Courtney Lutkus is the owner of Simply Radiant Events in Southern California. She is a professional planner with a degree in Public Relations from California State University, Fullerton. Over the years, she raised thousands of dollars for charity events which took the media’s attention and she built her own event planning company – Simply Radiant Events.
Courtney’s events have had celebrity appearances and been featured in Redbook, Huffington Post, Glow magazine, and more. She is not only a professional event planner but also a regular writer for Reignland Magazine and the co-author of Your Wedding Sorted!
1- Can you tell our readers about your background?
As a California State University, Fullerton public relations graduate, I am currently finishing up a master’s degree in Leadership Development at Chapman University. My primary focus in the program has been to find ways to make the event planning industry more sustainable by making more eco-friendly planning decisions.
I raised thousands of dollars for charity events in the past. My efforts caught media attention in California, including KTLA 5 Morning News with Allie MacKay, Josh Rubenstein, Chief Meteorologist, CBS2/KCAL9, and more.
I own Simply Radiant Events, a Southern California-based premier full-service special event planning and design company. Acorns, Pac Sun, Gallup, Mini Cooper, and more are among our clients. We have been known to attract celebrity guests and plan events for our celebrity clients.
Besides, I am a regular writer for Reignland Magazine on planning tips for that upcoming season. I also co-wrote Your Wedding Sorted with other wedding professionals worldwide, a book about helping brides plan their weddings.
2- What inspired you to start your business?
Planning events was something I’ve always wanted to do.
“There have been too many tough moments of clients expecting a response at midnight because I responded that one time.”
3- Where is your business based?
My business is based in Southern California.
4- How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
I first needed to get over the self-doubt that I could make it work. Then I started working on my website and got my business license and insurance.
5- What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
I have a background in PR so I focused on growing with placements in media and networking.
6- What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
There have been a few challenges of being an entrepreneur. One is being firm on boundaries and policies. There have been too many tough moments of clients expecting a response at midnight because I responded that one time.
Others have been on pricing or payment. I would undercut myself and work for very little or not be firm about getting payment in advance.
7- What personal sacrifices have you made throughout your career?
One of the biggest sacrifices is to spend more than the average 40 hours a week to build and run a business. It takes time and lots of diligence to make it happen. Not everyone in your life will understand that.
8- How do you stay focused?
Every day, I create a very detailed checklist of things that need to get done. I then prioritize them for morning and afternoon tasks. The afternoon tasks can be pushed to the next morning if necessary, but the morning tasks are my must-do that day.
9- How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
There are a lot of things that differentiate us from the competition. We are a very well-rounded company. We offer in-person as well as virtual events. We have documents as well to help others with their planning process, coaching calls for those we just need a little bit of planning help.
We also offer certified courses in wedding and event planning to help other people grow and start their event planning business.
10- What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
Good old fashion networking!
11- What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Go for it. It is not the right fit; in the end, you at least will never wonder what if.
12- What’s the best work-related advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be scared to try. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone because that is when you grow.
13- How do you manage self-doubt?
That’s a constant process. Every day just knowing I am doing everything I can to the best capability I can.
14- What’s your favourite app, blog, and book? Why?
I love watching other female small businesses’ YouTube Channels. I love to support them and be inspired by them.
15- What’s your favourite business tool or resource? Why?
The SocietyGal app. It has been an amazing platform to network on and grow my business.
16- Could you name a woman who’s inspired you the most?
Cho Spicer, the creator of the SocietyGal community.
17- How do you balance work and life?
I try to learn to take breaks when my body is telling me to. If not, I know I am overworking and not having a life at all.
18- How do you unplug from work?
My guilty pleasure right now is watching the show Younger.
19- What do you have planned for the next six months?
Grow, grow and grow. COVID has made planning in-person events impossible for about a year. Now it is time to make up for a lost year.
20- How can our readers connect with you?