Music events CEO – Underground Music Platform [Entrepreneur Interviews]
What are Entrepreneur Interviews?
The Founder and CEO of music events company Fenix Productions Ltd, Balmit Ubhi.
Fenix Productions is a music events company that hosts: club nights, open mic nights and music production workshops. The aim of the business is to create a platform for underground artists to showcase their music and network.
When Balmit isn’t putting on music events and gigs, she produces music under the name Nila Fenix, check her out on Spotify and youtube channel.
We were lucky to get some time with her so she could share her perspective of starting a business being a woman of indian heritage in the UK music industry.
Our Entreprenuer - Balmit Ubhi
Why did you want to start a business?
I started my own business with 2 intentions in mind:
I wanted to take control of my finances and earn money from something that I am passionate about, with the hope of helping people and providing a useful / enjoyable service.
To have more control over my personal development and move into areas that I have more of an interest in.
I always knew that I wanted to start a business and I think that my actions throughout my career have led towards this. I started off in a large company picking up a lot of commercial experience and then moved to smaller organisations so that I could get a rounded view of small start ups and bring in my large scale commercial knowledge.
Now that I have the experience from both I decided to take on a challenge of my own!
What was the hardest aspect about starting a business?
The initial difficulty for me was around cash flow.
My first year of business was a huge learning curve and I had to invest around 30% more than I had originally anticipated, this was due to unaccounted changes of sales in the seasons.
I wish I had accounted for holidays such as Christmas and summer holidays where my clients would be away! In my second year I was able to work out the months I needed to earn more so that I can cover the basic cost of running the business in the quiet seasons.
The second obstacle was realising that I could do it with some help!
Switching my hobby to a business was overwhelming at first but I researched online for resources that were available for new business owners. I discovered that I could access the, which has a young entrepreneurs program. It changed my business for the better and helped me become a confident business owner. They provided me with a mentor, access to investment, and the knowledge I needed to start my business. I discussed my cash flow concerns with my mentor and he was able to talk me through it month by month and year by year. It was amazing!
There was also support from my local council for self employed people and business owners, such as meeting rooms you could hire for free. You really need to see what’s out there, you’ll be surprised how much support there really is if you look hard enough!
Who are your role models in business?
Firstly my parents are my biggest inspiration. My work ethic is completely due to my mum and dad. They are always supportive, encouraging and able to provide advice and wisdom when it comes to the business.
Secondly, I have many musical and creative influences that I look up to and follow, such as the co-founders of Beats Electronics, Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young (Dr Dre). The documentary The Defiant Ones about their journey inspired me because of the innovation they made in the music and technology industry but also the positive cultural impacts it’s had. I think it’s particularly inspiring that they both have committed to teaching and supporting the next generation of musical entrepreneurs with the USC Iovine and Young Academy
The USC Lovine and Young Academy is a great example of how business can give back to the community. I’ve learnt that it’s possible to have a charitable arm of my business and the two can work hand in hand. The lesson I learnt has enabled me to build my business in the way I want for the purpose of helping the community and giving people a platform to contribute to the music industry.
Why did you choose the music events and production industry?
I love music, I have always been passionate about the power of music bringing people together.
My business partner was a positive influence in music and business. We have a shared love of music events and he has helped me to develop my skills in performance and music events production.
The most important thing I learnt was to trust in what I am doing, which really helped me to become confident. This has enabled me to release my own music and begin my journey.
Over time I learned how to create music and use it as my voice and then use this passion to create a platform for others with our music events.
When I started realising music, people started to reach out to me for music events and video production services. After a few months I had a large following and a good number of clients every month. I left my full time job and started the journey of being a business owner!
If it wasn’t for my business partner I would still be a raver in the crowd and not the producer and artist I am today
Has your entrepreneurial journey ever been impacted by your heritage?
I have had incidents of racism in the workplace.
I find that companies and managers don’t know how to deal with it and it’s usually brushed under the carpet after some kind of an apology. I do feel that it shouldn’t be excused and serious action should be taken to remove them from the company. Unfortunately, in most cases I ended up leaving my job, as these environments didn’t usually give me the opportunities that I thought I deserved.
It’s difficult to change people’s perceptions and you shouldn’t live your life trying to change them if people don’t want to listlen.
If I feel I am being subjected to racism or gender bias, I’m lucky enough to have the confidence to always speak up and say that it’s not right and I will not tolerate it.
It doesn’t matter if people around you react in a bad way.
You have to place your boundaries not only for you, but to support other people who might be subject to this in the future.
After that you can carry on with your life knowing that you have said your peace and shown to others it’s not tolerated.
Stepping away from a company because the environment isn’t supportive of me, initially, has meant that I’ve had to take a few steps back professionally. However, I’ve used inequality and racism as a springboard to push me to build a platform where there is acceptance and opportunities for everybody.
It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.
What advice would you give people who are from a simular background to you?
The option to be an entrepreneur is open to everyone. Regardless of your gender, race, age or background. It’s all about educating yourself with business knowledge and skills you need to run a business.
You have the final say in the environment your clients interact with and your colleagues work in. Always respect those you work with and they will give you back more than you could hope. I have many clients that give me over my quote price due to the service and quality of the product.
It’s always worth going the extra mile for your clients and colleagues.
What advice would you give other women when it comes to starting a business?
What are the important business tips you've learnt along your journey?
Make sure you know how to keep company accounts. The basics of how to make a profit, marketing and networking, and your competition in your industry. The more you know about your industry and your company itself, the more informed your business decisions will be.
One of the most important marketing tips I learnt was finding your 20/80 split. You don’t need to use all the social media channels, the important thing is where are you getting the most return. If you can use a combination of channels to funnel to your website you will see that you will get roughly 80% of your sales from 20% of your platforms. You can target your audiences more efficiently once you know your top 20%.
What successes have you had so far?
- I left my ful time job and started a business!
- I am now in the second year of trading a profit
- We have held 2 Liv/n Sound Music Events
- Support 3 artist circles
- We are launching out Fenix Academy course at the end of 2020
If you met yourself 5 years ago, what advice would you give yourself?
What resources, have helped you get to where you are now?
What are Entrepreneur Interviews?
Today's interviewee - Balmit Ubhi
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