How did you become an event planner?
By accident. I worked for a community program for awhile and realized that if I could plan events for children and teens, and ran them with volunteers and no budget, I could do this for anyone.
What skills or experience did you have?
The single most valuable tool in my belt is that I apply a project management methodology to my event management work. By strategically planning, assigning and tracking tasks, timelines and budgets, I feel that I'm able to make all the moving parts of an event plan easy to manage. When it comes to experience, I cut my teeth on training events, lots of training events. I don't plan as many of them now that I'm a sole proprietor but when I started out the high volume of simple, re-occurring events really helped me establish my processes and trained me to focus on business-oriented results from each event.
What types of events did you organize?
Technology events - like GeoWeb. It's a small think tank conference that attracts geo-spatial people from all over the world. Creative events - like CREATIVEMIX. It's a small, local, conference specific to creativity and is inclusive of all types of industries. Most of the events I run have less than 400 people in attendance. I like to be a part of small, intimate, focused, and authentic gatherings that meet people's needs.
- Study the Project Management Institue (PMI.org) material
- Use smartsheet.com to track the details
- Use mailchimp.com when promoting an event by e-mail
- Use surveymonkey for online surveys
- Use eventbrite's affiliate program to help drive ticket sales
- Don't focus on the details, focus on the people when at all possible