Extraordinary Events Podcast

Ep 62: My Beginning

March 23, 2021 Extraordinary Events
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 62: My Beginning
Chapters
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 62: My Beginning
Mar 23, 2021
Extraordinary Events

Everyone is always asking me how I got my start in the event planning industry, so in today's special podcast episode, I am finally sharing how I realized events was for me! In this episode I also discuss all of the exciting things that are happening in the month of March, how one of my Pinterest boards gave me my start working in a niche event planning industry, and how there are so many careers and events that you do not even know exist! 

If you want to come to our April 1st event, Level Up Your Event Game, send an email to [email protected] and I will send you your own coupon code with money off of the event at registration! 

If you are interested in learning more about Level Up Your Event Game, please visit our website at levelupyoureventgame.com

Show Notes Transcript

Everyone is always asking me how I got my start in the event planning industry, so in today's special podcast episode, I am finally sharing how I realized events was for me! In this episode I also discuss all of the exciting things that are happening in the month of March, how one of my Pinterest boards gave me my start working in a niche event planning industry, and how there are so many careers and events that you do not even know exist! 

If you want to come to our April 1st event, Level Up Your Event Game, send an email to [email protected] and I will send you your own coupon code with money off of the event at registration! 

If you are interested in learning more about Level Up Your Event Game, please visit our website at levelupyoureventgame.com

Dr. K: Hello, hello, all my beautiful podcast listeners, followers, aficionados!  I am so super pumped, I say I'm always pumped, I always love what I do. And that's just who I am as a person. But today, I am extra excited, because I just finished two podcast interviews with some industry professionals that we are going to highlight on the podcast coming up.

I am just super, super excited for you guys to hear from them and their particular areas and their industries, it's going to be just so much value added on the podcast. I just love it. I've had some people reach out to me about the podcast. So thank you all so much for reaching out! I had Charles reach out, who was someone from a long time ago, probably a decade, who is listening to the podcast, loves the podcast. Thank you, Charles for listening to the podcast, I am so glad that you are finding value in it as well. 

It's just been an insane month, I have by no choice of my own. I have two teams that are submitting for the PCMA North American student competition, which is an event competition for students where they create a event proposal. And they're just the events of the future, just so brilliant and so unique. And just to put that into perspective, each team, their proposals are over 150 pages each. They are rock stars, they are killing it. I'm so excited. But both of those are due April 1. And then in the Advanced Event Capstone style class where we're putting on events, their event is April 1. And I am just counting down the days until April 2, so I can catch up on some sleep. But honestly, I am just so pumped. I'm so excited. I just love what I do. 

Now, if that wasn't enough, I decided that I was going to do something else in March. I really truly love. I love what I do. And then I get to talk about events and event logistics, events design, event strategy. And I was really looking for an outlet maybe a couple years ago to share some of my personal stories. And I didn't necessarily have a good outlet for that. I cover some of my work related stories in class. But I was really looking for an outlet that I could share some of the lessons I've learned throughout my life and some of the different things that I picked up along the way, and I decided that I was going to join Toastmasters. Now a funny story about Toastmasters is I actually used to recommend Toastmasters to all of my graduate students when I was at my previous University, and I recommended it because everybody else recommended it. “Okay, you want to improve your English you want to improve your storytelling. Go check out Toastmasters.” And it wasn't until I moved to Lincoln and I made some friends. And they were all in Toastmasters. I was like “Hmm, maybe Toastmasters isn't just to work on your English. Maybe there's some more and I should check it out.” So I checked out Toastmasters and I joined and I got super, super excited and passionate like I always do. And I joined a second club. And I really just have been enjoying the opportunity to share my stories, stories about life. stories about my beginning, my childhood, my college experiences, my life now, all the things. I've been having so much fun, just sharing my personal stories.

Now, every year, Toastmasters hosts a world championship of public speaking. Yes, that's a thing. I had no idea either. And last year was my first official year in Toastmasters. And I said sure, why not. It'll encourage me to really practice and work on it, my vocal variety, all my things. Being my first year in I actually got first place in the first three levels, and then second place in the fourth level, and there are seven levels to get up to the World Championship. Now, that was such a great learning experience. And I really, really wanted to do it again this year, but I didn't know how it would work on my schedule. Of course, I decided that I had no time in my schedule. And therefore I decided to do it anyway because that is me. That is just so me. And I signed up for Another improv class, I love improv. 

