It’s time to stop talking about getting into the events industry and instead begin to take steps toward achieving that dream. Nobody will hand you a free pass into this competitive industry, but with some creativity and effort, you can turn your vision into a reality.
As an events planner, it’s easy to get into the groove of planning events. Hire a caterer, find a fantastic venue, book a band, and you’ve planned an amazing event. But what about when you want to try new things?
New opportunities come from grabbing opportunities that could include where there is a 360 photo booth for sale or a unique venue that you can make your own. But to get started we’re going to highlight some of the key considerations you need to make before deciding if you’re ready to leap into this exciting business sector.
Be a people person
Hopefully, you’re already a people person. If not, it’s time to change. The events industry is a people business, and your success depends on how well you can manage your clients and vendors. They want to work with someone they like, trust, and respect.
If you are still in school and considering going into the events industry, get involved with clubs or organizations that will help develop your leadership skills and allow you to work with others in managing projects.
Know your industry
The first step to becoming an event planner is making sure this is the industry for you. While being an event planner has many perks like flexible hours, travel, and freedom from a 9-to-5 job, it also has its downside.
You’ll spend long days on your feet, working weekends and frequently pulling all-nighters to get events ready in time. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, then event planning could be a rewarding career.
Network, network, network
Consider reaching out to event organizers and offering to volunteer or intern with them. It is a great way to build your network and experience while simultaneously gaining valuable insight into how events are run.
When it comes to building your network, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. You can learn certain skills, but there will always be an art to making connections and building relationships that cannot be taught.
Working for an event management company might be a good choice for a start. These companies specialize in organizing events and look after everything from venue selection to menus, and the running order on the day.
Before deciding which company to work for, make sure you know what type of events they organize and whether they are suitable for your needs. For example, some companies focus on weddings and family events while others cater to the needs of business conferences.
Get some experience first
You’ll undoubtedly need some experience working in a live event environment before setting yourself up as an independent freelance event planner.
Your first job could be as a member of the front-of-house team – or ‘runner’ – at a venue or events company. It will involve helping with the setup, taking deliveries, keeping the backstage area clean and tidy, and helping to serve guests drinks.
If you’re more interested in production, a good starting point is to get some experience of working on large-scale events such as corporate conferences and music festivals. Specialist production companies often organize these, so search online for opportunities in your area.
Build your skills in organization and planning
Planning an event involves a lot of details — venue, food, speakers, entertainment, and so on. With every decision comes multiple options at different price points. Before long, things can get very confusing.
To stay on top of all these details, you’ll need to be organized, not just with a notebook. Event planning requires files and folders for all your information about guests, vendors, and other details. It’s also helpful to have all this information in one place that’s accessible from your phone or laptop when you’re out of the office.
If anything changes with your event plans at the last minute, you’re ready to respond quickly respond without confusion or frustration.
Acquire a mentor or two
Get a mentor who can help guide you and introduce you to people in the industry. It is probably the most crucial piece of advice I can give you!
It’s difficult to break into the events industry because so many people have worked in it for decades and love what they do. So find someone who will take you under their wing and teach you everything they know about the business.
Learn the ropes of project management and marketing
When it comes to planning events, there’s a lot involved. The best way to handle everything is by creating a project plan. This guide will teach you how to create one that works.
The next step is understanding the marketing side of things. It doesn’t matter if you have the most beautifully-designed event ever. If no one knows about it, they won’t come!
The events industry isn’t for everyone, but it’s an exciting option for those who are brilliant organizers and love being around people. If you follow the tips we shared, you should be able to make a smoother transition into this line of work. And if you decide to give it a shot, good luck! You’ll have some great opportunities to network and further your career.