Today we’d like to introduce you to Cesar Gonzales.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I’m in a new city or neighborhood, I’m curious about the local scene for live shows such as comedy, theater, music, dance and even circus arts. I’m interested in local shows with lesser-known artists in smaller venues that only the locals know about.
Every neighborhood has its own micro-culture, and you can get a unique glimpse of it through their local live shows. But unless you live in the neighborhood, it’s hard to know where these shows are – and they’re everywhere.
Most local venues, producers and artists have little money to spend on marketing and advertising. The end result is that sponsored information from the largest shows drowns out the little guys. I wanted to create a way to make it as easy to find a local live show in any neighborhood as it is to find a bar, movie or restaurant. That’s when I thought of ViaStage.com.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Umm… no. I bootstrapped ViaStage.com instead of seeking investors. I quit my job, gave up luxuries and relied on savings and income from freelance projects for a couple of years to focus full time on ViaStage.com. But that was the easy part.
The hard part was constantly facing a fork in the road to either give up or keep going. The current model of pay-to-play performance arts promotion is dominant and it tested my patience and convictions. But gratification came in the form of encouragement from the many local artists, venues, producers and publicists who told me they needed a better way to promote local shows and festivals to newer audiences. To me, that meant there was both supply and demand for ViaStage.com, so I kept working at it to find a sustainable business model that would bring supply and demand together.
ViaStage.com – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
ViaStage.com specializes in giving local artists, venues, producers and publicists a platform to promote their shows and festivals directly to the public. On ViaStage.com, large shows don’t have an advantage over smaller shows.
If you’re looking for a live performance nearby, you can enter your location or zip code into ViaStage.com and see what was submitted – straight from the local source.
ViaStage.com is currently most active in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and we are expanding our reach.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I feel successful when I can challenge the status quo in a positive way. I think I’m doing a little of that with ViaStage.com, and it’s nice to see it pay off.
On a more personal level, self-transformation is a big marker of success for me. Going from a full-time career to an entrepreneurial one is as hard as becoming a full-time actor, musician, comic, or any other performance artist. With every risk I take with ViaStage.com, I step outside my comfort zone, face fears I didn’t anticipate, and learn something new. Getting through each of these moments, adapting, and then moving forward, are markers of success for me each step of the way.
It may not feel like success if it can’t be measured in dollars, but personal growth and gaining more confidence are what make a person.
- ARTIST plan: Free. Unlimited shows in unlimited venues (anywhere).
- VENUE plan: $96 per year. Unlimited shows in your venue only (one venue).
- PRODUCER plan: $180 per year. Unlimited shows in unlimited venues (anywhere).
- FESTIVAL PRODUCER plan: $240 per year. Unlimited festival shows in unlimited venues (anywhere).
- Website: ViaStage.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (800) 838-0235