An enjoyable and intriguing career path is that of an event planner. But how can you start this journey if you want to become one or open your own event-planning business?
- Learn the basics of the event planning industry and gain role insights
- Gain hands-on experience through volunteer work, internships, or job shadowing
- Discover your niche or event planning specialization
- Create an event planning portfolio to showcase your work
- Grow your network and develop your personal brand to attract clients and customers
We’ll let you in on all the details and more. Keep reading!
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#1. Gain Insight Into The Event Planning Industry
If you’re looking to get into event planning, you may already have a general idea of what that career path entails. But if you’re venturing into new ideas, we’ll give you a refresher on what an event planner actually is!
An event planner is someone who helps professionals or organizations successfully plan and execute events.
These include weddings, festivals, trade shows, conferences or seminars, parties, and more. Of course, any larger-scaled event can benefit from the assistance of an event planner! So, if you’re looking to become an event planner, you have a bright future ahead of you.
What Does An Event Planner Actually Do?
To understand fully how to become an event planner, you need to know what an event planner does. We’ll break it down for you.
A planner is responsible for things like:
- Meeting with clients to review their needs and desires for their upcoming events
- Coordinating event details, such as venues, advertisement, entertainment, and public relations
- Working with staff members and other organizers
- Overseeing the event itself and ensuring it’s a success
As each event is different, the responsibilities of an event planner can vary. But, when it comes down to it, this person is responsible for planning, coordinating, and executing the event their clients envision.
Do You Need A College Degree To Become An Event Planner?
Whenever we are looking to break into an industry or a new career, it’s common to go for a bachelor’s degree to establish a level of knowledge and certain credentials in the field.
But it’s becoming increasingly common to become a professional in any number of industries without a degree. As a result, many people are starting to realize that applicable experience and a valuable skill set are much more helpful.
You can start your event planning career with or without a college degree.
A meeting or event management degree involves taking courses from human resource management to agreement negotiating. But it’s up to you if you want to pursue a college degree for your future career in event planning.
Remember that certain event planning companies may have educational requirements for incoming employees. But if you’re starting your own event-planning business, it doesn’t matter!
Understanding Event Planning
The first step of becoming an event planner is to understand the industry and gain insight into what this career will look like for you. This can help you determine whether this is, indeed, the right path for you while giving you the fundamental knowledge you’ll need to succeed.
Even if you don’t get a bachelor’s degree, you can also build a foundation of other industry-specific education. Complete certificate programs or take courses in topics like hospitality management.
If you don’t have a degree, your resume could benefit from industry certifications such as the CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) or CMP (Certified Meeting Professional).
#2. Gather Hands-On Experience And Take On More Responsibility
You can only learn so much through courses. After all, an event planning certification can only get you so far. Experience is the best way to get your foot in the door, make connections, and grow your skill set!
To become a successful event planner, you must engage in hands-on experience early on. That’s the best way to put your knowledge to the test and learn more in the process.
When you’re finding ways to develop your portfolio and relevant experiences, it’s essential to diversify your sources. Gain experience working in project management or food services. And don’t forget to expand upon your soft skill set.
Event planners need to be skilled in a few different areas. And knowing how to plan events successfully starts with having the right mindset.
Successful event planners are:
- Great at networking
- Excellent communicators
- Able to stay calm under pressure
- Willing to adapt
Even if you’re not working directly with a professional event planner to gain experience, working on fine-tuning these soft skills is another great way to prepare for your upcoming career.
Places To Find Experience As A Planner
There are countless ways and methods to gain valuable experience as a corporate planner before truly launching your career. After all, this is how you will land potential clients and start networking!
Classes and courses in hospitality management or event planning are one way to create a foundation of knowledgeable experience. But you can only learn so much in a classroom.
That’s when it’s time to venture out into the events industry!
Gaining Experience In Event Planning On Your Own
You can gain experience on your own or through other industry professionals. The simplest way to gather experience solo is by planning events on your own.
This can be for actual events or theoretical ones. But planning events on your own is a great way to fully understand what it takes to plan events successfully.
If you eventually want to have your own event planning company or business, it’s a good idea to become familiar with all aspects on a very raw level. Plus, you can become more comfortable with event planning before venturing into other realms of experience.
Working With Event Professionals Or Businesses
Working on your own can only get you so far. After all, we learn best when we can work together with others!
