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Want to Learn How to Become an Event Planner? We'll Show You!

9-minute read

Two women organize table place cards at an event.
Allison Grinberg-Funes

Allison Grinberg-Funes

12 October 2021

Are you an organized person who loves seeing all your hard work come together? If you answered "yes," then learning how to become an event planner could be a great step for you to take.

Think back to an event you attended, like a wedding reception, reunion, or conference.

There were likely many moving parts that helped create such a memorable experience. Event planners make sure those details get followed to the letter so that each guest can enjoy the event.

In this article, we'll help you learn how to become an event planner with our step-by-step guide. We'll also help you learn how to protect yourself from risks with event planning insurance.

Let's get started!

How to Become an Event Planner: What Do You Need?

First things first — let's look at the skills that can help you succeed as an event planner.

An outgoing personality

Many event planners act as their own salesperson to get clients. After all, you can't plan an event without a client. Having an outgoing personality can help you interact with different types of people. When planning an event, you'll come across many different personalities.

Having an outgoing personality likely means you aren't shy, which will come in handy. You'll meet a lot of new people on this career path. Once you get a new client, you'll get to work helping to plan their event.

According to a survey conducted by Cvent, an event planner typically can plan on average from 5 to 9 events a year. You'll have new people and responsibilities to manage with each event.

That can be stressful. Having an outgoing personality can help you deal with the different types of people you'll come across when organizing and putting on a client's event.

That's because many outgoing people can maintain high energy levels, even when things get hard!

Organizational skills

Attention to detail is a crucial part of event planning. With one logistical error, it's possible to mess up the entire operation of an event. For example, what if you ordered wedding invitations that didn't include the vegetarian dinner option for the reception?

Now the newlyweds-to-be are stressed. They're fielding calls from guests complaining about the lack of meal options. As a result, you need to spend more time and money to have new invitations printed with the additional meal option and sent to guests.

This entire process puts you off-schedule for your other tasks.

As an event planner, you'll manage information for individuals, companies, and vendors. Being someone who loves organization and order — and probably a checklist or two — those attributes can come in handy.

A creative spark

How creative you are can set you apart from other event planners. Can you take even a run-of-the-mill event and turn it into an unforgettable experience?

For example, you could create a custom cocktail for a wedding reception. Or you could arrange a fun competition for conference attendees.

Being able to think creatively can help you stay competitive. It's also a part of the job that can be truly fun!

Stamina and the ability to adapt

Event planners are hard workers — and sometimes, they may work 15-hour days or longer.

That means if you have the stamina to see a project through from beginning to end — and then put in some extra effort after that — it may serve you well in this career.

As good a planner as you may be, not everything always goes according to plan. Maybe the keynote speaker loses their voice and you have to rejigger the schedule. Or maybe the Wi-Fi goes down. Sometimes an unexpected incident can change your plans in a second, forcing you to pivot your approach for the event. That's where adaptability comes in.

In the next section, we'll give you a step-by-step guide that details how to become an event planner while putting these traits to good use.

How to Start an Event Planning Business in 5 Steps

1. Define your event planning niche.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to choosing what kind of specific events you want to plan!

You could focus on putting together ceremonies and parties like:

  • College reunions
  • Bar/bat mitzvahs
  • Wedding receptions
  • Corporate conferences
  • And more

Try to choose a specific area to focus on. That way you can work to build relationships with other business owners, vendors, and clients connected to this niche.

Having those contacts can come in handy. The better you know the people and vendors you're working with, the more likely it is that the events you plan will go smoothly.

I didn't mention events like birthday parties or family gatherings, because those events are considered "parties" rather than "events" in the event planning industry. Event planners can plan parties, but party planners tend to focus specifically on social events like dinners, activities, and parties.

To learn more about the difference between event planners and party planners, read more here. If you'd like to know more about what it takes to be a party planner, we've got a great guide for you.

2. Get your certification(s). (optional)

You don't technically need to have a specific degree or certification to become an event planner. But this optional step can help prepare you for challenges you may face. A certification also can set you apart from the competition.

Specific certifications may be available to you, depending on your niche. That's why it's important to know your focus when you're thinking of how to start an event planning business.

You can take the exams that apply to the certifications in your specific area to help you stand out from the competition.

Here are a few certifications that you may want to consider:

Many certifications may ask you to sit for a written exam. Depending on the certification, you may also have to pay a fee. The fee varies, based on the organization that administers the exam and how you take it.

3. Get an event planner business license.

Having an event planner business license is one more way to set yourself apart from the competition. It shows potential clients that you take your business seriously.

Your state or local regulations may require you to have an event planner license. Check here to see if business licenses are generally required in your state.

You likely won't need to take any exams to get a business license, but some states do have fees. Some exams have one-time fees, while others have annual fees. License costs vary, depending on where you plan events and potentially on the types of events you plan too.

If you think you may plan events in more than one state, be sure to check the laws and regulations of that state also. The last thing you need to deal with is a local violation!

4. Get event planner insurance.

Having an event planner business license can show potential clients that you take your business seriously. How can you show them you consider risks too?

That's where event planner insurance comes in. Event planner insurance is coverage made up of different types of business insurance policies. Depending on which you buy, your policy could financially protect your business from damages, claims, or legal fees.

Damages and claims can have a huge financial burden on your business. Getting business insurance coverage can help protect your company's future by financially protecting you from losses that could be detrimental to your business.

