15 Steps To Start An Event Planning Business With No Money

I am not an event planner, however, I helped my mother when she needed the extra help with her event planning business. I figured that the business was not only profitable, but it is also very interesting and gives the planner time to do other things with their lives.

However, this business has some tricky aspects that often requires experience and some public relation skills. Here are some of the ways you can start an event planning business without money. Let’s get right to it.

1. Educate Yourself

A couple of certifications in event planning won’t hurt. I am a fan of improving skill and learning more. A human being only stops learning when he dies.

You can invest your time on some free online classes and contents. There are lots of free YouTube contents, free blog contents, and online academies like Udemy that provide very affordable online courses.

Invest in your skill first. In fact, it makes your clients more comfortable doing business with you.

Also read: 20 businesses you can start with 10k or less in Nigeria

2. Volunteer For Public Event Planning

This is one of the best ways to get free training and experience in event planning. You can’t underestimate the influence of a public service feat on a resume.

Volunteering for public service, especially events that concerns feeding the hungry, and health can help boost your resume, experience and expertise in the future.

Look at it this way. Imagine you volunteered for a UNICEF’s ‘food to the poor’ mission in your community of 4,500 people, adding that to your resume and telling your future customers will build their confidence in you.

If you were part of an event of 4500 attendees, you will surely be able to handle a few hundreds of people or so. So you see, volunteering for public service is beneficial to you especially if don’t have enough money to afford training, or the connection to intern for a bigger event planning company.

3. Give Your Best To Every Event

At first, I thought this was too obvious to appear in this article. Then, I figured you might need some clarification. Every single guest at an event is a potential client.

That is one of the major reasons why event planning businesses don’t do too much advertising because, most times, the quality of their work does all the advertisement for them.

If you really want to save money, or you don’t have money, then you have to join the bandwagon of event planners that allow their work to speak for them. However, this one doesn’t displace traditional marketing which is still very much relevant in any business.

It is your moral and business obligation to provide your clients with the best value for their budget. Give your best all the time, and allow your work to speak for itself, then watch your guests calling for more services.

4. Create a Portfolio

This doesn’t cost anything asides the time spent. Now, you want your customers to feel like they have a choice, so you must show them options.

Human beings are wired to seek freedom and have options. Nobody likes it when they are given very little options. It makes people feel caged and no one likes to be caged.

So, you need to build a portfolio from your former works to reserve designs and special plans. The word exclusive and premium seems to appeal to the rich very often.

This is a strategy I will recommend to you if you want to secure bigger, higher pay contracts.

5. Work From Home

Obviously, you can’t rent an office space because you don’t have any money yet.  However, you can make do with the space you have in your home. The thing about event planning is that it needs a lot of space for storage.

Most big event planning businesses usually rent storage space apart from an office space, and to be honest this expenses usually drain lots and lots of funds that would ordinarily have been counted as profit.

I figured a little way around this for beginners like you. It might be obvious to some but it might not be obvious to many. If you have a home, your home can serve as a storage space for the meantime and you can still be productive from home.

If you live alone, this is undoubtedly the best arrangement until you can afford to rent storage space or create one for yourself. If you have a roommate, you can also make this arrangement. However, you will have to discuss it with your roommate because you don’t an altercation of any kind.

6. Always Request An Advance Payment

You don’t want to use your time, effort and money to set up an event. This is usually the part when my voice goes an octave higher. Always request an advance payment.

Don’t be too shy or maybe feel you would lose the customer if you request payment before service. You must understand that it is standard practice for customers to drop an advance.

This is what shows the commitment of the client. The planner would also need to work with some labour fee and other miscellaneous costs.

Don’t be scared to ask for an advance. If the customer won’t drop an advance payment, then perhaps they aren’t really going to great clients. In addition, you need to organize your accounts well and money management skills so you know when you are almost eating into your personal purse.

7. Start With Smaller Contracts

It might seem like a great idea to go all-in immediately. The pay is bigger and the rep it brings is bigger.

However, have you thought about the workload? Can you handle an event for 1,000 people? Catering for 10 people at an event isn’t baby’s milk, to be frank. You have to be on your toes and plan for every single thing.

This is why I recommend starting from the bottom and working your way gently to the top. Build your contacts, network and make some friends. You will get to a stage in this business where you will really need some support.

8. Pay Attention To Your Accounts

Once you start getting contracts, you have to start monitoring your accounts very closely. This is usually the part where it gets tricky for people without proper business experience.

This is why I will strongly recommend a business course that will essentially teach you how to separate profits from the capital and identify when to do turnovers. The business side of any anything usually has a lot of paperwork and math.

