Success in the creative industries is difficult, particularly for those just starting out. Musicians, writers, dancers and those in heart-centred occupations such as yoga or environmentalism will be delighted to hear about a new venture called Big Hearted Business.
Initiated by musician and creative entrepreneur Clare Bowditch, Big Hearted Business is a web-based enterprise that offers seminars and mentoring programs.
Bowditch, who has received numerous accolades for her music, including an ARIA Award and being named Rolling Stone magazine's "Woman of the Year" in 2011, could have simply focused on producing records with her partner Marty Brown, who is a musician, producer and father of their children.
But well before her music career took off, Bowditch was teaching a course in management and marketing for musicians at a local community house in Thornbury. Even then, she attracted singers such as Jordie Lane and Eva Popov.
"It's very difficult having a successful musical career in Australia unless you are fortunate to have a good manager," says Bowditch, who thinks there are only about a dozen such managers in the country.
In 2003, Bowditch's career took off, and she left behind the Thornbury program. But three years ago she started to once again mentor creative types, and not just those in the music industry. What started as a one-on-one mentoring program led to Big Hearted Business.
Bowditch's self doubts were significantly eased when she received funding from a Pozible web campaign in January, which received an overwhelming response from the public within five days.
Big Hearted Business' first event, held over two days, featured 11 key speakers from a range of creative industries and attracted about 200 people. E-courses, held over a period of five weeks, have been well received also, with information and advice on business plans through to self-promotion.
Each week the website includes "inspiration bombs", a video featuring an expert in their creative field providing a path to being heard by the right people. Seeing how other creatives have made it is integral to the program, providing insight to those at the start of their careers.
"One of the main stumbling blocks for creative people is being able to communicate with those people who may not be as creative as themselves," says Bowditch. "Sometimes, it's as simple as having a lack of confidence."
In the past, communication was restricted to getting the ear of the "right" people. Gatekeepers, be it an assistant at a radio station or a magazine editor, made communication frustrating for those who felt they had a story to tell and should be heard. However, technology has eroded many of these barriers.
Big Hearted Business will hold a number of sessions around Australia in July and August.