5 Challenges Your Event Planning Classes WON’T Prepare You For
Some things can’t be taught in event planning classes. Rather, they can only be learned through real-world experience. Today, QC Student Ambassador, Tamesha Antria, is here to reveal 5 unique challenges that you’ll only encounter once you’ve entered the professional industry. Tamesha is a graduate and current student of QC Event School. Her business, Black Haven Events, offers clients everything from officiant services, wedding and event planning/coordination, virtual events, and much more!
The Importance of Event Planning Classes
The best event planners out there choose to expand their business and elevate their career by investing into their education. By enrolling in event planning classes and obtaining a certification, you’ll be showing clients and supporters alike that you’re committed to this industry!
There are many different programs out there. As such, it’s important to select a course that aligns with your goals – as well as the goals of your business. I’m of the belief that we’re all students of life. There is always more to learn!
These days, I’m seeing more and more multi-certified planners in the industry. This is truly beautiful! Planners are getting serious and curious about the craft of event and wedding planning. Moreover, certifications are providing a great foundation for planners as they navigate through their journey.
Lessons You’ll Learn In Your Training
Some important lessons you’ll gain through professional event planning classes are:
- There are many types of planners. You’ll learn what kind of planner YOU want to be through your practices. So, take your classes seriously – they’ll literally help share your future!
- The historic eras of event and wedding styles.
- Budgeting is your friend! You’ll learn how to budget clients’ funds for allocation and more.
- Which questions to ask your clients during the consultation, in order to determine their needs.
- How to notate formulas and calculations for table settings.
- An advanced breakdown on how to start a business.
- How to develop questionnaires and guides to navigate initial and ongoing client conversations.
- And so much more!
All of this being said, it’s important to know that even the best event planning classes can’t prepare you for certain challenges and lessons.
Our diplomas, degrees, and certifications can only teach us so much. They can’t prepare us for everything life will throw our way once we’re putting our skills into practice. Why? Because certain things can only be learned through real-world experiences in the field.
But that’s okay. After all, great things take practice! There’s a need for hands-on exposure in order to grow in any industry, but this is especially the case in the world of event and wedding planning. Every client is different, with their own story to tell through their event.
5 Challenges Event Planning Classes WON’T Prepare You For
1. Clients not caring about your certification
If you’re like me, you take great pride in your certification… and as well, you should! I certainly hope you feel amazing for starting/completing your event planning classes and earning your certification!
Now, the thing is, your clients might not understand the difference between you and another amazing planner that’s been in business a bit longer than you (but isn’t certified). I’m here to tell you that this is all okay. Unless a client has heard of a Certified Event & Wedding Professional, or is in search of one, they may not care whether or not you’re certified.
What I like to tell my clients is that we’re all amazing professionals that choose our education and methods to madness in different ways. If a client doesn’t understand the importance of my certification, it’s still completely optional to work with one another. I take this as an opportunity to explain what a certified event and wedding planner is and how my professional training will benefit them.
I encourage you to keep a strong stance with your prices and experience. Only YOU know how much time and energy is required to create the way that you do. No one can take that from you!
2. Event planning classes won’t teach you how to price your own services
I came out of my event planning classes ready and eager to plan! Then it came time to set my business rates. That’s when I ran into a bit of trouble. You see, the coursework did provide an hourly rate as an example. But I quickly discovered that pricing my real-life services was actually challenging.
Pricing generally is specific to your market and experience. This can also be tricky, since each planner calculates their hourly rates differently. So, I decided to to reach out to planners in my network and ask about their thoughts. Everyone gave me the same advice: to think about a rate that I felt comfortable with and compare that to what other planners are charging in my area. This was a great place to start, but it wasn’t everything I needed. From there, I decided to connect with even more planners, using any platforms that I could find (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Clubhouse, Instagram, etc.). I finally came across a planner that had developed a Pricing Guide. It’s a formula that can be used to calculate your packages and plan a profitable year.
