I recently built a deck all by myself. It’s a common, yet tragic tale: by trying to save a few bucks, I estimate this DIY cost me twice as much as it would have if I’d paid someone else to do it. Where does the extra expenses figure in? It’s not in wasted materials, extra permits, or even tool rentals. The biggest DIY expense comes in the form of lost opportunity.
You see, as a busy freelancer, every hour I spent working on my deck was an hour I didn’t get to work on projects for clients. I actually had to turn down work in order to finish my deck. Based on my hourly rate, I estimate building the deck myself cost me at least $2000 above the $1000 I would have paid a pro to do the job. Live and learn, I guess.
Just like I did with my DIY deck, many people try to save money by organizing all the details of their own event. Ultimately, most people end up costing themselves in the long run. When it comes to DIY event planning, have you taken into account your opportunity cost? By planning your own event, here are four important opportunities you may be missing out on:
1. NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
Your guests are by far your most valuable resource. They’re your top donors, your best customers, your faithful supporters, and your greatest encouragement. With the time you spend worrying about the details of your event you could be investing in your network: sending notes, meeting over coffee, or even developing relationships with new contacts. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make this investment: you’re guaranteed returns.
2. MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES
Strong, consistent marketing is essential to the success of your event. Whether it’s encouraging people to by tickets, warming up potential donors, or even generating pre-event “buzz”, you can’t afford to ignore the task of promotion. How much free time are you able to spend on social media posts, press releases, or even strategic phone calls? More importantly, how much is one extra ticket worth? What would you give to gain one additional sponsor? Almost always, time spent investing in marketing and promotion will be more valuable than time spent getting into the weeds of your event.
3. LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
More often than not, you’re not left out there on your own to organize an event. There are usually several members of your staff, team, or network who are willing and available to help you. By recruiting their help and working with them directly, you’ll not only be able to leverage their service, you’ll also be investing in partners who will join you in your cause. Even better, they’ll be trained and prepared for the next big event. Training and leading these people takes valuable time, but it’s certainly time well spent.
4. ENJOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Let’s not forget the fact that your event should be fun–not just for your guests, but for yourself as well! More often than not, DIY event planners find themselves totally consumed, overworked, and exhausted by the time the big day of the event rolls around. What a shame it would be for you to invest months of preparation only to spend the night of your event stressed, busy, and completely unable enjoy the moment!
LET IT GO, HIRE A PRO
Of course, all of these wasted opportunities could be avoided through one simple solution: hiring a professional. Considering opportunity cost alone, hiring a professional event planner should be a no-brainer. Add to that the fact that great event planners can often draw upon their network to get better deals on items such as catering, decorations, media, and even event spaces. Most importantly, great event planners are able to take advantage of their years of experience to provide you with a well-coordinated event that is executed with excellence down to the last detail.
INVEST IN WHAT’S WORTH INVESTING IN
The big takeaway here is that time is your most limited (and therefore most valuable) resource. It is vital that you avoid falling into the trap of “reverse stewardship”. Instead, take into account the opportunity cost of the DIY approach to event organizing. When you do, I’m sure you’ll find that there are easier, smarter, and more enjoyable ways to invest your time.