Regina Osgood: Ask Me Anything!
You’ve seen Regina Osgood’s posts on our blog for a few months now—and in May, you had the chance to ask her your own questions! During her AMA on our Facebook page, Regina covered pricing, new business success, booking your first client, event planner insurance, and so much more. Read on for a recap!
Q: How do you do your follow up with clients after the big day?
A: Follow up with a simple email with a request for review of services. Then send an anniversary card a year later.
Q: What is the best way to launch your new business?
A: Go big or go home! This was probably my biggest regret getting started! Advertise, work on your website development (not DIY), and network like crazy! As a business owner you are working 24/7, not 9-5.
Q: How do you know how much to charge your clients for smaller events?
A: Social events (outside of weddings) range from $500-$5000.
Q: How much financially does it take to start your own wedding planning business?
A: This varies greatly based on your approach. My biggest regret was not funding it more in the beginning.
Q: What are your top three DOs and top three DON’Ts to make yourself successful?
A: Top three DOs: Network, advertise, undertake photo shoots.
Top three DON’Ts: Undervalue yourself, under-market yourself, go beyond services a client has paid for.
Q: Who helped you when you first started? Do you have staff now?
A: I was always a “solo-preneur” in the beginning. Now I have a full time and part time staff as well as interns! I couldn’t do it without them!
Q: What was your first step in starting your event career?
A: When starting my career in events, I knew that experience was just as important as education. First, I began working with an established event entertainment company doing marketing and sales. Within a short time I knew the market and all the players I wanted to align myself with.
From there defining my place in the industry was clear. There are tons of positions out there with perimeter vendors. When I worked in entertainment, I was hired for my sales and marketing experience, not my event planning experience. At the end of the day, it’s a business like any other.
Q: How can I make my business stand out from others?
A: You have to work very hard at understanding your demographic-so your business stands out from others with the clients you WANT. It’s the biggest mistake I see planners make in the beginning.
Q: How do you get your first client? I’ve been putting up business cards but nothing’s happening!
A: This industry is about relationships, both celebrating them and making them. First you need the knowledge to be an expert. The foundational information you learn through QC is invaluable. There are sections of the courses that assist you in some of the core work needed to start your own business.
If you want to expand further, there are often internships or mentorship programs available through other companies for onsite & in depth coaching!
Next, you need to align yourself within your market with a good referral base. This is not a business card industry.
Q: Do you recommend starting small in your services and then growing as you get more experience?
A: I believe what you are asking about is doing “month of coordination” (please don’t ever use the term “day of” coordination—there is no such thing and it’s a huge disservice in our industry that professionals continue to call it that!) and expanding to full service when you have more experience.
I would say NO! Month of is the hardest service you will provide. You have no control of the craziness that you are handed, but you are expected to have the experience to handle it! The more control you have on the front end of event planning, the better the outcome on the day of!
Q: What’s your advice on purchasing event décor inventory?
A: I don’t purchase inventory. It’s a dangerous game. You have to spend a lot of money up front with costs of upkeep and replacement. It takes a while to break even, let alone be profitable before the inventory is out of style.
Q: How do I get started with insurance?
A: There are a lot of companies out there. I did price shop quite a bit. The company I use is RVNA. They have general business policies for event planners and they can issue a certificate of additional coverage policy for an individual property.
There are many venues that will require a certificate from you covering their specific property as a vendor. This is different than the event day insurance that a client will have. The general policy is around $200 and each venue policy is additional. I haven’t had to use them yet, so it may be a question of “get what you pay for” when it comes to service.