Do you feel the need to bid on every job that comes along, and win the bid at all costs?

It’s true: you need to get the job to be able to showcase your skills and start building a great reputation. But how can you do a great job if you are putting too much pressure on yourself?

What I learned from earning $1.50/hr

You are going to have some learning experiences along the way. I once took on a project, working with Home Depot and Mike Holmes (seen on Ellen and HGTV) of Holmes on Homes, that by the time it was finished, I was earning about $1.50 per hour. Clearly, I had not considered all that would be required to complete the project when I submitted my proposal. I quoted a price that would win the project, as I desperately wanted to land my first independent job. Inexperience required me to do more hours of work than I had expected. In the end, my client was thrilled with the outcome, but I was exhausted and didn’t make any money.

This experience was incredibly defeating. It made me question whether or not I actually had what it takes to make it on my own. I questioned whether or not I knew how to do the job at all.

When starting out in your own business, make sure you are bidding on projects that:

1. You have an interest in doing, not just an interest in a pay check. If you can’t stand planning tradeshows, how effective are you truly going to be? Are you going to be happy with the quality of your work?

2. Match your skill set. If you have never booked a citywide convention, this may not be a good choice for your first project on your own. Stick to what is more familiar for your first few bids or partner with someone who has more experience.

3. Meet your income expectations. Don’t under bid just to get a project. Recognize the value you bring to the table. Be confident in your abilities and take the time to complete a budget prior to bidding. You can find a detailed event planning budget here.

This isn’t to say that you should never challenge yourself with a bigger or new type of project, or that you shouldn’t negotiate with clients on price. You won’t be bidding on or winning every project, but you will feel better about the projects you do win.

Don’t sell yourself short, and your event planning business and reputation will grow without losing sight of your values. This will enable you to create stellar events that you can truly be proud of.

Insider Tip: Join a meeting and event planning association. The membership will give you access to seminars, other event planning professionals to discuss ideas and challenges with, and you might even find a mentor to help guide you in your new venture. Some of the associations I’ve been involved with and recommend: your local chapters of ISES (International Special Events Society) and MPI (Meeting Planners International).

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As always, thanks for joining me.

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