Here are a few great places to gain hands-on event planning experience:
- Participate in an internship at an event planning company
- Volunteer at your school to organize festivals, sporting events, or concerts
- Gain work experience with professional event planners or businesses
Job shadowing an event planner is one way to learn the ropes of this job. In this way, you can see first-hand the responsibilities of a planner and assist where you can.
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#3. Choose A Specialization
The term “event planner” is not as descriptive as you might think. Event planners can actually take on numerous roles, and there are different specializations that an experienced event planner can take on.
When it comes to forging your path in the event-planning world, finding your niche or specialization is an essential step of this journey.
Though some event planners are generalists and don’t try to limit themselves, others find a certain type of event that they enjoy planning, and they make it their focus.
The best way to find your specialization is to experiment with different types of events and event planning services.
There is no one right way to do this, and it might take time to find what suits you best. That’s why it’s crucial to experiment in different roles as you gain experience to discover your place!
When It Comes To Planning Virtual Events
Let’s face it. We’re now in 2023, and things are becoming increasingly virtual.
And that applies to events also! So if you’re looking to get into event planning, it’s a good idea to also learn how to plan virtual events.
Become familiar with virtual event technology and the differences between virtual and in-person events. It’s also essential to understand how to find the right speaker for a virtual event.
Luckily, with Clean Comedians®, finding the perfect person to open your virtual event is easy. That’s because our speakers are easy to communicate with and know exactly how to craft their content for your unique audience.
Plus, all our speakers are clean. Even our comedian corporate speakers. So you don’t need to worry about profanity or crude content.
Just raw, genuine fun!
#4. Create An Event Portfolio
Now comes the fun part.
A telling and updated portfolio is critical for all event planners. This is the best way to showcase your work and draw in new clients. So when you’re looking to become an event planner, this should be one of the first steps!
How To Create An Ideal Event Planning Portfolio
Creating your event planning portfolio can be a fun and creative process. However, you want to ensure that the way you present your work is accurate, personable, and engaging.
Crafting a masterpiece can help ensure prospective clients that you are skilled and have the capabilities to create a similar masterpiece for their event.
Here are a few key items you should gather when creating your event planning portfolio.
Before and After Pictures of Events
Styled shoots can help put your work on display and showcase your abilities. If you don’t have a plethora of experience, try staging a mock photo session or partnering with vendors.
It would be best if you got a testimonial for every event you plan (paid or unpaid). You can also take it a step further and get a letter of recommendation from pleased clients.
Great feedback is fantastic for establishing you as a trustworthy, reliable, and skilled event planner.
Include Education or Certifications
As we discussed earlier, you should have either a degree, certifications, or relevant experience in event planning. Ensure these are listed on your portfolio!
Personal Biography and Additional Information
When clients choose you as their event planner, they pick you as a person! Ensure your portfolio contains a profile photo and short biography telling your event-planning story.
It’s also a good idea to include other information, such as sample timelines, inspiration boards, press or social media clippings of your featured work, and examples of problems you’ve solved as a planner.
#5. Market Your Personal Brand And Develop Your Network
Almost any career path requires a certain level of networking. And event planners need to rely on networking more than most other professions.
Networking is the way you’ll get clients as a planner. So, your career essentially depends on it! Don’t underestimate the necessity of it.
But how exactly can you successfully network as an event planner? There are two primary methods; online or in person.
How To Network In-Person As A Professional Planner
Networking in person is a more traditional way of obtaining clients and making a name for yourself in the industry. You will need to learn how to join conversations while following proper etiquette.
Event planners often attend networking events to establish some connections. This can seem daunting at first, but it’s critical in setting yourself up for success!
Ensure you also follow up with prospective clients within 24 hours. This can help you stand out as an eager and engaged planner.
Event Planners And Online Networking
It’s evident that we live in a digital age. And online networking is perhaps the best way to land clients as a freelancing planner or someone who owns an event planning business.
Be respectful online when reaching out to clients, and make sure you follow up with potential offers. Personalize your outreach, and don’t resort to boring “copy-and-paste” emails.
Online networking on places like LinkedIn can be effective as well. It’s also a good idea to create online content to spice up your portfolio. This can include things like:
- Your own website
- Social media pages for your brand or business
- Online photo galleries
- Blogs or vlogs
It’s up to you how you choose to represent your brand, skills, and capabilities. But when it comes down to it, event planning can be incredibly rewarding and enjoyable as a career.
From our team, we wish you good luck in your event planning future!
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Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.