So for Toastmasters, I've gotten first place in the first two levels, and I proceed to the third level. And of course, that's two days before April 1. So all the craziness happening that week, say a little prayer for me, send up your happy thoughts and send me some good messages and some positive affirmations. And check in to make sure that there's actually a podcast after April 1, and I haven't perished. 

Now I was looking for a topic. As you know, I always strive to be super relevant to the listeners I do this to provide value, I am not here to just spend 20 minutes to an hour every single week just talking to microphone for nobody to listen to, I truly want to provide value. And so I have been checking in with people who I know listen to the podcast my colleagues, my friends, my just my network at large, and some followers that have reached out and I'm like, “What do you want to hear about? How can I have value for you?” We have such a wide listenership we have people that are event planners, we have event planning students, we have event designers, we have experienced designers, we have marketers, we have so many different target markets that listen to this podcast. And that is awesome. I am so glad that this is foundational for so many people. 

So I'm reaching out to people. And I'm like, “What do you actually want to hear?” So last Tuesday, I had shared a podcast about when you know, events are for you. I talked about my students. And I talked about how I could just tell when events were for them. And I got a lot of great feedback from that. And a lot of comments and people reaching out from all over the world that are event students who said that that episode resonated with them. And I'm so thankful and happy for you for resonating with that, that that provided value. But it was interesting, because people reached out and said, “Well, how did you know that events was for you? You've never actually talked about your story on the podcast.” And I've shared bits and pieces. There was one episode kind of mixed in the middle with Ally Norris, who was interviewing me, I really don't just like to go on a huge tangent about myself. 

But there was definitely a distinct moment when I realized that events were for me. Now, there was a moment academically and there was a moment where I said, “Okay, like, I own this, like, I've got this, I can do this.” And I will say, realizing that events was actually a thing.

My bachelor's degree is in interior design. I didn't know events was a thing. I didn't know hospitality was the thing. And I always kind found myself going towards the temporary installations, kind of like theaters or pop ups. I wasn't really passionate about the permanent interior design, like the corporate or people that were super invested that you had to argue with them, which shade of white out of 32 shades of white was the one they were gonna keep in their house forever. I was not that emotionally invested. And I found myself really drawn to these pop ups. And I loved it. I loved every moment of it. And so then I got a job after my bachelor's degree, working for an engineering company and our architectural engineering company. And essentially, I was an AutoCAD monkey. I did a lot of AutoCAD drawings for engineers for architects. And I loved it. I loved doing all the floor plans and the site plans and all the specifications. I just learned so much in that role, and how to deal with different personality types. But the most important thing I learned in that role was that the office life was not for me. I did not like sitting in an enclosed space for nine hours a day, just staring at a computer screen and doing work. That was not what drove me, that was not passion for me. That particular company that I worked with, they were really great about cross training me to do a lot of things and they saw that I had a passion for the socialists. And they really let me start doing events. They let me do the office training. So when the engineers needed to see us and we had training, they let me coordinate that. They let me start coordinating holiday events. And I just really, really loved it. And so when they were no longer able to keep me on anymore, because of the recession, I decided that I was going to go back to school and get my event planning certificate. It was in that role that I just fell in love. I knew this was for me. And we were just doing a theoretical project, my teacher was active in the industry, she loved her role, she was very passionate, she saw a lot of great opportunity in me as well. And that just blossomed. I just truly, truly loved what I did. 

That has started just an amazing life progression for me of realizing that events was for me. And I love that because I found my passion in a classroom environment. And I love that now as a teacher, I get to have that same effect on all these students who are trying to figure out what they want to do in their life. And  I can kind of feed into them if events are right for them or not. Now, when I knew that I was going to make it in an event planning environment on my own, was probably started with a little bit of a nice career. I laugh and you're like, “Ut Oh”, I started off my career in event planning. By myself, I'm so hesitant because you don't want it to sound bad. But you're like, “Okay, Kristin, spit it out!” 

