It can be very rewarding to organise your own events, but what if you want to dip your toes in the world of freelancing?
A freelance event planner can make anything from $25 to $100 per hour or 10–15% of the event budget, depending on their experience.
Your salary will ultimately depend on how good you are at your job and at negotiation. Wondering how to become an event planner with no experience?
We’ve got what you need right here.
Read this article to discover…
- What a freelance event planner does
- The benefits associated with freelancing
- Which skills you’ll need to be successful
- How to land your first event planning gig
Ready to roll? Let’s do it.
What does a freelance event planner do?
You’ll be wearing many different hats as a freelance event planner. Depending on whether or not you have a team to help you out, you may have to wear all the hats at once.
Here are some of the tasks you’ll likely do on a regular basis:
- Research the market to find event opportunities
- Find appropriate venues to host events at
- Build relationships with event vendors
- Liaise with venue management and staff
- Write business and marketing plans
- Create a timeline and budget outline
- Promote your events both online and offline
- Prepare the venue with appropriate signage
- Design and print marketing collateral
- Coordinate event logistics
- Collect feedback from all attendees after the event
You may also do the following tasks, depending on the kind of events you organise:
- Research and recruit speakers
- Book entertainers (either directly or via an agency)
- Hire and liaise with catering companies
- Recruit and train event volunteers
- Hire technical equipment
- Write and send out sponsorship proposals
What are the benefits of being a freelance event planner?
Many people are put off freelancing because of the perceived lack of job security. While there is some truth to that, there are also a number of excellent benefits associated with freelancing.
Here are some of the benefits of being a freelance event planner:
- Make all the decisions
- Enjoy flexible hours
- Decide your own rates
- Work on many different events
Tip: Read this article that goes into more detail about each of these benefits.
What skills and qualifications do you need?
As a freelancer, you don’t need any official qualifications. As a successful freelancer, however, you’ll need a range of skills to organise events that’ll delight your clients.
Here are some of the key skills you need as a freelance event planner:
- Organisation and time management
- Attention to detail
- Sales and negotiation
- Customer service
- Technical literacy
- General knowledge of events
If you’re not sure how to obtain these skills, you might want to consider taking an event planning course. These can range from weekend courses to full-blown university degrees.
Tip: Read our in-depth guide to event planning courses to see what your options are.
How to find work as a freelance event planner
The million-dollar question is how you find work to pay the bills. Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to build up your resume so you can impress prospective clients.
1. Observe other event planners
There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Look up some successful event organisers and see what they’re doing. Try to land yourself a job with one of them to learn the ropes.
Alternatively, if you’re really eager to get started on your own, you can also just buy them a coffee and pick their brains to learn more about the industry and market.
Tip: Consider joining LinkedIn Groups for event planners to learn the ropes.
2. Start in your local area
Your local area is a good place to start as an event planner. You can volunteer with local charities or simply scroll down your social media feed to see when your friends have birthdays.
See if anyone you know or live close to is planning a get-together and offer to help out. It might not make you rich, but it’ll help you build your CV and showcase your skill set.
3. Begin with small events
It’s always best to start small and then build from there. If you bite off more than you can chew, it can be a quick way to end your event planning career before it even takes off.
Small events come with less risk and less stress. They will also allow you to quickly identify your own strengths and weaknesses so you can work on them for future jobs.
4. Specialise in one type of events
You can expect a lot of competition in the events industry, so it’s a good idea to pick an event type to specialise in once you’ve gotten your feet wet.
Once you’ve successfully branded yourself as a specialised event planner, it’ll be easier to land jobs because you’ll appear more competent.
Tip: Here’s as good look at the different event planning niches and how to find one to focus on.
5. Network, network, network
Events are a social business to be in, so you’ll need good social skills to build a network. You’ll liaise with venues, vendors, influencers, attendees, and many other different kinds of people.
It can also pay to attend some networking events in the industry. Go to Meetup.com or a similar website to find out where the next event planner huddle is.
6. Market your brand
You should always market your events, but your personal brand is just as important to promote. Get an official website and register social media accounts on all the popular platforms.
You can also get listed on websites such as the Yellow Pages, as well as official event planner registers. That’ll help prospective clients find you when they want to organise an event.
Ready to take the leap?
Now that you have a better idea of what’s involved in the life of a freelance event planner, it’s time to get started!
Have a look-see around our blog to discover more useful tips that might help you plan your first event.
Feel free to drop us a comment below if you’re already a freelance event planner and share your experiences with us.