How to Keep Your Events Business Afloat During Coronavirus
The events industry is taking a big hit in the face of quarantining, social distancing, and limited gathering sizes. Regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry, it’s going to be an uphill battle for all of us. How do we navigate the government mandates, clients, and our own mental well-being? Here are a few tips.
We are resilient professionals. We’ve dealt with clients with unrealistic expectations, demands, and challenges. At times, we’ve been treated like emotional punching bags. But now is the time to get creative. Your business doesn’t need to be one-dimensional; brainstorm with other event pros to find new ways to offer services. Figure out a way to curate your services to fit your clients’ new needs.
Lean on your community
You are not alone. Everyone is struggling and facing setbacks right now. Now is the time to reach out to your fellow vendors. Connect with those who know exactly what you are going through. Our planning community has a virtual meeting every couple of weeks where we discuss issues we’re facing with clients, pricing, postponements, and cancellations. It makes everyone feel better, but it also gets us on the same page. If we are united, we are stronger as a community. If you don’t know where to look, try and connect through social media or ILEA. Lean on those when you need to, and also be a shoulder for them in return.
Talk to your lawyer
If you don’t have a lawyer, get one. Talk through all of your contracts and make sure you’re protecting yourself. See if you can make proactive changes for future contracts.
Plan ahead financially
It seems obvious that our projected revenue for 2020 is going to change, so this is the time to make smart choices. Chat with your lawyer about your deposit and cancellation policy, and push for postponements, not cancellations. But still be cautious about pushing to 2021. Focus on the most popular dates and months you book each year, and let your clients know you have to leave those open for new revenue to keep your business profitable. If you don’t have a team, see if you can work with other vendors or contractors to help pick up any dates you are having trouble with. We have no idea when events will go back to normal, so make financial decisions based on that mindset.
As event professionals, we don’t always take great care of ourselves. There is little energy left after focusing on clients and our businesses. But we have been forced to stay at home, so there is no excuse now. Carve out some time each day for you. Work out, take a bath, read a book, or cook an amazing meal. We work hard, and at some point, normal life will return in some capacity. Enjoy the downtime you have now to practice some self-care.
Finally, let’s all take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to have one another and such a solid community. I wish you all a productive, happy, and healthy remaining 2020!
About the Author
An eight-year veteran in the events industry, Whitney Gladden got her start in Major League Baseball. Now, she specializes in weddings, but she has a background in corporate and non-profit events. She launched Whitney James Events in 2018 and has worked on events ranging from intimate social gatherings to multi-day destination weddings. Whitney James Events offers full-service event design, planning, rentals, and production. Gladden splits her time between Minnesota and Arizona with her husband and her three dogs.
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.