Independent Event Manager: Jill Snodgrass, Owner and Event Manager of Daily Plan-It

By Nicole Kever
February 06, 2002

Below is the results of an interview between Nicole Kever, an Entertainment Management student at Southwest Missouri State University and Jill Snodgrass, Owner and Event Manager of Daily Plan-It. The interview was conducted in the fall of 2001.

N.K. What is your position at Daily Plan-It?
J.S. Special Event Manager
N.K. What does your job entail on a day-to-day basis? What are the key responsibilities you hold?
J.S. I hold many responsibilities as a business owner and event manager. Small business owners have to be business manager, accountant, and lawyer all in one. I design proposals, provide in-house art, and function as a travel agent. The process for an event includes:
· Consultation (fact-finding session)
· Plan proposal (?minute-by-minute?)
· Contract approval
· Contact suppliers, vendors, venue(s)
· Design work
· Implementation
N.K. What are typical earnings for an event? What do you charge per hour?
J.S. My hourly charge is usually $75 per hour. The proposal offers a set amount for the event using estimated man hours. Any costs that are incurred by me during the planning process that are over the budget come out of my fee. Any extra monies that I save during the planning process are mine to keep.
N.K. How do you plan to expand your company? How have you expanded in the past?
J.S. I specialize in corporate events. Over the past few years I have expanded in incentive programs that allow my business to work on a global level.
N.K. What do you feel is the needed education and training for this field?
J.S. I do not feel that a bachelor’s degree is necessary to be successful in this field. Many independents in this area do not have formal education. College degrees that are usually considered acceptable are public relations, marketing, advertising, human resources, business, and retailing.
N.K. What do you feel are the essential skills needed for this position?
J.S. The most important skills to have in this industry are organization, attention to detail, excellent social and communication skills, resourcefulness, honesty, and integrity.
N.K. What are appropriate personalities for an independent event manager?
J.S. Appropriate personalities include people that have a good work ethic, enthusiasm, and creativity. Many times a good work ethic and enthusiasm will be more impressive to a prospective client than experience.
N.K. What type of experience and qualifications are needed are needed for an event manager?
J.S. On-the-job experience is the most useful and worthwhile training that a beginner can attain to prepare for a career in this field. Continuing education, business knowledge, and computer skills help the professional keep up with the changes in the industry.
N.K. What are some of the changes that have occurred in the industry over the past decade?
J.S. Technology, internet, and computers are the biggest changes in the industry. The education of people in the field has become more diverse. Also the occupation of an event manager has become more widely accepted.
N.K. What are some insider tips for planning a successful event?
J.S. I don’t know if this is a tip or not, but being personable is very important in this business. People want to like and get along with who they are working with. Also, never order off of the catering menu. Usually if you talk to the chef one-on-one, he/she will offer more choices and better prices. Press releases are important for letting the public know who you are and what you do.
N.K. How do you feel that the location of your company has helped or hindered promotability?
J.S. The location of my office is a minor detail because so much of my work is done over the telephone or internet. The coordination of the event does not have to be on-site. Because of this traveling plays a big part in this job. That is one thing that I really like about this job.
N.K. How did you get where you are? How long did it take you?
J.S. I have been in business for fourteen years. It has taken much hard work and determination to get where I am today. Networking plays a big part into the success of your business. Being an entrepreneur, business skill is directly related to the how well your business runs. Only after time will you learn the industry and obtain contacts. You have to establish yourself within the industry.
N.K. What are some of the pros and cons of the business?
J.S. There are not too many cons when you love what you do. Some of the pros are travel, creativity, accomplishment, and flexibility. Some of the cons are financial risk and liability, working off-hours, chain of command in corporations, and budget limits. Although dealing mostly with corporate events, I do not work too many nights and weekends.