A true Brisbane success story, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) graduate is one of the city’s stand-out creatives, providing the artistic direction for events such as The QUBE Effect 2016 and 2017, Brisbane Street Arts Festival and the upcoming Australian Virtual Reality Film Festival.
“Brisbane has a really fresh arts scene and it’s growing all the time,” he enthuses.
“Anything goes – the artists are hungry and very attentive and there’s no preconceptions about events that should or shouldn’t happen.”
Having returned from travels in the UK and France to study in his home city, the founder of ‘art battle’ event Scribble Slam says there’s a bright future ahead for Brisbane’s burgeoning arts scene and hopes those following in his pioneering footsteps are able to reap the rewards.
“Per capita, there’s a really high number of active bands and artists in this city and Council has been very supportive of the local arts scene over the last few years,” he continues.
“I think people coming into the industry now will enjoy a bit of a head start.”
Alternatively, you can watch the video and other related videos on Council's YouTube channel.
What is your greatest business learning?
If you pitch something to someone and they say “no” then there’s always someone above them who might say “yes”… keep going up the food chain before you give up on an idea.
What is your greatest business success?
Probably working in the arts and pulling in a wage! It’s always extra rewarding when you’re working on something that’s your own business.
What three things should someone consider before starting a business?
- Ask for help. Networking is really important and in many cases people will be happy to help you, particularly in the arts.
- If you’re putting on an event, make sure you’ve sold some tickets before you start spending money!
- Start your business idea off small and then grow it… it’s much easier to do that than go the other way around and have to downsize!
Is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have asked more questions from a wider range of people. You never know exactly what ideas will work well but the more questions you ask the better your chances of finding out.
What have you found to be the most effective way to promote your business?
Spend less on marketing. That might sound odd, but spending more money on making your event better will ensure more people talk about it and that is the best form of promotion. Dollar for dollar, word of mouth is the best form of advertising – it blows everything out of the water.
How do you stay up to date with the latest business information?
I do research! I’ve just been down to Hobart for Dark Mofo which I think is one of the most successfully produced events in Austria. Also, go and check out what ideas work well and how other people do things.
Where have you sought business advice?
I’ve got two mentors. One is an experienced curator working in the fields of digital/new media arts and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) who I know from QUT and the other is the head researcher at the Futurelab in Austria so I get a good range of business advice from across the arts and technology sectors.
In turn, I now find myself acting as an unofficial mentor to a lot of people. I’m big on student engagement and we’ve had hundreds of university students work with us as part of their Event Management courses, some of who we now contract to do work for us.
What financial factors should be considered when wanting to grow a business?
Start out small and get across your accounting early – it will be much harder to do this later on.
How do you manage risk?
Build some ‘walk out points’ into your plan. When I started organising music events I had certain numbers for ticket sales to hit before I pursued the idea to the next stage. Fortunately we always hit the numbers, but it’s good to know the point at which you would walk away from an idea that isn’t going to deliver.
Cancellation insurance is a good idea if you’re running events. It protects not only your business but the people who have bought a ticket.
What value do you place in business plans and why?
Don’t try to get ahead of yourself – in 95 per cent of cases, your project will end up looking very different to your original idea!