Keeping the (Virtual) Doors Open

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Keeping the (Virtual) Doors Open

By The Independent Planners Collective | Jun 1, 2020

As event professionals and business owners, understanding how to account for risk is second nature. None of us, however, could have prepared for our businesses to have come to a grinding halt in a matter of weeks, affecting cash flow for months to come. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job losses within the leisure & hospitality sector topped 7.7 million in April, towering over other segments of our economy.

We cannot let this drive us backward. Instead, we must propel forward. As Andy Bailey, CEO/Founder and head coach at Petra Coach, so eloquently said, "Like a balloon that is blown up it never returns to its previous form, our lives, both our business and our professional lives, will always return to a greater height after a decline than prior to the decline. Look back at every low point in your life, the return was always a higher high than the previous level. It takes work, don’t get me wrong, but work knowing that there is a high level to reach in your future.”

But what does our survival look like? How do we advance in a world with so many uncertainties? Where do we go from here? Luckily, we have some compelling opportunities presenting themselves.

Door #1: Explore Options in Virtual/Hybrid/Digital Events

The need continues to grow for industry professionals with expertise in planning and executing virtual events and meetings. If you have skills and knowledge in this area, companies like Soundings Connect, Cambio, and Happily often lean on the proficiencies of freelancers, and even more so now with the volume of virtual on the rise. We definitely recommend searching for opportunities in this growing niche. Looking to enhance your credentials first? MPI Academy offers a certificate in Virtual Event & Meeting Management, in addition to a wide selection of on-demand and streaming content focused on designing virtual events.

Door #2: Diversify Your Business Portfolio

There is no better time to re-evaluate your services and offerings as a business than in an economic situation like this. When the status quo fails you, turn to other avenues for success. If you can adapt and evolve, you can survive and then thrive. Is there an idea you’ve been sitting on because you’ve previously been too busy to pursue? No time like the present! Been meaning to take a look at your client base and hone your market to better reflect your value? What are you waiting for? You have been given perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make your event planning career or business everything you ever wanted it to be!

Door #3: Make the Big Pivot

While some of us may be getting sick of the “p” word, there’s not a better way to express what’s possible. If you are suffering from a job loss or the loss of client work, and you’re not finding the right opportunities in the events industry, there’s nothing wrong with a trial separation - you know you’ll always have a home here. But in the meantime, without a crystal ball to know when cash flow will return, what can you do? Do you have any other skills (writing, graphic design, landscaping...anything) you can turn to? Or, is there a way to apply the countless areas of expertise you have as an event professional in other areas (project management, business analytics, training...again, anything)? We would venture to say the answer is a resounding “yes” to both of these questions.

Will stepping into these opportunities take strength, courage and effort? You bet. Consider Mahoganey Jones, CMP, DES, HMCC, founder and principal planner at Event Specialists response: "During this pandemic, I've made the time to re-imagine the services I want to offer and re-connect with my why. This time has also allowed me to update my website and promotional collateral."

Luckily, we’re event pros, and we step up to challenges like this every day. Let us know in the comments how you have been managing, and if you need any help along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re all in this together.

To learn more about MPI's Independent Small Business Owners (ISBO) Community go here, get in on the convo by checking out the forum or checking out its Covid Response Webinar Series. And, a special shout-out to Happily, MPI's ISBO sponsor. 

“An Independent Perspective” returns next month with a deep dive into a mental health perspective post-COVID-19. It’s more than all right to be feeling everything you’re feeling, we have been, too. You’re certainly not alone.



independent planners
The Independent Planners Collective

Heather Herrig, CMP, Every Last Detail; Tess Vismale, CMP, iSocialExecution, Inc.; and Qualena Odom-Royes, CSEP, CMP, CDMP, EventEssentials, LLC, discuss the unique challenges and perks of the independent planner community.