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A lot of things happen behind the scenes of an event. Largely the months of planning and preparation that occur for that one night or several days event.

When individuals think about becoming an event planner, they often picture themselves enjoying time with the client picking out color swatches or even mingling while the party takes place. While these are some perks to being an event planner, there is a lot of hard work that goes into pulling off a successful party or event.

Before you can even get started planning an event, you must be selected as the planner of choice. Sometimes that means competing against other planners. The “competition process” can include presenting your proposal to the potential client, which is the topic we will be addressing here. This process might be called the RFP (Request for Proposal) process and many times the client will give you an outline of what they are looking for.

If you have made it this far in the selection process, there are some tips you’ll want to follow to make sure you are presenting in a professional manner and are able to make the most of this important face-to-face time with the client.

Below are five tips to presenting your event proposal professionally:

1) Dress to Impress

Don’t show up in yoga pants and your favorite black t-shirt. Although you may wear that in your home office, it’s not what you should wear for your presentation.
If this is your first face-to-face meeting with the client, you’ll want to use your attire to make a good first impression. I’d suggest wearing dress slacks and a business formal top or even a pencil skirt and dress sweater. Think of what you’d wear to an interview and go from there.

As you narrow down your outfit options, make sure you eliminate any options that could be too distracting. You don’t want the client focused on the clang of your bangle bracelets or brightly patterned tie.

2) Use Professional Body Language

While you are presenting, make sure your body language is positive and professional. Don’t slouch, grimace, or look closed off by crossing your arms the entire time.

It is important that you stand up straight, use open body language, and avoid doing any nervous tick behaviors if possible. Things like swaying and tapping your foot can be distracting and take away from the presentation. Ask your close friends, coworkers, or family members if you have any nervous habits you need to work on.

3) Practice Beforehand

If this is your first rodeo or a big presentation you’re feeling nervous about, practices in front of a small crowd or even the mirror beforehand. This is a great way to become aware of body language errors we previously mentioned. It is also a chance to refine your message and time your presentation.

4) Bring along a team member

I always like to have someone with me when I go to present a proposal. Not only does it allow someone to watch the clients’ reactions to ideas I’m presenting more closely, but it allows someone else within our company to be knowledgeable on the event details. This can be important for emergency situations. If you were unable to complete the event planning or be there the day of the event, your associate can seamlessly take over.

Another benefit is their ability to take notes for later and alert you if the client gives any non-verbal cues about disliking an idea or catch little nuances that you might have missed.

5)Practice your redirection skills

When your teammate gives you a silent cue of the client not liking an idea, or if you are able to notice it yourself, make sure you are able to redirect your client to the ideas they did like. This can be tough but with practice and more events, it will come naturally.

When presenting by yourself, watch the facial reactions to your ideas. If something isn’t clicking for the person you are presenting to, turn the meeting around and start asking questions. If you listen closely, the potential client will tell you exactly what they want and how much they are willing to spend.

Presenting your proposal professionally is an important step in getting selected as the planner of choice for an event. Going in with a negative attitude or making the mistake of chewing gum while presenting are things that can make or break your business. You may not get future calls to present if they feel you don’t take your job seriously.

There are also fun ways to spice up your presentation and leave an impression, which I share in full detail in our event planning membership.

I’d love to hear what you do to prepare for presentations. Share in the comments below!

Starting an event planning business can be intimidating, even scary. You may fear the perceived risks that are involved and question whether you can handle them. However, once we release what fear really means “False Evidence Appearing Real” (by: unknown) we have the opportunity to overcome.

Just remember this: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem

I love this quote and its nudge toward jumping all in. Who are you starting an event planning business for anyway? That’s right, for Y-O-U, you!

Does Fear Go Away Once I’ve Started?

Fear and doubt are part of going beyond your comfort zone and growing. Fear still exists as an entrepreneur, even when you’ve been in business for as long as I have. You know what I fear? I fear doing Facebook live. It is a real stretch for me. For some reason, I can’t get past this.

I can talk on the phone, do face-to-face meetings, speak in front of a crowd and many other things, but Facebook Live gets me all the time. However, when I go face my fears and do, whatever it is that I fear, it usually is really rewarding; it’s just a matter of a little practice. And yes, I need to do more Facebook Live.

When Others Add to Your Fears

Often family and friends will discourage you from going into business on our own. They think they are giving you advice that will help you, but it can be discouraging when you’ve decided to ‘do your own thing’. I remember when my parents told me I needed to get a ‘real job’ as if what I did was a hobby.

