The Downside of Becoming an Event Planner

After successfully becoming an event planner, I can tell you it’s not all fun and games.

Event planning can be fulfilling if you enjoy organizing and paying attention to detail, but there are some disadvantages to choosing this crazy career too.

Chances are each project you work on is going to be very different, so there is little chance of getting bored, and you will learn a HUGE range of skills and meet a lot of people. However, there are disadvantages to any career. So what are they in the event world?

Becoming an Event Planner

Stress – This is the most obvious disadvantage of being an event planner because no matter how prepared you are, most of the work you do will be last-minute and will constantly be changing. You need to think on your feet, make quick decisions and be prepared to take responsibility for those decisions. This is not a 9-5 job so be prepared to work long hours and weekends when necessary.

Guilt – Face it, things are bound to go wrong at some point and even when you try your hardest, not everything is in your control. For example, there have been many occasions when I’ve had a speaker cancel or celebrity not show up for his/her appearance, and there’s nothing you can do but come up with the best alternative or rearrange the schedule. Or, what about the critics? People love to find the bad and criticize so it makes all your hard work seem worthless, which can make you feel guilty for not getting it “right”. Having a thick-skin is essential in this industry.

Tight budgets – The majority of events operate under a strict budget so you’ll be under pressure not to over-spend. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who work with large companies where spending is not the primary concern. Many of my budgets have been well over $1M per event because it was more important to get it right and create a show rather than pinch pennies. Knowing what your client’s expectations are is paramount to the success of the event and ultimately your success too. Get your own event planning budget.

Boredom – Event planning can be all about ebb and flow. Sometimes you have a ton of work and other times there’s nothing in sight. The completion of an event can be satisfying but it’s the slow periods between each event where boredom sets in. It’s also the time to catch up on administrative work, which doest bring the adrenaline rush we love and have become accustomed to.

Low pay – Depending on where you work and who you work for, there may be limited opportunities and the pay scale is typically low to start. It can take years of experience to increase your salary. “According to data from Salary.com in March 2010, the national (US) average base salary for an event planner falls between $47,000 and $64,000 per year.” (About.com)

As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, becoming an event planner is a great career!
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