Serious Business


Tim Tim performing at the 2016 Winter Solstice Festival in Port Fairy or should that be Port Fiery?

Tim Tim performing at the 2016 Winter Solstice Festival in Port Fairy or should that be Port Fiery?

15 minute of fame later and it’s all over. Tim is ecstatic that he nailed it. So is the crowd. I’m just relieved. Not a scorched hair to be seen.

BUSINESSES know the pressure of customers relying on them but just imagine if you are an entertainer.  Not just any entertainer but one that works with fire!

Catching up with Tim Tim over coffee he recounted his most recent experience as a self-employed entertainer engaged at the Port Fairy Winter Solstice Festival.  Held a week before our chat, the Festival had a fire and water theme and Tim chose fire.

“It was a bit nerve wracking,” he admits.  “I just have to dedicate myself to a creative idea and then make it happen.  There are weeks of preparation, a long drive to get there, and hundreds of people relying on you to get it right.”

15 minute of fame later and it’s all over. Tim is ecstatic that he nailed it. So is the crowd.  I’m just relieved.  Not a scorched hair to be seen.

A self-confessed ‘adrenalin junkie’, Tim admits that the more dangerous a stunt is, the more exciting it is.  “If I think of something, I usually make it happen.”

Hmmm I reflect on one key word ‘usually’.  Wouldn’t you rather work as a clown I ask?  It would be safer and you could laugh all your way to the bank, I add with a chuckle.  One coffee down and I am on fire with my lines today!

Tim isn’t smiling.  “Clowns wear makeup all the time,” he says clearly wondering where this interview is going.  Damn, there goes another potential line: Just clowning around.

OK (long audible sigh from me), let’s get down to business.  How did he get started as a clown … um I mean entertainer, I ask?

It all goes back to an artist in residence at a long ago Castlemaine State Festival and Tim, at a young impressionable age and struggling at school.

“Greg introduced me to stilt walking and gave me great encouragement,” he says, clearly grateful for this pivotal moment.

Tim subsequently took the plunge into a Graduate Diploma in the arts at the Chisholm Institute.   He worked for a while in Melbourne making sculptures and imitating art pieces (legally, he assures me), and later travelled the world for a period of time.

Returning to St Kilda he put his stilt walking abilities back into action for a fundraising performance on the pier that generated recommendations for gigs for the City of Melbourne and sparked his career path as a self-employed entertainer.

Eight years ago he was drawn back to his home town of Castlemaine where his parents still reside.

“Economically it makes sense to live out the region,” says Tim who enjoys gardening in his spare time.  “You can have a nice big house with lots of space in comparison to a much smaller space in Melbourne.  It’s beautiful here.  It’s clean and fresh, there’s good people, and it’s relaxed.”

Embracing country life he has joined the committee of Business Mount Alexander and is enjoying the opportunity to contribute his creative skills as an entertainer and comedian for both adults and children.

The benefits of being a self-employed entertainer are numerous says Tim.  “I get to travel, I have adventures and there is a lot of flexibility and freedom. It’s so valuable to live your life this way.”

On the downside he still has to treat it like a business. 

It comes as no surprise to me that, as a creative person, Tim has also embraced technology.   “I love technology and I’m always researching on the internet.”

With the assistance of friends Tim has set up his own website and maintains it himself paying attention to optimising google search engines.  Invoicing clients with MYOB is a standard task but he does find marketing his business hard work and what he describes as an “endless well.”

Innovative thinking and problem solving are attributes that he highly values.  He admits that his dream job would be to be put on Google’s creative team!

While he waits for this appealing job offer to hit his inbox, Tim continues to enjoy teaching himself new skills and making his own props for a gig.

“I’m always adding to my repertoire, sometimes redoing old gigs and making them fresh and new.”

One of his personal goals is to bring creativity into aged care homes and schools. “We need creative care and creative curriculums.”

Now that could be fun!

Tim Tim’s Top Tips

  • Scope out the market first. Add some research to your gut feeling.

  • Enjoy what you are doing. Be enthusiastic!

  • Network. Join your local business association.

  • Look for the opportunities.

  • Have a back-up plan. Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket.

READ MORE about Tim Tim

KERRY ANDERSON:  A businesswoman, philanthropist and community advocate from Central Victoria, Kerry Anderson is passionate about rural and regional Australia.  She works with small businesses and rural communities to help them embrace new opportunities. READ MORE

CATCH UP WITH KERRY:  During August Kerry is sharing her knowledge on entrepreneurship as part of the Small Business Festival in Melbourne (8 Aug), Geelong (19 Aug) and Bendigo (31 Aug).  READ MORE