If you aren’t so good with that sort of thing, you can have a friend or family member look over your accounts for you while you take a course to learn that part of your business.

9. Hire Equipment

To be honest, I would have totally shut down this idea if the lack of money wasn’t included in the article title.

Hiring might seem less expensive now, but in the long run, you might end up hiring that same event planning equipment several times. Of course, this will cost some money that would have bought you five of the equipment.

However, in your case, hiring is a great idea and I will tell you why.

I will recommend hiring for the meantime if you don’t have the capacity to buy yet. However, you must pay close attention to when it’s time to start buying and stop hiring.

10. Partner Up

Like I said earlier, event planning isn’t a gladiator arena for customers. There is a sort of difference in the industry. Let’s just say the normal isn’t really normal here.

In event planning, partnering with another business is a great choice especially if you don’t have a lot of money.

Partnering with another event company can give you some space to breathe, and guess what? You get to use their equipment and gears.

However, make sure you make it clear what their role in the partnership would be. Your logo should fly and not theirs. You don’t want your clients thinking you gave their event planning to someone else, do you?

11. Build A Small Team

I understand that you are trying to save costs, but you really need a team to reach your full potential. You can definitely build a team. It really doesn’t have to be a huge group, honestly, it’s best if it’s just two or three people.

You want different opinions and extra hands, but you don’t want too many opinions. Too many opinions usually cause undecided situations, so let’s just stick to a few people for now.

The team should be a partnership so that you don’t have to pay them hugely at first. Make them understand your situation and don’t forget to compensate them when you start making the money.

You could find some of your friends who share the same dream and get them to go on this journey with you. Whatever the case may be, nothing beats a great team of friends pursuing one goal.

12. Market your business

I usually tell people that businesses in this generation actually have a lot of advantages. Some businesses in the 1900s and early 2000s didn’t have those advantages.

Social media is still the best invention ever. It allows communication and connectivity from anywhere and to anywhere in the world. You can advertise your business to over 1 million people without even having to leave your home.

Why would I pay for a magazine ad when I can post on my IG page, Facebook page, and Twitter page for free? Magazines, Newspapers and radios are still relevant, but social media does all their job effortlessly.

13. Book Your First Event

Like I said earlier, as a startup, do not dive into big contracts because of the money you think it will bring. Big contracts can be overwhelming, and I will advise you to go for smaller ones at least for the first 5 attempts.

Family is a great place to start. So, let’s say your older sister wants to celebrate her wedding anniversary. This is a good time for you to come in and market yourself as an event planner.

It might be a little awkward but if you are able to pull that one off well, you can be sure of a smooth transition into event planning.

14. Build a Website

Websites scream professionalism and trust. I mean this is why every single person I send a link to about an investment opportunity always dive into Google in search of a website.

Honestly, nobody will take you seriously if you do not have a website. As long as you don’t make some website design mistakes, your website could be the game-changer for you.

Don’t worry I did not forget that we are running on a budget, I have a simple way you can set up a website until you have enough money to start a better one.

‘Google my business’ provides a website for you for free and it’s very simple to use. You can also use WordPress or a blog host like Blogger.com. They are free but you will have to pay for hosting and domain.

15. Prepare your Inventory

I want you to pay attention to this part very carefully.

An inventory for an event planner is very essential. However, you obviously can’t get inventory if you don’t have any money, so here is a plan for you. When you take contracts of small events like a wedding reception for 100 people, the client should get the pricing for anything you cannot offer from your inventory.

Let’s say your clients want 50 candlelight glass stands, all you have to do is reach out to a shop that sells the stands, price them and send the bill directly to your clients.

Now after the wedding reception, your clients obviously have no use for 50 candlelight glass stands. What you should do is to trade a percentage of your paycheck for this new inventory.

I know you are probably shaking your head right now, why should I trade money for a bunch of candlelight glass stands. The truth is that with those stands in your inventory, next time a client requests them, they would have to hire it from you rather than buy it from a shop.

Conclusion

There is something special about event planning. It spreads fast. When you satisfy your clients, your clients will tell others about your business. Besides, everybody at that event is a potential client.

These are some of the reasons why event planners are very careful with each attendee’s service even more than the client’s service.

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Post Author: Chibuike Nwogbo

Nwogbo Chibuike is a student of Electronics and Computer engineering at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He started writing at the age of 10 by learning new things and writing about what he has learnt. Specifically, he likes the feeling of creating another world through writing. He is also a dedicated Christian.

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