Launch Your Career in Events Management | Hanna Ashcraft | Skillshare

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Launch Your Career in Events Management

teacher avatar Hanna Ashcraft, Travel Blogger | Content Creator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Overview of the Course


    • 2.

      Types of Event Managers


    • 3.

      Is Event Management Right For You?


    • 4.

      Gain Experience


    • 5.

      Build Relationships


    • 6.

      Become Proactive


    • 7.

      Organizational Tips


    • 8.

      Applying to Jobs, Finding Clients, & Pricing


    • 9.

      Thank you!


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About This Class

Non-profit events, concerts, conferences, festivals, parades, Olympics, weddings, surprise birthday parties and presidential campaigns. There are so many events happening in the world every day. Every single one of these needs someone planning and executing the events. So if you are looking to transition to a career in Events Management, have an element of event planning in your job, want start a side hustle, or a freelance career, you’re in the right place.

Some of the personal benefits of gaining the skills for successful Event Management include:

  • Becoming more organized at your job
  • Become better at project management
  • Practice managing others
  • Be a resource for friends and family members who are having events
  • Being able to turn your skills into a side hustle or freelance career

In this course, we will talk about the different types of event managers out there and a little about the job to see if it is right for you. After reviewing some tough realities of the job, we will get into specifics on how to develop four skill areas that will help you become a successful event planner. Those are:

  1. Gaining Experience
  2. Building Relationships (with clients, vendors, and your team)
  3. Becoming Proactive
  4. Organizational Tips

After discussing how to develop these skills, I will share some tips about how to apply for an events management job, how to find clients, and options for how to price for your services.

I am so excited for a fresh crop of event planners to enter the industry with new ideas and energy. Let’s get to it!


P.S. A couple photos in this presentation was shot by Natalie Thomson. I created a class with her on "How to Get the Best Event and Wedding Photos", so go check it out!

P.P.S. Music from "Magic Scout Farm" by Kevin MacLeod ( Licence: CC BY (

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Hanna Ashcraft

Travel Blogger | Content Creator


HI! I'm Hanna and I believe in thoughtful, organized, and beautiful events that delight guests and give them a warm feeling for months after. Small touches and purposeful execution will almost always lead you to success. Given enough lead time, I think anyone can plan a spectacular small or large scale event.

More recently, I began working on a passion project - my travel blog. My experience planning events effortlessly transition into planning incredible trips. I will also be teaching travel tips and tricks that I have learned.


