1. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
For me, it was less of being “inspired to become an entrepreneur” and more of “discovering that I have always been an entrepreneur” and more of “becoming extremely dissatisfied with the status quo of being employed”. Being an employee was stifling for me. Over and over I felt that my employers undervalued, underappreciated and undercompensated my skills, effort, loyalty, attitude, work ethic and dedication – and all of that does not lead an individual to a very good place. Having discovered that I have a strong and true entrepreneurial spirit is empowering – personally, professionally and financially.
2. What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part of owning my own business is the creation of it. And what I am talking about is more than just the creation of the products, service, policy and procedures; it is the creation of the mission, vision and values behind what my company does – that’s the really satisfying part. As the business owner I am allowed to build my business with the character traits that I love; integrity, equity, usefulness, caring, creativity, team work, appreciation; I then let these character traits inform the products, services, policies and procedures I create. The best part of owning my business comes from this, knowing that the mind, heart and soul of my business in within my own quality control.
3. Can you describe a typical day?
Nope, because my days are not typical at this point. Being in the “start-up” stage of my business means that I am all over the place. Some days I am working “in my business” – working hands-on with clients, doing estimates, making appointments, taking payments, sending invoices, following-up with clients etc. Some days I am working “on my business” – which means I am attending a networking event, ordering supplies, writing blogs, posting on social media, cleaning my car, organizing my inventory, emailing my graphic designer, preparing a presentation, giving a presentation, deciding whether or not to hire a bookkeeper, hiring a bookkeeper, updating my website, signing-up for trade shows, preparing for trade shows, learning how to use a new app that is really great for my business, deciding on what should be done first, second, third, fourth, fifth and so on!
4. Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
Good question. The POC is a national association representing Professional Organizers across Canada. The Toronto Chapter, of which I am executive member of, is made up of generous women and men (but mostly women) whom I’ve been able to use for support in a number of essential ways.
My network of support that equips me to be my best self, starts with and my extends beyond my partner, kids and parents. No person is an island, and we are not supposed to be. I’ve learned that we are supposed to use the special skills and efforts of others to lift us to our highest heights of excellence, which is why I use a psychologist, massage therapist, physio therapist, chiropractor, child care provider, business coach, neighbours, cousins, aunts/uncles and friends. The weak spot in the system of support is that I have to ask for help, which is the biggest part of the battle, but I’ll continue to work on it.
5. Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Of course and of course. Time is the biggest sacrifice on both sides of the coin. I sacrifice time with my family to grow my business and I sacrifice business development when I choose to spend time with my family. I used to be able to sacrifice sleep for work and family, but I can’t anymore. As I’m getting wiser I know that I have to take care of myself to be of good use to anyone or anything.
6. What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
My family is privileged to be able to enjoy some weekends away at a great family cottage on Manitoulin Island. We call it Cedar Eden and the name says it all. I totally unplug when I’m there; last time I didn’t even take my smart phone. The place is intended for quality time, fun, laughter and relaxation. I joke with my 86 year old Grandmother-in-law that the place is a rehabilitation center. Pastimes at Cedar Eden include having great conversations, strumming and singing around camp fires, doing the odd job, being silly, using the steam bath, swimming in the bay, happy hour, playing board games and hand-washing the dishes.
7. Are you active in your community?
My family and I love our street and our neighbours. We’ve all worked hard to put ourselves “out there” to get to know one another and the benefits of that work are so heart-warming. You’ll often find the adults outside chatting and laughing as we watch our kids play together. My one neighbour and I have a great habit of sharing our cooking with one another. Two nights ago she delivered some homemade curry chicken just as I was wondering what I was going to eat for dinner. In the winter, those shovelling on the street will often finish their own driveway and then start on their neighbours. We all share in the bounty of our little backyard gardens and bring popsicles out for all the kids on hot summer days. I’m really proud of how we have helped to build this sweet little community of neighbourly kindness.
8. What does supporting local mean to you?
When you ‘Support Local’ you are channeling your money toward people who need it more and away from people who don’t need it at all. ‘Supporting Local’ means channelling your money toward the less privileged, small-business-owners instead of toward the extremely privileged, CEOs of big companies. ‘Supporting Local’ means channelling your money toward people who have not had a fair chance to earn their fair share of the money in this world, instead of channelling your money toward the people who have had unfair advantage and have already made more than their fair share of the money in the world. ‘Supporting Local’ means understanding that making money allows people to make even more money even faster, which allows people to make even more money even faster, which allows people to… you get the idea. From that, you show see how it is way easier for the ‘privileged’ who are already wealthy, to make exponentially more money, exponentially faster. When you ‘Support Local’ you make it easier for the less privileged to raise their standards of living, including their physical, material, mental and emotional standards of living – of which privileged people are much more likely to have in good supply. When you ‘Support Local’ you are helping distribute ‘quality of life’ more equitably.
Supporting local also means respecting the prices of the small-business-owners and the self-employed by not asking them to trim down their profits and owner’s draws.
9. Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
I love the entrepreneurial spirit wherever I see it. And when I do see it, I am sure to point it out to the person, just in case they don’t know what it is, or that they even have it. To be specific though, Daniel and his wife Renata at http://www.tbydaniel.com/ inspire me. They are building what I consider to be an outstanding business; one built on skill, passion, love, usefulness and integrity.
10. What does the future look like for you and your business?
Exciting. Tiring. Ground Breaking. Trying. Satisfying. Challenging. Profitable. Inspiring. And absolutely possible.
11. Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?
Give yourself permission to be where you are now. You will learn and get better as you go. Don’t wait until everything is perfect before you put yourself out there. Apologize less. Always work toward being fully present wherever you are – if you are with your kids, be with your kids – If you are working, be with your work. Abandon damaging guilt and self-critical thoughts – they do not serve you, your family or your business – they only serve to bring you and everything around you, down. See a psychologist for mental health fitness and personal growth. Walk. Be kind to yourself; if you don’t know how, learn. Go easy on yourself. Go easy on others. Love yourself; if you don’t know how, learn. Take calculated risks, and as you experience success in your risk-taking, take larger, calculated risks. Get a second, third and fourth opinion. Try not to take it personally. Learn your value and internalize it. Confidence is not ego. Give back to those less privileged, as much as you can, always. Have confidence in your internal sense that you can make the world a better place with your ideas.
Photo Credit: Kim Petersen