The Rise of Event Solopreneurs
Are you an event solopreneur? Do you want to be? Solopreneurs are seeing more success than ever before and if you’re interested, now is the perfect time to make the leap.
Do you work on your own as an event professional? Do you refer to yourself as a freelance eventprof? Or a solopreneur? Maybe even an entrepreneur? Maybe you use all of these terms interchangeably. But there are unique differences with these terms and deciding which one you are will shape how people view your business.
According to the Freelancers Union, in 2016 freelancers made up 35% of the U.S. workforce about 55 million people, up from 53 million in 2014. The term “freelancers” is used as a collective one encompassing all people working on their own as self-employed individuals across a multitude of industries.
While these numbers are impressive, there’s a difference in the event planning world between a freelancer, solopreneur, and entrepreneur.
What Is a Freelancer, Solopreneur, and Entrepreneur Event Professional?
A freelance eventprof is someone who works on their own. They may be otherwise employed and they may freelance on the side planning small events. Freelancers are exchanging their time for money. There’s a job to be done, they fill the space, do the job, and are compensated accordingly.
An entrepreneur (event professional) is similar to a freelancer in that they initially may work alone in their own event planning business. But they’re making a full-time business out of it. That’s generally where the comparison ends. Entrepreneurs are looking to create something larger than an exchange for time and money. They set their sights on creating a larger business, once they get funding or have a stable of clients. Their eyes are on the horizon and they’re performing more than a service in exchange for money.
They’re looking to create an empire that may include an event planning online community to help other event professionals or coursework for eventprofs. They may write an ebook, offer consulting services, or marketing and merchandising ideas like Colin Cowie (with his expanded hospitality and catering areas). Expansion is tops of their minds.
A solopreneur has the same drive and determination to conquer the industry that the entrepreneur does but isn’t waiting for seed money. The solopreneur takes a key from Frank Sinatra and wants to do it his/her way. While there are often plans for expanding the business past a service/money exchange, the solopreneur enjoys having an employee base of one and plans on keeping it that way. They may build a strong team of vendor and business partners but the number on the payroll will always be in the single digits and team business meetings can be held in front of a mirror.
The Rise of the Solopreneur
It’s in these ranks that we’re seeing the largest areas of growth for the event planning industry. Many event professionals are going out on their own, with no intention of bringing on additional employees. They also have their sights on the horizon with the idea of driving past the money/service exchange.
So what has contributed to this explosion of people who are taking their careers into their own hands? And why is this the ideal time to do so?
The cost of entry in starting your own business has never been lower. Event professionals don’t need a brick and mortar storefront. They can show everyone they’re ready for business with a cellphone and an Internet connection. Marketing to new clients and pitches can all be handled online.
People Recognize the Safety Net Unravels Easily
Many years ago, people felt safe working for an employer. The gutsy went out and started their own businesses, but many of us stayed employed by organizations expecting to be taken care of with healthcare benefits and 401k options.
Today, many are realizing this perceived safety net of working for someone else is not as secure as they had imagined. Companies get purchased, new management comes in, someone with a stellar performance record is dismissed because “the company is going in a different direction.” No one has to give you warning or a severance package.
Solopreneurs may not have a steady paycheck but they work for multiple clients, which means they are “safer” than people working for just one. The chances of every client deciding they no longer need your services is a lot lower than one company deciding that.
Companies Are Embracing Outsourcing
Many companies are now embracing the freedoms of using solopreneurs who are not in their employ. They pay them more because without benefits, they’re less costly in the long run. They needn’t worry about providing them office space or resources. In the Workforce 2020 survey commissioned by SAP, it showed 83% of executives plan to increase their use of solopreneurs or freelancers in the coming year, making opportunities for these groups plentiful.
Unlimited Earning Potential
When was the last time your boss gave you a 25% raise year-to-year? Probably never. Maybe you attained this kind of earning when you left one company for another if they didn’t base your salary offer on past earnings. But with a gig as a freelance event planner, you control your rates and your earning potential.
Want more money? Land more clients. There’s no middle man when you’re the boss so everything you negotiate goes to you.
Want even more money? Think of your business as a brand and ways that you can translate knowledge into opportunity. You can write an ebook, spin-off a catering partnership, create a paid online community for event professionals, produce content or training which people need and charge for it.
When you’re a freelancer, your earning potential is only limited by the hours in the day and the amount you’re willing to work. When you’re a solopreneur, you begin looking at your business as more than an exchange of time and money and you’re able to leverage your skills and knowledge to bring in revenue when you’re not working.
If you’ve been considering taking the plunge into solopreneurship, now is an ideal time. If you’re worried about the risk, remember that with outsourcing becoming more fashionable your corporate event planning job may not be as secure as you think it is. As Margaret Shepard, who has been often quoted in many an Internet image quote, said “Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”
Plan awesome events & boost your career
Join over 11,000 subscribers that use EventMB to stay on top of How to's, Trends & Event Technology.