Sarah and Teri are the co-founders of Females Who Side Hustle, and both have careers specializing in the events industry, from weddings and conferences to college campus wide events.
Females Who Side Hustle is a community to support, educate and empower those who hustle. Whether you are starting, grinding or thriving in your 9-5 or turning your passion into a pay check. Our goal is to bring more women together, ditch competition and encourage females to lift each other up and collaborate.
Do events they said, it’ll be fun they said! Events are fun, but being on the planning side can take a while to get to the end “fun” result. Often as an event planner you get, “I don’t know how you do what you do!” Event planning also makes the top 5 occupations on the most stressful jobs list.
But here is the thing: if you love the thrill, the energy when you execute from start to finish and all the ‘fun’ in between… then this is what you are meant to do! So just run with it. Start small - friends birthdays, baby showers or kids parties. Document it along the way, take all the pictures (to use to show future clients or post on social) and take notes of the stressful periods and try to work through how you could have made it better.
This leads nicely into our top tips...
This might be the simplest advice to give, but the hardest to execute! Getting started is a huge hurdle across any industry. But if you ask any business owner, they will tell you this… just start! There will never be a “right” time, there will always be risks, you’ve just got to take that leap! And the fun part is events are everywhere - big or small so even just start with a girls night in or out. Plan your friend's birthday or friend of a friend's baby shower.
Find A Mentor
While the events industry is centered around bringing people together, whether we are in-person or in our new virtual world, entrepreneurship can be a lonely road! If you are just starting out, it is always nice to feel supported and yes, many people have a support system of friends and family cheering them on. But a mentor is more than that - they are someone who really GETS IT. Or as we like to say: your personal board of directors! They’ve been there, they’ve experienced that, and they’re willing to share some insight on it.
Now a mentor is not always that person who’s been in the game 20+ years. It can be someone just a few years ahead of you – or even going through it with you. Mentorship has been built to have this formal narrative when really, peer mentorship can be just as valuable.
Approach casually, think about whose opinions you value, who would give it to you straight and have your best interest in mind, and foster that relationship. And remember mentorship is a two-way street. Always reflect on what you can do to give back to them or at least say, I really appreciate your time.
Own It ‘Til You Are It
Say goodbye to that “Fake it ‘til you make it” nonsense. You do not need to fake anything! Don’t allow yourself to start something with a mindset clouded by self doubt that you are faking or a fraud. If you want to be a successful business owner in the events industry, own that from the start and don’t doubt it! This often has us going back to our ‘why’. You need to define your why. Why do you love doing it? What keeps you coming back for more experience? Do you really love the adrenaline rush after the event is done? Knowing this will help guide you in your journey and make ’owning it until you are it‘ easier to embrace.
This one is tough and we’ve ALL been there… wondering how to price ourselves and our services. The most important tips we can give here are: know your worth (beginning in industry with little experience vs. experienced professional with proof.) Just because you are starting out doesn’t mean you should ignore your time. If it takes you 10 total hours to create their timeline then charge 10 hours. If you aren’t sure, really take the time to think about it. You might work a little more than 10 hours but at least you paid yourself close to what you thought. And most importantly - make a note how long each task takes. You will thank us later when you can easily know how much you need to increase or decrease in the future.
Especially in the world of events, it’s great to build up your network to make referrals, meet potential clients, and create a base of meaningful connections. This is where volunteering can really become beneficial. You get experience and exposure to so many potential clients. It will really help you feel more comfortable in your next event. The more you do it the more you learn and grow.
Always keep your business card on you - always! Call us old school but they work, even if it just has your social handle on it. You might meet someone at a Starbucks line up, the grocery store, or in the park. You always want something tangible to hand to a future client.
Collaboration Over Competition
This goes hand in hand with networking. The events industry is highly driven by word of mouth and the meaningful connections you create. One great way to build positive working relationships is being open to collaboration and kicking competition to the curb. Will you have competitors in your industry? Of course, but how you handle and approach that will set you apart. Becoming a preferred vendor at different locations. Different services and venues open many doors and opportunities.
Offer your services to another event planner as an assistant for the day to network, learn, and grow. Don't be afraid to comment, like, and share other planners' amazing events on your social channels. This will open the door for them to do it for you and you would be surprised how much this could benefit your business.
Treat It Like A Business
If you want people to take your business seriously, you best be doing the same! It takes time to get comfortable, especially when it’s a side hustle. Practice your elevator pitch to get comfortable saying what you do, why you do it, and who you serve! And be sure to set yourself up for success in managing your time. Give yourself those “business hours'' that you need to do work on the back end. With the world of events being go go go, there are still many administrative tasks that can get placed to the side of your desk and pile up quickly. Give yourself and your clientele notice that on these days and between these hours I am reachable via email or my response time is xyz so that you can set boundaries and manage your time all at once.
Passion + Purpose = Hello, side hustle!
When it comes to a side hustle you need to have a solid foundation of passion and purpose. It can be fun starting a side hustle, but keeping it up is the hard work, as it is time consuming yet rewarding. In relation to passion and purpose, it can fulfill your need for a creative outlet and provide a second stream of income! So get ready to play the long game because if you are unclear on your why, it can be a quick road to burnout! Connect with others in the side hustle world as well, we’ve got a community over at Females Who Side Hustle just waiting for you!