Genèvre Becker is a Canadian born, Australian citizen, Mother, Artist, and Serial Entrepreneur. She builds businesses that work with, and for, creative people by combining her family history of business ownership, with her creative streak.
As a Creative Business Coach, she blends experience with coaching techniques to support others: to grow their own business wings and to fly. Outside of work, she loves to explore and travel, to cook sweet pastries, sew her own clothing, and nurture her garden in regional Victoria.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I grew up in the Dandenong Ranges, where trees are tall, and walks are rambling. A perfect backdrop for creative nature play, inspiration and tuning into intuition. My mother started her own self-employed journey when I was 4 years old. At this early age I observed that it was possible to create a personalised way of working. My mum started small, and by the time I was eight, she was able to purchase her own venue with two expansive yoga rooms and a dedicated office. This set the scene for my entrepreneurial curiosity (that would return at a much later age). As a teenager my hobbies included making mini worlds with natural materials and playing with story-driven line drawings (a precursor to today’s graphic novels). I designed a Christmas card for my mum’s yoga students, with the letters made up of tiny figures in various yoga poses. I also loved drawing ‘factories,’ process driven illustrations of conveyor belts manufacturing useful objects.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
The turning point for me was around thirty years old. I had a Masters of Fine Art under my belt, yet I was dissatisfied by the Creative Sector. There seemed a lack of education, and ownership, for creatives to generate income from art. Gallery sales were not a stable, or reliable avenue for regular income. To address this issue, I enrolled in a Diploma of Small Business Management, with the intention of wholesaling handmade outdoor decorative art. The turning point, in the midst of this course, arrived when I met my future husband. We gelled over creativity, determination, and a desire to build our own business. As a result, I adjusted my business focus on a new joint idea. To manufacture, hire and sell pedestals to clients in the arts, crafts, and gallery sector.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
The motivation to start my first Partnership was sparked from the opportunity to share passion, energy, and accountability. Being able to build a business with another person also brought greater clarity, in brainstorming ideas and resolving challenges together. It was an amalgam of so many influences aligning at the time:
- I was working part time, so I had a stable income plus time to set up and grow our own business.
- Collaborating with another person meant I got out of my head (and my multitude of business ideas) and just put ONE to the test (now known as Kist Displays).
- Business only requires one great idea to start.
- My mother showed me that it was possible to build a business, from a tiny client base.
- I was dissatisfied by the limitations of being an employee,
- Education = Confidence. The knowledge of the Business Diploma was fresh, so I knew which steps to take to register and set up a business.
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
Briefly, it’s been a journey. After Kist Displays, my partner and I took on Satellite Studios Brunswick. This was the inspiration I needed, to branch out on my own again. Working within a creative studio, I could see a wealth of hands-on technique skills, yet a lack of business knowledge and experience. The support for creative people to succeed was missing. Now, as a Creative Business Coach, I support business owners to: 1. Identify how they want to grow their businesses 2. To set actions, with time frames, on what they want to achieve 3. Work on accountability, perceived challenges and set up for ongoing growth. I believe passionately in the capacity of every individual to achieve their own dreams, with the right support. Being part of assisting others to expand, and shed the obstacles, has me jumping out of bed early each day, as it’s immensely rewarding.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
Growth and managing people have been the most significant challenges. Challenges with contractors and staff:
1.Experience has taught me to get really clear on U what the business needs, and get this communicated in print.
2.To trust my intuition. If someone isn’t the right fit at the beginning, it’s an opportunity to pause, reassess and take conscious action for the future of the business.
3.Maintain open communication. Initiate conversations and stay curious about what is happening for the other person. Growth, business growth doesn’t often happen organically. It requires scheduling time to plan. For example: -Draft a 10-year Vision (the fun part) -Break this down into what needs to happen in: 5 years, 2 years, and 1 year – In greater detail, for the next 12 months, map the quarterly actions to realise the future of the business. *The vision may change, yet clarity and action are essential. A few techniques that assist me: -Mind-Mapping – Allocating tasks into an ‘Urgent/Important’ framework -Practising a daily ‘brain dump’ list to clear the clutter -Journaling on pressing issues or challenges.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
The greatest learning for us was within our business Satellite Studios Brunswick. As a community of makers, it really highlighted the importance of the individuals, as part of something greater. We shifted to take more time to connect, creating flexibility on payment options, and collaborating with people in negotiation and brainstorming for the best outcomes.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
While I love learning (the list of formal education is long), the steepest learning curves have been a result of putting the theory into practice. It’s fair to share that I’m proud of founding two sole trader businesses, and co-creating two partnerships that grew to companies. They are all still trading and have been running for 20 yrs – 2 yrs! And reflecting back, to see that it’s possible to create businesses in our own way, at our own pace. We did it, and we haven’t stopped learning.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I passionately believe there is a systemic flaw in creative education. Where are the vocational business skills? We are ripe for change, in introducing Accounting, Marketing, CEO planning into every single creative course. With education can we empower people.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
Confidence is the destination. It takes courage to get there. We are all constantly changing, therefore, so are our businesses. To improve our service or product we must share, and test, it with the world.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
We need to believe in ourselves first before others will follow. We cannot wait for others to see us as equals, we need to lead the way. And the best leaders are the ones who are paving the way for those coming up behind them.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
What is the cost of you not standing up for the life you want to lead? “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anaïs Nin