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create value for your event clients

Many event planners have a hard time valuing our event expertise, especially when it comes so naturally to us.  

It can be even harder when we’re first getting started or we’re not sure how to create value for our event clients.

In today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV, Alex Cheung of Toronto Special Events Network joins me. 

Create Value For Your Event Clients

Alex started his career as a designer but hated sitting in front of a computer from 9-5pm so he went back to school to become an event planner.

No matter what stage of being an event planner you’re in, owning your worth and showing your value allows you to charge more, do better work, work with better clients, and have more success.

To achieve the success you deserve in your event career, creating strong, long-term relationships is key and Alex shares how you can maximize your efforts with some simple strategies.

He also talks about the importance of taking action, finding opportunities, how to create value for your event clients, how generosity helps build your event career, and how thinking like an entrepreneur helps you get started in the event industry.  

If you’re an event planner who struggles to get started or take action because you’re not sure how to show your value, this video is for you.

event planning services

Today I’m fired up because of a conversation that happened earlier this week about ‘giving away your event planning services for free’.

Warning:the tone of this post is different than our other posts (and foul language is used)!

Why do event planners think it’s OK (or necessary) to give away their event planning services for free?

If you want to plan a free event, volunteer for a non-profit organization. At least then you’ll learn from other professionals, improve your skills and help your community.

This is my biggest pet peeve in the event industry and I’m obviously passionate (and opinionated) about it!

It drives me f**king crazy when planners – mostly women – immediately jump to “I’ll do it for free” in order to get experience or get hired by a client. Whether you’re just starting in the event industry or you’re a pro who has fallen on hard times, you cannot survive if you give away your event planning services for free.

When planning and organizing come so naturally to us we often get stuck in the money-game because it’s hard to imagine someone actually paying us to do what we love.

When you think about getting your event services out there, do you find that little voice in your head saying…?

“Just because I love planning events doesn’t mean anyone will hire me.”


“I love planning events and I think I’m pretty good at it, but I don’t know who will hire me to plan their events.”

Unless you’re planning an event for your family (yes, your friends should pay and be treated like a client), for the love of all that is holy, stop giving away your expertise and start placing a dollar value on what you do.

Giving Away Your Event Planning Services Isn’t Helping

Here are 3 reasons why…

  1. Event clients need to be invested so they’re motivated to get the most out of the experience.
  2. Giving away your services for free doesn’t help you invest in the event. By charging for your event services, you’ll put your best foot forward and you’ll want to learn, grow and improve.
  3. Free doesn’t = income. It’s difficult to pay your bills when you’re not making money. Seems obvious, right?

Money is a hot topic with varying opinions and attitudes, and we all deal with it differently.

If you’re stuck in the ‘free game’ and struggling to charge for your event planning services or if money beliefs are limiting your success, today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV is for you. In today’s video interview with Denise Duffield-Thomas from Get Rich, Lucky Bitch, you’ll learn how to shift your mindset so you place value on yourself and your event planning services.

event planning business

I want you to hear Sarah’s story.

Sarah started her event planning business earlier this year and she’s still employed by someone else. Sarah is trying to shift from being an employee to planning events full time.

At work, colleagues and clients surround her all day so she’s worried that she’ll miss her built-in social life, but the desire to make a bigger impact on her life and her community drives her to work while she’s building her event planning business.

Sarah also fears she won’t be able to make her business profitable and make enough money to support her family.

Taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship can be challenging, especially when you know you have a steady income. One of the biggest obstacles that holds most aspiring event planners back from starting their business is the fear of not making enough money.

Having a job while you’re building your event planning business is a great way to bring in money and keep yourself on track financially while you build your business on the side.

Start Your Event Planning Business

If you’re in a similar situation, use your day job to keep a roof over your head and to learn valuable business skills that you’ll need in your event business. Watch today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV and learn 4 ways your day job can help you build a sustainable event business.

event planning courses

The other day I was speaking to an Event Planning Blueprint reader about her desire to switch careers and be an event planner full-time. She told me about her current career and how unhappy she is and how she loves planning events, and is often asked by family and friends to plan their events.

