The Sound of Silence, The Sound of Nothing at all…

by | Jul 2, 2018 | 0 comments

Stepping out into the great unknown, well not really the unknown as I’ve been there a few times before.  There is something about having a regular source of income that gives you a sense of comfort but is it really comfort or just a way of getting through.  A friend of mine said when I mentioned that I had ‘quit’ my job ‘ Life’s too short if you hate the stuff you do.  You can get by with ‘it’s boring, but pays the bills but allows me to do what I really want to do’ but not with ‘I fucking hate this!’ And that’s pretty much were I was with the last project I was working on for the past year full time, so now it’s back to doing more of what I want to do and less of what I don’t want to do.

Being fair it did give me a great insight into a new type of business, one that I hadn’t had much contact with for over 35 years and then only from the distributor side of things and not the retail side of things.  I’ve learnt a lot about people, and a set of people that I would not have come into contact with before but people who have a need and also attend creative and cultural events – not that the project I was working on was around creativity and culture, far from it, it was around developing a business that was both retail and trade in a sector that was as far removed from creativity and culture as it was possible to get.  However the practitioners were very similar, people who had great passion for what they do but had little of no business skills.

So now I feel a little bit like, dare I say it, a certain man who sells the part you put on a bed base, who in his latest ad announces that he is returning with a loud noise. But no, I missed the creative sector.  I kept my hand in during the 12 months, teaching in the Innovation Academy and Champliin, doing some work for the South Eastern Creative Corridor and also for CFCP and the Creative Entrepreneurs Academy.

But… despite the feeling of liberation and freedom at making this decision, and one that if you had asked me this time last week I was not considering at this precise moment, there is this huge burden of doubt, this feeling of oh fuck what have I done, the last time we tried this how did it work out and panicking over small things – even things like should I write this post at all , what will people think, how will they reacti- come into my mind but I know that I am a different person that this time last year.  I’ve learnt so much and have done so many things that I hadn’t done for a long time, I’ve engaged people, talked to them, cold called them, been shouted at by customers, got my hands really really dirty, unloaded pallets and pallets of boxes with your best suit on, yes I’ve done so much and so much I can apply to my own business let alone yours. And thinking like that does make it easier, writing it down makes it easier, sharing it makes it easier. Sharing also makes you honest, it shows that you have nothing to hide, that you are not afraid of being who you are, faults and all.  If people judge you badly for being honest then really are they the type of people you want to be around, the type of people you want to do business with, to call friends? No me neither.

I didn’t really address the topic I had set myself which was to give you an idea that looking into the abyss needn’t be that scary, I mean if I look at it from my own perspective I’ve done it a few times already only each time something has stopped me fulfilling my own expectations and turning my own dreams into my own reality. I know its an old cliche to say that this time will be different but I do feel different, I still feel the panic as I’ve already said but I am also ready and looking forward to the fight.

So there you are I’ve come clean, I’ve taken the fear by both hands and I’m learning to embrace it.  I’m stronger, leaner – in a business sense as one thing that did happen was I found I have a passion for chocolate on a daily basis 🙂 and ready for the fight.

Ian Oliver

Ian Oliver

Head of Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship


Building change for Sustainable Creative Careers

Ian has over 15 years’ senior management and entrepreneurial experience in the Arts, creative and technology Sectors and 4 years’ experience working with Local Government, Local Enterprise Offices, Local Arts Offices, Arts Organisations and Venues, Universities, Businesses and Community Groups throughout Ireland, auditing and engaging the artistic and creative community within specific geographic regions.

Currently Ian is working on advising and designing sustainable projects that utilise art and creativity as the main driver to effect sustainable economic and social change.  He also teaches and mentors artistic and creative entrepreneurship training to adult learners and undergraduate students.

Ian’s experience includes developing and implementing business / career / marketing strategies, marketing, business development, digital media, digital content creation, communications, project management, developing business, marketing and digital media strategies and implementation, project development, management and budgeting, resource management, team development and cohesion, training and training distribution methods for clients, staff and stakeholders.

Ian regularly gives papers on Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship including:

  • What is Creative Entrepreneurship, Trans National Creative Exchange, Solent University Southampton, October 2015;
  • The Role of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Developing Talent and Opportunities, Slovak Government as part of their EU Presidency, Bratislava, September 2016;
  • Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts, 20th Anniversary Conference, University of Pécs, Hungary, November 2016;
  • Developing a Creative Model Canvas, 3E Conference, Cork, May 2017.

We team creativity and entrepreneurship for impact and profitability!

We specialise in entrepreneurial training and provide business support for Cultural and Creative Professionals, Businesses and Organisations.

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Upcoming Events:


Creative Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 

Ashford, Co Wicklow: 30 November - 2 December 2018

Early Bird: €200 - till the 1 November 2018 Standard: €300

The Creative Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 takes place 30 Nov to 2 Dec. A mixture of workshops, talks, activities all around developing your creative career

This practical 2.5-day Entrepreneurship Programme for Creatives has been especially designed for all those who want to set up, run or further develop their own creative business, organisation or project in a professional and sustainable way.

During the programme participants will develop a practical and comprehensive strategy that will provide a blueprint for their future success.

Developing a sustainable business model, understanding and articulating competitive advantage and unique selling points, defining value proposition, identifying go to market strategy and long term business goals will be the focus for the programme.

Participants can expect:

  • dynamic, effective and highly individualised training
  • experience-based learning
  • lots of feedback from tutors and peers

The training will be delivered by experienced tutors combining their own creative backgrounds with years of running creative businesses and teaching entrepreneurship to creatives.

The programme, initiated by the Centre for Creative Practices in Dublin in 2013, has been attended by over 800 creative entrepreneurs in Ireland and Europe, earning enthusiastic reviews and helping creative practitioners to successfully grow their business, organisation or project.

These 2.5 days will be the best investment you have made in your creative career!


Creative Thinking and Co-Creation Techniques

1 day workshop
Ashford, Co. Wicklow
13 August 2018

Early Bird: €150
Standard: €250

By using a number of creative thinking techniques we will give practical examples of how you can take ideas from conception to reality. Based around the frameworks of  PO statements to "Yes, and..." we will look to develop out of the box creative solutions for real World problems.  We will look at a three stage work-flow taking us from idea generation, through validating the idea and testing.  We will look at a three stage work-flow taking us from idea generation, through validating the idea and testing.

Creative Business Model Development

1 day workshop
Ashford, Co. Wicklow
10 September 2018

Early Bird: €85
Standard: €125

The workshop will help you to answer all your strategic questions and to define the backbone of your creative business. It helps you to prepare a smart plan for the short, medium and also the long term perspective of your creative business.

Value Proposition Design

1 day workshop
15 October 2018

Early Bird: €85
Standard: €125

To run any successful business you need a clearly defined VALUE PROPOSITION that explains how your product/service solves your customers’ problem, need or improves their situation. A Value Proposition allows you to define who your customers are and to offer them what they really want. It also helps to secure grant aid or private investment.

Developing Your Creative Career

June 2018
Course Cost: €150

Whether you are a graduate, or looking to develop your creative career this course will give you clarity, focus and a roadmap to work from. During the course we ​will look at your purpose,​ ​your niche,​ ​your dream job or career position​ ​and identify​ the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

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Ballymurrin Lower, Kilbride
Wicklow, Ireland, A67TK64

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tel: +353(0)858895499

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