You know that you're an event-planning superstar, and the events that you've planned in the past have been incredibly successful. It's time to turn your side hustle into a full-blown event planning business, but it's not as easy as it looks.
Yes, you may have friends who are willing to vouch for you, and you've planned your fair share of parties, but turning it into a professional career is a challenge. You're starting a business, and that contains a fair number of roadblocks.
If you're committed to starting an event planning business so you can turn your dream into a reality, we want to help! Read on for a few quick tips, tricks, and strategies that will help you get your career started.
Evaluate the Competition
If you're in a big city, like New York City, you're going to have a lot of competition in the event planning sphere. This isn't a bad thing! The competition will make you stronger, and there are always more events to plan, so you shouldn't let this dissuade you.
Look at what other popular event planners or event planning companies are doing. You want to insert yourself into the industry in a productive way, so you don't want to create a carbon copy of another business. You want to provide something different.
Evaluate the services that the other event planning companies provide and take notes. Decide which services you're going to provide and what "extras" you'll provide to keep yourself competitive in the event planning sphere.
You should also get a feel for what other event planners are charging for their services. When you're first getting started, you don't want to undersell yourself, but you also don't want to charge so much that your service is no longer appealing. By evaluating other event planners' prices, you'll be able to set your own rates reasonably.
Start With a Business Plan
All businesses need a business plan. This plan will give you a framework for what your event planning business will look like moving forward and will help you get funding if you need it.
So what goes into a business plan?
You're going to need to consider your startup costs. Are you going to rent or buy a location for your business? How much do you plan to spend on marketing and advertising?
What's the name of your business, and what type of events are you going to plan?
What are your financial projections? When do you expect to start turning a profit, and how do you plan to get there? What does your budget look like?
Creating a business plan is the least exciting part of trying to own a business, but it's essential. It can be helpful to work with a business advisor if you're unsure as to where to start.
Choose a Specialty
What types of events will you specialize in?
Some event planners cast a wide net, but others prefer to focus on one or two types of events that they actually enjoy. There's no "wrong" way to go about this.
By casting a wide net, you'll get experience with more unique events and expand your portfolio. You'll also have more potential clients.
By specializing, you'll become incredibly adept at planning certain types of events. You may develop better relationships with certain vendors and you'll be able to perfect your event-planning skills.
Again, it's helpful to look at your competition during this stage. If there's a void in your local event planning world, try to fill it.
Do You Need a Location?
It's always helpful to have an actual office if you're an event planner. This gives you somewhere to meet with your clients, keep your important documents, and more. If you plan on hiring employees, this also gives them somewhere to go.
At first, especially if you plan on keeping your business a one-person show, you can get away with using a home office if you have space for it. If you plan on expanding, however, you will need to find room in your budget for a brick-and-mortar office.
Network With Industry Peers
Networking is everything for an event planner. Building your network will make you far more successful in the long run, so start networking as soon as you can.
Network with other event planners who may be interested in working together or who may refer clients to you if they don't have space for them. Network with vendors who you're going to be working with in the future.
Building these relationships now will make your life easier in the long run.
Market Your Event Planning Business
Starting your own business solo means that you have to turn yourself into a savvy marketer, at least until you have room in your budget to hire a pro. How will you market your business?
Your website will be your most important marketing tool. This is where your potential clients will go to find the information they need to decide whether or not to hire you. Working with a professional website designer is in your best interest here.
Don't forget about the power of social media. Look at the demographics of different social media platforms to find the right ones to focus on for your event planning business marketing needs.
You should also get some business cards to use for local marketing. As an event planner, most of your clients will already be in your area. Local marketing is just as important as digital marketing.
Starting an Event Planning Business Isn't Easy
If you have a passion for event planning, starting an event planning business just makes sense. You have a hard road ahead of you, but with these tips, you have the foundation you need to get started.
Before you know it, you'll have clients lining up to take advantage of your event planning skills.