How to Know if You’re Ready to Host Your First Event

Event Marketing

January 9, 2024

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Wondering if you’re ready for hosting your very first event?

It’s a question I hear a lot. And the truth is, if you’ve never planned any kind of event or gathering before, leaping into planning and marketing your first event can seem intimidating.

What if I miss some really important details? What if no one shows up?!

It’s completely understandable, too. No one wants to put all that effort in only to be the only one at their event holding a signature cocktail for one. But don’t let that stop you!

Hosting your first event can help you build your network and establish yourself as an expert. It also gives you the opportunity to directly engage with your target audience.

You’ll also get real-world experience planning and executing an event from start to finish. This will make your next event even easier.

If you’ve been feeling like you’re ready to host your first event in your niche, you probably are getting close!

To help you decide, today I’m sharing 3 ways to know if you’re ready for your first event.

This way you can focus on creating meaningful connections and establishing your authority – without wasting time and resources on an event no one attends.

(And if you’re not ready yet, you’ll know what you need to do!)

Let’s dig in.

3 Ways You Know You’re Ready to Host Your First Event for Your Business

Only you can say for sure whether you’re ready for hosting your first event for your business. As I mentioned above, if it’s been heavily on your mind lately, you’re probably in a good place to start researching your options, at the very least. You may even find that you’re more prepared for it than most experts!

To help you decide, here are a few tell-tale signs that show you’re more than ready to plan and execute your first event for your business. 

Click here to download your free Event Marketing Blueprint now >>

Readiness Sign #1: You have a clear vision or idea for the type of event you want to host

Has a specific event concept been swirling around in your mind lately? Do you have a venue or theme in mind? This inkling is often one of the first signs that you’re ready to bring your event vision to life!

As a former event producer for large brands, I can tell you that having a vision or idea to start with is hugely valuable. It doesn’t need to be set in stone — your event will likely evolve as you plan it. 

But having that initial spark of inspiration will fuel you through the planning process.

Think back to the last creative workshop, dinner party, or gathering you attended. 

What did you love about it? 

What would you change or do differently? 

Use those insights as a jumping off point to start crafting your own unique event vision.

Always look within first, friend.

Readiness Sign #2: You’re willing to take a risk and put yourself out there

You may not feel it now, but your intuition about whether you’re truly ready to host your first event will almost always steer you in the right direction. 

So if you think you’re ready for planning your first event but struggle with self-doubt, it can be hard to admit that you absolutely are ready despite those limiting thoughts.

I have felt the same way many times before helping to plan a big conference. I didn’t have any prior event planning experience and was nervous about what I didn’t know. 

What helped me push past the self-doubt was picturing the amazing connections and inspiration I could create for attendees. I realized my passion for bringing people together outweighed the discomfort of making mistakes.

Here are a few ways to push past it:

  • First, picture yourself welcoming attendees on event day. What does it feel like to see your vision come to life and facilitate meaningful conversations?
  • Next, imagine the worst-case scenario of low attendance. How would you handle it gracefully and still deliver value?
  • Finally, picture a time in the past when you pushed past fear to achieve something big. Use that confidence now!

Now, remember you’re bringing immense value to your audience by creating this in-person experience. But planning ahead will make you feel more confident. You’ll survive it and thrive it! Any stumbles along the way are just opportunities to improve for next time. Have courage in your vision! 

In the words of Brene Brown, “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

Readiness Sign #3: You have a marketing plan to promote your event

Sometimes getting the word out about your event comes easy because you already have an engaged email list or strong social following.

That can feel like a stroke of luck in the moment, but many times it’s not enough on its own to guarantee event success and high turnout.

So even if you have a built-in audience, you still need a comprehensive marketing plan to promote your event. Reaching the right potential attendees a lot times will require a multi-channel strategy.

Other times, getting the word out is more of an “all roads lead to paid advertising” situation.

If you’ve tried organic social media, email, and word of mouth referrals and still need to fill more seats, it could mean it’s time to invest in paid promotion like Facebook and Instagram ads.

For example:

Your current marketing channels are only reaching existing followers. To hit your ticket sales goals and attract new audiences, you likely need to amplify your reach with paid advertising.

In either case, if there’s no other way to reach enough potential attendees to fill your event space, it may be time to create a comprehensive marketing plan, including paid ads if needed.

Readiness Sign #4: You have all your logistics in place

Woman's hand writing in a planner.

Now that we’ve covered some of the mindset signs that will help you determine if you’re ready for executing your first event, it’s time to cover some practical preparation steps.

Before you send out invites, there are some things you’ll need to have ready. It makes little sense to host an event without the right logistics and assets in place ahead of time.

Solid preparation is KEY! This is because it’s extremely difficult to arrange key details at the last minute. It also ensures you have the right marketing assets to promote your event effectively.

So, what problems could happen without this upfront preparation?

  • Scrambling to find a venue or vendors at the last minute
  • Running out of time to create quality marketing assets and content
  • Forgetting important elements like permits, insurance, contracts, etc.

