Warwick graduate, Christina Morelli, shares her experience of launching a start-up.
What was your idea and how did it come about?
My vision for CEO Artist was cultivated in New York back in 2011, originally with the independent music sector. Working as a music journalist and interviewing countless artists, I came to realize how frustrating it was for creative individuals to master even the most basic business tasks. The ability to switch from one side of the brain to the other, understand how to prioritize their career, and grasp how to remain creative while also making a living out of it, was a foreign concept. I personally experienced this struggle in my first business, a dance studio, where I was responsible for both the day to day admin and operations, while continuing to teach, choreograph, and produce. CEO Artist started simple - one client (singer-songwriter), one vision (to build a stronger presence online and expand their fan base). We worked on their brand, their image, their content, and their time management. Positive word of mouth spread, and I continued to work as a consultant over the next five years. When I moved to London in 2016 and began film school, I found students, entrepreneurs and filmmakers across the UK encountering similar problems - and so CEO Artist made the leap across the pond.
What has been your greatest achievement/proudest moment during your time on the scheme?
I hosted a workshop independently in January (purely as CEO Artist, not hired out by another school or organization), and I had a good turnout! The attendees were happy with the evening, and I even made a small profit. It was a small win, but I’ve learned it’s important to celebrate those as well. Now I’m being hired by other organizations to conduct workshops for their client base, which is exciting as well.
What have been your biggest challenges?
Despite years of experience in America, making to the move to London was essentially like starting from scratch. My business is based on relationships, contacts, and word of mouth, and it takes time to build that sort of client base. Additionally, there are some cultural attitudes that vary from the US to the UK… I’ve found some people in the UK don’t view the “power skills” workshops and classes to be essential to their business or curriculum, so it requires me to hustle and find networks that see the value in what I offer.
How did you overcome them?
Networking, meeting people, thinking outside the box in my approach to potential markets. Asking my tutors and mentors for help reaching out to new people. Having coffee with anyone who would take a moment to chat with me. Basically, using the same skills I teach others in my own day to day business plan!
What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Plan on working multiple jobs while you build your business - time management is everything.
Ask questions. To everyone. Everywhere. You never know who you are talking to, and who they are talking to.
Be patient, but stay driven. Rejection comes with the territory, so you need a thick skin from day one.
What are your next steps after Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Scheme?
A professional certificate program has approached me about developing a curriculum based on the CEO Artist’s coaching and business skills to add to their new course, so I’ll be working on that for a bit. I also plan to continue expanding the workshops I’m conducting now, and would love to take on some private clients. Additionally, I’m working on a few scripts that are now in development, so I’ll be writing in whatever spare time I have!
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