David Taylor - Arts Entrepreneur

The Social Media Orchestra

How important is social media when it comes to running your own business? How much time should you spend on it, and what value does it bring? We spoke to entrepreneur, social media pro, and Zervant user David Taylor to find out more.

David is the founder of the Yorkshire Young Sinfonia, which in its short 3 year existence has already reached an audience of over 4 million people. As part of this project David has also featured in The Telegraph, on Classic FM and Radio 4 (with Alan Bennet no less!). He sat down to talk to us about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, and how he uses social media.

How did you become an entrepreneur, David?

It sort of happened by accident really. When I came back the UK (I used to be a cello teacher in Jerusalem, of all places!), I was passionate about trying to promote classical music in Yorkshire. It’s something I realised was lacking for me when I grew up here.

So I created the youth orchestra to provide world class tuition, alongside innovation in the sector, such as using social media during concerts and going 100% digital.

What does a normal day look like for you?

There rarely is a typical day, the one constant is my laptop. When I’m at home, I try to start the day off with a bike ride just to get my head in gear (pun definitely intended!).

From then on, I’ll usually spend the next 12 hours glued to my laptop, with tasks ranging from event planning, music hire, marketing, video design, accounts, funding applications… you name it, I’ll do it.

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?

Seeing opportunities and saying “yeah, let’s do that”, and then instantly doing it. The classical music industry has a reputation for moving slowly, so being quick and nimble is a huge advantage.

And the worst?

Probably the isolation. It used to be that if I wasn’t travelling, I could easily go for over a week without seeing anyone, and just having contact through emails. I’ve now been really strict with myself to restore the balance.

Why did you choose Zervant for invoicing? What features were you looking for?

If I’m being honest, accounts are probably the thing I hate doing the most. Even if it’s sending invoices for me to receive money. I’ve used other invoicing software before that has been a bit clunky, complicated and hard to learn.

With Zervant, the clean layout whilst being simple to use has made it a dream. It also has the benefit that I can jump on any computer and send an invoice if I’m in a rush.

To what extent has social media been a part of your success as an entrepreneur?

It’s been huge. My 2017 New Year’s Resolution was to actively work on my own social media and use it to network. I’m totally blown away by the opportunities you can find.

Do you spend a lot of time on social media? What do you use it for?

Currently I cover it all with a short 30 minutes blitz a day. Facebook for reaching parents and concert goers, Snapchat for the students. Twitter has been good for personal networking, and I probably enjoy Instagram the most.

What value does it bring?

Social media allows us, the youth orchestra, to connect with our students and audience. Without it there would be a huge disconnect. It also allows us to interact with the audience in real time, something that we really encourage, and break down the boundaries between audience and performer.

Are there any dangers entrepreneurs should be aware of when it comes to social media?

It’s always tempting to be glued to your phone. And it can also be really easy to take criticism to heart. I once had one individual send lots of sweary tweets in reply to a blog I did… after the initial shock, I realised that the rest of the feedback was really positive.

How do you handle this kind of negative feedback?

You need to remember that you are the most important resource in your business. If you spent £10,000 on a camera, or a computer, or an instrument for your business, you’d really care for it, clean it, cover it in bubble wrap.

And you’re way more important than anything physical in your business. Be self-aware, eat well, move a bit, and look after your mental health to make sure you’re in tip top working condition!

We really recommend taking a look at David’s website to find out more about his project (or indeed if you’re a fellow arts entrepreneur struggling for inspiration). And also be sure to check him out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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