I have been event planning in the Santa Barbara area for the last five years. As a junior in college, I took an incredible event planning internship in Oahu, Hawaii. Upon graduating, I immediately jumped into an events ca... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Overview of the Course: Hi, my name is Hannah, and today we're going to dive into what it takes to launch a career in Event Management. I've been planning events for the last seven or so years in the Santa Barbara area. I started off working for a company where I mainly handled some birthday parties, a lot of weddings, and some holiday parties. Then I jumped into the world of non-profit event planning where I did cultivation events and fundraising events. Why I got into event planning was the ability to be creative, create something from absolutely nothing, and that the each event was going to be so different from the next that I wasn't going to be doing the same thing every day. Then when I got into non-profit event planning, I realized the value of making events meaningful for the organization and guests. What brought me joy was seeing how being thoughtful and creative with the elements of event planning on top of being completely organized and knowing how to run an event could really tell the story of an organization at an event. Event management is a great skill to have in your pocket. It's very similar to project management, so you're developing those necessary skills of organization, communication, relationships while also having the opportunity to manage others. Of course you can also start a business with a band plan that you can start a side hustle or maybe freelance, or maybe you work at a company where your primary focus is planning events for the company's community. In this course, I will first talk about the different types of event planners and managers that are out there, and some key things to think about if you're deciding if event management is right for you. Then I'll walk through how to gain the necessary skills to be good at event planning. How to gain experience, how to build relationships, becoming proactive, and how to stay organized. Toward the end of this course, I'll discuss some key points for if you're applying for an event planning job, or if you are trying to find clients as a freelancer. All you need for this course is a notebook and pen to take some notes on, and that's really yet. Let's get started. 2. Types of Event Managers: When people think of urban planning, they almost always think of wedding planning, I got that question so many times throughout my career. That's because that's what most people are exposed to. They've either been to a wedding or they seen that movie, The Wedding Planner with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McCullough. Hey, what was that from the '90s. However, if you think about how many events are happening in the world, you realize how much more is out there. On a small scale, there's birthday parties, anniversaries and baby showers, bridal showers, things like that, but think a little bigger. There's wedding planning and there is a lot of non-profit events in terms of cultivation and fundraising events, which is what I've spoken to a little bit already. In terms of corporate events, there's employee events as well as a lot of marketing events. Then thinking even bigger, there's conferences, there's government events, there's fashion shows, there's concerts, there's Coachella, there's Super Bowl, there's the Olympics, there's so much out there, and if you think that these events, especially the ones of a larger scale, would be able to run without an event organizer or manager, then you need to go watch the Fyre Festival documentaries on Netflix and Hulu. Fyre Festival is an excellent example how a lack of experience, lack of funds or proper planning or logic can actually lead to real disaster. They're so lucky that no one got hurt. If you're thinking of a career in event planning, go ahead and jot down what events would seem exciting to you, what sparks joy? That's important to think about at the beginning stages of when you want to plan events because you want to start building your experience in a certain direction. For example, if you want to plan the Olympics, then you don't want to build your experience wedding planning, although a lot of skills will transfer, it would be more of an official to work on sport related events so if there are little leagues in your area, or maybe there's 5K,10K, half marathon, marathon, those all need to be planned as well. You would probably want to start building your experience in the direction of sports so that you can eventually get to planning the Olympics or being on a team of planning for Olympics, how exciting is that? Take a minute to think about what events are exciting for you. Now, not all of these events managers have the same title. So let me just give you some different titles that I've seen that have an element of event planning in them. There's obviously Event Manager, there's Event Producer, Community Relations Manager, Development Specialists, Director of Special Events, Catering Manager, Project Manager, operations management. I wanted to mention these different titles because so many different jobs have an element of event planning in them. Whether you realize it or not. Building out the skills to be successful at event planning can expand how you do your own job and ideas for how to develop it in the future. Because we're all trying to develop ourselves and do better at our jobs. With this in mind, I also want to point out that I'm going to be using even manager, event planner, and event coordinator probably interchangeably throughout the video. Obviously these titles have slightly different meanings, like event coordinators at a lower level than Event Manager. But for the purposes of this video, I'm going to be using them interchangeably as the person who is responsible for planning and organizing and executing an event. Let's take a moment in the next section to think about if event planning is right for you. 3. Is Event Management Right For You?: The great news is that there's events happening all over the world all the time and someone needs to be planning those events. So if you're lucky to get into event planning there is room for you. However, before you send out that application, let me go over some tough realities that you might want to consider. First of all, in terms of the work that you do for events, it'll be probably 80 percent planning, 10 percent of the actual event, and 10 percent follow up. You're really getting into a career of planning an organization and, I'm sorry to say, a series of parties that you get to attend. A lot of people would tell me, you're an event planner, you must have so much fun. It's like, well, perhaps I would if I was going to these events but I'm really there to work on the actual events, I'm not even getting to really attend the event. I would say for like a big fundraising event, there would be hundreds of hours of organization in planning and working with our board members and working with this and that to plan an event that was probably like three to five hours long, and it take at least 3-5 for the follow-up, if not more. The second thing to consider is the nature of the industry is a series of sprints and quiet. You'll be going along and planning, planning and then it's getting close to the event, it ramps up and pressure and responsibility, the event happens and then you have a period of quiet, and then you do that again for the next event. If you're really good at event planning and you have a really great team that you rely on, then perhaps that can be a little more gradual, but it's always going to have like a period of more intensity followed by periods of quiet. That's because number 3, the responsibility of an event, it always falls on the event planner and that's because the event planner holds all the pieces and how they're supposed to connect, and so even if the lighting person does something wrong, it's ultimately your responsibility. That can be really frustrating and it's a lot of pressure, but just the nature of being the event planner. The last reality is that no two events are ever going to be the same, so this is great if you don't like routine, you like to change it up. It can also be really exhausting to always be thinking creative and developing and making something different, like when I was working in the non-profit, it was very cyclical. We'd have the same events happening around the same time each