Turn your hobby into a business: Events Planner

June 26, 2023



This month in our “Turn your hobby into a business” series, we look at how you can turn your organisational skills into a career in event planning.

Read on to find out more…

Image dps via creative commons

You’re the person all your friends turn to when something has to be organised. Be it a birthday party, a holiday or even just a Friday night down the pub, you’re there behind the scenes, making sure that everything goes down without a hitch.

If this sounds like you, why don’t you put your organisational skills to good use and turn your hand to event planning? It’s a fast-moving and exciting field that offers something new every day.

What you should know

If you think event planning is all glamorous parties and champagne receptions, think again. The work of an event planner is wildly diverse – you could be organising a corporate party one day, then getting your hands dirty setting up an exhibition the next. And say goodbye to the ol’ nine-to-five - event organisers work very long and sometimes unsociable hours.

However, if the idea of event planning appeals to you, there are two ways to enter the event management arena: either through employment with a firm, or by going freelance.

Setting up your own freelance business may sound scary, but as long as you plan well (something that should come naturally to you anyway!) then you have a real chance of making it, even in this challenging climate. Check out our inspiration board for details on other event planners and some top information resources.


Types of event management

Most people automatically think of wedding planners when they think of what an event organiser does. However, parties and events have become a big part of modern life, and what’s more, people’s expectations of events are increasing. Television shows like My Super Sweet 16, Four Weddings and Don’t Tell the Bride have set high standards. This puts pressure on individuals to bring in a professional event planner to ‘wow’ their guests.

There is always a steady stream of domestic events for event planners to work on. These could include surprise parties, important birthday parties (like an 18th, 21st, 60th etc.), children’s parties, weddings, retirement parties, or engagement parties.

But there is also a lot of money to be made from commercial events. Companies need product launches and shops need opening nights, plus don’t forget about political events, charity events, and town/city celebrations. There are loads of opportunities out there.

Some of the day-to-day tasks that an event planner is responsible for include:

  • Conducting research
  • Creating an event design
  • Finding an event location
  • Arranging for food, decor and entertainment
  • Planning transportation to and from the event
  • Sending invitations to attendees
  • Arranging any necessary accommodation for attendees
  • Coordinating the activities of event personnel
  • Supervising at the event
  • Conducting evaluations of the event

Source: thedayyourway.com via the Money Lion on Pinterest


Essentials for success

The best asset you can have in the events industry is experience, so if you have previously worked for an events company or in a related industry, like PR or marketing, then you will be at an advantage.

But there are also lots of educational courses you can take to learn the trade and prepare yourself for becoming a freelance event planner. Most colleges (and some universities) run event planning courses which will give you an qualification to add to your CV and impress potential clients. One of the organisations you will find by searching online is The UK Academy of Wedding and Event Planning, which offers certificates in wedding planning, event planning, and event design.

Making contacts in the event planning industry is also important to the success of your business. You can start building up a solid network base on sites such as LinkedIn. The more contacts you make, the bigger your potential customer base. The forum is also a great place to chew over event planning issues or news with industry experts.

Client contracts

If you choose to specialise in commercial event management it is important to create a legal contract with your clients. This is to protect your business and help deal with problems, should there be any. The contract with your client should set out all the terms and conditions of the job and the event details, plus it should state how and when you will be paid.

It is essential that you discuss the way you charge for your work before any work is carried out. One method you could use to charge for your work is a fixed-price. This means that you charge a fixed price for a set event project which is agreed with the client ahead of time, and is irrespective of how long it takes to complete the work. However, this could be difficult to determine when you first set up your business and have little experience of working out the overall cost of certain events.

You could also charge your clients per hour. This method means it is much harder to be under or overpaid for a project. Charging by the hour also requires you to fill out timesheets, so there needs to be a fast and reliable way to transfer timesheets back and forth between yourself and the client. One way of doing this is by using small business accounting software which allows you to track the time you spend on each project and generate flexible timesheet reports to pass on to the client.

If you will be specialising in domestic event management, then your clients will probably prefer to pay you a fixed amount - perhaps a percentage of the overall event cost. You could also create a much shorter and less informal contract-type document when working for domestic event clients.


Top tips

Don’t forget to evaluate each event, especially in the early stages of your business. Getting feedback from clients and guests is an excellent way to learn and to improve your business knowledge.

Remember to keep a close eye on your budget. Chances are your client will want as much for their money as possible, so be prepared to negotiate hard with suppliers and venues in order to get the best deal.

With careful planning and a strong execution, there is no reason why you can’t become a successful event planner, even in this difficult economic climate.

If you found this guide helpful you can download it from our PDF gallery or check out our top ten tips.

Do you have any tips for potential event planners? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

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