Eline is a Music Entrepreneur from Belgium. She acts as a Creative Tracks ambassador, willing to talk about networking, women entrepreneurs, and Tech industry.
She is the founder of The Unicorn Mothership, a boutique agency offering digital marketing & coaching services for the music & tech industry, and the Community Director of #sssoBelgium, the Belgian division of shesaid.so, a global community of women who work in music.
- You handle many projects and activities around music, can you tell us how they started?
I can sum up my current activities in music in 3 words: radio, copywriting and shesaid.so.
I’ve been active in radio since 2013, hosting and producing my own radio show, The Wrong Lane (TWL) at Urgent.FM, and hosting a monthly podcast called We Play House Radio for We Play House Recordings. I started writing articles on music and tech in 2015 and I head in Belgium since September 2015, a global network of women who work in music.
The red thread here obviously is music. Ever since I was a teenager, it has been beneficial to my mental and physical health, just like philosophy has been. Both were things I could turn to no matter what. Whether I was looking for an answer to a question I had, was feeling down or wanted to express my views on the world; music and philosophy were always the things that supported me in that. At a certain point in my life, I was at a crossroads. I had done university, I had tried to make a living of my diploma and gained experience in fields I found interesting and intriguing. After hours, I kept activities in music going, as a blogger and PR spokesperson for a label I helped start up, as a radio maker and a senior editor for an urban music platform, and even shesaid.so at a later stage. All as a volunteer. I was convinced that music was just a hobby. My family sometimes perceived me as being impulsive, all the while I was actually very versatile and curious to try many different things.
But in my daytime jobs, I always seemed to reach the end of the line pretty quickly. Is this it? What now? I felt bored, even though I had nice jobs, good paychecks and even greater friends. I kept looking for the answer to that question so many people have: What will make me feel happy? Answer: make a living with the things that supported me so far, and hopefully, help other to do the same.
So I turned to music and philosophy once again. And after preparing a business plan, and going through the whole shabang of setting up a business, I launched in August 2015, my safe haven that would bring together all the things I love, and sustain myself at the same time. The tagline of my business is “Music, Media & Mindstyle”, and brings together everything I’ve learned so far, and love doing: Digital Marketing, content creation, music and coaching.
In the meantime, my activities in radio branched out to Amsterdam last year. The Wrong Lane became part of as a monthly curator for UK Garage, Grime and Bass music. I’m also opening it up as a platform through which artists can release their music. The first release is happening on April 13th! And the first party is also coming up before the summer.
We Play House Radio has grown and evolved as well, with extra syndications in countries outside of Belgium. I started writing music and tech articles for Red Bull Music Belgium and shesaid.so Belgium is about to become an official ngo. I started a yearlong training to become a certified holistic coach and plan to add coaching for artists and companies to my services. All those different things have now found a home at The Unicorn Mothership, with the unicorn as totem animal: a mythological being that spikes your imagination and evokes respect, healing and joy at the same time.
- What are the most important things you’ve learnt in starting building a supportive network like shesaid.so for your region?
It’s important to have a mission in life, to have a vision, to know what you value the most and what goals can help you sustain and enhance those values, that mission and your vision.
One of the most valuable pieces of advice I was ever given is: Always surround yourself with people who are better than you. Meaning, if there’s something you don’t know (yet) or are not good at, go out there and find the people who can help you with that. Also, I had to learn to delegate things to others, and this also meant I had to learn to trust in people, trust my own judgement and feel confident that those people will contribute in the best way they know how.
- Can you tell us a bit of how your daily work is? How do you make your days busy?
I don’t make them busy, I make them productive. Quoting Tim Ferriss: “Focus on being productive instead of being busy.” For me, it means listening to my gut, and to separate signal from noise - see what I did here with this metaphor? :-)
I’ve learned not to take on too much, and try to only work with people (be it clients, sponsors, supporters, partners, DJs, producers, brands) that I really resonate with. Sometimes it’s hard to be sure, but practice makes perfect. One bad experience is always a good reminder not to ignore that inner voice.
- Could you use some support in your entrepreneurial activities? If yes, what kind of support would you need?
Perhaps getting more visibility. I could use coverage by local, national and international media. If I want to get my message out there, it’ll have to be heard too. It’s not always easy to get people’s attention. And sometimes, people don’t even know you’re there!
- What are the main sources of financing for creative entrepreneurs in your area? What are the mains challenges you face in this regard?
I’m very lucky to live in Ghent, where I was able to apply for a “Starters Contract”, a subsidy of maximum 5.000€ for young entrepreneurs who’ve been active for less than 2 years, or who’ve had a business, failed, and are starting it up again after a hiatus.
For me personally, getting a loan with my bank for startup costs was the most difficult thing. I never got one, so I was happy to be eligible for that starters subsidy. Plus, it comes with extra support too. If the city of Ghent sees an opportunity for you, to promote you, or help you in any way, they’ll give you a shout about it. This is a great city for entrepreneurs, among other things :-)
- What advice would you give for creative entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Have a business plan for 3-5 years. And review it every six months. Set up a vision board at home and place it in a spot you see at least once a day, for example next to your front door, or in your bathroom. It will remind you every day of the things that matter the most to you.
Also, be prepared to fail. You can’t know everything from the get go.
- Do you have any new projects coming up you would like to share?
Yes, I have many new projects coming up, but I’ve learnt not to share too much at an early stage. Not even with people in my immediate environment. Again, a negative experience has taught me that lesson. And Richard Branson too. I read in an interview somewhere that he would usually take this approach: “Listen. Take the best. Leave the rest.”
And make sure you have at least 1 person you really trust that you can confide in. It’s good to have a soundboard for your ideas and doubts.
By Aurélie Delater, Creative Tracks Manager, INOVA+.
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