Being a successful event planner can really be a dream come true. You get to dream up fantastic events and turn them into reality, at a very good pay while meeting many interesting people along the way.

How do you become a successful event planner? Here are a few tips.

=> Pick a Specialty or Clientele

It’s very hard to market yourself as just an “event planner.” It’s just far too general. The most successful event planners tend to focus on one specialty. That specialty might be large conferences, large parties, corporate trainings or industry trade shows – it could really be anything.

If you tell someone “I set up conferences,” you’re much more likely to get referrals than if you tell them “I’m an event planner.” It’s more specific and gives people a much more solid idea of what you do.

=> Establishing Contacts and a Track Record

It’s very hard to land event planning clients if you’ve never planned an event before. Before you go out on your own and try to start your own event planning business, it’s a good idea to get some experience in the industry.

Start out by working for another event planning company. Volunteer at other events in your spare time. Establish contacts with organizers and event hosts.

Planning an event isn’t easy. You need to have contacts in a wide variety of areas. For example, to run a successful conference you need a trusted sound team, a great volunteer organizer, interior designers familiar with conference design, and so on.

In addition, you need contacts in the industry to land clients. In short, rather than jumping in and hoping for big success right away, you need to ease into the industry and develop the necessary contacts to both do the job right and to land clients in the first place.

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Get at least six to twelve months of experience by working with existing events before you try to market yourself as an event planner. If you’re going for smaller-scale events like birthday parties, you can cut the learning and networking time down significantly.

=> Create Your Portfolio

What does an event planner’s portfolio look like?

You want pictures of packed events. You want pictures of smiling event speakers. You want testimonials from event hosts about how amazing and easy you made the whole event.

In short, you want to have something you can show prospective clients about how great their event is going to be by working with you.

Start collecting testimonials, pictures and even videos as early in your career as possible.

Finally, the most important thing is that you jump in feet first. The only way to really learn how to be a successful event planner is to just jump into the industry and learn. You’ll often find that people are more than happy to teach you what you need to know.