So You Want to Start Party Plan?
By Amy Coulter from Party Plan Australia!
There are some really important things to consider before starting party plan. You will hear many great stories and lots of benefits of being a party plan consultant but most of them come from the person trying to recruit you. Being a party plan consultant means that you are running your own business. And lets face if running your own business was so easy then everyone would be doing it. The truth is, it's not as easy as it seems and there are many things to consider before jumping into party plan.
1. Can you actually make any money from it?
It costs money to join most party plan companies, some much higher then others. Do you have the money to cover this cost and are you willing to lose it if it turns out to be a flop?
Are the products reasonably priced and better yet do you see yourself buying these products? If they're not good enough for you to buy then chances are your customers will have the same attitude.
Some companies expect you to cover the cost of the gifts. Can you afford to cover this during a bad week? There are also extra costs for paperwork, brochures, catalogues and so of which will be ongoing.
2. Are you prepared for the bad weeks?
Being a party plan consultant comes with a lot of ups and downs. You will have some great weeks and some really poor weeks. Customers can sometimes let you down by canceling parties or worse, canceling orders. You can sometimes come to a dead end with no forward program and have to outreach quickly. Or the opposite and have lots of bookings but have dud parties with no outcomes. Like any job there will always be bad weeks but can you afford to not have a job for a week or two until you catch up?
3. How's your image?
Being in the front line at all times you need to have a lot of composure and energy. Your appearance needs to be neat but not too intimidating. Remember that first impressions last and the majority of the people you come across will only give you that one chance. If you blow it then say goodbye to future bookings and orders.
A positive attitude, and the ability to hold your tongue are very important attributes to have. Even when things aren't going right for you, things must go on. Enthusiasm sells so if you don't have it you need to get some or be prepared for an empty purse. You will sometimes have bad experiences with customers, hostess and other consultants (from both the same company and others) and you will have to just let it go. In this industry bad mouthing other customers, hostess or consultants is a quick way to the bottom.
4. Do you have a support network?
Your first parties will normally be with friends and family. And when things dry up you can go back to them. If you don't have at least 10 people that can help you start up then you could have a lot of difficulty getting your business off the floor.
Make sure you have some good mates to help you though the hard times. A bit of encouragement can pull you out of a slump and help you to move on. It is also important that your partner supports your decision of joining a party plan company. How are you supposed to perform when you go home to negative reactions?
5. Can you handle pressure?
There is a lot of pressure to succeed when you belong to a party plan company. This comes from the company, such as having minimum orders or minimum party booking requirements.
Pressure also comes from the person above you, who needs the high sales of the consultants below her to jump up the company ladder. If you can't be happy of their success and instead dwell on the thought that they are getting rich off you then don't join.
Even though you are the middle person, the distributor of the products, you are often the only contactable person for complaints and worries. If an order comes to you late or wrong you will have to front the frustration from customers.
6. Have you fully researched the opportunity?
There are a lot of get rich schemes out there so if they promise financial freedom within weeks of joining then it's probably a scam and you should keep your money in your purse! If it seems to good to be true then it normally is.
In most companies, your continued success requires for you to introduce others to the company. If you don't feel that you can share the experience with others or aren't confident to offer the opportunity to others you may not ever get that raise you deserve.
Jumping onto something that hasn't be thought about can get you into financial trouble. Don't just join the first thing that comes without looking into it first.
7. Do you have adequate transport, space and supplies?
Doing parties will need a car and some office space. You need to make sure your car is trustworthy because you will be going to places where you haven't been before and need to be able to get back!
You don't necessarily need a whole home office. A filing cabinet and some storage space will do you justice. Paperwork needs to be kept for tax purposes and you will need to be bale to find contact details of hostess and customers easily. Chances are that you will have the products at your place for a while before delivering them so make sure you have room to store them out of damages way (and also out of the heat for cosmetics!).
You will need a diary, to record your bookings with enough space to write the address and phone number of the hostess. A mobile phone is also very handy. Giving your customers a number to directly contact you, instead of talking to your partner or your kids, helps for you to get the right message!
Some companies require for you to have a fax or Internet connection to put orders through so check that you have these if needed! Some of these things can be costly so make sure you can make a profit before going out to buy the latest equipment.
Of course there are many benefits of being a party plan consultant (enough to make another article!). That being said, you need to also remember that party plan is not for everyone. If you don't think you could handle the above considerations then don't join a party plan company. You will only be setting yourself up for failure and the disappointment isn't worth it.
My closing statement is something that I regularly say to those considering party plan: If you don't know if it's for you but are willing to take a risk just make sure that the start up kit is worth more then the start up costs so that way if you do decide you can't do it you still have more then you started with!
Amy is the founder of Party Plan Australia, a online support organisation for party plan consultants and direct sellers. PPA has many great resources such as party tips, messageboard, e-paries and consultant listings. There is an extensive starting out section for those wanting to take their first step into the party plan world. Life's a party... and now so is work!