11 Things I Learned about Planning Events and How to Avoid Them!

EventSoJudith, logo, event designer, wedding planner, I get it, you planned the family's annual Thanksgiving dinner party. Your favorite cousin is still praising that dessert table you put together. You even took one of those quizzes off of Facebook, you know the one that test how ready you are to be a wedding planner and you score 98%.  Jennifer Lopez's, The Wedding Planner, was on Lifetime over the weekend. All the signs are pointing to a change in career.

So 2016 will be your year! You declare. The year you will take the leap  and follow your dreams. The year you really going to invest in your second career. That's great but before you do that, read what I've learned in my journey and try to avoid some of the early mistakes that I've made.

I'm not trying to steer you away from your dreams, but make sure that this is something you really want to do. Because the work that goes into been an event planner is nothing like what you see in the movies. In fact, what you usually see is the "finish" stage. Not the the preparation, the endless calls, the crazy request, oh yeah you still have a full time job and a family.

As I walk in my journey, I'm learning a lot about myself and the business. I'm more selective with who I work with and for. I love my blog more. Oh yes, I designed and re-designed until I LOVE looking at it. My topics range have grown from simple dinner parties to weddings to corporate functions. It's all a learning process. By the way, thank you again for taking this journey with me by following me, reading and subscribing to this blog, and well, hiring me.The best is yet to come.

But before that, here what I've learned and how you can avoid them:

Lesson #1: First and foremost, NOT everyone will support or understand your dream. The road will be paved with,

"that's not a real job,"
"who do you think you are?"
"you have responsibilities and no time for game,"
"are you sure you can do this?"

Oh yes, and some might come from that favorite cousin you did that awesome dessert table for. 
Solution: Buy ear phones. Okay maybe not really, but pretend you have them on. Your journey is YOURS and don't expect everyone to understand it or follow along with you. Also take stock of who you're talking to. Mot people are afraid to go against the grain in the first place, so naturally they will suggest you don't either. Don't hold on to long to the disappointment when your family and friends are not as supportive as they should be. Appreciate those who do and keep it moving. I did.
Goals, EventSoJudith, Quotes

Lesson #2: Are you a planner? vendor? designer? rental company? or coordinator?

Solution:  Yes there is a difference between them. Early on I tried to do it all and I quickly  learned that doing it all required two extra set of arms, extra ears, and extra nerves. Learn the difference and compare them to your strength. A lot of the skills may overlap but one specialty may require more of one than the others.

Lesson #3: Minor in psychology

Solution: Oh yes, you will become a non-willing therapist. I worked with a bride who was on the verge of tears as she explained the importance of her wedding and how this time around she wanted everything to be perfect, because her first wedding (the ceremony, I assume she was talking about) wasn't. I worked with another who didn't want her in-laws help, even though they were somewhat offering. That's just part of the job, and you have and should listen. Your clients chose you for a reason, most likely your personality sold them on your services (aside from your designs), they like you and trust you. Taking the time to listen and sprinkle some advice here and there will build a long lasting relationship with your clients.

Lesson #4: Mix and Match
Solution: No I'm not talking about patterns, or maybe I am. Everyone taste is different and don't be surprise if your guest taste goes from classy to wacky. From black and white to rainbow overload. The only thing you can do is find the best way possible to incorporate their ideas and bring it to life.

Lesson #5: Vendors beware!
Solution: Yes you will be dealing with them, some more professional than others. Be ready to read all the fine prints, make your expectations clear as glass, and don't be scared to ask questions especially if this is your first time working with them. As a planner my job is to make sure I bring the best vendors a.k.a team together for the budget and the design that my client envision. Not every vendor will be able to deliver on that. I made the mistake of having a "to-go-to vendor" for all and I ran into a lot of issues with that. Let's put it this way, have a back up and a back up for that back up. Nothing worst than waiting for a quote from a vendor for weeks, while that nervous client is waiting, texting, and calling you. You risk losing clients like that. HAVE A BACK UP and multiple sources. Mix and match your services to get the best fit possible.

Stay strong, Party, eventsojudith, blogger,

Obstacle #6: IRS, taxes, numbers or my!
Solution: IRS have been giving people nightmares for years. Get to know them. At the beginning you will be the secretary, receptionist, delivery man or woman, accountant, marketing department, Social Media SEO department and whatever else must be done. But don't forget those taxes. Uncle Sam don't care how much experience you got, all they want to know, how much income you are reporting to them. Sucks, right. But that's life. The government wants a part of your business (even though they are not willing to invest in it). Get a great tax accountant. If you've been using the same tax person for years, see if they can help you set what need to be set up with IRS, like Sales Tax Certificates, registering your business, and getting a Tax ID. Do your own research. Call the Department of Revenue. Go on Government sites for small businesses. What does your state required from you. DO RESEARCH.

Lesson #7: The Business
Solution: Understand the business. No one wants to deal with a planner or event designer who doesn't know what a charger is or knows nothing about flowers. Now I'm no florist or expert, but I can tell the difference between Hydrangeas, Orchids, and Calla Lillies. If you can tag a long with a planner or designer to get gist of the business, it will be great. 

Lesson #8: Goodbye 9-5
Solution: Yes, say goodbye because your hours will be anything but 9-5. Even if you're not dealing with clients, you will be dealing with marketing, social media, research. But take the time for yourself. For me, Sundays are family days. I avoid doing any type of work on Sundays. I'm a mother first, so between basketball, projects, reading and writing and catching up on the latest Jake and The Neverland Pirates, I sneak in some R&R. You know the quote, late nights, early mornings. So very true.

Lesson #9: Money Money Mo-ney
Solution: The scales will not be balance! Meaning at the beginning, you will spend more than you bring in and that's okay. That's business. Don't sale your services for free (which I've done) but don't be despair if you're not on Forbes list. That takes time. I'm not there yet. I've checked my bank account.

Lesson #10: CONSISTENCY? 
Solution: Don't give up! I know that sounds like a cliche but for real, DON'T GIVE UP. At times all odds will be against you and you have to find a another way. The road to success is not a straight road. Go over, around, through, under, between your obstacles. HAVE FAITH.

Lesson #11: Highlight wheels
Solution: Don't compare yourself to others. I know another cliche but the truth is some people have great photo tricks and photo apps on their smartphone and let's be honest, there's a lot of people "burrowing" someone else pictures (the ugly truth behind social media). So that beautiful tablescape may not be what you think or designed by who you think. I myself can appreciate and showcase someones else work without claiming it as my own. That's deceiving and your clients will see right through it.


Take some time to yourself WHENEVER you need it. Remember these are my lessons, I'm sure there countless of other industry insiders who would give you their eleven lessons they've learned. Take notes, research, keep going, (follow this blog), and have fun. You saw what I did there?

Seriously people, don't rush your success. So you didn't get this client, figure out why so the next time you won't repeat it. Make it a family business. My 5 year old is my very silent partner. I think he's planning a takeover because he has a lot more opinions than he should. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this post and:

eventsojudith, happy, blogger, happiness


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Welcome! First thank you for taking the time to stop by my little corner of this world. This is the place to be if you're a bride-to-be, hostess, wedding & event planner or anyone who loves the art of entertaining. You can expect to find great posts from industry professionals, as well as my own designs and all the tools you need to plan your perfect event. You can always reach me via email at judith@eventsojudith.com. Don't forget to subscribe and share this blog around.

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