Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to Break Into a Fab Job as an Event Planner

A village feast to welcome home hunters in the wilds of Borneo and a glittering fund-raiser soiree at a swanky New York hotel may not sound like they have much in common, but they do have at least one similarity.

Someone, somewhere, got the ball rolling and using a little resourcefulness, creativity and sheer determination successfully pulled off a spectacular event. (Well, someone had to figure out how much food and drink was required at the feast and where the chief would sit!) That person is an event planner.

If event planning sounds like it could be your dream career, here are 7 steps to become an event planner, based on the FabJob Guide to Become an Event Planner by Jan L. Riddell, Carol Palmatier and Peter J. Gallanis.

Click Here to Discover How to Become an Event Planner

1. Assess Your Skills

Before you quit your day job to become an event planner, take the time to honestly assess your current skills to ensure you have what it takes to succeed as an event planner.

Event planners must be creative and well organized, but they must also have excellent interpersonal skills. Events are about people, so successful event planners must be able to effectively listen to what clients want, develop relationships and negotiate with vendors (companies that supply products and services for events).

TIP: If you’re creative and have great people skills, but could use some help getting organized, event planning software is available to help you keep track of event details.

2. Learn How to Plan Events

Almost all events have common components such as some type of meal or refreshment, a form of entertainment or speaker, invitations or registrations, etc. The event planner is the person who pulls all of the components together.

There are excellent resources available to help you learn how to plan events and assist with each stage of event planning including how to: choose a date, decide who to invite, budget, create timeline schedules, work with vendors, and market events. If you want a formal education, many colleges offer degrees or certificates in event planning. If you would rather break into event planning without a formal education, you can quickly learn how to plan events with books such as the FabJob Guide to Become an Event Planner.

3. Get Hands-On Experience

The easiest way to learn about the steps involved is through personal experience (i.e. planning events for family and friends).

Non-profit groups are always looking for help with their fundraisers and galas, and you’ll get the double benefit of helping a worthy cause while you hone your skills. This is also an excellent way to make contacts in the community to help you land a paying job when you are ready.

You could also volunteer to organize events at your own workplace, if you have one. For example, if your company has a public relations department that is notoriously short-staffed, offer to help them out. The beauty of this plan is that you will be learning a new career while still being paid at your old job!

4. Create a Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of samples of your work, plus any other documents that can show people why they should hire you. A portfolio helps you stand out from other applicants, and prove that you have the skills to do the job. Your portfolio might include pictures, recommendation letters and anything else that shows prospective clients and/or employers what you have done or can do.

Material for your portfolio can come from any event you have organized (such as a family reunion, birthday bash, etc.) or from ideas and themes you have for future events. Show your best work and don’t worry about giving away your great ideas. People will believe you have many more brilliant ideas that you haven’t yet divulged.

5. Get Hired as an Event Planner

Getting hired as an event planner (even if you plan on opening your own event planning business) will give you invaluable contacts and referrals for the future. Meeting and convention planners are projected to have faster than average job growth in the coming years. This is good news for the industry and for you.

Companies that hire event planners include hotels or resorts, non-profit organizations, convention centers, country clubs, and even fun destinations like theme parks!

Some people work their way into a position as their company’s event planner just by volunteering to organize internal events such as company picnics and meetings.

6. Start Your Own Event Planning Business

If the idea of being your own boss and earning up to $100,000 or more per year as an event planner sound appealing, it may be time to take the plunge and set up an event planning business. Many event planners have home-based businesses, which makes this type of business inexpensive to start. With the wealth of information available on starting a business you should be able to get your own event planning business off the ground quite easily.

When starting your own business, you should consider what types of events you want to plan. If you have a flair for the spectacular you may want to tackle proms, charity events and galas. If you prefer planning corporate events, you may choose to plan meetings, conventions, and the like.

TIP: Unsure of what type of event you’d prefer to plan? Consider interning or working for a number of companies whose specialties are quite different.

7. Develop Relationships with Vendors

You’ve probably heard the adage “it’s not what you know but who you know”. The most important relationships you will build as an event planner are with the vendors for your events. These are companies that supply products and services for events, such as caterers, florists, equipment rental companies, hotels, photographers, etc.

Learn about each one’s business by conducting informational interviews and ask about discounts they can offer you. Be polite and courteous with the owners and their staff and always follow up afterwards with some sort of acknowledgement or thank you. You can also arrange to have vendors refer clients to your event planning business.

