Posts tagged ‘work life balance’

Helping find Work/Life Balance for Event Planners at ISES Hampton Roads

s2I recently ​returned​ from an amazing trip to​ Virginia Beach and the ISES Hampton Roads​ chapter​. ​They are​ a fantastic group of people who work​ ​together and remind me of our ​awesome ​event industry ​family ​in​​ Colorado. While I was there I taught ​a​ 4-hour intensive and then spoke at their monthly ISES meeting. As usual​,​ I ​spoke​ a lot about pricing, profitability and delegat​ing​. The one issue that became an overall theme at both ​sessions​ was the lack of work-life balance. Many attendees could see their family life suffering but didn’t know how to change it. (Tears were shed.) As we all shared stories​,​ it became very obvious to me the root of the problem with this ​”​balance in the events industry​” idea​ is letting fear rule decision making. ​Many people believe ​If you don’t work crazy long hours or ​cut your ​price​s and increase​ your service​ offerings, you won’t get the business​.​ ​ Some think ​if you’re not available to the client ​24 hours/day​ you’ll lose the business. In my experience, these concerns are​ not​ true. And if ​a client acts that way​, t​hey are not​ the right fit for you and not worth your time ​and​ energy. My advice to everyone in the event industry: separate the fear from the truth; have faith in yourself and your services.

Remember it’s great having nice clients, but they are not the #1 relationship in your life. Clients come and go, but your work team and family​ and friends​ will always be there. You should concentrate the majority of your energy on those relationships for long term growth.​ You are not your business or your job. I am not my business. I work at Forté Events where I help clients solve problems using events but I am a wife, a friend, a daughter, and many other things. My company is the tool by which I earn a living and create opportunities for myself and others but it is not who I am.​​​ You have to separate the two. It’s great to love your job…just don’t let it define your entire life. That’s how we lose balance.​

​One way to do this is to set clear expectations and boundaries at ​the ​beginning of any client relationship. ​Explain​ exactly what they ​should expect from you, ​ how many hours ​of your time​ the fee include​s and​ the number of meetings if applicable. Needless to say you’ll have many clients that you’ll have to remind of this; but remember you’re not giving away your time and energy for free.

Special warning to those in the wedding industry​:​ It’s especially hard to not form a false emotional bond with your brides. You work so closely with them​ in an emotionally charged environment​ ​ that’s easy to get caught up in​. This can cause you to invest energy and sometimes do things for them that you’re not getting paid for​ and cut in to your family time​. Don’t get me wrong, we’re in the hospitality ​industry ​and are supposed to give great service to our clients, just keep in mind that you’re still a professional and you may need to disconnect emotionally with certain clients​ and draw boundaries and stick to them​.

​I know from experience…​I spent years doing all the wrong things myself and working insane hours​ for people I thought truly valued my contribution…and many did but they were not my long term relationships​. The event industry tells us ​this is normal..expected…​we have to do this! I say make your own path within the industry and find the work/life balance that’s right for you!
-Tami Forero