Are you wondering how to become an event planner to finally achieve your dream career? At Peerspace, we get it. As the largest online marketplace for event venue rentals, we know what event planners have to go through to pull off a perfect event.
Event planners are always in the center of the action and always know what’s going on. But, of course, you know that it can’t possibly be all fun and games. You have to discover amazing venues, make connections with clients and vendors, and create plans for when the unexpected occurs. Are you up for the challenge? Here are some tips to help get you started on your journey toward how to become an event planner.
1. Surround yourself with other event planners
To start, join your local chamber, then look into national organizations, such as the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE), the International Live Events Association (ILEA), and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Monthly meetings and active social media updates offer inspiration and guidance to both novice and experienced professionals.
If there isn’t a local chapter, look into starting one, even if just on a casual basis. What better way to become an event planner than by planning a series of opportunities for professionals to get together?
2. Build your network of professionals
Your network is ultimately the single most effective way not only to create a name for yourself but also to get leads for both jobs and continuing education. Get to know everyone and anyone even peripherally involved in the event industry in your area, including hoteliers, caterers, DJs, and printing companies.
Acquaint yourself with Peerspace, a one-stop shop for unique and creative event spaces globally. You can use the platform to discover amazing event spaces in your city while meeting hosts and vendors who can take some of the weight off your shoulders.
So what types of venues are available on Peerspace to help impress your clients? Here are a few of our favorites:
- This modern event space with a full kitchen and dining space in Beaverton, OR (pictured above) with space for 30 guests, ADA-compliant entries, a sound system, and an outdoor space
- This vibrant multi-purpose creative event space in Dallas, TX with space for 25 guests, a staffed bar, catering, DJs, and a covered patio
- This bright warehouse event space in Minneapolis, MN with space for 30 guests, high ceilings, white brick walls, speakers, and tables and chairs as add-on options
- This premium event space with city views in London, UK with space for 150 guests, wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows, BYOB and outside catering allowed, and an A/V system
- This Midtown East gallery and event space in New York City, NY with space for 100 guests, an on-site coffee bar, 13′ ceilings, Italian terrazzo tile floors, and a stage in a 150-year-old building
You get the picture! With Peerspace, you can book incredible venues for your client’s needs that include all the services and amenities they can possibly want. The best way to become an event planner is to network and learn from others who have been there and can help you make the best start in your burgeoning career. And with Peerspace, you can also meet people who offer just that.
These are the most helpful websites for event planners. Check them out!
3. Select a focus
Though your hands are involved in every aspect of event planning, it would be advantageous if you refrained from trying to be everything to everyone. Professional event planning requires that you have your finger on the pulse of the big picture. That doesn’t mean that you have to — or should be — the master of every detail. Part of how to become an event planner involves being organized and aware of your limits.
Too many social event planners, for example, fall into the trap of being a planner/florist or planner/caterer. If you want to be a florist or a caterer, do that; if you want to be a rental consultant or lighting expert, head down that road. Don’t try to do everything. It’s hard to figure out how to charge for your time when you spread yourself too thin. You’ll make the wrong kinds of mistakes and quickly burn out.
4. Learn to sell your skills
Determine the difference between being assertive and aggressive. Project confidence and enthusiasm without being overbearing. Learn to read people and diagnose what they want or need. Also, avoid embellishing! If you’ve never planned a bat mitzvah or set up a Skype presentation for a conference, refrain from making lofty promises.
Instead, assure them that you have access to the finest resources to make it happen. Then reach out to that network you’ve carefully curated. A passable event planner becomes a great event planner by knowing how to talk to people.
5. Research certifications and further education
Use your network to decide what you need. Meeting planners benefit from certain certifications, whereas social event planners do better with more experience under their belts. Gain experience by taking an entry-level position in the industry. Otherwise, you run the risk of people not taking you seriously. The single best way to learn is on someone else’s dime.
Also, look for seminars and workshops for small business: accounting, marketing, time management. Everyone could use a refresher, and if you’re considering eventually going out on your own, it’s important to know how to run a business. Businesses don’t usually fail because they aren’t good at their craft; instead, they flounder because the owners are often lacking the organizational skills to balance their checkbooks and pay taxes.
6. Attend a conference and absorb everything
Get out of town and see a new city. Immerse yourself in the provided education and take it seriously. Learn from people who have both made mistakes and had tremendous success on the way. Take each other’s ideas and stay in touch. Attend any and all seminars or workshops, even if you don’t think they pertain to you. Dine out with strangers in your industry, ask questions, buy the books that the speakers are selling, and get on everyone’s mailing list. Embrace the experience, then you’ll have a great time learning.
7. Advertise appropriately
The basics include printing business cards. Create a website that is clean and mobile-friendly. Link to it on Facebook and Instagram pages. And remember to display your contact info! So many businesses simply have a form on their sites without an email address. While the thought behind that makes sense — i.e., to avoid spam — it’s also incredibly frustrating for other professionals who want to refer business to you.
Read our event planning tips straight from the pros resource next!
8. Decide what your time is worth
This pertains to choosing an hourly or a per-job rate while setting personal boundaries. In regard to pricing: what does your market look like? What price point will it bear? Talk to other pros, then do a quick internet search to find out the rate other planners from bigger companies and nonprofits charge for nationwide conferences. Then, scale appropriately. Even if just for your own benefit, outline what that rate buys for your clients.
As it applies to your personal time, it’s true that we live in a “hustle” economy. Still, those people who look like they’re working all the time also schedule time to go to the gym, as well as take a weekend off to spend with their families. For perspective, track every minute that you answer the phone, check email, or otherwise work on something for your client. If you aren’t careful, that hourly rate dwindles rather quickly. In short, don’t be afraid to charge people. Don’t give anything away.
9. Be mindful and patient
This is one of the most essential aspects of how to become an event planner. Becoming a successful event planner takes time. No matter what your background or level of enthusiasm, it’s going to take a while for you to gain the professional respect of your colleagues. Event and meeting planners come and go. Set yourself apart by proceeding steadily, being gracious in the face of challenges, and accepting of feedback.
How to become an event planner: conclusion
If you’re wondering how to become an event planner, then consider this article your simple step-by-step guide and make it happen. Remember that Peerspace is the world’s largest online marketplace for hourly venue rentals and can make finding hidden gem event venues that impress your clients a breeze.
Peerspace is also a smart way to network, as many of our hosts are in the event planning business and can put you in touch with their preferred vendors. As we said, event planning is all about networking and building great relationships. And with Peerspace at your side, doing so can be much easier.