Interview,  Work

How to be an Event Planner – Remote Job Talk

Many people wish to pursue the location independent lifestyle, yet struggle to find ways to work remotely. Those articles serve the purpose to present in-depth info about different remote jobs.
With this monthly online job presentations, we hope to motivate and inspire, so that more people can take the leap and travel while working remotely or simply ditch the 8 to 5.

Today, we are going to talk to Linda Ova, who is a professional event planner.

About Linda Ova

Photo of Linda sitting on a bench
Linda: “Uma casinha junto ao Mar” can be read behind which stands for “A little house by the sea”, one of my dreams & goals.

Linda, who is from Portugal and currently resides in the southern region, Algarve, has been working in Tourism & Events as a remote Event Planner for over 15 years now.
As a frequent traveller, she has travelled and lived in 3 countries – Portugal, France and the Netherlands – and 8 cities – being Tavira, Faro, Ferragudo, Lisbon, Porto, Paris, Lille and Amsterdam.
She is passionate about people and cultures, loves cats, writing, chilling on the beach, reading, talking with people, scuba diving, cinema, is addicted to Ted Talks and is very passionate about travelling.

Linda: Being happy is the top one thing I love and I work on it every day!  As a reminder, I tattooed “This too shall pass” for the times that I am down to remind me that whatever it is, it will pass for sure. And for the times that I’m happy, to remind me that I cannot take it for granted and need to work on it every day because it passes too.

What does an Event Planner do?

An Event Planner is at its core a hands-on Problem-Solver.

Understanding what people want, what makes them tick is crucial and as is delivering to them above expectations, whenever possible!
Anything is possible to sort for an Event Planner, no matter the wish, dream, plan or idea! The sky is the limit. Event Planners are the people that get things done in the most efficient and cost efficient way.

As Benjamin Franklin said and it sums up perfectly an Event Planner role: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

 

How did you become an Event planner?

Interestingly enough, at the beginning of my early twenties, it wasn’t my plan to become an Event Planner. I started by working on becoming a lawyer. Yet soon I understood it was not my cup-of-tea. 

I missed the creative part, the social interaction, the freedom of chasing people’s positive needs, dreams and goals.

After that, I went into Cultural Communication & Languages. Still missing pieces.
At my third attempt (!!) I had to narrow it down and look deeply into what I was really passionate about – and soon found out it had to involve people, languages, cultures and travelling.
Boom: I got Tourism! 

 

And how did you land your first job?

I continued my education, and here and there, I started receiving invitations to organize different events.

Some of them were fashion shows in local pubs, others were short trips in cool places for my friends; weddings & anniversaries of friends or cinema & photography exhibitions among others.
And every time I was doing those things, I was super excited and involved.

Then, one day, back in one class, a Meetings & Incentives professional was invited to give a class in my classroom. We had a little presentation to make and at the end of this workshop, this lady invited me to make an internship in the company she was working in!

I was so excited! It was a bit of a challenge as I was still studying and working on weekends but I wanted it so much that I accepted the invitation on spot.
That was my life for 3 years – mornings at university, afternoons in the event company and weekends in the local disco bartending.
No days off. It was super intense, but I always remember those times as a big learning curve and being immensely happy for me.

Can you give us some examples of what you do for your clients?

I organise A-Z contents for Tourism & Events, in a tailor-made way!
For instance, I can organise a local alternative way of doing a bachelors’ & hens’ party, or a wedding itself on a magical place; a tailor-made trip for a group of same-interests people that can be national or international; design a local tour for you, your friends and family, or activities for a company incentive trip in Portugal, among many other possibilities. You name it, I make it happen!

I keep it simple: I actively listen to what people want in detail and deliver those to them in the best possible way! I keep my client at the core of every single thing I do.

 

What are the biggest struggles as an Event Planner?

I would say, that sometimes the long working hours can be a challenge to my personal life. Sometimes I don’t socialise with anyone in my close circle for weeks.

 

What is the most fun part of your job?

The most fun part of my job is definitely making dreams, ideas, plans and goals become real!
Knowing that nothing is impossible is just very enthusiastic and keeps it close to my heart!
There’s never a dull day in event planning! The added value and impact that my role can bring to a person’s life and/ or company business plan is just endless.
You actually touch and change lives for better all the time.
And in the process, you get inspired by the people you meet, their projects, their love if it’s a wedding. You always learn new things too in all fields of industries if it’s a company… many amazing perks!  Love it!

 

What are the biggest challenges?

White wine glasses filled on a tableMany people think that Event Planning is just attending parties and look fabulous with a champagne glass in your hand all the time.
It’s not easy… at all.
You get to get out there, meet people, get to know what makes them tick, deliver what they are looking for, fulfil their needs and that can be extremely challenging!
Just think of yourself for a minute: would you pay for something you don’t need?

Then, you need to invest a lot of your time and energy in it. It’s a world of many “No’s”.
You need to really work your way up to a “Yes”.
I would say that in 100 proposals at your best you convert 5 to 10 of those into actual business!
Yup, it’s not for everyone. 🙂 

 

Any other world of encouragement?

If you are out there wondering why you hate your job, stop wondering.
Really sit down with yourself and write down your Life Business Plan.
Don’t complicate it.
Make very simple questions to yourself:

  • What makes you tick?
  • What makes your heart beat when you’re doing it? 
  • What type of thing can you spend hours doing not even realising you are doing it?

Also, 9-5 working frame in a place for 20 years is losing its importance.
We are people. We are not trees. We are designed to move, not to be forever in a place.
I strongly believe that more and more, each one of us should do what one really loves and dive into that.
But really dive into it, ignore your fears for a minute there, as it’s scary but it’s SO WORTH IT! 
What can be more important than your life and happiness?
If you make it a walk-in-the-park you’re not going to make it.
Take your work seriously.

Leaving you with two of my favourite inspiring quotes on work that are hanging on my working desk:

– “Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it.”
(Stephen Hawking)

– “Inspiration exists but it needs to find you working”.
(Pablo Picasso)

Thank you so much Linda! Where can we reach you?

You can find me on my Travels & Experiences page where you can see what I’m up to at www.facebook.com/lindaovatravels or on my LinkedIn page www.linkedin.com/in/ovalinda .
If you’re a cat lover like me 😉 you can also follow my adopted baby kittens, Tiger & Pantera, which are usually travelling with me here www.facebook.com/tigerandpantera .

Difficulty:

You do not need many technological skills, as most of the planning happens through direct communication with your clients. Therefore, you need to possess good communication skills, be able to organize yourself accordingly, keep deadlines and be creative. 

Tech Skills
Soft Skills
Overall Difficulty

Conclusion:

While Event Planning is initially not the easiest job to get into, it can bring a lot of fun and fulfilment to your life. It requires a lot of creativity, ability to plan and read the people you are working with, in order to meet their expectations. It requires a lot of energy and to be proactive. While you could do the job completely remotely, you still need to be able to communicate directly with your clients.
 
If you are interested in getting a first overview about getting into Event Planning, you could check some free resources on YouTube or go to platforms like Udemy and take a beginners course.

Let me know in the comment section of any questions you might have!