Entrepreneurship – not for the faint-hearted, but oh-so-rewarding.

Today is my 54th birthday and I celebrated by starting work at my home-office, then taking a few hours off for lunch with my husband, then back to a meeting with a new intern, then back behind the desk (here I am!), before trotting off to dinner with my son tonight.

The life of an entrepreneur is not an easy one. I worked for many years as a legal secretary and my organisational skills stem from those years of strict discipline in the legal field. My work ethic was handed down from my father, a blue-collar worker who emigrated to Australia with two young children and a wife, from The Netherlands, after leaving his birth country Dutch-New Guinea after the post-war troubles. Same with my mother who left Dutch-Indonesia after things took a bloody turn after World War II. So off to the Netherlands they went, but after 10 years, my father longed for the warmer climes of the antipodes and he paid our fares on a Greek liner called the Elinis in 1969.

So, he worked hard and bought a home on a single income, and retired after his small body couldn’t take the weight of years as a heavy machinery mechanic anymore. Now he is 88 and teetering on the edge of dementia after a long, long life of working hard, never leaving a stone un-turned, keeping everything in a tidy state and being super-organised, able to fix anything or turn his hand to anything. Of course, necessity is the mother of DIY, so I too have inherited his “I’ll have a crack at anything” kind of personal creed.

So far, I haven’t killed anyone with a power-tool or painted myself into any corners.

When at 48 I found myself essentially un-employable due to my age, I set about re-inventing myself and took on the role of full-time musician, having married a fabulous guitarist, Sean Mullen, and being able to work together (when he wasn’t being a lawyer by day).

Bit by bit, I became more and more creative and started putting on shows and then tours, then festivals and now I have a fully-fledged events business Body and Soul Music Australia Events.

Bulimba Ukulele Festival, Briz Chilli Fest and now Chillogan are just the tip of the iceberg. Next year, Townsville will see the birth of Chilliville chilli festival, and I have no intention of stopping! Of course, I will reach a point where I can no longer do everything myself and therein lies more complications. How do you find a clone of oneself?

Typing at over 100 wpm and being also a professional publicist as Sandra Beynon PR, writer, social media manager and musician, there isn’t a lot I cannot do (okay, there’s netball)…so when it comes time to outsource, there is always the notion that I need to find someone who can do it just as well if not better than me, or I will not be happy.

Training someone is harder than doing the job oneself, that is quickly becoming obvious.

But, I have to let go. Being an entrepreneur means setting up things and then once they grow too big for you, being able to share it around and have it grow.

Meanwhile, an entrepreneur spends a lot of time alone in front of a computer. Or making mental notes whilst standing in the shower, or lying in bed, or wandering around shopping. There is rarely a day goes by without a lot of ideas popping into my head.

We often feel isolated in our home-offices and I have lately taken to setting up my office for a few hours at a time in other peoples spaces. Big thanks to Andrew Tambakis for sharing the Brisbane Greek Club’s fabulous new restaurant Nostimo with me in the non-service hours. I have a view of the city and coffee and shortbread on tap! Not to mention the super-friendly wait staff who hover around making sure everyone is happy.

Working from home means you hear all the workmen banging away at renovations or municipal works gangs jack-hammering your street or footpath; the bins being dragged in of an afternoon and the irritating sound of loud exhausts as cars speed down my street, rat-running.

Then there’s the ever-present need to think about dinner, washing, cooking, cleaning, doing the book-keeping for my husband’s rental properties,

My only company is the aquarium on the desk and lately I worry about my gourami and if he’s going to die like the last one….and why is the prettiest, smallest fish the most aggressive? Oh, yes there is the cat, always on the prowl for another sachet of food, then slinking off somewhere to sleep a glorious total of 21 hours per day.

One thing I have discovered is the more I reach out with my events and festivals, the more I give to charitable causes, the more I become engaged in life and the wonders of relationship-building. I meet people from all walks of life, and get around the place filming promotional videos dressed in a chilli suit with people I’ve only just met. And I marvel at how they take like fish to water to the joyous freedom that comes with the wearing of a silly costume. We can all be kids again, it seems.

And on that note, 54 is far from being a kid. But, as I celebrate another year, another milestone, another fabulous 365 days behind me filled with music, love, adventure, challenges, hard work, dedication, determination and obstacle-beating strategies, the more I realise that the key to happiness is never withdrawing from the art of involvement, the art of giving.

Winston Churchill’s saying “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” is one that is dear to my heart. These days, the failures are few and far between, but in undertaking any new venture, there is an element of risk and bravery necessary to keep getting behind that desk every day.

To all of you over 50s who might be struggling to find relevance in your worklife, I say never give up. Find what it is that brings you joy, what you are good at, what you love and what makes you come alive and awaken the kid in you. Do that thing.

What we do isn’t always who we are, but it’s a big part of it. So, as another great her of mine would say, “Do what you love and the rest will come.”

Cheers to another year, and cheers to being an entrepreneur in the second century of my life.

Working musicians – an oxymoron?

