A blog for event professionals & attendees who love to push the boundaries of each experience.
There are a lot of people wondering how to make their company successful. Some people feel that if they do good work that people will come. Others say that making a great product will be enough to garner success.
EventMASTERS host, Dylan Shinholser, had the pleasure of inviting Nick Whitehouse, owner of Fireplay on, ‘Mastering the Event Business’ to discuss how to overcome failure and grow an event business through over delivering and building a good reputation.
Now, you may not know who Nick Whitehouse is and you may have not heard of Fireplay. But, we can almost guarantee that you have heard of his A-list celebrity clients and you have most likely seen some of his work without realizing it.
For those of you who are curious: Fireplay is a company devoted to making artists’ dreams into a reality. That means they are a fully equipped production team that manages everything from props, videos sets, production projects, lighting, design, and everything in between.
Dylan Shinholser wastes no time warmly welcoming Nick to the event. To get the ball rolling, he asks Nick to introduce himself to the virtual audience. Following the virtual acquaintance, Nick offered up some of his best advice.
“I think it’s all about the work you do. In this business it’s more reputation than the advertising that you do. If you do amazing work, people will recognize that and search you out.”
It is no secret that once great work has been accomplished, people need to see it. “I don’t think you can just underestimate just putting your work out there and advertising it and showing it on social media. Ya know, I think I get more references sent to me from Instagram more than anywhere else. So, don’t be afraid to set up a page and show the work you’re doing.”
Nick was not an overnight success. Most successful people are not. That prompted Dylan to ask Nick what he deemed to be important in the early years of his career.
Nick attributes some of his early success to being at the right place at the right time. “That’s where some of my massive breaks in my career came from, shows and people seeing it that I didn’t know were there….that’s exactly how I now work with Justin Timberlake.”
Build relationships with the right people. “If people see your events, you never know who’s there. So, make sure you’re networking with the people that come and talk to you after the event.”
Offer something different, unique, and memorable to clients. “I’ve always come up with ways to make new technology work into the shows and never really under delivered and over promised. It’s always been the opposite. I’ve kind of under promised and over delivered. It seems to keep the clients really happy.”
Innovation can make something that is ordinary into extraordinary. “Finding new and creative ways to do things and kind of pushing the envelope has always been my thing and that has been my most successful part.”
With massive success comes massive improvements along the way. Nick was asked to share some of the lessons he has learned over the decades.
“I think the big thing is, as you get successful, be careful not to spread yourself too thin,” says Nick. “Pre Pandemic, we got to a state where we were so busy that that was happening and it’s definitely a focus of our business coming out of it…We’ve completely rearranged it and restructured it…We’re going to concentrate on the most creative shows rather than taking, you know, 40 shows and delivering all of them at a decent standard but we’re going to do, ya know, a quarter of that and deliver a more exceptional standard.”
Team work makes the dream work. “You have to have people around you that you trust to do the work that needs to be done…I think right now, I have an incredible team of people that I would trust to do anything and moving forward that’s really important…To surround yourself with people you can completely trust to do the work but also that you get along with, that have the right personality because personality is just as important as talent.”
Dylan has been a fan of Fireplay for quite some time. But Dylan wanted to know how the recent pandemic has affected Nick, his team, and the business.
The past 18 months have left Nick and his team with the opportunity to embrace change. “It’s kind of what I talked about. It’s gave us time to look back at where we were going and really analyze the kind of path for Fireplay and that’s where we decided that our focus and our talent is the really big huge events where we can do these crazy things and really give people those experiences they remember forever. That is what we are concentrating on…It gave us time to rework and reorganize and kind of put the right team in place to push that forward.”
The need to go virtual was a blessing in disguise for Fireplay owner, Nick Whitehouse. It prompted him to adapt quickly and as a result, he unexpectedly extended his business model. “It actually started in music, it was one of our music clients that came to us and said, ‘I’d like to do an event in my house with an LED screen behind me and I want a choir to join me from their houses…We did a bunch of research into what technology was out there that would allow us to do that and it didn’t actually exist. None of the platforms were good enough to do that, we tested them all. So, we developed one and we found the right partners to do it.” The innovative LED wall became useful in more areas than one. “It became a real time audience…Every two weeks we’re doing a big corporation like CEO meetings or dealership meetings like that…because it does feel like people are there rather than a weird awkward zoom call.”
“Even though things are starting to get better and we’re getting back to the live shows, I do think that this virtual element is going to exist in both music and events for the next, ya know, three to five years. Maybe longer. Maybe it’s always here because we’ve learned a lot of things…It’s easier, we can do better things, there’s less traveling.”
Dylan and Nick seemed to have covered it all: reputation, networking, customer loyalty, and how to adapt when things get tough.
For Nick Whitehouse, it is clear that overdelivering and putting work out there for people to see is the best way to make any event business successful.
ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.