Are you ready to break out and start your own event planning business? Whether you've been in the industry for years or are just getting started, working in the event industry is exciting and dynamic.
The opportunities are plentiful. You can plan birthday parties, trade shows, fundraisers, weddings, and more. And when you work for yourself, you get to choose if you want to work part-time or full-time hours.
Getting started in event planning services isn't easy, though! Like most start-ups, it can feel daunting with all the information to sort through. There's a lot to consider, from event marketing to picking the right caterers and even choosing a business name. And it's easy to get lost in the mess of blogs and social media' experts'.
To help you weed through the overwhelming amount of information, we put together this event planning start-up kit for you. You'll want to bookmark this one and reference it often!
Getting Started As An Event Planner
Owning an event planning business is more than simply organizing Pinterest boards. There's work to do before you even consider taking on your first client and planning an event.
First, it helps to know why you want to be an event planner so that on days when motivation is low, or you're overwhelmed, you can refer to your why. And if you ever plan to take on a partner or an investor for your start-up, you'll need a business plan.
Find Your Niche
Many new small business owners jump in with all four limbs and say yes to every and any event to gain experience. But, before you take the plunge, the best thing you can do for your sanity and the success of your event planning business is to choose a niche.
Considering event management is listed as one of the ten most stressful jobs, it's best to play off your strengths. If you've got experience running corporate events, start there. If you've dreamed of being a wedding planner, go all in and become the go-to in wedding planning.
Choosing a niche will also make it easier for new clients to find you as you refine your marketing message.
Get Clear On Your Vision And Mission
There are many reasons people choose to start their own business: greater flexibility, increased earning potential, creative independence — the list goes on. You'll have your reasons for choosing to start an event planning company, and those reasons will become part of your vision and mission statement. Classy Career Girl offers a 4-day DIY business and vision planning workshop.
Create A Business Plan
As any successful business owner will tell you, they started with a solid business plan. And event planning is no different. Not only will a business plan help you structure your business, but it will also force you to do the research needed to understand your target market. Settle into your cozy home office and get started with these resources.
The balance small business offers an excellent guide on how to write a business plan from start to finish.
The U.S Small Business Administration offers a similar guide and even some samples so you can see how others have done it before you.
You may have enough years of experience in the industry to offer you some credibility with clients. But, if you're new to the event management industry, a certification might give you the trust factor potential clients need to feel confident working with a start-up.
No matter what industry you're in, it's always beneficial to show you're invested in yourself and passionate about your career as an event planner.
CSEP: Certified Special Events Professional
If you're considering a career in live event planning, CSEP is a well-regarded certification in the industry. You'll need three years of experience before taking the exam, so this is a good one to bookmark for the future if you're just starting out.
CMP: Certified Meeting Professional
CMP has been around since 1984 and is a globally recognized certification. It aims to promote industry standards, practices, and ethics. It's important to note that if you're just getting started in your event planning career, you will need to get some experience under your belt before applying for this certification.
QC Event School
QC Event School is a self-study school that offers a variety of industry-recognized professional certification courses. You will receive mentorship from those currently in the industry and even guidance on starting your own business.
They offer courses in:
- Event and wedding planning
- Corporate event planning
- Private event planning
- Festivals and live events
- Virtual event planning
Udemy: Wedding Planner MBA
Udemy is a popular online learning platform. They have a complete course for beginners in wedding planning. This course will take you from start to finish to begin your career as a professional wedding planner.
Learn Event Industry Lingo
You'll be subject to a whole new language as an event planner. Knowing what terms like 'bump out' and 'batten' mean will assist you when communicating with others in the industry.
Grap this glossary of terms and avoid an uncomfortable situation when you're in the middle of a high-pressure event or booking a vendor.
Find The Right Venue
Choosing the right venue can make or break your event. And depending on the type of event you're booking, you'll most likely need to book the venue months, even years, in advance.
Some things to consider when choosing a venue:
- Location - if it's a local event, it should be central to most attendees.
- Parking - is there ample parking or a valet?
- Capacity - you want your guests to be comfortable and not cramped or feel like they're in an arena if it's a small gathering.
- Contract flexibility - triple-check terms in case you need to break the contract.
- Layout - understand how people, tables, and dancing will flow within the space.
- Budget - don't spend your entire event budget on the venue because it's available and beautiful.
3 online resources to help choose your venue:
Event Planner Checklist
No event planner wants to wake up at 4 am the morning of a big event and realize they forgot to order the chairs. That's a layer of stress you'll want to avoid. The best defense against forgetting important details is to keep an event planner checklist at your fingertips.
