What are some things you wished you knew before starting your business?

Hindsight is 20/20! We asked experienced event pros what they would have done differently when starting their business.

I wish someone said to learn about mental health and having a work/life balance.

I wished someone told me I needed to build a team around me. I wish someone said to learn about mental health and having a work/life balance. To delve more into finance. How to build relationships. How to be a storyteller. How to adapt to social media and advertising on various platforms.

These things, you don’t learn in school and I wish I did.

"I wish someone said to learn about mental health and having a work/life balance." @andrewrobyevent Click to Tweet

Andrew Roby

Event Storyteller

Andrew Roby Events,

To not compare myself to everyone else.

To not compare myself to everyone else. I have rebranded 3 times trying to go with what everyone else is doing. I am now trying to be 100% me in everything that I publish. I am the only person on the planet who can serve clients as I do. There is something special in that. I am unique and I like working with easy-going unique clients.

"To not compare myself to everyone else." Click to Tweet

Ashley Radosav

Owner and Lead Planner

Ashley Nicole Events Inc., Chicago, IL

Ask for opinions and take your ego out of it.

Wow – – Marketing. You only can learn about what will work for you by trying. I did a whole series of ads for golf courses in the area that gave me zero return on investment. Some websites aren’t worth it for referrals but are worth it when it comes to coverage and social media.

Business Cards – This is your best piece of marketing and it needs to be fabulous. My first business card I thought was amazing until I saw someone else’s and realized I needed a change!

Ask for opinions and take your ego out of it. Getting constructive feedback is everything but if you worked endlessly on it and it’s not well received it could give you a sting. Suck it up and change!

"Ask for opinions and take your ego out of it." @keithwillard Click to Tweet

Keith Willard

Owner/Designer

Keith Willard Events,

I wish I knew and understood the importance of creating systems and processes that automate your workflow from the beginning.

I wish I knew and understood the importance of creating systems and processes that automate your workflow from the beginning. There’s so much free information out there—blog posts, podcasts, newsletters—that can help you manage your business and save you time, money and energy down the road if you have systems and processes in place for your business. For example, I use HoneyBook to send proposals, sign contracts, receive payments, save files and more for my clients to keep things organized and moving forward. Having that in place has saved me countless hours.

"I wish I knew and understood the importance of creating systems and processes that automate your workflow from the beginning." Click to Tweet

Maya Tarach

Owner and Certified Wedding & Event Planner

Preoccupied Bride Events, Evanston, IL

Expenses. They are truly all over the place and you really aren’t sure how to budget things appropriately.

Expenses. They are truly all over the place and you really aren’t sure how to budget things appropriately. I wish I had more capital when I first started out so that the lessons I learned weren’t as expensive. Marketing is key, but there are ways to do that on a MUCH cheaper level than what I did. Also, you should keep a journal of what you are doing for each event. At the end, you will see how many hours it took, and in the future, if it would take that long. For instance, when you made a timeline for a wedding, is this something that in the future I will have to do from scratch? Probably not, I can use what I have and change some of the information. It saves a lot of time and energy when you already have a beginning step.

"Expenses. They are truly all over the place and you really aren’t sure how to budget things appropriately." Click to Tweet
Owner of Monica Lattimer Events

Monica Lattimer

Owner

Monica Lattimer Events,

One of the things I wish I knew about was Paypal’s electronic services to invoice clients and receive payment prior to picking up.

One of the things I wish I knew about was Paypal’s electronic services to invoice clients and receive payment prior to picking up. I’ve experienced hardships where clients would pay me with a personal check and have no available funds. This was lost time, labor, and materials. Recently, I decided to utilize HelloSign services to upload my contracts where clients can electronically sign for the delivery of their goods as well as pay upfront. The contracts were provided by a law firm that details what the clients are responsible for and how to go about arbitration in the event of a disagreement.

