Are you someone with great organization skills? Do you enjoy helping friends and family to set up a party or organize a guest list? Then, it may come as a bit of a surprise to you that for the rest of the world this skill does not come quite that naturally. As a matter of fact, some of us downright suck at it. And that’s why you should consider turning your special skills from something thats just fun for yourself, into something that can be profitable. If you are looking for money making ideas to generate some extra money, then look no further – there is an event planning gig with your name on it, just waiting for you to swoop in and save the day, and we are here to show you how to become an event planner.
Event planning takes a lot of work and careful attention to details. Even a child’s birthday party needs a lot of planning and organization. With the ever busy lives that most parents have, they may be happy to delegate the responsibility to someone better suited to handle it for a small fee. Position yourself well, and you could be that person! For someone who is organized and likes to be social, event planning is an exciting and fascinating means to make some extra money. Who knows, with the contacts and skills you build up, you may choose to make a career out of it, and plan a star event some day!
Here is a look at some of the basics of getting started as an event planner, so you can decide if this is the right option for you to pursue.
What Kind of Events Can You Plan?
This question depends on what you want to do, and how much experience you have planning events before. These are some of the different events that you can plan and organize to make money and grow your business. You don’t have to offer all of these services; you can choose to specialize in one or the other. When you start out though it is recommended that you try out as many as possible, just so you get a feel for what is involved, have some experience under your belt, and have more references. Remember, the more you offer, the better your chances of finding a client and hence, the more money you will make.
- Celebrations – parades, weddings, fairs, reunion, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
- Educational – graduation, meetings, conferences, etc.
- Promotional – rallies, fashion shows, product introduction, etc.
- Commemoration – civic events, memorials, etc.
What Exactly are the Responsibilities of an Event Planner?
You will have several tasks that you will be responsible for. Here is a sampling of some of the tasks. Remember that this is not an extensive list. For instance, the tasks involved in organizing a political rally are very different from that of a birthday party for kids. But this list should give you a good overview of the bare minimum that is required.
- Choosing a particular theme for the event
- Offering design choices for the client based on the chosen theme
- Finding a location for the event
- Arranging food, entertainment, and decorations
- Planning any transportation needed
- Creating a cost estimate based on the clients choices
- Creating a guest list and sending out invitations
- Arranging accommodations for those attending who have to travel
- Coordinating with personnel, assigning specific jobs, supervising
- Conducting a questionnaire and survey after the event
Is Event Planning Right for You?
Most of the people who start an event planning business are already working in events such as catering, coordinating weddings, etc. in their personal life. If you love helping friends and family plan events, it is very likely that you will be successful doing it professionally (part time or full time). On the other hand, if you have never had a chance to do this in your personal life, you may want to try out a sampler by helping someone in the family or a friend plan something before trying to launch a business based on it.
Should You Be Certified as An Event Planner?
If you have/get a degree or certification in event planning, people may hire you more often because you are a professional. Two popular degrees or certificates that is becoming more in demand is CSEP, or Certified Special Events Professional or CMP, Certified Meeting Planner.
You will have two separate markets to work in; corporate and social. If you want to work part-time on small events like birthday parties and anniversaries then you may want to be a social event planner. In this case, no one may really ask you for certification (but if you have one, you can always use that to try and get more business). Corporate market on the other hand, which is likely to be a more lucrative option, may be hard to crack into unless you have a lot of experience. In such a situation, the certification will certainly come in handy. Also, when planning a corporate event, there are a lot more nitty-gritty details that you will be expected to handle, and handle professionally at that. Having the certification, may help you be better prepared for the task.
What Are the Start Up Costs?
Your start-up costs will depend on several factors. If your start at home you will have no over head in terms of office space. And if you start small you will have no employees to worry about. So, your start up costs will be quite minimal. Your biggest expenses will likely come from trying to get the word out – aka advertising. If you choose to go with print/paper advertisement, it may cost you anywhere between $150 and $500 depending on how small/big the paper circulation is. It’s also advisable to do some sort of promotional products with your logo and brand on them so that you can hand them out as you meet people, and that can done fairly inexpensively. On the other hand, if you are handy with Internet Marketing (read our Success Tips section, and you will be handy in no time), you can launch several different online campaigns that cost little or nothing.
If you want to do high-end event planning, then it’s another story all together. In order to rope in the big-buck clients and/or corporations, you will very likely want to rent out office space, hire employees and fork out for big ad campaigns. Since our aim here is to get you to make some money and not clean out your bank, we do not recommend this approach for beginners. If you are established, and can pay for it with the money you earned from your little event planning venture, then go for it by all means. And, be sure to write for us, because we love success stories
How Much Can You Make?
How much you can make depends largely on where you live and the local market demand. A beginner event planner can expect to make anywhere between $200 and $1500 per event to start small and work from your home. More high-end events or working for corporations can bring in $2500 to well over $10,000 per event.
Things You Will Need to Get Started:
- Calendar or planner
- Business cards – optional, but recommended. Especially since you can get them for really cheap and they have the potential to make you look very professional. For example, at the time of writing this article, you could get a stack of 250 business cards for less than $5 at sites like vistaprint.
- Portfolio of past events you have accomplished including references. When you get started, you could use some of your friends and family whom you have helped as a reference.
- Mobile phone so you can be reached where ever you are
- Event planning worksheets to help you communicate better with your clients and to help you stay on track.
- Optional, but highly recommended, event planning contracts to sign when a client agrees on your service.
- Consultation with a legal entity like Sun Document Filings to assist you with the type of business to start.(e.g. LLC, LP, Corporation, etc.)
Hopefully, this has given you an idea of what is involved with getting started as an event planner. If you have the organization skill and love planning events, starting out as an event planner may be one of the best money making ideas for you. Whether you are looking to launch into it as a future career option, or it is a little stop gap project to see you through tough times, the experience you gain will no doubt come in very handy. What have you got to lose? Go ahead, give it a shot!