year, but each year was still so different in that what we were focusing on and who was attending and things like that, it's never going to be the same. So for some people, that's a great thing, other people that can be just purely exhausting. Because of everything I mentioned there, the sprints and quiet, the amount of pressure, the changing events, it's so easy to get burned out. So to have a healthy relationship with the work, I wanted to mention some qualities I've seen other people develop and be better at event planning. These are just personally traits that are smaller. I will get into goal steps for skills, but these are traits in how you approach the work that I think are just good for you to consider that if you feel like you're not one of these that you can work on developing. For example, it's really good to be able to work with all types of client and vendors. Sometimes you'll have a very non-responsive client, other times your client will want to know every single thing that you're doing every single day, they want to make sure their money is worth it. Being able to work with a micromanager and then an absent manager, for example, is really helpful as well as your vendor team, each one of your vendors, your probably going to have to work with a little different because they cover different things and their different personalities. Another thing is being able to care deeply about an event with the ability to let things go. This can be really tricky because you feel so responsible for this event, but you've got to realize that ultimately it's going to happen how it's going to happen. I feel like there is always a point, there was like a tipping point in which I was like planning, and then he just have to let things go while also being proactive and responsive and reactive and everything, you got to be present for the rest of the event. Another thing is being able to act quickly without getting angry. This can be challenging when things go wrong and it gets really frustrated because you're feeling all this pressure, but I always try not to react in anger, to me that doesn't solve any problems, we need to get to a solution quicker if something is going wrong, so being decisive and moving forward versus being angry, so it's very helpful. Being detail-focused without losing sight of the bigger picture is also really important because you have to truck so many details. You have to be able to follow those small details from the ideation to the execution, but you have to remember what that is in the bigger picture and say you have a signage for a cupcake that's gluten-free because you have a gluten-free guest. It's important to have that sign there so that guess can find it, but in the bigger picture of your fundraising event, if you forget that sign it's not the end of the world, it's not part of the bigger picture, you can have a server go and give that cupcake to that guest or you can find another solution. Although it's important, it's not necessarily the end-all be all so. Lastly, being a creative in your approach and design for an event can also be extremely helpful in problem-solving, surprising your client and how things turn out. Being creative is only going to help you, but you also have to know enough about events to be creative. Once you know something inside and out, then you'll be able to fiddle with it and be more creative in the future.So if that's not something you have right off the bar, it doesn't mean you cannot develop it in the future. So now that I've shared with you some tough realities as well as some traits to think about developing in your career, I wanted to share a personal story of why I got into the event planning. I got into event planning because I really like the idea that you could create something that people come to an experience from nothing like events start with an idea, an idea that you want to create something can go out and hire the vendors and buy the things and then people show up and experience your idea. I think that's really cool. I also really enjoy being creative on my career, which can be challenging if I'm stressed or exhausted or burnt-out, that's something that I've always had to work on balancing that stress. I also really enjoy that no two events are quite the same, keeps me on my toes and it forces me to be creative and think about the events and make them more meaningful over time. So there is some value that I got out of event planning that was really an unexpected and one of that is that team dynamics on the day of the event. On the day of the event, all of your vendors are there that you've been talking to for months and months, like sometimes a year, I've been talking to the same vendor and finally we're here in person and it's happening and we're all working on this one thing together, and so I think there's a lot of teamwork and team dynamics that I really like on the day of the event. In terms of my non-profit event planning, I found a lot of value and feeling I'm serving the organization, so not only could I provide money by like planning a successful fundraising event, also just the goodwill and awareness that I can provide for my company by planning a good event. The feeling that guests could understand our organization better or that guests felt like they were cared for and under unique event or something that they were buzzy and about what their friends like that, I felt really good about and felt good for my company about. That's something that event planning provided to me that I didn't really expect. So goals for my future in terms of event planning is that the events that I want to plan I want to have more meaning and substance to them, I don't want to just have event because we need to check a box. I mean, guests are coming, they're using their time, I want them to feel they're at something that was meaningful and is purposeful and not just because. So for your class project, I would love for you to share a little bit about what you're interested in doing. I'd asked you in the last section to write down the different types of events that spark joy for you, so that's the first thing. What kind of events are you interested in planning? I also want you to write down, why are you interested in getting into event planning? What makes you gravitate towards this career? Lastly, what do you hope to get out of event planning? So I shared with you a little bit of the value that I got out of it, but also you can think of it more objectively, like you might want to raise money for your company, or raise awareness for your company if you're in marketing, create a community, create value for your customers, there's all things that you could possibly get out of event planning. I'd love for you to jot those down. I've created a worksheet that you can just fill out and upload to the project section because I think it could be very interesting to see where different people are coming from in the world, I mean, this is Internet platforms though we have potentially people from all over the world adding to this, and I'm really curious to see if there's any trends and things. Please do fill out the worksheet and pop it on there, just for you to think about your own career in which direction you want to go in event planning because there are so many different branches. In the next sections, we're going to go into the mid of the course in terms of how to get the building blocks for a career in event planning, these are what you're going to rely on to really be successful at planning events. 