In the meeting and events industry, it is so hard to simultaneously put you and your clients both first. How do you navigate your blossoming career and make sure you are giving your best selves to those that hire you to perform a service? Whether you are a corporate event planner, a special events photographer or a venue manager that does hundreds of weddings a year, trying to juggle your own needs and business needs can be tough.
In order to get this year off on the right foot, let’s start by going through a couple of things that are always helpful — especially at the beginning of the year: Remember to take time rest, redefine your boundaries and reconnect with other industry friends. Taking a moment to put you first can be the saving grace as things get more demanding later on in the year.
It’s January and you are tired. You have been going full speed for the last two months. From weekly events to the holidays, it all went way too fast. Now is the time to schedule some time to rest and relax. If you don’t, as an event professional, something will always come up. Your personal needs will be pushed to the back burner. You don’t have to fall off the grid for three weeks (unless that is what you need), but taking one day off a week to get your errands done and reduce that nagging to-do list will refill your energy and put you in a better headspace.
This industry, while fun and rewarding, will take from you. It doesn’t force you to go on break and for small businesses that are mostly one-man or -woman shows, you don’t typically have mandatory vacation days. Go through your calendar now and schedule days off. Mark them on the calendar so you know to pump yourself up for the days of vacation that are coming. (Seriously, do this now otherwise you’ll put it off or forget.)
It is only human that we reflect on the activities and events of the past year once they are over. I would put money down that you have (at least) one client in mind that is vacation-inducing on their own.
Oftentimes it starts innocently enough, but at the point their event arrives you feel overworked, underappreciated and possibly taken advantage of. You promise yourself that this will not happen again and even though the signs are there, ten months later you are back in the same boat. Redefine your boundaries in January, your memory is fresh from the previous year and to a certain extent you probably have a better understanding of why and how you got to this point.
Write down the things that worked out and why you felt they did. Then write down things that caused you unneeded stress and frustration, and where you felt the line may have been crossed. This list can give you a great foundation for the boundaries you would like to change or focus on. These boundaries can seem minor at face value but will make a big difference. For instance, you may just no longer take phone calls after 8 p.m., or you may decide to add your hours to your business page, that way you don’t feel like justifying yourself when a client calls on a Sunday afternoon.
This can be a little daunting, especially since in this industry there is no textbook way of doing things. Some established wedding planners, as an example, do not work on Mondays, but for newer coordinators in the industry sometimes feel like they can’t take a day off. This is a small community after all: The friends and mentors you have could be a great way of seeing boundaries that work for others and implementing them in your own way.
For comradery sake, event planners sometimes wish there was a gathering space available 9-5 every week day where they could go to converse and bounce ideas off each other. Sadly, there isn’t this fantastic, made up space. This is why it is so important to reconnect with industry friends, mentors, and organizations in the new year.
I always find myself so renewed after attending an open house or ILEA meeting. They provide balance and much needed interaction with like-minded people in your industry. While it is so important to take the time to see your non-industry friends it is worth it to cultivate relationships in your industry where you can get ideas and support.
Now, let’s all have a collective sigh of relief that the Super Bowl was last year. Cheers to a productive, happy, and healthy 2019, everyone!
About the author
Since beginning with Simple Elegance, Kanas City in 2010, Lindsey Lozama has planned and organized weddings throughout the country. While employed as an event manager with a Seattle catering company, Lozama worked directly with couples concerning their planning, rental and staffing needs. Add that experience to her eye for detail and her love of all things wedding related and you have an organized wedding planner ready to guide and execute the dreams of every engaged couple.
She has been featured in Couture Colorado, MN Bride, and The Knot. Aside from weddings, Lindsey has planned large-scale events for Amazon, Blue Origin and Microsoft. After living in Kansas City and Seattle, Lozama officially became a Minnesotan in 2016. She enjoys traveling, running, and spending time with her husband and two sons, Benny and Jason. She also harbors a sweet rescue fur-baby named Teddy.
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally - event professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress the live events industry. For more information on how an ILEA professional can help you with your event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.