how to start an event planning business

How To Start An Event Planning Business: A Beginner’s guide

Elena Hudgens
By Elena Hudgens 17 Min Read

Event planning is a necessary part of any business. Whether you’re starting a small business or growing an established one, event planning is an important skill to have. You need to be organized, know your guests, and have a plan for every eventuality. If you don’t have all the answers to these questions, you won’t be able to start planning an event successfully. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at a step by step guide on how to start an event planning business and some of the most common event planning tips and advice. 

Step 1: Get relevant skills 

Before you think about how to start an event planning business, you must think about whether you have the relevant skills and experience. Anyone with event planning experience has the potential to offer a better service to their clients. This doesn’t just apply to event planners, any business skills and experience will make you more rounded as a business owner. Use this data-driven learning opportunity to learn what works and what you would do differently in your own business venture.

You will need to have proficient communication skills, be organized and manage time well, be skilled at negotiation, budget management, public relations, have a stronghold on marketing, and have a sense of creativity. 

Step 2: Become a certified event planner

You can choose any of these certifications:

1. Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Certification

The CMP is an important certification program that will help you earn a higher salary than your uncertified counterparts. The convention industry council establishes the CMP, and it covers planning, site management, event design, marketing, and international standards. Those who have completed the CMP will be in a better position to manage events more efficiently and effectively.

2. Certified Special Events Professionals (CSEP) Certification

A certification from the International Live Events Association (ILEA) can give you access to industry newsletters and a structured network that can help you build out your resources. However, there is an expertise requirement (three years in the event planning industry) before you can take this certification.

3. Certification in Meeting Management (CMM)

The CMM is a complete training program that takes approximately 15 weeks. You’ll have to travel to Indiana in order to get it, but its value is great nonetheless. People with a CMM make about $30,000 per year more than those without it (and $20,000 per year more than those with the CMP certification).

Step 3: Research about the target market

Before you start planning your next event, it’s important to know who your guests are. You need to have a good idea of who your target audience is and what type of events they would be interested in. You can do this by asking friends, family, or acquaintances if they know of any upcoming events that interest them. You can also look up event calendars online or in your local paper to find out what’s happening in the area.

When you think about how to start an event planning business, you might imagine birthday parties and weddings but those arent the only types of events. Corporate and social events are two different types of planning services. Corporate events are for companies, while social events are for nonprofits and charity organizations. Corporate events are gatherings of businesses and nonprofit organizations to celebrate and support each other. These events can be held for a variety of reasons such as expanding the reach of a charity’s public support base, raising funds, or celebrating an event victory.

Social events are gatherings of people to celebrate a particular event. They can include weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, sweet 16 parties, children’s parties (just for kids), reunions, and more. The market for social events is expected to continue increasing over the next few years as baby boomers grow older. 

It’s important to know what you’re good at before beginning your job search. This way, you can focus on offering excellent services instead of trying to be something that is too many things. A general title makes it much harder for potential clients to differentiate between you and other competitors, which will result in more sales!

While you may be urging to offer a variety of services, your reason for wanting to handle a full range of events is based on your collective previous experiences. For example, if you have handled corporate events before and are familiar with their quirks and requirements, then you can handle social or nonprofit events better than someone who has never been involved in such an industry. In time, you may handle several types of events, but initially recognize that there are particular differences between corporate, association, and social events. Determine your market accordingly after you learn the process behind how to start an event planning business.

Step 4: Create a business plan

Starting your own business is not as glamorous as it seems. In order to be successful, you will need a business plan. Several resources are available to help you develop this plan – for example, online calendars and planners, or books on how to start an event planning business. The U.S Small Business Administration publishes materials about writing business plans.

A business plan is a plan of action that a business owner can use to organize and present their plans to investors. A detailed, step-by-step plan is usually presented in an investor presentation. It should contain information on your target market, your goals and mission, offered services, your vision for the business, a plan to achieve that vision to reality, your budget, funding, and prices. There are several business planning tools that can help you plan your business. 

Step 5: Decide your type of business entity

It’s important to determine your business structure when you first start planning your event planning business. This is because there are a variety of different types of businesses that can be successful in the event management industry, and it’s important to make sure you select the right one for your plan. You’ll need to secure professional advice in order to find this out. The different kinds of business entities recognized by the United States IRS are Sole proprietor, C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Partnership, Trust and Non-profit organization

Step 6: Get the relevant licenses to start an event planning business

When starting an event planning business, it is important to research the licensing requirements in your state. This is a step a lot of people miss out on when asked how to start an event planning business. This will help you understand what types of permits and licenses are necessary in order to operate the business.SBA has a page that provides information about state licenses and permits for event planning businesses. Click here.