You’re Not Alone

Many people are in the same position as you. Trust me when I say you are not alone. Let’s examine the top five fears commonly found among those wanting to start an event planning business and how Event Heroes can help:


1. Not Enough Money

When isn’t money presenting itself as an obstacle? Money is a tricky thing, isn’t it? We work for an income to support ourselves and our families so that we can do things we enjoy. Did you know that if you work full time from ages 18-67, you will have worked 92,120 hours (source) during that time? That’s A LOT!

Wouldn’t you rather spend that timed doing something you LOVE?!

What I’m trying to say is that investing in yourself and your event planning dream is worth it.

With our Event Heroes training, you are paying for quality training that will get you jump started in your business. When you follow our business practices, you’ll make back your investment with a couple of events.


2. Overall Fear

Fear can be several things. Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of not being good enough… Just let go of them! Fear can be paralyzing. The more you dwell on it, the more you second-guess yourself. This is all wasting time when you could be out there growing your business!

With the support found in the Event Heroes community, you can ask questions as you begin your journey. This helps alleviate any fears that may arise. We want to be with you every step of the way.


3. Not Enough Time

I just finished attending a group where we talked about making the most of our fringe hours. Those are the hours in between activities or daily tasks where you can spend time on things you enjoy.

You will never find time for things you enjoy; you must make time. Sometimes the dirty laundry and dishes can wait, put your passions first. If you love event planning, make time for it.


4. Lack of Support

If you find that you don’t have emotional support from your friends or family, it can be hard to pursue your dreams. I personally find that if others doubt my abilities, I’m more motivated to succeed. Just tell me I can’t and watch me make it happen, just to prove you wrong.

If you’re looking for support in the form of mentorship, motivations, and cheerleading, let the Event Heroes community fill that role for you.

5. Inexperience

We all start somewhere, and my guess is that you DO have some experience under you belt. Most people who come to me for event planning advice found their interest sparked while planning a party, wedding, or event for a friend or family member.

Sometimes you may surprise yourself if you sit down and write out all your experiences related to event planning. There’s probably a lot more there than you thought!

If lack of business or formal customer service experience is a fear of yours, then know that we have a system in place to address this! We interview many professionals in the event and business world to help you know how to best operate your business.

Putting Your Fears Behind You

I’ve always taken my business seriously and have been able to raise my kids while doing what I love. Now, that’s not to say you should quit your job and jump in with both feet. You can make a great side-hustle income working in the evenings and weekends until this does take over and become your full-time business if you so choose.

However, if you can jump in with both feet, there is nothing like “fail or succeed entirely” to motivate you to do what you what to do. And it’s harder to let yourself down, because you know you can do it – you’re awesome after all!

How to Get Started Confidently

Starting a business alone can be scary and time consuming as you learn the ropes. Let us help you overcome your fears and minimize the learning curve to get you scheduling and planning events sooner than later! Heck, our system will even save you time and MONEY in the long run. You’ll be up and running and ready to tackle events in no time.

Ready to start your Event Hero membership? Sign up today.

Watch for me to do more Facebook live soon as I face my fears!

As a solo entrepreneur (solopreneur) sometimes it’s hard to stay sane. If you are like me, you might find yourself in front of your computer working away and the days just fly by. I sometimes forget to eat lunch and may not see another human or talk on the phone for a full day. I have worked this way for years.

Even though I own a business with a handful of other people involved, I’ve chosen to work from my home in my nice cozy home office. Frankly, I enjoy it that way and find I get so much more work done than I do in a social work environment.

Honestly, if you aren’t communicating with a human outside your family or pets for a few days in a row, your brain starts to turn to mush! So how can you stay connected with the outside world as a solopreneur? Here are 7 ways, I’ve found to stay connected:

#1 – Attend networking events

 

I love to network and meet new people. There are so many ways you can get out and network. In my city, there is a magazine that holds an event once every quarter to release their new magazine. I attend these unveiling events as often as I can for several reasons. Those who attend often includes many of my clients, so it’s a great chance to connect outside of our usual atmosphere and stay connected. It’s also nice to jump out of my casual work clothes and into something dressier. Lastly, it brings me a lot of joy to have intelligent conversations that stimulate my brain.

I really can’t say enough about how important networking is for your business. Being seen at an event will remind people that you have a business and that you are still active. Bring a friend along and take turns introducing each other to people you know. After a while, walking in to a networking event will be easier because you will know a ton of the people there. Yes, I know it’s hard to go alone, but after one or two short and sweet conversations, you’ll get in the groove and be ready to take on the networking challenge.

