Sara Stile (MUBG ’12) always felt it important to help her favorite artists build buzz, understanding that touring is an expensive endeavor that many artists cannot afford. When an entrepreneurship assignment seemed to be a feasible business, Stile assembled and small team and developed Support The Tour. Support The Tour lets fans help their favorite acts on tour by donating tour necessities or by providing the acts with a place to stay. Stile launched the site last October, and Support The Tour now has 256 registered fans.
How and when did Support The Tour start?
I’ve always had a passion for helping out artists and making sure all my friends were aware of my favorites. It started with joining street teams in high school but as I got older I wanted to do more. It’s obvious that in today’s music industry money is a hard thing to come by and so much of an artist’s barely there revenue is going to getting them out on the road to help build buzz. So I wanted to come up with a way to make tour life easier and more affordable. Luckily I took Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry in the spring of 2011 in which we had to write a business plan as our final project. This forced me to work out all the details of a tour support company, which was the birth of Support the Tour. When I finished it up and got some great feedback, I realized, wow this could actually work!
How did you assemble a team?
The team started with my brother. He has always loved the entertainment industry and worked in some aspects of it so when I told him about my idea he loved it so much, I didn’t have an option but to bring him on. I next recruited a close friend I knew had a lot of connections with the scene and bands we wanted to get things started with. Since we are still relatively small in all aspects of the business we haven’t found a need to bring in anyone else just yet but always looking for people interested in helping.
What were some challenges you faced along the way and how did you overcome them?
Starting a business is a challenge in every regard. There are times I get so frustrated that I think to myself “why on earth did you get yourself into this?”, but then I remember that I have a lot of support and people counting on me. The biggest challenge so far has been creating a website and getting all the things we needed to start the company with no money. We have done a lot of bootstrapping and reached out to investors but you hear a lot of nos which can break you down but it’s that one yes that makes everything ok again…even if it comes after 50 nos.
Has being a MUBG student helped in the development of Support The Tour?
The best part about being an MUBG student in regards to development has been the network here. All of my classmates, professors and even guest speakers in courses have helped in their own ways. Some give great advice, some will introduce me to someone else who can help and some even contribute at times as copywriters or graphic designers. I could not do this without everyone here.
What’s next for Support The Tour?
Now that we’ve got the site up and running and have helped out our first bunch of artists, it’s time to get sponsors and partners. I just finalized our proposal we plan to send out to a nice long list of brands, executives and more. We have a product that works and now that we can actually show those results, it will (hopefully) be easier to bring in these people to take the site to the next level.
Do you have any advice for aspiring student/entrepreneurs?
Just don’t give up on your passion. No matter how defeated you feel, as long as you believe, then you can make it happen. It sounds cheesy but it’s the reality. Starting a business means you are going to hear “no” a lot, you are going to be let down by people, you are going to lose sleep, and so many other negatives but when you see the success of it all, you can’t help but smile!