4. Gain Experience: More than any other form of education, getting experience planning events is going to be the best way to be really good at event planning. That's because events are really complex and they happen in real time and you have to basically predict the future during the planning process. By that I mean, you have to think about how things are going to look together in a space, the time and people required to set those things up, and how guests are going to react in the space. Because events are so complex and they happen in real time and you're trying to predict how people are going to react, that's not necessarily how they're going to. Sometimes things go wrong in terms of buffering how long and how many people are required to set things up. There's just so many elements that things are going to go wrong, so you have to make decisions in real time about how to move forward. A lot of those decision-making, even during the planning process, are going to be determined on what you've seen in the past that has been successful. I wanted to give you some examples of how things have gone wrong in some of my past events and how I learned from those to apply at future events. In my early career, I was involved with a wedding, and it's really expensive and really nice and we had a team of interns helping us and we're getting ready for the ceremony, and this was a couple who had a baby about a year before, I think the baby was around one, so cute, and the baby was going to be part of the ceremony. We had a team of interns assigned to getting the groomsmen and the bridesmaids together, but we, during the planning process had failed to assign anyone to make sure that the nanny and the baby were ready to go during the ceremony time. There was a moment of panic where we were like, where is that nanny and where is that baby? Luckily, they showed up just about right on time, and that's not how I want my bride and groom to feel right before they're going to get married, where they have a moment of panic about where their child is. From that moment, although nothing critical, the ceremony happened as supposed to, the baby was like an angel and everything happened okay, I still took note of that, and for every future event afterwards, I had someone on my team assigned to anyone that was like very critical for the event to happen. If we had a certain speaker or anything like that, either I was assigned or someone else was assigned to make sure that person arrived on time or had help or whatever because sometimes it's hard to get a hold of your very important person, I couldn't just call. I might have had the nanny's number and she might even not had her phone on her because she's about to attend the ceremony. It's hard to get a hold of that person, but it's much easier to get a hold of your own team member because you know how to get hold of them. In a couple of years later, I did another event. I had lots of events and between there and lots of learning experiences and things that go wrong, but I wanted to pull out a few examples. A couple years later, I had someone fall at an event. This is always very tragic and very sad. I don't want anyone to fall on an event, but I also can't just go around holding people's hands to make sure they don't fall. It's always very sad. You usually have to call a paramedic to come in or an ambulance and have them taken out. It's very tragic. In this case, we definitely followed up with that person and nothing permanent happened from that night. They were okay. However, it's just very sad and it ruins the mood. Of course, everyone's very worried about that person. For me moving forward with events, I learned that I really need to not just rely on the sound and lighting people to make sure that there are tripods on their lighting and the cables are all properly placed and the cables being taped down. Before the event happens, I'll do a quick check, I'll walk around the room, make sure that none of the tripod lights are sticking out, and that all high traffic areas have the cables taped down because we don't want anyone to trip. Then a few years later, I was involved in a big fund raising event where we had all of the wine donated, which is such a generous donation because wine is really expensive and is a big expense for a fundraising event, so we were so happy to have it donated. However, some of the wine had gone bad. Perhaps that's my fault for not thinking through the fact that I know that white wine doesn't age well, it's also not something I would do to open up the cases that we're donated, to open up a bottle of wine before the event, I just wouldn't do that. It says something that no one's thinking of that happens on events. What happened was the caterer, which I'm so grateful for that caterer, being as professional as they were, they just had someone go through and open up all the bottles of white wine and find there were some good ones and we served those and primarily served red wine and the guests, although I think some of them realized, say, for the most part it wasn't something that disrupted the event. We still had plenty of red wine available, I can't remember, but I think we had other cocktails as well, so people could find another drink that they would prefer. All that to say is that you live and learn. For that example, in the future, I made it a personal rule, if not the organization rule, that if we're going to have an event and have things donated, if it's perishable, it needs to not be from a certain date or we really need to be more careful about checking things out. We can't just assume that it's in perfect condition when it arrives to us. I think you're sitting there by now being, Hannah, I'm getting some attitude. You're telling me how valuable experiences, but I don't know how to get some if I've never done it before. Let me tell you that there are so many opportunities and to start, you're going to have to lower your expectations about what kind of events you're going to be in. If you're a student going and get internship because it's going to be most valuable if you can work with the same company for a while and they can slowly give you more responsibility. However, I realized that a lot of the people watching this might not be student. Just to get your feet wet, maybe you offer some friends of family to plan a birthday party, they have an anniversary, a holiday party, a bridal shower, baby shower, do something small. Pretend your family member is a client, create an event timeline and event budget, do all the things that you would do for an event just to see what it's like. You could also offer to help with your work's employee events or you can reach out to non-profit organizations in your area that are having an event. They'll probably have a structured volunteer, an involvement way which will be really nice for you because there's a little bit of structure, and if you work at the same organization year after year, they might give you more and more responsibility as you show your worth. You can also ask local event planners if you can help out on the day off. As you show that you are reliable and trustworthy, they will probably also give you more experience if you tell them you're interested in event planning. A lot of the event planners I know are more than willing to start giving off more responsibility or maybe there's an event that they don't really have time to do, but they still want the income, so you can plan it under their name. It all depends. There's different ways and local event planners are usually small businesses, so there's a lot of flexibility. I had talked earlier about trying to get specific experience if you're trying to go in a certain direction and I gave the example of the Olympics. You want to help with the Olympics in the future and organizing sporting events is your interest, then I would go find all kinds of sporting events in your area and try to help out with those. You can think about kids' soccer tournaments or volleyball tournaments. There's so many different travel leagues and kid leagues out there that could just help you get experience of what it's like to be either there on the day off or if you can help in advance, that'd be even better. So you're getting experience in sporting events and what crowd management is like and food and bathrooms and things like that that is really specific to what you want to do. The same goes for conferences. Find the conferences in the area, it might not be what you're really interested in doing, you might be planning conferences about lawnmowers and you're really interested in planning conferences about traveler. You can't always be picky and choosy at the start of your career. I would recommend if you're volunteering at events or you're just even attending events or you're planning a smaller event for someone you know, take mental notes during the event because you might not be able to write things down and do a little debrief with yourself. Think about how guests are reacting in the space. Are they searching for bathrooms? Are they hungry? Are they confused about where to go? A lot of times you'll be at a wedding and you'll be like, ''Do we go to cocktail right now? Are we ready to sit down? Where is the bathroom?'' Think about what questions do you have during an event and just take a mental note of that because you might utilize that in the future, so you're like, ''Oh, God, I'm so hot, I wish there was some shade, I wish there were some water available, water station,'' that's something that you can prop into in the future and people will really appreciate it and you'll be better for it. So take in notes as you go because at the start of getting the experience, you're going to have to do some jobs that aren't as exciting, but each experience will build on itself and you'll eventually be able to get more responsibility because that planning process, as I mentioned earlier, is 80 percent of the job, so you really want to get to the point that you're actually planning an event, but you're probably going to have to take some odds and end jobs and give up your weekends and your nights because that's when events happen, so be prepared to give up a lot of time in order to just see what it's like, and the more that you can speak to those things and be reliable and trustworthy for the planners in your area, the more responsibility you're going to get and you're going to build your career in that direction. That's how I recommend how to get experience and why it's so important. 