Love Your Work – Turning Your Hobby Into A Job

Stephanie Sims loves bringing joy to others


SUCCESS, to some people, means making a lot of money.

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To others, it is about becoming famous, or both.

For Stephanie Sims, success is being able to make a living by doing what you love.

When a friend bought a ukulele and began to play with no musical training, Stephanie bought instruments for herself and her daughter.

What began as an enjoyable hobby has become a developing business.

Stephanie is known around Coffs Harbour as a very giving person, having been a founder or supporter of numerous arts-related groups, such as Coffs Coast Creative Industries and the Sawtell Cinema group.

So, when she was asked to do a workshop for traumatised women, she did not hesitate.

“While I am not a gifted musician, I am a very good teacher of beginners,” she said.

In 2016, Stephanie hired the Sawtell CWA hall and began a ukulele group, which then resulted in her founding Uko Ono.

She now teaches ukulele to 120 people, from ages seven to 90.

Stephanie’s ability to recognise opportunities and write grant submissions has led to programs with homeless people, refugees, school children and seniors and has resulted in Uko Ono becoming a viable small business.

Her vivacious personality, her preparedness to play anywhere and her strong marketing and arts background, have resulted in Uko Ono’s high profile in the Coffs Harbour area.

Like many businesses, Uko Ono has been affected by physical distancing rules, so Stephanie has gone online.

Stephanie has had to re-think her teaching methods with live online sessions because of time delays, and has launched a series of online workshops aimed at beginning players.

Perseverance, transferable knowledge and skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to create opportunities are the hallmarks of successful people, and Stephanie exemplifies all of them.

Stephanie is not, yet, driving about in an expensive car or living in a mansion, but is comfortable, and very happy.

While it might seem her business is ukulele lessons, Stephanie said she is really selling ‘joy and connection.’.


By Andrew VIVIAN

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