Planning an event is an incredibly lucrative career that provides much freedom, independence, and flexibility. However, it does come with challenges as well. People regularly get married and throw retirement parties. Similarly, there are tons of companies launching new products and celebrating their milestones left, right, and center. All these events should be successful, which can happen with the intervention of a freelance event manager.
Just because the clientele demand for event planners is high doesn’t mean that you can qualify for the role. If you are just starting out, some characteristics indicate your ability to make a good event organizer.
Essential Event Planning Skills
- Resistance to stress- Event planning can take a toll on the organizer’s mind. Ideal event planners should be able to deal with the various aspects without experiencing burnout. You can also take these important steps to become stress-resistant if you have experienced this before.
- If you are social – successful event planners should freely engage with people. This can lead to bigger and better connections with useful individuals.
- Good negotiators – payouts from events often depend on the planner’s ability to negotiate for good deals. With good negotiation skills, you get to pay less for supplies.
- Flexible and good at making alternatives – with more people being involved in a project, there are high chances of one or two screwing up. This means that you will have to find alternatives to make the event a success.
- Good marketer – as a freelance event manager, you should have great marketing skills. You will land gigs only if you market your skills and previous experiences successfully.
- If you have successfully planned several events before.
If you have the above-mentioned skills, you have all it takes to become a great freelance event organizer. The big question still remains, how do you become one?
1. Gain experience as an employee
It can be challenging to start working as a freelance event organizer without experience or contacts, especially immediately after graduating from an event management course. Ideally, you should gain a year or two of experience learning on somebody else’s dime. This could mean working as an employee of an event management agency or a corporation’s event in-house department.
During this period, pay extra attention and learn important tricks and strategies. Once you’ve learned these, understood the standards of the industry, and developed a network of suppliers and agents, you can then start your own freelancing events agency. Besides being employed, you can add to your portfolio by helping your friends and family organize their upcoming events.
2. Begin Locally
Since you don’t have a lot of experience as an event planner, your focus should be on building the experience. Starting in your own backyard is the best idea. By this, find friends within your local social network who are running events and may need an event planner. From your social platforms, you can easily tell who is having an event. These could be in form of birthdays, celebrations after a promotion, or engagement parties.
The other strategy is to launch your events and invite people. Launch your career in event management and have various social connections to attend the ceremony. This is a good platform to showcase your ability and skills to family, friends, and other attendees.
3. Start Small
You should always bite what you can chew. The first events you will be planning should act as a springboard to land you into bigger and better deals. Therefore, messing up during this initial stage shouldn’t be an option. Planning for an event involves several skills that you can learn with time. Learn the possible pitfalls and dangers, understand what mistakes you can likely make, and take the necessary steps to ensure they don’t happen. You should start small and scale things up slowly. Your initial income may not be satisfactory, but you will have a promising future.
4. Great Networking
Becoming successful in event planning relies on having people you can depend on. For this reason, you should identify with the right people from the beginning. During your starting days as an employee of a reputable event agency, checking their address book is a good idea. You can make use of your previous boss’s networks, especially if you had good relations with them during your years as an employee.
That aside, build good relationships with caterers, photographers, MCs, and any other crucial player in the event industry. Reaching out to other event planners for tips and tricks can come in handy. Despite being competition, they can provide insightful information.
5. Aggressive Marketing
Unlike other professional jobs, with events, you will constantly be looking for new clients, unless you are lucky enough to enter into a contract with serious companies. Regardless, most companies and individuals plan at least two events annually. These may not be sufficient to live from.
Therefore, you should always be marketing your services. Constantly remind people that you are an event planner, hand out business cards and develop a great website that will impress the online community. Don’t forget to share successful events you’ve organized or booked online. This comes in handy in building your reputation.
The Bottom Line
Deciding to have event planning as a career can be rewarding. However, this is possible if you take the right steps to become a freelance event manager. Make sure that you notch the right skills, develop undoubted ideas, and pull an event that will make your clients enjoy their special day. Also, note that starting out can be quite stressful. This is because you have a lot to learn and clients would want minimal annoyance when looking to have a good time. Therefore, always strive to give your best and meet the client’s expectations. It is only with experience and a reputable name that you will enjoy the payouts of event planning.