5. Build Relationships: No matter where you are in your events planning career, it's critical to begin building healthy and happy relationships with your clients, vendors, and your team and building those relationships can start on day one. The most important thing to think about is to categorize all these relationships as very long term, even if, you know for a fact that you're not going to be working with this vendor again or this client again, it's important to think of it as long term, because you'll treat it with more care than if you know that it's a one-off thing. For your clients, to build a happy and healthy relationships, it's important to listen to what they're saying at all times and what they're asking for because of the client, and your client could be your boss if you're working in non-profit organization or it could be, I don't know, a fellow co-worker. If it's their event, then you need to do what they want and pay attention to what they're asking for and what they're saying. You want them to feel like they're involved and they have ownership of the events throughout the whole process. They don't want to come to an event that they're paying for especially if it's a paying client that they didn't want and they felt like they were bullied into or whatnot. Really paying attention what they're saying, what they're asking for and asking for clarification at all times and that leads into my next point about letting them make the decisions. I find this very freeing because there's so much pressure at events. Dispersing the decision-making is actually a good thing. If you can be like, I don't know which sound company to go with, can you help me review these and give them like three different contracts at different price points, then if something goes wrong with that sound person, it's not just you making that decision alone and also because of the budget. You don't want to just be making decisions without their input when it's involving the budget. Some smaller things if I'm going to buy these patch [inaudible] because it's going to get cold at night. Deciding between the different patch mean as on Amazon is not a big important decision, but deciding on the cater is. I would say you want to be overly communicative and transparent during the planning process. If you're running into issues or things like that, I think it's important to tell them and tell them how you're trying to solve that problem. This will lead to more trust, which is the basis of all relationships and you're going to get so much further with that client if they trust you. When I was working in full-service wedding planning, I was in contact with my clients every single week. Usually emailing a couple of times on the phone, I'd listen to their concerns, I propose different decisions to them and I would try to do that in a way that was objective, giving them benefits and drawbacks of each option and telling them what I thought, so that they can make a decision and we can move forward. I was in contact with them constantly, this led to them trust me a lot, because I was so communicative with them or if they asked me not to communicate with them, I was also very cognizant of that as well. I wanted to make sure that they were happy throughout the planning process. Some people don't want to know, they don't want to know how the sausage is made, every time they want to feel more involved in the process, it's important to think of it in the long term because what do you think they're going to say if a friend or family member asked them, hey, who planned your wedding and they're going to mention you or who do you recommend planning this event? They are going to mention you because they have such a good experience throughout the process and hopefully on the day of the event. Here are my tips for building a happy and healthy relationship with my vendors and the first thing I would say it's to treat them extremely professionally. It's a business, a business relationship, and you'll likely be working together in the future. I always keep it friendly. A lot of times we do have a lot of jokes that I don't ever go like drinking with them. There's a line that I don't like to cross with my vendors because I don't want to be swayed in the future about choosing a vendor because I'm more friends with them over a different vendor. I always try to pick my vendors on the specific event it is and what's going to be most appropriate. With that in mind, I always keep it really professional. Then to keep a vendor happy, they want to have really clear communication in terms of what the client wants so that they can build the contract and any updates or changes I try to let them know immediately so we can make a plan to move forward and pay them promptly. Another thing I do that makes vendors very happy as I asked for their opinion. I don't pretend to be the expert on lighting or food catering and how to do stuff. Now I let them tell me how they think it's best to do it and then I balance that with what the client wants because ultimately your vendors, your client and yourself all want this event to be successful. It's just balancing though and adjusting the timeline probably to make sure that your vendors have enough time to do their job properly. I like to really ask them how long things are going to take and how best to do things because they'll have an opinion on it and their opinion is probably right. When I was working in non-profits, I use the model that I didn't always use the same vendor all the time. I really like this model because it didn't let the vendors skate by or change their prices on me or anything because they knew that there's other competition out there for the events. Of course, if I liked working with a certain vendor, they would usually get more of my events or because I had different kinds of events, some vendors I could tell were more suited for a certain kind of event or I trusted them with the bigger events because I knew their level of service and level of detail that they provide. So but other times, I need a cheaper option than one vendor. So I'll go to a different vendor or I'll try someone else new. I think that's also fun and exciting and it gives an opportunity to other businesses in the area, especially if I'm working on a lot of events, I can always maintain my relationship with my core vendors and also try out new ones to see what that's like as well. Overall, I really prefer to have a long-term relationship with my vendors. I don't like to burn any bridges because I never know when I'm going to have to reach out to them in the future. Santa Barbara especially is a small community and I never want to eliminate an option I might need in the future. Lastly, here are some tips for working with a team and I mainly thinking of when I was working in my non-profit event planning, I was the main event planner, but I would rely on my co-workers and the facility staff and different staff members at my organization in order to have the event happened successfully. Other times, if you're working for an event planning company, you'll have usually some interns helping you and what not. Before the event happens, I try to let them know what's going on in the planning process. I think quick updates are great, booking this cater, we're going to have this food, just like little things that are exciting. The more exciting bits of event planning are fun to share with them and that way they know a little bit at what's going on, and what to expect during the event because they are going to be working on it and they're going to be seen as a source of information for guests on the day of the event. You want to let them know on the planning