Updated: January 2017
There is one question we get asked more than any other…
“How do I become an event planner?”
If you have wondered the same thing you are in the right place.
About ten years ago we were in the same place. We didn’t know where to get started and we were not hugely successful (yet).
After getting the fundamentals of how to get started, my biggest claim to fame was getting 13 clients in my first 9 months of business at an average event budget of $28,000.
We see a lot of people’s situations in our private group and you all struggle a little with how to get experience and get more clients.
It’s not your fault – it can be difficult trying to turn your passion into a business because we are not taught how to become an event planner in school.
But you can easily become more successful, and have people coming to you every day asking you to plan their events.
It’s not as difficult or complicated as professionals make it seem.
Anyone can do with it a little ingenuity and learning from the right places.
To get started, you can continue reading below or if you know you are ready for our detailed, best-in-the-industry Event Planning Course you can get it here.
We also have a private group that we highly recommend planner’s join. There are so many great discussions going on there.
For now, keep reading.
The best way to learn which part of event planning you want to pursue is to know the two main categories the event planning industry is divided into.
- Social Planners
- Corporate Planners
- Social planning includes weddings, birthdays, parties, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, holidays, baby showers, and reunions.
- Corporate planning includes meetings, company events, seminars, conventions, associations and charities.
The first thing to do is figure out which of these two categories you enjoy more.
While there are ways to become successful doing both categories of events we recommend you master one category before tackling the other.
How Can You Become An Event Planner?
You have three options to getting involved in the planning industry.
1. You can start your own planning business.
You can take our comprehensive course on starting your own business by clicking here.
It has a 5 Star Rating and answers many of the most commonly asked questions:
- What are the first steps to becoming an event planner?
- How do you get clients?
- How do you know how much to charge for my services?
- How do you know if you’re charging enough money?
- What is the best way to market my business?
- Do I need an event planning degree / certification?
- Plus much more
If you’re not ready to purchase the $47 course, then lets talk more about starting your own business here.
By now you know that you should decide whether being a social planner or a corporate planner is more appealing to you.
Then you should decide which type of specific event is most appealing to you from within your desired category. We listed some of the specific events above.
Once you have this figured out it’s time to create your marketing plan. The goal is to get your first 1 – 3 customers.
The two best places to get your first customers are:
- Asking your friends or family if they need a birthday or wedding planned. Either volunteer your services or charge them a very low amount in exchange for the ability to put on an event and build up your portfolio. Be sure to take lots of photos of your event so you get to start building a portfolio for future clients.
- Craigslist – excellent place to put an ad in the services section and see who contacts you. You’ll want to spend a good amount of time crafting your ad and remember that on Craigslist you want a nice, organized ad but you don’t want it looking too much like a template or too professional. Ads that do best on Craigslist tend to be very straight forward and not fancy.
Be sure to read this detailed article about getting clients for many actionable tips.
2. You can get a job as an event planner.
If starting your own business is not right for you yet, then you can look into getting a job as an event planner.
Many medium to large-size companies hire their own event planners. Common companies who have planners on staff are hotels, restaurants, concert venues, nightclubs and television studios.
In this role you would be responsible for things like:
- Holiday parties
- Board meetings
- Stockholder meetings
- Award ceremonies
- Executive trips
- Trade shows
- Client entertainment and
The nice thing about being an in-house event planner is you get a good budget to spend on each event.
And when you call vendors and venues you can negotiate very good pricing by using the name of your Company. You can also promise a venue or vendor that you will use them more in the future if they do a good job. This is a big leverage point toward getting great pricing or great service.
To get a job as a planner at a company you can be qualified if you have an existing college degree in event planning, hospitality management, marketing, communication, or tourism. If you do not have a college degree in one of those, we do not recommend jumping into getting that degree immediately.
You can still land a great job as a planner without a degree.
Taking an at-home course or even a few classes at your local community college can qualify you to land a job.
Volunteer or charity experience can land you a job as well. It really comes down to understanding the industry, being able to creatively put on nice events, negotiate good rates with high quality vendors, and having a portfolio of work that you can impress your future boss with.
Let’s Recap Some Resources For You So Far
- Event Planner Job Board – If you are already qualified for an event planner job, you can search this job board.
- Event Planning School – If you are still interested in classroom classes, you can search for colleges near you that have event planning degrees here.
- Become An Event Planner Course – If you prefer a home study course about becoming an event planner and starting your own business then click here. This course is $47.
- Private Group for Event Planners – Excellent resource of a close community of event planner’s who are working on growing their business and helping each other.
3. You can get a job with an event planning company.
The last section talked all about getting a job as an event planner at a non-event planning company.
Now we’ll talk about getting a job at an event planning company.
A planning company can give you valuable experience to build up your career. The reason is because everyone you will be around is already an experienced event planner.
You can learn so much from being around people who really know what they are doing and are successful at it.
One of our common recommendations is that every prospective event planner find a mentor. An important criteria for the mentor is for them to be 10 years ahead in experience of where you currently are.
The chances of you finding excellent mentors at an event planning company are very high.
In order to get this type of job, you should get your resume ready. Be sure its organized, clean and stands out. Planning agencies highly value creativity and organization so be sure to make your resume creative and different than others.
One way to do so is to buy a nice template online and create a really snazzy PDF version of your resume. These stand out very well!
Another idea is to create a little mini-site about yourself. There are a lot of nice templates on sites like this.
Or if building a site is not your thing you can use About.me.
As you are creating these items, remember that planning companies often specialize in weddings, catering, special parties, industry conventions, seminars and fund raisers. So be sure you address that in your resume or portfolio.
Jobs at event planning companies are hard to get so you want every advantage over your competition.
If you have planned any events, even as a volunteer or for friends and family, be sure to include photos in your application.
What Classes Should You Take To Become An Event Planner?
There are two main ways to study to become an event planner:
1. You can take college classes at a local school or online.
2. You can buy our study at-home course to learn the basics of becoming an event planner. Our course is very good at teaching you the ins and outs of event planning and it is a self-paced home study course. If you would rather get a degree in Event Planning then click the form above.
Educational Requirements for Becoming an Event Planner
There are no formal requirements to get into the events industry, although if you are applying for a job it sometimes helps having a college degree. Industry certifications like the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) and CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) can sometimes replace a college degree on your resume. If you are starting your own business then having a college degree does not play a role in getting clients.
The problem is there aren’t many classes you can take in college to learn the exact day-to-day skills that make you an asset to an event planning company. Nor are there many classes that help you start your own event planning business. This is why we created a complete guide to walking you through the important steps of creating your own business (above). Most online event planning courses charge over $1200 for the same material.
Watch this video for more details if you prefer video format and good luck!