#2 – Get involved in a non-profit fundraiser

This is perfect for those of you looking to become Event Heroes. There are many organizations that can use your event planning skills to help make their event super fantastic, and they will welcome you with open arms to their organization. Make sure you have the time and energy to handle taking on a charity.

This is one of the best ways to get your company off the ground and get the exposure you are looking for. Ask the committee, one on one, it they know anyone planning an event, getting married, etc. that they could introduce you to. Use these well-connected individuals to help you build your business. Be subtle when asking, but know that most committees have community leaders that will be happy to introduce you to someone that has needs for your business.

#3 – Stay active in online chats

Although this is still in front of the computer, tucked away in your cozy office, it can sometimes feel like face-to-face communication. Read a blog, then comment on the blog (It’s another way to get your company noticed); not only are you having a ‘conversation’ with someone that shares similar business or life interests, but you are exposing your name and business name to the public. Haven’t you clicked over to see what the person replying does? Connected with them on LinkedIn or other social media outlets? I have.

#4 – Set morning meetings

It doesn’t matter if you like coffee or tea or a full-on breakfast, make your meetings for first thing in the morning. Nine AM is my favorite meeting time frame to get my day started. This gives me some computer time before I head out. If anything comes up during the meeting, I also have time to research and respond to it the rest of the day.

This is also a great way to meet with other solopreneurs and discuss what you might do together to create business for both of you. Coffee is an easy way to meet; there are few expectations, both of you are relaxed, and the conversation flows easily. Who knows what kind of scheme might arise.

#5 – Start a mastermind group

I love mastermind groups, masterminding is based on a theory by Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. In the book Napoleon states that a mastermind is created when two or more people come together with a collective objective. He goes on to say that when this happens, a third invisible, intangible force likened to a third mind is created.

Some fellow entrepreneurs and I started a mastermind group after a highly motivating morning coffee meeting. It has now run for 5 years. Most of the original members are still with the group. Mastermind group building has some rules and you can find our outline for the group here.

#6 – Join a gym

I’m lousy at this one. I love my home office so much, sometimes I really don’t want to leave, especially in the cold, dark winter. Not even to go to bed. But this doesn’t fulfill my need to get some human interaction.

I need to make sure I exercise in the early mornings, like 5:30 AM If I can drag myself out of bed. Then I can be showered and ready for my office by 7:30. In all honesty, this really doesn’t happen as often as it should. I’m not a huge fan of exercising when I first get started, but after exercising a few weeks it gets easier. Yoga is really my thing, so I joined an early morning yoga studio with a few clients to help get me motivated.

#7 – Join a Meetup

A Meetup is like networking, but the group is based around a common interest. For example, a canoeing meetup or a book club, just make sure you are joining one that others have similar interests as you.

In my city, we have a group of meeting planners that meet up. They swap stories, ideas and even sometimes clients. (it’s a great group and if they are too busy, they pass the client on to someone else, what a great way to get along with your competitors) Check online to find were your local meetups are happening.

Overall, there are hundreds of ways for you to get that social craving met, but you have to look for it. Join in and serve as an asset to the group. Make sure you don’t eat into your work and family time too much and target some your groups to where your clients might hang out. Don’t be afraid to network with many groups to see where you fit best and to change when the usefulness of one group no longer fits your needs. This is a great way to combine advertising your business and getting your socialization all in one.

Are you starting an event planning business and looking for someone to guide you along the way? Look no further as I work with you to get you started and teach you all the lessons, tips, and tricks I wish I would have learned when I started 30 years ago. Being a solopreneur doesn’t have to be hard, join my VIP Membership Program to learn how I’ve done it successfully.

Tracy Fuller-White, owner of Event Heroes and InnovativEvents, a successful event management company based in Des Moines and Ames, Iowa can’t count the number of times she has been approached by people interested in starting their own event planning business. They all seem to have the same questions for her: “What advice can you give me if I want to start my own event planning company?” and “How did you get your start in the business?”.

After years of answering those and countless other questions, having lunches and coffee with people who just wanted to pick her brain, Tracy began to see a need for a program that would help those who are interested in taking the plunge and starting their own event planning business.

That’s when she and her team came up with the idea for Event Heroes, an event planning business training system. This system not only teaches its students how to start and build their own business, but is one that also provides them with the information, tips, and secrets for success that she and her team have culminated in their more than 30 years in the business.

