This is my letter to all future planners (and my past self) of the 10 things I wish I knew when I started event planning.
When I started out in Event Management almost 25 years ago, I was bright eyed, ready to work and keen on accepting every single event. I took on everything and tried to be everything. I volunteered for everything and I attended everything. Being totally immersed was fine for a while, but down the road I realized that do-it-all mentality did not work in my favour. So here's practical advice from my many years of event management experience. You can be a success without giving everything up. Success comes when hard work meets collaboration, when risk meets careful planning and when go-getting meets self-care. This is my letter to all future planners.
Here's 10 Things I Wish I Knew Then: 1. When starting on your own, understand and build YOUR own niche set of clients, not every single potential client. Hone in on what you core client cares about and truly get to know them to create a trusted bond rather than connecting and trying to impress every potential client out there.
2. Taking on every single event can actually work against you.Ever try to eat 10 kinds on small ice cream tubs instead of one really good tub? Me either. It's like that with clients, taking on too many means you have to try to shift your focus back and forth between a ton of clients instead of having capacity to really focus on every single detail for just a small handful. As you know, events are all about the details.
3. You can't do it all.Trying to be everything to everyone means you'll be a master of none. Find what you are best at and use that gift. Choose wisely and collaborate with others who are strong and what you might lack This allows you to keep work-life balance in check. You need to take time off. Events often lead to long hours and a workaholic mentality, don't get stuck in that trap. Trust your collaborators and give yourself a break.
4. Post. post. post. But post wisely. To get your name out there, it's all about the post. The carefully curated and timely post. The almost daily post. The "get to you know you" as a planner post. The question back to the audience post. The tips and tricks post. Strong engaging content is king but posting regularly keeps your audience engaged.
5. Stick to your prices. It's easy to want to match everyone's budget but expertise comes at a cost. Don't undersell yourself or the industry. Stick to your pricing (within reason), offer tiered pricing for not-for-profit but don't feel bad about charging what you're worth. Someone once told me, work with the client to adjust their scope, instead of price.
6. Keep up with tech. Research and demo. Then even when you think you know the technology, check for updates, talk to the developers to see if they can implement custom features and test a ton of options before selecting one. One of our biggest take-away: not all event platforms are made equal. TRUST us on that one!
7. Collaborate! You might think when you start out that you need to be super-planner and try to best your competition. The truth is, there are tons of events to go around and one day your competition may end up being a referral or partner on a big project. Plus, sharing ides and best practices means you can bring the brightest ideas to your clients.
8. Investigate. Don’t be afraid to attend other events, online forums, event magazine sites and other virtual experiences to spark ideas for your own events. It’s not spying, it’s research. Then share some of those good ideas to other planners. It’s ideas that excite your clients but it’s working with you that will ultimately be the reason they remain your client.
9. Get out of your comfort zone. Starting to get good at social events, plan a corporate AGM. Getting good at virtual conferences, plan a virtual gala. Step out of the comfort of what you know and experience something new. A challenge will keep your mind sharp and get your adrenaline pumping and arm you with even more skills.
10. Don’t always think you have to reinvent. Being a planner means being creative but you can creatively upcycle past content. Just come up with delivering it in a unique way. BUT don’t ever factory your events, because each event is unique! No matter what you do, do it well, but do it with balance. Balance plays a great role in igniting passion when hustle meets burn out.
>>> If you’re uncertain how to start planning your next virtual event, Mosaic Events is here to help. We have a team with over 25 years of experience and it’s our job to take the stress out of your planning. From helping you create virtual experiences, our team is ready to work alongside you. Contact us today.