Becoming an Event Planner
Thinking about becoming an event planner but not sure it’s the right choice for you? I can help! Before making your decision there are several factors to consider such as the suitability of your own skills and attributes, reasons you may want to pursue this career and what kind of training you’d need to be successful.
In the article Thinking of Becoming an Event Planner we outlined what you would need to bring to the table to be a successful event planner. Let’s review:
- Excellent Communication and Networking Skills—As a planner you’ll need these skills to confidently market yourself to potential clients, interact with a diverse client-base, build valuable relationships with vendors and maintain strong relationships with clients!
- Exceptional Organizational, Time-Management and Multitasking Skills—Successful planners need these skills for making sure nothing slips through the cracks! You’ll have a lot of tasks with varying deadlines to juggle so being organized ensures everything gets done on time. It’s likely you’ll be coordinating multiple vendors for multiple events at the same time and you’ll be in charge of making sure it’s all on schedule!
- Planning and Execution Skills—This one is a no-brainer! If you’re going to be planning and executing an event, you’ll need to be able to visualize a successful event and take all the necessary steps towards making that vision a reality!
- Strong Work Ethic & Flexibility—Being a planner can be fun and games, but it’s still a job! You’ll be working long hours and on days that most other people have off, since that’s when events are typically scheduled to take place. That means working evenings, weekends and holidays in many cases.
Now that you have an idea of what it takes to be a successful planner, let’s look at the reasons why you might choose this career path in the first place!
Event Planners make a lasting impact on their clients’ lives and why not? Planners coordinate the celebrations that mark major milestones like weddings, birthdays and retirement parties!
As a planner, you’ll orchestrate everything from the food guests rave about to the carefully arranged centerpieces that fit so perfectly with the event’s theme and color scheme. Your time-management and organizational skills will allow your client’s vision to come to life on schedule and within budget, without them having the stress of coordinating it themselves!
Event Planners have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the world too! Who do you think is responsible for coordinating the fundraising events that raise money for local charities or the awareness-raising events that draw attention to worthy social and environmental causes?
Channel for Creative Energy
When you think about turning a creative outlet into a career the term “starving artist” probably comes to mind. The good news is that being an Event Planner means you can have your cake and eat it too!
As a planner, you’ll be able to take your client’s idea and run wild with it. A major component of planning is coming up with ideas for events that are cohesive while incorporating your client’s goals and interests in unexpected ways. Depending on the type of event, you’ll help your clients pick a theme and color scheme, plan the décor, find engaging speakers or entertainment and even plan games!
This is a job that requires flair and imagination. When you boil it down, a successful event is one that is enjoyed so as an Event Planner it’s your responsibility to bring the fun!
The only limit to your success in this field is your own degree of ingenuity! One question I hear a lot at the school is “Do you think I’m too young/old to be a planner?” My answer is always, not a chance! You can view your age as an opportunity.
Younger planners can market themselves for events like pub crawls, graduation parties or events within the local music scene. More mature planners can then focus on second/third marriages, vow renewals, retirement parties or family reunions.
It’s not just age that presents an opportunity in this field. If you market yourself creatively, you can use your unique background, experience and interests to give yourself an edge! If you have more of a professional background, then promote yourself as a planner for corporate retreats, company meetings or to non-profits events using your background and experience as a launching pad. If you are a vegan then angle yourself towards planning awareness-raising and fundraising events within the vegan/animal rights community that you’re probably already familiar with.
The possibilities are limited only by your own imagination!
Positive Career Outlook
Let’s get down to business. Before making any decisions you’ll want to know if Event Planning is a sustainable, profitable career path. The great news is that the labor market outlook is rosy across the globe!
Looking at the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, these countries are already experiencing faster than average growth in the field. The US Department of Labor predicts a 33% increase in growth over the next ten years. The Government of Canada Job Bank, the National Careers Service for the UK and the Australian Government Job Outlook echo this sentiment, reporting that the numbers of job openings in the field are continuing to exceed the number of qualified planners.
- According to the US Department of Labor and the Government of Canada Job Bank, North American planners can expect to earn on average $22-23 per hour or approximately $45,000 per year.
- MyFuture, an Australian job outlook resource, reports that Australian planners make around $52,676 annually.
- UK’s National Career Service suggests that entry level planners may start at salaries of £17,000 to £21,000 but these salaries will increase within a few years of experience to £25,000 to £40,000!
In other words, you may want to get your foot in the door while the getting’s good!
So where does training come in?
We’ve covered a lot of ground so far but you should know what it takes to get started in the field before making any decisions. The event industry is largely unregulated world-wide which means there are no legal requirements for event planning certification in most areas. If you’ve been planning on the side for a few years you may find that your portfolio and experience speaks for itself and no formal certification is needed to find employment and secure a solid client-base.
That being said, professional event planning training and certification are strongly preferred by both employers and clients. If you are new to the field and do not have a strong portfolio or background in planning events I would strongly encourage you to consider professional training. This is an industry with highly creative, motivated and experienced competitors so any advantage you can get (ie. certification) is highly valuable when it comes to building a profitable business or career.