process and just like little quick tips all the time, help them get a bigger vision of it and what you're going for, before it even happens. Then about a week or so or even further in advance, I'll have a sit down with each person individually that I'm going to be relying on. I'll walk them through their duties on the day of the event, asking them what they need and vice versa, if they have any questions for me, that way, I don't have to do that on the day of the event. This has really alleviated a lot of work, so they're not just standing around looking at me like, what do I do now? Like they know that they need to do X, Y, and Z before this time and then they've got to be at this place and I don't have to worry because it's all happening unless they contact me and I know something's going wrong. I'm always very thankful and I thank people a lot during the event. Thank you so much for handling this, thank you for this, thank you for that it really goes a long way just to say thank you during the event and also afterwards and then also after the event, I ask for feedback which is sometimes hard to hear. I don't schedule feedback right after the event when I'm still tired, I usually wait a few days but I like getting their feedback because it helps me think of the event from their perspective and what I could do better and make the events better in the future. Usually the feedbacks never that bad, it's always pretty good, but it is helpful to like, hear things that maybe I didn't see during the event. 6. Become Proactive: I want to next talk about becoming a proactive event planner. Planning and executing an event very successfully comes down to being able to anticipate problems and proactively solve them. This is basically predicting the future. But so many problems can be solved by practically thinking through things or setting them up appropriately or getting it have the ball. Here are some tips that I have for you. The first one is to get started with things way further advanced than you think you need to, especially if you are new at event planning. It just takes time to learn how to do this just like any skill. Unlike other skills, like learning the violin or whatever, unless you have a performance, you have open end to learn how and practice how to do something. But with an events, there is a hard stop, you have the event coming, it is an approaching deadline. You're just going to want to start further out than you think you need to. I think with fire festival, that was a big problem, they didn't start planning the events until like six months before or something ridiculous like that. I would say something of that scale for doing it the first time. It wouldn't be unthought of to do that at least a year and a half to two years in advance just to start working out at loose details, it's also really good if you are juggling multiple events to just get started on something well in advance. If you have a period of quiet, go ahead and set up the file system that you have, or give it rough template started for a timeline or a budget or maybe reach out to cater that you know that you're going to want like might as well, get it on the books for them. Once you come back to it like a month later, whenever you can push the ball a little bit further. That way it's not such a high ramp up right at the end. My second tip is try not to wait for someone to tell you what to do, you just like volunteer or an intern at an event, this can be really hard to do because you don't even know what the event is supposed to look like, or how things are coming together. You don't even know what, you don't know. I got that feedback a lot when I first started, I was just like a deer in the headlight that just didn't know what to do without someone telling me, like in school we always had someone telling us, what assignments we needed to do next and how to learn material. This is not like school. You have to be able to think for yourself, look at the timeline and think about what needs to be done. You can always ask whoever's in charge if you are responsible for setting up the table, escape for them to do one example and then he could replicate it for everything else. Overall, this will get easier the more you do it. The more events I did, I became less like a deer in the headlights, I could predict what needs to be done. I could start even if I wasn't sure if something should be set out yet, I could start unpackaging it, getting it ready, and maybe checking off a checklist or on the timeline, what needs to be done, making sure things happen that way I could help bring attention like, " Hey, on the timeline I saw your DJ was supposed to come at noon and it's already two o'clock, should I give him a call?" That way you can come to the event planner with an action item and maybe help solid, and they might be like, " No, he's on his way, I've already talked to him" or " Yes, please do call him ask him where he's at. What he is doing now." The main event planner probably has so many items on her plate that if you can take off some, that's going to be great. My third tip is to learn how to anticipate problems before they happen. This is going to be easiest before the event by thinking through the event from each person's perspective. From the guest perspective, what is it going to be like for them to find their seat at a dinner and are they going to have a little card that says there table number and the little seating cards to tell them what's their seats are or is all their names going to be listed on a board, or what is that going to look like? How do they find the bathrooms? How do they do this? How do they do that? Walk through the whole event from their perspective. Also think about it from maybe your speakers perspective. How are they going to get on and off stage? Does the musicians have a green room? If you think about it from a musician's point of view, they arrive, where do they go? Is probably like the first question, if you're a musician that you have, you can solve that problem before the day of the event. You can see where they're going to run into issues if you put yourself into those shoes. Then during setup, you can also actively anticipate problems. Like I mentioned with that accident about someone falling, you can walk around the room and make sure that tripods are properly set up and the courts are all taped down. You can point that out to your sound or lighting people in advance so they have time to do that. You can also make sure that there's nothing too close to candles, that's a big one. That all walk ways are clear the signage is where it's supposed to be. All those little items will solve problems during your event that you won't have, a guest won't be asking you later. Then finally, during the event, you can also be anticipating problems by watching guests behavior and checking in with people. When you're watching guests behaviors, anyone getting too drunk, too angry, are they yelling. Like is there something going on that you can address early on and nip it in the bad, or get them out of there or do something that would solve the problem ahead of time, so you're not dealing with an extremely drunk person later on, check-in with your vendors and make sure they're comfortable and everything's going to plan. That will solve some problems before they happen. Then fourth, if you're working for a company where you are the main event planner, you can probably start to see an annual trend of your events. Every year we have this event at this time or that event at that time, and you can start to anticipate where you're going to need start something a little earlier. Something that I noticed over time was how long it took to get invitation approved at my previous job. I started building in more time to get the invitation approved. Whereas like booking the Cater and things like that, didn't take as long, it was the approval process because the look and feel, the invitation was really important to my supervisors and also get things on the calendar further in advance. You noticing that rhythm will help you anticipate and be proactive about planning events. If you're not like at a specific company, but you want a solo event planner seasonal things and thinking about six months in advance, we'll help anticipate what's going to come up. Holidays are coming up. There's going to be a lot of holiday parties on Mother's Days are in Mother's Day event that you could do. Noticing seasonal trends as well as annual trends will help you anticipate problems. All of these tips will hopefully help you start developing that frontal lobe where we plan and think ahead. That's one of the key things to become an event planner. Is thinking ahead planning and predicting the future. 