"One of the things I wish I knew about was Paypal’s electronic services to invoice clients and receive payment prior to picking up." @DelorCakery Click to Tweet

Kayisha Shoshana Thompson

Cake Executive Officer

De L’or Cakery Corporation, Bronx, NY

I wish someone had told me to find the best accountant I can who understands event production and experiential marketing and to collaborate with them on getting taxes done and booking handled.

I wish someone had told me to find the best accountant I can who understands event production and experiential marketing and to collaborate with them on getting taxes done and booking handled. In the beginning, like most start-ups, I had limited resources and far less revenue and expenses, as both grew rapidly it became clear to me that I was a horrible accountant. Now I have a team that I absolutely love who gets what I do and as a result has been able to offer guidance, strategy and most importantly handle all my taxes like professionals!

"I wish someone had told me to find the best accountant I can who understands event production and experiential marketing and to collaborate with them on getting taxes done and booking handled." Click to Tweet
Joe Moller Events

Joe Moller

CEO

Joe Moller Events (JME), Los Angeles, CA

Your business will change, build a business that doubles down on your strengths, and niche down.

Your business will change. As I mentioned, my business pivoted from a food media company to an experiential marketing agency. It was a windy path and every step of the way lead to key learnings that helped me develop the business.

Build a business that doubles down on your strengths. My first venture in food media didn’t tap into my strongest skills. I’m a project-oriented person who enjoys diving deep to solve a unique creative problem before moving onto the next project. The consistent, on-going nature of publishing digital content was a total mismatch. Now, I’m able to leverage my project management skills and unleash my creativity to design and produce experiential activations for natural food and wellness brands.

Niche down. The value of a niche is something I had read about but really didn’t take to heart until reading Seth Godin’s latest book, This is Marketing. Hidden Rhythm has been able to gain traction because we choose to only serve natural food and wellness brands. In today’s noisy marketing world, it’s nearly impossible to stand out unless you over-serve your customers. You can only do that by being obsessively focused on their needs.

"Your business will change, build a business that doubles down on your strengths, and niche down." @cynthia Click to Tweet

Cynthia Samanian

Founder and CEO

Hidden Rhythm, San Francisco, CA

You have to know your worth and when to stop giving away everything for FREE.

You have to know your worth and when to stop giving away everything for FREE. Our time is our currency – we are good at we do and we should be paid for it. It is also a different mentality to go from an employee to a business owner. Every decision we make matters and influences the direction your company goes in. We spend a lot of time discussing strategies and opportunities.

"You have to know your worth and when to stop giving away everything for FREE." Click to Tweet

Joyce Malicse

Co-founder

Pink Salt Cuisine,

My top two: the amount of mindset work I’d need to do and that I’d need to learn so much new lingo.

My top two: the amount of mindset work I’d need to do and that I’d need to learn so much new lingo. I was surprised by both. I hadn’t realized how ingrained certain ideas were until I started my business.

For example, I noticed that I needed to change my mindset around money. In non-profits, it was a surprise if you’d break even on an event and relied heavily on donations or fundraising to fund your “goodwill” events. This always frustrated me because it felt like we were throwing away people’s money unnecessarily. I was tired of being asked to spend recklessly just so we could get more on our budget line the following year. I tell you this because I thought switching to the for-profit world would be easy – I was wrong. Apparently the poverty mindset was engaged in almost everything, including lingo! I spent the first few months learning new business terms and trying to equate them to “non-profit speak.”

Neither of these things was something I had expected. Thankfully a former colleague helped to change my mindset and bridge that gap with a single comment… just when I needed it.

"My top two: the amount of mindset work I’d need to do and that I’d need to learn so much new lingo." Click to Tweet
620 Events

Samantha Bellinger

Owner/Event Planner

620 Events,

That you cannot please everyone and that’s okay.

That you cannot please everyone and that’s okay.

"That you cannot please everyone and that’s okay." @christinaevents Click to Tweet

Christina Currie

Owner/Event Producer

Christina Currie Events, Barrington, IL