The event management industry is known for its high stress nature. It is decidedly difficult to break into it because of its inherent high risk nature. The main reason is that no one wants to ruin the best/important day of their life by going to someone who is inexperienced. In this environment, to leave a job to pursue event planning full time, and be super successful in it, is a truly remarkable feat.
So, we got in touch with Sara Dahmen from goldenchicevents.com to ask her about the magnificent journey, stress management, and the subsequent rewards.
First of all, please accept our felicitations on your successful business and happy clientele.
What was the inspiration of making Golden Chic Events and Consulting?
I wanted to create a business that allowed myself and others to have “the best of both worlds” – namely, to be their own boss, work as much or as little as they liked or needed, while, sometimes, staying home with their little children. It was also a way to be creative, help people who needed help coordinating their events, and do something with my career that I loved to do and was good at doing.
Wedding planning is a difficult arena to enter into. So, how did you start? Who was your first client?
I started, purely by happenstance, to have a client from my advertising job ask me for help on her upcoming wedding. During that planning, I decided to ‘moonlight’ and slowly get my foot in the door over the course of several years while still working a full-time advertising job (after getting written approval from my boss that I could) especially since the two had no conflict of interest. It was a hard learning curve – to figure out the taxes, applications, federal ID numbers, etc and get everything lined up, but there were some really great people in the industry who helped me along and gave me a lot of contacts and advice. I’ve tried to pay that forward since.
Things are generally high pressure in this industry? How do you deal with all the pressure and do you have a backup plan for the events that you plan?
There is high pressure because you have ONE chance to get it perfect. There are no ‘do-overs’ if you epically fail something at a client’s wedding. And if you bring bad vendors to the table, you’re on the fire if they do something improper or perform badly or don’t deliver their product. The pressure lessens the amount of years, time and clients you have – you gain confidence with trial and error and experience. One major thing is to be fully responsible for any mistakes you (or other vendors) make, be ready to take the blame, fix it as much as possible, and be able to laugh at yourself later. Otherwise the stress CAN really get to you. I manage stress by being extremely detailed, organized and efficient. That’s the back-up plan – to be so detailed that people can easily help me and that there’s little room for error.
Which event do you think has been the highlight of your career?
Receiving a national award for Best Charity Event in the United States in 2009.
Lastly, there are many entrepreneurs who would like to enter into this business, is there any advice that can help them out?
Spend a lot of time learning, and shadowing people in the industry, ask a lot of questions, be ready to do paperwork and a lot of late nights. Learn from your mistakes and be all about customer service.