From the Experts, Your Event Career
Planning Your 2017! AMA with Athena DeVonne
QC Event School graduate and tutor Athena DeVonne owns and runs a prosperous business, Coalesce Creations Wedding Designs, and knows everything there is to know about becoming a successful new event planner!
Earlier this month, the always effervescent Athena took over our Facebook page for a highly-anticipated AMA event. Not only did she participate in some live Q and A, she broke down her own personal action plan to creating a successful event planning business!
Athena started out as a student with QC Event School—so if there’s anyone who knows what kind of drive it takes to kick start your career, it’s Athena DeVonne! Take a look at our AMA recap to catch up on what exciting projects she’s working on and what every event planner should know.
Find a motivational anthem!
Self-motivation is the name of the game when you run your event planning business. And according to Athena, if you don’t have a motivation anthem, you NEED one. Having the confidence to take charge of your own business takes self-assurance and motivation. Sometimes blasting high-energy music is the only way to get into the mood for a workout, and going after your next event planning challenge can also take some extra inspiration!
Say YES to constructive criticism
As a QC Event School tutor, Athena admits that she loves guiding her students and helping them grow. However, she emphasizes some important keys to success: as a new event planner, you need to develop a thick skin and accept constructive criticism. It’s all about the journey to learning how to do things the RIGHT way. In other words, a successful event planner is detailed and specific.
But she also emphasizes that growing isn’t only about learning how to accept critique; it’s ALSO about being able to identify when you are doing a great job and congratulating yourself for the job well done!
Write down 12 SHORT-TERM goals
As Athena helpfully points out, we are already HALF way through January of the New Year. A time when most new event planners begin to feel the pressure of wanting 2017 to be their most productive and fulfilling year yet.
However, Athena insists that practicing one simple technique will help any new event planner get started on the right track. That technique? Grab a pen along with some paper, and write a “brain dump list”—a list of 12 goals that you wish to accomplish in 2017.
The secret is to set yourself up for success with goals that you can actually achieve. To make that process even easier, Athena gives us a few examples of some good, actionable goals for new event planners:
- Come up with a name for your event planning business
- Make your portfolio a focus
- Grow inventory
Why only 12?
You have to create new habits. Athena explains that once you do something for 30 days, it becomes a habit. After 60 days, it becomes second nature. And if you keep it consistent after 90 days, you have pretty much created a brand new routine.
Plus, there’s only 12 months in a year. That means that you can assign a goal to each month. After all, breaking down each task to one month will stop you from getting overwhelmed with a huge list of tasks that may seem insurmountable at first!
Change Your Perspective
Athena says it best: it doesn’t matter where you’re starting—but start somewhere.
You have to be ok with change and expect some adversity. Athena suggests that new event planners try not to look at the word “struggle” as a negative experience. According to her, you can expect to struggle in the beginning—because that is how you come up with solutions. But as she continues, you won’t always struggle. And meanwhile, barreling into challenges will help you learn the ropes as you try new things.
On why she’s NOT planning her own wedding
Four years into her event planning business, Athena was kind enough to share some her own “brain dump list” with us.
Some of Athena’s goals:
- Bigger office
- Pop-up weddings
- Give up control
Athena has that last one scheduled for July. Why? She is planning on getting married in August, and one of her ways to grow is by learning how to put herself in a bride’s position. Athena is well on her way to getting into the mind of the bride: she admits to trying on 25 different wedding dresses and visiting 8 different venues!
The ONE thing that new event planners need to do:
Fun fact: Athena still sometimes carries around the budgeting exercise that she studied from when she was a student of QC Event School. So how is that linked to what she considers an absolute must for any new grad or event planner?
According to her, learning to develop CONFIDENCE in your abilities is essential to becoming a successful business woman! And yet another reason to find your self-motivation anthem…
What’s she working on?
Athena is an incredible example of how you can inject personality into every aspect of your event planning career. When Athena decided she was going to focus on 100% branding, she didn’t just mean colors or logo.
Since she’s not a fan of the standard black clothing many event planners expect their staff to wear at events, Athena decided to brand her team with her own signature style. And for Athena, that means gorgeous pearl earrings. This way her staff will look stylish, totally appropriate and 100% branded.
Great news for new event planners!
Athena is co-planning an event geared toward brand new event planners! If you’re in the Florida area, consider checking out Let’s Plan, a conference that will help new planners find inspiration and new resources. After all, we know networking with other event pros is a great way of helping you find your footing in the industry.
Looking for more Q and A? Check out a video of the live AMA. Hint: If you want to know whether going to school for wedding and event planning is important, Athena’s response is a resounding YES!