If you love planning and hosting parties, becoming a party or event planner can be a great career. You get the joy, and stress, of throwing parties all the time without the expense. In fact, you’ll make money doing it.
There are all sorts of parties people pay planners to put together including weddings, anniversaries, homecomings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, birthdays, wedding and baby showers, engagement parties, office parties, etc. If you’re able to find a strong market for party planner in your community and the surrounding region, it could be a viable business option for you as a full time career or small side business.
Be a Creative People Person
Party throwers are creative, especially professional party throwers, and they love people. This is not the business for introverts and hermits. It’s okay to be an introvert, just not if you want to throw great parties. This doesn’t mean you need to be a loudmouth. Your better off being well-spoken, assertive, and calm. Party planning can be stressful and needs someone who can keep calm when things go wrong.
Learn about colors, decorations, music, and how everything comes together. Party planning is just as creative as designing clothes and painting landscapes. You have to have an eye for detail and style. If you don’t, consider a different business.
Organization is extremely important for event planning. You need to be able to coordinate times, vendors, and people. If you love lists, calendars, and bossing people around, you have a good start, as long as you’re not obnoxiously bossy. You need to be able to give direction, make decisions, and plan.
Learn the Ins and Outs of a Good Party
Have you ever been to a really good party? Have you ever been to a really bad party? Think about what made each party what it was. You must know what a good party needs and how to get people involved so they all have a good time.
In addition, not all parties are the same. You’re not going to throw the same party for a high school fundraiser that you would for a 30th birthday party. Keep notes and ideas in a notebook or spreadsheet to help you remember what’s good for each client. Also, talk with your clients extensively to ensure you throw the party they want and not the party you want.
Build a Portfolio
Before you can build a portfolio, you need clients. You need a portfolio before you can get clients. Start out doing smaller birthday parties for friends and family. Do the parties for free or very cheap if you have to. Adding just a few parties to your portfolio will give you something to show new clients.
Take lots of pictures, write out details for what you planned, and get testimonials from clients. Have a binder showing your portfolio in an easy to view way. You can’t just talk about your experience, you have to show it.
These first parties are also critical for future bookings. Make sure everyone knows you’re responsible for the party and hand out business cards (without being pushy and annoying). If someone sees a good party, they will be the first ones to call you to do their party.
Find a Niche
You could plan every kind of event there is, or you could find a niche. If you live in an area large enough and wealthy enough to specialize, do so. For example, in large cities you’ll be able to specialize in corporate parties, weddings, or birthday parties better than you would in a small town.
In fact, it’s difficult to make it as a wedding planner in small towns, especially if most residents don’t pay for party planners. If you’re serious about being an event planner, consider finding an area with a denser population of people who hire event planners.
Make it a Business
There are two ways to be an event planner. You can let people know you’ll throw their party for them if they want you to. You’ll do parties very sporadically and won’t get paid much when it’s just a hobby that you don’t know how to price.
Or, you can turn it into a business. Developing your business, researching, marketing, landing more parties and making more money will come more smoothly when you are professional and treat it like a business.. Learn how to keep the books for your business (or hire an accountant), get a business license and hire employees as your business grows.
Design a logo for your business and put it on everything such as fliers, business cards, your car, etc. Market your business through parties you throw and through other advertising such as the newspaper, ads in local magazines and other media, on your vehicles, etc. Set up a website and advertise it online. Use social media to your advantage.
Develop Relationships with Vendors
Vendors include the businesses that supply event locations and supplies. Vendors include halls, restaurants, party supply stores, florists, DJs, photographers, caterers, hair stylists, etc.
Develop a relationship with vendors so you can partner up with them. You’ll be able to get your clients good rates, get referrals from the vendors, and send clients to the vendors. Everyone wins. Vendors can easily be one of the best ways to get new clients.
Get people to know your name. You should be synonymous with great parties. If you are a wedding planner, people should go to you first. Your name should be on the tip of tongues everywhere about to give event planning recommendations.
Branding will develop over time. At first you’ll be a nobody, but as you build relationships with vendors, put up advertising, and do successful party after successful party, your name will show up in the industry. That is when success comes and you can start charging more for your services and throwing better parties.