How to Start an Event Planning Business from Home
Many Event Planners start out working from home. This can be a great model for setting up an event planning business as it keeps overheads down in those critical early stages of trading and can maximise productivity. If you are considering whether it could work for you and how to make a success of it, here are some things to think about.
When I set up my Event Management company over 10 years ago I started working from home. It seemed like a natural choice and it meant that instead of worrying about paying expensive office rent in the early stages I could focus on building my business. It worked for me and I worked from home for over a year before outgrowing my home office and renting an office.
Many other Event Planners, Wedding Planning and Freelance Event Managers report the same and find it a workable solution for them – either for the short or the long term. Others just don’t seem able to imagine the realities of working from a home base and I have been quizzed and insulted in equal measures by people trying to understand the intricacies of working from home!
An Event Planner can work from almost anywhere if you have a laptop, internet and mobile phone. Most important are your personality and event management skills. Starting out by working from home keeps costs lower as renting office space can be a huge outgoing for a fledgling business and you may not wish to be tied into a long term rent contract from the outset.
Starting from home gives a new business the best possible start during those important early months.
Au Revoir Work Commute!
Commuting to work every day can be time consuming and stressful in terms of both time and travelling expenses and is a part of the day that many would not miss. By working from home you are not only potentially saving on your monthly travel outlay but you are probably removing the big city temptations which are so easy to fritter away money on (coffee, cake, and other high street temptations). Most important though you become more time rich.
If your daily rush hour commute was an hour each way this gives you the chance to extend the productivity of your working day by a whole two hours (if you want to) in the blink of an eye!
Set up a specific workspace which can be your dedicated work area. Ideally have a room that you can close the door on at the end of the day, rather than being reminded about the mounds of paperwork on your desk and hearing the phone ring afterhours!
You can design the space based on your work preferences. Perhaps you want to use a room with a view or perhaps staring at a brick wall would be better for your concentration. Think about what furniture you will need to work – desk, chair, phone, answer machine, shelves/filing cabinet, etc.
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you should be any less disciplined. As well as working set office hours some people still choose to dress as if they were still going to an office job everyday. In a creative industry such as the event industry I don’t necessarily agree with this – it makes sense for me to dress more casually on non-client facing days at the office – but do whatever works for you.
When working from home the most frequent questions I used to get asked is “how do you concentrate on working from home with the lure of daytime television?” and “do you work in your pyjamas?”
I think people that asked these questions completely missed the whole point that you are WORKING from home. If you are working for yourself it means that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid! It is up to you but no one else is going to pay your salary for you. Furthermore in my experience running your own business keeps you busy, busy, busy. Organising events is a time consuming operation and organising events and running your own business doesn’t give any time for slacking!
I actually found the opposite in terms of discipline – it is actually hard to switch off and working from home can fudge your work-life balance as the lines are blurred between the two. Whether you struggle to focus or struggle to switch off though discipline has to be key!
One of the things we struggled with as our business grew was storage space. We invested in bigger and better printers, event equipment, marketing materials, banners and so forth, but this investment also takes up space. Furthermore our regular clients increasingly wanted us to hold some of their materials and banners between events which put a further strain on storage space.
When event boxes of literature started taking over the lounge every time we had delegate folders to collate ahead of an event we realised it was time to move to a more purpose built office solution.
I find that many of our clients prefer us to travel to their offices to meet but if you ever need a space to meet and your home office isn’t large enough/suitable enough there are plenty of coffee shops, hotels and meeting places which offer a convenient place to meet face to face so this need never be a concern.
One of the biggest perks of working from home is the productivity element. As event deadlines get close hours are often long for an event planner and it is great to feel safe in your own home and able to carry on working for as long as you need to. Likewise if you have international conference calls across time zones it is convenient to be able to do this from the luxury of your home office.
Home Working Perks
Don’t forget to update and take out the relevant insurance policies as you should with any business working from a home or office base.
There are however many other perks to working at home too – for example paying no or reduced business rates, tax relief and off-setting a percentage of your household running expenditure through the business. These elements will of course vary from country to country so do look into the realities of this before you take the plunge.
Perhaps you are currently employed but wanting to test the water by starting to develop your own client base and run your own events for people? You may be part of the rise of 5 to 9 entrepreneurs – those that work evenings and weekend to get their own business off the ground.
Or you may have decided that you want to be your own boss and are simply itching to go it alone.
I hope this article has given you some thoughts to consider and motivation if you are looking to start your own Event Planning Business from home. I would love to hear your advice and experiences of this in the comments below.