Further Your Career

You can continue to learn and grow after you have become an event planner. One of the best ways to succeed as an event planner is to look upon every social occasion or event you attend as an opportunity to learn. Make a mental note of what worked well and what bombed. Attend tradeshows, read everything you can related to event planning, and watch for what’s hot. Seek out the advice of trendsetters and don’t be afraid to try something a little different. You may start a trend yourself!

This article is based on the FabJob Guide to Become an Event Planner. The complete guide gives detailed advice on how you can break into a career in event planning, get hired as an event planner, or start your own event planning business. Click Here to Discover How to Become an Event Planner

by Jan L. Riddell

Jan L. Riddell has been planning events for more than 15 years. As an event planner she has organized public events attended by over 2500 people, television show premieres, corporate annual meetings, dinners with high-profile politicians and corporate leaders, as well as family reunions, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. She is co-author of the FabJob Guide to Become an Event Planner.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

10 Steps to a Job as an Interior Decorator

Imagine having a career that lets you use your creativity to make homes and businesses more beautiful and comfortable. Welcome to the world of interior decorating!

Click Here to Discover How to Become an Interior Decorator

There are few careers that offer so many benefits. As an interior decorator you will have the satisfaction of making your vision a reality. You will meet interesting people, and because many people who hire interior decorators are wealthy, you will likely spend time in many beautiful homes and businesses. If you start your own decorating business you can enjoy the freedom of being your own boss. And perhaps most importantly, your "work" will be fun, interesting, and rewarding.

As long as you have the desire, you can become an interior decorator. No special education or experience is necessary to break into this career and succeed. (Unlike becoming a certified interior designer which has strict requirements including two to five years of post-secondary education in interior design.) You can become an interior decorator immediately.

If interior decorating sounds like the career of your dreams, here are 10 steps to breaking into this fabulous job, based on the FabJob Guide to Become an Interior Decorator:

1. Train your eye

Since you are interested in a career as a interior decorator, chances are you already have a “good eye” for design. In other words, when you look at a room you can see what looks good, and what could be improved. But no matter how naturally talented you are, you can continually “train your eye" by studying what people consider to be good design.

Seek out beautifully decorated interiors to look at. You can find numerous examples of beautiful interiors in design magazines or in your own community by visiting show homes, open houses for sale in wealthy neighborhoods, furniture showrooms, historic homes, art galleries, and offices of professionals such as interior decorators and corporate lawyers.

2. Educate yourself

Interior decorators are expected to know about the various elements involved in decorating such as: space planning (how to arrange furniture and other items within a particular space), use of color and light, furniture and decorating styles (for example, Colonial or Southwestern), floorings, wall coverings, window treatments, and use of accessories such as pillows and art. You can learn decorating basics through courses, books, web sites, and even by speaking with retailers of products used in home decorating (paint, carpet, lighting, hardware stores, etc.)

3. Practice at home

Most interior decorators get their first decorating experience working on their own homes. Even if you have just one small room to experiment with, you can get “hands-on” experience with a variety of decorating techniques. For example, you can make a dramatic change to any room, quickly and inexpensively, simply by rearranging the furniture or painting the walls a new color. Give it a try! Experiment with techniques you wouldn’t ordinarily use. Consider this room your “research lab” where you can try things out before recommending them to a client.

4. Volunteer your services

Your friends and family members may already have asked for your advice about decorating, but if they haven’t yet asked you to actually decorate their homes or businesses, why not offer?

Some occasions your family or friends may want to redecorate are when they experiencing transitions in life, such as: marriage or co-habitation (help them merge two households into one), moving into a new home, childbirth (offer to decorate the baby’s room), hosting a special event such as a wedding or dinner party, starting a home business (you could decorate their new office), and selling a home (explain how a well decorated home can attract buyers).

5. Prepare a portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of samples of your work, plus any other documents that can help show why someone should hire you. The most important part of an interior decorator's portfolio is photographs of interiors you have decorated, so make sure you take "before” and “after” photos of every space you decorate. Choose 15-20 photographs of work you are proud of, and arrange them in a photo album or portfolio case.

Your portfolio can also include letters of recommendation and "design boards" (poster boards onto which you have pasted pictures and samples of materials such as fabrics, flooring, wallpaper, etc.) to show clients what you recommend to decorate a particular room.

6. Get a job

Even if you plan to start your own interior decorating business, you can learn about the business and meet potential clients by starting with a job in the industry. Companies that hire people with decorating talent include home builders, manufacturers of furniture and housewares, hotel and restaurant chains, retailers (furniture stores, home improvement stores, antiques dealers, housewares stores, etc.), plus interior design and decorating firms.

