A good rule of thumb is to check out what the greater industry pays. I pay my temporary staff quite well, as I train them to have event-specific skills. I train all my staff personally, to ensure that they are trustworthy, presentable and neat. I use the same staff regularly, which also puts my mind at ease when I have to leave certain tasks under their control, instead of a having to learn to trust a brand new team every time – so it serves me to pay them quite well.
When I first started out in the industry, I paid my staff what I could manage, and I paid myself even less sometimes. I knew I needed the clients on my portfolio, and I very clearly remember working days of 18 hour shifts, for next to nothing.
When looking at what to pay yourself, ask yourself this question: “If I wasn’t here doing this – where would I be, and what would I be earning?” In other words, what is your time worth? If you were doing something else that generated income for you, how much would you have been earning?
Fortunately, after many years in the industry, I am now in a position where I can state what I need to earn per event. I recognise that, in my field, I am an expert, and I am lucky enough to work with some of the biggest names in this industry. Word of mouth and personal recommendations have sent a lot of support and business my way, but I also remember times when paying my monthly bills was challenging, to say the least.
I think that the thing to remember is: if it’s your passion, you will make it work. Events management is my passion, and I have never doubted myself, nor given up – just kept my head down and kept going. One of my best moves was to get a mentor and a coach – just someone with whom I can bounce ideas around. My coach is an international service provider, and I pay him a fair sum of money – but the advice and guidance I get from him is second to none. I can quite confidently say that I have consequently explored avenues of business expansion and product growth that I would never have thought of a mere few months, let alone years ago.
At the end of it all, my advice is to work out what you are worth and charge it – people who don’t see the value in your services, are not the kind of people you want to work with anyway. Trust me.