He won an ARIA Award in 2004, two ABC Music Awards and toured Australia and abroad for 18 years.
With 21 years’ experience in music production and DJing, as well as 13 years’ experience in youth program facilitation; you could say that Tom, otherwise known as DJ Wasabi, has already had quite the career.
Working in the live performance industry, however, can be slightly unpredictable.
Due to some family complications, Tom needed to take time away from his career and his work at Collarts, to support and take care of his loved ones. But putting a pause on his profession caused some setbacks.
"In the live performance industry, people are quickly replaced with new faces, and so when I returned to work, I basically had to start again. Having a young son meant that long commutes to Melbourne and being away from home weren't practical and NEIS seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to establish a long-awaited dream of business at home."
Tom wanted to open his own studio that would focus on audio production and visual media at a high standard.
"Well, it was really quite the convoluted ordeal. I had recently left my full-time job due to workplace violence, leaving my family and I out on a limb, when my friend suggested that I concentrate on setting up my studio", mentioned Tom.
That friend had recently started his own business after completing the New Business Assistance with NEIS program, prompting Tom to sign up for the first course our Bendigo office had available.
As a part of the New Business Assistance with NEIS program, Tom's dream turned into a reality after successfully pitching his business idea to NEIS expert Wendy, who gladly gave Tom her support.
And with that, Highpoint Studios was born.
At Highpoint Studios, Tom produces print graphics, VR recording, mixing as well as mastering albums. He also composes soundtracks for movies and live performances in his suite and tracking room, outside of Castlemaine.
Although the program gave Tom the ability to start Highpoint Studios, he admits that the program came with its challenges.
"I left school when I was 15 years old and have never participated in formal tertiary education before. I was very nervous and unsure of my academic abilities. I am also dyslectic. This meant I had to work extra hard to undertake the reading and research required and [I had to] put enormous effort into the reporting aspects of the NEIS Program."
Tom says that his time in the program taught him vital skills that have allowed him to run his business confidently.
"I learned how to review my plans and assess the opportunities. I understood the need to review how I could have done better or why a particular strategy would have never worked."
Before starting the program, Tom said he lacked confidence and belief in his capabilities. He gives a lot of credit to our Training Coordinator Ramesh and our NEIS Coordinator, Wendy, for their support and trust in him.
“It's great that every day, I can wake up and do something new and exciting, but still be in my field of expertise.
I love my job, my studio and my family; NEIS has helped me to achieve my dreams”, said Tom.
Highpoint Studios officially started trade in January 2019, and it's become Tom’s pride and joy.
Tom hopes to see Highpoint Studios help other creatives achieve their dreams and for Highpoint Studios to continue producing cutting edge and fresh content.
We can’t wait to see Tom and Highpoint Studios grow, and we wish him all the best with his new business.
At PeoplePlus, we offer the New Business Assistance with NEIS program in the Bendigo region.
This program allows jobseekers the opportunity to become self-employed business owners by delivering vital business training and mentoring.