Nicola Ruitenberg, Talent Depot

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Talent Depot is a talent agency based on the beautiful Coffs Coast, servicing Port Macquarie through to Byron Bay. They provide a diverse range of talent for work in TV commercials, print, films and event promotions. FOCUS had a chat to the director, Nicola Ruitenberg, to find out more …

What is your area of expertise?

Managing talent! I’ve managed keynote speakers, models, actors, event staff and even child talent! I’ve owned and operated two child modelling agencies in the past, one Melbourne based and one national, and I currently own a business that looks after keynote speakers.

Describe how you got started in your business …

I moved to the Coffs Coast nearly four years ago. Having done some modelling in the past, I found myself picking up a few jobs here and there for TV commercials and photo shoots, through different contacts, but noticed there wasn’t an agency presence here or anywhere along the Mid North Coast. It got me thinking that there must be a need for an agency to supply local talent, for someone to take the hard work out of looking for suitable talent and have a one stop shop for businesses to find the perfect fit for what they need. I also wanted to nurture local talent and find them paid work.

In 2016 and 2017 I was asked to supply event staff for various activations within a major sporting event, and that’s when I decided to launch a full-service agency, that would supply actors, models and event staff to the Mid North Coast, from Port Macquarie through to Byron Bay.

How has your business evolved since it began?

Although the business is still relatively new, it’s been so well received! Within the first month we received three job briefs for holiday park shoots and shopping centre promotions and have had 13 talent booked. From the smallest inkling there may be a market for this, to actually bringing it to life and having it embraced has been so exciting!

What is your greatest achievement?

Living my current life. It’s always been my dream to run a business that’s successful, have the freedom to work where and when I want and to be able to enjoy the Coffs lifestyle!

How do you measure success in business?

That’s a tricky one, and really, everyone measures success in their own way – whether that be having the flexibility and freedom to do what they want, to making a good income, to having a team behind them, to taking their business national. Personally, I measure my success based on the freedom I have, coupled with making a good living and providing a sought-after service to the community.

What is the best advice you have received?

Keep learning. Question everything. Troubleshoot.

How will you embrace change in 2018?

Like I do every year – with open arms! If your business is not constantly changing, then your business is in trouble! Whatever your product or service is, you need to move and change with the times, adapt to new technology, new laws, be on top of things that could change the way your industry works. You only have to look at the likes of book stores, video stores and companies like Kodak to see that if you don’t change, or don’t change quickly enough, you risk losing it all.

What business leaders do you look up to?

I don’t really look up to any business leaders. I prefer to focus on what I’m doing; however, I do admire anyone with the guts to take on the challenge of starting a business.

Do you have any tips to share with the younger generation?

If you don’t want to work hard, don’t run your own business. Things are never handed to you on a silver platter. If you want something, go and get it. Get rid of drama, both personally and professionally; it will suck the life out of you. Have a strong sense of self-worth and self-belief. Do your research and make sure your business plan is viable. It’s great to open up a business, but if there are 20 others in the same area, how are you going to differentiate yourself?

Don’t think you need a team behind you straight away (unless you can afford it, of course!) If you don’t know how to do something, learn! This is a great way to build your skill base and puts you in a strong position moving forward.

Where can we find out more?


Thanks Nicola.

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