I started my entertainments business back in 2012 for a variety of reasons. It evolved from falling in love with a girl at Butlins (she was a Redcoat!) to moving back to Yorkshire to marry and settle down. She went into college as a dance lecturer and I ended up working in the hospitality industry (from a waiter to a Food & Beverage manager). After working 60, 70 , 80 hours a week for what seemed as 20 hours pay I decided to move into a Monday – Friday 7am – 5pm job.
As well as our full-time jobs we started a voluntary dance company where we trained young people to dance and perform at prestigious venues. Such as the London O2 Arena, Belfast Odyssey Arena, NEC in Birmingham and many others, as well as local schools.
This wasn’t funded by anyone because there was no funding available. We had normal young people that didn’t fall into any category that we could get endowment for so the money came out of our own pockets. We wanted to offer young people the chance to perform at fantastic venues without costing them a penny. (Sometimes I had to ask for a little, but not much.)
However, it came to the stage where we had started a family and decided to reroute our well-earned money to our family. This meant the voluntary dance school had to end. So rather than close it down we created a dance company that would only perform if they were paid.
You wouldn’t believe the number of dance opportunities this created – None!
It was okay when I was sending dancers to perform for free but as soon as you ask for money. “Sorry we cannot afford.” That’s when I turned around to the dancers and said, “What other entertainment talents do you have that people would pay to watch? Fire eating, stilt walking, costume mascot entertainers, face painting….” The list goes on. Thus, the entertainment business began.
During my research stage, and incidentally even to this day, there were no books or helpful guides out there in the big world to put you on the right track to start your journey on a successful footing. You even have to be unemployed to get “real” help. But what about someone who wants to better themselves and start earning a decent wage for his family and himself? Nothing unless you want to spend money on “mentors.” As soon as you start to look into mentors and find out what they can do for you that’s when the “vultures” appear. I went to a lot of “Workshops” which always ends in, “If you want to know more or get more decent advice then it will cost you £3000, £7000, £10000 or even more to find out.” The carrot and stick scenario.
Then comes the get-rich-quick schemes. The conspicuous “pyramid schemes” that try to suck you in with their brilliant ways to earn money. Again rubbish!! (Self-edited)
Life in general isn’t that easy to make money. I have found out that the only way I have learnt is from taking free advice from good friends, and more importantly, making mistakes. Have I made a few!!! Advertising companies constantly contact me and try to persuade me to part with my cash. They fantastically make up and disguise ways to make you think, “This is such as brilliant idea,” and part with £800 – £1500 so you can have a return investment tenfold over a two year period. What a load of rubbish! I have spent a few pounds “investing” in these schemes where I have either had one phone call from an enquiry or none at all. So what do I do but “Google” the company and the word “scams.” Oh look, someone else has done the same trick as me and have fallen for the cons.
Running my business has its pitfalls as well. When I opened the floodgates and started telling people that I was looking for singers, entertainers, dancers, etc., my inbox went into overdrive. OOPS!! Mistake alert!! I spent the next few weeks filing them into folders to look at later so it didn’t interfere with the true emails I wanted to deal with on a daily basis. Oh, and when my email address was advertised, the scams and junk mail came rolling in.
When I finally got around to “auditioning” or looking through the emails reading the biographies, photos, music and video links I started to wonder when I would begin making money.
The Entertainment Agent, I feel, is starting to become extinct. Many acts have started going direct to venues to cut out the “middle man” or begun their own small “entertainment type business.” Venues have been going direct to acts so they too can cut out the “middle man” and save money.
So as a businessman I have had to adapt and diverse my operation. If I stay solely as an “Agent” I too will become extinct. Hence why I have started concentrating on my event productions.
I am producing a show at a theatre in England which will be my pilot production; it will be based on the Royal Variety Performance which is held in London every December. This is attended by celebrities and the royal family, and the ticket price is exceptionally pricey. My idea is to offer a similar package but no royals and no expensively priced tickets. Celebrities? Well, only ones I can afford and they perform on stage. The idea is for brand new talent (people who are starting out in their career and need a lending hand) to perform on the same night as established acts. Everyone gets paid so I am not taking advantage of anyone. I am hoping this will be a success so that I can produce 4 more shows next year and then 30 the year after. Financially speaking, corporate sponsorship, I think, is the way to go to help pay for the 10 acts I have performing on the night.
You can see my journey to date has changed directions on more than one occasion but it all comes down to what I enjoy doing. I enjoy watching performances, helping people get on the first ladder of their career, and helping established acts continue with theirs.
Above all, I still hope that this will make some money for my family and myself. I am not asking to be a millionaire but to live comfortably.