Emma Sharpe set up Dragonfly Drama, offering individual and group dramatherapy, youth theatre and training sessions in 2016. She works with schools and hospitals as well as facilitating drama and theatre based workshops for children and adults. Here, she shares with us the story behind her business.
Why choose to go into business for yourself and when did you start your current business? I started Dragonfly Drama in April 2016 and whilst I had been contemplating this move for quite a long time I didn’t have the confidence to actually make it happen as it felt like such a risk. I had a great job and earned well, but something was missing and I didn't feel professionally fulfilled. I also often felt constrained by organisational boundaries and limitations. Thankfully, I have fantastic family and friends that told me that I could actually make this happen and I owe a lot to a number of people for making me see I could do this. It was and continues to be the best decision I ever made. Being my own boss has also given me the flexibility to still be able to pick up my six-year-old daughter from school and spend quality time with her.
Why did you choose your current business? It was an easy and straight forward decision as I am a qualified Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Dramatherapist, having worked in the industry for over 10 years. I am extremely passionate about the impact drama and the Arts can have on all aspects of our lives and have witnessed the transformative benefits working in this way can have. I wanted to expand the services I was previously offering and the only way I could do this was to set up in business and have more control over what I did.
Who has helped you get started and develop your business? I went along to Business Gateway in Moray and received fantastic support from Lorna Williamson. Her guidance helped with my confidence and her belief in me and my vision meant a lot. The one-to-one advice sessions meant I could ask any questions and learn so much. A number of friends have given me amazing advice, encouragement and support, in particular Tom Morris from Moray Music Lessons who was the catalyst for me taking that first step, Garry Collins from Out of the Darkness Theatre Company for constant encouragement and support, Sharon Davidson from Seven Fours for helping me create my brand identity and Glyn Morris from Friendly Access.
What achievement are you most proud of? I love walking into a school and seeing the children smile when they realise it's time for Dragonfly Drama and it’s amazing to hear positive feedback from a parent. I still feel incredibly lucky to be doing something I enjoy so much on a daily basis.
What was your biggest mistake? Not setting up in business earlier. I wish I hadn't been so hesitant and just gone for it, but I'm optimistic and maybe the timing just wasn't right previously.
What is the biggest challenge facing your business? At the moment it would have to be the dilemma of expansion. I'm still a sole trader but I'm at a pivotal point where I must decide if I want to remain as this and possibly turn away new business, or expand by taking on new contracts and grow the business to the next stage. It’s exciting to think Dragonfly Drama could potentially develop in to something so much bigger but it has to be done properly and for the right reasons.
What would help your business? More education and publicity. I think there is still a lack of understanding about what Dramatherapy is and its benefits. I wish more validity would be given to the impact the Arts in general have within our lives and I would like more investment into the Creative industries and specifically into Creative Therapies.
What do you still want to achieve for your business? I consider Dragonfly Drama to be in its infancy so although I have many aspirations and dreams for the future, I'm conscious I also don't want to place unnecessary pressure on my shoulders. I like the idea of the business organically growing, adapting as it needs to and grabbing opportunities as and when they arise. My main aim is and always will be for people to have a positive and transformative experience with Dragonfly Drama. I want to make a difference in someone's life and for that person to look back in years to come and know that their time with Dragonfly Drama changed them for the better.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business in Moray? First and foremost, go for it. Collaborate with other local businesses and learn from them. The support is invaluable and I think it helps all businesses in the area thrive when you have positive working relationships together. Get advice from Business Gateway, the expertise and knowledge they have will not only put you in the right direction but it will give you the confidence that you can do it and do it well.
Find out how Business Gateway Moray can help your business by visiting their local page or calling 01343 508 838.
Outwith this area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.
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