During their brainstorming sessions and interviews with interested students and interns, the Event Hero team began to recognize a need for a program that would not only provide the typical “textbook” or “online” type of teaching program, but one that would take that training a step further. Tracy consulted with other planners and industry professionals and all agreed this was a need that wasn’t being filled by programs on the market.

So, Tracy and the team conducted more research and evaluated the feedback they received from everyone she has mentored over the years. Based on the findings, they developed Event Heroes as a program to teach and mentor those who are interested in starting their own event planning business.

The main goal of Event Heroes is to assist the new business owner get a solid start in the event business without having to go through the lean years of starting from scratch and without having to learn the ropes by trial and error or through working for someone else. Event Heroes is designed to be a self-paced, learning program that basically “holds your hand” throughout the process of answering your first phone call to selling, planning and producing amazing events that deliver a WOW!

The one thing that sets Event Heroes apart from other event planning programs is that it provides the piece of the puzzle that Tracy has been constantly asked about most over the years: How to apply the knowledge that is taught in the standard event planner training program and use it to get a business up and running. Knowing that was the missing link, inspired Tracy to focus on not just the knowledge but also the practical application of the knowledge and supplying the students with the ready-made business forms, templates and worksheets they need to hit the ground running.

Tracy’s style of teaching and working with people is extremely warm and personable. She and her team also consider themselves experts in customer service and make sure they emphasize this in all of their lessons. Tracy’s parents taught her at an early age “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” and this has been her lifelong motto for dealing with everyone she encounters in her personal and professional life.

The success of Event Heroes and the parent company InnovativEvents can be directly related to that personal motto and also to her belief in always giving your best. Tracy holds the belief that every successful business is driven by a dream or a purpose and living up to the high standards and goals of your vision is what keeps you going even when things get tough.

Attending events, conferences and meetings you are not working is a great way to network and meet contacts who may be looking for event planning services in the future. Networking can be a productive source for future business if you are accomplished at it. However, it can also reflect negative on your company or be a waste of time, if you go about it the wrong way.

As an event planner, you need to hone your networking skills as this is one of the most important ways of advertising that you will use.  Meeting and greeting people and making a lasting first impression is imperative to running a successful event planning business.

Following these simple guidelines and brushing up on your skills will help ensure that any time you meet a potential client, you make the best use of the time you have with them. If nothing else, you will leave a lasting, positive impression on them.

1. Know your audience.  If your specialty is planning events for top level executives, focus on networking in that arena.  Of course it doesn’t hurt to network in other areas, but establish yourself in your niche market first and then expand.  If you work better with less formal events, such as proms or parties, start there until you are confident enough to try a different market.

2. Do your research.  Find out who will be attending an event so you know how you will want to “advertise” yourself and your company.  You don’t want to discuss prom decorations while networking with corporate executives or vice versa.

3. Rehearse what you will say about who you are and what your company does.  Be confident in what you say and know what you are talking about.  Be able to answer follow-up questions, should you connect with a potential client who wants more details.  Don’t leave a future customer questioning if you are an expert in your field.  Know how you will respond if you don’t know an answer.  “I’ll have to talk with my lighting person to get his/her advice and get back to you on that.” is a much better answer than “I don’t know but I’ll find out”.  And most importantly, follow up with an answer that day or the next.

4. Follow up.  Once you have met a possible future customer or even just an interesting connection, don’t let the opportunity go.  Connect with him/her, make a sales pitch if appropriate, meet for coffee to discuss possible future events or just keep in touch to keep your name at the front of their mind so they can easily recall it when they have an event to plan.

5. Keep it fresh.  Have a variety of ways of introducing yourself and explaining your business.  You may meet one person who chooses to introduce you to someone else and you don’t want to sound like a robot repeating the exact thing you just said to the first contact.  Be flexible and keep it interesting.

6. Be helpful.  If during a conversation, you realize that you have a contact that may be beneficial to them, make the introduction.  Don’t be afraid of helping others if you can.  By all means, keep yourself in the loop as much as possible by following up with both parties.  By introducing two contacts to each other, you will expand your network. By showing that you are interested enough to follow up, you will hopefully benefit from the matchmaking that you have done.

7. Make the person you are speaking with the center of your attention.  We’ve all experienced a conversation where the person you are speaking with is obviously anxious to move on and talk with someone else.  Chances are you didn’t work too hard to speak with that person again.  Use common manners and be respectful to the person you are talking with at the moment.

Networking can be the main source of leads for your business.  If you aren’t experienced at networking, practice with a co-worker or friend or in front of a mirror.  If you find it uncomfortable or hard to do at first, remember that it will get easier with time. The more people you meet, the better you will get.

