The axiom tells us that we have to spend money to make money, and, of course, this holds true in developing an event planning business. The good news, though, is that you can launch a successful business with a shoestring budget. Perhaps you envision planning five events during your first year in business and using space in your home as your work site. This business model is relatively inexpensive to create and highly viable. Conversely, if you are planning to launch a full-time event planning business, then the startup costs will be considerably higher. This flexibility—part time vs. full time—makes event planning a terrific career opportunity for many types, from stay-at-home moms hoping to earn a few thousand dollars per year to new college graduates planning to create full-scale businesses generating full-time pay and benefits.

First, work horizontally. Add the “Startup” figures and the “First Six Months” figures to produce the “Total Cost” figures for each row. Then, working vertically, add up the “Total Cost” figures. The “Total Required” figure is the approximate amount you will need to start the business and keep it running for six months.

Note that this business expense worksheet includes no costs for planning particular events. You will incur these costs even if you plan no events at all. In that sense, then, these are all fixed costs. Storytelling for business could really help your career take off! When you contract to plan an event, you should receive a deposit from each client to cover some of the immediate costs associated with producing that event (e.g., vendor deposits). The price you charge a client for planning an event will cover not only your costs for that event but also some fraction of your fixed costs.

For now, you need an approximate idea of how much money you’ll require for your business and your own living expenses until your company makes a profit. Again, this is a highly personal point. Perhaps you are recently retired and want to launch a small-scale business. In other words, this will not be a primary income source. For others, their event planning businesses will be their primary income source.