But, she was scared to leave a secure position at her company for a career in event planning because she felt she lacked the confidence and know-how to really make it work. She is considering event planning courses and wonders which one is best for her, she also wonders if being certified is necessary to her success.

Choosing Event Planning Courses

If you’re considering event planning courses, many planners waste hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of dollars on event training by making these 3 common mistakes:

Event Planning Certificate

Do you wonder whether or not it’s important to have an event planning certificate for people to take you seriously or to get started in the events industry – especially when you don’t have a lot of experience?

Let’s say you’re deeply passionate about event planning and all things related to events; you read everything you can get your hands on and spend countless hours surfing the Internet for that one piece of information that’s going to change everything for you.


You’ve never been paid to plan an event nor have you been hired by another event planner or client to plan their events. Is it necessary to get an event planning certificate so you start getting paid to plan events and feel like a professional event planner?

Alternatives to an Event Planning Certificate

That’s exactly what we’re talking about today on EventPlanning BlueprintTV. We’re sharing 2 reasons why you do not need an event planning certificate to be successful, especially when you’re starting in the industry.

Must I have an event certification to be an event planner?

No. Obtaining an event planning certification is not necessary to get started, nor will it assure you get hired. Education is important but without actually planning and managing events, you’re getting little more than theory-based information.

Find an event planning course that teaches you the basics and gain experience by planning your own events or by working with an event mentor to gain hands-on experience.

Is it more valuable to get experience in sales, marketing or even catering than it is to take a general event certification program.

Yes. Make a list of the areas where you need experience. For example, catering. Then, create a list of caterers in your area that you’d like to work with and schedule a call or send them an email introducing yourself and letting them know why you’d like to work with them, how you will benefit their business, and what you’d like to gain from the experience.

event planner salary

It’s important to price your event planning services correctly so you make money and have cash flow to keep your business alive, but how much can you expect to make? What is a ‘typical’ event planner salary?

Money isn’t the only reason you should get into event planning; things like passion, organization and people skills should also be considered. But it’s still important to know how much you can expect to make each year.

Event Planner Salary

Aside from being a celebrity event planner, and depending on where you live and what type of events you plan (weddings vs. corporate, for example), will depend on the average event planner salary you can expect to earn.

Having said that, according to payscale.com, most event planners earn an average income of $45,000/yr and salary.com says the average event planner salary is $51,216$69,887. 

Lynda, a 36-year-young retail manager switched careers because she’s dreamed about being a wedding planner for many years. She started working with a local wedding and event company outside New York City and said her base salary started at $42,000 for the first year and then increased in her second year (based on performance). Lynda had very little event experience, but she had a ton of energy and passion and her employer recognized that.

Monica has been planning events for nearly five years for a large legal firm and is paid $56,000/yr. This year she’s becoming a certified meeting planner and can expect her event planner salary to increase once she’s completed the course.

Tom started his event planning business in 2012 after leaving a job he hated. While he was nervous and scared to leave the comfort of ‘having a job’, Tom also knew that the reward of starting a business would outweigh any worries he had before he took a leap of faith. Tom had to work hard to get his name and business cards in the hands of his ideal client, but it’s paid off and his take home salary ranges between $82-105,000/year. Learn the steps to start an event planning business.

As an independent event planner, are you wondering what a typical event planner salary is, how event planners charge for their services and make money? If so, then today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV is for you.


How do event planners merge their likes and passions to sell their event services and get the clients they’re looking for?

Last week I had a strategy call with Norma, an exceptional florist who wants to turn her knack for attention to detail into an event planning business. Norma’s floral arrangements are stunning, but she’s struggling to market herself and is afraid to approach potential clients to promote her event services.

As Norma and I spoke, it occurred to me that every floral arrangement that Norma creates has a story!

Story telling is a key marketing tool when it comes to event planners selling their services and the more stories you can tell, the easier it’ll be to get clients. Stories allow us to connect and experience similarities between others and ourselves.

Storytelling To Sell Your Event Services

In Norma’s case, she’s using her Facebook page to promote her event planning (and floral arranging) talents. She’s got great client reviews and is able to share up-to-date photos of her events and the floral arrangements she’s created. With each photo she posts she’s telling the story behind the photo so her potential clients can picture themselves at the event she is planning and get a better sense of who Norma is and why they should hire her.