7. Organizational Tips: Being organized is pretty much a give in, for being an event planner, but let me tell you why via an example. Say your client is worried that your guests are going to get cold after sunset because the event is outside. One solution could be that you get pashminas for your guests. A pashmina is like a little scarf that they can like wrap around themselves. You can get like ten of them. Say you're responsible for getting these pashminas. You're going to want to source them, and maybe you are going to want to put them in a basket. You've got find the basket as well. But you know that guests won't necessarily touch something, if they don't know if they're allowed to. You're going to want to get a little sign, and maybe put on it. Like, if it's chilly we've got you covered, or some cute saying like that, on it. Also you have to get them like goals, and get the little black chalkboard thing, and chalk signs. Now you've got all the materials but you need to add it to the budget. All three items: the pashminas, the basket, and the pens, or craft supplies. Then you're also going to want to add to your event floor plan, where the pashminas are going to go, and place them, and label them. Then on the timeline you're also going to need to add, who's going to assemble the pashminas, roll them up, make them look nice, write on the sign, and put it all together. Who is going to bring it to the event, and set it up, and take it home at the end of the night. All this just because your client is worried that it's going to get a little chilly. You have to follow one little detail like that, all the way through to make sure it's properly taken care of. Organization is key. Here are some tips to help you stay organized while becoming an event planner. The first thing I recommend is; to have a digital file system with templates that you use for your timeline and budget. That way, if you have a system that you know and as intuitive, you can reference things really quickly and see like, "Oh what happened at last year's barbecue? Whatever. You can just go, [inaudible] like, click, click, click, here it is. Here's last year's thing, because I know exactly where it is. To create an intuitive file system. It's a little different for everyone, but I usually go by year. I usually put the date and the beginning of each event folder, so it's like the date and then the event name. It's chronological within the year. Then within each event folder, I have different folders for the timeline, the budget, the vendor agreements, the invitation, all the different pieces I have in different folders. That way I can find it very easily, and anyone else coming into my system can find it really easily. The other day I ran into someone who works at the organization that I used to work in. There's been a couple goals, in this one role that I first had when I first came to the organization. I was in that role for quite a while. I really took time to create a system and templates that I really liked using. It was really funny because they were telling me. They keep asking me, "Who is this [inaudible] girl? I love her files. I can find everything so easily, and it's so organized. This is like years later. I know this is a shameless plug, but it just goes to show you that when you create an intuitive file system, people years later can follow it, and do a good job even though you're not there. To create templates for the timeline and budget, I have a class on creating a timeline. Go and take a look at that. You can also use different templates that you find online. But I just recommend taking the time to make it your own, and make adjustments when you're planning the events so that your template can evolve into what you really need it to be. I mentioned having a digital file system and I highly recommend it being digital because it's so much more searchable. I like to keep everything digital. If I get something physical, I'll scan it in to the computer. Another tip, if you're scanning anything in, is to relabel it so that it is also searchable. Even if you don't have a searchable PDF option, if you label something that is very clear, like the date, and then what it is, and maybe dash, and the event name, or something like that. When you search for it in your documents, it will pop up. Another thing is, especially if you're newer at event planning, is to go ahead and make a timeline, a budget, and a floor-plan for every single event you do big or small. Because it'll get you in the habit of updating these documents, like in the pashmina example about updating the budget. Then updating the timeline and the floor-plan. Getting you in the habit of updating all those items, and then you always have something to reference in the future. It can be like, "Oh I know that one Easter party was really successful." I don't know who is having a giant Easter party. How did I set that up? Or what caterer did I use? Or what what time did I put out the food? Or what was the timing on that? Then you go just go reference. Another tip, and these are not all the tips, or organization tips out there. But another one I would suggest, especially if you're a newer at event planning, or if you're newer in a certain position of event planning, is to take notes after each event. To say what went well, what could be improved, so that if you run into a similar type of event, usually if you're working in another company then you're going to have an annual event, or even like weddings. Some of them will be, like another, if you're at the same venue again, especially, they are going to be similar. Although you might think that you're going to remember, "Oh I'll remember this." Those details start to slip over time. But if I have notes as a refresher, it just brings me right back to that event just like, boom. Here. Yes, I remember. That that person or that Catering Manager was difficult to work with because she was upset that we didn't give her information enough ahead of time. Okay. Well, now I know that we're working with her again. Let's just give her the information ahead of time, and then of course it goes more smoother. Keeping notes afterwards is helpful. You can have a little debrief folder within your event folder. Let me know if you're interested in me doing a full class on filing, organization, and creating templates and things like that. I think it could be very interesting, but let me know. 8. Applying to Jobs, Finding Clients, & Pricing: In this section, I want to talk about applying for the planning jobs or finding clients if you're doing this as a side hustle or a freelancer and how to price for your event planning services. Before we jump in, I wanted to remind you to do that project because it'll help you think about what events you want to do, what value you want to get it out of events, and so go and look at that template again and jot those things down. It shouldn't take very long. That'll help you also think about what your ideal job would be or what your ideal client would be, and it'll help you focus on that and attract that client to you. Let's first talk about applying for an event planning job because I have the most experience with this. When you're applying for an event planning job or a job that has an element of event planning in it, definitely showcase and highlight and talk about a lot, the events that you've planned that are related to the type of planning that you'd be doing in that job. Showing that direct correlation or similar planning experience will be so helpful, because I think what employers are looking for a guarantee that you're going to be good applying this type of a job, and although you cannot guarantee it because you're not doing it yet, showing related experience will show that you know how to anticipate problems toward that specific type of event you don't have exactly related. Any type of event planning experience will be helpful and highlight you as a qualified candidate versus someone who doesn't have event planning experience. I think a lot of people assume that they can just go in and do it really well, but like anything else, event planning takes practice and experience is key. Another thing with applying for event management job is do not necessarily shy away from the things that have gone wrong with your event from the past. I think it's foolish to assume that nothing goes wrong when it really does. These are high pressure