Inspiring people: Madeleine McKenzie

Madeleine is a cabaret singer who decided to turn her passion into a business. After COVID-19 forced her into lockdown, she decided to pivot her original idea, “Cabaret on Wheels”, into “Cabaret on Call”. With her business launching in the coming months, Madeleine is excited to share her love and passion for music from the comfort of her own lounge room. This pivot will make performing even easier, with her wardrobe, ball gowns, and wigs available for any costume change. 

We sat down with Madeleine to find out about her entrepreneurship story.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I have been singing as a hobby for as long as I can remember, and it has always been my passion. I saw an ad for the Wellington Shire Council Workshop, “Turn your idea into a business”, which was sponsored by Small Business Victoria. I went along to the workshop and it planted the seed for my business, which was to take my Cabaret show on the road to nursing homes. When COVID-19 occurred, I changed the business model to live streaming performances from my home.

My vision is to stream my shows to the nursing home screens, and make it accessible to those residents who are also unable to leave their rooms. I want this to be an ongoing collaboration where residents can also request songs for me to perform. Right now, residents of nursing homes and aged care facilities are isolated, so I hope that this pivot in business models can help to spark happiness within them and the community. 

Do you consider yourself entrepreneurial? 

I believe I am entrepreneurial. I have always been a people person, and constantly have a stream of ideas and creativity. I am always researching ways to incorporate my ideas into my projects, and I love to collaborate with other musicians and artists. Entrepreneurs have a knack for finding ways to get the job done, and being resourceful is something which comes naturally to me.

I have been fortunate enough to make the most of the avenues which are available to both myself and other self employed people within my community. Utilising the Wellington Shire Concierge and the Work My Own Way program has given me the ability to make my business dream a reality. 

What do you think makes an entrepreneur successful?

I think it’s important for an entrepreneur to be curious and ask questions. Being able to be guided by others or listen to different points of view allows you to expand on an idea or take it to new places. By not being scared to ask questions, you could find something you may not have found yourself. I have been fortunate enough to complete my business plan and be guided by professionals who provide a sounding board and support for me to stay on track. As a result, my business is now close to launching.

You don’t need to have all the skills, just the willingness to learn and ask questions. 

What’s one myth about entrepreneurship that you think should be busted?

One of the myths that should be busted is that you need to have money behind you. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I believe entrepreneurship is more about generating great ideas than having large sums of money in the bank. What’s most important is being enthusiastic about your business, believing in yourself, and doing what you love. If you have these qualities, it’s easy to sell yourself and your business. 

What’s been the best thing about your adventure so far?

I’m a lot happier in myself because I’m doing something that I love and believe in. My idea is something which has sat in the background for many years, because I was often “too busy” to follow through. Now I get to do something I love everyday, concentrate on my passion, and bring joy to others. It’s exciting to see so many people get on board with the project and see it as something which can benefit the community. 

Have you had any failures along the way where you’ve learned a valuable lesson?

One of my biggest lessons has been to ask important questions. My business model is only as good as my internet speed, and after ordering specific equipment for my business, I realised that I needed to change my order and tailor it to suit my internet. In order for my business to appear authentic and in the best light, I need quality video, sound, and internet speed. Luckily, I asked the questions before I paid the invoice, so it wasn’t too late to change my order and save myself from what could have been a costly mistake! 

What advice would you give to someone considering entrepreneurship and self-employment?

If it’s something that you’re passionate about — do it! The happiness that your passion brings will get you through the day. There is so much sadness and negativity in the world, but no one can take away your passions. Even if you give it a shot and it doesn’t work, there are always other ways to pursue your dreams. I used to dream of singing in France, but this way, I can go to France and perform from my lounge room. My business model also allows me to collaborate with other international artists and it opens up doors which may not have been accessible before. The dream hasn’t died, it’s just changed! 

If you’d like to learn more about Cabaret on Call, you can contact Madeleine directly on 0455 559 530.


If you have questions about your business and need assistance in maintaining your focus, then book in for a business coaching session here. This session is confidential and there’s no cost or ongoing commitment required. 


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