In a few short years, Emily, founder of Six Degree Society has gone from running events for top fashion retailers like to start an event planning business of her own. This isn’t any event planning business; she hosts curated networking events allowing ambitious females to learn something new (hello, ) connect with someone who they were hand-picked to get along with perfect, and avoid the awkwardness of typical events.
She’s built a network that spans across the country, and is creating a network for her self that makes her six degree of separation seem much smaller. Emily shares how she did it.
How To Start An Event Planning Business + Build Community:
Give us a bio of yourself
Emily, also lovingly referred to as “20 questions” has always loved figuring out people’s stories. After six years in the fashion industry, Emily became an entrepreneur and created Six Degrees Society, a women’s focused networking organization that specializes in taking the guesswork out of networking through curated connections with each event having it’s own unique theme (personal branding to calligraphy). In their first year Six Degrees Society has expanded from New York City to eight markets. In her free time, you can find Emily exploring new restaurants, drinking bold bottles of wine, taking early morning workout classes, planning her next trip or playing the name game.
What is your business all about?
We take the guesswork out of who you meet while networking through curated “matches” and intentional introductions. Each person you meet is handpicked based on a bio you submit pre-event. We aim to create unique programming that is educational, fun and results in personal, professional or future self connections.
I got started completely by accident. I had several friends that were entrepreneurs or interested in switching industries and realized that each woman had the same issues with meeting people. How do you meet these people you need to meet? For example if you are in Fashion you only meet Fashion people at networking events. My first event was created for someone that is in every industry and matches were based on reading their bios. After my first event, a friend asked if I could do this monthly so I created monthly programming. Now 2 years later we have 10-14 events per month in 8 chapters across the country.
What inspired you to get started?
The incredible women in my life. They all needed to know one another!
How do you stay motivated?
The people I meet and connect keep me motivated. Knowing that I was responsible for making an intro to a bigger thing they might create down the line is awesome to me. It brings me incredible joy to bring people together!
What makes your events different from the rest?
The curation aspect is major! Each attendee feels empowered knowing they get to pre-study who they get to meet and who is in the room with them pre-event.
3 things that someone who wants to be a start in the same path as you and create curated events should keep at top of mind:
1) Thinking how to scale and strategy are major! My brand was created out of a hobby and scaling and growing weren’t a natural thought process for me.
2) Delegating and asking for help! You aren’t going to be an expert in everything and there are many people that are MUCH smarter than you are, so ask for help!
3) You need to lose money to make money! Part of the growth process is investing in changes that ultimately should make your business more efficient and successful
What are some struggles that made it difficult to get from what you were doing before to start your event planning company?
The hardest struggle was learning skills like CRM, website building, email marketing, etc. It was a new muscle I needed to flex and with time was doable.
Tell us a point in your life when you didn’t ever think you would make it.
I was on a plane and making matches for two events, my flight was delayed and felt like I was under such a deadline and I realized that I was the one creating this pressure. No one was making me host as many events as I do. So when I get stressed now I think of ways to talk myself out of it.
If you could break down how you got start an event planning business in 5 major steps, what would those steps be?
1) Be kind to everyone no matter who they are
2) Genuinely maintain relationships
3) Share what you are doing with the world
4) Don’t be scared to be vulnerable
5) Be grateful and humble
Who told you no?
There are always skeptics and from the beginning people asked me how and why? I somehow persevered and didn’t let people’s opinions get in the way of my dream.
What was your turn-around point?
Launching my first market in Chicago (after NYC)in January with 30+ attendees and successfully being able to continue building that excitement in new markets was the turning point. Knowing that people NEED this and that it doesn’t yet exist really makes me keep moving forward.
Did you always have a dream to become what you are now?
Connecting has always come naturally to me, the professional aspect is a dream I didn’t know was ever possible to make into a reality.
What are three personality traits that you have that let you know you were perfect for this:
Optimism, Outgoing and Go with the flow are the perfect combo to do what I do. If an event doesn’t have the turn out I hoped I’m realistic that not every event will resonate with my audience and I can’t let it get me down. I’m also a hugger and love meeting each person and learning their story, so you need to be very patient and present when connecting.
What was your yes supply moment?
There have been so many moments! It might have been when looking at my finances and being discouraged by the reality of the business and then realizing there are other opportunities to profit. It’s seeing the bottom of the barrel and knowing your value is there and not doubting that.