Glauco Di Lieto (United Kingdom)'s story

Glauco Di Lieto (United Kingdom)

Glauco Di Lieto (United Kingdom)
Ballet Dancer
Web designer and developer, Owner of WebRightNow
I moved from Italy to London when I was 19 and spent 4 years with English National Ballet. I danced most of the classical repertoire including many soloist roles. After a serious injury I contemplated retiring from dance and worked for a short period with a market research agency.
In 1997 I joined Scottish Ballet where I danced for 13 years until I retired in 2010.
I started retraining as a web designer in 2008 and completed a Master CIW certification before leaving my job at Scottish Ballet.
I have also been teaching ballet since 2005 and I now teach students at Glasgow’s Anniesland College and the Dance School of Scotland in Knightswood.

Since my injury when I was 22 I was always very aware of how quickly a dancer can go from having a full time job to being unemployed and unqualified for any other type of work. This thought remained a source of underlying worry throughout my career, but it was only when I had my first child in 2006 that I made the decision to turn my web design hobby (which I had been pursuing since 1997) into a career.
I researched the options available to me in terms of getting a web design qualification. I discovered that there was no formal certification geared specifically towards web design. I would have had to enrol into an IT course at college but my working schedule and family commitments simply didn’t leave me enough time for this. In addition, I wasn’t interested in IT in general, my only interest was in web design and this subject is only covered very sketchily by college IT courses.
My research eventually led me to the CIW certification, which is an internationally recognised long distance course consisting of three exams, specifically covering web design and development. The learning process was extremely flexible: after enrolling and purchasing the study material (books, software, access to online resources) you are able to study at your own pace and take the exams whenever you feel ready. This suited me perfectly.
I approached the DCD for help with funding my studies and the subsequent launch of my own web design business. At our first meeting In London we devised a two stage strategy:
- Stage 1 would include my initial training: course fees, study material and computer equipment.
- Stage 2 would involve the creation of a business plan and detailed financial projections for my web design business over the first two years of activity. The DCD would cover the cost of any business expenses that could reasonably be claimed.
Documentation for each re-training stage was submitted to the DCD board over two separate occasions, once in 2008 and once in 2010. In both cases my funding requests were granted in full.

When I first approached the DCD I was envisaging a simple scenario of “Ask for some money, get it, spend it”. I quickly realised that it doesn’t work that way, and for good reasons.
At first it seemed a bit daunting to have to think about the future development of my business, to come up with financial projections and to try and anticipate all the various expenses and revenue streams. My natural attitude would have been to simply “get on with it”, start trading and hope for the best. However, lack of planning is the biggest contributing factor to the failure of start-up businesses. Had I not been encouraged to come up with a proper plan, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have spent all my grant money unwisely. In addition, I wouldn’t have grasped the basic financial rules that allow a business to thrive: minimise expenses, maximise revenue, plan for growth, anticipate problems.
The DCD clearly knows that simply giving money away isn’t the way to help dancers start over. I now firmly believe in their methods and I would encourage any new applicants to listen to all the advice given and to embrace the process.