How To Be An Event Planner Without A Degree

Blog Banner How to become an event planner

Imagine having to attend concerts, organizing networking opportunities at corporate events and witnessing a wedding as a job. Being an event planner sure is an exciting career path. Unlike an ordinary office job, not a day as an event planner is the same. People who want to meet new people, witness cool events, and create experiences aspire to enter an events career. If you’re just starting as a professional event planner or want to start your own event planning business, here is a comprehensive guide on how to be an event without a degree. 

Event planners are the point of contact for the event. They usually wear many hats and carry heavy expectations from clients and stakeholders. Even if you don’t have a degree in events management, it is helpful to take note of the following ways to jumpstart your career.

Ways on How To Be an Event Planner Without a Degree

Get Certification

An event planning certification can give you a strong foundation for everything in event planning, even if you don’t have a degree. There are different event planning certifications and courses that you can choose from that fits your needs. When you’re a certified event planner, you can market yourself better with added credibility. Clients may trust you more, given the fact that you had the professional training from your certification.

Learn the Basics

Learn the basics of event planning to get a feel for what you can focus on. Event planners handle different types of event planning services. Explore your potential event planning expertise by taking lessons and immersing yourself in event planning experiences on event design, logistics, event marketing, vendor management, event budget, venue selection, and registration or ticketing.

3 Ways to Gain Experience as an Event Planner

Your clients will trust you with important events once they see that you have previous experience in event planning. Since event planning is a very hands-on career, one does not become an event planner through mere head knowledge. Instead, valuable skills are developed through experiences. Here are some ways how to gain event planning experience as a beginner:

1. Internship

Start by researching companies or job sites that are actively looking for help in the event planning industry. Consider venues, vendors in the events industry, event planning firms, marketing companies, and other organizations that resonate with your ideal career or chosen event management services. 

Be flexible and open-minded with the opportunities for internships to gain expertise. If you choose to intern at a trusted event firm, it is a starting chance for you to get more clients. 

Alternatively, when you can’t find a big corporate firm, you can choose a startup that can also boost your knowledge in the industry and have a feel of doing different aspects of the event.

2. Volunteer

Similar to internships, you can go to different organizations and offer your services to them. You can also start with a local nonprofit organization looking for volunteers or a church event you are a member of. Aside from reaching out to organizations, you can contact event planners and volunteer to do work for them. 

3. Part-time

If you have a full-time job or your time is divided into other tasks, you can start by applying for part-time positions. Be willing to start with an entry-level position in an event planning company to gain experience.

Consider LinkedIn for job opportunities. Click on relevant hashtags like #hiring, #eventprofs, etc to see relevant posts in the events industry.

You can also register with event staffing agencies that specialize in hiring temporary event staff for various roles, including event planning, registration, guest services, and logistics. These agencies often have a wide range of part-time opportunities available for aspiring event planners.

Develop Soft Skills

An event planner’s soft skills are equally, if not more, important than the technical skills they aim to develop in event planning. Events are all about dealing with people and creating memories that will resonate with attendees. Soft skills like problem-solving, negotiation, and communication are some of the must-have skills of event planners. Event circumstances can be unpredictable so the ability to solve problems and think creatively can contribute to the success of the event. 

Additionally, event planners will deal with negotiation with vendors for contracts, venues, services, etc. Negotiation is a powerful skill that needs to be intentionally learned and developed. 

Finally, communication skills are essential for conveying event details to clients, coordinating with vendors and staff, and managing attendee expectations. Strong communication skills enable event planners to articulate their ideas effectively, build rapport with stakeholders, and ensure that everyone involved is on the same page throughout the planning process.

Build Networks

Three event planners in a round table planning for an event

The next way to get into event planning without a degree is to build strong networks in the industry. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth from professionals. People trust people especially when they recommend someone. Event planners gain a strong network when they are satisfied with your service. 

One way to build a network is through mentorship. Attend industry events and trade shows to meet new people. Participate in activities or networking events that are relevant to the industry you’re trying to enter. You can also be proactive and reach out to your current network or potential mentors. Express your interest in learning from their expertise and ask if they would be open to providing mentorship.

Another way to build strong connections is through partnerships. Emphasize the mutual benefits of the partnership, showcasing how both parties stand to gain from collaborating. Whether it’s sharing resources, expanding networks, or reaching new audiences, illustrates how the partnership can create value for everyone involved.

For example, an aspiring event planner can reach out to an event planning firm to volunteer her services. In return, the firm can give her a testimonial review or promote her services to their network or other clients. 

Market Yourself Effectively

Marketing one’s self is very important to stand out among the competition. In business, even the most exceptional product or service will remain undiscovered without effective marketing to bring it to the attention of potential customers.

Show professionalism by starting your portfolio website. Use effective copywriting techniques that showcase the impact and result that you can deliver to your clients. Add a clear call to action and include social proof from other people you’ve worked with. 

