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Meghan Ely Photo by Aaron Watson Photography

Event Pros Share the Biggest Challenges They’ve Faced as Business Owners (and How They Overcame Them)

Don't let the ups and downs of owning an event business get you down; tips for staying on top from those who know.

Being a small business owner comes with its challenges, whether you’re just starting out or have been around for decades. From day-to-day operations to beating out your competition, all the way to the state of the economy, it can sometimes feel like there is no end in sight.

The good news? You’re not alone! Everyone is going through the same ups and downs, and the lessons learned along the way will help you grow and become an even better entrepreneur.

We asked fellow event professionals what kinds of challenges they’ve faced in their careers and how they’ve been able to overcome it.

Count on Communication
Having a good communication system can be difficult for anyone, says Lindsay Parrott-Masiewicz of P3 Events. “Keeping open lines of communication with clients is challenging. Everyone is busy with work, school, families and life in general, and I never want to feel like I am bombarding them with a bunch of to-do's.”

Trying to be timely in your replies, as dealing with those customers who never seem to have time to answer questions and read their messages is a process that can take years to master.

“To keep communication at the forefront of my planning process, I include a small insert in the initial contract that asks for timely responses and keeping up with assignments,” Parrott-Masiewicz says. “For the most part, this has been very effective and makes for a seamless planning process.”

Balance the Creative and Business Sides
As creative entrepreneurs, it can be hard to strike the right balance between our business selves and our artistic selves. Amy Kolodziej of Sunshower Photography has been through it and shares her experience.

“Marrying my easy-going nature with the reality of running a business is something that I have struggled with and continue to work on,” she says. “I don't like to be rigid or hard-nosed, but much of the advice I was given as a young entrepreneur was to draw lines in the sand and never cross them.”

So how do you weigh each on any given day? Kolodziej says she learned that just by being herself and letting her personality shine through every situation, she could get through anything. “Being flexible but knowing where my personal limits are and paying less attention to what others see as the norm,” she says.

Rely on the Power of Delegating
It’s very easy to get in the mindset of “I’ll just do it, so that it’s done right.” But the reality is that running a business alone can be all-consuming and, at times, completely draining.

Morgan Montgomery of rental company Paisley and Jade remembers opening her business and struggling to keep up with every detail. “Our business started out with just two people--the co-owners--and we did every task,” she recalls. “When things started to get really busy, we knew we need help.”

Being able to delegate some of the responsibilities to your team is paramount to your success and will ultimately help your bottom line. “We focused on building a company culture that we loved, creating detailed standard operating procedures to train our team with, and hiring staff that were talented in areas that we were weakest,” Montgomery says.

Don’t let the obstacles of running your own business take over. Instead, come up with a plan that is going to help you solve the problem, and move on. It won’t be long before you notice the positive results. 

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. 


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