Imagine the VIP at a very large company you would like to partner with or work for asks about your organization, company, or work. You only have two minutes to impress them before they leave for their next important meeting, GO!

Did you get the importance and mission of your work across or did you clam up as millions of thoughts flooded your mind? Missing this opportunity is like letting the one eligible person at speed dating get away because you couldn’t make a connection before the bell rang. Well it isn’t quite the same… but you get the point, it is important to have a speech well prepared when a similar situation arises.

Short, informative, and persuasive speeches such as these are known as elevator speeches or elevator pitches. Their name comes from the idea of being in an elevator with someone and getting a convincing message across from the time it takes to get from the lobby to your destination point.

 

An elevator speech should be used as a brief, persuasive speech that sparks the interest of the person you are sharing it with. Follow the 5 steps below to write your own elevator speech:

1) Identify the goal of your speech

Identify who you wish to convey your message to and what idea or message you want to share before you begin writing.

2) Explain what you do and what makes you unique

 Photo by Daniel Sandoval

How often do you write out your goals? Daily? Monthly? Not at all? It is time you assessed this practice and take it to the next level!

WRITE IT OUT

Setting goals for yourself is a great form of motivation, inspiration, and an overall reminder to keep you on track. Having your goals written down can help you assess your daily productivity and whether or not your time spent doing different activities will help lead you to that end goal or achievement.

Having different levels of goals can also be a great practice. Where do you see yourself in ten years, five years, a year from now, or even next month? If you are really proactive about setting goals and motivated enough to write out weekly or daily goals, do it!

What better time of the year to create your very own vision board than during the time you are planning out your New Year’s resolutions. Tie the two together and you’ve got yourself the perfect holiday project. Read below to see how to make your very own vision board today!

DREAM BIG!

 Photo by David Marcu

Don’t hold yourself back when setting your life goals, whether it is in your relationship, job, or personal life. Negative thoughts and images of ourselves are the biggest road block in our road to success. Let the imagination you had in your childhood take over and you’ll be surprised at what barriers that you previously though impossible to cross now fade away.

VISUALIZE

It’s hard to decide when to hire a business coach because there is no objective way to assess when it is time to hire one.   The other part of the equation is more often than not when it is time to hire one; you are too busy to do your homework to determine if it is a going to be a good fit.

This is a big decision.  Do not take it lightly.

This is because business coaches will help you:  focus, make more money, experience less stress, have better relationships with employees and loved ones, help you keep your sanity while your business expands,  give you peace of mind and help you learn to trust yourself to make the right decisions at every turn.

Who doesn’t want to experience all of that?

Key #1:  Find a business coach who is the right fit for you personally and professionally.

When you hire a business coach, it has been proven in case studies that you will get the best results when you like & respect your coach (Manchester, 2001).  In addition, it will help tremendously if they have the expertise in the area of development that you need or want to address.   In other words, you must be both objective and subjective when choosing who you want to hire as your business coach.

Key #2:    Timing is everything.

If you are experiencing any of the following, it is time to consider the bottom-line impact that hiring a coach will have on the following:

  • Overcoming burn-out for you and/or your employees
  • Overcoming the lack of growth (or worse decrease in revenue)
  • Learning how to effectively deal with rapid growth
  • Taking the time to effectively prepare and plan to intentionally grow your business.
  • Overcoming and ultimately avoiding low performance from staff members
  • Creating hierarchy and/or structure
  • Creating clear job descriptions
  • Creating a culture on purpose vs. by default
  • Creating a more effective sales process: branding, marketing, pitch, onboarding customers, management of customer relationship,  etc.

With that being said, it is equally important (if not more important) to assess whether you are coachable and willing to invest the necessary time in your development to get the results you seek.If not, do not throw money at your problem.It will be a waste.

Key #3:   Give it time!

The results you want to experience are going to come if you hired the right professional.  With that being said, they don’t have a magic wand.  If you expect magic, hire a magician NOT a coach.

Key #4:  Spending more money on coaching doesn’t equate to better or faster results.

This doesn’t mean that you are going to get to hire someone who is cheap either.   In order to make this make sense financially, you need to assess the financial impact that your developmental gaps will have on the bottom-line.  After you do this, logically decide how much you are willing to spend and then commit to spending it.

This is important because if you hire a coach, you need to commit to the relationship for at least 6 months.  If you are financially strapped due to hiring a coach, it can create the opposite of what you want to achieve.  This is not what you want!