Things like remembering to book the caterer and checking in with the florists are details you can't afford to miss. We recommend creating a list for yourself and saving it inside a Glide app. This way, you'll have access to it from your phone, tablet, and desktop as you plan your event.
Event Planning Software
Every smart business owner knows there is plenty of software to help manage everything related to running a business. You'll find endless options to help track and manage start-up costs, collect valuable vendors, build a list of new clients, and even store this start-up kit.
The software options are endless, and you could spend hours — WEEKS — of your life researching and signing up for trials of every event planning software out there.
Save your precious time for better things, and check out these top picks to keep you moving and shaking in your event planning business.
Whether you're a list person or love the visualization of a Kanban board, there's a project management tool to help you stay organized and plan a successful event.
Glide is a business organizer app with a gorgeous interface that you can customize to fit your workflow. Create projects, project subtasks, due dates, and progress reports — book meetings with team members and coral team conversations with an in-app chat. Or use a pre-designed template when you're just getting started.
HoneyBook is a robust all-in-one event planner software. It's simple to use and gives you the ability to manage the client side of your business. You can send invoices, take payments in real-time, and even send event planning questionnaires. It gives you the option to build brochure templates to market your brand and look professional.
If you've ever relied on scraps of paper or a notebook to track your tasks or jot down business ideas, you know it's unreliable. Asana is a project management tool where you can create actionable checklists, track event budgets, and even communicate with staff.
Every event needs an easy way for guests to register, RSVP, buy a ticket and get updates on the event.
There's a good chance you've used Eventbrite in the past to buy tickets to an event. Word of mouth is useful when starting your business but will only get you so far. Eventbrite can help you promote your event, sell tickets, create customized email campaigns and even track where ticket sales come from.
Inside RegFox you'll find a drag and drop template builder to customize your event registration page. Limit the number of tickets you can sell, and send branded confirmation emails and scannable QR codes for easy check-in.
Are you planning a wedding or birthday party? Send customized invitations and track RSVPs with Greenvelope. It's easy to import guest lists, send auto-reminders, and email guests with any last-minute changes or updates.
Social Media Management
In the era of social media, you'll want to have a presence on the platforms that make the most sense for you and your business. Since it's easy to lose hours to the scroll to see what others are doing, it's imperative to enlist a tool that will help you market your business and still manage your time.
Hootsuite, is an all-in-one social media posting tool. Plan your posts without ever opening Instagram or Facebook. Use your valuable time on more critical business development, like planning out future partnerships.
If you're new to using social media to grow a business, Later is a social media scheduler with a short learning curve. The interface is clean and easy to use. You can plan out your visuals, collect media from within the app, and choose the auto-post or manual post feature. It's got a free plan, and the paid plans are affordable.
Customer Relation Management (CRM)
Your clients and vendors are your lifelines to a successful business. Keeping them organized from day one is the best way to avoid chaos in the future. Spreadsheets work but won't keep up as you grow.
And as a customer relation management (CRM) tool, Glide is a breeze to use. It's a no-code app platform where you can build out a mobile app or page that meets your business needs.
Customize an existing template and add in your company branding or start from scratch so you can build it to suit. And don't let the no-code lingo fool you — you don't need any special skills to design an app for your event planning business. Gain quick and easy access to contracts, clients, vendors, and more from your phone, tablet, or desktop.
If you're running live events, Event Hub is a good choice. It's a CRM platform designed to manage vendors, process payments, applications, and more. And if you're running live events with exhibitors, it's possible to categorize them and send personalized push notifications.
GlueUp is a CRM dedicated to non-profits. If you plan to work in this space, this is a good CRM to check out. Manage your contacts, automate workflows, and effortlessly follow up with new leads. Inside GlueUp, you can segment your leads and personalize email campaigns.
The Best Tool For Small Businesses
As you can see, there are many tools out there to help you run your event planning business. This event planning start-up kit is a good resource to help you avoid information overload.
Typically, the best approach when you're new to running a business is to keep things simple. Flipping back and forth between platforms can be stressful and mentally exhausting. Opting for one app to do it (almost) all will save you time, money, and mental energy.
Glide is a no-code app platform that lets you build powerful custom apps for your event planning business in minutes. With Glide, you can track budgets, manage all your projects, organize clients and vendors, and so much more. And a user-friendly, attractive drag and drop interface is so simple that anyone can use it.
The best part is, you can create apps in Glide for free. Get started today and choose from a large selection of existing templates or design your custom app now.