How to Start an Event Planning Business | A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Start an Event Planning Business published at https://howtoentrepreneur.org

If you’re interested in learning how to start an event planning business, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll be discussing what a normal day is like and the recommended steps for starting an event planning business.

If you’re here, it’s likely you or someone you know is a creative person with the passion to help others host amazing events. You’ve probably seen others in the industry at various levels of success who host events, and you’re probably wondering, “Where do I get started if I want to start an event planning business?”.

The good news is…I plan to break down the process to start an event planning business, and I want to make it clear enough that you know the next actionable steps to take to pursue your dream. If that sounds good to you, let’s unveil the process for how to start an event planning business.

What is an Event Planning Business? An Overview

A very large event with fireworks

First, before we dive too deep, let’s discuss “what is an event planning business?”. I know it may seem like common sense, but there are people who fall into the category of event planners you might not even have thought of!

Event planners are all those people who help others to have successful events. There are several niches included in this title. Some event planners focus on:

  • Religious events
  • Health and Fitness events
  • Children’s events
  • Corporate events
  • Professional development events
  • and more!

You’d be surprised the advantages of choosing a niche and sticking to it. When you choose a niche, it makes it easier to:

  • Know what the customer may want
  • Have a more thorough understanding of the industry
  • Get more and more referrals within the industry
  • and to make connections

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Who is an Event Planning Business right for?

The event planning business is right for:

  • Creative people who would like to decorate for events
  • Those who have good organizational skills to ensure all of the locations, supplies, equipment, and people are where they need to be for the event to go smoothly
  • Those who do reasonably well at forecasting event expenses and budgeting to ensure they are profitable in their businesses
  • And, those who don’t mind being outgoing, so they can meet people who would like their services, negotiate, and sell

What’s a typical day in an Event Planning Business  like?

An image of a woman planning

A typical day can vary quite a bit depending on the demand in the event planning business and the systems that are in place to manage the demand. There are several tasks that event planners have to perform to be successful like:

  • Prospecting and networking – Meeting new and ideal customers, joint venture partners, and professionals for referrals and collaborations
  • Following up with potential customers or current customers
  • Education and training – Studying event ideas, locations, and honing their craft
  • Setting up advertising campaigns to attract more customers
  • Submitting estimates or scope of work proposals to potential clients
  • Invoicing and recieving payment
  • Planning the events
  • Ordering event supplies
  • Following up with clients
  • Setting up venues
  • Follwing up with special guests or entertainers
  • and more…

I’d recommend event planners to divide their time into four ways to make sure every vital business component is getting the necessary time it needs. The four ways I’d recommend you divide your time are:

  • Acquiring work

When you’re acquiring the work, you’re looking for more customers. This could be setting up or responsing to ad campaigns, going to networking events where your target audience is likely to be, doing interviews on pocasts or radio where you’re likely to be hired, sending out estimates, signing service contracts, or other ways you can get more people interested in your service.

  • Doing the work

Once you’ve invested enough time acquiring work, you should have interest–people who want to pay you to do your service. These people will require attention from you because they’ll need your consultation time to discuss the status of the event plans, and to ensure you’re both on the same page about the expectations.

You’ll also need to do your decorating, coordinating with caterers and special guests, and other things that will help the events to run smoothly.

  • Managing the work

At some point, you’ll probably have to hire–whether a DJ, a caterer, or even a support person to help put the events together. It’s important to invest time in building systems for hiring before the need arises–this will prevent you from having lots of downtime to train.

Prior to the need arising, you may want to create a training manual or even a digital course site that instructs those you hire how to operate in your business. Once you have hired help, you’ll need to make sure to maintain a slot in your schedule to follow-up, make sure everything is being done to standard, and to ensure questions are answered.

  • and, Strategizing about the work 

If you want growth in your business, you’ll have to take time to analyze your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You’ll need to plan your business and go back to analyze your progress.

