A professional performer turned entrepreneur, Nicole Louise Geddes is the founder of the Performer-Preneur, a movement created through lockdown to help performers pivot and step into a new spotlight.
Nicole, an established entertainment producer and creative director, runs corporate entertainment business Manic Stage Productions. She has become passionate about sharing her business knowledge with performers and wants to prove pivoting in a pandemic is absolutely possible.
Here she shares her story…
Getting into the entertainment business
Like every little girl, my first (and only) dream was to be a dancer.
On stage is where I wanted to be and from a very young age, and with the unwavering support of my mother I followed that dream meticulously. I took every lesson, jumped through every hoop, picked myself up after every knockback and quite literally danced on and on.
At 16 years old I left home and entered the world of professional dance training at Performers College in Essex. My three years there flew by and in no time at all. Soon I was a professional working performer and let loose onto the exciting entertainment industry to earn my keep and live my dream.
My career on the stage
From stage to screen, I worked as a showgirl to circus performer and everything in between! The industry is exciting, fast-moving and exhausting and I would not change a single moment.
I often reminisce of my time in the spotlight. A few highlights include: being a backing dancing for Kylie Minogue; travelling the country as a fire performer in the circus; singing for a whole summer on an island; choreographing shows in New York; and finally setting up my own entertainment business, Manic Stage Productions.
Starting my own entertainment business
Some might say I ended my performance career prematurely but it really never felt that way. I knew I had so much more to offer from the other side. I wanted to step into the wings and deliver top-class entertainment options using my knowledge and experiences of the industry. And I wanted to make sure the performers I worked with were appreciated, heard, respected and more.
Even just 20 years ago things were a little different with the pecking order and I had a strong desire to change things. I wanted to put the performer first.
Fast forward 15 years and I have a wonderfully successful entertainment company with clients including P&O Cruise Liners, QM2, The Royal Navy, The British Olympic Sailing Team, London Wasps, Top London Hotels and International Nightclub Chains.
I have worked hard to build my network, collaborate, create and step into a new spotlight. Often being reminded by my own limiting beliefs that I have never had any formal business training and that it is my pure passion and enthusiasm that has got me this far.
Over the years I have taken courses and even got myself a degree in performing arts management; I never needed it but it helped to dull down the imposter syndrome that occasionally creeps in.
Be a butterfly
My main advice is that you can be anything you want to be. And more importantly, you can expand your identity at any time to be even more than you originally dreamed of.
It is this exact advice that led me to my COVID-19 pivot. At the start of lockdown, I set up a Facebook group called Performer-Preneur, The Side Hustle Hub. It’s a safe space for performers to learn to pivot, expand and learn and realise that they have fantastic transferable skills that any entrepreneur would give their right arm for. This includes tenacity, creativity, determination, reliability, resilience, dedication and much more.
Don’t ever put yourself in just one box, be a butterfly and eventually fly by embracing the journey and changing (metamorphosing) along the way. Follow your dreams and allow yourself to change and expand your identity, to journey on whatever path you choose.