In order to avoid any legal disputes, Event Planning businesses should require their clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should specify clearly client expectations and minimize the risk of potential misunderstandings. It is also important that the service agreement document defines Payment Terms and Conditions, Service Level Agreement Requirements, and Intellectual Property Ownership.

Step 7: Raise funds for your event planning business

It is important to have access to a comfortable amount of cash while setting up your business. When establishing your business, it is also important to have enough money in order to cover living expenses and start making profits.

Click here for a list of the top fundraising sites to help you raise funds for your event planning business. 

Step 8: Acquire insurance for your business

Business owners should secure general liability and other forms of insurance to protect their interests. Several types of insurance exist, so it is best to speak with an advisor about this before getting started. 

If you have liquor liability insurance, Event Insurance also offers the option to add liquor liability coverage. This coverage will provide you with legal fees and damages incurred because of damage or injury caused by alcohol consumption at your BYOB or open-bar event.

Businesses require Workers’ Compensation Insurance in order to protect their financial wellbeing. This insurance policy helps cover employees who are injured on the job, no matter what the cause.

Step 9: Acquire an EIN and get registered

To register yourself for state and federal taxes, getting an EIN (Employee Identification Number) is necessary. It is completely free and could be done with a third-party agency too. Click here to apply. 

You should also start a business bank account that will separate your business-related assets from your personal card. It should come with a business credit card. 

Step 10: Develop connections with suppliers

It can be tricky to choose the right supplier for an event. Event planners work with a variety of suppliers, including caterers, florists, photographers, and more.

You may believe that you can manage all tasks but finally, you will need to develop a network of resources in order to support your events and overall operations. This includes staffing resources for administrative, sales, marketing, communications, legal, accounting, and other functions.

Step 11: Choose a pricing structure

It’s important to determine your fee structure before starting your business. Many independent and small event planners should make a conscious effort of developing various ways to cover their expenses and make a reasonable profit. After all, this will help keep you in business for five years from now! Most event planners charge based on a flat fee, hourly rate, percentage of expenses, and commissions.

Step 12: Start marketing your brand

A strong brand is a key to a successful business. It will help your business stand out from competitors and be seen as the best choice by potential clients. Marketing and promotion of your business will rely on highlighting its strengths or areas of focus. You will need to use social media outlets to supply pictures and videos of your events, connect with prospective clients, and book events for future dates! You can also link to your website so that potential customers have more information about what you’re all about! In order to provide a professional level of service and maintain an impeccable relationship with your customers, you need to be able to satisfy their desires. This will determine how many returning customers you’ll have. Here is a list of the most important marketing tools for your business

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How To Start An Event Planning Business: A Beginner’s guide 3

What event planning tips do you need to know?

1. Know your guests: Before you start planning any event, you need to know who will be attending. Guest lists are a great way to determine the size and type of event you want to hold, as well as the budget you’ll have available.

2. Are your guests aware of your event? Make sure all your guests know about the event and what it entails before they arrive. This will help make sure everyone understands what’s happening and is on board with the idea of hosting an event.

3. Create a plan: once you have a list of guests, it’s important to create a plan for each one. This will help you figure out how many people will be attending, where they should be seated, and when they should arrive. It also gives you a rough idea of the cost of an event.

4. Have everything under control: if you can keep your events on track and stay organized, you’ll be able to pull off an amazing event without any problems. By following these simple tips, you can create an amazing event that everyone will enjoy.

Tips for being organized

One of the most important things you can do to start planning an event successfully is to be organized. This means having a basic plan for each step of the event and being able to track all the information you need in order to make sure everything goes as planned.

If you don’t have this kind of system in place, you will quickly find yourself lost in the planning process and unable to carry out your goals. You also won’t be able to track who attended your event and when they arrived. This can lead to a lot of frustration and wasted time.

Tips for having a plan for every eventuality

One of the most important things you need to do when starting an event planning business is to have a plan for every eventuality. This means knowing what you want your event to look like, who your guests are, and what kind of setup you’ll need. You also need to be organized and know your resources. If you don’t have all the answers to these questions, you won’t be able to start planning an event successfully.


This is a ravishing time to be in your profession! Many innovative developments are reshaping how events are done. If you enjoy being creative and strategic at the same time, the event planning business is an excellent field for you to put to use your unique event planning solutions. Now that you have read our guide on how to start an event planning business, you have your business model in place, a sense of what services you offer (price-wise), a feeling that you understand how much work goes into running your business – all this before beginning the development of important marketing materials (business cards, stationery, website design, etc.), it’s hard not to see why this would be one of the best industries for someone interested in event management.

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Posted by Elena Hudgens
Elena Hudgens is an entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience. She started her journey by building her own e-commerce website on Shopify and turned her $1000 savings to millions in just 2 years. Soon she started different ventures in which she failed and succeeded. And now, she's on a mission to help other entrepreneurs with her life and business lessons.
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