Let's talk about how those incidents could impact your business financially and how you can protect yourself.

Two types of coverage that you may want to consider to help protect you from risks are general liability insurance and professional liability insurance.

General liability insurance

General liability insurance is also referred to as commercial liability insurance. It's a type of coverage that can protect you from risks like third-party accidents, third party property damage, and bodily injury.

These types of incidents aren't things we like to think about. As an event planner, you may hope that your attention to detail is enough protection against risks. But not always. If something happens and you get sued, you won't only be faced with the cost of the claim, but also potential legal fees when you hire a lawyer to represent you.

Let's look at a scenario where having event planner insurance with general liability coverage could benefit you.

Say you help plan a wedding reception and the client requests a small stage for speeches. A guest trips over the microphone cord while leaving the stage, and they fall and break their wrist.

Your client sues you for the medical bills of their guest, blaming you for not thinking to get a cordless mic.

Without general liability insurance, you may have to pay the medical bills and legal fees out-of-pocket. And if you're just starting out as an event planner, extra costs like that can have a negative impact on your business's overall finances. You could get stuck in debt before really getting started.

If you had a general liability policy to protect you, though, you could potentially be covered for the cost of the medical bills and legal fees, up to your policy's limit

Professional liability insurance

There are so many types of events you have the opportunity to plan. Not all of the risks you face are defined like the ones above, though.

That's where professional liability insurance comes in. Professional liability insurance is a type of coverage that can help protect your business from incidents of libel or slander, negligence, copyright infringement, and more.

Sometimes these types of risks are hard to consider, too, because they aren't as tangible as say, someone falling at an event venue and breaking a bone. But they still pose a financial risk to your business.

Let's look at an example.

You're organizing a conference when a few people from one company unexpectedly check in. They expect seats at a special conference dinner one evening because they RSVP’d via email.

You realize you don't have seats for them because you didn't see the RSVP. You have to tell them you can't seat them since everything for the dinner is already arranged. They leave upset, and you wonder how you missed that detail in your inbox.

Your client sues you after the conference. They claim the guests you turned away represented a huge business opportunity, and they believe it resulted in lost potential revenue.

Without professional liability coverage, you may have to pay the claim out-of-pocket. And because this is a corporate client, that lost revenue could amount to a large sum of money that your business doesn't have.

Now you'd be in debt and your reputation is potentially tarnished too.

With professional liability coverage, you could be covered for the cost of the claim, as well as legal fees, up to your policy's limit. There's potential to really dodge a bullet here.

How can you find the right general liability and professional liability policies for your business? Simply Business has you covered. That's because we have a free tool to help you compare event planner insurance policy quotes from the nation's top providers.

The cost of event planner insurance will depend on your business's details. Things like where you work, the type of events you intend to plan, and other considerations all factor into the policy cost.

But good news — it's generally an affordable investment. For example, our general liability insurance policies can start as low as $25.95/month*.

You can call and speak to a Simply Business licensed insurance agent at 844-654-727. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET if you have any questions.

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5. Write a business plan.

Protecting your event planning company with liability insurance coverage is a great way to avoid financial ruin. But remember: The future isn't only about risk.

What does the future of your business look like in a month? What about six months, a year, and beyond?

Take some time to think about short-term and long-term goals. Don't just think about financial goals — also think of goals for your event planning business as a whole.

Business plans look different for each company. You can tailor your plan to fit your industry and goals. Click here to get a FREE business plan template that will get you started.

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Want to write a business plan? Download our FREE template today!

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How to Find Event Planning Business Opportunities

Now you know how to set up a strong foundation for your business. How should you go about finding opportunities?

This will differ, depending on your niche and the types of events you plan, but following are a few ways to find potential clients.

Word of mouth

Despite the popularity of social media, word of mouth is still a great marketing tool for your event planning business. Ask friends, family, and potential clients to spread the word that you're accepting clients.

Social media

Speaking of social media, there's no excuse to not have a presence on the platforms where your potential clients can be found. For some event planners, this means Linkedin; for others, it means Facebook or Instagram.

Whichever platform you choose, dedicate time and effort to building your business's presence there.

Professional organizations

Professional organizations can help keep you updated on industry standards and trends. They also can help you build your network and connect to people and companies that may need help planning company events. You can find organizations for event planners here.

How Much Can I Make with My Event Planning Business?

You know all about the skills you'll need to do the work, where to find the opportunities, and how to protect yourself. It's only natural to ask "How much money will I make with my event planning business?"

The answer to that question is: It depends. How much you make with your event planning business can change, based on the types of events you plan, where you plan them, and your experience.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median event planner's salary is $51,560 or $24.79/hour. To learn about the salaries in your area, start here.

Let's Kick Off This Event!

By now, you know how to become an event planner. But of all the functions you may plan in the future, your career journey as an events planner is an event in itself. And just like you're in charge of the operations for client events, you're also in control of your career.

Here’s to making your career one of the most successful events you plan. You got this!

* *Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January-December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.

Allison Grinberg-Funes

Written by

Allison Grinberg-Funes

I’ve told stories since I learned to talk and written since I could hold a pen. As a small business owner myself - I'm a freelance writer and yoga teacher - I love contributing to the entrepreneurship community in different ways (including writing for Simply Business!). When I’m not drafting articles for SB, I can be found on my yoga mat, perusing an indie bookstore, and writing (with my cat nearby of course).

This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer

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