This is clearly not a business for an introvert, but, if you love people, a good challenge and are great at organizing, you just hit jackpot, you’ll be able to run a small business as an event (or party) planner.
More people are realizing that a good event doesn’t happen by night and, instead of obsessing over the smallest details, having to gather ‘intel’ on various providers and getting lots of headaches, they just hire someone for the job. That someone can be you!
Who can be a party planner?
Anyone who knows how to manage an event, who knows how to deal with people and how has a great attention to details. You will nee to make sure your clients’ needs are met, know how to never let your own feelings get in your way (the event is NOT for you, so you need to take into account what the client wants), know how to negotiate a great deal and put all the pieces together for an outstanding event.
What do you need to start?
- a clear passion for what you’re doing. And PATIENCE. This is not an easy task, you will need to please your clients and always be nice (even if you feel like cracking their skulls open).
- at least some basic knowledge of what a good event needs. Read about various traditions, maybe attend few events, get the scoop on them from the attendees. You could even volunteer locally for few events, just to understand how it all runs.
- a serious list of excellent providers. You are being hired to organize everything, so, from cake bakers to DJs, you will need to have a good list of local providers. Discuss with each of them, negotiate deals, find out when and how they are available.
- some advertising materials and starting to spread the news that you’re open for business.
How to make money as a party / event planner?
As the title says, you will be a planner, so this is your way to earn money. Of course, you can also ‘sub-let’ some of your providers services and get some money from this.
As time goes you can start getting your own music equipment for instance (and not have to pay for it anymore), decorations etc. In this moment you’ll also provide the service (or rent the equipment) and not pay one of your partners for it.
You will have to think about an hourly rate, even if you probably charge based on the ‘project’. Set yourself a desired price/hour and then come with your overall fees for the clients. The experience I was talking about before would come in handy, since you’d be able to approximate the number of hours you need to organize a party.
Sure, even if the first 1-2 events might mean more work than you anticipated, you’ll then be able to tweak your fees. Not to mention that you’ll probably gonna undercharge a little anyway, so that you get your first happy clients and then get more business.
How to promote your event planner business?
As in most other business, I do consider that ‘bragging’ about it to everyone is a great idea. You’ll get some initial customers this way. Of course, there are more ways:
- announce your relatives / friends (as mentioned before)
- promote in the local newspaper (if you can spare the money from your initial budget)
- get a website up and running
- prepare a nice ‘portfolio’ with pictures from past events (or, in case you don’t have any, pictures with flower arrangements, locations etc.)
- flyers in shops, clubs, offices etc.
- maybe a nice ‘decal’ on your car
Dress to impress!
Don’t go to a meeting with a potential client as if you were taking out the garbage. Get yourself some nice clothing and be fresh / perfumed / good looking. Yes, in this business people to judge you from your appearance, too.
Have a questionnaire set up
The keyword in this business is ORGANIZATION (no pun intended). You need to be very well organized, have everything into place and know exactly who does what and where. Meet your clients with a nice questionnaire and try to find out EVERYTHING there is to know about their event: food the like (maybe they’re vegan, imagine a dinner with steak), flowers, colors, maybe some events they liked and WHY etc.
Have your price lists prepared
There’s nothing worse than not knowing how much to charge for the DJ or the flowers. Sure, a price won’t fit all your clients, but you should be able to at least give your clients an estimate. See if you can discount on something or even propose new things to them.
Get insurance and a good accountant
I wouldn’t run such a business without having a good contract in place and even insurance. Nothing too costly, but in case something does go wrong, I’d like to be covered.
In everything you do, be careful to your clients’ needs, advise them (you’re the specialist after all) and look out for them. This is not a business that can be run by someone who doesn’t like people or has a short temper. You will meet difficult clients, too, so you need to know how to remain polite and still deliver the best. Slowly your business will pick up and .. who knows what you’ll organize in few years.