So you want to quit your job to start your own event planning company (or any other one) but you have no money and no clients, yet. What do you do?
Have a roof over your head and food to eat
Firstly, if you’re going to quit your job, make sure you have some back up. This doesn’t necessarily have to be cash, but a family or someone that is willing to maintain a roof over your head and food on your table. If you don’t have that, then you will need to ensure you have some cash back up to keep yourself going through your start up phase, this will be a minimum of a year – two years, depending on your company.
This back up, in whatever form is comes is essential! It’s essential because you will need all the energy and focus to get clients and start earning an income.
For an events company, you should be earning a small income within your first year to at least cover some costs.
Once you’ve figured out your back up, quit your job! It will be the scariest but most liberating thing you’ve ever done, but a word of caution, you will now work 24/7. Be prepared!
What makes your company unique
The next step is to figure out what your unique selling point (USP) is, what sets you apart from all the other event coordinators. As JamJar, our USP is customer service, efficiency and pushing the boundaries. We are willing to go the extra mile for our customers and promise to push ourselves as we create concepts and experiences that are truly one of a kind for the customer.Once you have your USP, start using your contacts. Your first job is likely to be someone you know. If you do a good job, the word will start to spread. E-mail people you know and ask them to recommend you. Send out your company profile to people and test their reaction to your information.
Be realistic and original. People can tell when you are trying too hard or being fake. Initially, you may need to take a few jobs that you do not make much money from but is worth value in terms of marketing, building your portfolio and experience for yourself. Keep note of this, however: there will become a point where you no longer need exposure, and exposure won’t pay your bills. Be aware of your business and your value and continue to reflect. Once you reach that point, own it and do not be ashamed.
Listening is key
Until you reach that point, continue to work, listen and learn from your jobs and experiences. Make sure the experience of working with you is memorable from when the person first takes your card to the end product. This is everything! Even when something goes wrong or you have a difficult customer, remember your response is key and will last forever.
People will tell 4 out of 10 people about a positive experience but 8 out of 10 for a negative experience.
Get to bookkeeping
Slowly you will start to increase the number of customers you have, do your best to keep them. As you start to grow, make sure you have a good financial system, this does not have to be fancy. Keep track of what you are receiving and what you are spending.
The event planning industry is one that is not heavily reliant on start up equipment – your brain and a piece of paper are all you need to be organised, efficient, and reliable, the main characteristics an organiser should have. Take advantage of this fact, it means your start up capital required is much less and you can pace the growth of your company.
Share with like-minds
Lastly, Collaborate. Collaboration is powerful if you are strategic. Don’t just collaborate because someone asks you to. Collaboration usually means you will foot the bill for whatever you are willing to contribute to the project, or provide your time for free.
Be sure you are prepared to lose or not gain as much as you hoped. Moreover, make sure you do what you can and get the most as much as possible for your brand while working with your collaborators.
Good luck starting up and enjoy the journey!