Who is the target market for an Event Planning Business ?A beautiful table setup with floral decorations

The target market for an event planning business can be broken down into three: Businesses, Consumers, and the Government.

Business-to-Business

Businesses have events like:

  • Awards ceremonies
  • Holiday parties
  • Executive meetings
  • Professional development events
  • Morale events
  • Customer appreciation
  • Employee appreciation
  • Retreats
  • Sports events
  • and more…

Often times, they don’t have someone on staff who specializes in pulling these types of events together in an orderly fashion. You could take your skills, training, and interest, and help them to successfully host the events they want to do.

Consumers

Consumers have events like:

  • Weddings
  • Quinceneras
  • Sweet 16 parties
  • Birthday parties
  • Family reunions
  • Anniversaries
  • Promotion parties
  • Housewarming
  • Baby showers
  • Funerals
  • and more…

Many people get overwhelmed by the thought of having to coordinate invitations, eating arrangements, venues, seating, decorations, and everything else that goes into planning a party.

The Government

Like other businesses, the government also hosts lots of events. They have:

  • Political campaigns
  • Inaugurations
  • Military events
  • and many of the same events other businesses would have

If you decide you’d like to plan events for government agencies, then you’d have to visit your local Small Business Administration, and begin the process so you’ll be able to bid on requests for proposal from the US government. Other countries have similar processes, so you’d ask around, and complete the necessary premliminaries for working with the government.

What is the growth potential in an Event Planning Business?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the event planning jobs are expected to grow by 11% between 2016 and 2026. With this stat, we know the demand for people who can help to plan events isn’t going down.

What are the skills you’ll need to make an Event Planning Business work?Desert catering for an event

To make an event planning business, you’ll need skills in:

  • Hospitality
  • Organization
  • Market research
  • Sales and negotiation
  • Event management
  • Logistics
  • Basic inventory management
  • and, Basic personnel management

More expertise can (and should) be a focus as you’re working in the business.

What are the costs involved with an Event Planning Business?

To get started in the event planning business, I’d recommend you begin with these tools and equipment and begin scaling the business with the money from your sales.

Recommended Startup Costs

Website and Hosting – Your website can help with your customer acquisition because you can optimize your website for the search engines, so when people search for the services you offer, you could pop up as they’re doing their research.

My #1 recommendation for web hosting comes with lots of support (including my unlimited private message coaching), you can host up to 50 websites, and you’ll get weekly live training to help you get more traffic using the internet. For $359/yr, you can have hosting, social networking with over 1 million entrepreneurs, my unlimited private message coaching, and live Q&A with a marketing expert every week at Wealthy Affiliate!

Advertising – Organic marketing takes more time and effort to get it started. While I’m a huge proponent of building your assets and maximizing the use of organic channels, I think you should also use paid advertising (especially if you don’t want to wait on organic ranking or build large social followings).

Google my Business Listing – Google my Business is a free listing, but it makes sure your business shows up on Google maps and local search results. This could be critical to helping local customers find your service.

Incorporation – To lower the risk of legal liability and to lower your taxes, it’s important to choose the right legal business structure and to incorporate. Swyft Filings can help you to incorporate your business here.

Office supplies – As an entrepreneuryou’ll need to provide for yourself all of the tools a job would typically provide that help you to be more productive. Things like pens, paper, a printer, labels, stickies, paperclips, and more.

Education and Training – When you’re starting your business, there will be lots of questions and concerns you might run into. It’s important to have money set aside for courses and networking groups that can help to build your confidence.

Printed Portfolio – If you plan to do offline sales where you’re meeting with clients or potential client, it might be very helpful to have printed pictures of parties you’ve helped with, samples of potential decorations or supplies you might be using, and even inspirational parties to help give your client a visual of your ideas for the party.

How much money can you make in an Event Planning Business?