To get a job, you will need to prepare a resume that emphasizes your experience with decorating plus any other skills the employer is looking for, such as customer service or organizational ability.

7. Start your own business

Many interior decorators dream of being their own boss. If that's your goal, you'll need to decide on business matters such as your company's name and whether to incorporate or not. Free basic business advice is available from organizations such as SCORE and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Many interior decorators choose to work from home when they start their businesses because it saves on the cost of an office and, unlike many other types of businesses, you won’t be expecting clients to come to you – you will usually be going to their homes or offices.

8. Establish relationships with suppliers

Suppliers are companies that supply the products and services you need to decorate. They include manufacturers of furniture, wall coverings, flooring, fabrics, etc. as well as contractors who do painting, carpentry, installation, etc. When you go shopping as a professional interior decorator, you are entitled to “designer discounts” of up to 50% off the regular retail price which you can pass on to clients.

While some decorators charge an hourly rate or a flat fee, others charge "cost-plus." For example, if your cost for a product is 40% percent below the regular retail price, you could charge the client your cost plus 20%, thereby saving the client the other 20% they would pay to buy the same item at a retail store. This opportunity to save money on decorating may convince clients to hire you.

9. Get clients

Your potential clients could include home builders, new home buyers, wealthy home owners, professional couples, advertising agencies, art galleries, bed and breakfasts, boutique stores, corporate head offices, hotels, law firms, restaurants, spas, and many other types of businesses.

One way to market your services is by networking with professionals who can refer business to you, such as real estate agents, architects, antiques dealers, art dealers, home renovators, and owners of businesses that sell home furnishings. Other marketing techniques include putting up a web page with photos of interiors you have decorated and getting publicity in the homes section of your local newspaper.

10. Grow as a professional

Successful interior decorators continue to learn new decorating techniques. Once you have started a business you can continue to develop your skills by attending trade shows, reading decorating magazines and books, and joining professional associations. You can also impress clients and have an advantage over your competition by becoming certified as a professional interior decorator.

Based on the FabJob Guide to Become an Interior Decorator by Tag Goulet and Catherine Goulet. The complete guide gives detailed advice on how you can get paid to decorate homes and businesses, be hired for a job in the decorating industry, or start your own interior decorating business. Click Here to Discover How to Become an Interior Decorator.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How to Start a Gift Basket Business

You've seen them in department stores, boutiques and gift shops. or possibly sent and received them yourself. They are beautiful and brimming with unique gifts and tasty treats. They are a more personalized gift than balloons, and more practical than sending flowers.

Click Here to Discover How to Become a Gift Basket Business Owner

Of course we're talking about gift baskets, a hot trend in gift-giving these days. And behind the scenes, another major trend is emerging - people who choose to start a gift basket business are launching one of the fastest-growing types of businesses today.

Gift basket businesses are starting up all over the country, and with good reason. Not only is the work fun and creative, but you can also start a gift basket business easily from home, by setting up a small space where you design and build your gift baskets.

You also have unlimited potential to grow when you start a gift basket business. "I launched my [gift basket] business selling $20,000 in baskets that first holiday season. The business doubled year after year, and has continued to grow substantially," says gift basket business owner Cherie Reagor, twice named Designer of the Year by the gift basket industry.

The process for starting a gift basket business is not complicated, but you do have some important steps to follow. Here's some advice from the FabJob Guide to Become a Gift Basket Business Owner to help you take your idea to start a gift basket business from concept to reality.

1. Plan and Prepare

To start a gift basket business, you first need to learn about the gift basket industry. Study other gift basket businesses, and see what they have to offer. How many types of gift baskets do they have for sale? What items are included in them? When you know what other gift basket businesses are offering, then you can plan how your business will be similar, and what you will do differently to be unique.

To build your gift basket making skills, you can take some classes at a local craft store, buy some good how-to books, and practice making as many baskets as you can for friends and family.

2. Buy Supplies and Equipment

You don't need a large amount of supplies and equipment to start a gift basket business, but you will need some basics. A few pairs of sharp scissors will be essential, and you may also need a glue gun and wire cutters. You'll also need to purchase some cello or shrink wrap, baskets or other containers, ribbon, bows, and some decorative shred, and you'll be ready to start filling your gift baskets with goodies. Don't forget to buy shipping supplies (i.e. boxes and tape) if you will be sending your gift baskets by courier.