Once upon a time, musicians could buy a home, raise a family and even plan for their old age by being a musician.

They could work seven nights a week, even perform more than one gig per day, and could apply for a home-loan based on their income as a musician.

These days, a musician is teetering on the edge of being a second-class citizen unless they work in an orchestra, a big-name band or are teaching music.

The skill and talent required to be a professional performer takes years to perfect, and in fact without consistent practice, such skills can quickly fall away to mediocrity.

Why is it that musicians so often feel that asking to be paid for a performance is difficult?  That they feel they ought to be grateful for whatever crumbs are thrown their way?  Why do they not feel they can charge, say $100 per hour, without having to justify it in some way.  Social media metrics, a “following”, whether or not they have any albums to their name – these are things that an employer might take into consideration when deciding how much a band is “worth”.

Does an optometrist have to justify his fee? Does a doctor? Does a plumber? They all have a reasonable expectation of being paid a minimum fee. Why then are musicians in this strange “no man’s land” when it comes to pay?

Notoriously, we are our own worst enemy.  We do not unionise. We are, by nature, non-conformists. We don’t want to band together and present a united front. Heck, we don’t even want to get out of bed before noon let alone think about political issues like unionism.

So, we go about deciding our own worth, every time we quote for a job. We have to play “russian roulette”wondering at what point our pay request gets shut down and we are out of a job.

With so few live music venues left that offer work for real bands (4 piece and up), the soloists now rule the roost.  Walk past any pub on any night of the week and witness the sad reality of a soloist shoved in a corner of the bar, under a TV screen, being largely ignored.  Duos are now even struggling to compete with soloists who can charge anything up to $600 a night if they are good.

But is a soloist really indicative of “live music”?  I never wanted to be a soloist because I believed the art of music was best practised with others who could teach me, guide me, improve me, have fun with me.  Sitting at a piano in a bar somewhere in the wee hours didn’t seem much fun to me.

With the advent of affordable digital equipment like loop machines, stomp boxes and the like, a soloist can quickly make himself sound like more than one person.

But there isn’t more than one person.  He or she is all alone.

My son is a guitarist and he largely dislikes playing on his own.  He really enjoys playing with his trio where he can bounce off people and truly feel what it’s like to be a working musician in a band.

Bands these days have to cross many genres in order to stay employable.  Does this mean there are fewer bands who can specialise in a given genre?  Do we all become “genre-crossers” and “all-rounders”.  From my own experience, yes.  I stopped calling myself a jazz singer a long time ago because this just pigeonholed me and closed a lot of musical opportunities off.

So, I am a vocalist. A singer. A musician.

I am one of many such people across Australia who struggle in this large continent with its tyrannical distances which make touring costly, time-consuming and, ultimately, profit-diminishing.

The constant hustle for work, the skills of relationship-building required to create new networks and opportunities – this is the life of the modern musician.

Oh yes, and we love what we do.

Christmas party bands

Brisbane-based duo Body and Soul are the perfect solution for all your function needs.  The experienced musicians are well-versed in making an event great!

Visit their website http://www.bodyandsoulmusic.com.au to check out their work.

Functions, parties, birthdays, Christmas parties – no matter what the occasion, these versatile, talented musicians have what you need.

Jazz and Koalas Charity fundraiser Magnetic Island

It’s nearly time to sit back under a palm tree, cocktail or beer in hand, warm tropical winter sun overhead, and enjoy some first-class jazz by UK songstress, Trudy Kerr.

The charity event supports the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital headed up by veteranarian Ali Bee of Magnetic Island Vet.

The event is sure to delight audiences and will run from 12pm to 3pm in the grounds of Arcadia Hotel.

Also appearing will be vocalist, Sandra Beynon, of Body and Soul Music.

Patrons may make a donation at the gate.

 

Bands for Christmas Parties

Finding the right band for your Christmas party needn’t be too daunting.  From acoustic duo right through to party band, Body and Soul Australia can sort it out for you.

Body and Soul Duo is one of the best function bands in Brisbane, providing a wide range of music from country right through to Top 10.

Sandra Beynon and Sean Mullen are Brisbane’s premier duo and can also provide more band members to make a full band.

Get a quote today and make sure your Christmas party goes off with a bang.

Wedding entertainment Brisbane Gold Coast

Finding the right entertainment for your wedding can be daunting.  Should I choo

Body and Soul Australia bringing you the best in corporate bands and wedding entertainment

se a duo, a trio, a band, a DJ, a juggler?

Luckily, Brisbane wedding entertainment needn’t be difficult.  Brisbane’s best duo is Body and Soul Duo, featuring Sandra Beynon and Sean Mullen.

Music for weddings needs to cater for a wide range of tastes – your guests are there to enjoy and celebrate with you. Dancing the night away to some cool grooves and latest hits is what you need to look for in an entertainer.

Whether it’s an acoustic duo or a dance or party band, Body and Soul can deliver the right music every time.

Check out their website when choosing your wedding entertainment and you’ll soon see why some of the best have chosen this duo.

 

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