How to start an event planning business

Starting an event planning business can be daunting for anyone. Trust me, I know from personal experience and I’d love to share my journey to hopefully spare you some of the harder lessons I learned along the way. Looking back, I never would have imagined that I began with a small show in a church basement to a few years later running the biggest vintage event in Western Canada. 

It all began back in the summer of 2009. I was in between jobs, unsure what I really wanted to do but knowing it wasn’t the 8am-5pm admin job I had landed! Although the pay was good, it had left me unfulfilled. One Sunday morning, I decided to rent a stall at the local flea market. I had a growing vintage jewelry collection I wanted to showcase. I wasn’t sure how to price my items but kept everything under $20. 

This brings me to step one: Clearly define the type of event planning you want to run and define  your target audience. For myself, I knew I wanted to create a vibrant upscale market attracting primarily women, age 20-70. As my event grew, I added elements to attract more male shoppers as well. Don’t be afraid to evolve as you go. 

Step 2: Do your research & define what your business will be. What similar event planners are out there to what you want to create? For myself, living in a smaller city, I decided to see what large scale successful events were running in London, LA., Chicago, you name it. it was as simple as typing into google “biggest flea market London”. This is where I discovered vintage flea markets and fairs that had all the zeal and appeal I had been envisioning! Perhaps you are looking to start a luxury wedding planning business or a mid scale volume based business? Look for inspiration from other successful planners in large centres. 

Step 3: Make a business plan! No matter what genre of event planning you are hoping to get into (weddings, rentals or corporate events), it’s very important to draw out a busines plan. Are you hoping to have a weekend side hussle or build this into a fulltime business? 

For myself, this was rather simple. I wanted to run one tester event that I wouldn’t go out of pocket for, but to see what the response from my customers would be. I was able to rent an entire church basement for $300. I knew I needed to bring in at least $450 to cover my costs, plus advertising.  I decided on a name, made a free facebook and instagram account and then put a free ad on craigslist that defined my event: Vintage fair featuring clothing, jewerly and decor is looking for vendors! And low and behold, before I knew it we had the church basement jam packed! I put up some posters and flyers around, found a few volunteers to help at the show,  and boom! Our event was a huge sucess! I made a few hundred dollars which was enough to recover my costs and start investing back into larger events. 

Here I am at one of my very first events I organized!

Step 4: Start a free Instagram and facebook page. Look to hire an inexpensive designer to create your logo, or make your own on a small budget using 

 If you have some money to invest in a website, go ahead! But if not, start with social media until you land a few clients and can build your website. 

Step 5: Go for it! Perhaps your first event is highly discounted or even free in exchange for rave reviews and feedback. Once you have a few events under your belt with positive feedback, you will naturally attract more customers. 

Step 6: Stay active in large facebook groups where they allow you to post your business once a week. For example, some local mom groups, city groups and neighbourhood facebook groups have thousands of members and will allow you to advertise your business for free once a week! Take advantage! 

Here I am a few years later running the largest Vintage themed event in Western Canada!
Here I am a few years later running the largest vintage themed event in Western Canada!

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