How to Get into Event Planning with Little to Zero Experience

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 7, 2019

Oct 7, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Are you the person your friends always turned to when there's a party or trip to be planned?

Are extremely detail-oriented and good at staying calm when something doesn't go according to plan?

If so, you may make an excellent event planner. 

But, if you've never done any formal event planning before, how do you break into the business?

Check out this guide to learn how to get into event planning with no experience. 

Volunteer or Take Entry-Level Positions 

While planning multi-million dollar events with thousands of attendees may be the dream, it's likely not going to be where you start. 

Just like any other profession, you need to pay your dues as an event planner before you can climb to the top. Plus, no one is going to hire you as an event planner for a big event if you don't have any experience. 

The best way to get your foot in the door is to volunteer or take entry-level positions. For entry-level positions, search for event planning companies in your area and see if they need help with anything from setting up large outdoor movie screens to running an event booth. 

In terms of volunteering, reach out to some local non-profits. Non-profits have events and fundraisers all the time and they're always looking for volunteers to help them out. 

Find an organization you care about and volunteer at a few events. After you have a few events under your belt, you can inquire about larger volunteer roles as an event coordinator or organizer. 

You can also volunteer as an event planner for your friends or family members. For example, if you have a friend who has a wedding coming up, volunteer as their day-of-event planner. In exchange for your work, they can provide you with your first glowing reference. 

Also, if you're still in college, consider applying for an internship in the event planning field. 

Earn a Bachelor's Degree 

While getting a bachelor's degree isn't necessary to become an event planner, it certainly can help give you a leg up over the competition. 

Most schools don't have an option to earn your bachelor's in event planning. Luckily, there are many bachelor's degrees that will help you in this industry, such as:

  • Hospitality management
  • Tourism management
  • Business
  • Public relations
  • Marketing
  • Communications

If getting your bachelor's degree isn't an option, you can get a certificate in event management. Not only will a certification help beef up your skills, but it will also show prospective hires how serious you are about your work. 

Master the Tools of the Trade

The world of event planning is increasingly merging with the digital world. To get an edge over the competition, you will need to be well-versed in all the event planning tools and software programs. 

While there's a lot to choose from, here are the main ones you should be familiar with:

  • Slack: This is an online communication platform that allows you to send instant messages to co-workers, employees, or prospective clients
  • Zapier: Zapier is a tool that helps event planners automate the tasks they end up doing over and over again
  • Eventbrite: Eventbrite is the go-to tool event planners use for ticketing and registration
  • Basecamp: Basecamp is a project management software that allows you to easily collaborate with your team, create to-do lists, and engage in instant chats

Create a Business Plan 

Once you've taken care of all the above, it's time to put together a business plan. 

This is a very important document that will serve as a touchstone as your business grows, so take your time putting it together. 

Your business plan should describe your objectives, financial forecast, and marketing and sales strategies. 

Clarify Your Goals and Objectives 

Setting your goals and objectives is a very important step, as this will help you clarify what type of event planning you want to do. 

While many people think it's a good idea to offer every kind of event planning under the sun to attract the most clients, rarely is this strategy successful. 

Think about? If you're hiring a wedding planner, would you rather hire an event planner who has worked dozens of weddings or an event planner who has done a few weddings here and there along with a bunch of other different events?

Obviously, you're going to hire a planner who specializes in weddings. 

While you don't need to know your event planning niche right away, focus on narrowing down as you gain more experience and hone your skills. 

Finalize a Budget 

There are a lot of expenses that come with running a small business that most people never think of, from marketing to licensure to transportation costs. 

Before starting your event planning business, make sure you figure out how much everything is going to cost. 

This will help you figure out how realistic your business plan is and whether it needs to be adjusted. 

Create a Website 

Creating a website is one of the best ways to get the word out about your event planning business. 

Your website should include an about me section, testimonials, pricing information, and a portfolio page. 

A website is what will help people see you as an event planning business owner instead of a hobbyist event planner. 

Get the Right Licenses and Permits 

Last but not least, don't forget to acquire the necessary licenses and permits for running your event planning business. 

The exact licenses and permits you need will depend on where you live and what type of services you plan to offer, so be sure to look into your local requirements before getting started. 

How to Get Into Event Planning: Are You Ready to Get Started? 

Now that you know how to get into event planning, it's time to get started!

While all these steps may seem overwhelming, things will feel more manageable as you move along. 

Also, be sure to check back in with our blog for more career tips and tricks!