By Dr Deirdre Marshall, startup founder from Stratford, VIC
Writer, theatre director, performing arts educator and an advocate for youth arts
Photo: Supplied Artwork: Supplied Photo: Supplied
Create • Collaborate • Celebrate is the motto on Deirdre’s website. Deirdre works with children and youth to develop music and drama performance skills, programs and opportunities, specialising in the plays of William Shakespeare. She has also created a Saturday Drama School in Sale in response to the growing demand for outside school hours opportunities for children.
Startup Gippsland: Let’s get to it! How did you learn about Startup Gippsland and what was your first thought about it?
Deirdre: I saw the ads on social media and thought it might be helpful for learning skills to develop my business.
Startup Gippsland: Why did you want to join the program? What was the problem you were trying to solve?
Deirdre: I wanted to develop skills in marketing my business and to build my confidence.
Startup Gippsland: What was your experience like in the 12 weeks of the program?
Deirdre: Right from the start the program was exciting and engaging. The first few weeks felt overwhelming, but the weekly tasks and the support from presenters and members of the cohort was invaluable and just got better and better as the 12 weeks progressed. In the last few weeks, businesses were starting to take off as people developed their social media profiles and online presence using the tools we had been given.
Startup Gippsland: What are the biggest benefits of you undertaking the program? Can you provide an example of how it worked for you?
Deirdre: Startup Gippsland pre-accelerator had given me the confidence to develop my business service and sell that to organisations that see value in my work. I have rebranded my entire online presence and myself in the process.
Startup Gippsland: Have you discovered new or different users for your product/service, compared with original expectations? Are you still pursuing your original startup idea?
Deirdre: I am still pursuing my original idea, but I have integrated my exisiting programs and broadened them to make them more financially viable.
Startup Gippsland: What was your biggest success after undertaking the program? Personal or professional (or both)!
Deirdre: I have had two successes since completing the program. The first was securing a contract with Regional Arts Victoria to develop a playmaking program that is offered to regional schools with me a a visiting artist. The second was putting my website together and being able to maintain it myself.
Startup Gippsland: what was the most important skill you’ve learnt, and a realisation you’ve had during/after the program?
Deirdre: The number 1 skill is being able to manage my media and online presence through the rebrand, and my realisation was that I don’t have to rebuild what I do from the ground up and that I can use my exisiting arts education small business can be integrated into my work as a teaching artist.
Make sure you check Deidre’s Saturday Drama School here on Facebook. The mission of The Saturday Drama School is to nurture confidence, resilience and creativity in all children within the framework of an inclusive and supportive drama education program.
“Right from the start the program was exciting and engaging. The first few weeks felt overwhelming, but the weekly tasks and the support from presenters and members of the cohort was invaluable and just got better and better as the 12 weeks progressed.”
“Startup Gippsland pre-accelerator had given me the confidence to develop my business service and sell that to organisations that see value in my work. I have rebranded my entire online presence and myself in the process.”
“Since participating in Startup Gippsland I feel so much more focussed and confident in myself, but more importantly, I know that that I have a support network of peers from the program who will happily offer advice and assistance if I need it.”
Deirdre’s mentor was…
“Deirdre is totally focussed and driven.”
Watch Deirdre’s Pitch
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