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How to Start an Event Planning Business 1-2-3

Event planners are needed for all sorts of activities. Events are a popular way to celebrate - but are also a quickly-growing means of promoting products or raising funds. See the Event Planner Checklist.

Event Planner Training & Credentials:

Although certification is not required, you make yourself more attractive to clients with specialized education and credentials, like a CMP (Certified Meeting Professional). You also want to get a business license.

You can start an event planning business focused on festivals, weddings, corporate retreats, company meetings, sporting events, seminars, charity fundraisers, restaurant openings and more.

Being able to work well with people and present a professional image is essential in this field. You can grow an event planning business exclusively (and affordably) on referrals, so you want to maintain a large network of friends and business associates.

What Do Event Planners Do?

Event planners take on a variety of different tasks and need to be efficient at coordinating and overseeing work projects. Some of the jobs involved in planning events include budget creation, site selection, vendor negotiation, website creation, theme development, entertainment booking, equipment and supply rentals, travel arrangements and food and beverage planning.

Event planners also organize event marketing, such as marketing materials, collateral material design, promotional products, printing and mailing, signage, sponsorship acquisitions, press releases, etc.

During the actual event, planners are often responsible for on-site management, like staging and production, exhibitor sales, agenda and meeting materials, security, transportation, communication, photography, video and more.

Learning from a professional in the field can be exceptionally helpful, since there are many "tricks of the trade".

How to Become an Event Planner

5 Star Rating

Jan Riddell is a Professional Event Planner who has organized events for over 15 years. She has put together an event planning business start-up guide with her knowledge, combined with tips and advice from other successful event planners.

Not only does she cover how to plan a successful event, she goes into depth on the business side of event planning, essential knowledge for event planners wanting to go into business for themselves.

See what you get >>

  • How to gain great event planning experience and start an event business with little or no money
  • Information on permits, insurance, etc and how to get certified As Seen in Oprah's Newsletter
  • How to write a business proposal, select reputable vendors and price your event planning services
  • Step-by-step advice on planning a successful event and advertising tips
  • Ways to find entertainers for your events, networking and how to get companies to sponsor your events
  • Sample contracts, invoices and more

Event Planner Start-Up GuideGo!


Checklist: Starting an Event Planning Business

1. Get a business license. Requirements vary by city and state, so you want to check with your local government office to find out which licenses and permits you need to start your event planning business. If you plan to operate out of your home, see if there are zoning restrictions in your neighborhood.

2. Open a business bank account with your local bank. This will enable to keep personal and business finances separate, allow you to write checks in your business name and keep a professional image with customers. Simple business accounting software can help you track business expenses and income without hiring a bookkeeper.

3. Meet with an accountant to discuss your bookkeeping needs, organize your paperwork and maximize business tax deductions. You can get referrals from other business owners you know or sometimes your banker.

4. Register your business name with your county clerk.

5. Meet with an insurance agent to find out your business insurance options. The IIABA (Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America) can help you find an agent in your local area. You can also get information and free business insurance quotes online.

6. Set up your business phone system. A designated business line will help you establish a professional business image, look "bigger" and attract more clients. You can even set up a toll-free number for minimal cost or use VoIP internet phone service to lower your monthly bills. Some mobile businesses exclusively use a cell phone.

Event Planning Business 7. Order Business Cards. Business cards are often overlooked as an effective, low-cost marketing tool. You can design and use your cards as "miniature walking advertisements" and even design your own logo for cheap.

8. Set up a website. This actually can be really easy, and you can save money by creating your own website with simple online design programs. Take advantage of this low-cost marketing resource to display your services, rates, portfolio, customer testimonials, etc. Much cheaper than printing hundreds of brochures, and it can be seen by more people and display more information.

9. Become a member of professional and local organizations such as the International Special Events Society or Meeting Professionals International where you can network with other event business professionals, educate yourself and stay on top of current events and trends in the event planning industry.

Marketing Your Event Planning Business:

Use public relations to get free press for your event planning business:

  • Use business cards. Often overlooked as a marketing tool, business cards can act as mini ads and be very effective at getting free publicity. Besides including them in all your correspondence - share them with other local business owners who offer similar products or services to yours - but don't directly complete with you. "Teaming up" with other local businesses enables you to refer clients to each other without having to pay for advertising. Get 250 free business cards.

  • Use social media. Twitter and Facebook can get you a lot of free publicity when used correctly. The key is to combine useful content for your readers in addition to promotional efforts.

  • Use speaking as free advertising. Many local organizations or community groups like to have speakers at their meetings or events. This can be a great way to get free publicity for your business and at the same time establish yourself as an expert in your field. Public Speaking Made Easy

  • Write a press release. It's free to write a press release, and journalists are looking for stories to report on everyday. Why pay for an ad in a magazine or newspaper when you can get a full-page story written about your company for free? The more newsworthy your story, the more likely it is to be published. Find out how to write a press release.

  • Build Your Own Website. Create an online presence for your event planning business and show off a professional visual display of your products and services. This is a great way to attract local clientele - and your website can do much of the "selling" for you. It's easier and cheaper than you think with a Free Website Builder

Print Brochures Showing Your Services and Expertise
Don't just tell people about your event planning business - show them! Pictures are worth a thousand words, and brochures can present a professional company image - while selling your services to potential clients at the same time.

You want to use quality materials and photos if you can, but company brochures don't have to be expensive. You can use programs online to design your own brochures, and have them automatically printed for you at a discounted price.

Event Planning Business Resources: Event Planners Associations

Event Planners Association
This organization helps support event planners, caterers and other professionals in the event and entrtainment field.

Professional Convention Management Association
PCMA's mission statement is to deliver superior and innovative education and promote the value of professional convention management.

Meeting Professionals International
MPI is a worldwide organization of meeting and event planning professionals.

International Special Events Society

2014 Home Business Start-up Checklist!

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