Making a living from art has never been easy – but setting up business as an artist after 20 years on the assembly lines would seem an impossible feat.
A self-taught artist, Nathan worked at Honda in Swindon for 20 years before taking voluntary redundancy in 2014 and making the decision to become a professional artist.
“I really had no idea what I was doing – or how I’d make a success of business,” says Nathan, 43, who has recently started to diversify from original art and prints into running courses and workshops.
“My big break came at a job fair organised by Honda for ex-employees – an organisation called Business West offered to help me start a business and introduced me to a business mentor who knew the ropes.”
Nathan teamed up with business coach Isla Baliszewska from Wiltshire-based Smart Coaching & Training, who helped him develop his business plan and identify the best way forward.
“Through the coaching I began to understand what it meant to be in business – and how to go about creating my business plan” says Nathan.
As a business mentor, Isla helps business leaders and entrepreneurs plan and implement strategies and systems: “to grasp the right opportunities and turn adversity into advantage”.
“Business mentoring is a journey, and working with an artist like Nathan is in many ways no different to any other new business. A creative mind does offer lots of possibilities though,” says Isla.
The exhibition opening event is free to attend, and will feature a selection of Nathan’s most popular creations. Both the artist himself and his business mentor will give short talks, focussing on the ‘business journey’, and key tips that apply to all people getting going in business.
The event is taking place at Manor House Enterprise Centre, High Street, Royal Wootton Bassett, on Tuesday 9th August, from 5pm to 7pm.
The Enterprise Centre is one of a network of centres operated by The Enterprise Network (TEN), a Wiltshire Council initiative to support small and growing businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire. TEN provides flexible workspace including hot desks, offices and meeting facilities, as well as running training and networking events around the county.
Free registration for the event is available at www.theenterprisenetwork.co.uk/artbiz