Here’s how you’ll know that your first event will be a huge success:

A. You’ve researched and booked your venue and vendors

This includes locking in all the key elements – space, catering, rentals, staffing, audio visual needs, entertainment, etc.

I once delayed finalizing my caterer and they were already booked on my event date! I had to scramble to find replacement food options last minute.

Research venues and get vendor quotes at least 3-6 months out, but further in advance is better. Then book them as early as possible to secure your date and preferred partners. 

Depending on the type of event and how far out a venue requires you to book, you may need to secure your venue a year in advance. 

Hands point at paperwork

If you want to know how to put together a solid event marketing strategy once you’ve decided on hosting your first event, I cover it in detail in this post What Is Event Marketing? A Guide to Planning and Executing a Successful Event Marketing Campaign.

B. You’ve created killer marketing assets and content to promote it

This includes your event logo, event website, email opt-in page, social media graphics and copy, etc.

It’s tough to market effectively without these branded assets ready to go. Like I say ALL the time, you want to start promoting as soon as you’ve decided to host your event, and NO LESS than 3-6 months prior.

This is so important and is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of planning an event, and that is promoting it well in advance. 

Now, you may not be trying to host a 500 person gala — (or maybe you are!), in which case booking and promoting at least 6-12 months in advance is a MUST — but the reason I recommend promoting as soon as you’ve decided is because you want to start planting the seeds and giving them time to grow. 

Meaning: you want the idea of attending your event to be rooted in the mind of your audience and for it to be a no-brainer for them to attend.

What happens if you don’t start promoting with enough advance? 

Well, if you leave promoting an event you’ve been planning for a while until the last minute, then that may communicate to your audience that it’s not that big of a deal to attend. 

The key is to drop hints early on, then build on the momentum as you get closer, dropping more and more details about the event to get your audience excited!

Give yourself enough time upfront to brainstorm creative event branding and compelling content. This powers your whole marketing strategy.

If you’re not quite there yet, here are a few things you can do:

Step 1. Develop a Cohesive Branding Strategy

 To complete this requirement, start by defining the visual and thematic elements of your event. 

This includes selecting colors, fonts, and a style that aligns with the event’s purpose and your brand identity. 

A cohesive branding strategy across all materials, from the website to social media graphics, helps in creating a memorable and professional look. A tool like Canva is great for this. It’s super user-friendly and offers a wide range of templates and design elements to help you create consistent branding materials.

Logo of Canva

Step 2. Identify Your Target Audience and Tailor Your Marketing Accordingly

Understand who your ideal attendees are and what appeals to them. 

This step involves researching your audience’s interests, preferences, and what kind of messaging resonates with them. 

Customize your marketing content to speak directly to this audience, making it more likely they’ll be interested in your event.

Step 3. Develop a Comprehensive Content Plan

Calendar of January on white wall

Be in a position to execute a big marketing push by having a well-thought-out content plan. 

This includes scheduling when and what you will post on social media, the type of emails you’ll send to your subscribers, and any blog posts or articles that will promote your event. 

This step ensures you have a steady stream of engaging content leading up to the event.
If you want you can download my free Event Marketing Plan Blueprint.

Step 4. Engage in Strategic Partnerships

Two women facing a wall writing on a white board.

Form alliances with influencers, sponsors, or other businesses that align with your event’s theme and audience. These partnerships can expand your reach and add a lot of value to your event through cross-promotion or other added resources. 

You can even try to barter (i.e. trade products or services of equal value) with other businesses and brands to help expand the experience of your event and keep costs low.

This was a go-to strategy I used ALL the time to help me keep within my very tiny events budget when I planned bespoke events for a luxury travel club.

C. You have the budget to pull off the type of event you want

Now, before you rent a venue and start promoting, there are some things you’ll need to have already set in place. It makes little sense to host an epic event or workshop without the right budget to bring your vision to life.

Why is having an event budget so important?

  • It prevents underestimating costs, avoiding surprises
  • It holds you accountable to your goals and priorities
  • It helps you allocate resources smartly and efficiently

Make sure you’ve estimated costs as accurately as possible for key elements like the venue, food, drinks, rentals, staff, entertainment, etc

This means researching venue and vendor rates in your area to create an itemized budget. 

Build in contingencies for unexpected costs.

Underestimating is one of the top budget pitfalls. And there are some things that you just can’t plan for. 

I was hosting a private VIP experience for 50+ people at Bonnaroo (a music festival in Tennessee), and one of the luxury tour buses I had set up for transportation broke down and couldn’t pick up the second half of my attendees. 

So at the 11th hour I had to figure out a Plan B. I had to rent the luxury Uber Black SUVs that only carried 3-4 people for a one-way trip that was over 60. 

Multiply that by 6-7 and needless to say, that event budget got blown out the window! But everyone was happy and had an amazing time, which ultimately was the end goal. Client = happy.

