Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in music & entertainment but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Phoebe Deklerk, located in Fremantle, Australia.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a performer, show presenter, funeral singer, and singing mindset mentor. Singing is my passion, and I adore it. My recent performance styles have been musical comedy, cabaret, dark comedy play, opera, and more.

As a funeral singer, I cherish the poignancy of good places, chosen music to represent someone, and the love shared for them. The singing mindset is something I explored after I discovered that teaching singing, although highly encouraged by others, is not something that lights me up.

Even though I did not want to teach people, I still wanted more people singing worldwide. It is a lovely form of self-love and self-care. So I create content to help people feel more at ease singing, whether it's tips on how to sing without your neighbors hearing or inviting people to change the way they think about "what it takes to be a singer."

Tell us about yourself

From the age of 12, I have wanted to be an opera singer. That has not changed.

My business started after I graduated from university, and I turned my trickles of singing work (singing at mass, variety cabaret shows, and other things) into a full-time vocation. Like many of us, the final push was an unpleasant workspace where I was being bullied.

I do what I do to touch hearts and evoke thoughts. The shows I have written do just that. I also love talking about taboo topics like funerals and masturbation. It took me a while to find my thing and my drive. I had to challenge a lot of perceptions I had about myself. But every season, I am having more and more fun with it. It is a joy to do this stuff.

I push myself to be a leader cause I'm not your typical performer. I didn't win the best singer of the year at the uni award or even get noticed. I have always felt like an underdog, and I want other underdogs or other people to know that you can do what you want to do.

I started writing songs for my masturbation-themed show, and I was shit scared of doing it. I would never have said that I am a good songwriter and know what I need to know to write a song. It was all just feelings and intuition. Then my keyboardists helped smooth out the chord progressions and harmonies.

At funerals, there is beautiful energy amplified by music, and it often brings me to tears to be honoured to provide that for a family of a person that was so loved.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

It's not external, like winning an award or being on television. Which I haven't been for my business. It's the big things like permitting myself to go for it because it feels right for me and being OK with things happening in a different order.

I am an emerging Opera singer, and I have wanted to be in a staged opera as a minor role or major (hell yeah) for years. I knew that timing was a thing, that my voice needing a little more time to mature, was OK.

I can build my business as my voice becomes what I need it to be to get those gigs. My dreams are huge. They excite me daily, and I look forward to taking one step toward them today.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I had to recreate myself in a different city after covid. That was tough. Covid in Melbourne made me homeless, and I chose to go back to Perth, where I did primary and high school. But I didn't know Perth as an adult. I felt out of place and resentful that I had lost all my work in Melbourne.

Getting to know Perth took a while. But being here has led to opportunities I didn't think I'd be offered. I'm in an acting group, there are 4 of us, and we tour our plays to the country. I am also in a Leonard Cohen Tribute Band.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

It is about who you know. Learn to embrace going to events alone or have a list of wingpeople to bring.

Everyone will give you advice when you start a new business. You don't have to take it on board, so think of a phrase to say that is polite. "Thank you for that piece of information. I hadn't considered it." I got exhausted trying to explain my plan to people who just wanted to give advice and felt it necessary for a minute.

Track everything. If you're at the beginning, you have an excellent opportunity to track everything. In the future, you can reflect and see if you've tried it before and, if it didn't work, how you could tweak it and, if it didn't work, how you could re-try it. I see many people doing "insane" things by repeating things that didn't work and expecting them to work the next time.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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