2023 new business idea #5: Start an event planning business

By Michelle van Schouwen

If you are creative, an excellent organizer, and have an affinity for creating parties, weddings, corporate events, or other “happenings,” consider the opportunity of starting an event planning company. The barriers to entry are relatively low, financially speaking, and no specific education or certifications are required, although a related college major or certification and a portfolio of events you’ve managed will both be very helpful.

Plus, the event planning business sector has strong future potential. Following a downturn during the COVID era, the industry is growing. The event and party planning industry in the U.S. was valued at $3.2 billion in 2022, and is expected to grow by an annual rate of 11 percent through 2029.

The event planning business spans a range of possibilities. Events in demand include:

-Weddings – the possibilities here are endless

-Themed parties for adults

-Themed parties for children

-Bar and bat mitzvahs


-Wedding anniversary celebrations

-Holiday parties

-Company trade show exhibits, seminars, and workshops

-Virtual/digital events for business (a growing trend)

-Business product launch or branding events

-Company celebrations

-Company team building

-Major press events

-Political events

-Eco-themed and adventure parties

And the list goes on.

Focus on your business plan first

Of course, the range of events seems overwhelming. Nearly all successful event planners specialize. As with every business, your skills, experience, interests, and your geographic market should help determine your business plan. For example, in a major population center, offering just wedding planning may be plenty. In a small town, you may broaden your scope. Business event planners typically stick with that focus and specialize from there.

Building a client base

Consider your client base as well and the requirements for working with them. For consumer event planning, your client will likely be the buyer themself. For business events, you may work with small or large companies, trade show vendors, or marketing/advertising agencies who contract out event planning. Their needs, demands, expertise, and budgets will vary.

As you plan, consider that if you don’t have much experience, you’ll need to earn your stripes. On the commercial side, you may want to start as a subcontractor to gain credibility. For consumer event planning, you may want to begin by managing a few significant parties for friends and family. Create an online portfolio with photos and descriptions, or an offline “deck” when client privacy is an issue.

Set aside money for start-up costs, including marketing, travel, and upfront expenses to support clients. However, customers should be giving you a deposit and paying as they go. Create payment schedules that assure you do not get stuck with a client’s expenses.

Learn as much as you can about the planning processes for the types of events you will create, including available software and expert tactics for keeping on track and on time.

Develop relationships with relevant vendors in your area and beyond (this may include caterers, sign makers, social media strategists, website developers, speakers, transportation companies, and others that will support your niche).

Choosing a company name

Create a vision for your event planning company that makes it stand out. Browsing the web for event planners in regions other than your own will be a good source of inspiration. You will want to create a brand that appeals to prospects, which means that both your ideas and your execution must be top-notch. Even your company name should resonate. This is a pizzaz business.

Finally, while event planning is a business that you can start as an independent solopreneur, give some thought as to how your company may grow. You may begin with a few events and get lots of referrals and repeat business that allow you to build an event planning team.

The first step is to get this party started.


Michelle van Schouwen is principal of Q5 Analytics, providing advocacy and communications for climate change mitigation and adaptation. For 32 years, Michelle was president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA), a B2B marketing company. In 2017, she sold vSA. Michelle is available for speaking engagements on topics including her work on climate crisis mitigation and Florida coastal water issues. She speaks to business and student groups about marketing launches and entrepreneurship and works with start-ups to support their development.

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover