From Artist to Entrepreneur
A six-months experience in Essen, Germany. From the 23rd of April to the 22nd of October.
The last weeks of my EYE program have arrived. It has been a crazy, wonderful and very educational experience. If I had to summarize these 6 months in only 3 words, they will be; courage, empathy and togetherness. Yes, I bet you are asking yourself how these keywords connect each other with the process of building a company. Well, during these 26 weeks I learned that, in the end, every business is about the people. I started this experience with the question if it would be possible for someone from the creative field to become an entrepreneur, but then I realized it was more about conceiving myself, and the activities I was already doing, as a businessperson rather than being trained to be one. The first week I arrived, my host entrepreneur asked me to tell him what entrepreneur meant to me. After my naïve and very taken-from-the-dictionary answer, he defined entrepreneur as the person who takes risks. I was already in another country, with a language I did not speak, barely knowing anyone and looking forward to building a company without any knowledge in the field. I was just told to transform my natural skill of connecting people into a profit because in this way I would be financially successful. It took courage. I was already taking the risk.
If you are reading this, surely, it’s because you are already enrolled in the program or you are looking forward to applying. I truly believe we learn from others experiences, so I will share with you some recommendations. Be true to yourself; if you have any skills you think will be helpful for your HE, tell them! Before arriving at Lab, I realized they were not that much into social media in a way you could find all their works and projects online. It’s a hub for innovation but all the outcome was just staying in between walls. By being able to share the news online, it not only made people from abroad see what was going on but also, enabled the locals to know the facility. We are now living in the media content world where information finds us via apps that we are constantly consuming. Therefore, I took charge of the situation. Something that only takes a few minutes was helping them more than I could expect as more interested stakeholders appeared. So, if you see a chance to make things better for the host organization, go for it. Also, leave shyness aside and try to talk about what you are doing with the most locals you can. This allowed me to appear on local TV. They heard that this Italian-Argentinian was connecting the creative industries of their region with other parts of Europe and Latin America, so they decided to interview me. Being on tv wasn’t that easy. But the best part came when it premiered on TV as all the people from the Lab were there watching it. A thing that was very latent during my experience; being able to build up a supportive group of people who were there for me every time I needed it. Although “If you need help, just ask” could sound well-trodden, you could see that they meant it. Remember, try to empathise with the locals, and not only with the HE workers. Go beyond the social limits of the company as you never know how many people interested in what you do you could meet. Don’t forget to ask as much as you need. Both of you are there to help and learn from each other, and you to understand what kind of company you are willing to create.
Last, but not least, enjoy the process as much as you can, just as I did.