as a career. Trade shows and conferences are excellent places to talk to professionals on the pros and cons of the industry. This is a good way to find out which kind of an event you will be good at.
Understand an event planner’s duties. Make sure that you know exactly what involved in this highly specialized line of work before you invest in education and training.
Assess your own ability. It is important that you be honest when assessing your own abilities because this is a demanding role. You will need to be happy to interact and network with people constantly even at odd hours. Always try to think literally and outside the box.
Step 2: Learn to gain experience and train.
Having the right skills and experience will help you to improve your people skills and abilities too. This will also help you to make decisions as to whether you love doing the work or not.
Try to go for trainings. Even though this is not necessary for one to become an event planner, it is mandatory for you if you need a certificate. This can be a good idea because it will ensure that you have knowledge to begin with and to show your clients certificate, feedback and references.
Build a portfolio. Include relevant experience that you can show to employers and to the professional associations. Keep record of any event that you have helped in planning; this will boost your market, and also it will help you to gain credibility, keep up with industry trends, and establish contacts within the industry.
Step 3: Form an entity and register
Form a business entity and register your event business name. Check in the local government websites to find out the kind of licenses you need to run your business. Always don’t forget to check the insurances for your business to protect it. There are several kinds of insurances that exist so it is best to speak with the local insurance agent to get more information and learn more.
Step 4: Develop a business plan.
Just because you have decided on your market does not mean that you are ready share out what you offer. Try to Google about events and the templates that work for you.
- Establishing the event plan and business name.
- Determine your fee structure.
Before deciding the kind of fee structure that is best for you, it is good to determine your operating expenses, salaries and any other expense that may come in. As a small business owner there are many ways to cover the expenses and make a good profit out of your small business.
Different fee structures to consider.
Percentage of event budget: the event planners who are experienced always find it good and comfortable charging between 15-20% of the event budget. Depending on the complexity of the program and the amount of time it will take to plan and manage the event, charging a percentage not a flat fee is fair enough to cover the planner’s time and cost and make a profit.
Flat fee: Most clients are always combatable to know how much the whole project will cost inclusive of all fees. The event planner must be able to determine a flat fee and services that are included for a specific amount. This is always good for a packaged event.
Hourly rate: This is just the same as the flat rate. Establishing an hourly rate allows more flexibility for both parties to adjust to changes along the way.
Percentage of budgets PLUS expenses: The percentage charge of the overall event and budget as a service fee plus all expenses. This way you are charging for your time and your client for every event so they know how much the event will cost them.
Commissionable rate: this is another way that event planners may collect fees for services are by securing event space through venues that offer commission. Beware of this option because your client may question your loyalty.
Step 5: Secure funding
Secure financing for your event planning business. Business require an operating budget and it is important to have access to funds while establishing your business. It is possible to establish your business on limited funds if it is possible for you, but it is very important to have enough money to start your business and cover your living expenses as you build a profitable business.
Step 6: Market your business
Create a website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, instagram and twitter accounts to keep your services top of mind. Make business cards, company stationery and a client contact. Let your former clients and contacts know that you are now independent event planner and use those contacts to help you get referrals.
Step 7: Develop a network on suppliers
Develop a good network on suppliers and staff resources and also vendors that you have met or worked with them at other events, like caterers, photographers or even florist can recommend an event planner to their clients as long as know, like and most important one trust you.