3. Set up Your Work Space

Decide where you will create your gift baskets, and ensure that you have adequate lighting, as well as storage for the supplies and inventory required to start a gift basket business. You'll also want to invest in a workbench or table when you can spread out supplies and make gift baskets at a comfortable height.

If you will include food items in your gift baskets, they should be stored in airtight containers with the expiration dates marked. Depending on where you live, local laws may also regulate how food items for your gift baskets must be handled and stored.

4. Buy Gift Basket Items

You'll want to purchase a nice variety of gift items to start a gift basket business. Keep your purchases versatile if you can, meaning that they can be used in more than one style of gift basket. When you first start a gift basket business, stay away from buying too many gift items that won't sell after a certain season (e.g., candy Santas), or whose shelf life may expire before you can use them up. You can order wholesale gift items at a deep discount.

Gift basket business insiders know that there are reputable businesses that will make and ship gift baskets on your behalf. All you have to do is land the orders! If your time or start-up money is limited, this can help you start a gift basket business easily and economically.

5. Market Your Gift Basket Business

When you are ready to start selling gift baskets, you'll want to let the public know. You can advertise your gift basket business, although ads may be too expensive when you first start a gift basket business. Instead, consider press releases and other low-cost marketing strategies such as referrals. Online directories and a website for your gift basket business will also help generate and increase sales. In fact, many gift basket businesses allow their clients to browse and buy gift baskets directly online.

This article is based on the FabJob Guide to Become a Gift Basket Business Owner by Jennifer James. The complete guide offers detailed step-by-step information about how you can start a gift basket business and sell gift baskets. It is available online - click here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How to Start a Photography Business

Are you intrigued by the idea of using photography to make time stand still, and creating keepsakes that will be treasured for generations?

Click Here to Discover How to Become a Professional Photographer

Maybe you love being part of the excitement that comes with important moments in human life: weddings, comings of age, and celebrations. You want to be there to record them forever. You can get paid to do what you love when you start a wedding photography business or a portrait photography business.

When you start a photography business you will be able to earn a living creating unique and creative images of people's cherished moments. Professional photography has been around for decades, yet it continues to be one of the most innovative and creative art forms in the world today. Being your own boss and determining your own schedule are just a few of the perks.

The family and wedding photography industry is booming right now. The real emphasis placed on the importance of family has seen a surge in portrait photography, and couples in love are spending thousands of dollars on their wedding photography.

Add in the fact that professionals of all types need headshots for business use, and there is no shortage of work for the aspiring professional photographer.

It's not difficult to start a photography business - all you really need are a good camera with the necessary lenses and equipment, and an eye for composition. But in order to attract clients and create a thriving photography business that you can call a true career, there are a few other things you'll want to do.

Here's some advice from the FabJob Guide to Become a Professional Photographer that will help you achieve your goal of starting a wedding photography business or a portrait photography business.

1. Plan and prepare

Before setting up studio space, buying equipment, or looking for clients, you'll need to plan what type of photography business you'll be running. Will it be wedding photography, portrait photography, pictures of young children or high school graduates, or some combination of these? Think about the type of photography you're most passionate about, the services you'll offer and the type of image you want to present.

To build your photo-taking skills, you can take photography classes at a local art school or community college, buy some good how-to books, and most importantly, practice by taking pictures of friends and family. Getting feedback on your work from other professionals will also go a long way to helping your build your skills to the professional level.

2. Get the right tools for the job

As mentioned, professional quality digital photography equipment is a must. This includes at least one digital camera with a few interchangeable lenses, and digital memory for file storage. Additional lighting and backdrops are a great addition if you plan to shoot portrait work inside. If you need to shoot onsite (at weddings, for example), a durable-but-lightweight camera bag will help you protect and transport photography equipment.

Many photographers find it difficult to work without the help of a computer editing program, and a website to attract customers is important too. A good training book and some business planning will help you start a photography business knowing exactly what tools and equipment you'll need for the services you have in mind.

3. Set up your studio or office

Starting a photography business requires a studio or an office where you will be able to greet prospective customers, review prints, fill out forms, and conduct other in-person business. When you set up your space to start a photography business, keep in mind the services you're planning on offering. The reception area of someone who plans to work primarily with weddings will be very different for someone doing headshots for aspiring models and actors, for example.