Readiness Sign #5: You have a plan if you need to postpone or reschedule

Now, I can hear you saying, “But what if I plan everything and then something happens so that I need to cancel at the last minute?”

And that’s a valid question. Having said that, even every PROFESSIONAL event planner has to have a plan for when unexpected things occur that require you to either postpone or cancel. Because it DOES happen!

Nothing comes easy, right?

You never know if you have to abruptly postpone an event you’ve been planning for months due to an unforeseen circumstance. Postponements or cancellations are just going to happen every once in a while, despite best efforts.

Here’s what you can do to prepare so you’re ready for it:

  • First, always have backup dates on hold in case you need to reschedule
  • Get in the habit of using change-the-date email templates and social posts with Buffer so you can easily notify attendees. insert screenshot of template
  • Remember that being transparent and apologetic goes a long way. The first time I forgot to personally reach out to vendors when postponing, it damaged those relationships.
  • Be ready to communicate with your guests calmly and promptly when a postponement is needed.
  • Have contingent venue and vendor contracts that allow date changes without major fees. Just keep in mind that some venues may be more or less flexible.

It’s critical that your contracts have clauses covering postponements. Force majeure clauses in contracts cover unforeseen events outside of your control, like weather disasters or venue damage. 

Other clauses allow flexibility for personal emergencies. This protects you from losing huge sums if rescheduling is required.

Having a plan like this, even if it’s only in your head at this point, will help you stay resilient if a postponement is required.

In addition to this list, I also created a [related freebie – e.g., a 10-step readiness checklist] to help you get clear on whether [the big step – e.g., mountain climbing] is for you.

Click here to download your free Event Marketing Blueprint now >>

Standing in between you and planning your first event: The Doubt Edition

Usually, the biggest thing standing in the way of your dreams isn’t something external. It’s actually self-doubt and fear of failure.

Some common concerns I’ve heard are:

What if no one shows up or my event is a total flop?

What if I pick a bad date and have low attendance?

What if I can’t deliver what I promised?

Does any of that sound familiar?

The best way to clear those concerns up is to thoroughly prepare and plan every aspect of your event, and focus on the immense value you’ll provide attendees.

Get clear on your “why” – why host this event in the first place?

Is it to forge deeper connections with your audience? Give back to your community? Establish your authority? Strengthen your brand? Get clarity on your motivations.

Also, realize that nothing will go 100% smoothly. Minor hiccups are inevitable. But guests remember how gracefully you handle challenges, not perfection.

Most importantly, even small events create immense value. Attendees will walk away energized and inspired simply having spent time with you and your community.

Standing in between you and planning your first event: Real-Life Obstacles

Real-life obstacles are some of the most obvious challenges you’re going to face with executing your first event.

We’ve already covered common obstacles in this post, but you likely will have some challenges that are unique to your niche, ideal attendee, location, budget, etc.

The good news is, with creativity and commitment, most logistical hurdles can be overcome.

So in addition to what I shared above, I recommend being flexible and willing to adapt your initial vision while retaining your core event goals and values.

And remember, when you’re ready, you’re ready.

If you find that you keep pushing off planning or aren’t willing to problem-solve challenges, you know that you may not be ready to host an event yet. And that’s okay, just keep setting the stage for it and you’ll get there.

The key is having the determination to turn your vision into reality, despite inevitable obstacles. With resourcefulness and passion, you can figure out solutions.

If certain hurdles feel truly insurmountable, consider starting with a small workshop or meetup to build skills and confidence. Then scale up from there!

Want some help on strategizing your event and event marketing plan? Use my 10+ years of experience and expertise in marketing, branding, and planning luxury events all over the world to help you strategize, plan, and market your own events to build your business and continue doing more of what you love. 

Click here to drop me a message and let’s chat!

Bonus! Extra ways to get ready for planning and promoting your first event

Here are some additional tips to help prepare for your first event:

  • Brush up on event planning basics through resources like Eventbrite’s blog or BizBash.
  • Connect with venues in your area to tour spaces and learn their requirements
  • Take notes at other industry events on what works and what doesn’t
  • Line up potential vendors, entertainment, speakers, etc and interview them

Preparation is the key to hosting a smooth, successful event and creating an amazing experience for attendees. Follow these tips to set yourself up for excellence!

Don’t forget to download your free Event Marketing Blueprint now >>

That’s a wrap!

I hope this post has helped clarify your readiness to jump into planning and hosting your first event.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just know that when I first started I kept hearing that being an event planner was one of the most stressful jobs, which it certainly can be! But the more you do it, the more confidence you’ll build in your own skills.

And now I’m getting to help other creatives take advantage of the power of events and community to help them do more of what they love.

Have a question about anything I covered today? I’m just an email or a DM away.

Feel free to connect here on my site or on Instagram where I’m always sharing content to keep you up-to-date on everything happening in the world of events and creative entrepreneurship.

Click here to download your free Event Marketing Blueprint now >>

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