thing in real time, and things are not always going to go to plan and that's okay. We gently put in what happened that when we are wrong and really focusing on how you handled it, and what you learned from it is going to be key. If you can show that to a potential employer, I think that shows growth, that shows learning, that shows that you're responsible, that you acknowledged that it was your responsibility. All these good things, and that you can make decisions and that you are remembering this and moving forward with this information to make your events in the future more successful. I think that shows a level of maturity that's needed in event planning position. If you are trying to find clients as a freelancer, you're definitely going to want to do all the business type things, LOC, statement of information, I don't know what's in your state, obviously, a website and social media that's rudimentary, you have to have those things. The website and the social media presence where you're posting to show clients that you're actively in that space is going to be really helpful, but then the next step I would say is to create profiles on the Knot or other vendor review sites that are out there, I would definitely think critically about what site do you want to be associated with. Like for example, Yelp is questionable, I've heard a lot of event planners don't like to be on there because of the review system, I don't know because I don't have a profile on Yelp or anything like that. But definitely do your research on what websites you want to make a profile, and then if you can get people that you've planned events for in the past to review you, that's going to be very helpful. Because I doubt that a client is going to reach out without any other review, they're on that website looking for a person that has reviews. If you can get people to review you that you've done events for the past, that'll be key, and then as you move forward and plan more events, having your client as a thank you, instead of like a tip or anything, just be like, "I'm so glad you had a great time if you wouldn't mind reviewing my services on this website, I'd appreciate it." Pink LinkedIn is really changing a lot in the recent year 2018 and now, or there's a recommendation or referral option on LinkedIn these days, I definitely do that. Have your profile filled out, link in to your website, link in to your profiles, everything connected would be really good and having some reviews on either LinkedIn or those profiles where people are searching. I know my friends have searched on the Knot for vendors, so I know that's a real thing. Another great thing to do is to work with venues in your area to get on their preferred partners list to show that you have a good relationship with them, and also that potentially could be a referral right there from the venue. If you like working in that venue it's bonus points because then you're working in a place that you like and with people you already know that you work well with. Working with venues is a great option or other vendors in your area to become a preferred partner because you never know when some brides, for example, in weddings, often go to the florist and sometimes they'll be like I can I need a wedding planner. Sometimes they start with something funny like flowers because they liked, something that's fun and pretty, and then they'll ask for a wedding planner or venue or something like that, they'll do it very backwards. Another thing that I've been thinking of lately, and I've talked to some friends who've gotten married, is they'll look at a vendor online, like say a photographer, and they'll be looking at five or six photographers, and it's very funny because a lot of my friends won't reach out to someone if they don't have their prices listed on their website. They'll think that that's too much work, so they'll just move on and they'll eliminate it down to three who out there prices on the website, and then they'll give those photographers a call. Which I think is very interesting and something to consider when you're making your own website. This is a good segue, I wanted to talk about pricing because as someone who's newer in event planning it's really hard to determine what price point you should be at, and I just wanted to let you know that what you start out with will not be what you end up at. Don't be afraid to just start somewhere and then you can increase your prices over time. You might need a start a little lower when you're new or you don't have those reviews and you don't have those connections, you might need to start at a lower price point and increase later, but one thing I do recommend for pricing is to look at the other event planners in your area just to get an idea of what a normal price point might be. I feel like different areas might be priced in different ways, and I feel like New York might be more expensive, but I don't really know. Again, I think getting experience is going to be the best way for you to determine how much to price at, because if you have experience, even just helping someone else, you realize how many hours of time it takes to create the timeline, to create the budget, to arrange the vendors, to do all this back and forth. It's a significant amount of time, really analyzing as you gain experience, how much time you're spending on that, I think will also help you determine your price point. You can charge hourly, you can charge by package, or some combination of those, it's really up to you. Again, I would look at other planners that you admire and see what their packages include. I haven't seen a ton of people do hourly, but I've definitely done them for like one-off things. If I'm helping out another organization or something like that, sometimes easier to charge hourly if you know that it's going to be a lot of work and you can be like " I'm reaching our proposed budget, would you like me to keep working on this or do you want me to stop?" It could be a good conversation starter as your hours increase, if you can foresee it being really challenging. Do some trial and error and maybe even test out on your friends if you're planning their bridal shower, baby shower, ask them what they would pay for this and how you would charge them hypothetically if you're not really charging them. I don't have a preferred way that you should do it, I've handled different events differently, and it also depends on you and what you need in your own life and how much you need to make. Also in talking about pricing, I know that some event planners work with vendors who give them a little cut as a referral fee, I'm not sure I like that model that much because I don't think I could objectively choose one vendor over another if I know that one of them is going to give me money in return. I think that would be really challenging for me and I'm not really money motivated, and so I don't know how people can do that objectively. I like to keep it really above board, I don't like any of that because usually that's not necessarily told to the client and I think that's a little deceptive, but you do you. Maybe that's what you need to be able to make your freelancing career a possibility, is to work with vendors who will give you a cut and then maybe you charge the client less. There's not really a wrong way to do it. 9. Thank you!: Thank you so much for watching this course. I hope that you feel like you know whether or not event planning is going to be right for you and that you know a few steps. Definitely the skills needed to begin launching your event planning career or maybe deepening it and making it better. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments related to the course or if there's something that you noticed in the course that you'd like me to elaborate on. Perhaps, I can fake a class about it in the future or push it up in the production schedule. Leave all your questions and stuff below because I bet someone else will have the same question. If you haven't seen them yet, be sure to check out my other courses on event planning because they'll help you DIY your own event already. I've created courses on where to start, how to make events meaningful, how to hire a DJ or photographer and more. I'm going to continue releasing courses in the future, so if you want to know when those are being released, definitely give me a follow. I've had so much fun making this course if you wouldn't mind leaving me review, that'll help other potential event planners find me. Thank you so much and good luck. I'll see you soon. Bye.