I was so fortunate to be able to do contract events for many different types of events, government events, sporting events, and social events. But when I really broke out on my own as an event planner, doing my own independent work under my own company name, I was firing wedding planners and taking their business. Now that sounds horrible. It happened accidentally. One bride found me on Pinterest. I'm not joking. I have gotten business from my Pinterest boards. And one bride from young Pinterest and said, “Hey,I see that you're in events. I absolutely love your style and love your boards. And I googled you and looked you up. And I saw that you had done an event at the venue where we're having our wedding. We're super unhappy with our wedding planner. And they're not doing their job, essentially because they hadn't done their research ahead of time. And we were wondering if we could have you help out!” 

Now that started just such an interesting career progression, where I really recognized that there were so many fly by night wedding planners, there were so many people who said, “Well, I planned my sister's wedding or my cousin's wedding or my friend's wedding. And I love planning weddings. So I'm going to be a wedding planner!” And they go on Wix. And they create a website. And the next day, they're a wedding planner, with no formal training. And not everybody recognizes contract negotiation, or where to negotiate, what not to negotiate, your service prices, your liability, what you can do and what you can't do. So there was a lot of questionable people who said that they were going to plan weddings. And one thing that my students quickly learn is that everybody loves planning events, when it's their own, because they control everything. Now, when you're planning events, for other people, they're in control, and they make decisions that you don't agree with. And they choose colors that you don't like. And they have budgets that are not the budgets you would have had. And you have to work with them because you are a paid planner. Now thankful for this client, they had hired a wedding planner, who also did not do their due diligence in their contract writing. And when I approached them and said, “Hey, this is actually not an enforceable contract, and this person would like to get out of this contract.” Then we sat down and had a discussion and the bride got her money back, they parted ways peacefully. And then that bride hired me to finish her wedding. 

That started a couple years of similar types of situation. And it wasn't anything I advertised like, “Hire Kristen to fire your wedding planner.! No, no, no. That would be a great headline in today's social media news. But I would definitely say that was more of a word of mouth niche industry. I didn't think it would turn into anything and then it did. People were calling me “Hey, I heard from so and so that you could help me!” “I heard from you and so you could help me!” And It was really how I got into events. After a while I switched from weddings to Association and special events and some corporate events, and then back to Association in a medical market. And I have really touched a little bit of everything. I loved it. I was a contractor for a long time, I touched a lot of different events. I worked for a hotel, and I saw a ton of events there. I test. I'm just love. I know you hear this all the time, and it's not cheesy, and it's not a lie. I just truly love what I get to do every single day. And so when I asked people, I actually have a room of students working on their PCMA North American student competition right next door. And I walked in and I said, “Okay, what should the subject for my podcast to be? I have heard this, this and this, and what should we talk about?” And they all said, “You have to say nostalgia, you have to call it nostalgia. And they were like waving their arms around.” It's kind of an inside joke in the class, nostalgia, nostalgia. And I said, “Well, maybe not nostalgia. But we can talk about my beginning, which is what all these other people have said.” 

I always want to provide so much value for you guys. And I'm sitting here and we always have to reflect. So I just shared a story with you, a story about my life. And you can sit there and be like, “That's a funny story. That's a cool story. But I didn't necessarily learn anything.” And one of my goals with this podcast is to show everybody listening, that there are so many careers and events that you do not even know exist. You can be a person who loves contracts and negotiation, who solely has a career, getting people out of their bad event contracts. It doesn't mean you have to take over the event, it just means you have to get them out of their contracts. That is literally a career where you can get a percent back of all the money, you saved that client. That is actually a career choice. There's so many careers that you just don't know exist. And some of them are really, really fun. And some of them are more on the stressful side. 

If I were to say anything in closing on this podcast, I would say nobody has a perfect path. There is no hierarchy. There's a goal that you have, and there's a million ways to get there. I did not think I would be a university professor by starting out firing brides or sitting at a desk for nine hours a day doing AutoCAD that is not naturally the progression to lead to a professor. And yet here I am. So what's your goal? And what are you doing? Thank you all so much for taking the time to make the time talking to you all and hearing from you all just makes my day and I am so glad to be on this journey with you. I'll talk with you soon.