When deciding whether or not to invest in things like studio space, consider the advice of Mike Copeland, an official photographer for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics: "If you have the space, it's great to run this kind of business from home. We have our living room set up to meet with wedding clients, and a workspace in the basement." If you don't have the funds to equip a studio, you can still shoot outside or on location.

4. Find customers

When you are ready to start your photography business, you'll want to let the public know you are available for their photography needs. You can pay to advertise your services, although display ads may be too expensive when you first start a photography business. Instead, consider press releases and other low-cost marketing strategies such as referrals.

When your market your photography business, show how your work is unique, without moving too far away from the traditional expectations of your target market. Online directories and a website for your photography business will also help generate and increase sales.

Click Here to Discover How to Become a Professional Photographer

This article is based on the FabJob Guide to Become a Professional Photographer by Jennifer James. The complete guide offers detailed step-by-step information about how you can start a photography business and become a professional photographer. It is available online.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Business Consulting- Home Based Business

Could You Have a Career in Consulting?

Click Here to Discover How to Become a Business Consultant

Most people have no difficulty noticing problems in their workplace. When faced with something that makes their jobs more difficult or costs the company money, typical workers shake their heads, grumble to co-workers, and hope that "someone" will do something to fix the problems.

If you're the type of person who not only notices problems, but you can also come up with solutions to those problems, you may have what it takes to become a business consultant.

Business consultants are respected and relied upon in every industry in every country. As a business consultant, also known as a management consultant, you could have a high paying career where executives turn to you for direction in running their businesses.

What specific types of problems do business consultants recommend solutions for? The answer is any type of business problem. Some business consultant, somewhere, right now, is probably working on a business challenge in almost any area of business you can imagine. If it is part of running a business, sooner or later, it will need a consultant to fix it.

Some consultants specialize in working with businesses in particular industries, such as health care or manufacturing. Others work with clients in a variety of industries, but specialize in particular business functions, such as marketing, human resources, or information technology. Others specialize in helping small businesses achieve success.

With all the demand for their services, it's no wonder there's an old saying that if you become a business consultant you'll only work half days - 12-hour days, that is.

Even with potentially long working hours, consulting is a hot career. A recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive for The Wall Street Journal's executive career site, named consulting one of the eight "best careers."

One reason is because it is among the highest paid professions. A 2006 survey by the Association of Management Consulting Firms found entry-level consultants earn an average of $65,000 annually while senior partners earn an average of over $300,000 (including bonuses and profit sharing).

While many consultants are hired by large consulting firms, it is an attractive career choice for those who want to have their own business.

You can operate a consulting business from home, without large start-up costs. In fact, you probably already own the equipment needed -- a computer and phone - and much of your business is likely to come through low-cost marketing such as networking.

You can also start on a part-time basis, while keeping your current job as your primary source of income. Then as the demand for your services grows, you can commit to consulting full time.

Unlike some other professions, there are no specific educational requirements to become a business consultant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 28% of consultants do not have a degree of any kind.

However, that doesn't mean it's easy for someone with no credentials to become a successful business consultant. Those who are most likely to succeed usually have either a formal business education or a wealth of business experience.

They also have the skills needed to solve problems and work with senior management.

To see if consulting is the career for you, here are some questions from the FabJob Guide to Become a Business Consultant. Note all that are a "yes" for you.

1. Do people frequently ask for your advice?
2. Do you enjoy finding solutions to problems?
3. Are you a critical thinker?
4. Do you know a variety of problem-solving techniques?
5. Do you enjoy doing research?
6. Do you have a good vocabulary?
7. Do you avoid using jargon or technical terms that others may not understand?
8. Do people consider you to be a good listener?
9. Do you understand non-verbal communication such as body language?
10. Do you have excellent written communication skills?
11. Are you comfortable speaking in front of a group?
12. Do you have project management experience?
13. Can you see the big picture and break it down into manageable components?
14. Are you well organized?
15. Do you meet deadlines?
16. Do you have experience leading teams?
17. Are you ethical in all your business practices?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, you already have qualities found in successful business consultants.

Now look at any you answered "no." Questions 1 to 5 relate to problem-solving skills, questions 6-11 relate to communication skills, questions 12-16 relate to management skills, and question 17 concerns business ethics. Fortunately, many of these skills can be learned through business courses, books, and experience.

So the next time you notice something that's a problem at work, try coming up with a solution.

Click Here to Discover How to Become a Business Consultant

This article is based on the FabJob Guide to Become a Business Consultant. The complete guide gives detailed advice on how you can get hired as a consultant or start your own consulting business.

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