HOW TO: Start Your Own Event Planning Business

You can do it. I know you can. And I know you can because I did it without much experience. Just a whole lot of work ethic and a vision for the type of events that I wanted to do. If you’re considering starting your events business, you aren’t alone. Our industry is full of independent event planners with businesses of all sizes. We happen to be on the smaller side – just two full time employees – but there is a business plan for event planners with all kinds of visions. But what does it take to make it happen? Here are my top 4 pieces of advice for planners with a passion to start their own gig.

The first thing you need to do is set your eyes on the dream. What do you want to do? What kind of event planner do you want to become? Don’t just fall into the first thing you see. Challenge yourself to research the industry and really figure out what gets you going. What are you really passionate about and where does the industry need your help? What can you do better than anyone else? Don’t be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone. I always encourage people to volunteer for every event they can find in the beginning to get a sense of the work involved, the clients, the rewards and challenges. The events industry is far more versatile than most newbies realize and it’s your responsibility to do the research and figure out what your dream is. Talk to people in the industry, find a mentor, volunteer and sketch out your niche in our world.

This step is especially critical if you’re planning on starting your own business. If you think people are going to be there every step of the way to make you smile and tell you you’re doing the right thing, you don’t yet know what you’re getting yourself into. You are going to face some very hard times. It’s inevitable. So do whatever you can each day to take care of yourself and remind yourself of the vision you’re committed to. Believe that you have the skill set to accomplish your dream and work every day to train and learn new things that will put you in a better position to do what you need to do. Every one of us needs constant education and development so take classes, learn from people around you, read blogs and do everything you can to up your game so you can believe that you have the right tools to achieve your vision.

This is huge, especially for the aforementioned hard times. You need to have people around you who believe in your vision and skill set when you inevitable falter. I have been working with Ed Wagaba since the beginning of the business. He and I were friends long before LKE so he knows me well, which really helps us to work together well. He can call me out when I’m getting off track and remind me of the vision when I forget it. I also have an amazing family and friend network – people who I can talk to, vent to and laugh with. This is important for all your good and bad moments as a business owner. Don’t dive into your business so deeply that you sacrifice the relationships around you. Good people should be involved in every step of your life.

I know that entrepreneurship and business ownership is a very sexy thing right now, but let’s be real for a moment. To really make your dream come true, you have to work your ass off. I do believe that great businesses have great business models, but there is an edge that working hard gives you that you can’t succeed without. If you want to start your own business just to have more flexible hours or not have to report to a boss, you need to seriously consider what you will be able to achieve with that kind of situation. You might be able to sustain a business, but how much can you really bring in revenue-wise if you only put a part time effort? Don’t expect full-time cash from a part-time effort.

No one has it right the first time. I’ve learned a lot of lessons throughout the years and will be sharing them on the blog more frequently. If you have questions about how I got started or how you can set your vision, please leave them in the comments and we will answer them in upcoming blog posts. Best of luck to each of you!

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