One of the most common questions I receive through the blog & social media is, "How did you get to where you are today in the events industry?"
Simple. I got involved at a very young age and have never stopped since then. When I say get involved, I mean, join organizations in the industry, attend networking events, plan your own events, contract out with other event production companies, meet anyone & everyone you can...
basically, GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE.
START CONNECTING NOW.
I started my career in Austin, Texas as a Sophomore in college. I was working for free at an event production company to gain as much experience as I could, knowing it would be beneficial in the future. To pay the bills I had to take on other jobs as well. I figured I might as well contract out with other vendors in the industry to gain even more experience. When I didn't have events to work, I was assisting florists or shadowing wedding photographers, By doing this, I was able to understand other aspects involved in the event planning process. Years later when it was time to graduate and become a full time Event Planner, I had a tremendous amount of experience that most 20 year olds would never get and formed relationships with our vendor partners before I was officially hired. Hard work pays off, that's for damn sure.
I quickly joined organizations in the events industry. I already had my go-to vendor partners, but I wanted to know everyone, and I wanted everyone to know me! Joining these organizations wasn't necessarily to attract clients, but more to connect with the industry in our area. Plus, they are FUN! Most of the organizations put on happy hours to network or educational events to attend. I have heard some of the most well-known event planners speak and motivate, which has also brought me to where I am today.
A national organization that I would highly recommend would be the International Live Events Association (ILEA). I joined the Austin chapter when I first started and transferred to the San Francisco chapter after I moved to the Bay Area. This is the largest event organization in the country to be a member of. The organization provides countless numbers of educational events, happy hours, networking events, national conferences, and even an annual gala for each chapter. It's not only important to join these organizations, but to become involved in them. Start out joining a committee, then become the chair of a committee, then become a board member, and just continue to grow in the industry.
If you haven't read my blog post on the ILEA NCC Gala 2016, go check it out. You can get a sneak peek of the organization and the fun that we have!
You know what's better than planning a client's event? Planning your own event! I decided to start partnering up with people in the industry & planning smaller events in the area that are open to the public. I put together bridal shows, bridal happy hours, yoga & wine nights, women empowerment nights, etc. This is when social media comes in handy. Create a Facebook page or event page and promote it in the local area. By doing this, I was constantly meeting new people who were interested in what I was offering. This got my name out there, and that's when referrals start to definitely kick in!
My biggest piece of advice would be, BE SOCIAL & GET INVOLVED! If you have any questions or want to share what's helped you gain success in the industry, feel free to comment below.
The Event Planner
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