Elena Clowes - Founder Chats
Updated: Jul 13
Over on our Instagram we wanted to let you get to know us better - the Event First Steps founders - so we hosted an open Q&A.
When I took over for the day there were some great questions, but obviously there is only so much detail you can go into on an Insta story so I wanted recap some of the most frequently asked questions/topics here!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when you first got into events and how did you overcome it?
For me, it was trying to get out of the mindset that as an industry newcomer you need to stay in a job for a certain amount of time before you can move on.. no matter how you feel about your role. My first job was great, but something about it didn’t sit right and I wrestled with this pressure of ‘needing’ to stay even though I knew deep down it wasn’t working for me.
After a few weeks of worrying that I was about to make a huge mistake, I bit the bullet and handed in my notice. Turns out it was the best thing I could have done for my career over the next few years.
While in more traditional industries longevity at jobs is something that is heroed, events is a sector that moves fast and constantly evolves.. so there is no reason that you can’t too. Providing that you move with grace and don’t burn bridges, it’s not an issue. You spend so much of your time at work, you have to make sure it’s right for you.
Knowing what you know now, what is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self when starting out?
Nobody knows what they are doing!
Sure, some people have more experience in making decisions that turned out okay - and so they have a blueprint for what to do moving forwards. But nobody actually has all the answers all of the time, so stop comparing yourself. Keep it moving, allow yourself to make mistakes, you are doing great (enter Kris Jenner: ‘you’re doing great sweetie!’).
Seriously though, I suffer from imposter syndrome occasionally now, but it’s tame compared to when I was younger… and I see that often in the ‘entry level’ event professionals we meet now. Which blows my mind because the work they are doing is amazing, I just want to shake them by the shoulders and ask them why they can’t see how badass they are.
How do you stay motivated?
By remembering that excuses do not make results.
This applies to everything in life. You want the payrise? To win that pitch? To start your own business? If you truly want it - you gotta feel it in your chest - go after it.
And every time you feel like quitting… understand that all the excuses in the world (no matter how much you’ve rationalised) won’t help you reach your goal.
How can I get into events with no event experience?
Firstly, it’s important to remember that a lot of the core skills required for the vast majority of events roles are transferable. So tailor your CV / portfolio to big up your previous experience in a way that will align with what hiring managers in the events sector are looking for.
Secondly, if you CAN afford to do so (time and money wise), try looking at small internships or placements to get some experience and build your references. I used to work at an event industry association and sometimes we would need volunteers for a one off evening event to help us with ticketing or cloakroom. If you are able to do things like this, you can begin to meet people and grow your experience - no matter how simple it may seem - at the same time.
And finally.. Never underestimate the importance of building a network and connecting with people who you align with. I’m not saying they will have a job for you immediately but they will be able to share advice and/or other resources that might be able to help you gain experience and broaden your understanding of the roles available.
Social media - especially at the moment with so many IG lives and Twitter chats - is a great place to begin to get a feel for the events community.
And that's a wrap on what feels like a really long post! If you made it to the end of this, thanks for reading :)
For any more questions you might have, you can connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram (@ElenaClowes).