Norma is able to use the photos and stories of her floral arrangements to bridge the gap between what she knows (attention to detail, how to create beautiful arrangements, time management and client satisfaction) with her aspirations of merging her current services with her event services.

If you’re looking for ideas and a little inspiration to tell your story, market your event services or find your ‘why’ (or purpose), TED Talks are a great place to turn to.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Talks have been spreading knowledge and featuring thought leaders like Tony Robbins, Bono (from U2) and Bill Clinton since 1984.

From witty humor and inspiring stories, we all have something to learn from the smartest minds in the world.

(Warning – adult language used in some of the videos. :-))

So many women dream of becoming an event planner, but when they finally get the clients they worked so hard to impress, they start stressing out.

Creating a workback schedule, finding the right vendors, ongoing client meetings, creating an event budget, building an event team, and impressing your client along the way all become your top priority.

Wasn’t working for yourself supposed to be rewarding, giving you more time to spend with your friends and family, work with people you love and be in charge of making the money you deserve to have in your bank account?

As someone who has planned events and worked from a desk for most of my adult life, I understand the pressure associated with planning multiple events simultaneously and I’ve felt the pressure to create new (and interesting) twists that keep event attendees engaged.

I certainly haven’t mastered the art of how to stop stressing out while planning an event, but after years of practicing mediation and yoga I am getting better at it!

A New Twist To Planning an Event

In today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV, Sarah Vaynerman from Work from Om, shares some simple techniques to strop stressing out while planning an event and how her business helps you add a new twist to an old conference or event you’re planning.

Today’s question for EventPlanning BlueprintTV comes from a long time viewer, Sarah, who has been struggling to sell her event services and develop the communication skills she knows she needs to run her event planning business.

Here’s Sarah’s scenario…

She started her business a year ago and has a few regular event clients, but she’s lost her mojo and is struggling to communicate effectively with her clients and prospective clients.

Sarah says, “Melanie, how do I improve my communication skills so I can continue to book new event clients and grow my business? I’ve got the event skills and have been planning events for years, but I want to be on top of my game and be authentic, and that’s just not happening? Please help!”

No matter what the situation is everyone wants to be heard, right?

But that isn’t always easy, and depending on your existing communication skills and habits, it can be downright frustrating to actually hear what the other person is trying to say, to get your point across or to diffuse a heated situation.

Key To Improve Your Communication Skills

The key to improve your communication skills is to make the other person feel like they matter!

So how do you do that?

In today’s video, I share 3 quick and easy tips to improve your communication skills in one conversation, but here are a few extra special bonus tips to help you:

  1. Enthusiasm and confidence go a long way so go ahead and toot your own horn.
  2. Be clear and specific with what you want (or don’t want!).
  3. Be yourself. People gravitate to those who are authentic, and it’s so much easier to be you.
  4. Say please and thank you. I’m not sure about you but this was drilled into my upbringing and I’m so thankful for it (see what I did there? ;-)). Politeness goes a long way when communicating and acknowledging others.

Now, go ahead and watch the video and then leave your comments below…

As I sit her typing this I’m conflicted with the idea of ‘fake it ’til you make it.’ Most of us have heard this saying before and maybe even tried it. I know I have!

I remember the first time this concept really resonated with me…

It was spring and I had just broken up with my boyfriend and I was devastated. It was one of those tear your heart out kind of break ups where you listen to sad music over and over and over again and all you want to do is sit on the couch and watch Sex and The City and eat cookies and cry. Ok, I probably wanted to throw the half eaten cookies at Charlotte for being so hopeful about finding the love of her life…

then my friend suggested I fake being happy until I was again. Could I possibly fake it ’til I make it again?

fake it ’til you make it at event planning?

The problem is, how does this apply to your event planning career and not just a romance gone wrong?

I mean, it’s important to project confidence and highlight your competencies – and you know you have many – but is it an effective strategy or is fake it ’til you make it bad advice?

Appearing confident when you don’t know what you’re doing is a skill, and it doesn’t have to be misleading or feel deceitful. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to fake it ’til you make it, try these three tips that I’m sharing in today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV.

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