According to the department of labor, event planning jobs make a median income of $49,370. Entrepreneurs can either earn much more than that, or they can earn much less. The income potential of the event planning business is going to depend on your sales skills, time management and prioritization, customer satisfaction, and the time and effort you put into acquiring the work.

What are the steps involved in starting an Event Planning Business?

Here are the 10 steps I recommend you take to start your events planning business in chronological order:

1. Validate your Idea

First, it’s important that you validate your idea and decide this is a good business model for your circumstances.You may want to get input from family, friends, and loved ones who genuinely want the best for you.

You may also want to validate the niche you’re considering as well. Go and network within the industry and see if that niche seems like it would be enjoyable for you and achieve your income goals.

2. Prioritize Your Business

Once you’ve decided the event planning business “is for you” and you’ve chosen a niche that’s exciting for you as well, it’s time to clear out time and money to invest into your business. Every business has startup expenses and each one requires time.

You’ll want to make sure you have time set aside to work on growing your business, and you’ll also want to make sure you have money to work on the business until you get your first clients and sales.

3. Build Your Brand

Your business will likely start with no one knowing about it. As a result, you’ll have to build awareness. Your brand is composed of aesthetic things like your logo, brand style kit, colors, and fonts, but more importantly, your brand is composed of others’ perceptions.

You want to intentionally build your brand, so people perceive your products, services, and brand story accurately.

4. Start Getting Leads and Traffic

Once you have the preliminaries out of the way, it’s time to start introducing yourself, your products, and services to others, so they can become customers. You can attract customers online and offline. In fact, I highly recommend you use the internet to get prospects and sales.

Get the training, support, and tools to start getting leads to your business online here. Get started for free. No billing info required.

Recommended Reading:

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how to start an event planning business by https://howtoentrepreneur.org

5. Convert the Traffic into Customers

After introducing yourself, advertising, and building up interest, you’ll start to get phone calls, emails, people reaching out to you on social media,  website inquiries, and people coming to find out how they can work with you. It takes some persistence to get to the point where your pipeline is full of potential customers, but once it is, it’s very important to have a process for converting customers from:

  • Website visitors to customers
  • Phone calls to customers
  • Live contacts to customers
  • and, emails to customers

If you have a website that’s optimized for website conversions, then it can save you loads of time!

6. Form Your Business Legally

When you start getting consistent customers, then the legal and tax liability goes up. If you get to this point in your business development journey and you haven’t incorporated, I’d recommend you incorporate. You can get help with choosing your state, your business structure, and even having your paperwork mailed off and sent to the proper authorities when you work with a company like Swyft Filings. See my full Swyft Filings review here.

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7. Organize Your Books

One sign of your business health is your finances. It’s really important to be able to sort your expenses and analyze your income–this will enable you to make sound decisions. Softwares like Quickbooks or Freshbooks help you to keep your finances organized, send out invoices, file your taxes, and maintain legal compliance. Check out my reviews of Freshbooks and Quickbooks.

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8. Get Your Office Supplies

Like we mentioned earlier, you may have to fax and print documents, sign things or have customers sign them, label paperwork, and do many other administrative functions. To be optimally productive, many entrepreneurs find it helps to have a separe business phone line, productivity apps like GSuite offers, and office supplies. Take a look at my reviews and buyer’s guides below for help choosing office supplies.

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9. Systemize Your Process

Once you have a pattern of how you do things efficiently, make sure to document your systems. This will help when you’re hiring, when you want to test and improve efficiency even further, and when you decide to exit the business.

10. Reinvest and Scale

As income is coming into the business, don’t fall for the temptation to spend it all. $6000 in revenue doesn’t mean $6000 that should be spent on personal luxuries. Instead, pay yourself, but make sure to reinvest in things that would grow the business like:

  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Hiring
  • Tools to improve the quality of your products and services
  • and education

Recommended Reading:

Ready to Start Your an Event Planning Business?

Hopefully, this step-by-step guide for how to start an event planning business is helpful for you. If you have comments, questions, or concerns, don’t hesitate to leave them below.

