Carina Bruwer – Five Seasons Entertainment

by Claire Minnaar

Tell us a bit about YOU and your family (where you are based, single / married, number of kids, etc)

I live in Tamboerskloof (Cape Town) with my husband and 2 kids (Milena – 2yrs 8months and Italia, 4 weeks!)

What is the name of your company and when did you start your business?

Five Seasons Entertainment – I started the business about 9 years ago after graduating with an Hons degree in Music (with which not much can be done!).  I realized I would need some form of business concept if I wanted to survive as a performing musician, so it was only really meant as a vehicle through which to advertise my own music, but other musicians started asking for my help, and soon Five Seasons was a fully fledged live entertainment agency.  We now have over 400 acts on our books and a fully equipped office with 4 dedicated staff members.

What inspired you to start your own business?

Surviving as a musician can a famously sacrificial business / life.  I made a conscious decision that I want to make music, without wondering where the next meal would come from for the rest of my life, and realized that I would need to be very proactive to achieve this.  I’ve always been interested in the concept of business as well as numbers and strategies, and these interests, plus my stubborn determination, equipped me to venture into a field which I was not really trained for.  I learned as I went along, made mistakes, made up for it with some good ideas, and I enjoyed every step of the (somewhat challenging!) way…

What are the challenges you face or have faced being a working Mom and how have you overcome them?

Constant feelings of guilt.  I do spend a lot of time away from home, and although my situation is fairly flexible, I am sometimes really challenged by traveling schedules, and other work commitments.  Furthermore, I find it hard to “switch off” sometimes when I am at home, and that is of course completely counterproductive.  I have to remind myself that I really do try my best by dividing my time as well as I can, and I often imagine what the flipside would be like – say I decided to quit the business and only focus on family.  Although I would love spending more time with the kids, I just know that I would be extremely unfulfilled without my job; I absolutely love the mental stimulation I get from developing business ideas, and the artistic stimulation from being on stage; I’m a happy person because of all these things, and although my family undoubtedly comes first, I could not imagine having to be without my work – I will probably be a terrible frustrated mom!

What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?

Having a small business will always be a risky business, even if you have the best systems in place and employ the most amazing people.  When the going gets tough (read: recession!) or something goes wrong (usually beyond your control), nobody else is going to take responsibility or spend endless sleepless night trying to come up with solutions / new ideas; that’s your job.  On the flipside, when things are going well, you can reap the rewards (both financially and mentally), and for me, being my own boss is the only way I could function!

How do you balance your business and your family?

Not always easy!  Family comes first in my head, but that doesn’t eliminate the challenge when it comes to schedules, taking on new projects, traveling, etc.  I don’t really always know how I do it, or whether I’m even doing it well enough, but when I think back to the days before kids compared to now, I realise that I do consider each and every single thing I take on in terms of my family (whereas before the only consideration was feasibility and my personal interest in something), which is the best I can do, I suppose…

What or whom has been the greatest support for you and your business?

My brother, who runs my office.  He makes sure everything runs as smoothly as possible, and consistently goes the extra mile for the business.  He is everything I’m not – exceptionally organized and a master of admin. The business would never be what it is without him.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing really!  I’m aware of my weaknesses and always trying to improve myself, and I enjoy the organic process in which that continually takes place.

What advice can you give other Moms out there who are starting a new business?

Give it your all; it is a crazy juggle but it is possible.  Just make sure that when you are in ” mom mode”, that you are 100 % there – it is easier said than done when you have a lot going on, but it is essential.

If other Moms would like to keep in touch, how can they contact you?

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