Event planners need to set boundaries with clients and workload limits to ensure they are giving their best and are at their best.
As event planners, we consider ourselves problem solvers. No challenge too big, no hill too steep. There is always a solution to every problem, and with respect to events, a great event planner behind each solution.
But with every great feat, there is likely a sacriﬁce.
Many event professionals can likely attest to blurred lines between a work-life balance. Being available at all times of the day, going above and beyond the call of duty any day of the week, doing the odd favour here and there that creep into personal time.
With the new year underway, a challenge we’ve set for ourselves: setting boundaries and sticking to them! We’re talking about embracing the power of ‘no’, managing expectations and being comfortable with putting ourselves ﬁrst every now and then, but with consistency.
We never want to disappoint a client, a vendor, or a colleague, but knowing our limits is important.
Now that you’re onboard, what’s next? It’s easy to talk about but the hard part is actually getting started.
BizBash has a great article, title ‘The Power of ‘No’: When (and How) to Turn Down a Prospective Client’, that breaks down some best practices to “assess if a job is the right ﬁt, what client red ﬂags they watch for, and how they gracefully turn down work—without burning bridges.” Hence, creating more space for oneself and working toward introducing more work-life balance.
One very important lesson that Tycoon learnt last year was knowing when it’s time to walk away from a client, but not before you’ve explored all other options (i.e. having a conversation with your client, revising expectations, looking into alternatives that work for you and your client, revisiting the contract, etc.). Whether it’s breach of contract, not respecting your ‘online’ or in ofﬁce hours, or simply not understanding that your time is valuable, just as theirs is. And you know what? Trust your gut -that underutilized tool that we all internally possess.
As Jennifer Taylor, principle of Jen Taylor Consulting, says in her article, ‘Managing Event Client Expectations and Boundaries‘, “Setting boundaries with clients can feel a bit uncomfortable at ﬁrst, especially if you’re used to answering to them. Remember that boundaries are the best way to protect yourself and your business from being taken advantage of and stretched too thin.”
From being someone who goes from boundary-less to putting ‘you’ ﬁrst is difﬁcult. Once you start you’ll wonder why you never did it before. Just remember, consistency is key into keeping this all-too-important habit at the top of your priority list, while keeping your clients happy as a top priority.
Eryne Sarabin, DES, is founder and lead event strategist of Tycoon Events, a full service event planning company specializing in live, hybrid and virtual events. Eryne has been in the events and marketing industry since 2003, and was voted one of “Canada’s Top 250 Event Professionals to Know in 2021” by BizBash.