Last year I shared a day in my life as an event planner. A lot of people love that video and want to know more. I totally get it, because working as an event planner is really fun. I thought it would be a good idea to share everything I know on how to become an event planner. In the Netherlands there are one or two event planner schools, and some homeschool options. You don’t really need to have a special education to become an event planner though. So, let me help you out by sharing what you need to plan the best events ever! You can also watch the video here.
Step 1: Gain basic event planner skills
First things first! You might not need to go to school to become an event planner, but you do need some basic education and planning skills. First of all, you need to be able to plan, duh! And I’m not just kidding around, you need some serious planning skills to get the job done. As an event planner you’ll live, eat and sleep with your planner. It holds all your deadlines and you need to meet them, always! Clients do not care about you being sick, sleeping trough your alarm clock or your dog eating your planner.
The second skill is listening. As an event planner you’re not planning your own party, but you’re fulfilling your clients wishes. A good event planner does not push his or her own agenda on the client. A good one listens to the client and brings their vision to life. The third skill is being good with finances, because you’ll often work with a tight budget. The fourth skill you need to master is creativity, as you will have to troubleshoot when you least expect it. The last skill is having nerves of steel, because you will have to deal with very last-minute stressful situations. And your clients should not have to notice any of that.
Step 2: Do your research
Anyone can become an event planner, that’s why there are so many (bad) ones. I always recommend my clients to do target group research. This means you find out how many event planners are in your area and if they actually work. If so, for who? There’s no point in becoming an event planner when there’s no need for one in your area. That will only lead to not having any work and a lot of frustration. If there are event planners in your region, figure out what kind of events they plan and for which clients.
If there are five event planners doing kids parties, they sure don’t need another one. Unless you can bring something very exceptional to the table, which your future clients can’t get anywhere else. Just make sure that whatever kind of event planner you aspire to be, you’re going to be one of the few. Not one of the many! Don’t forget to research how many potential clients there actually are, so you know exactly how much events you can sell. This ties back into having enough work and being able to create a real job for yourself.
Step 3: Experience is everything, go get it
I’m not saying you can’t do it, but it won’t be perfect and your clients demand perfection. Therefor I recommend starting with smaller events. This way you can learn basic event planning skills. Better yet, try to work for an experienced event planner for a while. Or get an internship and learn everything there is to know, because there’s more knowledge you need then you’d think. The number one mistake new event planners make is thinking this job is easy. But you’re in for a very bumpy ride if you’re not properly prepared.
Even the smallest kids party turns out for the worst if the cake isn’t there on time. And you didn’t bring a backup treat because you decided to trust the baker. That’s right, as the event planner you need a backup plan for everything. Your clients will look at you if the event turns to shit, because you’re supposed to plan everything. This is why you need experience so you know how to deal with client expectations, failing third parties and your own mistakes. I’m not saying you won’t do a great job without experience, but you will do so much better if you do have it.
Step 4: Specialize from the start
How to become an event planner? Specialize from the start and excel in what you do. What I mean by this, is that most event planners tend to say they can plan any type of event. Which technically is true, but not every event will be aligned with what you love to do. For example, I’m not into kids and therefore you will never see me organize kids’ parties. That just isn’t my thing and even though I could make it work, it would not be my best event ever. I am really good at press and company events. I know how to create a special experience for adults. And I’m very, very good at making you feel like you’re having the best time of your life.
This is why I specialize in press events and company parties. Which makes my event planning skills unique, because there not many other event planners in the Netherlands who can do the same. This means I can dominate the market when it comes to press and company events. Clients who are looking for events like these, will definitely find me when they start Googling. This means I can actually sell events and create an income for myself. That is why I would like to advise you to specialize as well. Find the type of event you love to do, spread to word and actually work!
Step 5: How to become an event planner?
You just have to start. If you have the five basic skills I mentioned in this article, it’s time to get out there and do it. Event planning is a very practical profession, perfect for people who like to put plans in motion. However, there’s nothing worse than a wannabe planner. So make sure you set up your event planning business properly. Make sure you do whatever is needed in your country to start a legal business. Get your chamber of commerce on, make sure you have a bank account for your company and good-looking website.
Start spreading the word on your event planning services. You can start by helping out friends with their parties for a small fee and review. This will help you build your portfolio and get that experience in. Make sure you document your event planning process. Not just for your clients, but also for yourself. Keep tweaking and finetuning your workflow. This will help you create the best events with the least, or no amount of stress. A happy planner equals happy clients. After a while the bigger jobs will come, and you will knock them out of the party park!
Now you know how to become an event planner. Want to get more event planner tips? Please let me know in a comment below. This helps me figure out if I should create more articles and videos like this. Or maybe even an event planner course, I’d love to do that!
Happy planning and I’ll see you soon with more event planner tips,