On your website, include your portfolio. Your portfolio can feature the best events you’ve handled. Share the story of your event planning process that highlights your skills. Provide detailed case studies or success stories that showcase your problem-solving skills and innovative solutions. Describe the challenges you faced, how you overcame them, and the outcomes achieved for the client.

Produce valuable content addressing your niche audience’s challenges, engage on social media, write newsletters for email or print, and provide helpful comments and resources tailored to their needs, fostering trust and increasing the likelihood of conversion. For example, if you specialize in corporate event planning, create blog posts offering tips for organizing successful corporate functions, and engage with industry professionals on LinkedIn by sharing insights and offering solutions to common pain points.

Stay Updated with the Latest Trends and Tools

Look for resources on how to get into events planning on streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, etc. Some podcasts you can check out are the Better Events Podcasts, Event Obsessed, and the Eventscast Podcast. You can also subscribe to newsletters from Event Marketer, Exhibitor, and Meeting Professionals International

You can also follow event professionals or industry leaders on X or LinkedIn or read helpful books like Event Planner: How to Start a Full-Service Event Planning Business by J.H Dies and Event Planning and Management: Principles, Planning, and Practice by Ruth Dowson.

For tools, be familiar with trusted software that can help you with your event planning process. A tool that every event uses is the ticketing or event registration platform. Most event-selling platforms charge unnecessary commission fees. Be knowledgeable and increase revenue for your events by choosing a ticketing platform like Event Espresso or Event Smart

Understand the Importance of Sales and Revenue in Event Planning

Clients organize events to achieve a specific KPI or goal. For them to entrust their event planning service to you, you must communicate your knowledge about the fundamental aspects of sales, marketing, and revenue operations.

By familiarizing yourself with your clients’ sales processes, target audience demographics, and marketing strategies, you can tailor your event planning approach to maximize profitability. This might involve incorporating sales-focused elements into the event program, leveraging targeted marketing campaigns to attract potential customers, or optimizing sponsorship opportunities to boost revenue streams.

Pieces of Advice from Experienced Event Planners

Are you seeking practical advice on how to get into event planning? We’ve compiled quotes on what successful event planners have to say that can help in your event planning career.

  • Think a few steps ahead throughout the planning process

“Booking far in advance can help secure better concessions and additional space.” -Mariella Irivarren, B.A., CMP

Events require a lot of planning and booking with different vendors. Avoid unnecessary stress by acting early and booking in advance. 

  • Maximize the available tools to keep improving your events

One of the primary areas where AI can make a significant impact is data analysis. Advanced algorithms can crunch vast amounts of data to provide valuable insights into attendee preferences, helping you tailor your events to specific demographics. – Jo Ferreday

Event planners do not need to fear AI because it can be a helpful tool that can boost their productivity. Some functions of AI can be helpful for branding, content ideas, replies to stakeholders, etc.

  • Build valuable networks in the events industry

Network like your career depends on it. Developing a reputation for being reliable, having integrity, and being professional in your interactions (don’t forget to add your personality), will allow others to see what value you add to any workplace and project.  – Amanda McNeil

  • The impact of events extends beyond the event proper

When I go to events I add folks to my ActiveCampaign CRM in a pipeline that has a stage “Event Follow-up” with any notes I took. 

I have a trigger set so when folks get added to that stage, my sales automation triggers a Bonjoro task (personal video email) on my phone and 2-3 days after the event I will shoot a quick 1:1 video to all the folks to follow up in a personalized way. 

If I don’t hear back, I still have them in the CRM and can set follow-up tasks in the months ahead. – Casey Hill

  • Consider sales and revenue in your event planning

Learn how to make other people money.  None of the skills listed above relate to sales, marketing, and revenue operations, but those skills are the most valuable when developing events for clients who sell things. 

If you don’t understand how your client’s business makes money, you really can’t support their event’s financial goals and objectives. -Mike Duseberg

In conclusion, there are many different ways you can be an event planner without a degree. You can consider getting a certification, building your network, marketing yourself, developing soft skills, and familiarizing yourself with event tools and event industry news. 

Use a Registration Tool Trusted by Event Planners

A computer screen featuring a registration page for a carpentry event

Show your technical expertise by familiarizing yourself with the must-have tools of event planners. When it comes to ticket selling and event registration choose Event Espresso or Event Smart for any event. 

Why Event Espresso?

Event Espresso is a WordPress plug-in for event websites that use WordPress. For non-WordPress users, you can use a similar website called Event Smart. You don’t have to create an event website from scratch with Event Smart. Both platforms feature no commission fees on unlimited tickets sold. 

Enjoy features like custom registration forms, secure payment collection systems, discount code options, and more. Start planning your events now with Event Espresso. Check out our live demo and our 14-day free trial.

Share a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Need help with Event Espresso? Create a support post in our support forums

Event Espresso