“Your limitations are just as valuable as your strengths.”
Dr Katy Abbott of Dinner for Breakfast is forensically curious about what makes us tick. As a nationally recognized Australian composer, Katy gives voice to those without a voice. Her music explores our passions, fears and motivations using contemporary musical flavours in traditional musical settings. Katy’s compositions are performed, published, and recorded around the world. With five solo albums and a potful of awards and prizes, she is also a sought-after educator, mentor, and coach.
As a composer and artist-educator who built a career in the Arts industry, Katy started Dinner for Breakfast to fill the gap in knowledge and skills between starting a career and developing a desirable career. Just as schools don’t have the capacity to teach life skills, such as financial and emotional literacy, musicians and artists also have gaps in their training. Katy has become an expert at capturing the essence of something. Through online courses, mentoring, teaching, and coaching, she helps students and clients get underneath people-pleasing and traumatic decision making to capture the essence of their desires and create a business that deeply matches them.
Clients have described Katy as the ‘Queen of Re-framing.’ She’s been able to help people own what is particular to them and be deliberate about stepping into an artistic career that they want to have. Katy hopes to continue balancing between composing large works for festivals and orchestras and developing online course offerings through Dinner for Breakfast.
Who’s your favourite entrepreneur and why?
I think any ordinary person who makes something out of nothing is extraordinary – whether this be artists or startups.
Why did you start your business and what gave you the idea?
As a composer and artist educator who has forged a career in the Arts industry in Australia and overseas, I can see a gap in knowledge and skills between starting a career and developing a career particular and desirable to you. Just as schools don’t have capacity to include many skills on how to live a life (such as a financial and emotional literacy), I recognise musicians and artists also have gaps in their training such as knowing what they are worth. But they too, need tools for life and career in handling themselves and situations so they can design and choose a career – that might be quietly hiding away as a pipe-dream – and help them step forward with a ‘hell yes’, rather than wait for life and opportunities to happen to them.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
My clients tell me I am the Queen of Re-framing – I love helping people see past what makes them stuck and own what is particular to them – to be deliberate in stepping into an artistic career ‘they’ want to have. I find artists already have everything they need within themselves but sometimes don’t know how to access it. Helping them in this way makes me zing!
What three pieces of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started?
- I used to feel like an introvert in an extroverts world. Also, when I started music (a late-starter at aged 27) I was one of few female composers. I wish someone had told me that being myself would be the least stressful pathway.
- Your limitations are just as valuable as your strengths.
- Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is exactly right.
What advice would YOU give someone thinking about starting a business?
Find a personal ‘Board of Directors’. I have 3 people who act in this role. They know me well and will tell me honestly and with love when to chase the crazy big idea and when to put it away.
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
My composing business is well established but Dinner for Breakfast’s online courses are younger. I’d recommend getting accounting/banking set up well to be simple yet leave room for growth. Also, not to agonise over every decision. Make a choice, own it and work with it. There are a lot of products and distractions out there and we who have perfectionist tendencies need to work more with being excellent and less with perfect :)
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you’re not there yet, what would it look like if your business was ideal?
A balance between composing large works for festivals and orchestras and developing my online course offerings through Dinner for Breakfast. I’d love to be in the artistic, creative and mentoring roles only and outsource the nitty-gritty.
What problem does being a Member of the HerBusiness Network solve for you and your business? And, how?
I am new member of the HerBusiness but I find that this tribe feels like ‘my people’. It (so far) keeps me sharp and focused and the women I’ve met so far are wonderful. I like supporting them and being supported by them.