If you’d like:

  • The support of a growing community of 1 million+ entrepreneurs
  • 1-on-1 Coaching to help you get more customers using the internet
  • Live weekly Q&A with a Marketing Expert
  • 1000’s of hours of recorded training
  • Hosting of up to 50 website
  • and Market research tools to help you decide what’s in low supply and high-demand online

Check out my free Business Growth Blueprint E-course and my growing library of video courses at Wealthy Affliate.  You can get access to my e-course and all of my free bonuses by signing up here. You’ll also get 7 free days of coaching with me, 10 lessons of internet marketing training, and two free websites you can try out for free. Let’s get started building your Event Planning Business!

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14 thoughts on “How to Start an Event Planning Business | A Step-by-Step Guide”

  1. Wow, this is awesome and very comprehensive. A friend of mine is looking to maximise his business. Currently he does interior decor which is also very lucrative but he wants to start doing event planning too. I think this is a really great way to start making money as long as one can be creative. I have to show him this post. Thanks for the valuable info

  2. I think that for people looking to enter a career where they can share their creative skills and be okay with having something new to work with each day, even planning is definitely for them. It’s definitely for a certain kind of person, and those who might prefer more routine work may not like it as much as those wishing for something rather random, as well as continuous fresh new challenges. This guide will definitely reveal who event planning is for, as well as those who might want to look for different avenues. 

  3. Thank you for this article. I was wondering about starting an event planning business. Thanks for explaining a typical day in an event planners life. It sounds like a very social job. It seems like there would be a lot of different potential consumers looking for the assistance of an event planner so you would have a lot of business if you did that job. Also, the event planning business is continuing to grow so that means that there will be plenty of demand for event planners. Thank you for this very helpful and well-written article.

    1. Thanks Jen! It’s a great opportunity for people who would enjoy this line of work for sure. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Right from little, my younger sister has always being the event planner of every program going on at home. She just love planning. I never knew this event planning business van be this lucrative. I guess I will suggest this business line to her since she is done with college, this could provide a great option for generating more income for her and might actually go full time on this. She would definitely be thrilled to read about this

    1. Awesome! I’ve met so many people who enjoy this industry which is why I wrote the guide. Hopefully, it will help her. Thanks in advance for thinking of her and sharing it.

  5. What caught my attention in this how-to guide of yours is the tool called Grasshopper. I’ve heard about the virtual phone system but never thought one can actually set up right from their laptop. Sounds really easy and it’s quite affordable too. Will check it out. Do they have a free trial or something? Thanks. 

    1. Yes, VOIP phone lines can come in handy especially in businesses where you work from home or you’re on-the-go quite a bit. It comes a point where using your personal phone line may get awkward because it’s harder and harder to tell which calls are personal and which are business. Grasshopper is a great option for a second line. They do have a free trial and I have a full review of their service here.

  6. Handy guide Tiffany!

    I’ve been looking for these tips for years before I started my own Event Planning business and I think re-invent and scale is one of the most important aspects that all event planners need to focus on. We get paid large sums of money and that can blind people into spending unnecessarily but rolling-in the cash to be used again is of utmost importance to make the company grow stronger 😀

    1. Yes. I’ve seen people who get the income and spend it frivolously which is why I try to warn people about it beforehand. Thanks for sharing your experience with this.

  7. That’s a great business idea! I used to work in the hotel industry at the conference department, so I have some experience, but I never thought about doing an event planning business.

     I think if we want to start this business, it should be on the side. In the beginning, it might take some time to choose a niche to make some good contacts and marketing. From my experience, you need to have sales skills, that’s a key. Once you have a good reputation clients will be finding you. I love your guide it’s very comprehensive, nothing more to add 🙂 

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your tips in keeping with your background.  I’d say all businesses require sales skills: some more client-facing than others. I agree that you’d have to build up the clientele and that can take some time, but that’s a phase every business has to overcome. Great points!

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