Susie Webb – RockChicks International
Our Businesswoman of the Month for March is Susie Webb – Founder of RockChicks International, one half of Abba Tribute Band ‘Fabbagirl’ and mum to 12 year old son Archie.
Susie was in the original Abba Tribute Band, Bjorn Again, but left to team up with Zoe Nicholas and form The Fabbagirls. Highly regarded and recognised as the best Abba Tribute Band in the business, they have performed all over the world, including USA, Marrakesh, Trinidad and for royalty in Sardina.
Susie is also in demand as a session singer and has done backing vocals for the likes of Queen, The Who, Lionel Ritchie, Sting, Tony Hadley, Leo Sayer, Pavarotti … and many more.
She is now founder of RockChicks International, an elite artist booking entertainment agency in London.
So what made you want to set up an artist booking agency?
People started asking me if I could help them secure a big name for their event and I had tons of contacts and would get out my little black book until I realised I should be doing this as a proper job! So a couple of years I set up my own agency, Rock Chicks International and now find events for clients such as Disneyland, BT, IKEA and Barclays.
What do you think it takes to succeed in business?
There are ups and downs in every business and the trick is not to let the ‘downs’ get you down! Things go wrong, people pull out, we make mistakes, we’re all human. But it is important to learn what you can from the ‘downs’ and not to get disheartened. Look at what went wrong and at ways of improving what you do. For me that might be something like ‘getting a contract signed sooner would have helped’.
Also, being a mum in business, it’s important to use the time that you have really well.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt so far?
Be nice to everyone! Even when you are disappointed, like when a client pulls out of a project, don’t give them a hard time. Repeat business is worth its weight in gold and if you are always nice and polite they will really appreciate that and remember it. They may well come back to you in the future.
What do you think it is about you that enabled you to turn an idea into a business?
I’ve always been a go-getter and I’ll go out of my way to do something unusual to make something work and stand out from the crowd. It might be quite quirky. I try to bring something new and different and always be happy and upbeat.
People I work with know me and trust me. I build long term relationships with them. And I make sure I do something nice for other people, when I don’t need anything from them, so that when I do need their help, they’ll be there for me.
If you were starting all over again tomorrow, what are the top 3 rules you would follow
- Plan. Plan. Plan your day. Make a chart. Set the hours that you are going to work and focus. If you can, work away from the kitchen and washing machine and all the other things that might distract you.
- Before you launch your business, make sure you have covered everything. Don’t do it half-heartedly. Be prepared. Go through it with friends or colleagues and get their feedback. If you can, talk to others in a similar business. Don’t launch until you are completely ready.
- Only work with people who are good for your business. Don’t take on a friend or a member of your family, unless they are right for your business. You need to get people who are good at the things you are not good at.
What difficulties did you experience setting up your business and what has got you through the tough times ?
I always get excited when a new job comes in. I love selling and doing deals. And I just keep going. You have to believe in yourself and just keep going. It’s the tough times that make you the person that you are.
As a mum, what are your tips for dealing with the struggles of balancing work and family life?
Make sure you spend time with your children, when you are not working. Otherwise your child says things like “Mummy, you are always on the computer!”.
Also, connect with other mums for a support network. Take turns to share childcare. Loads of other mums are in the same boat as you. Find them.
Do you have a mentor and when you need advice, who do you talk to?
I am always approaching successful business people and asking them for advice. If you show enthusiasm people will open their doors to you. If they can see you are working hard they will want to help and guide you. You just have to be bold and ask the people you look up to.
What are your plans for the future?
I’ve just recorded a new album in Los Angeles. It’s Abba songs but in a Bossa Nova jazz style, which is very exciting. We’ve also got lots of corporate and private bookings for Fabbagirls in the diary for this year, including one in Barbados at Easter.
So everything I do is music related, but it is a bit all over the place, so I have to force myself to be incredibly organised! I’m not naturally organised, hence the charts!
Do you have any specific tips for anyone wanting to start a similar business?
Do your homework. Know your market. Study other people doing something similar. Then work out how you are going to be different.
And keep going. Don’t give up.