Last May, I went to Toronto and pitched my business to the Dragons on CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den. It was an amazing experience for me, and more than anything, provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my business in a way that I hadn’t really taken the time to do before. I’m blogging about it now because I’ve just been told I will appear on the March 31st episode at 8 pm!
The career I’ve chosen is not what most people would describe as the most serious job, but I, along with my wife and manager Kim, take it very seriously. In my opinion, being a children’s entertainer and educator is a seriously rewarding business—using music to inspire kids to be positive, healthy and active members of our community is something to be proud of. I love that kids have a great time singing and dancing at my shows, while also learning new things about a wide variety of topics. I also really appreciate hearing from parents and teachers that they and their kids love what I do.
In 2008, I walked away from a continuing contract as a French immersion music teacher with the Vancouver School Board to pursue a full-time career as a musician. To some people, this may have seemed silly or risky but to me it was the best move I ever made. I love every aspect of what I do for a living—from writing and performing live music to interacting with kids—and feel very blessed that I can also make a living doing it.
The idea of pitching on Dragons’ Den happened during the final stages of completing our first series of videos “Will’s Jams” with Turtlebox Productions. Kim and I were looking for any opportunity to help us deliver this great new kids’ content to a wider audience. While attending a Small Business BC event with Jim Treliving and entrepreneurs who had made deals with the Dragons, we heard about the auditions. We figured there was nothing to lose by my auditioning, so I went for it. I auditioned for one of the producers of the show, and within a couple weeks was asked to fly to Toronto to pitch to the Dragons during their shooting for the upcoming season.
I prepared. I did research. I wrote my pitch, practiced my pitch, revised my pitch, and practiced again. This process allowed me to do something so incredibly valuable as someone who is self-employed. It not only made me look at what we had been working towards but also what we had accomplished over the years. I feel that entrepreneurs frequently get so focused on what needs to get done at present that they are left with no time to recognize what they have achieved. What I found was a business that was sustainable and growing. Not a small feat in the music business.
I’m not at liberty to say what happened during my pitch until after it airs. I also have to admit that knowing how the show gets edited for maximum dramatic effect, I am a little nervous to see what they do with my pitch. I certainly have no regrets doing the show and feel I gained a lot from the experience (I think the Dragons did too and, at the very least they are sure to remember how to be safe while riding their bikes!). Facing ‘Dragons’ can be a scary thing to do, but if I let fear stop me from pursuing opportunities, I can tell you I would not have found my calling as a professional children’s musician.
You all have the opportunity to watch my pitch at the same time as me, so I invite you to to tune into CBC TV on March 31 at 8 pm and let me know what you think. I will be posting Part 2 of this blog after the episode airs, so stay tuned for more!