Don't Boil The Ocean: Why You Shouldn't Do It All Yourself

One of the cardinal attributes of being an event planner is this uncontrollable desire to do it yourself. It has been ingrained in us that if we don’t do it ourselves, then there is no way that it could possibly get done correctly. I see this trait in all the event planners on my team. I totally get it, this was me. But I changed my tune around the time I turned 30.  

I started my event planner journey almost directly out of college. I was so desperate to say I had a plan after graduation that I took a job cold calling people to talk them into website templates. I was oddly good at it. One day I walked into a restaurant to try and sell them on a new website and left with a job offer. I had worked in many restaurants by this point in my life. It’s how I hustled my way through high school and college. I thought hey - I’m organized, I know the restaurant business, I can totally do this. That is where this story begins. 

The owner of the Harley Davidson dealership called one day looking to do some catering at this retail store to celebrate his wife’s birthday. This was common place for my role back then, but then he said - hey can you guys also provide some florals for the tables? I said “Yes, no problem.” 

From there I snowballed - hard. Drawing pictures of how floral arrangements could look (by the way, I really cannot draw), shopping for vases in stores, buying magazines and scouring for ideas and design concepts that would work for the client (this is before Amazon + Pinterest). I even went so far as to purchase the flowers from a wholesale website online.

Fast forward to event day - and me trying so hard to put these flowers into vases that just didn’t work (They were really short and the flowers were really tall, and when I cut them, they looked like someone got the lawnmower out and started trimming.)

Instead of throwing in the towel, I went out and purchased these colored pebbles thinking, oh this will ground the stems, and then these will look like they belong on the cover of a magazine. I spent the rest of the day trying to be a floral designer. And guess what? When I went out to replace the flowers, I met a florist who was nice enough to help me out, and rushed an order of 12 floral arrangements for the party.

When I showed up at the party the client was none the wiser. They had these gorgeous floral arrangements and that was all they cared about. Here I am in the corner, early twenties, not only out of pocket for an insane amount of tester flower expenses, but also the full cost of the flowers that I ended up purchasing from the florist. I didn’t have the heart to ask the guy for the money because I was so defeated and, frankly, ashamed of myself for failing.  

Moral of the story - it’s ok to not be good at everything. It’s actually a really good thing. I have found that in my experience it is what makes the world go round. If you Google the term boil the ocean my face will probably show up. If there is truly anything left in the event planning universe that I didn’t try to do myself instead of just paying an expert, I would be surprised.  

Here are three things you can learn from my Harley Davidson story:

  1. Please don’t boil the ocean.

  2. Hiring an expert is actually less expensive.

  3. Be ok with what you are not good at.

These are lessons I learned the hard way. We all want to be the one who can do everything, because that means we are indispensable. But trying to do everything will get in your way when you're trying to establish yourself as an expert in your space. You know the saying - jack of all trades, master of none. So, learn to delegate. 

Check out what we’ve been able to accomplish by delegating at eastofellie.com/events. What did you fumble on that taught you a lesson? Leave your stories in the comments.

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