Event Planners: Have You Made These Major Mistakes?
After a decade in the industry, nothing surprises me anymore. Just when you think you have seen it all, next weekend comes around. Each event you do should be treated like an opportunity to learn and grow. That being said, there are two classic mistakes I see all beginning planners make. Hopefully knowing them in advance can help you avoid them!
1. Saying yes to every lead.
Most new planners are so eager to get the booking they forget to take care of themselves in the situation. Too often they book a client that is not the right fit, and that only gets discovered later in the planning process. By that point, it’s too late. You are frustrated, the client is disappointed.
This can lead to bad reviews, a bad reputation with other professionals, and loss of income. While it’s great to gain experience, trust your gut. There are more than enough great clients out there to pick and choose.
2. Not valuing your time and profitability.
If you don’t value your time, no one else will either. So how do you make sure you are appreciated and profitable? First, make sure you are clear about what your services entail, and when a client needs more from you, charge them. You should not be afraid to charge for your time and expertise.
Frame it in a way that is inviting, not negative. For example, by saying, “Of course, Sarah, I would love to join you at your photography meeting today! Since we do not have any more appointments left in your current package, I can send you an upgrade option that includes X, or we can add an hourly option for today. What works best for you?”
When you get started, it is appropriate to charge what you are worth. You will charge more later as your expertise and reputation grow. But always keep an eye on your value of your time. This is really simple math. Let’s say you charged $3500 for full planning. Think about the time you spend communicating, the time you spend traveling to appointments as well as the appointment time, your expenses, and the value of your presence at the event.
Let’s say it adds up to $150 in expenses, and 70 hours of your time. Now that you have the numbers, you can use this formula to determine if you are making enough to survive in your starting months.
$3500—$150 = $3350
$3350/ 70 hours = $47.86 per hour
Keep in mind that you still have acquisition costs. These are the costs of getting the business to begin with. How much is your web hosting, print and internet advertising? Are you doing pay-per-click? Are you networking and getting referrals? How much did that networking cost? Association fees? Once you have a client, do you send them a gift? Do you use a computer program to manage them? All of these costs will also affect your profitability!
These mistakes are ones that will crush the eager new planner. We see it every year: new planners pop up and within a year they are gone. If you cannot keep your lights on, your business will fail and the lessons you can learn about managing personalities, adapting your process as you grow, and focusing on making this dream career a reality will not be possible!