Let me be clear: the coursework you’ll receive from QC Event School is amazing. All I’m saying is that some quarterly bootcamps, to help redefine and restructure planning goals, would be helpful, too. Until those are offered, know that your network is your net worth! Connect with your local and online planning communities to get and share resources.
3. How to overcome the challenges of getting started with limited free resources
When I first got into the wedding and event planning industry, I was advised to sign up for different platforms regarding client management software, budgeting trackers, timeline management, and much more. As a new business owner who didn’t yet have many clients, I found it challenging to sign up for these programs because they had monthly fees. Before you knew it, the resources sounded more like a burden (and bill) than helpful.
What I should have done (and did soon thereafter), was take advantage of the free resources I could find. For example, I used Google Docs originally to draft contracts, and Google Sheets to maintain budgets. These resources are free if you’re willing to create a free Google account. Similarly, until I had a client management software system in place, I kept client information in templated Google Docs. I also used Google Forms for client questionnaires.
I took on as many free programs as I could to keep my business operationally intact. Some of you may have access to Microsoft Applications. If you do, use them! All in all, I would advise to use the resources available to you, rather than going to paid applications first. Furthermore, if there were any new resources, I took the time to learn them!
No one can truly prepare you for the learning curves of new systems and processes – especially not event planning classes, no matter how great they are. That being said, QC Event School does provide you with templates along the way, which you can personalize to your liking!
4. Contracts and the important components that should be in them
Contracts have been my pain AND best friend in my business life. Although they’re very time-consuming to make, they are 100% necessary! With QC Event School, you learn that contracts are an important component of your business. I’ll admit that my course didn’t provide an in-depth understanding of what’s needed overall in contracts. But a big reason for this is simply because laws vary from place to place. As a result, it’d be difficult for any event planning class to offer this kind of insight in a way that works for everyone.
Through my wonderful network, legal connections, and continued research, I’ve since learned what valuable components are needed in my contracts. I have different clauses drafted to keep myself and my company covered at all times. While your event planning classes may not provide you with the specifics, over time, your networks may reveal what you’re looking for. Be patient and consistent. You’ll find the answers soon enough!
5. How to stand out against the tenured competition
As a new business owner, I started out with nothing. That’s right – literally no money. As I researched my competitors in the Atlanta market, I noticed they were tenured in the event planning and design industry. I saw 6-foot arches made to perfection and dozens of table setting photos on their website.
As you can guess, I freaked out! I didn’t have the business capital to book a dozen styled photoshoots at a venue. So, I once again turned to my network for answers, like I always do.
Guess what? My network came for me through honey! In most of the Facebook groups I frequent (including QC’s Virtual Classroom), I was able to post a question and receive dozens – sometimes even hundreds – of answers by the end of the night. In my particular example, here are just a few pieces of advice that I got:
- I could style my dining room table at home;
- Similarly, I could style spaces in department stores (with the store’s permission, of course);
- I could set up some photoshoots in free, scenic parks in my area.
My point is, your effort, consistency, and overall creations are what will ultimately help you stand out from your competitors. Take what you learn from your event planning classes, use that to hit the ground running, and then never stop!
My Final Thoughts
Thank you for taking the time to be with me today. Above all else, I hope that you walk away with the knowledge that it’s never too late to start your event and wedding planning career! I hope you found this blog helpful and resourceful. I can say with all the confidence in the world that my event planning classes and certifications have opened many doors for me. I’ve built long-lasting connections within the industry, and have connected with professionals I never would’ve thought I could connect with. Furthermore, I’ve met SO many QC Event School graduates and tutors over the last 2 years. I’m excited for the collaborations to come!
Now, I’d like to turn the floor over to YOU… Tell me about some challenges you weren’t prepared for after taking your event planning classes and launching a career in the real world. Share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you haven’t started your professional training yet, I highly recommend enrolling with QC. Got any reservations about enrolling? Talk to me in the comments and I’ll be happy to share more of my experience as a QC student and alumnus. And make sure to connect with me and my fellow QC Student Ambassadors in the Virtual Classroom on Facebook. We’re happy to help in any way we can!