HOW TO BECOME AN EVENT PLANNER
SweetPea is often asked how to become an event planner and what path we recommend if someone wants to get into the industry. The great news is that there isn’t a single path to become an event planner! As you consider your path, the following are a few steps that can help you achieve a career in event planning:
DETERMINE THE WHY
Before you embark on your journey to become an event planner, it’s important to determine the why and the qualities that make a successful planner. Have you helped plan events for friends or family and loved it? Maybe helped with a wedding or something at school? Do you find yourself extremely organized, focused on all the details, and always keeping track of time? Are you comfortable in high stress situations where people are counting on you to make quick decisions?
After you look at your strengths, determine the other reasons why you want to be a planner? Do you enjoy challenging environments and incredible multi-tasking? Maybe you are more interested in the perks, like traveling to new locations, meeting great people, and non-traditional 9-5 desk job hours. Or maybe the thought of being the boss of your own ship as an independent planner and growing your own business. While most people don’t have a single reason for their why, it’s an important starting point before you look ahead at the how.
WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS?
Once you determine why you want to become an event planner, it is a good idea to try and pick a path and narrow down the types of events you may be interested in planning. There are countless facets of the industry including corporate conferences, meetings, sporting events, parties, medical education, trade shows, conventions, weddings, incentive travel and so much more. With so many options, making a choice can prove tedious.
Consider your strengths along as well as what aspects of the planning industry you enjoy. Would you rather help plan a party for 50 friends, or a corporate conference for 500? A convention for thousands, or a medical meeting? While picking one doesn’t necessarily exclude the other, it’s better to dial in your focus in order to become a subject matter expert in the space. In addition, while each of these various types of events require the same foundational elements that make a good event planner, the process, revenue potential, and timeline can be very different.
If you’re not sure what types of events you would like, don’t have any background in event management, and need to strengthen your planning skills, it’s probably more important to have more exposure to the industry first. A great way to gain experience is by volunteering to help plan events. This could be done through a charitable organization, for friends and family, or interning at an event planning company in town. If you are looking instead to develop your foundational event planning skills, like multi-tasking, or organization, you could look for a job where these skills are required. This could mean a job as an office administrator, guest relations liaison or volunteer events coordinator. All of these entry-level type jobs put into practice skills such as organization and time management. Getting yourself comfortable with events and the work that goes into them will help you hone in on your strengths and weaknesses as well as cement your desire to become an event planner.
GET HIRED OR START YOUR OWN
Now that you have determined why you want to be an event planner, what type of events you want to plan, and are comfortable with the successful event planner traits, it’s time for a job. If entry level, it’s probably better to start working for another event planning company to ensure you have the mentorship that can be crucial in learning the industry. Maybe an internship at SweetPea. Or if you are confident in your knowledge and want to manage the business all on your own, you can start your own event planning business. Keep in mind, starting your own business can be difficult and requires an incredible time commitment. In addition, there is great value working alongside others on a team, and running your own business can often be a lonely endeavor.
Becoming an event planner requires a lot of work and a lot of dedication. Not everyone has the skills required to coordinate successful events. But for those who do, considering the above steps will lead to a rewarding and satisfying career in event planning.